American Elephants


Mindless Protests Have Cost Universities Dearly, Now It’s Football’s Turn. by The Elephant's Child


The news today seems to be entirely about professional sports teams protesting the national anthem because—well, that’s where it gets a little confusing.  I’m not a professional sports fan, and usually pay no attention, so forgive me if I get some of this wrong. Apparently it all began with Colin Kaepernick,  formerly a quarterback with the SF 49’rs, who took to “taking a knee” (two knees is religious and bad, but one knee is a protest?) to protest the National Anthem, because of the oppression of blacks?  That didn’t go over very well, but his winning streak for the 49’rs didn’t last and he’s now a “free agent” which seems to be pro-sports speak for out of a job.

This young man is worth some $22 million, and had a salary of  $10,400,000. which doesn’t sound too oppressed.  So he is obviously concerned about other black people.

We just had a black president and first lady,  for two terms. We have had black Supreme Court justices for years beginning with Thurgood Marshall.  Currently Clarence Thomas serves, but he is a conservative, so he doesn’t count. He is regularly called an “Uncle Tom” and not included in the Smithsonian Black American History Museum. The Congressional Black Caucus currently has 45 members, is described by Wikipedia as a”racial organization,” and you have to be black to belong. There are 6 black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and one of them is a woman.  Blacks are very active in the movie industry, and Morgan Freeman not only appears in every movie, but is right there whenever a deep voice is needed.

There are black professors in most universities, black novelists appear on the bestseller lists, black historians, black chefs (I’ve recently been getting Stubbs slow-cooker sauce, and recommend it), black fashion designers, black artists, and our music world would be poverty stricken indeed were it not for the contributions of black musicians. Black economists have added immeasurably to our understanding of how economies work — Tom Sowell has a particular genius for explaining things in an uncomplicated way, without jargon, that quickly makes sense, and Walter Williams brings a libertarian approach, but both are called Uncle Toms. Easier to insult than to emulate.

Some believe the Black Lives Matter claims, but their Marxist propaganda does not stand up to actual statistics. Cops shoot far more white men than black. More blacks are incarcerated because they commit more crimes. In general the police are trying to keep the peace and stop criminals from harming others, at great risk to themselves. There are some bad cops, some unjust court cases, and some wrong people blamed for a crime they did not commit. That is not the norm.

Now if you want to count comparable numbers, maybe it is unfair, I haven’t counted. It seems that there is no field that is not wide open to those who strive. On the other hand, our schools are not doing so well. Some schools that serve black neighborhoods are failing the kids, despite, in many cases, spending much more than other schools per pupil. That’s what Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education is trying to fix by promoting charter schools, school choice, and insisting that schools are responsive to the needs of students and the expectations of parents. Reports from our universities reveal that the kids cannot write coherent sentences and whole papers are beyond them. But that is not black kids but all kids. The schools apparently decided that in an era of keyboards, it was no longer necessary to teach writing—in the case of cursive writing, and in the case of putting words together in a way to actually make sense. The demise of cursive writing is unfortunate, for one of the best tricks for remembering something is writing it down, and writing it down at length is important so that you can go back and look at it later and see where you have been stupid.

Former president Obama clearly made race a feature of his administration. He vowed to make trouble for his successor, remaining in Washington to supervise the efforts of his OFA, which seems to be behind much of the attacks on President Trump. The New York Post explains how Obama is funding the anti-Trump resistance, with some funny business with the mortgage crisis settlements, and an improper, maybe unconstitutional, slush fund. He certainly managed to make race a much more prominent problem during his administration.

I don’t think knowledge, or skills, or education, or ability, or ambition has anything to do with the color of anyone’s skin. To the astonishment of most university students today, America was not the only nation that once had slavery. Slavery was common all over the world since long before recorded history. “Native American” nations were warring with and enslaving one another long before Europeans arrived. In the South there were blacks who owned slaves. Slavers from the Mediterranean raided the British isles to capture slaves. The African slave trade mostly went to the sugar islands and South America. America remains unusual in having fought a civil war to end slavery and in making successive laws to stamp out the remnants. Look to the Islamic countries where slavery is still common.

Sunday was a day for sports team protest. They claimed to be protesting President Trump for suggesting that they should be fired for protesting the National Anthem, when so many have fought and died for our country. It was the anthem they insulted, and the country, and the veterans. Owners and coaches may not realize the animosity that our people feel when their country and their flag is insulted. There’s a reason why the Emmys had the fewest viewers ever. There’s a reason why some stadiums are half empty. How about you? Are you boycotting anyone?

 

 

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Hillary Demands The Elimination of the Electoral College by The Elephant's Child

Hillary is still touring the country on her perpetual “What Happened” First Woman Whine presentation. She simply cannot get over herself.  She was destined to be the first woman president, and now she is demanding that we eliminate the Electoral College, because she is right and the Founders were wrong.  She joins Maxine Waters on the most embarrassing Democrat list.

There is no such thing as a national popular vote. That is not the way our electoral system works, and ill-informed reporters simply prove that they are unfamiliar with the Constitution as well as the law.

