American Elephants


If You Were Wondering Why the Left Seems So Insane… by The Elephant's Child

John Marini is  professor of political science at the University of Nevada. He writes. in the latest edition of Imprimis, about political scandal.

Nearly every political administration has potential scandal lying just below the surface. There are always those in government who seek to profit privately from public service, and there are always those who will abuse their power. All governments provide the occasion for scoundrels of both kinds. But the scandals they precipitate rarely erupt into full-blown crises of the political order. What differentiates the scandals that do?

Scandal can provide a way for defenders of the status quo to undermine the legitimacy of those who have been elected on a platform of challenging the status quo.

To understand a political scandal fully, one must take into account all of the interests of those involved. The problem is that these interests are rarely revealed—which is why it is so tempting for partisans, particularly if they are at a political disadvantage, to resort to scandal to attack their opponents. Many great scandals arise as a means of attacking political foes while obscuring the political differences that are at issue. This is especially likely to occur in the aftermath of elections that threaten the authority of an established order. In such circumstances, scandal provides a way for defenders of the status quo to undermine the legitimacy of those who have been elected on a platform of challenging the status quo—diluting, as a consequence, the authority of the electorate.

And here’s Andy Puzder on Fox News:

To the great shock and disappointment of liberals who have been desperately hoping for a downturn, the U.S. economy once again blew away expectations, recording 3.2 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter of this year.

Liberals have been predicting an impending recession for months. Frustrated with the obvious success of President Trump’s sweeping middle-class tax cuts – which they had claimed would result in “Armageddon” – Democrats next argued that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) would only produce a “sugar high” for the economy. With each successive quarter that their predictions have failed to materialize, they’ve only become more frustrated with the economy’s long-term prospects. …

This isn’t a one-time anomaly, either. GDP growth has been increasing steadily throughout Trump’s presidency, and the most recent data bring us to three consecutive quarters in which year-over-year growth has been 3 percent or higher. In fact, GDP growth has averaged 3.3 percent over the past four quarters.

Camille Paglia wrote, back in 2014:

The basic leftist premise, descending from Marxism, is that all problems in human life stem from an unjust society and that corrections and fine-tunings of that social mechanism will eventually bring Utopia. Progressives have unquestioned faith in the perfectibility of mankind.

William Voegeli at a Heritage panel on the future of the left, also in 2014

The fundamental assumption of the Left is the innate goodness of each person. This assumption means that they are seeking to undermine the Constitution which is based on a very different version of human nature. The Constitution puts the three branches of government against each other so that each will keep the others in check. The Constitution expects selfish ambition and by expecting ambition it legitimizes it — which is precisely what the left does not want to do. The left wants to supply not the “defect of better motives” but just better motives. Liberals want to set up a system that allows our latent goodness to “flourish” and the checks of our constitutional system can be discarded in favor of technocratic centralized disinterestedness that allows each individual to live an authentic life of his choosing.

Kevin Williamson, same panel:

In order to achieve this goal of a soft liberated citizenry the Left will have to dominate and control more of society—a tendency that is already in evidence.

And here’s Tom Sowell:

The vision of the left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also  vision of themselves – a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice”and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalted vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice. Which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact free arguments on the left, whether it is gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues – and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.



Saving the Planet From the Ravages of Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

The fabled “Green New Deal” would have essentially no effect whatsoever on global warming, yet it would impose enormous economic and social costs. The report comes from the American Enterprise Institute’s Benjamin Zycher, who analyzed likely impacts of the Green New Deal as outlined by new Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D- N.Y.) calling for such a program to supposedly cut U.S . greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Uh huh. They were even ever so sure that it would actually boost the economy.

The “boosting” bit depends on a “broken windows” theory (If you break a lot of windows, you’ll have to hire a lot of people to replace them.) Not a serious claim.

The United States counts for only a minor part of the worldwide CO2 emissions, but Zycher explains that if we achieved zero emissions, it would cut future temperatures by 0.083 to 0.173 degrees Celsius by 2100 — essentially zero. The overall cost would be about $490 billion, and would require for renewable energy – the seizure of some 115 million acres of land, more than the area of the entire state of California.

Remember that “renewable” energy only works when the wind is blowing at the optimum speed of about 35 miles an hour, and the sun is shining in a cloudless sky. If that’s not happening, you have to use plain old conventional energy because our society depends on energy. These are well known facts.

Looks like we are going to have a national demonstration, however. Democrats believe in global warming, probably because Republicans are not apt to. New York City politicians intend to “lead the way” to combat “climate change.”

Last week, the City Council voted almost unanimously for a package of six bills that comprise the “Climate Mobilization Act” for the nation’s largest city. Of the 44 council members voting, only two opposed this legislation.

