American Elephants


Donald Trump is the Ultimate Insider by The Elephant's Child

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Matthew Continetti, writing at the Washington Free Beacon today, said “Donald Trump has become the Republican frontrunner because GOP primary voters want an outsider who is angry at the condition of the country and the party establishment.” this really struck me — because it is just dead wrong. I don’t know whether Continetti is correct or not, but if GOP primary voters assume that Donald Trump is an outsider, they are mistaken. Mr. Trump is the ultimate insider.

He has told us so repeatedly. Trump explains that he donates to both parties because he is in business, and that’s just what you do. Of course. He donates because he is buying access. If he gives a significant sum to a politician, whether a national candidate, a state candidate or someone in city administration, they will see him when he calls. They will look with favor, if they are able, to his requests, favor at least partly, his side of the latest ‘deal.’ That is by nature — an insider. That’s how you make deals.

Forgive me, but the party “establishment,” whoever that is:  Party Chairman Reince Priebus? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? House Speaker Paul Ryan? Who precisely are you angry at and why? The Republican “establishment” did not pass ObamaCare, but have voted to repeal it in full six times, and in part over 50 times.

Those changes that you resent so much are a direct result of President Obama having a House and a Senate with Democrats in charge, and Republicans couldn’t do a thing about it. Even when the voters revolted and gave control of the House and the Senate to Republicans, there was little that they could do beyond putting a bill on the president’s desk, which he promptly vetoed, as he has. Shut down the government? That only frightens voters who fear that they won’t get their Social Security checks, or their welfare checks, or their food stamps, or their medical care. They depend on those payments, and shutting down the government really frightens them, and loses votes for Republicans at the polls.

The founders designed a Constitutional system that was meant to be slow, with participants thinking and arguing over potential legislation extensively to be sure that it was good legislation. They had no concept of a federal government with hundreds of agencies, departments, offices and bureaus all with the power to issue regulations. Who knew that it would take a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit which could take months and years to pry loose information that Congress needed to do their work? That many arguments about authority would go to the Supreme Court for a decision, and those can take years proceeding through the courts.

Of course there should not be hundreds of agencies, departments, offices and bureaus, and they shouldn’t be issuing regulations. Congress is supposed to be making the laws, not palming them off. It is the Democrats who are in favor of BIG government, and essentially believe that most everything should be done by government. I believe Bernie Sanders recently said that charities should be abolished and the government should take that task over. It is of course about power. And that’s why Democrat plans seldom work.

If  you are angry at the vast number of people who have dropped out of the labor market, the huge numbers on food stamps, the sluggish economy that Obama keeps claiming is growing and prospering — why aren’t you angry with Obama?

If you are distraught at open and unenforced borders, at illegals placed all over the country, and criminal illegals in sanctuary cities, blame the Democrats. If you are disturbed by President Obama’s announced numbers of “Syrian” refugees to be admitted to the country, Republicans are trying valiantly to stop some of these things.

If you worry about ISIS, then don’t fall for the Democrats’ propaganda about “Bush Lied, People Died.” Bush did not lie, every intelligence agency in the world believed that Saddam had WMD — and so he did. He had 500 tons of yellowcake, enough to make 168 nuclear weapons. He had vast warehouses full of “agricultural chemicals” which are the precursors of nerve gas and other poison gasses, and the chemicals that turned them into nerve gas were stored in Saddam’s scientists’ home refrigerators. ISIS has found vast stores of Saddam’s poison gas, which are still turning up. ISIS exists because Obama did not make any effort to make a status of forces agreement and just pulled all the troops out, leaving Iraq to fend for itself.

Republicans are doing what they can to prevent Obama’s overreach but as he has told us—he has a phone and a pen— and he is going to do as much as he possibly can to go around Congress and accomplish his ends with executive orders and signing statements and whatever other executive tricks he can think up. He has no intention of working with Congress at any time. Be as angry as you want, but at least direct your anger constructively at the source of the problems, not at those who are trying to remedy them.



