American Elephants

Can Democrats Win an Election Without Cheating? by The Elephant's Child


A video has emerged from Illinois (why am I not surprised?) that a “calibration error” that just happens to cause voting machines to switch votes from Republican to Democrat. You punch the box to vote for the Republican candidate, and it registers that you voted for the Democrat candidate. The video purportedly shows voting machines in the Moline, Illinois public library registering votes for the Democrat candidate when the Republican is the intended choice.

That makes it nice and simple, doesn’t it? Doesn’t even have to be somebody there  miscounting ballots, or hiding some — just program it into the voting machine, just enough to win the election, but not enough that anybody would immediately call FRAUD!

Same thing is happening in Maryland. “Calibration Errors” that cannot be replicated. People with fat fingers, or long nails perhaps? I get suspicious of anything that involves changing the vocabulary from a simple and straightforward “vote fraud” to a broad generalization like “calibration error.” I have never read anywhere of a ‘calibration error’ changing a Democrat vote to a Republican vote, but perhaps that’s just a coincidence?

We’ve had a lot of vote fraud here in Washington State, and the people have not forgotten. Governor Christine Gregoire was not elected until they recounted the votes enough times to find just enough to give her a small margin of victory. She had lost in the first count, and in the second, but by the third count they found some votes in a box in the back room or left in somebody’s car — something like that.

The pro-amnesty Hispanic-activist organization the National Council of La Raza has been promoting a Washington Post article explaining in which states “undocumented” people can vote without having to present photo ID. Most states request some form of ID but don’t require it. Another 20 states don’t require identification. The Washington Post has a handy graph outlining the requirements.

Democrats scoff that vote fraud is merely a figment of Republican imagination, but serious survey data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study produced estimates of 1,408.000 non-citizens voting in 2008, and 484,000 voting in the off-year election in 2010. That’s enough to decide an election.

Here in Washington State, we have switched to Mail In Ballots, which are much more conducive to vote fraud than plain old voting at your local school or retirement home with a hand marked ballot. Those people saw to it that you showed ID, signed in, and there were election judges there. Now we just do it any old-time prior to the election, fill them out at home, and hope they get counted. I liked the formal trip to the polls, greeting poll workers that I hadn’t seen since the last election — it was inconvenient, but a small price to pay for executing my civic duty. It felt good.

Do you remember in 2012, there was a thing about military ballots. Republicans were trying to make sure that soldiers got their ballots and that their votes were recorded. Then there was something in the news about the plane going down in Afghanistan, and too late to get more ballots or something, but there was never any report of the crash, or about survivors, or a death toll. Curious.

Discover the Networks  has a section intended to refute, with hard evidence, the foregoing assertions of the Left. The section consists of excerpts from hundreds of news stories reporting  on fraud and improprieties in the voter-registration process as well as at the ballot box. Do take the time to visit and see for yourself the extent of the fraud that Democrats claim does not exist. If you are really curious, enter the “Secretary of State Project” in the search function there. Now supposedly discontinued, there could have been no other purpose for the project than to elect Democrats to control  the State office that oversees elections.

Obama came from the Chicago political machine. It’s the only kind of politics he knows.

Vote Fraud? Perish the Thought — Please! Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell! by The Elephant's Child

I got a little curious today, about the prospects for vote fraud in the upcoming election, so I did what we all do when we’re curious, I went to Google for a cursory search. What I found was fascinating. The websites I consider reliably Left, reliably said— nothing to see here, move right along. No such thing, proclaimed large numbers. Republican claims of vote fraud are untrue. Real but rare, they insist. Oh come on. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Chicago? In two elections, Barack Obama fortuitously managed to get court-sealed divorce records of his opponent opened just before the election. My next door neighbors for many years were from Illinois, and they had some remarkable stories. We had some real vote fraud here in Washington State. Military ballots gone missing. Documented. The arguments will continue — there’s a great deal at stake, and Democrats will continue to insist it is all figments of the Republican imagination.

The Washington Post asked a few days ago “Could non-citizens decide the November election?” They went to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) for answers.

How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin.

Estimated Voter Turnout by Non-Citizens
2008 2010
Self reported and/or verified 38 (11.3%) 13 (3.5%)
Self reported and verified 5 (1.5%) N.A.
Adjusted estimate 21 (6.4%) 8 (2.2%)

The study did not indicate any advantage coming from Photo ID, because illegals were able to vote anyway. The researchers say that perhaps the United States should move to legalize some electoral participation by non-citizens as many other countries do—though they offer no justification for so doing. Election rules in Kansas and Arizona are set to bar thousands of people in coming weeks from casting ballots in state primaries even as the federal government allows some of them to vote in congressional races. The comments in the article are about what would be expected:

“There is a very real problem with aliens being registered to vote,” said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who said about a dozen states are likely to pass such measures in coming years.

