American Elephants


Nancy Pelosi’s Grip on History is a Little Hazy Too. by The Elephant's Child

Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi has slipped another cog. Desperate Democrats are trying to revive their “War on Women” theme for the upcoming election. I don’t believe women are that stupid.

Minority leader Pelosi said, on a conference call, that American women have been victims throughout the history of the nation. We’ve already established that President Obama is a little hazy on history. Seems Ms. Pelosi is as well.

It was a struggle all the way, Pelosi whined. Women marched, women starved. Women were starved. Women were force-fed. Women could barely speak up in their own homes.

Women left their homes to take the message. And it was successful, and the right to vote, again, so precious, so hard fought. …We hope women will continue to exercise forcefully, because than all of the issues we care about, whether it’s equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave, affordable quality child care, raising the minimum wage, women’s health and —and safety issues will all be well served.

I suspect she’s been watching Downton Abbey too much. Equal pay for equal work has been settled law since 1963. Paid sick leave is offered by most employers, with a limit as to how long you can have a sick leave. Endless sick leave is not in the cards.

Raising the minimum wage is bad economics, especially harmful to minorities who also vote.

Young Muslim women are being recruited as sex slaves for ISIS fighters. That would seem to be a matter of concern for women. Yazidi women captured by ISIS are set to daily rape and killed if they try to escape. An attack across our southern border is said to be imminent, but the matter of urgent concern is that Republicans are trying to prevent women from getting the right to vote?

Getting pregnant is not a desperate matter of women’s health, but a matter of choice. If you choose to get drunk and have sex when you shouldn’t, or choose to have unprotected sex, or choose to have sex outside of marriage, or choose to take your panties off — that’s a lot of choices you have before you even consider getting an abortion. And then you make choices about legal or illegal, carrying a baby to term, keeping the baby or putting it up for adoption so it will have a better mother. Lots and lots of choices.

Remarkable lot of things unmentioned by Ms. Pelosi. ISIS, the Federal Debt, Russia invading Ukraine, the crisis at VA hospitals, the failures of ObamaCare, the president’s inability to decide on a strategy against terrorists, the lack of job opportunities, the crisis at the border, with illegal immigrants being funneled into our schools unable to speak English and uncleared for contagious diseases.

These are big important issues for every citizen, and Nancy Pelosi is concerned with re-fighting the woman’s right to vote. That was settled in the 19th Amendment way back in 1919. You would think she would have noticed that there are even women serving in the House of Representatives. Truly embarrassing.



How Much Do You Read? What’s the Best Book You’ve Ever Read? by The Elephant's Child

What do you do when someone asks you to read an article because it’s “an important one?” Do you obediently read it, assuming that if your friend recommends it, it is worth your time? Do you accept the article, suggesting that you will read it later when you have more time? Do you just refuse to read it because you’re sure it is not of interest?

I fit in the first category. I’m a speedy reader, and it doesn’t take me long to get through even a long piece. But I have known a lot of what I think of as ‘lazy readers’ whose first reaction is that they don’t have time. Or they only want to read what they choose to read. It’s as if reading is a task to be engaged in only when required. Was learning to read a struggle in school? There are people who read competently, but without enjoyment or need for information, but who will spend hours on Twitter. Do you prefer to get your information instead by video, or podcast? Is reading a chore?

I have a friend who is a special education expert, with particular emphasis on reading, and reading disabilities. She went into her state’s prisons at one time, to test prisoners, and found that the numbers who had some form of reading disability was far, far higher than in the general population.

There are lots of people out there who just don’t read much, and people who do not read books at all.  They are just busy with other things.

If you prowl around the internet and read blogs, you are clearly a reader. But what about those other folks who are not? How do people go all the way through university, and, as adults, never read?

Seattle is usually described as the part of the country where most people read a lot. We have busy libraries, lots of colleges and universities, and lots of writers. Must be something to do with the weather, which encourages a brisk fire in the fireplace. a good book and a cup of coffee.

ADDENDUM: I guess I shouldn’t ask others about their favorite books, if I don’t reveal my own. Patrick O’Brian’s series of books about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin and the Royal Navy in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There are 20 books in the series and I have read them probably ten times, and always found them fascinating to re-read. Most novels don’t welcome even a second reading. Master and Commander is the first, and only a page in and you are hooked. Master and Commander was a great movie too, although based on bits from several of the books.



School for Scandal: Social Justice Magnet Schools by The Elephant's Child

As we draw nearer to the beginning of another school year, Michelle Malkin has drawn our attention to  the disturbing fact that for an increasing number of school districts “back to school” doesn’t mean a return to learning. For many of our “educators” academics are subsidiary to political indoctrination for our children.

In Massachusetts, the John J. Duggan Middle School will open on August 25, with a new name and a new mission. It is now a “social justice magnet school.” A hiring advertisement for teachers explained earlier this  year, the emphasis will be on “helping students develop the necessary skills to analyze and synthesize information and to generate empathy by looking at multiple sides of important issues facing the world, be that hunger, water quality, racial barriers, child labor or imbalance of power.

The new principal says the school’s primary job i teaching “fairness.” They are serious about creating 21st century global citizens.

At the Crescent Heights Social Justice Magnet School in Los Angeles, children will work on “action projects: tied to the “United Nations Millennium Development Goals” Yes the will learn language arts. But basic reading and writing are only a focus of the magnet school, the founders explain, because “we want our students to recognize injustice in their world or the world at large and be able to fully express their outrage, their plan of attack, their progress in this endeavor.”

In Chicago, Ground Zero for social justice brainwashing, the Social Justice High School (SOJO) follows a similar mission. Activist teachers openly foster identity politics and systematically undermine individualism. Their specialties: “struggle and sacrifice.” SOJO’s mission statement sounds like a pot-addled Oberlin College freshperson’s Sociology 101 term paper.

At the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, also in Massachusetts, students won’t learn math. They’ll be taught “social justice math.” (Freire was a Brazilian leftist who wrote a social justice teacher’s Bible called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”)

His acolytes explain the push for radicalization of math: “Math is an instrument for detailing social justice issues and developing critical consciousness.” In the hands of progressive teachers, math “becomes an analytic tool to bring awareness to important world issues.”

Do read the whole thing. I had no idea. Transforming our schools into “leftist agitation labs” isn’t quite what we had in mind when we advocated reform for our schools. My schools were not up to the demanding curriculum of my parents’ schools, and its been all downhill since then, and keeps getting worse. Kids no longer learn cursive writing, for it is assumed they will always use a keyboard.  Thank you letters? Just tweet to Granny. And with a calculator always right at hand, who needs basic math? History? Howard Zinn’s little hate America handbook.

Magnet schools, eh. One would hope they draw no interest, and it’s hard to imagine that any parents would do so much to damage their kids. I suspect I’m wrong.



Did You Ever Wonder What Is Meant By “Getting All Your Ducks In a Row?” by The Elephant's Child

It’s simple. Lots of training, and the voice of authority.



The Eternal Battle Between Left and Right. by The Elephant's Child

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Trying to succinctly describe the differences between the American Left and the American Right is a long-running and fascinating  game for both parties. Liberals, as I often note, have told us specifically that they do not have principles—meaning they are not stuck with some old-fashioned, worn-out principles as a guide to how to behave. That is not intended as a compliment. They react, they say, to events, responding on a case by case basis. Much more noble.

Republicans do have principles which they believe are time-tested and proven to be effective and useful in human life. Things like equality of opportunity, free markets and free people, and small government. Those principles serve as a guide to actions, and research into how things work are a better guide to satisfactory policies.

Liberals react to things emotionally. For example, a UPI piece from Pew Research on the “Global Attitudes Project”poll says:

A new poll offers details on the way citizens of the world think about climate change, and U.S. participants are looking particularly ignorant to the risks of global warming. Only one in four Americans said climate change was a “major threat,” making the U.S. the least concerned nation. (emphasis added)

If we disagree with the “consensus” we must be ignorant. But nobody checks to see if there actually is a “consensus” among scientists. Emotional response.  No, there actually is no consensus.  And “consensus” isn’t science.

Here’s another from Investors, today: “For the Left, ‘Children’ Are the Battering Ram to Force Amnesty.”