What will happen that is predictable is the immediate cost. The centerpiece of this legislation is the $4 billion energy efficiency mandate on the City’s largest buildings, on top of the already substantial property taxes and construction costs. But that is just the beginning of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s estimated $14 billion strategic plan—his own “Green New Deal”—unveiled on Earth Day to reduce the City’s “carbon footprint…before it’s too late.”…

Mayor de Blasio said building owners need to “clean up their act” (who knew they were such polluters?) and that “if we don’t get results, there will be real fines.” In addition to the City Council’s handiwork, the mayor’s plan would go further by effectively banning glass-walled and steel buildings. I suppose what would remain is concrete and stone. Appropriately, today’s front page of the New York Post ridiculed the mayor.

They also plan on “phasing out reliance of processed meat and reduce the City’s purchase of beef by 50 percent.”Imagine people in elective office assuming that they can dictate your diet and lifestyle. Well, after all, they are attempting to save the planet!



Confusion and Misconception are Rampant Everywhere by The Elephant's Child

Friedrich Hayek once wrote: “Buying and selling were a procedure for discovering facts, which if the procedure did not exist, would remain unknown or at least would not be used.” The full name of Adam Smith’s classic work was “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,“as the Coyote Blog noted today:

The fact that AOC and other modern admirers of socialism can fret about poverty is, as they imagine, attributable to capitalism, but not in the way they think. Capitalism did not cause the poverty, it created the situation in which poverty is an issue with but a minority of the population (rather than essentially everyone). Before capitalism, fretting about poverty would just have been fretting about .. the way things are for everyone.

One of the earliest things that someone learns about politics, at least in Democrat families, is that Republican tax cuts only go to the rich. They simply do not understand the workings of the economy. Because “the Rich” pay way more in taxes than the rest of us, they get proportionally bigger tax cuts. What we are seeing out there is the result of everyone’s tax cuts. Someone remarked on the radio this week, in the wake of the  3½% remarkable growth spurt in the economy, that “people have decided to go shopping.”

Well, yes they have. I learned some time back that apparently large numbers of people have chosen to have their income taxes withheld from their wages, and really don’t know how much they paid in taxes — but only how big their refund was. This year, their refunds were somewhat bigger, and they have the money to do some extra shopping. I guess they worry that if they don’t have taxes withheld, they may not have the funds to pay on April 15. The rich don’t have to wait for refunds, so when they receive a tax cut, they have the extra funds to expand, grow their businesses, hire, invent—and make the economy grow. How do we tell? By reading the facts of the buying and selling that is going on.

This explanation does not fit into the world view of Democrats. They don’t buy it. I remember a few years back, a writer at the Wall Street Journal wrote in astonishment that “Elizabeth Warren has only a childlike understanding of economics.” That is why you have so many Democrats who want to get rid of capitalism. Much of the climate activists’ purpose is to use climate as a way to rid the world of capitalism. Mentioning Venezuela as a notable example of the abject failure of Socialism gets you nowhere. They do not, and cannot, accept the starving people of Venezuela as the inevitable result of Socialism. It just does not compute. It is based, of course, on a failure to understand human nature and an ignorance of history.

There has been lots of conversation about the vast crowd of Democrats running for the presidency. All are positive that Trump is so despised, so awful, that only the few gap-toothed deplorables in flyover country would vote for a second term. Joe Biden makes the twenty-first Democrat candidate to announce a run. Some reporters have remarked that name-familiarity should help him, but according to polls, large numbers of Americans have no idea who he is, and do not recognize a picture.

Those of us who have always assumed that we can depend on the wisdom of the American people may want to give some consideration to running for your local School Board. Or at the very least picking up one of Hayek’s books at the Library: The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, The Road to Serfdom, or The Constitution of Liberty.



Politics Becomes More Poisonous Day by Day. by The Elephant's Child

Joe Biden has kinda sorta said he will announce on Thursday and that would seem to be his intent, based on an article at PJ Media on Wednesday. He will be the 21st announced Democrat candidate.


Clearly it’s true. Here is the photo accompanying the story. Brand new healthy tan, newly whitened teeth, and the white hair has become a becoming blonde. Looks good!. Younger too. Now with the endless fun the media has made of the Trump tan and the Trump slightly orange hair, will the media notice or show interest in the Biden blonde? Do I have any wagers? My bets are on no notice whatsoever.

Why is it that we currently have so much attention on skin color, and the diversity thereof, and the castigated old white-skinned men are attempting to darken their skin? People notice skin colors, but not necessarily in any kind of a prejudicial way. They notice when someone is sunburned, or freckled, or has zits. Many people of all different races have healthy good looking skin, and some don’t. The media attempts to claim that any one who does not support open borders does so because they are racist. Silly, but in this era of identity politics, anyone who isn’t Hitler or a Nazi is clearly racist. We seem to have a shortage of sufficiently nasty names. We could have a contest to find better nasty names than those in current usage.

Heather MacDonald has a new book out  on “The Diversity Delusion” with the subhead “How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the Culture.”She is absolutely correct.

Toxic ideas that originated in academia have now spread beyond the university setting, widening America’s cultural divisions. Too many college students enter the working world believing that human beings are defined by their skin color, gender, and sexual preference, and that oppression based on these characteristics defines the American experience. In The Diversity Delusion, Mac Donald argues that the root of this problem is the belief in America’s endemic racism and sexism, a belief that has spawned a massive diversity bureaucracy, especially in higher education.

Diversity is now the most important criteria in everything from hiring decisions, reading assignments, university admissions to photographs and cafeteria food selection. Heather is a careful researcher, and her work or her speeches are always worth your time.

The politicians believe that these are winning issues for them, based simply on their seeming “popularity”in the culture. We need to let them know that they are getting way off track.

The United States is probably the most diversified nation in the world with the most varied blend of races and languages, and we’re really pretty successful with it. I don’t know that calling everyone a racist is  useful way of improving things.



What Is The Matter With These People? by The Elephant's Child

Observing the political scene, one wonders, what the heck is the matter with these people? It seems that large numbers of people are asking the same question. From American Greatness “NYT Ponders: Could the Steele Dossier be Russian Disinformation?” A slightly belated question, or the beginnings of  a CYA operation?

Victor Davis Hanson said: “for them, that particular subset that really hates Trump, its the idea that this guy just comes in, and all their pretensions or all of their disconnects, he challenges. And then he doesn’t just challenge it, he points out how hypocritical they are. He does that all the time.  If you look at his tweets, that’s one constant theme. “You have walls. Why can’t the nation have walls?” Hanson points out that all the Never Trumpers at the Bulwark, Max Boot, David Frum, Bill Kristol, have spent their lives advancing the issues that Trump has put into effect, and now they don’t like them because Trump’s fingerprints are on them.

But why the hatred? Most of the people who were involved in the Never Trumps, were invested in particular campaigns, and they thought they would be the wise men, they would be asked to come into the White House, be on Talk shows. They offerred their expertise, but they have a special office at the White House looking at applicants tweets and Facebook posts. Their obliging offers were rejected.

Jeremy Carl, a Hoover Institution scholar, called to our attention that in the aftermath of the Jussie Smollet hate hoax, journalist Andy Ngo wrote that the hoax was symptomatic of America’s illness – a combination he attributed to the rise of the victimhood culture fueled in significant part by increasing group conflict.  Not, Carl wrote, an “illness” of America writ large, but an affliction particular to white liberals. Recent polls by nonpartisan organizations suggest that white liberals have a unique distaste for their own ethnic group. (See Smollett, Covington HS boys in their MAGA hats.) Group bias is a widely recognized phenomenon, and most groups prefer their own. Except white liberals.

I think that the Liberals were expecting sixteen years of continuous control. It’s not just controlling the levers of power— but the jobs, the prestige, the friendships, the opportunities. It clearly wasn’t about Hillary except as the brownie points of electing the first woman, they’ve already lost interest in her completely. No longer useful.

Presidents are supposed to be former governors, or have been in the military – which suggests familarity with high level politics more than skill. From the still growing list of Democrat candidates there’s not much in the way of demonstrated skills. It is beginning to look as if there may be more skills in understanding economics, managing very large operations and dealing with the law in America’s CEOs, certainly than in the current crop of candidates. That’s the big divide. Trump represents everything the Left has been trained to hate. The birth certificate for a good liberal is the understanding that Republicans give tax cuts to the Rich, while good Democrats help the poor. Democrats have no understanding whatsoever that allowing people to keep more of their own money gets invested into the economy. They expand, hire, invent, and, oddly in the process, more people have jobs, unemployment goes down. The economy grows with more activity.  Democrats are good at propaganda however. Current surveys suggest that a significant percentage of the people don’t think that they got a tax cut.

Most people grew up in a neighborhood, by that I mean among people very like themselves. Similar home costs, similar houses, similar yards, kids go to the same schools. I notice, largely because I did not grow up in a neighborhood. There is a difference.

A president is someone we choose to run the country for us for four years. The campaign is supposed to demonstrate the skills and potential that candidates may (or may not possess). We get distracted by looks and personality or demeanor, and forget to look hard at proven ability, which is  a major mistake. We have a current crop of candidates who are blithely signing on the “The Green New Deal” with no understanding of why it would be a massive mistake, no understanding of whether there is or is not a climate crisis, and why. Over and over they are demonstrating that they have never even bothered to read or learn anything about the subject whatsoever. All of them.

We can scatter the blame around, but we need to look in the mirror. We have to be informed voters. It’s up to us.



Well, The Title’s Certainly True by The Elephant's Child



He is Risen! Happy Easter! by American Elephant
April 21, 2019, 5:10 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , , , ,

resurrection-of-christ-1875

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.”




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