American Elephants


Americans Deserve Better Than This! by The Elephant's Child

Jim Geraghty has a simple closing message: Americans Deserve Better Than This.

“The American people deserve to be treated better than the way their government treats them.”The

People who like their doctors and health insurance deserve to keep them. Our veterans deserve care in a timely manner. The American people deserve the truth about illegal immigrants released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They deserve straight answers from the Centers for Disease Control, and when a promise is made, it should be kept. Americans deserve a secure border, and when there is overwhelming support for restricting flights from countries with severe Ebola outbreaks, the option deserves careful consideration, not arrogant dismissal.

Americans of all political stripes deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, with no special targeting based upon political views. Our ambassadors and those serving our country overseas deserve protection when they ask for it. If American taxpayer money is going to be used to save a car company, the people deserve to know whether that company is making unsafe cars.

They deserve to send and receive e-mails, texts, and calls without the National Security Agency peering over their metaphorical shoulder without a warrant. They deserve a director of national intelligence who does not lie in testimony to Congress. For the amount of money we spend on gathering intelligence, we deserve better performance — or for an administration to act upon that intelligence more promptly. In a dangerous world, we deserve leaders who don’t fool themselves into thinking jihadists on the rise are just “the JV team.” They deserve a Secret Service that takes its job seriously and corrects its mistakes.

Republicans are not perfect, to be sure. They are ordinary people like us. You may have noticed that the big tent contains a lot of argument and disagreement, usually about who is a true Republican or a true Conservative, and who isn’t, which is silly. We are meant to argue and disagree because that is how we gradually find our way to better governance and better laws.

Democrats, on the other hand, speak with one voice, or at least one talking point, which has been analyzed for voter appeal in all sorts of focus groups and subjected to the best of skillful wordsmiths who pick just the right words to influence most widely. They are willing to excuse most problems of government, or announce some bold-sounding reform that proves to be a self-serving catastrophe like ObamaCare.

Republicans tried to tell the nation that you really can’t criticize health care for costing too much, impose 20,000 pages of rules and regulations for the medical establishment and the insurance industry, add all sorts of untested ideas that you’re just sure will save money, top it all off with a vast Federal bureaucracy that has to be paid for, and expect it to cost less and be more efficient. We haven’t even begun to see the depths to which this appalling law will reach, and the cost of it in both money and human health and well-being. Americans deserve better from their government.

There’s ISIS, which is being dismissed as a generational problem— and thus not worth our serious efforts, an attempt to make a “deal” with Iran, an apparent plan to flood the nation with millions of illegal immigrants in hopes of a permanent Democrat majority, which tells the world that we are not serious about our immigration laws, and the border is open to all, including ISIS.

The refusal to place any kind of travel restrictions on those coming from Ebola central beggars common sense. There’s the insistence on refusing to call terrorists — terrorists. And that does not begin to even touch the enormous numbers of well-known scandals. The American people do deserve better than this.

If Republicans capture the Senate, then there is a real possibility of defunding some of the policies that should never have been enacted.



American Government Grinds Slowly to a Halt. by The Elephant's Child

The essential battle takes place at the decision whether a free people should remain free or whether they need to be controlled and managed — for their own good, of course. At least that’s what the controllers believe. The Left has a deep need to control. You never know what a free person might decide to think, or to do.

If you are alert to this tendency, you begin to see it everywhere. Consider creativity. The government is sure that they can foster new ideas, but we see the result in all the wasteful grants hopeful government agencies make. Creativity is not a collective action. People must be free to make decisions, take action, decide.

The more government grows, the worse it gets. How many different agencies must sign off on one small piece of a project before the next one can even be considered? We started out with law to keep bad people from doing bad things. then we started making laws to tell people how to do things, and laws to tell people what things they must do and when they must do them, and what materials they must use and how many people they must hire and slowly, slowly, government grinds to a halt of its own weight, and it becomes impossible to do anything or get anything done. ‘

We have an outbreak of a deadly disease, and we find that those who were supposed to be in charge don’t know what to do. The hospitals don’t understand the protocols, the press demands that the president appoint an Ebola Czar, but nobody seems to know that there is already an Ebola Czar, and the new man knows nothing about medicine or disease and is not the Ebola Czar, although everyone keeps calling him that, he’s the Ebola Response Coordinator, and a long-time political hack who was chief of staff to both Al Gore and Joe Biden, which is not exactly a recommendation. And that is how government works today.

When you are a true believer with a managed, controlled people, you are sure that whatever problems come up will be solved by another law, or more regulation.  As the economy and the government grind more and more slowly, layer on a large dollop of political correctness so that no one will be offended by incorrect speech, add multiculturalism and race and gender to muck up the mix, and you are getting close to modern society.

When government becomes such a slow-grinding machine, what difference does it make if you reward your supporters and cronies with special projects or special funds. Who’s going to know and who’s going to do anything about it anyway. Then you have a president who, exhausted by Congress’s failure to do what he wants, simply takes matters into his own hands. Because nobody knows how to stop him.



