American Elephants


You Voted for Republicans in 2014? The Community Organizer Strikes Back! by The Elephant's Child
June 22, 2015, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Economy, Education, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: , , ,

According to the Obama administration, in too many neighborhoods “housing choices continue to be constrained through housing discrimination, the operation of housing markets,[and] investment choices by holders of capital,” information directly from the Housing and Urban Development  — “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) proposed rule.

Obama apparently believes that your neighborhood may not be inclusive enough, so he has instructed HUD to issue a new rule to force communities to diversify.

Under Obama’s proposed rule, the federal government will collect massive amounts of data on the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of thousands of local communities, looking for signs of “disparities by race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability in access to community assets.” Then the government will target communities with results it doesn’t like and use billions of dollars in federal grant money to bribe or blackmail them into changing their zoning and housing policies.

Don’t misunderstand, this is not about housing discrimination, which has been illegal since 1968. It is unlawful to deny you a loan or prevent you from buying a home because of your race, creed or color. Socioeconomic status is another matter, and should be. If you want to buy a nice house in the suburbs, you have to be able to afford it. Obama apparently believes that this is unfair discrimination by the “holders of capital.” Remember that Obama’s previous chosen occupation was as a “community organizer,” a job heavily invested in claims of “red-lining” and banks’ loan policies.

The effort calls for HUD to set aside taxpayer funds to upgrade poorer communities with amenities such as better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as a means of gentrifying those communities. It also calls for using grant money to build affordable housing in wealthy neighborhoods.

The Left is deeply engaged in the pursuit of “equality.” Their goal of a future utopia where everyone is equal and lives together in perfect harmony dominates their dreams and motivates their political aims. Communitarian ideals, though it doesn’t seem to penetrate that it has been tried and failed over and over from Lenin to Venezuela and the communes of the Sixties. Those people just didn’t do it right. The Progressives would.

There is clearly a natural urge for “community.” How often do you hear the term “the Black Community?” But many cities have a Chinatown, Seattle has a Norwegian community, and it was true from the beginning — up-country South Carolina was heavily settled by the Scots-Irish. My German immigrant ancestors settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania itself was settled by Quakers, New England by Puritans. People who can afford it buy around a favored golf club, or buy waterfront around a lake. Are the rest of us harmed by that? Or does it drive a better economy that benefits everyone, with more people striving to succeed?

There is a human instinct for associating with like-minded people. Consider the retirement communities, where golf-carts are the usual transportation, and escape from loud rock music is welcomed. and homes for senior citizens where health care is part of the deal. Does low-income housing fit into the gated community in the name of diversity? Is a massive influx of immigrants or welfare recipients into a highly regarded school district called for in the name of correcting good schools in the name of discrimination?

The final regulations are due out this month and HUD is pitching them as a plan to “diversify” America. “HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a spokeswoman for the agency explained.

The House has passed an amendment to the Transportation Housing and Urban Development Bill that prevents HUD from implementing their AFFH regulation, which has been issued in preliminary but not yet final form by the Obama administration. “AFFH repudiates the core principles of our constitutional system by allowing the federal government to usurp the zoning powers of local governments. Over time it would transform the way Americans live urbanizing suburbs and Manhattanizing cities,” according to Stanley Kurtz. This may well become a campaign issue. Anything to get the Iran deal off the airwaves. This represents the death of the neighborhood.

Obama wants to reengineer your neighborhood.” by Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

“Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out: The Death of the Neighborhood” by Arnold Ahlert, Front Page Magazine

“Ultimate White House trolling: Obama to “diversify” wealthy neighborhoods” by Jazz Shaw, Hot Air



Wading Through The Political Swamp. Put On Your Hip Boots! by The Elephant's Child
May 18, 2015, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

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Income inequality is the key theme of the Democrats’ 2016 re-election strategy, and the main target is the nation’s chief executive officers. Hardly surprising — Democrats hate corporations.

