American Elephants

Controlling the American People With a $183 Billion Web of Regulation This Year Alone by The Elephant's Child

A-spiders-web-007Thanksgiving approaches — a major American holiday in which our attention turns to a brief reflection on the Pilgrims, and a major focus on turkey, stuffing and football. Everyone is looking forward to a day off. While we are distracted, the Obama administration released its plans for 2,224 federal rules on Friday. This is a preview of just how many more regulations the president intends to issue before he leaves office.

You probably thought we were already thoroughly over-regulated, which we are. It is a major drag on the economy, not just in make-work and annoyance, but financially. Michael Bastach is on the case at The Daily Caller. The Left has realized that to install socialism, they don’t need to own the means of production, they just need to control it, and this can be accomplished with a web of regulation.

Obama’s Fall 2014 regulatory agenda was released the Friday before Thanksgiving with 3,400 new regulations. Obama’s Spring 2015 agenda detailing the reach of 2,300 new federal rules was released the eve of Memorial Day weekend. You are not supposed to notice. There are new rules for coal mines, and rules banning common pesticides, major energy and environmental requirements, added to more federal control over U.S. waterways, new hydraulic fracturing rules and even stricter smog rules. Notice how many are from the EPA.

The last week’s batch of regulation imposes $1.8 billion in costs, according to the American Action Forum (AAF) which brings the total for 2015 to a startling $183 billion. Half of it comes from final rules and the other from proposed rules. The per capita regulatory burden is $570 for 2015, for every man woman and child. That’s 72,898 pages of regulations. Think of a busy spider spinning webs over  your family. At first you don’t even notice, but by the time you do, you are already wrapped up and stowed away on the web for dinner, later.

There is always some overreach, and organizations and businesses fight back, and some end up in court. The EPA has frequently been smacked down in court, but some of their rules stick. Are they accomplishing anything positive for society? No. We are already over-regulated. It isn’t about  improving anything, it is about control.     

You may have noticed that the progressives are a little weak in the economics department. They get all confused with Keynesian ideas about money multiplying as it circulates through the economy. They don’t get the burden that per capita $570 inflicts on us all, in higher costs for everything we use, the disappearance of small businesses that we patronized, the annoyance of new rules, the shrinking of our lifestyle, more unemployment, more national debt, and a shrinking economy.

The evidence is there, and very clear. Socialism does not work.  It will not be different this time, nor next time. Progressives are not interested in free markets, nor free people, but believe everything will mysteriously be  better when they are firmly in control.

Trust in Government is at an all-time low. Is anyone surprised?

Thanksgiving Break: Time For Some Serious Talks With The Kids. by The Elephant's Child

AP_yale_protest_05_mm_151110_12x5_1600The campus hooplah has died down, as it’s time for Thanksgiving break. Even the community organizers have to take time off for turkey. It becomes clearer and clearer that that’s what’s up. Organizing for Action and Americorps community organizers are hard at work stirring up discontent. An outgrowth of the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, and Baltimore, they are mobilizing mobs against “biased cops,” “climate change deniers,” “Wall Street predators,” and other assorted crimes against social justice.

They’ve had their power demonstrated as they get administrators to resign and faculty members admonished or fired or disgraced. But they don’t really have anything real to protest about. The hate crimes against blacks turn out to be fake, the fists held up in solidarity are unsure about just what they are in solidarity about. When those supposedly in charge want to know what the fuss is all about — somebody used the n-word, except there is no evidence. What do they want? More black studies courses! But there is declining interest in black studies courses because nobody wants to enroll. In today’s difficult job market, there is no demand for black studies, nor ethnic studies.

At Princeton the mob called for eliminating Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus buildings. He was a president of the University, and yes he was a bigot, and went on to become a president of the United States. History is simply what happened in the past. You can’t change it , or make it go away by disapproving of it in the present.

At Yale it was about Halloween costumes. At the University of Missouri, Jonathan Butler, the son of a wealthy railroad executive, went on a hunger strike to protest “revolting” acts of racism. Except the supposed acts of racism never seem to have occurred, or at least there was no evidence that they did.

Like the “campus rape culture” that never happened, Emma Sulkowitz has carried her mattress around in protest, but that seemed to be second thoughts about consensual sex.

At Amherst College, there are nonnegotiable demands from a student group that the president apologize for Amherst’s institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latinx racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native indigenous racism, heterosexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma and classism.” Oh please. The community organizers may have got the mob all stirred up, but once stirred, they don’t really know what to do with it nor do they have any clear idea about just what they are excited about.

The safe spaces, microaggressions, trigger warnings, are all nonsense promulgated by faculty more interested in social justice — whatever that is — than in scholarship and substance. No wonder some companies are looking abroad for STEM employees. Who needs a new employee who needs a safe space and no microaggressions? Every workplace on this planet has microaggressions daily. Roger Kimball has long investigated campus trends, notably in his book Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Higher Education. (2008). Take a look at his other books too. They are directly applicable today.

Mr. Kimball’s article in the Wall Street Journal was accompanied with a photo of a girl with a bullhorn (You can’t have a protest without a bullhorn) in the Odegaard Library at the University of Washington in Seattle. The rally was in support of black students at the University of Missouri where Jonathan Butler, son of a multimillionaire railroad executive was conducting a hunger strike because someone drove by in a pickup with confederate flags shouting the n-word— except no one could be found who saw such a pickup. But the football team threatened to strike in solidarity with Mr. Butler, because of other racist utterances, also unproven. Forfeiting the football game would have cost Mizzou $1 million, so the students got what they wanted, but they weren’t too sure of what it was. Lots of solidarity though.

But everybody across the campuses of America was in solidarity with whatever it was. I hope the parents of the unruly offspring have a word with their kids over Thanksgiving and return them to campus suitably cowed or don’t return them and suggest they get a job instead.

This is going to reverberate across academia. It is an ideological fantasy, and it’s going to get much worse. A lot of parents aren’t going to be willing to pay the freight at elite schools if this is the result. Universities have gotten way too greedy on the governmental push on student loans to back an ever expanding tuition bill. The American people are firm believers in freedom of speech and the Bill of Rights, even if the faculty isn’t, and they won’t put up with much of this.


Those Senseless Campus Protests Are Not What They Seem by The Elephant's Child

Campus-Protests-Michigan-8Barack Obama was famously a community organizer before he ventured into Illinois politics. I should have read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, but I haven’t. My impression is that it is a course in how to manipulate people. Obama really took to Rules for Radicals, and according to Paul Sperry, writing in the New York Post, it has been a hallmark of his presidency.

The senseless protests we’re seeing break out on the campuses of the University of Missouri, Yale and other colleges, as well as on bridges and highway overpasses and outside police stations, are precisely the kind of thing Obama was trained to organize while attending leftist agitation schools founded by Chicago communist Saul Alinsky. He learned to a fare-thee-well how to “rub raw the sores of discontent.”

Obama. Sperry says, has trained more than 10,000 leftist organizers, who, in turn, are training more than 2 million youths in Alinsky street tactics. This is being done by his former campaign organization OFA, now Organizing for Action, registered as a 501c4 nonprofit eligible for unlimited contributions. The leftist group holds regular “organizing summits” on college campuses.

Through social media, they mobilize flash mobs against “biased cops,” “climate-change deniers,” “Wall Street predators” and “gun extremists.” They hold rallies against conservative foes of gay marriage, LGBT rights, abortion and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Young agitators have also been trained by AmeriCorps and My Brothers Keeper, the “racial justice” group founded in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. They agitate for “school discipline reform” or alternatives to suspensions and expulsions.

These three federally sponsored projects share manpower, resources and radical agendas with Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street.

Well, that would explain a lot of the senseless protests now inflicting college campuses. It is becoming clear that the accusations of racial attacks and racial epithets simply don’t pan out. N-word insults are not heard by anyone else,  the person who threatened to ‘shoot every black kid on campus’ is a black kid.  A Columbia student claims to be traumatized by reading about white people.Some black students seem to be demanding — segregation. But radicalized kids are getting administrators and professors to resign. Ginni Thomas explores the same question from the perspective of the National Association of Scholars.

At National Review, David French says “the campus culture wars aren’t about “victims” or “racial injustice” or “safe spaces.” …They’re revolutionaries, and the revolution they seek is nothing less than the overthrow of our constitutional republic, beginning with our universities.

This is a movement built from the ground up around power and coercion. They hate free speech because free speech represents nothing but a threat — a chance for dissenters to expose the bankruptcy of their ideas. They hate due process because due process stands in the way of class-based justice, of identity-based jurisprudence. They hate the orthodox Christian faith because it rejects their sexual ideology and places the human conscience beyond the reach of mortal man.

