American Elephants

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,

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.

Did You Hear What Hillary…Of Course You Didn’t. The Only News Was That Trump Said Something Crude. by The Elephant's Child

More releases of Hillary e-mails, and more than 2,500 e-mails from John Podesta, Hillary’s Campaign Chairman*, were released by Wikileaks, with more promised. The Podesta e-mails included excerpts from Hillary’s speeches to Wall Street groups. Podesta was a former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, a longtime antiwar activist of the New Left, and is currently the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. His most lasting contribution to the Left’s cause was:

his promotion of a strategy that White House aides dubbed “Project Podesta.” This was a system that enabled the Clintons to push through unpopular policies that neither Congress nor the American people wanted. Its implementation marked a dramatic tilt in the balance of power, giving the executive branch an unprecedented ability to force its will on the legislative branch.

Project Podesta enabled the President to bypass Congress through the use of executive orders, presidential decision directives, White-House-sponsored lawsuits, vacancy appointments to high federal office, selective regulatory actions against targeted corporations, and a host of other extra-constitutional tactics.

Hillary went to ground, and lo and behold, an audio of Donald Trump being crude about women surfaced just in time to keep the media talking about the awfulness of Trump and overshadowing anything that Hillary might have said in those speeches she was so reluctant to talk about. Just a coincidence of course.

Donald Trump is a flawed candidate, not my first choice, nor the first choice of many others. The fact that he said something crude about a woman in a tape from 2005 in a private conversation with another man is not exactly a surprise. We all knew that Trump was frequently crude. Hillary said in a 2013 “private” speech to the National Multifamily Housing Council that it was important to hold two positions on political issues — a “public” one and a separate “private” one. That’s hardly a surprise either.  We all knew that her public pronouncements were just for public consumption. Truth and accuracy are not among her better known characteristics.

The reaction from major Republicans has been outrage and horror that they might get tarnished with the effluent from Trump’s “shocking” remarks. There seems to be some extra importance to the fact that his crude remarks were about women. Would there be as much outrage if he had made crude remarks about men? Or don’t the advances women have made in the way of equality count when they require the extra consideration due simply because they are female?

Donald Trump is not the first politician to make crude remarks. I give you LBJ, who was remarkably crude, And Bill Clinton has been accused of far, far worse. Hillary told executives at a Brazilian bank in a private speech that:

My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,” Clinton says in an excerpt from a speech to Unibanco Itau, a Brazilian bank. “We have to resists protectionism [and] other kinds of barriers to market access and to trade.”

The EU has been such a colossal failure that it’s hard to imagine anyone actually believing a common market in this hemisphere would be desirable. Free markets and trade, of course, but a common market run by the usual corrupt and unaccountable bureaucrats — is one of the dumber ideas I’ve ever heard. No wonder she didn’t want anyone to know what she said in her speeches, to get such big donations for the Clinton Foundation.

Donald Trump has said some rude things, that he shouldn’t have said. Hillary has played fast and loose with our national secrets to get enough payola to afford her walled estate, and the lifestyle among the rich and famous that is so important to her. I was astounded the other day when I heard a woman on a radio show remark that” Hillary had done so much for women.” I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about.

Like so many on the Left, Hillary believes that the recession (the worst since the Great Depression) was caused by George W. Bush’s tax cuts. Collapse of the Housing Bubble? Never heard of it. They also believe firmly that extended unemployment benefits and food stamps help to grow the economy — which is apparently why we have had such a marvelous recovery. Taxes, especially on the rich, bring lots of “government money” which when spent on, oh, global warming and  welfare benefits and food stamps, circulates through the economy, growing as it passes through each hand. Nancy Pelosi explained the economics carefully in a speech at the Brookings Institution. You can look it up.

*I said John Podesta was Hillary’s campaign manager. That was incorrect. He is Campaign Chairman. Campaign Manager is Robert Mook. Corrected.

Debates Get Easier If You Have the Questions In Advance, and Have Your Responses Carefully Prepared. by The Elephant's Child

Oh dear, Hillary was caught using a child actor to ask a question at a town hall in Haverford, Pennsylvania. A 15 year-old girl was supposedly “chosen at random” to ask a question of the former Secretary of State. Someone thought it a little pat, and decided to dig a little deeper. The “random” participant turned out to be Brennan Leach, whose father is Pennsylvania democratic State Senator Daylin Leach, who does indeed support Hillary’s presidential race.

Hi Madam Secretary. I’m Brennan and I’m 15 years old. At my school, body image is a really big issue for girls my age. I see with my own eyes the damage Donald Trump does when he talks about women and how they look. As the first female president how would you undo some of that damage and help girls understand that they’re so much more than just what they look like?”


“I’m so proud of you for asking that question. You are right — my opponent has just taken this concern to a new level of difficulty and meanness.  And, it’s shocking when women are called names and judged solely on the basis of physical attributes.

