American Elephants

Some Ideas From Donald Trump About What Is to Be Done. by The Elephant's Child

static2-politico-comDonald Trump laid out his plans for his first 100 days in a speech in Gettysburg. He listed 28 points, some excellent, some not. Here are a few of the good ones, in no particular order. This is not to say there are not other good proposals, Here ‘s the entire list.

—Work with Congress on a Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act.An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate.

—Cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.

—Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.

—Institute a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health)

—Require for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

—Work with Congress on a Restoring National Security Act.Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values

—Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.

—Work with Congress on a School Choice And Education Opportunity Act Redirects education dollars to gives parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.

Here are Steven Hayward’s comments on the list. Term limits are perennially popular, but there are good and effective congressmen whom it would be a pity to lose, and we would never agree on who are the good ones and who are not. New members of Congress are not always particularly effective in their first term, and need to learn their way around.

The eliminate two regulations in order to add one is a gimmick. The Obama administration has added regulations in ridiculous numbers in the illusion that people in government know better than ordinary citizens. We need a far stronger way to eliminate them.

Give the list some attention. It makes you think about what is desirable and what is not, and where you stand. I think Mr. Trump is generally mistaken about trade. NAFTA has been very successful for all three countries.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not a useful venture—it’s making a common market of Pacific nations — and we should have learned from the EU that this is a very bad idea indeed. It essentially eliminates our borders and turns our sovereignty  over to an unaccountable international commission. The Left no longer believes in national sovereignty, a major point to keep in mind.

Government is too big, and tries to do too much. There are few things that are best done by the federal government, and even those are not well done. The nature of government employees is to believe that their expertise is what is needed to control the unruly deplorables out there, and they do way too much, make too many laws, pass too many regulations, have too many agencies and departments, and if we eliminated more than half of them, nobody would notice.

What’s the Biggest Worry for the Average American?? by The Elephant's Child


Chapman University just completed its third annual survey of American fears (2016). What are Americans scared about?  The survey came up with 65 examples of things that might be troubling the public. There’s crime, global warming, terrorism, technology, the future, health, natural disasters, spiders, public speaking, heights, ghosts. What would you guess is the top fear? What are most Americans Afraid or Very Afraid about? An important question for politicians.

In its third year, the annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears included more than 1,500 adult participants from across the nation and all walks of life. The 2016 survey data is organized into five basic categories: personal fears, conspiracy theories, terrorism, natural disasters, paranormal fears, and fear of Muslims.

The number  one fear at over 61% turned out to be “Corrupt government officials” in the basic category of government. The next one down was “Terrorist Attack” which came in at 41%, topping “Not having enough money for the future.” Interestingly, global warming just didn’t make the list at all.

Why do you thinK “Corrupt Government Officials” turned out to be the biggest fear? Is it because in this presidential campaign, corrupt behavior is so frequently mentioned? Or are people beginning to notice that government corruption is affecting their lives? Is it the FBI investigation? Or the Justice Department? We do have a long, long list of current scandals.

Words of Wisdom, Pertinent to the Day by The Elephant's Child

“The vision of the Left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves—a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalted vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues—and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.”

Thomas Sowell, 1/22/2014, Front Page Magazine

“In contrast to America, countries like Canada and Australia treat immigration the way Harvard treats college admission or the New England Patriots treat the NFL draft as a way to get the talented that can benefit the institution and keep out the untalented. Here in America we increasingly treat immigration as if it were a sacred civil right possessed by 7 billion foreigners.”

William Voegeli: The Pity Party

“Once politics was about only a few things; today it is about nearly everything…Once the “legitimacy barrier” has fallen, political conflict takes a very different form. New programs need not await the advent of a crisis or an extraordinary majority, because no program is any longer “new”—it is seen, rather, as a extension, a modification, or an enlargement of something the government is already doing…Since there is virtually nothing the government has not tried to do, there is little it cannot be asked to do.”

