American Elephants

The First Day of Kavanaugh Hearings, and Democrats Embarrass Themselves. by The Elephant's Child

Today is the first day of the hearings on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be a Justice of the Supreme Court. Why are we not surprised to learn that Democrats plotted to disrupt the Kavanaugh hearing? Dick Durbin admitted that Democrats plotted over the weekend during a conference call by Charles Schumer on how to use protests and interruptions to disrupt the hearings.  Democrats obligingly threw a tantrum, interrupting the proceedings 62 times without waiting for proper recognition from the chair, speaking out of turn. Dianne Feinstein  claimed that “More people will die in mass shootings if Brett Kavanaugh gets confirmed.” Which is a remarkably silly statement.

The usual Hollywood far-lefties screeched and demonstrated clearly that they have no understanding whatsoever of the Supreme Court, the job of the justices, and how the law works. They also don’t seem to grasp the idea that their big mouths and embarrassing behavior has meant that a lot of Americans have quit watching current Hollywood movies in favor of  British movies, or old or even silent movies instead. Some of us read instead, and a good book beats another car chase easily.

The Supreme Court chooses what cases put before the court that they will hear. It’s cases that cannot be solved successfully by a lower court. If Judge Kavanaugh were an ardent opponent of abortion or a passionate member of the NRA (he’s not) he would have to recuse himself. And he would have to wait for a difficult case that suggested that Roe v. Wade was somehow improperly decided. The idea that a conservative justice threatens laws that the Left holds dear is not only silly, but demonstrates ignorance of our independent judiciary. It has long been clear that Democrats are poorly informed about just how our Constitutional Republic is supposed to work. When you are opposed to Capitalism, that goes with the territory.

Brett Kavanaugh is an outstanding nomination to the Supreme Court. He has a long record of carefully conceived decisions, some of which the Supreme Court has referred to in their decisions. The American Bar Association has recommended him highly. The Democrats have investigated him, every case he has ruled on, they have examined his wife’s emails and decisions as a town manager of the small incorporated city where they live (one restaurant). Before they were married, she served as personal secretary to President George W. Bush, and was a personal assistant while he was Governor of Texas. The Bushes attended the Kavanaugh wedding. Having found no dirt so far, Democrats want the record of every moment that Kavanaugh was part of the Bush administration. He may well be the best qualified nominee ever to appear before Congress.

Kamala Harris (clearly running for the Democrat’s nomination for President) made a fool of herself with interruptions and ill-informed statements.

Desperate Democrats Embarrass Themselves In Another Confirmation Hearing by The Elephant's Child

With the exposure of the Susan Rice story, and the dreadful sarin gas attack in Syria by the Assad administration on his own people other things escape our attention. The confirmation hearings for Dr. Scott Gottlieb who the president has nominated to run the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) didn’t get a lot of notice.

Our very own Seattle Senator Patty Murray and other Democrats devoted the morning to attacking Dr. Gottlieb for his “unprecedented financial entanglements” because he has consulted for various companies and invested in health-care start-ups. (Possibly because that is his area of expertise?) Sheldon Whitehouse suggested “dark money operations,” which is a strange description of financial disclosures available to all on the internet. Bernie Sanders tweeted that it was a “disgrace” to have an FDA commissioner who has taken money from drug companies.

These are the same committee Democrats who attacked Betsy DeVos for not having enough experience in public education, nor experience in government.  Consistency and hypocrisy are ongoing problems for the Democrats.

Dr. Gottlieb not only disclosed all his work in accordance with government rules and will liquidate his investments, he agreed to recuse himself for a year on decisions involving his past interests. He also promised to follow directions from the HHS ethics office and to be an “impartial and independent advocate for the public health.”

Another remarkable ugly charge was that Dr. Gottlieb would not address the opioid crisis because he has worked with companies that produce painkillers. Desperate Democrats, out of power, are having trouble finding believable or even sane talking points.

Dr. Gottlieb has called the opioid crisis “a public emergency on the order of Ebola and Zika” and suggested an “all-of-the-above” strategy that would include creating new painkillers that were less addictive and better patient care. He hopes to increase generic drug competition. He offered a tutorial in how companies exploit the regulatory barriers to competition for their commercial advantage,

He has written about how the FDA can unleash innovation without compromising public safety. Democrats, always confused about the evils of “profit” have forgotten about the immense value of expertise. This is another of President Trump’s outstanding nominees, so of course he should be attacked. It will be good to have someone who understands the needs of patients and their doctors and the pharmaceutical industry in that office.

Did You Think We Don’t Need Anti-Terror Measures? by The Elephant's Child

I have been fascinated with the coverage today of Edward Snowden and the firestorm about NSA and whatever information they are gathering up.  Dorothy Rabinowitz had a column in the Wall Street Journal  regarding the anti-government leaker and “the school of believers certain than an all-powerful American government regularly plots to invade their lives and subvert their freedom.”

News of data mining looked to be irresistible proof of that faith—their darkest vision of an America at the mercy of a government secretly gathering all sorts of personal information and subverting the Constitution. And there was Edward Snowden, the latest addition to the pantheon of anti-government leakers, releasing a tonnage of classified data about the NSA surveillance programs. …

Trouble is, this latest face of self-sacrifice for a higher cause (Snowden has let it be known he considers his life as a free man pretty much over now) hasn’t been greeted with anything remotely like admiration among Americans, other than sympathizers in the aforementioned groups. From all indications, he’s an object of general contempt well deserving of prosecution—another in the line of socially deranged seekers who found the self-definition they long for in their obsessed vision of their government as the central source of evil in the world. It didn’t help that Mr. Snowden’s explanation for what he did came brimming odiously with virtue—he had, he said, decided to leak material because he thought Americans should be informed so that they could debate the questions he raised.

