American Elephants


“We Will Resist” Intoned Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by The Elephant's Child

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Shocked by the Left’s response to the election of Donald Trump, we have  responded badly, with calls of “poor losers” as if they were mere spoiled children, or spoilsports in a childhood game. This is not a game, these are not children. These are adults who are old enough to know better. They are not innocents demanding their own way simply because they are frustrated, kicking and screaming with clenched fists and red faces. They are the real thing. Tyrants.

Chuck Schumer, the new Senate Minority Leader, made clear in a speech on the Senate floor that he intends to do everything he can to use his 48-seat minority as a bulwark against Donald Trump’s agenda.

Mr. Schumer offered up the possibility of compromise on “issues like infrastructure, trade and closing the carried interest loophole,” though the public-works spending must be “significant, direct spending,” not tax credits. You almost have to admire his Stakhanovite dedication to the tiny carried interest tax provision, though we’re willing to bet Mr. Schumer will find other reasons to oppose a serious tax reform that eliminates it.

But that was it for the olive branches, saying that on most Republican priorities “we will resist.” He laced into Mr. Trump’s appointees as “stacked with billionaires, corporate executives, titans of Wall Street, and those deeply embedded in Washington’s corridors of power.” He did not mention that two of those “titans” hail from Goldman Sachs, source of many donations to Senate Democrats.

The Minority Leader saved his most partisan remarks for MSNBC, aptly enough, where he all but promised to block any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court. “We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don’t appoint someone who’s really good, we’re gonna oppose him tooth and nail,” he said. When the MSNBC host asked if Mr. Schumer would do his best to keep the current vacancy on the High Court open, he responded “absolutely.”

Mr. Schumer’s real objections? Democrats don’t like the Constitution, the envy of the world, preserving our freedom from tyranny. What’s wrong with that splendid document? Democrats don’t like free speech. It allows people to say things that Democrats don’t like. They don’t like religious freedom—they want to do away with religion, and the family, freedom of association. They don’t like freedom of the press because that allows things like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

They most particularly don’t like the right to keep and bear arms. They worked against guns on the basis that it was only for militias, but that didn’t work, and now they are just going for the guns themselves, as if guns were running around and shooting people without any human collaboration. In a government under the tyranny of the Left, I could be put in prison for writing a post like this. Or  killed. It has happened in many previous tyrannies. Cuba. Venezuela. North Korea—Kim Jong Un actually assassinated one of his people with a howitzer. Boom, you’re dead! Then there’s most of the countries in the Middle East, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Pol Pot. There’s a long, long list of governments that want complete control of all the people and no disagreement whatsoever.

They don’t learn from what is happening in the world either. Britain’s National Health Service—deeply admired by democrats—is killing off its old people with neglect, dehydration and lack of attention. You can read about the failures in the British papers regularly. Chicago has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the country and a murder rate higher than New York and Los Angeles put together.

A simple study of the rules of economics demonstrates why raising the minimum wage by government regulation does not help those workers, and acts as an unemployment program for young blacks, but Democrats call Republicans “racist” for opposing the raise—but then that’s just their standard epithet. If repeated often enough, people start to believe it, despite the falsehood.

So why would anyone want to be associated with the Democratic party. Law Professor Glenn Reynolds’ column for USA Today, today, was about “New Status Anxiety fuels Trump Derangement.”

It’s been nearly two months since the election, and Democrats and leftists still haven’t settled down. The campus safe spaces and cry-ins immediately after the votes were counted were bad enough. But the craziness is still going on.

Why are they so upset?  I think it’s because of status anxiety. Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.

What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: “Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins.”

In Chicago,  a vicious hate crime has been whitewashed by the press. President Obama deplored the incident, but remarked that race relations had improved under his administration. Unfortunately, Obama has disagreed with the findings of Grand Juries in case after case, agreeing with the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” falsehood of events in Ferguson, and celebrated #Black Lives Matter, inviting the group to the White House, and confirming the racist nature of each of the events, which were rejected by Grand Juries who painstakingly investigated. Obama did suggest that Black children needed Black fathers in the home. The President seems to be a very good father himself,  But he didn’t follow through with the issue of black fathers, and the responsibility to be there for their kids as much as he might have.

Steven Malanga took on the subject back in July for an excellent article on the problem. Democrats have continued, at White House direction, to fling the epithet “Racism” around, repeating it over and over, even when there is not the slightest evidence. It is not surprising that recent studies show that Black Democrats believe that Donald Trump is racist, and that they will suffer under his presidency.  If Black Democrats were not encouraged to believe that Republicans are racist, they might not vote for the Democratic party. That’s the way it works.



Repealing ObamaCare, and The Problems Involved. by The Elephant's Child

medical_doctorsRepublicans are planning to repeal ObamaCare immediately.
They have a lot of good ideas about how to make a health care program more effective and less costly, like allowing health insurance to be sold across state borders. As it stands, each state has an insurance commissioner who approves or disapproves insurance policies for their particular state, so you get 50 different kinds of regulations.

An increase in competition always makes things cheaper and more efficient, because bad ideas get weeded out because they cannot compete. Freedom to solve problems and the promise of reward for solving them has resulted an an astonishing rise in the standard of living in the whole world.

All sorts of scholars have been working for 8 years to come up with better ideas for doing health insurance. The best idea, however, came from Thomas Sowell, and he stated it very simply:

If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs. in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government run medical system?

The federal government has no business putting a bunch of bureaucrats in charge of American’s healthcare. The federal government has demonstrated over and over that they do not know how to do healthcare, with the VA, with Medicare, with Medicaid, and with the Indian Health Service.We don’t need top-down central planning.

ObamaCare wanted national records of healthcare practices so at  they would have more knowledge about how to make healthcare more efficient.They ordered hospitals to computerize, get rid of the handwritten notes of patient encounters. Medical centers spent enormous sums of money buying computer systems for each office and examining room. The basic idea was totally wasted because the computer systems can’t talk to each other. They were all different setups.

Patients weren’t all that happy about their private health records being available to anybody who could log onto the system. It also meant that doctors were spending their time interacting with computers instead of patients. Doctors hired scribes to take notes on the computer while the doctor actually interacted with the patient. Think about how much all that added to the cost of doing healthcare.

I think it was Medicare that ordered their physicians to limit patient encounters to 7½ minutes. Great way to cut costs, except the encounters are with real human beings with very different reasons for going to the doctor. Stupid.

Bureaucrats decided that the place to cut costs was in what medical professionals were charging for their services. You’ve seen your insurance records, the medical establishment charged $150 for the encounter, the insurance company allowed $47, and you paid half that in your co-pay. So, quite naturally, a good many physicians will not see people on Medicaid, Medicare, or the Indian Health Service, and so far veterans are stuck with the VA. You’re left hunting for someone who will see you, and are they the less accomplished doctors?

Bureaucrats think all doctors are rich, and some of them are. However, they spent a long time studying to be able to get into medical school, after that studying for their specialty, and interning. Most have huge school loans to pay off, and their offices have medical assistants, lab technicians, receptionists, nurses, a respectable office with all sorts of equipment and several examining rooms with all sorts of equipment. Doctors have years and years of training compared to ordinary bureaucrats, and at some point they expect to reach a point where they can live fairly well. Bureaucrats see them as the part of medical care that can be slashed to save money.

It’s not the doctors that cannot be afforded, it’s the bureaucrats. The federal government needs to get out of the business of running health care. They don’t know how to do it, they are no good at it. Turn it over to private enterprise, to find ways to provide care that the country can afford. The Left does not believe in private enterprise, they think competition is a bad thing, they believe that they are the smartest and most able people around, and they cannot understand why a heart surgeon should make more money than they do.

Consider the outcry against Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to HUD because he had no experience in government. That’s a revealing, and typical, Leftist response.

Here’s a post from 2012 about the Oklahoma Surgical Center which would seem to suggest that there are real possibilities out there. I have not followed up to see if it is still as successful.

I am afraid that Republicans in Congress will just devise another government-run program that will have some better ideas, will not solve the problem of escalating costs, and when the Democrats return to power, as they will at some point in the distant future, we’ll do it all over.

Republicans believe in private enterprise, and freedom. When people are free and encouraged to find better ways and rewarded for so doing, miracles happen every day. How did you think Dr, Leonard McCoy got those amazing instruments that he used on the Enterprise?



About That “Smooth Presidential Transition”… by The Elephant's Child

To quote Andrew Malcolm:

Since Obama vowed to run a smooth presidential transition, what’s the real point of picking a tardy diplomatic scuffle with Putin? What’s the real point of setting Israel (and the annoying Netanyahu) adrift at the United Nations now?

Why issue all these offshore drilling bans and new federal regulations? Why commute more federal prison sentences than a dozen past presidents combined? Why keep releasing Guantanamo terrorists when so many return to their homicidal careers?

Might it be to plant political IEDs for his annoying successor, as Democrats seek to restore their party? For the first time in nearly a century a former president decided to reside in Washington. Obama has rented a mansion and office space where he’ll be easily accessible to media friends for, say, kibitzing his successor – unlike Obama’s predecessor, who went silent for more than a year.

