American Elephants


Is This What all the Furor in Portland Was Leading Up To? by The Elephant's Child

Improbable headline: but it is all too real. Seattle City Council Moves to Defund Police and Create ‘Civilian Led Department”

The Seattle City Council, which has been mulling a proposal to defund the Seattle Police Department, drafted a resolution which would both defund the police and create a “civilian led department of community safety & violence prevention.”

“A civilian led department of community safety & violence prevention”  Have you ever encountered a more brain dead sentence? There’s a long list of requirements before one can even apply to become a police officer, and then lengthy training in all aspects of policing as well as in the law. Oh well, never mind. Let’s just turn it over to a bunch of civilians who wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to handle a difficult encounter. Armed, unarmed? Or is it just the chief who is supposed to be a civilian? It’s really hard to imagine what they could possibly have been thinking. Seattle is a Leftist enclave, and the city council is very far left, but this goes far beyond common sense.

Since they are also being defunded, do we assume that the new police department doesn’t get paid? They just volunteer to get shot out of the goodness of their hearts and purity of their ideas.

The Left has a hard time grasping not only cause and effect, but basic economics as well. City gets unruly, what happens? People pick up and move somewhere where they feel safer. Businesses move. If they are apt to be attacked or burned out or looted, they’ll do better somewhere else, and unrest or a lack of safety will effect the bottom line. It is an election year. Will Seattle dump their City Council? Probably not. Some of the loonier ones have been around for a long time.

Seattle has some very well known businesses: Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Whole Foods. There are lots of other cities that would be delighted to offer such businesses all sorts of amenities to move to their town. When Their Workers Do Not Feel Safe. Do click on the links. The virtue-signaling is remarkably nauseous, and the ignorance is on full display.



Everything You Wanted to Know About Peaceful Protests by The Elephant's Child

Peaceful protests! peaceful protests! peaceful protests!: If you wondered why the violence you are seeing online in Portland particularly, and in Seattle, the boarded up small businesses with the broken windows, the graffiti emblazoned on statues and buildings, walls and streets is somewhat inaccurately described as “peaceful protests” it’s really quite simple. The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As long as they can keep the protests “peaceful”, the Feds are disrupting them illegally, and can be blamed with all the insults and vile language, legitimately.

That’s why Attorney General William Barr was called before Congress to testify today before Jerry Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee. Mr. Barr is not a pushover just because he’s been asked to testify, and made mincemeat of several questioners. There are many videos of the committee testimony available.

And here’s the video that Congressman Nadler did not want the committee or the newspeople to see:



Today’s Best Headline by Far! by The Elephant's Child

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eb7PzivUYAAtgMo?format=jpg&name=small

Best headline of the day, from Weasel Zippers: “We Have Reached Peak ‘Wokeness’ Now that they Burnt the Elk” accompanied by a comment from Mike: “Peaceful Antifa/BLM/full-time protestors/bored and angry kids set Elk statue on fire in Portland. Elks are a famous symbol of racism, and only a fascist would regret seeing this statue burn. No justice, no Elk.”

Somehow that just seems to sum up all the absurdity going on perfectly. The statue was donated by a former mayor in 1900 to commemorate the elk that once lived in the region. The city has temporarily removed it for safekeeping. (bronze doesn’t burn easily) It has been attacked previously.

Much as we all would probably be delighted to see the perpetrators jailed, the best medicine is undoubtedly laughter. They are making colossal fools of themselves, accomplishing nothing at all, and well deserve to be laughed out of town. Unsurprisingly, some want to blame it all on Trump.



“Erasing American History” Why Would Anyone Want To? by The Elephant's Child

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The brave people who are out fiercely attacking helpless statues are at it again. Not every city has handy statues of former Confederate generals, so they have to go after the lesser figures, who may or may not have owned slaves, which seems to be the latest charge. George Washington? Francis Scott Key? The Star Spangled Banner?  Protesters are so monumentally ignorant of American history that they hardly know who to attack to show just how outraged they are. Outraged about what? George Floyd?

Not really. Here Victor Davis Hanson speaks about removing Confederate statues and the erasing of American History.  We need to provide these unfortunates with some reading lists. How can they possibly have spent years in the classrooms of America and learned so little about our history. It’s not really the kids’ fault, but their parents and their teachers.

One of the particularly interesting websites is American Mind, which offers scholarly essays on contemporary issues. Their essays are accompanied by a notation at the top of how long it will take to read: 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 7 minutes.  Can you, in your busy, busy life spend 5 minutes reading our laboriously researched and written essay? Is that not sad?

The Capitol Hill autonomous zone: CHOP, continues on. Seattle’s feckless mayor, Jenny Durkan, chooses to assume it’s just “the summer of love”. They’ve now had a shooting, somebody dead, somebody else in critical condition. They have dug up a public park to make a kitchen garden in which they have planted seedlings, perhaps unaware of just how long the distance is between planted seedling and anything actually useful for the kitchen table. Most of it seems to be mostly a matter of vast ignorance, whatever the topic.  Left alone, they will soon run out of money, cleanliness, food, or energy. It’s hard to know how dependent they are on publicity, but they don’t seem to be adding adherents. But I’m not a close observer, I live across the lake.

I found this “Real History of Antifa” online, which you might find of interest.

 



The Western World Has Gone Stark Raving Mad. by The Elephant's Child

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Here’s the box they built around the statue of Winston Churchill in Britain. Police also protected the cenotaph, and protesters bravely threw some statues into the River Thames.

In Whittier, California, BLM protesters defaced a statue of John Greenleaf. Who is he?  He was a prominent Quaker abolitionist, known for his anti-slavery writings.  A picture shows the usual graffiti. Sometimes, it seems, we get a little over-excited about attacking statues. Of course, unlike attacking real people, statues just sit there and behave like the inanimate objects they are, and there’s no fuss unless the police catch you at it, and even then it depends on what the local rules are about attacking statues. It is entirely about the symbolism, and attacking a king symbolically ranks a little higher than a symbolic mere member of Parliament, for example.

Of course in America we went for bigger targets than mere statues (which were attacked as well) but that can’t compare to HBO blacklisting Gone With the Wind. Good Grief! Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Hattie McDaniels, who is black, won the first Oscar ever given to a person of another race. It was well deserved, but there’s the rub. She played the role of Mammy, a slave.

Well, never mind Oscars, the outrage was furious. Banning Gone With the Wind!  America’s favorite movie of all time. What happened immediately was that everybody went out and bought a copy for their own, and just think through the economics of that little stunt, and how it would reverberate down through the years. I can even quote you the opening lines of the book: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm, as the Tarelton twins were.”

HBO decided that unbanning Gone With the Wind was probably the better idea, but because of George Floyd and all, they hired  Black scholar and TCM host Jacqueline Stewart. She is a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.  Cinema and Media Studies is a major at the University of Chicago? It has not been yet announced just when GWTW and Scarlett and Brett will return to streaming services. Jacqueline Stewart will provide an introduction to the movie, so you understand the correct viewpoint. This is a very odd time, we can’t seem to decide whether we can allow history to remain unchanged, or if we have to have a do-over that we like better. Historically, we do recognize that the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Southern forces fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and on April 15, President Lincoln issued a public declaration than an insurrection existed and called for 75,000 militia to stop the rebellion.  It ended on April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S, Grant at the Appomattox Court House, with a remarkable lot of history in between those two dates. If you are unfamiliar with the Civil War, study up! You’ll be glad you did. Here’s a guide to books on the war.

You might want to look up the Emancipation Proclamation.

Race has come up as a major subject in the international outrage over the death of George Floyd. Statues are being destroyed in this country, in Britain, Australia, Scotland–Robert the Bruce, the Scottish King who freed Scotland from England’s clutches, and who knows where else, which accomplishes nothing at all, but expresses varying degrees of outrage over varying subjects. The Civil War in general, any generals who fought for the South,  anything named for a general who fought for the South, that sort of thing.  Fort Bragg and Fort Benning are especially mentioned as needing to be renamed immediately to appease the anger about race.  Quick, can you tell me where Fort Bragg is, and who it is named for? Didn’t think so. How about Fort Benning — location, named for? If we are going to be outraged and change names, shouldn’t we know what we are talking about, and how it relates to, for example, “CHAZ” or “CHOP” as it is now, on six blocks of Capitol Hill in Seattle? And what does that have to do with putting a box around the statue of Winston Churchill in Britain?

What seemed to happen to George Floyd was clearly an outrage, but what actually happened was not as it seemed. The call to police about Floyd was that he was trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. We never learned if it was counterfeit or not. There must have been some kind of resisting arrest going on for him to end up on the ground with an officer holding him down with his knee.

Floyd was a very large man who worked as security in a night club, a “bouncer” as they are called, as did the police officer, and they apparently worked at the same establishment. The cause of death is unclear. Yes, he was saying “I can’t breathe” but before the choke hold as well. He was apparently high on fentanyl. The autopsies (there were two) also mentioned a heart attack, and another fatal condition. The officer has been charged with murder, but in the middle of international outrage. I have no idea. It just sounds like it is a lot more complicated than we were led to believe. The outrage over what was seen on film was huge. The emotion stirred up was huge and has led to all the rest.

