American Elephants


The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West. by The Elephant's Child

From The Devil’s Pleasure Palace by Michael Walsh.
“The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West”

Dissent, they say, is the highest form of patriotism.

As for “the highest form of patriotism,” all that ever meant was that the Left did not wish to have its patriotism questioned while it was busily going about the process of undermining the existing order (in order to create a better one of course). Not only was its patriotism questionable, it was nonexistent. The patriotism the ’60’s radicals praised was not the patriotism of the past (now dismissed as “jingoism”) but the patriotism of the America of the Future, the new State that would come into being once the old one had been destroyed and replaced with the Brave New World they were cooking up in poly-sci test tubes on campuses across the country.

Any leftist will tell you, usually indirectly as he may not admit it to himself, that he does not admire the world as it is but esteems the world as he wishes it to be. That few agree with leftists when this proposition is so bluntly stated simply means they must conceal it for the time being, until it can be forced on an unwilling but sullen public. They see themselves as inheritors of a noble tradition, perhaps best summed up by the composer Gustav Mahler when he declared, “My time will yet come.” They look to the judgment of posterity, not history. The very fact of being against something—it doesn’t matter much what—contributes to their sense of moral superiority, without which they are nothing.

This last is crucial to the understanding of the Unholy Left: that they consider themselves, like the Puritans they otherwise execrate, the party of the Elect, the Blessed. Likewise, they consider resistant conservatives—those who like things more or less the way they are, who trust the judgments of their ancestors and honor their wisdom and experience—to be the Damned who must be brought into the Light—that is to say, into the Darkness.

In her convention speech, Michelle Obama said:”Barack stood up that day, talking about a visit to Chicago neighborhoods, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. … 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.”

One would think that with the prominent examples of Cuba and Venezuela the idea of Socialism should be thoroughly discredited, but even starvation doesn’t sway the morally superior minds of the Left. They just didn’t do it right.

I like this quotation from Holman Jenkins:
‘It turns out government cannot spare us from having to adapt
and compete in an economy.’

 



The Danger of the “Black Lives Matter” Movement. by The Elephant's Child

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From City Journal “No Equivalence” by Bob McManus, July 8 2016.

Much remains to be learned about the why and the how of Thursday night’s massacre in Dallas, but there is scant mystery about the what: at least 11 police officers were calmly marked for execution for no other reason than that they were cops. When the firing was over, five lay dead and the remainder wounded—some gravely.

To the untrained eye, the attack appears to have been well-planned and carried out with precision. In this respect, it was fundamentally different than the events that brought hundreds of demonstrators to downtown Dallas Thursday—the police-custody deaths of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St. Paul, Minnesota, in a welter of chaos, confusion, and conflicting claims of guilt, innocence, and intent.

Baton Rouge and St. Paul, like so many of the similarly tragic police-custody deaths that preceded them, may have been the product of circumstance, or of incompetence, or maybe they were even crimes. Each must be examined in context and judged accordingly. But Dallas was cold-blooded murder—nothing more, nothing less. Attempts to assign equivalence to the horror of it—to suggest, as some are doing on social media, that Dallas is somehow just deserts for Baton Rouge or St. Paul or Baltimore or Ferguson, or even for Eric Garner’s death on Staten Island two long years ago—is morally repugnant.

Nor can this be blamed on guns. Guns are inanimate objects and don’t go around shooting people. It is the shooter who is the problem, not the gun. So far in 2016, 34 police officers have been murdered in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, most by gunfire and others by vehicular assault. Many more have been wounded.

When officers are killed in the line of duty, other officers on patrol become more cautious. It’s only natural, they have families and want to go home at night.

For the media, America is in the grip of an orgy of crime, and wanton murder. These wanton murderers are wearing blue uniforms and police badges. It makes for exciting bylines and good copy. But it’s not true.

White policemen shooting unarmed black men accounted for less than 4 percent of fatal police shooting. In three quarters of  shooting incidents, cops were either under attack themselves or defending civilians, as the policemen in Dallas were doing — trying to protect civilian demonstrators.

According to the Department of Justice, blacks represent 12.6 percent of the population, but committed 52.5 percent of the murders in America from 1980 to 2008. This is not to say that there are not bad cops and killings that call for investigation and jury trials. The worst neighborhoods in Chicago, where gangs run wild, have a higher murder rate than world murder capitals like Honduras. (116.7 per 100,000 compared to 90.4 per 100,000).

