American Elephants


Improper Conduct and Abuse of Power? by The Elephant's Child

The Washington Examiner reports that: “The House Intelligence Committee has voted to release the four page memo that allegedly details that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sought the renewal of a federal court-authorized surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.” Also named in the memo, were outgoing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (who has resigned and been put on permanent leave until the end of the year, to save his pension?), and former FBI Director James Comey.

The vote apparently involved invoking an “obscure” congressional rule to force the release of a classified memo written by Republicans that outlines what they say are federal surveillance authority abuse. The Republican majority, while voting to make the four-page GOP memo public, also voted against releasing a “counter memo” written by the Democrat minority. They voted to release the Democrat memo for viewing by House members. According to the rule, the memo can be made public as long as President Trump does not object within the next five days.

Ranking minority member Adam Schiff D-CA, said “We have crossed a deeply regrettable line in this committee.” The memo reportedly accuses the top FBI leadership of abusing the surveillance warrant process known as FISA, which involves presenting legal evidence to a FISA Court before taking any action. Congressman Schiff was referred to by Liz Shield of Instapundit as the current chairman of  of the Congressional Leak Everything Department, which I thought was funny, and presumably accurate.

So far, all we have had is a lot of rumors that executives at the FBI collaborated in attempting to influence the election, compromise the incoming Trump administration, and that a couple of FBI employees were engaging in an extramarital affair and texting each other about secret plans to work against the Trump administration. That the FBI used the “Steele Dossier” paid for by the Clinton Campaign to get FISA Court approval to investigate the Trump campaign, including wiretapping Trump tower? That and more is what is floating around, but all rumor and insinuation. If true in any part, it is extraordinarily damaging to the government. These “public servants” are supposed to be working for the benefit of the American people, not playing politics.

Corruption is always not only tempting, but always present in governments. Our Founders were well aware of that, and attempted in the U.S. Constitution to include safeguards. Why is it not surprising that a Democrat reporter for the Week is demanding that we do away with the Constitution entirely.

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And About Draining the Swamp… by The Elephant's Child

Lord Acton (1834 – 1902) said memorably: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”

“Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality”

“Everybody likes to get as much power as circumstances allow, and nobody will vote for a self-denying ordinance.”



The Left Always Goosesteps by The Elephant's Child
January 14, 2018, 6:42 am
Filed under: Freedom, History, Military, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: , ,

Nazi Germany, 1943, the “Goose Step”

Adolph Hitler reviewing the troops

China, troops in review

Cuba, Salute to Castro

Cuba, again

North Korea, Troops in Review


North Korea, Women’s troops


Vietnamese troops

American Expeditionary Force in Vladivostok, January 1918


U.S. Army, St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013

ADDENDUM: Why do the world’s worst dictators want their military to do the goose step? If you’re at home, try it. It’s painful. Would take weeks of practice to get it right. Then try it with an imaginary rifle held across your chest, (a yardstick or mop handle would do) Then try to imagine the mind of the dictator. Free countries in the West just don’t do that nonsense.



“Speaking Facts in Polite Company” Scandalized the Left by The Elephant's Child

Ahhh! The Agony of the Left. President Trump accurately described some of the troubled countries of the world, though apparently not in the words claimed, and the Left erupted in fury, attempting to attach the probably crude designation of a country to the citizens thereof and thereby make a moderate insult into a racist one. Or something like that. Anyway it was enough to occupy the media’s hours, because they don’t seem to know enough about the real world to do actual news. What do they teach in journalism schools these days anyway?

The most accurate and effective riposte came from Andrew Klavan, which is great fun as well as being completely accurate.

Nothing scandalizes a leftist like the truth. Point out that women and men are different, that black Americans commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime, that most terrorist acts are committed by Muslims, and the Left leaps to its collective feet in openmouthed shock, like Margaret Dumont after a Groucho Marx wisecrack. This is racism! This is sexism! This is some sort of phobia! I’m shocked, shocked to find facts being spoken in polite company!

