American Elephants

Two Down, Fourteen to Go. by The Elephant's Child

I’m really troubled. The two most accomplished governors in the country have both suspended their campaigns for the Republican nomination. Rick Perry administered a state that created most of the new jobs in the country. Liberals predicted that Texas would go bust along with oil prices when they started to drop, but 2014 was the year that oil prices fell to $53 a barrel in December from more than $107 in June.

But Austin has little exposure to the energy industry, and business other than government is booming. Texas has no personal or corporate income tax, and job growth continues to soar. Texas is in the business of wealth creation, not redistribution.

Scott Walker shifted power from unions to workers, where it belongs. Wisconsin has outdone the nation on most economic indicators. The unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and improving. After four years of Gov. Walker, more Wisconsinites are employed and his policies are clearly working. Add in an attempt to recall him, death threats to his family, protests at his parent’s home, and the use of law enforcement as a political instrument in an attempt to undo election results. Above all, he clearly has a steel spine, something we have all been wishing for.

Well, sour grapes. Walker, perhaps rose to the top too soon,too fast, and the vast number of candidates, hostile unions determined to destroy him,  a liberal media that regarded him as the most dangerous man in the bunch — liberals will do anything to silence those who disagree, and someone who is successful in overturning everything in the original progressive state is very dangerous to the liberal agenda.

I expected some to drop out, but not my two favorites while the less deserving, hang on. It’s politics, and the unexpected usually happens.

ADDENDUM: I’ve read dozens of other commentary on Scott Walkers suspension of his campaign. The only satisfying answer, setting aside the snark, is that he entered the race on a vast wave of enthusiasm, and the campaign spent way too much money in the first weeks, and as yet people are just getting acquainted with the candidates, and not really ready to settle on a single favorite. The too much money spent too early wasn’t getting replenished that fast. He just ran out of money and poll numbers.

The President Met With Governor Perry. Perry-1, Obama-0. by The Elephant's Child

Texas Governor Rick Perry met with President Obama today in Dallas. After the meeting he released the following statement.

DALLAS – Gov. Rick Perry today met with President Barack Obama to discuss the ongoing humanitarian and national security crises occurring along the Texas-Mexico border. In the meeting, Gov. Perry urged the president to undertake the necessary steps to secure the border and ease the crises.

“Five hundred miles south of here in the Rio Grande Valley there is a humanitarian crisis unfolding that has been created by bad public policy, in particular the failure to secure the border,” Gov. Perry said. “Securing the border is attainable, and the president needs to commit the resources necessary to get this done.”

Among the requests Gov. Perry made to President Obama to secure the border:

  • Visit the Texas-Mexico border to witness firsthand the impact of the border crisis;
  • Deploy an additional 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border to immediately enhance border security operations;
  • Direct the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the National Guard to utilize Predator drones along the Texas-Mexico border for identifying and tracking human and drug trafficking;
  • Medically screen all illegal immigrants to ensure their health and the health of our citizens;
  • Direct the Centers for Disease Control or another appropriate federal agency outside the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct, in conjunction with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), inspections of facilities in which illegal immigrants, including UACs, are being housed to ensure accepted international and national emergency sheltering standards are met;
  • Modify or rescind policies that serve as a magnet to encourage illegal immigration, including:
  • DHS Catch and Release policies by which DHS issues an illegal immigrant an NTA before an immigration judge and releases them. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 33 percent of those released on their own recognizance failed to appear in FY 2013.
  • Deportation policies and procedures that prohibit UACs from countries other than Mexico and Canada from being immediately repatriated back to their country of origin. After DHS processes these UACs, they are issued an NTA and delivered to a sponsor or relative in the United States, regardless of the relative’s immigration status.
The president said “Right now, there are more Border Patrol agents and surveillance resources on the ground than at any time in our history.  And we deport almost 400,000 migrants each year.” Which is not quite accurate. We have really boosted the funding for the Border Patrol, but according to reports, most of the Border Patrol agents have been called from the border to processing the UAC (Unaccompanied Alien Children), and the border is essentially wide open.
Obama, of course, takes responsibility only for the good things, and the problem at the border is, somehow, the uncooperative Republicans. It would all go smoothly if we had more administrative judges,more administrative capacity and lots more money.
We’ve asked Jeh Johnson to contact his head of Health and Human Services when he comes down for the sixth time at the end of this week to coordinate and make sure that some of the suggestions that the Governor has are technically feasible and what kind of resources might be needed. But what I emphasized to the Governor was the problem here is not a major disagreement around the actions that could be helpful in dealing with the problem.  The challenge is, is Congress prepared to act to put the resources in place to get this done.
Another way of putting it — and I said this directly to the Governor — is are folks more interested in politics, or are they more interested in solving the problem?  If they’re interested in solving the problem, then this can be solved.  If the preference is for politics, then it won’t be solved.

