American Elephants


Hate Speech, Protected Speech, Free Speech: Think About It. by The Elephant's Child

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The furor over Brexit continues to heat up, and polls waver back and forth. A telling article on the 14th of May pointed out a central issue of concern about the European Union. ‘The President of the unelected executive arm of the EU has vowed to block all right wing populists from power across the continent, shortly after acquiring the power to exert “far reaching sanctions” on elected governments.”

If this seems reminiscent of the Left’s current efforts to stamp out free speech, with the need for “safe spaces” on campus to avoid hearing any disagreeing speech; or the group of attorneys general who want to go after “climate deniers”  in the interest of shutting down those who do not worship at the altar of global warming, and getting a big windfall from suing Exxon Mobil; or the effort to simply shut down free speech or do away with the First Amendment, you’re absolutely correct.

Attorney General  Loretta Lynch announced that she would release a censored version of Omar Mateen’s 911 calls , omitting any mention of ISIS. She said she didn’t want to “further [Mateen’s] propaganda. (Obama-Clinton U.S l Resolution Against Negative Speech about Islam.) Broadly ridiculed, DOJ reversed course.

Most graduations are over, but the season had its usual numbers of graduation speakers who were protested, rejected, or insulted.  I find it hard to imagine that the snowflakes are so unmannerly that they refuse to hear someone who has ideas with which they are not familiar.

U.S. Internet giants Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp pledged to tackle online hate speech in less than 24 hours as part of a joint commitment with the European Union to combat the use of social media by terrorists.

Beyond national laws that criminalize hate speech, there is a need to ensure such activity by Internet users is “expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame,” the companies and the European Commission said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

We hear the term “Hate Speech” far more than “free speech.” “Hate speech” is just another Leftist weapon to attack anyone who offers a different opinion.  Only today, a student called in to Michael Medved’s talk radio show to speak about his professor who would not allow differing opinions in student papers. Unfortunately this is increasingly common. During the 1960s Liberals fought for the right for political demonstrations on campus in the fabled “Free Speech Movement.” Well, time moves on and minds change. Now the Left wants to put people behind bars for any speech that disagrees with standard Liberal talking points.

The other nations in the Anglosphere have vestiges of free speech, but not so much. It is, to be completely accurate, a very hard idea for people to understand. People are all for free speech until someone says something to which they take exception, then it’s hate speech, or they shouldn’t be allowed to say that, or just demand that they shut up. We used to have Polish jokes, and French jokes, and Norwegian jokes, but now it’s all “diversity” and “racism”and  “gender identity.”

We all have to think through what is meant by free speech. It is expressed in the First Amendment  as forbidding Congress from making any law that abridges freedom of speech, and adds freedom of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You can’t shout FIRE in a crowded theater. You can still punch someone who insults your mother in the nose, but you may get hauled in for battery. If you are paying attention, you will find an example of why it is so important—every single day. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn disagreed publicly with Stalin and spent eleven years in the Gulag Archipelago as a result. He was one of the lucky ones.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the Bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”     Ronald Reagan



A Presidential Visit to Yosemite National Park by The Elephant's Child

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On Father’s Day, many families want to do something special for Dad. Those who planned a trip for the day to Yosemite National Park, were out of luck. The Park was closed to visitors most of Father’s Day. The presidential family arrived and departed from a Yosemite meadow on a Marine One helicopter. The entourage arrived in a 40 car motorcade. The visit was covered with more pictures by Britain’s Daily Mail. The British seem to be highly amused by America’s presidential motorcades and elaborate scheduled events.

Roads in the park and the entrances and exits were shut down for hours. Visitors already at the park found their movements restricted and even hiking trails were Restricted. The lower Yosemite Falls was closed to the public. He made a speech (to his entourage, Park Rangers? ) to tout his administration’s environmental record and to warn Americans about the danger of climate change.

The biggest challenge we are going to face in protecting this place and places like it is climate change. Make no mistake, climate change is no longer a threat it is a reality.

It has been warm over the last few weeks, and Obama was sure that the meadow where they landed was drying out because of global warming. Melting snowpack has the falls in the park at their fullest.  “Fires are raging across the west right now … all while it’s still really early in the season.” he said, but climate change has nothing to do with wildfire. But then the president is still warning that Manhattan would be “underwater”unless action is taken on climate change.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) whose district includes Yosemite, had a classic rejoinder:

With his comments about global warming, I would point out that if his speech had been given on this very spot 12,000 years ago we would be under a 3,000-foot sheet of ice. So global warming has been going on for a long time, long before the invention of the SUV.

Yosemite is a deservedly popular national park with over a million visitors every year and has many of the problems of a big city. President Bush avoided visiting popular venues while he was president, and was roundly criticized when he did not land in New Orleans during Katrina — which he did because he knew how disruptive a presidential visit is and didn’t want to mess up the rescue efforts. Is the Secret Service overdoing the motorcades and opulence of a presidential visit ? I don’t know, it seems excessive, but we want our president protected. Presidential motorcades disrupt traffic for hours, wherever they go, but part of that is the press.

The first family did Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico on Friday, which is also something special to see.




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