American Elephants


Civil Disobedience Meets Corporate Marketing by The Elephant's Child

Summertime. The Country Time Lemonade company is teaching American business how to do public relations. Every summer lately, we hear outrageous stories about petty bureaucrats who shut down little kids’ lemonade stands because they don’t have the right permits. This summer might just be different.

Country Time has announced an ingenious summer promotional campaign. They want your kids to be entrepreneurs and open lemonade stands. If City Inspectors come calling, Country Time will cover the cost of fines and permit fees. Great advertising for Country Time, good publicity.

Rather different from the oligarchs in Silicon Valley who are hiring the Southern Poverty Law Center to tell them which are Conservatives doing “hate speech.” For the infamous SPLC anything said or written by a conservative is “hate speech.”

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Andrew Klavan Explains Hollywood by The Elephant's Child

This video was made last year, but the ideas are perhaps even more relevant today, in the age of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Republicans try to inform people by explaining the laws of economics and the lessons of history, discussing the pros and cons of proposed legislation. They believe that some people are in real need and try to arrange that they can be helped, but for those who are able, they believe that a paycheck is better than a handout.

Democrats, on the other hand, believe in buying votes with handouts and promises of free education and free healthcare. I always remember the young black woman at Obama’s inauguration who was so excited that now she wouldn’t have to worry about paying her bills, because of Obama. Democrats are very good at propaganda. They don’t worry much about economics, but promise to relieve the worries of life with the good things they will vote for. That they seldom work out is just the way things go and never mind.

Of course movies are powerful propaganda. Think about the extent to which people quote lines from a popular movie in ordinary conversation. Why is the news, on any day filled with comments from celebrities in the entertainment industry. They are celebrities because we have seen them in movies or on TV. We recognize them, know their names and are fascinated by gossip about them. Yet do they have any qualifications for assuming that their thoughts and ideas will be of value?

If celebrities were banned from the news, the news would be about real events and real problems, and much, much shorter. Is your view of the world  clearer and better understood because Bill Mayer said he hopes for another recession so we can get rid of Trump? But that is what passes for news today, and people are upset when President Trump says something about “fake news.”



The Future is Coming Whether We Welcome It Or Not by The Elephant's Child

My mail contained some startling notices. In the Netherlands, in  the city of Eindhoven, they are building a neighborhood of 3D printed houses. I saw pictures of a house they 3D printed here at a cost of around $3,600 (If I remember correctly) that looked attractive and like a normal house only very small. A whole new concept of neighborhoods and living. This one looks as if it was designed for migrants from a children’s book. Kids would love them. You can google 3D houses to see what’s being developed in this country.

Thinking about D-Day, I couldn’t help but wonder if we are going to have to do it again. The EU Government seems to think it will all go well as the migrants adapt and become Europeans. The Migrants seem to have no intention of assimilating, and just expect to take over in a generation or two, when they become the majority. Whether they want to eliminate the current Europeans is an unknown, but attacks seem to continue everywhere. The thinking of the EU government seems to have little to do with the ideas and interests of the people, with rare exceptions. See Victor Davis Hanson’s “Europe’s Vanishing Calm” at National Review.

It’s  now against the law in California to shower and do laundry in the same day. The Outgoing Governor Jerry Brown wants a few draconian laws passed as a parting gift to the state. This one is designed to help California to be prepared for future droughts and, of course, to help defray the effects of climate change. Governor Moonbeam remains a true believer. The mandatory water conservation standards will be permanent, not just in times of crisis.

But at the EPA, the valiant Scott Pruitt is doing some genuine cost-benefit reform. Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency rammed through an average of 565 new rules each year during the Obama Presidency, imposing the highest regulatory costs of any agency in the government. It pulled this off by arranging the supposed benefits to fit whatever cost they thought they could get away with. Regulations can impose severe costs on the economy. By adding “social costs” and “social benefits” Obama’s EPA added speculation about causing childhood asthma (scientists don’t know yet what causes it) which sounds good, and is hard to object to. Removing useless regulations has been a boon to commerce. The EPA has a statutory obligation to look at the costs and benefits of proposed rules, which were reinforced by executive orders and court rulings.

The EPA will take the first step today by issuing an advance notice of proposed rule-making. After weighing public input, EPA will propose a rule establishing an agency-wide standard for how regulations are assessed. The reform will make it easier for Americans and their elected representatives to see whether more regulation can be justified. At White House direction, the Trump EPA recalculated the “social cost” of prior regulations to include only demonstrable domestic benefits. The social cost estimates dropped to an average of $5 per ton of carbon from $36. The EPA had put the social cost of methane at an average of $1,100 per ton. The Trump EPA lowered that to $150 per ton. As they say, $1,000 here, and $2,000 there and pretty soon you’re talking real money. On his first day in office Mr. Pruitt said his goal was to protect the environment and the economy, and that “we don’t have to choose between the two.”

