American Elephants


How Do We Decide What is Real and Who to Believe? by The Elephant's Child

Have you ever stopped to think that almost all of which we consider as “the news” is just what someone has said. If they have the qualifications of belonging to a “news” organization, then it is news. But then whatever a “celebrity” says is also apparently considered to be news, although a “celebrity” is merely someone whose name we recognize.

Hollywood people used to hire press agents to make people think that what they said was of note, so that they could eventually become a “celebrity”. Being a “celebrity” meant that they were more apt to get jobs, because more people were apt to be attracted by the recognized name. They don’t need press agents anymore because they have the press itself, who if they can get a quote from someone whose name is recognized, are apt to get that piece published.

Today’s real “news” is that a dam in Michigan broke and flooded everything below, and people had to be evacuated. The rest of it is what somebody said. I find it helpful to understand the difference, because a lot of what somebody said is inaccurate and biased. Twitter now has a new 20 member fact-checking group to weed out any conservatives. The tech people seem a little lacking on the freedom of speech part, and don’t know how to manage it.

So how do we decide where we are going to learn about what is going on in the world around us, who to trust, and what are the guidelines to use?

Fredrich Hayek, the Austrian-American economist and Nobel Laureate, devoted much of his brilliant career to describing how rationalism could never work. How can anything good happen, Hayek asked, if individuals cannot think and act for themselves? Rules preclude initiative. Regimentation precludes evolution. Letting accidents happen, mistakes be made, results in new ideas. Trial and error is the key to all progress. The Soviet system of rules and central planning is doomed to failure. Hayek stated fifty years ago because it kills the human faculty that makes things work.
Philip Howard: The Death of Common Sense

In a liberal society knowledge –not belief– is the rolling critical consensus of a decentralized community of checkers, and nothing else.
Jonathan Rauch, Kindly Inquisitors



Justice for General Michael Flynn by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

The Justice Department today recommended that a federal judge reverse the conviction of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and drop all charges, a dramatic reversal in a case that became a notable symbol of FBI malfeasance in the Russia case. The FBI has long been considered as a federal police force that maintains our domestic national security, at least up until the recent administration.

The motion by the federal government still must be granted by U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan.

The Justice Department said that evidence which was withheld from the court for years called for the dramatic recommendation. The FBI interview in which Flynn was accused of lying was not called for after agents had already concluded that there was no criminal conduct by General Flynn. One more dramatic overreach by the FBI shot down. It would be nice to be able to have confidence in the Federal Bureau of Investigation again.



Staying At Home And Looking for Some Sunshine by The Elephant's Child

Our “stay at home” order here in Washington State has been extended to May 4.  We have increased the number of tests (2,656) since yesterday by +175. There have been 11 more deaths since yesterday.

The Boston Globe Editorial Board Claims that Trump Has “Blood on His Hands.” They relied on a combination of Left-wing talking points and Chinese propaganda in the Boston Globe, as Matt Margolis reported  at PJ Media. The Globe claimed that the number of confirmed cases surpassed that of any other nation, without mentioning that the United States is a larger country with a larger population.

The number of known deaths from the virus, so far the only reliable data, says that a fatality rate of 7 – 8 is one of the lowest in the world among larger nations.

It’s pretty clear that China is not accurately reporting the number of cases, nor the number of deaths, according to the U.S. intelligence community. The number of urns being delivered to Chinese funeral homes is far, far larger than the number of deaths reported. Communist governments are disinclined to report statistics that do not reflect favorably on the government, so we just don’t know how many deaths they have had, nor the extent of their testing, nor much of anything else.

Democrats are disinclined to report anything favorable to the Trump administration, but really! On CNN on Sunday, Pelosi charged that President Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic is costing American lives, and talking up an eventual congressional probe.

You surely will not be surprised to learn that Adam Shiff is eager to turn his Intelligence Committee to investigating President Trump’s response to the coronavirus. Of course he will.

And Nancy Pelosi compared Trump to Nero, the corrupt first century emperor who allowed Rome to burn – if he didn’t actually instigate the fire – then blamed Christians: “As the president fiddles, people are dying,” she charged.

So, shortly after orchestrating a failed, entirely partisan attempt to remove this president from office, Washington’s highest-ranking Democrat is once again speaking the language of impeachment. Except for dyed-in-the-wool grassroots party loyalists and, to their left, full-on Trump haters, this is sure to be received as the crassest brand of political opportunism.

