American Elephants


Democrats’ Best Laid Plans Often Go Astray by The Elephant's Child

donaldtrump-sotu

Things are getting a little strange out there. The big deal today was to be the forces of good (Antifa) battling against the forces of evil (the Alt-Right better known as White Supremacy) in a dramatic confrontation. All fine, except that the Alt-Right could only come up with 24 White Supremacists and the whole thing was more or less a flop. The problem, of course, is that Conservatives are not White Supremacists, and the urgent wish of the Left to make those on the Right into racists (which they are not) just doesn’t work.

Abraham Lincoln, who was the first Republican president, freed the slaves, won the Civil War. The Southern Democrats, the party who imported slaves, established slavery as a way of life, to work Southern plantations, and intended to establish slavery throughout  America. Democrats have been trying to live down their connection to the Confederacy ever since, and the latest iteration is the attempt to turn Republicans into White Supremacists and Racists, with no basis in fact. They were sure that electing the first African–American President,  absolved them from any claims of racism.

CNN, stung by President Trump’s calling them “the enemy of the people,” and talking constantly about “fake news”roused up the far-left Boston Globe which in turn, has signed on some 128 establishment news outlets for a coordinated editorial attack against President Trump, scheduled for August 16. Which is the day after the 73rd Anniversary of VJ Day, and the end of World War II. The theory is that on August 16, some 128 strongly worded op-eds will run to attempt to convince readers into believing that criticism of the media is “unacceptable” and should not be allowed.

There’s a small problem though. Record numbers of Americans consider the news media to be “immoral,” “inaccurate,” and “biased”, according to Pew Research. A plurality of Americans, 42 percent, said that the press was “immoral”, 32 percent thought reporters were “not professional” and 31 percent thought they “don’t care about how good a job they do”. A record high of 63 percent thought reporters were “politically biased in their reporting.”

According to the Harvard Harris poll, 65 percent of voters believe there is  a lot of fake news in the mainstream media. That number includes 80% Republicans, 60% Independents and 53 % Democrats. Eighty-four percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.

The American public’s trust in the media in 2016 has fallen to its lowest point since at least 1972, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday. Only 32 percent of Republicans had confidence in the media in 2015, and whose confidence dropped to 14 percent in 2016. Gallup began asking respondents whether they had trust and confidence in the media in 1972. The drop in media trust and confidence was also apparent among both young and old respondents, according to the study. 2016 is the first time in 15 years that confidence in the media among Americans 50 and older fell below 40 percent. Perhaps they might want to postpone their editorial attack on Trump until a point when somebody out there actually believes in the mainstream media.

The New York Times, desperately seeking dirt on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, did a FOIA request for the emails of Brett Kavanaugh’s wife, who is a city official in a Washington suburb, and finding nothing that could create any embarrassment shrugged and said, “We had to try.” (His wife? why?)

Now the folks at Pro-Publica, an explicitly leftist media outlet are asking people to scour their smart phone pictures in case any one caught Brett Kavanaugh at a Washington Nationals baseball game sitting with Lee Harvey Oswald or someone else disreputable.

Shocking. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh accrued as much as $200,000 in debt, buying tickets to Washington Nationals baseball games. Kavanaugh would go to games with a “handful” of friends who reimbursed him for the ticket, and the debts have been paid off. Who did Kavanaugh buy tickets for? How did they reimburse him? Was this properly disclosed? And how was all of this treated for tax purposes? Pro-Publica wants pictures to see who he was sitting with.

There has never been an American President who has been attacked so steadily and so viciously from the moment of his inauguration until today. The press has mostly not managed to cover events and accomplishments  truthfully and without prejudice. Some 128 snarky editorials on Thursday is probably not going to change the minds of Americans.

Advertisements


More Good News Is Coming Our Way! Maybe. by The Elephant's Child

jeff-howell_1914133b

Fabulous news, maybe. The Daily Caller reports that “the Trump administration is preparing to repeal an Obama-era rule effectively outlawing a wide swath of popular lightbulbs, the Washington Post reported Wednesday”

The Department of Energy is ready to scrap a rule broadening the number of lightbulbs that must meet strict energy efficiency standards set to take effect in 2020, according to a document the agency published on its website. The document was later removed from the site, WaPo noted.

Former President Barack Obama’s DOE expanded the class of bulbs covered by a 2007 lightbulb ban to include bug lights, three-way bulbs, “rough service lamps,” and some decorative bulbs, such as globe-shaped bulbs. Obama’s decision came in January 2017 and roped in bulbs that had previously been exempt from the ban.

Obama officials argued the expansion was needed because consumers might use the unregulated bulbs to replace regulated ones. “DOE expects these sales will likely increase since these lamps could be used as replacements for other regulated lamp types,” the law notes. The Trump administration is clamming up about the change.

The administration is clamming up because they don’t discuss rule-making while they are in the middle of making rules, they’ve got enough arguments as it is, and they don’t need the public involved at this stage.

