American Elephants


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



How Do You Deal With A Problem That You Refuse to Recognize? by The Elephant's Child

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One of the British papers remarked recently that people were beginning to refer to themselves as ‘English’ rather than ‘British.’I think that is significant, but I’m not quite sure just what it means. The BREXIT exit is still in a state of uncertainty. PM Theresa May was not in favor of leaving the European Union, but believes that the people have spoken and intends to shepherd the nation’s exit. There’s been a  legal ruling that says she has to get approval from Parliament, but I’m not sure of all that either. Across Europe there is rumbling of populism, but what will happen remains unknown.

In Sweden, sexual assault has increased by 70%. Many are saying that Angela Merkel will not survive another election.  Mark Helprin, writing in the Claremont Review of Books suggests that Europe has constantly shifted between unification and dissolution.

The European Continent and for a time even the British Isles have been partially unified—by the Romans, Charlemagne, Spain, Austria, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler, and the European Union.  Even if it didn’t get very far, the Mongols, Muslims, and Turks gave it the college try, and then there was the papacy. The Romans were champions of endurance, but Napoleon’s stint was as short as he was, the empire of the Thousand Year Reich didn’t make it by 995½ years and the Soviets got only halfway across.

As it evolved from the European Coal and Steel Community into the European Economic Community, and the the Schengenized “E.U. plus,” bureaucracy’s pacific conquest of Europe was different, its weapons the ballot box, rubber stamp , and pen. Furthermore, other than in one civil war, the U.S. had shown that 50 states could unite to great advantage.

Now we have Britain ready to leave the E.U., Scotland and Wales want independence, Belgium and Italy want to break in two and Spain in three parts. Yugoslavia is already is pieces, Hungary may either be expelled or quit. Greece is a complete mess, and Marine Le Pen wants France out, and everybody blames Angela Merkel for inviting the Middle East in.

One need not be hostile to the idea of this union to know the essential flaw in its conception, namely the statist assumption that bureaucratic conceit will prevail over geography, history, tradition and individual attachments, preferences, and loyalties. Greek profligacy and German prudence cannot sleep in the same bed. Good luck to the Frenchman who tells an Englishman how much sugar to put in his tea. Rivers, alpine ranges, marshes, and seas have carved into the landscape physical barriers that for millennia have shaped the economics, histories, and cultures of these disparate nations. Unlike the United States—at its founding English in culture and language, with a pressure-relieving wilderness to the west—Europe as it united was a densely populated grudge-filled continent with scores of major languages and their dialects. Its people had been governed in a hundred different ways , fought countless wars, and inherited dozens of philosophical traditions.

Grand designs don’t work. If government becomes a machine, then everything becomes a machine part. This is where the Left’s dream of addressing human needs with a universal mechanism always fails and fails badly. Humanity cannot be fixed. Human nature may be untidy, but any war against that untidiness is designed to fail.

But the question of the invasion of Europe by Islamist “refugees” can be avoided only so long. As I said, Sweden has had an increase of 70% in sexual assaults. There are No-Go areas everywhere, where even the police are reluctant or refuse to go. Angela Merkel invited the refugees; empathy and kindness were presumed to be the way to welcome them. The hordes have more young men than families, and the young men are of military age. They have been instructed by their religion that European women, as unbelievers, are whores and fair game., and assaults are the rule. Hungary has put up a wall and is refusing to admit refugees. ISIS brags that they have sent their forces to Europe. Many of the refugees refuse to work and expect to be supported.

Refugees seem to be from all over, including Russia and Africa. If the morality you have been taught is empathy and religious freedom, it’s very difficult to turn hostile without feeling like a bad person. Syria is obviously a battleground and unsafe, but Syrian passports are cheap and readily available. Terrorist attacks happen and are deadly. Top that mess off with an unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels that is not responsive to the fears of the people, and there  you are. What do you do, what do you believe and how do you deal with it? Nobody seems ready to decide, but to just wait and see how things work out.   There will be more terrorist attacks.

Our history is not the same as Europe’s, and our immigrants have mostly wanted to become Americans, learned the language, and in a generation or two become indistinguishable from anyone else. But we have had an administration that refuses to identify terrorism by name. And in his “farewell speech” Obama blithely said that we haven’t had any terrorist attacks here. I’m not sure that that is any less avoidance than Europe’s, and the results of avoidance will be undoubtedly be much the same.

 



Government Bureaucracy: The Last Word. by The Elephant's Child

From Economist Daniel Mitchell, government bureaucracies everywhere. A young woman seeks a permit from a government bureaucracy.