Francine’s Interview — France by The Elephant's Child

Born in August, 1933, Francine Christophe was deported with her mother to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944. Released the following year, she continues to share her experience and memories with the younger generation.

(h/t: Maggie’s Farm)

Can We Have a Little Straight Talk, Please? by The Elephant's Child

Men College Leaving Safe Space

President Obama is slowly working up towards saying something more or less serious about ISIS. A few hours before the attack in Paris, Obama announced that ISIS was now “contained” and they were not “gaining strength,”which was supposed to reassure everyone. A little stronger than the dismissive “Jayvee team” a while back. But when it gets serious, he hauls out the grand terminology which has been so helpful for him. This was “an attack, not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.” But that’s the problem. Humanity does not share universal values at all.  Mark Steyn put it well yesterday:

But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.

And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries.

Well, not to worry, the big Climate Conference in Paris will go on as scheduled, at the end of the month. The world will still be saved.

Organizers of a march to press for climate action planned for Paris on Nov. 29, the eve of the summit, said they would meet on Monday “to discuss ways forward”, said Alice Jay, director of the citizens’ campaign group Avaaz and one of the organizers. Organizers have been hoping to imitate a “People’s Climate March” in New York last year that attracted hundreds of thousands of people, the largest protest against global warming in history.

That’s the ticket, a march.

More Syrian refugees arrived in New Orleans almost two weeks ago eliciting a warning from the House Homeland Security Committee about the lack of current intelligence regarding the refugees who are in the U.S. and those who will arrive in the future.

The Obama administration is looking to increase the number of Syrian refugees who may be admitted into the U.S. as well as speed up the process. The administration plans to do this, Reuters reports, by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon. As of now, the administration promised to accept as many as 100,000 refugees each year by the end of 2017. The present annual cap is at 70,000.

ISIS told us earlier that there would be jihadists in the flow of “Syrian refugees” to Europe. They have also said that jihadists have been inserted into America. We are stuck, however, with an administration that will not talk straight about the problem, or act straight. All is pretense. We cannot utter the words ‘Islamic terrorism’ for fear of ‘offending,’ and then we wonder why the kids on campus blather on about “safe spaces.” We claim that global warming is a more dramatic security threat than ISIS or al Qaeda. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said “if you go up to anybody in the military who’s been paying attention,” they would say climate change is a major national security threat. Really?

So there you go. Over the last century, the globe has warmed almost a degree C. The only worrisome warming exists exclusively in the computer programs of the IPCC with which they have tried to predict the future — an impossibility. The Paris climate pact will reduce the temperature increase by the end of the century by a whopping 0.05° C.

Further Reading:

  • “Waging the War on ‘Terror,” Vichy-style” Victor Davis Hanson
  • War is Interested in You” Noah Rothman
  • How France Became an Inviting Target of the Jihad” Andrew C. McCarthy
  • “Syria refugee crisis: U.S. opens centres to speed vetting” CBC, Canada

Protesters Call for Free College – 0. Jihadists Death Toll – 153. by The Elephant's Child

Well, give a young man a  bullhorn, some friends in all matching black lives matter tee shirts, and a cause — and he may start feeling quite powerful. Add on some professional protesters from Ferguson, Baltimore and  New York to urge him on, and first thing you know he’s got headlines all over the country.

The cause? The student government president, Payton Head, who is black, claimed that he had been called the n-word by some men in a pickup decorated with Confederate flags. There was no police report, and nobody else seemed to have seen it. He also claimed that the KKK had been seen on campus as well, but he had to retract that. The black hunger-striker claimed that the president of the university , Tim Wolfe, allowed his driver to hit Johnathan Butler with his car during an attempted shutdown of the homecoming parade. Unfortunately, a video shows that Butler rushed directly toward the car, hitting it, rather than the other way round. This seems to be the total of the frightening acts the protesters are calling “terrorism.”

Give a young man a Kalashnikov, some friends with their weapons, and a big dose of martyring one’s self to get all those virgins in Paradise, and they start feeling quite powerful. Nothing quite so powerful as executing over a hundred innocent people attending a rock concert.  The latter, of course, made the headlines all over the world, and the former protesters who had done nothing much except a lot of shouting and raising their clenched fists, but succeeded in getting faculty and a university president to resign. The impetus for that was apparently not the raised fists, but the threat of cancelling a football game — a forfeit that would have cost them a million dollars.

