American Elephants


No Difference between Capitalism and Communism? by The Elephant's Child

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In Argentina, in a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Town Hall, Obama argued that capitalism and communism are just two competing interests that need to be overcome.

I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works.

And I said this to President Castro in Cuba. I said, look, you’ve made great progress in educating young people. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education — that’s a huge improvement from where it was. Medical care — the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States, despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to health care. That’s a huge achievement. They should be congratulated.

The Cubans do have access, but they have to take their own sheets and towels, and medicine, which they buy out of the $20 a month they are allotted.

But you drive around Havana and you say this economy is not working. It looks like it did in the 1950s. And so you have to be practical in asking yourself how can you achieve the goals of equality and inclusion, but also recognize that the market system produces a lot of wealth and goods and services. And it also gives individuals freedom because they have initiative.

And so you don’t have to be rigid in saying it’s either this or that, you can say — depending on the problem you’re trying to solve, depending on the social issues that you’re trying to address what works. And I think that what you’ll find is that the most successful societies, the most successful economies are ones that are rooted in a market-based system, but also recognize that a market does not work by itself. It has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis, and there has to be inclusion. Otherwise it’s not stable.

What he apparently means is that a market-based system can get along if it is regulated and managed by those with superior knowledge and understanding like himself. We do have a remarkable number of examples of the brutality and terror of communist regimes throughout the world, something approaching 150 million dead, but never mind. Obama added:

And it’s up to you — whether you’re in business or in academia or the nonprofit sector, whatever you’re doing — to create new forms that are adapted to the new conditions that we live in today.

“Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative” indeed.

In the midst of double-digit inflation and a stagnant economy, Argentinians elected the 56-year-old Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri as their new president last November. “One week into office, he had slashed taxes, ripped out capital controls and restored the peso to its natural level. It takes guts, but this blaze of reforms has worked wherever it’s been tried.”

The IMF is forecasting a single tough year in 2016, followed by 7% growth in 2017. Obama’s speech seems oddly out-of-touch.



A Lost Decade of Growth, and How it Got Lost by The Elephant's Child

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A Lost Decade for the American Economy:
James Pethokoukis

“—The American economy hasn’t managed a single year of even 3% growth since 2005. From the end of World War II through 2005, the economy grew at an average annual rate of 3.5%. Three percent growth+ has been what’s normal. “

Welcome to the new normal. The economy hasn’t managed a single year of even 3% growth since 2005. A lost decade, at least by American standards. (We’re not Japan, after all.) The rundown: Real GDP growth for 2015 was 2.4%; 2014: 2.4%; 2013: 2.4%;  2012: 2.4%; 2013: 1.5%; 2012: 2.2%,  2011: 1.6%; 2010: 2.5%; 2009: – 2.8%; 2008: – 0.3%;  2007: 1.8%.

Why Socialism Always Fails: Mark Perry

“Socialism is the Big Lie of the twentieth century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery. …

A pyramid scheme is ultimately unsustainable because it is based on faulty principles. Likewise, collectivism is unsustainable in the long run because it is a flawed theory. Socialism does not work because it is not consistent with fundamental principles of human behavior. The failure of socialism in countries around the world can be  traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores incentives. …

By their failure to foster, promote, and nurture the potential of their people through incentive-enhancing institutions, centrally planned economies deprive the human spirit of full development. Socialism fails because it kills and destroys the human spirit–just ask the people leaving Cuba in homemade rafts and boats [and those waiting in long lines today in Venezuela struggling, and often failing, to buy food].

The temptress of socialism is constantly luring us with the offer: “give up a little of your freedom and I will give you a little more security.” As the experience of this century has demonstrated, the bargain is tempting but never pays off. We end up losing both our freedom and our security.”



Socialism Does Not Work. Not Anywhere Nor Any Time. by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama is back from Argentina, where he danced the tango, and announced that there was no difference between capitalism and communism, and his earlier visit to  Cuba, where he  plunged into the prickly issues of civil liberties and free elections — and announced pompously that “I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas”on his last day in Havana, and said “It is time for us to look forward to the future together.” He met with a group of Cuban dissidents, but they were clearly the not very dissidenty kind, since the secret police had put the serious dissidents back in prison.

He received some sharp criticism for a lack of concern for the attacks in Brussels, but said he preferred the reaction of Boston’s quick return to everyday business after the Marathon killings. He did make it back in time for a round of golf on Saturday though.

Nothing has changed in Havana. Cuba remains a prison state where the people live on a $20 a month allowance to buy their food, medical care and whatever else  they need. The old cars and crumbling buildings may look “quaint” to American eyes, but that’s all they have.

Cuba has passed their form of socialism on to Venezuela, in exchange for Venezuelan oil, and it’s all going swimmingly in Venezuela. They stand in line for hours to buy toilet paper. Inflation is well over 700%. Basic goods are unavailable.

