American Elephants


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Kim Jong-un Conducted a Test of a Hydrogen Bomb, Or Maybe Not. by The Elephant's Child

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Kim Jong-un has been busy. On January 6, he conducted a nuclear test of  what was billed as a a hydrogen bomb, but probably wasn’t. On February 7, he put a satellite into orbit, thereby demonstrating an ability to deploy long-range rockets that might be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to America’s West Coast. And then he executed the chief of the North Korean army’s general staff for unknown reasons.

But finally, he’s getting some serious pushback. South Korea has closed the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a business development in North Korea, run by South Korean managers, funded by South Korea, and employing North Korean workers. The New York Times reported that South Korea suspected that the North had taken the $560 million that South Korean factories had paid its workers since 2004 and used it for nuclear weapons development and missile technology. Closed down, and a major blow to the North.

South Korea also announced that it might deploy THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System) a powerful American missile defense system that has the potential to better defend South Koreans and American troops stationed in South Korea from any missiles from North Korea.

This should have been done years ago, but the Obama administration had to be dragged into it by Congress. Experts on the government of North Korea say to sanction North Korea severely and keep it up until the government collapses.

China doesn’t like the North Korean government but likes the alternatives far less. South Korea isn’t up for the burden of supporting North Korea in the event of reunification, The two Koreas are far apart in terms of economies, education levels and ideologies, but a merger shouldn’t be a disaster. Kim Jong-un keeps executing people he doesn’t like, including an uncle. It’s complicated.



A Little Clarity About the Virtues of Socialism – There Aren’t Any. by The Elephant's Child

Daniel Hannan is the Member of the European Parliament for South East England, for the Conservative Party. This speech is from 2014, but still more than appropriate. Bernie Sanders, committed Socialist, suggests we should have a government more like Sweden — currently the rape capital of the world. Hannan is a Euroskeptic, and argues for Democratic reform. If you prefer, he can speak in either French or Spanish as well.

When we graduate aspiring politicians, I wish we could send them to Britain to learn how to speak without uhs and ands and garbled language and fuzzy thought.



Is Income Inequality Really the Burning Issue of Our Times? by The Elephant's Child

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A constant theme for the Democratic presidential race has been income inequality. Democrats always want to increase envy in the minds of their loyalists, and what better way than to insist that America’s affluent got rich, unjustly, at the expense of the poor and the middle class. Envy and resentment stoke the fires of class warfare, and the Obama Administration’s lackluster economy and slow growth make people feel helpless and more inclined to blame others for their circumstances.

Liberals want to address income inequality by redistributing wealth from the well-to-do and giving it to the poor. It’s comforting to believe that the misfortunes of your life can be blamed on someone else. But natural demographic changes and lifetime income cycles distort the estimates of income inequality.

Young people just beginning a career not only don’t earn very much, but they want to get married and buy cars and houses and have babies. And they go into debt to do so. Their parents have been saving all of their lives, educating their children, and gradually building up some wealth. U.S Census data show a clear relationship between age and median net-worth in every quintile, Moreover, the death rate has fallen sharply — people are living longer, and there are more of them. Young people have less retirement savings, and the old folks have a far higher homeownership rate. Older workers have more skills built up over a lifetime, and are worth more to employers because they are more productive.

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Economist Thomas Sowell has explained:

Only by focusing on the income brackets, instead of the actual people moving between those brackets, have the intelligentsia been able to verbally create a “problem” for which a “solution” is necessary. They have created a powerful vision of “classes” with “disparities” and “inequities” in income, caused by “barriers” created by “society.” But the routine rise of millions of people out of the lowest quintile over time makes a mockery of the “barriers” assumed by many, if not most, of the intelligentsia.

The Left believes in government, not in the free market, which they don’t understand at all. The only way that government can create jobs is to hire more people — which they do regularly by creating more regulations and more agencies — all of which is paid for by the taxpayers, thereby reducing the wealth of the people and the economy. This is what they call progress.

Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns are based on finding ever more ways to redistribute wealth, taking more money from more productive people and giving it to the less productive.

Raising the minimum wage is one way. “No one can raise a family on the minimum wage” they say. No one is supposed to. Minimum wage jobs are meant to be jobs for first-time workers. How many people do you suppose are qualified to wipe off tables, sweep the floor and punch labeled keys on the cash register at a fast food restaurant? Conversely, how many people do you suppose are qualified to manage 20,000 employees in 20 separate divisions of a giant corporation in fierce competition with other giant corporations in the same business?

“But it isn’t fair!” is the cry. Your mother probably told you that life is not fair. She was right. The young person who graduates from college and graduate school with excellent grades and an advanced degree is going to have a different life than the young person who dropped out of high school without graduating, and has had trouble finding a steady job. That isn’t about fairness.

In actuality, the middle class is just fine, and still driving the economy. What is happening is more a result of how the researchers  divide up the quintiles into which they separate Americans. You have the poor, the lower middle class, the middle class, the upper middle class and the rich. Pew Research, for example, takes the median income in a given year, with half richer and half poorer. And how you define “middle income” can create all sorts of mischief and all sorts of interesting headlines.  Pew’s definition of “middle income” isn’t anchored to any fixed standard of living, but in fact represents a rising standard of living over time. And surprisingly, everybody is substantially better off than they were 45 years ago.

