American Elephants


100 Days and the Gap in Understanding May be Too Wide to Bridge by The Elephant's Child

The whole First 100 Days thing is a legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Charles Kesler explains where the arbitrary standard to which modern presidents are held comes from:

FDR spoke of “the hundred days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal” in his fireside chat of July 24, 1933—142 days after his March 4 inauguration. He was referring to “the historical special session of the Congress” he had convened, which opened March 9 and adjourned June 16. That is, the Hundred Days were legislative days, not executive days.

Today’s Congress commonly leaves Washington three days a week. If you wanted to apply Roosevelt’s implicit criterion of 100 congressional days, you’d be counting not to April 30, but into July or August—or even September or later, since Congress is in recess the whole month of August.

Well, never mind. It provides a handy lead for lazy reporters. It’s been 100 days, what has he accomplished, and even better— what not?

The administration started off with a bang issuing three executive orders within weeks of the inauguration addressing border control, including construction of the wall, and immigration related crime like smuggling of drugs and people. The Executive Orders included the expeditious hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents, new air and marine officers for Customs and Border Patrol, and 10,000 new interior immigration enforcement agents. The immediate numbers of border crossers are down sharply, but dips have been seen before.

The practice of releasing arriving non-Mexican illegal border crossers immediately with an order to appear later (which never happens), has been stopped. ICE has increased its detention capacity by 1,100 beds, and made plans for 21,000 additional if funds become available. Reporters like to point out that many of those deported have not really committed real crimes, but might just have traffic violations (ignoring the fact that crossing the border illegally is a major violation of law). Did you know that there are at least 200 members of the violent MS-13 Salvadorean gang on Long Island, and are increasingly a national and international problem. Long Island.

Then of course there are the Obama named judges who are putting holds on Trump’s executive orders, though Obama’s very questionable executive orders sailed through. US District Court Judge William Orrick has issued a stay on Trump’s Executive Order withholding funding from communities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities. It is interesting to consider an article in the National Journal which examines the strange opinions of Trump voters:  It seems that “national security is a much bigger deal for Republicans than the economy. Trump’s supporters are quite optimistic about their economic future, but are deeply worried about their security.”

The author’s slightly amazed tone that such should be the case explains a lot, The signs held by protesters outside of Judge Orrick’s courtroom “ICE out of California.” NO Ban! NO Wall! Sanctuary for all” “Inclusion,” “Immigrants ARE Welcome,” and “Love is our Resistance” in the picture topping an article by Andy McCarthy, which explains why the judge is incorrect in his stay. It suggests that Democrats are completely unaware of the very real threat of nuclear attack from Iran and North Korea. I increasingly get the feeling that we are talking past each other, because we don’t share the same information, the same sources, the same interests. Megyn Kelly is coming back on the air with an interview with the Kardashians. Why? Isn’t there something more important to discuss?

Matthew Continetti took a different approach with “The Democrats’ First 100 Days,”which is fun, but they haven’t accomplished much of anything at all, so there’s not much to tell.

Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the president, reviewed the Trump administration’s first 100 days, and spoke about the president’s address to a joint session of Congress.

It’s very, very interesting to go back and not just read the transcript, but watch the video, and that moment when the commander-in-chief pauses, looks straight at the camera, and says, “the enemy is radical Islamic terrorism.”

“You send messages overtly, you send them implicitly,” he elaborated. “I think everybody by now understands the MOAB attack in Afghanistan, the cruise missile attack in Syria — neither of those uses of force by the president are just about the countries in which they occurred.”

I also ran across these lines from Thomas Sowell: “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 causes—and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.

I don’t challenge their vision. I challenge the failure to test their vision with some real facts from the real world.



Cutting the Corporate Tax Will Create Growth. That’s A Good Thing! by The Elephant's Child

To quote John Steele Gordon this morning “Only the brain dead could see Trump’s tax plan as a negative for the economy.Newsweek: “Trump’s Proposed Tax Plan Could Cost the Government $6 Trillion.” Why am I not surprised? Democrats simply do not understand economics. Allowing the people to keep more of their own money is simply incomprehensible to your standard run-of-the-mill Lefty.

Under the new rules, an individual making $35,000 each year would be able to remove $15,000 from their taxable income through the deduction, leaving just $20,000 for the government to tax.

On top of these tax cuts, Trump is expected to outline his proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. And he will seek to reclassify small, individually-owned businesses that currently file their taxes under the individual code so they are under the corporate tax code instead.

Democrats can only think of the 20% of corporate income that would not be taxed and how can the government possibly get along without that corporate money? Leftist hatred for rich corporations is always a mystifying thing. Everything they wear, eat, use and work with is a product of a large corporation, if they are not government bureaucrats they probably work for a large corporation and they indignantly badmouth corporations and seethe at the exorbitant salaries of American CEOs.

