American Elephants


Lunch. In Photos Uploaded by the Kids Who Hate the Lunches. by The Elephant's Child

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I don’t know what inspired Michelle Obama to take charge of the school lunch program in America, or what her qualifications are for that position. The kids have responded by uploading pictures of the  totally disgusting food on offer in their school cafeterias with the hashtag #thanksmichelleobama. “Mystery mush” is featured frequently.  The lunches are a far cry from the lunches the Obama daughters get at tony Sidwell Friends School. Elizabeth Harrington reports in the Free Beacon:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service issued a proposed rule Monday to codify parts of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by Mrs. Obama.

The regulation would punish schools and state departments with fines for “egregious or persistent disregard” for the lunch rules that imposed sodium and calorie limits and banned white grains.

A West Virginia preschool teacher was threatened with fines for violating the rules by rewarding her students with candy for good behavior in June 2015. The teacher ultimately did not have to pay, but the school had to develop a “corrective action plan” with training on the policies.

The government now seeks to make fines enforceable by regulation. Section 303 of the law requires that the federal government “establish criteria for the imposition of fines” for all the Department of Agriculture’s child food programs.

More than 1,4 million students have left the lunch line since Mrs. Obama’s rules went into effect. There have been constant complaints of small portions and unappetizing fare. Pictures of the food have been circulating on the internet for several years, and from the pictures, I wouldn’t eat the stuff either. The standards have been blamed for cafeteria workers losing their jobs, and reportedly, some kids have resorted to creating black markets for salt to add some flavor to the food.

The government plans to fine schools that fail to comply with the rules, for egregious and persistent disregard for the lunch rules that imposed sodium and calorie limits, and banned white grains.Section 303 of the law requires that the federal government “establish criteria for the imposition of fines” for all the Department of Agriculture’s child food programs. The agency said the fines would amount to 1 percent of the total amount the school was reimbursed for lunches for the first fine. A second fine would be 5 percent of the total cost of the program and a third fine would be for 10 percent. Alabama received $210,937,195 in 2015. One percent would total $2.1 million and ten percent would be $21 million.

The rule will be open for public comment for 60 days once it is officially published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. The more public comment, the merrier. I presume you comment at the Department of Agriculture, according to the link given:

http://federalregister.gov/a/2016-06801, and on FDsys.gov

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No Difference between Capitalism and Communism? by The Elephant's Child

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In Argentina, in a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Town Hall, Obama argued that capitalism and communism are just two competing interests that need to be overcome.

I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works.

And I said this to President Castro in Cuba. I said, look, you’ve made great progress in educating young people. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education — that’s a huge improvement from where it was. Medical care — the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States, despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to health care. That’s a huge achievement. They should be congratulated.

The Cubans do have access, but they have to take their own sheets and towels, and medicine, which they buy out of the $20 a month they are allotted.

But you drive around Havana and you say this economy is not working. It looks like it did in the 1950s. And so you have to be practical in asking yourself how can you achieve the goals of equality and inclusion, but also recognize that the market system produces a lot of wealth and goods and services. And it also gives individuals freedom because they have initiative.

And so you don’t have to be rigid in saying it’s either this or that, you can say — depending on the problem you’re trying to solve, depending on the social issues that you’re trying to address what works. And I think that what you’ll find is that the most successful societies, the most successful economies are ones that are rooted in a market-based system, but also recognize that a market does not work by itself. It has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis, and there has to be inclusion. Otherwise it’s not stable.

What he apparently means is that a market-based system can get along if it is regulated and managed by those with superior knowledge and understanding like himself. We do have a remarkable number of examples of the brutality and terror of communist regimes throughout the world, something approaching 150 million dead, but never mind. Obama added:

And it’s up to you — whether you’re in business or in academia or the nonprofit sector, whatever you’re doing — to create new forms that are adapted to the new conditions that we live in today.

“Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative” indeed.

In the midst of double-digit inflation and a stagnant economy, Argentinians elected the 56-year-old Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri as their new president last November. “One week into office, he had slashed taxes, ripped out capital controls and restored the peso to its natural level. It takes guts, but this blaze of reforms has worked wherever it’s been tried.”

The IMF is forecasting a single tough year in 2016, followed by 7% growth in 2017. Obama’s speech seems oddly out-of-touch.



The American Idea, Honored and Celebrated. by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaking at CPAC 2016, on March 3 2016 talking about classical conservatism, and how you rank the order between American, Conservative, and Republican. Good speech and real food  for thought.



A Lost Decade of Growth, and How it Got Lost by The Elephant's Child

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A Lost Decade for the American Economy:
James Pethokoukis

“—The American economy hasn’t managed a single year of even 3% growth since 2005. From the end of World War II through 2005, the economy grew at an average annual rate of 3.5%. Three percent growth+ has been what’s normal. “

Welcome to the new normal. The economy hasn’t managed a single year of even 3% growth since 2005. A lost decade, at least by American standards. (We’re not Japan, after all.) The rundown: Real GDP growth for 2015 was 2.4%; 2014: 2.4%; 2013: 2.4%;  2012: 2.4%; 2013: 1.5%; 2012: 2.2%,  2011: 1.6%; 2010: 2.5%; 2009: – 2.8%; 2008: – 0.3%;  2007: 1.8%.

