American Elephants


What do College Students Know? by The Elephant's Child

I’m passionate about history. I think it’s imperative for our young people to get a thorough grounding in our history. If we are granting them the privilege of voting, they should know something about our nation and the world. That said, I think most of my own knowledge of history came after I’d graduated from college.

Of course we read reports of kids who can’t find Florida on a map, or who simply have never been taught anything about history. So I shouldn’t be too ready to cast aspersions on ignorant college kids now. If they don’t know anything, it’s not their fault. They have never been taught.

But this video made me cry. If young people know nothing else, they should know what World War II was about, and why it matters. This woman is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. and she is deeply concerned that students are ill-equipped to understand that there is genocide going on  right now. I’m not even Jewish, though I don’t know what that has to do with anything. Five states require specific education about the Holocaust. There should be more. Unfortunately kids are more apt to be taught about “social justice.” A favorite phrase of the Left — meaningless.

There aren’t all that many survivors left, nor many of those who witnessed it. How can you understand the story of the “Force of the Sun Ladies” in the last post if you do not understand the depths to which humans can descend when radicalized by politics, or religion, or simple greed.

We have a presidential election campaign going on, and so far, voters seem determined to nominate those least equipped to deal with the current problems of the world. It’s a very scary world out there, and the current president has, through his own ignorance of history, weakened America, weakened our military, destroyed relations with our most dependable allies, and increased the chances that we will be attacked here at home with great loss of life.

Edmund Burke said “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” back in the 1700s, and it has been repeated over and over. Think of it as a plea to learn from history. Teach your kids at home. If you don’t know your own history — study up.



Politicians Dream and Create Nightmares for Businessmen by The Elephant's Child

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A little history: George McGovern was a Senator from South Dakota. After college, he became a bomber pilot in the Air Force in World War II, then got a PhD in History and became a professor. In 1957 he became a U.S. Congressman, and then a Senator in 1967. He ran a grassroots campaign for the presidency in 1972, and lost in the biggest landslide in history, winning only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. He retired from the Senate in 1981 after a long and distinguished career.

He spent several years on public lectures around the world, for he was an expert in world food problems, and in 1988, invested most of the earnings from the lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut’s Stratford Inn. He had always been fascinated with Inns, hotels and restaurants, and it was “the realization of a lifelong dream to own an Inn with a restaurant and public conference facility, complete with an experienced manager and staff.”

He promptly went bankrupt, and in 1992 he wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal, headed with a quotation from Justice Felix Frankfurter:

Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought
not to reject it merely because it comes late.

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn’s 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

Today we are much closer to a general acknowledgment that government must encourage business to expand and grow. Bill Clinton, Paul Tsongas, Bob Kerrey and others have, I believe, changed the debate of our party. We intuitively know that to create job opportunities we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.

My own business perspective has been limited to that small hotel and restaurant in Stratford, Conn., with an especially difficult lease and a severe recession. But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never have doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: “Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.” It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.

The article was truly notable, for it was a pretty big  admission from a devout liberal that legislators didn’t have a clue about business. “One-size-fits-all” rules ignore the reality of the marketplace, and the thresholds they set for ‘regulatory guidelines’  don’t fit the reality of how business works.

Congressional Democrats may have had a few moments of reconsideration, but they quickly went right back to their comfortable, traditional  way of despising business and businessmen and trying to extract more taxes from the affluent in order to make everything more equal and more “fair.”

Senator McGovern died in 2012 at the age of 90.



A Bill Has Been Introduced In The House Requiring Young Women to Register for the Draft by The Elephant's Child

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Since the Department of Defense has declared women are to have access to all combat roles. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran, and Rep. Ryan Zinke, a retired Navy SEAL commander have introduced a bill in the House to include women in the draft. The act would require women between the ages of 18 and 26 to register for the draft just 90 days after Secretary Ash Carter tells Congress that all military jobs are now open to women who qualify.

Hunter believes that allowing women in all combat roles is irresponsible, especially after the Marine Corps has strenuously  objected  as has the special operations community, and he might even vote against it as it moves through the annual defense operations process.  Rep. Zinke agreed that women can play an invaluable role in war. His daughter was a Navy Diver, and women can gain access to strategic sites that men could not.  But front-line combat positions are dangerous.

There are many roles where women are well suited, but the Administration’s plan to force all front-line combat positions and Special Forces roles to integrate women into their units is dangerous and reckless. The advice from the military comes from the people who have been in combat on the front lines and know what is involved. The Administration is once again substituting political correctness for common sense, and its own unfamiliarity with things military.

At a Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing this week Marine General Robert Neller and Army General Mark Milley both stated that if the restrictions on women in combat positions is lifted, than all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft.



The Attention Is All on Iowa. It Begins. by The Elephant's Child

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Soon the returns from the Iowa Caucuses will be coming in. As someone online remarked today —”the results of the Iowa Caucuses don’t determine the result of the election —  just ask President Santorum.”

It’s a strange year. I forget that there are reporters from all over the world following the candidates and the campaign, not just our own journalists. I was really excited about the campaign at the beginning with such an outstanding bench of Republicans — Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Bobby Jindal who had all been such successful governors. Uh huh. Apparently the media didn’t like successful governors.

