American Elephants


Are We All Just Getting Dumber? Or More Informed? by The Elephant's Child

The University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center in an annual survey found that one in every five Americans cannot name a single branch of the government.

The center released its annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey on Thursday, and found that about 2 in 5 American adults accurately named the three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial.

  • 39 percent named all three branches
  • 14 percent named two branches
  • 25 percent named one branch
  • 22 percent couldn’t name any branch
  • 1 percent refused to answer

The center notes that the percentage of people who could name all three branches “is the highest in five years, statistically the same as the prior high of 38 percent in 2013 and 2011 and a substantial increase over last year, when 32 percent could do the same.”

According to the center, the survey also found that people who took civics classes in high school, or were regular consumers of news, were more likely to know the answers to the survey questions.

That’s fairly startling, if accurate. National Review noted that the Democrats on stage for their debate Thursday night demonstrated that they are not qualified to hold forth on immigration policy because they have no idea what our immigration policy is. Joe Biden announced proudly that “we didn’t put children in cages” though all the pictures of children in cages come from the Obama administration. Andrew Yang announced that he would return immigration to the level it was during the Obama administration, which is exactly where it is right now. But one should know what the annual level of immigration is within a couple of hundred thousand, and whether it has gone up or down. These are people who supposedly want to be President.

In the past few weeks, Democrats have focused on the chance of a recession (hopefully), but steered clear of any mention of the current economy. You have probably read enough to know why they have.

I suspect that as a society, we are getting dumber. We get our news by surfing through the internet, reading a headline here and there, reading a few words of an article and deciding it’s too long, or not interesting enough, and moving on the the next bright object, as it were. And then we think of ourselves as well informed citizens, but are we actually? Is the nature of the Internet making us shallower and less informed? Scary thought, but plausible.

August reports from the Commerce Department and BLS show excellent economic results that continue to exceed MSM expectations.  Retail sales climbed by 0.4 percent twice what analysts had predicted, and highlight retail sales strength year over year. Employment up for everyone. Need for food stamps dying. Unemployment for all in very low numbers.



Keep Calm and Try to Talk Sensibly. by The Elephant's Child

The Cry is echoing around the Media: “Stop Gun Violence!” Unfortunately there is no such thing as gun violence. Guns are inanimate objects. it’s the people that are violent. The question is much more difficult, and we don’t really know who is going to be violent and when, nor do we really know how to stop them when we do know. It really helps when you can address the problem in clear language. Stop shouting “Do-Something”. There are limits to federal solutions.

Having misidentified the perpetrators as the guns themselves, you get drawn into all sorts of silly arguments about banning and confiscating, and which guns and why, and why the NRA is evil, and why the Second Amendment should be overturned and so on and so forth. Ban Assault weapons is the usual first bright idea, but it turns out that nobody knows what an assault weapon is other than it’s one of those that look “scary.” And that is true. Gun makers have added scopes and fancy details to make the guns look more appealing and masculine and military-looking.

City people are likely to be less familiar with guns than rural people. Rural people are more apt to be plagued with varmints — a handy all-purpose word to cover woodrats, porcupines, skunks, coyotes, ground squirrels, badgers, hawks, rattlesnakes, wolves and wildcats, among other wild animals. Ranchers sometimes have to put down a badly injured animal to stop its suffering. Guns are just a necessary tool.

Many rural people hunt to fill their freezers with a meat supply for the winter months. Some city people also hunt, and many people hunt for sport rather than for food. Pheasant is very tasty indeed. In the South people shoot squirrels a lot, and oddly, I just saw pictures online of squirrel heads mounted, much as elk and antelope are, which was new to me. I couldn’t quite decide whether it was cute or horrifying. I’ve never considered squirrels as bad animals, but I have shot large numbers of woodrats. They really are nasty critters.

