American Elephants


The Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America by The Elephant's Child

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

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On July 4, 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona, about 250 new Americans take the oath of citizenship (reprinted from 2015)

In July, 2015, President Barack Obama stripped out the requirement for individuals becoming naturalized citizens to defend the United States through military service. On September 16. 2015,  President Obama said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship, that they didn’t need to assimilate.

“It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adding a new chapter to your journey… and to our journey as a nation of immigrants,” Obama narrates in his two-minute video urging almost 9 million resident migrants to sign up for citizenship so they can vote in 2016.

There’s another new turn of phrase designed to hide or soften what he is doing. “Nine million resident migrants” — think about that for a moment. We wouldn’t want you to get all serious about an oath, or make you uncomfortable. There’s one graduate of Harvard Law School who apparently never really learned anything about the Constitution at all.

Human beings are tribal. It’s an instinct that comes down to us from the first humans, and it’s never completely gone away. Most of the nations of Europe are tribal. That’s why the Czech Republic separated from Slovakia. I don’t think you can become a German unless you have German ancestry, but I’m not sure about that. The countries of Europe each have their own languages and customs. The Middle East is divided between Sunni and Shia, with a large number of other tribes thrown in. And it seems to be human nature for the tribes to fight each other, over things serious or not so much.

Here we join big organizations, tea parties, bridge clubs, Rotary, Job’s Daughters, join a golf club, work for the Salvation Army or Food for the Poor, or just the Thursday night poker club. We form neighborhood clubs, research our ancestry, or join a gym. We are tribal by nature. We are drawn to people who share our interests or heritage, enthusiasm for quilting, or political leanings.

Americans came from all over, but what has bound them together was the formal oath of citizenship renouncing all other allegiance. You raise your hand and your solemnly swear, and you become an American —just as much as the immigrant whose ancestors came on the Mayflower or with the Winthrop fleet.

What Mr. Obama doesn’t get is that Americans are a tribe, we have a proud identity. Many Europeans say that you can identify an American in Europe by the way they walk—heads up, more confident. Does any other country celebrate their founding day with the hoopla and fireworks that we do?

The full-throated “USA, USA, USA” may be annoying, but it’s heartfelt. Howard Zinn may corrupt the young with his soviet-propagandized attempt at revising our history. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright may bellow “God Damn America “to the future president and his family, but there’s a reason why Stalin’s daughter, Khrushchev’s son, and one of Castro’s daughters all became American citizens. Russian oligarchs moor their yachts in New York harbor just in time to get their newborn child American citizenship, and wealthy Chinese just happen to be visiting the country when the baby is due.  Mexican women wade the Rio Grande to bear their children in the United States. Why do you suppose they do that?

A small bunch of English religious refugees seeking liberty undertook a dangerous Atlantic crossing to an unknown land. Joined by other discontented Europeans, before long they were pushing back against English taxes, English regulations and English regiments. After sending the British back home, and writing a constitution, Americans pushed on across the Appalachians, facing angry Indians, bears and starvation. First in bateaus, then on horseback and in covered wagons, they crossed the Rockies and conquered a continent, fought a bloody civil war to free the slaves.  World Wars, John Wayne, the Super Bowl, Star Wars, the Marshall Plan, GI Joe, Baseball, Dunkin’ Donuts, the Grand Canyon, — so many things go into the making of an American, including complaining about the government. But here, it’s your right to complain. In Stalin’s Russia — off to the Gulag. In today’s Syria, we don”t even want to think about that.

Don’t be messing with the Oath Of Allegiance, Mr. President. We know that you are out to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” but if we had realized what you really meant by that, you’d be back in your house in Chicago and someone else entirely would be our president. You go too far.



“What Kind of World Will We Have When These People Graduate” by The Elephant's Child

Christina Hoff Sommers interviews Camille Paglia — Feminism 2.0, or all about “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces,” from AEI. The universities are turning our children into sheeple who mindlessly follow the crowd — or good little collectivists.

The universities and colleges have become safe spaces for alienated intellectuals who can traffic in the realm of ideas. “Their alienation stems from the low regard that the modern capitalist world has for their utopias, even though to the intellectuals, these imagined worlds were self-evidently superior to the existing order.” They would restore the great universal harmony that was destroyed by the desire for profit. Social transfiguration. Isn’t that why you saved and saved to send your kids to college?



Looking at History through a Contemporary Political Lens by The Elephant's Child

Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia take on the contemporary campus trend of trying to remake history into something more appropriate to young people’s vague understanding of the past. Has to be fixed. Some of those old historic people actually owned slaves. Were not politically correct. Statues must be removed, names of buildings changed, can’t have inappropriate street names, monuments.  Safe Spaces. Do not encounter things that are different or difficult.



Can We Have A Do-Over With The Mainstream Media? by The Elephant's Child

Flock of sheep, New Zealand, Pacific
Comments on even the most staid websites are angry, commenters are ready to fight. I have never seen an election season with so much anger, and it’s not very focused. People are beginning to notice that the media is not addressing the real world, but their own political leanings, and truth and clarity and honesty are not to be found. Everybody’s got an agenda, and truth just isn’t in it. And perhaps you have noticed — they blame it all on us. Voters are just too darn ignorant. Really? Or is it just the rapid, frantic changes in technology that are leaving people searching desperately for some kind of reality.