The president was asked why he won’t visit the border. He said:

Jeh Johnson has now visited, at my direction, the border five times.  He’s going for a sixth this week.  He then comes back and reports to me extensively on everything that’s taking place.  So there’s nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on.This isn’t theater.  This is a problem.  I’m not interested in photo ops; I’m interested in solving a problem.

Obama has asked for $3.8 billion to feed, house and clothe something like 50,000 UAC, but then as soon as they are “processed” they are put on a bus to take them to their “relatives,” and only 20% will ever turn up for their deportation hearing. Senator Coburn said you could send them all back home, first class air to Guatemala City for just $20 million. So somebody has some problems with math.

What has drawn the sudden influx of unaccompanied alien children, is President Obama’s very own “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA), This was created with an executive order. Obama could rescind it any time he wants. Yet he says now that he cannot act without Congress.

Rick Perry Pokes a Little Fun at Himself! by The Elephant's Child

Jobs Are Created by a Growing Economy, Not Government Spending. by The Elephant's Child

In a brief speech to the Western Republican Conference in Las Vegas, Texas governor Rick Perry announced his upcoming “economic pro-growth package that will create growth and encourage investment in America.  The plan will involve major tax reform, entitlement reform, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and abolishment of earmarks, and a recommitment to energy exploration in the United States.”

Our long term growth requires a fundamental tax reform. Perry said. Therefore, his plan “starts with scrapping the three million words of the current tax code — starting over with something simple: a flat tax.  I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time”. 

Much of Perry’s  speech was dedicated to promoting his already released energy plan.  He pointed out the importance of energy independence and exploration in boosting economic growth.  The Environmental Protection Agency has played too large a role in American’s lives, he said.  More localized, state-based solutions to environmental problems would solve the problem of the EPA’s overreach.

“Let’s get Washington out of the way in order to save and preserve the American way.  Let’s do it.  Let’s roll,” he concluded.  

Debates, Demagoguery and Democracy. by The Elephant's Child

Michelle Bachman ignited a firestorm in the Republican debate this last week.  In 2007, Texas governor Rick Perry issued an executive order requiring sixth-grade girls be vaccinated against the Human papillomavirus (HPV), the cause of cervical cancer and of many other genital cancers in both men and women.  Michelle Bachman claimed that “to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out-wrong” and “a violation of a liberty interest.”

Rick Perry has said in the past that he should not have done this with an executive order, but that he really hates cancer.  There was opportunity for parents who objected to opt out. Bachman saw an opportunity to go after the front-runner, and not only overdid it, but pretty much ruined her campaign.

Bachman went on to accuse Gov. Perry of being a tool of Merck Pharmaceuticals, because he had received a political donation from Merck.  Perry responded that the donation he had received from Merck was for $5,000 and if she was suggesting that he was for sale for $5,000 — he was offended.  The Media, scenting some hot dissent, invited Bachman on assorted shows. She made the rounds of the talk shows claiming that after the debate she was approached by a woman in tears who told her that when her 12-year-old daughter received the Guardasil vaccination she became retarded.

We have a national problem with irresponsible people scaring the poorly informed about vaccines. The complaints about the Food and Drug Administration are usually about how long it takes to get a drug approved.  They may be slow, but they do take care.

