American Elephants


Red Tape Is Far More Than Annoying — It Has a More Sinister Purpose by The Elephant's Child

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In a previous post, I linked to an essay by Myron Magnet from City Journal titled “Why are Voters So Angry,” and I added my usual “Do read the whole thing,” but most of you didn’t (I can tell because WordPress tells me how many clicked on each link). So I’m posting another  link and urging you to read the whole essay once again.

The problem is the Administrative State. Socialists, who abound on the Left, have given up on the government’s owning the means of production (and thereby enriching themselves). They have realized that they don’t have to own America’s businesses, they can just control them with government regulation. And their control is far advanced, and nobody seems to recognize just what is happening.

Myron Magnet starts at the beginning and explains just how we have lost control of our government and what we need to do about it. Most adults not part of the Loony Left recognize that socialism is not a good form of government, and ends up as Venezuela, Cuba or Stalinist Russia, in hunger and poverty and desperation. Most adults excludes, of course the Bernie-worshiping Millennials who don’t know about Venezuelans starving and dying without medicine, and just think he’s kind of cute with his great shock of white hair.

But if we cease to enshrine American exceptionalism at the heart of our culture—if we set equal value on such Third World cultural tendencies as passive resignation, fatalism, superstition, devaluation of learning, resentment of imaginary plots by the powerful, and a belief that gratification deferred is gratification forgone—the exceptionalism of our institutions becomes all the more precarious.

Supercharging American anger over illegal immigration and its consequences is the politically correct ban on openly discussing it, with even the most reasoned reservation dismissed as racism and yahooism. And political correctness generates its own quantum of anger among citizens, who think of freedom of speech and debate as central to American exceptionalism. But elite culture stigmatizes plain speaking, so that now a rapist or a murderer is a “person who committed a crime” or an “individual who was incarcerated,” says the Obama Department of Justice, or, according to the latest humbug from the Department of Education, a “justice-involved individual.” Implicit in these euphemisms is the theory that “society,” not the criminal, is to blame for crime, a long-exploded idea aimed at blurring the distinction between right and wrong.

Well, there you go. That’s what I have just been going on about. Here we are in a mortal battle for the future of our country with candidates we hardly would have chosen as our champions. Hillary has essentially promised to continue Obama’s current drift into catastrophe, if only we will allow her to be America’s first woman something or other, and Donald Trump who has recognized the anger and frustration and answered it  with a burst of pure populism.

Jobs are created by the private sector, which makes the economy grow. Jobs created by the federal government just mean another cost to the taxpayers for agencies that cannot fulfill the task assigned to the agency. I’m not sure I can find an agency without a scandal attached. They are paid 78% more than their counterparts in the private sector, and there isn’t really enough work for them to do. The average federal employee earns about $119,000 annually, including salary and benefits, compared to $67,000 for the private sector. And they are receiving that generous compensation for plastering the private sector with so many regulations and so much red tape that the private sector cannot provide the engine of free market capitalism at which they have been so successful.

Read Myron Magnet’s essay on the Administrative State, and pass it on to family and friends. It is important that people realize what is happening to our country. Unfortunately the Left’s big ideas don’t work in the long term, or did you think that those quaint old cars in the Castro’s Cuba were there as theater for the tourists?

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We Thought They Weren’t Taking ISIS As Seriously As They Should! by The Elephant's Child

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Some have said that Hillary’s greatest accomplishment as Secretary of State was to make John Kerry look competent.

Secretary Kerry was in Vienna Friday to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase out hydroflurocarbons, or HFCs, from basic household and commercial appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, and inhalers.” (Offhand, one would think mid-July a poor time to be suggesting any ban on air conditioners and refrigerators)

Kerry was meeting with 45 nations’ defense ministers and foreign ministers, working together on the challenge of the Islamic State and terrorism. “It’s hard,” he said,” for some people to grasp it, but what we — you — are doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, “Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna that air conditioners and refrigerators are as big a threat to life as the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State.”

