American Elephants


So You Think Socialism Is a Good Idea? Think Again, Booby. by The Elephant's Child

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The Peter Peterson Foundation says that America’s fiscal outlook is still getting worse, with the 2016 deficit climbing by $105 billion  to $544 billion. Over the next decade deficits will total $9.4 trillion and there’s Bernie Sanders with his $28 trillion health plan if he were elected.

That’s the additional spending for Bernie’s “Medicare for All” plan. Gerald Friedman, a professor at the University of Massachusetts , working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projections of national health care spending, claims that the Sanders plan would cost $40.9 trillion between 2017 and 2026. That doesn’t even include his free college for everyone. I keep telling you that Democrats are math avoiders, and unfamiliar with economics. Britain’s NHS is broke, and killing around 9,000 people a year unnecessarily. So that’s Bernie’s plan to bankrupt America.

Meanwhile, Venezuela is on track to barrel past 700% inflation. The International Monetary Fund says Venezuela inflation will reach 720 percent this year. Nicholas Maduro, getting defeated in the legislative election is running an economic decree backed by a Supreme Court that his party packed. The newly elected free market legislature is defying him. This is Socialism, and how it works.

If the whole business of trying to become president doesn’t work out for Bernie,  he could run down to Venezuela to see how Socialism really works in practice. The Army has taken over the toilet paper factories, and staples are no longer on the shelves.

The new legislature suggests that Nicholas Maduro is the problem.

ADDENDUM: The Washington Times reports that the Congressional Budget Office today warns that the federal government will be flirting with $30 trillion in debt within a decade. The problem is an aging population (baby boomers retiring) new spending and tax cuts approved on Capitol Hill, and the growing burden of ObamaCare. ObamaCare will chase more workers out of the labor force over the next five years. The Affordable Care Act is still struggling to attract a customer base. The estimate for the number of people who will sign up for the exchanges has dropped from 21 million to 13 million. They also say the economy might see significant growth of 2.5 percent this year and 2.6 percent next year. Big whoop! How about a real 4 percent growth? The business sector wants to grow and expand, but is being reined in by this administration with way too much regulation, fear of regulation, and stupid taxes. Cut the corporate tax. Corporations don’t pay taxes anyway — consumers do.



A Little Horror Story! by The Elephant's Child

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(h/t: Vanderleun)



Hits and Misses in the ‘War’ on the Islamic State by The Elephant's Child

It was only days ago that we had word that “Jihadi John,”  the British citizen Mohammed Emwazi, who became known for beheading  Western  hostages for ISIS— was reported hit in Raqqa by an attack from an American drone. U.S. counter terrorism officials said he was killed with a ‘flawless’ drone missile strike the moment he stepped into a car. Pentagon officials are 99 percent sure that he was killed.

He was “evaporated” near a clock tower where ISIS staged public executions. Britain’s Daily Mail had an extensive article on the “World’s most wanted man.” The drone strike took off from Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey, and was piloted from Creech Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

The Daily Mail piece also included an aerial photograph of the site of the drone strike. But it also contains evidence of the problem many have complained of, the White House’s tight control over targeting that is making the administration’s claims of conducting effective air control over ISIS so absurd.

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So we know the exact site of ISIS main headquarters, the Islamic Court, but declined to target those because…? Obama seems happy to go after anyone with a drone attack, I suppose because he can assume that the missile that got the target didn’t get anyone who was near, or if they were near they were probably bad guys too? One would assume that targeting ISIS main headquarters might set back their terrorist activities a little.

The British Prime Minister welcomed reports of the killing which he called an ‘act of self defence’.

He stopped short of confirming that Emwazi – who he branded a ‘barbaric murderer’ – was dead but said the targeted attack was ‘the right thing to do’.

There is a high possibility British spies were operating on the ground in Raqqa to help identify Emwazi before the strike and may now be trying to collect DNA evidence to prove his death.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Emwazi’s role in ISIS propaganda videos used to radicalize people meant he was a ‘target worth going after’.

We need a public excuse?



Nearly 500 Hospitals Have Misbehaved, Or Have They? by The Elephant's Child

hospHospitals in 43 states will pay a combined $250 million in fines to settle charges that they violated Medicare requirements when implanting cardiac devices in patients.

The heavy hand of government descended on 457 hospitals accused of implanting cardioverter defibrillators in patients between 2003 and 2010 before Medicare coverage allowed. It seems that Medicare will cover the devices, which cost around $25,000, but only if doctors wait the recommended 40 days after a patient has had a heart attack and 90 days after a patient has had bypass surgery to do the implant. The waiting periods are designed by some bureaucrat to “give the heart an opportunity to improve function on its own to the point that the defibrillator may not be necessary.”

The DOJ said most of the hospitals were named in a lawsuit brought on by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of any settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant.

The lawsuits were filed by a cardiac nurse and a health care reimbursement consultant in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The DOJ said the whistleblowers received more than $38 million from the settlements.

This may be all on the up and up. Over-cautious doctors disobeying the ordered 40 day wait time and costing Medicare money. The doctors motives for squandering Medicare money? The whistleblowers motives to go for $38 million? Did all or any of the patients survive? Don’t know.

Where are the whistleblowers who get big rewards from stopping, say, the EPA from wasting taxpayer money? With 457 different hospitals, the whistleblowers had no chance to observe incorrect wait times. Perhaps the doctor’s judgement is different?  I make no accusations. I just find it all odd, and sadly, I trust Doctors much more than I trust Medicare bureaucrats.

 



I’m Not Going to Comment. But I Invite You To. by The Elephant's Child

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I Think I May Be Back in Business, My Fingers Are Crossed. by The Elephant's Child

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Sorry! I have been having computer problems. They seem to be multiple and separate. Fix one, and there’s still another. Or multi-anothers. I’m not sure.

This is not me, but it captures the mood. Had a Doctors appointment this morning, I was on time, he was running an hour late. My coffee maker quit. My wireless mouse and keyboard weren’t connecting, or only after long waits between strokes. You have had similar experiences, I’m sure. Life is not designed to go smoothly every day. Then there was Mr. Obama’s unbelievable press conference.

Keyboard and mouse are working. The problems may be solved. I will not take anything for granted.



There are more important things in the news! by The Elephant's Child

Another small addition to the idea that we may have way too many aspiring newsmen. It is the first week of April, and we have one announced candidate for the office of President of the United States. Yet the news daily is filled with commentary on the presidential campaign. Most viable potential candidates have already had attacks of one sort or another as reporters strive to be the first one to find a real flaw to knock someone out of the race.

April 1, from The New York Times (not an April Fools Joke): “Scott Walker, Allergic to Dogs, May Run Against Political History:”

The attention to Mr. Walker’s likely candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination has focused on weighty matters such as his battles with the left, faltering forays into foreign policy and conservative stances on social issues including abortion and gun rights. But little notice has been given to an area in which he faces a different sort of constitutional challenge: overcoming his aversion to man’s best friend.

Jeb Bush can lament how he lost a Labrador (named for his brother Marvin) to cancer. Marco Rubio has a Shih Tzu, with a name like a gift from heaven: Manna. Ted Cruz goes one better: His rescue mutt is called Snowflake. (“Dear Jesus, please, please, PLEASE bring us a puppy,” his daughters prayed, according to Mr. Cruz’s Facebook page.) And if Mr. Walker makes it to November, he could face Hillary Rodham Clinton and her toy poodle, Tally.

Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with “worry,” perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.

Well, says the Times, in that he’s running against the long sweep of American political history. If there was a handbook for candidates, “must love dogs” would be right up front.




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