American Elephants


Democrat Congress Has Worst Job Approval in Gallup History by American Elephant
December 15, 2010, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Liberalism, News, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: , , ,

Thirteen percent approve of the current Democrat congress — the worst approval rating of any congress since Gallup started polling the issue 30 years ago. That means almost no one approves of this “progressive” congress other than staffers and family members.

Can we finally admit it? Worst congress EVER!



Obamacare Preview #247: by American Elephant

British hospital put dying elderly woman in storage cupboard overnight “for being too noisy.”

Nurses put a dying woman in a hospital storage cupboard overnight because they said she was being too noisy.

Dora Duggan, 81, who was terminally ill and suffering from dementia, was moved from her ward to a  room which was full of boxes and was being used for storage at the time.

…Mrs Young, 46, a civil servant, said: ‘They treated her like an animal and shut her in a room that wasn’t even sterile.

…Mrs Young also said that her mother had been begging to go home and that doctors had refused to discharge her even though she had just a few days left.

But when a member of staff at the hospital discovered that Miss Duggan had traces of MRSA, the hospital allowed the family to take her home with half-an-hour, according to Mrs Young.

Mrs Young added: ‘She had a big graze on her arm and they couldn’t explain why. We went in one day and she had juice over her glasses and all over her. [more]

Yet another example of grossly inhumane and intolerably substandard treatment from the very same socialist healthcare system that Democrats point to as their ideal system. An elderly woman with dementia left dying in a broom closet in a wheelchair overnight and sent home with drug-resistant MRSA that she didn’t have when she checked in.

It brings to mind the government-run mental institutions right here in the United States that finally had to be shut down because the standard of care was neglect and cruelty. But Democrats don’t care about the level of treatment — if they did, they would not have exempted themselves from Obamacare as they did — they care only that government — and thus they — as the party always willing to give out more “free” goodies with other people’s money — will be in control of it.

Addendum: Keep in mind, this is the same British system that had been paying millions of pounds a year to silence whistle-blowers, and which the Tory government is now feverishly trying to save from bankrupting that nation by re-privatizing it as fast as they can.



Paul Ryan Takes on Neo-Keynesian Spending! by The Elephant's Child

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.  He has been terrific on all matters to do with finance, budget and economics, and with a White House on a uncontrolled spending spree, it’s very worthwhile to listen to someone who actually understands such things.

On the lessons from Europe:

We are doubling down on this neo-Keynesian borrow and spend spree. It’s not working. We’ve lost 3.6 million jobs since the last stimulus was passed and they want to do more of the same. Bailing out state governments is the next roll of the dice. We are copying European economic policies of the past and that is going to give us a European kind of debt crisis in the future if we don’t change our policies. Yet the President is doubling down, giving us a big debt hangover.

On whether there will be the votes in Congress for the President’s demands for more spending:

The President got those same centrist Democrats to vote for a budget that doubles our debt in five years and triples our debt in ten years. He got those same centrist Democrats to vote for $1.8 trillion dollars in new spending and $670 billion in new taxes in this session of Congress. He has always gotten, along with Speaker Pelosi, the votes needed to engage in their continued spending spree.

On Washington’s failed economic doctrine:

What we have right now is a neo-Keynesian model being pushed, which means spend, spend, spend — and they still have no problem with all of these tax increases. This economic doctrine conveniently fits a political ideology. This political agenda is built upon building government programs, building up spending — and they use this economic doctrine to satisfy their political pent up demand. The so-called “stimulus” was not about jobs as much as it was spending money on all these programs that they have wanted to spend on for a long time. Now that they have Congress and the White House, the spending spigot is wide open.

On better solutions from House Republicans:

In Congress, Eric Cantor, the House Republican Whip, has formed an economic growth working group, focused on jobs and economic recovery. I put out an alternative budget last year that cut 4.8 trillion out of the spending line and actually got us on track to pay off our debt. This year, Democrats are not even doing a budget. House Republicans continue to put out better alternatives — aimed to keep taxes low, get a grip on spending and entitlements, and prevent us from becoming a stagnant welfare state, which is clearly unsustainable as we’re seeing in Europe.

On having a better grasp than most in Congress on economic issues:

It’s not a very high bar to clear.



