American Elephants


The Iran Deal: What it Is and What it Isn’t by The Elephant's Child

Confusion reigns over every mention of the “Iran Deal.” And it is back in the news and at a moment in time when confusion over every tiny thing about the Trump administration, not to mention the large things, seems to set off what might be called a panic attack in the Democrats. Any ability to talk about such things calmly and seriously has gone by the wayside. It’s some kind of contagious dementia.

Iran is not a friendly Middle Eastern country. They support most of the worlds terrorism and terrorists, are attempting to become a nuclear power, are making trouble wherever they can in the Middle East and elsewhere, and generally fall in the category of bad guys. Very bad guys.

The Obama administration signed a nuclear deal with Iran. It is not a treaty, but just an informal deal to relieve sanctions on Iran if they stop trying to get nuclear weapons. They are supposed to get inspections to see if they are doing what they claim, but that isn’t happening, and everybody’s worried about what will happen, what the Trump administration will do, what can be done or not done. All is confusion.

Frederick W. Kagan, a scholar at AEI on Foreign and Defense Policy, the Middle East and Terrorism in general, has spelled out the facts of the deal and attempted to alleviate the confusion so we have some understanding among the reports from the media, most of whom don’t seem to understand any more than we do.

Do read the whole thing, or better yet print it out or save it. This is going to be a major bone of contention for some time yet, and the Democrats are off the tracks, partly because it was an Obama effort, partly because they are quite sure that Trump is starting a new war, or is too irrational to do the right thing, or is anxious to start something or who knows what catastrophe the evil Trump will devise.  In other words, we need to know what they are talking about. Knowing what they are talking about is the best defense.

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12 Principles for a 21st century conservatism by The Elephant's Child

Jordan Peterson is a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto in Canada. He also a clinical psychologist, and an important voice in today’s world. He is honest, and has thought deeply about what he says, and he thinks out loud and shares the process with you. His mind is well connected to his mouth, and he talks with his hands as well.

He clarifies the most basic things. Things that no one is making clear in our world as it is today. You will hear the audience burst into applause when they realize just how very basic those things are.

This is a very long video that is really worth your while. It might change your life. It is the answer to the previous video about how Sweden has gone so badly astray.

When you finally get down to the basic way things are, ask why they are that way.

(The introduction is way too long, you can skip some of it.)



Poor Information Flow Between School and Home by The Elephant's Child

Was I saying that it “can’t happen here?” of course it can. Here’s a report from the Minnesota conservative think tank the Center of the American Experiment (CAE) about the public schools in Edina, a Minneapolis suburb, one of the wealthiest cities in Minnesota. The school district has long been regarded as one of the state’s very best. The problem seems to be the lack of information that flows between school and the students’ homes.

The Schools in Edina have “increasingly implemented a controversial, ideologically-driven curriculum” first reported by Intellectual Takeout here and here. And surprise, it’s all about race, class and gender.

If you are thinking, “I don’t live in Edina, what do I care.” You’d probably better pay attention if you have children in school, or expect to, or have grandchildren, or just care about your local schools. Surely you have noticed that our colleges and universities are hotbeds of political indoctrination and activism. Education has long been considered an easy major, and Education Departments have always felt slightly looked down upon because of that, with some justification. Or listen to new teachers complain that they were never really taught how to manage a classroom and control the uncontrollable.

Today, for example, K-2 students at Edina Highlands Elementary School are learning—through the “Melanin Project”—to focus on skin color and to think of white skin as cause for guilt. “Equity” is listed as a primary criterion on the district’s evaluation for K-5 math curricula. At Edina High School, teachers are haranguing students on “White Privilege,” and drilling into them that white males oppress and endanger women. In a U.S. Literature and Composition class, 11th-graders are being taught to “apply marxist [sic], feminist” and “post-colonial” “lenses to literature.”

“In short,” Kersten concludes, “in Edina, reading, writing, math and critical thinking skills are taking a backseat to an ideological crusade.”

• A teacher tearfully told a classroom of 100 students that “the election was rigged.”
• Another teacher announced to a class that “Trump winning was worse than 9/11 and the Columbine shooting.”
• Students gathered in the high school commons on election day chanting “F*** Trump,” while teachers watched on, doing nothing.

While the schools are busy with activism, the consequences are that one in five high school students can’t read at grade level and a third cannot do grade level math. The state ranking of Edina high schools has slipped from fifth to 29th in reading proficiency.

I’ve been a parent, and it’s easy to feel all warm and fuzzy when the teacher’s note or the teacher conference tells you what a good student you have, who is a delight to have in the classroom. But that is not real communication with the school and the curriculum. Schools have decided that  kids don’t need to learn cursive writing, because they will always have keyboards. So the ability to write a hand-written thank-you or sympathy note, or simply a gracious thank-you for a job interview will be beyond them.

College professors all over the country are complaining about their incoming students, their inability to read, write and think. We need to take that seriously and to be sure that we know what our schools are actually teaching, or we will suddenly wake up and find that like the previous video, we had no idea what the schools were teaching our children.



Europe is Finished. Nothing can save it now. by The Elephant's Child

Child abuse. Sponsored by the government in the name of being nice.
There are two genders, and gender dysphoria is a mental problem, as is bodily dysphoria. It’s not science, but ideology.

How could any society get so weirdly and senselessly ideological? If it is this far advanced in Europe, it is undoubtedly underway here, more  than we think—or will be so shortly. And what does it mean that Europe is finished? I had assumed that the Islamization of Europe was well underway, that seems clear. Is this the future of mankind?



Kevin Ellerbe on Hate Speech by The Elephant's Child
October 11, 2017, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Education, Law, Politics, Regulation

What is “Hate Speech” anyway? According to the snowflakes in college, it’s any speech that disagrees with you, or makes you feel uncomfortable. What earthy good does it do a person to be protected from ever hearing a discouraging word. Sooner or later, everyone is going to be insulted, offended, hurt, disappointed, not to mention fired, accused and left out. Real life is not always comfortable, and you cannot make it so. Perhaps the old line that defines free speech says it more clearly. “You cannot shout fire in a crowded theater.”



Charter Schools Work. Improve Student Outcomes. by The Elephant's Child

Last Thursday night, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was invited to speak to students, faculty and others who were gathered at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. “Shouts. Interruptions, Orchestrated chanting.” as AEI notes, were “the predictable convulsions of this contemporary university when a conservative comes to town.” Ms. DeVos spoke thoughtfully about “how school choice empowers families, creates room for healthy diversity and is wholly consistent with the historic aims of public education.”

We can rethink school. And, I posit, we do that by embracing the future of education as one that fully integrates “choice” into every decision we make. Not choice translated as vouchers, or charter schools, or private schools, or any other specified delivery mechanism. No. Choice translated as giving every parent in this great land more control, more of a say in their child’s future. More choices. The future of choice lies in trusting and empowering parents — all parents, not just those who have the power, prestige, or financial wherewithal to make choices.

The definition of public education should be to educate the public. That’s why we should fight less about the word that comes before “school.” I suspect all of you here at Harvard, a private school, will take your education and contribute to the public good. When you chose to attend Harvard, did anyone suggest you were against public universities? No, you and your family sat down and figured out which education environment would be the best fit for you. . . . Instead of dividing the public when it comes to education, the focus should be on the ends, not the means.

The first charter school opened in St. Paul, Minn. Twenty five years later there are 7000, successfully serving students. Charter schools are public schools. After four years in a charter, urban students learn about 50% more a year than similar students in a traditional school. New Orleans will be 100% charters next year, is the most improved and improving city in the country. Test scores, graduation rates, college attendance, all up. dropout rates down. In New Orleans, more than 80% of their students are African American. New Orleans became the first city to outperform the overall state.

Washington D.C.’s 120 charter schools educates 46% of public school students. As in New Orleans, the board promptly closes charters in which kids are falling behind, while they encourage the best to expand more new schools.

The American cities that have most improved student outcomes are those with charter schools. Denver has improved notably, New Jersey is hiring charter operators in Camden. Memphis has embraced charters and Massachusetts has created an “empowerment zone partnership” that  has its own nonprofit board much like charters. Bureaucracies, like people, age and get set in their ways, unable to innovate, and just try to wait for a magical cure. It sometimes takes far too long for recognition that things are stagnant and no longer working. Teachers unions hate charters, because most are not unionized. But successful students have a louder and more important voice.

What the Harvard juveniles thought they were protesting remains a mystery. The signs said “White supremacy,” but they were protesting the wrong speaker for that.



Democrats Are So Predictable by The Elephant's Child

Leftists are so predictable. President Trump announced that he wanted to cut the corporate income tax, and the sky immediately started to fall. “Tax cuts for the Rich” Charles Schumer cried. And so the battle was formed. Republicans insisted that the tax cut would more than pay for itself by increased economic activity. Democrats countered with the claim that Republicans were just trying to give taxpayer money to their richest friends.

The Leftist Tax Policy Center which mainstream-media outlets refer to as “nonpartisan” is full of former Obama economists.

Kevin Hassett, newly appointed to head the Trump Administration’s Council of Economic Advisers was having none of it. In his first official speech he accused the Tax Policy Center’ of using false assumptions on tax details that have never been published and “manufacturing income-redistribution  and deficit numbers that don’t even exist.

Kevin Hassett is the new face at the highest economic level of the Trump administration. But he’s no neophyte. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He has spent time on the staff of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington. He taught at Columbia Business School. He was a long-time economic-policy director at AEI.  …

“Economists who have studied the effects of taxes over time have discovered a consensus,” he said. “Lower marginal tax rates and a broader base increase the rate of economic growth and well-being.” …

During his TPC speech, Hassett noted that “for the median household in the U.S., the top corporate marginal rate cut from 35 percent to 20 percent would boost wage growth almost four-fold.

Democrats don’t like corporations, with the exception of those who donate to Democrats, and they don’t like corporate leaders, with the same exception. And they plan to continue permanently their particular need to claim that any tax cuts will benefit only the wealthy.

President Trump’s tax proposals are intended to end the Obama administration’s war on business, and get the economy back to work.It is clearly picking up steam, the stock market is way up, and Democrats are warning that a massive recession is imminent. Of course.

A tax on a business goes on the corporate ledger as a cost of doing business. If business taxes go up — so does the cost of the products they make. If the cost of doing business goes down, they can invest that money in new machinery, new products and new innovation. Those expenditures create more business, which is a direct benefit to the wage-earning middle class.




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