I’m increasingly convinced that the media plays far too large a role in our primary campaigns as do probably meaningless polls when most Americans are just beginning to find out who the candidates are. I’m a political junkie, always have been, but I recognize that most people don’t pay much attention until it’s time for an election. I understand that. You come home tired from work, and want nothing so much as to just relax with something good on TV.

In the Saturday Essay at The Wall Street Journal, John O’Sullivan pointed out “two long-term shocks to the American political system, both gradually coming to a boil in recent decades, and in one short-term shock, which has turned up the gas on them to produce today’s bubbling over.”

The first was the end of the Cold War. But didn’t that happen in 1989? Yes, it did, and it began to loosen the discipline that had kept political parties world-wide either anti-Soviet or “peace-minded,” as their primary orientation. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, they have been released to follow their other instincts.

Mr. O’Sullivan suggests that “behind the two-party curtain, America’s social classes have been changing places in politics. Highly educated and very rich people used to lean Republican, they now increasingly vote for Democrats. Working class Americans no longer feel well represented by the Democrats…and have shifted sharply to the GOP.”

I certainly had not thought in those terms, but it seems possible. We have a big chunk of mega rich here — Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Costco, and they are certainly reliable Democrats. I would suggest that the mega rich have done quite well under the Obama regime, but the working class clearly have suffered.  Everybody I know complains about having lost some of their favorite small businesses, and everyone knows someone who has been laid off.

You have probably seen the results: High turnout. Ted Cruz won significantly with 28 percent. Trump, second at 24 percent with Marco Rubio, a very close 23 percent. Martin O’Malley on the Democrat side and Mike Huckabee have suspended their campaigns. Hillary and Bernie Sanders are essentially tied, in a dead heat. A setback for Hillary, who is not qualified to run.  Technically there are 30 Republican delegates and 44 Democratic delegates. (I don’t know!) Ben Carson placed 4th and Rand Paul 5th.

Also pertinent is an article from the Washington Examiner: Confronting the hard truths of America’s civic illiteracy

Recently, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) released a major report: “The Crisis in Civic Education.” ACTA’s curricular survey of over 1,100 colleges and universities shows that only 18 percent of them require students to take a course in U.S. history or government. In secondary education, the results are equally dismal. In 2014, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) revealed through their civics test that one in four high-school seniors did not have “proficient” civic knowledge. Moreover, over one-third of 12th-grade students did not have “basic” knowledge of American civics. The NAEP governing board has since shot the messenger that brings such bad news by eliminating the high school civics test.

To spell it out, fewer “than 20 percent of American college graduates knew what the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation were; nearly half could not identify the correct term lengths of Congress; and almost 10 percent thought…”Judge Judy” served on the Supreme Court.” Apparently the Millennials are very enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders, but have no clue what socialism is. Perhaps it’s the offer of tuition -free college (not going to happen). Bernie is even more unfamiliar with economics than the Millennials. Do read the whole thing.



Recovery From a Recession is Likely Unless Lawmakers Gum it Up With Ill-Conceived Stimulus Policies. by The Elephant's Child

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Obama likes to compare his recession to Franklin Roosevelt’s GREAT Depression under the mistaken belief that the GREAT Depression was long because it was a particularly bad one, and the reason that Obama’ recession has gone on so long is simply because it was an unusually bad one— which is all a bunch of hooey.

FDR’s Great Depression was bad because FDR  had no real idea how to deal with it and attacked it with the idea of constant experimentation with ways to end it. There was the NRA, the WPA, the RFC, the CCC, and the OPA to mention just a few. Two UCLA economists announced back in 2004 that they had figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect thought by all good Progressives to be beyond reproach— Franklin D Roosevelt himself. The Wall Street Journal reminds us in a “Notable and Quotable” column:

After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.” . . .

“The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

What? Non-intervention as policy? Works pretty well. Economies like to recover. Freedom and prosperity go together. Consult Calvin Coolidge.



Obama’s Huge Problem with the “Rules of Engagement” Threatens Our Troops by The Elephant's Child

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Up till now, the U.S. Army could have engaged with ISIS in Afghanistan — only if  the group “posed a threat to the U.S.” which meant they had to be designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department. Obama has changed the rules of engagement so they can now pursue ISIS-K  (ISIS-Khorasan) in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a terrorist organization.

The designation of the group as a “terrorist organization” means the US also prohibits any cooperation with or supply of material or resources to the group.

ISIS-K was formed a year ago in January by a group of militants who defected from the Tehrik-e Taliban and pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. So Obama’s only a year late in protecting our troops.

“ISIS-K already is believed to be responsible for suicide and small-arms attacks and kidnappings, targeting civilians and Afghan government officials,” CNN reported.

President Obama has had an interesting relationship with the rules of engagement since he became president. The massacre at Fort Hood happened because soldiers on the base were forbidden to carry weapons. And that’s only one of the examples.

American planes in Syria, once they have found a significant target, have to radio back to base to get permission to actually bomb it, and then it goes up the chain of command who decide if there is any risk of killing civilians, so most of the missions reportedly return to base with bombs intact. And it was recently reported that bombing missions had to drop leaflets telling civilians on the ground to run away because we were going to drop bombs on those oil trucks.