Bernie Sanders gets irate when anyone compares his brand of socialism with current events in Venezuela, Bernie insists that he is speaking of Democratic Socialism, like Denmark, where Danes say life is really difficult since you can’t buy much, things are too expensive, and there’s nowhere to go because no one has a car. The Honda Accord, so popular here at roughly $22,000. costs $44,000 in Denmark.

Socialism does not work. It doesn’t work anywhere, nor at any time. Venezuela is on the verge of becoming a failed state. President Nicholas Maduro has called out the army to distribute lower wattage lightbulbs. The oil rich nation is not rich anymore now that the price of oil has dropped so far. The break even price for  Venezuelan oil is estimated to be $151 a barrel, and the current price for Brent crude is around $34. And the country is suffering from a drought, and little water in their hydroelectric dams. Everything imported is scarce, including basic medicines.  When the government asks you not to go to work for five days, to conserve power—you know your country is in trouble.

Maduro replaced Hugo Chavez after he died in 2013. Maduro was Chavez’s chosen successor, though he had no qualifications for the presidency. Typically of the successes of socialism, Hugo Chavez’s second eldest daughter, Maria Gabriella Chavez, is the wealthiest woman in Venezuela who has reportedly stashed away a cool $4,2 billion. Odd that a dictator’s daughter should amass so much wealth? That’s what socialism is all about. The leaders aren’t obligated to suffer along with the people.



The Sunday Funnies by The Elephant's Child

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School Districts are spending millions on ‘white privilege’ training for teachers by The Elephant's Child

17325The Pacific Educational Group (PEG), a San Francisco-based education consulting group’s mission is to improve educational opportunities for black and other minority children. “The company sells the notion that the American education system is unfairly based on traditional white cultural norms (white privilege in schools) to benefit white students to the detriment of  minorities.”

Unfortunately PEG has a working relationship with a number of radical progressive academics who condemn American capitalism and American society in general. They are intent on convincing minority students that the education system, like American society, are biased against them. Rather than motivate students for success, they want to convince them they are victims of an unjust society which requires radical transformation. Comes the revolution?

Eighteen school districts reported paying PEG a combined $1,56 million for consulting on victimology. Some Bargain. Seven districts paid the company in six figures:

    • Lawrence, Kansas – $125,575
    • Osseo, Minnesota – $208,800
    • Bellevue, Washington – $153,600
    • Pittsburgh – $123,324
    • Baltimore County, Maryland – $138,930
    • Corvallis, Oregon – $105,055
    • St. Paul, Minnesota – $369,828

PEG listed 183 districts across the country as clients last year.

Dennis Prager Explained The Fallacy of White Privilege’

There are a host of privileges that dwarf “white privilege.” A huge one is Two-Parent Privilege. If you are raised by a father and mother, you enter adulthood with more privileges than anyone else in American society, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or sex. That’s why the poverty rate among two-parent black families is only 7 percent. Compare that with a 22 percent poverty rate among whites in single-parent homes. Obviously the two-parent home is the decisive “privilege.”

Another “privilege” that dwarfs “white privilege” is Asian privilege. Asian Americans do better than white Americans in school, on IQ tests, on credit scores, and on other positive measures. In fact, according to recent data from the Federal Reserve, Asians are about to surpass whites as the wealthiest group of Americans. Will the Left soon complain about Asian privilege?



The Immoral CEO — Worker Pay Gap, and How It Works by The Elephant's Child

From the Wall Street Journal, February 20, Notable & Quotable Column.

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I Thought Political Correctness Was Simply Annoying, I Didn’t Realize It Was A Major Advance In The Left’s War on American Freedom by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday, I got slapped upside the head, and I want to do the same to you. You’ll have to do a bit of reading and listening, but the current political campaign is missing the point, and we need to understand just what the hell is going on.

I began with an article by Dr. Michael Ledeen, who seems to have an inside track to the administration in Iran, so I always pay attention. His article was titled Idiocy AND Ideology? What Really Drives Obama? That’s about where I was, trying to do some armchair psychoanalysis, trying to grasp why Obama was doing what he was doing. (Read the links and watch the video)

The “ideology” part stuck in my mind because I’d just written about political correctness and Michelle Obama’s speech at a Democratic Convention: She said Barack “spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about ‘The world as it is’ and ‘The world as it should be.’ All of us are driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.” There’s the ideology. But as much as the Left believes in bringing about the world ‘as it should be’— it won’t work. Socialism never works because there is no utopia at the end of fixing the world. We are still ordinary fallible human beings who have trouble getting along and possess all the faults that go along with being human.

Barack Obama really took to his training in the Alinsky method. His trainers said that he was the best student they had ever had, and it all boils down to how to manipulate people into the revolution that will bring about the world as it should be. Utopia—the impossible dream that has captured so many, and has resulted in 700% inflation in Venezuela and no toilet paper. Or for that matter Cuba, with dissidents shot regularly, and all those quaint cars from the 1950s.