The number of Americans who hold it as revealed truth that the great peril in their lives is government intrusiveness—as opposed, say, to the menace of terrorist assaults, which the surveillance programs are intended to deter—is small, if vocal. They have been out in force, awash in talk-show oratory over the threat of government surveillance, the checking of phone records.

I thought that was pretty sensible, and Dorothy Rabinowitz has a long history of being quite sensible. But the comments! Readers were furious. How could she make light of the terrible intrusion into their privacy? Cancelled subscriptions, utter fury.

Our government had warnings from Russian intelligence, it was reported, about Tammerlan Tsarnaev, interviewed him and ignored the warnings. If, however, after the event, they can go to the phone company records and get records of the Tsarnaev phone calls, that would seem to me to be a source of other potential terrorists.

When I am online and look at the L.L.Bean’s online catalog, wonder of wonders, whatever websites I visit will probably have an L.L.Bean ad. If I express online interest in a product, I will regularly see ads for that product. Has nobody noticed this phenomenon?

You have been warned, if you are paying attention that your Facebook page will be examined by your potential employers. Your tweets too. I am astounded by the paranoia out there. You have no privacy on the internet. The internet companies are using the information they gather to sell ads, to measure interests, preferences that they data mine to determine public opinion.

There is no privacy on the internet. On the other hand why would anyone want to read my e-mails? I’m here expressing my disagreement with the administration every day, and everything I write is open to any reader. Disagreement is something this administration does not like. Perhaps I should be worried.

Edward Snowden had another interview today with some Hong Kong newspaper, and made the stunning revelation that the US has been hacking Chinese computers for years, both in Hong Kong, and on the mainland.  Well, I would hope so. Chinese hackers have been stealing our classified military weapons and aircraft and ship plans for years, to advance their own military abilities without having to dream up the stuff themselves.

Why do people think we have organizations like the CIA, NSA, and any of the multitude of other intelligence-gathering services anyway? My guess is that they have never given it a single thought, ever, and are frightened by the rumors of an out-of-control government prying into their phone calls and emails. Fourth Amendment! Some think the Patriot Act is something unconstitutional.

Edward Snowden is not a hero, just a naive fool. If he has revealed some horrible secret about the evil American government, I don’t know what he had in mind. Governments want to know what other governments have up their sleeves. or in their back pockets, and they worry about some governments more than others. They try to find out secrets, and that’s one way they try to protect us.

What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive* by The Elephant's Child

I would guess that not many Americans are interested in, or even know what “the Sequester” is. Let’s just say it falls in the strategy and tactics portion of politics involving the budget. The federal budget is always a complicated matter for Congress. Republicans are mindful of ordinary family budgets especially at a time when it is a big worry for many families, and concerned about thrift and balancing the budget which simply means — don’t be spending more than you take in.

Any family understands that you’re better off when you have something left over after you pay the bills. And if it’s the other way around, and you have to put too much on the credit card, it can make your life miserable. The United States has put way too much on the national credit card, and Republicans fear for the future if we don’t put our house in order.

President Obama and the Democrats insist that spending is not a problem. They believe in Keynesian economics which tells them that if you just put money into the economy, there is a multiplier effect as those dollars are passed around. They think it is around 1.5 x or even 2.5 x.  That’s why they believed in the stimulus, and all the projects that paid for windmills or green jobs, or even new government buildings.

So there’s not much agreement between the two parties. The White House devised a tactic to force Republicans to give in on Democrats’ spending requests, called the “sequester.” Because it forced across-the-board cuts, with the greatest percentage coming from defense, they thought that Republicans would give in to prevent big cuts from defense. Republicans recognized the tactic, and assumed that letting it take effect was the only way they were going to get Democrats to agree to cut back, spat it out, and said let’s go for the sequester.

President Obama decided that if Republicans were going to make them cut spending, the cuts would all be centered on those budget items that would most painful and most disruptive for the public — so they would blame the Republicans for their discomfort. Word apparently went out to all departments from the White House to make whatever they were cutting as painful as possible and as public as possible.

The Republicans did not cave. Obama had not expected that. Instead of calling the battle off and agreeing that it was quite possible to cut back on the spending, for the cuts were not to the current budget, but to the additional appropriations which were more than they spent last year anyway.

Republicans were offended at the unnecessary attempts to make minor cuts in spending painful, and are holding hearings to find out just why departments were cutting in such ways. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who is a former federal attorney, wanted to know why Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of Homeland Security, chose to release over 2,000 illegal immigrants who were being held in immigrant jails, among them ten level 1 aggravated felons to the public. Rep. Gowdy questioned DHS Under Secretary, Management, Rafael Borras:

But you agree with me that the decision to release level 1, aggravated felons was not the only option that you had, there were other places that you could have cut costs?

There’s the fictional firing of teachers, the closing of the White House for student tours, the furloughing of meat inspectors.  Food stamps for Mexican illegals survived the Sequester, as did a program to advertise free food stamps for illegals in our consulates abroad.

Mr. Obama is a fierce competitor, but he misjudged his strategy, and now he is in full damage control mode.

*Sir Walter Scott: Marmion

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