“My opponent insulted Miss Universe. I mean, how do you get more acclaimed than that?  But, it wasn’t good enough. So we can’t take any of this seriously any more. We need to laugh at it. We need to refute it. We need to ignore it. And we need to stand up to it.”

Turns out Brennan is the only one who spoke from a prepared script.

It has also been pointed out that Hillary has been given the questions in advance of interviews, so that she can be prepared with all the correct responses. She’s very concerned with tactics, but many of her responses leave holes the size of a bar door for a practiced debater to charge through. Sigh.

Can You Trust the Press? Should You? by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Judith Miller, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. speaking for Praeger University.  And the answer is No.  They have squandered that trust with their own partisanship and misrepresentation. I’m not at all sure that they recognize the loss of trust at all. Smug. Remarkably smug.

Not Constrained Anywhere Nearly Enough! by The Elephant's Child


We want so badly to understand just what is going on. Reports vary from “run for the hills” to “nothing to see here,” just move along. It’s pretty clear that the economy is not thriving, no matter how often Mr. Obama insists that it is. We are not happy with our economy, we are not happy with our government, and we’re not happy with each other.

Have you read the comments on any major website? It’s getting truly nasty out there. Black Lives Matter is successfully causing riots and attacks on police. Seventeen year-old Brian Ogle is fighting for his life after he dared to post “Blue Lives Matter” on his Facebook page. He was attacked and beaten and is in critical condition with three skull fractures.

We have an ideological war going on. The Democratic Party elite have moved far, far to the Left. I don’t know if the rank and file of the party is in line with that. There’s talk of globalists and anti-globalists, immigration and open borders, terrorism and inviting in unlimited numbers of Syrian refugees who cannot be reliably assured are even from Syria, or are not ISIS fighters. Matthew Continetti took that one on:

What is a “globalist’? They are, according to the Times, the “advocates of a more densely enmeshed world,” “concerned internationalists,” “humanitarians, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, donors, investors, app peddlers, celebrities,” a cast of managers, bureaucrats, apparatchiks, media figures and billionaires working across borders to solve problems such as climate change, the Syrian refugee crisis, Third-World poverty;, racial and sexual injustice, and interplanetary colonization. They are the busybody winners of the knowledge economy. And they are feeling glum.

I have a lot of articles attempting to explain what is going on, sitting on my desk, from John Fonte’s “Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism: The Future of the Ideological Civil War Within the West”, to Ernest Sternberg’s “Purifying the World: What the New Radical Ideology Stands For.” to Angelo M. Codevilla’s “After the Republic” and from the anonymous Decius: “The Flight 93 Election”.
All excellent, a lot of reading, but worth your time if you have plenty to spare.

I think it evolves down to a simple fact: The radical Left does not like human nature, and they want to fix it. Our founders gave a lot of thought and worry to devising a Constitution to guide our country. They recognized man’s urge for power, the desire to enhance one’s own position and reputation, and they tried to insert checks and balances to keep us on the straight and narrow.

Leftists do not like the free market, which relies on the individual decisions of thousands of people making their own choices. They do not trust mass choice, they want control. Free people have ideas about how things can be improved or about a new product that they are sure will be popular. Rich people often support a new product by paying exorbitant prices to have the newest thing — which in turn makes it possible to begin mass production and bring the cost of the product down. The Left doesn’t want rich people to be free to buy high priced goods, they want to tax their money away to be given to the needy.

The Left does not like needy people being needy, but they are unwilling to leave them free enough to begin the climb to their own riches. They are wrapped up in their own empathy, and feeling good about taking your tax money to succor the world’s poor. As Thomas Sowell wrote — the anointed, or self-consciously elite, are sure that they know what is good for society and who think that the good must be attained by expanded government action. It’s always a ‘crisis’ that must be solved by government action, and they, of course, are always correctly the government who solves stuff. Remember the crisis when it was said that some of our school children were obese?

Human nature: people are tribal. They belong to countries with borders and a language, and customs, and food, and a history and traditions. We establish our own smaller tribes as well, from bridge clubs to neighborhoods, to political groups and football fandom. We seek out those who share our ideas and interests. Haven’t you noticed the extent to which the government is trying to dictate where we live and with whom we associate? If our interest groups are not sufficiently diverse, they may come after us, and we will be called racist, or homophobic or Islamophobic.

They don’t like human nature, they don’t like freedom, they want to control everything — so they can shape us into something they like better. The problem is those three separate branches of government set up to prevent exactly that control. You have noticed, I am sure, how far the Obama administration has gone in bypassing the three branches, ignoring the Constitution and custom and the traditions of the office. He has made a study of what he can get away with by executive orders, actions by federal agencies, and other means to avoid having to work with Congress. He wants to do what he wants, without interference. Which is surely one of the reasons why we have Donald Trump and a lot of very angry Americans.

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