And it is quite true. As technology has changed, just in our lifetimes, we have adapted to the changes which seem to come faster and faster. Newspapers are slowly dying, and people get more of their news from the internet. I don’t know how the typical American gets his news. Once it was the morning paper at breakfast, then Morning news on TV. But the major channels no longer dominate the news as they once did. Teens seem permanently attached to their cell phones and social media.

Tumblr blogs now total over 291.7 million estimated by April 2016. Nielson reported 173,000,000 blogs by October 2012.  WordPress reported 76.5 million blogs out of 26% of websites that use WordPress. In other words it’s a lot — and with some blogs posting only very occasionally, others unchanging and there only as a conduit to a business. I’m not sure that numbers are at all meaningful anyway.

The anger of the public, not just ours, but across the world has been notable, yet at the same time much is written about the ignorance of potential voters. Is this just the sour grapes of those who disagree? Or are we talking about real ignorance?

June 14, Washington Post, Ilya Somin writing for the Volokh Conspiracy (a lawyer’s blog) writes about the British polling firm Ipsos MORI which found that most of the British public is ignorant or misinformed about basic facts relevant to the Brexit decision. They massively overestimate the numbers of EU citizens now live in the UK. They believe on average that EU citizens make up about 15% of the British population—while in reality it’s 5%.

At American Thinker today, Thomas Lifson writes about the hysteria of the mainstream media this week “in response the Donald Trump’s revocation  of the Washington Post’s campaign press credential in response to coverage so unfair that the paper went back and changed them.” In 2008, the Obama campaign threw the Dallas Morning News, New York Post and Washington Times reporters off the campaign plane. (Glamour, Ebony, and Jet) got to stay. Media reaction, crickets.

Sharyl Attkisson, who has built up a reputation for media integrity, told Breitbart News that “media elites have become adept at controlling media narratives, going so far as to ostracize reporters who ‘veer’ from a particular narrative. She said “I think they’ve been pushing narrative a lot for the last couple of years in a way I haven’t seen five years ago…ten years for sure, It’s almost like someone ‘s given a license at the top. It used to be done kind of subtly, but now it’s sort of encouraged. ”

“I just got back from a conference in Russia, of all places, where global journalists gathered to talk about this as a trend globally, where government interests, corporate interests, special interests have learned how to use the news media,”Attkisson said, “how to use social media to control the narrative in ways, I think, more aggressively than has ever been done before.”

Historian and Classicist Victor Davis Hanson chimed in at NRO:

For a variety of historical and cultural reasons, most of those who work in the media are progressives. They believe that government must undertake to fix an array of social maladies, such as income inequality, perceived racial and gender disparities, and the general dangerous superstitions, bad habits, and cultural baggage of those of less education than reporters, investigative journalists, and Internet and television commentators.

Yet sometimes simply reporting on society’s perceived ills does not offer quite a rich enough landscape in which to save humanity. And sometimes reality offers examples that confound the progressive ideology.

Therefore, journalists often fabricate stories and justify their cons as necessary means to achieve their higher aims. The falsifications range from the absurd to the existential, as we’ve seen with the editing of 911 tapes and photoshopping of pictures of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case. The syndrome includes the organizing of a private and secretive liberal political guild like JournoList and the slaps on the wrist dealt to progressive mythographers and plagiarists such as Fareed Zakaria and Maureen Dowd.

This is at the same time that the ways media reaches us are fracturing and changing before our eyes. Do you read the same blogs or refer to the same sources as you did last year? And how much faith do you have that what you read is actually true?

Do you know how to surf through the media rejecting the false and saving the real, and is the real real? Certainly our schools are not teaching our young what information is and what it is not, and how to manage the information we receive. They are not taught how to distinguish propaganda from truth, nor falsehood from reality. And it shows in the chaos emerging from the campuses.

Our enemies have learned how to use the media to achieve their ends, and I fear we are unarmed against their assault.

The people, worldwide, have noticed that they are being lied to, and they are not happy about it at all.



Unity and Diversity, Integration and Segregation, Sense and Utter Complete Nonsense. by The Elephant's Child

suburbs
The Obama Administration, in its final months, is on a drive to integrate America. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a new program called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) which requires any locality (think suburbs) that receives any block grant funding — to rezone their neighborhoods based on income and racial prerequisites.

This is based on the 40-year-old Fair Housing Act. What they mean is there are not going to be any more low-income housing projects, all will be integrated into the suburbs. The push is to reduce economic and racial segregation in favor of  “diversity.”

We recognize that a growing body of research supports the benefits of socioeconomic and racial diversity in schools and communities, and that such diversity can help establish access points for opportunity and mobility. We also recognize that children raised in concentrated poverty or in communities segregated by socioeconomic status or race or ethnicity have significantly lower social and economic mobility than those growing up in integrated communities.

