American Elephants


The Endless Pursuit of Justice, Whatever That Is by The Elephant's Child

Seattle’s Mayor, the feckless Jenny Durkan (D) took to CNN on Monday to blame President Trump for the riot in Seattle on Sunday. She said Trump’s actions “were responsible for what happened this weekend” in Seattle and “we are seeing the dry run for martial law.” She claimed that those who came to the “protest” came “because of what happened in Portland” but I think she meant the federal officers in Portland trying to end the attacks on the federal building and the people who work there, who obviously deserve to be protested for trying to set the federal building on fire while federal workers were working inside. Just peacefully trying to burn people alive. She seemed to think that people wanted to act out against the president and his administration so that’s why they were protesting in the streets?

If you want to protest against the president, clearly, destroying a Starbucks and setting a construction site for a juvenile detention facility on fire, and throwing explosive devices at Seattle police officers seems a rather odd way to protest Donald Trump. I guess carrying carefully constructed signs is just way too old fashioned, and ordinary people don’t know how to call their representatives in Congress to complain. Hard to come up with a good catchy chant: “No Justice, No Peace” is already old and tired. She told the reporter that “He’s using law enforcement as a political tool”, well, yes, everything any president does is a political tool.

If the mayor of a major city cannot keep order, and vast damage is being done to the city and the people who live there, who is going to take charge?

She further stated that “the number one thing we can do to bring peace to the streets in Seattle and across America is to bring more justice to the systems.” Like shutting down riots, seeing that those committing legal offenses are brought to justice, that sort of thing? Or just what justice did you have in mind?



Everything You Wanted to Know About Peaceful Protests by The Elephant's Child

Peaceful protests! peaceful protests! peaceful protests!: If you wondered why the violence you are seeing online in Portland particularly, and in Seattle, the boarded up small businesses with the broken windows, the graffiti emblazoned on statues and buildings, walls and streets is somewhat inaccurately described as “peaceful protests” it’s really quite simple. The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As long as they can keep the protests “peaceful”, the Feds are disrupting them illegally, and can be blamed with all the insults and vile language, legitimately.

That’s why Attorney General William Barr was called before Congress to testify today before Jerry Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee. Mr. Barr is not a pushover just because he’s been asked to testify, and made mincemeat of several questioners. There are many videos of the committee testimony available.

And here’s the video that Congressman Nadler did not want the committee or the newspeople to see:



Another Weekend of Mayhem in Democrat Run Cities by The Elephant's Child

Our cities are in trouble. Mayors, who were accustomed to dealing with problems like traffic, utilities and minor problems like shoplifting and illegal parking suddenly have massive demonstrations, attacks on buildings, major looting and sudden waves of murder. Quick, find someone else to blame it on. Guess who?

Headlines: DeBlasio’s New York City: 34 people shot, 10 killed over weekend. Lightfoot’s Chicago: 30 shot, 3 dead. Violent Seattle Protest: 59 Police Officers Injured, 45 arrested after explosives thrown at officers. So far in 2020 there have been more shootings in Minneapolis already than the whole of last year, 275 so far.The Washington Post reported at the end of June that out of the top 20 cities for violent crime –17 have Democrat mayors. Democrats have their people demanding that police departments be defunded, or abolished. So now we are going to have major lessons in just why we have police departments, and why we depend on their skills to protect us from the people who are doing all those shootings.

President Trump is sending more federal agents to Portland, as his Constitutional duties require. Mayors are screeching and trying to blame Federal agents for the demonstrations and violence, getting it all completely backwards. The Seattle City Council decided, in its wisdom or lack thereof, to eliminate the nasty tools the police were using for crowd and riot control, like tear gas, and pepper spray and whatever else are usual police tools.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best politely informed Seattle businesses that the police probably couldn’t protect them in the event of riots or protests. A District Judge informed the City Council that they were out of line, and Downtown Seattle had a riot last night, with, to repeat, 59 police officers injured.

There are bad actors out there. Theoretically we elect public officials to deal with them promptly and efficiently. Elections are coming up, sounds like we need to be a little better informed about those who are running for public office than usual.

Also reported, Hollywood “celebrities” are renewing their calls to defund police departments around the country, urging local politicians to slash police spending and increase funding for “community programs”. They join in solidarity with the “freedom fighters in Minneapolis, Louisville and across the United States and call for the end to “Police Terror”. “Celebrities” listed include Natalie Portman, Joaquin Phoenix, John Legend, Jane Fonda, Kendrick Sampson, and Debra Messing who can claim some responsibility for the mayhem listed above.



