American Elephants


What Did Obama Mean By “Fundamentally Transform”? by The Elephant's Child

Obama lecturing

Most of us are apt to divide the world up into the good guys and the bad guys. Opposites.  Simplistic thinking, of course. No nuance. (when did that word slip into the daily vocabulary?) Winners and losers. Short and tall, rich and poor, hard-working and lazy, handsome and ugly, cruel and kind, smart and stupid. It helps us to understand those things we encounter in the world, we can modify our judgment later.

World War II was clear — Allies and Axis, and the Cold War — Communists and the Free World. Things began to get confused with the War in Vietnam. Protesters couldn’t decide who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Jane Fonda has never been forgiven for her stupidity, but she was not alone among the far left. It was a confusing time, and when the Draft was ended, surprisingly so were the protests.

Questions today on the internet ask “Is Obama a Christian?” and “Is Obama a Muslim?” But those are the wrong questions. Obama has given every indication of signing up with the bad guys, the Axis, the Communists, and those who oppose our country. His dislike for the Israeli prime minister is obvious; his distaste for the United Kingdom is clear; his support for a deal with Iran; his support for the Muslim Brotherhood; for the deposed president of Egypt; inability to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq; Benghazi; refusal to help the dissidents in Iran, and in Syria; and the silly outreach to Cuba; and the support for most anti-American governments in South America.

There is a pattern.  A pattern which is behind Rudy Giuliani’s asking if the president loves America. One would think that the media would be somewhat aware of the direction of the entire Obama administration, instead of dissolving in wrath when someone actually notices. (Or is that why the media boiled over —they’re beginning to notice?)

I think he is just doing exactly what he said he would do: attempt to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Everybody was so excited with the idea of the first black president, the mellow baritone voice, the moving phraseology “Yes We Can!,” “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!,” that they didn’t really pay any attention to what he actually said that he wanted to do. I don’t think he is trying to destroy the country, he just wants to “fix” it.

We are paying the price for our inattention. And it’s up to us to find out exactly what he meant by “fundamentally transform.” It matters. It matters a lot.



Democrats Are Out Trying to Mobilize Public Emotions, But Screwing-Up Big Time! by The Elephant's Child

The moment some Republicans appeared as possible presidential candidates, the Left was out combing the weeds and bushes for dirt with which to discredit them with — imaginary crimes. The Democrats are big on imaginary crimes, because most Republican politicians are not particularly sleazy.

In the last few weeks Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin has emerged as a popular possible candidate. Unleash the attack dogs!  New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote that Walker had cut state aid to education, causing valued teachers to be laid off in 2010. Unfortunately, Scott Walker didn’t become governor until 2011. Conservative news sites had great fun with the error over the weekend. Perhaps, Politico said “In hindsight, perhaps the headline ‘Scott Walker Needs An Eraser’ wasn’t the best idea.”

The New York Times issued one of their frequent corrections:

Correction: February 15, 2015
An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated that teacher layoffs in Milwaukee in 2010 happened because Gov. Scott Walker “cut state aid to education.” The layoffs were made by the city’s school system because of a budget shortfall, before Mr. Walker took office in 2011.

Well, everybody makes mistakes, frequently in the pages of the New York Times —”the paper of record.”

Then on Monday evening, the unions that Governor Walker has defeated three times in elections, recall election, and election,unloaded a busload of union toughs in front of the home of the Governor’s elderly parents. The Journal Sentinel reported dutifully that the unions were protesting in front of the Governor’s house. Oops! The Governors sons corrected the media. Update:

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Here are the protesters, who seem to be from the teachers’ union. The pre-printed signs say “Governor Walker’s Budget hurts Public Education.”



You Must, You Must, You Must Divest, Because… by The Elephant's Child

divestFI

Friday is apparently the kick off for “Global Divestment Day,” though it is a two day event. Climate activists will try to stir up a lot of college kids and campus hangers-on into marching and carrying homemade signs to scare college administrators into acceding to activists’ demands to sell off any fossil fuel-related equities in their endowment portfolios, because — sustainability.

Where to start? If you ever hope to get a job in the American economy or any of the industrial world’s economies, you should be aware that those economies run on fossil fuel. There is, for the foreseeable future, no other choice. Wind and solar energy don’t produce enough energy to be of any significant use, and to produce any energy at all require 24/7 backup from conventional power plants fueled by — fossil fuels. Climate activists have been lying to you for years. Wind is intermittent. Solar is too diffuse. The major greenhouse gas is not CO², but water vapor, more familiarly known as clouds. You are not doing something positive for the climate, you are being used.

