American Elephants

Words of Wisdom, Pertinent to the Day by The Elephant's Child

“The vision of the Left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves—a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalted vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues—and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.”

Thomas Sowell, 1/22/2014, Front Page Magazine

“In contrast to America, countries like Canada and Australia treat immigration the way Harvard treats college admission or the New England Patriots treat the NFL draft as a way to get the talented that can benefit the institution and keep out the untalented. Here in America we increasingly treat immigration as if it were a sacred civil right possessed by 7 billion foreigners.”

William Voegeli: The Pity Party

“Once politics was about only a few things; today it is about nearly everything…Once the “legitimacy barrier” has fallen, political conflict takes a very different form. New programs need not await the advent of a crisis or an extraordinary majority, because no program is any longer “new”—it is seen, rather, as a extension, a modification, or an enlargement of something the government is already doing…Since there is virtually nothing the government has not tried to do, there is little it cannot be asked to do.”

James Q. Wilson,”American Politics, Then and Now” Commentary, Feb, 1979

The Solutions Often Aren’t Quite What You Expected! by The Elephant's Child

ows_147520558415635_mediumA column at The Daily Signal, from the Heritage Foundation, by Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University draws our attention to a lawsuit filed by Detroit school students against the state of Michigan. The suit claims a legal right to literacy based on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Ninety-three percent of Detroit’s predominantly black public school eighth-graders are not proficient in reading, and 96 percent are not proficient in mathematics. According to the lawsuit, “decades of state disinvestment in and deliberate indifference to Detroit schools have denied plaintiff schoolchildren access to the most basic building block of education: literacy.”

In terms of per-pupil expenditures, the state does not treat Detroit public school students any differently than it does other students. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the Detroit school district ranks 50th in state spending, at $13,743 per pupil. This is out of 841 total districts. That puts Detroit schools in the top 6 percent of per-pupil expenditures in the state.

The answer from the bureaucracy is usually the same. Pay the teachers more and reduce class size, which works out well for the teachers’ unions.

It appears that according to a 2011 survey by the American Psychological Association, 80% of teachers had been victimized at school at least once during that school year or the prior year. Detroit schools have the same problems of violence as are faced by other predominately black schools in other cities.

In Baltimore, each school day in 2010, an average of four teachers and staff were assaulted. In February 2014, The Baltimore Sun reported that more than 300 Baltimore school staff members had filed workers’ compensation claims during the previous fiscal year because of injuries received through assaults or altercations on the job.

A January 2015 post at American Thinker documents the problems of racial violence in schools by the author of two books on racial violence in schools—toward teachers. The videos linked are no longer available, except for one, which was captured on a student’s phone, and is startling.

The most popular manual to train teachers how to eliminate racial disparity in grades and discipline is by Glenn Singleton, which is based on Critical Race Theory and insists that teachers must know 3 things to do their jobs: 1. White racism is everywhere. 2. White racism is permanent. 3. White racism explains everything.  Clearly that is not apt to improve much of anything.

The American people invested a lot of hope that the first black president  would improve race relations in the country. Instead we have Black Lives Matter raising animus on campuses and encouraging riots and violence against police. In the assumption that most black men in prison have been convicted because of racism rather than crime, Obama is releasing and/or pardoning hundreds. He has suggested that Trayvon Martin might have been his son, and that police shootings of young black men were unjustified even before the facts were all in, or the grand jury had convened.  The general opinion is that race relations have not only not improved, but have become much worse.

In Minnesota ‘s Cooper High School, “football coach Willie Howard looked at his team and decided there was still something missing. The former Vikings defensive lineman has changed the football culture at Cooper, compiling a more-than-respectable .596 winning percentage compared to the .361 percentage Cooper had in its five previous seasons.”

But, like any football program, there is always more to be done. Black students comprise nearly 37 percent of the student body at Cooper, the school’s largest racial demographic group. Looking to improve their self-esteem and bolster perceptions of them in the community, Howard hit on an idea that has long been a staple in the business world: Two days a week, the Cooper football players dress for success.

“I’d had enough of people thinking negatively,” Howard said. “The only way you can change the way people think about you is by changing things you can control. If you don’t want people thinking you’re a thug, don’t dress like a thug. It you don’t want people thinking you’re unintelligent, show them how intelligent you are.”

Senior wide receiver Emmanuel Ogboru, dressed impressively in a checked shirt, vest and gold tie, said “When you look good, you act good, you do your work good and you play good.”

