American Elephants

Once Again, Free Markets Work Their Magic by The Elephant's Child


Let’s turn to some really good news:

This year marks the 25th anniversary of liberal reforms in India that led to the dismantling of many socialist economic policies and the end of the draconian License Raj.  Liberalization has changed life for many in India over the past couple of decades, although much more remains to be done. Just the middle class alone has exploded from 30 million people in 1991 to 300 million in 2014.

So this is a good occasion to tell the story of perhaps the most unexpected beneficiaries of these reforms: the rising Dalit millionaires. In recent years, many thousands of so-called “untouchables,” or Dalits, members of the lowest group in the Indian caste order, have risen out of poverty to become wealthy business owners, some even millionaires.

Westerners are often unable to grasp just what it has meant to be born into a caste of the poorest of the poor without hope of ever moving out of the caste. Caste was determined by birth, and being born an untouchable meant a lifetime of being trapped in low income “dirty” jobs. Marriage could only be within a caste, and there was no hope of advancement for one’s children. Systematic discrimination locked in place for generations.

The opening up of production processes to market forces created new opportunities never before possible. “Starting small and scraping together resources and capital, many of these Dalits now run business empires that actually provide employment to upper caste members.”

There is Thomas Barnabas who was born into a family of bonded laborers, all eight of whom lived in a one-room house. Thomas recalls being thrown out of an upper caste friend’s home as a child after eating and drinking there because he was “untouchable.” They then proceeded to purify and wash the floor where he sat and threw away the dishes from which he ate.

Thomas saw the unmet demand for the processing of industrial waste that was generated by large corporations like Dell, Samsung and Mercedes that had set up manufacturing plants in India after liberalization. He now owns an industrial waste recycling and disposal business that has an annual sales revenue of $2,3 million, and employs 200 people, including many from upper castes.

Do read the whole thing. Shows what can happen with free markets and free people. Not perfect by any means, but improving.

Meanwhile, back in the Americas, thousands turned out, with their pots and pans, crying “We Are Hungry!” in Venezuela and chased President Nicholas Maduro down the street. Only last week some broke into the zoo and killed a starving horse for the meat. Socialism sometimes sounds good, but it is always a lie.

The Progressive Left’s Ideas on Diversity Are Sheer Bunk by The Elephant's Child

The Progressive Far Left aims to change American culture by changing our language. You’ve heard the buzz-words — over and over and over. One of the big ones is “diversity.” Sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? The Progressive Left chooses their words carefully to sound good, but what do they mean by “diversity”?

What is meant is skin color and/or race. This includes mostly Blacks, Hispanics or Latinos, occasionally Native Americans, Hawaiians, and seldom Asians. It has mostly been pursued through the education system. The failure of schools in minority districts was attempted to be remedied, not by better teachers and better programs, but by busing.

Awkwardly, Hispanics or Latinos are not a race, but speak either Spanish or Portuguese. Some, descended from South America’s Native Americans do have brown skin, and some are descended from black slaves from Africa imported to work in the cane fields. In any case, we are supposed to divvy everything up to conform to numbers in the total population.

So there are advantages to being “diverse,” and numbers of prominent Lefties have attempted to become “diverse” in order to take advantage of available goodies — Elizabeth Warren, Rachel Dolezal and Ward Churchill.  It’s quite popular to claim Cherokee or Comanche ancestry, other tribes not so much. The fact that Native Americans owned slaves is never ever mentioned.

The American Melting Pot has been marvelously successful in blending in folks from all over the world. The first generation often huddles together with others who speak their language, but they become Americans.  That is the purpose of our Americanization process for those applying for citizenship. Obama has attempted to reduce the requirements significantly, because he isn’t much interested in their becoming Americans, only in whether they vote Democrat.

The importance of buzz-words is indicated by the extent to which Colleges and Universities now emphasize “diversity” of race. Diversity of ideas is not considered either important or necessary. There have even been many instances of professors demanding conformity and urging dissenters to drop the class. Oddly, students inspired by Black Lives Matter are demanding more classes in race, more Black professors, more separate dorms. Diversity indeed. Racially segregated “safe spaces” are fixtures on college campuses. Enormously important in advertising.

How much of this political correctness exists because people fear the disapproval that might descend upon them if they do not follow the correct line? Think about that one.

