American Elephants


“Obama’s Last Lecture” by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama delivered his final address to the U.N General assembly on Tuesday. I listened to a bit online, and decided to get the transcript, as I prefer to read it unadulterated. The Wall Street Journal headline over their commentary was “Obama’s Last Lecture,” and my immediate response was “Please God, Make It So.” President Obama started right off to tell the delegates just what an impressive difference he had made in the world and how very important it was. As  usual, it was all about him.

From the depths of the greatest financial crisis of our time, we coordinated our response to avoid further catastrophe and return the global economy to growth.  We’ve taken away terrorist safe havens, strengthened the nonproliferation regime, resolved the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy.  We opened relations with Cuba, helped Colombia end Latin America’s longest war, and we welcome a democratically elected leader of Myanmar to this Assembly.  Our assistance is helping people feed themselves, care for the sick, power communities across Africa, and promote models of development rather than dependence.  And we have made international institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund more representative, while establishing a framework to protect our planet from the ravages of climate change.

This is important work.  It has made a real difference in the lives of our people.  And it could not have happened had we not worked together.  And yet, around the globe we are seeing the same forces of global integration that have made us interdependent also expose deep fault lines in the existing international order.

We see it in the headlines every day.  Around the world, refugees flow across borders in flight from brutal conflict.  Financial disruptions continue to weigh upon our workers and entire communities.  Across vast swaths of the Middle East, basic security, basic order has broken down.  We see too many governments muzzling journalists, and quashing dissent, and censoring the flow of information.  Terrorist networks use social media to prey upon the minds of our youth, endangering open societies and spurring anger against innocent immigrants and Muslims.  Powerful nations contest the constraints placed on them by international law.

He hit all his favorite progressive notes: inequality, the one percent controlling all the wealth, beggar thy neighbors policies, injustice undermining people’s faith in the system, soulless capitalism,  the gap between rich and poor, and I loved this one: “with further investment in infrastructure and early childhood education and basic research, I’m confident that such progress will continue.” About infrastructure, remember there weren’t any shovel-ready jobs. It has been a dismal eight years, with no real recovery, an economy never reaching even a basic 3% growth, an economy burdened by excessive regulation, overreaching controls, and of course the constant pursuit of some way, any way, to stop the normal warming and cooling of our planet, on which he has squandered billions to no avail whatsoever.

On the other hand he’s for democracy, our democratic Constitution, our Bill of Rights and the ideals which let our ordinary  people organize and march and protest.  The American narrative, I guess. It was a lecture.

The speech is here if you want to read it.



Sources For Everything You Need to Know on Constitution Day by The Elephant's Child

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Where can you get a copy of the United States Constitution? The Cato Institute has dandy pocket Constitutions — 3½” x  5″ for $4.95 each, or 10 copies for $10 — including the Bill of Rights and all the amendments. Make sure each of your kids or grandkids have their own copy, and that they read it.

Birthdays or Christmas, get them a copy of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power by John Steele Gordon. It explains why things happened the way they did, and why a free people, whose freedoms are guaranteed by the world’s greatest constitution, are the envy of the world.

Here’s a list of the 20 questions kids ask most on Constitution Day.

Here’s a list of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention who signed the Constitution into law, and a brief biography of each one, and of the three Delegates who refused to sign.

Here’s a brief 10 question quiz to test your basic knowledge of the Constitution, and if you don’t excel, refer back to where you get a copy.

Don’t forget that the Constitution was preceded by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. The Library of Congress has an excellent overview of the Articles, and  you can read the Articles of Confederation at Yale’s Avalon project to see why we needed a do-over. And here are copies of The Federalist Papers, in many different editions.

Progressives don’t really like the Constitution, as their aim is a socialist paradise of some kind with themselves in charge. Free people and Free Markets just don’t fit into their vision, and apparently they don’t read enough or keep up with the news enough to grasp the long dismal histories of socialist countries — evidenced by Obama’s efforts to make nice with Cuba, or the current situation in Venezuela where the people are starving. Or North Korea, Russia, China, Vietnam, etc., etc. They always believe that those other people just didn’t do it right. That, in itself is a very basic reason to bone up on the Constitution, if you value being a free person in a free country.

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Happy Constitution Day! by The Elephant's Child

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Today is Constitution Day, September 17, celebrating the ratification of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787.  If you are unfamiliar with the day of celebration, you may be forgiven, for it was only established in 2004, and to further confuse matters, if it occurs on a weekend it is celebrated in schools and government offices on the closest weekday, so they supposedly celebrated yesterday. Check with your child if you have one in school.

The law establishing the American federal observance was created with an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004, and mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions, and all federal agencies provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on September 17, 1787. It is also Citizenship Day, commemorating the coming of age or by naturalization, of those who have become citizens. (What? You’re not a citizen until you turn 18?)

Iowa schools started celebrating in 1911, and there’s a long history of attempts to make it a national celebration, which aren’t really important anyway. What is important is that a recent survey determined that most college students had no idea who James Madison was, or why he was important. And were astonished to learn that slavery was not practiced only in the United States. No idea of Muslim raids on the British Isles to capture British slaves, or of Muslim slave traders caravans up from ‘darkest Africa’, nor of  American Indian slaves. Schools across the country have become very lax in the teaching of American History. And our college students have no idea why the Constitution is a big deal. Oddly enough, the institution that makes the most of American history and the study of the Constitution is Hillsdale College, which receives no federal funding at all. Here is Dr. Larry  P. Arn, President of Hillsdale College explaining why they study the Constitution.



Socialism Makes People Selfish by The Elephant's Child

From Praeger University: quickie courses in stuff you should know about. Most are only around a few minutes long, this one is just over 4. Right size for busy people. This one features Dennis Praeger himself.



Heather MacDonald: “Are the Police Racist?” by The Elephant's Child

The Data and the facts don’t support the accusations of racism. But the whole question is involved with feelings, not facts.  It’s past time to set the record straight.



Will Obama Get His 16-Year Era Of Progressive Rule to Fundamentally Transform America? by The Elephant's Child

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I received my copy of The Claremont Review of Books summer edition in the mail today, and a paragraph in the editorial statement caught my eye. Charles Kesler reflected on the campaign season.

For President Obama , the stakes are clear. As he told Politico recently; he wants his legacy to include “a 16-year era of progressive rule” that would upend the Reagan Revolution and fulfill his promise in 2008 to transform the country “fundamentally.” Obama’s own achievement, in other words, depends on eight years of a Hillary Clinton Administration, its agenda shoved further left by Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution.”Whether Obama likes it or not, if Change doesn’t continue, Hope will die, above all his hope of being the progressive Reagan.

I am continually amazed at the ignorance of the benefits of free market capitalism that is necessary to believe in a glorious Progressive future. But then, Christiana Figueres, Secretary General of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, cheerfully admitted that they weren’t really interested in saving the Earth from a forthcoming climate disaster, but that it was their best chance of ridding the world of Capitalism.

How do they continually banish the clear evidence before their eyes of the results of progressive governance? People are voting with their feet to leave the states where the administrative state reigns. Companies cannot make a go of it under confiscatory taxes and ever-increasing regulation. 9,000 businesses have packed up and left California for less regulation and lower taxes. The Cities that have been run by Democrats the longest, are the cities with the highest murder rates, the most dysfunction. There is a long and ugly history of socialism, but they just didn’t do it right? Obama has tried to open up Cuba with a visit and promises of closer relations, and the Castros simply said fine, but we’re not changing anything.

Venezuela is a classic example—an oil rich country that cannot feed their people who are breaking into the zoo to kill the starving animals for food. The absence of toilet paper has been the most celebrated, but there is little food in the stores, and long lines when the slightest truck loads come in. Nicholas Maduro has tried to confiscate all weapons — as he has some idea of his future.

Steven Hayward captured the essence of the administrative state in one paragraph.

Here’s Richard Epstein on “The Perils of Executive Power.

David Harsanyi  writes about “California: The Ultimate Nanny State.”

 



Enough With the Tired Old Slogans. Let’s Talk About the Real Issues. by The Elephant's Child

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“This is the most important election of my lifetime,” unfortunately, that is a statement you hear in every election. But then, sometimes, it’s true.  So do we worry most about — ISIS? The plight of Europe as they can increasingly not cope with the flood of migrants, many of whom are ISIS fighters? Or do we worry about terrorist attacks in our own country? Is it the Zika Virus? Or is it the economy which after over seven and-a half long years has shown little sign of a real recovery. This is really not the new normal.

Republicans are more apt to recall what they learned in school about separation of powers and federalism. Democrats have decided that they are far more interested in controlling the peoople, and that is a problem.

President Obama has maintained a steady course of increasing new regulations, more spending on”infrastructure,” more spending on the chimera of global warming, and through his unconstitutional executive actions, he has backed federal mandates on business, closed a lot of small businesses, increased taxes and in the strange interest of making America just one among the many countries of the world, made America weak. And then there’s the Iran Deal.

The executive actions are a big problem. All presidents do some, but President Obama has carried it to an extreme, and Congress has found it hard to cope. This is the first time we have had a president, schooled by Saul Alinsky, determined to change the country to something that is more in line with his personal vision of social justice, and unconcerned with following custom or the rules.

Republicans are inclined to believe that there is no such thing as “social” justice — that justice is what is embodied in our courts, our body of laws, our Constitution and the constitutions of the several states.

Democrats have had a degree of success with “social justice” and the associated ideas of an unjust minimum wage, income inequality, racial injustice, “white privilege,” a War on Cops, excessive incarceration of black perpetrators, too many blacks in prison, thousands of Syrian “refugees” who cannot be vetted are put ahead of those who have waited patiently in line as legal immigrants, and of course “crumbling roads and bridges.” You will notice that most of these are rallying cries in the Democrat campaign.

I continually get the sense that Democrats operate with talking points handed down, and thus do not have to study issues, read, or think seriously about history or the world, or about whether their issues are right or workable or even make sense. Or maybe that’s just Hillary.

They seem to be fixated on an improved version of socialism that will be socially just, totally different from all those other socialisms, and will fix all the dreadful problems of America — as it is. They find the old buildings and their peeling paint and the antique cars in Havana charming, and can’t get it through their heads that it is “charming” because that’s all they have. They completely ignore the devastation in Venezuela where the people are dying from lack of the simplest medicines, and plain starvation. They broke into the zoo to kill a horse to eat, but the animals in the zoo are starving to death too.

Hillary wants to raise taxes on the rich, who already pay most of the taxes, and on corporations, capital gains, death taxes and stock transactions, without the slightest understanding that will simply deliver more stagnant growth, falling wages and declining productivity. But then, that’s what her economic plan promises. More of Obama’s “success.”

What makes economies grow and prosper are free markets and free people who can work to come up with new ideas and bring them to fruition in their garage or small town or big city. Freedom works small and big miracles every day. Tried and tested for 240 years.




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