American Elephants


Trump Derangement Syndrome is Real and Weird by The Elephant's Child

An interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal today by a Republican media consultant. He says:

I’m routinely invited to represent the right-leaning view on left-leaning news outlets, including CNN, MSNBC and NPR. Usually I’m invited to appear alongside two liberal panelists, a liberal show host, and a viewing audience rooting for my competitors. I’m not expected to take a dive, but everything is arranged to make it hard for me to win the argument.

He says that waiting in the green room to go on the air. he meets all kinds of liberal journalists, activists, progressive politicians and Hollywood celebrities. And what has he learned from observing these people close up?

Liberals are united in the belief that the election of Donald Trump constituted a cataclysmic anomaly in the political cosmos. They believe in their hearts that this cataclysm was instigated by an outside agent using cyber chicanery. Equally clear is their newfound collective purpose in life—to rectify this horrific reality any way they can. …

The conversations I’ve heard regarding the president’s mental state have been even more bizarre. I’ve heard it all—he is on medication that causes erratic behavior, he has a mental illness, he has been brainwashed or blackmailed by the Russians.

The consequence of this mindset is that President Trump’s successes have not been reported. The historic unemployment numbers, the destruction of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the potential breakthrough with North Korea, no clue.

At The Federalist, Johnathan Tobin writes about the Never Trumpers who find President Trump’s conduct so unpresidential and deeply inappropriate, that they are ready to join forces with liberals to oppose the president in court and in future political campaigns.

But to the hardcore Never Trump remnant, his policies are irrelevant. That fact that he has been arguably among the most conservative presidents in memory and has done things these figures would have supported if any other Republican had carried them out means nothing to them. In their eyes, Trump’s personality and sensibilities are a threat, as one of them told The New York Times, to “the liberal order” and a destroyer of the “norms of democracy.”

They seriously believe that Trump is plotting the end of democracy, and unless there is a successful resistance we are living in the last days of the Weimar republic. His policies are irrelevant. Apparently opposition to the president is more important than lower taxes, a conservative judiciary, ending the Iran Deal and recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.

I really don’t understand Trump Derangement Syndrome, though it’s very clear that it really exists. Democrats are inclined to fall in love with their presidents, and loathe Republicans. But presidents are only ordinary men, with all the faults and foibles that go along with being human. Political campaigns are full of excess and hoopla and when we elect someone to the presidency, we can only cross our fingers and hope that they do some of the things we believe to be important. Part of the derangement is, of course that Trump is undoing Obama’s “accomplishments.” The fact that they would not work, were bad ideas, or even big mistakes would make no difference. They’d fix it later. And then, of course, Democrats don’t believe in cutting taxes, or removing regulations. Every Democrat in Congress voted against cutting taxes.

Economic estimates are coming in for the second quarter, and they are all 3.3% and more. Democrats promised us that there was no longer any possibility of getting beyond 2% growth. Trump is horrible is probably not a winning message.



How Obama’s Presidency Destroyed the Democratic Party by The Elephant's Child

This isn’t new, but is a very good reminder about the culture wars, and who’s on which side and why, and why there are culture wars. Short, but as all of Victor Davis Hanson’s speeches do, it makes you think.

Every day, things seem a little more outlandish. Ivanka Trump posts a picture of herself with her son for Mother’s Day, a charming shot of a mom nuzzling her kid, and the Left falls apart. But Trump is separating children at the border from their parents! Abusing little children! Putting little children in locked pens! The pictures of penned children go viral, when someone notices that it was from 2014, and the Obama administration.



Victor Davis Hanson: Germany and the Unwinnable WWII by The Elephant's Child

I have no idea how many books have been written on World War II. Many of them important, but Victor Davis Hanson has explained it. I gave my oldest son, who is really interested in the war, and has toured the battlefields in Europe,The Second World Wars for Christmas. He usually mutters about the somewhat conservative books I give him, but he made a special point of thanking me for it. He said it has made it all make sense, and he loved the book. So there are glimmerings of hope.

If you have not yet ordered the book, you’ll be glad that you did. The preface explains the title, and why Victor Davis Hanson was the correct one to tell that story. Memorial Day would be a good time to indulge.



Do You Remember America’s Second War of Independence? by The Elephant's Child



A High School Learns a Lesson in Fresno by The Elephant's Child

It was at a high school championship game in Fresno. The announcer said “There will be no anthem. Let’s just play softball” The crowd started booing. Then they stood up and started singing. We’ve heard better singing, but seldom so proudly.