Divestment of fossil fuel stocks could significantly harm an investment portfolio. Investing in something that everyone needs is usually a good idea, as opposed to investment in things like Solyndra (bankrupt) or the giant Ivanpah solar array (losing money and killing birds in very large numbers). So you want to march to make your university’s endowment to collapse? Bright idea. Your college costs will just go up sharply.

If you pay the college regularly, take out enough student loans, and in general behave yourselves, you still have no say whatsoever about the college endowment. The endowment is built of the savings and investments of many generations of previous students who have expressed their gratitude to their alma mater by leaving them some money. If you study hard and really learn, you may eventually with hard work, become rich, and able to add to your university’s endowment.

The reason you have been admitted to a college or university is in the hope that over four or more years the faculty can drum enough information into you that you can hope to get an entry-level job if you do manage to graduate. You are there because you don’t know anything yet, and the school and your parents are hoping that some of it will take.

You are messing up that faint hope by investing your time and your parent’s money in marching and drinking and smoking pot and trying to be activists about some cause which you don’t understand, but feel very passionate about. Social Justice is crap — there is no such thing. Justice refers to the body of laws and the Constitution of our country. If you spend more time in the library and less time in the streets, you may be able to avoid encountering the justice system, which would be wise. And do try not to embarrass your parents.



The Basic Problem Is That The Left Is Not Troubled By Lies! by The Elephant's Child

The New York Times Well’ column, which seems to be about ‘living well,’ is today going on about the reliability of human memory, and how memories can be distorted or embellished over time, and then wanders into consulting a leading memory researcher about Brian Williams’ long, long history of “distorted” memories.

I hasten to add that I do not get my news from NBC, and I’m not at all sure that I have ever watched Brian Williams. Scientific studies, researchers, fabricated, distorted, embellished, mistakenly, etc. etc. It’s still pretty clear that the embellishing served the purpose of making Mr. Williams look a little better in his own eyes and the eyes of others. And yes, everybody lies:” You look really nice, dear” and so on and so forth, but we all know when it crosses the line into something else entirely.

And we seem to be entirely into the “entirely” category. We are unable to decide whether our president lives in a fantasy world, thinks the common folk out there will believe anything he says, is purposefully distorting, or is just a pathological liar.

Then we have the IRS, the EPA, HHS, NSA, OMB, NOAA, DOE, DHS, VA, I could go on, but you get the idea, and these are only a few of the agencies that have been in the news for scandal of one sort or another. I can ‘t remember any time when there are so many questions about the behavior of so many government agencies, or any time when confidence in government was so lacking. This is not normal.

Congress is still trying to pry out some information about the attack on our facility in Benghazi, the murder of four Americans (one of them an Ambassador of the United States of America) and that was back in September of 2012!

We have a president, a graduate of Harvard Law School, who does not feel it necessary to pay attention to the Constitution, let alone the preserve, protect and defend oath he took on Lincoln’s Bible. The Constitution is quite clear that Congress gets to make the laws, and the President’s job is the executive part.

Is falsehood contagious? Does falsehood in the Executive Department spread to the agencies by some sort of osmosis? Or do instructions go out to each department head about what may be said and what may not? Examples made by the swift firing of someone or other? How does it all work?

Why do I find more clarity about an event in this country by reading about it in the British press rather than our own?

We now have the biggest science scandal ever, in which the official temperature records — on which the entire global warming panic has rested and about which billions of taxpayer money has been spent — temperature records which were systematically adjusted to show the Earth as having warmed significantly more than was justified by the actual data.

I reject the idea that it has always been thus. Candidates in the next election must convince us that next time things will be different. And we’re not going to be all that easy to convince any more.

So to clarify everything and restore honesty to the situation, NBC is going to suspend the aforesaid Mr. Williams for six months. At that point maybe everybody will have forgotten, or moved on,  and Brian Williams will have forgotten all those unfortunate misremembered memories.



Little Things Hidden in the President’s Budget by The Elephant's Child

Little things are hidden in the 1200 pages of President Obama’s proposed budget. Sometimes they are found. The President’s budget is definitely dead on arrival, but Economist Steven Moore noticed that once again, President Obama is attempting to defund the D.C. School Voucher program. This is a wonderful program that gives at least some kids stuck in poor-performing schools vouchers (by a lottery)  that they can take to a school of their choice.

The Teachers’ Union is furiously opposed to the program. Students who get vouchers may take them to Catholic schools where teachers are not unionized. The program has been very successful in graduation rates and kids that go on to college. Makes the teachers’ union look bad. You can see the incentives here, including the incentive for the president.

Most embarrassing is that the president’s children go to Sidwell Friends School, very expensive, very exclusive, and they take some of the voucher program kids. Makes the president’s pandering to the union look bad.



Zero Tolerance Gone Amok by The Elephant's Child

Another day, another eruption of educational idiocy. Political correctness or zero tolerance. Mindless principals, afraid that they might be criticized by someone, somewhere, for allowing any indication of possible, potential, imaginary violence to take place in their school, do remarkably silly things to protect themselves and damage little kids.

Alden Steward, age 9, had watched “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies,” and his head was still filled with the movie. He told a classmate that he could make him disappear with a ring forged in Middle Earth’s Mount Doom. He brought his “one ring” to school, put it on a classmate’s head, and said he could make him invisible like Bilbo Baggins.

Kermit Elementary School officials in Texas suspended the 9 year old for making violent threats.

“I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence,” the father wrote. “If he did, I’m sure he’d bring him right back.”

Gosh, I’m not sure that is even as threatening as the little kid who got suspended for eating his pop-tart into a “gun shape.” (Looked more like the State of Idaho to me.)

I have not kept track of all the suspensions of kids for imaginary crimes against their school friends. There are too many. If you cannot distinguish between child’s imaginary play and violence, you are not suitable to be in a position of authority over children. It indicates that if there were an actual emergency, this person could not cope. School Boards should require a modicum of common sense.

Mark Pokorny. Warner Bros. :Pictures

Mark Pokorny. Warner Bros.Pictures



Obama’s Analysis of His Own Presidency! by The Elephant's Child

A strange day indeed. President Barack Obama appeared on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” He said he was most proud of “saving the American Economy” and he is “very confident that America is stronger, more prosperous, safer, and more influential today than it was when I took office.”

Huh?

“I’m proud of saving the American economy. We still have a long way to go. Essentially what we did was stabilize it, lay a new foundation to move forward. As I said in the State of the Union address, that gives us, now the capacity to tackle what was an overriding theme of my campaign way back in 2008.  And that is to restore middle class economics and the capacity for people to get into the middle class and start seeing higher wages and a broader shared prosperity inside the United States.”

“Internationally, I’m proud of the fact that we’ve responsibly ended two wars. Now, people will say, well, you’re back in Iraq, but we’re not back in Iraq with an occupying army, we’re back with a coalition of 60 countries helping to stabilize the situation.”

“And so one of the things I’ve learned in this job over the last six years is that sometimes progress is incremental. But when I look at overall the steps that we’ve taken, I believe they are the right ones. I am very confident that America is stronger, more prosperous, safer, and more influential today than it was when I took office.”

Republicans, online, have expended volumes of words trying to understand this president and why he does — what he does. Not very successfully. That is the things he does are not successful and our understanding is not successful. But David Horowitz, in his new book Take No Prisoners, offers some clues.

The Democratic Party has moved steadily leftward since the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern until it is now a party of the Left, led by progressives who are convinced that their policies are way stations on the path to a “better world.”

The vision of moral and social progress that Democrats share has profound consequences for the way they conduct their political battles. Unlike conservatives, progressives are not in politics merely to improve government practices and ameliorate social problems. They are missionaries who want to “change society” and “solve” its problems. They are out to create an entirely new order, which they call ‘social justice.” They think of themselves as social redeemers. Their belief in a redeemed future accounts for their political passion and for their furious personal assaults on those who stand in their way. …

The very grandeur of their ambition turns progressives into zealots. They dream of using the power of the state to make everyone equal and to take care of everyone’s needs. They are going to legislate—and dictate—social equality and social justice. How intoxicating is that idea? It explains why progressives approach politics differently from conservatives. It doesn’t matter to progressives that the massive entitlement programs they created—Social Security and Medicare—are already bankrupt. They can take care of that by making wealthy people pay their “fair share.” Progressives believe that if they can appropriate enough money and accumulate enough power, they can make their glorious future work. Everything Democrats do and every campaign they conduct is about mobilizing their political resources to bring about this result. It is about social transformation—one program and one candidate at a time. No Republican in his right mind thinks like this.

I recommend the book highly. I wish I could quote more. Eyeopening! I keep reading the first chapters over as the examples from my own experience prove every word.




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