Perhaps Mr. Kerry is merely following up on the Democratic Platform which calls for a WWII-Scale Mobilization to Solve the Climate Crisis:

Democratic platform 2016: ‘We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II. In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities to chart a course to solve the climate crisis.’

With all of the excitement focused on the GOP Convention in Cleveland, we missed the Senate Democrats’ “Web of Denial” Climate Change Event.

“Climate change is real,” asserted Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jean Shaheen (D-NH), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM). So what? Gravity and sunrise are also real. That doesn’t imply we cause them or that we would be better off without them. Climate has been changing since the origin of the atmosphere. The only constant about climate is change.

Furthermore, the world has mostly cooled for the last 3000 years.

It is warmer in urban areas, because of manmade air conditioners and trucks and cars and concrete buildings that reflect heat. “But the only place where carbon dioxide (CO2) increase causes a temperature increase is in computer models programmed to show exactly that”.

Every record from every time period shows that temperature increase precedes CO2 increase, not the other way around.

We cannot predict the future. Everybody tries, but it just doesn’t work.Think 1929, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Paris, Nice, Orlando, and climate is no different.”Not even the world’s leading experts can meaningfully forecast future climate. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated the following in its 2001 Assessment Report:”

The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.

Dr. Tim Ball, climate scientist, adds “No wonder every single prediction they have made since 1990 was wrong! If your prediction is wrong, your science is wrong.”

“Across the world $1 billion is spent each and every day on climate science — and mostly wasted.”

So here’s a quick little quiz with just five easy questions to to test your climate knowledge, and those of your friends:



Politics and Promises of Equality, When What the People Want is Their Freedom Back. by The Elephant's Child

We are in an election season, so politics dominates the news, with ideas devised, not necessarily to improve anything at all, but to get votes. The season of promising big giveaways to the voters on the one hand, while promising to slash budgets on the other, with no apparent awareness that the two are incompatible. (Are you all conventioned out? And are you prepared for another one next week?)

Thomas Sowell, who always has his eye on basic common sense, addressed “the dumbest idea in politics,” which plays a very large role in political conversation. Dr. Sowell’s nomination for the most stupid idea in politics would be “the assumption that people would be evenly or randomly distributed in incomes, institutions, occupations or awards, in the absence of somebody doing somebody wrong.”

Political crusades, bureaucratic empires and lucrative personal careers as grievance mongers have been built on the foundation of that assumption, which is almost never tested against any facts.

A recent article in the New York Times saw as a problem the fact that females are greatly underrepresented among the highest rated chess players. Innumerable articles, TV stories and political outcries have been based on an “underrepresentation” of women in Silicon Valley, seen as a problem that needs to be solved.

Are there girls out there dying to play chess, who find the doors slammed shut in their faces? Are there women with Ph.D.s in computer science from M.I.T. and Cal Tech who get turned away when they apply for jobs in Silicon Valley?

Well yes, and the claim that the candidate will demand equal pay for women is loud on the campaign-trail, despite the fact that unequal pay for the same work has been against the law since 1963. Inequality comes from different career choices. Men and women make different choices. It’s quite natural—way back when humanity were hunter-gatherers, men were the hunters and women the gatherers. Human nature.

There are countries where children are expected to follow in the same trade as their parent. There’s no real opportunity to do something different.There are many countries where women are expected to care for home and children, and any other choice is unthinkable.

Discrimination plays a large part not only in politics, but as employment for attorneys. “Billions of dollars, in the aggregate,  have changed hands as a result of individual lawsuits charging discrimination,” Dr Sowell added.

The Left is deeply enamored with the idea that everyone should be equal, (except themselves of course). They welcome change in the interest of equality and individual liberty, although equality doesn’t really go with individual liberty. You have perhaps noticed that in their drive for equality, equality is supposed to come from vastly increased government regulation. Forced equality goes with their push for control of everything, which comes from lots of regulation from the wise and superior people in government agencies.