The “Progressive” Ideological Agenda Trumps the Law, the Constitution, And The Will of the People. by The Elephant's Child


When federal Judge Martin Feldman overturned President Obama’s six-month moratorium on  oil and natural gas drilling in all waters more than 500 feet deep,  a passage in the decision said: “The [interior] Secretary’s determination that a six-month moratorium on issuance of new permits and on drilling by the 33 rigs is necessary does not seem to be fact-specific and refuses to take into measure the safety records of those others i the Gulf.  There is no evidence presented indicating that the Secretary balanced the concern for environmental safety with the policy of making leases available for development.  There is no suggestion that the Secretary considered any alternatives….”

Obama’s response to Feldman was to forge ahead with the very policy that the Judge had just ruled unconstitutional.  He is also challenging the thousands of Gulf Coast oil industry employees to just try and stop him in the appeals courts. He hopes the spill will help to pass his cap-and-trade bill.

As Byron York says in the Washington Examiner:

This response is the latest evidence of a disconcerting pattern with this president and his cronies in the executive branch and Congress; Their “progressive” ideological agenda comes first; everything else, including the will of the people and the letter of the law, is at most an obstacle on the road to “change we can believe in.”

Obama wanted government health care.  Growing majorities opposed Obamacare in survey after survey.  Congress was deluged with calls, letters, and protests, but Obama and his congressional cronies wrote the bill behind closed doors, offered bribes and other corrupt bargains to garner votes and passed it anyway, without a single Republican vote.

When General Motors bondholders opposed Obama’s takeover, Obama ignored age-old bankruptcy law and essentially nationalized the company and turned it over to the United Auto Workers Union.  When auto company executives expressed their concerns about Obama’s big increase in fuel economy standards, his chief environmental adviser told them not to “write anything down” about their discussion.

When Congress began to hear from the public about their worries about excessive federal spending, Obama appointed a “fiscal commission” to rubber stamp his ideas. Congressional Democrats ignored the law that since 1974 has required Congress to approve an annual budget.  They do not intend to deal with it. It would expose the red ink to all, when there is an election coming up.

The Senate refused to vote on Obama’s cap-and-trade bill,  so his Environmental Protection Agency administrator issued a threat:  Either pass the bill, or the EPA will unilaterally impose carbon emission limits on America.

This does not count the laborious diplomacy that went into locating missile defense weapons in Eastern Europe.  Dumped because Russia didn’t like it.  Nor the extensive talks that went into the free trade agreement with Columbia and NAFTA.  The Labor Unions don’t like NAFTA and they don’t like free trade agreements.

Mark Steyn pointed out that “Obama held the biggest meeting of world leaders on American soil since the founding of the UN 65 years ago on nuclear nonproliferation— and Iran wasn’t on the agenda.” Preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons was high on the president-elect’s agenda.

President Obama has said he will not secure the border in Arizona because he wants to pass a comprehensive immigration bill (amnesty). He plans to sue Arizona for passing a law that mirrors existing federal law.

And of course the very successful Opportunity Scholarships that let poor black children escape  Washington DC’s failing schools have not been renewed.  The teachers’ unions don’t like those.  There’s more, but you get the idea.



WARNING! Democrat Politicians Now Physically Assaulting Constituents! by American Elephant

Looks like Democrats are now eliminating their usual Union Thug middlemen and just beating up constituents directly:

That’s Democrat representative Bob Etheridge from North Carolina. (“Mainstream” news reports will conveniently forget his party.) I hope he wasn’t planning on being re-elected, indeed, I hope he wasn’t planning on finishing his term or even returning home. He needs to serve time.

And you had better believe that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats need to be held accountable for creating the environment where such a thing could happen in America. This is where Democrats have lead the country. Where gangs of union thugs storm private homes with terrified children inside, where union thugs beat up a black man selling “Don’t tread on me” flags and put him in the hospital. Where President KickAss talks about “bringing guns”, “getting in their faces”, “hitting back twice as hard” and “kicking ass”.

Keep in mind, Democrats are not some aggrieved minority — they control ALL the levers of power. They have virtually a filibuster proof majority, yet their agenda is SO extremist, so radical that they STILL can’t get it passed without resorting to violence and intimidation.

You know when their crimes are bubbling over into public view, that there are many more crimes happening where the public can’t see.

Welcome to the Thugocracy.

(via HotAir)



ACORN Admits It’s the Vote-Fraud Arm of the Democrat Party by American Elephant

And they’re still very much open for business:

The radical activist group ACORN “works” for the Democratic Party and deliberately promotes election fraud, ACORN employees told FBI investigators, according to an FBI document dump Wednesday.

