American Elephants


So Little Time, So Many Really Bad Ideas, And Some People Have Already Voted. by The Elephant's Child

575x323xhillary-angry-575x323-jpg-pagespeed-ic-yslmeuq_rehvu7mvdzdzI tried to watch, but I just couldn’t take much of it. I know how we came to be inflicted with these two candidates, but here we are. Hillary would never have come to public attention had she not married Bill Clinton, who in spite of his enormous failings, was a very talented politician. John Hinderaker mentioned that this is the first time that “service” as First Lady is offered as a qualification for the presidency.

She has terrible judgment, is a complete economic ignoramus, and requires enormous amounts of coaching to get through an appearance. I find her trick of personalizing every issue “I’ve met those women and…because of that non-existing meeting I really know everything about the problem and how to solve it,”offensive. I think she’d already tried that one 3 or 4 times before I turned her off.  She is well coached—if the talk turns to this uncomfortable subject, charge Trump with the Russians, or demand that he release his tax returns or…

Donald Trump has no skill as a debater. He did better tonight than last time, He does not recognize big openings, and is not  prepared with specific answers. An example was the question on abortion. Planned Parenthood does abortions and provides birth control. They are not a health care organization. They do not screen for cancer, they do not have the equipment in any of their locations.

Partial-birth abortion in the third trimester is an ugly and unnecessary procedure. Because the baby is too big at that late date to be born normally, the head must be crushed to get the baby out of the birth canal. Understandably, a lot of people object, and unless there is an unusual threat to the life of the mother, should go under the category ‘you should have thought of that earlier.’

It’s when you turn to economic questions that Hillary really demonstrates her complete ignorance. Beginners and low-skill workers are offered a minimum wage because they aren’t worth much and businesses have to teach them how to work. The rules of supply and demand come in here. There is a nearly unlimited supply of beginners and low-skill workers. Easy to get someone else. Forcing businesses to pay a higher minimum wage simply means fewer beginners will be hired, and there will be high unemployment for the low-skilled.

Both Hillary and Nancy Pelosi are sure that if you give food stamps or more unemployment benefits to the poor, they will spend that money, and it will circulate from hand to hand, as they buy groceries, the grocer will buy something he wants, and so on, and the money will somehow magically grow in the process. Seems goofy, but that’s what they think. You see how much that growth has expanded the economy in the last 8 years.

Economies grow with new businesses and new ideas and more expansion of existing businesses.  You don’t do that with food stamps. You also don’t do it by taxing the rich to build “infrastructure.” Roads and bridges, except in the interstate highways, are the business of the states, not the federal government. You don’t just say ‘new highway’, and it happens. There are plans and approvals, legislation, votes, environmental impact statements, protests, lawsuits. It can take years. Remember Obama’s sheepish admission: “I guess there aren’t really any shovel ready jobs.”

Here’s another common sense intrusion. Poor people don’t create jobs, and middle class people don’t create that many new jobs either, unless they have considerable backing.  It’s people who have some extra money to invest who create jobs and growth. They are investing in the hope of growing their investment. When there is the hope of getting investors, people start new businesses. When there is the hope of getting investors, people take the chance of bringing their idea to fruition. Leftists always want to fix things by taking more money from the rich. They believe that money be dispensed by the government, because they’re smarter than the rest of us doofuses.

The people in government regard the rest of us with contempt, disdain, and they think we are ignorant. No wonder they assume that things must be done by government. They’re painfully wrong, as the last eight years demonstrate. One percent growth is not an accomplishment.

Hillary is going to grow the economy with infrastructure (been there, did that, didn’t work) and create jobs with more people building solar panels (been there, done that,didn’t work—think Solyndra). She’s still blabbing about equal pay for women. Is any woman impressed by this? Equal pay for women doing the same job as a man has been fixed law since 1963. Oddly enough, the women working for Hillary are paid considerably less than the men. All hat, no cattle. (old joke)

She’s also advocating more government job training. There are lots of different estimates about how many job-training programs there are currently, but it ranges around 47-49, none particularly effective.