Democrats have countered that there are few examples of fraud at the polls and that such steps suppress the vote of such groups as minorities and women.

So there you go. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Obamanomics 101: Understanding How the Obama Economy Works by The Elephant's Child

Democrats Don’t Understand the Principle of Insurance. by The Elephant's Child

When Sandra Fluke appeared at a hastily arranged pretend congressional testimony event to demand that taxpayers pay for birth control for all deserving young women,  many were offended at the idea that all young women were going to have premarital sex as a matter of course and we were supposed to pay for it. Many were a little embarrassed, and glad that it wasn’t their daughter making such a public claim. Attention quickly turned to Rush Limbaugh who suggested that she was a slut, and then to shrill claims that there was a “War on Women.”

This falls under the “full of  storm and fury signifying nothing” category. Democrats, who consider Feminists as one of their major support groups, always overestimate feminist numbers.  Nevertheless, they are apparently planning to organize their entire convention around the “War on Women.” Barbara Boxer, always ready to fight in that war, is delighted.

Ms. Fluke’s impassioned plea for free contraceptives so all young women will be free to be sexually active without consequence, spoke of bills for $35 and $45 and more a month. It was quickly determined that discount pharmacies had the prescriptions for no more than $9 a month, which would seem to be affordable.

The idea of insurance is protection from catastrophic events by spreading the potential cost to many people, which will pay for the rare catastrophe. Actuaries, people good at math, do studies to determine how frequent and how expensive catastrophes are. The federal government apparently doesn’t have actuaries, and just wants everybody to pay for whatever free stuff the politicians want to give folks in exchange for their votes. This really isn’t how insurance is supposed to operate. And that is the point.

You don’t expect your car insurance to pay for replacing your wiper blades, replacing worn tires, changing your oil.  You expect it to be there when you get in a wreck, because your car cost a lot, and if somebody sues you it will cost a lot, and you are not prepared to keep that amount of money set aside for the disastrous event.

Ms. Fluke is wrong, Barbara Boxer is wrong, and there is no silly “War on Women.”

Same problem, different event. Obama is bragging about fixing Medicare. He has eliminated the “donut hole” in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. There is a lot of criticism among Republicans of the Bush administration for passing it. No one, as far as I can tell, has attempted a serious study of the extent to which the plan is saving lives, for many seniors have their lives extended with new drugs. I understand that the Democrat Congress was going to pass the Drug plan anyway, but Republicans managed to insert the so-called “donut hole.” This  is a major incentive inserted in the program to get seniors to participate in keeping costs down. And it has worked spectacularly.  Bear with me, I know it’s insurance talk but I’ll be brief.

Seniors may choose from a number of different plans. There is a monthly premium and a yearly deductible. Once the deductible is met, there is a co-pay for drugs, high for brand name, low or free for generics. Once  the senior and the plan have spent $2,930 for covered drugs, she is in the “donut hole.” As it was, the senior then had to pay her own costs until she had spent $4,700 for the year— when her coverage gap ends, and she pays only a small co-pay till the end of the year. Lots of incentive to avoid the “donut hole” where she has to pay for her own drugs — using generics whenever they are available, using mail-order pharmacies. Most will never reach it. If they needed help during the donut hole, it was available. That incentive made the drug plan come in far below estimates of what it would cost — a novelty in government programs. They never cost less than estimated.

Democrats, however, have a different understanding of insurance. Republicans believe you spread the cost to protect against catastrophe. Democrats believe that insurance means they give you free stuff and make the taxpayers pay for it.

The left could not stand the “donut hole”— it was so mean. So they are working on getting rid of it entirely.  But what they are removing is the incentive to keep costs down.

Democrats don’t understand incentives, and it always shows up in their policies.

New Republican Governors Are Doing What They Promised! by The Elephant's Child

In 2010, influenced by the Tea Party and it’s focus on the economy, 17 states elected new Republican governors. And since January of 2011, every one of those states saw their rate of unemployment drop an average of 1.35%. Fewer people without jobs, compared to the national rate of 8.2 percent unemployment.

