American Elephants


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.



Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws by The Elephant's Child

The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on executive overreach. Members of Congress and constitutional law experts testified yesterday, warning that the legislative branch is in danger of ceding its power in the face of an “imperial presidency.”

The hearing, “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,” focused on the multiple areas  where President Barack Obama has bypassed Congress, ranging from healthcare and immigration to marriage and welfare rules.

Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, testified that the expansion of executive power is happening so fast that America is at a “constitutional tipping point.”

My view [is] that the president, has in fact, exceeded his authority in a way that is creating a destabilizing influence in a three branch system,” he said. “I want to emphasize, of course, this problem didn’t begin with President Obama, I was critical of his predecessor President Bush as well, but the rate at which executive power has been concentrated in our system is accelerating. And frankly, I am very alarmed by the implications of that aggregation of power.”

“What also alarms me, however, is that the two other branches appear not just simply passive, but inert in the face of this concentration of authority,” Turley said.

Jim Gerlach (R-PA) said “The ACA has been revised, altered and effectively rewritten by the president and his administration 23 times since July.”

Representative Tom Rice (R-SC) said, “When we have these constant changes at the president’s whim, think about what that does to businesses’ planning capabilities and hiring capabilities and their expansion capabilities. We shouldn’t wonder why our economy is struggling.”



Great Effort To Pass a Law. No Interest in Follow-Through by The Elephant's Child

Have you noticed that Liberals are very big on getting their “big ideas” passed into law, and once accomplished have little interest in their effect. Vast attention is paid to “messaging,” to the words chosen, everything is focus-group tested. Wordsmiths are urged on to ever more effort to find the perfect words. Differing messaging is planned for different groups. Outreach is carefully directed to specific audiences. But once they succeed, if they succeed, in getting the legislation passed and it is a done deal— they lose interest and go on to the next “big idea.”

Medicare was a big idea that they were very proud of. Seniors like it, and it works fairly well. But it is a done deal, so Liberals have no hesitation in, for example, taking $500 billion out of Medicare to prop up ObamaCare. The Veterans Administration promised health care to veterans, but when claims piled up, they just destroyed the older claims so the backlog would disappear. When slums became too dangerous Liberals built public housing, but failed to keep it up, keep it in good repair and safe, so the public housing became slums.

The promises of ObamaCare have already proved false, but people who receive their health care through their employers have yet to encounter the lies, cancellations, and the higher costs. Obama has postponed all that till after the coming election. So most people are  unaware that their ObamaCare insurance does not travel, not to the next town, and not to the next state. They are unaware that they will not be able to keep their doctors, nor that the cost will increase astronomically.

Democrat governors met with President Obama this last weekend — they need help selling ObamaCare. They have their own glitch-ridden websites, and the big message of pre-existing conditions isn’t selling. But the drive is to get people signed up, not to offer care. If all the ‘uninsured’ signed up for Medicaid, the illusionary system would collapse. There were not enough doctors who would accept Medicaid patients to keep the system functioning before ObamaCare.

Liberal promises are meant to garner votes, to get a “big idea” passed and the people dependent on the benefit. If they are dependent they will continue to vote for those who gave them the benefit lest they lose it and face the unknown. Freedom can be scary. You might have to depend on  your own efforts.



Remember This Man. by The Elephant's Child

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It is a great advantage to a president, and a major source of
safety to the country, for him to know he is not a great man.”

Do you recognize this man? This is Calvin Coolidge. He inherited the position of chief executive when scandal-plagued President Warren Harding died in office in August, 1923.  He was elected in his own right in 1924.  Amity Schlaes’ new biography, titled simply Coolidge, highlights some of the achievements the nation enjoyed during Coolidge’s time in the White House.

Under Coolidge, the top income tax rate came down by half, to 25 percent. Under Coolidge, the federal budget was always in surplus. Under Coolidge, unemployment was 5 percent or even 3 percent. Under Coolidge, Americans wired their homes for electricity and bought their first cars or household appliances on credit. Under Coolidge, the economy grew strongly, even as the federal government shrank.

