American Elephants


It’s Seafair Weekend! by The Elephant's Child

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This is Seafair Weekend in Seattle. Means Blue Angels, Hydro Races, a  parade, and usually a visit from the Navy with a tour of their ship. Went to the hydro races once, but found it was crowded, you couldn’t see anything, and parking was impossible and expensive.

I do love the Blue Angels, they usually fly right over my house at least once, often several times. The usual grouches complain about the noise. This year the Marxists, Code Pink and Socialists are out insisting that we “don’t want any weapons of war in Seattle.” This is the north west corner of the left coast, and somewhat predictable.

They cancelled the Blue Angels last year. Wasn’t in the budget, sequestration, and Obama wanted everyone to feel the pain.



A Little Reminder of the Astonishing Changes In the World by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama spoke on Sunday in Kenya about Africa’s bleak history, referencing the racism his grandfather faced as a cook for the British during the colonial era, and the ethnic violence that erupted after a disputed election in 2007. He urged Africans to build stronger and more tolerant democracies. Graft, he said, is “not something that is just fixed by laws, or that any one person can fix. It requires a commitment by the entire nation—leaders and citizens—to change habits and change culture.

What does this have to do with rather primitive cell phones? It’s that modern cell phones are now common in Africa. You may see a Masai tribesman in the remotest part of Africa, herding goats in his red blanket, talking on a cell phone. Poverty is being eliminated, life expectancy is longer, and trade and investment are changing Africa. Leon Louw urges more “exploitation.” More people buying things from Africa, investing in Africa and employing people in Africa. Yet the assumption is that poverty is increasing, while the opposite is the case, and should be celebrated.

If you have not watched the 9 minute video below, you can see the important part about eliminating poverty and the proliferation of cell phones at about 9: 30, and the potential difference that BitCoin may make. Mr. Obama’s advisors did not prepare him for recognizing the advances that Africa has made.

Last time he made a speech in Africa, Obama told the people that they couldn’t all have cars and air-conditioners or the oceans would boil over.

Time and technology move on, and change the world.



Sometimes Complaints Are Heard, And Action Is Taken. And Sometimes Not. by The Elephant's Child

The company behind the Advanced Placement courses for U.S. high school students released a revision to the standards for the AP U.S. history Thursday morning, after significant complaints from conservatives who claimed the redesigned course framework, released last year, presented American history in far too negative a light.

A new section on the concept of “American exceptionalism” has been added, and some names that were omitted from last year’s framework, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, have been added. Old white men, I presume. This was a sticking point for critics, who objected to Founding Fathers being omitted and negative aspects being more emphasized than positive ones. The new framework pares down last years Thematic Learning Objectives from 50 to 19, according to a College Board official. Dr. Ben Carson said the curriculum was so anti-American that students who complete it would be “ready to sign up for ISIS.”

The Leftist domination of our colleges and universities is problematic. The nonsense about “microaggressions” and “triggering” isn’t dreamed up by the students themselves, that’s what they learn there. Here’s an article about Freshman reading choices for 2015, from the Pope Center, with summer reading programs from North Carolina universities.

Unfortunately, colleges often use their summer reading programs not to help students make the leap to the higher standard of scholarship that should be demanded of them at the collegiate level, but to expose them to books that may influence them to adopt the political agenda of the left. …

Especially popular this year are books centered on victimhood or identity struggles of various kinds. There may be good cause to learn about those topics, but when they become the dominant trend for summer reading programs over multiple years, one starts to wonder what really is the intent of these programs. Such consistent pounding away at similar themes, given the entire vast array of books from which to choose, suggests the programs are meant to introduce students to a certain worldview, and the reading program is just the convenient and seemingly scholarly way to do so. 