Here is an excellent column by Victor Davis Hanson titled “History’s Pathway to Chaos.”

Bruce Thornton writes about Progressive “Thought Blockers:”Diversity: The grim antithesis to liberal education.

I believe that human beings are by nature tribal. In the modern age, the old notion of tribes is long gone, except in the Middle East, but we still self-select organizations and clubs to form the modern tribe of people we want to be with and who share our ideas and tastes. Nobody bellyaches when we join bridge clubs, churches, poker clubs, bird-watching clubs. charitable organizations, neighborhood communities, Boy Scouts (well, we have had some objections to the Boy part), same goes for Campfire girls, and these organizations may be extremely diverse or not. So what? The Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations are popular. Just total up some of the organizations that you and your friends have joined. That’s just the modern version of Tribe. Who is more tribal than a bunch of Progressive Democrats, and who is at war with Freedom of Speech?

The Surprising Virtues of Income Inequality by The Elephant's Child

The Left, as is usual, smells opportunity in statistics  that they can use to win votes and attack the other side. Yahoo chimed in today: “THE ISSUE: The rich keep getting richer while more Americans are getting left behind financially. The average income for the top 1 percent of  households climbed 7.7 percent last  year to $1.36 million, according to tax data tracked by Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. That privileged sliver of the population saw pay climb at almost twice the rate of income growth for the other 99 percent, whose pay averaged a humble $48,768.

“The  ‘Income Inequality’ critic’s faculty salary puts him in the top 1%. Decrying the iniquities of the American capitalist system pays off. Emmanuel Saez’ total wages in 2014, came to $549,350,” in case you were wondering why tuition at major universities is so high.

Yahoo accompanied the headline “WHY IT MATTERS: Income Inequality” with a picture of a gentleman driving a golf cart from his house to his golf club as a group of landscape workers take a break in Vista, California. “Calif. income inequality has surged near levels last seen before the Great Depression.”  Sounds like it was written by the Occupy Wall Street bunch.  “California Income Inequality” and where is Silicon Valley located?

You might notice that economic growth is the rising tide that floats all boats; except that for 7 years and 7 months, there hasn’t been any growth because the president is trying to regulate growth into existence.

The vague idea of what to do about income inequality seems to involve taking enough money from the 1% so they are not rich enough any more, or at least not richer than anyone else. Because the rich are bad people and there are poor people. Being very rich is sometimes a result of creating a new thing that everyone wants and growing the economy and providing thousands of jobs.

On the other hand, there are rich people who are truly bad people. George Soros funded the protesters in Ferguson. He has funded #Black Lives Matter and urged them on, and  #Black Lives Matter in turn has been responsible for attacks on the police who are trying to protect crime-ridden neighborhoods where blacks are shooting other blacks. Over 60 officers have been killed in line of duty this year.

If everyone has an income equal to everyone else —where is the incentive to create something, work on an idea, or start a business? You cannot take enough money away from the very rich to make the rest of the people equal. Doesn’t work. You have probably noticed that the dictators and rulers and presidents-for-life of the socialist countries of the world don’t exactly live in the same circumstances as the people with whom they share a country.

Economist Tom Sowell in his book Basic Economics wrote:

Although people in the top income brackets  and the  bottom income brackets – ‘the rich’ and ‘the poor,’ as they are often called – may be discussed as if they were different classes of people, often they are in fact the very same people at different stages of their lives.

Sowell points out that many of those who quote statistics as proof of income inequality falsely “proceed as if they are talking about income differences between classes rather than differences in age brackets.

Drudge reported today that the Burning Man festival out in the desert, where Silicon Valley denizens and aging hippies gather to smoke pot, is having trouble now with those who have brought $10K tents and their own chefs to provide meals. Income inequality indeed.

Here’s an article from the Hoover Institution’s Richard A. Epstein on “The Hidden Virtues of Income Inequality.” Worth your time.

Socialism Makes People Selfish by The Elephant's Child

From Praeger University: quickie courses in stuff you should know about. Most are only around a few minutes long, this one is just over 4. Right size for busy people. This one features Dennis Praeger himself.

There’s A Battle Going On Here, But It’s Not Quite What You Think! by The Elephant's Child

For years, everyone has pretty much agreed that ordinary Americans are blessed with plenty of plain old common sense. I believe that to be true. But the level of society represented by businesses and managers and officialdom at all levels seems to have gone remarkably nuts.

