American Elephants


“The lady doth protest too much, methinks” by The Elephant's Child

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“I  take classified information seriously. People are selectively leaking and making comments that have no basis in anything I’m aware of.”

“There is nothing here. It’s a little bit like what the Republicans and others have tried to do with respect to Benghazi.”

“Rules should change to keep people from doing what I did with my emails.”

I didn’t generate any ‘top secret’ e-mails.”

“None of the e-mails were labeled “classified”

“Nothing was marked ‘classified'”

“No classified material was ever sent over my private server”.

“She had never stored classified documents or transmitted them via her private server.”

“Her campaign smeared Inspector General McCullough as a ‘partisan'”.
(he was an Obama appointee.)

“I did not send or receive anything that was classified at the time.”

“I have never received anything marked ‘classified.'”

“A silly inter-agency food-fight about over-classification.”

“She did not ‘originate’ the offending documents.”

“She wants all of her top secret documets released for the public to judge.”

“When you receive information, of course there has to be some markings, some indication, that someone down the line had thought that this was classified, and that was not the case.”

“Well, It was allowed then!”

“She compared her situation to someone driving the speed limit, but then being ticketed retroactively after the speed limit was lowered for something that wasn’t speeding at the time.”

ADDENDUM: 2/05/2016, New Hampshire
We’ve got this absurd situation of retroactive classification”
Added that she was “100% sure the FBI would exonerate her.”



He Has a Phone and a Pen, And Congress Should Just Not Interfere! by The Elephant's Child

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Dennis McD0nough, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, confirmed the intent of the Administration to pursue “audacious” executive actions. He stated that the Obama administration’s desire was that its actions “not be subject to undoing through [Congress] or otherwise.” Many presidents have used “executive orders” to move an issue forward when Congress was stalling, but McDonough’s comment was something quite different. The end goal here is policy decisions that cannot be undone by Congress “or otherwise” which would seem to be the courts. Obama wants what he wants and he doesn’t want any  ignorant interference.

This is the man who regularly claims to have been a ‘Professor of Constitutional Law,’ when he apparently was only a lecturer in civil rights law at the University of Chicago, so his casual treatment of the law is not surprising.

The Founders created a governing system with three branches that was meant to act slowly, with deliberation. The Federalist explained the idea of what James Madison called “checks and balances” in The Federalist No. 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

The Progressives in our country have somehow come to believe that whatever it is, is better done by government. Philanthropy should not be granted by rich men, but done by government. What to eat? The government will tell you what you should eat. Health care? The government will decide what medical care you may have and from what physicians or hospitals, and what they will pay for. You taxes will support useless wind turbines and solar arrays, and put the nation’s corn crop in your gas tank. You cannot buy raw milk from a dairy, and you must buy organic food. You are required to use less water when you take a shower, and the government will tell you what kind of light bulbs to use in your house. I could go on and on, but you will find the exercise more informative if you do it yourself.

Over the centuries since the founding, the shallow inclinations of politicians have been limited by respect for the restraint on their authority as a part of the guarantee of American freedom, so essential to who we are and what we believe. Many have commented on the anger of the American people in this campaign season. That is the root of the fury—an administration that ignores the rules and customs and traditions of our history—because this President, like a spoiled child, wants his own way.

He does not like Congress, because they disagree. He does not want to deal with them, and he ‘s not going to argue or try to convince them. He has a pen and a phone, and just try to stop him. And believe it or not, Hillary wants to appoint him to the Supreme Court, when his term is finally over.

Donald Trump said he would use a lot of executive actions as well, but he’d do good ones. And who decides that?



Obama’s Embarrassing Reasons for Blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline by The Elephant's Child

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We wrote a couple of weeks ago about Trans Canada’s two lawsuits against the Obama Administration over the administration’s blocking of the Keystone XL Pipeline. One is a legal challenge that President Obama exceeded his authority when he blocked the pipeline’s construction. The other is an international petition under NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) seeking to recover the $15 billion in costs and damages incurred when Obama blocked the cross border pipeline.