Models Cannot Be Counted On for Anything, a People Problem. by The Elephant's Child

Our society is not quite comfortable yet with the computer world. Comfortable is the wrong word, but I don’t know what the right one is. We currently are only beginning to learn what are their real possibilities and what are their dangers. And of course the problem is not the computers, but the people operating them.

A computer is just a machine grown out of the merger of adding machines, code-breaking machines a few trips in space, television and a lot of very complicated efforts to build something new to measure and compute. (There’s a completely scientific definition for you.) But the point I’m attempting to make is that the problems or faults are people problems and faults, not machine problems, at least for the most part.

We have had a lot of very complicated efforts to create models to tell us what to expect in, for example, climate and Covid-19. Doesn’t work. The models have been wildly wrong, and cannot be depended on at all. We just don’t know enough about what we are trying to enter. And the answers we get from the models are gradually proving to be completely wrong. Lots of bureaucratic phases about lockdowns and re-opening, and particularly the opening (or not) of the schools.

So far, online education in the school system is a major flop. Teachers are afraid to go back in the schools for fear of getting the Covid virus. Kids out of school are ranging from refusing to do the online classes, to simply finding them boring and ineffective. Teachers are not expert in creating online classes. Parents have to work, and leaving the kids home is bad. Some parents are banding together and hiring tutors. All very, very complicated. President Trump is absolutely correct. The kids need to be in school.

Does everybody understand that you wear a mask to keep your exhalations from infecting anyone else — not to protect you from whatever you might breathe in?

Here’s an article from AIER, the American Institute for Economic Research, on the models and reopening.  Worth your time. The photo is borrowed from that article, there were no photo credits, but it’s a fun picture.



The Columbian Exchange: The Most Important Ecological Event in Human History by The Elephant's Child

First posted in 2018:
Historical evidence proves that there were interactions between Europe and America before Columbus’s voyage in 1492, but Columbus’ contact began a large, impactful and lastingly significant transfer of animals, crops, people groups, cultural ideas and microorganisms between the two worlds.

In 1493, on his second voyage, Columbus brought horses, dogs, pigs, cattle, chickens, sheep and goats to the “new” world.  In the 1530’s the Spanish Conquistador and explorer Francisco Pizarro saw the potato in Quito, Ecuador, where the Incas in the Andes first cultivated the potato. Think kindly of Pizarro when next you have french fries, (that common name tells of its travels).

Alfred Crosby who wrote an important book in 1972, called The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 claimed that the commingling of plants, animals, and bacteria resulting from the Columbian Exchange is one of the most important ecological events in human history.

From the Americas to Europe:
Avocados, Beans (kidney, navy, lima) Bell Peppers, Black-eyed Susans, Cacao (chocolate), Chili Peppers, Corn, Cotton, Marigolds, Papayas, Peanuts, Petunias, Pineapples, Poinsettias, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Quinine (for malaria), Rubber, Squashes, Sunflowers, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Tomatoes, Turkeys, Vanilla Beans, Zinnias

From Europe to the Americas:
Bananas, Barley, Cabbages, Carnations, Chickens, Coffee, Cows, Crabgrass, Daffodils, Daisies, Dandelions, Horses, Lemons, Lettuce, Lilacs, Olives, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Pigs, Rice, Sheep, Sugarcane, Tulips, Turnips, Wheat

And unfortunately:
Smallpox, Influenza, Typhus, Measles, Malaria, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough

And in return, the Old World got:
Polio, Hepatitis, Encephalitis, and Syphilis

Here in Seattle, Columbus is not celebrated, instead it is “Indigenous People’s Day”. All part of the Democrat’s vision of redeeming us from our immoral past — or denying history to put it bluntly, except for the parts that they like.

Denying history is a major problem. We are supposed to understand history, not deny it, and we are supposed to learn from history. But then that might lead us to examine the history of communism and socialism and prefer the capitalism that has lifted much of the world out of poverty and into the middle class.

Democrats cannot stop hating “the rich” as a useful group to envy when they are appealing to the less wealthy, but you can tell how sincere they are by noticing how hard they try to be in control so they can get rich or richer, as the case may be.

So Why are the demonstrators so determined (anxious?) to tear down Columbus statues? Columbus had nothing to do with our indigenous tribes. The closest he came to the United States was the Bahamas, a very nice vacation spot today. Historical ignoramuses. In the pictures of Columbus statues, one bears the painted message “Stop Creating Genocide”, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Columbus.