The athletic director said they would play the anthem before all games.



The Democrat Dictionary by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2018, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Humor, Progressives | Tags: , ,

I don’t know who came up with this, but what a good job!

Hoist on their own petard, indeed, to borrow an elderly phrase.

In their very own words.



Sharyl Attkisson: All About Fake News! Is it Real? by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Sharyl Attkisson giving a ‘TED Talk’ at the University of Nevada, on the matter of “fake news.” There’s no one better to explain just what the problem is, and why it is a problem. She has had her own battles with truth in journalism, and emerged triumphant.

We depend on the national news media to give us factual, current news. It increasingly seems that reporters have little acquaintance with history, and little understanding of the traditional role of journalism in a free country. Fortunately, the new media allows us to be our own fact checkers. It’s more work for us, but we can track down the truth, if we make the effort.



Compassion is the Moral Sea in Which We Swim by The Elephant's Child

In one of her appearances on her international whine tour, Hillary suggested that the reason (among the multitudes) that she lost the election was that she was a Capitalist, while most of the Democrats were Socialists, which I found highly amusing. It’s nice to have a Democrat admitting that most Democrats are Socialists because you now have a witness, Hillary, defining them so. But what kind of a capitalist would hang out with a bunch of socialists? Another bit of evidence that Democrats just don’t understand economics at all.

Democrats operate on feelings. Compassion. William Voegeli, in his marvelous book The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion remarks on how “as politicians have made the Democratic Party increasingly liberal, liberals have turned it into the pity party, committed to doing good socially and thereby doing well politically. People have interests, of course, and a political party that promises that the government will give things to them and do things for them will never lack for a constituency. But people also have pride: they desire approval, including self-approval… The term “compassion”—or “empathy,”or even “kindness”—is routinely used not just to name a moral virtue, but to designate the pinnacle or even the entirety of moral excellence. Precisely because this moral conviction is ambivalent, with so many Americans taking for granted that moral growth requires little else than feeling acting, and being more compassionate, it’s an important  yet difficult subject to analyze. Compassion is the moral sea we swim in, which works against our awareness of it, much less efforts to chart its depth and currents.”

This explains how Democrats are always willing to help someone out with welfare payments, but unwilling to help them get off of welfare or to become independent. As long as they remain dependent, Democrats can continue to feel compassionate, and get their votes as well. Republicans want to get people off of welfare and self-supporting so they can stand on their own two feet, and take part in the economy like everyone else.

Economic growth has always had its detractors. “Among those who view it as fundamentally good, most conservatives are inclined to treat growth as a necessary and virtually sufficient condition for improving human life, while the disposition to regard it a necessary but far from sufficient condition increases with one’s political liberalism. Here Voegeli turns to Economist Dierdre McCloskey who calculates that in “the countries that most enthusiastically embraced capitalism some two hundred years ago, real, per capita economic growth has increased by 1.5 percent annually. Owing to the miracle of compound interest this increase has meant a 19-fold increase in living standards over the past two centuries, which , she contends, is a “change in the human condition” that “ranks with the first domestications of plants and animals and the building of the first towns.” McCloskey argues that this enormous economic result had a cause that was cultural rather than economic. Humans did not suddenly become more acquisitive or creative. Rather, “when people treat the marketeers and inventors as having some dignity and liberty, innovation takes hold.” The new respectability of bourgeois life, the belief that the creativity of capitalism’s creative destruction more than offset its destruction, was the decisive attitudinal change that rendered human life in the past two centuries decisively different from what it had been throughout  the preceding millennia.”

“An economically dynamic society is likely to be a good place to be poor not only because there will be many opportunities, but because the habits of thought and action conducive to creating those opportunities are also directly beneficial to the aspiring.”



The Left’s Real Vision, Exposed. by The Elephant's Child

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Events in the world continue to astound. Starving, desperate Venezuela is supposedly so pleased with Nicholas Maduro that they have elected him to another term as president dictator, so they can starve longer. In Turkey, Recip Erdogan has apparently decided to be a dictator. And China’s President Xi Jinping also serves as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and the Communist Party has decided to allow him to reign indefinitely, instead of the two terms he originally planned on.

So perhaps it should not be surprising that New York magazine would carry an article titled “America’s Version of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democracy” by someone named Eric Levitz. You really need to read the whole thing to grasp just where leftist minds are wandering.