Why anyone would believe that would increase individual liberty is a mystery. The thing is, they just don’t like human nature  either, and want to fix it.  And they don’t like actual liberty at all.. They hate the First Amendment, the repeal of Citizen’s  United is in their platform, as is silencing anyone who ‘denies’ catastrophic global warming that is threatening our very survival, or at least the survival of Manhattan with the rise of the seas. Trouble with that is that some very important figures in the catastrophic global warming movement have revealed that their real goal is a vast transfer of wealth from the rich nations (us) to the poor nations, in the name of  — (of course) equality.

I think most Americans would rank freedom above equality. It’s freedom that allows people to have ideas and take it out to their garage and struggle to make it develop and grow, and in America there has usually been the possibility to take that idea and open a business without too much fear of government regulation and too much fear of endless red tape that makes a start-up impossible. The folks on the Left insist that they want new businesses and new jobs, but they cannot understand that the controls and regulation and requirements and fines and inspections that they find essential for control — kill the businesses they claim they want created.

When they have controlled and regulated ordinary people into more satisfactory people, and they have devised better rules for everyone to follow and better laws — we will have a better chance of reaching “that world as it ought to be” that the Obamas speak of. “The world as it is just won’t do,”they say, and they consider that a proper goal. They believe they have an obligation to strive for a brave new world.  Oh yes, that was the name of a book, wasn’t it? Oddly enough, writers of science fiction cannot stop demonstrating the dreadful results of trying to fix humanity. But then, we’ve had some real-life attempts as well — Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mugabe, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Mao Zedong, Saddam,  Assad — the list goes on and on.

Set free, ordinary people can do some pretty amazing things, like building a free country, and inventing all sorts of advancement in human life, curing disease and creating great works of art  and writing marvelous books to warn us about what could go wrong if we are not paying attention.



Crime in Major Cities, and How Long They Have Been Run By Democrats! by The Elephant's Child

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A friend sent this comment:

I was just thinking – not long ago GM was building cars in Flint, Michigan and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico.

After 7 plus years of Obama’s administration, GM now builds cars in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint, Michigan.

Hope and Change delivered! Is this a great country or what?



I’d Just like Some Straight Talk, and Honesty For a Change! by The Elephant's Child

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Every four years, I forget just how much I dislike political conventions. Not just theirs, but our as well. I’m already tired of how wonderful our candidate is and how dreadful their is. Conventions are big parties of excess. But then I may just be getting cranky.

I am exceedingly tired of being lectured by our president. He turned up on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal yesterday to lecture the Senate about their duty to confirm his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. You always knew there was something not quite right about the claim that he had been a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. He was a lecturer in civil rights law, which he mostly used to teach Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

The Constitution directs the Senate to advise and consent, not to approve. The Daily Caller subjected his op-ed to a fact check, and it didn’t fare well, directly from the words of, oh, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama when he voted to filibuster Justice Alito. (Politicians still are not familiar with the fact that we can quickly look up their words from yesterday and ten years ago.)

He’s getting very predictable when he scolds us. “That’s not who we are as Americans!” “That’s who we are, and who we have the capacity to be.” Or as John Podhoretz recently put it:

As usual, Obama made strange use of the word ‘we,’ because when he says ‘we,’ he means ‘you,’ and when he means ‘you,’ he means people who aren’t as enlightened and thoughtful as he and his ideological compatriots are.

Well, clearly, we are all a great disappointment to our president. I’m not alone in noticing. David Harsanyi did, at the Federalist.

At the funeral service for five slain Dallas cops, Barack Obama delivered another one of his needlessly politicized lectures. As is customary these days, those who were critical of his rhetoric were branded racists and unthinking haters.

That’s one theory.

