American Elephants


President Trump, The Press, The Profession of Journalism, and Sean Spicer. This is Going to be Fun! by The Elephant's Child

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There is a tentative war going on between the press and the new Trump administration. The Washington press corps has been remarkably partisan during the entire campaign season, and they never imagined a Trump presidency.

We have a new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, beginning to set new rules for how White House press conferences are going to go. He didn’t call on the front row first, but gave the first question to the New York Post, seated toward the back. He called early on reporters from the Christian Broadcasting network, Fox, and Univision. He even announced four “Skype seats” for reporters not in the Washington area. This is very scary stuff for the Washington media.

He noted that the  press routinely publish corrections, and said the administration “should be afforded the same opportunity.”

Press behavior during this political campaign left a great deal to be desired. We had reporters publishing unverified leaks, giving their stories to the candidates for approval before publication, warning candidates of upcoming stories. And in one case, the New York Post noted “the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it.” “The shameful display of naked partisanship by the elite media is unlike anything seen in modern America,” wrote Michael Goodwin.

The largest broadcast networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — and major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post have jettisoned all pretense of fair play. Their fierce determination to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has no precedent. By torching its remaining credibility in service of Clinton, the mainstream media’s reputations will likely never recover, nor will the standards. No future producer, editor, reporter or anchor can be expected to meet a test of fairness when that standard has been trashed in such willful and blatant fashion.

“The University of Georgia does an Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates which surveys J-School grads, their habits, salaries and the jobs they take.” They don’t read print media. Just one third had read a newspaper the day before taking the survey. That’s down from 81% in 1994. Three quarters read news off the internet and many watched TV. Almost all went on a social media website the day before taking the survey.

Which draws the automatic query: if they don’t read their own writing, why should they expect us to?

Newspaper ad revenue is way down. Ads are reaching fewer customers. Magazines with which I am familiar are thinner, with fewer ads. But for the most part I only see magazines at the hair salon or the doctor’s office.  Two local bookstores are closing. It’s not that people are reading less, they are reading online. More and more online sources are creating a subscription barrier, and there are more and more ways to avoid that wall. There is so much information available for free, that people are reluctant to pay. I don’t know where this is all going, but everything is fluid and changing.

I don’t know what journalism schools are teaching their students besides social justice, nor what their requirements are, but journalists seem remarkably lacking in the history department, and just general world knowledge—reflecting wide reading. Starting salaries are worse than for most other professions, and there are more and more clumsy errors that are not caught by editors.

Computers are changing the world. Our sources of information are changing. Social media is becoming more important than  we understand. Occupations are changing. We are always slow to understand the changes and how to adapt, and those who do understand and adapt quickly are probably the millionaires and billionaires of the future.

An article by Stefan Kanfer in City Journal last February mourned the decline of Time magazine and the shrinking readership of newspapers and magazines. He wrote:

Contemporary tendencies—from know-nothing reportage to grade inflation—can be corrected. But the blackboard is large, and the erasers grow fewer by the year. When once-formidable newspapers like the New York Times print regular, lengthy columns of misattributions and misinformation, and when a newsmagazine cannot identify the sex of an author, much less his/her significance, Americans can no longer depend on periodicals to set things straight. That job, ironically, has been ceded to the freewheeling and often irresponsible Internet. Thus by default the solution must come, as it did long ago, from diligent instruction—private, parochial, and public. It had better. For as Abraham Lincoln observed, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” (A former Illinois congressman, Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States.)



What Were the Women’s Marches All About? by The Elephant's Child

The Women’s March, or Marches, were certainly the subject of Sunday’s news. Everybody was curious to know just what that was all about? It was clearly a  Far-Leftist screed, far more carefully planned than was understood. But what were they opposing?

The women who were marching were responding to a tape of a “locker-room” conversation that was recorded unbeknownst to Mr. Trump, in which he engaged in a remark about the tendency of women to be attracted to someone rich and famous: “They’ll do anything you want, even letting you grab them by their pussy parts.” That conversation, in 2005, was the entirety that the marchers were responding to. The signage was all about that.

There were some professionally printed signs from various sponsors like the Amplifier Foundation and the 56 “non-partisan” organizations that were listed as “partners” for the march that were funded by George Soros. (Mr, Soros does not fund things directly, he usually hides behind other groups)

Reading more carefully, it becomes clear that the women have no idea what Donald Trump advocates, or what he stands for.They didn’t listen to his inaugural speech and don’t know what he said. They know only that he defeated Hillary and it wasn’t fair because she won the popular vote. They clearly don’t know anything about the Electoral College except that it isn’t fair. What they seem to be interested in is having taxpayers fund their contraceptives and abortions, and preferably their sanitary needs as well. Good grief!