Collectivism: “We’re All In This Together” Doesn’t Work. by The Elephant's Child

Andrew Klavan summed it up pretty well today:

Whatever its pretensions, whatever its claims, statism — progressivism, leftism, socialism — is based on the idea that a small elite intelligentsia can run your life better than you can. They know how to spend your money. They know how to educate your children. They know how to run your health care. They know how to protect you from yourself.

You do not have to talk to a statist very long before he will profess an intense dislike, distrust and even fear of ordinary people. Ordinary people spend money on what they want (TV’s restaurants and cars) rather than what the elite know they ought to want (aluminum foil climate change reversers). Ordinary people teach their children that God created the world rather than a random pattern of mathematic realities that came into being through another random pattern that came…  well, the elite know: it’s random patterns all the way down! Ordinary people will give jobs and business to those who earn them rather than those the elite, in their greater understanding, know are historically deserving because of past oppression. And so on.

Now, of course, with the very elite of the elite running the country, we find that — what do you know? — this statism dodge doesn’t really work all that well. And there are two reasons for this. The first is that the statist premise is wrong. In fact, ordinary people left at liberty to do as they will are actually better at running their lives and businesses and country than the geniuses in Washington. Central planning works great in the imaginations of the elite, but in the real world…  not so much.



Seattle City Council In a Fit of Political Correctness Abolished Columbus Day by The Elephant's Child

The Seattle City Council is on track to rival the Berkeley City Council for sheer lunacy. They have just declared that the upcoming Columbus Day shall be abolished in favor of a renamed “Indigenous Peoples Day.” Newly elected Socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant, is an Indian immigrant, a part-time instructor in economics at Seattle Community College, and a bit of a firebrand.

Ms. Sawant’s first big issue was the minimum wage, and she demanded that the Seattle minimum wage at $9.32 (significantly higher than the national minimum) be raised to $15.00.  It passed, but has not yet gone into effect. Highly celebrated by fast food workers and by the folks at Momentum Machines who have a robotic machine that can produce 360 custom hamburgers to order an hour, custom meat grinds for every customer, and never complains, demands a higher wage, nor more benefits or time off.

The Indigenous People’s Day idea suffers from a common Leftist delusion. They choose to judge the people of the past by today’s morality, and flawed ideas of history.  Columbus wasn’t particularly nice to the native people he encountered, but Columbus Day was never a celebration of the man, but of the “discovery” of the Americas. Columbus had nothing to do with North America, anyway. First encounters between stone age native peoples and more advanced Europeans often did not go well. Europeans assumed that illiterate people who could not speak their language or understand their ways were somehow inferior. You can be indignant about that, but it was an understandable reaction.

Contemporary Leftists sneeringly condemn George Washington, the indispensable man, without whose valor and probity, the country we love would not be the country we know today—because he was a slave owner. Slavery, at that time, was the way of the world and completely normal. Machines that replaced human labor were still far in the future.

Blacks owned slaves. Native Americans owned slaves. It was the way things had always been in the world, and was not thought to be wrong or unusual.  Oddly enough, Leftists are very contemptuous of George Washington, but have no problem with Andrew Jackson  (the Father of the Democratic Party) who was one of the largest slave owners in the South, and responsible for the “Trail of Tears” as well. They were citizens of their world and their time, and cannot be judged by today’s morality, or more properly today’s political correctness.

Canada more correctly calls their aborigines “First People,” or “First Nation,” which is more accurate. Native Americans kept slaves, took scalps, lit forests on fire for fun, fought bloody wars, and in some cases were cannibals. Human nature is messy, and that goes for all races. Some are good people, some are not. We struggle to improve, and morals change. Unfortunately, changes are often accomplished by force by the courts or by city councils or state legislatures, who take it upon themselves to force their own ideas on everybody else.

Kshama Sawant, who got her PhD in economics from North Carolina State, apparently joined a movement called “The Socialist Alternative” devoted to “Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism,” fairly recently,  and neglected the part of her economics education devoted to Free Markets and Free People — or considering the state of today’s universities, perhaps that’s just not included anymore. Pity.



Walrus Scare Stories Are Blatant Nonsense. Debunked Yearly. by The Elephant's Child

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Biologists spotted a huge gathering of walruses on an Alaskan beach near Point Lay. OMG. There’s no sea ice for them to gather on, must be global warming. Biologists flew over the area in a plane contracted by NOAA. They estimated the numbers at 35,000 walruses, one of the biggest onshore gatherings of the animals documented in Northwest Alaska, said one walrus expert. Maybe 35,000, not biggest gatherings.

