American Elephants


Accept the World As It Is, Warts and All. by The Elephant's Child

I have refrained from mentioning the Duck Dynasty flap, now over, because I am unfamiliar with the show, but the controversy goes back to a familiar theme — the more things change, the more they stay the same, which is an English translation of the French plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. This Christmas has been remarkable for its political correctness.  Lo, it is the Winter Holiday, and you must refrain from offending anyone.

The Air Force rushed around banishing their nativity scenes, in case someone might find them offensive. School principals and Veterans Administration busybodies banned Christmas Carols, or changed the words to remove any reference to the reason we were having the holiday in the first place.  The VA wouldn’t allow Christmas cards made by children if they mentioned any religious words, references to Christmas, Christ, or Angels which might offend the veterans in VA hospitals. The Obamas sent Kwanzaa greetings to whoever celebrates that holiday, but mention of Christians is out of line unless it’s the media writing of all the Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East. Chaplains were told to knock off the Jesus talk, and not to mention God either.

I have never understood why anyone should be protected from being “offended.” Part of life is learning how to cope with being insulted, having your feelings hurt, being treated unfairly, or bullied. Life is unfair. You will have your feelings hurt, and protection doesn’t come from some social-engineering regulation passed by leftist loonies, but from your own internal armor and stoical resignation that recognizes the imperfect humanity of the world.  Not everybody is nice, even nice people are sometimes mean, and there is real evil in the world. Get used to it. You can always try to be nice yourself, that might help.

The United States has recognized that there are many religions in the world, though we remain a Judeo-Christian nation. Our very first settlers were seeking religious freedom to practice their own religion free from the dictates of the state. And they were escaping a long, long siege of religious wars. Catholicism, Church of England and Scottish Presbyterianism fought bloody, chopping off heads wars, and Puritans, Pilgrims, Shakers, Mennonites, Quakers, Episcopalians, Jews, Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, Irish Catholic, Scots-Irish Presbyterians, and all sorts of odd sects came to America and some new ones arose here, and for the most part they learned to get along, with a few notable exceptions here and there. But comparatively speaking, we Americans are pretty outstanding in the getting along department.

It seems to me that we have become more sensitive to offending by the mention of religion only in the wake of 9/11. Can we ask young Muslim women to uncover their faces for drivers’ license photographs? Must swimming pools set up separate hours for female swimming? TSA bans one inch long key chain knives, but finds no problem with 15″ metal knitting needles. Elderly people in wheelchairs will be subjected to invasive searches while young Middle Eastern men with one-way tickets will be passed through for fear of being accused of “ethnic profiling.”

It is a mindset that does not accept the fallible, imperfect nature of humanity. That does not truly recognize that there is evil in the world, and is prepared to deal with it. You cannot regulate niceness, kindness or peace.

Does tolerance mean constant tippytoeing to avoid giving offense? Good Grief. I was writing about this same thing two years ago. The more things change the more they stay the same. Troublesome words, troublesome ideas.



The Pentagon Calls the Founding Fathers “Extremists” by The Elephant's Child

Major Nidal Hasan the U.S. Army Psychiatrist who opened fire on dozens of soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, has been found guilty of murdering thirteen people and of attempted murder of thirty-two by a panel of senior officers. In the sentencing phase of the trial, the panel has recommended that he be put to death, an unusual punishment for a military tribunal.  The entire incident remains classified by the U.S. government as “workplace violence” — a ludicrous euphemism for what was clearly a jihadist attack, and what Major Hasan has admitted that he intended.

Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim, admitted responsibility for the shooting at the start of the trial, saying he had been on the wrong side of a war against Islam and had switched over. During the proceedings, he declined to call any witnesses, testify or give a closing argument. He was prohibited by military law from entering a guilty plea.

At a pretrial hearing, the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, ruled that Hasan could not defend himself by arguing that he carried out the killings to protect Taliban leaders in Afghanistan. Instead, the defendant chose to make his case to the public through communiques and authorized leaks to newspapers, arguing that he was waging jihad because of the United States’ “illegal and immoral aggression against Muslims” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now the trial enters an appeals process, which will take several years. Hasan clearly prefers the death sentence, but appeals courts are unlikely to allow him to represent himself.

