American Elephants


Americans Want Their Self Government Back, And They Want it Now! by The Elephant's Child

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There was a time, not too long ago, when news was conveyed largely by radio, newspapers, and magazines. Television added several channels and commentators who became celebrities because they kept us in touch with the world, and we trusted them. TV added more channels and cable, reality shows, and we began to trust them a little less. With the advent of the computer and cell phones and hundreds  of online magazines, not to mention blogs — newspapers are dying, though many are still alive online, and our trust is largely gone.

A common photograph of kids today is of a group, each intent on their own cell phone and social media, mostly unaware of what is going on around them. Roving reporters with microphone and recorder try to find out what the man-in-the-street knows about history, politics, or current events. The answer, uniformly, is not much of anything.  Response on college campuses is equally embarrassing.

So we are deep in “the information age” and nobody knows much  of anything.

The continuing question is “Why Are Voters So Angry?” most recently answered by Myron Magnet, editor-at-large at City Journal. He says firmly that the people want their self-government back.

Haunting this year’s presidential contest is the sense that the U.S. government no longer belongs to the people and no longer represents them. And this uneasy feeling is not misplaced. It reflects the real state of affairs.

We have lost the government we learned about in civics class, with its democratic election of representatives to do the voters’ will in framing laws, which the president vows to execute faithfully, unless the Supreme Court rules them unconstitutional. That small government of limited powers that the Founders designed, hedged with checks and balances, hasn’t operated for a century. All its parts still have their old names and appear to be carrying out their old functions. But in fact, a Nnew kind of government has grown up inside the old structure, like those parasites hatched in another organism that grow by eating up their host from within, until the adult creature bursts out of the host’s carcass. This transformation is not an evolution but a usurpation.

What has now largely displaced the Founders’ government is what’s called the Administrative State—a transformation premeditated by its main architect, Woodrow Wilson. The thin-skinned, self-righteous college-professor president, who thought himself enlightened far beyond the citizenry, dismissed the Declaration of Independence’s inalienable rights as so much outmoded “nonsense,” and he rejected the Founders’ clunky constitutional machinery as obsolete. (See “It’s Not Your Founding Fathers’ Republic Any More,” Summer 2014.) What a modern country needed, he said, was a “living constitution” that would keep pace with the fast-changing times by continual, Darwinian adaptation, as he called it, effected by federal courts acting as a permanent constitutional convention.
…………………..(Do read the whole thing, it’s rewarding)

When did you start to get ticked off? When they took away your lightbulbs and made you buy those twisty things?  Or was it when you read about the EPA case against the Sacketts who started to build their dream home on the shores of Priest Lake in Northern Idaho, and the EPA charged them with building  in a wetland and charged them a $37,500 fine for each day they hadn’t restored the property to it’s original condition? Or was it the orange river from the Gold King Mine Disaster? ObamaCare, and you found out you couldn’t keep your doctor after all? Or when you found out that veterans were dying while they waited to get an appointment at the VA? Or the scandals at the IRS, HHS, ICE, DOJ, or was it the terrorist attacks for which Obama couldn’t find the motive, and couldn’t call it anything behind “violent extremism.” Or was it just political correctness in general?

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

Steven Hayward sums it all up with one paragraph from a 1994  Harvard Law Review article The Rise and Rise of the Administrative State“.

Philip Wallach from Cato Unbound: “Questioning the Administrative State

From the Wall Street Journal: “Obama’s Age of Discord



A Small Lesson in American Exceptionalism. by The Elephant's Child

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In Holland, a 44-year-old man  has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for intentionally insulting King Willem-Alexander, according to a court ruling. The man, from the city of Kampen, had posted a message on his Facebook page in April, 2015 calling the king a murderer, rapist, “oppressor” and thief.

“Hereby the defendant damaged the dignity of the King,” wrote judge Sylvia Taalman in her decision. “This behaviour is not acceptable in our society.”

Many Dutch consider the law “Insulting the Majesty” to be an antiquated relic that should be scrapped, but it has never featured high on the country’s political agenda.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of 20,000 euros.

The royal family is generally popular in the Netherlands. Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne in 2013 when his mother Queen Beatrix abdicated. She had reigned for 33 years. The King is not yet as highly regarded as his mother.

It seems worthwhile reminding Americans that free speech isn’t free everywhere, and that our Constitutional rights are worth fighting for. Democrats, naturally, oppose any free speech that criticizes them, or disagrees with their ideas—which are, of course, right, and should be recognized as correct.

