American Elephants


Keeping the Government’s Hands Off Your Pocketbook! by The Elephant's Child

History Professor Burton Folsom of Hillsdale College explains carefully why government investments usually fail. Professor Folsom has demolished The Myth of the Robber Barons, Explained in New Deal or Raw Deal how FDR’s economic legacy has damaged America, and now with Uncle Sam Can’t Count: A History of Failed Government Investments from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy and in this short video for Prager University, he explains why Big New Ideas are better left to private entrepreneurs.

It’s a matter of incentives. When entrepreneurs invest their own hard earned money, they are careful and thrifty, I have not yet seen a bill for Obama’s investments in Big Ideas like Solyndra, Ivanpah, Solar City, and all the rest, and there’s the high-speed railroad to nowhere supposedly abuilding in California.

There are some lessons here to pay close attention to. Some presidents want to build monuments to themselves, and members of Congress are subject to the same temptations.



How to Talk To Progressive Millennials by The Elephant's Child

This speech by Bill Whittle was the keynote speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2016 West Coast Retreat earlier this month in Palos Verdes, CA. He’s a terrific speaker, and in this case he was talking about talking to the millennials — Progressive millennials.

So his speech became sort of a lesson in how to talk to progressive millennials who have a lot of preconceived notions about conservatives — about some of today’s common issues of disagreement, like Citizens United, and guns, and Socialist paradises and science — that sort of thing. And because he’s a terrific speaker, he does it very well indeed. You can watch, or if you prefer to read the transcript it is here.

I’m inclined to read transcripts myself, because I go back and read some sentences over again when I think something is particularly well said, and there’s a lot of that here.



Economics Can Be Fun, Honest! Lessons for Trump, Clinton and Sanders. by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute is explaining how basic economics is based on fundamental understanding of human nature. I posted this back in 2012, and found it in the archives when one visitor called it to my attention. This clearly demonstrates why Donald Trump doesn’t understand Trade at all, and is up the river without a paddle for his canoe. Ditto Hillary and Bernie.

Economics often seems too complicated for us everyday mortals, but it’s just based on understanding the real world. The workings of the market, the everyday buying and selling, profit and loss, tell us, if we choose to pay attention, how money, trade and markets really work.

Never fear, these are all really, really short, and worth your time.

Economics can be fun, and here’s another lesson: Economics is fun, Part 2. All about Price. How do products get priced, and what is the right price?

Part 3 is about Specialization. This is not about those puzzling charts and graphs,  and how Money, Trade and Markets really work.

Part 4 is about Trade and how countries become rich.

Part 5 is about Time and Investment.

Part 6 of Economics is fun is about Money:

There are more, but so far you have invested around ten minutes. If you want more, go to You Tube and enter “Economics is fun” and start with lesson 7. You are better armored against the  remarkable statements of our politicians on the stump. A little knowledge, as they say, is a dangerous thing. You might try them out on your kids if they are the right age.



And Now For Some Really Good News: Eating chocolate regularly ‘improves brain function’ according to new study! by The Elephant's Child

Chocolate Shavings Background

Chocolate researchers used data from a Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS) in which 968 people between the ages of 23 and 96 were studied and measured for their dietary intake and their cardiovascular risk factors, as well as their cognitive function.

The Journal Appetite reported that although the impact of chocolate on cognitive function is not well understood, few other natural products have been claimed to have as many medicinal benefits as chocolate. It has been used from early times to reduce fever, treat childhood diarrhea, promote strength before sexual conquests, decrease ‘female complaints’, increase breast milk, encourage sleep and clean teeth. Who knew?

More recent interest has been directed to cardiovascular benefits and cognitive function. Chocolate intake was positively associated with cognitive performance, and the association between more frequent weekly chocolate consumption and cognitive performance remained significant. Significant association, not proven dietary fact, but who wants to risk the possibility of a sharper mind?

Did you know that the candy bars that once sold for 5¢ are now going for $1.79? But some stores still have gold foil-wrapped Lindt chocolate Easter bunnies on sale, if you hurry. Lindt chocolate is especially good.



Obama Searches Vainly for a Legacy in Cuba by The Elephant's Child

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Back when President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry and Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz were negotiating the “Iran Deal” we read that President Obama wanted to go to Tehran and shake hands on the deal with the Ayatollah Khamenei. He apparently envisioned himself in the moment when Nixon opened China, or when Reagan went to Moscow — a defining moment of his presidency. That didn’t work out, so President Obama turned his attention to Cuba.

He would “normalize” relations between the U.S. and Cuba. When he traveled to Havana this week, it was, as the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady reported,” an effort to extract concessions, not from Communist Cuba, but from the U.S. Congress. Mr. Obama said, when he first announced that he would normalize relations, that the U.S . embargo—which prohibits foreign direct investment in Cuba by Americans, credit for Cuba from U.S. financial institutions, and Cuban sales of goods to the U.S.—should be lifted.”

The dictatorship loves the idea. But Congress believes that before there are American investments in Cuba the regime ought to pay for the property it stole after the 1959 revolution, and ensure basic human-rights for Cubans. Since Congress still passes the laws in this country, Mr. Obama’s capitalism for the Castros remains uncertain until U.S. lawmakers capitulate.

The spectacle in Cuba, choreographed by the dictatorship is supposed to make Americans comfortable with the idea, and make Congress appear unreasonable. The Cuban regime has offered no concessions whatsoever, and said firmly that they have no intention of changing, but Obama believes that increasing trade will force Cuba to relent.

The president apparently does not understand that any payment for Cuban workers hired by an American company goes, not to the worker, but to the Cuban State, which pays the $15 or $20 a month to the worker, and keeps the rest to enrich the Castros and the Cuban regime. “U.S. hotel chains, for example, will become minority partners with the Cuban military, which owns the tourism industry.”

Obama’s policy has made changes in Cuba, just not what he expected.

Cubans are suffering a wave of terror –involving everything from thousands, upon thousands of arbitrary arrests by KGB-trained secret police to machete attacks by regime-paid mobs against peaceful women dissidents—surpassing anything seen in decades.

Cubans are risking their lives to flee Cuba at a rate unseen for decades.

President Obama made some remarks about ending the last remnants of the Cold War, but seem a little vague about the history. He has crowed about being the first American president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years.

The Castro dictatorship’s alliance with the Soviet Union and the military standoff in 1962 over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles just 90 miles off the U.S. coast might well have ended in WWIII. That was a fairly big deal in history. The visit, and the ‘surrender’ of the American president is a coup for the Communist regime. As with Obama’s Iran Deal, what we get out of Obama’s Cuba Deal remains a mystery. There have been no concessions, and Raul Castro essentially told Obama that human rights in Cuba are none of his business.

But Leftists seem to see only the quaint American automobiles from the 1950s, and the old buildings without understanding why they are old and quaint.



How to Catch the Easter Bunny by The Elephant's Child

I post this every year just before Easter, so you have time to pick up the necessary supplies. Good Luck!

You need some preparations first. The Easter bunny comes in the early morning hours, right at dawn, when the sun is just coming up and the dew is still shining on the grass. You have to find a likely spot which seems as if it might be a bunny path. You will require a standard bushel basket, a long straight stick of kindling, and a good strong straight pin or slender nail. And you will need a nice fresh young carrot with its greens still intact.

You must set up the trap the night before Easter, just when it is about to get dark. Turn the bushel basket upside down, and prop up one side with the stick of kindling. Attach the carrot so it hangs on the front of the stick of kindling. You many have to take the kindling out and attach the carrot with a hammer.  It must be well attached, and yet still look enticing. When the Easter bunny comes hopping along, he will spot the carrot right away. Bunnies cannot resist nice fresh carrots. When he takes a bite of the carrot, the stick of kindling will fall and the basket will land on top of the bunny, and he is captured.

Then he needs only love and care.  Bunnies are particularly fond of carrots, of course, and soda crackers, and rabbit chow, grass and clover.

It always worked for me. You can tell if it is the real Easter bunny because he will have a blue ribbon around his neck.



Sometimes, In His Rush to Scold Us, President Obama Becomes Oblivious to His Own Contributions by The Elephant's Child

Do not read the following if you have just taken a swig of coffee or another beverage:  From David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy at the Washington PostPresident Obama:

“I understand that we’re in the middle of an especially noisy and volatile political season. But at a time when our politics are so polarized; when norms and customs of our political rhetoric seem to be corroding – this is precisely the time we should treat the appointment of a Supreme Court justice with the seriousness it deserves. Because our Supreme Court is supposed to be above politics, not an extension of politics. And it should stay that way.”

David Bernstein wondered if Obama is oblivious to his own contributions to this corrosion particularly with regard to the Supreme Court:

To take one prominent example, President Obama famously attacked the Citizens United case in his State of the Union address in 2010. Many observers were troubled by the president’s lack of decorum in not just taking such a harsh swipe at the Supreme Court—something that no president had done with such vigor for over seventy years—but in doing so with the justices sitting in front of him. The justices were barred by protocol from objecting in any way, and had to sit there quietly like children while the president scolded them. That’s no way, many critics argued, to treat a coequal branch of government. Not only that, but the president claimed that Citizens United “will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.” Justice Samuel Alito, agitated that the president inaccurately suggested that the case allowed foreign corporations to spend money on American elections, mouthed “not true.” Later that year, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod declared outright, and in an outright lie, that beneficiaries of Citizens United such as the “benign-sounding Americans for Prosperity, the American Crossroads Fund” are “front groups for foreign-controlled companies.”

As Josh Blackman points out in an extensive survey:

Very few Presidents have spoken about pending Supreme Court cases after arguments were submitted. Even fewer discussed the merits of the cases. Only a handful could be seen as preemptively faulting the Justices for ruling against the government. President Obama, however, stands alone in his pointed and directed arguments to the Supreme Court [while cases are pending]. He has compared the Court invalidating the individual mandate to Lochnerism. He has chastised the Justices for only being able to invalidate the IRS rule [on subsidies to federal Obamacare exchanges] based on a “contorted reading of the statute.” To the President, the Court “shouldn’t even have” granted certiorari. Striking down the mandate would have been “unprecedented” and invalidating the IRS Rule would “unravel what’s now been woven into the fabric of America.” While we can debate the propriety of these comments, and ponder whether or not they have an effect on the Court, the 44th President has set a new precedent for ex parte arguments.

Bernstein adds : Remember. what ever you do, don’t politicize the Supreme Court.




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