Those not on trial were those who, out of reluctance to offend or to appear Islamophobic, passed him on through training, ignoring his Jihadist outbursts, close association with Anwar al Awaliki the Muslim Imam who had decamped for Yemen, and statements about Islam. Even after the shooting, a ranking officer in his division remarked that it would be the greatest of tragedies if our diversity is harmed.

There are increasing signs that political correctness has reared its ugly influence in our nation’s military. So far it has killed far more of our soldiers than just the 13 at Fort Hood. The “Blue on Green” attacks in Afghanistan, where our troops are forbidden to carry loaded weapons to show their trust of their Afghan trainees is an inexcusable violation of basic safety — yet such a thing could not happen without orders and policy from above.

The “workplace violence” designation deprives the Fort Hood’s wounded of benefits, and recognition in a shameful way. The Obama administration still insists that Nidal Hasan was not a terrorist — an ongoing and embarrassing lie.

In the meantime, military training has become a strange world where the Founding Fathers have become depicted as extremists and conservative groups are defined as “hate groups.”

Saying “Give me liberty or give me death” qualifies Patrick Henry as an extremist, according to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute training guide which has been obtained by Judicial Watch under a Freedom of Information Act Request. …

Under a section titled “Extremist Ideologies,” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”…

“Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place,” the Pentagon guide advises.

This is an emerging, and very troubling pattern.



Political Correctness is Not A Laughing Matter! by The Elephant's Child

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Mark Steyn is always right on top of his game with a cogent observation that skewers the hypocrisy, or political correctness, or pointed observation that sheds a brilliant light on the events of the day.

Today he pointed out that the “court-martial of Major Nidal Hasan is taking longer than World War II.”

On Dec. 7, 1941, the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor was attacked. Three years, eight months and eight days later, the Japanese surrendered. These days, America’s military moves at a more leisurely pace. On Nov. 5, 2009, another U.S. base, Fort Hood, was attacked — by one man standing on a table, screaming “Allahu akbar!” and opening fire. Three years, nine months and one day later, his court-martial finally got underway.

Do read the whole thing. This is a strange and disturbing episode in the history of the United States Military. Michael Ramirez captures the essence in another of his superb political cartoons. (click to enlarge)

We are apparently to have a military stripped of most of its effectiveness and weakened by budget cuts so the president can have more money to spend on infrastructure (?) compulsive political correctness, leftist notions that war is not nice, and a remarkable unconcern for the well-being of the troops who stand ready to protect the rest of us. Actions speak louder than words. The president always has words; sometimes they have meaning. His actions demonstrate the real agenda.



Political Correctness Gone Amok, But It’s More Than That. by The Elephant's Child

handcuffs

After two Muslim terrorists slashed, eviscerated and beheaded a British soldier on a London street in broad daylight a few yards from his barracks, and in full view of civilians and unarmed British policemen, it took 20 minutes for armed police to arrive to do something about the terrorists.

British policemen, however, quickly arrested an 85-year-old woman for shouting “Go back to your own country” outside Gillingham Mosque, handcuffed her and took her away in a van. A Kent Police spokesman said “An 85 year old woman from Chatham was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.”

Pat Condell is a British citizen who believes in plain speaking, and frequently speaks plainly. As Sergeant Friday used to say “Just the facts, ma’m.” Political correctness is a real problem, when the possibility of offending someone becomes more important that lives and safety. Political correctness is antithetical to a free people.

ADDENDUM: The Holder Justice Department says it will help enforce Islamic Sharia Law.

DOJ: Social Media posts trashing Muslims may violate Civil Rights

In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights.

We have previously established that the Obama administration has no respect for the separation of powers in the Constitution. Add to that the Bill of Rights. Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder need to re-read the First Amendment. This is a lawless administration.



The Virtual Town Hall Considers Immigration by The Elephant's Child

Mr. Virtual President Bill Whittle speaks at a Virtual Town Hall about the problem of immigration, and has some important things to say.

Also in the news, the Associated Press has refined their Stylebook to eliminate the phrase “illegal immigrant”. Also “illegal alien,” “an illegal”, “illegals” or “undocumented”).

Back in October of 2012, AP had reaffirmed use of the term “illegal immigrant.” Why do we not say “undocumented immigrants” or “unauthorized immigrants?”

To us, they said, these terms obscure the essential fact that such people are here in violation of the law. It’s simply a legal reality….What they lack is the fundamental right to be in the United States.

Jay Leno considered the AP change and asked why they just don’t consider them “Undocumented Democrats?”

We are deep into a territory where political correctness is so rampant that the language no longer represents reality. If reality is too uncomfortable to face, we shall just change the language that describes it. Like putting a tire patch on a hot air balloon, and hoping it holds.



Have You No Shame? Are You Not Embarrassed? Were You Brought Up In a Barn? by The Elephant's Child

It’s time to re-emphasize some of our traditional values. Love of America. patriotism, belief in free-market capitalism, integrity, common sense, and how about shame? We badly need to revive shame.  How did we get here? The recipe began with political correctness; multiculturalism; diversity;  a huge dose of self-esteem; the idea that we must never, never be judgmental; equality of outcome; and God knows what else.

The self-esteem movement alone has led to a couple of generations of kids with the highest self-esteem in the world, and the least knowledge.

Colleges and Universities are so intent on political correctness and non-judgmentalism that they so regularly violate the Constitutional Right to Free Speech, that a whole organization has had to come into being to combat the trend — FIRE. At the same time, the same colleges and universities trumpet the idea that they are teaching “critical thinking.” They celebrate Diversity, but it is diversity only of skin color or ethnic origin. Diversity of thought or opinion is not allowed. Leftist professors freely admit that they don’t want conservatives on the faculty.

How come Democrats were not ashamed to put out a campaign commercial showing Paul Ryan pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair over a cliff? Anything goes? What about the Joe Soptic commercial? An older gentleman says that Mitt Romney ruined his life and killed his wife. Democrats obviously feel no shame at the complete lies and nasty insinuations.

Mr Soptic’s story is a sad one. Through twenty years of decline and layoffs in the steel company (GST) where he was employed and twenty years of an industry declining under international competition, he was oblivious and clung to his job. By 1993, ARMCO (which owned GST) lost $641 million. Bain bought GST for $80 million and invested $100 million in modernization. GST becomes the US leader in the manufacture of steel rods. In 1994 GST had revenues of $1 billion. In 1997, GST had a major labor strike.

In 1999, Mitt Romney gives up his job as CEO of Bain Capital and leaves to rescue the Olympics. Liberals are attempting to make much of the fact that Romney’s name was still on the SEC filings as CEO, but it takes time to sever the ties with a company that you founded. His partners all agree that he ended his participation in the company in 1999. Over two years later, Joe Soptic is laid off by GST. He had earlier turned down a buyout. In 2001 GST is one of 31 steel companies that went bankrupt. He lost his health insurance, but his wife has health insurance through her job. Joe Soptic finds a job after 6 months as a school custodian. He turns down offer of insurance. In 2003, Mrs. Soptic leaves her job and loses insurance. Mitt Romney becomes Governor of Massachusetts. In 2006, Mrs. Soptic goes to hospital for pneumonia, doctors discover inoperable cancer and she dies.

Fast forward 6 years  to 2012.  The Obama campaign finds Joe Soptic, who is still bitter about losing his job and the death of his wife. (Looking for someone else to blame for the misfortunes of his life?), (Or paid to tell a sad story for a commercial?) Soptic does an ad for the Obama campaign in May, blaming Romney for the loss of his job, of dumping his steel plant for big profits while having no understanding of the grief he was causing Joe Soptic.

White House denies knowing anything about Joe Soptic’s story, but earlier in the year Priorities USA (Obama Super PAC) had used the same Joe Soptic in the same shirt  in a separate ad blaming Romney for shutting down GST, sure that Bain made all sorts of money from GST, which went bankrupt, calling him a “vampire.”  Stephanie Cutter, the Obama Campaign Deputy Campaign Manager, professed to know nothing about Joe Soptic and said emphatically that they had no connection with Priorities USA (Obama super PAC) because that would be illegal.  It is against the law to have any connection. But on the conference call with Joe Soptic, Stephanie Cutter, Obama Campaign Deputy Manager, says “Thank you Joe. We really appreciate you … sharing  your experiences.”  Later that same day, Stephanie tweeted:

So much for the “no connection because that’s illegal.”

