American Elephants


The Left’s Real Vision, Exposed. by The Elephant's Child

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Events in the world continue to astound. Starving, desperate Venezuela is supposedly so pleased with Nicholas Maduro that they have elected him to another term as president dictator, so they can starve longer. In Turkey, Recip Erdogan has apparently decided to be a dictator. And China’s President Xi Jinping also serves as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and the Communist Party has decided to allow him to reign indefinitely, instead of the two terms he originally planned on.

So perhaps it should not be surprising that New York magazine would carry an article titled “America’s Version of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democracy” by someone named Eric Levitz. You really need to read the whole thing to grasp just where leftist minds are wandering.

American democracy is unwell; on this much, President Trump’s detractors can agree.

But when they turn to the tasks of identifying our republic’s symptoms, naming its illness, and writing a prescription, different factions of “the resistance” produce divergent diagnoses.

One group — comprised of comparative politics scholars, liberal pundits, and NeverTrump conservatives — have their eyes fixed on Donald Trump. They see the moral cowardice of a Republican elite that declined to deny an illiberal demagogue their nomination, or to abandon him in the general election, or to let the investigation into his campaign proceed unimpeded. They observe a president who relentlessly assails the independence of federal law enforcement,veracity of official election results and a conservative base that takes his lies to be self-evident. And, pulsing beneath it all, they discern the rise of a hyperpartisanship that’s leading each party’s elected officials to eviscerate informal constraints on their authority — and each party’s voters, to believe that the other side has no legitimate claim to power.

It’s quite clear that when he writes about ‘capitalism’ and ‘democracy’ he is not writing about anything familiar to us.  Capitalism is to do with corporations which are evil, I won’t even attempt to explain his delusions, you’ll have to read it for yourself. But it becomes clearer just why it often seems like we are speaking different languages. We are.

A reader reminded me of a post from 2014 that seems appropriate, titled “The Ultimate Global Antipoverty Program”

Extreme poverty in the world fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990.  The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world. An 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years.

The World Bank reported on Oct. 9 that the share of the world population living in extreme poverty had fallen to 15% in 2011 from 36% in 1990. Earlier this year, the International Labor Office reported that the number of workers in the world earning less than $1.25 a day has fallen to 375 million 2013 from 811 million in 1991. …

The reduction in world poverty has attracted little attention because it runs against the narrative pushed by those hostile to capitalism. The Michael Moores of the world portray capitalism as a degrading system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet thanks to growth in the developing world, world-wide income inequality—measured across countries and individual people—is falling, not rising, as Branco Milanovic of City University of New York and other researchers have shown.

So what accounts for that? “It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.

Freedom and opportunity make all the difference. Some people just can’t grasp the idea of freedom, they can only see a world that would be better if only they were in charge.

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Just What is the Common View of Technology and Artificial Intelligence? by The Elephant's Child

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Headline: “Mark Zuckerberg Warns Elon Musk: More People will Die if We
‘Slow Down Progress’ on AI” from PJ Media.” This made me laugh.  Mr. Zuckerberg is suffering from a bad case of poisonous publicity, and has been doing a vast round of public appearances to show everyone what a very nice chap he really is. I’m sure he is, and he really means well. But his Facebook business was founded on a childlike idea of real people. He began on the assumption that people would really like a platform where people could share thoughts and ideas, news and events with their friends and relatives. Uh huh.

I say “childlike” because any person who has been a part of a family knows that the average family gets along part of the time, and it’s better the greater the distance between you. That seems true for most families that I know. There are big resentments for a slight maybe 20 years ago. Have you read the ordinary ‘comments’ column on any news article? People not only don’t like each other, they are downright vicious and vulgar.

Elon Musk seems to be better at getting government money to finance his experiments than in actually developing the experiments, but then I haven’t the slightest knowledge of engineering, so perhaps it’s always like that. Driverless cars that run people down and crash into other vehicles don’t inspire a lot of confidence. His people tube under Los Angeles may turn out to be the transportation idea of the future, but I lean towards the Wright Brothers who tested out their ideas at Kitty Hawk themselves.

If he has a wonderful idea, he should sell stock to those who expect a huge windfall, but I don’t want to support driverless cars with my taxes. I don’t believe governments should be in the business of supporting untested pipe dreams. We have a lot of Teslas around here in the neighborhood of Microsoft and other high tech companies, so perhaps they are more confident in high tech wonders than us ordinary people.

