American Elephants


On the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence: by The Elephant's Child

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Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, who was born on the Fourth of July, gave one of the best Independence Day speeches ever at the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Do read the whole thing, or better yet, download it.  Here are a few excerpts.

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination. But remarkable as this may be, it is not the chief distinction of the Declaration of Independence. The importance of political speculation is not to be underestimated, as I shall presently disclose. Until the idea is developed and the plan made there can be no action.

It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world. It was not only the principles declared, but the fact that therewith a new nation was born which was to be founded upon those principles and which from that time forth in its development has actually maintained those principles, that makes this pronouncement an incomparable event in the history of government. It was an assertion that a people had arisen determined to make every necessary sacrifice for the support of these truths and by their practical application bring the War of Independence to a successful conclusion and adopt the Constitution of the United States with all that it has meant to civilization.

These remarks fro the conclusion of his Fourth of July speech seem especially appropriate today.

Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes. We do need a better understanding and comprehension of them and a better knowledge of the foundations of government in general Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meetinghouse. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live. While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. Over a period as great as that which measures the existence of our independence they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought. They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.

No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.



The Indian Health Service is Just as Bad, or Worse, than the VA by The Elephant's Child

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As long as I’m beating up the Obama Administration for their unbelievably dreadful performance on health care — at the Veterans Administration we have found needless patient suffering, fatal delays in medical treatment, and retaliation against whistleblowers — they are as well the shameful traits of the Indian Health Service.

Part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Indian Health Service is required by treaty to deliver health care to Native Americans around the country, with more than two million depending on this federal agency. Unfortunately, it appears to be failing. Tribal members have told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about alarming conditions at hospitals run by the IHS. During the committee’s investigation, which began last summer, we have heard accounts of nurses unable to administer basic drugs, broken emergency-resuscitation equipment, unsanitary medical facilities, and seriously ill children being misdiagnosed. …

The situation has gotten so bad that inspectors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued multiple Statements of Deficiencies over the past few years identifying four IHS hospitals in the Great Plains that are putting patients in “immediate jeopardy.” Our investigators have found evidence that the IHS, like the VA, maintains a culture of cronyism and corruption. Many staff members collect government paychecks without fear of accountability.

Tribal Leaders have contacted the Department of Health and Human Services specifically identifying underperforming supervisors and upper-level management who deserve to be fired. There is no sign that these people have been terminated. Instead employees who perform poorly are transferred to other facilities and in some cases even get raises and  promotions with work files that show no records of bad performance. Nice work if you can get it.

According to HHS, Indian Health Service funding has expanded by 43% since 2008, so more money is not a solution. What’s required seems to be a culture change at the agency from leadership in D.C. down to local hospitals. Some hospitals in the Great Plains area actually had money left over at the end of the fiscal year — but made the choice not to spend it on patient care.

When an administration consistently shows that politics and the next election trump duty and responsibility, and the Constitution is just an old tired document, those attitudes seep through the whole administration, and you get a Navy Commander surrendering boats to the Iranians because he believed that Obama’s Iran Deal was so important to the President, you get sexually-confused bathrooms, a military open to transsexuals, women in combat roles, and an administration unable to say “Islamic terrorism” because the words might offend, though it might also kill a lot of Americans.

Contrary to the hard Left who believe all things are better done and controlled  by the best and brightest in the federal government, there are few things that the federal government actually does well. There are a lot of things that must be done by a federal government, but most are better left to the states which are more directly responsible to their citizens. Health care is just one of them.

ObamaCare is slowly falling apart, Medicaid is a disaster, we have read of way too many failings of the Veterans Administration health care, and now the Indian Health Service, required by treaty to deliver health care to Native Americans around the country has more than two million depending on that service.

Free Markets, Free People and lots of competition — works every time. Presented with challenges and the opportunity to be free of meddling bureaucrats, ideas for better care pop up and little miracles happen all over.



The Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America by The Elephant's Child

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

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On July 4, 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona, about 250 new Americans take the oath of citizenship (reprinted from 2015)

In July, 2015, President Barack Obama stripped out the requirement for individuals becoming naturalized citizens to defend the United States through military service. On September 16. 2015,  President Obama said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship, that they didn’t need to assimilate.

“It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adding a new chapter to your journey… and to our journey as a nation of immigrants,” Obama narrates in his two-minute video urging almost 9 million resident migrants to sign up for citizenship so they can vote in 2016.

There’s another new turn of phrase designed to hide or soften what he is doing. “Nine million resident migrants” — think about that for a moment. We wouldn’t want you to get all serious about an oath, or make you uncomfortable. There’s one graduate of Harvard Law School who apparently never really learned anything about the Constitution at all.

Human beings are tribal. It’s an instinct that comes down to us from the first humans, and it’s never completely gone away. Most of the nations of Europe are tribal. That’s why the Czech Republic separated from Slovakia. I don’t think you can become a German unless you have German ancestry, but I’m not sure about that. The countries of Europe each have their own languages and customs. The Middle East is divided between Sunni and Shia, with a large number of other tribes thrown in. And it seems to be human nature for the tribes to fight each other, over things serious or not so much.

Here we join big organizations, tea parties, bridge clubs, Rotary, Job’s Daughters, join a golf club, work for the Salvation Army or Food for the Poor, or just the Thursday night poker club. We form neighborhood clubs, research our ancestry, or join a gym. We are tribal by nature. We are drawn to people who share our interests or heritage, enthusiasm for quilting, or political leanings.

Americans came from all over, but what has bound them together was the formal oath of citizenship renouncing all other allegiance. You raise your hand and your solemnly swear, and you become an American —just as much as the immigrant whose ancestors came on the Mayflower or with the Winthrop fleet.

What Mr. Obama doesn’t get is that Americans are a tribe, we have a proud identity. Many Europeans say that you can identify an American in Europe by the way they walk—heads up, more confident. Does any other country celebrate their founding day with the hoopla and fireworks that we do?

The full-throated “USA, USA, USA” may be annoying, but it’s heartfelt. Howard Zinn may corrupt the young with his soviet-propagandized attempt at revising our history. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright may bellow “God Damn America “to the future president and his family, but there’s a reason why Stalin’s daughter, Khrushchev’s son, and one of Castro’s daughters all became American citizens. Russian oligarchs moor their yachts in New York harbor just in time to get their newborn child American citizenship, and wealthy Chinese just happen to be visiting the country when the baby is due.  Mexican women wade the Rio Grande to bear their children in the United States. Why do you suppose they do that?

A small bunch of English religious refugees seeking liberty undertook a dangerous Atlantic crossing to an unknown land. Joined by other discontented Europeans, before long they were pushing back against English taxes, English regulations and English regiments. After sending the British back home, and writing a constitution, Americans pushed on across the Appalachians, facing angry Indians, bears and starvation. First in bateaus, then on horseback and in covered wagons, they crossed the Rockies and conquered a continent, fought a bloody civil war to free the slaves.  World Wars, John Wayne, the Super Bowl, Star Wars, the Marshall Plan, GI Joe, Baseball, Dunkin’ Donuts, the Grand Canyon, — so many things go into the making of an American, including complaining about the government. But here, it’s your right to complain. In Stalin’s Russia — off to the Gulag. In today’s Syria, we don”t even want to think about that.

Don’t be messing with the Oath Of Allegiance, Mr. President. We know that you are out to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” but if we had realized what you really meant by that, you’d be back in your house in Chicago and someone else entirely would be our president. You go too far.



Well, Yes. And Then There Was Waterloo! by The Elephant's Child

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Why Won’t Barack Obama Say the Words “Radical Islam”? by The Elephant's Child

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Why does Barack Obama refuse to utter the words “Radical Islam?” Why does the phrase in the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” which has a clear meaning, seem to prohibit our federal agencies from doing necessary background inquiries regarding those who appear to be radicalized Muslims?  Major Nidal Hassan who fatally shot 13 people at Fort Hood and wounded more than 30 others was clearly observed to be radicalized and dangerous, but nobody would do anything about it because he was Muslim.

Omar Mateen was allowed to avoid serious investigation because he was a Muslim. He blamed his actions on Islamophobia. He talked a lot about how he wanted to kill people. Disney reported that Mateen and his wife were casing Disney World back in April. But real investigation stopped because he was a Muslim.

After the deadliest mass shooting in American history. President Obama was angry, impassioned — at Republicans? Huh? David Harsanyi notes the occasion at NRO: (Do read the whole thing)

“That’s the key,” they tell us,” Obama said, eviscerating the GOP. “We can’t beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists. What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?

Victor Davis Hanson wrote about Orlando and “domestic terrorism:”

Most disturbing is the serial inability of the Obama administration — in this case as after the attacks at Fort Hood and in Boston and San Bernardino — even to name the culprits as radical Islamists. Major Hasan shouts “Allahu akbar!” and Omar Mateen calls 911 in mediis interfectis to boast of his ISIS affiliation — and yet the administration can still not utter the name of the catalyst of their attacks: radical Islam. It is hard to envision any clearer Islamist self-identification, other than name tags and uniforms. The Obama team seems to fear the unwelcome public responses to these repeated terrorist operations rather than seeing them as requisites for changing policies to prevent their recurrence.

The current Leftist seems to be consumed by the belief that Michelle Obama derived from her husband. “All of us are driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be,” which seems to be derived from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. They dream of an imagined world  that is self-evidently superior to the existing order. Their world is consumed with the glorious future of which they dream and the current battle against the Right.

That leaves little time for reflection or study, so they rely heavily on leftist talking points that are handed down to the press and to Democratic spokesmen. That’s why there are always examples of the entire Democrat apparatus speaking of the same event in exactly the same words. Talking points. And they seem remarkably ill-informed.

Obama clearly was influenced by the years he spent in Muslim Indonesia before he was 10 years old, but there is no evidence that he is Muslim. Many of us believe that his much ballyhooed “Iran Deal” is an absolute disaster and a major danger to the United States, yet the president sees it as a great accomplishment. Why?