•”California state lawmakers (Democratic operatives) have hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to file lawsuits against the Trump administration to hold it in check, much in the same way Republican attorneys general did to President Obama.”

•”The latest numbers from the U.S. Treasury say that United State’s federal debt has risen by a trillion dollars in President Obama’s final year in office, while Republican controlled both the House and Senate.

The debt at the end of 2016 was $19,976,826,951,047.80, a one-year increase of $1,054,647,941,626.91.”

•”Taxpayers footed the bill for $96 million in mostly personal travel expenses for President Obama and his family over the eight years Obama has occupied the White House, according to a new report from Judicial Watch announced Thursday.

The president’s high-priced trips included the family’s annual vacation to Hawaii, which cost an estimated $3.5 million in flight expenses alone, a $222,000 ski trip to Aspen for Michelle Obama and her daughters, and $450,000 in flight expenses for the family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, the Washington Examiner reported.”

•”President Obama’s lame duck administration poured on thousands more new regulations in 2016 at a rate of 18 for every new law passed, according to a Friday analysis of his team’s expansion of federal authority.

While Congress passed just 211 laws, Obama’s team issued an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, some costing billions of dollars.”

• “Economy-Crippling Executive Actions: With less than a month left in his presidency, Obama has launched an initiative to wipe out coal mining and handicap offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.First, he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with its controversial Stream Protection Rule. By one estimate, that would make mining so difficult it would make 85 percent of the nation’s coal reserves unrecoverable.

Then, on Tuesday, the president designated most government-owned areas in the Arctic Ocean and a large swath off the Atlantic Coast closed to drilling. That would prevent production of huge reserves of oil and gas.”

• “Record Wave of Pardons and Commutations: President Obama on Monday pardoned 78 people and granted another 153 commutations, amounting to the most acts of clemency granted by a U.S. president ever in a single day.”

•”Ramped-up Refugee Resettlements:President Barack Obama is speeding up the “refugee” resettlement process before he turns over the White House keys to his successor, President-elect Donald Trump – in an effort to boost the numbers so high that it is now projected that they will exceed his target of 110,000 for this fiscal year by nearly 600.

According to the Refugee Processing Center, the Obama administration has already welcomed 23,248 individuals to the United States as “refugees” through the first 11 weeks of the 2017 fiscal year – almost doubling the 13,786 who were accepted for the same period in 2016.”

• “Adding a final shameful chapter to a foreign-policy record that already runneth over with them, Barack Obama on Friday abandoned America’s commitment to Israel’s security, and to the vindication of democracy over sharia-supremacist aggression. In an act of cowardly venom, the president had the United States abstain from — and thereby effectively enact — a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlement activity. At least, that’s what the resolution ostensibly does. The reality is much more than that. The resolution undertakes to render our ally indefensible.”



The Economic Wit and Wisdom of Thomas Sowell by The Elephant's Child

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The great economist Thomas Sowell has written his last columns, and at age 86, is turning his attention to his photography. He has always had a special genius for stating ideas in a simple but memorable way. When people wanted to honor his long list of columns over the years, they made lists of their favorite Sowell quotations. Here are some of mine and some of economist Mark Perry’s.

  1. ObamaCare: If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs. in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government run medical system?
  2. Predicting the Future:  Economists are often asked to predict what the economy is going to do. But economic predictions require predicting what politicians are going to do– and nothing is more unpredictable.
  3. Economics vs. Politics: The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
  4. Economics vs. Politics: Economics and politics confront the same fundamental problem: What everyone wants adds up to more than there is. Market economies deal with this problem by confronting individuals with the costs of producing what they want, and letting those individuals make their own trade-offs when presented with prices that convey those costs. That leads to self-rationing, in the light of each individual’s own circumstances and preferences.
  5. Predicting the Future: Economists are often asked to predict what the economy is going to do. But economic predictions require predicting what politicians are going to do– and nothing is more unpredictable.
  6. Politicians as Santa Claus: The big question that seldom— if ever— gets asked in the mainstream media is whether these are a net increase in jobs. Since the only resources that the government has are the resources it takes from the private sector, using those resources to create jobs means reducing the resources available to create jobs in the private sector.
  7. Helping the Poor: It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club.It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration. It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader.
    Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing “compassion” for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about.
  8. Thomas Sowell on Obama’s Health Care Reform


What Exactly IS Social Justice? by The Elephant's Child

This video from Prager University is not new, but worth repeating. Some very basic points from Jonah Goldberg to remember. Lets you argue with progressives more effectively.



