American Elephants


The Greatest Threat to the World Today by The Elephant's Child

The Greatest Threat to the World as we know it, is not Russian influence, nor climate change, devastating diseases like Ebola sweeping out of Africa, it’s not even the machinations of Donald Trump. It’s an idea. An insidious idea that is sweeping out of our citadels of learning into the greater society. And the damage it has done and can do is incalculable.

The idea is a simple one. You shouldn’t have to listen to ideas with which you disagree, or that make you uncomfortable. That is so clearly idiotic that it seems impossible that one could not only accept the idea, but act upon it. Yet students in what we have long respected as centers of learning are protesting and rioting to prevent themselves from hearing ideas with which they are unfamiliar and which might disturb them by challenging their comfortable ways of thinking.

What the hell, one might ask, did they think education is? How do we learn, grow, improve? How are we to cope with a challenging world if we are not open to engaging with ideas that are new to us. How are we to recognize our own errors and misunderstandings?

The lists of speakers, experts, and fine minds who have been “disinvited” is long and growing. Many have not been disinvited, but protested or rioted against. There’s Charles Murray, Betsy DeVos, Heather McDonald, Clarence Thomas, Ben Shapiro, Henry Kissinger, Jason Riley, Doris Kearns Godwin, Laura Bush, Michael Bloomberg, and Camille Paglia — in no particular order or inclusiveness, and there are lots more.

We have a remarkable dereliction of duty from college administrators here. I have read of no cases of misbehaving students being sent home. This may date me, but when I was in school, many students were sent home for a semester, and able to return when they got their heads on straight, and it wasn’t for anything as dramatic as ordinary riots and protests.

There’s also what I call “cultural contagion,”and others refer to as “copy cat” stuff. Think of the way that Vietnam War protests swept through the nation’s campuses. Of course then there were a lot of young men of military age in the universities. But today they are protesting speakers in the U.K. as well. We have “Big Brother”in Silicon Valley who is bragging, or at least admitting, that they changed the outcome of the mid-term election. If you do not have long experience with encountering other ideas, will you have the knowledge and experience to resist the influence of manipulated search results? How will you recognize when and how the media distort the news? How will you know what you yourself believe and whether or not you have the knowledge to defend your ideas? Speak out, stand up to be counted, and if you have college age kids, make sure they understand what education is and how one acquires it.



Best Essay of the Day by The Elephant's Child

Donald J Trump is president. Really. He won it fair and square, he was inaugurated seven — almost eight — months ago, and he very probably is going to be president for another three and a half years.

Minimum.

So, now, children, let’s calm down. All of you people over there saying Trump is unqualified and should be removed? Give it up. He’s qualified by the only qualification that matters: he is over 35, he is a native U.S. citizen, and he won the damned election. The Constitution doesn’t have a clause in it for removal by vote of the media, or because his political opponents don’t like him. The only reason he can be removed constitutionally is if someone finds high crimes and misdemeanors.

Now, I know that some people are fantasizing about the Democrats taking the House, and passing a bill of impeachment, and somehow getting the Senate to convict.

To which I say, “be careful, you’ll get chafed.”



Why Politics and Business Don’t Mix by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know about boycotts, I don’t think about joining some kind of boycott, nor of mounting the barricades. But if businesses get all political, I can certainly take my business someplace else. That’s basic economics. The market speaks louder, or at least more firmly than any soapbox.

Starbucks had five straight quarters of decreased sales, and they know exactly why their sales had fallen. It’s not a softening of the market but abandonment by Conservatives. Wall Street agreed. Financial analysts blame Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz’ repeated attacks on Conservatives and leftist activism.  Started when they took “Merry Christmas” off their holiday cups in November 2015. There was the message to customers to “please don’t bring your guns into Starbucks”, the backing of gay marriage, and the change the world with messages written by a barista on your coffee cup “Race Together”, so you will stop being racist, and “Come Together” to get partisans to rethink their opposition to their opponents. Baristas became “partners,” and Schultz pledged that the company would hire 10,000 refugees over Americans to protest President Trump’s executive order on immigration. That one did it. Americans are not in favor of increased immigration or open borders. They have since backed off with an effort to hire veterans.

Kevin Johnson has become President and chief executive officer. Howard Schultz has left the company, and is reportedly considering running for president.

Some are convinced that taking political positions helps a company show their responsibility, but I suspect that is simply partisan-speech. I may or may not like your product. If you expect me to buy your product and your political views, forget it.

Now we have Google asserting their leftist political views and firing someone who had the nerve to speak up. The monoculture at Google is not to be trifled with.