Kansas – 6.9% to 6.1% = a decline of 0.8%

Maine – 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6%

Michigan – 10.9% to 8.5% = a decline of 2.4%

New Mexico – 7.7% to 6.7% = a decline of 1.0%

Oklahoma – 6.2% to 4.8% = a decline of 1.4%

Pennsylvania – 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6%

Tennessee – 9.5% to 7.9% = a decline of 1.6%

Wisconsin – 7.7% to 6.8% = a decline of 0.9%

Wyoming – 6.3% to 5.2% = a decline of 1.1%

Alabama – 9.3% to 7.4% = a decline of 1.9%

Georgia – 10.1% to 8.9% = a decline of 1.2%

South Carolina – 10.6% to 9.1% = a decline of 1.5%

South Dakota – 5.0% to 4.3% = a decline of 0.7%

Florida – 10.9% to 8.6% = a decline of 2.3%

Nevada – 13.8% to 11.6% = a decline of 2.2%

Iowa – 6.1% to 5.1% = a decline of 1.0%

Ohio – 9.0% to 7.3% = a decline of 1.7%

The national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent. Among the remaining states (12) with Republican governors, only Arizona (8.2), and New Jersey (9.2) are as high or higher than average. Texas (6.9%), Utah (6.%), Virginia (5.6%), Nebraska (3.9%) and North Dakota (3.%) are distinctly under.  Just a coincidence, of course.

The Attempts to Rewrite History. by The Elephant's Child

Oh dear, it’s apparently time again for the Huckleberry Finn controversy.  Mark Twain published Huckleberry Finn 126 years ago, and it has been widely considered one of the great American classics ever since.  With great frequency, since the late 1950s, mothers of schoolchildren have been horrified to find that a book that their children have been required to read contains the “N” word.

Calls for the removal of Huck Finn from reading lists have been regular occurrences.  Huck Finn is the fourth most banned book in the U.S. A., according to Twain scholar Alan Gribben who is working with a small Southern publishing company to publish an edition in which the “N” word, which appears 219 times, is replaced by the word “slave.” Tom Sawyer uses the word four times.

Of course outrage has arisen.  “Censorship.” Bowdlerization,” but it’s “Art.” And so forth.  Ideas about what is proper reading for children have always been a matter of controversy.  Books that are somewhat “different” or address uncomfortable subjects usually provoke mothers by the dozens, usually mothers who are not widely read themselves.

I was lucky.  I was blessed with parents who didn’t particularly supervise my reading, for I was a voracious reader.  Things that were over my head simply did not register.  When I was in 8th grade, our teacher was reading National Velvet to us in class, eliminating all the bad words like damn or hell.  We checked out the book at lunchtime to see what she was leaving out.  At home I was reading The Big Sky,  by A.B. Guthrie Jr., which led my teacher to call my mother to find out if she knew. She did.

Mark Twain was writing about a world and a time when racism was common, and making some important points about it.  Sometimes novelists can get closer to the truth of an era than historians can. There’s controversy about that among historians.

There is a segment of society that wants desperately to rewrite history.  To make the past agree with what they believe to be true today.  They are ashamed of the past as it was, and want it not to be so; and they don’t want others to know that it was as it was.  History is what happened.  We no longer chop off people’s heads nor do we burn them at the stake.  Most of us no longer believe in witches.  Though in some societies these things still happen.

This is in part the same controversy that has arisen over the Republicans’ reading of the U.S. Constitution on the floor of the House.  From the interesting comments of Ezra Klein to the folks on MSNBC, they simply do not understand the use of reading the document, when every legislator must swear an oath to:

solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

This is hard for Democrats who look upon the Constitution as an old-fashioned document that is hard to understand and is simply nor appropriate for the 21st century.  Am I ranging too far afield to draw these comparisons?

Democrats insist upon an “evolving” Constitution, not one that can be amended when it seems necessary.  Do remember the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) was ratified January 16, 1919, and repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment, on December 5, 1933.  This is pertinent only as a reminder that this is how the Constitution “evolves,” rather than in courtrooms or the halls of Congress. It does not “evolve” according to what is currently popular in European courts.

It was a good thing that the Constitution was read in the House today, and that both Democrats and Republicans participated.  It was of course, a stunt of sorts, but perhaps a very necessary one.  Will it send citizens scurrying to get their own copy of the Constitution? The Cato Institute has a dandy little pocket edition that contains both the Declaration and the Constitution.  The Huck Finn controversy will end up where all the previous controversies have, and seems even sillier in the era of popularity of rap music.  It’s hardly like kids do not hear the “N” word in full.

