American Elephants

More About the Debates. A Changing Horse Race. by The Elephant's Child

Today has been the ruminate over the debate day. Who won, who lost, who advanced, who slipped back. That’s the part I hate, the Media’s favored horserace. I want to learn about the candidates. I have my favorites, but I favored Rick Perry for his outstanding record, and he has already dropped out, to our misfortune.

We have experienced someone who was unprepared for the office, eagerly believed that he could do anything, and has failed in every effort. He has left the nation and the world in a more dangerous place, and whoever we choose to replace him will have to face those problems and determine how to deal with them and who he/or she will choose to try to reorganize the politicized agencies in their task as working for the American people rather than a political party.

Carly Fiorina hit a home run, not only showing her command of the state of the nation and our enemies, slapped down Donald Trump for an uncalled-for insult, and actually made him blush, and made a passionate plea for ending taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood’s profit-making sale of parts and bodies of aborted fetuses.

Donald Trump said he knew how to do everything, and would be very very good at it. When he didn’t know how, he would find Douglas MacArthur who would do it for him.

CNN and Jake Tapper clearly wanted a fight. Tapper came with a collection of what each candidate had said about another candidate in the hopes of fostering at least verbal fisticuffs.  The back and forth was lively, but what the people wanted to hear was a discussion of what is wrong with our nation at this moment and what they would do to fix it.  Many of the audience don’t know any of these people very well yet, nor what their track record is, nor what their qualifications  are and how they will deal with the future.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal spoke passionately about the best tactics for defunding the country’s most prolific abortion provider. And Ben Carson has quietly made no secret of his opposition to the work of Planned Parenthood and their effects on the black community. The Left, predictably, immediately lashed out in defense of Planned Parenthood. But it was Carly’s knockout blow and one of the strongest applause lines that aroused the fury of the Left.

I dare Hillary Clinton [and] Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ This is about the character of our nation.
The attackers responded with almost-verbatim Planned Parenthood talking points:
The supposedly macabre video she’s talking about was highly, selectively edited by right-wing activists. Five state investigations of the issue closed without any findings of misdoing. Planned Parenthood, which provides critical medical services to tens of thousands of women across the country, doesn’t profit from fetal tissue donation, as the candidates imply.

“Perhaps Marcotte & Co. should actually watch the Planned Parenthood videos. In the seventh video (there are ten available now, by the way, with more to come), at the 5:57 mark, is a baby, post-abortion, lying in a dish — its leg kicking. They will also hear Holly O’Donnell, an ex-StemExpress procurement technician who worked at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda Clinic in San Jose, Calif., describing how she was directed to “cut down the middle of the face” of a baby with a still-beating heart “to get the brain.” Under existing state and federal law, that’s murder.”

Congress Can Sue Obama by The Elephant's Child


Remember all the hoots and slanders from the White House when House Republicans sued President Obama for rewriting ObamaCare without proper legislative authority? A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the House has legal standing to sue and pursue the case on its merits.

The Administration had sought to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds that this was a classic political debate between the elected branches. But Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that the House claim that Mr. Obama had spent subsidy dollars without a clear appropriation may have created an injury that deserves a hearing. “When the appropriations process is itself circumvented, Congress finds itself deprived of its constitutional role,” the judge wrote.

Obama is a fierce competitor. We have never before had a President who is so focused on getting his own way, writing the laws himself, and who has so little respect for the Constitution and the separation of powers.

This has implications well beyond ObamaCare. More than any President in decades or longer, Mr. Obama has sought to rewrite legislation that guts Congress’s Article I spending power under the Constitution. If Judge Collyer rules for the House on the merits, expect the case to go all the way to the Supreme Court in what could be a historic ruling on the separation of powers.

I suspect that more than any other thing, the American people are troubled by President Obama’s efforts to use every trick he can find to advance his personal agenda. Americans are not at all sure that America should be a nation just like any other, not exceptional, not a leader of the free world, but just another European socialist state. We thought we left that behind in 1776.