Remy Does Parody And It’s Quite Special by The Elephant's Child

Lyrics:

I heard the news and I was sad
A crazy man who’ll power grab
He’ll probably bomb countries unapproved, yeah
The debt will double – Won’t abate

He’ll build up the surveillance state
I guess it won’t be all that different, ooh yeah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

He might be so awful, So unhinged
Defense Secretaries leave and then
Imply his White House knows not what to do yeah

He’ll wage a war on whistle-blows
there may be unexpected gropes
He’d be that nightmare
They call “deja vu” yeah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah

He might take the data from our phones
Have citizens killed by flying drones
Mock the disabled oh no we’ll be through yeah
So if you’re mad and on the streets
Concerned about this overreach
Well where’ve you been
It isn’t all that new, yeah

But Hallelujah
Hallelujah



What Precisely IS Social Justice? by The Elephant's Child

Justice is what is embodied in our Constitution and our body of law, as it is administered by the courts. Calling redistribution of wealth “justice” is a little hard to take. May be a rallying cry for the self-interested (who did you think was going to do the redistributing?)

The people (Progressives) who shout the loudest about “social Justice” are those who want to be in charge, and have no interest or intention in having their wealth redistributed. They want to feel virtuous by taking the wealth of the rich and giving it to the poor. How about a world in which we try to improve conditions for all, which is what we have been doing successfully for several hundred years, or did you think that the world’s dictators had a better idea?



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

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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 News from America’s Campuses Is Even Worse Than You Thought! by The Elephant's Child

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Anybody that has been paying even minimal attention has noticed that all is not well on our college campuses. Safe spaces and hate speech and censoring speakers; renaming streets and buildings that were named long ago for a person who at some time did not have the ideas celebrated by today’s students. Black Lives Matter, and requests for more segregated buildings, more black studies courses, and more diversity intensive courses. Increasing racist hoaxes, and demands for particular administrators to be fired. Protection from offensive speech, or micro-aggressions, or cultural appropriation or racial insensitivity.

More disturbing yet is a report from Dr. Duke Plesta, an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh, on the “left’s choke hold on higher education—and its consequences.”

I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors. I gave them a ten-question American history test… just to see where they are. The vast majority of my students – I’m talking nine out of ten, in every single class, for seven consecutive years – they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. Moses, Pharaoh, they know none of it. They’re 100% convinced that slavery is a uniquely American invention… How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that’s what they think of their own country – that America invented slavery? That’s all they know.

A new report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) reveals that “the overwhelming majority of America’s  most prestigious institutions do not require even the students who major in history to take a single course on United States history or government. Disregard for the importance of United States history in the undergraduate history major is matched by the overall disappearance of United States history requirements from general education, the core curriculum that should be part of every student’s education. ACTA’s annual “What will They Learn?” survey shows that only 18% of the over 1.100 four-year colleges and universities in the study, public and private, require a foundational course in United States history or United States history or United States government.”

  • Less than half could identify George Washington as the American general at Yorktown.
  • Only 42% placed the Battle of the Bulge in the history of World War II.
  • One-third of college graduates were unaware that FDR introduced the New Deal.
  • Nearly half did not know that Teddy Roosevelt played a major role in constructing the Panama Canal.
  • Less than 20% could accurately identify—in a multiple-choice survey—the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Over one-third of the college graduates surveyed could not place the American Civil War in its correct 20-year time frame.
  • Nearly half of the college graduates could not identify correctly the term lengths of U.S. senators and representatives. Reputation and high tuition are no guarantee that students will know the history of their nation.

We expect a certain amount of pure stupidity from college students. That is, after all, why they are there, but that only 18% of four year colleges and universities “require a foundational course in U.S. History or government” is alarming. Parents and alumni should let their schools know that to be unacceptable. They should also demand that the chairman of the history department explain the department’s requirements and rationale for those requirements.

ACTA delved into the requirements and course offerings in the history departments of 76 of the country’s top colleges and universities to see just how American history fit into their programs. Only 23 of the top undergraduate programs require a single course in U.S. history. Pathetic. That’s why we require new citizens to learn something about our history.

I particularly love John Steele Gordon’s An Empire of Wealth: The Epic history of American Economic Power, which brings in the inventions and developments that changed not only this country but changed the world. We’ve had adversity and wars, and a nation of diverse ambitious people from all over, striving to make better lives and a better country along the way. Economic developments have consequences and Mr. Gordon’s history provides the answer to why things happened the way they did. It’s a fascinating book.

If the colleges are mistreating your kids, after all the tuition they demand, be prepared to drill some history into them when they get home. The Left may want a generation of malleable nitwits, but our country can’t afford it.

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