American Elephants


An American Timeline by The Elephant's Child

1765: The British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a tax on American colonists.

1767: Parliament wanted more money from the pesky colonists, and passed the Townshend Acts, This one included everything from china to tea, and you know where that led.

1770: The Boston Massacre. Crispus Atticus, a stevedore of African and Native American lineage, was killed, the first victim of the American Revolution.

1773: The Boston Tea Party: Taxing tea was not a good idea. Coffee wasn’t discovered yet.

1774: The 1st Continental Congress, and the Intolerable Acts.

1775: Rhode Island abolished slavery. Paul Revere Rode on the 18th of April to Lexington and Concord. Bunker Hill.

1776: The Declaration of Independence, The Battle of Long Island, (August) Dec, 16: Washington Crosses the Delaware (You are familiar with the painting) December 25: The Battle of Trenton.

1777: Battle of Princeton, January 3. Burgoyne captures Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga: September 19 to October 7.

1779: John Paul Jones on the Bonhomme Richard defeats Serapis.

1780: Charleston Falls. Kings Mountain 7 Oct.  Camden Aug. 16, Cowpens: Jan. 17.

1781: Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, October 19

1789: George Washington chosen as president.

1799: George Washington dies of strep throat.

There’s a quickie. You can fill in the blanks. You’ll find it rewarding. There’s a new history out by Wilfred McClay: Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, which has received outstanding reviews.  I believe that Hillsdale College is offering a free course.



How Do We Decide What is Real and Who to Believe? by The Elephant's Child

Have you ever stopped to think that almost all of which we consider as “the news” is just what someone has said. If they have the qualifications of belonging to a “news” organization, then it is news. But then whatever a “celebrity” says is also apparently considered to be news, although a “celebrity” is merely someone whose name we recognize.

Hollywood people used to hire press agents to make people think that what they said was of note, so that they could eventually become a “celebrity”. Being a “celebrity” meant that they were more apt to get jobs, because more people were apt to be attracted by the recognized name. They don’t need press agents anymore because they have the press itself, who if they can get a quote from someone whose name is recognized, are apt to get that piece published.

Today’s real “news” is that a dam in Michigan broke and flooded everything below, and people had to be evacuated. The rest of it is what somebody said. I find it helpful to understand the difference, because a lot of what somebody said is inaccurate and biased. Twitter now has a new 20 member fact-checking group to weed out any conservatives. The tech people seem a little lacking on the freedom of speech part, and don’t know how to manage it.

So how do we decide where we are going to learn about what is going on in the world around us, who to trust, and what are the guidelines to use?

Fredrich Hayek, the Austrian-American economist and Nobel Laureate, devoted much of his brilliant career to describing how rationalism could never work. How can anything good happen, Hayek asked, if individuals cannot think and act for themselves? Rules preclude initiative. Regimentation precludes evolution. Letting accidents happen, mistakes be made, results in new ideas. Trial and error is the key to all progress. The Soviet system of rules and central planning is doomed to failure. Hayek stated fifty years ago because it kills the human faculty that makes things work.
Philip Howard: The Death of Common Sense

In a liberal society knowledge –not belief– is the rolling critical consensus of a decentralized community of checkers, and nothing else.
Jonathan Rauch, Kindly Inquisitors



In a Disordered Society, A Little Food for Thought by The Elephant's Child

Constitution

In the current situation, I have dragged out some old, but favorite books: Angelo M. Codevilla’s The Ruling Class, and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. I suspect a great many of us are sick of being confined, bossed around, and lied to. I think of government as a management group chosen to take care of the details that we cannot individually cope with. I vaguely hope that those we have chosen are up to the job, but don’t expect all that much. and I usually turn out to be more or less correct. In his Foreword. Professor Codevilla says:

It is about the fact that America now divides ever more sharply into two classes, the smaller of which holds the commanding heights of government, from which it disposes in ever greater detail of America’s economic energies, from which it ordains new ways of living as if it had the right to do so, and from which it asserts that that right is based on the majority class’s stupidity, racism, and violent tendencies.