James Q. Wilson,”American Politics, Then and Now” Commentary, Feb, 1979

The Solutions Often Aren’t Quite What You Expected! by The Elephant's Child

ows_147520558415635_mediumA column at The Daily Signal, from the Heritage Foundation, by Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University draws our attention to a lawsuit filed by Detroit school students against the state of Michigan. The suit claims a legal right to literacy based on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Ninety-three percent of Detroit’s predominantly black public school eighth-graders are not proficient in reading, and 96 percent are not proficient in mathematics. According to the lawsuit, “decades of state disinvestment in and deliberate indifference to Detroit schools have denied plaintiff schoolchildren access to the most basic building block of education: literacy.”

In terms of per-pupil expenditures, the state does not treat Detroit public school students any differently than it does other students. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the Detroit school district ranks 50th in state spending, at $13,743 per pupil. This is out of 841 total districts. That puts Detroit schools in the top 6 percent of per-pupil expenditures in the state.

The answer from the bureaucracy is usually the same. Pay the teachers more and reduce class size, which works out well for the teachers’ unions.

It appears that according to a 2011 survey by the American Psychological Association, 80% of teachers had been victimized at school at least once during that school year or the prior year. Detroit schools have the same problems of violence as are faced by other predominately black schools in other cities.

In Baltimore, each school day in 2010, an average of four teachers and staff were assaulted. In February 2014, The Baltimore Sun reported that more than 300 Baltimore school staff members had filed workers’ compensation claims during the previous fiscal year because of injuries received through assaults or altercations on the job.

A January 2015 post at American Thinker documents the problems of racial violence in schools by the author of two books on racial violence in schools—toward teachers. The videos linked are no longer available, except for one, which was captured on a student’s phone, and is startling.

The most popular manual to train teachers how to eliminate racial disparity in grades and discipline is by Glenn Singleton, which is based on Critical Race Theory and insists that teachers must know 3 things to do their jobs: 1. White racism is everywhere. 2. White racism is permanent. 3. White racism explains everything.  Clearly that is not apt to improve much of anything.

The American people invested a lot of hope that the first black president  would improve race relations in the country. Instead we have Black Lives Matter raising animus on campuses and encouraging riots and violence against police. In the assumption that most black men in prison have been convicted because of racism rather than crime, Obama is releasing and/or pardoning hundreds. He has suggested that Trayvon Martin might have been his son, and that police shootings of young black men were unjustified even before the facts were all in, or the grand jury had convened.  The general opinion is that race relations have not only not improved, but have become much worse.

In Minnesota ‘s Cooper High School, “football coach Willie Howard looked at his team and decided there was still something missing. The former Vikings defensive lineman has changed the football culture at Cooper, compiling a more-than-respectable .596 winning percentage compared to the .361 percentage Cooper had in its five previous seasons.”

But, like any football program, there is always more to be done. Black students comprise nearly 37 percent of the student body at Cooper, the school’s largest racial demographic group. Looking to improve their self-esteem and bolster perceptions of them in the community, Howard hit on an idea that has long been a staple in the business world: Two days a week, the Cooper football players dress for success.

“I’d had enough of people thinking negatively,” Howard said. “The only way you can change the way people think about you is by changing things you can control. If you don’t want people thinking you’re a thug, don’t dress like a thug. It you don’t want people thinking you’re unintelligent, show them how intelligent you are.”

Senior wide receiver Emmanuel Ogboru, dressed impressively in a checked shirt, vest and gold tie, said “When you look good, you act good, you do your work good and you play good.”

On Mindset Mondays and We Will Succeed Wednesdays, the entire Cooper football team puts away the hoodies and sweats and dons a more professional-looking attire. If they don’t own such clothes, the school has amassed a large wardrobe with hundreds of shirts and ties, as well as sport coats, vests, slacks and even shoes. Most of the clothes were donated or acquired through the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, which raised $5,000.

“They come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get the clothes they need for the next [Dress For Success] day,” Howard said. “When they come to school dressed like that, it says they took the time and energy to prepare. When they’re sitting in that classroom, they feel differently about that class. It reminds them why we’re in this building.

The kids don’t have to do it every day. Howard says some days kids just need to be kids, but dressing for success seems to be catching on. The basketball coach wants to continue it, and kids not in the sports programs are asking if they can take part.

*photo by Jerry Holt,

The Bureaucrats In Washington Think We Are Really Dumb! by The Elephant's Child

uscapitolwestside-crop-600x338Instead of polling the American people about Washington D.C. some academics from Johns Hopkins tried something new and different. They reversed the question, and polled Washington about the American people.