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, are FBI investigators’ reports related to the 2007 investigation and arrest of eight St. Louis, Mo., workers from ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate for violation of election laws. All eight employees involved in the scandal later pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud.

Project Vote is ACORN’s voter registration arm. Project Vote continues to operate despite the reported dissolution of the national structure of ACORN.

The handwritten reports by FBI agents show that ACORN employees reported numerous irregularities in the nonprofit group’s business practices.

One employee told the FBI that ACORN headquarters is “wkg [working] for the Democratic Party.”

According to one report, an ACORN employee said the purpose of “[f]raudulent cards” was “[t]o cause confusion on election day to keep polls open longer,” “[t]o allow people who can’t vote to vote,” and “[t]o allow to vote multiple times. [Emphasis Mine. Read the whole thing]

And while the Democrat’s vote fraud operation continues unabated, the other arms of ACORN that were forced to disband are already opening their doors again under new names.

Naturally, the corrupt Attorney General, Eric Holder, still has no interest in investigating the vote-fraud arm of the Democrat party, and the shake-down artists who bear a great deal of responsibiligy for creating the very “toxic assets” that brought down the economy. The same group to which his boss, Obama has such long-standing ties.

I don’t trust Eric Holder to investigate this scandal, I think congress must appoint an independent investigator.



A Power Grab Over Troubled Waters. by The Elephant's Child

Imagine this:  Representative James Oberstar (D-Mich.) wants to rewrite the Clean Water Act.  Back in 1972, when the law was written, even liberals respected the Constitution. They understood if you wanted the federal government to regulate the waters, you had to say “navigable”so that it was legal under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

Representative Oberstar wants to remove the word “navigable”. How do you then explain why the federal government should regulate waters that are not navigable?  And what are waters that are not navigable — mud puddles, prairie potholes, irrigation ditches, intermittent ponds?  Or bathtubs, fish ponds, fountains, on private lands — neighborhood backyards?

This isn’t the first time Oberstar has tried this.  He tried it in 2007.  He and others were not happy with Supreme Court rulings that defined the limits Washington faced over bodies of water that had no relation to navigability or commerce.   They want full federal control over all waters. Richard Baker, then a Republican congressman from Louisiana, a state filled with waterways, called the bill “the largest-ever expansion of federal power over private property.

The federal government has already deeply damaged Central Valley farmers in California by denying them water because of an “endangered” minnow — the Delta smelt.  Unemployment in the Central Valley is high in the double digits, and orchards and vines are dying for lack of water.  Is the Delta smelt really endangered?

Farmers should be particularly concerned.  Oberstar’s bill gives federal regulators the power to police farming practices and to take their land through regulatory restrictions if those practices are deemed to be in violation of the law. There is even a clause that adds “and the land that impacts it” so it could regulate everything around it.

This is a drive by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand its jurisdiction.  Most of the justification for the existence of the agency is becoming questionable.  The air is very clean, in general, so the EPA is attempting to find possible bad effects on health from, um,  particulates, anything, that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.  They’re not done with CO2, but the case for controlling that is becoming questionable.  So we have a grasp for power that is sanctioned at the highest level.

Liberals understand that they have a brief window in ’09 and ’10 — they are trying to get as much enacted as possible before the November elections. They need to be stopped.



Actuaries Are Responsible For Long Run Cost Estimates. by The Elephant's Child
April 23, 2010, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Health Care, Law, Taxes | Tags: , ,

You need to sit down.  There is news, and you may find it shocking.

ObamaCare will cost more than they claimed.

A new report by the actuaries from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at Health & Human Services concludes that rather than cutting costs, the Affordable Care Act will increase medical spending by at least one percent over ten years — a figure that could get bigger — because the government  is unlikely to follow through on the proposed Medicare cuts that would push 15 percent of hospitals into the red, and result in service cuts for seniors.

Bet you never expected that, did you?

Some of the cost control measures in the bill, could help reduce the rate of cost increases, but “during 2010 – 2019, these effects would be outweighed by the increased costs associated with the expansions of health insurance coverage.  Also the longer-term viability of the Medicare ..reductions is doubtful.”