Then I came across “The Return of Socialism” by Ben Domenech, who explains where we are right now. The Millennials think Socialism would be dandy, since they have no idea what it is, and really go for the idea of a free college education for all — instead of massive student debt for a college degree that doesn’t seem to be even getting them jobs. They don’t have the background or knowledge to know what Socialism is. Bernie really doesn’t either. He wants us to be like Denmark. But in America  a new Honda Accord costs around $22,000, in Denmark a new Honda Accord costs around $44,000, so most people just don’t have cars.

Next I got another whack to my head from MIT computer genius David Gerlernter: “The Elephant in the Room.” He said that what voters are really angry about is political correctness. I had just written a post on the political correctness of “diversity,” — I’ve been writing about political correctness forever, (more than 72 posts) but I always dismissed it as random stupidity — not a radical war to change the culture.

Who could imagine trying to run the military on “renewable fuels” like wind and solar — because petroleum is politically incorrect — but that is what Obama has ordered the military to do.

The evidence is all there, we’re annoyed, angered, but I’m sure that I’m not the last one that is not putting it all together. But then  I came across this video, from 2012, which I had saved because it is so important—which links it all together. Watch the whole 12 minutes.

There it is: The Frankfurt School at Columbia, where Barack Obama got his undergraduate degree, (the academic records never released). “The Narrative” which is daily attempting to change the way we think and believe. We know the redefinition of words is nonsense, but it is a war on American individual liberty and national freedom infecting every corner of society,  changing American culture right before our eyes, in ways that we do not want it changed! We are at war, and we don’t recognize it.

Marco Rubio spoke out forcefully in New Hampshire about how Obama was trying to transform America. He repeated it three times — forcefully, and meant it. And it’s true. Can’t have that mentioned by a Republican candidate. Marco Rubio was promptly transformed by the leftist media into “a robot,” someone who memorizes his lines and then just mindlessly repeats them. A theme that was repeated in the media endlessly. No. He told an unacceptable truth that directly attacked “The Narrative.” You will be told how to think about that incident. That’s the way it works — you will be bullied into silence.

We have a president who cannot call Islamic terrorism even ‘Islamic’, it becomes ‘violent extremism’. Some agency in the government of Washington state just ruled that all public bathrooms in the state must become open to all sexes. What?

The biggest one, of course, was the Fort Hood massacre when Major Nidal Hasan was clearly observed to be a dangerous jihadist, but nobody could say so because it would be politically incorrect, so 13 people were killed and 32 seriously wounded, not just because Major Hasan could not be called a jihadist because it might offend, but nobody on the Fort Hood military base was allowed to be armed, again because all those weapons might offend. The inability to carry weapons killed a lot of our soldiers in Afghanistan, and at that recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where 4 Marines and 1 sailor were shot, because people might be offended by seeing guns at a military recruiting office.

Our kids are being taught social justice (a nonsense phrase) in high school, they are indoctrinated with the idea that the Earth is endangered (by the natural warming and cooling of the planet). They learn history from Howard Zinn’s little Communist propaganda book that falsely twists everything about American culture into something evil, racist, bigoted, or corrupt.  They cannot write a letter because cursive handwriting is no longer being taught. They are painfully ignorant of history, geography, economics, and professors complain that they are poorly prepared for college, where they will rack up huge student loans to learn about the evils of America, the rape culture, white privilege, women’s studies, more social justice, and the evils of our economic system. Here’s what one business student learned, in business school.

Our founders were well aware of the oppression of a monarch 3,500 miles across the entire Atlantic Ocean, the rights they had as British citizens under the Magna Charta were being denied,and they fought a revolution to be free of it. They devised a form of government that was elected and directed by the people, responsible to the people and left the people free to make of their little country what they would.

It is quite astonishing what a free people and free markets can do. That freedom and those free people are quite frightening to the governments of the world — because allowing such freedom means losing their own power.

Some Americans are hoping the brash huckster from New York will fix what has gone wrong. He has sneered at political correctness, but they misunderstand just who he is. Daniel Greenfield spells it out in To Understand Trump, You Have to Understand New York,” another must read. We tried having a president whose greatest need was to enhance his own ego, and it was painful. Let’s not do that again.

Our culture is being changed right under our noses. We know it’s wrong, that it will lead nowhere, that “The Narrative” is a lie.  Socialism never, never works and has never worked anywhere, yet the Utopian dream lingers. Violent Muslim jihadists are released from Guantanamo to return to the fight because Obama thinks the world believes it to be a place where innocent prisoners are tortured. He believes the Middle East will be more peaceful when the more cosmopolitan Iranians are running the place, and since they care about their families just like we do, they would never actually use nuclear weapons. The world not as it is, they’re fighting for “the world as it should be” but there’s is no utopia at the end of “fixing” the world — just another exercise in futility and ruin for us all. It always ends in misery.




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