Barack Obama has encouraged racial animus from the beginning in an effort to secure the black vote for Democrats. It’s what he did as a community organizer. That he wanted to assure black votes is not arguable; that he wanted to stoke black fears of racist police is unknown, though that is what has happened.

Black Lives Matter was launched in 2013 with a Twitter hashtag after neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin. It was founded by radical Left activists, and has gone on to stir up resentment against “the system”  on college campuses across the country, responding to phony “hate” crimes, and increase demands for revolution and racial separation. Another outgrowth of communist/socialist agitation.

Heather MacDonald has been one of the most important voices in explaining American policing and the current attack on law and order. I would urge you to read her whole piece, from Imprimis.



The Media Shreds Hillary Clinton After the FBI Report On Her Email Conduct by The Elephant's Child



Obama is Dismantling Medicare by The Elephant's Child

Modern medicine has been a blessing for seniors. Before Medicare, old folks ended up in nursing homes or in wheelchairs with crippling illnesses. Now more seniors are able to get hip and knee replacements, cataract operations and heart procedures to spare them some of the worst parts of aging. And they are living longer. The American Journal of Public Health reported that a man turning 65 can expect to live 5 years longer than he would have in 1970.

The Obama administration has, as usual with the left, included lots of unnecessary goodies in order to get people to sign up with ObamaCare and Medicare. And with Medicare, they carefully eliminated many of the features that controlled costs and encouraged older folks to use it more carefully.  The so-called “donut hole” was designed as an incentive for seniors to use cheaper generic drugs instead of name-brands when they were equivalent.  It worked very successfully. Obama eliminated that.

Medicare has always faced the problem of the sheer numbers of retiring baby boomers, which has meant trouble for Medicare finances. Under the guise of “reform,” President Obama is dooming seniors to disability, needless pain and shortening their lives.

Hillary, economically clueless, is proposing to open Medicare to people in their 50s, so younger, healthier people would be competing with seniors for resources. Brilliant.

Obama, under the pretense of “reform,” is issuing a 962 page of new Medicare regulations. The reforms will make it harder for seniors to get joint replacements. New payment rules will shortchange doctors, discouraging them from accepting Medicare in the first place — which is already a problem. Hospitals will get bonuses for spending less on each senior patient, despite having higher death and infection rates. Seeing Medicare patients will be a money loser.

Because of new regulations on how doctors treat patients (the feds know better than the doctors) doctors spend time completing reports for the government. They spend their time with the patient glued to a computer screen instead of interacting with patients.

“Doctors who want to provide individualized care” will have to “either opt out of Medicare or simply not comply,” explains Richard Amerling, past president of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons.

Obama’s rules are “far too complex and burdensome to be workable for most physicians,” warns John Halamka, a Harvard medical professor.

The new rules also make seeing Medicare patients a money loser. Annual fee increases for doctors are capped at a fraction of 1 percent — even though rents and other costs go up every year.

No wonder nine out of 10 solo practitioners admit they’ll avoid Medicare patients — right when 10,000 new baby boomers are joining each day.

Old folks with cancer will be in trouble. Doctors administering chemotherapy are getting a pay cut and told to choose the cheapest drug, regardless of what medication is best for the patient. Seniors needing knee and hip replacements likely to need rehab may have to settle for painkillers instead.

The administration claims the rules reward quality instead of quantity, but that’s a lie. Betsy McCaughey says that five of the hospitals who had the worst scores on patient outcomes — who get more infections and die sooner from heart problems and pneumonia than at other hospitals — have all gotten bonuses from Medicare because they are low spenders.

Remember the 2012 campaign when Obama accused Republicans or plotting to “end Medicare as we know it” and a video depicted a Republican pushing Granny’s wheelchair off a cliff?  Nasty and false claims, but now the Democrats are pushing America’s seniors off a cliff indeed.

Obama has made several remarks indicating that medical care is more important  for the young, who have more years ahead of them, than having expense wasted on the old, who could depend on pain killers instead. It would be a lot less offensive if he were not at the same time wanting to insure the votes of young women by promising free contraceptives to all, although they cost so little  few would have a hard time paying.

In a free competitive market, competition brings prices down, and the promise of profit makes people have new ideas, and take the risk to make them work. The Left despises the free market, and wants ever more control. They believe that they have the best ideas and they just need to be put to work. And if they aren’t working, new and more regulation will fix things. It’s a war of Individualism versus Collectivism — or Freedom versus Socialism. Perhaps you have noticed that they are starving in Venezuela and being killed in food riots. And their hospitals have no medicine, no antibiotics and no pain pills either.



The Private Sector Fires Incompetents. The Feds Reward Them! by The Elephant's Child

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It was only a day or two ago that I wrote “The federal government has too many people working for the government, and there isn’t enough work for them to do. Government workers make 78%  more for comparable jobs, according to Cato. They call themselves “public servants,” but they don’t mean it. When they start to think of the U.S. Constitution as an impediment rather than a guarantee that the government belongs to the people and the public servants are there to work for us, not the other way around, we’re in trouble. So here we are.”

Federal workers make on average nearly twice as much as those in the private sector, but government employee unions want a pay increase more than three times larger than President Barack Obama proposed.
The American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, American Postal Workers’ Union and 20 other unions representing federal workers sent a letter to Congress seeking a 5.3 percent pay hike next year. President Obama proposed a 1.6 percent raise.

How about a 10% pay cut to bring them more into line with the rest of the country?  If you include benefits, the average federal employee earns about $119,000 annually, including salary and benefits compared to the private sector average of $67,000. (an October 2015 study by the Cato Institute) If you add in health care and pensions, it’s even a bigger gap.

federal-worker-pay-2

All the workers in the federal government are, according to the federal government — above average. This rating of worker performance is clearly absurd, as anyone who has ever had contact with a federal bureaucrat can attest. But a review of federal worker performance ratings by the GAO found that 99.5% of them got a “fully successful” rating or above. More than a third were given the highest rating of “outstanding.” At the other end of the ratings only 0.4% were rated as “minimally successful” and 0.1% as “unacceptable.”

Don’t everybody rush to get a government job at once. These “fully successful” workers “blew $2 billion on a botch Healthcare.gov website, made more than $100 billion in overpayments to go to government beneficiaries, run the TSA, fired veterans unto deadly wait lists for care, allowed their databases to be hacked, spent over 10 years and $1 billion trying to digitize 100 immigration forms only to get just one done.” And the list goes on — and on.

It is not just hard to fire a federal employee, but nearly impossible to rate them as anything less than “fully successful.” A manager who does must spend significant time developing performance improvement plans. Workers who don’t get a gold star can and do appeal their ratings by filing a union grievance with the Merit Systems Protection Board. That may be another agency we could do without.

The private sector has a direct financial interest in weeding out bad apples, and accurately assessing worker performance. Those incentives just don’t exist in the government. Failure usually results in bigger budgets and more money.

Republicans talk a lot about reducing the size and scope of the federal government. You haven’t been paying attention. They mean it, but they need encouragement, lots of it, because it is very hard to do. And needs doing very badly.

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We the People of the United States of America — are Pretty Ticked-Off by The Elephant's Child

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—Over at Powerline, John Hinderaker asked rhetorically “Why are Liberals so Hateful?” Good question. James Taranto pulled up a 2010 piece from Charles Krauthammer, to explain why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting. Krauthammer finds a pattern:

— Promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

— Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

— Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

— Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

Taranto says: Krauthammer portrays this as a cynical game: “Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. . . . What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.”

Because their motives are pure, their intellectual superiority and managing expertise entitle them to rule over the rest of us ignorant, backward, stupid, religious nuts, and clinging intolerant bigots.

We daily hear about “the elites” and “the working class”— where do they get that? The “elites” naturally include as the cognitive elite the nation’s reporters, columnists and scribes. Businessmen are not really part of the elite—they are more apt to be included in “Wall Street” or excluded as manufacturers. We do have some wealthy playboys (and girls) but most everybody else supposedly works for a living, yet “the working class” are those who perhaps went to trade school or do those “dirty jobs” that Mike Rowe built into a successful career,( with some very good advice for future members of the employed ranks.) That leaves rather a large segment of the American public who actually do work for a living, enjoy it at least part of the time, and feel good about putting supper on the table and enjoying a movie now and then—out of the picture as — what, unmentionables?

Are BREXIT and Trump and all the international anger about being sneeringly called “the working class” when we are obviously more than a little short of work? Unemployment is a big problem in the EU as well as here. Holman Jenkins, business columnist for the Wall Street Journal remarked recently:  “It turns out government cannot spare us collectively from having to adapt and compete in an economy.”

The Left, in their headlong race towards what they conceive to be a more perfect world, when they get the rest of us bullied into shape, simply do not grasp basic human nature. We are flawed creatures, imperfect, and human nature is not perfectible. At the end of their relentless drive towards an imaginary utopia is — Venezuela, or Cuba, or Auschwitz or the Gulag.