 



Senator Tom Cotton Shows How it’s Done in Questioning Secretary of State John Kerry by The Elephant's Child



Doing Battle With Bureaucracy by The Elephant's Child
July 30, 2015, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Domestic Policy, History, Regulation, Taxes | Tags:

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I had to go do battle with the toll bridge authority. They have an office here in a plain storefront with their catchphrase “Good to Go” over the door. A plain large room with a counter at the end opposite the door. A taped off aisle for those waiting to confront the occupants of the three chairs (out of six) behind the counter. V-e-r-y long line of very grumpy people. One of the walls was adorned with photos of the new toll plazas on the state’s three tolled bridges, mounted on plain black paper. No frames.

The wait was l-o-n-g, about 40 minutes, which gave me time to observe my surroundings. The three people at the counter mostly typed on their keyboards, frequently rising to punch the security keys on the one door behind the counter, and vanish into the back room, apparently to consult the commissar. I know she was a commissar because she appeared briefly from the back room, and returned promptly to her more luxurious quarters in the rear. If you can identify a commissar by appearance, she fit the bill.

Robert Conquest, famed historian, author of several important books about Russia, The Great Terror, about Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties, and The Harvest of Sorrow, which exposed Stalin’s collectivization and the terror-famine that starved millions of peasants in the Ukraine to death, once remarked that “the behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”

That’s a good quotation to remember when you are standing in a line with a dozen or so other testy people. I had won my previous battle with the agency when the judge threw it out of court. I lost this one.



Carly Fiorina’s Speech at the Reagan Library by The Elephant's Child

Carly Fiorina is marvelously articulate. She doesn’t just say things well, but she says things that need saying. Great Speech. Do watch the whole thing.

The contrast with Hillary could not be more extreme. Hillary has been in government for over 20 years, and when it comes time for her to fulfill her longstanding goal of being the first woman president, she seems to have learned nothing from those 20 years beyond how to game the system.



The Amazing Success of Africa. Botswana Is the Fastest Growing Country in the World. by The Elephant's Child

Leon Louw is an author, policy analyst, and executive director of the South Africa-based think tank: The Free Market Foundation. “Thank goodness people are ‘exploiting ” Africa by buying things from it, by investing in it, by employing people in it,” he said. “The worst thing that would happen is if people decide to stop exploiting Africa.”

The statement might sound provocative, but Louw is responding to a a pair of critiques he hears often: That economic development is akin to exploitation and that the gap between rich and poor is growing dangerously large. But Louw says that the focus on economic inequality is a distraction from a more important metric.

“The world is experiencing the most amazing accomplishment of humanity: The virtual elimination of poverty,” says Louw. “It’s strange that as that happens, we are talking about it as if there is more of it.”

Another illustration of “One of the Most Remarkable Achievements in Human History.”Some good news to be celebrated. The Decliners are sure that there is more poverty, more unfairness, more decline. About 9 minutes long. It is getting really hard to get a straight, true look at the state of the world. Those things which are hard and bad are ignored, misunderstood, and the dangers made light of. And the good things? We don’t even know they are happening. It would be helpful if there was way less talk about the supposed gap between the rich and the poor, and a lot more appreciation for free market enterprise that moves people out of poverty.



It’s Panic Time At Planned Parenthood! by The Elephant's Child

Planned Parenthood is in full panic mode. The organization’s involvement in the trafficking of aborted baby organs has gained so much attention in the news, and in Congress, that Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, felt compelled to appear on ABC’s This Week on Sunday to defend the organization.It didn’t really go well.

Richards claimed repeatedly that the videos that have been released were heavily edited, but the full versions were released at the same time as the condensed versions. Richards also claimed that Planned Parenthood does not receive any financial benefit for “donating” fetal human organs for biotech research. She claimed it was just the cost of shipping the fetal material to the research institutions. But their own officials make it clear that this is not so. Medical sources say the need for fetal specimens for “research” is outdated and stem cell research is concentrating on adult stem cells, though some haven’t updated their research methods.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-26-at-6.41.14-PM-489x650It has also been reported that Planned Parenthood is advertising for paid demonstrators — “Activist Jobs”to “earn $1,600 – $2,500 a month to oppose attacks on healthcare access, expand reproductive rights and keep birth control affordable.”

