American Elephants


A Complete Denial of Reality by The Elephant's Child

Heather MacDonald, in a new article at City Journal explains how “the New York city council would require the New York Police Department to reveal the details of every surveillance technology the department uses to detect terrorism and crime. Ninety days before the NYPD intends to implement a new surveillance technology, it would have to post on the Internet a technical description of how the new tool works, and how the department plans to use it. The public would have 45 days to comment on the proposed technology; the police commissioner would then have 45 days to respond to the public comments before he could actually start using the new capacity. Existing technologies would also have to be retroactively submitted to public review.”

What is wrong with this simple idea? Is this a public demonstration of the decline of the New York public schools? Have the folks in this very Democratic City lost the ability to think? Very possibly. Heather MacDonald adds that “perhaps aware that this moment many not be ideal for promoting what would be, in effect, a terrorists’ manual on how to evade discovery in New York City.”

“The bill’s supporters have,” Mac Donald writes, “hilariously taken to casting it as a pro-illegal alien, anti-Trump gesture. New York is a ‘sanctuary city, now in open resistance to the Trump administration.’ two members of the Brennan Center for Justice wrote in an op-ed advocating for the so-called Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act. The Brennan Center wrote the POST Act for council members; the center has pushed similar bills across the country, including in Seattle and Oakland, two cities that have been particularly vulnerable to ‘anti-fascist’ violence.) The city council press release claims that the bill ‘strengthens New York City’s commitment as a sanctuary city…as the Trump administration seeks to increase surveillance across America.”

One would think that the memory of 9/11 would still be on citizens’ minds, that they would realize that a huge and prominent American city like New York is a highly desirable target for terrorists.  Instead it is an outgrowth of some confused anti-Trump fervor. Trump is a fascist, so we must do away with any government surveillance,  policing, oppose all government secrecy, end any broken-windows policing because under Trump we might have a national surveillance state. What? Another attack in London, in France and Belgium. Sexual assaults by Muslim migrants are up by 1000% in Sweden, and they try to hide it. I’m not quite clear on just where the idea of Trump as the dictator of a national surveillance state comes from, but no anti-Trump idea goes too far. You’ve probably noticed that they are somewhat unhinged.

The NYPD does not need special permission to watch suspects on the street, nor to install cameras to observe the public. The Fourth Amendment does not apply to things in the open. Police need legal permission to tap phone lines, but not anything in the open or on the streets.

At Commentary Magazine, Jonathan Foreman writes of the British problem: Jurists who came of age in the 1960s have been inclined since 2001 “to see terrorism as an ordinary criminal problem being exploited by malign officials and politicians to make assaults on individual rights and to take part in “illegal” foreign wars.” He says it has been almost impossible to extradite ISIS or al-Qaeda-linked Islamists from the UK. English judges believe that few if any foreign countries—apart from perhaps Sweden or Norway—are likely to give terrorist suspects a fair trial, or able to guarantee that such suspects will be spared torture and abuse.”

The UK’s progressive media elite’s primary, reflexive response to a terrorist attack is to express worry about an imminent, violent anti-Muslim “backlash” on the part of a bigoted and ignorant indigenous working class. Is that what we have going on here?  What part of the dead children in Manchester can they simply not get through their heads? Or London Bridge, or hundreds of other attacks across the UK and Europe?

The European Union announced this week that it would begin proceedings to punish Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic for their refusal to accept refugees and migrants under a 2015 scheme the EU commission created. The mission’s aim was to relieve Greece and Italy of the burden from migrant waves arriving from the Middle East and Africa, largely facilitated by European rescues of migrants in the Mediterranean. The EU was arrogating quite a bit of authority to themselves. The people have different ideas. The truth is that the majority in nearly every European country says that migration from Muslim countries into Europe should be slowed down or stopped entirely. In Poland, over 90 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “all immigration from majority Muslim nations should be stopped.”

You  have a situation where public sentiment runs strongly one way and that of the political class is something completely different. The waves of Muslim migration in Europe are a serious problem, and the public is fed up. Politicians here remain oblivious. We need to be fully aware of Europe’s problems, because we will undoubtedly face some of the same problems here. We have had terrorist attacks, and we will have more. Facebook would seem to be a channel for Islamic radicalization materials. We need to do some serious rethinking about some of our assumptions.  It’s hard to know when we are being really stupid, if we are not paying attention. We can’t deal with problems that we refuse to admit exist.