For example, consider the “zero-tolerance” thing that has infected our public schools across the country. Remember the little boy who chewed his Pop Tart into what the zero tolerance administration at his school considered a gun-shape, and he was suspended from school. What it actually looked like was the shape of the state of Idaho. You just turn the state on it’s side and voilá — a gun. Kim R. Holmes points out:

Children are suspended from school for pointing their fingers as a gun, using an imaginary bow and arrow on the playground…  Seven high school students are arrested for engaging in a harmless end-of-the-year water balloon fight, A student is slammed down on the sidewalk and hospitalized for an injury, and a parent standing nearby and complaining about the excessive use of force is threatened with a stun-gun, hospitalized for an injury, and arrested for trespassing. … So-called “free-range children” who are allowed to walk home by themselves from the playground are picked up by police, and their parents are investigated by Child Protective Services. Only decades ago their “offense” was the norm for most American families.

The sheer insanity of the “snowflakes” on college campuses has become well known, as has the utter inability of college administrators to do what would seem to be common sense and send the brats home. “A backlash from parents and alumni is turning up as a result of the campus disruptions of the last academic year. The University of Missouri, where the high-profile, racially-charged protests made national news, have found that enrollment is expected to decline by 2.600 students in the fall. The new freshman class will decline by 1,400. For every 100 fewer students on campus the university loses $1 million in tuition revenue, which rises to $2.5 million for 100 fewer undergraduates from outside the state.”

Across the pond, the experts told us not to worry, that BREXIT would never pass, the consequences would be too severe, but ordinary Englishmen were sick of being controlled by unelected members of an unaccountable bureaucracy and voted to leave. The world has not fallen apart.

Target Corporation responded to the current zeitgeist when it announced that it would allow customers to use whatever bathroom corresponds to their “gender identity.” The American Family Association charged that Target’s new policy would make women and children susceptible to sexual predators, and led a boycott effort that has now garnered nearly 1.5 million signatures. When Target announced its policy, its stock price was $83,50 a share. It has dropped to $67.17 a share. A man who “identifies” as transgender was caught taking pictures of a female customer in a Target fitting room. Target decided to add a third single-toilet bathroom at all stores, which can be locked by users, at a cost pf $20 million. Target clearly still doesn’t get it. Common sense Americans probably will not return.

Kim Rhodes is an Olympic champion who has won medals in six games. Her historic feat  had gone unmentioned by the press. She won her medals by (Gasp!) shooting a gun, which apparently puts her beyond the pale. No major corporate sponsor, but her ammunition and training costs are offset with sponsorship from firearms companies. Companies fear a backlash from the progressive anti-gun lobby. She shoots skeet, better known as clay pigeons.

Even when the press has reported on her achievement, the tone has often been dismissive. An NBC story noted that her medal record is arguably “far less impressive than, say, a gymnast or a swimmer” because shooting “requires fewer physical attributes.” Sure, all it takes is remarkable hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, steady nerves and dedication over 20 years.

Trap or skeet shooting is a pastime for tens of thousands of Americans outside the main media corridors. I even tried it once myself, I wasn’t too bad .

Meanwhile in Academe — the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout — has decided that two paintings should be removed from hallways in Harvey Hall, because the uncontrolled access poses a risk of having a “harmful effect” on their students. They are “French Trappers on the Red Cedar” and “Perrault’s Trading Fort.” They will be hidden away in the Library along with a document that explains their historical significance and the concerns Native Americans have expressed about how they are portrayed in the paintings. Can’t foist those ideas on unaware or unwilling recipients. It is becoming clear that today’s college students don’t know ANYTHING about history.

It is a pattern, repeated over and over. It’s not ordinary Americans who are out of touch. It is those who conceive of themselves as smarter, more enlightened, and just ever so modern and up-to-date for the 21st Century, you know. Every time someone utters the phrase “21st Century” you will know just where they are coming from.

The Clintons Released Their Tax Returns, and They Are Very Interesting by The Elephant's Child

<> on April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.

Hillary and Bill Clinton released their tax returns on Friday, in what was seen by many as an attempt to force Donald Trump to release his. He says he is being audited by the IRS and can’t release his returns until they’re done. It’s a time for back and forth accusations.

