American Elephants


Democrats Are All About Control of the Language by The Elephant's Child

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John Hinderaker of Powerline blog returned yesterday from an eleven day vacation in England. While there he had several conversations with Brits about politics,including one Member of Parliament. He said they were “few and unscientific, but were with well-informed people.”

Several people asked what I think about President Trump. All were surprised when I said I think he is doing a good job, and if he keeps it up will be our best president since Reagan. All said they have hardly heard anyone defend him. All the people I talked politics with were intrigued by my defense of Trump, since they had never heard it before. Trump is restoring the rule of law? Who knew?

The other thing I observed was that the level of interest in the Mueller investigation is high, but knowledge about it is nil. Everyone I talked politics with thought it was a big deal that Manafort and that other guy no one ever heard of have been arrested. One lefty I spoke with was literally rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of another endless Watergate drama. Needless to say, he was shocked at my suggestion that Trump should appoint a second independent counsel to investigate 1) the Uranium One scandal, 2) the role of the FBI in general, and Bill Mueller and James Comey in particular, in covering up the Uranium One scandal, and 3) collusion between the Clinton campaign and Russians to influence the 2016 election.

It isn’t only the British Left that takes the Mueller investigation seriously. Relatively conservative Brits seemed to have essentially the same view, mostly (I think) because they never hear the other side of the story. They suffer from the delusion that the New York Times and the Washington Post are reliable news sources.

Democrats have purposefully taken command of the language. The instant a new issue arises, they are out there naming and carefully defining the problem. You may have noticed in yesterday’s news that Tony Podesta, (John’s brother) resigned from the Podesta Group, which is a lobbying firm like Fusion GPS, who do opposition research. John Podesta. was not only Hillary’s campaign chairman, a former White House Chief of Staff, but also is the founder of the Center for American Progress.

Which I believe is  the source of the “talking points” that come out daily (?) to tell Democrats what language to use about daily events and problems. This is evident from the identical language used by all Democrats when they speak, including the media. They are also quite familiar with the “Big Lie” technique which says that if a falsehood is repeated long enough and loudly enough, everyone will start to believe it.

If you are a Republican or a Conservative, you are familiar with being called “Racist”, and are bewildered by charges of “White Supremacist, KKK, far Right, and alt-right.” You are familiar with the Republican history as the abolitionists who freed the slaves, fought a war to make it so, made them citizens, made sure they have the right to vote. Republicans, tired of illegal voting, insisted on Photo ID when you sign up to vote. Democrats immediately claimed this was a racist denial of the vote to black Americans, and if that didn’t work, that some black voters were too poor to get to city hall to get their photo ID.  They have also insisted that there are no illegal voters, and the numbers of illegal votes reported never make major headlines. Democrats believe most voters don’t follow the news carefully, and if they can control the headlines, they’ve won.

With the talking points to guide them, many Democrats fail to worry about little things like history, or science, or what I call “studying up” to really grasp what’s going on. That means they believe the globe is warming and the planet is at risk. They believe that the polar bears are endangered and dying off as the Arctic melts. They believe that, for the sake of the planet, we should put much of our corn crop (that could feed the hungry), into our gas tanks. They believe that nasty fossil fuels should be kept where they belong —in the ground, and we should rely on natural sources of energy like wind and solar to power our society. And Republicans are evil “deniers.” Control of the language matters.

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Iran Threatens to Attack All U.S. Bases in the Region by The Elephant's Child

According to Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon, a top Iranian Military commander has threatened to launch ballistic missile strikes on all U.S. bases in the region. The Islamic Republic is anxious to show off their advanced missile capabilities, which is capable of striking U.S forces up to 1,300 miles away, which includes all U.S. bases in the region.

Credit for this debacle goes directly to Barack Obama, who hoped that nobody would notice when he shipped piles of cash ($400 million) in foreign denominations in an unmarked cargo plane to the mullahs in Iran to be delivered at midnight.

The question that was debated was whether the payment ( of $400 million) was actually a ransom paid for the release of American hostages Tehran had abducted, which he hotly denied saying that “we don’t pay ransoms,”  He said the reason that we had to give them cash is because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran.

The sanctions which he wanted to preserve, prohibit Americans and financial institutions from engaging in currency transactions that involve Iran’s government. Iran remains on our government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

There is a consensus in Washington that the U.S. needs to “push back” against the Islamic Republic. Nobody seems to want to clarify just what is meant by “push back.” President Trump’s response with cruise missiles in the early morning hours after the Russians had been warned doesn’t suggest the the Trump administration really wants to escalate. Reuel Marc Gerecht summed up the situation back at the end of July for the Hoover Institution. Not hopeful. It remains a very difficult subject.



Jordan Peterson and the Question of Gender Pronouns by The Elephant's Child

Jordan Peterson ia a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and a clinical psychologist. He is very principled, very honest, and very determined. The question here is one of gender pronouns, but really of the larger question of more genders than the two assigned to us by science, custom, and chromosomes.  This one really gets into it.



Big Cracks in the Foundation, No Warning Signals. by The Elephant's Child

I am deeply interested in the education situation in our country. The uproar and hooplah on our college campuses proves not only that our college students don’t know much of anything, but that the administrators and professors do not know how to maintain order, nor do they understand why they should bother. Then every once in a while someone adds to an article the cost of a semester at that university, and you can see that they whole mess is collapsing.