I’m not convinced that people have any interest in driverless cars either. The people I know like to drive, and like the freedom that a vehicle provides. I think of roads I have driven that have a 200 foot dropoff on one side, and when you go around a corner there might be a deer in the middle of the road. Driverless cars, so far, don’t always recognize a pedestrian, or another vehicle. How are they on deer and mountain goats? Get the problems worked out, test in all kinds of terrain and conditions and perhaps we can talk again.



“The Great German Meltdown:” Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child

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I am troubled by serious essays about the suicide of Europe, but then I’m troubled by the European Union, by Brussels, and most of all by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foolish invitation to the migrants of the world. When I worry about the future, I worry about Europe, as you have probably noticed. One country after another reports (or avoids reporting) about their problems with Moslem migrants. Burned cars, riots, rapes, murders, but what is the most troubling seems to be a refusal to face and deal with reality, and a reluctance to let anyone else know about the problems they face.

Fortunately, Victor Davis Hanson is often there to clarify the problems. He writes for the Hoover Institution about The Great German Meltdown

Every 20 to 50 years in Germany, things start unraveling. Germans feel aggrieved. Ideas and movements gyrate wildly between far left and far right extremes. And the Germans finally find consensus in a sense of victimhood paradoxically expressed as national chauvinism. Germany’s neighbors in 1870, 1914, 1939—and increasingly in the present—usually bear the brunt of this national meltdown.

Germany is supposed to be the economic powerhouse of Europe, its financial leader, and its trusted and responsible political center. Often it plays those roles superbly. But recently, it’s been cracking up—in a way that is hauntingly familiar to its European neighbors. On mass immigration, it is beginning to terrify the nearby nations of Eastern Europe. On Brexit, it bullies the British. On finance, it alienates the southern Europeans. On Russia, it irks the Baltic States and makes the Scandinavians uneasy by doing business with the Russian energy interests. And on all matters American, it increasingly seems incensed.

Certainly, Germany has done some unbelievably strange things in the last ten years. In a fit of fear, after the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown in 2011, and in a huff about climate change, Berlin more or less abruptly junked traditionally generated electrical power and opted for inefficient and unreliable “green” renewable wind and solar—despite the less than Mediterranean nature of its climate and warnings of the financial downside. The result is that electricity costs have climbed 50 percent in recent years and are among the most expensive in the developed world—and electricity itself is sometimes scarce. In response to shortfalls in power generation, the German energy industry for now is looking at solutions like coal-fired plants, buying nuclear-generated electricity from its neighbors, and cutting deals with Vladimir Putin for natural gas. In other words, Germany spiraled from the one extreme of green idealists to the other of dirty coal, while counting on others to export their electricity into Germany.

Oh do read the whole thing, and read the comments too. Here, for once, they are polite and thoughtful. Lots of us are concerned. But the Europeans don’t seem to have a very clear view of their own problems, or they don’t want to admit that they have problems, or they refuse to face the problems themselves. I don’t know, but suggesting that migrants be trained as truck drivers seems so completely wacko that I simply do not understand. Perhaps the American media seems just as strange to the Europeans. They are very interested in our goings-on. The media has become a poor representation of events here, is the European media equally partisan and politicized? Do we seem to them so unaware of our own problems?



The Many Ways Europeans Are Committing Suicide by The Elephant's Child

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When German  Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Europe’s borders to over one million Middle Eastern and African immigrants in 2015, it became clear that the vast majority of them were unskilled. She pushed a program of training the migrants to be truck drivers.

In 2016, two prominent German driving associations rejected Merkel’ suggestions. Three months later a Libyan failed asylum seeker named Anis Amri stole an articulated lorry, killed the Polish driver and drove it into a Berlin Christmas Market—killing eleven and injuring more than 50 people.

Economics Minister Buchholz, from the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP), said: “With this imaginative and praiseworthy initiative, the Logistics Organisation and the German Red Cross are building a bridge between the integration of refugees and the fight against the shortage of skilled workers.”

The programme heads maintain that refugees will be screened for residency rights and work permits as well as for minimum language skills; however, figures released this week revealed 80 per cent of Germans distrust the government’s screening after the Bremen immigration office was found to have wrongly granted 1,200 migrants refugee status.

Before the Christmas Market attack, a Tunisian-born French resident drove a 19 ton cargo truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day on July 14th, 2016, killing 86 people and injuring 400.

On April 7th, in 2017, a rejected Uzbek asylum seeker drove into a shopping area of pedestrians in Stockholm, Sweden, killing 5 and injuring 14 others.

More than half of the terror plots in Germany have involved asylum seekers or migrants since 2014 and the beginning of the migrant crisis.

