American Elephants


Senate Democrats Block Zika Virus Funding by The Elephant's Child

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Most of the news about the Zika Virus is bad. Babies are born with malformed brains, adults who suffer the progressive paralysis of Guillaine-Barré syndrome, Americans diagnosed after travel to the topics, active transmission of the disease in U.S. territories, but primarily because of regulatory requirements no vaccine is likely to become available before the end of the decade.

The FDA is “blocking real progress on a vital tool to control the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry and transmit Zika and the viruses that cause dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever.”

Using genetic engineering techniques, the British company Oxitec (a subsidiary of American-owned Intrexon) has created male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with a specific mutation that causes them to need a certain chemical (the antibiotic tetracycline) to survive. Without it, they die—and their offspring die before reaching maturity. Releasing the males over several months causes a marked reduction in the mosquito population. Because male mosquitoes don’t bite, they present no health risk, and, because their progeny die, no genetically engineered mosquitoes persist in the environment.

Turf battle: the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which has the authority and expertise to oversee genetically engineered insects vs. the USDA (budgetary concerns and anti-genetic engineering among senior USDA people) who sent it over to the FDA which is unqualified to review the mosquito and unwilling to move it along. If all this sounds nuts, it is.

Brain damage in Zika babies is far worse than doctors expected. The virus attacks lobes of the fetal brain that control thought, vision and movement.

The Senate voted to approve a $1.1 billion bill to fight Zika by a 52 to 48 margin, with funds to go to help develop a vaccine. (Not enough to get the bill to the floor). It was slightly less than what Obama requested, but his budget request earmarked over half a billion for Zika programs in other countries and shortchanged public health here at home. (ObamaCare has a 2 billion slush fund for public health).

Harry Reid called the bill “nothing more than a goodie bag for the fringes of the Republican Party” and said they had no choice but to block it. Their real complaint was that Planned Parenthood wouldn’t be able to get a portion of the funds directed to public health departments and hospitals that are reimbursed by public health. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) claimed that the Republican bill “limits access to birth control services needed to help curb the spread of the virus and prevent terrible birth defects.”

The Democrat’s idea was that the mainstream press would blame the GOP for the bill’s demise, but even the liberal media wouldn’t buy this mess of pottage. The headlines for CNN, NBC, CBS and even the NY Times were uniformly something in the line of “Senate Democrats block Zika funding.”

Scientists are getting closer to understanding how Zika causes Microcephaly, but they’re not there yet. The Senate’s stupid move makes it impossible for Congress to send legislation to the president before July 4. This means the bill is dead, and a new bill will have to be written and submitted. Both chambers are back in session for just one week before leaving for summer vacation July 15 and not returning till after Sept 5.



The Private Sector Fires Incompetents. The Feds Reward Them! by The Elephant's Child

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It was only a day or two ago that I wrote “The federal government has too many people working for the government, and there isn’t enough work for them to do. Government workers make 78%  more for comparable jobs, according to Cato. They call themselves “public servants,” but they don’t mean it. When they start to think of the U.S. Constitution as an impediment rather than a guarantee that the government belongs to the people and the public servants are there to work for us, not the other way around, we’re in trouble. So here we are.”

Federal workers make on average nearly twice as much as those in the private sector, but government employee unions want a pay increase more than three times larger than President Barack Obama proposed.
The American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, American Postal Workers’ Union and 20 other unions representing federal workers sent a letter to Congress seeking a 5.3 percent pay hike next year. President Obama proposed a 1.6 percent raise.

How about a 10% pay cut to bring them more into line with the rest of the country?  If you include benefits, the average federal employee earns about $119,000 annually, including salary and benefits compared to the private sector average of $67,000. (an October 2015 study by the Cato Institute) If you add in health care and pensions, it’s even a bigger gap.

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All the workers in the federal government are, according to the federal government — above average. This rating of worker performance is clearly absurd, as anyone who has ever had contact with a federal bureaucrat can attest. But a review of federal worker performance ratings by the GAO found that 99.5% of them got a “fully successful” rating or above. More than a third were given the highest rating of “outstanding.” At the other end of the ratings only 0.4% were rated as “minimally successful” and 0.1% as “unacceptable.”

Don’t everybody rush to get a government job at once. These “fully successful” workers “blew $2 billion on a botch Healthcare.gov website, made more than $100 billion in overpayments to go to government beneficiaries, run the TSA, fired veterans unto deadly wait lists for care, allowed their databases to be hacked, spent over 10 years and $1 billion trying to digitize 100 immigration forms only to get just one done.” And the list goes on — and on.