Madonna exclaimed about how angry she was (not about what it was about) and how she had thought about blowing up the White House, although as soon as she heard she would be investigated by the Secret Service, she started backtracking like mad.  As far as I can tell, though I haven’t seen transcripts of all the speeches, there is no one that has any understanding of actual issues at all. Do they have any understanding of why Hillary lost?

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What on earth does that mean? See how clever, she ran ‘each other’ all together. ‘Womanhood indeed.’

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Another. Could any of these messages be any more empty? The women I know are a lot smarter than this. No content, no substance.

Empty posters, purposeless march. But they had a good time. Guys wearing Trump hats had to clean up the mess they left behind.



They Came. They Marched. They Left a Mess. They Accomplished? by The Elephant's Child

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Lots of women (and some men) demonstrated today in Washington D.C. to express their anger that their candidate didn’t win the election. They carried even more of the usual vulgar signs, expressed amazing ignorance of both history and politics, and ranted with the usual Leftist vocabulary that is impressive only in its lack of any originality whatsoever. Let’s see, Nazi, Sexist, Racist, Hate, Hitler, Misogynist, seems to cover the usual. “Stay Out of My Uterus” in slight variations was popular. They were advocating reproductive rights for women, which, oddly, does not include the right to produce children, but only to get rid of unwanted pregnancies. Women who actually do celebrate their reproductive rights by having three or more children are apt to get all sorts of sneering comments.

The protests are remarkably uninformed about the policies that have been advocated by the incoming Trump administration. They are just spouting the same silly claptrap that are a feature of Democrats’ usual accusations in the absence of any actual facts. They clearly did not listen to his speech. Democrats have not behaved this badly since they started a war over their desire to keep buying and selling slaves because their economy was based on their labor. That didn’t turn out well for them then, either.

Donald Trump’s inauguration speech was simple and clear. He meant what he said on the campaign trail.  Eight years of a jobless recovery, an increasingly divided America, 300,000 small business jobs lost, most of the jobs created that Obama bragged about were temporary, means that things have to change. Racist? It’s the black community that has suffered the most from Obama’s policies. In an age of growing numbers of terrorist attacks across the world it would be irresponsible to admit numbers of “Syrian refugees” without being able to learn who they really are. Syrian passports are readily available to anyone with the requisite amount of cash, and there is no way to vet them. Do we have to allow ISIS attacks in this country to make people understand the perils of open borders?

Donald Trump’s inauguration speech was not eloquent, no flowery or grandiloquent phrases,  but plain speech. “Mike Rowe shared an anecdote about the rise and success of his show “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery channel, and how it perfectly explains the way that Donald Trump resonated with hard-working Americans.”

Dirty Jobs didn’t resonate because the host was incredibly charming. It wasn’t a hit because it was gross, or irreverent, or funny, or silly, or smart, or terribly clever. Dirty Jobs succeeded because it was authentic. It spoke directly and candidly to a big chunk of the country that non-fiction networks had been completely ignoring. In a very simple way, Dirty Jobs said ‘Hey – we can see you,’ to millions of regular people who had started to feel invisible. Ultimately, that’s why Dirty Jobs ran for eight seasons. And today, that’s also why Donald Trump is the President of the United States.

Here’s the text of President Trump’s speech: You might want to read it again and see what Mike Rowe meant, and how all those angry women were missing the point. Here’s the Wall Street Journal on the women’s march: “advocating everything from providing unfettered reproductive rights for women, to tackling climate change, to raising the minimum wage.”

Women can get an abortion according to the Supreme Court, settled law. Climate has been changing for millions of years and people have been adapting. Raising the minimum wage is a vicious unemployment program for poor young black men and women. Federal funding for Planned Parenthood could quickly be rendered unnecessary if all these women would just contribute the amount they spent on getting to Washington for the big march, they probably wouldn’t need any government funding. Madonna sang and made an F-word laced speech, and will be investigated by the Secret Service for announcing that she wants to bomb the White House. All very colorful and very pointless.  I suppose it feels really good to be part of what your consider as “a movement.” Manning the barricades as it were. I’ve been really very tired of so-called feminists for a very long time.



