American Elephants

An Early Christmas Gift for Your Budget! by The Elephant's Child

The national average price of gasoline today is $2.75 per gallon. Lowest on the Gulf Coast (where the refineries are), highest on the west Coast and New England, and in Alaska and Hawaii, of course. This is 5o¢ per gallon cheaper than 2013, and the lowest average since October 5, 2010. On the radio today, Steve Forbes of Forbes Magazine said that every 1¢ decrease in the price of gas means a $1 billion benefit to the economy.

Prices at individual gas stations in  your community can be looked up with the assistance of Google. There can be quite a difference between stations, and locations. AAA is saying gas prices may drop another 15−20¢ per gallon by New Year’s Day. Keep an eye on your legislature  to make sure they don’t raise gas taxes. The high was $3.23 per gallon average in November 2013.

gaspumpThis is not quite up to date, but notice the cost of refining compared to the government’s take in taxes per gallon at the pump.

Mr. President. “Empathy” Has No Place In Jurisprudence. by The Elephant's Child

From an article in the New York Post by William Voegeli a few days ago:

“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” President Obama said in a speech last year. “Empathy,” he continued, “the idea that we have a stake in each other’s success,” is “what gets me up every single day.”…

One reason governance according to feelings and emotions is so dubious is that we respond compassionately to the people suffering right in front of us, without considering the suffering of others. All too often, the confused, chaotic result is serial empathizing that never stops to consider whether helping this sufferer hurts another.

This is hardly the first time President Obama has told us that “Empathy” ranks high in his personal beliefs and in his speeches. In his actions — not so much. To the extent that you can extract the race-hustlers and rabble-rousers and professional rioters from the current marches and demonstrations to try to understand what is real underneath, a large part must be played by unemployment, bad schools, and the need for real jobs.

While the president professes his “empathy” for black communities, he has fought the Keystone XL pipeline  for the benefit of big donor Tom Steyer. That’s 13,000 high paying construction jobs and 7,000 manufacturing jobs. His amnesty for roughly half the 11,000 illegals in the country gives them all work permits. “Progressive policies seem to produce reliably horrific results for people who are poor and, especially, poor and black.” That from a must-read column from Kevin Williamson titled “Black Lives Matter.”

This is not the first time I have discussed the serious problem of President Barack Obama’s professed empathy, which seem to be about a millimeter in depth, ready to be discarded whenever political opportunism arises. That was a 2009 post explaining the rule of law that has continually been popular ever since. You would think that a graduate of Harvard Law School, the president of Law Review, would understand the symbol of the American judicial system — Lady Justice.

Barack Obama has been in office for six years, with, for the most part, a compliant Congress. Policies that help to create jobs were readily available to anyone who studies even the slightest bit of history or economics, but Obama wasted the available money in useless climate projects and non-existent “green jobs.” There has been an occasional diversion of funds to another new job-training program that doesn’t work. Remember the abashed admission that “there don’t seem to be any shovel-ready jobs.” There has never been anyone in the administration who comes out of the private sector who knows something about how an economy creates jobs. If you want to talk about fairness, there you go.

One of America’s Top Sheriffs Speaks Out by The Elephant's Child

Michael Brown was shot August 9, 2014. We forget how long this event has been simmering. Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County spoke before the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on August 17.

I sat up and watched, as events unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri–unfortunate situation, obviously. Anytime a law enforcement officer uses force that takes a life, it deserves a thorough, transparent vetting–investigation. We all agree with that. But then some groups began to converge on the small town of Ferguson, Missouri, like vultures on a roadside carcass… people like Al Sharpton.”

“To come and exploit that situation, and instead of coming into help and restore calm, poured gas on that fire with some of their inflammatory and irresponsible rhetoric.. [Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Senator Claire McCaskill, both Democrats] threw law enforcement under the bus for political expediency”…

“I expected that from Governor Nixon. I expected that from Claire McCaskell. Those are nothing but two-bit politicians… but I did not expect that from Eric Holder, who calls himself a law enforcement officer”…

Clarke is a lifelong resident of the City of Milwaukee and in March 2002 was appointed Sheriff by Governor Scott McCallum, and eight months later was elected to his first four-year term, earning 64%of the vote. Sheriff Clarke is now in his third term, having been re-elected in November 2006 and 2010, increasing his victory margins to 73% and 74%.

Clarke graduated summa cum laude from Concordia University Wisconsin with a degree in Criminal Justice Management, and in May 2003, Concordia honored him with their Alumnus of the Year Award. Sheriff Clarke also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. This prestigious school trains law enforcement executives from all over the world, and provides management and leadership instruction. In July 2004, he completed the intensive three-week Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Here he is again on the Kelly File. last night. Nice to hear someone speak up for law enforcement.


You Want Social Justice? Who Decides Who Gets What? by The Elephant's Child


Funny how some things in common parlance become so common that we really don’t pay attention to them any more. The protesters in some  cities across the country claimed to be protesting for “justice” for Michael Brown. Justice is a matter of our nation’s laws and the Constitution, as determined  in this case by a Grand Jury investigation, which was conducted at length according to the law. The results of the labors of the jury are justice.

What the protesters were demanding was, instead,”social justice.” Social Justice is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “justice in the form of the distribution of wealth, opportunities and privilege within a society.” There’s the rub. We are not talking, as the Declaration of Independence states, of the equal opportunity to pursue Liberty and Happiness — but of an equal outcome.

The Urban Dictionary defines social justice as:

Promoting tolerance, freedom, and equality for all people regardless of race, sex, orientation, national origin, handicap, etc… except for white, straight, cisgendered males. Fuck those guys, they’re overprivileged no matter what. “In the name of social justice, check your privilege.”

Same source, second definition:

Mob violence, usually associated with a victim group.
1969 Stonewall riots.
1992 LA riots.

Mostly the term is undefined, but it sounds good doesn’t it? The academics who used to have to teach at least 15 hours a semester now have a lot more free time, and the faculty lounge is afloat with theory. The distribution of advantages and disadvantages in society. This supposes that there is some normal state to which everything must be distributed to make things fair and equal.

The word equal, in English, is derived from the word equitable, suggesting fairness, but what is fair doesn’t necessarily mean equal, but what is proportionate to the efforts of each.  In France, on the other hand, the word is Égalité which means the “equals sign.” What is on one side must be equal to that which is on the other side. This is very different from the English idea of “equitable.”

Social justice is often associated with the idea of the “common good.” Which brings up some questions. Who decides what is fair? Who determines what is equal? Who decides what must be distributed from who and to whom? If these questions are turned over to the government, as the idea of “the common good” would suggest — because who else is going to do it — then you’ve got trouble, or more accurately Socialism, Communism, Dictatorship, Tyranny in one form or another. Giving someone or some group the power to decide, and once decided, it must  be enforced, and there you go.

Free Market Capitalism does not promise equal outcomes, only the opportunity to do with your life what you choose to do, or what you can do with the opportunities you find. We have  plenty of  examples of those who have been born into poverty, and the ghetto and who rise through hard work and determination to the very highest levels of society. You can probably come up with a list easily. And we are a society with a lot of empathy and compassion and arrange to help those who are in need of help. Americans are the most generous people on Earth.

That said, I don’t get the envy part. Isn’t life a struggle with yourself to see what you can make of it? Is life suddenly made wonderful if you win the lottery? The stories of those who did suggest that it doesn’t work out so well. What makes life good is not the material things you are given, but what you accomplish with what you’ve got in your own determination and character.

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