American Elephants


Taking Stock of Trumpism by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson spoke in May, at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in Washington D.C. on “Trumpism.” Where did it come from, where is it going and what has it accomplished? This election was a strange phenomenon, when a political neophyte with no experience in politics at all, won the election over a long term politician, wife of a president, who clearly was owed the opportunity to become the first woman president.

It was impossible. That is surely the source of the Trump Derangement Syndrome. But Democrats operate on talking points, devised and focus group tested words. Surely you have noticed that suddenly all Democrats seem to be speaking the same exact words. It’s an old propaganda technique, if a lie is repeated often enough, people will start to believe it. They’re not getting the response they want fast enough, and yesterday they were trying a new one. Trump is crazy. Mentally deranged. For which he should be encouraged to resign if not be impeached. Let’s see if that one has any staying power.  Dr. Hanson’s speech is a fine remedy. Enjoy.



More in the Lighten-Up Vein: You’re Making Fools of Yourselves, Lefties by The Elephant's Child

Again, the Left is frothing at the mouth, not at the stupid groups looking for an opportunity to do battle of some kind, but at Donald Trump who didn’t condemn them strongly enough, or soon enough, or in the right words, and can we impeach him for that? The Right, exhausted with the wretched excess, finds the Left funny.

People actually on the right side of the political spectrum don’t include white supremacists, nor neo-Nazis, nor anti-Israel violence in their group at all. Never have. History is a little more complicated than that. The Confederate statues that the historical revisionists are trying to tear down were erected during the Woodrow Wilson administration. Wilson was a prejudiced bigot, a Democrat, and praised the KKK from the White House. The attempt to change history by eliminating statues or changing names of buildings or monuments or programs will not change history, but then most people have no idea who or what the statues are, what they represent, nor any idea who the buildings were named for, anyway.The most current idea is to remove the name Lynch, a common surname, from buildings, street names, parks, and any where because once upon a time blacks were lynched. Just how they are going to get everyone in the Lynch family to cooperate is a question. They can check with Loretta.

Our schools should have been teaching some real history and some real constitutional law, and some geography instead of “social” justice— which does not exist. There is no such thing as “social” justice. Justice involves the United States Constitution, the courts, and the laws and regulations passed by our governing entities.

The Democratic Party has adopted the idea of “social” justice in which everyone can be a victim. They will “save” the victims by giving them other people’s money, which will make them dependent on the government, so they will vote for Democrats again and again to keep the other people’s money coming. History, with which they are unfamiliar, shows that sooner or later they run out of other people’s money. Margaret Thatcher famously said that, but that’s a bit of history too.



Best Essay of the Day by The Elephant's Child

Donald J Trump is president. Really. He won it fair and square, he was inaugurated seven — almost eight — months ago, and he very probably is going to be president for another three and a half years.

Minimum.

So, now, children, let’s calm down. All of you people over there saying Trump is unqualified and should be removed? Give it up. He’s qualified by the only qualification that matters: he is over 35, he is a native U.S. citizen, and he won the damned election. The Constitution doesn’t have a clause in it for removal by vote of the media, or because his political opponents don’t like him. The only reason he can be removed constitutionally is if someone finds high crimes and misdemeanors.

Now, I know that some people are fantasizing about the Democrats taking the House, and passing a bill of impeachment, and somehow getting the Senate to convict.

To which I say, “be careful, you’ll get chafed.”



“The Resistance” versus The Constitution by The Elephant's Child

The United States Constitution is quite clear. Article II, Section1.  The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States. That’s it. A very clear and simple statement about the executive power of the United States. Every single person in the executive departments of the federal government answers to the President.

Back in February, Acting attorney General Sally Yates instructed Justice Department lawyers not to defend President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. (There are 49 majority Muslim countries. The 7 temporarily banned make up a relatively large portion of refugees entering the country, but only a small share are visa holders.) Yates sent an email to the lawyers in Justice’s Civil Division instructing them not to defend President Trump’s executive order in court. She acknowledged, in the email that the executive order had been reviewed by the Office of Legal Counsel, which had determined it was lawful on its face. She asserted the federal bureaucrats “I don’t care what you say and I’ll do what I please.” Trump promptly fired Yates. As a federal bureaucrat, she has the right to disagree, but she has no authority to order the Justice Department to refuse to enforce it.

It’s not talked about much, but these things are “catching”. On college campuses, there are a few bad actors, or members of Black Lives Matter, or others sent by ‘community organizers’. But if somebody is protesting and screaming and carrying torches or signs, it’s easy enough to join the crowd.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, pointed to news reports about upset employees, social media campaigns and “civil disobedience” training for staffers looking to push back against the White House.

GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak, a contributor to The Hill, attributed the blowback to a host of factors, from the political make-up of civil servants to the use of holdover officials in government offices that are still waiting for the Senate to confirm Trump political appointees.

He said there is also a “real industry now behind recruiting whistleblowers inside the resistance movement,” and creating public outcry about the administration.

“It’s not enough just to be a government employee and resign because of the direction your agency is going,” he said, noting that officials’ concerns are often sincere. “Now you have to do it in a highly public way, out of social pressure and personal motivation.”

These are arrogant bureaucrats, refusing to do the job they were hired to do. They serve at the pleasure of the president. He should make that known by firing the lot.