I believe he sees the Middle East in a domestic battle between Sunni and Shia for dominance, which we ignited — with the Invasion of Iraq — and made worse with our brutal treatment of the Iraqis, killing Muslims and destroying property. Obama’s closest advisor is Valerie Jarrett who was raised in Iran.

He regards Arab Muslims with their wealth and palaces and yachts as the problem, and the enlightened and educated Persians as a better class to control the Middle East. He believes we should turn the entire area over to the Iranians to manage. He thinks we have no business in the Middle East at all, and believes America should play a smaller role in the world, as just one among many nations. He sees the cries of the Ayatollah for “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” as some sort of rallying cry or public relations, but not anything that is meant seriously. He said, when he was trying to sell his Iran Deal to Americans, that he did not believe that Iran would ever use a nuclear weapon.

Obama, we are told, does not change his mind. Once he believes something, it is set in concrete. He was heavily influenced by Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American firebrand professor of Middle East studies at Columbia, and I assume Obama believes that Israel is the major problem in the Middle East. Obama’s great accomplishment was to create a “two-state solution”, and he is furious that he hasn’t been able to bring it about. Palestinians aren’t ready to stop trying to kill Israelis with rockets and stabbings and tunnels to attack Israelis in their homes, which is somewhat inclined to give the Israelis a jaundiced view of the fabled “Peace Process.”

I have no expertise in the Middle East, never been there, this is only what I have derived from my reading, but I do read a lot. When an enemy leads chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,”and hangs citizens of his own country who disagree with him, I’m inclined to believe him. When they demand the ability to build nuclear plants that are clearly not needed to produce power, and everybody says they are developing nuclear weapons, I’m inclined to believe them. When they are pursing intercontinental ballistic missiles that could carry a nuclear weapon, I’m a more than a little skeptical about Mr. Obama’s Iran Deal. That’s why he won’t say “Radical Islam.”



Guns and Guns and Guns, Democrats Throw Tantrum, Look Silly. by The Elephant's Child

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The Orlando massacre was carried out by an American citizen of Afghan family, who went to great lengths, including calling 911, to tell everyone that he was pledging himself to ISIS.  Since the shooting was conducted in a nightclub frequented by gays, strenuous efforts have been made by our government to make sure it is connected with homosexuality, and not Islamic terrorism, which is never to be called Islamic terrorism, but only violent extremism or some other bland euphemism.

Yesterday we had the embarrassment of the Justice Department attempting to remove all the evidence of Omar Mateen pledging anything at all to anyone at all by deleting them from the transcript which they released, which brought a significant amount of outrage from those who had been paying attention. They were forced to admit that they had removed Mateen’s many calls to 911. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was forced to admit that Mateen never said anything to cops about specifically targeting gays. The federal government does not want to consider this to be a terrorist attack, they would prefer to consider the whole thing as a hate crime against a core constituency under unreasonable threat in the United States. You can’t blame a liberal administration for  a hate crime against gays.

Today Mrs. Lynch talked about how the federal government may never know what Mateen’s prime motive was between gay hate and terror. She added that “Our most effective response to terror is compassion, unity, and love.” The most effective response to terror is to believe the terrorists when they say they want to destroy America and Israel. They do mean it. Just tell the truth.

Whenever there is a terrorist attack, Democrats blame guns, usually what they refer to as “assault weapons,” partly because they don’t know what an assault weapon is (and isn’t), and it sounds more dramatic. The president has started bloviating about “weapons of war on our streets” a term not used when the military was offering their excess weapons of war (scary looking vehicles) to police and sheriff’s departments across the country. Nobody talked about “weapons of war” when they were equipping special agents at the IRS with Ar-15 military style rifles, or when Health and Human Services “Special Office of Inspector General Agents” were being trained by the Army’s Special Forces contractors, or the VA was arming 3,700 employees.

The number of non-Defense Department federal officers authorized to make arrests and carry firearms (200,000) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000). In its escalating arms and ammo stockpiling, this federal arms race is unlike anything in history.

So it makes perfect sense that 40 Democrats are currently staging a”sit-in”— sitting on the floor of the House chamber because the House’s Republican leadership won’t bring up a gun-control bill for a vote. What they actually want is for everybody on the no-fly list or the possible terrorist list — which seem to be long lists of thousands of people don’t seem to include the people who are actually committing those terror attacks. Michael Medved’s 11-year-old son was once on the no-fly list, and Rep. John Lewis (who is leading the floor-sitting demonstration) was once erroneously placed on the No-Fly list he wants to use to deny due process for those who want to buy a weapon.

Murders are seldom examined seriously, only politically, in the context of gun-control controversies, with the same arguments and the same ideas. Tighter gun control laws do not reduce the murder rate.  Here’s Thomas Sowell on “The Gun Control Farce“— a serious look at the data from around the country and around the world. The facts are quite  plain. It’s not long, and worth your time.



Who Are You Going To Believe? And Why? by The Elephant's Child

196725_5_Via American Thinker.




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