I don’t know about you, but I want my 100-watt incandescent lightbulbs back. The worst current shopping experience of all time is standing in front of the display of lightbulbs at Home Depot and trying to figure out what to buy that will not prove unsatisfactory. Everything seems to take a different kind of lightbulb because everyone is trying to save energy because? They had some nutty idea (actually the big lighting companies wanted to buy cheaper bulbs from China I think) about decreasing carbon emissions. The emissions are carbon dioxide (not carbon which is a solid) which is a benign gas that we exhale every time we breathe. Plants take in the CO² which they use as fertilizer, which is greening the world and releasing oxygen which we breathe. So they had force us to use twisty lightbulbs because global warming, although the science is quite clear.

During 2017, there were 150 graphs from 122 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals indicating modern temperatures are not unprecedented, unusual, or hockey-stick-shaped — nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability.  We are a little over halfway through 2018 and already  108 graphs from 89 scientific papers undermine claims that modern era warming is climatically unusual.

The belief in unprecedented global warming is important to Democrats, because it is their chosen weapon to destroy capitalism, which they don’t like, though it provides them with all the life enhancements they depend on. They refer to conservatives as “Deniers” meaning that we deny that the climate is changing, which is nonsense. The climate is always changing. Europe is currently sweltering under “unprecedented” hot weather, which we normally call “summer” and which will end sometime in late September or early October, which we call “fall.”

The Daily Caller added:”Advocates of the phase-out bans believe the regulations will increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and lead to greater technological innovation.” That summarizes the problem at the lighting aisle in Home Depot fairly well.



An “Oldie” Worth Remembering by The Elephant's Child

As long as I’m doing Constitutions and what people believe, here is an oldie but goodie, with the late Milton Friedman explaining the most basic facts of Capitalism to Phil Donahue, who, of course, doesn’t get it at all. Always worth a refresher on what is important.

I particularly like John Steele Gordon’s  An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power, which beautifully describes how Capitalism and a free people who can act on their ideas and dreams have brought forth a powerful and wealthy nation that is the envy of the world.



What Rights Does the First Amendment Protect? by The Elephant's Child

WeThePeople-1250x650

According to Campus Reform, the Freedom Forum Institute’s annual “State of the First Amendment” survey has found that while 74 percent of Americans say they support the First Amendment, nearly half could not identify a single one of the rights that it protects.

Meanwhile, roughly half of those surveyed said public universities should be able to disinvite “controversial” speakers, such as those who are likely to provoke protests or cause offense to certain groups or individuals.

According to the report, 56 percent of respondents recalled that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, 15 percent mentioned freedom of religion, 13 percent remembered freedom of the press, 12 percent noted the right to assembly, and just 2 percent cited the right to petition.

Meanwhile, nine percent erroneously asserted that the First Amendment protects the right to bear arms, a freedom that is actually guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

In the interests of making sure you all have the facts and if you have kids, making sure they do too, Here is the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The amendment is about what the government may not do, not about what you may or may not do. Doesn’t mean that people cannot insult you or criticize what you say or cast aspersions on your religion. It’s there to protect you from an overreaching government.  Though if the country gets so far gone that Congress is completely ignoring the Constitution, all bets are off.

You might try to memorize it, and have your kids memorize it. It is our greatest protection from tyranny and as long as people know what it says and what it is about, we’ll probably be all right. But the numbers of people without a clue is discouraging.

If you are interested, you can get nice little bound copies of the Constitution, about 3½” x 5″, from the Cato Institute by calling 800-767-1241 (8:30am to 4;30 pm EST) They are inexpensive, but my copy is years old, and prices have probably gone up.  (It also includes the Declaration and a preface about the history)

Nice little gift for new grads or kids leaving for college. The way things are going they probably would not encounter it there.



All About Cultural Appropriation by The Elephant's Child
August 1, 2018, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Freedom, History | Tags: , ,

When did “Cultural Appropriation” become an expletive and a cause for condemnation? I heard about it now and then, but I particularly remember a case in Portland, when two young women visited Puerto Nuevo, Mexico and fell in love with a particular kind of burrito on sale there. They talked to cooks and peered into the windows of kitchens and took what they had learned back home and put their newfound knowledge to work in a taco truck. It was so popular that a local weekly newspaper wrote up a profile of the two entrepreneurs. Two white women, burritos and a taco truck. Cries of “Cultural Appropriation. ” They were accused of stealing and of preying on Mexican women.

The uproar was extensive and the shop closed. If burritos are sold in a Mexican restaurant, it’s fine, and there’s a taco truck that has been operating successfully a few blocks up the street in a gas station lot for months, apparently popular, but not run by two white women. Still you hear of another outcry of “cultural appropriation” every now and then, about all sorts of things—even Halloween costumes

The Columbian Exchange is another of those things that you should have learned about in history class. Beginning with Christopher Columbus, all sorts of things were exchanged between the new world and the old world. Always have been exchanges between peoples. The New World, the Americas, got cattle, sheep, pigs, and horses.  Onions, olives, turnips, coffee beans, peaches and pears, wheat, rice, barley and oats. Also smallpox, influenza, typhus measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

The New World sent back corn, tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, turkeys, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, tobacco, pineapples, beans, vanilla and Cacao, and Syphilis. This is not a complete list.

