American Elephants


Good News is Just Not Welcome in Some Places by The Elephant's Child

Investor’s Business Daily said on Friday “You have to look really hard at the May employment data to find anything even remotely resembling bad news about the economy. At some point, maybe the mainstream media will notice something’s changed dramatically, and for the better.”

Businesses added 223,000 jobs for the month, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.8% — its lowest rate since April 2000 and matching the lowest rate ever, first set in 1969, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected on average a 190,000 gain in jobs. And job gains in March and April were revised up by 15,000, so the number is even stronger than it looks.

Further cementing the idea of surprising strength, most economists now say that a mid-June hike in interest rates by the Federal Reserve is baked in the cake. When the Fed worries about too much good news, you know the economy’s strong.

But it’s even better than that, because minority employment right now is also booming. The unemployment rate for African-Americans fell to 5.9% in May from 6.6% in April. The May number is the lowest unemployment rate for African-Americans ever. Moreover, the 2.4 percentage point gap between the overall unemployment rate and the African-American rate is also the smallest since modern record-keeping of jobs and employment began in 1973.

Tyler Durden reported at Zero Hedge that Nancy Pelosi seemed to have reached “peak cognitive dissonance” this morning. He adds some dandy graphs if you like your facts illustrated.

In a prepared statement Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi panned the “strong” jobs numbers as bad for the middle class. She explained that::

May’s jobs report shows that strong employment numbers mean little to the families hit with soaring new costs under the Republican’s watch.

and she whined that:

…the President’s reckless policies are exploding gas prices, wiping out the few meager gains that some families should have received from the GOP tax scam, as wages remain stagnant.

Odd, because in fact wage growth is near its best (admittedly slow) since June 2009. Gas prices are up but just back to 2014 levels, well below the levels during President Obama’s reign and well in line with the average price at the pump during Obama;s entire 8 years. Then Pelosi summed up with what the Democrats plan is:

Democrats know that the American people deserve A Better Deal, with Better Jobs, Better Wages and a Better Future. 

We are committed to creating millions of new good-paying jobs and raising wages, lowering the soaring cost of living for families and giving every American the tools to succeed in the 21st Century economy.  Democrats will never stop fighting for the hard-working middle class families who are the backbone of our nation.

This is simply another example of the fact that the Democrats believe that the voters are stupid, and will fall for their propaganda every time. People just don’t pay that much attention to things, and are easily influenced by Democrats’ messages of caring and feelings.

I don’t think so. I think maybe that was one of the messages of the 2016 election. They’re not buying it.

 

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I’m Not Funny! But Neither Are Most of Our Comedians. by The Elephant's Child

We have certainly had a plethora of people persecuted for something they said in this profoundly politically correct period. (after ‘plethora’ I couldn’t resist all the other p-words) People keep losing their jobs or their careers after saying the wrong thing. This is also a very political period. Democrats have chosen to refuse to accept the results of the last election because they don’t like President Trump. They call themselves “the Resistance” and we call them victims of “the Trump Derangement Syndrome.” So it is somewhat understandable that those who identify as “comedians” fail to understand what comedy is all about.

If you have whole groups of people seething with rage, an especially strong insult can provoke cheers and applause, but it may not go down so well with those who are not seething. There are a lot of what you might call under-stories here as well. When you are consumed with hate, however illogical, the normal societal barriers are shoved aside and a presumed “comedienne”can assume that a mock, bloody, severed head of the President of the United States will be funny. Another presumed “comedienne” can think that calling the president’s daughter a vulgar word for spurious reasons will be funny. Kathy Griffin was just wrong. In an era when terrorists are decapitating victims on camera, one should assume that it would not go over well. Her career may be over. Samantha Bee went off on misunderstood fake news —The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today all had to issue formal corrections to their reporting on immigration. They falsely claimed that President Trump had enacted a policy to separate illegal border-crossing parents from their children at the U.S. Mexico border. The New York Times wrote:

Correction: An earlier version of this column mischaracterized the legal status of 1,475 undocumented migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents. Those children were placed in the custody of sponsors screened by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They are no longer in federal custody.