A little later, in another chapter, he adds:

Our Ruling Class’ agenda is power for itself. It seeks and exercises that power through unremarkable patronage and promises thereof, as well as by courting supporters and denigrating opponents. These ordinary means, however, are having remarkable effects on America’s body politic, because their practice is wrapped up in our Ruling Class’ peculiar intellectual and moral pretenses. Chief among these is an ideological belief that it has an exclusive, Gnostic grip on modern science’s secrets. Nevertheless, as we look at how our Ruling Class is making our economic livelihood ever more dependent on itself, at how it is running a system of representation and a legal system quite opposite to those bequeathed to us by our founders, as well as at how it is disaggregating our families and dispiriting our souls, let us keep in mind that this agenda is driven primarily by mundane personal interest. This agenda proceeds from claims that our Ruling Class knows formulae for spreading economic wealth, for engineering social happiness, and for legal and constitutional fairness. It claims as well to be more resistant than the rest of us to the temptation to profit personally from power. In short, it  proceeds from the premise of human inequality and leads to even greater inequality. But, pretenses notwithstanding, our Ruling Class was no more present at the creation of our nation than the rest of us, nor are they any less self interested. Its members too put on their pants one leg at a time.

Does that sound a bit familiar, as if it is touching on the world of today? We Americans like to think that we are the freest people on earth, that the rest of the world envies us as they cope with their difficult governments. We find AOC fascinating because of her absolute ignorance of American history and American beliefs. Today she was back with the idea that we kept illegal immigrant children in cages, to boost her support for Biden, completely unaware that it was the Obama administration which did that.

Charles Schumer spoke up to say that the Democrats would present us with a “Rooseveltian” world, as if that was something to yearn for. They still believe in FDR’s Administration, unaware that his efforts with the Great Depression made it last seven years longer than it should have. Two economists from UCLA, Lee Ohanian and Harold Cole proved that conclusively. Don’t need to do that again. We should have learned what a failure FDR was, but it’s hard to give up your heroes.  Michael Moore has a new movie out admitting that wind farms and solar arrays do not work. How this will sit with the Democrats remains to be seen. They are very open to the “Green New Deal,” unfortunately.

Milton Friedman’s book is an essential for every library. He asks on the second page:

How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat to freedom? Two broad principles embodied in our Constitution give an answer that has preserved our freedom so far, though they have been violated repeatedly in practice while proclaimed as precept.

First. the scope of government must be limited. Its major function must be to protect our freedom both from the enemies outside our gates and from our fellow citizens: to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets. Beyond this major function, government may enable us at times to accomplish jointly what we would find it more difficult or expensive to accomplish severally. However, any such use of government is fraught with danger. We should not and cannot avoid using government in this way. But there should be a clear and large balance of advantages before we do.  By relying privately on voluntary co-operation and private enterprise, in both economic and other activities, we can insure that the private sector is a check on the powers of the governmental sector and an effective protection of freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought.

The second broad principle is that government power must be dispersed. If government is to exercise power, better in the country than in the state, better in the state than in Washington. If I do not like what my local community does, be it in sewage disposal, or zoning, or schools, I can move to another local community, and though few may take this step, the mere possibility acts as a check. If I do not like what my state does, I can move to another. If I do not like what Washington imposes, I have few alternatives in this world of jealous nations.

You see, we are not alone in our discontent. It has been recognized by some of our most celebrated minds. If that gives you some comfort in your locked-down situation. They tell us that meat should be more plentiful in the grocery stores very shortly, but that is dependent on getting everybody in the meat-packing plants in masks and protective gear, I think. The government recognizes the problem and is working on it. Nobody has explained why I could not get any eggs!

The books are available from Amazon, and used copies are really cheap.

 

 



The Perilous Quest for Just the Right Candidate by The Elephant's Child

Democrats are, as they say, up the river without a paddle. We had the interminable Democrat debates which resolved to a great lack of enthusiasm, and they finally, maybe, might have, settled on former Vice President Joe Biden. Mr. Biden has been accused of sexual abuse in his senate career at some point, by someone who had timely evidence in having told others at the time, but there are a lot of accusations of sexual abuse out there, and the “believe all women” thingy seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Of more concern is that Mr. Biden seems to be showing some signs of confusion and forgetfulness, his age is a worry (as President he would be 82), and there are questions about his son Hunter Biden’s business activity, The Democrats were alarmed by the popularity of socialist Bernie Sanders, and casting around for a better candidate. Enthusiasm for Michelle Obama. I don’t know that being married to a President is a qualification, but a wife may have learned something in the White House. Elizabeth Warren has been touted, but she has a fairly vast bunch of detractors. The idea of a woman of color seems particularly popular as it checks off the female button and the race button at the same time, and Democrats pay a lot of attention to checking off diversity buttons. That proves that they are not racist, and are indeed nice.