The world is not improved by attempting to alter history to make the unpleasant parts more palatable.  History is to be studied to see what we can learn.  Human nature is fixed, but we can only learn from our mistakes and successes and the mistakes and successes of those who have gone before.  Ignoring history is a recipe for disaster.

America Gives Pelosi the Boot! by American Elephant
January 5, 2011, 11:42 am
Filed under: Election 2010, News, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

Oh frabjous day! Callooh Callay!

The most unpopular Speaker, from the most unpopular congress EVER is Speaker no more!

But while Americans kicked her out of the Speaker’s office, Democrats are poised to re-elect her today as their new minority leader. In other words, the American people threw Democrats out of power in the biggest electoral ass-kicking in 75 years , and Democrats response is to flip the American people the bird. They have nothing but contempt for the American people. And they have absolutely no intention of changing anything about their agenda, they will only fight harder and dirtier. After so-called “moderate” Democrats bore the brunt of their losses in November, the Democrat party is now far more radical and more extremist than ever. The only thing they have any intention of changing is the “tone” of their propaganda and lies.

Meet the new face of Congressional Dems — same as the very old, very unpopular face.

Repudiated, but Utterly Predictable. by The Elephant's Child

Liberals are so predictable!  Back after January 20th 2009, Barack Obama couldn’t stop saying at every occasion , “I won.”  He was unprepared to tolerate any dissent or disagreement.  “I won,” he said.

The Democrats assembled in back rooms, to which Republicans were not admitted.  They wrote bills to which Republicans were not allowed to contribute.  They were uninterested in Republican ideas, nor were they interested in statistics and experience about the ideas they were enacting.  They produced 2000 page bills laden with pork and bad ideas and then didn’t allow Republicans enough time to even read the bills, and forced them through on party line votes by bribing and twisting arms.  They spent more money to no purpose than any Congress ever has.  They raised the national debt and the deficit to unheard of levels, and utterly squandered it.

In November, the Democrat Party suffered in 2010 the greatest defeat following a new president’s election since 1922.  A Repudiation, a shellacking.

This was supposed to be the era of permanent Democrat dominance.  Having been soundly repudiated, they gathered their defeated, fired members back to Washington DC to try to ram all their wishes through in a last-minute Lame Duck session.  A session the Constitution never intended to take place. Nor did it intend for legislators who have been voted out of office to continue making laws.

Now, as predictable as the sun dropping below the horizon at night, Democrats are whining about bipartisanship!  Why aren’t the Republicans cooperating!  Why aren’t they helping the President to get what he wants?  How dare Republicans oppose the sainted Obama!

The President has left for Hawaii, celebrating all his accomplishments.  He seems to believe that getting things passed that the American people reject is an accomplishment.    His self-regard and arrogance know no bounds.

The Triumphant Trip to Asia Didn’t Work Out So Well. by The Elephant's Child

The article in the Wall Street Journal begins:

“Has there ever been a major economic summit where a  U.S. President and his Treasury Secretary were a thoroughly rebuffed as they were at this week’s G-20 meeting in Seoul?  We can’t think of one.  President Obama failed to achieve  any of his main goals while getting pounded by other world leaders for failing U.S. policies and lagging growth.

The root of this embarrassment is political and intellectual: Rather than leading the world from a position of strength, Mr. Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner came to Seoul blaming the rest of the world for U.S. economic weakness. America’s problem, in their view, is the export and exchange rate policies of the Germans, Chinese or Brazilians. And the U.S. solution is to have the Fed print enough money to devalue the dollar so America can grow by stealing demand from the rest of the world.

A subsequent piece is titled “Obama Tries to Repair Damage” in the World News section of the paper, and describes  his visit to Japan for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.  That didn’t go well either.  In a news conference that closed the summit, Mr. Obama said:

“Part of the reason the United States is attracting dissent is we’re initiating the ideas.  The easiest thing for us to do is take a passive role and let things drift. But we thought it was important for us to put forth more structure” for a global economy emerging from financial crisis.

American Spectator suggests that since the President took a “shellacking” the other day, he might be looking for someone weaker to bully.  So during his visit to Indonesia he attacked the people of Israel for its decision to advance the approval of some 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem during a sensitive time in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Netanyahu fired back: “Jerusalem is not a settlement.  It is the capital of Israel.”