Our Constitution was written to slow things down. That’s why we have three separate but equal branches of government, each with some  powers that are exclusively theirs. The Judiciary decides what is Constitutional and what is not. The president doesn’t get to override that. The House of Representatives has spending power. Obama has just announced that Congress had better not try to cut his spending, or he will veto the budget. Inside every Leftist is a tyrant trying to get out.

The federal debt now totals more than $13 trillion, or about $107,000 for every household in the nation. The accumulated federal debt has doubled over the past seven years, and it will keep growing unless policymakers enact major reforms. It harms the economy. It would help if the president had some basic familiarity with economics.

A lot of Republicans jeered when Speaker John Boehner resisted criticism of his tactics, but he deserves some congratulations, and also David Rivkin who came up with the legal argument. The Constitution also requires that the separate branches defend their own powers.


A Thought for The Day Department by The Elephant's Child

RAMclr-072415-trust-IBD-COLOR-FINAL.jpg.cms“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch, but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”
……………………………………………………………President Barack Obama

“I think that this would have surprised a number of the Founders; the whole Constitution is a contract that tried to limit the power of government because governments, all governments, can’t be trusted. Governments have too much power to be trusted.”
………………………………………………………….Charlie Martin, P.J. Media

The Most Transparent Administration in History?? by The Elephant's Child

obama-us-iraqjpeg-05349-550x367In a famous remark a couple of years ago, President Obama boasted that “this is the most transparent administration in history.”

“A bipartisan consensus has long held that a healthy democracy requires a significant measure of government transparency.” Since 1950 the Federal Records Act has required the government to preserve documents about its decisions.

Since the 1960s the government has been subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which gives citizens the right to see those records. In 2009, the National Archives issued rules requiring federal agencies to preserve employee work on non official accounts in a government record-keeping system.

The Obama Administration has long talked “transparency” but tried to hide everything from this legal regime. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State conducted most of her correspondence on a private, homemade email system that she failed to disclose, kept away from the federal government, and when the system was exposed — Mrs. Clinton declared that she would be the arbiter of what she would allow the American people or Congress to see. Her aide Huma Abedin also had an account on that system, but Mrs. Abedin has not yet bothered to deliver her government records to State.

In August, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed a FOIA request to gain access to the private email account of White House science czar John Holdren, who may have used a private account for government work.

CEI exposed former EPA Director Lisa Jackson for using a secret alias “Richard Windsor” when emailing on the EPA system, which was apparently designed to thwart any FOIA requests for her conversations since “Lisa Jackson” didn’t appear on her emails.

Lois Lerner’s emails from the IRS have been subpoenaed for two years,  without success and with extensive lies and obfuscations. Now it turns out she had a second private email account to conduct government work under the name “Toby Miles” and the IRS still cannot account for its contents.

It is becoming apparent that the practice is rampant among Administration officials, including the Secretaries of Agriculture, Labor and HHS. All have secret government email accounts that neither Congress nor the public are aware of in defiance of federal law.

Last week a federal court subpoenaed former EPA official Phillip North after a complaint by a mining concern called the Pebble Partnership. Mr. North worked from inside the EPA with outside activists to scuttle Pebble’s proposed Alaskan mining project, and he did so on private email.

The Lerner and North cases also highlight the Administration’s sloppy, or willfully obstructionist, approach to recordkeeping. Recall the crash of Ms. Lerner’s hard drive, and the IRS’s claim for months it had no backup of her work. Treasury’s Inspector General would later find some. Mr. North’s hard drive also crashed, and Pebble claims that key North emails and documents have gone missing from EPA’s official record.

The people are justified in believing that this Administration’s evasion of disclosing information is not an accident. The public has a right to ask just what is being done in their name. President Obama believes in government by executive order — the latest example is changing the designation of what is clearly a Treaty to a mere executive order.  The Washington Post recently noted that the White House seeks to misdirect.

Obama issued only 20 executive orders in 2013 (the lowest single-year total in more than a century. But that year he issued 41 presidential memoranda, along with nine additional presidential “determinations.” And there are more avenues: regulatory action, signing statements, legal interpretations and administrative orders technically issued by department heads, but at the behest of the White House.

