American Elephants

Can We Learn By Observing the Experience of Others? by The Elephant's Child

Any damn fool can learn from experience when it happens to him, but it’s a little harder to learn from the experience of others.

The brutal murder of British soldier Lee Rigby has certainly brought reactions. Eleven people across the UK have been arrested for making ‘racist or anti-religious’ comments on Facebook  and Twitter about the soldier’s death. The incident has also prompted a huge increase in anti-Muslim incidents according to an organization which works to reduce extremism. I am coming to hate that word. When someone is brutally attacked, eviscerated, beheaded in the street while the unarmed police watch passively, it doesn’t seem extreme to make ‘anti-religious” remarks, but somewhat natural.

“Islamists have been saying for years they would do this. They have planned to do it. And now they have done it,” wrote Douglas Murray in the Wall Street Journal.

Attempts to attack military targets in Britain go back to before the millennium and even before, it is important to note, the war on terror. In 1998 Amer Mirza, a member of the now-banned extremist group al Muhajiroun, attempted to petrol-bomb British army barracks. In 2007, a cell of Muslim men was found guilty of plotting to kidnap and behead a British soldier in Birmingham. The plan had been to take the soldier to a lock-up garage and cut off his head “like a pig.” They wanted to film this act on camera and send it around the world to cause maximum terror….

Most of the extremists who have repeatedly expressed their hatred of British soldiers are themselves supported by the British state.

From Australia, Tim Blair commented:

You can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for your average Muslim terrorist. They go to all the trouble of blowing up children in Boston, killing US Army personnel in Texas, detonating bars in Bali, flying jets into New York skyscrapers and now basically removing a soldier’s head in a London street, all in the holy name of Islam. But where’s the credit? Where’s the respect? …

That’s a fairly clear message. Also clear were the cries of “Allahu Akbar” as the two alleged murderers went about carving and hacking at the fallen soldier’s body, having already run him down with a car.

Where’s the respect?

In Britain, “The release of a previously unseen document suggested that Labour’s migration policy over the past decade had been aimed not just at meeting the country’s economic needs, but also the Government’s “social objectives.”

The paper said migration would “enhance economic growth” and made clear that trying to halt or reverse it could be “economically damaging”. But it also stated that immigration had general “benefits” and that a new policy framework was needed to “maximise” the contribution of migration to the Government’s wider social aims.

The Government has always denied that social engineering played a part in its migration policy. …

Last night, the Conservatives demanded an independent inquiry into the issue. It was alleged that the document showed that Labour had overseen a deliberate open-door ­policy on immigration to boost multi-culturalism. Voting trends indicate that migrants and their descendants are much more likely to vote Labour.

If this does not sound somewhat familiar, you are not paying attention. The goal of the Left, whether here or in Europe is to win. They want to be in charge. Their purpose is social engineering, and multiculturalism and political correctness are the vehicles by which they hope to accomplish their ends. They will soothe the anger of immigrants with welfare and kindness, and avoidance of any notice that they are indeed acting in the holy name of Islam. But the evidence is pretty clear that welfare doesn’t produce the promised peaceful integration.
The Left cannot get it through their thick heads that welfare is demeaning. People may gladly accept any handouts that are offered, but they don’t value the handouts and they resent Lady Bountiful. People like to work. They want to feel valued for what they accomplish. Doesn’t mean that everybody likes their job, but people do want to feel useful.
The bureaucrats insist on political correctness, but their object is not just avoiding offense. If you are going to promote multiculturalism, then why park people in ghettos with everyone of the same heritage, and refuse to open your society to them. If immigrants don’t assimilate, can’t find jobs, are not accepted in society and are forced to subsist on welfare — what did you expect?

You Know About Guide Dogs, Now Meet a Guide Cat: by The Elephant's Child

The excellence of the concept is immediately apparent to cat owners, many of whom have attempted to train their cat to a leash.  Dog owners can just bow their heads in shame at such excellence. I understand that miniature horses are now made legal for those places where guide dogs are admitted, but I haven’t seen one in action.

“Give Us Their Names” by The Elephant's Child

Representative Tom McClintock (R-/CA) Takes On The IRS

May 21, 2013 12:24 PM

Mr. Speaker:

One of the most disturbing aspects of the unfolding scandal involving the misuse of the IRS is what can only be described as an insatiable appetite for names, names, and more names.

Conservative groups – and only conservative groups – seeking to organize under Section 501 were subjected to pages of intrusive and irrelevant questions – but with a common theme: Give us the names.

Give us the names of your volunteers.  Give us the names of your donors and your family members and your business associates.  Give us the names of the speakers and audience participants at your meetings.

One man applying to form a group to educate teenagers in Constitutional principles was told to turn over the names of his students.  As he told a reporter, “Can you imagine my responsibility to parents if I disclosed the names of their children to the IRS?”

Nor was this tactic limited to new applications.  The venerable Leadership Institute – which has been schooling young people in Constitutional principles for 40 years – was put through a year-long audit.  The IRS wasn’t only interested in financial information.  They wanted the names of their students and college interns and the names of anyone who had subsequently hired them.

And when the IRS wasn’t demanding the names of ordinary Americans – or what they were reading or thinking or saying – in some cases, applicants were given names and told to reveal what they knew about these people.

Mr. Speaker, these are facts that are undisputed by the administration and its apologists.  For a period of more than two years, these questions were put to Americans whose political opinions had been singled out by one of the most powerful and feared agencies of the federal government.

What I would like to know is, WHY?

Why did the IRS demand lists of the names of thousands of Americans whose only common characteristic is that they disagreed with this administration?

Where are these lists now?  With whom were they shared?  Who wanted to know these names?   What possible use would the IRS have to track the names of high school students who simply wanted to learn about their Constitution?

But most importantly, what were these names used for and what are they being used for?

I don’t have an answer to these questions, but I find their implications deeply disturbing.  And they must be answered during the course of the investigations now underway and they must be answered in full and with certainty.

I cannot conceive of the reasons why the federal government would be so interested in compiling such lists – but we know for a fact that they were and that fact is undisputed.  What we don’t know is why, and knowing the answer to that question – and the other questions raised by this undisputed fact – is absolutely essential to a society that values its freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of press and freedom of conscience.

We know the ancillary effect of these illegal demands.  They dried up donations to these conservative groups.  They heavily suppressed volunteer activities.  We know some lists were leaked to liberal publications like the Huffington Post and Pro-publica.  What we don’t know is what was the direct purpose of gathering these names.

The administration’s spokesman this weekend said “the law is irrelevant” and called this matter a distraction.  On the contrary, it strikes at the very foundation of a free society: the rule of law and the right of the people to question the policies of their government without fear of retribution or intimidation.

Seventy five years ago, Winston Churchill warned of a “state of society where men may not speak their minds, where children denounce their parents to the police, where a business man or small shopkeeper ruins his competitor by telling tales about his private opinions.”

If it is possible that we have taken even a single step down the road that leads to such places, then that matter should occupy our full and undistracted attention until it is fully and completely rectified, new safeguards are erected against its recurrence, and those responsible are held fully accountable.

Victor Davis Hanson: Why War? by The Elephant's Child

Especially right and necessary for Memorial Day, Victor Davis Hanson talks about War. Why do we have wars? What makes men start wars? How do you end a war? How can we avoid war? Is war simply natural to the human condition? Is there no hope? He spans the entire history of the wars of civilization and shows how the study of the history of war  can be a torch to light our way through the darkness.  Absolutely brilliant.

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