American Elephants


The Trump-Putin Meeting Is the Most Important Summit Since World War II by The Elephant's Child

This is turning out to be a very interesting day, as we digest the news from Poland and the Hamburg G20 meeting.

Stephen F. Cohen PhD is an American scholar and emeritus professor of Russian studies at Princeton and New York University. He is 78, an unabashed liberal, a contributing editor to the far left The Nation where his wife Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor. Dr Cohen appeared on the Tucker Carlson show:

Tucker Carlson: Professor, the first thing you notice is just how much the press is rooting for this meeting between our president and the Russian president to fail. Why would they want it to fail?

Stephen Cohen: It’s a kind of pornography. Just as there is no love in pornography, there is no national interest in this bashing of Trump and Putin. As a historian, let me tell you the headline I would write instead, about what we witnessed today in Hamburg. “Potentially New Historic Detente Anti-Cold War Partnership Begun by Trump and Putin but Meanwhile Attempts to Sabotage It Escalate.”

You said I was an expert. I actually do have one expertise. I’ve seen a lot of summits, as we call meetings between American and Russian presidents. I was present at some, and even participated in the first George Bush’s summit preparation. When he met with Gorbachev, he invited me to Camp David to debate before his team.

In that context, I think what we saw today was potentially the most fateful meeting between an American and Russian president since the war time [WW II]. The reason is, is that the relationship with Russia is so dangerous and yet we have a president who might have been crippled or cowed by these Russiagate attacks on him, and yet he was not. He was, I think, politically courageous. It went well. They did important things. And this will be astonishing to be said, I know, but I think maybe today we witnessed President Trump emerging as an American statesman. I think it was a very good day for everybody.

Do read the whole thing. Just as most of the left is demonstrating just how far gone they are in political insanity, an informed voice of reason emerges. How welcome an actual conversation is, and how troubling the excess of the left that has left Steve Scalise back in intensive care.



This Is What Passes for News These Days by The Elephant's Child

There are small mentions of what would seem to be unimportant news items, but if you follow up and see what the Leftists with bylines do with it, it gets pretty funny. Here’s what happened. President Trump declined to hold a “Iftar Dinner” at the White House to celebrate Ramadan. (Translation, nothing happened because there was no dinner and there were no invitations). Can’t let something like that pass without comment (see Islamophobia). The ‘establishment media” promptly tried to turn it into a crisis.

“Amy B. Wang of the Washington Post led the pack” with a claim that Thomas Jefferson held the “first Iftar Dinner” with a June 24 piece titled “Trump just ended a long tradition of celebrating Ramadan at the White House.” She even “recounted the time when the diplomatic envoy from the Bey of Tunis, Sidi Soliman Melli Melli, visited Washington during Ramadan in 1805.”

Jefferson invited the envoy to dinner at the White House at 3:30 PM, the time when dinner was usually served in those days. He was told that Melli Melli could not partake of a meal until after sunset because of Ramadan. It was either cancel the dinner or change the time, which he did. He had no intention of honoring Islam, didn’t ask about any special food. In fact, there was no tradition. Only three presidents in all of American history ever held an Iftar dinner: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  Three presidents out of 45 does not a “tradition” make.  Do recall that Jefferson fought the Barbary pirates. Obama claimed in 2010, that his Ramadan dinner was the first since Jefferson, but his speechwriters were not known for research accuracy.

Interestingly, it seems that Islamic extremists killed more than 1,620 people during this year’s holy month for Muslims, making it one of the bloodiest Ramadans in history. At the end of Ramadan on Saturday, the total number of casualties for the entire holy month reached 3,451 (421 deaths 729 injuries) more than tripling the 1,150 casualties from 2016. ISIS issued many messages urging its followers to carry out deadly attacks in the United State, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Philippines. Except for Russia, they did carry out attacks. Breitbart has a list of all the attacks they have been able to record. It’s a very long list. Does fasting and avoiding sex from dawn to dusk make a person particularly irritable?  Who knew? So — news, fake news, bad research, overreach, dumb journalists. But that’s what passes for news these days.

ADDENDUM: Well, now that I’m fully awake, the math doesn’t add up 421 deaths +729 injuries adds up to 1,150 apparently from last year. If this year is a total of 3,451, that would indeed by a tripling. The error was in the original post, and I just unthinkingly copied it. Sorry about that.



