American Elephants


Why is America So Rich? by The Elephant's Child



What is The Matter With the Left? Have They Simply Gone Nuts? by The Elephant's Child
February 15, 2017, 6:23 am
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy

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In his book Never Enough, William Voegeli wrote:

The liberal project makes no sense. Liberals cannot articulate basic principles such as conservatives do. Conservatives talk about the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and argue about freedom and liberty. Liberals, even when requested to come up with principles—cannot. The lesson is simple—their principles are all negatives—things that are not fair—slavery, race, women as chattel—could not vote.

This strikes me as spot on. I’m not at all sure that Leftists even understand freedom or liberty. Much of the Left’s current program concerns outrage at those who exercise their right to freedom of speech, the simple ability to speak freely. In our country, one of our most precious rights. You have no right to disagree with them.

The riots in Berkeley were over a planned speech by Milo Yiannopoulis who was invited to speak by a Conservative student group. Not protests over what he said in his speech, but riots and destruction of property because of Leftist views of what he might say.

A leader of the riot, a middle school teacher and leader of an “By Any Means Necessary” group claimed that gay immigrant Milo was “homophobic, fascist, misogynist, advocating violence against women, whipping up a lynch-mob mentality, funded by Breitbart and Steve Bannon, anti-immigrant, espousing genocide, calling for mass murder, rape, alt-right, lessons we draw from the holocaust, and he should not be allowed to speak in public to tell his lies about racism, whip up people to lynch people”—I think I got all of the rather amazing accusations from this middle school teacher, about a speech that he had not yet given.  The riot involved destroying property, $100,000 damages on campus and twice that in the town of Berkeley.

Remember the “Occupy Wall Street” camp-outs in 2011? That outrage was not caused by anything like the shooting in San Francisco of a young woman walking on a wharf with her father by a previously deported illegal alien who was protected by San Francisco’s sanctuary city designation.  No protest. That, apparently, was not an outrage at all. Nor was the planned shooting of 14 people and wounding of 22 others in San Bernardino in 2015 an outrage. No demonstrations demanding better vetting of immigrants who turned out to be terrorists. What caused outrage and had  young people with top of the line tents and sleeping bags, laptops and cell phones occupying city parks across the country to protest “social inequality” and the need for “redistribution of wealth.” Those protests caused $12 million in property damage, 500 thefts, more than a dozen rapes, 3 murders and a dozen deaths.

David Horowitz wrote:

Far from instilling humility in progressives…the collapse of socialism has revived their self-righteousness and re-energized their assault on the democratic West. The disappearance of the Soviet bloc has only one consequence of note. It has lifted the burden of having to defend an indefensible regime. Because the utopian vision is no longer anchored in the reality of an actually existing socialist state, the left can now indulge its nihilistic agenda without restraint.

And Andrew McCarthy, in The Grand Jihad:

Nihilism is the key. Today’s hard left is defined by what it is against: the United States, free market capitalism, and any foreign policy premised on defending American interests or promoting individual liberty. Only that part of the agenda is concrete, leaving neocommunism elastic enough to strike alliances with any movement that shares it. What neocommunists are for, by contrast, is a set of  abstractions—”social justice,” “equality,”redistributive rights,” “the rule of law,”and, of course, “our values.” The details of those can be worked out later, once the more pressing imperative of undoing the existing order has been realized.

The Left’s current outrage is purportedly about the recent election of Donald Trump, his inauguration, and three weeks of settling in at the White House. As soon as he finishes his vacation, former president Barack Obama, reportedly plans to return to Washington D.C. to his rented mansion with its newly installed wall to direct his troops, numbering more than 30,000 who will set up a shadow government to protect his “legacy”and to fight his Republican successor at every turn. Democrats are quite sure that Trump cannot be a legal president, and must be guilty of every horror expressed by the middle school teacher who led the Berkeley riots. How come every group that protests has an official name? Oh. You can’t write a check to a group if it doesn’t have a name. If it has seemed to Republicans that the Left has gone certifiably nuts, they may not be all that far off.