Someone dredged up the President’s statement back in November, from the Roosevelt Room, when he announced that he was blocking the pipeline, and it’s really quite delicious, if you’re inclined to root for the Canadians. Several whoppers on jobs, the economy, our energy security, but the main reason for rejecting the pipeline was: it might screw up his pitch in Paris for a unenforceable climate agreement that many nations would reject anyway, because it might set a poor example.

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.  And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example.  Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

Do read the whole thing. Democrats have a habit of just accepting Progressive talking points and never, never looking into the facts behind the conventional wisdom. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is not the source of what global warming there has been, and it presents not the slightest concern about making the Earth uninhabitable in our lifetimes. I suspect that Canada is going to win this one.



Coming to America: What Was The Most Pleasant Surprise? by The Elephant's Child


statue-of-libertyFrom the American Enterprise Institute, because this is special:

“A little over a week ago, a Reddit user started a thread asking ‘Immigrants to America: What was the most pleasant surprise?'”

A few days ago, Jim Pethokoukis wrote here on AEIdeas about Gallup data showing Americans seem both miserable, and yet increasingly satisfied with their standard of living. The website Knowable.com highlighted 25 of the many replies to the Reddit thread, but in the spirit of appreciating the USA and putting our possible misery in proper context, we’ve picked some of our own highlights:

  •  Free public restrooms and how every establishment has air conditioning.
  • Clean streets, good luck finding a trash can in Pakistan.
  • Fireflies… I honestly thought they were mythical, like fairies, until I saw one for the first time in Virginia.
  • Showers and running hot water. I was born in the Philippines. Not having to fill buckets with water and boiling some over a stove top was such a big surprise for me.
  • Buildings and bridges are so .. .amazing, the infrastructure is good, it makes you thing “wow, mankind DID THIS!”
  • Small talks. I really didn’t expect people to just strike up a conversation with someone they’ve never met before.
  • People telling me I must be American based solely on my English skills and disregarding my ethnicity feels weird. I like it.
  • My dad was born in Trinidad. He says the first thing he ate when he came to the US was pizza. He said that it was magical, and that nothing has ever been as good as that first piece of pizza.
  • The fireworks. I had moved on the 4th of July and I was quite young. But I still remember the fireworks.
  • What surprised me was the social circles that existed in schools and in life. Back in Italy, schools didn’t have the nerds, the jocks, the skater kids, emos, or what else have you. People were all basically the same, with minor differences in interests. Most everyone played soccer, was a casual gamer, and hung out in the town square at night. That’s it. It may sound like an exaggeration, but 95% of my friends there were exactly like this. So when I came to school here, I was amazed by how the jocks would hang out at gyms and play 4 different sports after school, while the skaters headed off to find a park. It was so different. And I loved it. Because while I could fit in back in Italy, I was always much more introverted and interested in nerd stuff, and in the US I finally found people who were really like me. It was really unexpected, and you only notice it after spending a lot of time in America.
  • Moving to the Deep South, I was expecting to be met with the stereotypical racist KKK type of folks. Luckily, everyone at my school was super friendly and helpful.
  • Growing up, I was taught the Vietnamese version of the Vietnam War in school. In my mind, I thought in America people would not talk about it since it’s a shameful thing and the government would suppress all discussions of it like in Vietnam. When I came here, I saw that people can openly speak about these things even when there are many disagreements.
  • Arrived at 15 from Mexico legally. I lived in poverty  but never went hungry, thanks to the social safety nets. My parents worked hard and had a business going within a couple of years. I graduated college and became an engineer. Fast forward 24 years and I’m making a 6 figure salary and living a very good life. The American Dream is alive and well.
  • I remember that when I was getting my driver’s license in Trinidad, everyone told me to go with a few hundred dollars in my pocket. It’s very common you’ll be asked to pay a bribe.
  • The fact that no one was threatening to kill my family based off of our religious beliefs.
  • I’m the son of Korean immigrants. My dad said that Americans are probably the hardest workers in the world. He’s worked in various international companies, and he admits that Americans are the easiest to get along with because of their versatility and open-mindedness. He flat out said he prefers Americans leading projects over anyone else.
  • Space. Having separate houses with a huge backyard is a luxury that’s only for the rich in the Netherlands.
  • It was my 2nd week in America and I was nervous when I was checking out 4 books at the local public library. I love libraries and where I come from you can normally checkout 3 books. I thought this being America I could try my luck and add another book. The nice checkout girl proceeded my order, out of curiosity I asked her how many books could I checkout in one go. Her answer: 75. This to me symbolized what America stood for.
  • People with power are careful when dealing with ordinary people. “Public servants” in most third world countries are the masters and the ordinary public are the “Servants.” This is not the case in the US.
  • The most important thing I liked about US is the awareness of people to fight for their rights, respecting others views and respect for humanity. … This might be one of the reason that it is very common for people to sue each other. While [in] other countries, people will silently compromise and accept their situation as a fate…. it seems, the US expects everyone to be aware of what he/she deserves. This is probably the best form of freedom.