Just think how many people would be in prison here, if our comments on social media were monitored for “offensiveness.”esson in



How to Get your People to the Polls — Community Organizing 101 by The Elephant's Child

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The Democratic Party is concerned about the upcoming election. The Millennials seemed to be enthusiastic about Bernie, but didn’t like Hillary.  And in general, many Democrats thought that Hillary was inclined to have trouble with the truth. Not a good sign. It is not surprising that the radical socialist/Marxist group Black Lives Matter appeared on campus last fall, with claims of campus racism. Oddly enough, whenever Democrats are worried about an election, the accusations of racism boil up to get Black Americans to the polls to vote Democrat.

Egged on by Black Lives Matter agitators, racial tension on the campus erupted in September after the black student body president and other activists lodged a vague complaint of an unspecified racial slur shouted at a single black student allegedly by a passing motorist. The activists weren’t even sure if the offending person was a student there.

Then there was a report of a tiny swastika drawn on the wall of a dormitory bathroom in a dormitory. No one’s sure if it was intended to insult Jews or blacks.

No matter, students of color insisted the two incidents symbolized the “systematic oppression” experienced by them at the university. And so they demanded President Tim Wolfe step down. And he did, followed by the chancellor. Both of them are white

The Hoover Institution had a December article on “The Real Cause of Campus Racism.”

At Harvard, a group of law students launched a campaign to remove the school’s seal because it contains the coat of arms of a slave owner. At Dartmouth, students and faculty marched in solidarity with black students at the University of Missouri in what was called a “black out” (the marchers all wore black). After days of protests at Yale, the university president announced plans for more academic study of race and ethnicity and for improvements in the experiences of people of color.

Most of the campus ‘incidents’ were just as ephemeral, and there were hoaxes galore. It was not a spontaneous uprising, but a well funded communist/socialist web of organizations that have been agitating against America for decades.

Obama spoke Sunday when he as taking questions from reporters as he wrapped up meetings with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Madrid. He said that while protesters will sometimes say things that are “stupid'”or ‘imprudent” and associated Black Lives Matter with the abolition movement, and women’s battle to get the right to vote, and the union movement — called them all part of a great tradition of protest. Oh Please! It was Barack Obama who said that if he had a son, he might have looked just like Trayvon Martin. It was Barack Obama who sent the Justice Department in to establish that the death of  “gentle giant” — who had just robbed a convenience store and was trying to get the police officer’s gun was not indeed a violation of Civil Rights Law.

Obama is still struggling to discover the motive for Micah Johnson’s killing spree. Johnson spelled it out quite clearly. He just wanted to kill white policemen. DHS head Jeh Johnson said “it’s still relatively early” to conclude that Micah Johnson’s shooting was a hate crime.

According to all reports, Dallas has an admirable police department. The officers who were shot were killed as they were trying to protect protesters from what seemed to be random shots from an unknown assailant.

Barack Obama believes that he was elected, or so he says, to end the war in Iraq and empty Guantanamo. That is not true. He was elected to be the first Black President of the United States in the hope that he would bring racial healing to the country. He has been a complete failure at that as well.



There Is No Such Thing as “Gun Violence.” It’s Pure Propaganda. by The Elephant's Child

“Gun Violence” is pure political propaganda. A gun, whether the tiniest Derringer, or an enormous artillery cannon, is an inanimate object. It in incapable of doing anything whatsoever without action by a shooter. It is very clearly the shooters who may or may not be “violent.” Saying “gun violence” suggests that without the inanimate objects of guns, there would be no violence, which is absurd. Far more homicides or deaths take place without guns at all.

Also absurd is the focus on “Assault Rifles” which are just ordinary rifles fancied up with some military cosmetics because people generally like a little added glamour.  This Michael Ramirez cartoon is an older one, and the actual numbers may have changed, but the proportions are undoubtedly the same, and the point made remains valid.

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Democrats believe absolutely in crazy Right-Wing militias training in hidden hollows in the Rocky Mountain West who may come forth to attack them. That’s the plot of many a thriller. Or if not mountain hollows, hidden in the swamps somewhere in the solid South. They want the public disarmed. (Think of Hillary and her “vast right-wing conspiracy.”)

Most farmers and ranchers keep guns. Varmints. Sometimes a wounded animal needs to be put down. Coyotes go for the chickens. There are around 10.9 million deer hunters alone, not counting those who hunt Ducks, Turkeys elk, quail and so on. Yes, you can buy meat at the market, but many people count on a fall hunt to fill the freezer for the winter.

Gun homicides have been declining steadily since 1994, even as gun ownership has increased.

I didn’t note down who said it, but it is quite accurate: “Blaming guns for the Islamist murder of 49 people in an Orlando gay nightclub is like saying that Zyklon-B Gas was the cause of the Holocaust and not the Nazis.”

If you are given to worrying, worry about Barack Obama’s attempt to nationalize America’s police departments. He wants to put your local departments under federal control in the name of civil rights law.