I Have a Few Questions for Mr. Trump, and I’ll Bet You Do Too! by The Elephant's Child

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Andrew Malcolm, who writes at Investor’s Business Daily, posted, “unfiltered, Trump’s remarks from Sunday night at an Alabama rally. No interpretation. No commercial interruptions. No analysis. Just Donald Trump, on the eve of Super Tuesday’s voting, in his very own words. Uncensored.”

“The 69-year-old making the case for why he wants to be president of the United States, commander-in-chief for the next four years. And why other candidates should not become chief executive, or even be allowed to run.

Perhaps reading in his own words how Trump details his positions and policies will help voters evaluate him and other candidates and decide how to vote, this week or later.

Trump takes the stage at a school stadium in Madison:

This is amazing. Amazing. I could listen to that music all day long, all day long.

Well, I want to thank you. By the way, there’s 3,000 people waiting to get in. Should we start without ‘em? Yes. Yes! That’s amazing. So this is the biggest crowd of the political season by far. We have 30,000 people. 30,000. Amazing. 30,000 people. I just want to thank everybody.

You know, we have a lot of folks in the Huntsville-Madison area, this whole area. Really thriving. You do know that, right? Really thriving. It’s doing well. And you know we’re going to keep that space program going, folks. Gotta keep it going. We’ll be doing a lot cutting. But when it comes to that, I have to tell you, we’re going to be keeping it going.

I want to thank the Benghazi guys, you met ’em, you saw ’em. So incredible. Guts. Courage. They know what happened. Amazing guys. I want to thank Mark and John for being here today. Amazing. Amazing.

The rest is here. Do read the whole thing. Learn about how Mr. Trump plans to deal with our twenty trillion national debt, his plans for dealing with ISIS, with al Qaeda, with the mess in Syria and with the Iran Deal, and Iran’s continuing work on nuclear weapons in spite of the “Deal.” And about the drastic decline in our military readiness, our Navy the size it was in 1915, and the Army the size it was in 1940. Is that adequate to meet the needs of today? And if not, how does he plan to pay for it while also shrinking the debt?

Is he concerned about the Zika virus? What about the felons President Obama has released from prison? What does he plan to do about North Korea and China’s brand new islands in the South China Sea? President Obama has planned to admit large numbers of “Syrian” Refugees, but it is suspected that many of them are actually ISIS fighters, and we have no way to vet them. Attacks on the police are growing because of #Black Lives Matter agitation, how will you handle that? ObamaCare is failing, and insurers are going broke, more and more physicians refuse to deal with ObamaCare patients. It is a program that cannot work, so how do we get government out of the health care business?

Those are just a few of my questions that Mr. Trump did not address in the first 60 minutes of Trump’s full remarks. You undoubtedly have some questions of your own.



What’s Wrong With Diversity? More Than You Ever Knew. by The Elephant's Child

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Yesterday I received the alumni magazine from my alma mater in the mail, and among other changes, they announced the appointment of a new chief diversity officer.  Which seems to put them right in line with the norm in colleges and universities today, when every gathering or crowd is scanned for the correct mixture of skin color and ethnic identity. That doesn’t seem quite right.

It seems to me that diversity, in the case of higher education, should be a diversity of ideas — not a diversity of skin color and  ethnic origins, nor sexual diversity—there’s a lot of that going around — but diversity of ideas is pretty hard to find. Consider the speakers invited to campuses who are not just disagreed with, their divergent opinions are excoriated, their very presence is protested, loudly and violently, and security must be called to protect the person — who has improper ideas! Students need “safe spaces” to protect them from ideas with which they disagree.

Sometimes, I seem to be a little slow. I really hadn’t put together the innocuous idea of “diversity” which always seemed a little silly, with Saul Alinsky’s famous phrase “Rub raw the sores of discontent, galvanize them for radical social change.” Barack Obama was a student of Alinsky’s methods, and he’s been busily organizing us for over seven years. Hillary too, was a student of Alinsky.

The problem with the Alinsky method is that the end game is amorphous; the end game is the acquisition of power but little is said of what to do with that power once acquired. The core of Alinsky’s method is destruction, destruction of the “system” that allows a disparity of wealth. There is no discussion of what is to replace this system once it is brought down. However, there is little doubt that Alinsky’s idea of a better “system” is one that brings forced equivalence or Marxism. Fundamentally, the struggle to get power is the essence of Alinsky, what to do with the power once acquired is another matter altogether.

“The Obama administration is the embodiment of the failure of politics because it is not about politics—politics involves concession and compromise—it is about victory at any cost. The American people expected hope and change, as that is what they voted for, but what they really wanted was stability and prosperity.”

Well, no wonder the people are so angry with their government— and looking for someone, anyone, who can fix it. Their government has been furiously busy trying “to rub raw the sores of discontent.” They not only didn’t get “hope and change” — they didn’t get stability and prosperity either. “Diversity” has been a false promise. The people know and like people of all different races and ethnic backgrounds, and we like the ideas and the foods they have brought with them as well.

The race riots in Ferguson and Baltimore were urged on by imported community organizers. The campus protests and demands for more racial equality and more racial segregation at the same time, the banishing of statues or buildings named for anyone who once owned slaves, the racial hoaxes, were all stirred up by organizers from Black Lives Matter, Acorn, Occupy, and Organizing for America. Did you wonder why race relations seemed to get worse rather than better? Did you wonder why Black Lives Matter seemed to be stirring up animus against the police instead of improving relations? Why more policemen were being attacked or killed? That was deliberate community organizing.

Michelle Obama at the Democratic Convention:

“Barack stood up that day,” talking about a visit to Chicago neighborhoods, “and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “The world as it is” and “The world as it should be…”
“All of us are driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do – that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.”
“There is no utopia; those who have strived to make the impossible real, to implement their grand visions of life have been the agents of death and destruction on a scale surpassed only perhaps by Islam. Alinsky, like the Koran, Sira, and Hadith, represents morality turned upside down or abandoned entirely in favor of cold pragmatism. …It is no surprise that they have been deeply involved in voter fraud and other nefarious practices. “

Here’s David Horowitz:

This is something that conservatives generally have a hard time understanding. As a former radical, I am constantly asked how radicals could hate America and why they would want to destroy a society that compared to others is tolerant, inclusive and open, and treats all people with a dignity and respect that is the envy of the world. The answer to the this question is that radicals are not comparing America to other real world societies. They are comparing America to the heaven on earth — the kingdom of social justice and freedom — they think they are building. And compared to this heaven even America is hell.

Freedom is important to Americans, but it is sometimes hard to recognize where and why and how it is being taken away. We hate the EPA for its dumb overregulation, are shocked when Condoleeza Rice is invited to speak at an American university, and turned away because students protest. Environmentalists suggest prison terms for people who claim that global warming is natural. People are laid off, but will not get severance pay unless they train the foreign workers who will replace them. Scandals erupt throughout the government, but no one is ever fired. Veterans are denied medical care, but the promised changes never take place. Government workers who break the law are placed on paid leave, instead of being dismissed.

Detainees are released from Gitmo, and turn up as spokesmen for al-Qaeda. Relations are resumed with a nasty little Communist dictatorship just south of Florida, who continue to abuse their people and emphasize that they will change nothing at all — in return for a resumption of trade. Immigration laws are ignored, the borders are ignored as well, and illegals flow into the country to be distributed to every state. Obama makes speeches about the importance of constitutional law regarding appointment of a judge to replace the distinguished Antonio Scalia, but notes that he has a phone and a pen, and he cannot be bothered to attend the distinguished jurist’s funeral.

The American people are indeed angry. But their anger is somewhat misplaced. It is not “the establishment” that is turning loose drug pushers to go back to the streets in the name of “prison reform.” It’s not “the establishment” that is letting convicted criminal illegal aliens back into the country to commit more crimes. It’s not “the establishment” that made an impossible deal with Iran that practically assures that we will be attacked with nuclear weapons. It is not “the establishment” that has so weakened our national security that we are warned to expect a direct attack from ISIS this summer. And it’s not the establishment that stuck us with ObamaCare, nor “the establishment” that has reduced our army to the smallest since 1940 and the Navy the smallest since 1915. Nor is it “the establishment”  that has given us the worst economic recovery in the last 70 years.

I think we need to do some serious reassessing.

ADDENDUM: “White college students are undergoing a weekly “deconstructing whiteness” program at Northwestern University. The ‘6-part’ workshop series for undergraduate students who self-identify as white” launched in January and runs through March according to the university’s website.” The program is voluntary, but comes under the rubric of “Social Justice Education.” Forgive me, but there is no such thing as “social justice”— we have one kind of justice in the United States of America which involves the Constitution, the body of laws, the courts, the judicial system and the officers of the law. Northwestern University declined to give any details.

F.I.R.E. reports that 33 “public colleges have elected to ignore a deadline to respond to the House Judiciary Committee’s request to adopt new speech codes on campus. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, asked 160 schools to change at least one of their existing policies after a FIRE report showed that these schools substantially restricted their students’ free speech rights.”



Let’s Completely Eradicate a Species This Time by The Elephant's Child

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The Zika Virus is in the news, and it is a bad one. It is carried by a mosquito, Aedes aegypti, commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito, and more recently known as the dengue mosquito that particularly affects small children. Now it is called the Zika mosquito. and seems to be associated with microcephaly in newborns. Nasty bug.

Mosquitoes like human blood, and seem to be skilled at spreading disease around. The Anopheles mosquito is responsible for malaria, which according to the World Health Organization, kills more than a million people a year — mostly children under the age of five.

As far as is known, malaria does not infect animals. The pesticide DDT has been a critically important tool in eradicating malaria in some areas of the world. Paul Herman Muller  discovered the insecticidal properties of DDT in 1939, and won a Nobel Prize in Medicine, for it was an effective and affordable way to manage the public health risks carried by mosquitoes, lice, and other insects.  By 1955 DDT had been used to largely eradicate malaria from Western countries, including the U.S. where it was endemic in 26 states. It helped to control typhus, yellow fever and sleeping sickness. In Sri Lanka, malaria cases dropped in 10 years from about 3 million a year to just 29 cases in 1964.

Enter Rachel Carson, whose 1962 book Silent Spring triggered the environmental movement and hysteria about pesticides. Carson had contracted cancer, and came to believe that her cancer was caused by pesticides. Rather than offering her concerns in a measured way, she took an extreme view that chemicals were causing, or would cause, cancers and harm wildlife — producing a bleak world in which “no birds sing” and “one in four” people would likely die from chemically caused cancers. The book became a Book-of the-Month Club selection, and excerpts were published in the New Yorker. Then V.P. Al Gore said in his introduction to the 1994 edition “Without this book, the environmental movement might have been long delayed or never developed at all.” A true statement.

An EPA panel had approved DDT, but EPA Director William Ruckelshaus overruled them and in 1972 the U.S. banned DDT, and most of the rest of the developed world followed suit. In 2001, the Stockholm Convention, a global treaty, banned DDT as part of a “dirty dozen” agricultural chemicals. Carson was wrong about threats to human health, but she never recommended a complete ban. Nevertheless, the damage was done, and the WHO now estimates there are between 300 and 500 million unnecessary cases of malaria a year, again, mostly young children, and mostly in Africa.

With the advent of the Zika Virus, there have been calls to release DDT from the erroneous worldwide ban, but environmentalists are devoted to their religion, not to science. Outrage that anyone should suggest such a drastic step.

Doctors have found the Zika virus in areas of the body that are protected from the immune system, such as the placenta, seminal fluid, and fetal brain tissue. It seems to be in the blood for a very limited period of time. They have found it in the tissue of infants who died from microcephaly, a rare birth defect, which results in a small head and disorder in the brain. They are learning as they go.

