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.



The Sunday Funnies by The Elephant's Child

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He is Risen! Happy Easter! by American Elephant
March 27, 2016, 5:06 am
Filed under: History, News | Tags: , , , ,

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Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”



Step by Step, American Universities Are Making Themselves Irrelevant. by The Elephant's Child

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The University of Missouri is still suffering from student protests last fall. They have caved in this week to student diversity demands, hired a chief diversity officer (the current campus fashion) and announced that undergraduates will now be required to complete three credit hours of “diversity intensive” courses in order to graduate. The courses will focus on “understanding different social groups” and “will explore at least one form of social inequality, broadly defined.” Just how the relevant inequality will be defined and by whom is not mentioned.

This is of course blatant nonsense. Students have been ‘organized’ by activists from Black Lives Matter and activists from Ferguson and Baltimore, with a few cases of racist hoaxes. The only diversity that matters on a college campus is a diversity of ideas. If students are not exposed to a wide variety of ideas and philosophies, there is no education taking place. Universities make great claims about teaching “critical thinking,” but they teach student activism and social justice instead.

There is no such thing as “social justice”— there is only one kind of justice, embodied in the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the nation. The American Constitution is the envy of the world, students would do well to discover just why this is so.

The debacle last fall when student protests shut down the University of Missouri  led ultimately to the resignation of the university president and the chancellor of the entire UM system. But the aftershocks are still being felt.

Surrendering to campus bullies cost the University 1500 students who did not enroll and a significant $32 million budget shortfall. Parents decided that enrolling their children elsewhere would be for the best. Other universities considering capitulating to childish demands, might consider that acting like adults and sending the cry bullies on home might well be more profitable for everyone concerned.

Diversity of ideas has become increasingly unpopular — today it is students at Emory who were traumatized by graffiti like “Trump” and “Trump 2016” chalked on stairs and walls around campus. They are receiving counseling.

The list of those engaged for graduation speeches who have subsequently been disinvited is long and embarrassing: Condoleeza Rice, who is not only distinguished, accomplished, conservative and black; Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Janet Napolitano; IMF managing director Christine Lagarde; George W. Bush; David Horowitz, and Dr, Ben Carson are just a few. Students are taught, apparently, that they don’t need to hear ideas with which they might disagree. “Critical thinking” indeed.

University students across the country are engaged in another new fad, an attempt to rename campus buildings and streets, remove statues and change athletic team names in the name of changing past history into something more politically correct. Some people in the past who may have founded a university or contributed to it should be removed from history because long ago they did something that is not approved of today.

What all this tells future employers is that they might look elsewhere for workers. Students who have learned nothing in college but activism and mindless protest don’t really have much to offer an employer. There is, I understand, a critical shortage of welders,who are offered well over $50 an hour.



President Obama Talks Big on Security, But the Facts Don’t Support His Arguments by The Elephant's Child

afghan-viewAdmiral James A. Lyons, USN Ret. wrote on Tuesday in the Washington Times that there is no justification whatsoever for removing Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. “Our intelligence clearly shows that Cuba was allowing and continues to allow Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy terror group, to maintain a command-and-control base on Cuban soil from which to conduct criminal, narco-trafficking and terrorist operations throughout the Western hemisphere.”

Regrettably, this leads to the sad conclusion that President Obama has lied again when he certified to Congress, as required by federal law, that Cuba could be safely removed from the U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Does anybody care that our president lied again over a matter that affects our national security? Where is the outcry from our congressional leadership over this travesty?

One of Mr. Obama’s campaign promises was that he would close the U.S. Naval Detention Facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama based this on the idea that keeping Gitmo to keep the world’s most dangerous terrorists, was used by al Qaeda and ISIS as a major recruitment tool. Our intelligence agencies keep a close watch on terrorist communications and recruitment, and there is no evidence that they have any interest in Gitmo.