“Walruses tend to  use floating ice as platforms for resting and caring for their young in between swims to find clams, worms and other food sources on the sea floor. But as has been the case in recent years — all remnants of floating summer ice in the region have melted away by mid-September, forcing the walruses to head to shore to rest.” Well, yes, the Arctic ice melts in the summer and grows in the winter.

These gatherings are called “haulouts”and are not a new phenomenon for this region over the last 45 years and cannot be due to low levels of sea ice. Some deaths are always caused by stampedes within these herds which are composed largely of females and their young, as a brief search of the literature reveals. “The attempts by the World Wildlife Fund and others to link this event to global warming are self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science.” Here’s how the WWF is attempting to spin this recent gathering at Point Lay.

We are witnessing a slow-motion catastrophe in the Arctic,” said Lou Leonard, WWF’s vice president for climate change.

Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford says that “mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, and not due to low ice cover. The Pacific walrus remains abundant, numbering at least 200,000 by some accounts, double the number in the 1950s. Dating back to 1604 there have been reports of large walrus gatherings or haulouts. They are not unusual and have long been recognized and islands have been set aside for such gatherings. They are known to migrate away from ice in late summer and fall, and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops. Just seven years ago the AP reported 40,000 walruses in a haulout in a single location.”

Satellite images show that the Arctic ice cap has grown by an area twice the size of Alaska in just the last two years. The AP’s  reported haulouts of 50,000 and 100,000 walruses in recent years. There’s even a Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary which protects a group of seven small craggy islands and their adjacent waters in northern Bristol Bay. It was established to protect one of the largest haulout sites for Pacific walrus.

Well, they’re getting desperate as belief in alarmist global warming  wanes. They are trying to blame Ebola on global warming too. And by the way, the number of hurricanes has decreased, as has the numbers of tornadoes. Eighteen years with no warming at all.

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A Lonely Advocate Fighting For the Common Good. by The Elephant's Child

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This is Philip K. Howard, who has been a practicing attorney in Manhattan for many years, and who has been thinking deeply about the law and writing about it for twenty years. His first book, The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America, was a direct hit on the body of law and regulation that dictates impossible rules that make no sense. But he doesn’t stop there, he offers solutions.

He followed that up with The Lost Art of Drawing the Line: How Fairness Went Too Far. Politically correct law has become the enemy of freedom and of the common good. Legal anxiety trumps right and wrong. What if most of us grew up with seesaws in playgrounds and want our kids to have that experience as well.
Sorry, the legal consequences of an accident are too great. The result is playgrounds that are so excruciatingly boring that the kids aren’t interested. Demanding that we be “fair” to everyone is an impossible goal. As your mother probably used to tell you — life isn’t fair.

Life Without Lawyers: Restoring Responsibility in America: was about restoring the can-do spirit that made America great. We are losing the freedom to make sense of daily choices — teachers can’t maintain order in the classroom, managers are trained to avoid candor, schools ban tag, and companies plaster inane warnings on everything: “Remove Baby Before Folding Stroller.” Why is our economy not recovering more rapidly? Where are the entrepreneurs? Facing a body of law that destroys initiative. What is at issue is the vitality of American culture.

His newest book is The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government, just out. He says that underneath the double-dealing, the polarization, the self-serving is a broken government system that produces rising debt, failing schools, overly expensive health care and economic hardship. Rules, inflexible rules, have replaced leadership, and everyone looks to the rules to know what to do or not do. Philip Howard argues for a return to the framers’ vision of public law — setting goals and boundaries instead of dictating daily choices. This is not a situation to be easily defeated. Congress turns newly passed laws over to federal agencies to draw the lines and devise the regulations that will enhance and grow the bureaucracy and guarantee their jobs. Our hero Trey Gowdy speaks of the House’s job of making law — yet does not mention the job of reforming, eliminating, or repealing bad laws — a task seldom mentioned and even less often accomplished.

Each of these books is only about 200 pages, and invaluable. This is not dry lawyer talk, but real, living examples of how Law has taken over our lives, sapped our creativity, destroyed our freedom. No one is free to make choices, including government officials. An important reason why it is so difficult and expensive to start a business, and why innovation has slowed to a crawl.

Highly recommended. Great reads. And essential to understanding just what has gone wrong in our government and how we can fight back. Nobody said it was easy.



Are You Quite Sure You Want to Tangle With Us? by The Elephant's Child

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was established in 1958 to prevent strategic surprise from negatively impacting U.S. national security and create strategic surprise for U.S. adversaries by maintaining the technological superiority of the U.S. military.

To fulfill its mission, the Agency relies on diverse performers to apply multi-disciplinary approaches to both advance knowledge through basic research and create innovative technologies that address current practical problems through applied research. DARPA’s scientific investigations span the gamut from laboratory efforts to the creation of full-scale technology demonstrations in the fields of biology, medicine, computer science, chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, material sciences, social sciences, neurosciences and more. As the DoD’s primary innovation engine, DARPA undertakes projects that are finite in duration but that create lasting revolutionary change.




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