The report also notes that cuts in Medicare Advantage will drive as many as half of seniors out of their plans and into more traditional, and more insolvent, Medicare plans while boosting their out-of-pocket costs.  And a new long-term care insurance program buried in the bill — whose premiums were among those items wrongly double-counted as deficit-reducing, faces a “very serious risk” of insolvency.

HHS Secretary Sebelius said:  “The Affordable Care Act will improve the health care system for all Americans, and we will continue our work to quickly and carefully implement the new law.”

So there you go.  File this under media report.



They Just May Not Have the Votes for Cap-and-Trade. by The Elephant's Child

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the leading climate skeptic in the Senate, said Thursday that upcoming cap-and-trade legislation can muster no more than 26 votes.  Climate change is far down on Americans’ list of concerns.  Only 33 percent believe that human activity is responsible, and 48 percent say global warming is caused by long-term planetary trends.

Evidence continues to appear indicating that cap-and-trade is ruinous for an economy, accomplishes nothing for climate change, and is aimed only at societal control.  President Obama’s efforts to sorta-kinda-maybe suggest that we might have a bit of support for nuclear power  or offshore  oil-and-gas drilling, were offset by all the areas that he put firmly off-limits, so that can be considered as thrown under the bus.

According to a Pew poll released Sunday night, trust in the federal government to do “the right thing” most of the time has fallen to a near all-time low of 22 percent.

How odd.  When the public is concerned about spending, the federal government pursues a health care bill that the majority of the public oppose.  When the public is concerned about spending and jobs, the federal government pursues climate change alarmism.  When the public is concerned about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, the federal government gets an agreement from Canada to send us their enriched uranium.  Why would we conceivably trust the federal government to do “the right thing.”



Where Is My Free Health Care? by The Elephant's Child
April 17, 2010, 8:45 am
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: , ,

President Obama promised that he could convince a reluctant public that his very own health-reform plan was somehow a good thing after all.  Public animosity towards  ObamaCare is getting stronger, with Rasmussen showing that 58 percent want it repealed.

More facts emerge regularly as people sort through the voluminous rules and regulations that were forced through Congress on an overly partisan vote.  People can see the destructive path ahead.  Even members of Congress are not sure that they will continue to be able to keep the health care that they like so much.  The Congressional Research Service is dubious.

1. Where is my free health care? eHealthInsurance, the online broker for health insurance, has been flooded with calls from people who ask: “Where do we get the free ObamaCare, and how do I sign up for that?”  They are unaware that the new insurance does not begin for four more years, though the massive tax increases will begin right away, but won’t even make a dent in the cost of ObamaCare.

2. There will be shortages of Doctors. At current graduation and training rates, there will be a shortage of up to 150,000 physicians in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

3. People with pre-existing conditions can purchase insurance when they get sick. This may seem “nice” but it negates the whole idea of insurance, which is that spreading the risk over large numbers of people over time, keeps costs down.   Legislators react by ordering insurance companies not to raise rates.  This will put insurance companies out of business.

4. Poorly written and poorly thought out regulations impose mandates on states that are already in deep financial trouble. Rules require the states to ensure the provision of “the care and services themselves,”opening state liability to floods of lawsuits.

5. Constitutional challenges continue and expand. There is no Constitutional authority for Congress to require citizens to purchase anything.

6. As the clever ways Congress made the bill seem to cost less begin to unravel, the real massive cost increases will kill jobs, depress economic growth, and taxes will continue to be raised. The Bush tax cuts expire, and as the huge tax increases necessary to pay for health care become apparent, public animosity will really increase.  Health care does not arrive for four years, but we start paying for it immediately.

7. Congress has made a big bet on “preventative care,”in the illusion that preventing disease will make health care cost less.  Multiple studies show that preventative care costs far more, not less, and does not prevent illness.  It helps to study consequences before passing the law.

Massachusetts health care was carefully thought out, and it has taken just 3 years for it to fall apart.  Many physicians have left the state, some hospitals have closed.  Premiums in the state are the highest in the country.

Governor Deval Patrick is in a battle with health insurers.  He will not allow them to raise their rates to cover the added costs of the state’s universal coverage law.  They will not stay in business if they can’t cover their costs.  Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is shocked that the new law does not give Congress the power to block increases in health insurance premiums.  Basic economics is not a Congressional strong point.