Well, no wonder they think of themselves as an “elite.”The federal government has too many people working for the government, and there isn’t enough work for them to do. Government workers make 78% more than the private sector for comparable jobs according to Cato. They call themselves “public servants,” but they don’t mean it. When they start to think of the U.S. Constitution as an impediment rather than a guarantee that the government belongs to the people and the public servants are there to work for us, not the other way around, we’re in trouble. So here we are.

I think it was Mike Lofgren, author of The Deep State, who captured the essence of Leftist discourse: “Take offense, call your opponent names, refuse to let them speak, decline to debate.”

That pretty much covers it.



Unity and Diversity, Integration and Segregation, Sense and Utter Complete Nonsense. by The Elephant's Child

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The Obama Administration, in its final months, is on a drive to integrate America. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a new program called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) which requires any locality (think suburbs) that receives any block grant funding — to rezone their neighborhoods based on income and racial prerequisites.

This is based on the 40-year-old Fair Housing Act. What they mean is there are not going to be any more low-income housing projects, all will be integrated into the suburbs. The push is to reduce economic and racial segregation in favor of  “diversity.”

We recognize that a growing body of research supports the benefits of socioeconomic and racial diversity in schools and communities, and that such diversity can help establish access points for opportunity and mobility. We also recognize that children raised in concentrated poverty or in communities segregated by socioeconomic status or race or ethnicity have significantly lower social and economic mobility than those growing up in integrated communities.

HUD, and Departments of Education and Labor will all work together to make local and state education and transportation departments consult the federal government about where they can site schools and public transportation lines, Head Start programs, and community colleges and similar entities in designing new communities and redesigning old ones. The federal government is taking over the American suburb to change it in the name of equality. Small town America will disappear.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has decided that since the rest of the world is polyglot, America should have the same rich culture with lots of different languages and different ethnicities. States are to instruct early childhood students in home languages different than English to help them retain separate cultural richness. “not recognizing children’s cultures and languages as assets” may be hurting them with their schoolwork.

America has long had a process of becoming a citizen that is quite unique. One has to begin to learn English, learn about our history and culture in citizenship classes. volunteer for the military if called upon in a national emergency. Obama has been eliminating those requirements by executive order. He has said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship that they didn’t need to assimilate.

Europe doesn’t have such citizenship policies. To become a German citizen, you have to have German ancestors. But you can see in the news daily that the flood of migrants and terrorists flooding Europe is all going very well. Just a few occasional mass killings and rapes. I don’t know if these migrants ever become citizens. They just live in segregated communities and tear the European nations apart. Here, a proud new American has the same rights and privileges as those whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower or on the Winthrop Fleet.

Meanwhile, back at the universities, Yale students have told the English professors to change the curriculum. “They don’t think it should feature so many English poets who were straight, white, wealthy and male.” The “Major English Poets” sequence, a mandatory two-course commitment for English majors covers Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot. The students believe that the sequence “creates a culture that is hostile to students of color.” Poor saps want the Major English Poets abolished.

When students are made to feel so alienated that they get up and leave the room, or get up and leave the major, something is wrong. The English department loses out when talented students engaged in literary and cultural analysis are driven away from the major. Students who continue on after taking the introductory sequence are ill-prepared to take higher-level courses relating to race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, ability, or even to engage with critical theory or secondary scholarship. We ask that Major English Poets be abolished, and that the pre-1800/1900 requirements be refocused to deliberately include literatures relating to gender, race, sexuality, ableism, and ethnicity.

Parents — you’re wasting your money. Take them home, spank them soundly and send them to bed without any supper.

At DePaul University, the Black Leadership Coalition is infuriated that the college invited Milo Yiannopoulos to visit the College in May. They have a long list of demands that seem to add up to demanding segregation again. There is not enough support for students who are suffering from “microaggressions” and “racial profiling” at the school and there were chalk signs on campus that said “Build the wall” and “Blue Lives Matter!”

If there is a plan or a need for a plan or a rationale for a plan behind all this nonsense, it escapes me. The idea seems to be that inner city residents are seething with envy about wealthier people who live in suburbs, and want to move there, or to be forcibly moved there. And that such changes will fix something or other, and some kind of Improved Outcome will be guaranteed. I doubt it, but then I was an English major.

I don’t expect much from the students. Unfortunately the current crop seems to be unaware that the reason they are in college is because they are young and very stupid, and are there to be educated — not to be pandered to. They are there to be exposed to ideas and writings that are new to them and different from their expectations. The real world is not particularly concerned with gender, race, and sexuality, but with finding a job and putting food on the table and shelter for their families. Ask the folks in Venezuela.




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