American Elephants


As The World Turns, Altering and Illuminating the Affairs of Men: by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2015, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Middle East | Tags: , ,

TEHRAN — Iran’s supreme leader, The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday that he will not allow international inspection of Iran’s military sites or any access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement with world powers. He told military commanders that Iran will resist “coercion and excessive demands” from America and other world powers.

The negotiators from Iran and representatives of the six-nation group —the U.S, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — have launched a new round of talks in Vienna focused on reaching a final deal that halts Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. “The two sides,” the AP says, “reached a framework agreement in March and hope to work out a final deal by June 30.” It’s just that President Obama’s description of the ‘framework agreement’ and Iranian officials’ description of the “framework agreement” didn’t seem to have much of anything in common.

The White House called the collapse of Ramadi, the largest city in Anbar province in Iraq, a “minor setback” and claimed that we are still succeeding in Iraq.The Pentagon reported that ISIS seized large amounts of American weapons including tanks, artillery pieces and Humvees when the Iraqi troops abandoned Ramadi. ISIS is reported to be now operating in Malaysia.

A Russian spy plane was photographed in British airspace over Lancashire, not far from a NATO monitoring station and a factory that makes military planes. As tensions rise  between Moscow and the West, American planes are patrolling the borders between the Latvian countries and Russia.

President Obama spoke to the graduates at the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut. He said:.

And this brings me to the challenge I want to focus on today — one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers — and that’s the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.

As a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism.  And as Americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country.  Yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations. …

Perhaps we need to take a harder look at our intelligence operations. There are too many people telling the president just what he wants to hear. Or perhaps the problem is even more serious.



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)



Obama Versus The Pipeline: An Ideological Battle! by The Elephant's Child

keystone1

President Obama  in an interview with WDAY of Fargo ND, Feb. 26, 2015 — tried to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline:

“I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf. It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.”

Obama has come to believe that he can say whatever he wants and the people will believe it, and it’s getting to be embarrassing.

Infrastructure is just equipment and structures like, well, pipelines. Building infrastructure is a construction job. Construction jobs only last until the structure is complete, and then construction workers move on to the next project. There are around 20,000 high-paying construction jobs in the pipeline and in materials, and the State Department estimates 42,000 spin-off jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy. Beats losers like Solyndra and the enormous Ivanpah Project.

The crude oil would indeed travel to the Gulf Coast. and be refined there. Most of the refined product is likely to be consumed in the United States. For Gulf refineries heavy bitumen from the oil sands is an attractive substitute for declining offshore heavy crude supply from Latin America. A report from IHS Energy concluded that 70 percent of the refined product would be consumed in the United States. Canadian crude is eligible for crude export licenses. The likelihood that WCSB crudes would be exported in volume is considered low.

TransCanada has signed contracts to move 65,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, and about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity has been set aside for the Bakken region. U.S companies control about 30 percent of the production in Canada’s oil sands region, so production is not strictly Canadian, But the last time I looked, Canada was our friendly neighbor to the North, and our most important trading partner.

Obama got  Four Pinocchios for that speech from the Washington Post Fact Checker.



Little Things Hidden in the President’s Budget by The Elephant's Child

Little things are hidden in the 1200 pages of President Obama’s proposed budget. Sometimes they are found. The President’s budget is definitely dead on arrival, but Economist Steven Moore noticed that once again, President Obama is attempting to defund the D.C. School Voucher program. This is a wonderful program that gives at least some kids stuck in poor-performing schools vouchers (by a lottery)  that they can take to a school of their choice.

The Teachers’ Union is furiously opposed to the program. Students who get vouchers may take them to Catholic schools where teachers are not unionized. The program has been very successful in graduation rates and kids that go on to college. Makes the teachers’ union look bad. You can see the incentives here, including the incentive for the president.

Most embarrassing is that the president’s children go to Sidwell Friends School, very expensive, very exclusive, and they take some of the voucher program kids. Makes the president’s pandering to the union look bad.



The Numbers Contradict Your Words, Mr. President. by The Elephant's Child

Was it only twice this last week that President Obama was berating the Republicans in the House of Representatives by saying that while he’s doing his job (?), the GOP House is “not doing anything.” In Minneapolis when he spent a “day in the life” of Rebekah, a mother who had written to him, concerned about making ends meet.

And, now, some of you may have read — so we take these actions and then now Republicans are mad at me for taking these actions.  They’re not doing anything, and then they’re mad that I’m doing something.

The second time was a speech at Georgetown in which he resorted to his most constant theme since 2008 — upgrading those worn-out roads and bridges — something he never gets around to doing.