Political Correctness, Progressivism and the Perpetual War on Real Progress by The Elephant's Child

From Angelo Codevilla: “The Rise of Political Correctness” in the Claremont Review of Books:

The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself. Because all progressives, Communists included, claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, progressives end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities. Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being  subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power. Because that power is insecure as long as others are able to question the truth of what progressives say about themselves and the world, lprogressive movements end up struggling not so much to create the promised new realities as to force people to speak and act as if these were real: as if what is correct politically—i.e.,what thoughts serve the party’s interest—were correct factually.

Communist states furnish only the most prominent examples of such attempted groupthink. Progressive parties everywhere have sought to monopolize educational and cultural institutions in order to force those under their thumbs to sing their tunes or to shut up. But having brought about the opposite of the prosperity, health, wisdom or happiness that their ideology advertised, they have been unable to force folks to ignore the gap between political correctness and reality.

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This is a pretty good example of how Democrats use “talking points” to get a message across, which is just another form of propaganda— designed to fit an image in your mind. And it is the media that is repeating the talking points. It’s not just repetitive words, but basic ideas, repeated over and over until they seem normal. And this is the media doing Leftist propaganda, not news.

We are told that we must be concerned about feelings: compassion, sympathy, pity, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, sensitivity, solicitude, generosity, goodwill, humanitarianism, for the refugees from the Middle East. We have to be nice.

Angela Merkel was just being compassionate when she invited refugees to come to Europe. The refugees were welcomed. They welcomed them with flowers and food and housing. Europe, at Angela Merkel’s invitation, was trying to be nice. She may have lost the next German elections already.

The religion of most of the refugees tells them that Western women are infidels, whores, and it’s fine to rape or mistreat them. So you have “No Go” areas where it is not safe to enter, even for police. The ‘refugees’  don’t want to work, they like being supported. They don’t intend to be assimilated. They are demanding the installation of Sharia law. Europe, overall seems incapable of saying ‘No’ firmly.

Same thing is beginning to happen in this country. Obama is shipping refugees in significant numbers to states that usually vote Republican, The states don’t get to turn them down. If you don’t want to welcome refugees, or object to executive orders or regulations, you are a bad person because you don’t have the proper compassion.

Look again at that list of nice words. You will seldom hear an explanation of just what Sharia Law is, nor of the fact that the refugees are not interested in assimilating, nor in becoming Americans.

More than 4.4 million people are on the wait list to immigrate to the United States. They have applied legally, and want to become Americans, yet Obama is flooding the country with “Syrian refugees” who aren’t necessarily even Syrian, and can’t be vetted. The problem is that Sharia Law and the Islamic way of life are completely incompatible with our way of life.

As I have said, humans are by nature tribal. We want to be with those who share the same background, the same heritage and language, the same customs. Commonalities. Shared experiences. It isn’t about race or ethnicity, though that may matter for some. So what? One of my friends plays tournament bridge, and has friends with whom she shares the pleasure of the game. A nearby shopping center has a food court and adjacent tables often feature a knitting circle, and there is a giant chess board with players from all over, and several games going on at the side.

To Quote Angelo Codevilla again:

Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special,”scientific.” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward; the world is not as it should be because society’s basic “structural” feature is ordered badly.

As far as I can tell, the source of greatest anger among humanity at the moment is that Leftists are furious at those who disagree with them about the direction of the country, the importance of the Constitution, and the reach of the federal government. That seems to be the basic “structural” feature that is not as it should be. Leftism or progressivism is a religion, and the Left, collectively, are quite as intolerant as the Islamists in our midst. Yet, collectively, they cannot bring themselves to call Islamic terrorism by name.

Human nature is not as it should be, and must be fixed, so that progressives are in charge and no one disagrees with them.  Baldly stated, it’s really not so attractive at all.



The Middle East Problem by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Dennis Prager with a brief video from Prager University, explaining the Middle East Problem, and why the much vaunted “Two-State Solution” doesn’t work, why Obama’s effort to abstain from voting for the Security Council  resolution is so foolish and so remarkably damaging.

Back before Barack Obama was nominated, Richard Epstein, who knew him at the University of Chicago, wrote that Obama had absolutely fixed ideas that were set in concrete. Once he made up his mind, Epstein said, that was it—set in stone, and unchangeable. The rockets fired into Israel, the attempts at mass murder, the refusal of the so-called Palestinians to consider recognizing the Jewish state  have made no impression. They don’t care that the Jews were there first, and continually.

Nor does the fact that it is quite clear that the Palestinian people want Israel destroyed, make an impression on Obama. The Israelis regularly are trusted by Palestinian parents to perform complicated and life-saving operations on their children. Arabs living in Israel participate fully in Israeli life, serve in government and are the freest Arabs in the Middle East. Curious.




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