A recent poll has found that 80% (79.9%) of Germans distrust the rulings of the Government Migration Agency. Possibly something to do with the dandy idea of building a bridge between the integration of refugees and the fight against the shortage of skilled workers.  And possibly because the Bremen immigration office was found to have incorrectly granted 1,200 migrants refugee status. Applicants will be screened for residency rights and work permits, and for language skills. Nothing was mentioned about screening for terrorist impulses.

 



Victor Davis Hanson on Our Leverage with North Korea by The Elephant's Child

There has been a lot of misinformation about both getting out of the so-called Iran deal and getting into a new North Korean agreement. The two situations may be connected, but not in the way we are usually told.

Getting out of the Iran deal did not destroy trust in the U.S. government. Our departure from the deal does not mean that North Korea cannot reliably negotiate with America.

In 2015, the Iran deal was not approved as either a Senate-ratified treaty or a joint congressional resolution. Had the deal been a treaty, President Donald Trump could not have walked away from it so easily and with so little downside.

Former President Obama knew that he did not have majority congressional support for his initiative. Therefore, he desperately sought ways to circumvent the constitutionally directed authority of the Senate and redefine a treaty as a mere executive order

The rest of the article is here



The Suicide of Europe by The Elephant's Child

This one is a must watch video. Prager University is doing a wonderful job with their very short videos to teach short classes, and make us think. There are really important subjects out there, and we must, at our peril, pay attention, and give the matter real thought.

Governments can go haywire. European governments have fallen for guilt. Not just undeserved guilt, but guilt that makes no sense. So they pretend. They pretend that that the problems brought by uninvited immigrants must be ignored, so they can pretend they are being nice. It’s hard to take on difficult problems and work out ways to deal with them. It’s easier to avoid any fights and dissension. But the future is out there, waiting to be — what? You can ponder the possibilities.



Collusion Against Trump: A Timeline by The Elephant's Child

Sharyl Attkisson is an investigative journalist who, she says, tries to give you the information others don’t want you to have. She has put together a timeline of the  FBI / CIA Investigation into “Russian Collusion” and the Trump Presidency, which she describes as a “work in progress.” I called it all a “long-running soap opera,” acknowledging that that is far too frivolous a title.

This is very serious stuff. We have had plenty of campaign scandals over the years, but never before one with the intelligence agencies of the United States colluding to investigate the duly elected President of the United States in an effort to find something criminal with which they can charge the president in order to bring about his impeachment and return governmental power to the Democratic Party where it “rightfully” belongs. Her Timeline helps to put all the disparate events and information into an intelligible order that you can get your mind around.

“Collusion against Trump” Timeline

2011

U.S. intel community vastly expands its surveillance authority, giving itself permission to spy on Americans who do nothing more than “mention a foreign target in a single, discrete communication.” Intel officials also begin storing and entering into a searchable database sensitive intelligence on U.S. citizens whose communications are accidentally or “incidentally” captured during surveillance of foreign targets. Prior to this point, such intelligence was supposed to be destroyed to protect the constitutional privacy rights the U.S. citizens. However, it’s required that names U.S. citizens be hidden or “masked” –even inside U.S. intel agencies –to prevent abuse.

2012

July 1, 2012: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton improperly uses unsecured, personal email domain to email President Obama from Russia.

2013

June 2013: FBI interviews U.S. businessman Carter Page, who’s lived and worked in Russia, regarding his ongoing contacts with Russians. Page reportedly tells FBI agents their time would be better spent investigating Boston Marathon bombing (which the FBI’s Andrew McCabe helped lead). Page later claims his remark prompts FBI retaliatory campaign against him. The FBI, under McCabe, will later wiretap Page after Page becomes a Donald Trump campaign adviser.
FBI secretly records suspected Russian industrial spy Evgeny Buryakov. It’s later reported that Page helped FBI build the case.

Sept. 4, 2013: James Comey becomes FBI Director, succeeding Robert Mueller.

For the rest, click here.

Sharyl Atkisson has two books available, the first is Stonewalled: My fight for Truth Against the Forces of Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

The second is The Smear:How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What you Think, and How You Vote.

President Trump has railed against “Fake News” and the media scoffs, but Trump is right. He deserves a lot of credit for his accomplishments and fulfillment of his campaign promises in the wake of a national media that has forgotten it’s role in the government which, they apparently never learned in journalism school, is not to indulge in politics, but to simply try to tell the truth. Instead they have just become the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party.

Prowl around Sharyl Attkisson’s website. You can get her notifications in your email if you choose.




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