“What they found was a combination of ignorance, contempt and disdain.”

Survey data from the polled group — staffers from the White House and Capitol Hill plus career civil servants and the policy community of lobbyists and others who work closely with government from outside it — indicate that the functionary class thinks of itself as our betters. Our bosses, not our representatives. They see their own judgment as being far superior to that of the rest of us — the people whose wishes they are supposed to be carrying out.

The findings were revealing: By a huge margin, the bureaucrats said they knew better than the public what was right for the public. On Social Security, twice as many bureaucrats said they knew best. On crime, three times as many bureaucrats said their way was superior. On the environment, the ratio was almost four to one.

Why am I not surprised that they feel so self-important on matters environmental?

The academics presented the bureaucrats with simple multiple-choice quizzes. 65 percent of the DC insiders guessed that the median household income was lower than the reality (about $52,000 a year). Four out of five respondents  thought the percent of the population that is white (78 percent of Americans) much less. Sixty four percent thought the percentage of American who had a high school diploma was much lower than it is (85 percent). Eighty percent of respondents thought the rate of homeownership is much lower than it is (67 percent).

They proudly call themselves “public servants” but they define it a little differently.

Thus the instructions they give us are usually off the mark. They are usually pushing “urgent, disastrous fixes for imaginary problems.” Out-of-touch doesn’t even begin to cover the problems. Half the problems with Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare can be laid to poor regulations. Officials vastly overestimate (by 8 percentage points) the proportion of Americans who support increasing government spending in areas like education, welfare, child care and crime prevention. They are sure that we want them to solve more of our problems.

They think enforcing existing immigration law as unnecessary or even undesirable. It would be impractical or racist anyway. They believe that terrorism or jihadism is under control. (71 percent of the public thinks its a big problem.) They don’t think that the people know anything about the policies created to deal with these problems. They think of themselves in a paternalistic fashion, taking care of the people. The poor unfortunate stupid people to whom they report. Do read the whole thing.  It explains a lot.

“The revelations in the new book “What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People,” by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg, serve up the side benefit of providing a partial explanation for the rise of Donald Trump.”


Can You Trust the Press? Should You? by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Judith Miller, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. speaking for Praeger University.  And the answer is No.  They have squandered that trust with their own partisanship and misrepresentation. I’m not at all sure that they recognize the loss of trust at all. Smug. Remarkably smug.

Hillary’s Pathetic Claim About Trump’s Taxes was the Feature of the VP Debate. e by The Elephant's Child

1003_kaine-pence-composite-1000x625The Vice-Presidential Debate was last night. It doesn’t matter much in the larger scheme of things, but it’s nice to get a look at them both. I was impressed with Governor Pence and his calm ability to stay on message. The task for each candidate was to defend their principals.

Tim Kaine played the attack dog role. He tried hard to echo Hillary’s most dramatic accusations, and to make a big deal out of the New York Times revelation that Trump, years ago, lost nearly a billion dollars on his investments in Atlantic City Casinos, as Hillary had.

Unfortunately, the issue demonstrates one of two realities. Either Hillary is massively ignorant about business, for she keeps trying to claim that anyone who lost a billion dollars in business is unfit for the office of the Presidency.

Well, surprise. It’s not uncommon at all. Try companies like Amazon, GE, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil. That’s why there is a provision in the tax code to allow companies who have suffered a major loss to recoup, and put things back on a sound basis to become profitable again. Such tax deductions play out over several years, and Donald Trump was not required to pay taxes to demonstrate his empathy, he was required to pay, and did, exactly what the law prescribed.

After claiming that when Trump paid no taxes, he wasn’t supporting the military and was taking food from the mouth of babies, Hillary went on to claim that any businessman who lost a billion dollars shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the nuclear codes.

So tell that to GE, Chevron, Amazon and Exxon-Mobil and dozens of other companies. Hillary tried to make a big deal of the fact that he lost money on — an Atlantic City casino. If she does know that Atlantic City was a disaster for all the casinos, then the other alternative is that she is demonstrating her massive contempt for her voters. The common people will fall for anything.

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