The Left’s real outrage is clearly about being removed from power—power to which they believe they are entitled. It’s because they are smarter, you see. They don’t protest real things—they don’t talk about principle, they don’t even care about principle. It’s what they think is not fair. And we’re supposed to trust them to fix things that are not fair? Not likely.



Tucker Carlson Interviews Leader of Berkeley Protests by The Elephant's Child

Published on Feb 13, 2017

Yvette Felarca, a middle school teacher and “By Any Means Necessary” leader explains to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson her definition of fascism and why gay immigrant Milo Yiannopoulos shouldn’t be allowed to speak anywhere at any time.

Fascism seems to be any view that conflicts with her own, and she is quite sure of her diagnosis of all things fascist. Might be described as sheer venom. You may not disagree. Parents with a child in middle school might want to consider homeschooling.



Socialism is Being Played Out in The News. Do Try to Pay Attention. by The Elephant's Child

101002-mall-libs7In the latest news from our socialist neighbor to the south, Venezuela, so broke that they cannot even sell their oil because they can’t afford to ship it. Now, starving Venezuelans are eating cats, dogs, donkeys and even pink flamingos in an effort to survive. They are even killing giant anteaters for food.  This is sheer desperation caused by rampant inflation and chronic shortages that have plagued the country for over two years.

Here’s everything you need to know about Venezuela’s experiment with socialism. When socialist dictator Hugo Chavez died in 2013, he left an estate valued at two billion dollars.



What? You Mean Rioting Is Against the Law? by The Elephant's Child

dc-riotsNBC News has reported that 209 Inauguration Day rioters have so far been indicted for felony rioting charges. They will face a fine of up to $25,000 and a maximum of 10 years in prison. 230 people were arrested during President Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, but several cases have been dismissed.

Federal investigators were still going over hundreds of hours of video, some of it captured by undercover Washington D.C. police officers during the riots and protests, and many still photos. D.C. officers wore body cameras while on duty at the protests. Defense attorneys for the rioters have said that many of their clients are college students who live outside of Washington D.C., Maryland or Virginia. Poor victims, of course.  Who Knew? There are Consequences for Bad Behavior.



#Black Lives Matter Seems to Be Remarkably Uninterested in The Lives of Poor Black Kids by The Elephant's Child

Oooops! Black Lives Matter just exposed their organization as entirely political, and not much interested in the lives of black children. Betsy DeVos, newly confirmed Secretary of Education, was blocked from attempting to enter the Jefferson Academy middle school in Washington DC by Black Lives Matter protesters blocking he way and heckling, reportedly organized by the Washington Teacher’s Union.

The Alliance For Educational Justice claimed,  “Today, families, residents and community leaders joined to block U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from disrupting learning at Jefferson Academy.”

“Betsy DeVos has a track record of privatizing and undermining public schools that serve Black students for financial gain,” said Makia Green, an organizer with the Washington, DC chapter of Black Youth Project 100. “Today’s action made it clear: our community will do everything in our power to resist DeVos‘ destructive policies and her attacks on an entire generation of Black students.”

DeVos responded in a statement following the incident saying, ” I respect peaceful protest, and I will not be deterred in executing the vital mission of the Department of Education. No school door in America will be blocked from those seeking to help our nation’s school children.”

The reason that Betsy DeVos was nominated to be Secretary of Education is that she has been a long time advocate for poor black children trapped in poor schools, and pushes for charter schools as the best answer to the need for parents to have a voice in their children’s education.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about “charter schools.” Charter schools are public schools. Some presume that because of the word “charter” that they are somehow private schools. Not so. Those who wish to start a charter  must develop an educational plan to submit to the state, and when their plan is made public—gather enough interest to make a separate school viable. They may have more freedom from federal and state regulation than regular public schools.

A study reported in Forbes in 2014 showed evidence that charter high schools had 7-11%  higher graduation rates than their public school peers, boosted college enrollment rates by 10-11 percent, were more apt to complete at least 3 years of post-secondary education, and charter school attendance was associated with an increase in maximum annual earnings between ages 23 and 35 years of age, about 12.7% higher than those who attended a traditional high school.