Then there are other ways of making the presidential preferences known, and the Washington Post lists them.  And lists some of the worst abuses cited by those who feel that the president has abused his executive authority.  It would be interesting to see just how many FOIA requests are hanging around waiting for a reply. Then there are all those computers that ‘unexpectedly’ crashed, lost everything, bad computers sent to the dump, and of course “wiped.” There’s a real reason why Hillary is in so much trouble.

Repeating Jonah Goldberg’s aphorism:

“The people are the boss, the government is the servant. The Constitution is the government’s job description. The Declaration of Independence is its mission statement. Campaigns are the job interview, elections are the hiring and firing process.”

Obama Went to Alaska to See a Glacier, Make a Speech, And Talk a Lot of Nonsense. by The Elephant's Child

www.usnews.comPresident Obama likes to make a speech or two in appropriate places to give him a little more authenticity for whatever program he is pitching. In this case, there was a Conference on Global Leadership on the Arctic, in Anchorage. As a sign of  the importance the United States placed on the Alaska forum, the president attended.  He used the conference as a platform to urge swifter action to combat climate change.

Our understanding of climate change advances each day.  Human activity is disrupting the climate, in many ways faster than we previously thought.  The science is stark.  It is sharpening.  It proves that this once-distant threat is now very much in the present.

In fact, the Arctic is the leading edge of climate change — our leading indicator of what the entire planet faces.  Arctic temperatures are rising about twice as fast as the global average.  Over the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed about twice as fast as the rest of the United States.  Last year was Alaska’s warmest year on record — just as it was for the rest of the world.  And the impacts here are very real.

Thawing permafrost destabilizes the earth on which 100,000 Alaskans live, threatening homes, damaging transportation and energy infrastructure, which could cost billions of dollars to fix.

The president is an ideologue, and he knows many things that just aren’t so. The globe is actually cooling. Arctic ice is growing and has been in greater extent this year than last, as has Antarctic ice. There has been no warming at all for the last 18 years. There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” He referred to our forest fires here in Eastern Washington, and said “even the rainforest is on fire.” Oh?

They had a big signing ceremony affirming “our commitment to take urgent action to slow the pace of warming in the Arctic.” But Russia, China and India refused to sign. A bit embarrassing.

Obama added:

“If we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century ”

Climate politics, a religion, is one thing, climate science is something quite different. It’s actually expected to get somewhat colder.

Obama also announced that he is changing the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali, the Inuit name for the mountain. He really has no authority to do so. The name of the mountain was created by an act of Congress, and can be re-named the same way. The president is feeling cocky, and intent on overruling Congress at every opportunity.


Do You Save Quotations? Here’s a Good One! by The Elephant's Child

From Steven Hayward

Liberalism’s irrepressible drive for an ever larger welfare state without limit arises from at least two premises upon which the left no longer reflects: the elevation of compassion to a political principle (albeit with other people’s money) and the erosion of meaningful constitutional limits on government on account of the idea of progress.

A Few Practical Words on Immigration by The Elephant's Child

From Hillsdale College’s Imprimus:
“Practical Thoughts on Immigration”
by Heather MacDonald

The lesson from the last 20 years of immigration policy is that lawlessness breeds more lawlessness. Once a people or a government decides to normalize one form of lawbreaking, other forms of lawlessness will follow until finally the rule of law itself is in profound jeopardy. Today, we have a constitutional crisis on our hands. President Obama has decided that because Congress has not granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens living in the U.S., he will do it himself. Let us ponder for a moment just how shameless this assertion of power is.

Article 2, Section 3, of the Constitution mandates that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision assumes that there is a law for the president to execute. But in this case, the “problem” that Obama is purporting to fix is the absence of a law granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Rather than executing a law, Obama is making one up—arrogating to himself a function that the Constitution explicitly allocates to Congress. Should this unconstitutional power grab stand, we will have moved very far in the direction of rule by dictator. Pace Obama. the absence of a congressional law granting amnesty is not evidence of political failure that must somehow be corrected by unilateral executive action; it is evidence of the lack of popular consensus regarding amnesty. There has been no amnesty statute to date because the political will for such an amnesty is lacking.

Imprimus is a free monthly publication from Hillsdale College. Hillsdale also offers free online courses. (


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