No one is really shocked, of course. This is simply a form of bullying. The Left has co-opted our good manners and our good will in order to silence our opposition to their bad policies. The idea is to make it seem impolite and immoral to mention the obvious. …

Here in the states, the First Amendment has so far allowed old-fashioned American loudmouths to fight the system whenever they could find ways around our monolithic corporate media. But the Empire of Lies is quick to strike back. Google/YouTube now stands charged by multiple accusers of singling out conservative voices for censorship, “fact-checking,” and demonetization. Hidden-camera videos released by Project Veritas this week show Twitter employees conspiring to “shadow ban” conservatives on their system. On campus, intelligent conservative speakers of good will like Ben Shapiro, Charles Murray, and Cristina Hoff-Somers have faced violent protests meant to shut them up.

No person of importance on the right seeks to silence anyone on the left. The Left, on the other hand, is broadly committed to ostracizing, blacklisting, and even criminalizing right-wing speech.

The Manhattan Contrarian takes on the same general problem—the utter insanity of the Left, quite effectively. And calls out the “Yale psychiatrist” who in contraindication to the rules of her supposed profession feels free to diagnose  someone she has never met, or goofy columnists who don’t even need any qualifications whatsoever.

Scott Adams. creator of Dilbert sums it all up nicely by noting that President Trump has earned the “Highest Presidential Approval Level of all Time.” The most important Presidential Approval Poll is the Small Business Optimism Index, which has hit an all-time high.

The lesson of 2017 is that better policies make for better economic results,said Duggan. “The evidence is overwhelming that small business owners pay close attention to Washington, and that federal policies affect their decisions on whether to hire, whether to invest, whether to grow inventory, and whether to seek capital.”



The “Dreamers” Are Not What They Pretend To Be by The Elephant's Child

The “Dreamers” are much in the news. Now some 100 business leaders signed a letter in support of the DACA Dreamers insisting that Congress pass a law to protect them by January 18 or they will be causing U.S. companies a lot of disruption and expense. The letter was signed by a bevy of tech leaders like IBM CEO Ginni Rometty – who has been championing their cause, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

The letter claims that many are employed by businesses, but doesn’t go quite so far to claim that any are specifically employed by them.

Under DACA, nearly 800,000 illegal aliens were given temporary protected status and work permits to remain in the United States. A former USCIS manager of the agency’s investigative unit, Matt O’Brien suggested that the fraud rate for DACA us roughly 40 to 50 percent. Applicants lied on their applications and were rarely caught by USCIS officials. The Obama administration, Breitbart Texas reported, added 122,221 DACA recipients in just the last 3 months of the Obama administration.* Since DACA’s beginnings, more than 2,100 DACA recipients protected status was revoked for a felony or being involved in gang activity.

Over roughly 4o percent of the illegals shielded from deportation by an Obama-era temporary amnesty program have no education beyond high school, and have no plans to go to college. Another 21 percent have dropped out of high school.  73 percent of DACA recipients live in low-income households, and are more likely to compete for job with the working class. 54 percent  of native-born Hispanics access one or more of the welfare programs, and have poverty rates about twice as high as the general population. Heritage’s Daily Signal notes that according to the Congressional Budget Office, giving amnesty to the “Dreamers” would create a deficit of about $26 billion over 10 years.

There seems to be no evidence that most are in college or in the military. The terminology with which they are described—”Dreamers”, little innocent children brought here against their will, came from Democrat wordsmiths, and does not seem to match reality at all. Since they were illegals, there is no record of their age when they arrived, and we have only their claims. They were supposed to be under the age of 16 at the time they arrived, but many are clearly older than that.

I am very much pro-immigrant, but pro-legal immigrants. There are something over a million people who have gone through all the rigamarole necessary to apply for permission to immigrate to America, and they are patiently waiting their turn, which may take years. The DACA program was dreamed up by Democrats who believe that new immigrants are likely to be Democrat voters. I think that further, they are intended to be additional bodies for the next Census, because the Census does not count citizens, only bodies. And the numbers of bodies in a given state determine the Electoral College votes of a given state.

