American Elephants


Obama: Black America is “Better Off Now Than When I Came Into Office” by The Elephant's Child

How about government racketeering? The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Act specifically prohibited the agency from regulating auto dealers which the agency desperately wants to do because — racism. So the agency has gone after the wholesale finance  providers instead. These bulk lenders quote dealers an interest rate that dealers, “mark up” within fixed parameters when negotiating with car buyers.

The CFPB does not allege real bias against anyone, it alleges “disparate impact.” But the government doesn’t know the race or gender of car buyers. Dealers are forbidden to collect this information. Instead the CFPB relies on the “Bayesian Improved Surname Geocoding method” to classify individuals by ethnicity based on their last name, census tract and zip code. The CFPB admits that the method overstates  the African-Americans in the group by 20%. A private study suggests it’s more like 40%. But when pursuing racism to allege, the CFPB will leave no possibility unincluded.

The Bayesian method doesn’t identify skill in bargaining any more than it accurately identifies race and gender, but they charge ahead relentlessly. Many white males got less advantageous terms than the white-male average, unless they were mistakenly identified as Black, Hispanic and/or Female. This is a disgrace.

At his year-end press conference, President Obama was asked about the state of black America at the end of 2014. (emphasis added)

Like the rest of America, black America in the aggregate is better off now than it was when I came into office. The jobs that have been created, the people who’ve gotten health insurance, the housing equity that’s been recovered, the 401 pensions that have been recovered: a lot of those folks are African-Americans. They’re better off than they were.

The gap between income and wealth of white and black America persists, and we’ve got more work to do on that front.

I’ve been consistent in saying that, you know, this is a legacy of a troubled racial past, Jim Crow and slavery. That’s not an excuse for black folks, and I think the overall majority of good black people understand it’s not an excuse.

Growing numbers of black Americans aren’t so sure. Unemployment remains high. Ferguson, and Staten Island, empowered by agitators from international A.N.S.W.E.R., Al Sharpton, Eric Holder and the President himself put on a spectacle of riots completely unrelated to the facts in either case.

Well, Obama will fix that. He has signed an executive order creating the “Task Force on 21st Century Policing” as “part of the administration’s efforts to strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.” The list of appointees for the Task Force is not encouraging, nor is the deliberate misunderstanding of facts of the riots and their cause.

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

voting

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.



Is it Our Actions That Are To Blame, Or Our Perceptions? by The Elephant's Child

The folks at Reason offer up an explanation for our political problems, in one simple, devastating graph.  Read it and weep! (click to enlarge)

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Solid Evidence of a Cover-up, And More to Come… by The Elephant's Child

Speaker John Boehner has agreed to a select committee on Benghazi with the revelations of Ben Rhodes e-mails, and he has named Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) as chairman. As Boehner said:

With four of our countrymen killed at the hands of terrorists, the American people want answers, accountability, and justice. Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come. His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel. I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration. I plan to ensure he and his committee have the strongest authority possible to root all the facts.”

Democrats reacted with a primal scream. Nobody’s interested in this. Nobody cares. A political witch hunt. A kangaroo court to discredit President Obama. Grossly unfair. Republicans just want to attack Hillary. Dude, that was two years ago. Old tired past history. Stop looking at this. You’re just playing politics with something nobody cares about.

Democrats may boycott the hearings as a tactic—risky though. They can cite their boycott as a way to discredit the effort— which is the whole ballgame for them.

At the very least, this is a vast government cover-up, something last seen in the Watergate scandal. But Watergate was only about covering up illegal acts by aides, that were not unusual by D.C. standards. Democrats had a wonderful time making it the crime of the century. But nobody died in the whole Watergate episode. In Benghazi, an ambassador was killed, and brave Seals who saved some thirty lives, fought on for seven hours, calling, begging for help—from a government that refused to respond.

Here’s Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) with the party line:



Democrats Care About “People Like Me.” by The Elephant's Child

obama photo -op

When people express their political preferences, at least according to the polls, they identify the Democratic Party as the one that “cares about people like me,” or “cares about little people,” or “ordinary people.”