It is not just hard to fire a federal employee, but nearly impossible to rate them as anything less than “fully successful.” A manager who does must spend significant time developing performance improvement plans. Workers who don’t get a gold star can and do appeal their ratings by filing a union grievance with the Merit Systems Protection Board. That may be another agency we could do without.

The private sector has a direct financial interest in weeding out bad apples, and accurately assessing worker performance. Those incentives just don’t exist in the government. Failure usually results in bigger budgets and more money.

Republicans talk a lot about reducing the size and scope of the federal government. You haven’t been paying attention. They mean it, but they need encouragement, lots of it, because it is very hard to do. And needs doing very badly.

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Why Have Immigration Laws if The President Just Makes Up His Own? by The Elephant's Child

In the case over the Obama administration’s controversial immigration reforms, U.S. v. Texas, the Supreme Court confessed its inability to bring clarity to the broader debate over the scope of  executive authority, splitting four-four and affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by an equally divided vote. This essentially means that in all likelihood, had Justice Antonin Scalia not passed away earlier this year it would have been settled.

On Thursday the Supreme Court shot down Barack Obama’s illegal executive amnesty – something he alleged at least 22 times he did not have the authority to pass before he went ahead and pushed through his executive authority anyway.

“During his comments Barack Obama once again argued that we need illegal aliens to “make our beds.” Well, never mind. “Speaking shortly after the Supreme Court’s immigration decision, President Obama made it ‘very clear’ that deporting illegal immigrants is not a priority of his administration.”

We knew that. We are interested in why this president who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution believes that he should overrule it.  Obama wants more Democrat voters. He has lied about deportations insisting that he has deported more people than any other president in history. That’s hooey. There are always consequences. Criminal immigrants reoffend at a higher level than ICE has suggested.  A smuggling network brings Middle East illegalsObama-shoes-3 to our border. Obama accuses a judge of “scaring’ illegal aliens from signing up for amnesty. Here are the shoes handed out to many of the “unaccompanied children” who arrived last year, to remind them of just who allowed them in, and gave them shoes.

Six diseases that had been near eradication are making a comeback, thanks to Obama’s refugee resettlement industry.  They are 1.Tuberculosis 2.Measles 3.Whooping Cough 4.Mumps 5.Scarlet Fever and 6. Bubonic Plague. The number of communicable TB cases, dubbed active TB, increased by 1.7 percent to 9,563 in 2015, after 23 years of steady decline in the United States. Parents who got all excited about the canard that vaccination is bad, should investigate those claims a little more thoroughly.

The problem is not so much illegal immigration, as it is that the President of the United States seems to believe that he is above the law and has no need to follow the laws. That’s really a problem.



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.”



Hate Speech, Protected Speech, Free Speech: Think About It. by The Elephant's Child

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The furor over Brexit continues to heat up, and polls waver back and forth. A telling article on the 14th of May pointed out a central issue of concern about the European Union. ‘The President of the unelected executive arm of the EU has vowed to block all right wing populists from power across the continent, shortly after acquiring the power to exert “far reaching sanctions” on elected governments.”

If this seems reminiscent of the Left’s current efforts to stamp out free speech, with the need for “safe spaces” on campus to avoid hearing any disagreeing speech; or the group of attorneys general who want to go after “climate deniers”  in the interest of shutting down those who do not worship at the altar of global warming, and getting a big windfall from suing Exxon Mobil; or the effort to simply shut down free speech or do away with the First Amendment, you’re absolutely correct.

Attorney General  Loretta Lynch announced that she would release a censored version of Omar Mateen’s 911 calls , omitting any mention of ISIS. She said she didn’t want to “further [Mateen’s] propaganda. (Obama-Clinton U.S l Resolution Against Negative Speech about Islam.) Broadly ridiculed, DOJ reversed course.

Most graduations are over, but the season had its usual numbers of graduation speakers who were protested, rejected, or insulted.  I find it hard to imagine that the snowflakes are so unmannerly that they refuse to hear someone who has ideas with which they are not familiar.

U.S. Internet giants Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp pledged to tackle online hate speech in less than 24 hours as part of a joint commitment with the European Union to combat the use of social media by terrorists.