It’s not crazy, it’s not socialism.  (Laughter.)  It’s not the imperial presidency — no laws are broken.  We’re just building roads and bridges like we’ve been doing for the last, I don’t know, 50, 100 years.  But so far, House Republicans have refused to act on this idea.  I haven’t heard a good reason why they haven’t acted — it’s not like they’ve been busy with other stuff.  (Laughter.)  No, seriously.  (Laughter.)  I mean, they’re not doing anything.  Why don’t they do this?

You will notice that he is not berating Congress, but only the House of Representatives. What he means is that the GOP led House will not do his bidding. But the House has not been idle as the president suggests. The GOP led 113th Congress has passed 297 bills (280 bills, 17 resolutions) and is about average dating from the seventies. The 112th Congress (2011-2013) passed 301 bills.

In contrast, Harry Reid has refused to bring the majority of those bills to a vote, and his 113th Senate is on track to pass the fewest number of bills of any Senate as far back as 1972, passing a mere 59 bills.  Numbers from GovTrack.us. Some bills are obviously more important than others, but Harry Reid is unusually intent on seeing that no GOP bills come to the floor to be voted on. Possibly he does not dare allow them to be voted on? Who knows, but if Majority Leader Reid’s  actions were not consistent with his president’s wishes, he wouldn’t be doing that.



The Freedom of Religion Battle by The Elephant's Child
March 3, 2012, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Health Care, Law, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

Congressional Democrats in the guise of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been trying to pull a fast one. Sandra Fluke, portrayed as a 23 year-old coed at Georgetown Law School is actually 30 years old, and a long time activist for unmarried victims of domestic violence. Somehow this morphed into being an activist for “reproductive justice,” which means getting someone else to pay for your birth-control pills.

You have probably heard about her testimony. She claimed it cost poor law students $3,000 for three years of birth control; Rush Limbaugh noted that she was declaring on national television that she wanted to have an active sex life without benefit of marriage, and wanted someone else to pay for it, and suggested that implied that she was a slut. That prompted President Obama to make a personal telephone call to her to tell her how proud her parents must be that she was standing up for her principles.

Birth-control seems a private matter, and I don’t understand why someone else should pay for the cost. It is not a health matter, but a matter of Democrat feminists’ demand for “choice.” You choose whether or not you want to have sex outside of marriage, you choose whether or not you want to have a baby, and you choose whether or not you want to pay to do something about it. The price of a 30-day supply of birth control pills at WalMart has been variously described as $4, $6 and $9. That does not seem exorbitant — even for a student.

Adding birth control to mandated health insurance raises the cost of that insurance. Catholic institutions are morally opposed, and the matter is clearly unconstitutional under the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment. The State shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

This is a major case of hypocrisy. Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius are both Catholic. President Obama, at the same time he celebrates adding to the cost of ObamaCare unnecessarily, is asking Congress to triple the cost of Tri-Care, the military’s health insurance, to the troops, in order to cut the budget.

All this is an attempt to garner women’s votes by telling them that Republicans want to deny women the right to birth control. They are already running ads to that effect. This president has made it clear that he has little respect the separation of powers nor for the Constitution that he took an oath to preserve, protect and defend. He intends to get around it with executive orders and regulation.



Unemployment Benefits Are the Best Way of Creating Jobs? by The Elephant's Child
December 2, 2010, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy | Tags: , ,

Nancy Pelosi made this claim again today, that unemployment benefits are the best way of creating jobs. President Obama said essentially the same thing — that unemployment benefits will be spent right away. Since the unemployed are hard-up, they will spend their benefits immediately, and then that money will s-l-o-w-l-y circulate through the economy creating “multiplier effects” which Christina Romer pegged at somewhere over 1.5% — to which some other economist said — obviously, all you have to do is dump $1 trillion into the economy, and you will get $1.5 trillion back.  You don’t even have to do anything else, just keep dumping money into the economy and — oh wait!!!  That’s what we have been doing.

Consumer demand is a consequence, not a cause, of economic growth.

I have an idea.  If we can just get President Obama to stop destroying jobs, I’d bet things would pick up right away.  The moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico cost something over 32,000 jobs, some rigs have left the Gulf, and although the moratorium is over, new drilling permits are not being issued — even for shallow water wells which have had no safety problems at all.  When Congress banned incandescent lightbulbs, to please GE, the incandescent factories closed permanently, and twisty bulbs now come from China.

The administration has subsidized  several electric battery factories, but there is a glut of batteries, and no market.  When you hike the minimum wage, you raise the unemployment rate.  Mandating health insurance shuts down small businesses.  Raising the cost of energy kills jobs, and requiring the use of renewable energy raises the cost of energy.  Denying permits to the coal industry (Obama said he would  bankrupt Coal) kills jobs.  Defunding the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository kills jobs.  And bashing business, particularly small business as represented by America’s Chambers of Commerce doesn’t help.  I could go on, but you get the idea.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,309 other followers

%d bloggers like this: