American Elephants


Political Correctness, Progressivism and the Perpetual War on Real Progress by The Elephant's Child

From Angelo Codevilla: “The Rise of Political Correctness” in the Claremont Review of Books:

The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself. Because all progressives, Communists included, claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, progressives end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities. Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being  subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power. Because that power is insecure as long as others are able to question the truth of what progressives say about themselves and the world, lprogressive movements end up struggling not so much to create the promised new realities as to force people to speak and act as if these were real: as if what is correct politically—i.e.,what thoughts serve the party’s interest—were correct factually.

Communist states furnish only the most prominent examples of such attempted groupthink. Progressive parties everywhere have sought to monopolize educational and cultural institutions in order to force those under their thumbs to sing their tunes or to shut up. But having brought about the opposite of the prosperity, health, wisdom or happiness that their ideology advertised, they have been unable to force folks to ignore the gap between political correctness and reality.

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This is a pretty good example of how Democrats use “talking points” to get a message across, which is just another form of propaganda— designed to fit an image in your mind. And it is the media that is repeating the talking points. It’s not just repetitive words, but basic ideas, repeated over and over until they seem normal. And this is the media doing Leftist propaganda, not news.

We are told that we must be concerned about feelings: compassion, sympathy, pity, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, sensitivity, solicitude, generosity, goodwill, humanitarianism, for the refugees from the Middle East. We have to be nice.

Angela Merkel was just being compassionate when she invited refugees to come to Europe. The refugees were welcomed. They welcomed them with flowers and food and housing. Europe, at Angela Merkel’s invitation, was trying to be nice. She may have lost the next German elections already.

The religion of most of the refugees tells them that Western women are infidels, whores, and it’s fine to rape or mistreat them. So you have “No Go” areas where it is not safe to enter, even for police. The ‘refugees’  don’t want to work, they like being supported. They don’t intend to be assimilated. They are demanding the installation of Sharia law. Europe, overall seems incapable of saying ‘No’ firmly.

Same thing is beginning to happen in this country. Obama is shipping refugees in significant numbers to states that usually vote Republican, The states don’t get to turn them down. If you don’t want to welcome refugees, or object to executive orders or regulations, you are a bad person because you don’t have the proper compassion.

Look again at that list of nice words. You will seldom hear an explanation of just what Sharia Law is, nor of the fact that the refugees are not interested in assimilating, nor in becoming Americans.

More than 4.4 million people are on the wait list to immigrate to the United States. They have applied legally, and want to become Americans, yet Obama is flooding the country with “Syrian refugees” who aren’t necessarily even Syrian, and can’t be vetted. The problem is that Sharia Law and the Islamic way of life are completely incompatible with our way of life.

As I have said, humans are by nature tribal. We want to be with those who share the same background, the same heritage and language, the same customs. Commonalities. Shared experiences. It isn’t about race or ethnicity, though that may matter for some. So what? One of my friends plays tournament bridge, and has friends with whom she shares the pleasure of the game. A nearby shopping center has a food court and adjacent tables often feature a knitting circle, and there is a giant chess board with players from all over, and several games going on at the side.

To Quote Angelo Codevilla again:

Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special,”scientific.” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward; the world is not as it should be because society’s basic “structural” feature is ordered badly.

As far as I can tell, the source of greatest anger among humanity at the moment is that Leftists are furious at those who disagree with them about the direction of the country, the importance of the Constitution, and the reach of the federal government. That seems to be the basic “structural” feature that is not as it should be. Leftism or progressivism is a religion, and the Left, collectively, are quite as intolerant as the Islamists in our midst. Yet, collectively, they cannot bring themselves to call Islamic terrorism by name.

Human nature is not as it should be, and must be fixed, so that progressives are in charge and no one disagrees with them.  Baldly stated, it’s really not so attractive at all.

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Human Nature is Fixed, Unchangeable and Immutable by The Elephant's Child

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Every form or progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special, “scientific” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward: the world is not as it should be because society’s basic “structural” feature is ordered badly.

In one version or another it always boils down to the fact that they don’t like human nature. (Why can’t they be more like — Us?) The quotation is from an essay in the current Claremont Review of Books by Angelo Codevilla. Progressives, Communists, Socialists, in all their forms find human nature deeply flawed, and believe that they can fix it. For our current crop, the avenue seems to be “diversity.”

When they have made everybody equal and all neighborhoods are diverse, and schools are diverse and everybody believes exactly the same diverse things, then there will be no more problems like wars, and high crime rates in the cities run by progressives. The administrative state will take care of keeping the diversity diverse.

Christiana Figureres, Secretary General of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, cheerfully admitted not long ago, that they weren’t really interested in saving the Earth from a climate disaster, but that it was their best chance of ridding the world of Capitalism.

Steven Hayward quoted a paragraph from Boston University law professor Gary Lawson, in a 1994 Harvard Law Review article “The Rise and Rise of the Administrative State.”

The [Federal Trade] Commission promulgates substantive rules of conduct. The Commission then considers whether to authorize investigations into whether the Commission’s rules have been violated. If the Commission authorizes an investigation, the investigation is conducted by the Commission, which reports its findings to the Commission. If the Commission thinks that the Commission’s findings warrant an enforcement action, the Commission issues a complaint. The Commission’s complaint that a Commission rule has been violated is then prosecuted by the Commission and adjudicated by the Commission. This Commission adjudication can either take place before the full Commission or before a semi-autonomous Commission administrative law judge. If the Commission chooses to adjudicate before an administrative law judge rather than before the Commission and the decision is adverse to the Commission, the Commission can appeal to the Commission. If the Commission ultimately finds a violation, then, and only then, the affected private party can appeal to an Article III court. But the agency decision, even before the bona fide Article III tribunal, possesses a very strong presumption of correctness on matters both of fact and of law.

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

One of the most disturbing trends in the United States is the relentless concentration of power in the federal government. Ever since the New Deal, the classical liberal vision of limited government and strong property rights has taken a back seat to a progressive vision of a robust administrative state, dominated by supposed experts, whose powers are largely unimpeded by legal constraints. Wholly apart from Congress, the new administrative state has adopted and enforced its own laws and regulations, and is defined by unilateral actions by the President and other members of the executive branch, all of which threaten the system of checks and balances built into the original constitutional design.

Obama’s agencies push flurry of ‘midnight’ actions

Federal agencies are rushing out a final volley of executive actions in the last two months of Barack Obama’s presidency, despite warnings from Republicans in Congress and the reality that Donald Trump will have the power to erase much of their handiwork after Jan. 20.

Regulations on commodities speculation, air pollution from the oil industry, doctors’ Medicare drug payments and high-skilled immigrant workers are among the rules moving through the pipeline as Obama’s administration grasps at one last chance to cement his legacy. So are regulations tightening states’ oversight of online colleges and protecting funding for Planned Parenthood.

Donald Trump has promised to wipe out as much of Obama’s regulatory agenda as he can, saying he will cancel “all illegal and overreaching executive orders” and eliminate “every wasteful and unnecessary regulation which kills jobs.”

So, there you go.



The Campaign Is Not Addressing the Real Issues! by The Elephant's Child


This has not been the presidential campaign I would have chosen. These are not the candidates I would have chosen, but here we are. I heard on the radio today, a black woman who is deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s lack of respect for women — which seems to mean his lack of deference to Hillary because she is a woman — one who just accused his voters of being a “basket of deplorables,” bigoted, racist, intolerant. I guess Hillary will blame that misstep on her pneumonia.

Sorry, Hillary, believing in immigration laws and insisting on preventing the flow of illegal aliens is not bigotry, but common sense. It’s high time the President of the United States and his administration start to take terrorism seriously. The Jihadists do take it seriously, and want to destroy Israel and the United States, and are working seriously towards that goal, while we succumb to political correctness and being afraid to criticize Muslims. That is immediately controlled with cries of “Islamophobia.” The most important thing is never to offend?

Donald Trump is quite clearly not a racist, but that’s a charge the Left drags out in every election. Bill Clinton just snidely said “Make America Great Again” is racist. “If you’re a white Southerner, you know exactly what it means, don’t you,” he told voters in Orlando last Wednesday.“What it means is, ‘I’ll give you the economy you had 50 years ago, and I’ll move you back up on the social totem pole, and other people down.” What that means is that Democrats are fuming at Trump’s outreach to Blacks. They cannot defend their own appalling record at bettering black lives,

Democrats cannot run on the Obama-Clinton economy — a growth rate of 0.95% can’t really even be called a recovery. They can’t run on ObamaCare, which is about to collapse. (Hillary called it “one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, the Democratic party and of our country.”) Uh huh, prices are rising dramatically, as much as 50% in some areas, and health insurers are dumping the exchanges. The goal of ObamaCare as a way to switch to single-payer health care is absurd in the light of Britain’s NHS nearing collapse, and killing far too many of their patients. They surely cannot run on their defeat of terrorism and keeping America safe.

They’ve not got much left but the race card to run on. And that is not proving very successful as the black body count rises in Chicago, as the police step back. Heather MacDonald reported yesterday that in 2016, nearly 3,000 people have been shot in the city, an average of one victim every two hours. That’s not improving the lives of black Americans, nor is it something that can be blamed on guns.

“President Obama takes every opportunity to accuse police of racially profiling blacks and Hispanics. The media, activists and academics routinely denounce pedestrian stops and public-order enforcement—such as dispersing crowds of unruly teens—as racial oppression intended to ‘control African-American and poor communities,’ in the words of Columbia law professor Bernard Harcourt. Never mind that it is the law-abiding residents of High crime areas who beg the police to clear their corners of loiterers and trespassers.” MacDonald continues:

The media blame poverty, racism and a lack of government services for the growing mayhem. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blames lenient prison sentences for releasing Chicago’s gun criminals onto the streets too soon. The Illinois Legislature’s Black Caucus, however, blocks any effort to mandate stricter sentences for gun-toting felons—in a sub rosa acknowledgment that the vast majority (80%) of Chicago’s gun criminals are black.

But neither Mr. Johnson’s lax-sentencing explanation nor the media’s systemic-injustice explanation aligns with the timing of Chicago’s surge in violence. Sentencing protocols did not weaken in 2015 when crime started rising. Nor did poverty or alleged racism grow worse. What did change was the intensity of antipolice ideology, driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, relentlessly amplified by the press, and echoed by President Obama.

The solution to Chicago’s violence is for at-risk kids to be raised by mothers and fathers. Until that starts, the only hope lies in police regaining control of the streets.

Denouncing the phony “Black Lives Matter” campaign which is designed only to make Blacks believe that Republicans are racist so they will vote for Hillary, would be a help, Their claims of police brutality are clearly false, but the violence stirred up makes the police pull back from the enforcement needed by innocent Black families.



Hillary Clinton Puts Her Stunning Ignorance of Economic Reality On Display by The Elephant's Child

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From Labor day on, we are in the purely political world. “In her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, presidential nominee Hillary Clinton insisted that the economic performance of the preceding eight years was ‘much stronger’ than it was during the Bush years. More than fifteen million private sector jobs were created  under President Obama, she said, many more people are now on health insurance, and the automobile industry is booming.” That, said Richard Epstein, seems to be her argument that progressive policies led to economic growth.

The day after her big speech, the Commerce Department reported that the slowest economic recovery since 1949 was getting slower still. The Gross Domestic Product growth  was down to 1.2 percent. Well, nothing to do with the success of Progressivism. It’s the decline of the middle class, or rising levels of inequality that are the problem. The FED just said that we have full employment, though I just mentioned yesterday that Obama had put 83,000 coal miners out of work. It’s no wonder people get confused. Who can you believe?

The U.S. Department of Labor unemployment rate (U-3) defines the unemployment rate as those who are jobless but actively looking for work. But there are five other measures of labor underutilization. U-6 refers to not only the unemployed, but also the marginally attached who are neither working or looking, but want to and are available and have looked in the past year, and the people who have a part-time job but want to work full time. That rate at it’s peak was 17.1 percent but is now down to 9.7 percent. That’s still a lot of discouraged people.

The thing is that Progressives don’t really do economics. They are opposed to the free market, they believe that business and industry need to be heavily regulated, and that government should be big enough to manage the whole economy. They find the idea that government doesn’t need to manage the economy, but to leave it alone — completely absurd. The idea of small government, or disposing of some agencies altogether gives them a case of the willies.

Some things are not important to a Progressive. Obama has cut funding for the military by $265 billion over 5 years. They are opposed to war, so prefer not to fund it — which can be awkward when your enemies start to see you as very weak, human nature being what it is. But then Progressives don’t really believe in human nature either. Economist Mark Perry at AEI gives us the Venn Diagram of the day:

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You see the problem. The official national debt is at $19 trillion and climbing, but the real debt is much higher. Need proof? Nancy Pelosi, declared that “the best way to stimulate the economy” is through food stamps and unemployment insurance. The more people who get free food, the more prosperous we become?

Hillary wants to spend $1 trillion more on government works programs, free day care and free college education and expanded entitlements. She will pay for all this by raising taxes on everybody, but especially the undeserving rich, the top 1% who already pay 38% of all federal taxes paid.

Hillary attacked Donald Trump saying “While he may have some catchy sound bites, his statements on the economy are dangerously incoherent. They are deeply misguided, and they reflect an individual who is temperamentally unfit to manage the American economy.” Well, yes. Cutting taxes and turning loose the economy is, to a progressive — dangerously incoherent.

Obama has added over $7 trillion to the national debt all by himself, and if you remember back when he started off so confidently to create lots of jobs with repairing our crumbling infrastructure — exactly the same thing Hillary is promising. Except Obama had to sheepishly admit that “there don’t seem to be any shovel-ready jobs.”



Four Years of FOIA Requests, Four Years of Benghazi Hearings by The Elephant's Child

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The WordPress wayback machine reminded me of three posts about Benghazi: From December 19, 2012 concerning the Accountability Review Board study of the Benghazi affair. “The Report on Benghazi Came In, All Over, Nothing to See Here, Just Move Along

May 8, 2012: “The Benghazi Hearings. It Matters a Lot

May 18, 2013: Spin, Spin, Spin

Not just a reminder of how long Congress has been trying to find out why four Americans were killed in Benghazi, but why the administration lied to the American people about it, and why they have tried so hard to cover up. “Most transparent administration in history” indeed!

Perhaps you have noticed that the Republicans in Congress are arguing about their goals and what they can accomplish in the face of an administration that is firmly set against their accomplishing anything. This is portrayed by the media as ‘chaos’ and ‘weakness’ and ‘disorganization’ but it is not any such thing. It’s the way things are supposed to work.

When the Founders were first setting up a new, independent, country they were determined to set us free from an over-controlling government. They sought power, not for themselves, but for the American people. All kinds of battles have been fought over the centuries by people trying to win some privilege from their government. The Founders skipped all that and gave the government to the people.

That was and remains the most daring act in the history of government, and it makes all the difference. They did everything they could think of to slow government down, to provide for fighting and disagreement over what laws to pass. We are supposed to argue and fight, and discuss and eventually reach a satisfactory compromise.

Progressives, the certified smart people, have never really understood that. They basically believe that they should be running things, that the American people are stupid or they would be supporting the right of Progressives to rule. That’s why they march in lockstep, use the same words to describe their ideas, promise to give the people extravagant gifts like free college tuition, free healthcare (that’s working out well), equality for all, and let the rich pay for everything. Trouble is that all the billions of the billionaires is not enough. Or as Margaret Thatcher famously remarked “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

That’s why Progressives hate free speech, want to confiscate your guns, nationalize education, eliminate state’s rights, and eliminate the Republican Party which has the gall to oppose their ideas. That’s why they can’t win elections without vote fraud, why they import illegal aliens to skew population numbers, register them to vote, convince minorities that voter ID is a Republican trick to keep them from voting. And now, why they want to release large numbers of criminals from prison. It’s the Fox Butterfield Fallacy.

Progressives do not play fair, though they talk about “fairness” a lot. They are zealots on a grand mission, they are going to legislate social justice and social equality. They believe that if they can accumulate enough money and enough power, they can make the glorious future work. That it has been tried many times before and failed doesn’t phase them, for when they do it it will be different. I don’t think your ordinary run-of-the-mill Democrats are actually aware of all that. They know that the  Democrat Party cares about them, and Republicans are mean, which is presently proved by their partisan attack on Hillary.



Barack Obama Does Not Learn From Experience. by The Elephant's Child

Obama angry 3Herbert E. Meyer, writing at Ricochet:

In science, when you conduct an experiment to test a theory and get a result you didn’t expect, you learn from the experience and re-think your theory. But what do you do in politics, when you implement a policy you were certain would succeed but which fails miserably? We’re about to find out.

For seven years now, President Obama has been conducting what may well be one of history’s greatest political experiments. His revolutionary theory — which this Copernicus-from-Chicago articulates with such supreme confidence that he’s persuaded American voters to elect him twice to the presidency — is that the world would be a safer, less violent place if the United States played a smaller role on the global stage. At the core of this theory lies his hypothesis that American military power is more the problem than the solution; that our over-reliance on guns rather than brains had de-stabilized key parts of the world, such as the Mideast, that would otherwise have been more peaceful and prosperous.