Immigration: The White House and open-borders lobby have stepped up pressure for amnesty by painting the migrant tsunami as a flood of toddlers. But a Pew study, citing Border Patrol data, shows that more than half the entrants are teenage males.  (emphasis added)

Here’s another example from Investors, by Robert Samuelson: Although a man of the Left, he suggests “To Keep corporations Here, Why Not Cut Their Taxes?”

Corporate America’s latest public-relations disaster comes under the banner “tax inversion,” where a U.S. company shifts its legal headquarters to a country with a lower tax rate.

He goes on to show how Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and President Obama have charged the corporations as lacking in “economic patriotism.” Emotional response. Make a law against them. Keep them from doing so. Far better would be to reduce the corporate tax to something close to the normal corporate tax among industrialized nations. We do have the highest corporate tax in the world. Their first and only response is to prevent corporations from what is a valid business decision.

ObamaCare was a program built on emotion. Liberals thought that we should offer everyone free health care like European states did. Everyone would be so grateful to Liberals for that gift that they would forever vote Liberals into power. They looked at Britain’s way of controlling expense by limiting the costs of old folks in their final years, and loved it. No old geezer should be able to have a hugely expensive operation when they might have only months to live anyway. But they never looked into the way the program really worked in Britain, or Canada, or France or Germany. Their bright ideas don’t work. What were expected to be money savers aren’t. Tom Sowell stated the whole problem simply and clearly:

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.

They imposed ideas they thought would save money, or be especially popular, or would give them more control, but they didn’t check how those ideas work in the real world, they just rushed it through on pure emotion and are astounded at the complaints from doctors, patients, insurance companies, hospitals and suppliers. And it’s all falling apart.

Wind and solar energy are emotional responses to perceived evils of fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy are presumed to be free because they are “natural.” But a turbine only turns at the right speed to produce energy when the wind is at the right speed. But the wind is intermittent, and requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power source, which makes the energy produced expensive, and slight. And it kills way too many birds. Eagles may become endangered  if the kill rate continues. If subsidies are removed, wind is not worthwhile.

Solar is about the same problem. You only get energy with 24/7 backup, because clouds cause problems. Solar energy is too diffuse, unavailable at night, and in some locations simply fries birds in flight. If subsidies are removed, it’s not worthwhile. These things were known before the big investments in wind and solar, but emotional attachment to “free energy” trumped common sense.

Over and over you will find Liberals responding to or devising policy based on their feelings about the subject. They don’t do their homework, and they don’t think through the unintended consequences. They don’t seem to understand incentives.

Republicans don’t always get their policies right, and unintended consequences come back and bite them. Human beings are complicated and not only don’t agree on everything, but often don’t agree on much. There are lots of differing opinions in the big tent we hope to have, and creating successful policies to help Americans and their allies and enemies to do things that turn out well is not easy, and results are not always a success. But if we work with an open mind and an inclusive attitude, and an appreciation for human folly, we might not do too badly if we do our homework.



Coming to America For Obama’s Free Pass! by The Elephant's Child

dreamers

The narrative about the chaos on the border continues to unravel. That tale about poor unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central American countries? Phony. They are coming because they believe that U.S. immigration laws are granting free passes or “permisos” to unaccompanied children and adult females traveling with children. That has been the word circulating in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. And once the ‘children’ are here they will be taken care of.

The Central American countries are dependent on remittances from American immigrants, and are not interested in stopping the surge of illegals.

When the Obama administration decided in 2012 to practice “prosecutorial discretion” in cases where individuals were brought into the U.S. illegally as minors. The violence in those countries is not new, and it has actually dipped. Some are sent by the human smugglers who have seen a weakness in the system, and used statements coming from the administration in order to increase the number of people coming over.

There is a lot of profit for coyotes in human smuggling, someone is paying the $7,000 fee, and as no one is checking the identity and status of the phone numbers which may be the only direction to the ‘relatives’ of the unaccompanied children—who are put on a bus to get to the address given. They may not actually go to ‘relatives.’ There is indication that Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) recruiters are being sent to recruit among the teen age young men.

Males between 15-17 years of age comprise 47 percent of all unaccompanied minors who are other than Mexican. Thirty percent are minors age 10-14. There has been an increase in the OTM minors who are pregnant or have physical or mental disabilities.