It is extremely difficult for lefties to grasp the nature of free speech. According to California law, you cannot fire someone for their political beliefs, but in Silicon Valley, on the other hand, you apparently may not disagree. I’ve already received a long message with alternatives for everything Google.



You Voted for Republicans in 2014? The Community Organizer Strikes Back! by The Elephant's Child
June 22, 2015, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Economy, Education, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: , , ,

According to the Obama administration, in too many neighborhoods “housing choices continue to be constrained through housing discrimination, the operation of housing markets,[and] investment choices by holders of capital,” information directly from the Housing and Urban Development  — “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) proposed rule.

Obama apparently believes that your neighborhood may not be inclusive enough, so he has instructed HUD to issue a new rule to force communities to diversify.

Under Obama’s proposed rule, the federal government will collect massive amounts of data on the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of thousands of local communities, looking for signs of “disparities by race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability in access to community assets.” Then the government will target communities with results it doesn’t like and use billions of dollars in federal grant money to bribe or blackmail them into changing their zoning and housing policies.

Don’t misunderstand, this is not about housing discrimination, which has been illegal since 1968. It is unlawful to deny you a loan or prevent you from buying a home because of your race, creed or color. Socioeconomic status is another matter, and should be. If you want to buy a nice house in the suburbs, you have to be able to afford it. Obama apparently believes that this is unfair discrimination by the “holders of capital.” Remember that Obama’s previous chosen occupation was as a “community organizer,” a job heavily invested in claims of “red-lining” and banks’ loan policies.

The effort calls for HUD to set aside taxpayer funds to upgrade poorer communities with amenities such as better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as a means of gentrifying those communities. It also calls for using grant money to build affordable housing in wealthy neighborhoods.

The Left is deeply engaged in the pursuit of “equality.” Their goal of a future utopia where everyone is equal and lives together in perfect harmony dominates their dreams and motivates their political aims. Communitarian ideals, though it doesn’t seem to penetrate that it has been tried and failed over and over from Lenin to Venezuela and the communes of the Sixties. Those people just didn’t do it right. The Progressives would.

There is clearly a natural urge for “community.” How often do you hear the term “the Black Community?” But many cities have a Chinatown, Seattle has a Norwegian community, and it was true from the beginning — up-country South Carolina was heavily settled by the Scots-Irish. My German immigrant ancestors settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania itself was settled by Quakers, New England by Puritans. People who can afford it buy around a favored golf club, or buy waterfront around a lake. Are the rest of us harmed by that? Or does it drive a better economy that benefits everyone, with more people striving to succeed?

There is a human instinct for associating with like-minded people. Consider the retirement communities, where golf-carts are the usual transportation, and escape from loud rock music is welcomed. and homes for senior citizens where health care is part of the deal. Does low-income housing fit into the gated community in the name of diversity? Is a massive influx of immigrants or welfare recipients into a highly regarded school district called for in the name of correcting good schools in the name of discrimination?

The final regulations are due out this month and HUD is pitching them as a plan to “diversify” America. “HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a spokeswoman for the agency explained.

The House has passed an amendment to the Transportation Housing and Urban Development Bill that prevents HUD from implementing their AFFH regulation, which has been issued in preliminary but not yet final form by the Obama administration. “AFFH repudiates the core principles of our constitutional system by allowing the federal government to usurp the zoning powers of local governments. Over time it would transform the way Americans live urbanizing suburbs and Manhattanizing cities,” according to Stanley Kurtz. This may well become a campaign issue. Anything to get the Iran deal off the airwaves. This represents the death of the neighborhood.

Obama wants to reengineer your neighborhood.” by Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

“Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out: The Death of the Neighborhood” by Arnold Ahlert, Front Page Magazine

“Ultimate White House trolling: Obama to “diversify” wealthy neighborhoods” by Jazz Shaw, Hot Air



Wading Through The Political Swamp. Put On Your Hip Boots! by The Elephant's Child
May 18, 2015, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

?????????????

Income inequality is the key theme of the Democrats’ 2016 re-election strategy, and the main target is the nation’s chief executive officers. Hardly surprising — Democrats hate corporations.

Much has been made of the gap between the average corporate worker and the CEO. Business News Daily says the average annual compensation for a CEO of a public company in the U.S. in 2012 was $9.6 million. The average U.S. worker, in contrast made a little more than $44,000 in 2012.

I don’t get the issue. What is “the average U.S. worker?” That includes the janitor, the receptionist and people with a vast variety of skills from practically none to a whole bunch. How do we compare ourselves to an average worker and why is it a useful comparison? This is purely a political ploy, designed to promote envy and attract those who think that the politician who promises to reduce income inequality “cares about me” David Horowitz explains about that theme in his book Take No Prisoners:

At election time, “caring” is not one issue among many. It is the central one. Most issues are complex and require more information than the public can readily acquire. Consequently, voters care less about policy details than about the candidates who are going to shape them Voters don’t get to decide the policies. They elect their representatives to do that for them. They want to know whom they can rely on to sort out the complexities and vote in their best interests. Above everything else, they want to know whom they can trust to make those decisions. They want to know who cares about them.