If you have student loans for the whole amount, you’d better be a leading STEM scholar. Even those who have high paying Silicon Valley jobs can’t afford to live in San Francisco and environs. They’re crowded in, sharing a room with four or more others. Real estate prices are incredibly high, rental costs are through the roof. Here in Seattle, there is a big motor home parked across from my veterinarian; clinic, obviously someone’s home, and there are several campers apparently permanently parked on adjacent streets. What happens to the Socialism major or the English major, let alone the majors in gender studies or women’s studies? Do they need to buy a camper to have a place to live? Can they find employment?

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline  just noted a story from the New York Times reporting that the New York Board of Regents eliminated the requirement that aspiring teachers in the state pass a literacy test to become certified. The Board eliminated the requirement because Black and Hispanic candidates for teaching jobs passed the literacy test at significantly lower rates than white candidates.

An analysis done in 2014, the year the test was first administered, found that 64 percent of white candidates passed the test on the first try, while only 46 percent of Hispanic candidates and 41 percent of black candidates did. That’s disparate impact, but it isn’t discrimination as long as the test measures skills teachers need to be effective in their job.

I just wrote about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaking here, with large numbers of protesters turning out to protest her interest in promoting charter schools, although charter schools are publicly funded public schools.  The assumption is that the protesters were teacher’s union members or Democrats who are conscious of Union donations to Democrat coffers.

Instapundit regularly posts a notice about teachers who were caught having sex with their students, and going to jail. It seems like it’s once a week, but it may not be that frequent.

People are making fun of the campus protests and outrages, but I’m not sure its funny, It seems to me the alarm sirens should be going off. Attendance at the schools in question is way down. Donations are off. At Mizzou they have had to close some dorms. The schools that had national attention for their protests have all had declining enrollment. Is this enough to act as a major warning signal that all is not well? Dunno.



Mark Steyn, Tucker Carlson: Clarifying the Russia Thing by The Elephant's Child

Here’s a good one: Tucker Carlson and Mark Steyn try to clarify the whole Russia thing. Lots more bombshells to come out, but now enough has emerged that we get a front row seat on the revelations.

Anyone going to be held responsible? Is this finally big enough that we will have a real honest-to-goodness shakeup? The American people are fed up. They don’t trust the press, they’re angry at the behavior of a bunch of overpaid athletes, they don’t understand why the IRS gets to pay off the folks they mistreated with taxpayer dollars, and John Koskinen gets to retire with a comfortable pension. And why can’t Congress get anything done?



Betsy DeVos Spoke Here Last Friday by The Elephant's Child

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was here last Friday to speak to the annual dinner of the Washington Policy Center at the Hyatt Regency. Protesters (read teacher’s unions) turned out to protest along with some local politicians. King County Executive Dow Constantine, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Bellevue Mayor John Stokes all joined the protesters. Constantine stated that he was the proud son of two public school teachers, a proud graduate of public schools and his daughter would be in public school in two years. The protest crowd had giant balloons — a cat to represent “corporate fat cats” and a man in a hard hat who represented something or other.

All very strange. Betsy DeVos is advocating more charter schools—which are public schools. Charter Schools are opposed by the American Federation of Teachers. The Democratic Party depends on union money for their campaigns and union workers for their demonstrations. Some charter schools are run by businesses who have developed different organization and different programs for their particular kind of charter school. In North Dakota there is a charter school that prepares kids who don’t want to attend college for jobs in the oil and gas industry. Last year, a charity gala raised $35 million for Success Academy charter schools which will benefit thousands of underprivileged kids. But charter schools are publicly-funded public schools.

At Success Academy schools in New York, three quarters of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and nearly all are minorities. In 2015 68% of their students scored proficient in reading and 93% ranked proficient in math. In contrast only 35% of New York City students scored proficient in math and their reading abilities were even worse.

Minnesota passed the first charter-school law 25 years ago. Today nearly 3,000,000 students attend about 7,000 charter schools in 43 states and the District of Columbia. New Orleans all-charter district has raised graduation rates by 10 percentage points over the past decade. Charter enrollment is at record highs in New Orleans, Detroit, Washington DC, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Huston.

We should work to make traditional public schools as good as they can possibly be—but where layers of rules and regulations have made reform difficult, charters offer the chance of a clean slate. As taxpayer-funded public schools, charters are open to all students and subject to the same accountability systems as traditional public schools. What makes charters unique is their freedom from the unnecessary, outdated, and counterproductive work rules vigorously defended by the teachers’ unions….

Many regular-enrollment students in charters would have been placed into special education had they gone to a traditional public school. Charters are serving these kids; they just don’t classify them as disabled. The most plausible explanation for why: students attending charters do better academically than they would have done otherwise, thus eliminating the need for extra services.

The American cities that have most improved their schools are those that have wholeheartedly embraced charters. Their success suggests that policy makers should stop listening to the unions and thinking of charters are an innovation around the edges of the public school system and realize they are a better way to organize public education.

College professors across the country are complaining about their incoming students, saying they don’t know anything, can’t write, and are unprepared for college work. There is seldom a week that goes by without a report of a public school teacher arrested for having sex with a student. In some schools the idea that one can choose their sexual identity is accepted. It is school policy in some European countries, notably Sweden, and it remains scientific nonsense. Many schools have encouraged protest against the President as part of the curriculum. There are some real problems with our public schools, and parents need to be very clear about what is being taught if they care about their kids.

 



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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