But that is the story with most of the demonstrations. Mindless fun in smashing and destroying. Antifa at least seems to want to end the Capitalism that has made America and the world rich, in favor of some kind of socialism that promises to make everybody equal and makes them prisoners instead.



Poor Old Columbus, To Blame for It All! by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

With all the statues being torn down or defaced, the most popular one to be tackled seems to be Columbus. I’m not sure just what it is about poor old Columbus that creates such ire, but he seems to be especially enticing for the statue-destruction bunch. Chicago just had some pretty violent demonstrations in an attempt to pull the poor old fellow down, and Mayor Lightfoot had it taken down with a crane in the middle of the night.

Columbus haters seem to think that his discovery of the Americas was some sort of predecessor to the slave trade, although the Americas weren’t exactly a pristine paradise before his arrival. I looked up pictures of Columbus statues to see what was so offensive, but he is mostly engaged in pointing!. Land Ho! I assume.

Charles Mann’s book 1491 takes on what the Americas were like before the fated arrival. In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe. Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capitol had more population than any European capitol of the period. That city had running water, beautiful botanical gardens and immaculately clean streets. Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively “landscaped” by human beings. And if you want to talk civilizations, you have to start by defining just what is meant by “civilization”.

I have the impression that Columbus statues were being attacked long before George Floyd was killed, but I have never really understood than animus against Columbus. Italian Americans regard Columbus as one of their heroes, and are apt to turn out to try to protect the statues.



A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury… by The Elephant's Child

Is there some kind of cause here? The media has lots of stirring film of demonstrations and protests in Portland and Seattle to tuck away for the next appropriate moment. Does it mean anything? The police officer who had his knee on George Floyd’s neck has been charged with murder, and will face the courts.

This has all evolved into an extended accusation that America is the most racist nation in the world, and according to some should be completely transformed into something more appropriate. The protesters have accomplished nothing much other than tearing down or destroying some statues, damaging a lot of businesses and buildings, racking up millions of dollars in damage, attempting to refight the Civil War, and abolish anything reminiscent of the Confederacy. They seem to have had a good time breaking windows, looting, and trying to set buildings on fire.

Has it all accomplished anything at all? Certainly individuals, businesses and governmental entities are rushing to prove how opposed to racism they are and to make gestures of one sort or another to demonstrate their sincerity. Have we gone through some noble kind of societal transformation with all the rioting and shouting and attempts to demonstrate what? President Trump indicated that he believed it was the business of the federal government to maintain some kind of order in such circumstances. The Secretary of Homeland Security acknowledged that to be the task of his department, and sent in federal officers to restore order, since the mayors and governors could not manage to do anything useful whatsoever.

Democrats erupted in outrage, talking about Trump’s “Storm Troopers”, and tried to portray it as authoritarian and tyrannical, and the worst thing any president has ever done. There is an election coming up this fall, and Democrats are getting desperate. Their candidate keeps forgetting what he is trying to say and having senior moments.

What has been accomplished? Statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, an Elk,  the Virgin Mary, and Jesus have all been torn down, attacked or damaged. Military bases named after Confederate Generals long ago will apparently have their names changed, confusing all the military veterans who trained there.

Colleges have removed their statues and are changing names where appropriate. Sports teams across the country are changing their names and logos, stadium names, and uniforms, with particular reference to those names referring to Native Americans, although our Native Americans didn’t seem to be demanding any change. Millions of dollars in damages. Many small businesses destroyed, Some woman who has always wanted, apparently, to expose herself in public stripped and sat on the pavement in front of the approaching police forces, spread legs and all, but what she accomplished or what happened to her has not as far as I know, been reported.

I don’t see that all this smoke and fury has accomplished much of anything at all. We should perhaps start charging would-be protesters a hefty fee to be allowed to demonstrate. It might help to pay for all the damage they have done. I’m sure it seems as if it will be exciting to tear down statues, break windows and set things on fire. Do they assume that in future years they will tell their kids or grandkids about what they did back in 2020?

 



Long Beyond Demonstrations, But Why? by The Elephant's Child

Antifa is out rioting again in downtown Seattle. There must be something both enticing and in some way rewarding, or fun in rioting. At least it seems to be popular, and the young people keep doing it. I say young people, because in the videos of rioting I see, I don’t see any real adults, except the policemen.