Forgive me, but politicians care only about your vote. They don’t give a damn about you. And why is it only CEOs whose pay we are supposed to be concerned about? Lebron James makes $72.3 million. Kobe Bryant makes $61.5 million. Phil Mickelson makes $53.2 million. Matt Ryan makes $43,8 million. Did you have a personal manager or attorney to bargain for your compensation? If you work for a corporation, you have probably been told that you will be fired if you discuss your salary with any of your co-workers.

Hillary Clinton spent 8 years as First Lady in the White House, attempting to be a co-president. Then she was a Senator from a safe Democrat open seat, and ran for the presidency and was defeated by Barack Obama, and became Secretary of State, in which office she racked up a record in air miles, and not much else. One would think that after all that time in the nation’s capitol, she would have some clear observations of what our nation needs to do differently, or what’s wrong with the direction of the country. But she has already made it clear that her campaign will be about “income inequality.” Hillary Clinton demands $300,000 for giving a speech. Surely that gets some hypocrisy award.

How is CEO compensation determined? First of all, CEO compensation is public knowledge, which lets them know what the others are getting. They have lawyers to bargain for them. Their base pay for the core role and responsibilities of running the organization accounts for just 20 percent of their compensation. The other 80 percent is based on incentives. There are annual bonuses for meeting performance objectives. There are long term incentive payments for a two to five year period. Restricted stock awards to make sure the executive’s interests are aligned with stockholders’ interests. Stock options for increasing share price and shareholder’s returns. Retirement package, insurance separation pay. Average tenure for a CEO is currently 9.7 years which the highest it’s been in years. Largely, I assume, because stock prices are high because the best return you can get on your money is in dividend-paying stocks.

Possibly a major reason for the Left’s envy of CEO pay is because the highest paid professors make only $212,000 (Columbia), $203,000 (Harvard), or $179,000 (Cal Tech). Those professors have PhDs, and CEOs don’t. The AFL-CIO has an Executive Paywatch website which laments that “corporate CEOs have been taking a greater share of the economic pie.”

Pure politics again. There is no “economic pie” but an economy that grows or shrinks with the success or failure of the free market. When there is growth or new business or new ideas, or new products or services, money is created and the economy grows.

We’re already deep into the political season, though not everyone who is going to run has declared. The media are already asking silly “gotcha” questions like “If you knew then what you know now would you have …?” But we are encouraged to think that way. We are supposed to judge past wars with what we know now, not what we knew at the time. We are supposed to judge slavery by today’s sensibilities, not what was customary at the time. We are supposed to judge past presidents by how their actions have turned out many years later. Hindsight can be very, very comfortable.



Hello Young People, I’m Hillary Clinton by The Elephant's Child
May 18, 2015, 3:29 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption | Tags: , ,

JennaMarbles@youtube is very funny.

“You’re an AfricanAmericanMiddleClassHomosexual? I care about you!”

(h/t: American Digest)



Carly Fiorina Is Running for the Presidency. Get to Know A Bit about Her! by The Elephant's Child
May 14, 2015, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Election 2016 | Tags: , , ,

0227-carly-fiorina-630x420

Here is a most interesting interview with Carly Fiorina by Jennifer Rubin of the “Right Turn” Blog at The Washington Post. I suspect that most of us don’t know much about Carly Fiorina beyond the fact that she was once CEO of Hewlett Packard, and is an accomplished woman.

Fiorina’s critics call her a “failed” chief executive, but, again, over time her tenure can be seen in a different light. Her defenders observe that during her tenure as CEO, Hewlett-Packard’s revenue doubled to nearly $90 billion and growth quadrupled to 9 percent. During her time at HP, the rate of innovation was tripled to 11 patents a day. Between 2004 and 2005, HP added 5,000 patents and was ranked as one of the top 10 patenting companies between 2002 and 2005. HP donated more than $395 million in cash and goods to charities under her watch. Even the merger with Compaq that precipitated her downfall has been judged by many in hindsight to be a success (“fast-forward a decade, and solution providers say the historic merger was a surprising success and ultimately helped their businesses. And the bold move ultimately produced what the two companies promised – a worldwide technology powerhouse with top revenue positions in servers, PC and printers”).

But there’s more, a lot more. We may be underestimating her again. Do read the whole thing.




%d bloggers like this: