American Elephants


The Deep State: A Landmine That Might Blow Up by The Elephant's Child

Here’s another must-read post from Victor Davis Hanson, from National Review    entitled “The Trump Land Mine.”

After the 2016 election, the so-called deep state was confident that it had the power easily to either stop, remove, or delegitimize the outlier Donald Trump and his presidency.

Give it credit, the Washington apparat quite imaginatively pulled out all the stops: implanting Obama holdover appointees all over the Trump executive branch; filing lawsuits and judge shopping; organizing the Resistance; pursuing impeachment writs; warping the FISA courts; weaponizing the DOJ and FBI; attempting to disrupt the Electoral College; angling for enactment of the 25th Amendment or the emoluments clause; and unleashing Hollywood celebrities, Silicon Valley, and many in Wall Street to suffocate the Trump presidency in its infancy.

But now the administrative state’s multifaceted efforts are starting to unwind, and perhaps even boomerang, on the perpetrators. If a federal judge should end up throwing out most of the indictments of Paul Manafort on the rationale that they have nothing much to do with the original mandate of the special counsel’s office, or if Michael Flynn’s confession to giving false statements is withdrawn successfully because the FBI politicized its investigation and FISA courts were misled in approving the surveillance of Flynn, then the Mueller investigation will implode.

The rest is here.

Advertisements


Here’s What Obama Had to Say About The Iran Deal Back Then by The Elephant's Child

LV_20131029_LV_FOTOS_D_54392535175-992x558@LaVanguardia-Web

I was looking in an old notebook, and ran across a couple of quotes I had jotted down from President Obama about the Iran Deal: I won’t testify as to their accuracy, as it’s clear I was scribbling fast. I can hardly read my writing.

“It shows what we can accomplish when we lead from a position of strength, and a position of principle. When we unite the international community around a shared vision, and we resolve to solve problems peacefully.”

Well, that sounds like Obama, doesn’t it? I can’t remember who it was who described him as “a real good talker.”

“With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapons program, and Iran’s nuclear program will be under severe limits for many years.  Without a deal these pathways remain open, there would be no limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran could move closer to a nuclear bomb.”

Sounds like Obama alright. That worked out well.



Seventeen States Attack EPA Vehicle Emission Standards. Weak Legal Case, Big Publicity. by The Elephant's Child

Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator is doing a marvelous job, rolling back one bad EPA regulation after another, and the Left wants his head. He believes that credible science and transparency are necessary elements of sound policy. Well, we can’t have that. He believes that the EPA should no longer enjoy free rein to impose major regulations that are based on studies that are not available for public scrutiny. And the environmental lobby is having hissy-fits. Their claim that research subjects’ privacy would be violated is nonsense. Personal information is not even relevant in agency rule-making.

The environmental group’s rallying cry was that the public has a “right to know” for public disclosure requirements on the private sector that included informational labeling, emissions reporting, workplace safety warnings, beach advisories, and pending enforcement actions.

The proposed rule is aligned with the Data Access Act which requires federal agencies to ensure that data which is produced under grants or agreements with universities, hospitals and nonprofit organizations is available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act.

Legislation was passed by the House last year to prohibit the EPA from “proposing, finalizing or disseminating a covered action unless all scientific and technical information which was relied on to support the action is the best available science, specifically identified, and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results. The EPA, among other obfuscations, was blaming all sorts of things on causing asthma in children—totally ignoring the fact that physicians do not know what causes asthma. That sort of thing. EPA regulation has expanded exponentially every decade since the 1970s at tremendous expense to the nation. The science that supported the regulation was apparently a secret.

California, joined by 16 states and the District of Columbia has petitioned the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to stop EPA Administrator Pruitt from revising his predecessor’s greenhouse gas emission standards for new cars sold in 2022-2025. Their press release claimed that their “lawsuit is based on the fact that the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own regulations, and violated the Clean Air Act.”

Well, no this is not a final action. The EPA rule specifically states that if EPA decides the standards are appropriate, that “decision will be the final agency action which will also be subject to judicial review on its merits.”

The Obama era EPA’s rush to judgment was for the political purpose of confronting the incoming Trump administration with a regulatory fait accompli, and it produced an agenda-driven rulemaking rather than an evidence-based rulemaking. There was supposed to be a harmonized national vehicle program. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers warns that” the process now bears no resemblance to the coordinated effort that was envisioned in the midterm evaluation.”

It’s bad enough that the federal government presumes to determine for all consumers the relative importance of fuel efficiency compared to other vehicle attributes such as affordability, size, safety, utility, comfort, and style. States should not have a say in determining such tradeoffs in what every reasonable person acknowledges should be a national market.

The nation’s fuel economy statute, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, prohibits states from adopting or enforcing laws or regulations “related to” fuel economy. California’s greenhouse gas emission standards are strongly related to fuel economy standards, because carbon dioxide (CO2) constitutes 94.9 percent of vehicular GHG emissions, and “there is a single pool of technologies … that reduce fuel consumption and thereby CO2 emissions as well” (75 FR 25372).

