American Elephants


There Are Real Reasons Why You Need to Pay Attention to Politics. by The Elephant's Child

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I have watched as many of the committee hearings on President-Elect Trump’s Cabinet nominees as I can, to find out more about just who they are. I am very impressed by the quality of these people. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have selected individuals who bring special  knowledge and ability to the office to which they were nominated. The difference in the caliber of people is notable.

The questioning in the hearings by Democrats was largely embarrassing. Someone has done a deep dive into the media to see what they can turn up, and issued talking points for the questions, trying to prove the Democrats’ constant cries of “racist, sexist, and homophobe” and throw in “Islamophobe, fascist,” and anything Russian as well. If that sounds like I’m saying the questioning wasn’t very useful, well yes, that’s what I’m saying. It’s the oft-repeated observation that “how can they be qualified to hold a cabinet office when they have never served in government?”

The obvious responses would be Constitutional requirements, being bureaucrats is not a qualification for anything, and that old “We the People” thing.

The nominees were clearly selected for their individual abilities and ideas, rather than because they gave money to the campaign or were early supporters. It’s quite a contrast with President Obama who appointed Hillary as Secretary of State as the candidate he had defeated for the presidency. And seemingly, created a cabinet of yes-men (or women). Obama’s approach was a little different. He famously said:

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

He also chose, it was reported, to have intelligence briefings delivered in a short paper that he could read, rather than be “briefed” by intelligence personnel. It is a choice of the way to conduct the office, but telling.

The Left, in general, blames everybody else for Hillary’s loss. The media describes her frequently as “beloved” which clearly does not seem to be the case. John Lewis not only blames the Russians for Hillary’s loss, but will not attend the inauguration since he believes that Donald Trump did not legitimately win the election. Hillary claims that the “Russian hacking” was because of Vladimir Putin’s personal animus against her.

Andy McCarthy wrote that “Disclosure of embarrassing information should not be confused with disinformation.” When the public hears reference to cyber-espionage they are inclined to think spies and sinister stuff, not “an effort to publicize true but embarrassing information.”

Hillary’s improper emails and the court fights to get them released had long been public knowledge and worrisome for those who pay close attention to political matters. Hillary’s emails were a very big deal because 1. they included highly classified national security State Department secrets and 2. She put them on an unsecured computer open to any capable hacker at any time — which she was forbidden by law from doing, because she wanted to hide the graft of the Clinton Foundation, which had considerably enriched the family.

Hillary was a known compulsive liar and had been known as such since she was the wife of the Governor of Arkansas. She was also publicly known as vicious and rude to aides, military personnel, and the Secret Service members assigned to protect her life. No one could name an accomplishment from her tenure as Secretary of State, except for racking up air miles. Benghazi and Libya rankled for those who were paying attention. I know that there are many people who don’t like politics and don’t pay attention. It’s a choice. But they do damage to all of us because they are not informed voters.

The latest excuse for Hillary’s loss is grocery store checkout lines. Those awful headlines on the National Enquirer and it’s competitors, made voters change their minds at the last minute.

Obama believed that the media was to blame for rural Americans not voting Democrat this election despite his administration pumping billions of dollars into rural economies.

Obama made the remarks as part of an “exit interview” put out by CNN. The U.S. Department of Agriculture pumped out $6.5 billion in 2016 to fund rural electrical utilities, housing and community development. …

There are a lot of folks in places like West Virginia or Kentucky who didn’t vote for Hillary, didn’t vote for me, but are being helped by this,” Obama said.

Those coal mining communities were really helped by getting unemployment and food stamps when Obama closed down the mines because of  his climate illusions. “Deplorables” indeed. As someone who grew up very, very rural, I can assure you that rural America is not exactly populated by the backward or unintelligent. Or Deplorable.

Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters will join John Lewis in boycotting the inauguration because she believes that Donald Trump’s campaign attacks against Hillary Clinton are impeachable offenses. Here’s Maxine on Chris Matthews:

“Well here’s what I’m trying to get to,” Waters responded. “If we discover that Donald Trump or his advocates played a role to help provide strategy — if they’re the ones who came up with ‘Crooked Hillary,’ if they’re the ones who came up with, ‘she’s ill, something’s wrong with her energy,’ and the way that he basically described her during the campaign — I think that is something that would put the question squarely on the table whether or not he should be impeached.”

So, you think you can commit an impeachable offense before you take office?” Matthews incredulously asked the California Democrat.

“Well, I think that at the point that investigations discover and confirm and can document any of that role in helping to strategize — they had a role in attempting to determine the outcome,” she answered regardless of the actual question. “That in many ways they used the information they got when they hacked into emails etc. — if that was used against Hillary Clinton in some way, yes I think that’s impeachable.”