Under Coolidge, the rates of patent applications and patents granted increased dramatically. Under Coolidge, there came no federal antilynching law, but lynchings themselves became less frequent and Ku Klux Klan membership dropped by millions. Under Coolidge, a man from a town without a railroad station, America moved from the road into the air.

After he won a full term, Coolidge pressed Congress for tax cuts. The top income tax rate was reduced from the wartime 70 to 25%. The economy burst into robust economic growth. Now we call it “the Roaring Twenties.” That helped Coolidge achieve budget surpluses every year — surpluses that he used to pay down the national debt.

He also said:
“Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”



This Really Covers It, Doesn’t It? by The Elephant's Child

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(click to enlarge)



Controlling the American Press by Policing the Newsrooms. by The Elephant's Child

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As the Obama administration has degraded American and world trust in our institutions, each new downgrade seems more ordinary and unexceptional and less surprising. So it is that Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index the other day. Those of us who still believe in a strong, independent and above all a free press found it disheartening. Who would be surprised that China, Syria and North Korea inhabit the bottom layer at the rankings of press freedom? One would think that the explosion of new sources, and vast new channels of information would increase freedom.

The United States of America has slipped in the fifth year of Obama’s reign by thirteen spots to 46th in the world — right between Rumania and Haiti. That fall is based largely on the Obama administration’s remarkably determined efforts to curb dissent, to plug and track down leaks, and control the press.

Obama brought with him from Chicago a kind of governance to which we are unaccustomed. The Obama administration leaks profusely with the news they want out. This is normal, all administrations work at getting out that which they want to get out. But no president wants to hear surprises from the media. No administration in memory, however, has gone to such lengths to control the press, control leaks and punish those who are uncooperative.

The Democrats are facing an upcoming election this fall in the looming shadow of the ObamaCare Disaster. The Left is deeply involved, at every level, in pretending that all is well, or will be well — tomorrow. Obama’s signature achievement cannot fail. And they will go to whatever ends they must to make sure that it does work.

The Tea Party is deeply frightening to the Left. Obama told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that the IRS scandal of attempting to intimidate and derail conservative groups as merely some “bone-head decisions” by confused local agents, without even a “smidgen” of corruption. The president portrayed himself as a victim of Fox News’ efforts to harp on the case, to drive its own anti-administration agenda. Nine months back, he denounced the same affair as an outrage, and promised a thorough investigation.

Now that the media is firmly under control, The Federal  Communications Commission (FCC) will launch this Spring a nationwide “study” of newsroom values, priorities and processes to see if they meet a list of government “critical information needs.” This will also involve print media over which the FCC has previously had no authority whatsoever under the Constitution.

The FCC will place “researchers” in U.S. newsrooms, supposedly to learn about how editorial decisions are made. They will invade radio, television and even newspaper newsrooms. It is called the “Multi-Market Study  of Critical Information Needs.” They’re always good at coming up with innocuous-sounding names. I mean what could be more innocuous than “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?” And look where that’s gotten us.

Remember when the government seized Associated Press phone records, and tailed the mother of a Fox News reporter? That flared up for a bit, briefly, but there was “nothing to see there, just move along,” and it vanished down the memory hole.

The media has noticed that the administration can be somewhat assertive in waving around the vast power and majesty of the government of the United States of America. The media may not write about it, but they notice when the automobile industry is taken over by the federal government, and when Gibson Guitars is shut down and all their instruments and supplies are removed. Did you think there was pride in a free press? Not much and no courage.

The National Association of Broadcasters said the FCC “should reconsider” “qualitative” sections of its study, it wrote.  Um, powerful statement.

Ajit Pai, a commissioner with the FCC, warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (pay-wall) that under the rationale of increasing minority representation in newsrooms, the FCC, which has the power to issue or not issue broadcasting licenses would seek “voluntary” compliance about how news stories are decided, as well as “wade into office politics” looking for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected as evidence of a shutout of minority views. Pai questioned if such a study could really be voluntary given FCC’s conflict of interest.

