American Elephants


Best Essay of the Day by The Elephant's Child

Donald J Trump is president. Really. He won it fair and square, he was inaugurated seven — almost eight — months ago, and he very probably is going to be president for another three and a half years.

Minimum.

So, now, children, let’s calm down. All of you people over there saying Trump is unqualified and should be removed? Give it up. He’s qualified by the only qualification that matters: he is over 35, he is a native U.S. citizen, and he won the damned election. The Constitution doesn’t have a clause in it for removal by vote of the media, or because his political opponents don’t like him. The only reason he can be removed constitutionally is if someone finds high crimes and misdemeanors.

Now, I know that some people are fantasizing about the Democrats taking the House, and passing a bill of impeachment, and somehow getting the Senate to convict.

To which I say, “be careful, you’ll get chafed.”



Why Politics and Business Don’t Mix by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know about boycotts, I don’t think about joining some kind of boycott, nor of mounting the barricades. But if businesses get all political, I can certainly take my business someplace else. That’s basic economics. The market speaks louder, or at least more firmly than any soapbox.

Starbucks had five straight quarters of decreased sales, and they know exactly why their sales had fallen. It’s not a softening of the market but abandonment by Conservatives. Wall Street agreed. Financial analysts blame Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz’ repeated attacks on Conservatives and leftist activism.  Started when they took “Merry Christmas” off their holiday cups in November 2015. There was the message to customers to “please don’t bring your guns into Starbucks”, the backing of gay marriage, and the change the world with messages written by a barista on your coffee cup “Race Together”, so you will stop being racist, and “Come Together” to get partisans to rethink their opposition to their opponents. Baristas became “partners,” and Schultz pledged that the company would hire 10,000 refugees over Americans to protest President Trump’s executive order on immigration. That one did it. Americans are not in favor of increased immigration or open borders. They have since backed off with an effort to hire veterans.

Kevin Johnson has become President and chief executive officer. Howard Schultz has left the company, and is reportedly considering running for president.

Some are convinced that taking political positions helps a company show their responsibility, but I suspect that is simply partisan-speech. I may or may not like your product. If you expect me to buy your product and your political views, forget it.

Now we have Google asserting their leftist political views and firing someone who had the nerve to speak up. The monoculture at Google is not to be trifled with.

It is extremely difficult for lefties to grasp the nature of free speech. According to California law, you cannot fire someone for their political beliefs, but in Silicon Valley, on the other hand, you apparently may not disagree. I’ve already received a long message with alternatives for everything Google.



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: , ,

?????????????

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: , , ,

0227-carly-fiorina-630x420

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)




%d bloggers like this: