American Elephants


The Progressive Media Does Not Have to Do Journalism — They Do “Talking Points” by The Elephant's Child

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s computer was hacked recently, and what was clearly demonstrated were the talking points handed down to Progressives, so they would all say the same thing in the same approved words. This is how the Progressives change the language. In this case, the preferred words were about how to talk about Black Lives Matter.

This is another example of “the correct description.” Hillary collapsed as she left the 9/11 memorial event early, and progressives are trying to cover it up. She was taken to Chelsea’s apartment instead of to a hospital, as Secret Service regulations require, and she later revealed a letter from her personal physician saying she had recently contracted pneumonia. With pneumonia don’t you usually go to the hospital?

Which didn’t cover the overheating on a moderately warm summer day, or the coughing fits she has been having for months, or her fainting spells, the concussion, the blood clots on the brain — nothing to see here, just move along. But there she is hugging a little girl (pneumonia is contagious), now some of her campaign staff reportedly have pneumonia. If you think it’s serious, it’s sexism, because she is a woman.

Nobody is going to elect a candidate who does not have the basic physical condition to cope with the office, so they lie about it.  See President Woodrow Wilson, or President Franklin Delano  Roosevelt. This is why we have talking points. Cover-up, cover-up, cover-up. She will “Power Through.”



“It’s Because She Lies About It!” by The Elephant's Child

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Roger Simon was asked why Hillary’s health is an issue? He said “It’s because she lies about it.”

She has blamed her inability to remember about the classification of her emails, or whether she had any instructions about the security of emails or much of anything else about her emails. And she told the FBI that she didn’t recall, but I remember Rush’s long ago parody song— “I can’t remember, my mind’s like a blender, it’s jello, jello” Was that about Whitewater, or the cattle futures? I can’t remember.

I’ve always regarded lying as a particularly offensive trait. I had a boss for a while who was a compulsive liar. I caught on before senior management did, but they did discover it, along with some funny business with expense reports, and he was gone.

An excellent book about lying is Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life by Sissela Bok, that covers all the basics and all the excuses.  Recommended. Only 1¢ + shipping for used copies. Might be useful in the current context.

The thing is, if someone lies to you and you believe them, and you act upon that information — it is a pretty big deal.  And it is a big deal in the current political  campaign. The current administration has lied to us extensively, one department after another. The EPA, the IRS, if I had to list them all this post would be far too long. People are noticing, and they don’t like it, they don’t like it at all. Here’s Hillary:

Why? What does she get out of it?



The Paranoid Style of American Politics and the Left. by The Elephant's Child

In The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left,  Kim Holmes addresses the “paranoid style of American politics” as described by political scientist Richard Hofstadter in the 1960s.

Liberal populists, … are big believers in conspiracy theories. Hillary Clinton once spoke of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against her and her husband, and she is not alone in her paranoia. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (whose financial disclosure reports showed her to be worth about $8 million in early 2015) believes businessmen, bankers, and the rich are irredeemably selfish and make decisions solely for their own benefit which hurts the poor. To many progressive liberals, opponents of same-sex marriage are not honest people guided by conscience, but malicious bigots out to do harm. American history is not a complex unfolding of events but a cynical conspiracy driven by rich white people whose only interest is to keep their racial and economic privileges. Since the “enemy” is in control of everything—the radio waves, the churches and the banks—they are thought to be all-powerful. It is perfectly acceptable to apply any means whatsoever to dislodge them from power. It is justice of the revolutionary sort, because according to the paranoid’s viewpoint, one’s political opponents  are simply too evil to be given  fair shake in the debate. They must not be merely opposed. Them must be silenced and removed.

Oh, come on! Surely that’s an exaggeration. Surely you have noticed that you are being called a “white supremacist,”

The city of Seattle, WA, has offered a class on “white fragility” to white people in order to explain white guilt and why white people cannot “handle matters involving race.”Lecturer Robin DiAngelo, who coined the term, is teaching the taxpayer-funded class for the city Office of Arts and Culture. She defines white fragility as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”

Critics say it is just the latest attempt at spreading white guilt, following in the footsteps of concepts such as “white privilege.”

From Richard Hofstadter:

Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated —if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

Unrealistic goals? I give you millions of jobs from repairing our infrastructure, or how about running the country on wind and biofuels? Or possibly handing control of the entire Middle East over to the Mullahs in Iran, so we can have peace. I’ll even bet that you can think of some other unrealistic goals.



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.



Declining Wages, Declining Government Statistics, Declining Trust. by The Elephant's Child

That was President Obama, back in February, boasting about the latest jobs report which showed the unemployment rate falling to its lowest level in eight years.”Inconvenient for Republican stump speeches” as they “continued their gloom and despair tour” he chortled.  Zero Hedge points out that once again, that was then, this is now.

In yet another stunning tribute to the “accuracy” and “consistency” of economic propaganda data being reported by our government agencies, the Bureau of Labor Statistics yesterday reported a massive downward revision of the 1Q 2016 YoY real wage growth from +4.2% to -0.4% (a 4.6% swing). But we wouldn’t worry much about it because the revisions resulted in only “small” changes in the underlying data according to the BLS:

 Indexes of all hours-related measures in the business, nonfarm business, and nonfinancial corporate sectors show historical revisions because hours in the base year of 2009 were revised; resulting revisions to percent changes are small.
Revising the real Year on Year wage growth downward by 4.6% is perhaps better described as  “disastrous” or “abysmal” or even just awful. The revisions to manufacturing wages and durable manufacturing wages were far worse Real manufacturing was revised from + 2.8% down to -4.3% (-7.1%) and durable manufacturing was down by 7.5%, from +1.9 down to -5.6%. Those are really big “revisions.”
It seems impossible to get accurate information from the federal government, but that’s just me — I worry about stuff like the national debt nightmare Obama is leaving for us, and the VA which can’t seem to properly serve our veterans — while buying $300,000 worth of TVs and simply storing them, and we learned today that the VA has 167 interior designers on staff, but they can’t get around to serving patients promptly.  That sort of thing.


The Indian Health Service is Just as Bad, or Worse, than the VA by The Elephant's Child

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As long as I’m beating up the Obama Administration for their unbelievably dreadful performance on health care — at the Veterans Administration we have found needless patient suffering, fatal delays in medical treatment, and retaliation against whistleblowers — they are as well the shameful traits of the Indian Health Service.

Part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Indian Health Service is required by treaty to deliver health care to Native Americans around the country, with more than two million depending on this federal agency. Unfortunately, it appears to be failing. Tribal members have told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about alarming conditions at hospitals run by the IHS. During the committee’s investigation, which began last summer, we have heard accounts of nurses unable to administer basic drugs, broken emergency-resuscitation equipment, unsanitary medical facilities, and seriously ill children being misdiagnosed. …

The situation has gotten so bad that inspectors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued multiple Statements of Deficiencies over the past few years identifying four IHS hospitals in the Great Plains that are putting patients in “immediate jeopardy.” Our investigators have found evidence that the IHS, like the VA, maintains a culture of cronyism and corruption. Many staff members collect government paychecks without fear of accountability.

Tribal Leaders have contacted the Department of Health and Human Services specifically identifying underperforming supervisors and upper-level management who deserve to be fired. There is no sign that these people have been terminated. Instead employees who perform poorly are transferred to other facilities and in some cases even get raises and  promotions with work files that show no records of bad performance. Nice work if you can get it.

According to HHS, Indian Health Service funding has expanded by 43% since 2008, so more money is not a solution. What’s required seems to be a culture change at the agency from leadership in D.C. down to local hospitals. Some hospitals in the Great Plains area actually had money left over at the end of the fiscal year — but made the choice not to spend it on patient care.

When an administration consistently shows that politics and the next election trump duty and responsibility, and the Constitution is just an old tired document, those attitudes seep through the whole administration, and you get a Navy Commander surrendering boats to the Iranians because he believed that Obama’s Iran Deal was so important to the President, you get sexually-confused bathrooms, a military open to transsexuals, women in combat roles, and an administration unable to say “Islamic terrorism” because the words might offend, though it might also kill a lot of Americans.

Contrary to the hard Left who believe all things are better done and controlled  by the best and brightest in the federal government, there are few things that the federal government actually does well. There are a lot of things that must be done by a federal government, but most are better left to the states which are more directly responsible to their citizens. Health care is just one of them.

ObamaCare is slowly falling apart, Medicaid is a disaster, we have read of way too many failings of the Veterans Administration health care, and now the Indian Health Service, required by treaty to deliver health care to Native Americans around the country has more than two million depending on that service.

Free Markets, Free People and lots of competition — works every time. Presented with challenges and the opportunity to be free of meddling bureaucrats, ideas for better care pop up and little miracles happen all over.




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