Sorry for the light blogging. Computer problems! by The Elephant's Child
June 22, 2017, 2:22 am
Filed under: Blogging, Crime, Domestic Policy

I’ve been having crashes every few minutes— for days, and I can’t figure out where the problem arises. Working on it. Not fun. (and they’re trying to sell us on driverless cars, and now driverless airplanes. I don’t think so. Besides, most people like to drive —and like being in control ) They will go to any lengths to get us out of our cars and on their unworkable light rail on which they have wasted millions. Bah humbug.



Everything You Have Thought About Today’s American Journalism is True by The Elephant's Child

The new issue of Imprimus  features a piece from long time journalist Michael Goodwin, chief political columnist for The New York Post, based on a speech that Goodwin gave at a Hillsdale event. It is a raw and intensive look at contemporary journalism by a long time practitioner who knows his way around the media. It’s just as bad as you thought.

I’ve been a journalist for a long time. Long enough to know that it wasn’t always like this. There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner. Today, all that has changed. For that, we can blame the 2016 election or, more accurately, how some news organizations chose to cover it. Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close. …

During the years I spent teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism, I often found myself telling my students that the job of the reporter was “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m not even sure where I first heard that line, but it still captures the way most journalists think about what they do. Translate the first part of that compassionate-sounding idea into the daily decisions about what makes news, and it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that every person afflicted by something is entitled to help. Or, as liberals like to say, “Government is what we do together.” From there, it’s a short drive to the conclusion that every problem has a government solution.

Goodwin goes on to explain how today’s journalism has gone astray,  how it came about, and how bad it really is (Just what you thought, and even more).

I knew all of this about the media mindset going into the 2016 presidential campaign. But I was still shocked at what happened. This was not naïve liberalism run amok. This was a whole new approach to politics. No one in modern times had seen anything like it. As with grief, there were several stages. In the beginning, Donald Trump’s candidacy was treated as an outlandish publicity stunt, as though he wasn’t a serious candidate and should be treated as a circus act. But television executives quickly made a surprising discovery: the more they put Trump on the air, the higher their ratings climbed. Ratings are money. So news shows started devoting hours and hours simply to pointing the cameras at Trump and letting them run.

A study, Goodwin says, estimated that Trump had received so much free airtime that if he had to buy it the price would be around $2 billion. Executives realized that they had helped Trump’s rise, which made them furious, and soon they were gunning for him.

It’s a fascinating look at a failed media that can no longer perform its assigned task in the American political landscape. Do take the time to read it if you can. It has changed how we search for information. I have long believed that in the new electronic age, students need to be taught how to look for information, how to judge the quality of the information, and enough history to understand why it is important to search carefully, to be informed, and why their vote is important and needs to be well informed. We’ve been watching the education establishment disintegrate before our eyes, and the evidence from college students that they need safe spaces where they can refuse to listen to ideas that might disagree with their own.

With journalism no longer a viable source for accurate news, we have turned to blogs, judged their information and veracity, and the trustworthiness of the provider. Others have turned to social media, and Twitter has assumed an outsized role as a potential clue to future trends, currency, reach, and yet it may not have that significance at all. Combine that with our ordinary human shortcomings — impatience, laziness, reluctance to read anything long— and I suspect we are becoming less and less informed. But then I was an English major and a glutton for reading. Do any of us currently have a hunger to know and understand in an age when sheer entertainment is so pleasurable and so readily available?

Do read the Imprimus article. It will give you a deep understanding of where the media is and why, and give you armor and a nudge towards knowing more and to hell with the “journalism” profession.

(To subscribe to Imprimus, just go to the Hillsdale College website and sign up. It’s free and always informative.)

 



A Complete and Unverifiable Explanation of Most Everything by The Elephant's Child

Are you paying attention to the news? It is difficult. James Comey has been unjustly fired, Comey deserved to be fired. Comey kept memos of his conversations. Comey is very close  to Senator Schumer. Comey refuses to testify before Congress. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller will head the investigation into Russia ties. Robert Mueller and Comey are old friends. Robert Mueller is widely respected.

The storm has been gathering for more than a week. It started when Trump impetuously fired the FBI director, James Comey, claiming at first that he did so on the advice of Rosenstein. Then the president changed his story and told NBC News that he was going to fire Comey anyway and that part of this was because the bureau’s Russia investigation was dragging on.