Let’s deal with some plain ordinary facts. According to the Center for Disease Control, a study that covered 83% of the U.S. population estimated that about 24,900 HPV-associated cancers occur each year.  More than 17,300 HPV-associated cancers occur yearly in women and almost 7,600 occur yearly in men.  These numbers may under-represent the actual number of cancers diagnosed during this time period.  Not everyone who gets the virus gets cancer, but there is no way to get rid of the virus.

The vaccines are mostly effective (not perfect) but definitely don’t cause retardation, which is caused by a birth defect — not acquired suddenly at age 12. Whooping-cough is making a return because of scared parents refusing vaccinations for their children.  California reported the highest number of cases of whooping-cough in 55 years. Vaccinations don’t cause autism either. For those who have been alarmed, there is plenty of information  available at the Center for Disease Control website, or consult your doctor.

The Wall Street Journal wrote:

Opponents of mandatory vaccination include social conservatives who believe the vaccine will increase promiscuity, though we suspect watching MTV is a greater spur to teen sex. Opposition to state involvement in treatment decisions has more force: HPV is not casually communicable like polio or measles. Yet the executive order included a clause that allowed families to opt out for “reasons of conscience” or “to protect the right of parents to be the final authority on their children’s health care.” At a certain point, the distinction between “opt in” and “opt out” becomes academic when the violation of liberty is filling out minor paperwork.

The larger opportunity here is to eradicate a potentially terminal disease that has huge economic, social and other costs. Such progress is especially welcome when other government trends—the FDA’s cancer drug approvals, the eventual treatment restrictions inherent in national health care—are running in the opposite direction. …

The GOP critique of government in the age of Obama would be more credible if the party’s candidates did not equate trying to save lives with tyranny.


Get to Know Governor Rick Perry. Impressive Experience! by The Elephant's Child

Rick Perry announced today that he is a candidate for President of the United States.  He has been governor of Texas for ten years, Lieutenant Governor before that, Commissioner of Agriculture, and a Representative in the Texas Legislature. Here is the announcement speech — no teleprompter — and if you don’t know much about him, very worth reading it all. He tells us who he is and what he believes.

We cannot afford four more years of this rudderless leadership. Last week, that leadership failed, and the tax and spend and borrow agenda of this President led to the first ever downgrade of the credit rating of the United States of America.

In reality though, this is just the most recent downgrade. The fact is for nearly three years President Obama has been downgrading American jobs. He’s been downgrading our standing in the world. He’s been downgrading our financial stability. He’s been downgrading our confidence, and downgrading the hope for a better future for our children. That’s a fact.

Texas has a pretty good record. No income tax. They like business there — home to more Fortune 500 businesses than any other state. Balanced budget. Over the past two years, over  40 percent of all jobs created in the country were created in Texas.

Even before the Perry announcement (though we all know he was going to announce) David Axlerod fired an early Obama campaign shot, on the CBS Early Show:

“I don’t think many people would attribute it to the leadership of the governor down there,” he said of jobs growth, citing federal spending on oil production and the military.

“Federal spending on oil production?” Have I not been writing for months and months about the thousands of jobs killed because the Obama administration will not issue permits for drilling?  And potential federal revenue from that drilling forgone because they didn’t want to let anyone drill for oil? How about the ten oil rigs departed for other countries?  Texas is a Gulf state, and has suffered from the Obama administration’s lack of a sensible energy policy. And Obama’s going to brag  about how he deserves the credit for Texas Job Growth?  Mr. slash defense spending, bring the troops home early, announce our schedule so the enemy can make appropriate plans, and cut the military back to bare bones?

Axlerod went on during an interview with George Stephanopoulos”

I don’t think the picture of Texas is what people want for the country when you look at the whole array of things that happened there,” he said.Texas’ record of job creation has more to do with profits from the oil industry, a growing military and receiving aid from the Recovery Act, according to Axelrod.

So President Obama has had marvelous success creating jobs in Texas, and neglected the rest of the country? Somewhere there are over 9 percent unemployed. When the folks in the other 49 states find out, they’re going to be really angry!

Here’s another enthusiastic post by a Perry supporter, from Legal Insurrection. Perry said:  “I promise I will work every day to make Washington D.C. as inconsequential in your lives as I can.”  Sounds good to me.

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