I can sort of understand looting, the idea that since nobody is paying real attention and guarding stuff, it’s free to grab something and make off with it. That was pretty much disproven here in Bellevue when looters broke into the biggest regional shopping center to loot the expensive stores. A lot of people were standing around outside and filming the excitement, and got pictures of the looters emerging from the Square with wastebaskets and garbage cans full of their loot.

The Bellevue Police Department took advantage of the films, and have tracked down a large percentage of the looters, and charged them–23 was the last number I saw, but I’m sure it’s much greater now.

What mystifies me is that people across the country and in Europe decided that looked like a fun thing to do and started rioting and tearing down statues in their countries. Is there no sense in the back of youthful brains that these are bad things to do, probably against the law, and potentially will get one in trouble? Is there a latent hunger there to do something really bad if one does not expect to get caught?

Or does “the abolition of the United States as we know it” sound appealing to the ignorant and unwashed? What do I know? I’m merely an ordinary law-abiding citizen to whom all of this is something of a mystery. Strange times, and I don’t pretend to understand. That “abolition” part is worrying.



Portland Erupts in Fury, Nancy Pelosi Erupts. by The Elephant's Child

Well, well, Portland has erupted in fury. How dare the President of the United States send in DHS agents to protect the federal buildings being attacked by Antifa protesters? For over 50 nights Antifa anarchists have been attempting to destroy government buildings and the Mayor of Portland, who could have allowed his police force to do their jobs. is blaming Donald Trump for restoring order.  The rioting has been going on for almost six weeks.

Mayor Wheeler tried to claim that the rioting had come close to fizzling out until Trump escalated the violence. What kind of idiot blames law enforcement for enforcing the law instead those doing the rioting? Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland. Even the journalists were having none of that.

One Black Lives Matter leader Lilith Sinclair says she’s “organizing for the abolition of not just the militarized police state but also the United States as we know it.”

 “The abolition of the United States as we know it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blames Trump for “kidnapping Protesters.” Describes violent Antifa as “First Amendment Speech.” Well, well. So that’s what the Democrats have in mind. Siding with terrorists, attacking police officers, trying to burn down the federal courthouse — all just peaceful First Amendment Speech. I suspect the Portland police would not agree with Ms. Pelosi. Millions of dollars of damage, wounded policemen, looted businesses. The “unidentified” agents had POLICE  prominently labeled across their chests and DHS patches on their arms.  Met with explosives, hammers, knives sledgehammers, slingshots with ball-bearings, pipe bombs. Just peaceful First Amendment protesters? She also called them “Trump’s Secret Police.”  I think that perhaps this time, Ms. Pelosi has gone just a little too far.



Statues Cannot Defend Themselves, Perhaps That’s the Attraction by The Elephant's Child

All this attacking our history by removing any evidence of past heroes on the wrong side of the Civil War, led me to some imaginary conversations, which were interesting. I tried to imagine a conversation with someone who was attempting to destroy or damage a statue of George Washington. Naturally, I asked “why?” The interesting part was trying to imagine what their answer could be.

Probing the depths of their lack of information or misguided information, or general unfamiliarity with American history. That sort of thing. The statue attackers gradually moved on from Confederate statues to anybody statues. I thought attacking the elk in Portland was the epitome, but apparently the Virgin Mary has also been attacked and damaged.

We know that a great many people who can read perfectly well, just don’t want to read anything long. Long may be defined as anything over 2 paragraphs, if they’re short. There are even some websites that attach a brief reading time to their posts. I was an English major, partly because I have always been a reader, and was not troubled by the massive reading requirements.

But I know there are lots of people out there who are reluctant readers. But what do they do with an exciting thriller? Or have they just never read one anyway? Reading is not something they do for pleasure? One takes pleasure in a movie, but not in reading? It remains a chore, rather than a pleasure?

It seems to me that if the schools were successfully teaching reading, they should be offering the young people versions of thrillers — page turners–where you really wanted to find out what happens next.  Instead they are still working on the same old classics, Mark Twain, etc. that we all had. How do we manage to turn out so many reluctant readers? That’s just not right. History can be pretty interesting reading, if you know enough to understand why it is important.

At the present moment, to be called a racist is the very worst thing possible, and the term is being used far and wide. The fear of being labelled as a racist is huge, for that can effect your career, your income and your prospects for the future. Strange times indeed. George Washington did have some slaves, one that traveled with him throughout the war, if I remember correctly. Do they know that he had a few other accomplishments like winning our independence from the British? Do try an imaginary conversation. It can clarify your own mind.