Why Socialism Always Fails: Mark Perry

“Socialism is the Big Lie of the twentieth century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery. …

A pyramid scheme is ultimately unsustainable because it is based on faulty principles. Likewise, collectivism is unsustainable in the long run because it is a flawed theory. Socialism does not work because it is not consistent with fundamental principles of human behavior. The failure of socialism in countries around the world can be  traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores incentives. …

By their failure to foster, promote, and nurture the potential of their people through incentive-enhancing institutions, centrally planned economies deprive the human spirit of full development. Socialism fails because it kills and destroys the human spirit–just ask the people leaving Cuba in homemade rafts and boats [and those waiting in long lines today in Venezuela struggling, and often failing, to buy food].

The temptress of socialism is constantly luring us with the offer: “give up a little of your freedom and I will give you a little more security.” As the experience of this century has demonstrated, the bargain is tempting but never pays off. We end up losing both our freedom and our security.”



Collectivism Doesn’t Work. Bill Whittle on American Fascists. by The Elephant's Child

Left/right, Progressive/Conservative, Democrat/Republican… The names change and evolve but the core difference remains constant: The Collectivists vs. The Individualists. In his latest FIREWALL, Bill shows how violence, disruption and intimidation have always been the tools of the Collectivists. This is not about Donald Trump, no matter how much they want you to believe it.



Thomas Sowell On the Vulgar Pride of Intellectuals by The Elephant's Child

Peter Robinson talks to economist Thomas Sowell about his book “Intellectuals and Society.” Robinson and Sowell discuss the fact that intellectuals play a disproportionate role in society, as evidenced by linguist Noam Chomsky’s influence on liberal politics. Is a fancy education a high speed rail ticket to fallacy? Find out as Professor Sowell discusses the pride and fallacies of the intellectuals, in addition to the unused brilliance of the masses.

This is not a new video from Uncommon Knowledge, but still very appropriate, particularly with the peculiar events on our college campuses, what they are being taught, and the administrative reactions (or surrender) to students remarkable demands.



Socialism Does Not Work. Not Anywhere Nor Any Time. by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama is back from Argentina, where he danced the tango, and announced that there was no difference between capitalism and communism, and his earlier visit to  Cuba, where he  plunged into the prickly issues of civil liberties and free elections — and announced pompously that “I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas”on his last day in Havana, and said “It is time for us to look forward to the future together.” He met with a group of Cuban dissidents, but they were clearly the not very dissidenty kind, since the secret police had put the serious dissidents back in prison.

He received some sharp criticism for a lack of concern for the attacks in Brussels, but said he preferred the reaction of Boston’s quick return to everyday business after the Marathon killings. He did make it back in time for a round of golf on Saturday though.

Nothing has changed in Havana. Cuba remains a prison state where the people live on a $20 a month allowance to buy their food, medical care and whatever else  they need. The old cars and crumbling buildings may look “quaint” to American eyes, but that’s all they have.

Cuba has passed their form of socialism on to Venezuela, in exchange for Venezuelan oil, and it’s all going swimmingly in Venezuela. They stand in line for hours to buy toilet paper. Inflation is well over 700%. Basic goods are unavailable.

Bernie Sanders gets irate when anyone compares his brand of socialism with current events in Venezuela, Bernie insists that he is speaking of Democratic Socialism, like Denmark, where Danes say life is really difficult since you can’t buy much, things are too expensive, and there’s nowhere to go because no one has a car. The Honda Accord, so popular here at roughly $22,000. costs $44,000 in Denmark.

Socialism does not work. It doesn’t work anywhere, nor at any time. Venezuela is on the verge of becoming a failed state. President Nicholas Maduro has called out the army to distribute lower wattage lightbulbs. The oil rich nation is not rich anymore now that the price of oil has dropped so far. The break even price for  Venezuelan oil is estimated to be $151 a barrel, and the current price for Brent crude is around $34. And the country is suffering from a drought, and little water in their hydroelectric dams. Everything imported is scarce, including basic medicines.  When the government asks you not to go to work for five days, to conserve power—you know your country is in trouble.

Maduro replaced Hugo Chavez after he died in 2013. Maduro was Chavez’s chosen successor, though he had no qualifications for the presidency. Typically of the successes of socialism, Hugo Chavez’s second eldest daughter, Maria Gabriella Chavez, is the wealthiest woman in Venezuela who has reportedly stashed away a cool $4,2 billion. Odd that a dictator’s daughter should amass so much wealth? That’s what socialism is all about. The leaders aren’t obligated to suffer along with the people.




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