American democracy is unwell; on this much, President Trump’s detractors can agree.

But when they turn to the tasks of identifying our republic’s symptoms, naming its illness, and writing a prescription, different factions of “the resistance” produce divergent diagnoses.

One group — comprised of comparative politics scholars, liberal pundits, and NeverTrump conservatives — have their eyes fixed on Donald Trump. They see the moral cowardice of a Republican elite that declined to deny an illiberal demagogue their nomination, or to abandon him in the general election, or to let the investigation into his campaign proceed unimpeded. They observe a president who relentlessly assails the independence of federal law enforcement,veracity of official election results and a conservative base that takes his lies to be self-evident. And, pulsing beneath it all, they discern the rise of a hyperpartisanship that’s leading each party’s elected officials to eviscerate informal constraints on their authority — and each party’s voters, to believe that the other side has no legitimate claim to power.

It’s quite clear that when he writes about ‘capitalism’ and ‘democracy’ he is not writing about anything familiar to us.  Capitalism is to do with corporations which are evil, I won’t even attempt to explain his delusions, you’ll have to read it for yourself. But it becomes clearer just why it often seems like we are speaking different languages. We are.

A reader reminded me of a post from 2014 that seems appropriate, titled “The Ultimate Global Antipoverty Program”

Extreme poverty in the world fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990.  The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world. An 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years.

The World Bank reported on Oct. 9 that the share of the world population living in extreme poverty had fallen to 15% in 2011 from 36% in 1990. Earlier this year, the International Labor Office reported that the number of workers in the world earning less than $1.25 a day has fallen to 375 million 2013 from 811 million in 1991. …

The reduction in world poverty has attracted little attention because it runs against the narrative pushed by those hostile to capitalism. The Michael Moores of the world portray capitalism as a degrading system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet thanks to growth in the developing world, world-wide income inequality—measured across countries and individual people—is falling, not rising, as Branco Milanovic of City University of New York and other researchers have shown.

So what accounts for that? “It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.

Freedom and opportunity make all the difference. Some people just can’t grasp the idea of freedom, they can only see a world that would be better if only they were in charge.



Just What is the Common View of Technology and Artificial Intelligence? by The Elephant's Child

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Headline: “Mark Zuckerberg Warns Elon Musk: More People will Die if We
‘Slow Down Progress’ on AI” from PJ Media.” This made me laugh.  Mr. Zuckerberg is suffering from a bad case of poisonous publicity, and has been doing a vast round of public appearances to show everyone what a very nice chap he really is. I’m sure he is, and he really means well. But his Facebook business was founded on a childlike idea of real people. He began on the assumption that people would really like a platform where people could share thoughts and ideas, news and events with their friends and relatives. Uh huh.

I say “childlike” because any person who has been a part of a family knows that the average family gets along part of the time, and it’s better the greater the distance between you. That seems true for most families that I know. There are big resentments for a slight maybe 20 years ago. Have you read the ordinary ‘comments’ column on any news article? People not only don’t like each other, they are downright vicious and vulgar.

Elon Musk seems to be better at getting government money to finance his experiments than in actually developing the experiments, but then I haven’t the slightest knowledge of engineering, so perhaps it’s always like that. Driverless cars that run people down and crash into other vehicles don’t inspire a lot of confidence. His people tube under Los Angeles may turn out to be the transportation idea of the future, but I lean towards the Wright Brothers who tested out their ideas at Kitty Hawk themselves.

If he has a wonderful idea, he should sell stock to those who expect a huge windfall, but I don’t want to support driverless cars with my taxes. I don’t believe governments should be in the business of supporting untested pipe dreams. We have a lot of Teslas around here in the neighborhood of Microsoft and other high tech companies, so perhaps they are more confident in high tech wonders than us ordinary people.

I’m not convinced that people have any interest in driverless cars either. The people I know like to drive, and like the freedom that a vehicle provides. I think of roads I have driven that have a 200 foot dropoff on one side, and when you go around a corner there might be a deer in the middle of the road. Driverless cars, so far, don’t always recognize a pedestrian, or another vehicle. How are they on deer and mountain goats? Get the problems worked out, test in all kinds of terrain and conditions and perhaps we can talk again.