The top ten automobile producing states are Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. California is not on the list. Their lawsuit is vastly premature as they can only sue for a “final action” which isn’t anywhere near the case. So we can assume that this is some kind of grandstanding. Pruitt’s determination that the Obama rules are not appropriate is based on new information about fuel prices, projected vehicle cost, consumer preferences and other relevant factors. The proposed notice of withdrawal summarizes the viewpoints of experts who disagree with the agency’s assessments. It just doesn’t reach the conclusion that California wants. With the 17 state lawsuit, however, you will hear a lot about how the Trump EPA is trying to destroy the environment and make automobiles noxious gas emission spewing horrors, or something like that. Trump Derangement Syndrome.



Did You Think Politics Is Boring? Wow! Think Again! by The Elephant's Child

static.politico.com

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes finally got out of the FBI (with threats of impeachment and disgrace) the source of the origin of the Russia Probe. The committee wanted to know how the FBI found out about the George Papadopoulos meeting with a Russian national that led to the FBI’s original investigation into potential Trump/Russia collusion.

Chairman Nunes appeared on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo to explain what they have found.

DEVIN NUNES: It took a long time to actually get this… the original intelligence, the original reasons that the counterintelligence investigation was started.

This is really important to us because a counterintelligence investigation uses the tools of our intelligence services, that are not supposed to be used on American citizens. So we’ve wanted to know what intelligence they had that actually led to this investigation.

There was no intelligence. Do watch the interview linked above. Why is this a big deal? Somebody ordered the investigation. They are investigating the State Department. Longtime close associates of Hillary Clinton, including Sidney Blumenthal and Corey Shearer were actively giving information to the State Department that was making its way to the FBI. So what you apparently have is a State Department whose Secretary is Hillary Clinton who is actively running for the Presidency participating in launching a probe and appointing a Special Prosecutor to  investigate her campaign opponent of the opposing party. And as Mr. Trump has claimed that his campaign was being wiretapped, he apparently was. We already know that the Clinton campaign paid for the Steele Dossier, but the campaign was also paying for oppo-research from London based Hakluyt & Co. Hillary wasn’t taking any chances. No wonder she’s so hysterical about losing.

At The American Spectator George Neumayr takes it a little further.

The probe didn’t start “by the book.” It started largely on the say-so of John Brennan, whose CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign. We know from Brennan’s own testimony and leaks that he had been lobbying the FBI to start the probe since at least the spring of 2016. But whatever alleged intelligence Brennan gave to the FBI, it was too flaky for the FBI to commit to print.

The probe was the product of a shell game played by a cast of Trump haters — from Brennan to Peter Strzok (the FBI’s liaison to the CIA, which is a key fact in all of this) to Hillary hired gun Christopher Steele. Brennan, since at least April of 2016, had been shaking foreign intelligence agencies down for any dirt on Trumpworld. He claimed that he had come up with some from Estonia, England, and other trusted “counterparts” and shoveled it to Strzok, who then dumped it on the desk of other Hillary partisans in the FBI/Justice Department’s senior leadership. Strzok would later confess to his mistress, in between calling Trump a “douche,” that the probe was just a fishing expedition with no “big there there.”

At National Review today Victor Davis Hanson explains how Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation train searching for any conceivable thing that President Donald Trump might have done wrong in 2016 is exposing all sorts of improper or illegal FBI and DOJ false testimony. The Inspector General has already indicated that Andrew McCabe has lied to federal investigators. And the list of those who have probably lied to federal investigators grows and grows. This makes Watergate look like tiddlywinks. The potentially worst scandal in the history of the country.

The partisan press keeps trying to feed the dying Russia collusion conspiracy theory in which they have invested so much effort. Yet they took no notice of “last week’s federal court filing that exposes an $84 million money-laundering conspiracy the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Campaign executed during the 2016 presidential election in violation for  federal campaign-finance law.”

This comes from a post at The Federalist which added “Think of it Like a Shell Game With Millions of Dollars.” For the explanation of the law and why it’s a big deal you’ll have to follow the link. A lot of reading but we need to understand what is really happening, under the covers so to speak.

Investors Business Daily reported that the U.S. has 3.5 million more registered voters than live adults. Hundreds of illegals voted in Pennsylvania, and are cancelling their registrations now in fear of being discovered. Ken Block of Simpatico Software Systems did a comparison of voter registration and voter history from 21 states. Using an extremely conservative matching formula that included name, birthdays and Social Security numbers found that approximately 8,500 voters who voted in two states in the November 2016 election, including 200 couples who voted illegally together. He estimated that “there would be at least 40,000 duplicate voters if data was available from all states.” Chicago managed to have 14,000 more votes than voters in the 2016 general election. You will recall that Democrats insist that there is little if any vote fraud, and fiercely resist efforts to pass laws requiring voter identification. insisting that it is just racist attempts to keep Blacks from voting.