Oh my!  I rest my case.



“We Will Resist” Intoned Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by The Elephant's Child

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Shocked by the Left’s response to the election of Donald Trump, we have  responded badly, with calls of “poor losers” as if they were mere spoiled children, or spoilsports in a childhood game. This is not a game, these are not children. These are adults who are old enough to know better. They are not innocents demanding their own way simply because they are frustrated, kicking and screaming with clenched fists and red faces. They are the real thing. Tyrants.

Chuck Schumer, the new Senate Minority Leader, made clear in a speech on the Senate floor that he intends to do everything he can to use his 48-seat minority as a bulwark against Donald Trump’s agenda.

Mr. Schumer offered up the possibility of compromise on “issues like infrastructure, trade and closing the carried interest loophole,” though the public-works spending must be “significant, direct spending,” not tax credits. You almost have to admire his Stakhanovite dedication to the tiny carried interest tax provision, though we’re willing to bet Mr. Schumer will find other reasons to oppose a serious tax reform that eliminates it.

But that was it for the olive branches, saying that on most Republican priorities “we will resist.” He laced into Mr. Trump’s appointees as “stacked with billionaires, corporate executives, titans of Wall Street, and those deeply embedded in Washington’s corridors of power.” He did not mention that two of those “titans” hail from Goldman Sachs, source of many donations to Senate Democrats.

The Minority Leader saved his most partisan remarks for MSNBC, aptly enough, where he all but promised to block any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court. “We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don’t appoint someone who’s really good, we’re gonna oppose him tooth and nail,” he said. When the MSNBC host asked if Mr. Schumer would do his best to keep the current vacancy on the High Court open, he responded “absolutely.”

Mr. Schumer’s real objections? Democrats don’t like the Constitution, the envy of the world, preserving our freedom from tyranny. What’s wrong with that splendid document? Democrats don’t like free speech. It allows people to say things that Democrats don’t like. They don’t like religious freedom—they want to do away with religion, and the family, freedom of association. They don’t like freedom of the press because that allows things like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

They most particularly don’t like the right to keep and bear arms. They worked against guns on the basis that it was only for militias, but that didn’t work, and now they are just going for the guns themselves, as if guns were running around and shooting people without any human collaboration. In a government under the tyranny of the Left, I could be put in prison for writing a post like this. Or  killed. It has happened in many previous tyrannies. Cuba. Venezuela. North Korea—Kim Jong Un actually assassinated one of his people with a howitzer. Boom, you’re dead! Then there’s most of the countries in the Middle East, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Pol Pot. There’s a long, long list of governments that want complete control of all the people and no disagreement whatsoever.

They don’t learn from what is happening in the world either. Britain’s National Health Service—deeply admired by democrats—is killing off its old people with neglect, dehydration and lack of attention. You can read about the failures in the British papers regularly. Chicago has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the country and a murder rate higher than New York and Los Angeles put together.

A simple study of the rules of economics demonstrates why raising the minimum wage by government regulation does not help those workers, and acts as an unemployment program for young blacks, but Democrats call Republicans “racist” for opposing the raise—but then that’s just their standard epithet. If repeated often enough, people start to believe it, despite the falsehood.

So why would anyone want to be associated with the Democratic party. Law Professor Glenn Reynolds’ column for USA Today, today, was about “New Status Anxiety fuels Trump Derangement.”

It’s been nearly two months since the election, and Democrats and leftists still haven’t settled down. The campus safe spaces and cry-ins immediately after the votes were counted were bad enough. But the craziness is still going on.

Why are they so upset?  I think it’s because of status anxiety. Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.

What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: “Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins.”

In Chicago,  a vicious hate crime has been whitewashed by the press. President Obama deplored the incident, but remarked that race relations had improved under his administration. Unfortunately, Obama has disagreed with the findings of Grand Juries in case after case, agreeing with the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” falsehood of events in Ferguson, and celebrated #Black Lives Matter, inviting the group to the White House, and confirming the racist nature of each of the events, which were rejected by Grand Juries who painstakingly investigated. Obama did suggest that Black children needed Black fathers in the home. The President seems to be a very good father himself,  But he didn’t follow through with the issue of black fathers, and the responsibility to be there for their kids as much as he might have.

Steven Malanga took on the subject back in July for an excellent article on the problem. Democrats have continued, at White House direction, to fling the epithet “Racism” around, repeating it over and over, even when there is not the slightest evidence. It is not surprising that recent studies show that Black Democrats believe that Donald Trump is racist, and that they will suffer under his presidency.  If Black Democrats were not encouraged to believe that Republicans are racist, they might not vote for the Democratic party. That’s the way it works.



Why is Freedom So Frightening to Some People? by The Elephant's Child

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Freedom is messy. The unexpected is always happening. You never know what someone will do, or what they might say. Republicans celebrate freedom of speech, gritting their teeth at offensive speech, but recognizing that their freedom to be offended also protects our ability to speak out about political abuse of any kind. progressives want to repeal the first amendment so that people are not free to disagree with them. That’s why they came up with the idea of “hate speech.”

“Hate speech” was supposed to segregate out  speech that disagreed with or offended them so much that it exceeded the boundaries of that which was protected by the free speech clause of the Constitution. Also if you killed someone or beat someone up while saying something vile, then they would put you away for longer.

You have perhaps noticed that calling people “deplorables” does not apparently qualify as hate speech, nor do the tweets and Facebook rants in response the election of Donald Trump, even those about assassinating him, though the Secret Service frowns on that.

This year has also seen a significant rise in the occasions when innocent children in college refuse to hear an invited speaker who might disagree with their ideas. Neither students nor their adult supervisors seem to realize that an educational institution is where you are supposed to have your ideas challenged. Not just disagreed with, but challenged. If you graduate from a college and have never had your ideas challenged, you have wasted your time and your money, and the professors who did that to you have failed in their most essential role. There are no “safe spaces” out in the real world, and businesses do not supply puppies and cookies to soothe you when you have been offended. And businesses will offend you. That’s one thing you can count on in this messy world.



This Is What The Vote Would Look Like If We Abolished the Electoral College. by The Elephant's Child

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Hillary’s “victory” in the popular vote took place entirely in California, because the state is so populous, and so far left. Had California seceded, as some Californians were insisting until the rest of us suggested that they could rejoin Mexico, Hillary would not have had a popular vote win. And this is why the Constitution makes it clear that the popular vote does not matter, because all of our states must have a voice.

If Democrats would take a little time out from their fulminating and just read the Constitution—they might appreciate what a wondrous document it is, and how fortunate we are that the founders wrote it. We are the envy of the world, and yet other countries can seldom be enticed into giving the power to the people, rather than to the reigning government.

Our battles to retain that power— “this government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth”— are a constant interest and inspiration to the world. Or why did you think whatever we do here makes front page news in the newspapers and broadcasts of the rest of the world? And why our enemies like ISIS and Iran want so badly to destroy us? Our freedom is, of course, messy, and they sneer at the mess without understanding that’s the nature of freedom.



The Electoral College Votes Donald Trump 45th President of the United States by The Elephant's Child

Sorry, Democrats—Donald Trump is the President-Elect. The Electoral College has voted, and your death threats, protests and total unfamiliarity with the Constitution have gone for naught. It got a little odd here and there, one woman in Wisconsin screamed at electors “You don’t Deserve to Be in America”, and “This is My America” as the Police dragged her out.

Here in Washington State, although Hillary Clinton won the state, 4 faithless electors voted 3 for Colin Powell and one for Faith Spotted Eagle. (?) The electoral College ended up 304 for Donald Trump and 227 for Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump actually gained votes in Jill Stein’s recount. Hillary got the defectors. (numbers corrected)

Michael Barone, a long-time close observer of the political campaign business, said that this year the rules seemed to change. As technology is changing our lives in unexpected ways, it is also changing the political scene.

  1. Money doesn’t seem to matter so much. The Trump campaign spent somewhat more than half as much as the Hillary campaign, but won nearly half again as many electoral votes.
  2. TV spots don’t matter as much any more. A tweet gets more attention and a YouTube video gets more votes than a $10 million ad buy.
  3. Celebrities don’t matter. Lady Gaga and Beyonce did concerts for Hillary. Monmouth County NJ voted for Trump.
  4. Outrageous statements don’t matter. Voters were looking for change.
  5. Polling and big data don’t automatically advise the right moves.
  6. Understanding how the opposition thinks is enormously important. The Trump campaign got Hillary, but the reverse was not true. Hillary’s campaign people blamed their defeat on racism, Comey and the Russians.

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The Big Donors Want Answers! What Happened? by The Elephant's Child

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waits to be introduced during a campaign event at Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Hillary has wanted to be the first woman president forever. She wanted to be the co-president with Bill in 1993. She thought they would have a two-for-one deal, but the American people reminded them that she was not elected. So it has been an enormous loss for her, both in 2012 and now. I could almost feel sorry for her.