I don’t know what we would get with Donald Trump. His basic economic plan is excellent and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy will free up lots of money to be invested. What are they going to do with it, stick it in a mattress? They will invest it, and those investments supply the new money that the economy is hungering for. It’s called supply-side economics, and worked for Jack Kennedy and for Ronald Reagan for whom it began a 20-year boom in the economy.

Democrats believe that all good things must pass through the hands of the government. Why they believe that so firmly is a mystery, because there is almost nothing that the federal government does well. There are some things that are so big that they must be done by government, but they are done badly. Think VA, FBI, EPA and so on and so on.That’s why Republicans urge small government. The less they are in charge of, the fewer things they can screw up, and they won’t need so much of our money to do it, which will leave us free to be more creative with our own money.  Have big ideas, and create new things.

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This Is A Very Peculiar Election Year by The Elephant's Child

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The peculiarities of this election continue to amaze. Here there just aren’t any Clinton or Trump signs. Went to the grocery store a few days back, and someone had just put up a raft of Trump signs on the median of our main East-West street. Returning 20 minutes later, they were all gone, some in ragged piles.

Have seen a few sad Bernie bumper stickers on Priuses, but essentially no bumper stickers at all. A video of a gentleman who got tired of someone tearing down his Trump sign, and wired it up for a mild electric shock is all over the internet. And a farmer somewhere in the Midwest Mowed a HUGE Trump sign in his lawn that could be appreciated from space.

The Arizona Republic endorsed Hillary Clinton, the first time they had ever endorsed a Democrat, and the subscription cancellations were pouring in every ten minutes.



The Strangest Election of the Century Bar None! by The Elephant's Child

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We have at this point, a probable election between the two most unlikable candidates ever to run for political office. (That’s what the polls tell us.) Hillary made a speech in which she claimed Donald Trump was not qualified to run for the presidency, and I couldn’t help thinking “Pot meet Kettle.”

Hillary Clinton is facing criminal charges from the FBI for allowing State secrets to be posted on a private e-mail server that she apparently insisted on to keep the American public from knowing what she was doing. That matter alone is a crime.

She also knowingly used her office to fund her private Clinton Foundation by doing favors from the State Department for those who offered very large speaking fees for speeches by her husband, Bill Clinton.  This is the definition of quid pro quo, or crony capitalism.

Hillary was fired from her first job working on the Nixon Impeachment trial for being a liar and unethical. A trail of unethical actions has trailed her from title to title. She and Bill apparently believe themselves to be above the law, and are just not required to follow the same rules as anyone else.

When Bill Clinton was inaugurated, they announced that they would be co-presidents, in a two-for-one deal. The people quickly made it clear that they had not elected Hillary. She has had a burning ambition to be the first American woman to be President of the United States, ever since.

The problem is that whenever her supporters are asked to list her accomplishments, nobody could name any. Carley Fiorina remarked that Hillary had lots of titles, but that titles were not accomplishments. I have never been impressed with the “first woman,” or first anything. It is not a “great moment in history.” Some 77 nations around the world have had women in charge. Few have been outstanding leaders, but some have. High office depends on qualifications that prove that the candidate can actually do the job. Being “first” or seventy-eighth has nothing to do with what they accomplish or fail to accomplish in office.

One would assume that someone who wanted to be president so badly, would study past presidents to see what worked and what did not. How they faced the problems of their times. A deep study of history and presidential biographies. No interest from Hillary. If you were going to make a big diplomatic deal of a “reset button” with the Russians, wouldn’t you be very careful to make sure that you got it right?

Donald Trump has scared most of our allies and many Republicans with his lack of understanding of trade. He assumes that a “trade deficit” is a bad thing and major tariffs are needed to make our trade partners pay their “fair share.” Trade is by definition balanced. If we pay $100 million for products from China, and they buy only $1 million for products from us — the only place they can spend the hundred million dollars is in the United States. He seems to regard trade as a war, in which you win or lose. In trade, both sides win. This could be a major problem.

Mr. Trump is going to trial right after the election for fraud, in the case of Trump University. Former students have accused him of misrepresenting the value of the coursework offered. Other students say they learned a lot. Again, Mr. Trump regards this as a win-lose war, in the same way he regarded his real estate deals. Not a helpful attitude for our national security needs. This is a remarkably dangerous time for the world. Mr. Obama has portrayed the U.S. as weak and indecisive, and a new president will face enormous challenges.

We have only “presumptive” winners. It doesn’t get real until the conventions vote. The comments on any political piece are extremely angry on both sides. People are emotionally involved. Traffic on the social websites like Facebook and Twitter and others is way down. My guess is that there is too much anger and people don’t want to put up with it.

I have never seen a presidential campaign in which the people were so manipulated by a biased press which has skewed the results and people’s understanding. The people react emotionally to the press, everybody is calling everybody else names, we  have riots at political rallies, American college students have clearly gone completely nuts and the battles are not about anything real, but only political correctness. You must not offend.

How extremely odd. We started off with a bench of superbly qualified governors and have winnowed it down to the least qualified of all, while the Democrats had no bench at all.  So here we are.



A Truly Weird Electoral Season. by The Elephant's Child

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They are voting in Indiana, and the polls will be closing soon. I do not understand this presidential campaign at all. We are told that the people are really angry. According to the media and Donald Trump, they are angry about illegal immigration, and unfair trade policy that is negatively affecting our country. According to exit polls, the people are not particularly concerned about immigration as it is far down the list of concerns, and majorities prefer a path to citizenship.

Mr. Trump is going to build a huge big wall. And he is going to put big tariffs on any country that isn’t being fair. He’s going to be nicer to our friends so we will be closer, but he will insist that they pay a larger share of  the cost of protecting them from radical Islam. He liked World War II and the Cold War, but is against any foreign adventures since.

What the people seem to be angry about is the economy, the lack of jobs, jobs going to immigrants, they are fearful about terrorism, angry about the ridiculous hooplah over women’s restrooms being open to men, the increased cost of ObamaCare, the lack of jobs and economic growth, and increased inflation while salaries have not risen at all. Jobs have vanished on coal country, employment is down in oil and gas country because of the drop in the price of oil, some manufacturing jobs have gone overseas because of high corporate taxes, and some high-tech jobs have gone to H1-B immigrants.

All of these problems are the direct result of policies of the Obama administration. The stimulus didn’t work. Republicans warned that ObamaCare was not going to work and would cost more, not less; every Republican voted against he initial law, and have voted to repeal the act five times, Obama has vetoed their efforts each time. Jobs have gone to offshore companies as a direct result of the highest corporate tax in the world. The rise of ISIS and the war in Syria and the Middle East is a direct result of Obama pulling the troops out of Iraq too soon. President Obama vowed early to bankrupt the coal companies, which he has done in a misguided and fruitless battle against catastrophic global warming which exists only in the computer programs of the IPCC. And in refusing to utter the words Islamic terrorism, Obama has skewed all of our perceptions of  the Middle East and what is happening.

So the people are furious with the Republicans? Huh?

They blame the policies of the Obama administration on the Republicans? They don’t think the Republicans have done enough to stop the administration?

This is the first time, as far as I know, when a President of the United States has deliberately decided that “he has a phone and a pen” and he will accomplish by executive order or actions of agencies whatever he wants, and that he will pay no attention to the Constitution of the United States of America, because he believes it to be a tired old document that needs repealing or fixing.  The remedies available are to proceed through the courts in one lawsuit or another or to impeach the president. The Republicans have voted to repeal ObamaCare five times, Obama has vetoed every bill.

Results are in from Indiana, and Donald Trump has enough votes that he will be the presumptive nominee, for he is sure to pick up enough from states like California and Washington, for example, from the remainder of states left.  Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign.

I am not and have not been a Trump supporter. I do not understand what they hope for from what little Mr. Trump has had to say in his speeches.  His supporters seem to put a lot of faith in “Make America Great Again”  and “America First” which was a discredited slogan from  the America First Committee which was highly non-interventionist in the days just before World War II. I guess they see it as patriotism and strength. I see it as lacking in evidence.

We’ll see. Mr. Trump hasn’t even released his tax returns, and is due to face trial for fraud regarding his promotion of Trump University.  But then the case against Hillary proceeds slowly as well. What a weird, weird electoral season.



It’s Not “The Establishment,” It’s The Left’s Grab For Power! by The Elephant's Child

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Are you tired of the circus that the presidential campaign has become? The latest insult from Mr. Trump is food for a thousand articles about the polls and who is up and who is not. Mr. Trump is doing an amazing job of keeping the attention of the media on his every word. Comments on posts are partisan and angry, but the anger is remarkably unfocused. Everyone is furious with “the establishment” but no one seems to know just who “the establishment” is. Presumably it’s the people they elected last time around.

The “establishment” is apparently the people who know their way around Washington, and understand how it works. And they deserve your fury because? There has been a major shift over the past seven-and-a-half years as the two major parties jockey for power. President Obama had a Democrat Congress to work with, and was able to pass all sorts of noxious laws without a single Republican vote. Lots of promises, mostly hooey, and lots of regulations that Republicans would not have put into place. But Democrats were in charge. See the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the sidebar.

The major change has been the arrogation of power to the executive branch. Lawmaking is the task of the Congress, but this president has claimed much of that power for himself, and distributed much administrative power to the various executive agencies. From the Coyote Blog, Mr Meyer said: “This is eye opening:

In one recent year alone, Congress passed 138 laws—while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules. Federal judges conduct about 95,000 trials a year, but federal agencies conduct nearly 1 million. Put all that together and you have a situation in which one branch of government, the executive, is arrogating to itself the powers of the other two.

he adds: This probably understates the case.  Most of the laws were probably brief fixes or extensions or for national _____ day declarations.  The administrative rules can be thousands of pages long and create nightmarish compliance issues.  Already, most of our businesses compliance efforts (which seem to be rising exponentially in time and cost) are due to administrative rules changes rather than new laws per se.

This is called “Administrative Law. Suddenly, executive agencies are writing the regulations, administering them, enforcing them and conducting trials and issuing fines or penalties to those who do not go along cheerfully. Some agencies even have their own SWAT teams.

America has witnessed a massive shift in government authority, says George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley—one that “has occurred without a national debate and certainly not a national vote.” That shift has led to the de facto creation of a “fourth branch of government containing legislative, executive and judicial components but relatively little direct public influence.”

Turley made those remarks in recent testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee. His talk waded deeply into the weeds of legal history and precedent, but the upshot was this: By failing to rein in regulatory agencies when they overstep their bounds, the Supreme Court and Congress have allowed those agencies not merely to administer law, but to create it—and run roughshod over the public in the process. …

All of this has happened thanks largely to a 1984 Supreme Court case called Chevron. The Reagan administration chose to relax some air-quality regulations, and the Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the decision in court. The Supreme Court sided with the Environmental Protection Agency. It did so for commendable reasons: to avoid turning the courts themselves into policy-making bodies. Rather than decide whether the EPA was right or wrong, the high court deferred to the agency. This is judicial modesty.

Daniel Greenfield said “This is how we move toward a totalitarian state. Incrementally. Step by step. Regulation by regulation implemented by a collectivist bureaucracy for all the “right leftist reasons”. You can’t object. That would be bigoted. Or mean that you have “something to hide”.

That last link notes that the EEOC has released a proposed rule requiring employers to submit employee W-2 earnings and hours worked. All employers with at least 100 employees would be required to comply. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) would jointly have access to the pay data for enforcement  purposes.  Whoa!

The Republican House voted in February “on legislation to make it more difficult for banking regulators to demand that banks shut down certain business accounts.” The legislation is designed “to target the Obama administration’s ‘Operation Choke Point’ a Justice Department effort to require businesses to stop banks from working with certain businesses. These businesses include lawful firearms dealers, payday lenders, escort services and other companies.”…”While the Justice Department cut off financial services to certain industries, it encouraged banks to provide services to others like illegal marijuana sales.”

We are all too familiar with the overreach of the EPA under administrator Gina McCarthy the agency is embarked on a grab for power. Philip Hamburger had a new book “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?” in 2014. Powerline chatted with him about the book, which they said is the most important book they had read in a long time.

I think this is perhaps what people are getting at when they are so angry with “the establishment” — that undefined bunch of “insiders.”That’s where the anger should be directed. Administrative Law is unlawful, unconstitutional and illegitimate. This is the power once claimed by English kings, and exactly what our Constitution was carefully designed to prevent.



Donald Trump is the Ultimate Insider by The Elephant's Child

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Matthew Continetti, writing at the Washington Free Beacon today, said “Donald Trump has become the Republican frontrunner because GOP primary voters want an outsider who is angry at the condition of the country and the party establishment.” this really struck me — because it is just dead wrong. I don’t know whether Continetti is correct or not, but if GOP primary voters assume that Donald Trump is an outsider, they are mistaken. Mr. Trump is the ultimate insider.

He has told us so repeatedly. Trump explains that he donates to both parties because he is in business, and that’s just what you do. Of course. He donates because he is buying access. If he gives a significant sum to a politician, whether a national candidate, a state candidate or someone in city administration, they will see him when he calls. They will look with favor, if they are able, to his requests, favor at least partly, his side of the latest ‘deal.’ That is by nature — an insider. That’s how you make deals.

Forgive me, but the party “establishment,” whoever that is:  Party Chairman Reince Priebus? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? House Speaker Paul Ryan? Who precisely are you angry at and why? The Republican “establishment” did not pass ObamaCare, but have voted to repeal it in full six times, and in part over 50 times.

Those changes that you resent so much are a direct result of President Obama having a House and a Senate with Democrats in charge, and Republicans couldn’t do a thing about it. Even when the voters revolted and gave control of the House and the Senate to Republicans, there was little that they could do beyond putting a bill on the president’s desk, which he promptly vetoed, as he has. Shut down the government? That only frightens voters who fear that they won’t get their Social Security checks, or their welfare checks, or their food stamps, or their medical care. They depend on those payments, and shutting down the government really frightens them, and loses votes for Republicans at the polls.

The founders designed a Constitutional system that was meant to be slow, with participants thinking and arguing over potential legislation extensively to be sure that it was good legislation. They had no concept of a federal government with hundreds of agencies, departments, offices and bureaus all with the power to issue regulations. Who knew that it would take a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit which could take months and years to pry loose information that Congress needed to do their work? That many arguments about authority would go to the Supreme Court for a decision, and those can take years proceeding through the courts.

Of course there should not be hundreds of agencies, departments, offices and bureaus, and they shouldn’t be issuing regulations. Congress is supposed to be making the laws, not palming them off. It is the Democrats who are in favor of BIG government, and essentially believe that most everything should be done by government. I believe Bernie Sanders recently said that charities should be abolished and the government should take that task over. It is of course about power. And that’s why Democrat plans seldom work.

If  you are angry at the vast number of people who have dropped out of the labor market, the huge numbers on food stamps, the sluggish economy that Obama keeps claiming is growing and prospering — why aren’t you angry with Obama?

If you are distraught at open and unenforced borders, at illegals placed all over the country, and criminal illegals in sanctuary cities, blame the Democrats. If you are disturbed by President Obama’s announced numbers of “Syrian” refugees to be admitted to the country, Republicans are trying valiantly to stop some of these things.

If you worry about ISIS, then don’t fall for the Democrats’ propaganda about “Bush Lied, People Died.” Bush did not lie, every intelligence agency in the world believed that Saddam had WMD — and so he did. He had 500 tons of yellowcake, enough to make 168 nuclear weapons. He had vast warehouses full of “agricultural chemicals” which are the precursors of nerve gas and other poison gasses, and the chemicals that turned them into nerve gas were stored in Saddam’s scientists’ home refrigerators. ISIS has found vast stores of Saddam’s poison gas, which are still turning up. ISIS exists because Obama did not make any effort to make a status of forces agreement and just pulled all the troops out, leaving Iraq to fend for itself.

Republicans are doing what they can to prevent Obama’s overreach but as he has told us—he has a phone and a pen— and he is going to do as much as he possibly can to go around Congress and accomplish his ends with executive orders and signing statements and whatever other executive tricks he can think up. He has no intention of working with Congress at any time. Be as angry as you want, but at least direct your anger constructively at the source of the problems, not at those who are trying to remedy them.



Free Speech? Trump Wants Stronger Libel Laws So He Can Sue Newspapers Who Aren’t ‘Nice’. by The Elephant's Child

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Donald Trump made his first definitive statement on just what he would do as president. Up to this point, he has been remarkably vague, but the Trump people seem to believe he’s making a commitment.  He is taking on The New York Times and The Washington Post saying they are dishonest and losing money. But he said when he’s president they’ll “have problems.”

“One of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we’re certainly leading. I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected,” Trump said.

Well, they haven’t been ‘nice’ to him. What did you expect?

Donald Trump responded to demands that he release his tax returns, as he promised to do, by saying that he couldn’t right now because he was being audited. And he said he’s been audited every year for twelve years.

“I’m always audited by the IRS, which I think is very unfair — I don’t know, maybe because of religion, maybe because of something else, maybe because I’m doing this, although this is just recently,” Trump said in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo immediately following the 10th GOP debate on Thursday night.

That provoked major gales of laughter, but the IRS took him seriously: and said to Mr. Trump: “Nothing prevents you from sharing your tax documents.”

Donald Trump claims he can’t release his tax returns until he’s done being audited by the IRS. But the federal agency on Friday said that’s not true.

“Federal privacy rules prohibit the IRS from discussing individual tax matters. Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information,” a spokesperson for the IRS said in a statement. …

I want to [release them], except for many years, I’ve been audited every year,” Trump said during the debate. “Twelve years, or something like that. Every year they audit me, audit me, audit me. Nobody gets audited — I have friends that are very wealthy people. They never get audited. I get audited every year. I will absolutely give my return, but I’m being audited now for two or three years, so I can’t do it until the audit is finished, obviously. And I think people would understand that.”

Trump has been consistent about his business record and his defense of bankruptcy as a tactic. He has weathered four major bankruptcies and considers them as just a cost of doing business, or as his shrewdly using existing bankruptcy law to his advantage. While his Chapter 11 bankruptcies have allowed his businesses to live and see another day, that’s not so true for the smaller businesses who had made the mistake of contracting with the Trump empire.

People are inclined to deeply disapprove of companies who do big layoffs when the company is not doing well, Carly Fiorina was criticized or a major layoff of workers at Hewlett Packard, yet it was that action that saved the company and made it ready to prosper when the dot-com crisis passed. Bankruptcy means that smaller creditors may not be paid back, and for some of those it means going out of business.

The question is if this way of doing business is in any way transferable to the economy of a very large country. Overspending and defaulting on debts is for countries like Greece, hopefully not for the United States of America, although under the Obama administration the national debt has reached scary levels.

“Analysts have stopped trying to figure out Trump’s true positions or his political philosophy — if he has one—since he has flip-flopped so much.” The idea that his pride in his tactics might provide a model for a President Trump when dealing with an out-of-control public debt is frightening. It is fair to ask if he would default on all or any part of America’s multi-trillion dollar public debt.

Trump’s satisfaction clearly comes from wheeling and dealing, and building the TRUMP brand. He’s has some successes and a lot of failures, but it seems to be the game and the brand that he enjoys. I’m not sure that is an attractive quality in politics. I’d rather see a recognizable political philosophy like smaller government, free markets and free people. Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to understand free speech, he’d rather sue.

And he doesn’t talk much about what he’d do as president other than  do something really big, and it would be wonderful.

 




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