These are just some of the many responses that AEI featured. which they edited for grammar, and bolded the essential words.  A really nice remedy for world news events.



Obama’s Last State of the Union Speech Begins in About Half an Hour. by The Elephant's Child

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Gosh, such excitement. I’m devastated to miss the occasion. I really have to paint my nails.



Leftist Ideas of “Social Justice” Will Never End Illegal Immigration by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Heather MacDonald, explaining mass illegal immigration and its effect on American society. Sweden was recently the most welcoming nation for Syrian refugees, after becoming the rape capitol of the world, Sweden has moved to limit refugee migration severely. Everybody wants to be ‘nice,’ they sympathize with the justifiable fear of refugees, but they were unprepared for the clash of cultures between 21st century European social democracy and Fifth Century totalitarianism.

Heather begins with the conundrum of Kate Steinle and her murder in a Sanctuary City by a five times deported illegal alien felon. Nice and Compassion, and Empathy have become guideposts for the Left, but they don’t fit well into the real world. What is to be done? When and where do you say Enough? It’s not an easy question and the answers are not easy either. Heather MacDonald is a certified expert in crime and policing, law and punishment, and borders and immigration. Pull up a chair and give a listen.



The President is Concerned About Mass Shootings, Regulates the Innocent, Releases the Guilty. by The Elephant's Child

You can understand just why President Obama is so angry with Republicans. They not only fail to appreciate all the great things he has done for the country, but insist on criticizing him for doing them. No wonder he is angry. Some even claim that he is trying to make America a socialist country.  Socialism is defined as any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

Liberals have realized that they don’t need to own the means of production and distribution of goods, they can just regulate it all, and so the president intends to advance “fundamental transformation”  by decree. The Wall Street Journal summed it up under the headline “Happy New Regulatory Year:”

Unofficially, Mr. Obama’s Administration has once again broken its own record by issuing a staggering 82,036 pages of new and proposed rules and instructions in the Federal Register in 2015. We say unofficially because Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who tracks these regulations, warns that the final number will likely come down by a few hundred pages when the official National Archives tally is released, without the blank pages that sometimes appear in daily publication.

He told us early on that he wanted to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” which is probably the only thing he has come close to accomplishing — in an accomplishment-free administration.  I shouldn’t say that. He is a champion at limiting economic freedom and the 94,446,000 working age Americans who have given up looking for work can attest to that.

Today he announced his executive orders on gun control, with a long list of mass shootings: Fort Hood, Binghamton, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, the Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston, San Bernardino. Not any one of these mass shootings would have been prevented by any of President Obama’s executive orders. But then his climate control efforts, which resulted in an unenforceable agreement to limit CO2 emissions, would have no effect on the climate of the world at all — even over the next 100 years.