None of the laid-off workers seemed to be aware that GST was just one of 31 steel companies that went under that year.  Businesses fail for lots of reasons, bad management, economic forces, international competition, over-generous union contracts, but this might be a first that blames the greed of a man who had left the company and the management of it two years earlier. Creative destruction is something that happens in a free economy.  Failed businesses fail, new ones start.  Nobody gets a lifetime guarantee of anything — and you have to pay attention to what is happening around you.

Ugly, irresponsible ads happen in politics. There should be some shame involved. Portraying Paul Ryan as pushing a crippled old woman over a cliff was shameful.  Even more so were the tweets that appeared as soon as the Ryan choice was announced. Things like “Ryan’s dad died really young, maybe we’ll get lucky and he will too.” (paraphrased) I hope he dies soon, and so on.  Is disagreement so frightening to Democrats?

The entire Joe Soptic ad was a lie. The Paul Ryan ad was a lie. But the useful idiots that immediately start with the death wished because they disagree? Or is it just disagreement? Do they even know what Paul Ryan’s plan entails? He’s finding a solution to a system — Medicare — that is about to go bankrupt and collapse, and make it viable going forward.

Our economy is in deep trouble. Lying to the public about that simple fact is shameful. People need to know what is happening to them. There are real policies to be debated. Have you no sense of what is decent and proper?  Have you no shame?

You can find any of these ads easily on YouTube. I’m not posting them here.



You Can’t Make Them Stop. Destroy Them With Mockery! by The Elephant's Child

bu-reauc-ra-cy n.1. Administration of a government chiefly through  bureaus staffed with nonelective officials. 2.Government marked  by diffusion of authority among numerous offices and adherence to inflexible rules of operation. 3. Any administration in which the need to follow complex procedures impedes effective action.

Economist Daniel Mitchell has been ranting lately about the pernicious effects of political correctness run amok. It’s really bad in The United Kingdom, but our own leftist government is working hard on their own version. It seems to be a characteristic of the left with their confidence that everything can be improved with more regulation. As you get accustomed to an increasing flow of regulation, the regulators—those appointed to actually enforce the rules quit arguing and just mindlessly regulate. Here are a few of Dr. Mitchell’s favorites from the U.K.:

— A job-placement center got in trouble for discriminating against incompetent people by seeking “reliable” and “hard-working” candidates.
— A Woman who was being threatened by thugs got in trouble with the police for brandishing a knife in her own home.
—A man got arrested for finding a gun in his yard and turning it over to the police.
—When the chief-starter at the London Olympics agreed to fire his pistol at a school sports day, parents thought it would be a treat for the kids. Health and safety officials ruled that the noise would be too frightening for the children.

Here at home, we are traveling down the same path. We really have to stop this:

—Maryland  has regulations governing the application of sunscreen at summer camps.
—A Rhode Island boy got in trouble for bringing a toy gun to school.
—The military was criticized for giving Osama bin Laden an Indian code name (Geronimo) as part of the operation to kill or capture him.

Back in the U.K., the world’s most useless sign is installed in Raynes Park in south-west London. The patch of grass measures only 3 ft by 2 ft, but has its own official sign, as ordered by the town council.  The warning appears at a time when officials are planning £70 million of budget cuts. A council spokeswoman said that the matter was being looked into, but the council was unable to determine how much the sign had cost, or why it was placed just there.

The most useless sign in the world, installed by a mindless bureaucracy. Think of all the steps that were involved in placing this particular sign in this particular place, and how many workers afraid to challenge directions, afraid to upset the proverbial apple cart. Mindless, utterly mindless.

And this, my friends, is what ObamaCare has in store for you. It is what Britain’s NHS has become, and people die because other people are unwilling to break the rules.  This is what those with experience in other countries’ socialized medicine schemes keep trying to tell us. The media wants you to chuckle at these funny little stories, but when they come for you, there may be nobody willing to upset the apple cart.




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