HUD, and Departments of Education and Labor will all work together to make local and state education and transportation departments consult the federal government about where they can site schools and public transportation lines, Head Start programs, and community colleges and similar entities in designing new communities and redesigning old ones. The federal government is taking over the American suburb to change it in the name of equality. Small town America will disappear.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has decided that since the rest of the world is polyglot, America should have the same rich culture with lots of different languages and different ethnicities. States are to instruct early childhood students in home languages different than English to help them retain separate cultural richness. “not recognizing children’s cultures and languages as assets” may be hurting them with their schoolwork.

America has long had a process of becoming a citizen that is quite unique. One has to begin to learn English, learn about our history and culture in citizenship classes. volunteer for the military if called upon in a national emergency. Obama has been eliminating those requirements by executive order. He has said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship that they didn’t need to assimilate.

Europe doesn’t have such citizenship policies. To become a German citizen, you have to have German ancestors. But you can see in the news daily that the flood of migrants and terrorists flooding Europe is all going very well. Just a few occasional mass killings and rapes. I don’t know if these migrants ever become citizens. They just live in segregated communities and tear the European nations apart. Here, a proud new American has the same rights and privileges as those whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower or on the Winthrop Fleet.

Meanwhile, back at the universities, Yale students have told the English professors to change the curriculum. “They don’t think it should feature so many English poets who were straight, white, wealthy and male.” The “Major English Poets” sequence, a mandatory two-course commitment for English majors covers Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot. The students believe that the sequence “creates a culture that is hostile to students of color.” Poor saps want the Major English Poets abolished.

When students are made to feel so alienated that they get up and leave the room, or get up and leave the major, something is wrong. The English department loses out when talented students engaged in literary and cultural analysis are driven away from the major. Students who continue on after taking the introductory sequence are ill-prepared to take higher-level courses relating to race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, ability, or even to engage with critical theory or secondary scholarship. We ask that Major English Poets be abolished, and that the pre-1800/1900 requirements be refocused to deliberately include literatures relating to gender, race, sexuality, ableism, and ethnicity.

Parents — you’re wasting your money. Take them home, spank them soundly and send them to bed without any supper.

At DePaul University, the Black Leadership Coalition is infuriated that the college invited Milo Yiannopoulos to visit the College in May. They have a long list of demands that seem to add up to demanding segregation again. There is not enough support for students who are suffering from “microaggressions” and “racial profiling” at the school and there were chalk signs on campus that said “Build the wall” and “Blue Lives Matter!”

If there is a plan or a need for a plan or a rationale for a plan behind all this nonsense, it escapes me. The idea seems to be that inner city residents are seething with envy about wealthier people who live in suburbs, and want to move there, or to be forcibly moved there. And that such changes will fix something or other, and some kind of Improved Outcome will be guaranteed. I doubt it, but then I was an English major.

I don’t expect much from the students. Unfortunately the current crop seems to be unaware that the reason they are in college is because they are young and very stupid, and are there to be educated — not to be pandered to. They are there to be exposed to ideas and writings that are new to them and different from their expectations. The real world is not particularly concerned with gender, race, and sexuality, but with finding a job and putting food on the table and shelter for their families. Ask the folks in Venezuela.



Mike Rowe’s New and Improved Graduation Speech by The Elephant's Child



Time Passes, Wars Fade into History, and We Fail to Learn the Lessons we Needed to Learn. by The Elephant's Child

higgins
D-Day was 72 years ago, even the youngest survivors are in their 90s, and soon there will be no one at all who was alive then. And wars fade into history, poorly remembered as the historians try to understand how it all happened and what lessons we learned and what lesson we didn’t learn. Fortunately, after WWII we learned that you can’t just pack up and go home. You have to try to put things back together. Unfortunately, Obama didn’t learn any history.

When wars are over, everyone wants to bring the troops home and forget. We came home and disarmed ourselves after World War I, the “war to end all wars.” In 1933, the Army of the United States was 137,000 men — 16th in size in the world. The French army was five million strong. By Pearl Harbor , December 7, 1941, the U.S.Army was 1,640.000, and with U.S. entry into World War II, the army expanded to 8,300.000 officers and men. About 5,000,000 served overseas. By 1948 the army had declined to 554,000 and was totally unprepared for  the North Korean invasion of the South.

We just observed Memorial Day which is a remnant of the Civil War once called Decoration Day, when the surviving families decorated the graves of those who had died in the war. After 150 years, the Confederate Flag under which the South had fought is suddenly deemed too controversial and offensive to be seen. I lost two uncles on each side of the War Between the States.

It was Higgins Boats which led the D-Day invasion of Europe and the island hopping war in the Pacific. Yet how astounding to see, in Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood, the Normans invading England in 1066 in Higgins boats, and in The Lord of the Rings, it was the Orcs who manned the (admittedly more primitive) Higgins boats. So it is when wars slip into history. We receive our history in Hollywood fashion and the true history disappears forever, and we don’t learn the lessons we needed to learn.




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