American Elephants


Here He Goes Again — Delaying 2015 Enrollment Till After the Election. by The Elephant's Child

With all the revelations about ObamaCare, the terrifying escalation of costs for an individual health care policy and the accompanying drastically larger deductibles, Democrats are plainly worried about the 2014 midterms. So the Obama administration is back to its old tried and true tricks.

Health and Human Services plans to delay the start of the second year of Obamacare enrollment by one month to allow insurers more time to set rates after assessing their plan experiences during 2014, a department official said Thursday night.

The decision means that sign-ups for the 2015 plan year would begin on Nov. 15, 2014 and end on Jan. 15, 2015 instead of the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 window previously announced. The date change, first reported by Bloomberg, also lengthens the enrollment period by a week. Doing so would give companies more opportunity to account for individuals, particularly young adults, who come in late during the plan’s first year, which has gotten off to a rocky start. The goal is premiums that more accurately reflect costs for those insured.

The new calendar would move the start of the 2015 open enrollment season to shortly after the November midterm elections.

This is nonsense. Insurers calculate the changes from the previous year every year in setting new rates. They haven’t forgotten how to do it just because of Kathleen Sebelius. So far the federal government has been unable to convince healthy young consumers to buy comprehensive health insurance they don’t need, to pay for everyone else. This will force premium increases on everyone else to pay for the lack of the young.  Letting people know how much the ObamaCare policies they are being forced to buy are going to cost them just before an election is, um, unfortunate timing. Which of the Chicago bunch was it who said “elections are too important to be left to chance?”

Employer-provided group health insurance  is where costs will either skyrocket, or consumers will be kicked out of their group coverage altogether. There’s going to be a lot of outrage when it hits home for company employees.

I used to consider government departments as often inept as all bureaucracies are, but not as agencies involved in attempting to change election outcomes by manipulating data and calendars and changing regulations. Americans traditionally and rightly don’t place a lot of trust in their government. They really do work for us — and you have to keep an eye on your employees.

This president, however, has gone to extraordinary lengths to politicize government departments to achieve his political aims. What the long-term damage to the country will be, we will learn in coming years. That there will be long-term damage is assured.



The Obama Administration Faked the Census Numbers? Really? by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration has faked the census numbers that are used to compile unemployment statistics, in the period before the 2012 election.

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

Granted, these numbers are careful estimates, but the figures are used by economists, financial institutions, hedge funds, state/private pension funds, and other governments base policy, predictions, expectations and invest real dollars based on those numbers. It is, as Joe Biden would say, a big #*!# deal! A knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond one employee, and escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012, and continues today.

Headline: 23 Million Unemployed is Not a Recovering Economy!, 10/7/2012

The labor participation rate is down to 1981 levels. Of the 114,000 new jobs last month, only 104,000 were in the private economy. The number that had a lot of people suspicious was the giant 873,000 leap in employment as measured by “the household survey.” That’s the biggest one-month increase in nearly 30 years, which does deserve an explanation. …

A lot of knowledgeable people were wondering if the Obama administration was, um, cooking the books. Robert Gibbs, former press secretary, appeared on the Sunday shows to say he was ‘shocked, shocked, that anyone would think that the administration manipulated the numbers. And yes, it is shocking that anyone would think that, but that is the kind of suspicion that this president’s lawlessness and executive orders and presidential proclamations have led us to.

Other things going on in October 2012: “The White House has moved to prevent defense and other government contractors from issuing mass layoff notices in anticipation of sequestration, notices which they must, according to law, send to workers deemed reasonably  be likely to lose their jobs sixty days before they will be let go. The White House wants defense contractors to keep the layoffs secret and the contracting agencies would cover  any potential litigation costs or employee compensation costs that could follow. The spending cuts would take effect January 2, 2013—$109 billion.”

And there was this one: Obama Economy Fashion Statement 10/7/2012, which I rather liked. There was also Benghazi, Obama performed horribly in a debate, and the Democrats interviewed the man who picked up the garbage from the Romney’s La Jolla house, and the CBO reported another $1 trillion+ deficit for 2012. Military Times reported a concerted effort to keep military votes from being counted or even received. “Mr Obama claims we are adding jobs every month, but for every person added to the labor force, ten drop out. That is not progress.

It would seem that promises of “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” are not an isolated aberration, but a longstanding pattern of lies. What is important for Liberals is winning, and you do what is necessary to make that happen. For the man who was elected to the Senate on the basis of miraculously having “sealed” divorce records opened for public perusal, it’s just what we should have expected.

October 12, 2012: Jack Welch, famed former CEO of General Electric provoked outrage when he suggested that the White House had manipulated September job numbers for political gains.  Chris Matthews was simply beside himself.  But Jack Welch was right!



Bwa ha ha hahahaha by The Elephant's Child

phonyscandals

(Click to Enlarge)

“…with an endless parade of distractions, political posturing
and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye
off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop.
This needs to stop.”



“Political Posturing, Phony Scandals” and Talking Points. by The Elephant's Child

But over the past couple of years in particular, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.  An endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals shift focus from what needs to be done. 
— President Barack Obama, Wednesday July 26, 2013

Oddly enough, the scandals (plural) only became “phony” just days after a retiring  IRS lawyer implicated the IRS chief counsel’s office, headed by an Obama appointee, as well as the head of the IRS’ exempt organizations office.

“In Thursday’s hearing before the House Oversight Committee, 72-year-old retiring IRS lawyer Carter Hull implicated the IRS chief counsel’s office headed by William J. Wilkins, who attended at least nine White House meetings, and Lois Lerner, head of the exempt-organizations office, in the IRS scandal.”

In so doing, he made clear the targeting of Tea Party groups started in Washington and was directed from Washington.reported Investors.

“Former White House senior adviser David Axlerod on Friday called the IRS’ inappropriate targeting of mainly conservative political advocacy groups applying for nonprofit status “stupid and disturbing” but argued that there are far more pressing issues for the country to deal with.

I think the behavior was something that needs to be corrected, but I don’t think that it was the political scandal that was [there], Mr. Axlerod said on MSNBC”s “Morning Joe.

Noting that President Obama has already replaced the top leadership at the tax agency, Mr. Axlerod added, “I think all these hearings searching for the smoking fun of a political scandal where the White House or someone in [a} high place ordered this — I think that is a phony deal. I don’t think that’s the real issue reported,” the Washington Times.

National Review tells the story of “a tea party group targeted by Democrats gets attention from the IRS —and the FBI, OSHA, and the ATF.” Catherine Engelbrecht’s story of her family’s three-year ordeal is both credible and chilling.  You need to read the whole thing. And she is not alone, there are many other cases. Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho businessman and Romney campaign donor, was threatened, slandered, audited, and audited again. No fine, no penalty, but his legal bills ran about $80,000. The stories abound. Dozens and dozens of conservative groups were targeted by IRS audits, endless questions, requests for more information, targeting by other agencies, anything that could delay the 501(c)(4) status that would enable deductible donations. There certainly seemed to be an official effort to neutralize individual donors and groups who were supporting Mitt Romney, in an attempt to influence the outcome of the election.

The National Law Journal asked “Why Should the Internal Revenue Service Be Beyond Reproach?”

The Internal Revenue Service in recent weeks has acknowledged that it targeted applicants for tax-exempt organization status based on their political viewpoint, in violation of basic First Amendment principles. That was, obviously and admittedly, a big mistake….Imagine that some Tea Party groups subjected to special monitoring by the IRS were considering suing the agency for violations of their speech, association and equal protection rights. If the Internal Revenue Code imposed a large fine on anyone who unsuccessfully sued the IRS, we would all recognize that as an impermissible penalty on the right to petition. Yet that’s exactly how the refund penalty provision works. Imposing a penalty will deter people from seeking refunds in close cases, out of fear that if they lose, they could end up owing a hefty fine. By deterring refund claims, the IRS insulates its own decision-making from legal challenges and impairs citizens’ rights to seek relief from their own elected government.

The Supreme Court has guarded this right assiduously. The right covers petitioning the legislature, the executive branch or the courts. It prohibits any sanction — whether a fine, tort liability or even a retaliatory investigation — on the right to petition.

The president, prior to deciding it was a phony scandal, said he wasn’t going to stand for any misbehavior at the IRS and fired Acting Commissioner Steven Miller, but it turned out that Miller was due to retire in a couple of weeks anyway.

The new acting commissioner of the IRS is Daniel Werfel, who has risen through the ranks as a civil servant, primarily at the OMB and as a lawyer in the Justice Department.  He has already announced that “inappropriate screening was used more broadly than disclosed.” There were some inappropriate BOLO lists (Be On The Lookout), but he just hasn’t been able to find any evidence of intentional wrongdoing.  Nothing to see here, just move along. Can you spell c-o-v-e-r-u-p?

Jeffrey Zients, former acting OMB head who met with IRS officials at the White House during the targeting scandal, has been out of the country since April, and has not yet returned.

When the IRS targeting scandal broke in May, both the Obama administration and the mainstream media took it quite seriously. Even MSNBC’s Chis Hayes called the selective screening of conservative groups a “genuine abuse of power” at the time.

The evening and morning shows did 96 stories in the first two weeks according to the Media Research Council. The coverage steadily disappeared, and between June 28 and July 24, the Center recorded “zero stories” on the matter. When a major development broke last week — testimony by a retired IRS worker that an Obama appointee was involved in the screening process, only CBS evening news reported it.

In early June, the Democratic National Committee sent a memo to reporters declaring that the word to describe the GOP’s reaction to the Obama administration’s  scandals was “overreach,”  Salon published an article on the IRS issue asserting that in the end, “the entire scandal narrative was a fiction.”

The White House invited selected reporters to attend an off-the-record briefing with White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, in mid June. The White House had been criticized in the previous week after details of the NSA’s surveillance was leaked. About 24 reporters were already in the meeting when the President arrived to discuss his thoughts on recent events — although they were not able to report on what was said. Some reporters said they would not have attended had they known the President would be attending. Getting answers on the record, New York Times reporter Peter Baker said, after all, is our job.