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.)

 



Trying to Make Sense out of a Senseless Day by The Elephant's Child

What an appalling day. We have worried about the Left’s irresponsible language and baseless accusations as calling for violence. Top that off with Kathy Griffin’s severed head, and the Shakespeare in the Park’s Trump assassination as truly deplorable attempts at some kind of poorly thought out dark humor.

Do you recall the campaign in 2008? Democrats fell in love with Barack Obama. He was tall, slim, nice looking with a good looking family, and best of all — he was black, which absolved the Democrats of their past history of slavery. They wrote songs to him and about him. There were portraits and posters—thousands of posters. “Yes We Can,” “HOPE, “and “CHANGE.”Chris Matthews had a thrill running up his leg. Obama had been in the Illinois Legislature where he mostly abstained from voting, and then in the U.S. Senate, where he mostly rushed around trying to get in every picture of a successful passage of a bill. No noticeable accomplishments.

I don’t think that the Democrats this time, fell in love with Hillary. There just wasn’t that kind of enthusiasm. But they expected her to win without any problem. They were assured of retaining power, and that’s what mattered. Did they just not notice that a great many Republicans thought Hillary should be prosecuted for her defiance of federal  law? For using the taxpayers for her personal piggy bank? That she was a compulsive liar? Apparently not.  I don’t think they had given Donald Trump much consideration, because they were so confident of winning it all. And then he won. It was unthinkable. Impossible in the normal course of things. Losing all the way down to dogcatcher level. It could not be ordinary voting. It had to be something BIG. Obviously Russia. Collusion. Obstruction. They lost not just the presidency, but statehouses, Congress. How were they going to get it all back? Their leaders were all old. Mostly in their 70s. The Republicans in Congress were in their 40s. Kamala Harris, the new one from California, got to be on camera in the Sessions Hearings and was slapped down by the chairman for being rude and refusing to let the Attorney General  answer.

The whole Russia thing appears to be just wishful thinking. Something might turn up, but there’s nothing to impeach Trump for. That seems to be why some nutcase from Illinois wanted to kill himself some Republicans. They want him impeached right now. No crime, no reason? Impeach him for being Trump, the epitome of being awful, he will kill us all, destroy everything. Treason. Resist!

Look, Presidents and Presidential candidates are just ordinary people, with an extra-large dose of self-confidence or self-regard, who have managed to gather some supporters and raise some money. Nobody is entitled. This is not royalty and they work for us, not the other way around. If they do a good job, we will honor them, and if they manage to make the world a little better we will applaud as well. They will go down in history in the list of presidents, and most of us have forgotten the ones who were in office before we were born. There are very few who have been outstanding, but we can always hope.

Donald Trump has orange hair, he tweets, and he says rude things about those who are trying to bring him down. He is getting rid of regulation that has been crippling business, and the economy will improve as a result. He is trying to make the American people safer from Islamic terrorism, as we watch children in England and Europe being killed with suicide bombs. That sort of thing doesn’t penetrate the resistant mind. They are theoretically furious about health care, with no understanding that ObamaCare was going broke and wouldn’t be there for them anyway. They don’t make sense at all.

This post was put up at the Huffington Post, and then withdrawn, but I managed to get a cached version. It’s a remarkable example of the Progressive mind of the “resistance”.

—”Impeachment is No Longer Enough: Donald Trump Must Face Justice

—Then there’s the case of an Antifa activist who was arrested in Harrisburg PA after she deliberately stabbed a police horse in the neck with a flagpole with a nail in the end of it. Who does something like that?

The Fusion PartyAs usual, Victor Davis Hanson does the best job of explaining what is going on.

Pandemonium Can Be a Revivifying Purgative”another from Victor Davis Hanson, always clarifying.

Useless IdiotsLeftists decry President Trump as a fool, but their antics show who the real clowns are. by Stefan Kanfer at City Journal.

Incitement to ViolenceThe Left has raised America’s political temperature to the boiling point. Seth Barron at City Journal



There WAS a Vast Conspiracy to Mislead and Collude—By Democrats Who Tried to Blame Trump! by The Elephant's Child

The American media and political establishment deliberately allowed a false story that they knew was false to dominate the political discourse for months.

When former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, he revealed that he had informed important Congressional leaders that there was no investigation underway of President Trump and the Russians “even as MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post daily carried stories alluding to an imaginary investigation” that they knew was imaginary.

 FBI Director Comey told President-elect Trump on January 6th he was not under investigation; Comey again told President Trump on January 27th he was not under investigation; and again on February 15th Director Comey told President Trump he was not under investigation.

However, more importantly, James Comey also admitted he told congressional leadership the exact same thing, repeatedly. Specifically, James Comey stated he informed: •Paul Ryan, •Nancy Pelosi, •Mitch McConnell, •Chuck Schumer, •Devin Nunes, •Adam Schiff, •Richard Burr, •Dianne Feinstein and •Mark Warner.

He told the Senate and House Intelligence Committees that President Trump was not under investigation. That’s 34 people if I counted right. That also means that all of their key aides and staffers knew that President Trump was not under investigation.

Thomas Lifson translates:

The American people were played as patsies, their attention diverted to a fantasy that had — and still has — no evidence whatsoever of its existence. That fantasy was propounded for political reasons, and used to subvert the outcome of a democratic election.

That, of course, is not the only “fake news” that has been dumped on us, while they call us bitter clingers, deplorables, racists and the usual array of names, they lie because they think we are stupid and easily fooled, and then can’t understand why they don’t get our votes.



Gohmert: “We Have A Conspiracy Remaining Afoot in the Department of Justice.” by The Elephant's Child

Congressman Louis Gohmert (R-TX) on Fox News Channel “America’s News HQ” on Sunday, said that if anyone interfered with the 2016 presidential election, it was not the Russians, but the Department of Justice.

He specifically named former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former FBI Director James Comey.

Gohmert referred to Comey’s testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee where he said Lynch had told him to refer to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information as a “matter,” rather than an “investigation,” even though Clinton was under investigation.

 



Pelosi’s Partisan Pleadings by The Elephant's Child

Nancy Pelosi spoke at a rally in Dallas as the Democratic National Committee launched its “Resistance Summer,” a term that she had some trouble saying. She slammed the Texas law requiring cities to follow federal immigration law that prohibits “sanctuary cities”for protecting illegal aliens from being deported. Clearly, Democrats don’t have any problem with the crimes and murders being committed by illegals who flock to “sanctuary cities” believing that they can do as they please because the “sanctuary city” will not turn them in nor enforce the law. As usual, Democrats care about their own power. They have no interest in their fellow citizens who might lose their lives to criminal immigrants or jihadists. Empathy requires that they support immigrants and illegals.

She continued into a rant about Obama Care, claiming that it had helped ordinary people so much, and the Trump Health Care Plan would raise the cost of their health insurance so much many people would have to drop out. In 2009, the average rate for a family plan insurance policy under ObamaCare was $12,650.  When Obama left office the cost of a family plan insurance policy under ObamaCare was $18,142. That’s an increase of 23%, and the cost  has risen to 10% of an average worker’s income.

I was attempting here to give Minority Leader Pelosi, a taste of her own medicine, but I find I’m not up to the challenge. I can’t bring myself to call names and  misstate issues and hurl vile insults. I don’t call people, even my political enemies, “Hitler,” nor “racists”over their usual everyday nastiness. I just try to find the evidence that will show just what they are doing, and why.

DHS Secretary John Kelly was interviewed on Fox and Friends last Friday and said that “if we knew what he knows about terror threats in this country, we’d never leave the house.”

It seems that Democrat leaders are simply not concerned about illegal immigration (future Democrat voters) nor large numbers of immigrants and refugees. They have been told often enough that we are unable to vet “refugees” from Syria, that there are jihadists among them, that the leaders of ISIS and al Qaeda say that they are filtering their fighters into our country, but Democrat leaders are less concerned than their voters. It’s the same story for Republican leaders, although they are five times more concerned than their Democrat friends in Congress. Is this because of the heavy police presence in the nation’s capitol? Have they already forgotten the plane that smashed into the Pentagon? Or do they just feel above it all, too important to be concerned?