The same family members or sponsors are appearing several times to claim different children from the custody of U.S. authorities. The legal status of the family members or sponsors is not checked, nor is the address they offer as residence, or the accuracy of the relationship to the children.  U.S. authorities do not know whether or how U.S. gang members are involved in the smuggling of minors.

53,375 OTM unaccompanied minors are predicted for FY 2014, and 95,500 for FY 2015. Officials say it may take years to process these minors through deportation hearings and actual deportation. Not all who are being sent to housing facilities are being medically screened. The number actually being returned to their home countries is infinitesimal, less than 50 so far.

The intent on the part of the Democrats is open borders and amnesty. But very simply, the flow of illegals from Central and South America will not end until it is made clear that we do not have open borders, and that the way to come to America is to obey the rules, come as a legal immigrant, and be welcomed.

ADDENDUM: The number of illegal aliens who have successfully filed asylum claims has almost tripled from 2012 to 2012. And that is ten times the number from 2008 when President Obama was elected, clear evidence that his immigration officials are approving most of the asylum requests from the growing surge of illegals coming from Central America. I call them illegal aliens because that is the accurate terminology according to any dictionary. If you came to America with a tale of escaping violence, there’s not any more than usual, and they are well coached in the words that might get them amnesty.

Congress did call for a little more discretion after it was learned that the Tsarnaev brothers of Boston Marathon fame  successfully applied for amnesty in 2002. But “credible fear” of persecution by criminal gangs in their home countries in Central America works.  In 2008 there were 118,457 claims of credible fear, it grew slowly to 123,180 in 2011, and then leaped to 183,681 in 2012. Then it goes to the Border Patrol or ICE for provisional approval.  According to the Los Angeles Times only 1,669 claimants were rejected in 2013.  That’s down from 8,143 in 2008.



Jihad in Britain, and In The Other Nations of the West by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know if you know Janet Daley. She was born in America, graduated from U.C. Berkeley, and has been living and reporting in Britain for many years. Her column in today’s Telegraph is notable for her outlook on the Islamization of Britain. Elsewhere there is a column noting that France is not a safe place for Jews. We have been warned that without some serious and real change, Europe will be entirely Muslim within fifty years.

In the midst of the deeply unfunny news coverage of the two young British jihadi volunteers who were arrested on terror charges when they arrived back from Syria, there was one moment of comic absurdity. It seems that before setting off on their mission, Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar found it necessary to place orders with Amazon for those invaluable scholarly treatises, Islam for Dummies, The Koran for Dummies and Arabic for Dummies. Hilarity aside, there is something important to be noted here.

First, these 22-year-olds were obviously not the products of some extreme mosque which had drilled them in Islamist fundamentalism. In fact, they were so untutored in the religion to which they were nominally affiliated that they had to equip themselves with a crash course in its basic principles. Nor had they come from families which were inclined to endorse their terrorist fantasies. Indeed, their own parents were so horrified when they learned of the men’s activities that they turned them in to the police. So we need to ask, as a matter of urgency, where it came from, this bizarre determination to be inducted into a campaign of seditious murder that (we can assume from their decision to plead guilty to the terror charges) they fully intended to bring home with them. What causes young men to risk their own lives, and those of who knows how many others, for a cause about which they know so little that they have to mug it up before they catch the plane?

Do read the whole thing. There’s a lot of food for thought there that includes our own present border crisis.  Assimilation matters. She adds:

Contrary to all the educational shibboleths of our time, young men are motivated by aggression and power: their dreams are of glorious triumph over rivals. If they are denied these things – even in the ritualised forms that used to be provided by an education system that understood how dangerous male adolescence was – then they will seek them wherever they can be found. Gang violence, with its criminal initiation rites, or Muslim fanaticism can fill a void, offering not just a licence for brutality but for banding together into hostile tribes. There was a time – before characteristically male behaviour was devalued in favour of the female virtues of empathy and conciliation – when these proclivities were dealt with quite effectively by combative team sports and military cadet corps. Institutionalised aggression was supervised by adult authority until the young men grew up and became responsible for their own impulses.




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