American Elephants


Comparisons Are Perhaps Inevitable! by The Elephant's Child

Wilfrid M. McClay, a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma is the author of a new history of the United States: Land of Hope: an Invitation to the Great American Story, which is receiving excellent reviews.

He just wrote a short piece for Hillsdale College’s Imprimis, an always interesting publication, with an essay from an important scholar, free on request from the college. The copy I just received contained this interesting portion of a longer essay.

A related lesson of history is that acts of statesmanship often require courage and imagination, even daring, especially when the outcome seems doubtful. Take the case of Lincoln. So accustomed are we to thinking of Lincoln in heroic terms that we forget the depth and breadth of his unpopularity during his entire time in office. Few great leaders have been more comprehensively disdained, loathed, and underestimated. A low Southern view of him, of course, was to be expected, but it was widely shared in the North as well. As Lincoln biographer David Donald put it, “Lincoln’s own associates thought him “a Simple Susan, a baboon, an aimless punster, a smutty joker” Abolitionist Wendell Phillips called him “a huckster in politics, a first-rate, second rate man.” George McClellan, his opponent in the 1864 election, openly disdained him as a “well-meaning baboon.” For much of that election year, Lincoln was convinced, with good reason, that he was doomed to lose the election, with incalculable consequences for the war effort and the future of the nation.

We need to remember that this is generally how history happens. It is not like a Hollywood movie i which the background music swells and the crowd in the room applauds and leaps to it feet as the orator dispenses timeless words, and the camera pans the room full of smiling faces. In real history, the background music does not swell, the trumpets do not sound, and the carping critics often seem louder than the applause. The leader or the soldier has to wonder whether he is acting in vain, whether the criticisms of others are in fact true, whether time will judge him harshly, whether his sacrifice will count for anything. Few great leaders have felt this burden more completely than Lincoln.



Here’s Michelle Malkin On Illegal Immigration by The Elephant's Child

This is a hard problem for Democrats. They want open borders, at least until we get through the next census count. If they can add enough illegals to get counted in the census in all the sanctuary cities and states, they can add more representatives in the House of Representatives which is organized on the basis of population. The Senate is organized on the basis that each state will have two Senators, no matter what the population, so that all states are represented equally.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, Conservatives believe that immigrants should enter the United States legally. Apply at the U.S. Consulate in their own country, or apply for asylum at the border. Democrats like to believe that letting immigrants just cross the border wherever is because “America is a nation of immigrants”— actually it’s a nation of citizens, and if you want to become a citizen, do it legally, because America is a nation of laws. The Left likes to believe that they are morally superior because they care about the unfortunate or the downtrodden, like illegal aliens.

There’s a big cost to illegal immigration. The State of Idaho spelled out the cost of illegal immigration for their state, that falls on Idaho’s taxpayers. As I keep reminding, governments have no money of their own. Whatever they spend comes out of the pockets of the taxpayers.



Democrats Want to Eliminate the Electoral College When Removing It Would Let Their Candidate Win by The Elephant's Child

The New York Sun had a very good editorial yesterday on “The Electoral College Angst.” You have undoubtedly heard Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez out advocating the removal of the Electoral College from the U.S. Constitution.

As we hurtle toward the 2020 election, some 15 states have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. They would use in a new way the constitutional system in which each state chooses in November electors to meet in December to decide who will be president. Had the compact been in effect in 2016, Hillary Clinton would have been president — though 30 of the 50 states reckoned she was less fit for it.

This is not an occasion for panic. The states that have joined the popular vote compact account for only 190 electoral votes. The compact doesn’t go into effect until it has enough states with the 270 electoral votes needed to decide the presidency. All it would take now, though, is a few red states turning blue enough to join the compact, and — presto — we’d elect our presidents by the national popular vote.

The advocates of such a constitutional amendment ending the electoral college isn’t going to happen, but the real problem seems to be that so few understand why the Constitution is written in such a way. Which leads to another problem.

I’m beginning to think that before someone runs for national office, they should be required to pass a test in the Constitution, to justify their qualifications for such an office. Maybe start with the basic naturalization test that new citizens have to pass and add a little more history and some constitutional questions. As it is we seem to have way too many members of Congress who seem to be at least somewhat unfamiliar with our founding document.

We seem to hear from AOC on a nearly daily basis, incensed about laws she should, as a college graduate, be familiar with, and she clearly is not.



Here Is a Wonderful Edition of Uncommon Knowledge from the Hoover Institution by The Elephant's Child

Here’s a remarkable video of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson from the Hoover Institution, featuring former Secretary of State George Schultz, John Cogan, Terry Anderson and Lee Ohanian. Four economists to talk about the major improvements that happened in the United States between 1919 and 2019. There were momentous improvements affecting all of our lives and our prosperity, inventions, the Great Depression, the Holocaust, World War II, the underlying institutions. prosperity, private property, the rule of law, free markets and what they mean. The role of immigration, the role of government, and attracting talent. You’ll learn a lot of History and a lot of Economics.

