American Elephants


Who Is Killing the American Dream— and How Are They Doing It? by The Elephant's Child

Some viewers of Monday night’s debate found Hillary more practiced at debating, and assumed that made her more “presidential.”  Yet the policies she proposes are exactly what is killing the American Dream.

The stagnant wages, the rising crime rate, killing coal-fired power plants, stifling and excessive regulations that hamstring business, promising non-existent jobs in “infrastructure” and “installing solar panels,” increasing taxes by trillions of dollars, and increasing the national debt will not create jobs or growth.

Government spending trillions of tax dollars extracted from the economy certainly does not create jobs or grow the economy. Hillary actually told us that it was tax cuts that caused the financial crisis of 2008 and that Trump’s proposed tax cuts would cause the loss of 3.5 million jobs, and cause another recession. If you believe that flapdoodle, head for your nearest Public Library and ask for a good book on basic economics.

When you cut tax rates, you create incentives to create jobs and expand businesses. This has been proved by John F. Kennedy, and by Ronald Reagan who created a 20 year expansion. It puts to shame President Obama’s worst economic recovery since the Great Depression— something Hillary wants to expand upon.



The Debate: Did We Learn Anything Useful? I Suspect Not. by The Elephant's Child

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treigger-waringTonight’s debate was held at Hofstra University. The sign of the times sat outside the debate hall: “Trigger Warning: The event conducted just beyond this sign may cause triggering and/or sensitive material. Sexual violence, sexual assault and abuse are some topics mentioned within this event. If you feel triggered, please know there are resources to support you.”

Nothing much that should be “triggering,” but it was pretty depressing. Hillary was very, very rehearsed. The ideas she expressed were standard Leftist boilerplate, unadorned with a single original thought or idea.  There was one, which was clearly planned to become a talking point —”Trumped-up Trickle-down Tax cuts.” She dredged up the talking point Democrats used 36 years ago from the Reagan Campaign, without the slightest understanding of just what she was talking about.

There are basic economic facts that the Left simply cannot grasp. •Poor people do not create jobs, rich people do, because they have spare money to invest. •Raising the minimum wage is a guaranteed unemployment plan for beginners in the job market. •Equal pay for women has been settled law since 1963, and Hillary didn’t have anything to do with it then or now. Nor is there anything in that law that needs fixing. It’s simply a pander for votes.

Hillary wants to raise the estate tax to 65%. Getting those nasty rich people. The thing is the very rich arrange their affairs so they can avoid unnecessary taxes. They can hire the best lawyers and the best accountants, and set up Foundations that allow them to shelter money, just like Hillary and Bill have.  The people who get stuck with higher estate taxes are the small farmers and owners of small businesses. The “estate” is entirely invested in the farm or the business, and when a big estate tax is levied, it has to be sold or divided up to pay the taxes — and the results are another blow to the middle class, and doesn’t really effect the rich at all.

Donald Trump is not a practiced debater. The openings left by Hillary’s rehearsed comments were enormous, and Mr. Trump did not take advantage of the openings as he might have.

It’s clear that many people simply do not understand what the fuss about her emails is. Let’s state it clearly. Required by law to preserve all of her emails on a State Department secure computer, she set up her own computer in her home, on a private server run by some computer “security” company in Colorado. Her reasons seemed to be her paranoia, that people might learn that she was selling speeches by her husband, and access to the State Department and herself for donations to the Clinton Foundation. The “security” company had no security clearances of any kind. Nor did Hillary’s lawyers who advised her on security matters.

The debate question about Cyber-Security was a huge opening, for Hillary’s computers were clearly hacked, Secret and Top Secret documents and even more highly classified documents, through her carelessness and greed were made available to our enemies all over the world.

She was not allowed to use a Blackberry because it was not secure, but she had, over time, some 15 of them. The reason for the rules and regulations was the simple fact that many of our most secret documents cross the desk of the Secretary of State. Hillary’s wanton carelessness has endangered our country, the people who work for the government, and our policies. And she lied about it, over and over. This is a foreign policy disaster that will harm our country for many years. Hillary’s goal was graft, pure and simple. What use is an important government job if not to enrich yourself and your family?

Hillary attacked Donald Trump for “stiffing” people who worked for him, and not paying the amount they were due, making much of the fact that they might be small businesses, counting on his reputation. Hillary had two employees at Benghazi, whose security force was cut from 34 officers to just 6. In the face of rising danger, they begged for more security, which was not forthcoming. They were murdered, and Hillary went to bed. Two former Seals, working for the CIA were trying to hold off the terrorist attack and begged for help. Central Command was ready to respond, but was told to stand down. Then Hillary lied about it to the parents of the men who had been killed. And to the public, claiming the whole thing was not a terrorist attack, but a protest against a YouTube video made by a Coptic Christian that insulted Mohammed, that nobody saw, and nobody cared about. The maker of the video was thrown in jail to rot on false charges until the attention of the news media had turned to other things. That’s quite an example of bad character.