There you have an extensive discussion of gun violence without  any indication about what to do about the violence part, and how one is to identify the violent. President Trump is interested in the Red Flag warning for those who seem— troubled or dangerous. Parkland is an example of a mass shooting where there were red flags all over the place about the young shooter, but no one recognized the flags. There are no easy answers. Human kind is far from perfect, quarrelsome, troubled, angry, despondent, but also kind and caring. Might help if we forced people to talk about the problems seriously instead of in soundbites. Conversation instead of shrieking. So there you are, four paragraphs that solve nothing, nothing at all.



A Disaster for Democrats by The Elephant's Child

Interesting hearings today. They didn’t go quite as the Democrats had planned. And the consensus seems to be that it was a disaster for them and may have ended their pursuit of impeachment. We’ll see. I don’t expect they will give up easily.

Have you noticed that nobody seems to mention the extent to which President Trump cooperated with the investigation? He gave them everything they asked for, access to staff, his lawyer, papers, answered questions and complied cooperatively with the whole effort, though he did call it a “witch hunt” from time to time.

Lawrence Tribe, Harvard Law School, Lefty, wrote that: “the effort to save democracy and the rule of law from this lawless president  has been set back, not advanced.” That one startled me — “Save Democracy and the Rule of Law?” A little full of ourselves are we?  I continued on browsing, and discovered the same quote at InstaPundit. 422 other people were disturbed enough by Tribe’s statement to want to comment on it, quite a few angrily, some scatologically and many just wanted to tell Mr.Tribe where he could take his opinions.  Funny.



“In the Absence of Support from the U.S. Congress” by The Elephant's Child

Democrats want the extra bodies for the upcoming census next year to give them more representation in Congress. That’s why there’s the battle about ICE and Sanctuary cities, why Trump can’t get money for a wall from Congress, and why Democrats seem to want amnesty for all illegals. The Chamber of Congress wants more workers to do the scut work cheaply, to line their pockets. Somalia is one of those ‘s’-holes that President Trump mentioned, to outrage from the media.

When you want information about illegal immigration and the borders, turn to the Center for Immigration Studies, a think-tank devoted to studying immigration. (cis.org) They favor and encourage legal immigration, and work to stop the illegal kind. The Left likes to claim that the President or Conservatives oppose illegal immigration because they are “racist”. But then that’s their blanket charge when “Hitler”or “Nazi”does not suffice.

Democrats never worry about high taxes, they worry that “the rich” are not paying enough. They have never understood why cutting taxes for everyone brings economic prosperity, because obviously, the rich are not paying enough. That if we took all the money the rich have, to spread around the rest of us, wouldn’t make much difference. It’s giving the economic engine a jump start, and then keeping it running smoothly that matters. There’s a reason why Democrat-run cities and states are such a mess. Lumping all the problems together under the “homeless” label isn’t helpful either, but doing something about addiction isn’t on the schedule. Democrats want to be in control so they can tax the rich so they can buy more votes to keep themselves in control. That’s my take.



The First Democrat Debates Are Coming Up by The Elephant's Child

Tuesday. Nancy Pelosi announced that she wants President Donald Trump in jail. Joe Biden spoke in Iowa this afternoon and said that Donald Trump represents an “existential threat” to the United States – and that the president “thinks he’s being  tough when someone else is feeling the pain.”

“Any beginning econ student at Iowa or Iowa State could tell you that the American people are paying his tariffs. The cashiers at Target see what’s going on — they know more about economics than Trump.”

Breitbart went on to say that Contrary to these claims, tariffs on China have not affected consumer prices for at least a year. Breitbart’s John Carney wrote in May that some Chinese imports have actually decreased in price after President Trump enacted new tariffs.

Democrats have always been given to calling Republicans “Hitler” and whatever noxious names they can think of, but this time around they have really gone round the bend. It’s a little harder to understand because Hillary was such a lousy candidate, and they don’t seem interested in her at this point at all.

Democrats waved the flag of tariffs and doom around over the Mexico deal, but Trump knew what he was doing, and I suspect he understands about free trade as well.

Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, criticized President Donald Trump today for turning the United States into a country that looked more like Russia.