“The Great German Meltdown:” Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child

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I am troubled by serious essays about the suicide of Europe, but then I’m troubled by the European Union, by Brussels, and most of all by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foolish invitation to the migrants of the world. When I worry about the future, I worry about Europe, as you have probably noticed. One country after another reports (or avoids reporting) about their problems with Moslem migrants. Burned cars, riots, rapes, murders, but what is the most troubling seems to be a refusal to face and deal with reality, and a reluctance to let anyone else know about the problems they face.

Fortunately, Victor Davis Hanson is often there to clarify the problems. He writes for the Hoover Institution about The Great German Meltdown

Every 20 to 50 years in Germany, things start unraveling. Germans feel aggrieved. Ideas and movements gyrate wildly between far left and far right extremes. And the Germans finally find consensus in a sense of victimhood paradoxically expressed as national chauvinism. Germany’s neighbors in 1870, 1914, 1939—and increasingly in the present—usually bear the brunt of this national meltdown.

Germany is supposed to be the economic powerhouse of Europe, its financial leader, and its trusted and responsible political center. Often it plays those roles superbly. But recently, it’s been cracking up—in a way that is hauntingly familiar to its European neighbors. On mass immigration, it is beginning to terrify the nearby nations of Eastern Europe. On Brexit, it bullies the British. On finance, it alienates the southern Europeans. On Russia, it irks the Baltic States and makes the Scandinavians uneasy by doing business with the Russian energy interests. And on all matters American, it increasingly seems incensed.

Certainly, Germany has done some unbelievably strange things in the last ten years. In a fit of fear, after the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown in 2011, and in a huff about climate change, Berlin more or less abruptly junked traditionally generated electrical power and opted for inefficient and unreliable “green” renewable wind and solar—despite the less than Mediterranean nature of its climate and warnings of the financial downside. The result is that electricity costs have climbed 50 percent in recent years and are among the most expensive in the developed world—and electricity itself is sometimes scarce. In response to shortfalls in power generation, the German energy industry for now is looking at solutions like coal-fired plants, buying nuclear-generated electricity from its neighbors, and cutting deals with Vladimir Putin for natural gas. In other words, Germany spiraled from the one extreme of green idealists to the other of dirty coal, while counting on others to export their electricity into Germany.

Oh do read the whole thing, and read the comments too. Here, for once, they are polite and thoughtful. Lots of us are concerned. But the Europeans don’t seem to have a very clear view of their own problems, or they don’t want to admit that they have problems, or they refuse to face the problems themselves. I don’t know, but suggesting that migrants be trained as truck drivers seems so completely wacko that I simply do not understand. Perhaps the American media seems just as strange to the Europeans. They are very interested in our goings-on. The media has become a poor representation of events here, is the European media equally partisan and politicized? Do we seem to them so unaware of our own problems?



The Many Ways Europeans Are Committing Suicide by The Elephant's Child

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When German  Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Europe’s borders to over one million Middle Eastern and African immigrants in 2015, it became clear that the vast majority of them were unskilled. She pushed a program of training the migrants to be truck drivers.

In 2016, two prominent German driving associations rejected Merkel’ suggestions. Three months later a Libyan failed asylum seeker named Anis Amri stole an articulated lorry, killed the Polish driver and drove it into a Berlin Christmas Market—killing eleven and injuring more than 50 people.

Economics Minister Buchholz, from the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP), said: “With this imaginative and praiseworthy initiative, the Logistics Organisation and the German Red Cross are building a bridge between the integration of refugees and the fight against the shortage of skilled workers.”

The programme heads maintain that refugees will be screened for residency rights and work permits as well as for minimum language skills; however, figures released this week revealed 80 per cent of Germans distrust the government’s screening after the Bremen immigration office was found to have wrongly granted 1,200 migrants refugee status.

Before the Christmas Market attack, a Tunisian-born French resident drove a 19 ton cargo truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day on July 14th, 2016, killing 86 people and injuring 400.

On April 7th, in 2017, a rejected Uzbek asylum seeker drove into a shopping area of pedestrians in Stockholm, Sweden, killing 5 and injuring 14 others.

More than half of the terror plots in Germany have involved asylum seekers or migrants since 2014 and the beginning of the migrant crisis.

A recent poll has found that 80% (79.9%) of Germans distrust the rulings of the Government Migration Agency. Possibly something to do with the dandy idea of building a bridge between the integration of refugees and the fight against the shortage of skilled workers.  And possibly because the Bremen immigration office was found to have incorrectly granted 1,200 migrants refugee status. Applicants will be screened for residency rights and work permits, and for language skills. Nothing was mentioned about screening for terrorist impulses.

 




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