Republicans are apt to react to that with jaw-dropping astonishment. Isn’t it obvious that they couldn’t care less, that all the caring speech is just a pose? Well, no it isn’t, and that is a problem for Republicans. It’s pure politics.

President Obama had an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun this weekend that really demonstrates the problem. And it may well be an essay that represents his sincere thinking. Democrats are not inclined to investigate the economics of a policy, nor consider carefully the unintended consequences. Politicians like to describe their ideas in prose that will make what they want to do as appealing as possible, so you can’t tell what Obama really believes by reading what he says.

“Honest work should be rewarded with honest wages” — whatever that means—if anything, sounds good, but just what is an “honest wage?” He continues: “That certainly means that no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.” And that is true. No one who works full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour qualifies as being “in poverty.” The poverty level for an individual in 2014 is $11,670.

It is meant to be a “starter” wage for a person with no real skills, and that’s why it’s not worth much. The low-skilled need training. The majority get a raise within six months, as they become trained workers who know what they are doing. The federal minimum wage differs from the prevailing minimum wage in some locations, and states too have “minimum wages.”   The minimum wage where I live is $9.25 an hour. Seattle is debating raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The president’s proposal would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016 in three annual steps. Republicans argue that this will kill jobs, because if government boosts the cost of labor, employers will buy less of it, and it will do little to reduce poverty. The CBO estimates that the higher minimum wage would reduce jobs by about 500,000. Wage increases would raise the incomes of families in poverty by about $300 annually.

Robert Samuelson says: “An administration serious about job creation has to sacrifice other priorities to achieve it.” The CBO has estimated that the health insurance subsidies in ObamaCare will discourage people from working resulting in a loss of an estimated 2.5 million full-time workers by 2014. There are choices. For the most part the White House has voted against job creation, a fact that it tries to hide. The proposed increase is much larger than most of the increases that have been studied, and the minimum would be indexed to inflation, rising automatically with prices. Also new.

The minimum wage has a great advantage as a political idea. If employers are forced to pay a  “living wage” then no one will live in poverty. Low-information voters and reporters will go for that. Easy.

ObamaCare has been eliminating full-time jobs right and left, and transforming them into part-time jobs. A mandated minimum wage set at a level above what unskilled labor is worth, eliminates jobs. Teenage unemployment is now at 20.7 percent, black teenage unemployment is a horrendous 38 percent. The average family income of minimum wage earners is $48,000 a year. Raising the minimum wage accelerates the trend to automation and robotics.

If you can. go back and read the president’s op-ed and see how appealing it is, and how dishonest. That’s a major problem for Conservatives.

The picture above is Obama’s photo-op comforting Donna Vanzant, whose North Point Marina sustained widespread damage in Hurricane Sandy. Obama promised her “immediate” assistance, help from FEMA, and the photo went viral in the days before the election. Donna Vanzant suffered around $500,000 in damages. After his visit, and promise of help on national television, Donna Vanzant sent an email to President Obama. Many days later, she got a response—a form letter that thanked her for supporting the troops—the only response she ever received.  The exit polls after the election showed the vote for Obama’s second term depended mostly on his compassionate response to Hurricane Sandy.



All About the Photo ID Controversy: by The Elephant's Child

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The Justice Department is hell bent on preventing any state from requiring photo identification in order to vote. They attempt to claim that it is just like the poll tax, once required by Southern Democrats in Southern states to prevent blacks from voting.

Since you can get a photo ID in any state for free from the DMV, you need a photo ID to open a bank account, to cash a check, to buy an airplane ticket, to get benefits from the government, the claim seems more than a little specious. A photo ID is required to enter the Washington DC Justice Department building. The Justice Department’s claims should be laughed out of court, so to speak. It is a blatant, partisan effort to make minorities think that Republican want to keep them from voting, and Democrats want to ensure their right to vote. Embarrassing.




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