USA Today’s correction read:

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this column mischaracterized the legal status of 1,475 undocumented migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents. Those children were placed in the custody of sponsors screened by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They are no longer in federal custody.

The media also got all confused when someone found a picture of illegal immigrant children in locked cages with their bedding, and that went viral, as they thought they really had something real on Trump — and then the picture turned out to be from the Obama administration, and not Trump’s responsibility at all. So if a comedienne gets all confused and calls the president’s daughter a vulgar word because the comedienne didn’t bother to check her information and just wanted to say something nasty about Ivanka Trump, it’s just an accident, isn’t it?

We seem to have entered a period when the people who are trying to make a go of a career in “comedy” have no real understanding of what comedy is, and what makes something funny.

I am not funny. I have never been funny. I laugh at someone else’s joke and then can’t remember what the punch line was when I try to tell it. Mildly amusing I can sometimes handle, but seldom.

But I do understand some things about comedy. Only the rare comedian can be funny with insults. Don Rickles was so good at it, that people misconstrued his humor. His insults were never designed to hurt, and his audience knew that. You can make a joke about someone’s fondness for Big Macs, done the right way, but you can’t successfully make a joke by calling them a fat pig. Self-deprecating humor can be really funny, Attacks not.

It is hard to be funny. You walk a very narrow line between joke and insult. Don Rickles’ insults were carefully planned to be funny and not insulting. Jack Benny invented a whole character so he could make fun of himself  as stingy and mean. We have all sorts of late night comics who try to be amusing about the news of the day, but they seldom manage it. Roseanne Barr made a racist tweet and had her show cancelled. The insults were unacceptable, and Ms. Barr has a history of mouthing off. But the executives at ABC and Disney decided early in the day to pull the plug on Roseanne. It seemed to be supporting Donald Trump, and that would not do.

Race is one of the under stories. Democrats are extremely dependent on the votes of Blacks and Hispanics, and have been ramping up racial prejudice at every opportunity. How many times have you heard Republicans accused of racial prejudice? And the President and his administration. When they are not being called Nazis, which as the president has moved the US. embassy to Jerusalem and has a Jewish son in law and daughter and their children, gets a little absurd.

Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas and other prominent Blacks are regularly called Uncle Toms simply because they are Republicans. Democrats want to make it clear that they are the party of color and ethnicity because they can’t afford to lose those votes. They get the votes by giving presents — welfare, housing, food stamps, free phones, all the presents that make people dependent on government. It’s always possible to buy votes. And somehow the help to escape dependency never arrives. That, by the way, is why Democrats want sanctuary cities and open borders. New immigrants mostly vote Democrat, or can be bribed to do so. The Border Patrol has kept track of all the illegal immigrants who confess to having voted several times. There are a lot of them.

The comedy focus, of course, is on the rude words. The ones uttered by good Democrats are excusable, and vanish down the memory hole. Joy Reid has a long history of “hateful” blog posts attacking John McCain, praise for Iran’s former president, anti-Semitic comments which were quickly absolved by MSNBC. And so it goes. Would-be comedians need to study up on comedy. They’re missing the point.

Then there’s the matter of “free speech” which is also deeply misunderstood. Free speech does not mean that you can say whatever you want with no consequences. The First Amendment says quite specifically that “Congress shall make no law,”  It is entirely about protecting the individual from acts of Congress. Which is especially interesting in the light of the case in Britain of Tommy Robinson.

Tommy Robinson was a reporter and activist concerned especially with Islamic “grooming gangs” who were raping young girls. He was reporting outside a London courtroom where a trial was going on of just such a gang. He was arrested,  promptly convicted and sent to prison for 15 years because he dared to say out loud things that society did not want mentioned. It was, in the judge’s mind, “racism.” Is that something catching from America’s news which appears prominently in English papers? The judge put a block on anyone mentioning the trial, Islam, Tommy Robinson, or what it was all about. The British are protesting, and they learn about the case from the discussion in our news media and that of other countries in the Anglosphere. Americans are shocked and disbelieving.

