American Elephants


Daniel Hannan Explains Socialism at The Oxford Union by The Elephant's Child
August 22, 2016, 6:27 am
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Economics, Economy, Europe, European Union, Politics, United Kingdom

Daniel Hannan is a British politician, author, and Member of the European Parliament representing South East England, who will, I guess, shortly be losing his job to BREXIT, which I believe he favored. Here he is clearing the air a little, about the wonders of socialism.

He is a very clear speaker, and I wouldn’t want to be on the opposing side of a debate with him. Good guy, always interesting.



Enough With the Tired Old Slogans. Let’s Talk About the Real Issues. by The Elephant's Child

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“This is the most important election of my lifetime,” unfortunately, that is a statement you hear in every election. But then, sometimes, it’s true.  So do we worry most about — ISIS? The plight of Europe as they can increasingly not cope with the flood of migrants, many of whom are ISIS fighters? Or do we worry about terrorist attacks in our own country? Is it the Zika Virus? Or is it the economy which after over seven and-a half long years has shown little sign of a real recovery. This is really not the new normal.

Republicans are more apt to recall what they learned in school about separation of powers and federalism. Democrats have decided that they are far more interested in controlling the peoople, and that is a problem.

President Obama has maintained a steady course of increasing new regulations, more spending on”infrastructure,” more spending on the chimera of global warming, and through his unconstitutional executive actions, he has backed federal mandates on business, closed a lot of small businesses, increased taxes and in the strange interest of making America just one among the many countries of the world, made America weak. And then there’s the Iran Deal.

The executive actions are a big problem. All presidents do some, but President Obama has carried it to an extreme, and Congress has found it hard to cope. This is the first time we have had a president, schooled by Saul Alinsky, determined to change the country to something that is more in line with his personal vision of social justice, and unconcerned with following custom or the rules.

Republicans are inclined to believe that there is no such thing as “social” justice — that justice is what is embodied in our courts, our body of laws, our Constitution and the constitutions of the several states.

Democrats have had a degree of success with “social justice” and the associated ideas of an unjust minimum wage, income inequality, racial injustice, “white privilege,” a War on Cops, excessive incarceration of black perpetrators, too many blacks in prison, thousands of Syrian “refugees” who cannot be vetted are put ahead of those who have waited patiently in line as legal immigrants, and of course “crumbling roads and bridges.” You will notice that most of these are rallying cries in the Democrat campaign.

I continually get the sense that Democrats operate with talking points handed down, and thus do not have to study issues, read, or think seriously about history or the world, or about whether their issues are right or workable or even make sense. Or maybe that’s just Hillary.

They seem to be fixated on an improved version of socialism that will be socially just, totally different from all those other socialisms, and will fix all the dreadful problems of America — as it is. They find the old buildings and their peeling paint and the antique cars in Havana charming, and can’t get it through their heads that it is “charming” because that’s all they have. They completely ignore the devastation in Venezuela where the people are dying from lack of the simplest medicines, and plain starvation. They broke into the zoo to kill a horse to eat, but the animals in the zoo are starving to death too.

Hillary wants to raise taxes on the rich, who already pay most of the taxes, and on corporations, capital gains, death taxes and stock transactions, without the slightest understanding that will simply deliver more stagnant growth, falling wages and declining productivity. But then, that’s what her economic plan promises. More of Obama’s “success.”

What makes economies grow and prosper are free markets and free people who can work to come up with new ideas and bring them to fruition in their garage or small town or big city. Freedom works small and big miracles every day. Tried and tested for 240 years.



There’s A Battle Going On Here, But It’s Not Quite What You Think! by The Elephant's Child

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For years, everyone has pretty much agreed that ordinary Americans are blessed with plenty of plain old common sense. I believe that to be true. But the level of society represented by businesses and managers and officialdom at all levels seems to have gone remarkably nuts.

For example, consider the “zero-tolerance” thing that has infected our public schools across the country. Remember the little boy who chewed his Pop Tart into what the zero tolerance administration at his school considered a gun-shape, and he was suspended from school. What it actually looked like was the shape of the state of Idaho. You just turn the state on it’s side and voilá — a gun. Kim R. Holmes points out:

Children are suspended from school for pointing their fingers as a gun, using an imaginary bow and arrow on the playground…  Seven high school students are arrested for engaging in a harmless end-of-the-year water balloon fight, A student is slammed down on the sidewalk and hospitalized for an injury, and a parent standing nearby and complaining about the excessive use of force is threatened with a stun-gun, hospitalized for an injury, and arrested for trespassing. … So-called “free-range children” who are allowed to walk home by themselves from the playground are picked up by police, and their parents are investigated by Child Protective Services. Only decades ago their “offense” was the norm for most American families.

The sheer insanity of the “snowflakes” on college campuses has become well known, as has the utter inability of college administrators to do what would seem to be common sense and send the brats home. “A backlash from parents and alumni is turning up as a result of the campus disruptions of the last academic year. The University of Missouri, where the high-profile, racially-charged protests made national news, have found that enrollment is expected to decline by 2.600 students in the fall. The new freshman class will decline by 1,400. For every 100 fewer students on campus the university loses $1 million in tuition revenue, which rises to $2.5 million for 100 fewer undergraduates from outside the state.”

Across the pond, the experts told us not to worry, that BREXIT would never pass, the consequences would be too severe, but ordinary Englishmen were sick of being controlled by unelected members of an unaccountable bureaucracy and voted to leave. The world has not fallen apart.

Target Corporation responded to the current zeitgeist when it announced that it would allow customers to use whatever bathroom corresponds to their “gender identity.” The American Family Association charged that Target’s new policy would make women and children susceptible to sexual predators, and led a boycott effort that has now garnered nearly 1.5 million signatures. When Target announced its policy, its stock price was $83,50 a share. It has dropped to $67.17 a share. A man who “identifies” as transgender was caught taking pictures of a female customer in a Target fitting room. Target decided to add a third single-toilet bathroom at all stores, which can be locked by users, at a cost pf $20 million. Target clearly still doesn’t get it. Common sense Americans probably will not return.

Kim Rhodes is an Olympic champion who has won medals in six games. Her historic feat  had gone unmentioned by the press. She won her medals by (Gasp!) shooting a gun, which apparently puts her beyond the pale. No major corporate sponsor, but her ammunition and training costs are offset with sponsorship from firearms companies. Companies fear a backlash from the progressive anti-gun lobby. She shoots skeet, better known as clay pigeons.

Even when the press has reported on her achievement, the tone has often been dismissive. An NBC story noted that her medal record is arguably “far less impressive than, say, a gymnast or a swimmer” because shooting “requires fewer physical attributes.” Sure, all it takes is remarkable hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, steady nerves and dedication over 20 years.

Trap or skeet shooting is a pastime for tens of thousands of Americans outside the main media corridors. I even tried it once myself, I wasn’t too bad .

Meanwhile in Academe — the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout — has decided that two paintings should be removed from hallways in Harvey Hall, because the uncontrolled access poses a risk of having a “harmful effect” on their students. They are “French Trappers on the Red Cedar” and “Perrault’s Trading Fort.” They will be hidden away in the Library along with a document that explains their historical significance and the concerns Native Americans have expressed about how they are portrayed in the paintings. Can’t foist those ideas on unaware or unwilling recipients. It is becoming clear that today’s college students don’t know ANYTHING about history.

It is a pattern, repeated over and over. It’s not ordinary Americans who are out of touch. It is those who conceive of themselves as smarter, more enlightened, and just ever so modern and up-to-date for the 21st Century, you know. Every time someone utters the phrase “21st Century” you will know just where they are coming from.



There is No Infrastructure Crisis. They Just Think You’ll Believe Them. by The Elephant's Child

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When  you come to do political battle with your opponent, I guess you try to pick simple clear problems to talk about that people will understand, rather then the difficult, complex problems that really exist. Things like Infrastructure sound important and sound like there could be lots of jobs there. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are claiming that repairing our crumbling infrastructure will be a source of great jobs. Hillary has even gone so far as to call it a “national emergency.” The picture above is very old.

Clinton promises to send a $275 billion infrastructure spending bill to Congress in her first one hundred days of office. In her campaign stops, she invites voters to dream of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that her infrastructure spending will create. Her promised infrastructure boondoggle has drawn Donald Trump into the bidding game with an unseemly pledge to double Clinton’s program. Trump should stick to attacking regulation and tax reform rather than aping her public spending giveaways.

But is our infrastructure really “crumbling?” U.S infrastructure ranks near the top in the world. The lobbyists angling for federal funds are happy to gin up a crisis with D+ report cards for whatever client they represent. “There are 15,000 transportation lobbyists in DC who routinely contribute huge amounts to politicians on both sides of the aisle. Opponents of infrastructure spending are decried as wanting to poison grandma with polluted water and send school buses over the guard rails of decaying roads. Good people want good roads, safe bridges and clean drinking water”— and we all want to be good people don’t we?

This report from the Hoover Institution suggests that there is no crisis, that if we really want to be ‘citizens of the world’ we should help some of the nations that really do have an infrastructure problem that has a real negative effect on the lives of their people.

Under this category is California’s great high-speed rail boondoggle, and the determined goal of the Left to get us all out of our cars and onto trains that won’t work and nobody wants. Seattle has a light rail project that has no riders and costs a bundle, as do many other American cities whose mayors and governors passionately want a legacy and  don’t want to fall behind what their counterparts are doing.

Besides that — there are no jobs. For any infrastructure process, there is a long period of preparation for the project that may involve no new jobs at all and last for years. First there is the planning process, which involves permissions and agreements from all the jurisdictions involved. Architects and engineers design the project. Land must be purchased or condemned (eminent domain and a long court process) and then there are the environmental impact statements.

If the enviros don’t like the project, they are sure to find an endangered species to protect or some other life form they found. With some projects, Indian tribes have claimed ancient burial plots. It  is usually a long painful process that may take ten or twenty years before any new jobs arise, and those may go to experienced construction workers first.

Obama, if you remember, cited crumbling infrastructure, and lots of new jobs — and eventually admitted that there didn’t seem to be any “shovel ready jobs.”  Politicians, it seems, have short memories.



Why Wait for the Facts to Be Revealed? It’s More Fun to Riot and Loot. by The Elephant's Child

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Milwaukee has been quiet again after a curfew on teenagers, and after Governor Scott Walker alerted the National Guard. The real rioting broke out on Saturday night in Sherman Park after the fatal shooting of a young black man  by a black policeman. The body cam showed that the young man had a gun, and he had an extensive record of investigations, but only one serious arrest. It is a textbook example of racial agitation. In an article at City Journal, Heather MacDonald reported on the “black social breakdown and anti-cop ideology that has put another American city to the torch.” MacDonald wrote:

The Black Lives Matter-inspired assassin who murdered five police officers in Dallas in July 2016 said that he wanted to kill white people, as well as white cops. The vitriol that officers working in urban areas now encounter on a daily basis is inflected with racism.

And if the war on cops escalates into more frequent attacks on whites and their perceived interests, the elite establishment will bear much of the blame. For the last two years, President Barack Obama has seized every opportunity to advise blacks that they are the victims of a racist criminal justice system. We should not be surprised when that belief, so constantly inflamed, erupts into violence.  Even in his remarks at the memorial service for the five murdered Dallas cops, Obama had the gall to trot out his usual racial vendetta against the police, even though he was fully on notice that cops were being killed because of it:

At the service, ignoring the astronomically higher rates of black crime that fully explain racial disparities in the criminal justice system, Obama said:

When African-Americans from all walks of life, from different communities across the country, voice a growing despair over what they perceive to be unequal treatment; when study after study shows that whites and people of color experience the criminal justice system differently, so that if you’re black, you’re more likely to be pulled over or searched or arrested, more likely to get longer sentences, more likely to get the death penalty for the same crime; when mothers and fathers raise their kids right and have “the talk” about how to respond if stopped by a police officer—“yes, sir,” “no, sir”—but still fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door, still fear that kids being stupid and not quite doing things right might end in tragedy—when all this takes place more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid.

Hillary has been just as ready to blame the police and by extension, “white” society because it as ‘reality” that police officers see black lives  as “cheap.” That was in a January 2016 debate. That’s how you attempt to get blacks to the polls to vote.

Clinton said that “we cannot rest until we root out implicit bias and stop the killings of African-Americans.” Showing herself to be as statistically challenged as Obama, she continued: “Let’s admit it, there is clear evidence that African-Americans are disproportionately killed in police incidents compared to any other group.” (Blacks are actually killed at a lower rate than their crime rates would predict. And at least four studies this year have shown that police officers are less likely to shoot blacks than whites, whether armed or unarmed.)

The hacking of George Soros Memos reveals that Soros’ Open Society approved $650,000 to “invest in technical assistance and support for the groups at the core of the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement.” Breitbart says:

George Soros’ Open Society Institute viewed the 2015 Baltimore unrest following the death of Freddie Gray as opening a “unique opportunity” to create “accountability” for the Baltimore police while aiding activists in reforming the city, according to hacked documents reviewed by Breitbart Jerusalem.

The hacked document states:

Leaders of #BlackLivesMatter and The Movement for Black Lives worked to influence candidate platforms during the 2016 primary season. This came alongside the recent acknowledgement by political strategists that African-American voters may be much more pivotal to the 2016 general election than previously forecasted.

 



Hillary’s Big Economic Speech is Pure Hooey for the Rubes by The Elephant's Child

Here is Hillary’s Warren, Michigan economic speech. It’s not fair for me to have the privilege of watching if I don’t share. It is 47 painful minutes long, very persuasive, and really quite a powerful speech. Many will fall for the B.S. She clearly feels your pain, she grew up in a home where her father had a little business just like many of you do, and they had to struggle, and her grandfather worked in a factory! She didn’t go into the struggle she and Bill had when they left the White House dead broke (A little history: Harry Truman left the White House with no pension except his $112.56 Army pension, and Congress corrected that so no future president would ever have to struggle. Do click on that link. )

If you can’t resist watching this debacle, try to keep in mind that Obama has added more than six trillion dollars to the national debt and that has accomplished exactly what? Keep asking yourself “how do we pay for this?” See US Debt Clock.org. Or how to become Venezuela in a few easy lessons.



Hillary’s Big Economic Plan Is an Embarrassing Display of Leftist Ignorance by The Elephant's Child

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Why would anyone getting ready to go to bed start pounding their head on the wall? (Simile.) Someone mentioned Hillary’s big economic speech on Thursday in Warren, Michigan, and I thought I ought to watch it so I would know something about her economic plans. I didn’t expect much, but I was still taken aback.

It was a powerful-sounding speech, promising to solve everyone’s problems and the problems that had never occurred to them. Jobs, lots of them, how? — Infrastructure! Why is it always infrastructure? If you remember, Obama was going to create all sorts of jobs in Infrastructure — “crumbling roads and bridges” — all sorts of promises of what they were going to do, and eventually Obama admitted that there didn’t seem to actually be any “shovel-ready jobs.”

The interstate highways are federal business. State and county roads are the state’s and county’s business. You can’t just pick a piece of land and start to build something. First, all sorts of jurisdictions have to agree to the project. Then there are the environmental impact statements, and the plans need be drawn up, soil testing, legal challenges, eminent domain. I probably have the order wrong and have left out many steps, but that’s the general idea. All that stuff can take years, and usually does. The people who do those tasks are already on staff. There will be no new jobs until construction starts, and construction jobs only last  until the project is done, which may be 10 or 20 years down the road. Construction jobs are temporary. That’s why Obama said there weren’t any “shovel-ready jobs.” We went through all this before, but Hillary wasn’t paying attention, or else she doesn’t care because it sounds good.

She promised a lot of clean energy jobs too, and lots more clean energy. Installation is done by skilled workers from the company that manufactures the turbines or solar panels, and there aren’t many jobs there. She babbled on about Germany and China, but those countries are already getting out of the “clean energy” business. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming that she doesn’t know any better and is not just pandering to the rubes. Obama tried the clean energy jobs bit too, and we got Solyndra and Ivanpah.

She’s dragged out every tired old cliché that worked for the Left in past elections — “trickle-down economics” is the pander for an opposition who promises tax-cuts, which is how you get an economy recovering. Leftists just don’t get it. They cannot conceive of a world where they are not increasing their control and forcing people to do what they want. That is how you build a brave new world. (I think someone used that phrase before.) Increasing the minimum wage makes the economy grow. what? She promises a manufacturing renaissance, economic revitalization, free college for the middle class, free trade school, With her $10,745,378 income last year, she has a lot in common with you, and knows just how to make life better for you hard-working Americans — a job with dignity and equal pay, not everybody needs to go to college, the trades are fine too, broadband for everyone, infrastructure bans, a cleaner power grid. $25 billion government seed money, $10 billion to make things in America, lots of tax credits, deductions for child care, blah, blah, “better together.”

It was painful. If you want an economy to recover, you have to reduce taxes so people can save and invest and create. Raising taxes, and Hillary’s economic plan would demand huge tax increases on an already damaged economy — just prolonging the decline for another 4  years.

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