The American people wanted the administration to cut spending and reduce the debt, and cut taxes to encourage growth and create jobs.  Instead the administration has forced through, in the most reprehensible backroom deals, a health care plan that nobody wanted.  American health care is the finest in the world, with the best outcomes and most innovation.  It has been expensive because it is the result of individual choices by millions of Americans, not because of overcharging by insurance companies as President Obama tried to claim.

Creating straw-men to blame is a specialty of this president, but his ability to sell that kind of hype is growing old and stale.  The truth, as they say, will out.



Who Gets to Choose What Information You Get? You, or the Government? by The Elephant's Child

The Federal Communications Commission is holding an “inquiry” on “The Future of Media.”

As the nation’s expert agency involved in media and communications policies, the FCC has begun an examination of the future of media and the information needs of communities in a digital age. The objective of this review is to assess whether all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information that will enable them to enrich their lives, their communities and our democracy.

The Future of Media project will produce a report providing a clear, precise assessment of the current media landscape, analyze policy options and, as appropriate, make policy recommendations to the FCC, other government entities, and other parties.

Apparently the free marketplace of ideas just isn’t good enough.  They want Big Government to pick views with which they happen to agree.  Once, alleged scarcity was the reason for the FCC to impose the “Fairness Doctrine” on radio without running afoul of the First Amendment.  Now, it’s not scarcity but abundance that is the “problem.”

America is at a critical juncture in the history of communications. Information technology is changing our lives in ways that we cannot easily foresee.

The digital age is creating an information and communications renaissance. But it is not serving all Americans and their local communities equally. It is not yet serving democracy fully. How we react, individually and collectively, to this democratic shortfall will affect the quality of our lives and the very nature of our communities.

The layoffs of thousands of journalists have prompted concern from a wide variety of independent analysts and groups that we may end up with fewer “informed communities.”

The failure of many newspapers and layoffs of journalists certainly has the laid-off journalists upset, and the journalism schools aren’t too happy either.  Many people no longer feel the need to subscribe to a daily newspaper.  That fact should prompt some soul-searching among editors, journalists and academics, but that is not the way things work.

Much easier, and more comfortable than self-examination, is to request the hand of government to fix things.  Tell those stupid people what they should read, and eliminate any distressing news.   The free marketplace of ideas is entirely too threatening.

Freedom is, to be sure, frightening.  There is no telling
what values someone will choose to hold.
Decent and well-meaning guardians of values were horrified
by the monstrous principles  of the Declaration of Independence.
It is, of course, out of fear that the guardians preach the inculcation of values,
fear of knowledge and thought.
(Richard Mitchell)



The Health Care Drama in Massachusetts is Turning to Tragedy, or Farce. by The Elephant's Child
April 9, 2010, 11:58 am
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: , ,

The health care drama in Massachusetts continues.  Governor Deval Patrick kicked off his re–election campaign by rejecting most of the premium increases that the state’s insurance companies had asked regulators to approve.   Mr. Patrick rejected the increases, and now claims that price controls are the correct response to “industry greed.”

In Massachusetts, all of the major insurance companies are nonprofits.  Three of the largest four posted operating losses in 2009.  In an emergency lawsuit in Boston superior court yesterday, they argued that the arbitrary rate cap would result in another $100 million in collective losses, and make it impossible to pay the expected cost of claims.  Even the solvency of some companies may be threatened. So, until the matter is settled, the insurers have just stopped selling new policies.

State officials have demanded that the insurers resume offering policies, under threat of fines or regulatory punishment.  Amazing!  The situation is so bad that the Governor has to threaten companies to make them sell their products at less than market cost.

The state’s Attorney General and his insurance regulators have concluded that the reason why Massachusetts insurance premiums are the highest in the nation is the underlying cost of health care, not greedy insurance companies that Mr. Patrick and Mr. Obama like to cite.

Central to Massachusetts health care are mandates requiring insurers to cover anyone who applies regardless of their state of health or pre-existing conditions, and to charge everyone the same rate.  Surprise! This allows people to wait until they’re about to face major medical bills to purchase insurance.  Between April 2008 and March 2009, about 40% of new enrollees at Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan stayed with it for fewer than five months and on average, ran up costs about 600% higher than the company would otherwise expect.  Blue Cross Blue Shield has had similar experience.

This kind of thing will soon be coming to your insurance market.  Democrats chose to regard all Republicans’ warnings about unworkable mandates, underestimated costs and ignored savings as simply more right-wing troublemaking.  Keep watching Massachusetts.  It will be instructive.




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