When the Palestinians stop firing rockets into Israel and stop training their children to be jihadists, there might be room for an agreement, but it is not going to come about because of Mr. Obama’s bullying.

The source of all this angst is, of course, the 2010 election which represented “the greatest defeat for a newly elected president in a midterm since the Republican Party under Warren Gamaliel Harding in 1922.” pointed out James Ceaser in an essay at Real Clear Politics.  James Ceaser is a professor of politics at the University of Virginia and a senior visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Jonathan Last suggests that President Obama’s problems are rooted in his vanity, in an article at the Weekly Standard, titled  “American Narcissus.” His vanity, Last says, is overwhelming.  It defines him, his politics, and his presidency.”

The point of all this is that Mr. Obama pointedly refuses to acknowledge the unmistakable message of the midterm election.  The problem, Mr. Obama claims is just that he isn’t creating jobs fast enough, and Americans are frustrated.

As James Ceaser says: The Democrats’ open campaign is to persuade the public that the election did not mean what Republicans thought, and “there is an allied effort underway, far more subtle, to undermine and weaken the Republican position.  It comes from a group of self-proclaimed wise men who present themselves as being above the fray.  These voices, acting from a putative concern for the nation and even for the Republican Party, urge Republicans to avoid the mistake of Obama and the Democrats after 2008 of displaying hubris and overinterpreting their mandate. With this criticism of the Democrats offered as a testimony of their even handedness and sincerity, they piously go on to tell Republicans that now is the time to engage in bipartisanship and follow a course of compromise.”

All very connected stories, and very interesting.

After the Democrats’ Wipeout — Grief Counseling. by The Elephant's Child

In this post-midterm election period, everyone seems to be in a sort of digestive period. Republicans are trying to analyze what they can do, and what they can’t , to welcome their new members, and particularly to reassure and caution their supporters.

The president has the initiative, and the veto. And the president doesn’t seem to grasp the meaning of the election. There is little, if any, self-analysis. What analysis there is concerns his “gift,” his ability to sway opinion, to transform attitudes and endear himself to others with his words. He is quite sure that he just didn’t explain the correctness of his policies. He really wants the economy to recover more quickly and business to start hiring, but it all just takes time, and he didn’t explain that well enough. He didn’t explain fully enough just how his policies were going to help the economy recover.

Democrats are taking it hard. A staffer for a congressional Democrat who came up short on Tuesday said that “a team of about five people stooped b their offices to talk about payroll, benefits, writing a resumé, and so forth, with staffers who are now job hunting.  But one of the staffers was described as a ‘counselor’ to help with the emotional aspect of the loss — and a section in the packet each staffer was given dealt with the stages of grief (for instance, Stage One being anger, and so on).

Funny, the pundits are talking about the angry, irrational, hateful conservatives.


Morning in America! by American Elephant
November 4, 2010, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Conservatism, Election 2010, Freedom, Politics | Tags: , ,

Nice vid. Slick, savvy, celebratory.

(She’s running.)

Goodbye California. by The Elephant's Child

California.  They used to talk about separating it at the San Andreas Fault and letting the coastal section float away.

Someone I knew spoke of the time many years ago when he was driving through the redwoods in Northern California, being held up on a narrow road by a vastly overloaded car ahead.  It looked as if they had loaded every last one of their possessions stuffed in the car, and what wouldn’t fit inside was tied on top. When they got close, there was a crudely hand-lettered sign in the back window of the car: “Goodbye, California, and all your God Damned Geraniums.”

Michelle Malkin noted that: Governor-elect Jerry Brown extolled renewable energy as the route to salvation, and said he is “full of energy, full of creativity, and ready to serve you, the people of California.”  He also said that he’ll make a better executive this time around because he’s married now.

He added “I still carry this missionary zeal to transform the world.”

Maggie’s Farm said is it “Any Wonder why California is Going Broke?  And offered the proof of decline with a list of California state agencies.  If you were unsure of what is meant by “Big Government” don’t miss this.

Victor Davis Hanson, a fifth-generation Californian, offers his take on the election in California.

In California, there is some irony: The philosophy that led the state to the highest tax rates in the country, along with the near-worst schools, largest deficits, and most crumbling infrastructure, was reaffirmed. Now California’s state government will have to deal with the reality that if the highest-tax state in the union raises taxes still higher, it will lose even more high earners than the current 3,000 who leave each week.

I lived in California, Northern and Southern, San Francisco and East Bay, Los Angeles and Orange County. Never been back.  Hated the place.

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