The gun control efforts would accomplish not much of anything at all, but are not a particularly big intrusion on gun rights either. So why? Obama is extremely dogmatic. Once he has an idea, it is set in stone, and he does not change his mind. It is of a piece with his orders on rules of engagement for military personnel which got so many of our troops killed, both at Fort Hood and in Afghanistan.

Obama also just commuted the sentences of 95 drug dealers convicted of non-violent possession with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, and some 20 of them for illegally possessing firearms. I’m inclined to believe that selling illegal drugs is a violent crime.

California, the home of the San Bernardino killing, has the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Chicago, also a city with very restrictive gun laws has a record number of gang shootings. Australia has seen a spike in gun crime in spite of an outright ban on guns. Paris has extremely strict gun laws, and has had two dreadful examples.

In the United States, we have had a 50 percent drop over the past two decades as a direct result of good policing, and of putting more of the bad guys in prison. The “Ferguson Effect,” blaming the police in spite of grand jury investigations, has meant a drop-off in policing. Recruitment for the police academies has declined, and more cops are quitting the service. They don’t need to risk their lives every day to protect the people, and be unfairly accused of racism, or of murder when defending themselves. They are more reluctant to patrol dangerous neighborhoods, and there is an uptick of 11% in homicides in 25 of our 30 largest cities. In spite of the uptick (which is significant) today’s murder rates are still at all-time historic lows.

It is the policing revolution of the 1990s that succeeded in calming urban violence. President Obama has rejected angrily any suggestion of a “Ferguson Effect.”

“He accused FBI director Comey of ‘cherry-picking data’ and ignoring ‘the facts’ on crime in pursuit of a ‘political agenda,’ noted Heather MacDonald. The idea that the president knows more about local crime and policing than the nation’s top law-enforcement official is absurd. Yet after DEA chief Rosenberg threw his weight behind the Ferguson effect, the White House lashed out again, petulantly claiming that he had no evidence.”

Do read Heather MacDonald’s article “In Denial About Crime” linked here, and above. She is truly an expert, and current trends are worrying.

The president has had conflicting ideas about how to help the black community. On the one hand he has emphasized children’s need for fathers, which is a great good. On the other hand he has unfortunately suggested that police officers are racist. With his commutation of sentences, largely of drug dealers, he has suggested that it is somehow unfair for so many black men to be in prison. What is unfair is for so many black men to be dealing drugs. Here is the list of the most recent list of 95 prisoners whose sentences he commuted. He commuted another 45 earlier in the year. Reportedly 6,000 prisoners are to be released in his final term.

Much of this is ideological prejudice expressed in the Fox Butterfield Fallacy of misidentifying as a paradox, that which is a simple cause-and-effect relationship. New York Times reporter Fox Butterfield remarked on the drop in crime, led by a drop in murder, and asked why is the number of inmates in prisons and jails still going up? The typical New York Times reporter disapproved of sending people to prison because they think it is racially discriminatory. It is a common belief on the Left.

Mr. Obama remains angry with Republicans, angry with Congress, and determined to get his way by ignoring the Constitution, and accomplishing what he can by executive orders, and de facto rules as “notices” or “guidance” that are ignored by businesses at their peril. The Supreme Court has encouraged this abuse by affirming that federal agencies have wide latitude to issue “interpretations” of federal laws and even to change those interpretations without going through the formal exercise of rule-making. Clearly, Congress needs to restrain their habit of passing rule-making on to federal agencies.

The federal government does not understand the effect on business of their busy-rule making nor of the effect on the American economy.

This year administration plans to issue new or final rules restricting legal arbitration, mandating overtime  pay for millions of workers, punishing payday lenders, further regulating financial advisers, limiting methane emissions from oil and gas drilling and further reducing silica dust exposure in the workplace.

It will accomplish little, damage our damaged economy further, and impose more costs on every American. Some accomplishment!




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