Much has been made of the gap between the average corporate worker and the CEO. Business News Daily says the average annual compensation for a CEO of a public company in the U.S. in 2012 was $9.6 million. The average U.S. worker, in contrast made a little more than $44,000 in 2012.

I don’t get the issue. What is “the average U.S. worker?” That includes the janitor, the receptionist and people with a vast variety of skills from practically none to a whole bunch. How do we compare ourselves to an average worker and why is it a useful comparison? This is purely a political ploy, designed to promote envy and attract those who think that the politician who promises to reduce income inequality “cares about me” David Horowitz explains about that theme in his book Take No Prisoners:

At election time, “caring” is not one issue among many. It is the central one. Most issues are complex and require more information than the public can readily acquire. Consequently, voters care less about policy details than about the candidates who are going to shape them Voters don’t get to decide the policies. They elect their representatives to do that for them. They want to know whom they can rely on to sort out the complexities and vote in their best interests. Above everything else, they want to know whom they can trust to make those decisions. They want to know who cares about them.

Forgive me, but politicians care only about your vote. They don’t give a damn about you. And why is it only CEOs whose pay we are supposed to be concerned about? Lebron James makes $72.3 million. Kobe Bryant makes $61.5 million. Phil Mickelson makes $53.2 million. Matt Ryan makes $43,8 million. Did you have a personal manager or attorney to bargain for your compensation? If you work for a corporation, you have probably been told that you will be fired if you discuss your salary with any of your co-workers.

Hillary Clinton spent 8 years as First Lady in the White House, attempting to be a co-president. Then she was a Senator from a safe Democrat open seat, and ran for the presidency and was defeated by Barack Obama, and became Secretary of State, in which office she racked up a record in air miles, and not much else. One would think that after all that time in the nation’s capitol, she would have some clear observations of what our nation needs to do differently, or what’s wrong with the direction of the country. But she has already made it clear that her campaign will be about “income inequality.” Hillary Clinton demands $300,000 for giving a speech. Surely that gets some hypocrisy award.

How is CEO compensation determined? First of all, CEO compensation is public knowledge, which lets them know what the others are getting. They have lawyers to bargain for them. Their base pay for the core role and responsibilities of running the organization accounts for just 20 percent of their compensation. The other 80 percent is based on incentives. There are annual bonuses for meeting performance objectives. There are long term incentive payments for a two to five year period. Restricted stock awards to make sure the executive’s interests are aligned with stockholders’ interests. Stock options for increasing share price and shareholder’s returns. Retirement package, insurance separation pay. Average tenure for a CEO is currently 9.7 years which the highest it’s been in years. Largely, I assume, because stock prices are high because the best return you can get on your money is in dividend-paying stocks.

Possibly a major reason for the Left’s envy of CEO pay is because the highest paid professors make only $212,000 (Columbia), $203,000 (Harvard), or $179,000 (Cal Tech). Those professors have PhDs, and CEOs don’t. The AFL-CIO has an Executive Paywatch website which laments that “corporate CEOs have been taking a greater share of the economic pie.”

Pure politics again. There is no “economic pie” but an economy that grows or shrinks with the success or failure of the free market. When there is growth or new business or new ideas, or new products or services, money is created and the economy grows.

We’re already deep into the political season, though not everyone who is going to run has declared. The media are already asking silly “gotcha” questions like “If you knew then what you know now would you have …?” But we are encouraged to think that way. We are supposed to judge past wars with what we know now, not what we knew at the time. We are supposed to judge slavery by today’s sensibilities, not what was customary at the time. We are supposed to judge past presidents by how their actions have turned out many years later. Hindsight can be very, very comfortable.



Hello Young People, I’m Hillary Clinton by The Elephant's Child
May 18, 2015, 3:29 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption | Tags: , ,

JennaMarbles@youtube is very funny.

“You’re an AfricanAmericanMiddleClassHomosexual? I care about you!”