Russia nationalism, xenophobia, homophobia, and repression of the press are both highly disturbing in that country and disturbingly ascendant in our own country.

He claimed that rising white nationalism was more dangerous than radical Islamic terrorism.

In the past decade, more Americans have been killed in America by right-wing extremists than by those inspired by Al Qaeda and ISIS,” he said. “We need to acknowledge this threat too, and redirect appropriate resources to combat right-wing extremism and violent white nationalism.

I don’t know what the problems with “white nationalists” and “right-wing  extremism” are in South Bend, but perhaps that small Indiana city is more violent than we knew. This is apparently going to be a remarkably ugly campaign season. There are what — 24 Democrats out to challenge President Trump, unaware of the thriving economy, people back to work, wages going up, but Democrats have such a poisonous idea of Trump so far from reality that it is going to be unpleasant. Did you know that President Trump accepts no salary as president, and donates it to government needs or to charity?

Have you seen lots of violent white nationalism? Nationalism is not a dirty word, what they mean by right-wing extremism, I’m not sure, undoubtedly it means wanting control of our borders when Democrats had in mind planting illegals in districts where redistricting would give them control of the district for all upcoming elections — as Obama and Eric Holder planned.

There will be 6 debates held in 2019 and another 6 held in early 2020. but exact dates and locations have not been announced. Rachel Maddow has been announced as a moderator. Prepare yourselves.



“Investigating the Investigators” or Exploring an Attempted Coup by The Elephant's Child

Judicial Watch hosted a panel discussion on “investigating the investigators” to probe the Mueller investigation. If you are troubled by the efforts of the Democrats to stage a coup in the biggest government scandal in our nation’s history, you will find this of interest.  It’s a group of very knowledgeable observers, and a fascinating discussion. I watched the whole thing. It’s an hour long if you can find the time. It’s clear that President Obama was fully informed from the beginning.

Violating every principle of our constitutional republic is not a matter of concern. Sanctuary cities exist for the purpose of attracting illegal aliens to be counted in the coming census– which will increase their representation in Congress. Impeaching the duly elected president will put them back in charge, voting to have your state’s electoral vote go to the winner of the national popular vote just fixes an error on the part of the ill-informed folks who wrote the Constitution. There’s an old saying: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.



Nevada Gov. Sisolak Vetoed a Bill to End The Electoral College by The Elephant's Child

Nevada governor Steve Sisolak (D) today vetoed a bill which would have pledged Nevada’s six electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote for the President of the United States, or in other words nullifying Nevada’s voters and allowing California, Texas. Florida and New York to decide all of our elections. It would really simplify things – the rest of us could just not bother to vote, and candidates would save all sorts of money.

What is appalling is that a legislature would produce such a bill, or that our schools should be so deficient in teaching the basics of what our founders struggled to do when they devised the Constitution.

The origin of the whole thing was, of course, Democrats’ rage that Hillary won the popular vote and lost the general election. But the Left is fairly unfamiliar with the Founders, interested only in whether they owned slaves or not — because they learned their history from Howard Zinn, and assume that this country is evil, and will not be improved until governed entirely by the Left, or something like that. If you need a copy, the Cato Institute has dandy little pocket-sized versions as does Amazon.

Harvard professor and historian Bernard Bailyn, who has likely studied more of the early pamphlets than any other scholar, asserts that “influential in shaping the thought of the Revolutionary generation were the ideas and attitudes associated with the writings of Enlightenment rationalism—writings that expressed not simply the rationalism of liberal reform but that of enlightened conservatism as well.” “In pamphlet after pamphlet the American writers cited Locke on natural rights and on the social and  governmental contract, Montesquieu and later Delolme on the character of British liberty and on the institutional requirements for its attainment.”

That’s from Mark Levin’s new Unfreedom of the Press (which I recommend). I also recommend Wilfrid McClay’s Land of Hope which I haven’t read yet. which is reportedly a refutation of everything Howard Zinn wrote by a highly recommended historian.




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