It’s quite clear that this is what Obama believes, as do a large number of academic professors, and yes, that is what they are teaching our children. Many have moved on into the administration.

Progressives do not share our understanding of society’s problems, nor  our differences about how to deal with them. Progressives have contempt for America’s past and disdain for America’s social contract. Progressives draw their inspiration from an imaginary future where so-called “social justice” prevails. They believe that human beings are naturally cooperative and sharing, honest and moral, but are corrupted by social institutions that encourage greed and prejudice, and socialism will bring about that imagined future where “social justice” prevails.

Conservatives, on the other hand believe that man is flawed, and the root cause of most social evils, and if social institutions are corrupt, it is because human beings create and run them. Because man is barbarous, we need laws and the discipline of morality to civilize the people. That’s why the founders created a system of checks and balances to control the majority’s natural instinct to tyrannize the weak and outnumbered, and why they set limits to government.

There is no indication whatsoever that Obama has learned from his disastrous mistakes, or that he even understands that they were mistakes. Obama yanked our troops out of Iraq, and gave birth to ISIS, who has been rampaging across the Middle East, attempting a forcile return to the seventh century.  The last Americans will soon be drawn out of Afghanistan, in opposition to the generals on the ground, as the Taliban are ready to take over. Russia has sent its warplanes to bomb the insurgents in Syria that we supported, while Obama expects them to deal with ISIS. Ukraine is fighting for its life, China is building military bases all over the Pacific, and waging cyber-warfare on the United States while Obama is quite sure he has made an agreement with China that they will stop doing that. There is no indication that he will learn from experience or change his policy. Early on, Richard Epstein, who knew Obama at University of Chicago, said that once Obama has made up his mind, it is set in concrete. He will not change it. Herb Meyer adds:

Human nature doesn’t change. Politics will always be a rough game, and power will always be an aphrodisiac to those who play it. But so long as politicians need our votes to get elected, the ultimate power lies with us. If we citizens will give our support, and our votes, to only those candidates who will think and act more like scientists, over time we can change the culture of politics itself. That would be a huge leap forward not only for our country, but for humanity.



Progressive Talking Points For The Democrats’ Attack Machine by The Elephant's Child
June 1, 2015, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) had an op-ed in The Washington Post yesterday, largely reviewing the RICO Battle with the Tobacco Companies and comparing it to what he assumes is “a massive and sophisticated” scheme by fossil fuel companies (and their allies?) “to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution.”

The Big Tobacco playbook looked something like this: (1) pay scientists to produce studies defending your product; (2) develop an intricate web of PR experts and front groups to spread doubt about the real science; (3) relentlessly attack your opponents.

There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” We are carbon life forms. Carbon is one of the building blocks of life. We exhale carbon dioxide every time we breathe. We all supposedly learned that in High School Biology. So now we know who wasn’t paying attention. Trust me, my mother was a high school Biology teacher.

James Hansen is an atmospheric physicist who was from 1981 to 2013 the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He was quite involved in the development and use of computer models as a method of understanding global warming. A paper of his in 2007  claimed that CO² levels above 350 ppm would be dangerous to humans, but we have long since passed 400 ppm and the increased carbon dioxide’s natural fertilization of plants has resulted in a vastly greening planet — helping to feed the hungry. Greenhouses keep their CO² atmosphere around 1200 ppm with happily growing plants and not the slightest ill effect on the nurserymen. Dr, Hansen has since gone full global warming activist, getting arrested at demonstrations. See the interview with Freeman Dyson just below.

What fascinates me is the extent to which Progressives appear to depend on talking points. Talking points are the Democrats’ version of these are the things we are voting for. You can tell if they are talking points when 3 Progressives in a row all make the same point in exactly the same words, and can’t argue the point in alternate words or thought.

You will find increasing efforts to portray those who are skeptical of the President’s position that Climate Change is America’s most urgent national security risk as gullible dummies paid for by the Fossil Fuel Industry Cabal. You will also find that those who are absolutely positive that the climate is warming out-of-control and leading to some climate Armageddon have never read any of the science, and don’t really understand the arguments at all. Senator Whitehouse is an excellent example.




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