This bunch of businessmen, I suspect, have no personal knowledge of the DACA claimants, but are only impressed by the “compassionate” language that has been devised to describe them. I may be wrong on all counts, but I am very suspicious of Obama’s efforts to change the Electoral College or end it, and his efforts to change America into something more “diverse” and where everybody is equal, and stops getting rich when they have “enough money.”

The everybody is equal thing seems all too often to turn into Venezuela and Cuba.

* I realized I left off an important part of the sentence  and added “of the Obama administration.” My bad. I apologize for any false impression.



Here’s Why President Trump Was Right About Draining the Swamp. by The Elephant's Child

Following up on Kim Strassel’s impassioned call for a “root and branch overhaul of government itself— Operation Drain the Swamp:”the Wall Street Journal Reports that:

The House Intelligence Committee has set a deadline of Wednesday for the Department of Justice and FBI to turn over documents related to the Christopher Steele dossier purporting to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. If they fail to comply, Speaker Paul Ryan will need to back up Congress’s institutional prerogatives and hold the individuals responsible to contempt proceedings and possible impeachment.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray have had the subpoenas since Aug. 24, but they have responded with excuses, delays and misdirection. The Justice Department has refused to provide Congress with the most basic documents demanded under the subpoenas. These include reports detailing the FBI’s interactions with sources such as Mr. Steele, who was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was funded by associates of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Justice also refuses to make available crucial witnesses, including FBI agent Peter Strzok (a lead investigator in the Trump-Russia probe), former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr (whose wife worked for Fusion GPS) and FBI attorney James Baker (former FBI Director Jim Comey’s right-hand man). Justice is also still sitting on months of anti-Trump text messages between Mr. Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

As the Journal’s Editorial Board says: “This isn’t acceptable.” They have offered no valid reason for their resistance. Congress has the constitutional authority to oversee the executive branch whose offices it funds. Secretary Sessions offered the excuse such a request interferes with a Justice Department Inspector General probe, but that won’t work.

This is not going to be pretty. Too many offices of government have been flush with funds and empowered with new regulations to enforce. Remember all the talk about government offices arming themselves? Remember the EPA thugs going after innocent landowners for bogus environmental crimes? And because they don’t get to have that kind of fun anymore with Scott Pruitt in charge, they’re resigning in droves from the EPA. No more yellow rivers. No more blaming  the climate for spurious cases of childhood asthma. Maybe even pointing out that forest fires and hurricanes are not caused by climate. But it appears that other departments are similarly infected.

Susan Rice and Samantha Power have chimed in, saying that the executive branch really should not be talking about Iran. They should be utterly quiet and allow events to play out as they will. Certainly the present despicable occupant of the oval office should not be encouraging Iranians who are demonstrating. Someone might get hurt! We are faced with an old administration that is not going to go away.

The problems with sanctuary cities and ICE are obvious and will have to be dealt with in the courts. Secretary Ryan Zinke is cleaning up at Interior, not only cutting back on the Obama Administration’s massive land grab in Utah, but removing unnecessary regulations that are a complicated burden for energy producers. He’s also fired four senior managers for inappropriate conduct including sexual harassment. The Department of Agriculture under Secretary Sonny Perdue is looking for solutions to the Food Stamp program. There’s a lot of fraud in the program, and most people believe there should be some kind of work requirement for those who are perfectly able to work.

Secretary of State Tillerson has his work cut out for him. He has vast experience as head of a giant corporation, but the U.S. State Department is deeply involved in partisan politics. Betsy DeVos has her plate full at Education. The huge teachers union is determined not to lose power and her support for charter schools is anethma to the union. Many blacks have been convinced that charter schools are bad for blacks instead of the avenue for success that they are. Mindsets have to be changed. Alex Acosta, Secretary of Labor and the first Latino Member of the Cabinet was confirmed in April, and Bill Moyers screeched that the Trump Administration’s plans to decimate workers’ rights begins in earnest. Acosta has attacked occupational license law, like the silly insistence that hair braiders go to beauty school, as one of our worst job killers, so he has his work cut out. So far, the other members of the Cabinet are quietly solving their problems and have escaped the full fury of “the resistance.”

The New York Times has published a full list of President Trump’s cabinet, which they updated last May, and only got a couple completely wrong. General John Kelly has moved from Secretary of Homeland Security, where he was confirmed, to White House Chief of Staff. Kirstjen Nielsen replaced him as Secretary of Homeland Security and was confirmed in early December. But that’s better than the list at Wikipedia which hasn’t been updated in months.

The New York Times, full of their own importance, added that President Trump’s cabinet is more white and male than any cabinet since Ronald Reagan’s. Dear New York Times: skin color and gender have nothing whatsoever to do with how a cabinet official performs the duties asked of him or her. The obvious fact that you never learned that is telling. They have pictures of each official, which is helpful.

Following that are eight cabinet level offices that are not official members of the cabinet. CIA, UN, EPA, Small Business, O.M.B., DNI, Trade Representative, and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Stop reading at that point. What follows is mostly wrong anyway. They follow that with a list of the Cabinet, explaining how each member is very bad, no good, and set on destroying all of Obama’s marvelous accomplishment. Read only if you want to understand the Leftist worldview. You would think that the once-renowned newspaper would keep lists like this updated to demonstrate how on top of things they are, unfortunately it does demonstrate how on top of things they are.



Addressing the Administrative State: Drain the Swamp by The Elephant's Child

After a year of impressive accomplishment, in spite of “the resistance”, Kimberly Strassel at the Wall Street Journal is offering ” A Big Beautiful Trump 2018 Issue: Civil Service Reform.” Send your message of approval to the White House! The Journal has a pay barrier, but Instapundit has the essentials.

Let 2018 be the year of civil-service reform—a root-and-branch overhaul of the government itself. Call it Operation Drain the Swamp.

When Candidate Trump first referred to “the swamp,” he was talking about the bog of Beltway lobbyists and “establishment” politicians. But President Trump’s first year in office has revealed that the real swamp is the unchecked power of those who actually run Washington: the two million members of the federal bureaucracy. That civil-servant corps was turbocharged by the Obama administration’s rule-making binge, and it now has more power—and more media enablers—than ever. We live in an administrative state, run by a left-leaning, self-interested governing class that is actively hostile to any president with a deregulatory or reform agenda.

It’s Lois Lerner, the IRS official who used her powers to silence conservative nonprofits. It’s the “anonymous” officials who leak national-security secrets daily. It’s the General Services Administration officials who turned over Trump transition emails to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the absence of a warrant. It’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Leandra English, who tried to stage an agency coup. It’s the EPA’s “Scientific Integrity Official” who has taken it upon herself to investigate whether Scott Pruitt is fit to serve in the office to which he was duly appointed. It’s the thousands of staffers across the federal government who continue to pump out reports on global warming and banking regulations that undermine administration policy.

More broadly, it is a federal workforce whose pay and benefits are completely out of whack with the private sector. A 2011 American Enterprise Institute study found federal employees receive wages 14% higher than what similar workers in the private sector earn. Factor in benefits and the compensation premium leaps to 61%. Nice, huh?

Here’s a website that offers information on federal pay and benefits. It does not seem to be an official government website, but offers information for those who wish to become government employees. Do follow the link to Instapundit and read and save the invaluable Ms. Strassel’s invaluable piece.

We live in an administrative state, run by a left-leaning, self-interested governing class that is actively hostile to any president with a deregulatory or reform agenda.

You might consider reading Philip Hamburger’s recent book “Is Administrative Law Unlawful? Philip Hamburger is a leading scholar on the Constitution and a Professor of Law at Columbia University.




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