Donors, most importantly, want to know where Clinton spent the nearly $1.5 billion in campaign resources she collected in the closing months. They especially want introspection, or what they’re calling a “dispassionate, centralized analysis,” of how Clinton failed to read the mood in swing states, and how her Brooklyn-centric  operation so badly misread polling data.

From what I have read, the big change in polling came about with “the Deplorables” comment. Whatever you want to say about Bill Clinton, he has excellent political instincts, but he was essentially banned from the campaign. Hillary was, quite frankly, a lousy candidate. She is not particularly likeable, as many have said. And for someone who aspired to the highest office in the land, she did not build up her qualifications. As Carly Fiorina said “titles are not qualifications.” The only bill she introduced in the Senate was to name a post office. And as Secretary of State, her accomplishment was frequent-flyer miles. She denied help to her ambassador to Libya who begged over and over for additional help because the post in Benghazi was so dangerous, and we all know how that turned out.

Had she studied up on the situation in Libya, she would have known that Ghadaffi had given up any interest in nuclear weapons after the demise of Saddam Hussein, and was considered as a dictator who was keeping the lid on in a violent country. She urged his overthrow, and celebrated his demise with a public cackled “We came, we saw, he died.” and laughed about it.

She is a compulsive liar, and everyone knew it, though that doesn’t matter to Democrats. She lies about silly things to enhance herself, that are clearly false, like being named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who hadn’t climbed any mountain until long after she was named. The account of arriving in Bosnia under sniper fire, was shot down by videos of the welcoming party with children with flowers.

The big campaign donors are not buying her Russia excuse or the Comey excuse either. They want to know what went  wrong. They were promised a big victory and look what happened!

But in the weeks since, the wealthy Democrats who helped pump over $1 billion into Clinton’s losing effort have been urging their local finance staffers, state party officials, and campaign aides to provide a more thorough explanation of what went wrong. With no dispassionate, centralized analysis of how Clinton failed so spectacularly, they insist, how can they be expected to keep contributing to the party?…

Absent a single campaign infrastructure those donors can use to do that, a handful of Democrats have looked to step in and provide a centralized outlet for donor planning. One is Clinton ally David Brock, who is planning a retreat for top party finance players in Aventura, Florida, over the Thursday-to-Saturday of Trump’s inauguration week….

Among the gathering’s planned sessions: “Learning from 2016: Strategy, Policy, and Building a lasting winning Coalition,” “Campaign Tactics of the future: Polling, Social Media, and Targeting,” “The New Face of the Right,” “Holding Trump Accountable,” and “Ethics Watchdog on Steroids.”

It was fairly obvious. Hillary had no message. She criticized Trump, She was going to do the same thing Obama has done. To a lot of voters—that was no recommendation. She said in a paid speech with Brazilian bankers that her dream was open trade and  open borders with a continental open market. Obama kept bragging about all the jobs he had created, but ordinary folks just saw the increasing numbers of people who had given up looking. The small businesses they liked had closed their doors, and immigrants had taken all of the construction jobs. Union leaders backed Hillary, and assumed their workers would follow suit. They didn’t. And besides, the American people just didn’t like being called “Deplorables.”

In a new poll, more than two-thirds of registered voters oppose any attempt by President Obama to pardon Hillary Clinton before he leaves office next month. This was a Fox news poll, and Obama blames  Fox News for all of his troubles.



More Nominees For the Trump Administration by The Elephant's Child

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Donald Trump has nominated Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State to wide praise from Republicans. He has broad  and remarkable international experience, a deep understanding of the global economy and personal relations with many state leaders throughout the world. Imagine, a Secretary of State who knows what he’s doing and understands the geopolitics.

President-elect Donald Trump wants Goldman Sachs president & COO Gary Cohn as the Director of his National Economic Council. Trump says that Cohn will put his talents as a highly successful businessman to work for the American people, growing wages for workers and stopping American jobs from going overseas.
Cohn said: “I share President-elect Trump’s vision of making sure every American worker has a secure place in a thriving economy, and we will be completely committed to building a nation of strength, growth and prosperity.”

President Obama felt that having served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was enough prior knowledge of world governments and geopolitics, so we got Hillary Clinton whose accomplishment was the air miles she racked up, and John Kerry.

Steven Mnuchin has been nominated as Secretary of the Treasury. He was Trump’s campaign finance director, and obviously highly successful in that job. Hillary raised and spent $1.2 billion, and Trump, in contrast, spent $616.5 million, and had $31.5 million left over. He is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who has become a trusted financial advisor.

Ryan Zinke named as Interior Secretary is a first term congressman from Montana who will lead Mr. Trump’s efforts to open federal lands and water to fossil-fuel development and reverse many of the Obama administration nonsensical regulations.

Rick Perry who has been named as Secretary of Energy is the former governor of Texas. He served for nearly 15 years in the country’s biggest energy producing state. His record as governor was outstanding.

Andy Puzder has been named as Secretary of Labor. He is CEO of CKE Restaurant Holdings, parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, and has been a vocal advocate of cutting back the regulations that have stunted growth in the restaurant industry, and he has argued against raising the minimum wage higher than $9 an hour, and criticized the Affordable Care Act.

Wilbur Ross has been named as Commerce Secretary. He is a top economic adviser to Mr. Trump. He is chairman and chief  strategist of W.L.Ross & Co. a private equity firm and has extensive experience in corporate restructurings.

John Kelly,  has been named as Secretary of Homeland Security. He is a retired four star Marine General who directly supervised U.S. Operations in Central and South America as chief of Southern Command. His post involved monitoring drug trafficking and other smuggling activity around our southern border.

Linda McMahon has been named as Administrator of the Small Business Administration. She is the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut, but very successful in building a business.

Elaine Chao has been named as Transportation Secretary. She was the first American woman of Asian descent to be appointed to the cabinet when she served as a very successful secretary of labor in the administration of George W. Bush. She is married to Majority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell.

Mike Pompeo has been named as Director of the CIA. He is a West Point graduate, first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 as part of the tea-party movement. He is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Intelligence Committee, and was a member of the special committee investigating the 2012 attacks on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Michael Flynn has been nominated as National Security Adviser. He is a retired Army General who had served in top roles across the military as director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and intelligence adviser to Gen..Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Donald McGahn has been named as White House Counsel. He was the president-elect’s campaign lawyer and is a former member of the Federal Elections Commission. He is currently a partner at Jones Day in Washington D.C. where he has specialized on political law issues.

The Left, unsurprisingly, is having hissy-fits. Three Generals? During the campaign Trump was called “Hitler,” one of their usual epithets. Now its “Authoritarian.” From Bill McGurn at the Wall Street Journal:  (Talking Points)

From the New Republic: “Donald Trump Is Already Acting Like an Authoritarian.” National Public Radio: “Donald Trump: Strong Leader or Dangerous Authoritarian?” The New York Times: “Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality.” The New Yorker: “Trump’s Challenge to American Democracy.”

What’s striking here is that the same folks who see in Mr. Trump a Mussolini in waiting are blind to the soft despotism that has already taken root in our government. This is the unelected and increasingly assertive class that populates our federal bureaucracies and substitutes rule by regulation for the rule of law. The result? Over the Obama years, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reckons, Washington has averaged 35 regulations for every law.

The Left finds fault with any nominee who has not served in government as somehow not qualified. That pretty clearly demonstrates the mindset. The Left are proponents of big government, the better to regulate you with. They believe firmly in their own anointed superiority, and usually, never have worked in private business, and thus know how the deplorables out there should go about their lives.

Three Generals? Will they lead us to war? Oh please! Nobody hates war more than those who have experienced it. No experience in Government—that is a positive qualification.

Trump’s array of economic advisors are divided between those who believe in carrots and those who believe in sticks. One group rejects mainstream economic thinking and believes in eliminating trade deficits, and views taxes on companies that move jobs abroad as necessary sticks  to reduce a 15 year slide in income for middle class Americans. The opposing camp champions supply-side economics and believe in slashing red tape and taxes to make the U.S. a top destination for business is a worthwhile carrot. Then there’s a third group who aren’t particularly ideological. (I‘m an ideological  supply-sider)

Mr Trump’s supporters are probably equally divided. A lot of us want the EPA abolished. Is the Energy Department necessary? Is the Education Department needed? I suspect that it is unlikely that any agency will be eliminated, for all have their proponents, and for the Left—they are essential. Getting rid of a department approaches the impossible.

Trump has advocated eliminating Education. Each department has its own culture, many are long-standing and deeply entrenched.  Eliminating departments will take a back seat to Mr. Trump’s goal of growing the economy and putting America back to work. There will be more silly attacks from the Left, but the Right has not been this strong for 80 years. Progressives just haven’t figured that out yet.

Expect some bitter confirmation battles. They are outraged with the appointment of Scott Pruitt to the EPA, he is not only an attorney who has taken the EPA to court (on a lawsuit filed by 27 states against the EPA. Rex Tillerson (a businessman, an oil man? ), the Generals, and Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education who is a champion of charter schools and opposes Common Core. Major fight!  This is a group selected for their expertise and their ability to take on a fight to make a difference for the country. I’m impressed.




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