This was just published on August 26, 2019. It’s long, but worth every minute. You will learn a lot. Leadership, the uses of government, Socialism illustrated, American institutions, the Great Depression, economic history, a hugely rewarding discussion. You will learn about incentives, taxes, policies and why they matter. You will enjoy it,really. Enlarge it to full screen. You might want to keep a copy so you can listen more than once. I know that I will.

ADDENDUM: Do take special note of Terry Anderson’s visit to an Indian Reservation and the discussion of private property, with a devastating account of socialism thrown in for the benefit of our ignorant college students.



Victor Davis Hanson Explores the Strange Mythical Trump That Liberals Have Created Out of Whole Cloth by The Elephant's Child

Excellent article at American Greatness (amgreatness.com). Victor Davis Hanson explores the strange mythical Trump that Democrats have devised for themselves in order to explain the horrors of the last election. They have completely lost contact with reality.

Candidate Trump never really wanted to be president. His entire amateurish and buffoonish candidacy was designed only to enhance his brand. Once he was unexpectedly elected, Trump was more shocked than anyone, and quickly sought to maximize his profits from the Oval Office. Thus, followed the constant progressive evocation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution to prevent chronic Trump profiteering.

In reality, the Trump empire reportedly has declined by nearly $1 billion in net value, aside from the tens of millions of his own money that Trump spent on the 2016 campaign. Trump’s business interests are the most thoroughly investigated of any recent president in memory. Obama and the Clintons made millions from their presidencies; Trump may well end up losing billions.

Hanson takes a hard look at the strange mysterious Trump creation that Democrats have lodged in their minds. We were right all along. They have completely allowed their emotions to run away with them and the result is remarkably foolish and bears little resemblance to reality. Do read the whole thing. You’ll enjoy it.



The Long, Long Story of ClimateGate and Dr. Michael Mann by The Elephant's Child

mann_treering

Back when today’s environmentalists suddenly became anxious about the climate, government agencies began giving grants to those scientists who were studying the climate seriously, and coming up with information to protect the government officials who might be accused of not tending to business and protecting the climate of the earth. ‘

Obviously the scientists who got the good-sized grants were those who could write a good grant proposal, for getting a grant enhanced the prestige of the scientist and the university where he taught, and meant new equipment and perhaps a raise, and maybe even an assistant.  So naturally there was a flurry of grant proposals churned out. Then they had to start producing useful science. Many turned to the computer programs used by Wall Street to predict what the market was going to do. So they entered what they knew about climate, but there was an enormous amount they didn’t know, so they put in what seemed likely, and what they thought was probable and a few wild guesses, and started predicting what the climate would do 20 or 50 years hence. [Please remember that this is a non-scientific estimate of what was going on by a sheer amateur observer.] The point is that there was a lot they just didn’t have any information about, like the action of clouds, and some things that they assumed were correct, like the temperatures at official thermometer sites (though many were located next to air conditioning outlets and heat-reflecting concrete walls, and even next to trash burners.) In other words, the official temperature records were vastly overestimating the warming.

Anthony Watts, proprietor of the valued website wattsupwiththat.com, meteorologist and former TV weatherman, became suspicious, and asked his viewers to take photographs of the official thermometer locations, and since many were located where factors other than weather were influencing the recorded temperatures. That’s when the “heat island” notion became common.

Michael Mann (Penn State) came up with was was called “the hockey-stick” graph. Envision a hockey stick. Goes along straight and then suddenly jogs straight up. That’s what his climate graph showed that the heat of the planet was going to do. That got a lot of attention,. Naturally it was called “ClimateGate”) Mann’s graph was featured news, Mann became a recognized scientist, with all the hoopla that entails. Dr. Tim Bell, climate skeptic, from B.C. suggested that Mann was exaggerating and making phony claims, as did Mark Steyn as a journalist. Mann sued for defamation. How dare you criticize my famous hockey stick graph. And the case has dragged on in Canadian courts for nine years. and Dr. Tim Ball won,  Michael Mann deservedly lost and has to pay Dr. Ball’s court costs. Here is Anthony Watt’s story on the whole long, long ClimateGate battle. More interesting because he has long been a participant. And here is the report from Marc Morano at Climate Depot. We are pleased.

If you can, take the time to prowl around wattsupwiththat.com and climatedepot.com. These are excellent websites that will reward your visits.



Why Does Race Dominate the Political Conversation? by The Elephant's Child

Heather MacDonald, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

Long before the El Paso massacre, President Trump’s political opponents accused him of sowing “division” with his “racist language.” Mr. Trump “exploits race,” “uses race for his gain,” is engaged in a “racially divisive reprise” of his 2016 campaign, stokes “racial resentments,” and puts “race at the fore,” the New York Times has reported over the past several months.

I don’t know about you, but I had certainly heard the claims of Trump’s racism, but I didn’t hear the examples. The president doesn’t seem to use racial categories in his tweets, or in his speeches. (The article is may be behind a subscription barrier)

The Democrats and the Media certainly do. Ms. MacDonald wrote:

 




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