Nice going, Nancy. While you are playing partisan politics, a lot of Americans are dying, or huddled down at home, fearful of running out of food. People are noticing. The New York Post plaintively asked in a headline “Does Nancy Pelosi know about the coronavirus outbreak?” and added “someone ought to tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…because her laser focus on pushing her political agenda suggests she’s unaware of it. The latest evidence: She wants to “retroactively” roll back Congress’ 2017 cap on tax deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), the New York Times reports. ”

She claims lifting the cap would address the economic fallout of COVID-19. She wants her “fix” to be part of Congress’ next rescue plan.

But her idea has nothing to do with boosting the economy and everything to do with helping Dems in blue states, like California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. More than half the benefits of a repeal would go to folks making more than $1 million. Don’t Dems oppose tax breaks for the rich?

No, here’s Pelosi’s real problem: Heavily liberal states, with Democratic leaders, generally impose the highest local levies. The SALT deduction let high-income taxpayers recoup part of those high costs by paying less federal tax.

President Trump is doing a remarkable job in the face of all the unknowns and unknowables. A cruise ship stuck off the coast of Florida for 12 days with a number of critically ill Coronavirus patients with no ports willing to let it dock, has pulled into Fort Lauderdale to the cheers of port workers. Four people had died onboard as the ship had been turned away from 11 countries. President Trump indicated in his press conference that the Canadian and British people on board would be evacuated to their home countries immediately, and that we really had to help the people on board. A little intervention got things moving.

Doctors at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center say they have developed a vaccine against developing COVID-19 and they want federal permission for human trials. They based the vaccine on work previously done at UPMC that  sought to create vaccines against SARS and MERS, which they said are similar to the new coronavirus. They also say the vaccine is easily deliverable in large quantities.

Some bright rays of sunshine in a long dreary spell of rain.



Trump Derangement Syndrome Strikes Again by The Elephant's Child

The arguments continue in Congress. Witnesses or no witnesses, and who. Democrats want what they think might be in John Bolton’s new book, which is currently being officially checked out for classified material. If witnesses are allowed, Republicans are going to want to hear from Hunter Biden and Joe Biden. Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, reportedly paid Hunter Biden 38 monthly payments of $83,333.00  each, while his father led Obama’s policy for Ukraine, which seemed interesting because Hunter did not speak the language, had no expertise in energy, and no applicable experience whatsoever.

Democrats don’t seem to want to hear from the Bidens. Possibly because any such investigation might cause voters to wonder about their own senators and representatives, and their outside activities and income, and the extent to which they are enriching family and friends. We really do want and expect our elected representatives to be honest and responsible, because we, the taxpayers, are paying their hefty salaries.

Scott Johnson, an attorney, pointed out that the House Impeachment report which was brought by Jerrold Nadler as the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is widely described as a 658 page document, but the report linked by NBC News runs to 298 pages which Michael Tracy of Real Clear Politics has actually read.

In his RealClearPolitics column “Democrats’ Dubious Impeachment Subtext of Treason,” Tracey extracts the leading motif of the Democrats’ case against Trump.

Based on his reading of the report, Tracey observes that “these impeachment articles were never strictly about punishing Trump for mentioning Joe Biden on a phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. That’s the popular bite-sized depiction of Trump’s purported wrongdoing, but by the House Judiciary Committee’s own telling, the scope of their impeachment went far beyond just that one narrow allegation — and is fraught with highly ideological assumptions that have so far gone largely ignored.”

What’s it all about? We have here the continuation of the theme of the old Russia hoax wine in a new bottle: Trump has “betray[ed] the nation.”

What does this mean, exactly? The Judiciary Committee report helpfully provides a definition of the relevant terms. In a section describing what they believe constitutes “impeachable treason,” the Democratic majority writes, “At the very heart of ‘Treason’ is deliberate betrayal of the nation and its security.”

Oh Please! Tracey notes that Trump has effectively been impeached for treason, but those who drafted the report noticed that inserting the word “treason” into the text might be a little bit controversial. Instead they just insinuate it, and somewhere deep in the 658 pages, do confirm that they are charging the president with treason in supporting materials that few will ever read.

They have gone so far around the bend that they ought to be committed. Schiff kept talking about “Russia” but nobody understood why. President Trump was trying to make sure the Ukrainians were free of any Russian invasion. How they get “treason” out of that, is something only Democrats deeply infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome could come up with.

So that’s the state of affairs until tomorrow.



Kimberly Strassel on The Resurgence of Socialism Today by The Elephant's Child

For those of you who are not familiar with her, Kimberly Strassel is a writer at the Opinion Page of the Wall Street Journal, and a perceptive observer of the current scene. Here she appeared on the Eric Metaxis show to discuss her new book on the Resurgence of Socialism today. It is more than worth your time, as is her book.