Put aside the latest thriller you’ve been reading. Forget the movie you were going to watch. Politics is starting to get downright exciting as a spectator sport.



The Most Vapid Conversation Ever? by The Elephant's Child

This conversation took place about a year ago on Bernie Sanders’ show, featuring Bill Nye, “the science guy” who apparently doesn’t know any. This is perhaps the most vapid, inane, totally empty of thought or meaning conversation I have ever heard.

Science consists of hypotheses that can be tested and the results can be retested by others and come up with the same results. Bill Nye keeps referring to those who do not agree with him as “deniers,”which is just a slur since no one denies that the climate changes. The climate has been changing for millions of years. The climate science that alarmists extol comes out of computer programs, not the real world. And there is no 97% consensus among climate scientists. That has been thoroughly debunked.

James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who Nye cites, wrote a paper in 2008 that claimed his climate models showed that exceeding 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere would have catastrophic effects. We have long since blown past that point, and the result has been the greening of the Earth. CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants, and the plant growth is feeding a hungry world.  Plant nurseries keep their greenhouses at somewhere around 1,000 ppm, and the nurserymen are still healthy. Real world evidence clearly shows Hansen’s theory was wrong.

Bernie Sanders serves on Senate committees on the environment and climate. Bill Nye spoke of the rising sea level, and how it would force the people of New Orleans to abandon their homes, and they would leave behind great coils of wire and pipes. These two gentlemen clearly have no idea what they are talking about, but they care deeply about global warming. A situation that seems to be common on the Left.  This level of sheer ignorance should be disturbing.



New York City 1911 by The Elephant's Child

1911. An immaculately preserved film of New York City. (The speed has been corrected and sound added for ambiance.) The film was taken by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern on a trip to America.

What happened in 1911? Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Charles F. Kettering (US) developed the first practical electrical self-starter for automobiles. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre (found in 1913 in Italy).  Irving Berlin published “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Winston S. Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.



Life’s Little Surprises Always Await Us. by The Elephant's Child

In the Wall Street Journal today, James Freeman brought up the historic tax reform that Trump signed in December may turn out to be his finest hour, ‘trumping’ even  the firing of James Comey. So many companies have reported positive news from the tax law, even though it’s barely four months old.  The Journal calculated that the four giants of American retail banking— JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America have saved a total of $2.3 billion in the first quarter thanks to the new federal corporate tax rate of 21%, down from 35%.

Is that a big deal? Nancy Pelosi is arguing that the tax cut is a useless disaster, and when the Democrats get back in they will promptly raise taxes back to where they should be. (This is a campaign promise? Why?)

Wages have been growing. “Kroger, Walmart, Target Corp. and other food retailers are investing savings from the federal tax law to boost worker pay and benefits, ” the Journal reported recently. John Kartch at the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform has been keeping a running tally of businesses (now 507) responding to their lower tax bills by announcing pay raises, bonuses, and higher 401K matches. The good news began to arrive almost as soon as President Trump signed the legislation.

Democrats seem to have a hard time getting their minds around the basic consequences of economic incentives. The Labor Department has reported that this is oficially the best job market for those seeking work in the history of  U.S. government statistics. Lefties are quite sure that the best results come from soaking the rich, by which they seem to mean the Koch Brothers, rather than themselves and their friends and supporters.

Ann Althouse notes that a new WaPo poll “finds that the gap between support for Deocatic vs. Republican House candidates dropped more than half since the beginning of the year.” A WaPo/ABC News poll found that 78 percent of registered voters considered voting for a candidate whose views on gun rights and gun control matched their own was either very or extremely important. 21% said it was somewhat or not important at all.

Investors Business Daily reported in an editorial on the macroeconomic effects of the tax reform bill. The Congressional Budget Office admitted that they had vastly overestimated the cost of the Trump tax cuts, because it didn’t account for the strong economic growth they would generate.

In any case, the CBO now expects GDP to be $6.1 trillion bigger by 2027 than it did before the tax cuts.

The CBO report also makes clear that this faster-growing economy will offset most of the costs of the Trump tax cuts.

In a table buried in the appendix of the CBO report, it shows that, before accounting for economic growth, the tax cuts Trump signed into law late last year would cut federal revenues by $1.69 trillion from 2018-2027.

But it goes on to say that higher rate of GDP growth will produce $1.1 trillion in new revenues. In other words, 65% of the tax cuts are paid for by extra economic growth.

Well, goodness. There might just be some reason to question conventional wisdom. The Center for Immigration Studies reported a few weeks ago that Trump’s Wall on our Southern Border would, over time, pay for itself, because illegal immigrants add a lot of cost with their dependence on welfare, crime, benefits and health care.  Who knew?  One can only urge Ms. Pelosi to keep railing about the necessity of raising taxes.

Among other surprises, a previously unknown asteroid the size of a football field had a near miss with Earth on Sunday. It came within one half of the distance to the moon.  It was the largest known asteroid to pass that close to Earth in observational history. Life always has interesting little surprises for us, even if we are paying attention.




%d bloggers like this: