American Elephants


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.



The Decline and Fall of Socialist Venezuela by The Elephant's Child

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( A food line in San Cristobal, Venezuela)

Bernie Sanders is out in the hustings talking about banning fracking, the new way of producing oil and natural gas that has brought down the cost to consumers so dramatically. In Venezuela, the price of oil, Venezuela’s only significant export, has plummeted which means that government income will probably be down by around 40 percent this year. A disaster for this socialist paradise.

The government’s massive borrowing—a legacy of the days when oil prices were far higher, is blamed, but specifically, the lingering death of a beautiful country can be blamed directly on socialism. You will notice that the reporting on the decline and death throes of Venezuela seldom contains any mention of socialism. It is undoubtedly not on the list of approved talking points. They’re having trouble repaying their foreign debt. On top of that there has been a drought, which has meant trouble for the country’s hydropower generation, which in turn has meant that  power is only available part of the time. It’s back to candles if you have any.

The Manhattan Contrarian has been checking left-wing websites: the Huffington Post has a post titled “Why Venezuela is on the Verge of Actual Collapse” on May 20. Five reasons are given: 1. Murder—lots of murder; 2. Low oil prices—not always a good thing;  3. Plummeting economy; 4, Scarcity of essential goods; 5. Widespread corruption.

I particularly like reasons 3 and 4. The economy is collapsing because the economy is collapsing! Why hadn’t we figured that our on our own?

Socialism is unmentioned, though anybody with any knowledge of history has a long list of collapsing economies due to Socialism. It’s what economies that turn to socialism do. I guess you can’t run around badmouthing socialist systems when your presidential candidates seem to think it’s the answer to something or other.

It is, of course, the answer to government control of everyone. Every Progressive has dreams of becoming Ceasar Chavez, or Fidel Castro, or Pol Pot — becoming fabulously rich and being in charge of everything.

Zero Hedge talked to Fernando Aquirre who recorded the hyperinflation in Argentina in 2001, and has followed the story of other collapsing economies.

The greatest points to keep in mind is overwhelming corruption. People get lost on what exactly went wrong in Argentina, in Venezuela, or what’s happening right now in Brazil. What they all have in common is that the people in charge had no real interest in doing things right; they really didn’t care about destroying the country. They just cared about filling their pockets as much as possible.

Think of Venezuela this way: you have a country where water is more expensive than gasoline. What sense does that make? I mean, you had Hugo Chavez walking down the street pointing with his finger saying “Nationalize this. Nationalize that”. And when he was saying “nationalize”, he was saying “Steal this“. He didn’t have any great plans or political grandeur going on in his mind. He just wanted to steal as much as he could.

I know for a fact that they’re slaughtering one another in the streets right now in Venezuela. For at least three years it’s been a case of out-of-control crime and corruption over there. It’s not getting better any time soon unless something changes on a deeper level.

It’s not just that there’s no toilet paper. There’s no medicine, and those dependent on medicines are dying. The middle class person who still has a good job would need two years of wages to pay for a single plane ticket out. Aguirre said that if he was in Venezuela right now he would leave on foot, any way he could. And we have college students who think socialism is a great idea, and ‘feel the bern’ for Bernie.

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Here’s economist Thomas Sowell with “Socialism for the Uninformed

And law professor Glenn Reynolds: “Don’t Be a Sucker for Socialism



Who Would Have Ever Dreamed that American College Students Would Have So Little Understanding of Freedom? by The Elephant's Child

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They have noticed that their climate change propaganda has not been as effective as it used to be, that countries are backing away from their subsidies for wind and solar energy, or perhaps it’s that the Paris Accords didn’t transfer enough wealth to the have-nots. In any case, the effort to prosecute climate skeptics for “denying” the urgency of battling climate change is not going as well as it was.

The letter that 20 professors fired off urging President Obama to investigate climate skeptics for suspected violation of the RICO laws for denying that climate change is an earth-shaking problem, has been described as a “big mistake.”

The professors have hired Climate Nexus, a PR firm that specializes in global warming publicity and spin, and they’ve gone into full damage control mode. Activists have been urged to emphasize the role of fossil fuel companies instead. More people are susceptible to the idea that fossil fuel companies are somehow evil. Besides they’re big and rich.  The American people just don’t rank climate change among their most urgent issues. It usually ranks at the bottom of their concerns.

The California Senate failed to take up a landmark bill arguing for the prosecution of climate change dissent. It would have “authorized prosecutors to sue fossil fuel companies, think tanks and others that have ‘deceived or misled the public on the risks of climate change.'”

This bill explicitly authorizes district attorneys and the Attorney General to pursue UCL claims alleging that a business or organization has directly or indirectly engaged in unfair competition with respect to scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change,” said the state Senate Rules Committee’s floor analysis of the bill.

The big deal here is not the argument about whether or not climate change is a major threat. The big deal is the push by the Left to silence anyone who disagrees with them. Freedom of speech is under attack across the globe, which simply emphasizes how far to the left the Left has moved.

The President of the unelected executive arm of the European Union has stated that he will block all “right-wing populists” from power across the continent. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission promised to exclude Norbert Hofer, the leader of Austria’s Freedom Party from all EU decision-making if elected ahead of yesterday’s presidential vote. Across the continent there has been a surge to the right, and the decidedly undemocratic Commission could be in for a battle if they attempt to exclude every elected government that they choose to call “far right.

On college and university campuses across the country, the effort of student activism has been to silence dissent, eliminate any trace of free speech, and forbid anyone from saying anything whatsoever that might offend sensitive feelings. Surely all of this denial of the most basic speech rights protected in America by our Constitution is not a mere coincidence. Who would ever have dreamed that our college students would know so little about American history, the U.S. Constitution and how it came about, or the importance of free speech in keeping a people free. Or, as far as that goes, why there is any particular value in freedom anyway.



The Mounting List of Obama Administration Scandals: by The Elephant's Child

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— The new head of the Veterans Administration, Robert McDonald, told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important?”

“What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience?”

American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett excoriated McDonald: “The American Legion agrees that the VA secretary’s analogy between Disneyland and VA wait times was an unfortunate comparison because people don’t die while waiting to go on Space Mountain.”

“We also disagree with the substance of his comment because wait times are very important to not just the satisfaction quotient, but in some cases the veterans health,” he said in a statement.

Well, clumsy, at best. Then there was the new study that established that between 1012 and 2015, less than 10 percent of new hires were actually physicians. Lots of lawyers and public affairs officials though.

The Wall Street Journal reported that there were 4,201 errors which mistakenly declared living veterans dead — terminating their benefits. A simple paper mistake for the VA, a nightmare for the vet who has to straighten out the mess.

— Congress is currently attempting to impeach IRS Director Koskinen. It seems the IRS is still trying to keep conservative organizations from gaining the tax-free status to which they are entitled. And as well, they were just never able to find the emails and other documentation that was requested under FOIA requests. A lower court had accepted the IRS statement that targeting had stopped, but it seems that no one has been held to account and the targeting continues today.

Kim Strassel notes that the “IRS team claimed that the fault for some of the scandal rests with the conservative groups for not pushing back hard enough.” They smugly claimed the conservative groups had blown their chance for nonprofit approval when they turned down the “fast track” status if they just agreed to give up their political speech rights. (A Treasury Dept idea.)

A new lawsuit asks a federal court to force the IRS to obey the law.

The IRS also improperly paid out $15.6 billion through the Earned Income Tax Credit Program. The OMB notes that this is a “high risk” program for improper payments, but the IRS says they are “taking steps” to reduce error.

— Federal Bureaucrats announced earlier this year they plan to change the way Medicare Part B pays for drugs. The goal is to save money by getting doctors to alter their treatment choices to the cheapest drugs available. More than 300 cancer clinics have closed over the past decade as Medicare has shrunk payments for cancer care. This would seem to be a venture in bad medicine, which is a usual result in socialized medicine. Those who see “single payer” as a desirable outcome should have some real second thoughts.

The Obama administration frames this experiment as a way to stick it to drug companies and save taxpayers money. They believe that doctors are not prescribing the “right” drugs—meaning the least expensive ones, even if they are the least appropriate. They suggest that doctors are motivated by money, and not their patients’ best interests.

Surely you have noticed how often the administration sneers at “Big Pharma.” The object is not to save lives, but to place the blame for getting rid of cancer-ridden patients before they cost too much money.

— Obama is planning to release another 22 or 23 long time Guantanamo detainees to about half a dozen countries. These are the “worst of the worst” and can be expected to return to the battlefield fairly promptly. Obama is motivated by the opinion of the European  Left who always opposed the Iraq War and assume that Gitmo is an American torture chamber, rather than the model prison it actually is. Not all of the foreign destination countries are ready to be identified, Obama wants to empty Guantanamo by this summer.

— Last year, Congress went to considerable trouble in crafting and passing a consensus bull to replace the outdated and unworkable No Child Left Behind. One of the goals was to reduce federal interference in education which remains a state and local issue. Obama is ignoring the law that he signed, and attempting to rewrite the implementation rules that claim powers specifically denied by the statutory language.

The law specifically states that the federal government may not use it to “mandate equalized spending per pupil for a state, local educational educational agency or school.” But that’s what the Education Department is attempting to do. Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chairman, confronted Education Department John King in a hearing telling him”The plain fact of the matter is that the law specifically says you cannot do it.”

This remains a nation of laws, no matter how much Obama tries to arrogate power to himself by simply claiming them. He says his agenda “can’t wait” for Congress to act.

— ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has spent at least $18.5 million to fly “unaccompanied children” caught crossing the border illegally, to locations inside the U.S. The numbers shed light on the extent of a program that concerns lawmakers and the federal courts that the federal government is effectively aiding smugglers. The administration has gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of minors, and claims their actions are appropriate. They are transporting minors to facilities run by HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement. ICE said about 10,000 children have been transported by charter flights.

— Obama’s Big Transgender Restroom Diversion is pure Saul Alinsky, the communist who has directed the Left in how to manipulate the American people. “Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.” If there is a problem (no GDP growth) for which you have no answer, change the discussion and hit them with something new.

Members of the transgender population, about 0.3% of this nation, have managed to relieve themselves for generations in existing restrooms. Imagine the cost of revamping millions of public restrooms, and for such a tiny slice of the population. Now this has become a national cause, a provocation drummed up to divert attention from far more pressing issues.

— I posted “President Obama’s Legacy in 9 Simple Charts from the Federal Reserve“at the end of September last year. Not much has changed.



It’s Not Really About Transgenderism by The Elephant's Child

The Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services has added a new rule change to the Affordable Care Act. All health providers receiving taxpayer dollars must perform sex-change operations or lose their federal funding.

Can government possibly become any more absurd? Sex-change operations do not change anyone’s sex. That is not possible. Sex is determined by your DNA and cutting off temporarily offending organs does not change sex, but merely mutilates. Transgenderism is a dysphoria, or mental problem. Other dysphorias are Anorexia, whose victims see themselves as fat and essentially starve themselves to death. Bodily dysphoria has led victims to amputate healthy limbs, or if they cannot find a surgeon who will do it, amputate Cat mantheir own. Several cases who identify as cats have been reported.

The new rule sates that under Title IX any hospital receiving funding from HHS must “treat individuals consistent with their gender identity.” The administration sent letters to every school district in the country mandating that they open bathrooms lockers rooms and showers to all students, regardless of their biological sex.

The drive for transgender bathrooms is part of the Cultural Marxist attack on modesty and personal privacy. Children should be taught from an early age that sexual behavior is harmless physical gratification, completely unimportant. There are no consequences of physical gratification that cannot be prevented or “taken care of” by a visit to the doctor. Marriage and the family are only lifestyle choices, and not different from any other. Useless people can be disposed of by physician assisted suicide, minor misbehavior should not mean punishment and things like shoplifting, drug use, petty theft, fraud, or forgery should be misdemeanors.

Cultural Marxism demands a compliant state-dependent population who will vote as they are told, and request ever more comforts from an overpowering government. You can see the results in Venezuela, where a hamburger costs $170, and food is getting desperately short. And there’s Cuba, of course. Lots of examples. The kids are being trained in government controlled schools, or haven’t you noticed the nuttiness going on in our colleges? A generation of progressives went a little crazy in the sixties, and they have never really recovered. They don’t want to be told what to do, they want to protest and man the barricades and really want a real revolution, as long as there isn’t any violence and nobody hurts anyone’s feelings.



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.”




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