In the first four years of the Obama administration — 3 times as many Americans were killed in Afghanistan as in the 8 years of George W. Bush’s conduct of the war — and there was no prospect of victory.

Under Obama, there were 8,000 Islamic terrorist attacks on infidels across the globe — a 25% increase over the period when fighting in Iraq was at its peak. The administration dropped the designation “War on Terror” and replaced it with “overseas contingency operations.” Any student of language could tell you things about that wording.

Obama has a peculiar relationship with national security. I have always suspected that he never saw a war movie, unless it was an anti-war film, never studied the history of the United States and never read a military history. He goes to great lengths to make a show of protecting civilians, but blithely orders drone attacks on gatherings of terrorist  wedding parties or  family gatherings. He really likes Special Forces because they added the death of bin-Laden to his legacy. But he demonstrates his unfamiliarity with things military when he says things like ‘corpse man’ and gets his grandfather’s service in Patton’s Army all confused.

Leaving our troops on the battlefield without the ability to shoot back is simply unconscionable. His reported daily briefings in 3 short paragraphs with 3 choices of action don’t allow for much discussion of pros and cons or alternatives.

Obama ran for the presidency using the Iraq War and George W, Bush as a foil. Public support for the war had begun to decline, and there was a specific unrecognized reason for that. And there was the same reason behind Obama’s attempt to blame every criticism of his actions on George W. Bush.

(h/t: weasel zippers)



Democrats Voted for The Iraq War, Changed Their Minds When Combat Ended, Launched a 5 year Propaganda Effort to Discredit Bush by The Elephant's Child

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Reposted from June 2015: Did you wonder why Obama pulled Out of Iraq Abruptly And Caused the Rise of ISIS?

I usually have the radio on in the daytime, because I can listen and get other stuff done. This morning I was startled by a caller who said: “I’m 22, and the people my age would never vote for a Bush because of the stigma attached to his name.” He added something to the effect that he didn’t dislike President Bush personally, it was the stigma. Stigma.

Liberals were as shocked and horrified as everyone else at the events on 9/11, the first attack on America since Pearl Harbor.  The 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, (before 9/11) under Clinton, calling for regime change in Iraq, and supporting a transition to democracy passed the House 360-38 and unanimously in the Senate. Under the Bush administration, and after 9/11, there was a 1991 Resolution for the Use of Military Force against Iraq which passed the Democrat-controlled Senate 52-47 and the House 250-183. That was followed by the 1992 Iraq War Resolution that authorized military force against Iraq which also passed Congress with significant margins.

The invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003, Baghdad fell on April 10, Coalition forces moved into Baghdad ending the 24 year reign of Saddam Hussein. On May 1, President George W. Bush declared major combat operations in Iraq over.

That month the Democratic Party launched a national campaign against America’s commander in chief, claiming that he had lied to the American people to lure them into a war that was “unnecessary,” “immoral, and “illegal.”

Until that moment, the conflict in Iraq had been supported by both parties and was regarded by both as a strategic necessity in the war launched by Islamic terrorists on 9/11. Saddam Hussein had launched two aggressive wars in the Middle East, murdered three hundred thousand Iraqis, used chemical weapons on his own citizens, and put in place a nuclear weapons program, thwarted only by his defeat in the 1991 Gulf War. Over the next decade, his regime defied sixteen United Nations Security Council resolutions attempting to enforce the Gulf War truce and stop him from pursuing weapons of mass destruction. In September 2002, the Security Council added a seventeenth  resolution, which gave Saddam until December 7 to comply with its terms or face consequences. When Iraq failed to comply, Bush made the only decision compatible with the preservation of international law and the security of the United States by launching a preemptive invasion to remove the regime. Two days prior to the invasion, the Iraqi dictator was given the option of leaving the country and averting the war.

In June 2003, just three months after the fighting began, the Democrats turned against the war and launched  a five-year campaign to delegitimize it, casting America and its Republican leaders as the villains. This betrayal of the nation and its troops on the battlefield was unprecedented. Major press institutions following the Democrats’ lead conducted a propaganda campaign against the war, blowing up minor incidents like the misbehavior of guards at the Abu Ghraib prison to international scandals, which damaged America’s prestige and weakened its morale. The New York Times and the Washington Post leaked classified documents, destroying three major national security programs designed to protect Americans from terrorist attack. Every day of the war, there was front-page coverage of America’s body counts in Iraq and Afghanistan designed to sap America’s will to fight.  (David Horowitz: Take No Prisoners)

There’s your “stigma.”

Did you read the newspaper accounts of the doubling of the death toll in the war in Afghanistan under Barack Obama? Thought not. “Bush lied, People died,” was the chant. Propaganda designed to discredit the American president, who they were still furious with  for defeating Al Gore, illegally, they were sure. A five year long propaganda campaign to be sure Bush got no credit. The ends justify whatever means you have to use. Americans are inclined to like Presidents who win wars. Can’t have that. Remember Bill Clinton complaining because he didn’t get to be a wartime president?




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