Our ideas about free speech, about what’s funny, about what can be public knowledge are all  under attack, and attempted to be changed irrevocably, so that the goals of another political party can triumph as they assume is their due.

Addendum: Kathy Griffin popped up today to defend Samantha Bee, which only proves that the poor thing does not understand what she did. Everyone she knows thinks Trump is a terrible president and a terrible person, Nazi, dictator, etc. There’s nothing wrong with Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump the C word because nobody she knows likes Ivanka Trump either.

Let me spell it out. When someone threatens the life of the President of the United States, the Secret Service descends and they are taken into custody. Your cute little beheading “joke” was a threat and an incitement to have someone do harm to the President. You could be in prison for a significant term. Tommy Robinson has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Britain, for far less.

Fortunately the authorities recognized that you were too dumb to recognize what you had done. Samantha Bee decided that because Ivanka Trump is the daughter of the President, it’s fine to attack her with vulgarity although Ivanka has done nothing whatsoever to deserve such an attack. You both demonstrated a profound lack of understanding what comedy is. That career is probably over, but thanks to President Trump, unemployment is back to the level it was in 2000 and equals the lowest rate ever, set in 1969. You’ll probably be able to find something.



Victor Davis Hanson: Germany and the Unwinnable WWII by The Elephant's Child

I have no idea how many books have been written on World War II. Many of them important, but Victor Davis Hanson has explained it. I gave my oldest son, who is really interested in the war, and has toured the battlefields in Europe,The Second World Wars for Christmas. He usually mutters about the somewhat conservative books I give him, but he made a special point of thanking me for it. He said it has made it all make sense, and he loved the book. So there are glimmerings of hope.

If you have not yet ordered the book, you’ll be glad that you did. The preface explains the title, and why Victor Davis Hanson was the correct one to tell that story. Memorial Day would be a good time to indulge.



Do You Remember America’s Second War of Independence? by The Elephant's Child



A High School Learns a Lesson in Fresno by The Elephant's Child

It was at a high school championship game in Fresno. The announcer said “There will be no anthem. Let’s just play softball” The crowd started booing. Then they stood up and started singing. We’ve heard better singing, but seldom so proudly.

The athletic director said they would play the anthem before all games.



The Left’s Real Vision, Exposed. by The Elephant's Child

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Events in the world continue to astound. Starving, desperate Venezuela is supposedly so pleased with Nicholas Maduro that they have elected him to another term as president dictator, so they can starve longer. In Turkey, Recip Erdogan has apparently decided to be a dictator. And China’s President Xi Jinping also serves as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and the Communist Party has decided to allow him to reign indefinitely, instead of the two terms he originally planned on.

So perhaps it should not be surprising that New York magazine would carry an article titled “America’s Version of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democracy” by someone named Eric Levitz. You really need to read the whole thing to grasp just where leftist minds are wandering.

American democracy is unwell; on this much, President Trump’s detractors can agree.

But when they turn to the tasks of identifying our republic’s symptoms, naming its illness, and writing a prescription, different factions of “the resistance” produce divergent diagnoses.

One group — comprised of comparative politics scholars, liberal pundits, and NeverTrump conservatives — have their eyes fixed on Donald Trump. They see the moral cowardice of a Republican elite that declined to deny an illiberal demagogue their nomination, or to abandon him in the general election, or to let the investigation into his campaign proceed unimpeded. They observe a president who relentlessly assails the independence of federal law enforcement,veracity of official election results and a conservative base that takes his lies to be self-evident. And, pulsing beneath it all, they discern the rise of a hyperpartisanship that’s leading each party’s elected officials to eviscerate informal constraints on their authority — and each party’s voters, to believe that the other side has no legitimate claim to power.