Planned Parenthood has hired the Democratic SKDKnickerbocker PR firm to handle the public relations effort surrounding the growing organ trafficking scandal.

The group has circulated a memo to reporters and producers late Monday to discourage them from airing the undercover videos, claiming they were obtained under false identification and violated patient privacy. If you wonder why some liberal outlets are avoiding the story completely — that’s why.



Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) Attempts to Get Some Straight Answers From John Kerry by The Elephant's Child

Secretary Kerry struggled to explain how the nuclear accord with Iran will benefit the United States of America. Questioned about Iran’s continuing commitment to killing Americans and Israelis, Mr. Kerry was unable to explain how the nuclear accord would moderate the regime’s behavior.

“Don’t give me any lessons. Let me make it crystal clear to you. This is America’s interest. Because America is the principal guarantor of security in the region,” Kerry said. “Particularly, with respect to some of our closest friends, we believe Iran was marching towards a weapon or the capacity to have a weapon and we’ve rolled that back.”



The Continuing Battle Against The Left’s Tragic Delusions by The Elephant's Child

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Heather MacDonald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. She has made a career of painstakingly going into the nation’s police departments, town meetings and impacted urban neighborhoods to research the facts on the ground about how police practices actually affect lives.

She appeared on July 21, 2015 on the Harvard Lunch Club political podcast. The 35 minute podcast is at the bottom.

MacDonald spoke out against the poisonous influence that the “Black Lives Matter” movement is having on the quality of life in the very neighborhoods where the protests are taking place.

I think this is an even more extreme example of the way this country deals with race and policing, which is to talk fanatically about police in order not to talk about the far more difficult problem of black crime.

This type of policing that pays attention to public order is demanded by the residents of poor communities. They want the police to get the drug dealers off the corner, they want them to get the kids off their stoop who are hanging out there loitering and smoking weed and so that sort of policing is in fact a moral imperative.

Proactive police practices have been the target of protests against “police racism.” In what is called “the broken windows” style of policing, police detain perpetrators for minor violations like turnstile jumping or loitering and smoking weed. Far from being a threat to Black lives and Black communities, the one government agency most dedicated to the idea that “Black lives matter is the police force.”

Maintaining order on the small things makes it clear that the big things will be addressed as well. It demonstrates a low tolerance for crime. Rudy Giuliani’s policy of “broken windows” in New York City cleaned up the city of petty crime and big problems.The complaints from residents currently are getting louder.

The second part of the podcast  addresses  MacDonald’s recent City Journal essay “Microaggression, Macro Crazy.” It deals with University of California President Janet Napolitano’s asking all deans and department chairs in the ten university system to undergo training in overcoming their “implicit biases” toward women and minorities.

(H/t: Legal Insurrection)



A Glimpse Into How the Progressive Mind Works by The Elephant's Child

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From David Horowitz, who knows the Left intimately:

In confronting the Left, conservatives should not make the mistake of assuming that progressives share our understanding of society’s problems, merely differing about the practical steps needed to address them. No one should think that progressives want to see our communities prosper within the framework that has defined America since its inception and provided its blessings. The nature of the progressive outlook inspires contempt for the American past and disdain for America’s social contract, which it regards as tainted by racism, sexism and imperial ambition. …

A defining characteristic of the progressive outlook is its belief in the doctrine of original innocence. The modern source of this belief is the French radical Jean-Jaques Rousseau, who maintained that private property is the cause of social evils and that “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains.” This is a doctrine so obviously false it hardly needs refutation, except that progressives believe it. What they believe is that “society” is the root cause of social problems. In their view, human beings are naturally cooperative and sharing, honest and moral, but are corrupted by social institutions that encourage prejudice and greed and set them against each other. They believe that “social justice” is the model of how human beings naturally relate to each other, that equality and cooperation reflect human nature, and that socialism is therefore the name of a truly human future.