News agencies ought to be screaming bloody murder, but the boat must not be rocked. The Obama administration has a record of going after its opponents. Race and minority status come in very handy. That’s why our press has dropped 13 places to a disgraceful 46th on the ranking of press freedom.

The Left is still seething over the failure of the defunct Fairness Doctrine. Their goal is to win. It’s that simple. They’ve had a taste of success and they won’t give up.



It’s Not 1984, It’s the 21st Century. You Can’t Get Away With Orwellian. by The Elephant's Child

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What politicians have not learned is that their words and faces will be preserved on YouTube or another of the many, many video sources, and the videos will be dug up, and when you say something really stupid, hoping people will believe it in spite of all evidence to the contrary — there you are, preserved for all time. Bwa-haha-ha-ha-ha.

Or Neener, Neener, Neener, whichever you prefer.



1984 Revisited! by The Elephant's Child

It has reached the point where the Democrats are turning “spin” into, not just a really bad word, but a laughingstock. The effort to turn millions more lost jobs into a “positive” are almost more than can be borne.

Being jobless is no joke, and health care — expensive, lousy health care, does not make it more tolerable. Sure, many people hate their jobs, but there are far more who find achievement and self-respect in doing a good job. Being jobless, accepting some kind of welfare, food stamps is demeaning and depressing. Democrats think of it in terms of the nice thing we’re doing for poor people. The people in question would feel a lot better with economic growth and the chance, once again, to climb the ladder of opportunity, support their families and hope for a better future.



“Left 3.0:” An Essential Article Explaining the Newest Version of the Left. by The Elephant's Child

Tod Lindberg had been editor of the Hoover Institutions’ Policy Review  since 1999, and important articles are a given. This piece from the last issue of Policy Review one year ago, which attempts to distinguish the current version of the Left from its previous iterations is particularly fascinating. He calls it Left 3.0. I’m always a ready-made audience for anything explaining the Left, because it seems so inexplicable that they can possibly think as they do.

Mr. Lindberg does not attempt a history of the Left. You’ve probably noticed the changes, but not really focused on what’s different.

The Left side of the American political spectrum has undergone an extraordinary transformation over the last dozen years. Perhaps because it remains a work in progress, the extent of this transformation has gone largely unremarked and seems underappreciated even among those who have been carrying it out. Forty years after the forces of the “New Left” managed to deliver the Democratic presidential nomination to their preferred candidate, George McGovern, only to see him lose the general election to Richard Nixon in a 49-state landslide, the United States is home to a newer Left. It’s political hopes repose not in a man able to muster less than 40 percent of the vote nationwide, but in the convincingly reelected president of the United States, Barack Obama. This newer Left is confident in itself, united both in its description of the problems the country faces and in how to go about addressing them. This Left is conscious of itself as a movement, and believes it is on the rise. It has already managed to reshape American politics, and its successes so far have hardly exhausted its promise. Policies are changing under its influence. And it opponents do not seem to have found an effective way to counter it politically. …

If classical liberalism emerged in part as a rebellion against hereditary privilege, modern American liberalism is foremost a rebellion against the privileges of wealth. The most important innovation of the Left, a principle held fast from the time of the French Revolution onward, has been its insistence that political rights could only be meaningful if accompanied by a degree of economic equality that systems based on political rights alone would not automatically create or protect. …

Implementation of the animating passion for equality requires the power of government. The Left shares the suspicion of government power at the hear of classical liberalism, but only up to a point. Individuals need rights to protect them from overweening government intrusion, true, but government power in the proper hands can do good, and indeed the proper hands must wield the power of government in order to do the good of pursuing equality. The proper hands are the Left’s, it hardly needs saying.

Mix yourself a good stiff drink, and take the time to figure out just what the Left is up to. Excellent article, altering and illuminating the other side of the political spectrum.



Smaller Government, Less Fraud. by The Elephant's Child

The IRS scandals consist of the agency’s attempts to deny targeted Tea Party groups and other identifiably conservative groups tax exempt 501(c)(3) and 501 (c)(4) status in advance of the 2012 election.