Beyond national laws that criminalize hate speech, there is a need to ensure such activity by Internet users is “expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame,” the companies and the European Commission said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

We hear the term “Hate Speech” far more than “free speech.” “Hate speech” is just another Leftist weapon to attack anyone who offers a different opinion.  Only today, a student called in to Michael Medved’s talk radio show to speak about his professor who would not allow differing opinions in student papers. Unfortunately this is increasingly common. During the 1960s Liberals fought for the right for political demonstrations on campus in the fabled “Free Speech Movement.” Well, time moves on and minds change. Now the Left wants to put people behind bars for any speech that disagrees with standard Liberal talking points.

The other nations in the Anglosphere have vestiges of free speech, but not so much. It is, to be completely accurate, a very hard idea for people to understand. People are all for free speech until someone says something to which they take exception, then it’s hate speech, or they shouldn’t be allowed to say that, or just demand that they shut up. We used to have Polish jokes, and French jokes, and Norwegian jokes, but now it’s all “diversity” and “racism”and  “gender identity.”

We all have to think through what is meant by free speech. It is expressed in the First Amendment  as forbidding Congress from making any law that abridges freedom of speech, and adds freedom of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You can’t shout FIRE in a crowded theater. You can still punch someone who insults your mother in the nose, but you may get hauled in for battery. If you are paying attention, you will find an example of why it is so important—every single day. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn disagreed publicly with Stalin and spent eleven years in the Gulag Archipelago as a result. He was one of the lucky ones.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the Bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”     Ronald Reagan



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

196725_5_Via American Thinker.



The Strange Narrative in Which Obama Lives by The Elephant's Child

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President Barack Obama bitterly attacked Donald Trump for challenges to his presidency for not taking the threat of radical Islamic terrorism seriously enough. (Do too! Do Too!)

“Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away, Obama said. This is a political distraction”

He described the attacks on him as “yapping” and denounced ‘Politicians who Tweet and appear on cable news shows.”

Omar Mateen’s murder of 5o gays in an Orlando nightclub and wounding of as many others has a striking familiarity to the Fort Hood Massacre when Major Nidal Hassan, a U.S. Army Psychiatrist, fatally shot 13 people and wounded more than 30 others.

Both killers had been identified as dangerous and unhinged by those who worked with them. Their employers, the Army in the case of Nidal Hassan, and the Department of Homeland Security in the case of Omar Mateen knew that their conversation indicated “there’s something wrong with him” but the employer was unwilling to do anything about it because he was Muslim. Obama’s refusal to say the words “radical Islam,” or to allow anyone else to use the term, is so obvious to all that it approaches comedy. Obama’s instant reaction is always to find something wrong with American society, and to go for the standard Leftist approach: “We have to ban assault weapons“.

Weapons, from duded-up .22s to knives, baseball bats, pressure cookers, bomb-making materials, box-cutters, bows and arrows, are all inanimate objects, and require a human actor to put them to any use. The Left becomes hysterical about weapons, but refuses to deal with those who should not be allowed access to weapons. It’s the bad people, not the weapons.

If you remember, President Obama dismissed the Fort Hood massacre as “workplace violence.” They even went so far as to deny VA benefits to those who had been wounded, and refused to award purple hearts.No medals for “workplace violence.”

The Boston Massacre, the beheading in Oklahoma, and the stabbings at UC Merced had nothing to do with firearms.The attacks in Paris and Belgium took place in locales with the some of the strictest firearm regulations anywhere.

The President sets the agenda. For the last seven  years, government officials have seen the suspicious activities of Muslims as the result of America’s Islamophobia, and our insults to the peaceful Muslim religion. Obama has taken the lead in encouraging Syrian refugees to settle in the United States.

A NASA Chief declared that one of the agency’s three primary missions was Muslim outreach. The director of National Intelligence called the Muslim Brotherhood “largely secular.” a top counterterrorism adviser praised jihad as a “legitimate tenet of Islam.” Obama has removed the requirement for new citizens to be available for national service if called upon. He said “We are to blame, not Islamic terrorism, for the Massacre.” He has said, in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship that they didn’t need to assimilate. Government officials know who signs their paychecks.

I think that Obama lives in a different narrative, one in which he is the hero, wisely directing the American people in the way they should go. That it bears little relation to reality is beside the point. Because he is giving away citizenship to all comers, erasing the citizenship and border control laws, the newcomers will be reliable Democrat voters, and that’s what really matters, isn’t it?




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