(h/t: American Digest)



Carly Fiorina Is Running for the Presidency. Get to Know A Bit about Her! by The Elephant's Child
May 14, 2015, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Election 2016 | Tags: , , ,

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Here is a most interesting interview with Carly Fiorina by Jennifer Rubin of the “Right Turn” Blog at The Washington Post. I suspect that most of us don’t know much about Carly Fiorina beyond the fact that she was once CEO of Hewlett Packard, and is an accomplished woman.

Fiorina’s critics call her a “failed” chief executive, but, again, over time her tenure can be seen in a different light. Her defenders observe that during her tenure as CEO, Hewlett-Packard’s revenue doubled to nearly $90 billion and growth quadrupled to 9 percent. During her time at HP, the rate of innovation was tripled to 11 patents a day. Between 2004 and 2005, HP added 5,000 patents and was ranked as one of the top 10 patenting companies between 2002 and 2005. HP donated more than $395 million in cash and goods to charities under her watch. Even the merger with Compaq that precipitated her downfall has been judged by many in hindsight to be a success (“fast-forward a decade, and solution providers say the historic merger was a surprising success and ultimately helped their businesses. And the bold move ultimately produced what the two companies promised – a worldwide technology powerhouse with top revenue positions in servers, PC and printers”).

But there’s more, a lot more. We may be underestimating her again. Do read the whole thing.



The President Has Again Tried to Circumvent the Constitutional System of Lawmaking. by The Elephant's Child
May 12, 2015, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Among the publications of the Hoover Institution is an online magazine called Peregrine, which includes short pieces by Hoover fellows. This one about Obama’s use of his executive power by William Suter is particularly interesting:

President Obama is not the first President to use his executive power aggressively. President Lincoln used an Executive Order in 1861 to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court held that his action was unconstitutional. President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to change the composition of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1937 in order to gain favorable votes for his New Deal legislation. His “Court packing” plan was rejected by Congress and the voters. President Truman seized steel mills in 1952 to avert a strike because the mills were needed to support the Korean War. The Supreme Court held that his takeovers were unconstitutional. Previously, Truman acted courageously by issuing an Executive Order in 1948 that desegregated the armed forces. In that instance, he was on solid legal ground because the Constitution states that the President is the “commander in chief of the Army and Navy.” President Obama attempted to make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 when the Senate clearly was not in recess. His reason for doing this was that the Senate would not confirm his nominees. He acted as though he was the first President to be treated rudely by the Senate. Not so! His crude attempt was an insult to the Constitution. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that his appointments were void.

Congress also uses its power aggressively. An example is the Senate’s late-night manipulation of rules to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in 2010. That embarrassing episode rivaled the famous 1972 Olympic Gold Medal basketball game when three seconds were mysteriously added to the clock, enabling the Soviet Union to defeat the United States. …

President Obama, emboldened by his record of changing laws – including provisions of the Affordable Care Act – decided in November 2014 to bring about his vision of immigration reform, not through Congress, but by use of executive fiats. For years, he maintained that he had no legal authority to change immigration laws. The sweeping election wins by Republicans a few weeks earlier apparently caused the President to change his mind. The largest category of people affected by the President’s executive “Presidential memos” is an estimated population of five million illegal immigrants who have been in this country for five or more years and have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal citizens. If they pass a background check and pay their taxes, the President offers a 3-year temporary status of “deferred action” regarding deportation along with work permits. The President’s purported legal authority to do this is his power of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors have such authority in individual cases, but no one can seriously think that authority is applicable on such a grand scale. What the President is doing is refusing to execute the law. He has no more authority to do this than he would to exempt corporations from paying income taxes. He cannot change the law.

As one writer put it, “This move by President Obama is not a sign of righteous impatience; it is proof that he has failed at that most basic of tasks – working with Congress.” The President has created a constitutional crisis when there was no need to do so. That is regrettable. (emphasis added)



The Obama Administration’s Immigration Actions Are In A Bit of Trouble! by The Elephant's Child
May 12, 2015, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

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On Monday 113 Republicans in Congress joined in the court battle over President Obama’s latest moves to give amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Texas and 5 other states have challenged the legality of Obama’s unilateral actions, arguing that the president has gone too far with his attempts to accomplish his immigration goals with executive power alone, He has halted deportations and granted work permits to certain groups of illegal immigrants.

The Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Va.), are siding squarely with the states, arguing Obama’s executive action “changes the law and sets a new policy, exceeding the executive’s constitutional authority and disrupting the delicate balance of powers.”

“Congress has created a comprehensive immigration scheme — which expresses its desired policy as to classes of immigrants — but the class identified by the [Homeland Security Department] directive for categorical relief is unsupported by this scheme,” the lawmakers wrote in an amicus brief filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

“Instead of setting enforcement priorities,” they added, “it created a class-based program that establishes eligibility requirements that, if met, grant unlawful immigrants a renewable lawful presence in the United States and substantive benefits.”

The amicus brief was endorsed by 113 Republicans, including Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz from Texas, Representatives Trey Gowdy (SC), Tom Price (GA), Michael McCaul (TX) chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Lamar Smith (TX) the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

The court fight centers on two executive actions taken by Obama shortly after November’s midterm elections. One, called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program halts deportations and gives work permits to the parents of U .S. citizens and permanent legal residents. The other expands Obama’s 2012 program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative to a greater number of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as kids. Combined, the programs defer deportation for more than  4 million illegal immigrants.

The states sued the administration over those programs, arguing that they mark a case of illegal executive overreach that would saddle them with exorbitant new costs.

In February U .S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of Brownsville, Texas found that the states had legitimate standing to bring their case. He blocked the programs temporarily for what he said was a violation of the federal law allowing public comment when new rules are established. His initial decision prevented the administration from moving forward with the programs, including the processing of applications.

Last Thursday, the plot thickened. President Obama’s lawyers admitted that they had broken the court’s February 16th injunction that halted the administration’s amnesty and issued thousands of work permits even after Judge Hanen had ordered the program stopped. Judge Hanen  has not yet ruled, but administration lawyers are facing sanctions for their continued problems in arguing the case.

Justice Department lawyers admitted that an immigration agency had approved about 2,000 applications for three-year work permits. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had repeatedly assured Congress that they had halted the program and were complying with the court order. Sen. Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said “The last time I checked, injunctions are not mere suggestions. They are not optional.: He has written to Sec. Johnson asking the department to turn over all its communications about implementing the three-year policy.

The article from The Hill oddly omits any mention of the ‘little slip-up’ by Justice Department lawyers and the Department of Homeland Security in issuing thousands of work permits in direct violation of the court injunction.

President Obama has decided that he can ignore our immigration laws, apparently because he didn’t learn anything in law school, or because he confuses the powers and duties of the presidency with other of the world’s dictators, or he just believes that no one can stop him. Stay tuned.This whole thing is going to get a lot more interesting.



“You Can’t Sell The Cow and Still Have the Milk” by The Elephant's Child
April 9, 2015, 6:57 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry speaks about the Ukraine crisis after his meetings with other foreign ministers in Paris

Obama’s sales pitch for his”framework” of a nuclear deal with Iran has not met with universal plaudits and applause. Partially because Iran doesn’t agree in the slightest with what the U.S. delegation claims to have been agreed upon. They seem to have a different idea entirely, which begins with the prompt end to all sanctions and continues with going to work on building their desired weapon without interference. Big words and big ideas slowly turn into farce.

Less than a week following the framework of a nuclear deal with Iran that allows the Islamic Republic to continue operating core aspects of its program, the State Department is looking for a new training course on how to negotiate.

The agency released a solicitation for “Negotiations” on Wednesday, revealing that the State Department is seeking a class for U.S. diplomats on “making and receiving concessions wisely.”

The overall course teaches the essential skills, knowledge, and attitudes for U.S. diplomats to succeed in any of 275 overseas posts performing the full spectrum of political and economic work,” the solicitation said. “This module will focus on the complex art of negotiating across diverse cultures to find common ground for advancing mutual interests.”

One might suggest that their timing was a little bit off, or make reference to “locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen.”. It would all be really funny if it weren’t so desperately important.




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