 



Not a Good Idea to Dare Us! by The Elephant's Child

President Trump tweeted that the jobs report would be coming out in another hour, without mentioning the nature of the report, and OMG the media had a hissy-fit. Each day they must find something, anything with which to vent their spleen, something. oh please, something illegal and impeachable or at least embarrassing and humiliating.

Why only yesterday it was Melania who hadn’t been seen for several days(she just got out of the hospital, guys) and there was speculation that perhaps the President had given her a black eye or something. If they weren’t so smug and puffed-up, it wouldn’t be so much fun to expose them for their smug stupidity.



Good News is Just Not Welcome in Some Places by The Elephant's Child

Investor’s Business Daily said on Friday “You have to look really hard at the May employment data to find anything even remotely resembling bad news about the economy. At some point, maybe the mainstream media will notice something’s changed dramatically, and for the better.”

Businesses added 223,000 jobs for the month, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.8% — its lowest rate since April 2000 and matching the lowest rate ever, first set in 1969, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected on average a 190,000 gain in jobs. And job gains in March and April were revised up by 15,000, so the number is even stronger than it looks.

Further cementing the idea of surprising strength, most economists now say that a mid-June hike in interest rates by the Federal Reserve is baked in the cake. When the Fed worries about too much good news, you know the economy’s strong.

But it’s even better than that, because minority employment right now is also booming. The unemployment rate for African-Americans fell to 5.9% in May from 6.6% in April. The May number is the lowest unemployment rate for African-Americans ever. Moreover, the 2.4 percentage point gap between the overall unemployment rate and the African-American rate is also the smallest since modern record-keeping of jobs and employment began in 1973.

Tyler Durden reported at Zero Hedge that Nancy Pelosi seemed to have reached “peak cognitive dissonance” this morning. He adds some dandy graphs if you like your facts illustrated.

In a prepared statement Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi panned the “strong” jobs numbers as bad for the middle class. She explained that::

May’s jobs report shows that strong employment numbers mean little to the families hit with soaring new costs under the Republican’s watch.

and she whined that:

…the President’s reckless policies are exploding gas prices, wiping out the few meager gains that some families should have received from the GOP tax scam, as wages remain stagnant.

Odd, because in fact wage growth is near its best (admittedly slow) since June 2009. Gas prices are up but just back to 2014 levels, well below the levels during President Obama’s reign and well in line with the average price at the pump during Obama;s entire 8 years. Then Pelosi summed up with what the Democrats plan is:

Democrats know that the American people deserve A Better Deal, with Better Jobs, Better Wages and a Better Future. 

We are committed to creating millions of new good-paying jobs and raising wages, lowering the soaring cost of living for families and giving every American the tools to succeed in the 21st Century economy.  Democrats will never stop fighting for the hard-working middle class families who are the backbone of our nation.

This is simply another example of the fact that the Democrats believe that the voters are stupid, and will fall for their propaganda every time. People just don’t pay that much attention to things, and are easily influenced by Democrats’ messages of caring and feelings.

I don’t think so. I think maybe that was one of the messages of the 2016 election. They’re not buying it.

 



I’m Not Funny! But Neither Are Most of Our Comedians. by The Elephant's Child

We have certainly had a plethora of people persecuted for something they said in this profoundly politically correct period. (after ‘plethora’ I couldn’t resist all the other p-words) People keep losing their jobs or their careers after saying the wrong thing. This is also a very political period. Democrats have chosen to refuse to accept the results of the last election because they don’t like President Trump. They call themselves “the Resistance” and we call them victims of “the Trump Derangement Syndrome.” So it is somewhat understandable that those who identify as “comedians” fail to understand what comedy is all about.

If you have whole groups of people seething with rage, an especially strong insult can provoke cheers and applause, but it may not go down so well with those who are not seething. There are a lot of what you might call under-stories here as well. When you are consumed with hate, however illogical, the normal societal barriers are shoved aside and a presumed “comedienne”can assume that a mock, bloody, severed head of the President of the United States will be funny. Another presumed “comedienne” can think that calling the president’s daughter a vulgar word for spurious reasons will be funny. Kathy Griffin was just wrong. In an era when terrorists are decapitating victims on camera, one should assume that it would not go over well. Her career may be over. Samantha Bee went off on misunderstood fake news —The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today all had to issue formal corrections to their reporting on immigration. They falsely claimed that President Trump had enacted a policy to separate illegal border-crossing parents from their children at the U.S. Mexico border. The New York Times wrote:

Correction: An earlier version of this column mischaracterized the legal status of 1,475 undocumented migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents. Those children were placed in the custody of sponsors screened by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They are no longer in federal custody.

USA Today’s correction read:

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this column mischaracterized the legal status of 1,475 undocumented migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents. Those children were placed in the custody of sponsors screened by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They are no longer in federal custody.