The Comey camp soon struck back. First his allies leaked that Trump had asked Comey for his loyalty back in January over dinner. Then in a more damaging story, the New York Times reported on a memo Comey had written to record a conversation in which Trump asked him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, the national security adviser Trump fired after three weeks on the job.

To state the obvious, all of this made Trump look like he had something to hide. And it did not take long for Democrats to seize on this theme, mounting a campaign for a special counsel as a condition to approve the next FBI director.

If you read all that or the equivalent, and there is lots of equivalent out there, you know no more than you did before you started reading. Here’s The American Conservative:

America is in crisis. It is a crisis of greater magnitude than any the country has faced in its history, with the exception of the Civil War. It is a crisis long in the making—and likely to be with us long into the future. It is a crisis so thoroughly rooted in the American polity that it’s difficult to see how it can be resolved in any kind of smooth or even peaceful way. Looking to the future from this particular point in time, just about every possible course of action appears certain to deepen the crisis.

What is it? Some believe it stems specifically from the election of Donald Trump, a man supremely unfit for the presidency, and will abate when he can be removed from office. These people are right about one thing: Trump is supremely unfit for his White House job. But that isn’t the central crisis; it is merely a symptom of it, though it seems increasingly to be reaching crisis proportions of its own.

The President who is so unfit for the presidency has assembled the most impressive national security team, perhaps since Eisenhower: James Mattis, John Kelly, H.R. McMaster,  Nikki Haley. His appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is outstanding. Executive orders have begun the task of whittling down the abusive powers of the rogue EPA.  Illegal immigration is reportedly down around 70%. He’s working to simplify the tax code and business regulation to boost the private sector.His cabinet appointments are outstanding. Today he is leaving on a trip to meet some of the heads of state of our allies and some who are not. He has been criticized for meeting with Erdogan, and Abbas, yet he clearly wants to get a feel for who these people are, rather than just read the intelligence dossiers.

Trump is described as crude, uncouth — and he tweets. Democrats, in the meantime, seem unable to utter a simple sentence without the F-word or the S-word. They suggest in the crudest way incest, that Melania Trump was of low morals, attack the Trump children, late night “comics” compete to see who can be most vulgar, and who can do the most repellent imitation. Maxine Waters waffles between demanding Trump’s impeachment, being confident that she can turn up an impeachable offenses and denying that she ever asked for his impeachment.

Trump promised to deport criminal aliens, so many sanctuary cities have redoubled their efforts to protect illegal immigrants.

The policy has evolved into active non-cooperation with federal law enforcement, to the extent that Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City, for example, will not comply with requests to detain illegal immigrants unless they have recently been convicted of a serious crime and a judicial warrant accompanies the request. Federal immigration authorities have been banned from operating within municipal jails, and sanctuary cities will not expend any resources in assisting these agents.

Despite these efforts, it has not been possible for cities to protect their illegal aliens from deportation to the extent that sanctuary advocates demand. Cities cannot forbid federal officers from arresting criminal aliens in their homes, on the streets, or in courthouses. The best way to deter possible deportation, sanctuary advocates contend, is to limit interactions between illegal immigrants and the criminal-justice system, not in the traditional way—by obeying the law—but rather, by not enforcing the law. If there are no arrests, then there is no criminal record to base deportation orders on.

And so it goes. Somehow it is Donald Trump who is uncouth, not the real president, illegal, impeachable, unfit for office, yet he seems to be accomplishing quite a lot. And the once-respected fourth estate labors on enlightening and elucidating the affairs of the nation and the world, or whatever it is that they are doing, And we are all living in some dystopian alternate universe aren’t we?  It’s all very confusing.

 



April is the cruelest month… by The Elephant's Child

I made a stupid mistake on my taxes and had to do them almost all over. One of my cats is sick, which calls for much mopping and cleaning, and a trip to the vet. Two separate cloudbursts yesterday with thunder and lightening. A trip to the emergency room. Several calls from friendly computer services in the far off Middle East who were eager to help with my computer problems. Other than that, April Fool’s Day seems somewhat ongoing. What is it about April anyway? Sorry about the light blogging. I will aim for more informative brilliance.

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
A little life with dried tubers.



Apologies to Visitors by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging. I’ve been down with headaches. Apparently some mixture of new glasses and the computer screen, that’s not working.  I’ll try to catch up, there’s so much to write about, and so much going on that is hard to understand.




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