The Clintons, who Hillary claimed left the White House dead broke, tax returns show that the couple earned $10,745,378 last year, mostly on income from giving public speeches. $10 million worth of speeches?  Really?

Of that amount, they donated $1,042,000 to charity, which got them a nice big deduction, although all the contribution went to the Clinton Family Foundation — which they control and which acts as their family piggy bank.  The Clinton Family Foundation is separate from the Clinton Foundation which has been at the center of claims of donations from countries with records of human rights abuses. Most of the criticism is directed at the wealthy donors to the “non-profit” who then received favors from the Secretary’s State Department.

President Obama’s Justice Department according to CNN, declined a request to investigate the Clinton Foundation from the FBI,though other sources say this is not true..The Foundation may still be under federal investigation. Preet Bharara, the U.S, Attorney for the southern district of New York,  is conducting a joint investigation with the FBI out of his office.

As more emails are released, it becomes clear that big donations to the Clinton Foundation resulted in job offers, favors for the donor, and big pay for a speech from Bill got favors from the U.S, State Department. Hillary is getting a lot of support from big business and the tech industry — apparently because they know she can be bought.

Red Tape Is Far More Than Annoying — It Has a More Sinister Purpose by The Elephant's Child

In a previous post, I linked to an essay by Myron Magnet from City Journal titled “Why are Voters So Angry,” and I added my usual “Do read the whole thing,” but most of you didn’t (I can tell because WordPress tells me how many clicked on each link). So I’m posting another  link and urging you to read the whole essay once again.

The problem is the Administrative State. Socialists, who abound on the Left, have given up on the government’s owning the means of production (and thereby enriching themselves). They have realized that they don’t have to own America’s businesses, they can just control them with government regulation. And their control is far advanced, and nobody seems to recognize just what is happening.

Myron Magnet starts at the beginning and explains just how we have lost control of our government and what we need to do about it. Most adults not part of the Loony Left recognize that socialism is not a good form of government, and ends up as Venezuela, Cuba or Stalinist Russia, in hunger and poverty and desperation. Most adults excludes, of course the Bernie-worshiping Millennials who don’t know about Venezuelans starving and dying without medicine, and just think he’s kind of cute with his great shock of white hair.

But if we cease to enshrine American exceptionalism at the heart of our culture—if we set equal value on such Third World cultural tendencies as passive resignation, fatalism, superstition, devaluation of learning, resentment of imaginary plots by the powerful, and a belief that gratification deferred is gratification forgone—the exceptionalism of our institutions becomes all the more precarious.

Supercharging American anger over illegal immigration and its consequences is the politically correct ban on openly discussing it, with even the most reasoned reservation dismissed as racism and yahooism. And political correctness generates its own quantum of anger among citizens, who think of freedom of speech and debate as central to American exceptionalism. But elite culture stigmatizes plain speaking, so that now a rapist or a murderer is a “person who committed a crime” or an “individual who was incarcerated,” says the Obama Department of Justice, or, according to the latest humbug from the Department of Education, a “justice-involved individual.” Implicit in these euphemisms is the theory that “society,” not the criminal, is to blame for crime, a long-exploded idea aimed at blurring the distinction between right and wrong.

Well, there you go. That’s what I have just been going on about. Here we are in a mortal battle for the future of our country with candidates we hardly would have chosen as our champions. Hillary has essentially promised to continue Obama’s current drift into catastrophe, if only we will allow her to be America’s first woman something or other, and Donald Trump who has recognized the anger and frustration and answered it  with a burst of pure populism.

Jobs are created by the private sector, which makes the economy grow. Jobs created by the federal government just mean another cost to the taxpayers for agencies that cannot fulfill the task assigned to the agency. I’m not sure I can find an agency without a scandal attached. They are paid 78% more than their counterparts in the private sector, and there isn’t really enough work for them to do. The average federal employee earns about $119,000 annually, including salary and benefits, compared to $67,000 for the private sector. And they are receiving that generous compensation for plastering the private sector with so many regulations and so much red tape that the private sector cannot provide the engine of free market capitalism at which they have been so successful.

Read Myron Magnet’s essay on the Administrative State, and pass it on to family and friends. It is important that people realize what is happening to our country. Unfortunately the Left’s big ideas don’t work in the long term, or did you think that those quaint old cars in the Castro’s Cuba were there as theater for the tourists?


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