It seems that the Democrat convention, whenever it turns out to be, will be fairly entertaining. A former presidential advisor has suggested Hillary as the candidate with Obama as VP, but that is prohibited by the 12th amendment. A President may not serve more than two terms, and anyone ineligible to be president is also ineligible for the Vice Presidency. Republicans are inclined to choose someone who has clear ideas about what he (or she) wants to accomplish for the United States of America. Democrats want to check off diversity buttons, to prove once again that they are nice, and not racist.

Democrats are trying desperately to prove that President Trump has somehow messed up with his Covid-19 efforts, but Democrat Governors are clearly not doing well with their decisions, and the locked-down people are getting more than restless. People want and need to go back to work. Too many people simply do not have a financial cushion to carry them over, and are facing going to food banks that are unprepared for that kind of rush.

President Trump seems to have done a quite remarkable job, especially in shutting down immigration from China early on, fulfilling the needs of Governors around the country, and coming up with supplies where they were needed. The Democrat Media is working hard at trying to discredit his every move, which leads to President Trump’s need to extol his accomplishments, which in turn is demonized by the Democrat Media.

If you have not found the new website https://justthenews.com. I urge you to add it to your list. Founded by John Solomon, excellent journalist long with Investors Business Daily. Another excellent website is https://amgreatness.com.



Why Do Democrats Hate President Trump? II by The Elephant's Child

Continuing! President Trump is returning home after a triumphal trip to India with a tumultuous welcome in a packed world’s largest cricket stadium from an overflowing, 100,000+ cheering crowd. Democrats really hate that. Trump and Prime Minister Modi hugged. The hatred is completely irrational, but they expect everyone else to hate him as they do.

They really hate his claims (which are completely accurate) of a booming economy, with jobs for anyone who wants to work. Bernie is building his campaign on poor Americans out of work, needing all kinds of government-supplied help and free stuff. Capitalism, of course, is what creates a booming economy, and the captains of industry are those who supply it, but Democrats see only rich men who don’t need those big salaries. Our young people have clearly not learned either history or civics, or for that matter — basic economics. Bernie apparently thinks that his “socialism” is what is practiced in the Scandinavian countries, but he’s wrong on that as well. Sweden is ranked as one of the most market-oriented economies in the world in 2019, just behind the United States.

A federal appeals court has handed a major win to the Trump administration in it’s fight against “sanctuary” jurisdictions. The administration is deploying Border Patrol agents to sanctuary jurisdictions across the country to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) track down and detain illegal immigrants freed by left-wing cities and states. Democrats want mostly open borders because new immigrants are apt (or can be persuaded) to vote Democrat. The court has ruled that the administration can deny grant money to those states that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Chris King, from Pima County, Arizona explained why the county on the border voted not to become a sanctuary county.

H.R. 5383, the “New Way Forward Act” which has 44 co-sponsors, would effectively eviscerate immigration enforcement not only at the border. but also in the interior of the United States. Read that one and become truly frightened. Never mind the report yesterday about an 11 year-old little girl being raped by an illegal immigrant, or the report that the drugs seized in 6 of the largest fentanyl busts were enough to kill 229 million Americans, without even considering the coronavirus potential.

One begins to wonder if any Democrats have any understanding of basic economics, let alone the perils of illegal immigration. The most recent debate would make one think they do not. Democrats like to think well of themselves and their objectives, so they base it all on their compassion and caring. They are caring people, so they want more illegals to enjoy the freedom of America (and do the scut work so they can hire cheap labor). Not much concern for the citizens of Cuba or Nicaragua who might like to come to the U.S. They have experienced Communism and would hardly support it again, and might actually vote Republican. Can’t have that.



Democrats Just Want To Be In Control by The Elephant's Child

Do you subscribe to any magazines anymore? When I was growing up we subscribed to Time, Life, Fortune,The Saturday Evening Post, and Readers Digest. Since magazines have gone online, we read real magazines at the doctor’s office and the hairdressers. Magazines are suffering, and have decided to make the articles that they expect to attract attention available only to “subscribers”. Which is interesting. I visit about 20 some websites every day, and if I had to subscribe to all of them to find out what is going on it would be far more expensive than I would care to pay. I understand that they need to pay their writers, and advertising is not bringing in the desired revenue.