The new rules they are attempting to put in force are designed to redefine that which has been described as “tax exempt” so narrowly that no political speech can be defined as tax exempt.

Why is this a big deal? The Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets.org website reports that conservative groups pumped nearly eight times the money through their 501 (c) groups than liberals did. CRP reported that conservatives spent $265.2 million through 501 (c) groups compared to $34.7 spent by liberal groups during the 2012 cycle.

Well, we certainly can’t have that. Something must be done. Are the Democrats unable to win elections honestly? That is entirely possible. Here in Washington State, we have had regular cases of stolen elections.

Did you  hear about the “Secretary of State Project”— that was a project to elect Democrats to the office of Secretary of State, because that office is in charge of elections. In 2012, the plane carrying military ballots supposedly crashed, making the ballots unavailable, except there were never any pictures or further information about those lost in the crash. Once the votes are in, they keep finding a bunch of “uncounted” ballots. Our elections have gone to all mail-in ballots, which we are told make electoral fraud much easier.

Early voting is another major problem. The Obama administration and Democratic organizations are pushing it hard— more convenience for voters, but voters fill out their ballots before the campaign is over, with incomplete information. Spreading it out enables a party to get the results they desire.

There are all sorts of ways to fraudulently change the results of an election. I suppose it is inevitable when there is so much power on offer. But I wish it were different and elections were honest, reflecting the true wishes of the public.



Catherine Engelbrecht’s Testimony: A Heroine For America. by The Elephant's Child

Catherine Engelbrecht has had enough. She started out to be a citizen activist, she had seen vote fraud up front and ugly, so she founded True the Vote, a nonprofit organization for election integrity, and King Street Patriots, a citizen-led liberty group.

She and her husband had a small manufacturing business for twenty years, and had never had any contact with government agencies until she founded these two groups. Suddenly she was the object of agency interest—In 2011, her business and personal tax returns were audited  by the IRS, each audit going back for a number of years.

In 2012 her business was subjected to inspection by OSHA when neither she nor her husband were present, and though the agency wrote that it found nothing serious or significant, they issued fines greater than $20,000.

In 2012 and again in 2013, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms conducted comprehensive audits at her place of business.

Beginning in 2010, the FBI contacted her nonprofit organization on six separate occasions — wanting to cull through membership manifests in conjunction with domestic terrorism cases. They eventually dropped all matters and have now redacted nearly all her files.

Eventually, all those attempts to intimidate have an effect. For Catherine Engelbrecht, it made her more determined.  Her testimony included these rousing words:

But know this, my experiences at the hands of this government in these last five years have made me more determined than ever to stand before you and America and say I will not retreat. I will not surrender. I refuse to be intimidated. I will not ask for permission to exercise my Constitutional rights.



The Headline of the Day! by The Elephant's Child

From Jammie Wearing Fools: ” Woman Who Can’t Afford Her Own Birth Control Scrapes Up Money to File for Congressional Run.”

Surely you remember Sandra Fluke (rhymes with Cluck) who appeared before the nation in a pretend Congressional hearing, set up to  look as if it was official after the committee in question (I can’t remember which committee) refused to have her as a witness since they didn’t think she had any testimony worth hearing.

Her testimony was a protracted whine about the vast expense of contraceptives which she thought taxpayers should pay for so she didn’t have to. It emerged that a month’s supply was available for around $9.00, which made her demand that taxpayers spring for it seem remarkably silly. But silly me. There it is in ObamaCare, and everybody is paying for it. If you wonder why you can no longer see your doctor, or afford health care — it’s because the Democrats stuck in all sorts of little goodies to reach favored voting groups, in this case radical feminists.

With the retirement of Henry Waxman, Ms. Fluke has filed with the California state Democratic Party to seek its endorsement in the race for the Waxman seat. She has not yet officially announced her campaign, nor filed with the Federal Election Commission. But California is known for some of the dumbest women in Congress, so why not? The idea that someone should work their way up in politics seems to have gone by the wayside. Experience is no longer necessary.

Jammie adds: “Just what Congress needs, another attention whore.”

 




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