As supposedly the most qualified candidate ever to run, Hillary exhibits an astonishing unfamiliarity with the United States Constitution and the reason why the founders invented an Electoral College. Michael Ramirez explained visually what would happen if we elected presidents by some kind of national popular vote.

In that case only four states would determine who the president should be and the rest of the country could go hang. The other states simply would not count. The electoral college assures that the votes of even the smallest or least populated states matter. And if we are to have a country where everybody matters, it’s important. The number of states and their population has changed a lot since the founders were struggling to do right by succeeding generations, but we should be eternally grateful for their wisdom.

The idea of Hillary’s qualifications for being president were based entirely on her job titles: First Lady, Senator, Defeated Candidate, Secretary of State. I’m not convinced that being married to the President is a qualification. She was elected to a safe Democratic seat when Daniel Patrick Moynihan retired. Her accomplishments as a Senator were carefully enumerated by the Huffington Post. She dropped out to run for the presidency, lost, and Obama appointed her as Secretary of State. The accomplishments in that office amounted to a lot of travel, and a “reset button” for the Russians as a joke, but she could not even get the Russian language correctly translated.

Benghazi was a disaster, her ambassador begged for help, for more security, warned that the situation was getting out of hand, and died along with his aide, and two CIA contractors who were trying to save the embassy staff. It was not the fault of someone who made a video that no one ever saw.

Her “carelessness” with classified documents convinced many voters that she was unqualified for office. Anyone who paid attention to the news knew that Moammar Ghaddafi was a bad guy, but he had given up any effort to get nuclear weapons when he saw what happened to Saddam. But he kept a lid on a very troublesome country. Hillary decided that he should be eliminated, and set loose all sorts of terror. Today the Islamic State controls Libya, and much of the population had to flee for their lives.

Somehow, she never seemed to have done her homework, nor to have studied up to have some expertise on a subject, any subject. But that was just an impression.

Somebody remarked today that the ultimate payback will be when Nikki Haley is inaugurated as the first woman president.



A Beacon of Liberty For The World by The Elephant's Child

Illegal immigration was down sharply after Donald Trump was inaugurated, with his commitment to building a wall and cutting back on illegal immigration. As the talk of amnesty for the DACA group has grown, immigration has been increasing sharply—up by 22% in August (a 100% increase from April). It has doubled in just 4 months. There are no overall statistics, but those apprehended by ICE and the Border Patrol give a rough estimate for the total flow.

Among those apprehended, there are lots of family groups—parents and children. So we can expect that we have another bunch of “childhood arrivals” Do they get to stay too? If not, “cruel”, and “no fair.”

Most parents have no real guide to parenting beyond how they were raised, what their friends are doing or not doing, and what they read in the news.What most moms learn gradually and often painfully, is that “Well just this once” is a very bad idea. If you have rules, then they have to be rules and obeyed, otherwise they are only a sham.

The fact that some people oppose open borders, oppose DACA, and want a wall is presumed to be clear evidence that they are white supremacists and their opposition to illegals is racist, because some Central and South Americans have brown skins. Has nothing to do with the fact that the average cost of deporting someone was $10,954 in 2016. Or the crimes and drugs brought along with illegal aliens. Or the families who have lost a loved one, murdered by an illegal alien. Nice people have sanctuary cities, to keep criminal illegal aliens from being deported.

I think I may speak for millions of Americans who believe that American citizenship is something special, and should be difficult to reach, because you prize something more if you have to work hard to get it. Our Constitutional freedoms are unique in the world and require constant defense from those who prefer a welfare state that gives you stuff. We seem to have brought forth a generation that has no understanding of the rarity and importance of being able to say out loud what you believe in, and to publicly challenge your government when it has gone astray. It’s very easy for our elected officials to come to think that they are the important ones and forget that they work for us, and can be dismissed.

*This 2014 cartoon by Michael Rameriz captures the idea perfectly



DACA is More Complicated Than You Think by The Elephant's Child

From the New York Post today:

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that it was “not in our nation’s interest” to expel the roughly 800,000 young people protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“I do believe that kicking these 800,000 kids out to countries that they have probably not been to since they were toddlers, countries that speak languages that they may not even know, is not in our nation’s interest,” Ryan said.

Who are these “young people”, “kids”, “dreamers”,  innocent children, that were covered by former President Obama’s illegal executive order?  They must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, so some of them are 35 years old. Kids, indeed. Here are the guidelines, read them carefully.

So that batch of children under the age of 31 are dreamers and must be covered, but according to today’s news, “despite the intense summer heat, thousands of illegal alien minors and families risked their lives to illegally cross the border with Mexico in August. The apprehension of family Unit Aliens rose by 37 percent this week, the fourth straight month of increases.

So these illegal alien children, brought to the United States by their parents, are not covered by DACA, but is that fair? Do we have to give the same consideration to all children of illegal alien parents  the same coverage to be fair? One thing a good many mothers learn is that saying “Well, just this once…” doesn’t work. You either have rules or you don’t.

A former immigration official estimates that the fraud rate for the DACA program is at 40 to 50 percent. Experts say that under Obama, background screening was lax and applicants lied about their qualifications. USCIS employees deferred to get them through. 21 percent have dropped out of high school, far above the national rate.