Poverty has decreased across the world, and in 2015, food prices are down by 19 percent in just the last year. Food is more abundant, probably due to  slight increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a natural fertilizer for plants which is greening the world.



This One Took Me a Minute, But it’s Pretty Funny! by The Elephant's Child

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(h/t: Mark Perry, AEI)



The Number of Children in Poverty Have Increased Dramatically under Obama by The Elephant's Child

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In 2008, about 18% of children lived in poverty. Today, under the Obama ‘Recovery’ that number has increased to 22%, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation report released Tuesday. The expectation is that the ‘improving’ economy will improve those numbers. However, figures on employment show that most of the new jobs have gone to immigrants. Census numbers don’t distinguish between legal and illegal.

Everyone knows that the best anti-poverty program is not a hand-out, but a job. President Obama admits this, but insists that the poor work just as hard as the rich do, and many poor people work very hard at low wages to support their families. Economist Stephen Moore points out that statistically, the average poor family does not work nearly as much as rich families do.

The Census sorts households by income quintiles: we call the highest one “the rich” and the lowest “the poor.” In the top 20 percent of income, the average household has two full-time workers. The average poor family (bottom 20 percent of income) household has just 0.4 workers. Basic math: for every hour worked by those in a poor household, those in a rich household work five hours. But six out of ten poor households have no one working at all. With no income from work, it is not surprising that they are poor.

For rich households, 75 percent have two or more workers, for the poor households that percentage is less than 5 percent. Out of wedlock births and divorce have a lot to do with income inequality. Budget expert Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institute found that if marriage rates were as high today as they were in 1970, about 20 percent of child poverty would disappear.

The best way to help low-income families is with jobs, ideally 40 hours a week. When welfare takes the place of work, it contributes to long-term poverty. Strict work requirements for welfare programs are actually a help, every step towards becoming a worker is a step out of poverty. Raising the minimum wage destroys jobs at the bottom of the skills ladder, and leaves beginners nowhere to start.

Getting married before having children, and having a father in the home are great ways to avoid the trap of falling into poverty. The earned-income tax credit supplements low income wages. The left wants to increase the benefits of being dependent on the government. People who are dependent are apt to vote reliably for those who give them benefits. That’s how the Left made people poor in the first place, and the rules for those who are dependent make it increasingly hard to escape.

 



A Vast Self-Inflicted Tragedy Has Struck Greece. There Are No Easy Answers. by The Elephant's Child
July 5, 2015, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Communism, Economy, Socialism, Statism | Tags: , , ,

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Well, the matter of Greece. Janet Daley describes the problem in The Telegraph.

There is no point any longer in trying to make sense of this. It has gone beyond sense. It is now incomprehensible in the strict technical meaning of the word. The “options” available are all catastrophic and delusional in varying degrees and combinations, and nobody is actually going to get to choose between them anyway – at least, nobody in Greece. To the extent that they have had any involvement – or culpability – in this matter, the Greek people must come to terms with the consequences of electing Russell Brand to head their government. Voters do have some responsibility for the choices that they make. That is what distinguishes mature democracy from the students’ union. But given the price that they are paying for that moment of mad frivolity, it seems harsh to condemn, especially as the prospect of fiscal rationality had already been ruined by the fecklessness of previous governments and external forces beyond their control.

It’s a marvelous example, once again, of the failure of socialism. We have seen it over  and over, and the empty stores in Venezuela were only a harbinger of the empty stores, already, in Greece. Spare the empathy, the Greeks brought it upon themselves. A new book from James Angelos:The Full Catastrophe, looks at the widespread tax evasion and benefit fraud. How about an island where everybody pretends to be blind? Or  doctors who earn only €12,000 a year — yet live in the most exclusive neighborhood in Athens?

It was rumors of the ‘Island of the blind’ that brought journalist James Angelos to Greece. Turned out that 61 of the supposedly blind residents of Zakynthos, were quite happily driving around the island, and an astonishing 496 of the 680 blind residents were not blind nor partially sighted. It was all a scam that could be traced back to one ophthalmologist and one official who cost the government €69 million. Being blind got you €724 paid in benefits once every two months, and a reduction in utility bills.

When the government called for those claiming disabilities to present themselves at government offices so official records could be updated, 36,000 failed to show up.That scam saved the government €100 million a year. When they began to check the rolls, they found that 8,500 unlikely pensioners claimed to be over age 100.

Neighborhoods of opulent mansions with their own pools were apparently occupied by virtual paupers who were living on a paltry €12,000 or only €8,000 since they were allowed to declare their own incomes for tax purposes. Official records showed that just over 300 homes in Athens most exclusive neighborhood  had swimming pools, and had paid the tax for the luxury. When the bureaucrats looked at Google Earth, it appeared that the real number of pools was closer to 20,000. But well-to-do home owners promptly bought camouflage tarpaulins to conceal their existence from tax inspectors flying over.

The picture of a pensioner crying in the street when he learns that his pension has been reduced to €120 is heartwrenching. Stores are empty, medicine short, and the government is projected to run out of cash this week. Nobody plans to rescue them. Much of Southern Europe is already coping with floods of refugees from Africa and the Middle East. Bureaucrats like to buy votes with their empathy. We care about  you and we will give you stuff. But bureaucrats need to stay in power, so they exert more and more control, which needs larger departments and higher salaries for the bureaucracy. And so it goes. Inflating and inflating the balloon with the inevitable result.




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