Five More Days Of Obama’s Frantic Efforts to Make an Imprint on History by The Elephant's Child

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The Democrats haven’t behaved this badly since they started a war to keep the institution of slavery, which they considered essential to their economy and way of life. It didn’t end well for them that time either.

Democrat hack John Lewis announced that he was not going to attend the inauguration, because Trump was not a legitimate president. A smattering of other Democrats said they also will not attend. Mr. Lewis seems to think that the Russians elected Mr. Trump. A newer villain seems to be the National Enquirer and other newsstand periodicals  which changed the votes of the Deplorables when they saw them as they were checking out their groceries.

Large groups of far-left protesters will try to disrupt and sabotage Donald Trump’s inauguration by creating blockades, destroying public property. A group called #DisruptJ20 is advertising for people to join them in a “bold mobilization.”  They claim” It must be made clear to the whole world that the vast majority of people in the United Stated do not support his presidency or consent to his rule.” They got that one wrong, the majority of votes have nothing to do with anything. Our presidents are elected by the Electoral College, according to the Constitution. Hillary’s slight lead in the popular vote came entirely from California, which is in part why we have an electoral college.

There are groups with names from the past like Occupy and Blocs. There’s a Motorcycle group coming to the aid of Donald Trump. The Metropolitan Police Chief confirmed that security forces would be able to handle it all. It’s really quite embarrassing, and cringe-making.

In the meantime forgetting his promises to make the transition easy and graceful, President Obama is trying to use his executive power to somehow get a real imprint on history. Last week he designated three new national monuments, expanded another two including a school for freed slaves in South Carolina and a forest in the Pacific Northwest. He ended the wet–foot, dry–foot program for escapees from Cuba, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Biden, and announced sanctions against 18 Syrian officials for their role in using chlorine as a chemical weapon in 2014. Many departments of the government have increased hiring in case Trump freezes hiring.

As of January 13, Obama has issued 571 economically significant rules. (To be economically significant actions must have at least $100 million worth of economic impact. He can still do more).

The 1996 Congressional Review Act allows Congress to reverse a rule within 60 legislative days of its enactment, and prohibits agencies from issuing a “substantially similar” rule once it was overturned. So we will see. It is going to be interesting. Mr Obama will stay in Washington DC until Sasha finishes school, and apparently plans to lead the opposition.



Hollywood Goes All Political, Not Exactly Surprising by The Elephant's Child
January 10, 2017, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Entertainment, Humor, Media Bias, Movies, Progressivism, Television

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Meryl Streep was honored at the Golden Globes award ceremony with some sort of lifetime award from the movie industry to which she responded with a lengthy but somewhat incoherent rant against Donald Trump. She seemed to believe that any celebrity who was not born in this country would be subject to deportation under the Trump administration. Nobody, including Mr. Trump, objects to people born in other countries, even Canada and/or Israel. Where did she get that silly idea? There are objections to illegal aliens—that is people who have evaded our laws by entering the country illegally. An alien is someone who’s a citizen of another country and owes allegiance to that country, or people who have illegally overstayed their visas. It’s one of those matters of law.

In his anxiety to create a larger share of Democrat voters in U.S. elections, Mr. Obama has overridden our immigration laws with executive orders, because he assumes that illegals who vote will vote Democratic because they got into this country with his help.

Ms Streep seemed to include reporters, or the press, in her rant, but as far as I know no one has ever suggested deporting reporters. However Ms. Streep gave a plug for the Committee to Protect Journalists. The advocacy director at CPJ said their mission was defending the right of journalists to report the news. (If they would actually do that, they would please everybody). As of yesterday afternoon, the Committee had received about 1.000 donations totaling more than $80,000. How they protect Journalists remains a mystery.

There is no other industry in the entire world that so celebrates itself with award shows, and festivals, and a whole season dedicated to awards they give themselves—from October through February— and each has its own little statuette. The awards for movies are • the Academy Awards • The Golden Globe Awards • the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards (S.A.G.) • the Emmys • the People’s Choice • Hollywood Film Awards • MTV Music Awards •  Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. There are as many or more music awards. There are other awards for each of the categories of film workers, like makeup artists. Then there are the film festivals which number in the thousands, from Cannes and Sundance across almost every country in the world. Even Turkey has about ten. It’s a wonder they have any time to actually make movies.

Ms Streep’s rant concerned movie actors, reporters, and celebrities in general. Celebrities are people who are famous for being well known. It helps a lot if they are young and pretty, but the young isn’t important if they are well-known. Apparently a lot of actors appear at the awards shows to be seen in the Red Carpet photos which show a lot of often unbecoming gowns in various states of undress. If you show enough boobs in an unusual display, you may eventually become “well known.” Here are 148 shots from the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes. Way more interesting than the awards, or aging actresses rants.

ADDENDUM: The Hollywood Reporter reports that the California Legislature has passed a law requiring reporters to omit or remove age or birth date of actors’ profiles on request. They added that it is probably unconstitutional anyway.



“We Will Resist” Intoned Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by The Elephant's Child

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Shocked by the Left’s response to the election of Donald Trump, we have  responded badly, with calls of “poor losers” as if they were mere spoiled children, or spoilsports in a childhood game. This is not a game, these are not children. These are adults who are old enough to know better. They are not innocents demanding their own way simply because they are frustrated, kicking and screaming with clenched fists and red faces. They are the real thing. Tyrants.

Chuck Schumer, the new Senate Minority Leader, made clear in a speech on the Senate floor that he intends to do everything he can to use his 48-seat minority as a bulwark against Donald Trump’s agenda.

Mr. Schumer offered up the possibility of compromise on “issues like infrastructure, trade and closing the carried interest loophole,” though the public-works spending must be “significant, direct spending,” not tax credits. You almost have to admire his Stakhanovite dedication to the tiny carried interest tax provision, though we’re willing to bet Mr. Schumer will find other reasons to oppose a serious tax reform that eliminates it.

But that was it for the olive branches, saying that on most Republican priorities “we will resist.” He laced into Mr. Trump’s appointees as “stacked with billionaires, corporate executives, titans of Wall Street, and those deeply embedded in Washington’s corridors of power.” He did not mention that two of those “titans” hail from Goldman Sachs, source of many donations to Senate Democrats.

The Minority Leader saved his most partisan remarks for MSNBC, aptly enough, where he all but promised to block any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court. “We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don’t appoint someone who’s really good, we’re gonna oppose him tooth and nail,” he said. When the MSNBC host asked if Mr. Schumer would do his best to keep the current vacancy on the High Court open, he responded “absolutely.”

Mr. Schumer’s real objections? Democrats don’t like the Constitution, the envy of the world, preserving our freedom from tyranny. What’s wrong with that splendid document? Democrats don’t like free speech. It allows people to say things that Democrats don’t like. They don’t like religious freedom—they want to do away with religion, and the family, freedom of association. They don’t like freedom of the press because that allows things like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

They most particularly don’t like the right to keep and bear arms. They worked against guns on the basis that it was only for militias, but that didn’t work, and now they are just going for the guns themselves, as if guns were running around and shooting people without any human collaboration. In a government under the tyranny of the Left, I could be put in prison for writing a post like this. Or  killed. It has happened in many previous tyrannies. Cuba. Venezuela. North Korea—Kim Jong Un actually assassinated one of his people with a howitzer. Boom, you’re dead! Then there’s most of the countries in the Middle East, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Pol Pot. There’s a long, long list of governments that want complete control of all the people and no disagreement whatsoever.

They don’t learn from what is happening in the world either. Britain’s National Health Service—deeply admired by democrats—is killing off its old people with neglect, dehydration and lack of attention. You can read about the failures in the British papers regularly. Chicago has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the country and a murder rate higher than New York and Los Angeles put together.

A simple study of the rules of economics demonstrates why raising the minimum wage by government regulation does not help those workers, and acts as an unemployment program for young blacks, but Democrats call Republicans “racist” for opposing the raise—but then that’s just their standard epithet. If repeated often enough, people start to believe it, despite the falsehood.

So why would anyone want to be associated with the Democratic party. Law Professor Glenn Reynolds’ column for USA Today, today, was about “New Status Anxiety fuels Trump Derangement.”

It’s been nearly two months since the election, and Democrats and leftists still haven’t settled down. The campus safe spaces and cry-ins immediately after the votes were counted were bad enough. But the craziness is still going on.

Why are they so upset?  I think it’s because of status anxiety. Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.

What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: “Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins.”

In Chicago,  a vicious hate crime has been whitewashed by the press. President Obama deplored the incident, but remarked that race relations had improved under his administration. Unfortunately, Obama has disagreed with the findings of Grand Juries in case after case, agreeing with the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” falsehood of events in Ferguson, and celebrated #Black Lives Matter, inviting the group to the White House, and confirming the racist nature of each of the events, which were rejected by Grand Juries who painstakingly investigated. Obama did suggest that Black children needed Black fathers in the home. The President seems to be a very good father himself,  But he didn’t follow through with the issue of black fathers, and the responsibility to be there for their kids as much as he might have.

Steven Malanga took on the subject back in July for an excellent article on the problem. Democrats have continued, at White House direction, to fling the epithet “Racism” around, repeating it over and over, even when there is not the slightest evidence. It is not surprising that recent studies show that Black Democrats believe that Donald Trump is racist, and that they will suffer under his presidency.  If Black Democrats were not encouraged to believe that Republicans are racist, they might not vote for the Democratic party. That’s the way it works.



Repealing ObamaCare, and The Problems Involved. by The Elephant's Child

medical_doctorsRepublicans are planning to repeal ObamaCare immediately.
They have a lot of good ideas about how to make a health care program more effective and less costly, like allowing health insurance to be sold across state borders. As it stands, each state has an insurance commissioner who approves or disapproves insurance policies for their particular state, so you get 50 different kinds of regulations.

An increase in competition always makes things cheaper and more efficient, because bad ideas get weeded out because they cannot compete. Freedom to solve problems and the promise of reward for solving them has resulted an an astonishing rise in the standard of living in the whole world.

All sorts of scholars have been working for 8 years to come up with better ideas for doing health insurance. The best idea, however, came from Thomas Sowell, and he stated it very simply:

If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs. in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government run medical system?

The federal government has no business putting a bunch of bureaucrats in charge of American’s healthcare. The federal government has demonstrated over and over that they do not know how to do healthcare, with the VA, with Medicare, with Medicaid, and with the Indian Health Service.We don’t need top-down central planning.

ObamaCare wanted national records of healthcare practices so at  they would have more knowledge about how to make healthcare more efficient.They ordered hospitals to computerize, get rid of the handwritten notes of patient encounters. Medical centers spent enormous sums of money buying computer systems for each office and examining room. The basic idea was totally wasted because the computer systems can’t talk to each other. They were all different setups.

Patients weren’t all that happy about their private health records being available to anybody who could log onto the system. It also meant that doctors were spending their time interacting with computers instead of patients. Doctors hired scribes to take notes on the computer while the doctor actually interacted with the patient. Think about how much all that added to the cost of doing healthcare.

I think it was Medicare that ordered their physicians to limit patient encounters to 7½ minutes. Great way to cut costs, except the encounters are with real human beings with very different reasons for going to the doctor. Stupid.

Bureaucrats decided that the place to cut costs was in what medical professionals were charging for their services. You’ve seen your insurance records, the medical establishment charged $150 for the encounter, the insurance company allowed $47, and you paid half that in your co-pay. So, quite naturally, a good many physicians will not see people on Medicaid, Medicare, or the Indian Health Service, and so far veterans are stuck with the VA. You’re left hunting for someone who will see you, and are they the less accomplished doctors?

Bureaucrats think all doctors are rich, and some of them are. However, they spent a long time studying to be able to get into medical school, after that studying for their specialty, and interning. Most have huge school loans to pay off, and their offices have medical assistants, lab technicians, receptionists, nurses, a respectable office with all sorts of equipment and several examining rooms with all sorts of equipment. Doctors have years and years of training compared to ordinary bureaucrats, and at some point they expect to reach a point where they can live fairly well. Bureaucrats see them as the part of medical care that can be slashed to save money.

It’s not the doctors that cannot be afforded, it’s the bureaucrats. The federal government needs to get out of the business of running health care. They don’t know how to do it, they are no good at it. Turn it over to private enterprise, to find ways to provide care that the country can afford. The Left does not believe in private enterprise, they think competition is a bad thing, they believe that they are the smartest and most able people around, and they cannot understand why a heart surgeon should make more money than they do.

Consider the outcry against Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to HUD because he had no experience in government. That’s a revealing, and typical, Leftist response.

Here’s a post from 2012 about the Oklahoma Surgical Center which would seem to suggest that there are real possibilities out there. I have not followed up to see if it is still as successful.

I am afraid that Republicans in Congress will just devise another government-run program that will have some better ideas, will not solve the problem of escalating costs, and when the Democrats return to power, as they will at some point in the distant future, we’ll do it all over.

Republicans believe in private enterprise, and freedom. When people are free and encouraged to find better ways and rewarded for so doing, miracles happen every day. How did you think Dr, Leonard McCoy got those amazing instruments that he used on the Enterprise?




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