These are not 800,000 innocent children who are headed for college and going to enrich our nation with their entrepreneurial spirit. Some may be, some won’t. Many have  already committed felonies. Yet the Democrats’ latest talking point is simply that not making them all citizens is cruel. And we can’t have a wall because a wall is cruel (though walls work to reduce the flow). If we must offer citizenship to this bunch, why then must we not offer citizenship to the next bunch and the next?

I am not anti-immigrant. I welcome immigrants. But I do believe that the 4.4 million people who have signed up legally to immigrate to the United States and are waiting patiently in line — for years — for their turn, deserve priority.

I believe we need a new immigration system that recognizes that we can only admit a certain number in a year without too much disruption. I don’t believe in chain immigration, where once someone gets in, they can get all their relatives in, uncles and brothers and grandparents. There’s the problem of “anchor babies.” Some women from foreign countries hide their pregnancy to visit and have their baby as an American citizen. I don’t believe that some industries should be able to import cheaper workers so they can refuse to hire Americans and increase their own billions. American workers should be protected from that kind of competition. But where do you draw the line with farm workers or computer programmers or doctors? What about exchange students who don’t go home, or legal visitors who simply overstay their visas? Democrats lean towards open borders, and those who will be future Democrat voters, without addressing the problems involved. But they are always a little light in the consequences department.

The Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) is a think tank devoted to the study of immigration, which is a very complicated subject, and worth your attention. Here’s a speech by Heather MacDonald (in 2016) examining mass illegal immigration and its effect on American society. Europe may be committing a slow suicide. Its a very contentious subject, and it behooves us to study up. Our representatives in Washington seem to be more worried about how they will be treated by the mainstream media, because we seem so poorly informed.



Democrats Fail the Religious Test by The Elephant's Child

Senator Dianne Feinstein made an unforgivable Constitutional error during the confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judicial nominee to the 7th Circuit — Amy Coney Barret who was appearing before the committee. Feinstein insinuated an anti Catholic stereotype that goes back at least 150 years in this country—that Catholics are unable to separate church and state because they place their religious allegiances before their oath to the Constitution. A number of her Democratic colleagues insinuated that her Catholic faith would prevent her from applying the law freely and fairly.

The No Religious Test Clause of the Constitution is a clause in Article VI, Section 3. By its plain terms, no federal office holder or employee can be required to adhere to or accept any particular religion or doctrine as a prerequisite to holding a federal office or a federal government job. It comes right after the clause that requires all federal and state officers to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. (including Senators)



The Eagle Creek Fire: 3,000 Acres Around This Beautiful Spot by The Elephant's Child

Please read this post by Alex Berezow, about the Eagle Creek fire in Oregon.This beautiful spot is Punch Bowl Falls. Just down the road, right along Interstate 84 is Multonomah Falls, a 620-foot waterfall, utterly beautiful. I’ve been there.

Both are in danger because of acts of pure stupidity and recklessness. The fire is about 7 percent contained and has burned over 3,000 acres because some teenagers shot off some fireworks. Six or more communities have been evacuated, some of the territory includes the watershed that is one of the main sources of water for the city of Portland.

Lots of evacuations, bad air quality for those with respiratory problems, closure of locks and Columbia river, many communities. Nice going teenagers. I hope they’re prosecuted. It will take years to recover.

UPDATE:  11% contained, burning 35,000 acres. Interstate 84 is closed in the Columbia River Gorge. The west lanes will be opened when it is safe. ODOT have already removed 1,500 trees that were posing a hazard to the Interstate highway, but nearly another 1,000 trees still need to be felled. A beautiful drive won’t be beautiful again for many, many years.



9/11 Hurricane Update by The Elephant's Child

Hurricane Irma is weakening and headed north and west through Alabama, and mopping up has started in Florida. About half of Florida has been reported to be without power, and may be for even weeks — an interesting development for those who depend on electric cars. Closed gas stations will be resupplied soon, but they did say the power may be out for weeks.

Puerto Rico was dealt only a glancing blow by Irma, and relieved Puerto Ricans are donating water, clothing, first aid and other supplies as they head off to St. Thomas where they weren’t so lucky. Government-led missions have also been evacuating people from the islands to Puerto Rico in six C130 aircraft. Some 1,200 American citizens have been carried from St. Martin and St. Thomas, and more than 50 patients have been airlifted to Puerto Rican hospitals. The civilian effort has been local, spontaneous and a volunteer affair. Hundreds of volunteers have packed shipping containers full of supplies. Power and phone service have left islanders disconnected from the rest of the world.

José seems to be still spinning around in circles.Vast warnings about the coast and possible landfall as far north as New York or New England, but it has weakened and isn’t going anywhere at the moment. I remain interested because it is all so foreign to me and I know so little about hurricanes.

Governors seem to have been very good at urging evacuation and safety. Human nature assures us that there will still be idiots out there wind surfing in the hurricane, or wandering out to look at the way the sea has withdrawn so far. There is some talk from officials about prosecuting those who abandoned their pets. Seattle Humane is receiving many dogs and cats from Florida.

 




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