The remarkable Democrat insistence that President Trump’s removal of perhaps the world’s worst Terrorist leader, Iran’s head of the Quds Force, was an attempt to start World War III passes all realms of sanity into sheer partisan goofiness, and leaves one wondering — what is the matter with these people? They should be celebrating that the world is at the very least a small bit safer. Soleimani was responsible for the death of many U.S. soldiers and an evil presence in the world.

The vague idea that Socialism would improve anything whatsoever demonstrates nothing so much as ignorance of history, and the havoc that misguided idea has created in the world as we know it.



American Journalism Has Gone Too Far. by The Elephant's Child

Well, the Democrat Media certainly messed up this time. They are so committed to attacking anything done by the hated President Trump that they side with one of the world’s worst terrorist leaders. They are no longer doing journalism. Soleimani has been listed as a top terrorist since 2007, and now they find him as the equivalent of our vice president rather than a hired gun against Americans, and a very deadly one at that.

Donald J. Trump was elected as the President of the United States in a free election, defeating Hillary Clinton, and they cannot get over it. Hillary was a deeply flawed candidate who would have been a disaster as a president,  but she was a Democrat and that is apparently all that matters. The rage of Congressional Democrats and the Hollywood celebrities (who hire press agents to keep their names in the news so they can remain celebrities), toward this president is hard to understand.

I gather that their rage is based on the fact that Trump is doing a fabulous job with the economy, lowest unemployment in history, stock market high, unneeded regulations cut back, and Obama insisted that times had changed and it was no longer possible for an economy to grow at more than 2 percent.The Wall Street Journal remarked today that:

In his address to the nation this morning, Donald Trump asserted that the ballistic missiles that targeted the al-Assad and Erbil bases in Iraq yesterday were paid for using “funds made available by the last administration.” Few things irritate media fact checkers more than Trump’s accusation that Obama helped fund the Iranian regime and its terror apparatus. Probably because it’s completely true.

Now, we don’t really know that Obama’s ransom payments to Iran in 2016 subsidized those specific ballistic missiles, but we do know that money is fungible — especially when you have access to small denominations of European cash — and that the military, IRGC, and Hezbollah were the major beneficiaries of the replenished coffers of the Iranian state. Distinctions over the details of the exact allocation of funds would be completely irrelevant in any conversation not involving Donald Trump. Yet Andrea Mitchell and CNN, and all the usual suspects, immediately rallied to Obama’s defense to also explain that actually Trump is talking about money we owed Iran.

We never “owed” the Islamic Republic any money. This is a myth. In 2016, the United States was in the middle of an unresolved dispute in front of the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague over cash advanced by the Shah for military equipment we refused to deliver after the 1979 revolution. You might recall, this is when Iran began prosecuting its war against the United States, taking hostages, and killing service members.

Democrats want to be in charge, to control, so we will not annoy them with ideas or programs they don’t like. You will find the impulse located somewhere between Socialism and Communism. Iran seems to have shot down the Ukrainian airliner by mistake, or not, with so many Canadians on board. There were no survivors. But it must be President Trump’s fault. Strange times.



These Are Interesting Times Indeed! by The Elephant's Child

I think the ancient Chinese curse is “May you live in interesting times.” I may be mistaken because I didn’t look it up but depended on my memory. Well, they are interesting indeed. President Trump acted on an opportunity to get one the world’s worst terrorist leaders, and our national media erupted in horror, completely forgetting that our embassy in Iraq had been attacked, or ignoring this inconvenient bit. The information was correct, we were able to hit Quassam Soleimani and eliminate a terrorist dedicated to attempts to harm the United States and our military at every opportunity.

Democrats in Congress were incensed that they were not consulted for their formal consent and approval, neglecting to consider that in such situations the President does not need to consult Congress, nor does he need their approval. He is the Commander in Chief. He gets to protect our Embassy, it’s staff, our military.

The Embassy is sovereign American territory, which was attacked. Soleimani has been a formally designated terrorist and terrorist leader since 2007. That this comes in the midst of an attempt to impeach the President with a Democratic Party that is consumed with their desire to get rid of the terrible Trump, leaves the Democrats in a sticky position. They cannot approve of anything Trump does at the moment, yet taking the opposing position puts them on the wrong side as well.

Some have pointed out the example of Benghazi and our embassy there, and the failure of our State Department to provide them with the needed security to prevent the death of the Ambassador, his aide and two former Seals working as government contractors. It was inexcusable.

What is disheartening is the response of the media who can’t put aside their partisan outlook long enough to report events as if they are journalists rather than just partisan Democrats.




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