On Mindset Mondays and We Will Succeed Wednesdays, the entire Cooper football team puts away the hoodies and sweats and dons a more professional-looking attire. If they don’t own such clothes, the school has amassed a large wardrobe with hundreds of shirts and ties, as well as sport coats, vests, slacks and even shoes. Most of the clothes were donated or acquired through the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, which raised $5,000.

“They come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get the clothes they need for the next [Dress For Success] day,” Howard said. “When they come to school dressed like that, it says they took the time and energy to prepare. When they’re sitting in that classroom, they feel differently about that class. It reminds them why we’re in this building.

The kids don’t have to do it every day. Howard says some days kids just need to be kids, but dressing for success seems to be catching on. The basketball coach wants to continue it, and kids not in the sports programs are asking if they can take part.

*photo by Jerry Holt,

The Clinton Lie Rachet: Bill Whittle by The Elephant's Child

Compulsive liars are interesting, but troubling. Were they liars as kids? I suspect so. Found they could lie to their parents and seldom got in trouble. Little lies are common, of course, oh yes this desert is delicious, and your new haircut is so stylish. But that has no relation to the compulsive liar. If you expect the truth and rely on it to make a decision or act upon it—you can be really harmed. Compulsive liars are dangerous;

The Bureaucrats In Washington Think We Are Really Dumb! by The Elephant's Child

uscapitolwestside-crop-600x338Instead of polling the American people about Washington D.C. some academics from Johns Hopkins tried something new and different. They reversed the question, and polled Washington about the American people.

“What they found was a combination of ignorance, contempt and disdain.”

Survey data from the polled group — staffers from the White House and Capitol Hill plus career civil servants and the policy community of lobbyists and others who work closely with government from outside it — indicate that the functionary class thinks of itself as our betters. Our bosses, not our representatives. They see their own judgment as being far superior to that of the rest of us — the people whose wishes they are supposed to be carrying out.

The findings were revealing: By a huge margin, the bureaucrats said they knew better than the public what was right for the public. On Social Security, twice as many bureaucrats said they knew best. On crime, three times as many bureaucrats said their way was superior. On the environment, the ratio was almost four to one.

Why am I not surprised that they feel so self-important on matters environmental?

The academics presented the bureaucrats with simple multiple-choice quizzes. 65 percent of the DC insiders guessed that the median household income was lower than the reality (about $52,000 a year). Four out of five respondents  thought the percent of the population that is white (78 percent of Americans) much less. Sixty four percent thought the percentage of American who had a high school diploma was much lower than it is (85 percent). Eighty percent of respondents thought the rate of homeownership is much lower than it is (67 percent).

They proudly call themselves “public servants” but they define it a little differently.

Thus the instructions they give us are usually off the mark. They are usually pushing “urgent, disastrous fixes for imaginary problems.” Out-of-touch doesn’t even begin to cover the problems. Half the problems with Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare can be laid to poor regulations. Officials vastly overestimate (by 8 percentage points) the proportion of Americans who support increasing government spending in areas like education, welfare, child care and crime prevention. They are sure that we want them to solve more of our problems.

They think enforcing existing immigration law as unnecessary or even undesirable. It would be impractical or racist anyway. They believe that terrorism or jihadism is under control. (71 percent of the public thinks its a big problem.) They don’t think that the people know anything about the policies created to deal with these problems. They think of themselves in a paternalistic fashion, taking care of the people. The poor unfortunate stupid people to whom they report. Do read the whole thing.  It explains a lot.

“The revelations in the new book “What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People,” by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg, serve up the side benefit of providing a partial explanation for the rise of Donald Trump.”


Faux Outrage, Faux Fact Checkers, American Culture Today. by The Elephant's Child

static2-politico-comLast night, everyone agreed that Donald Trump had won the debate with Hillary Clinton. Today the “Fact Checkers” chimed in to suggest that anything Donald Trump has said was false. Hillary Clinton turned to all the great things ObamaCare had achieved,  she claimed to the approval of every “fact-checker,” but it isn’t true. That number came from a March 2016 report that came from the Obama Administration.

So today the flap is all about Trump’s “threatening to jail a political opponent” which is “anti-democratic and anti-American.” Others in the media said it was a case of banana-republic criminalization of politics.  Andy McCarthy wrote:

Donald Trump did memorably say that Hillary Clinton “would be in jail” if he were president; but what he actually vowed to do was appoint a “special prosecutor” to look into Mrs. Clinton’s “situation” — by which he was obviously referring to the e-mail scandal.

The Obama Justice Department’s “investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal” was the real banana-republic event. It was a clear statement that some people are above the law after all. This was a case of criminal misconduct for which others who commit similar felonies go to jail.

Congressional Republicans promptly got the vapors and were absolutely shocked, shocked that anyone would actually say the p-word out loud. Madonna has been doing remarkably vulgar shows for years. See also Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Congress regularly has its scandals and sexual misconduct is usually among them. Sexual misconduct in Washington D.C.? Really?

What I find most annoying is that the American people have watched President Obama ignore the Constitution, circumvent the Constitution, and run the government of the United States by executive orders — and Congress could not seem to find any way to stop him. That simple fact accounts for much of the rise of Donald Trump. The people wanted someone who would not be afraid to fight back.

See Heather MacDonald’s “Trumped-Up Outrage” from City Journal.

They Are Losing or Have Lost Our Trust, And That IS a Very Big Deal. by The Elephant's Child



Troubling times. I find that I cannot watch the debate. Hillary, freshly coiffed by an expert, made up by an expert, dressed by an expert with a flattering collar that reflects all attention on the well done face and none on the weight she’s put on, is too much for me to take. That is a compliment, if a backhanded one. She’s really very well turned out for an important debate.

But even more so, because she is a compulsive liar, re-inventing herself each time she opens her mouth, to appear warmer, more caring, more capable, and just downright good—except that it just isn’t true. Canned lines.  Everything has been focus-group tested to see how it will play. When she said in a speech that there were “public positions” on an issue and “private positions,” it was not just a rare moment of candor, but an excuse if she gets caught at anything.

I have a deep intolerance for liars and lies, not, I hope, as any sort of holier-than-thou thing, but merely that understanding the world and what is going on is hard. People at their most honest are often mistaken or wrong. The only thing we have to guide us is our experience of the past, and other’s experience, but we never know enough. We are stumbling through a darkened wood trying to find the real and honest, and people who lie, deliberately, to confuse and mislead because of their own greed—are the enemy, trying to keep us stupid.

Have you noticed that whatever the subject, Hillary has met with those people, shares their concerns, feels their pain, and has an answer to their problems. Here’s an occasion where the question to Hillary was about her statement that there were “public positions” and “private positions” about a policy and wasn’t that two-faced? Her response is fascinating, and attempts to turn the question gradually into an attack on Trump and insinuation that the Russians are trying to influence our elections for the benefit of Trump. Whew! Some spin, and she ends up with Donald not releasing his tax returns. That’s an impressive trip around all sorts of attacks without ever dealing with the original question.

Hillary is a radical leftist. She was an admiring student of Saul Alinsky and his Rules for Radicals, who teaches how to manipulate people in order to control them to get power. She wrote her senior thesis about him. Obama was a student of Alinsky’s methods and purportedly his best student ever at applying his methods in community organizing.

The leadership of the Democratic Party has moved far left. It’s open borders, and free trade in the hemisphere. Christiana Figueres, as Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity, but to destroy capitalism. The Left pretends that their goals are something new and different, but it’s just the same old story that ends up as Venezuela.

They want to be in charge. They want to make the rules, and they want the power. That’s where Hillary is, and her choice as vice presidential candidate is just as hard left. In spite of impressive degrees or titles, they just don’t know enough to manage a people. You have to trust the people and trust in their creativity and their choices. They don’t need your management, they need to be able to trust you. They are supposed to be the boss, and you government people are the public servants, doing their bidding, not the other way around.

The people are concerned about uncontrolled immigration. They are concerned with a president who operates by executive orders and ignores the Constitution. They are concerned about terrorist attacks and the refusal to do anything about it, including calling terrorism by name. They are concerned about an economy that just costs more, and does less and less efficiently, and doesn’t seem to grow at all.

Even the British papers say that Trump won this debate, so it must be so. We’ll see how it plays out in the polls, which may or may not mean anything at all. These are troubling times, and we can no longer trust the fact-checkers, let alone the media. A strange, strange year.

Is the U.S. Tax System Fair? by The Elephant's Child

Published on Sep 29, 2016

Is the U.S. tax system fair? Are the rich paying too little or too much? What about the middle and lower class? New York Times bestselling author Amity Shlaes answers these questions, and offers a tax solution that most Americans could get on board with.

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