For a business, taxes are just a cost of doing business. Those costs are figured into the price of whatever the business produces, and are paid by the taxpayers who buy the products. If taxes go up, so does the cost of the product. If taxes go down, the business has some extra to expand, to innovate, to create, and the economy grows.

It is very simple, but Democrats do not think in those terms. They want a bigger pile of tax money so they can buy more votes to win elections so they can be in charge. Being in charge means giving nice things to the people, to get their votes, and spreading the wealth around, again so they can be in charge. Being in charge is the goal because they can get rid of all the annoying interference in their goal of a more perfect socialist world where everyone lives in peace and harmony in a world saved from the horrors of global warming and capitalism and guns. Or something like that.

They thought they had glimmers of a real move towards the glorious future with Hillary, and this obnoxious blowhard buffoon smashed it all up and they can’t wait to destroy him or impeach him or put him in prison. They still remain sure that if they can just turn over the right rock, they will find the Russian involvement — in something or other. Good Lord, they are predictable.

From The American Thinker by Thomas Lifson: “Trump tax plan goes for growth”

After President Obama’s two terms of anemic economic growth and huge federal deficits, there is a lot of room for growth in the American economy.  Targeting “seed corn taxes” that obstruct investment is the smart way to spike growth rates, which will bring jobs, increase taxes (in the long run), and swing political approval toward the GOP president and Congress.  It worked for Reagan, and it will work for Trump, if a version of the tax plan becomes law.

The White House briefing and one-page description of President Trump’s plan for tax reform issued yesterday contain the bones of an ambitious plan that could indeed jump-start the economy by lowering corporate income and capital gains tax rates, and by repatriating corporate money held overseas to avoid the punitive 35% levy on overseas profits when they are brought home to the USA.

From Economics21: “No, New York Times: Bush’s Tax Cuts Did Not Disappoint”

Basic economics tells us that if you tax something, you’ll get less of it. True, not all tax cuts are created equal. Successful tax reductions are immediate, permanent, broad-based, and (unlike tax rebates) rely on tax rate reductions to encourage working, saving, and investing. Such well-designed tax policies have a clear record of success.

Nobel Laureate Edward Prescott has shown that much of America’s widening economic advantage over other major economies between the 1970s and 1990s can be traced to America’s decision to lower tax rates while other countries raised them.

Harvard economist Martin Feldstein estimates that a dollar increase in taxes costs the economy 76 cents of growth.

Aside from the constant, furious Democrat insistence of being outraged at anything done by President Trump, they are predictable, predictable predictable. And possibly scared to death that he’ll get his tax plan passed.

Thanks to Obama, America’s corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. Growth has been anemic for 8 long years. A significant cut in the corporate tax rate could raise growth to 3% which is getting closer to the long-term norm —which would create jobs and put those folks who have essentially given up at the idea of working back in business. Hope and growth will do a lot for the country, and the American people.

ADDENDUM: Another contrast in media headlines — Wall Street JournalTrump Unveils Broad Tax-Cut Plan.” The New York Times Tax Overhaul Would Aid Wealthiest.” Like I said Predictable!



Just How Do You Measure “Better Off” Anyway? by The Elephant's Child



The Problem is Having to Live With The Choices We Made by The Elephant's Child

Former President Barack Obama has returned from his South Seas vacation, ready to resume trying to tear down the administration of his successor. Valerie Jarrett has reportedly been directing the resistance in his absence. Obama, meanwhile, has snagged a $400,000 fee for an hour long speech for a Wall Street firm, and a very large advance for books from Michelle and himself, so funds are not a worry.

It’s a sharp contrast with his own predecessor. George W. Bush gracefully left the limelight to avoid causing problems for his successor, and has refrained from comments on the Obama administration, appearing in public only with his programs of bike trips with recovering vets, and to talk about his new hobby of  painting, apparently inspired by Winston Churchill’s book Painting as a Pastime. President Bush has painted the world leaders with whom he engaged, and more recently, the heroes of the wars who fought under his responsibility in Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

President Bush recognized that history would judge what he had accomplished and where he had failed, and left it in the hands of the historians. Who will argue endlessly.

An ex-president hanging around and trying to run the opposition is something new and not very attractive. Americans are inclined to do some summing-up at the end of an administration, and it’s not often the admiration and attention that one hopes for. By the time a president leaves office, the public is usually thoroughly tired of them and hopeful that the new president can do a better job. Granted, that this year the Democrats, out of office and out of appealing candidates, out of ideas were insanely furious that their expected continuum with Hillary didn’t happen, because they don’t like Trump and cannot understand why Hillary didn’t win.