What Makes America Different? Ask Aussie Nick Adams! by The Elephant's Child



On the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence: by The Elephant's Child

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Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, who was born on the Fourth of July, gave one of the best Independence Day speeches ever at the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Do read the whole thing, or better yet, download it.  Here are a few excerpts.

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination. But remarkable as this may be, it is not the chief distinction of the Declaration of Independence. The importance of political speculation is not to be underestimated, as I shall presently disclose. Until the idea is developed and the plan made there can be no action.

It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world. It was not only the principles declared, but the fact that therewith a new nation was born which was to be founded upon those principles and which from that time forth in its development has actually maintained those principles, that makes this pronouncement an incomparable event in the history of government. It was an assertion that a people had arisen determined to make every necessary sacrifice for the support of these truths and by their practical application bring the War of Independence to a successful conclusion and adopt the Constitution of the United States with all that it has meant to civilization.

These remarks fro the conclusion of his Fourth of July speech seem especially appropriate today.

Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes. We do need a better understanding and comprehension of them and a better knowledge of the foundations of government in general Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meetinghouse. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live. While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. Over a period as great as that which measures the existence of our independence they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought. They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.

No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.



The Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America by The Elephant's Child

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

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On July 4, 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona, about 250 new Americans take the oath of citizenship (reprinted from 2015)

In July, 2015, President Barack Obama stripped out the requirement for individuals becoming naturalized citizens to defend the United States through military service. On September 16. 2015,  President Obama said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship, that they didn’t need to assimilate.

“It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adding a new chapter to your journey… and to our journey as a nation of immigrants,” Obama narrates in his two-minute video urging almost 9 million resident migrants to sign up for citizenship so they can vote in 2016.

There’s another new turn of phrase designed to hide or soften what he is doing. “Nine million resident migrants” — think about that for a moment. We wouldn’t want you to get all serious about an oath, or make you uncomfortable. There’s one graduate of Harvard Law School who apparently never really learned anything about the Constitution at all.

Human beings are tribal. It’s an instinct that comes down to us from the first humans, and it’s never completely gone away. Most of the nations of Europe are tribal. That’s why the Czech Republic separated from Slovakia. I don’t think you can become a German unless you have German ancestry, but I’m not sure about that. The countries of Europe each have their own languages and customs. The Middle East is divided between Sunni and Shia, with a large number of other tribes thrown in. And it seems to be human nature for the tribes to fight each other, over things serious or not so much.

Here we join big organizations, tea parties, bridge clubs, Rotary, Job’s Daughters, join a golf club, work for the Salvation Army or Food for the Poor, or just the Thursday night poker club. We form neighborhood clubs, research our ancestry, or join a gym. We are tribal by nature. We are drawn to people who share our interests or heritage, enthusiasm for quilting, or political leanings.

Americans came from all over, but what has bound them together was the formal oath of citizenship renouncing all other allegiance. You raise your hand and your solemnly swear, and you become an American —just as much as the immigrant whose ancestors came on the Mayflower or with the Winthrop fleet.

What Mr. Obama doesn’t get is that Americans are a tribe, we have a proud identity. Many Europeans say that you can identify an American in Europe by the way they walk—heads up, more confident. Does any other country celebrate their founding day with the hoopla and fireworks that we do?

The full-throated “USA, USA, USA” may be annoying, but it’s heartfelt. Howard Zinn may corrupt the young with his soviet-propagandized attempt at revising our history. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright may bellow “God Damn America “to the future president and his family, but there’s a reason why Stalin’s daughter, Khrushchev’s son, and one of Castro’s daughters all became American citizens. Russian oligarchs moor their yachts in New York harbor just in time to get their newborn child American citizenship, and wealthy Chinese just happen to be visiting the country when the baby is due.  Mexican women wade the Rio Grande to bear their children in the United States. Why do you suppose they do that?

A small bunch of English religious refugees seeking liberty undertook a dangerous Atlantic crossing to an unknown land. Joined by other discontented Europeans, before long they were pushing back against English taxes, English regulations and English regiments. After sending the British back home, and writing a constitution, Americans pushed on across the Appalachians, facing angry Indians, bears and starvation. First in bateaus, then on horseback and in covered wagons, they crossed the Rockies and conquered a continent, fought a bloody civil war to free the slaves.  World Wars, John Wayne, the Super Bowl, Star Wars, the Marshall Plan, GI Joe, Baseball, Dunkin’ Donuts, the Grand Canyon, — so many things go into the making of an American, including complaining about the government. But here, it’s your right to complain. In Stalin’s Russia — off to the Gulag. In today’s Syria, we don”t even want to think about that.

Don’t be messing with the Oath Of Allegiance, Mr. President. We know that you are out to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” but if we had realized what you really meant by that, you’d be back in your house in Chicago and someone else entirely would be our president. You go too far.




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