Obama did not specify just which scandals were “phony” and “political posturing” but the administration has been attacked over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs leaked to the public; the IRS targeting of conservative groups, and the extent to which that influenced the election; the Department of Justice’s seizing of media phone records; last year’s attack on the U.S.mission in Benghazi, Libya and the death of our ambassador and three others, and the attempted coverup; and the government’s Fast and Furious scandal which resulted in the death of Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens. These are all, we are told, “phony.

The Republican’s “War on Women,” on the other hand, is real?



Obama’s Relentless Commitment to Pivoting to Jobs by The Elephant's Child



Passions Aroused for Political Purposes by The Elephant's Child

Trayvon-Martin-protesters-march-in-Sanford-4I182P5A-x-large

The nation is focused on the Zimmerman trial, with people passionately rooting for one side or the other. This is a court of law, and the outcome will be decided by Florida law, the evidence presented, and the decision of the jurors — not by emotions aroused in the community. Theoretically, we left that behind with the witch trials and frontier justice.  How did it get to be such an emotional matter?

The Department of Justice played a major behind-the-scenes role in organizing protests against George Zimmerman. The Department deployed their unit called the Community Relations Service to Sanford, FL, to organize and manage rallies against George Zimmerman. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request on April 24, 2012:  Among their findings as reported by Bryan Preston:

  • March 25 – 27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being “deployed to Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
  • March 25 – 28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 “in Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
  • March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”
  • March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.”
  • April 3 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”
  • April 11-12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old African-American male.” – expenses for employees to travel, eat, sleep?

The Community Relations Service’s stated mission is conducting “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution, ” but engaged instead on the side of anti-Zimmerman protesters. American taxpayers might object to taxpayer funds directed to paying government employees to organize racially charged demonstrations. Organizing protests and street theater to obtain desired ends is what community organizers do.

Lots of protests in March and April, and across many parts of the country , Maryland, Michigan, Chicago, Alabama white people were assaulted, at least 14 known attacks, by blacks claiming anger over the death of Trayvon Martin. Race hustlers have mad the most of it, and there have been calls for riots if Zimmerman is acquitted. This was all in the Spring of 2012.  Is it possible that protests were encouraged to boost discord before the election? The death toll for African-American children and teenagers in Chicago keeps mounting, but I haven’t read of any protests or demonstrations in Chicago.

Daniel Greenfield, writing as Sultan Knish, has an interesting analysis of the case, but very class-based. I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea of an America divided up by “class” — we have always been an opportunity society with people starting off poor as they complete their schooling and begin to make their way in the world and moving through the classes.  I’ll leave the divisions to the IRS. We have kids born in the projects who rise to sit on the Supreme Court or become movie stars, famous ball-players, musicians, generals, corporate CEOs and famous neurosurgeons.

It was said by investigators, at the time of the arrest, that there was not enough evidence to charge George Zimmerman with Second Degree Murder, but the Justice Department insisted on the more serious charge.

You will notice in the photograph at the top that not only are all the signs printed, but everyone has a printed Trayvon tee shirt. Why was the trial all about race? And who benefited from the protests and demonstrations?



The EEOC Applies For Position on the Agencies to Be Abolished List. by The Elephant's Child

Soft tyranny. What do you call it when your world is being transformed by political correctness, diversity, sustainability— all those meaningless words that provide political cover for accusations of racism, sexism, exclusion, discrimination, judgmentalism, and of course that amorphous fairness.

We have kindergarteners suspended from school for pointing “finger guns” and saying ‘pow!’ Little children questioned by the police for offenses such as bringing a one inch GI Joe gun to school, or biting a pop tart into the shape of a gun (or the state of Idaho). A high-school student is threatened with a year in jail for wearing an NRA tee shirt. This is not “zero tolerance of guns” to protect our children. It’s a sickness. Anyone who is unable to tell the difference between a “finger gun” and a Glock needs some serious psychiatric  help.

What roused my ire in particular is lawsuits filed by the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Dollar General and a BMW facility in South Carolina for the alleged unfair use of criminal background checks for job applicants.

The EEOC last year issued new guidelines that cautioned businesses against rejecting minority applicants who have committed a crime and recommended that businesses eliminate any policies that “exclude people from employment based on a criminal record.” Such screening, you see, might discriminate against African Americans. How about such screening discriminating against people who might commit a crime? So don’t do any background checks, just cross your fingers and hope for the best.

However, the update was issued out of concern that employers might disproportionately exclude minorities from getting hired because more African Americans and Hispanics are getting arrested and going to prison, according to the guideline report.

While the percentage of working-age Americans with a criminal record has increased significantly over the past 20 years, African Americans and Hispanics are arrested two to three times as much compared with the rest of the U.S. population, according to a commission report at the time of the vote.

I’m not sure that you can legislate fairness. That won’t keep them from trying.




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