Republicans are more likely to be familiar with the news. Democrats are more likely to be more familiar with Democrat talking points, and to brush off any Republican concerns. The most interesting thing is how much more their voters are concerned and how unaware their leaders are of their concerns. Begins to explain November’s election.

I saw a post last week about how shocked Democrats were to find out that Republicans reciprocated their hate and upped it a bit. What, they hate us? How can that be? I don’t know about hate. Perhaps contempt is more accurate. They operate on talking points handed down from Think Progress, and never make the effort to find out if they are true. And it doesn’t matter. They care about scoring points and winning. The talking points have been poll tested to see what works. Strange world of politics.

They haven’t noticed that the accomplishments of the man they so despise are piling up. He had a very successful trip overseas, Melania was a star.  The economy is improving, industrial production registered its largest gain in three years, the business community is increasingly optimistic, with Small Business optimism in its 6th month of positive feelings, a streak not seen since the Reagan years. Initial unemployment claims are way down. Withdrawing from the Paris Climate accords was an excellent move, it would have done nothing for the climate and deeply harmed American taxpayers. Not bad, not bad at all.

 



The Tragic View of Life by The Elephant's Child

Searching the internet for the news yesterday, I came across Katy Perry’s vapid remarks about Manchester “the greatest thing we can do is just unite and love on each other. No barriers, no borders, we all just need to coexist.” Then there were Mark Zuckerberg’s equally vacuous remarks about  a “new social contract with a universal basic income,”in his speech at Harvard’s graduation.

He then said, though, that the struggle of our time will be between “the forces of freedom, openness and global community against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism.”

“Forces for the flow of knowledge, trade and immigration against those who would slow them down,” he continued. “This is not a battle of nations, it’s a battle of ideas.”

Zuckerberg then choked up as he told the graduates that one of his top students at the Boys and Girls Club where he volunteers his time was a DREAMer who “raised his hand and said he wasn’t sure he could go [to college] because he’s undocumented. He didn’t know if they’d let him in.” Zuckerberg said he took him out for his birthday and when he asked him what he wanted, “he started talking about students he saw struggling and said, ‘you know, I’d really just like a book on social justice.’”

There are lots of books about social justice, unfortunately there is no such thing. There is one kind of justice in the world, which is based in the laws and courts and constitutions of the world. Social justice means a kind of justice that the speaker believes is fair. Good luck with that. My idea of what is fair for everyone is far different than the next guy’s and the next. You can try to convince the world that if they can just “imagine” a glorious future, but then John Lennon tried that one.

Human nature is not fixable. You can’t make everybody be “nice.” The Castros tried the guaranteed income bit in Cuba, gave everybody $20 a month. And desperate Cubans got on anything that would float and tried to make it to America. Recognizing Cuba for the socialist prison it is, America gave admission to any Cubans who could make it to our shores. Obama cancelled that because Cuban refugees were unlikely to become Democrat voters.

Victor Davis Hanson writes frequently about the tragic view of life. By that he means that you can’t have world peace when even your own family can’t get along. We have built great organizations to make and keep the peace, and simply created another mess. The United Nations does have nations speaking to each other through their representatives, but the record of UN Peacekeepers is disastrous. People we love will die, new businesses will fail, people will get fired, government programs will fail. Things far beyond our control will happen and take vast numbers of lives, tsunami, volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, plagues. And now we have Islamic terrorism.

Our advances come in small surprises, often unrecognized—the Magna Charta, the American Constitution. Pasteur’s discovery of germs changed the life expectancy of the world. The first “miracle drug” was aspirin. Our really big, highly celebrated discoveries or inventions often don’t perform as hoped. We have invested so much in education, hoping to prepare each new generation to do better and live better and advance the world a little bit more, and one wonders if the snowflakes and social justice warriors the universities are turning out are even employable. They are not all protesting, nor refusing to hear voices of disagreement, and surely there are some students who are learning and thinking who will come up with the small insight that will improve the world another small bit.




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