The Democrats are in deep difficulty and they know it. They’ve been hauling out one potential candidate after another to see what the reaction is. Not good. They have no bench. They have no ideas. They have been trying to stall every nomination of the president to impede his policies. They imagine themselves romantically standing on the barricades bravely as “The Resistance” in some illusionary French Revolution. Well, it won’t fly.

 

 



Why Intellectuals Hate Capitalism by The Elephant's Child

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods explains why Intellectuals hate Capitalism. Professors at our Universities have long seethed with envy when they see the published income of corporate CEOs. After all, they have PhDs, it is their ability to pass on real knowledge that made these upstarts able to become corporate big shots. If you wondered why college tuition has so far eclipsed any rise in the economy, part of it is the demands of professors to receive what they believe to be their due emolument. This video is from August 2015, pre-Amazon, but illuminating nevertheless. It explains a lot.



Victor Davis Hanson Speaks on the Problem of California by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Hanson speaks of the wealthiest state, the Golden State, and where has California gone wrong? California was supposed to be the answer or the guide to a better future for the rest of the world, with the best climate, the best universities, the most beautiful state with lovely beaches, redwood forests, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, bountiful farmlands and citrus groves — what happened? This is the San Mateo County “Progress Seminar 2017” held in May. Hanson is a renowned historian, emeritus professor of Classics at Cal State University at Fresno, fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University,  5th generation Central Valley farmer, and author of at least two dozen books.  If you’re not from California, why should you care?

Though he talks about what is going wrong in California, it is also what is going on in perhaps lesser ways in the rest of the country.  The cities of so many dreams have become unaffordable,  business is leaving for more welcoming states, a heavy tax burden, water problems, energy problems, a coastal elite and impoverished Central Valley. Hanson has retained all of his worlds, which inform his scholarship and views on modern life and the long span of history since the days of ancient Greece.



The Interesting Relationship Between Online Business and American Retail Business. by The Elephant's Child

It’s pretty clear that online business is playing hob with retail in general. Retailers are hurting as consumers turn to online sources where they can get quick service, particularly from Amazon, and not have to go trailing through a mall to try to find what they need.

A story in the Wall Street Journal today exposes an uncomfortable relationship between the federal government and Amazon. “The U.S. Postal Service delivers Amazon’s boxes well below its own costs. Like an accelerant added to a fire, this subsidy is speeding up the collapse of traditional retailers in the U.S. and providing an unfair advantage for Amazon.”

This arrangement is an underappreciated accident of history. The post office has long had a legal monopoly to deliver first-class mail, or nonurgent letters. The exclusivity comes with a universal-service obligation—to provide for all Americans at uniform price and quality. This communication service helps knit this vast country together, and it’s the why the Postal Service exists.

But people went online too, and first class mail is down some 40% from its peak. I contact many friends by email now, rather than writing a letter, and you probably do too. The post office still visits each mailbox each day, but there’s less traditional mail, so the service has filled its spare capacity by delivering more boxes. But when the post office delivers 10 letters and one box and a passel of junk mail to one mailbox how do they allocate the cost of the postal worker, the truck, and the network and systems that support the postal worker?

In 2007 the Postal Service and its regulator determined that, at a minimum, 5.5% of the agency’s fixed costs must be allocated to packages and similar products. A decade later, around 25% of its revenue comes from packages, but their share of fixed costs has not kept pace. First-class mail effectively subsidizes the national network, and the packages get a free ride. An April analysis from Citigroup estimates that if costs were fairly allocated, on average parcels would cost $1.46 more to deliver. It is as if every Amazon box comes with a dollar or two stapled to the packing slip—a gift card from Uncle Sam.

Amazon is big enough to take full advantage of “postal injection,” and that has tipped the scales in the internet giant’s favor. Select high-volume shippers are able to drop off presorted packages at the local Postal Service depot for “last mile” delivery at cut-rate prices. With high volumes and warehouses near the local depots, Amazon enjoys low rates unavailable to its competitors. My analysis of available data suggests that around two-thirds of Amazon’s domestic deliveries are made by the Postal Service. It’s as if Amazon gets a subsidized space on every mail truck.

I don’t know which stores will be gone in a few years, or if they will survive. Right now, it’s clear that retail is hurting, and some retailers are in trouble. Will our malls survive? The federal government has”had its thumb on the competitive scale for far too long.” They need to stop picking winners and losers. I believe that the country will be better off if online and retail  compete and continue to survive.

I don’t know if the retail problems cover all kinds of goods or just some. Are Home Depot and Best Buy as much affected as say, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney? I need more evidence. Amazon just bought Whole Foods, in anticipation of making a big push for the grocery business, but Amazon is planning to build stores, where everything you select is tallied up automatically on your card as you take it off the shelf. We tried Amazon’s online groceries when too sick to get to the store, and it was prompt and  good service. Someone remarked that they saved money because they weren’t tempted with impulse items online. I prefer to go to the store.

The Government is subsidizing Elon Musk as he has fun with new engineering ideas, but Tesla is running into major problems, and solar is turning out to be a flop, just as his first experiments with this big vacuum tube thing for moving people has had it’s first success in a miniature version. All very interesting, but I don’t understand why he gets government subsidies. One might assume that we got an early lesson with Solyndra.

 




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