The media also got all confused when someone found a picture of illegal immigrant children in locked cages with their bedding, and that went viral, as they thought they really had something real on Trump — and then the picture turned out to be from the Obama administration, and not Trump’s responsibility at all. So if a comedienne gets all confused and calls the president’s daughter a vulgar word because the comedienne didn’t bother to check her information and just wanted to say something nasty about Ivanka Trump, it’s just an accident, isn’t it?

We seem to have entered a period when the people who are trying to make a go of a career in “comedy” have no real understanding of what comedy is, and what makes something funny.

I am not funny. I have never been funny. I laugh at someone else’s joke and then can’t remember what the punch line was when I try to tell it. Mildly amusing I can sometimes handle, but seldom.

But I do understand some things about comedy. Only the rare comedian can be funny with insults. Don Rickles was so good at it, that people misconstrued his humor. His insults were never designed to hurt, and his audience knew that. You can make a joke about someone’s fondness for Big Macs, done the right way, but you can’t successfully make a joke by calling them a fat pig. Self-deprecating humor can be really funny, Attacks not.

It is hard to be funny. You walk a very narrow line between joke and insult. Don Rickles’ insults were carefully planned to be funny and not insulting. Jack Benny invented a whole character so he could make fun of himself  as stingy and mean. We have all sorts of late night comics who try to be amusing about the news of the day, but they seldom manage it. Roseanne Barr made a racist tweet and had her show cancelled. The insults were unacceptable, and Ms. Barr has a history of mouthing off. But the executives at ABC and Disney decided early in the day to pull the plug on Roseanne. It seemed to be supporting Donald Trump, and that would not do.

Race is one of the under stories. Democrats are extremely dependent on the votes of Blacks and Hispanics, and have been ramping up racial prejudice at every opportunity. How many times have you heard Republicans accused of racial prejudice? And the President and his administration. When they are not being called Nazis, which as the president has moved the US. embassy to Jerusalem and has a Jewish son in law and daughter and their children, gets a little absurd.

Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas and other prominent Blacks are regularly called Uncle Toms simply because they are Republicans. Democrats want to make it clear that they are the party of color and ethnicity because they can’t afford to lose those votes. They get the votes by giving presents — welfare, housing, food stamps, free phones, all the presents that make people dependent on government. It’s always possible to buy votes. And somehow the help to escape dependency never arrives. That, by the way, is why Democrats want sanctuary cities and open borders. New immigrants mostly vote Democrat, or can be bribed to do so. The Border Patrol has kept track of all the illegal immigrants who confess to having voted several times. There are a lot of them.

The comedy focus, of course, is on the rude words. The ones uttered by good Democrats are excusable, and vanish down the memory hole. Joy Reid has a long history of “hateful” blog posts attacking John McCain, praise for Iran’s former president, anti-Semitic comments which were quickly absolved by MSNBC. And so it goes. Would-be comedians need to study up on comedy. They’re missing the point.

Then there’s the matter of “free speech” which is also deeply misunderstood. Free speech does not mean that you can say whatever you want with no consequences. The First Amendment says quite specifically that “Congress shall make no law,”  It is entirely about protecting the individual from acts of Congress. Which is especially interesting in the light of the case in Britain of Tommy Robinson.

Tommy Robinson was a reporter and activist concerned especially with Islamic “grooming gangs” who were raping young girls. He was reporting outside a London courtroom where a trial was going on of just such a gang. He was arrested,  promptly convicted and sent to prison for 15 years because he dared to say out loud things that society did not want mentioned. It was, in the judge’s mind, “racism.” Is that something catching from America’s news which appears prominently in English papers? The judge put a block on anyone mentioning the trial, Islam, Tommy Robinson, or what it was all about. The British are protesting, and they learn about the case from the discussion in our news media and that of other countries in the Anglosphere. Americans are shocked and disbelieving.

Our ideas about free speech, about what’s funny, about what can be public knowledge are all  under attack, and attempted to be changed irrevocably, so that the goals of another political party can triumph as they assume is their due.

Addendum: Kathy Griffin popped up today to defend Samantha Bee, which only proves that the poor thing does not understand what she did. Everyone she knows thinks Trump is a terrible president and a terrible person, Nazi, dictator, etc. There’s nothing wrong with Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump the C word because nobody she knows likes Ivanka Trump either.

Let me spell it out. When someone threatens the life of the President of the United States, the Secret Service descends and they are taken into custody. Your cute little beheading “joke” was a threat and an incitement to have someone do harm to the President. You could be in prison for a significant term. Tommy Robinson has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Britain, for far less.

Fortunately the authorities recognized that you were too dumb to recognize what you had done. Samantha Bee decided that because Ivanka Trump is the daughter of the President, it’s fine to attack her with vulgarity although Ivanka has done nothing whatsoever to deserve such an attack. You both demonstrated a profound lack of understanding what comedy is. That career is probably over, but thanks to President Trump, unemployment is back to the level it was in 2000 and equals the lowest rate ever, set in 1969. You’ll probably be able to find something.



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.




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