Portland Antifa Tried to Do Their Own “CHOP”. Didn’t Go Well. by The Elephant's Child

A Judge here in Seattle has approved a potential recall election for Mayor Jenny Durkan. Portland tried out doing their own “CHOP” atonomous community, unfortunately they did it right in downtown Portland, and it didn’t go well. They attempted to seize property the same way anarchists tried to on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and called the area the Chinook Land Autonomous Territory (CLAT) since the land was allegedly stolen from Native Americans. Clat lasted only about 35 or 36 hours. How Come?

Antifa has been terrorizing Portland for years, and sending adherents up to Seattle when there was something useful going on here. They burned the Elk statue, shot off fireworks and other incendiary devices at the federal courthouse, and some rioters carried firearms. But last night the police cleared out Chapman Square Park and Lownsdale Square Park where they had set up the CAT. Police closed down the parks at 5:10 a.m, and gave them ten minutes to leave the park. Nine individuals were arrested for trespass and disorderly conduct.

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Police reported that the parks will remain closed until necessary repairs are made, and the Police Bureau will asist other Portland City bureaus to repair, lawns, bathrooms, benches and public art (The elk?).

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) didn’t seem like the type to put down a lawless occupation, but President Trump sent federal troops to help restore order, Wheeler accused the president of having “escalated” the violence. Which is similar to the response of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Mayor Jenny Durkan(D)  to Trump’s demand that they restore order immediately, insisting that it woudl be “illegal and unconstitutional” to quell an illegal rebellion.  Lots of damage to local businesses in Seattle, who are suing the city for the damage. Cities do have some responsibility to maintain order, which local Democrats don’t seem to appreciate.



Revolution and Mayhem, Strange Times Indeed! by The Elephant's Child

What a strange time this seems to be becoming. Things seemed to be normal and unusual only with the advent of the Chinese COVID-19 virus and the resulting pandemic. And suddenly we are in the midst of some sort of revolution. Protests, riots, looting, secession (here in Seattle, but over) Mass attacks on statues! Everything is racism. Our whole society is racist and we have to go back and eliminate the Confederacy all over again. Also to be eliminated is any sign of racism, like wearing blackface at any point in one’s history, and of course we have to remove all funding for the police across the country, and allow any criminals to do whatever it is they wish to do, because police are suddenly the bad guys.

The murder rates in Chicago continue to rage on the weekends, and Mr. DeBlasio, intending to demonstrate, I guess, how ‘woke’ he is, reduced the funding for the police and “surprisingly” the murder rate in New Your City has climbed significantly. Everything offends. American is no longer the shining city on the hill, but the evil nation that once had slavery instead of being the nation that had a major war to get rid of it.

The fact that it is an election year does not help matters. Accusations of ‘racism’ are, one presumes, designed to help or hinder as the case may be.  But even as everyone comments or protests, everyone seems to recognize that something is more than a little off kilter. Here’s Matt Taibbi with “Year Zero:”

It’s the Fourth of July, and revolution is in the air. Only in America would it look like this: an elite-sponsored Maoist revolt, couched as a Black liberation movement whose canonical texts are a corporate consultant’s white guilt self-help manual, and a New York Times series rewriting history to explain an election they called wrong.

Much of America has watched in quizzical silence in recent weeks as crowds declared war on an increasingly incoherent succession of historical symbols. Maybe you nodded as Confederate general Albert Pike was toppled or even when Christopher Columbus was beheaded, but it got a little weird when George Washington was emblazoned with “Fuck Cops” and set on fire, or when they went after Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionist Colonel Hans Christian Heg, “Forward,” (a seven-foot-tall female figure meant to symbolize progress), the Portland, Oregon “Elk statue,” or my personal favorite, the former slave Miguel de Cervantes, whose cheerful creations Don Quixote and Sancho Panza were apparently mistaken for reals and had their eyes lashed red in San Francisco.

One could point out that what this all points to is the failure of our schools, who seem not to have taught our young people much of anything. Whether they decide to open the schools or not, you’d better stock up on history books and do some major home schooling.

As far as that goes, the media seems to need some major home schooling as well. I am really enjoying Kayleigh McEnany and her ability to take on the inane Capitol press.

If memory serves, there is supposedly an ancient Chinese curse, that says something like “May you live in interesting times.” I suspect we have been cursed.




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