Another one is that people might be put off by Obama’s grating habit of turning every tragedy into a sermon about our supposed collective failings. I doubt the president is substantively more partisan than the average politician, but like most people on the Left these days, he no longer bothers to make a distinction between a policy position and a moral struggle.

The issue of gun control, for example, isn’t a good-faith disagreement between people of different persuasions, but — like civil rights or suffrage — a struggle waged by the righteous against the evil (and sometimes those poor souls tricked by the NRA).

I went on a bit a few days ago about the fallacy of the term “gun violence” which is nothing but propaganda. It’s not the gun that is violent, but the shooter. Consider the latest terrorist attacks in France. We had truck violence in Nice, and axe violence on a bus. That allows us to ignore the terrorist (we can’t call them that) who committed the act because we “don’t know what their real motives were.”

That’s what I am cranky about — the purposeful misuse of language to confuse, or hide, or misplace blame. The world is a very dangerous place right now. It is impossible to deal effectively with those dangers if we cannot even use clear language. Fuzzy language reveals fuzzy minds, and the inability to take clear action.



Another National Conversation About Race or Another Attempt to Increase Racial Division? by The Elephant's Child

Economist Walter Williams wrote an important piece Tuesday titled “Challenges for Black People: The frank conversation needed in the black community,” at Frontpage magazine.

President Barack Obama and his first attorney general, Eric Holder, called for an honest conversation about race. Holder even called us “a nation of cowards” because we were unwilling to have a “national conversation” about race. The truth of the matter is there’s been more than a half-century of conversations about race. We do not need more. Instead, black people need to have frank conversations among ourselves, no matter how uncomfortable and embarrassing the topics may be.

Among the nation’s most dangerous cities are Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Newark, Cleveland and Philadelphia. These once-thriving cities are in steep decline. What these cities have in common is that they have large black populations. Also, they have been run by Democrats for nearly a half-century, with blacks having significant political power. Other characteristics these cities share are poorly performing and unsafe schools, poor-quality city services, and declining populations.

Each year, more than 7,000 blacks are murdered. That’s a number greater than white and Hispanic murder victims combined. Blacks of all ages are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. According to the FBI, the police kill about 400 people a year; blacks are roughly one-third of that number. In Chicago alone, so far this year, over 2,000 people have been shot, leaving over 320 dead. It’s a similar tale of mayhem in other predominantly black cities.

Meanwhile, economist Roland G. Fryer, a tenured professor at Harvard University, who is black, has conducted a study of more than a thousand shootings in ten major police jurisdictions: Houston, Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Jacksonville, were among the cities included in the study.

When the law enforcement data from Houston was isolated, Fryer was able to conclude that law enforcement officers were significantly less likely to shoot black suspects. As Fryer expected, police are more likely to use force towards a black suspect, but his research concluded that based on the statistics, African-American suspects are less likely to be shot in an altercation with law enforcement than suspects of other racial backgrounds. Fryer called it “the most surprising result of my career.”

Meanwhile, President Obama conducted a meeting, which he had called in the wake of the Dallas attack, of his Task Force on  21th Century Policing, which he appointed in December 2014. The task force has now released its one year progress report.

The assignment seems to be keeping the Black Lives Matter story-line going  Here’s how Obama summarized the status of his efforts:

The bad news is, as we saw so painfully this week, that this is really a hard job. We’re not there yet. We’re not even close to being there yet, where we want to be. We’re not at a point yet where communities of color feel confident that their police departments are serving them with dignity and respect and equality. And we’re not at the point yet where police departments feel adequately supported at all levels. (Read his whole statement)

According to observers, Dallas has a very well-run police department. The Chief is black. The officers responded quickly to shots fired, and rushed to protect the Black Lives Matter protesters, unaware that they were the targets, not the protesters.