President Donald Trump has done quite well. His first 100 days have been celebrated by his supporters who are far more pleased than the media wants to acknowledge. His cabinet appointments have been outstanding, are in a position to offer excellent advice, and have hit the ground running. Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a triumph. Nikki Haley has quickly taken charge at the U.N. and is proving to be a star. Syria has been put on notice, and the president is determined to reduce the corporate tax to 15% which will give the economy a boost. The ignorant leftist media is already gasping that the government won’t have any money.

Never fear. Corporations don’t really pay taxes. We do. When a corporation’s taxes are raised, they raise prices for their goods and we pay for it. When they don’t have to raise prices or do more of their business overseas to pay the taxes, their funds go for expanding and innovating and the economy improves. We currently have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and it has been a drag on the economy. Between 1974 and 2001 average growth in the economy was 3.3%. A return to 3% from the dismal performance of the stagnant Obama economy would mean the economy could expand to $38.3 trillion by 2040.

The weeks of Obama’s vacation have been filled with the scandals of the Obama administration exposed, and they are not pretty. I understand that they want Sasha to finish high school at Sidwell Friends, but trying to occupy the media’s attention may not be wise.



April is the cruelest month… by The Elephant's Child

I made a stupid mistake on my taxes and had to do them almost all over. One of my cats is sick, which calls for much mopping and cleaning, and a trip to the vet. Two separate cloudbursts yesterday with thunder and lightening. A trip to the emergency room. Several calls from friendly computer services in the far off Middle East who were eager to help with my computer problems. Other than that, April Fool’s Day seems somewhat ongoing. What is it about April anyway? Sorry about the light blogging. I will aim for more informative brilliance.

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
A little life with dried tubers.



The Russia Flap, The Russia Flap. The Russia Flap by The Elephant's Child

One of the people to whom I always pay attention is Victor Davis Hanson. His views of the world today are formed and influenced by his deep knowledge of history, the patterns of thought that descend from the Greek Classics down to today’s world, and are well-seasoned by plain old common sense that comes from a background in farming and coping with the vicissitudes of weather and regulation.

His article “The Russian Farce” from National Review is a masterpiece in today’s strange world where every public or private word that can be nit-picked — will be, ominous meanings will be attached and debated, and the Democrats really need to take a couple of aspirin and lie down for a while and maybe they’ll feel better. Hysteria is not becoming.

In the same manner, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was often portrayed in the media as the urbane, suave, and reasonable conciliator, while President Ronald Reagan was depicted as the uncouth disrupter of what could have been improved Russian–American relations.

Senator Ted Kennedy reportedly reached out to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in 1984 to gain his help in denying Reagan his reelection.

In sum, the American Left always felt that Russia was unduly demonized by the American Right and was a natural friend, if not potential ally, of the United States. That tradition no doubt influenced the decision of the incoming Obama administration to immediately reach out to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, despite its recent aggressions in Georgia and steady crackdown on internal dissent, and despite Russia’s estrangement from the prior Bush administration.

Do read the whole thing. It disposes of the silly Russia flap quite thoroughly, should embarrass a whole bunch of reporters, and points out the drive to deny reality.



Assigned Reading: Sunday, March 26, 2017 by The Elephant's Child

I hardly know where to start. Let’s begin with Left 3.0″ by Tod Lindberg at the Hoover Institution ( Feb.1, 2013).

The Left’s passion for equality begins with the pursuit of greater economic equality, but it doesn’t end there. The Left has also long been in pursuit of equality in the matter of identity. “Identity” is a concept that substantially modifies the principle that individuals have rights. An identity is something one has in common with others. Identity puts people in groups, and societies have long assigned status on the basis of identity — in many instances, in the view of the Left, improperly so. Some statuses have been improperly privileged, for example, white males in racist and sexist societies. And some statuses have been improperly denigrated, for example, gay men in homophobic societies. The Left has long sought to bring down the status of the privileged and elevate the status of the denigrated. This, too, is the pursuit of equality.

On Sept.27.2016, before the election, Angelo Codevilla wrote a piece for The Claremont Review of Books titled “After the Republic” that was remarkably prescient. It’s long, but worth reviewing for a good sense of where we were:

Never before has such a large percentage of Americans expressed alienation from their leaders, resentment, even fear. Some two-thirds of Americans believe that elected and appointed officials—plus the courts, the justice system, business leaders, educators—are leading the country in the wrong direction: that they are corrupt, do more harm than good, make us poorer, get us into wars and lose them. Because this majority sees no one in the political mainstream who shares their concerns, because it lacks confidence that the system can be fixed, it is eager to empower whoever might flush the system and its denizens with something like an ungentle enema.