Donald Trump is not an experienced debater, nor is he a polished speaker. But those are usually not considered qualifying characteristics for the job of President. Honesty and character are. We have somehow arrived at a moment in time when trust has broken down. One federal agency after another has become enmeshed in scandal. The IRS, the CIA, the FBI, the VA, EPA, the BIA, BLM. DOJ, DOI, the list goes on and on.

Barack Obama told the country that he learned about Hillary’s email scandal from the press, as he has learned about so many other scandals, and he didn’t even know Hillary’s email address. It appears from leaked emails that he wrote emails to Hillary regularly, under an assumed name.

Hillary is an experienced and congenital liar. She lies about silly unimportant things to make herself look better (the sniper-fire at the airport in Bosnia), and she lies about major things that do matter. She lies about her health, she lied about her emails, she lied about her accomplishments, she lied about leaving the White House “dead broke,”she has lied about her duties at the State Department, she lies about Trump, she lies about the Clinton Foundation. She’s not a very good liar, because she usually gets caught at it. People just assume that what she says is neither accurate or credible.

The trouble with liars is that if you assume them to be truthful as a matter of principle, sooner or later you end up acting on information from that person, and that’s how you learn who and what they are.

In personal matters, it’s just a disappointment. In matters of State, it can be the life or death of the country. We have been lied to extensively on the Iran Deal, and that is going to come back to bite us. We have been lied to extensively about Syria. About Iraq and about Afghanistan.



I Can’t Believe They Released This Video! Ouch! by The Elephant's Child

You may have seen this excerpt from Hillary’s speech to a labor union group. It’s not one of her finer moments, but the attention all goes to her harsh yelling, and not to what she is saying. Of course she is opposed to “Right to Work” laws. Democrats depend on generous donations from labor unions made possible by forced unionization and forced dues. Democrats have always been far more interested in big donations than in individual freedom. Here’s Robert Barro, a professor of economics at Harvard and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution:

Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions. An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on. From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty. …

Here’s James Sherk, Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics, the Heritage Foundation, testimony to the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform, last year before Wisconsin’s passage of Right to Work Laws:

Research confirms that unions pay more attention to their members in right-to-work states. Union officers earn substantially greater salaries in states with compulsory dues, even after adjusting for costs of living. When union officers must earn workers’ support they spend less money on themselves. …

Right-to-work laws have economic benefits that go beyond protecting workers’ freedom. Union contracts make businesses less competitive. One recent study compared companies whose workers narrowly voted to unionize with those who narrowly voted against unionizing. It found the unionized firms were 10 percentage points more likely to go out of businesses within seven years.

Here’s a paper from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, explaining the changing nature of work, and regulatory barriers to success.

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The facts of economics or the way things really work are often counter-intuitive — Hillary shouts that Right to Work is “wrong for workers and wrong for America,” but that is Democrats usual emotional response, and the basis on which they control and regulate. Financial support trumps the concerns of ordinary workers every time. Workers and businesses do far better in Right to Work states, as does the state’s economy.  Right to Work laws do not prevent anyone who wants to belong to a union from belonging — it only prevents unions from forcing membership and expensive dues upon anyone who does not wish to join. Usually thought of as free choice, or free people.

Public sector unions are even more pernicious, for the people who have to pay for higher demands and benefits are the taxpayers, yet they have no say at all in the bargaining process, and politicians who benefit from union support and money aren’t, as you may have noticed, all that careful with taxpayer money.



“Obama’s Last Lecture” by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama delivered his final address to the U.N General assembly on Tuesday. I listened to a bit online, and decided to get the transcript, as I prefer to read it unadulterated. The Wall Street Journal headline over their commentary was “Obama’s Last Lecture,” and my immediate response was “Please God, Make It So.” President Obama started right off to tell the delegates just what an impressive difference he had made in the world and how very important it was. As  usual, it was all about him.

From the depths of the greatest financial crisis of our time, we coordinated our response to avoid further catastrophe and return the global economy to growth.  We’ve taken away terrorist safe havens, strengthened the nonproliferation regime, resolved the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy.  We opened relations with Cuba, helped Colombia end Latin America’s longest war, and we welcome a democratically elected leader of Myanmar to this Assembly.  Our assistance is helping people feed themselves, care for the sick, power communities across Africa, and promote models of development rather than dependence.  And we have made international institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund more representative, while establishing a framework to protect our planet from the ravages of climate change.

This is important work.  It has made a real difference in the lives of our people.  And it could not have happened had we not worked together.  And yet, around the globe we are seeing the same forces of global integration that have made us interdependent also expose deep fault lines in the existing international order.

We see it in the headlines every day.  Around the world, refugees flow across borders in flight from brutal conflict.  Financial disruptions continue to weigh upon our workers and entire communities.  Across vast swaths of the Middle East, basic security, basic order has broken down.  We see too many governments muzzling journalists, and quashing dissent, and censoring the flow of information.  Terrorist networks use social media to prey upon the minds of our youth, endangering open societies and spurring anger against innocent immigrants and Muslims.  Powerful nations contest the constraints placed on them by international law.

He hit all his favorite progressive notes: inequality, the one percent controlling all the wealth, beggar thy neighbors policies, injustice undermining people’s faith in the system, soulless capitalism,  the gap between rich and poor, and I loved this one: “with further investment in infrastructure and early childhood education and basic research, I’m confident that such progress will continue.” About infrastructure, remember there weren’t any shovel-ready jobs. It has been a dismal eight years, with no real recovery, an economy never reaching even a basic 3% growth, an economy burdened by excessive regulation, overreaching controls, and of course the constant pursuit of some way, any way, to stop the normal warming and cooling of our planet, on which he has squandered billions to no avail whatsoever.

On the other hand he’s for democracy, our democratic Constitution, our Bill of Rights and the ideals which let our ordinary  people organize and march and protest.  The American narrative, I guess. It was a lecture.

The speech is here if you want to read it.



Can the Government Really Run the Economy? Steve Forbes by The Elephant's Child



Getting Straight Talk Out of Our “Elites” Has Become an Impossible Task. by The Elephant's Child

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Bombs in New York and New Jersey, stabbings in a mall in Saint Cloud, Michigan. President Obama urged us not to go assuming it was terrorism and getting ahead of the police, but to allow them to search for answers. The American people, on the other hand, do not assume that bombs that injure 29 people in an upscale part of Manhattan and a railroad station in Elizabeth, New Jersey are just a curious event that could be anything — a birthday party joke, some new computer game with loud bangs.

New York Governor Andrew Como said on Sunday morning that it was “obviously an act of terrorism,” though so far there was no evidence of an international terrorist connection. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio got as far as calling it an “intentional act.” ISIS promptly claimed credit. Hillary got into accusing Trump of being provacative for saying “bombing,” though she’d just said it herself.

Only 2 days later, while the police are still efficiently figuring it all out,  arresting the bomber, and the slasher has been killed, Obama will lead a special summit on the need to take in more Syrian refugees. The FBI has politely said that it cannot vet every single refugee, which rephrased slightly, says they cannot vet any. To clear everything up, President Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, earnestly explained that the U.S. is in a fight with the Islamic State, but it is a fight of words — not arms. “When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight — a narrative fight with them.” A narrative battle, so the problem is just getting the correct words? No wonder nobody can say “terrorism” except ISIS.

If you wonder why Americans are so totally fed up, so angry, you just have to reread that narrative. The people call it ISIS, but the president insists on “ISIL.” Under the headline “The Mulish Stupidity of Clinton-Obama Counterterrorism” Andy McCarthy wrote:

Perhaps the only thing more sadly hilarious than watching the political class tie itself in knots over whether a bomb should be called a “bomb” and whether a terrorist attack should be called a “terrorist attack” is Clinton’s claim that ISIS is rooting for Trump to be elected president. Newsflash: Jihadists don’t give a flying fatwa who wins American elections, or even whether there are American elections.

Islamic supremacists and their jihadist front lines are in the business of killing Americans and supplanting our constitutional republic with sharia. To claim that they care about our elections is to exhibit ignorance about who they are, who they think we are, and what they seek to achieve.

ISIS has told us quite clearly why they hate us and why they fight us. Do you suppose Mr. Obama missed the message? Do they think they are fooling us with their careful language? Mulish Stupidity indeed.

The Department of Homeland Security admits “mistakenly” granting citizenship to 858 immigrants from countries of concern to National Security.” These are our “elites,” who find it amusing when their champion, Hillary Clinton, calls us “the deplorables.” The same woman who in a commercial I hear several times daily says “We want an America where everyone is treated with respect.” The deplorables?  She also says that “Donald Trump is running a campaign based on insults.”  “The deplorables” — there you go.

What our President fails to understand is that his legacy, which he is working so hard to enhance, will be composed of the death-count of American lives lost as a direct result of his policies. As of October 2015, an estimated 75 percent of all the military deaths and about 90 percent of the injuries linked to the ongoing war in Afghanistan have occurred under President Obama’s watch. Refusing to recognize acts of terrorism, and engaging in a battle of  “narratives” instead, has consequences.  That will be his legacy.



Why World War II Matters — Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child


Here’s a fascinating lecture by Victor Davis Hanson on why World War II matters. It ended 71 years ago, ancient history. The very last of those who served in the war are nearly all gone, and even those who really remember are passing on. How do we make those to whom it is ancient history, who may not even know who was fighting or why they were fighting or why it matters understand?

Dr. Hanson, Central Valley farmer, college professor, military historian, columnist, author and fellow at the Hoover Institution is presented here by the Hillsdale College History Department. Enjoy. It’s well worth your time.




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