Hopefully, enough information will eventually come out to clarify the whole thing. Why it has led to the destruction of Columbus statues, names of anything connected to the South in the Civil War, remains unknown. Aunt Jemima syrup has changed its name and picture. Kellogg’s Rice Crispies has been attacked for Snap, Crackle and Pop who seem to be three white boys. The same white boys are on the Cocoa Crispies box, although the cereal is brown.  In other words, a big section of America has become certifiable. A City Councilman in Charlotte, SC has declared that it is time to proclaim that racism is a public health crisis. The worst reaction is the call to defund the police. which is beyond stupid. Unfortunately it has all been exacerbated by the CORONA-19 turmoil and societal shutdown and all the chaos that has caused. Emotions were already stirred up by people locked down.

This too shall pass.  From the Federalist: “Why White People Will Always Be Racists: Whites are continually put into the position of forever having to prove the negative, that they’re not racists. This is impossible. And that’s the point.”



Politics Does Not Belong in the Workplace. by The Elephant's Child

Just saw, online, another of those annoying claims that profess to know every public figure’s IQ. They do not. They claim to know the IQ of Presidents going way back, which they do not. The IQ test was not devised until 1904. They’re making it up.

NBC claims that Google has blacklisted Zero Hedge and the Federalist. Google says not so. My immediate response is that the Big Tech companies are too new to the American Business community to grasp that it is unwise for corporations and smaller businesses to publicly profess political leanings.

The other party may well be in control of the government, and be annoyed. Companies of any size have lots of employees, who, despite resident loudmouths, probably vote quite differently. Yes, I know, it’s tempting, if unwise, to assume that everyone thinks the same way as you do, because it’s so obviously the “right way.” Do read the Constitution again, including the Bill of Rights, and remember that the first thing a Socialist government would do is to remove all those silly protections.

Yes, I know that Socialism promises to make everybody equal. That’s bunk. Those who assume that Socialism is a good thing need to look a little closer at socialist governments, beginning with Venezuela and Cuba. Those pushing for Socialism are not pushing for equality, but simply pushing to be in charge.  They want to run things.

Keep politics out of the Workplace, and protect workers’ personal freedom.



And What Does “the Science” Really Tell Us? by The Elephant's Child

They have apparently been lying to us about the effects of COVID-19. It is a subtle virus that attacks the brain and makes its victims unable to think clearly, or even to think at all. John Tierney addresses the question in City Journal.

How would our leaders get through this pandemic without “the science”?

It’s never been obvious just what “the science” is, or why anyone would speak of science as a single truth, but the role it plays is quite clear. It’s the modern equivalent of the Oracle of Delphi, that mysterious font of guidance that Greek leaders consulted during wars and other crises. However foolish or sensible the advice may be, the oracle gives leaders an excuse to duck responsibility for decisions—and their consequences.

Why, for instance, was the upstate New York economy shut down for more than two months, despite the small number of cases of Covid-19 in rural counties? Why, as some offices and barber shops and other upstate businesses were finally about to reopen at the end of May, did Governor Andrew Cuomo infuriate local officials by suddenly announcing that this decision could not be made by them—or even by himself?

Victor Davis Hanson addresses it directly in 10 Rules For Postmodern Rioting. Directly. All is not as it seems. Posturing,  The media too. they advise the rioters to avoid over-burning or torching too many buildings. Are the torched shops and stolen property designed to show us that we need more gun control?

Systemic racism goes on and on in spite of the generations of Democrat control of Minneapolis. Is it fair for Democrats to claim that Republicans or Conservatives are racist or racially insensitive without taking any blame for their share of the problem? In Chicago there were 18 murders in 24 hours in the most violent day in 60 years. 900 murders per year were common in the early 1990s, but this weekend was something special. In Minneapolis, the City Council President suggested that if you call the cops when your garage is broken into, you are a White Supremacist. It’s clear that there is a deluge of worms in the brain, must be Covid. Can no one think clearly anymore?

Here’s another: Nicole Hannah-Jones who created the infamous “1619 Project” for the New York Times, that creates a new and laughable history of the nation’s founding as a slave nation. If slavery is central to the founding of the nation, there is no hope, no hope at all. Senator Tom Cotton was invited to submit an op-ed, which he did to suggest that sending in the National Guard to protect American citizens with federal authority when local law enforcement needs support.

Worm in the brain, or just a kind of rot affecting the critical faculties? And what do we do to help the people recover?

 



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

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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.




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