We have kept on exchanging goods and ideas ever since. Have you seen many films from other countries around the world when nobody is wearing blue jeans?  Cultural Appropriation indeed!

A fascinating book that I recommend highly is 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann.  He followed up with 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Great books.



When Did We Become Americans? by The Elephant's Child

This is a post dredged out of the archives from 2013. Somehow the appearance of Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez on the scene as a candidate for Congress has turned the national conversation to the wonders of socialism, which should be impossible were it not that our educational system seems to be totally failing in the teaching of history.

*************

The word “American” was first used to denote a person of European descent living in British North America only in 1765, but became common after that. Previously people had been citizens of various British colonies.

There was no “United States” at that time. There was a Continental Congress and a Continental Army and Navy. The states had agreed to a basic framework of government in 1781— the Articles of Confederation — to replace the administration of the Second Continental Congress. The power was invested in Congress, members were appointed by state governments  and served at their pleasure. It had no power to tax. Foreign nations noticed that America was essentially powerless and they took advantage of that fact.

John Steele Gordon notes that “it was by no means the least of the lucky breaks that the United States has had in its history was the time at which it came into existence and established its fundamental laws:”

In one of history’s great coincidences, Adam Smith published
The Wealth of Nations in 1776. It destroyed the intellectual underpinnings of the mercantilism on which the economic policies of Western nations had been based for two hundred years.

It showed in example after example, each more powerfully argued than the next, that unfettered trade, both within and without the country, and a government that did not take sides as individuals competed in the marketplace resulted in greater prosperity for all and thus greater power for the country as a whole. Many of the Founding Fathers had read Smith, and all knew the thrust of his arguments.

The United States was new and didn’t have all sorts of long-established monopolies and systems to be dismantled. No entrenched aristocracy, and being new, was open to new ideas. It was easier to adopt the ideas of Adam Smith into its politics and economic system than it was for other Western nations. Just one of the lucky breaks we got at the establishment of the Nation.



Electing a President Who Is Not a Member of the Political Class May be a Very Good Thing! by The Elephant's Child

It’s hard to know what the Left really believes. Nancy Pelosi has announced that as soon as Democrats return to power, they will end all this “tax cuts for the rich” nonsense, and raise taxes. If they can just convince everybody that the tax cuts only went to the very rich and CEOs of big corporations, then they will return to power and have more money to spend. Republican tax-cuts are what is called “supply-side economics”. When you free people up, and let them keep more of their own money, then they have the money to start their own businesses, invest and grow the economy. When the economy is growing,business expands and grows and hires. Works every time. Here are some facts:

President Trump is the “Jobs President” after 8 years of Obama’s failure. The unemployment rate is at a record low. It  hit 3.8% in May, a record low. The unemployment rate of Latinos is at an all-time low. African-American unemployment is also at an all-time low.

A record number of Americans are working full-time. Almost 130 million Americans now have full-time jobs. This is six million more than the previous record.

The number of jobs available is at a record high. Job openings are ranging from 6.6 to 6.8 million between March and May —meaning there are as many jobs out there as unemployed Americans. In many cases, employers are waiving their usual requirements to training or retraining workers themselves. Congress is in the process of passing legislation supporting community college and technical training. A good time for preparing students for high paying jobs and avoiding the mountains of debt that many millennials face. When employers have a hard time finding qualified workers, salaries go up.

President Trump is keeping his commitment to the forgotten blue collar worker and to the older workers in middle America. As a result the economy grew at a robust 4.1 percent in the second quarter.

I often mention that the government has no money of its own. By that, I mean that every promise of “free stuff,” or “free college,”or “free health care, or “guaranteed jobs”or “subsidized housing” is not paid for by the government, which has no money of it’s own, but by you, the taxpayer, with, added on, the cost of a new bureau and a new bunch of bureaucrats to administer the new benefits. But that is not the end of it. We cannot expect the new bureau and the new bureaucrats to administer all this stuff from the nation’s capitol. Each of the fifty states will need a new bureau and a new bunch of bureaucrats to actually disperse all these wonderful new benefits, who also require salaries and pensions and benefits. Which means that the states will need new bureaus and bureaucrats. Unfortunately that is not the end of it, because all the extra taxes use up a lot of the money that was going to new businesses and new ideas., and slowly, the economy responds by slowing down, which means more people out of work and needing help, so the cycle repeats.

A while back when the Democrats were promising “free stuff” Nancy Pelosi informed Americans that now, with all these free benefits, people would be free to follow their dreams and paint and write and play music in all their new free time.




%d bloggers like this: