American Elephants


The Wheels of Justice Grind Slowly, Very Slowly. by The Elephant's Child

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As I understand it, the customary and legal reason for a special investigation and a special prosecutor is the discovery of a crime that requires investigation, finding the evidence and charging those who committed the crime.

In this occasion, somehow we got it all backward. A special prosecutor was appointed to find a crime, and then charge somebody with it. In this case there was no known crime. The Left did not like or approve of President Trump, so Mr. Mueller was charged with finding a crime so someone  (preferably President Trump) could be charged. Mr. Mueller has assembled a team of his former associates to investigate, all of whom were not only Hillary supporters, but apparently Hillary donors as well.

Mr. Mueller seems to have settled on Paul Manafort because of something totally unrelated to the election. His team broke into the Manafort house in the middle of the night, ransacked it, frightened the Manaforts and carted off computers and stuff to investigate. The formal permission to conduct such a raid was apparently issued several days after the raid had already taken place. Which seems a little odd.

If after all this time and all these insinuations and threats, they can’t seem to find a crime, it’s possible that there wasn’t one, as they were told in the first place. But I’m not a lawyer, just a civilian, so perhaps I don’t understand these things.

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Business is Demanding to be Regulated. Bad Idea. by The Elephant's Child

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We seem to have entered an age where business executives assume that it is acceptable to do politics with their business. Businesses have, of course, long favored policies that help them to do business, and supported whatever politicians established the policy. That’s perfectly natural. But suddenly we have private-sector businesses entering the political fray, using their corporate budgets to silence free speech, sign on to very contentious political issues without the slightest awareness that there is a large mass of customers who may be offended.

“The reason that capitalism has managed to create real economic growth of 1.5% annually, and a 19-fold  increase in living standards over —the last two centuries — is because when people treat the marketers and inventors  as having some dignity and liberty, innovation takes hold.” (Those words are from economist Dierdre McCloskey). The reason why innovation has created and is continuing to develop computer connectivity, artificial intelligence and all that can lead to— is because business has been free of government control. There are many countries where such freedom does not exist, and government tells business what to produce and how and when, where and with whom.  Perhaps these executives were too busy with technology to study a little history: perhaps The Gulag Archipelago, or maybe Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom.

Milton Friedman, in his 1962 classic, presented his view of the proper role of competitive capitalism — the organization of economic activity through private enterprise operating in a free market — as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom.

Economic freedom is not going to work when some businesses chose to boycott other businesses for political reasons. They are dealing with the public, their customers, who can choose to boycott too, and are doing so.



There Are Always Consequences. That’s How Life Works. by The Elephant's Child

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In his speech, Dennis Prager mentions the bad ideas of the Left, and rates the Self-Esteem Movement as possibly their worst idea ever. Back in 1945 Dr. Spock published his “Baby and Child Care” for the generation of the mothers of the Baby Boom when the fathers of the baby boom came home from World War II. “He began his book with the reassuring words:”Trust Yourself”, but as Kay Hymowitz wrote,”Not that he believed it.” For some it was a bible, others simply found it to be a comfortable reference. So when Nathaniel Brandon published a path-breaking paper in 1969 called “The Psychology of Self-Esteem” that argued that feelings of self-worth were a key to success in life, new parents were ready for advice, since they had been raised on Dr. Spock.

The American school system was ready for the”key to success in life” and  his big idea soon became the hot new thing in education. The California Legislature, always ready to be the leader, even established a “Self-Esteem Task Force” for the state’s schools. Competition was frowned upon. Soccer coaches quit counting goals and gave out trophies to everyone. Criticism was replaced with praise, even when undeserved. In Britain, which usually follows our fads, Author Melanie Phillips wrote in her book All Must Have Prizes in 2003;

 Alas, the latest pronouncement from those in charge of our exam system is truly beyond satire.

Their new idea for boosting examination success is to abolish the very idea of failure, along with the difference between the right and the wrong answer to a question.

Overpraising does not work. Kids know when they deserve praise, and false praise makes them become cynical about the undeserved praise they receive. They perform better with skilled and serious criticism rather than empty praise.

Seventy-six-million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964— the biggest generation ever, anywhere, and they became known as the Baby Boom. Tract houses, bomb shelters, hula hoops, an economic boom, assassinations, Rock and Roll, Vietnam, and protests. Society had a hard time dealing with the numbers of the Boomers—they were simply unprepared. The Sputnik Generation, the Pepsi Generation, Love Generation, Protest Generation, Woodstock Generation. The sheer numbers demanded, and got, attention. Great Expectations by Landon Jones  (1980) was a marvelous study about how society and the numbers interacted. They’re not through with us, as their retirement is playing hob with Social Security, Medicare and elder care as the first Boomers turn 73.

Boomers moved all over, and so did their children. New parents didn’t always have a parent  close by for advice. College and graduate schools admissions became harder. Unemployment went up, divorce went up.

In 1996, Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for Americas Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hageman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington,TX and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon followed suit, and the idea was adopted, but that too had consequences.

Before there was AMBER, there were news reports of abducted children. Doesn’t take much of that before parents start monitoring their children’s activities more closely. We now have “helicopter parents” — moms who “hover”over over their children to protect them from the dangers of the world. Parents who allowed their children to walk to a nearby park were turned in to child protective services. “Play dates” have become fashionable, and children are walked to and from school.

Psychology Today has even published a report (2017) on “The Effects of ‘Helicopter Parenting'”, which is continuing into the college years as some parents call the school regularly to find out how their kids are doing and trying to make sure they will get into graduate school. All these trends, fashions, movements  have an effect and have consequences.

You can’t watch Dennis Prager’s speech and his comments on the Left’s Self-Esteem movement without thinking of the celebrated  “survivors” of the Parkland school shooting. CNN and Media Matters have used the very young David Hogg for their own purposes, which are banning guns and destroying conservative talk radio, as well as preparation for the midterm elections. This is the worst kind of child exploitation. They have taken the young man’s ill informed cause for gun control, and are using him as a puppet to attack Laura Ingraham by attacking her advertisers. When corporate heads follow the misguided lead of a 17 year-old kid, there will be some probably severe consequences for that as well.



Devin Nunes Reacts to the Inspector General’s Inquiry by The Elephant's Child

Pulling information out of the FBI and the CIA has been an interesting exercise. You can tell how frustrated Chairman Nunes is. They were absolutely sure that Hillary would win, and none of it would have to be covered up. The best laid plans …and all that.



The March for Our Lives Was Not What It Was Cracked Up to Be by The Elephant's Child

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The Left is very fond of “marches”— it feels really good, I guess, to be out being an activist for a cause your really believe in, as much as you believe in much of anything. That’s what the few studies that have been done seem to indicate—that they promote activism, but don’t have much of any effect on legislation. Lots of fellow feeling.

The “March for Our Lives” was, as is usual, not what it was cracked up to be. It wasn’t the voice of a new generation, the voice of the future, but the same middle-aged women from the Women’s March with some photogenic teenagers out front for the cameras. The Women’s March was 85 percent women. The March for Our Lives was 70% women. Only about 10% of the crowd were under 18. The average age of the adults was just under age 49. Only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting said they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue, though 60 percent of the experienced protesters were. The new protesters were motivated by peace (56 percent) and Trump (42 percent). Anti-War protesters are the most regular protesters. Lefty protests don’t really care about gun control, they hate Trump, the Right, and want the “U.S. Out of Everywhere” and the “Jews Out of Palestine.”

Daniel Greenfield did a marvelous job of digging out just who were the organizers and sponsors, and who directed the March. The kids who participated did not raid their piggy banks to get to the march. There were millions behind the funds.  The March for Our Lives Action Fund was overseen by six directors and incorporated in Delaware. Everytown for Gun Safety was formed out of two other groups: Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Both of which are front groups for Michael Bloomberg, the lefty billionaire, and the group is really New York City. Lots of long-time activist professionals to direct the events, from Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Florida was notably absent from the supporters. Lots of the usual Hollywood crowd.

Do read the whole thing to get an understanding of how these things work.  It has very little to do with Parkland. The mass shooting by Nikolas Cruz, which was badly fumbled and should have been prevented by the FBI. the Sheriff’s Office, the School District officials, or the school itself, who should be held responsible. Most of the participants have little idea of what actually went on. They shout about assault rifles, with no idea that there is no such thing, just ordinary rifles dressed up with some extra accessories to make them look sexier. The NRA is not some evil organization that sells guns. They support the second amendment and the shooting sports. Where I came from, people counted on hunting to fill the freezer for the winter. Others hunt ducks, or wild boar, or skeet.

 



The Children of Parkland, Used Again by The Elephant's Child

The children of Parkland have been out demonstrating today for gun control. Not that they have any idea what that means or what if anything it would do for school safety. The people who are paying for the demonstrations and the transportation and the microphones have chosen to remain anonymous and invisible behind protective regulations.

Nikolas Cruz is variously called a monster, a nut-case and other expletives, but no one mentions his years of crying for help. He was adopted, and his adoptive father died early, his mother died more recently. He threatened kids at school, the girl he liked dumped him. He was said to have abused animals. He was sent to a program for mental health. He was expelled from school. The school said specifically that he was not to be allowed on the premises with a backpack. He mentioned wanting to do a school shooting. This is what I have gleaned from the reporting. It seems that the school was aware that they had reason to be suspicious and watchful, but chose for some reason not to do anything about it at all.

That reluctance has been blamed on the Obama administration’s regulations about not removing students who might fit the “school to prison pipeline” theme, and schools are afraid of being designated as racist, and Nikolas Cruz was designated as Hispanic. Kids don’t know enough to say “I need help”— so they act out. Most parents are aware of that, aren’t they?

The FBI was warned twice, and did not act on the warnings. The school knew, and did not act on the warnings. The Sheriff’s office was warned. The deputies remained outside while the school shooting went on.

Democrats are far more interested in promoting marches, and using the kids of Parkland for the emotional push of children. They want the NRA abolished, because they do a little lobbying on behalf of the Second Amendment, and donate a little to the Republican Party, far less than Planned Parenthood  gives to Democrats.

Lax gun laws are not the problem. The Miami Herald Sun-Sentinel, has been documenting how federal, state and local authorities simply failed to enforce the law, or simply kicked the can down the road. Police visited Cruz’s home over 30 times and were warned that he had threatened people with guns before. He bought the rifle  shortly after he was expelled in February of 2017.

I was curious, so I investigated briefly online to see if there have been any studies to determine the effectiveness of marches and demonstrations. Not much. What little there appears to be suggests that marches tend to make the participants more apt to be activists, but there is no influence on governmental actions or legislation.

Those who are so sure that banning guns is the answer have never made the slightest effort to see what is known  about that. The producers of this video put out a casting call, and asked the actors to cold read statistical truths about guns and crime in the United States.

Most people who are familiar with guns and the debate are familiar with these statistics. Most of those shrieking about “gun violence” are not. They might have asked what the NRA is, and what it does. Or perhaps what the AR in AR-15 stands for, to see how many think it stands for Assault Rifle. It doesn’t.



The Closing of the Liberal Mind by The Elephant's Child

From The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind by Bruce Bawer

“For two centuries, America accomplished something that would have previously seemed impossible: the creation of a brand new national identity by individuals who, in forsaking old loyalties and joining to make new lives, melted away ethnic differences. Hector St. John Crèvecouer (Letters from an American Farmer) described Americans as “a new race of men” From a race that, paradoxically, had nothing to do with race.

1944: Gunnar Myrdal marveled at the fact that Americans of every ethnicity, religion and color shared a more explicitly expressed system of general ‘ideals’ than the people of any other country in the Western world. ”

See The Victims’ Revolution




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