Stagnant water, and small amounts of water in pots, discarded hubcaps, provide the ‘ecosystem’ for the development of the virus. The Aedes aegypti mosquito has spread from sub-Saharan Africa to the Americas, Asia, the South Pacific and Australia within the last few hundred years entirely because of human activity.

“The recent development of “gene drive” technology raises theoretical possibility of winning” the war on this invasive mosquito.

Unlike an ordinary gene, which is passed on to just half of all offspring, a gene drive construct could be passed on to virtually all offspring. It can be used to spread genes that destroy female mosquito chromosomes, prevent female mosquitoes from flying, or determine whether a mosquito becomes a male.

By releasing a small number of gene-drive mosquitoes, the number of wild females could be reduced each generation until they disappear completely. Without any females to produce the next generation of eggs, the surviving males would have a very lonely last few weeks until they died out, too, along with the genetic modification that caused their disappearance.

One step at a time. But this time we’re hoping for a complete eradication of a species. The use of DDT would be helpful, but gene drive sounds like a real possibility for getting rid of the yellow fever mosquito for good.



How About Some Really Good News That Is NOT Political? by The Elephant's Child

A California robotics company called suitX has presented it’s Phoenix exoskeleton to the public. It makes it possible for paraplegics and those with mobility disorders to regain their ability to walk, which is a priceless blessing. It is not the first exoskeleton, which was developed in Israel, but it is the most affordable so far, at about the price of a new Cadillac.

SuitX is led by Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni, who is director of the Berkley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory and co-founder and chief scientist of Ekso Bionics. Dr. Kazerooni and his team are driven by a dream of developing low-cost consumer bionic products to improve the quality of life for the disabled. To achieve their goal of keeping the robotics as affordable as possible the team worked with biomechanics instead of the bulky robotics used in the other exoskeletons available so far. One of their prime goals is to help children affected by neurological conditions like cerebral palsy and spina bifida, during the brief time in development when they perfect their walking skills.

The current Phoenix totals around 28 pounds. It consists of modules made for a person’s hips, knees and feet — each can be independently removed and adjusted to the individual’s exact size. A back-mounted battery pack provides power for eight hours of intermittent use or  four hours of continuous use.The Phoenix can move a paralyzed person at a speed of 1.1 miles an hour, the company said.

Steven Sanchez was a former BMX dirt bike rider who became mostly paralyzed by a sports injury. He’s now one of the biggest proponents of the Phoenix. “It feels like you’re actually walking,”

The exoskeleton has silent carbon-fiber orthotics capable of being customized to its wearer. Attached to the orthotics are small motors that provide mobility to the hips and legs. Crutches provide upper body support and are integrated into the orthotics, allowing the wearer to control the movement of each leg with the touch of a button. A built-in back-mounted battery pack provides the wearer with 8 hours of intermittent or 4 hours of continual use.

Weighing around 27 pounds, the Phoenix is not the lightest exoskeleton on the market, but it is comparatively lighter than competing suits such as the more cumbersome 50 pound ReWalk.

While still costlier than a motorized wheelchair, the minimal design translates into a lower-cost exoskeleton; the Phoenix costs just $40,000 in a market where prices range from $70,000 to $100,000.

Dr. Kazerooni is more interested in cleverness. He says you can buy a motorcycle with all sorts of technology for $10,000, so he’s hoping to reduce the cost even more within two or three years— something robust and simple that walks, stops. sits and stands — hugely enabling.

Steven Sanchez tests the product monthly and demonstrates the product all over the world. He wore the Phoenix on a trip to the Vatican, and stood in line like anyone else — “wearing an “awesome robotic suit” and “no one cared.” For those who can only dream of walking, that is a very big deal indeed.



He Has a Phone and a Pen, And Congress Should Just Not Interfere! by The Elephant's Child

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Dennis McD0nough, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, confirmed the intent of the Administration to pursue “audacious” executive actions. He stated that the Obama administration’s desire was that its actions “not be subject to undoing through [Congress] or otherwise.” Many presidents have used “executive orders” to move an issue forward when Congress was stalling, but McDonough’s comment was something quite different. The end goal here is policy decisions that cannot be undone by Congress “or otherwise” which would seem to be the courts. Obama wants what he wants and he doesn’t want any  ignorant interference.

This is the man who regularly claims to have been a ‘Professor of Constitutional Law,’ when he apparently was only a lecturer in civil rights law at the University of Chicago, so his casual treatment of the law is not surprising.

The Founders created a governing system with three branches that was meant to act slowly, with deliberation. The Federalist explained the idea of what James Madison called “checks and balances” in The Federalist No. 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

The Progressives in our country have somehow come to believe that whatever it is, is better done by government. Philanthropy should not be granted by rich men, but done by government. What to eat? The government will tell you what you should eat. Health care? The government will decide what medical care you may have and from what physicians or hospitals, and what they will pay for. You taxes will support useless wind turbines and solar arrays, and put the nation’s corn crop in your gas tank. You cannot buy raw milk from a dairy, and you must buy organic food. You are required to use less water when you take a shower, and the government will tell you what kind of light bulbs to use in your house. I could go on and on, but you will find the exercise more informative if you do it yourself.

Over the centuries since the founding, the shallow inclinations of politicians have been limited by respect for the restraint on their authority as a part of the guarantee of American freedom, so essential to who we are and what we believe. Many have commented on the anger of the American people in this campaign season. That is the root of the fury—an administration that ignores the rules and customs and traditions of our history—because this President, like a spoiled child, wants his own way.

He does not like Congress, because they disagree. He does not want to deal with them, and he ‘s not going to argue or try to convince them. He has a pen and a phone, and just try to stop him. And believe it or not, Hillary wants to appoint him to the Supreme Court, when his term is finally over.

Donald Trump said he would use a lot of executive actions as well, but he’d do good ones. And who decides that?



So You Think Socialism Is a Good Idea? Think Again, Booby. by The Elephant's Child

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The Peter Peterson Foundation says that America’s fiscal outlook is still getting worse, with the 2016 deficit climbing by $105 billion  to $544 billion. Over the next decade deficits will total $9.4 trillion and there’s Bernie Sanders with his $28 trillion health plan if he were elected.

That’s the additional spending for Bernie’s “Medicare for All” plan. Gerald Friedman, a professor at the University of Massachusetts , working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projections of national health care spending, claims that the Sanders plan would cost $40.9 trillion between 2017 and 2026. That doesn’t even include his free college for everyone. I keep telling you that Democrats are math avoiders, and unfamiliar with economics. Britain’s NHS is broke, and killing around 9,000 people a year unnecessarily. So that’s Bernie’s plan to bankrupt America.

Meanwhile, Venezuela is on track to barrel past 700% inflation. The International Monetary Fund says Venezuela inflation will reach 720 percent this year. Nicholas Maduro, getting defeated in the legislative election is running an economic decree backed by a Supreme Court that his party packed. The newly elected free market legislature is defying him. This is Socialism, and how it works.

If the whole business of trying to become president doesn’t work out for Bernie,  he could run down to Venezuela to see how Socialism really works in practice. The Army has taken over the toilet paper factories, and staples are no longer on the shelves.

The new legislature suggests that Nicholas Maduro is the problem.

ADDENDUM: The Washington Times reports that the Congressional Budget Office today warns that the federal government will be flirting with $30 trillion in debt within a decade. The problem is an aging population (baby boomers retiring) new spending and tax cuts approved on Capitol Hill, and the growing burden of ObamaCare. ObamaCare will chase more workers out of the labor force over the next five years. The Affordable Care Act is still struggling to attract a customer base. The estimate for the number of people who will sign up for the exchanges has dropped from 21 million to 13 million. They also say the economy might see significant growth of 2.5 percent this year and 2.6 percent next year. Big whoop! How about a real 4 percent growth? The business sector wants to grow and expand, but is being reined in by this administration with way too much regulation, fear of regulation, and stupid taxes. Cut the corporate tax. Corporations don’t pay taxes anyway — consumers do.




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