But here’s the disgusting part. The spoiled brats on America’s campuses were outraged that a bunch of Muslim terrorists had deprived them of their media attention.


(h/t:The Right Scoop)

Why is College So Expensive? Is It Worth It? by The Elephant's Child

b083ddd2-e58a-4a80-a72a-6af0700c5f16So why is College so expensive anyway? Parents who have a child about to enter the American university system are stunned by how much tuition has gone up — way more than normal inflation would amount to.

There are a number of big items at play here. During World War II, the young men went to war, not to college. That meant that colleges and universities limped along with women and 4F men. Even a lot of younger professors were called up. When the war ended in 1945, the G.I.Bill flooded the university system with returned G.I.s and often their new wives. Colleges had to provide housing for married students, and their new babies — the beginnings of the Baby Boom.

Beginning in 1946, and increasing exponentially through the boom’s high water mark in 1957 was a generation that found everything crowded from maternity wards to law school. From 1958 till 1964, the boom gradually ebbed. When the boomers were ready for college, colleges expanded to be ready for them. New dorms, new classrooms new buildings, expanded campuses, and even new colleges. When the baby boom ended and we got back to “normal” — colleges were facing a dearth of students to fill their expanded campuses. Colleges added amenities to attract students, and more amenities.

The federal government stepped in to guarantee student loans, which got the universities off the hook. There had always been scholarships for outstanding students, but student loans meant that universities could charge more because the government guaranteed the loans. There was no push-back from the government on the cost of college, kids could borrow what the colleges charged. Employers demanded college degrees

During the war years, professors salaries were held down, and many had summer jobs to make ends meet. When the baby boom arrived, professors wanted more pay and more free time for research, writing and counseling students. Large lecture classes were turned over to adjuncts who were paid far, far less. Professors with doctorates pointed out that CEO salaries were skyrocketing and they were better educated and deserved better. Inflation.

Inflation meant that everything cost more, and not just college. Food, houses, all kinds of goods. What it meant was is that in most case, both parents had to go to work, and families were smaller. What it meant for American universities was retrenchment. Employers were demanding college degrees, partly because primary education was poorly training students. That was a big benefit for colleges because more kids headed for college with big student loans. Big student loans meant that colleges could charge more. The federal government was subsidizing increased tuition. The politicians insisted that every child should go to college. Not true, some kids are not suited for college, and there are fine professions that do not require college degrees.

The end of the baby boom, and the smaller generation produced by the baby boomers because of inflation and working mothers wasn’t enough to fill up the university system. Some colleges closed, others went for more amenities. Climbing walls, bigger libraries, bigger swimming pools, tennis courts and student unions. More landscaping, sculpture. Professor salaries topped the $200,000 mark, and football coaches earned more, way more, that university presidents.

But they have reached a point of no return. To please students, classes have become silly. Gender studies in all its variations, ethnic studies, social justice, political correctness, speech codes, and on and on until we have today’s little “snowflakes,” who are so confused that they assume a right to be coddled, to never face disagreement or offense, but only sheltered kindness. Which means they protest against speakers who have different ideas than their own.

But Marco Rubio was right. Welders make a lot more than philosophy majors. There are high-paying jobs that do not require a college degree. Parents are home-schooling their kids, or forming charter schools that are part of the public school system but more effective. Teachers unions are fighting back, determined to remain in charge and applying all the political pressure of all the dues collected from teachers to get their way. Parents hate, with reason, Common Core, and the whole idea of a federally-directed curriculum. Federal bureaucrats do not know what is best. Times are always a-changing. Just what comes next will be a battle.

Here I should recommend a couple of books: Great Expectations by Landon Y. Jones, a popular study of the baby boom generation (1980). Essential reading for boomers, their kids, and the following generation who are stuck with paying for Medicare for the retiring boomers. Great fun. The other is really a trilogy, a marvelously funny academic satire by David Lodge, a former British professor.  The books are Changing Places, Small World, and Nice Work, now conveniently offered in one volume. It may be satire, but you learn a lot about academe.

I wonder how many full professors teach a full 15 hour schedule?


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