Mr. Obama has for seven years prevented terrorists captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan from being sent to Gitmo. They are either transferred to foreign custody or just released so they can kill more Americans. President Obama prefers to kill them with drone strikes instead, but this makes them respected Islamic “martyrs” by dying fighting for Allah. This deprives America of sensitive intelligence that could have saved lives. Obama remains  convinced, against all evidence, that Guantanamo is where Americans torture poor Muslims  deluded into fighting “the Great Satan.”

Unfortunately, about 30 percent of those released from Gitmo, return to the battlefield, and are known to return to killing Americans. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have informed Congress that federal law prevents the U.S. armed forces from transferring al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist detainees from Gitmo to the United States.

President Obama’s restrictive rules of engagement forced on our combat forces have increased fatalities by 400 percent per year and wounded have increased by 378 percent per year. From 2001 to 2008 combat fatalities averaged 90 per year for a total of 630 U.S. military lost. Between 2009 to 2013,losses have jumped to a total of 2,292. The restrictive rules of engagement have had the effect of neutralizing our military capability while boosting the capabilities of terrorists.



Obama Searches Vainly for a Legacy in Cuba by The Elephant's Child

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Back when President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry and Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz were negotiating the “Iran Deal” we read that President Obama wanted to go to Tehran and shake hands on the deal with the Ayatollah Khamenei. He apparently envisioned himself in the moment when Nixon opened China, or when Reagan went to Moscow — a defining moment of his presidency. That didn’t work out, so President Obama turned his attention to Cuba.

He would “normalize” relations between the U.S. and Cuba. When he traveled to Havana this week, it was, as the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady reported,” an effort to extract concessions, not from Communist Cuba, but from the U.S. Congress. Mr. Obama said, when he first announced that he would normalize relations, that the U.S . embargo—which prohibits foreign direct investment in Cuba by Americans, credit for Cuba from U.S. financial institutions, and Cuban sales of goods to the U.S.—should be lifted.”

The dictatorship loves the idea. But Congress believes that before there are American investments in Cuba the regime ought to pay for the property it stole after the 1959 revolution, and ensure basic human-rights for Cubans. Since Congress still passes the laws in this country, Mr. Obama’s capitalism for the Castros remains uncertain until U.S. lawmakers capitulate.

The spectacle in Cuba, choreographed by the dictatorship is supposed to make Americans comfortable with the idea, and make Congress appear unreasonable. The Cuban regime has offered no concessions whatsoever, and said firmly that they have no intention of changing, but Obama believes that increasing trade will force Cuba to relent.

The president apparently does not understand that any payment for Cuban workers hired by an American company goes, not to the worker, but to the Cuban State, which pays the $15 or $20 a month to the worker, and keeps the rest to enrich the Castros and the Cuban regime. “U.S. hotel chains, for example, will become minority partners with the Cuban military, which owns the tourism industry.”

Obama’s policy has made changes in Cuba, just not what he expected.

Cubans are suffering a wave of terror –involving everything from thousands, upon thousands of arbitrary arrests by KGB-trained secret police to machete attacks by regime-paid mobs against peaceful women dissidents—surpassing anything seen in decades.

Cubans are risking their lives to flee Cuba at a rate unseen for decades.

President Obama made some remarks about ending the last remnants of the Cold War, but seem a little vague about the history. He has crowed about being the first American president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years.

The Castro dictatorship’s alliance with the Soviet Union and the military standoff in 1962 over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles just 90 miles off the U.S. coast might well have ended in WWIII. That was a fairly big deal in history. The visit, and the ‘surrender’ of the American president is a coup for the Communist regime. As with Obama’s Iran Deal, what we get out of Obama’s Cuba Deal remains a mystery. There have been no concessions, and Raul Castro essentially told Obama that human rights in Cuba are none of his business.

But Leftists seem to see only the quaint American automobiles from the 1950s, and the old buildings without understanding why they are old and quaint.




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