President Obama has consistently attempted keep black Americans convinced that police are biased, that any failings of the black community can be blamed on racial prejudice, and that blacks are imprisoned unjustly because of bias, not crime. That’s why he is releasing so many from prison, why he wants their voting rights returned, and why he wants to integrate the black community into the suburbs.  Obama has already blamed racism for the two police shootings this week in Louisiana and Minnesota, though racism has not been cited as a cause by any officials.

President Obama met with representatives of several police groups on Monday, just one day before he made a speech in which he mentioned himself more than 40 times, at the memorial the police officers killed in Dallas. When the police representatives told him that he has not done enough to support America’s police forces, Obama rejected their criticism. Joe Biden told CNN that Obama talked about his support, gave a list of statements he had made, but then told the “police groups that they, their members and their police forces are part of a racist law enforcement system.

Progressives say ‘institutional racism’ exists when groups and organizations treat members of one racial group differently from another group, because any average differences between groups — in real-estate ownership, hiring rates or criminality, for example — is supposedly caused by racism.

President Obama said:

“I want to start moving on constructive actions that are actually going to make a difference,” he said during his evening press conference in Poland when he was asked about the Dallas attack.  …

The report urges the federal government to federalize police training and practices, via the use of federal lawsuits, grants and threats to cut federal aid. So far, Obama’s deputies have cajoled and sued more than 30 police jurisdictions to adopt federal rules in a slow-motion creation of a national police system, similar to the slow-motion creation of a federal-run health-sector via Obamacare.

Obama also used the press conference to insulate his federalized police program — and his allies in the Black Live Matter movement — from popular rejection after the five police were murdered by the anti-cop African-American in Dallas.

“The danger is that we somehow think the act of a troubled person speaks to some larger political statement across the country — it doesn’t,” Obama insisted. 

The Left Coast City of Seattle is responding to the “problem” that has been created by the federal government by creating a well-paid job to “fix” the problem. Zero Hedge is reporting that Seattle is hiring a “Race and Social Justice Manager to Achieve Racial Equality. The job will pay between $90,000 and $115,000. Clearly geared at millennial candidates, the posting seeks “any combination of education, experience and measurable performance that demonstrates the capability to perform the duties of this position.”



There Is No Such Thing as “Gun Violence.” It’s Pure Propaganda. by The Elephant's Child

“Gun Violence” is pure political propaganda. A gun, whether the tiniest Derringer, or an enormous artillery cannon, is an inanimate object. It in incapable of doing anything whatsoever without action by a shooter. It is very clearly the shooters who may or may not be “violent.” Saying “gun violence” suggests that without the inanimate objects of guns, there would be no violence, which is absurd. Far more homicides or deaths take place without guns at all.

Also absurd is the focus on “Assault Rifles” which are just ordinary rifles fancied up with some military cosmetics because people generally like a little added glamour.  This Michael Ramirez cartoon is an older one, and the actual numbers may have changed, but the proportions are undoubtedly the same, and the point made remains valid.

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Democrats believe absolutely in crazy Right-Wing militias training in hidden hollows in the Rocky Mountain West who may come forth to attack them. That’s the plot of many a thriller. Or if not mountain hollows, hidden in the swamps somewhere in the solid South. They want the public disarmed. (Think of Hillary and her “vast right-wing conspiracy.”)

Most farmers and ranchers keep guns. Varmints. Sometimes a wounded animal needs to be put down. Coyotes go for the chickens. There are around 10.9 million deer hunters alone, not counting those who hunt Ducks, Turkeys elk, quail and so on. Yes, you can buy meat at the market, but many people count on a fall hunt to fill the freezer for the winter.

Gun homicides have been declining steadily since 1994, even as gun ownership has increased.

I didn’t note down who said it, but it is quite accurate: “Blaming guns for the Islamist murder of 49 people in an Orlando gay nightclub is like saying that Zyklon-B Gas was the cause of the Holocaust and not the Nazis.”

If you are given to worrying, worry about Barack Obama’s attempt to nationalize America’s police departments. He wants to put your local departments under federal control in the name of civil rights law.




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