American Elephants


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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The Clintons Released Their Tax Returns, and They Are Very Interesting by The Elephant's Child

<> on April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.

Hillary and Bill Clinton released their tax returns on Friday, in what was seen by many as an attempt to force Donald Trump to release his. He says he is being audited by the IRS and can’t release his returns until they’re done. It’s a time for back and forth accusations.

The Clintons, who Hillary claimed left the White House dead broke, tax returns show that the couple earned $10,745,378 last year, mostly on income from giving public speeches. $10 million worth of speeches?  Really?

Of that amount, they donated $1,042,000 to charity, which got them a nice big deduction, although all the contribution went to the Clinton Family Foundation — which they control and which acts as their family piggy bank.  The Clinton Family Foundation is separate from the Clinton Foundation which has been at the center of claims of donations from countries with records of human rights abuses. Most of the criticism is directed at the wealthy donors to the “non-profit” who then received favors from the Secretary’s State Department.

President Obama’s Justice Department according to CNN, declined a request to investigate the Clinton Foundation from the FBI,though other sources say this is not true..The Foundation may still be under federal investigation. Preet Bharara, the U.S, Attorney for the southern district of New York,  is conducting a joint investigation with the FBI out of his office.

As more emails are released, it becomes clear that big donations to the Clinton Foundation resulted in job offers, favors for the donor, and big pay for a speech from Bill got favors from the U.S, State Department. Hillary is getting a lot of support from big business and the tech industry — apparently because they know she can be bought.



How This Election Came About, Who Is Responsible, and What the Heck We Are Going to Do. by The Elephant's Child

This is possibly the weirdest election year ever, though there have been some pretty disturbing ones in the past. We have candidates in each of the major parties who were not only not my choice, but far from it. We had our primaries and conventions, and this is what they came up with. We have two equally impossible candidates in the two minor parties.

The earth has shifted, and much has changed — and we are beginning to wake up to it. First, consider the news. The world of information as we knew it consisted of the news (solemn, reasonably accurate, and fairly non-partisan), and opinion — partisan, but you could identify those on your side and decide who among them to pay attention to. The news came on at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. A good percentage of the American people also got a daily newspaper, some even got two, and maybe some magazines. Where do you get your news today?

The powers that be do want desperately to divide us into classes — the upper class. middle class, working class and the poor — they have other names for the “upper” class, and the “they” clearly represents those who want to be considered “upper.” Charles Murray wrote:

Harvard economist Robert Reich was the first to put a name to an evolving new class of workers in his 1991 book, The Work of Nations, calling them “symbolic analysts.”Reich surveyed the changing job market and divided jobs into three categories; routine production services, in-person services, and symbol-analytic services. In Reich’s formulation, the new class of symbolic analysts consisted of managers, engineers, attorneys, scientists, professors, executives, journalists, consultants and other “mind workers” whose work consists of processing information. He noted that the new economy was ideally suited to their talents and rewarded them accordingly.

Murray, in The Bell Curve, called this new classthe cognitive elite,” and said that currently when he uses the term  new upper class, he is referring to a fuzzy set of people who run the nation’s economic political and cultural institutions, and at the top are those who have risen to jobs that affect the nation’s culture, economy and politics. So if you are one of those who mumbled about all of us working for a living, there you are.

So where do you get your information? Note that we no longer have a “news” class — it’s all opinion. Brief rants on Twitter are as apt to make the “news” as the latest from the wire services. (Are there still wire services?) Count up the sources you have for information — takes a heck of a lot more than two hands.

We are all human beings, including those we send to Congress as well as those we send to the White House, and to judges chambers, and those currently serving time. Oddly, the new upper class, who need so badly to think well of themselves, usually forget that—possibly because being human means we don’t know as much as we think we do, we make mistakes, some of us lie, commit fraud and are false to our best ideals — and worse. We are told that we must commit to lifetime learning, but when you come home at the end of the day, an old movie seems more enticing. Those who run for political office have an extra gene for public speaking and imperviousness to criticism, and of course ego. Don’t expect too much.

In the meantime, the Left has changed dramatically. Kim Holmes has written a fascinating book to explain the changes that have taken place.

For most of the 1980s and 1990s, leftists worked, if not underground, then certainly below the political radar. They were still operating in a Reagan or post-Reagan era. They inhabited universities and activist organizations that had existed on the fringes of American liberalism since the 1960s. This marginal existence ended in the 2000s under the presidency of George W. Bush. Progressive activists launched a movement against the war in Iraq, and eventually the Democratic Party broke with the moderation of the Clinton years. Energized and radicalized, Democrats moved left and began to take on the old liberal establishment, much as the New Left had done in the Kennedy and Johnson years. The result is a far more aggressive liberal party. This cause triumphed with the election of Barack Obama, a quintessential postmodern leftist, to the presidency in 2008.

The new Left is better characterized by groupthink and intolerance.  Hillary has disavowed her husband’s accomplishments in office, but her only real ambition has always been to get very rich and be the first woman President of the United States. She hasn’t given much thought to what would be good for the country as is easily evidenced by her claim to make college and university free to all.  (And how do we afford that?) She has arranged the rich part through the worst kinds of graft in pubic office, and ‘the first woman part’ seems fairly absurd in the wake of women presidents and prime ministers and heads of state around the world, not to mention long history of queens who headed states. The Big Whoop has pretty much gone out of it. Nobody cares.

We are stuck with 4 candidates that we mostly don’t like very much. We need to stop blaming it on the uneducated in backwoods districts, and realize that this is all entirely the work of the far left press. We had 17 candidates, too many, but the Republicans have a big bunch of extraordinarily successful governors. All were left desperately trying to get some attention while the press was only interested in what Donald would say next.

Most people don’t spend a lot of time on politics, and aren’t all that familiar with policy. They just know when things are not right and their lives are being turned upside down. They may not know all that much about government, but they revere their Constitution, their freedoms, and the idea that we have a system for immigrants that has, through the years, done an excellent job of welcoming immigrants and turning them into American citizens. So there you are.

Donald Trump blurts out whatever occurs to him — apparently in the vein of Obama’s statement “If they bring a knife to the fight, you bring a gun.” Hillary is a crook. She is not just untrustworthy, or lies occasionally — she has used the high office entrusted to her to enrich her family Clinton Foundation by responding to donations by doing federal favors for the donors. That is called graft. Or selling out your country for cash. Trump says things he shouldn’t say. Hillary does things that are very, very illegal and very damaging to our country.

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate, a successful governor and a “pot entrepreneur,” and is for drug legalization, and other unacceptable views. Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate,  a doctor of internal medicine, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard and Harvard Medical School, and a complete environmental nut who expects the United States to be underwater by 2030 or so, and is an environmental activist, sit-ins and protests too many to measure.



Forgive Me For My Inattention! by The Elephant's Child

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Sorry about the light blogging. I have not been lolling on a sunny beach with a cold beverage. My broken foot has healed, I can wear shoes once again, and the neglected yard demands attention, right now!  Add veterinary appointments for 2 sick cats, doctors appointments, and I have been somewhat ignoring you, my beloved audience.

Besides, what does one say in an electoral year like this! Everyone is at everyone else’s throat. I have NEVER seen anything like this, and I’ve seen a lot of electoral seasons.  The comments sections on most blogs are downright vicious. Today it is in the high 80°s, and we in the Pacific Northwest who are not accustomed to much sun, retreat to the darkest corners with our electric fans in fear that our mossy backs will dry out and wilt.




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