It’s quite clear that when he writes about ‘capitalism’ and ‘democracy’ he is not writing about anything familiar to us.  Capitalism is to do with corporations which are evil, I won’t even attempt to explain his delusions, you’ll have to read it for yourself. But it becomes clearer just why it often seems like we are speaking different languages. We are.

A reader reminded me of a post from 2014 that seems appropriate, titled “The Ultimate Global Antipoverty Program”

Extreme poverty in the world fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990.  The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world. An 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years.

The World Bank reported on Oct. 9 that the share of the world population living in extreme poverty had fallen to 15% in 2011 from 36% in 1990. Earlier this year, the International Labor Office reported that the number of workers in the world earning less than $1.25 a day has fallen to 375 million 2013 from 811 million in 1991. …

The reduction in world poverty has attracted little attention because it runs against the narrative pushed by those hostile to capitalism. The Michael Moores of the world portray capitalism as a degrading system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet thanks to growth in the developing world, world-wide income inequality—measured across countries and individual people—is falling, not rising, as Branco Milanovic of City University of New York and other researchers have shown.

So what accounts for that? “It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.

Freedom and opportunity make all the difference. Some people just can’t grasp the idea of freedom, they can only see a world that would be better if only they were in charge.



Collusion Against Trump: A Timeline by The Elephant's Child

Sharyl Attkisson is an investigative journalist who, she says, tries to give you the information others don’t want you to have. She has put together a timeline of the  FBI / CIA Investigation into “Russian Collusion” and the Trump Presidency, which she describes as a “work in progress.” I called it all a “long-running soap opera,” acknowledging that that is far too frivolous a title.

This is very serious stuff. We have had plenty of campaign scandals over the years, but never before one with the intelligence agencies of the United States colluding to investigate the duly elected President of the United States in an effort to find something criminal with which they can charge the president in order to bring about his impeachment and return governmental power to the Democratic Party where it “rightfully” belongs. Her Timeline helps to put all the disparate events and information into an intelligible order that you can get your mind around.

“Collusion against Trump” Timeline

2011

U.S. intel community vastly expands its surveillance authority, giving itself permission to spy on Americans who do nothing more than “mention a foreign target in a single, discrete communication.” Intel officials also begin storing and entering into a searchable database sensitive intelligence on U.S. citizens whose communications are accidentally or “incidentally” captured during surveillance of foreign targets. Prior to this point, such intelligence was supposed to be destroyed to protect the constitutional privacy rights the U.S. citizens. However, it’s required that names U.S. citizens be hidden or “masked” –even inside U.S. intel agencies –to prevent abuse.

2012

July 1, 2012: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton improperly uses unsecured, personal email domain to email President Obama from Russia.

2013

June 2013: FBI interviews U.S. businessman Carter Page, who’s lived and worked in Russia, regarding his ongoing contacts with Russians. Page reportedly tells FBI agents their time would be better spent investigating Boston Marathon bombing (which the FBI’s Andrew McCabe helped lead). Page later claims his remark prompts FBI retaliatory campaign against him. The FBI, under McCabe, will later wiretap Page after Page becomes a Donald Trump campaign adviser.
FBI secretly records suspected Russian industrial spy Evgeny Buryakov. It’s later reported that Page helped FBI build the case.

Sept. 4, 2013: James Comey becomes FBI Director, succeeding Robert Mueller.

For the rest, click here.

Sharyl Atkisson has two books available, the first is Stonewalled: My fight for Truth Against the Forces of Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

The second is The Smear:How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What you Think, and How You Vote.

President Trump has railed against “Fake News” and the media scoffs, but Trump is right. He deserves a lot of credit for his accomplishments and fulfillment of his campaign promises in the wake of a national media that has forgotten it’s role in the government which, they apparently never learned in journalism school, is not to indulge in politics, but to simply try to tell the truth. Instead they have just become the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party.

Prowl around Sharyl Attkisson’s website. You can get her notifications in your email if you choose.




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