I visited The Atlantic today. I was familiar with the magazine as being out there, but I had never read it before. Since I live on the West Coast, the name of the magazine was not enticing. Another East Coast rag that talks sneeringly about the rest of the country, as if anything that transpires in the other part of the country is not worthy of interest. Surprise! I was right. Hard Left, Trump-hating, and today with a plan to create more states so they have permanent Democratic control of the country. I had never considered trying to eliminate the other political party permanently, but they do.

The major problem with the Democratic Party is that they don’t understand human nature. Human nature being what it is, we need a government to manage the big things that we cannot manage as individuals, or even groups of individuals. Humans want to control things, fix them their way, make people do what we want and in the way we think they should act. We don’t want to be taxed, we want someone else to pay, we want our people in charge, permanently, We want excellent health care, but we don’t want to pay for it, we want good roads and good transportation, we want public safety, but no laws that cause us problems, and so on. If someone asked you how you would fix the government, given your own preferences, what would you change? Or how would you fix your community? Or your neighborhood? (There’s a constantly barking dog across the street.) There is no consensus on the perfect government at any level — everybody has their own choices, and you have to put up with a lot that you really don’t like. Democrats really, really don’t like Donald Trump, as they make quite clear, but they are prepared to go to extremes to remove him, though he’s doing a remarkably good job. (Nancy Pelosi just declared that all those things he claimed to have accomplished were lies.)

The founders were quite aware of the foibles of human nature and tried to write the Constitution in a way that would allow for it and cope with the excess. The idea that the Constitution says that the popular vote doesn’t count because the Electoral College was devised to see that all of the states had an equal voice, so that the big populous states could not cancel the vote of smaller states. That simple fact drives Democrats nuts, and they want to rewrite the Constitution so that it all depends on the popular vote — as long as that would let them win.



The State of the Union Speech by The Elephant's Child

Donald J. Trump tonight gave the State of the Union Speech to Congress and to the nation. The Union is doing very nicely indeed, a Working Man’s Boom. Employment is at an all-time high, particularly for those who need it most. He said “Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again!  America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise, and America’s future is blazing bright.”

“Incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my Administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country. …

The unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans have reached the lowest levels in history. African-American youth unemployment has reached an all-time low.

African-American poverty has declined to the lowest rate ever recorded.

The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years — and last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added.

The veterans’ unemployment rate dropped to a record low.

The unemployment rate for disabled Americans has reached an all-time low.

Workers without a high school diploma have achieved the lowest unemployment rate recorded in United States history.”

There were moving moments: a very young man who wants to be in the Space Force when he grows up, was there with his just turned 100-year-old Great Grandfather, who was a Tuskegee Airman during the Second World War, and gave a snappy salute to the audience.

An Army Veteran who was struggling with drug addiction and had lost his family, his house and his job, thanks to Senator Tim Scott’s Opportunity Zones, is now a top tradesman, drug-free, and reunited with his family, was there.

A young woman with two small children, who has been working to help other military families while her own husband is deployed, was surprised in a moving moment with her husband, back from Afghanistan.

President Trump said: “The American Nation was carved out of the vast frontier by the toughest, strongest, fiercest, and most determined men and women ever to walk the face of the Earth. Our ancestors braved the unknown; tamed the wilderness; settled the Wild West; lifted millions from poverty, disease, and hunger; vanquished tyranny and fascism; ushered the world to new heights of science and medicine; laid down the railroads, dug out canals, raised up the skyscrapers — and, ladies and gentlemen, our ancestors built the most exceptional Republic ever to exist in all of human history. And we are making it greater than ever before!

This is our glorious and magnificent inheritance.

We are Americans. We are the pioneers. We are the pathfinders. We settled the new world, we built the modern world, and we changed history forever by embracing the eternal truth that everyone is made equal by the hand of Almighty God.”

If you didn’t watch the speech, Breitbart has published the text in full here. You might want to read the whole thing. It’s very worth your time.

Nancy Pelosi at the end of the speech, made the dramatic gesture (planned?) of tearing up the speech as the President left the podium. Bad idea. It came across as petty, mean-spirited, uncalled for, and was a very bad idea.




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