In Orbis, Summer 2002, Hudson Institute scholar John Fonte wrote a long piece about “Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism: The Future of the Ideological Civil War Within the West.”

Nearly a year before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, wire service stories gave us a preview of the transnational politics of the future. It was reported on October 24, 2000, that in preparation for the UN Conference Against Racism, about fifty American nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) sent a formal letter to UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson calling on the UN “to hold the United States accountable for the intractable and persistent problem of discrimination” that “men and women of color face at the hands of the U.S. criminal justice system.”

This one I have as a printout. When I called it up, it came as a PDF, and beyond my ability to figure out how to get the text to you. Enter this in your search engine ( Orbis/Summer 2002 /Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism ) and you will receive a download. It’s worth your time to grasp just what is going on and where we are.

Ernest Sternberg, professor at the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York, in December 2010 published “Purifying the World: What the New Radical Ideology Stands For” Again, enter this:
https://www:researchgate.net/publication/222675491 ) in your search engine and you will get a PDF download.  From the Abstract:

The past decade has seen the coalescence of a new ideology that envisions social movements in a cataclysmic struggle against global capitalist Empire. Controlled  by U.S. militarism and multinational corporations, in cahoots with Zionism, Empire contaminates environments and destroys cultures. Its defeat will bring about a new era of social justice and sustainable development, in which the diverse cultures harmoniously share the earth. Is this a totalitarian ideology? From fascist and communist precedents, we learn that lovers of renewed humanity are not sufficiently motivated by abstract ideals. They must also identify humanity’s enemy, the cause of all suffering. Equipped with a scapegoat, diverse communities can achieve solidarity through shared execration. (emphasis added)

The new ideology is most clearly identified by what it opposes. Its enemy is the global monolith called Empire, which exerts systemic domination over human lives, mainly from the United States. Empire does so by means of economic liberalism, militarism, multinational corporations, corporate media and technologies of surveillance, in cahoots with, or under the thrall of Empire’s most sinister manifestation, namely Zionism. So far there is no controversy—these points will be readily admitted by advocates as well as critics. … (emphasis added)

Through bundist struggles, “A Better World is Possible” (the World Social Forum’s slogan). That world will be environmentally clean, culturally harmonious, and politically just. The new life’s advent will occur when harmonious, and politically just. The new life’s advent will occur when networked bunds triumph over Empire and purge societies of their toxicity.

Whereas capitalism creates and destroys and is constantly changing, the new order will be sustainable. It will run on alternative energy, organic farming, local food markets, and closed-loop recyclable industry, if any industry is needed. People will travel on public transit, or ride cars that tread lightly on the earth, or even better ride bicycles. They will occupy green buildings constructed of local materials and inhabit cities growing organically within bioregions. Life will be liberated from carbon emanations. It will be a permanent, placid way of life in which economies are integrated into the earth’s ecosystem.

The new world will also achieve cultural purity. By “culture” purification does not mean interesting folkways, nor simply heritage, and certainly not any literary and musical canon. Rather, culture is the offspring of folk-spirit: that mysterious life-source from which identity, meaning and pride emerge. It is found in indigenous life-style, local habitat, feeling of community, and the heady experience of fringe art. Even communities that may have little left by way of traditions can look inward, perhaps just to their shared experience of oppression, for the folk-spirit from which to extract identity and pride.

While global corporations produce the artificial psuedo-culture that serves Empire’s interests, communities possess or can rediscover real culture. These culture-communities are organic in two senses. First, like organic food, they are pure rather than adulterated. Second, they are integral totalities rather than associations of free individuals.

The United States is 1: “the Enemy of Humanity” and 2: Israel also “the Enemy of Humanity. If you search YouTube for Ernest Sternberg, there is a video of a talk he gave largely about how come Israel emerged as the enemy. Also gives you a look at Dr, Sternberg.

I’m giving you a lot of reading. Don’t fail to do it. We have to understand what the hell is happening. It seems quite impossible that anyone could actually believe this claptrap — but that’s why they call it an ideology.  Sternberg says that an early proponent was Hugo Chavez. Yes, that Hugo Chavez. It all is, of course, a kind of neo-communism, or as an essay yesterday in American Greatness  brilliantly called it “Americanism vs. Marxist-Lennonism” derived from John Lennon’s “Imagine”

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace…

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man.

The trouble, of course, is human nature. They always find it abhorrent and want to fix it, without the slightest understanding that it is immutable and can never, never be “fixed.” That’s when all the purification dies and they get all totalitarian.




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