Conservatives believe the opposite. They believe that human beings are the root cause of social problems and that social institutions are corrupt because human beings create and run them. It is the barbarity of the species that requires the intervention of a social order with the disciplines of morality and law to civilize its inhabitants. This is also what the Founders believed. It is why they did not create a pure democracy that would express the popular will, which they regarded as unruly, emotion driven, and dangerous. Instead they devised a system of checks and balances to frustrate the majority’s natural instinct to tyrannize the weak and outnumbered. And they set limits to government. …

 Because Progressives see themselves as social redeemers and their goal as saving the world, they regard politics as a religious war. This is why they are intolerant toward those who disagree with them and who stand in the way of their “solutions.” It is why they exclude conservatives from the educational institutions they control. It is why they can commit character assassinations without regrets. Obama never apologized for accusing his opponent of killing a cancer patient during the [2012] election campaign, because saving humanity means never having to say you’re sorry.

This is why Obama has given away the store in negotiations with Iran. He believes that Iran’s leaders have the same care for their families and concern for their citizens as we do, and that they would never even consider using a nuclear weapon.  He’s wrong.



Democrats Would Erase and Rewrite History In the Name of Their Ideology by The Elephant's Child

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More than a  month after the coldblooded murder of nine Black churchgoers in South Carolina by an overt racist, the event prompted an intense discussion of racism. Within hours the conversation, at least in the media, had switched to the Confederate battle flag as a symbol of racism that was flying over the South Carolina capitol, well, not the capitol, but over the confederate memorial on the capitol grounds.

Across the South the flag was furled, but a public hysteria quickly emerged demanding that monuments to Confederate leaders should be torn down, roads and bridges renamed, and at least the remains of one leading Confederate general should be dug up and…? The fight to make history conform to today’s moral standards was just in its beginnings, and it continues.

Ben Affleck discovered to his intense embarrassment that he had an ancestor who owned slaves, and attempted to eliminate any evidence of that from the broadcast of Roots. Actually it seemed to be four ancestors. Re-airings of The Dukes of Hazard were cancelled and the owner of the prop car, the General Lee, said the car’s famous rebel flag on the roof was to be painted over. Connecticut’s Democrat Party has dropped the names of Presidents Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson, founders of the Democratic party, from the title of the annual dinner.

Democrats, like Ben Affleck, are embarrassed by the party’s connections to slavery. Well, yes, and segregation, and the KKK, and Reconstruction, the Trail of Tears, and Margaret Sanger, and Woodrow Wilson. After a brief campaign by the Left to banish Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew decided on removing Alexander Hamilton, the father of the modern banking system, instead — to be replaced by — a woman. What woman? He’s asking for suggestions, because no woman comes to mind as being that outstanding. He might try reading up on Alexander Hamilton to avoid embarrassing himself. I’d recommend  Hamilton’s Blessing: The Extraordinary life and Times of Our National Debt by John Steele Gordon.

Please! History is a record of what happened in the past. The more distant the past, the more historians have to rely on fewer records. When we go back before recordings, before film, before photographs, historians must try to fill in the blanks. Newly discovered letters, diaries, or  papers can change our knowledge of the period. But we don’t get to rewrite history to suit our modern prejudices and ideas of the correct morality. We need history, as it is, warts and all, to guide us in the present. But we also need truth, not some made-up history that advances the Left’s idealized future.

Part of the problem is that Democrats are a little short in the history department. They grew up in the sixties, reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, which is pure Soviet propaganda, and Noam Chomsky’s assorted Marxist crap, and  consequently know nothing about history at all.

The drive to re-write history comes from the faculty lounges. The WWI Centennial Commission has been accepting design submissions, to memorialize The Great War, but they have already decided to move General John Pershing out of Pershing Park in Washington D.C. because they “have moved away from the ‘great man’ approach to war memorials.”

There has been a battle with the College Board over the Advanced Placement examination for U.S. history, to be released later this summer. Fifty-six professors and historians published a petition on the National Association of Scholars, urging opposition to the College Board’s framework. “Students should be able to explain how various identities, cultures, and values have been preserved or changed in different contexts of U.S. history, with special attention given to the formation of gender, class, racial and ethnic identities.” Orwellian.




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