Different states have different rules. Charter schools usually operate on a smaller budget—but better ideas, teachers are often paid less (because they get to really teach—some teachers go for it) (a big part of the reason that teacher’s unions oppose charter schools and charter teachers are not necessarily members of the unions). Like much in American life, schools operate under far more rules than they used to. I’m not sure if all states even have charter schools. New Orleans has the highest percentage of students in charter schools, over 90%. Here are five facts about charters from the Reason Foundation, in simple graph form.

Here in Washington State, the state teacher’s union lobby has fought endlessly to ensure that all public funds are given only to traditional public schools. As the populous Seattle area is reliably Lefty, the Supreme Court broke with the precedent set by six other states that faced similar battles, ignored the vast amount of evidence that charter schools improve academic outcomes for students, ignored the over one million students currently on wait lists for admission to charter schools, and their parents who favor charters, and ruled that public funding of charter schools was unconstitutional. The legislature has found funding from Lottery revenue for charters, but the state should work to ensure that funding follows the children, not the teacher’s unions. A better education means so much to minority children trapped in failing schools that it is particularly interesting to see Black Lives Matter opposing charter schools and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

You have perhaps noticed that leftists seem to always appear in organized groups — Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the list goes on and on, but when you get down to what they actually advocate, it’s often just hard-left politics, not black lives, nor $15 an hour, nor economic equality.

A group of 160 black education leaders are fighting against the NAACP’s proposed stance against charter schools, which shows the diversity of views of charters.

An article from AEI last August tries to offer some clarity on the battles, showing that advocates of different positions are relying on different evidence, and doesn’t clarify anything at all.

More troubling is a report from the Minneapolis/St Paul Star Tribune on the trend for violence in the public schools, and the dangers that teachers face. School disciplinary policies have removed many consequences for bad behavior in response to liberal demands for an ideology of “equity.” In St. Paul schools in 2010-11, “15 percent of the district’s black students were suspended at least once — five times more than white students. This racial differential mirrors those in schools across the Twin Cities and throughout the nation…. St. Paul school leaders have assumed that differences in discipline rates are the result, not of higher rates of misconduct by black students, but of the racism of teachers and administrators, who are believed to unfairly target black students.” To eliminate statistical disparities, they abandoned meaningful penalties. I read a lot, but I haven’t seen much reporting on violence in schools—just enough to suggest that it is perhaps far more prevalent than is realized. Do read this whole article if you care about kids and education.

Betsy DeVos has long been a passionate advocate for poor black children facing failing schools, and suggests that more charters will help. It’s a big job and I certainly wish her well. Progressives believe that all things are better done  by the federal government, with themselves in control of the government.  Conservatives believe that there are few things that the federal government can do satisfactorily, and that most tasks should be devolved to the states, or to the closest government to the people who are affected by the tasks. That old “We the People” thing.



Notable and Quotable by The Elephant's Child

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Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament:

I have struggled for years to explain that politicians who cant about fairness don’t mean equal treatment or justice, or indeed, any practical outcome whatsoever. What they really mean is that they’re nice people. and they’re prepared to prove how nice they are with your money.

John Steele Gordon: An Empire of Wealth

This willingness to accept present discomfort and risk for the hope of future riches that so characterized these immigrants, and the millions who would follow over the next two centuries, has made a profound, if immeasurable effect on the history of the American economy. Just as those who saw no conflict between worshiping God and seeking earthly success in the seventeenth century, those who sought economic independence in the eighteenth had a powerful impact on the emerging American culture.

John Steele Gordon: ibid

Masterpieces created by a committee are notably few in number, but the United States Constitution is certainly one of them. Amended only twenty-seven times in 215 years, it came into being just as the world was about to undergo the most profound—and continuing—period of economic change the human race has known. The locus of power in the American economy has shifted from sector to sector as that economy has developed. Whole sections of the country have risen and fallen in economic importance. New methods of doing business and economic institutions undreamed of by the Founding Fathers have come into existence in that time, while others have vanished. Fortunes beyond the imagination of anyone living in the pre-industrial world have been built and destroyed. And yet the Constitution endures, and the country continues to flourish under it.




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