American Elephants


Natural Selection and the Character of the American People by The Elephant's Child

Never was there a more outrageous or more unscrupulous or ill informed advertising campaign than that by which the promoters for the American colonies brought settlers here. Brochures published in England in the seventeenth century, some even earlier, were full of hopeful over-statements, half-truths and downright lies. Gold and silver, fountains of youth, plenty of fish, venison without limit. How long might it have taken to settle this continent if there had not been such slick promotion. How has American civilization been shaped by the fact that there was a kind of natural selection here of those people who were willing to believe in advertising?

………………………………………………………..From Hidden History
………………………………………………………..
by Daniel Boorstin

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There has Been a Mass Shooting in Las Vegas by The Elephant's Child

Two confirmed dead, many seriously wounded by a shooter on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel, where there was a country music concert across the street from the hotel. The shooter had a fully automatic weapon with which he sprayed the crowd. You can’t buy those at your neighborhood gun store.

The shooter is dead, unidentified, but local. More than 100 are wounded, many seriously. Prompt police attention, careful statements. Too soon to know very much. More will become clear as the day rolls on. Evil people seem to like large concerts.

UPDATE: 59 dead. 527 to Hospital. Shooter killed himself, is local from Mesquite, high stakes gambler, 64 years old, no known connection to terrorism, although ISIS tried to claim credit. Worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Naturally all the left emerged to demand gun control, oblivious to the fact that it was the people operating the weapon who did the killing.

A gun is an inanimate object. Most of Europe has total gun control, and lots of mass shootings. For those who can’t get their hands on guns, knives are becoming popular to the extent that Britain is considering knife control laws. Will chefs then have to be licensed?  In Switzerland, I believe, every able-bodied young man has to be trained in the militia, including weapons training, and are expected to keep their weapons at home. Many hunt, as well.

Chicago, has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and a lot of good that does them. They usually top the list of most killings any weekend.



Ooops. The Russian Collusion Thing is Falling Apart by The Elephant's Child

The Left, still fuming at the election last November, has been depending on proof to emerge of Trump/Russian collaboration to show that the election of Donald Trump was a fraud. It was an article of faith. Everybody knew it was a fraud, they just had to prove it. Exactly what the Russians had done was a bit murky. It was thought that they published anti-Hillary stories on the RT.com website, and planted fake news on Facebook and Twitter. John Hinderaker at Powerline points out that “Facebook has now disclosed to Congress 470 accounts that have been traced back to Russian origins. It turns out that the Russians were trying to stir up race hatred by supporting BlackLivesMatter through an account called Blacktivist.”

“The Facebook Blacktivist account had 360,000 likes, compared with the verified Black Lives Matter account which currently has 301,000.” Follow the link to get an idea of what the Russians were up to:

At PJ Media, Debra Heine has a further account of the mischief:

The Black Lives Matter ad appeared on Facebook at some point in late 2015 or early 2016, the sources said. The sources said it appears the ad was meant to appear both as supporting Black Lives Matter but also could be seen as portraying the group as threatening to some residents of Baltimore and Ferguson.

New descriptions of the Russian-bought ads shared with CNN suggest that the apparent goal of the Russian buyers was to amplify political discord and fuel an atmosphere of incivility and chaos, though not necessarily to promote one candidate or cause over another. Facebook’s review of Russian efforts on its platform focused on a timeframe from June 2015 to May 2017.

These ranged from posts promoting Black Lives Matter to posts promoting gun rights and the Second Amendment to posts warning about what they said was the threat undocumented immigrants posed to American democracy. Beyond the election, Russians have sought to raise questions about western democracies.



Who Hacked Whom? And When? And Why? Developing… by The Elephant's Child

Remember when the media was all a-flutter with the news that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked? All those Hillary emails, John Podesta’s computer. As they say…developing.

The FBI has arrested the top technology aide to Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL former Democratic Party chairwoman. Imwan Awan, a Pakistani born aide, was arrested on Monday as he attempted to board a flight to Pakistan, after wiring $283,000 from the Congressional Credit Union to that country. Credit union officials permitted the wire to go through.

Imran Awan had access to all emails and files of dozens of members of Congress, as well as the password to the iPad that Wasserman Schultz used for Democrat National Committee business before she resigned from that post in July 2016.

Imran Iwan’s wife, Hina Alvi, was also on the House payroll. She withdrew her children from school and left the county in March. Police confronted her at the airport, found $12,000 in cash hidden in her luggage, but did not stop her from boarding a flight Pakistan via Qatar. House authorities told members in February that Imran and his relatives were suspects in a criminal investigation into theft and IT abuses, and they were banned from the Capitol network.

Wasserman Schultz refused to fire Imran, and has blocked Capitol Police from searching a laptop they confiscated because it was tied to him. The FBI has joined the search and seized smashed harddrives from Imran’s home. Soon after Imran began working for Schultz in 2005, four of his relatives appeared on the payroll of other Democrats at inflated salaries. The Awans own numerous rental properties with questionable multiple mortgages, told renters they want payments in untraceable ways. His wife made $165,000 working for House Democrats, took out a second mortgage against a house from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by claiming that it was her “principal residence,” said that she will “occupy” the property, which she did not, but also fraudulently reported no rental income on her taxes.

Awan has also worked for at least 25 other Democrat House members as an “information technology director.” He is now under arrest for bank fraud, released on bail under constraint of a GPS locator and a limited area in which he can move, while the FBI investigates further.

John Podesta’s computer was also hacked, supposedly because he used “password” as his password, but perhaps it is not that simple. Mr. Podesta, Hillary’s campaign chairman, seems to have his own interesting Russian connections.

Russian interest in American electoral campaigns is hardly anything new. Former president Barack Obama interfered in a number of political campaigns — in Israel, England, France and Egypt. Ted Kennedy once went to Russia to beg them to interfere. Obama’s promise to Medvedev of having “more flexibility” in his dealings with Russia “after the election” was interesting as well. Eventually, the truth will out.

 



“The Closing of the Scientific Mind” by The Elephant's Child

An excerpt from a post by David Gelernter on January 1, 2014, in Commentary: “The Closing of the Scientific Mind,” in which he challenges scientists, suggesting that “the cultural authority science has acquired over the last century has imposed large duties on every scientist.” Are you listening Michael Mann?

I hope this brief excerpt will prompt you to read the whole thing, which is brilliant.

The Kurzweil Cult.

The voice most strongly associated with what I’ve termed roboticism is that of Ray Kurzweil, a leading technologist and inventor. The Kurzweil Cult teaches that, given the strong and ever-increasing pace of technological progress and change, a fateful crossover point is approaching. He calls this point the “singularity.” After the year 2045 (mark your calendars!), machine intelligence will dominate human intelligence to the extent that men will no longer understand machines any more than potato chips understand mathematical topology. Men will already have begun an orgy of machinification—implanting chips in their bodies and brains, and fine-tuning their own and their children’s genetic material. Kurzweil believes in “transhumanism,” the merging of men and machines. He believes human immortality is just around the corner. He works for Google.

Whether he knows it or not, Kurzweil believes in and longs for the death of mankind. Because if things work out as he predicts, there will still be life on Earth, but no human life. To predict that a man who lives forever and is built mainly of semiconductors is still a man is like predicting that a man with stainless steel skin, a small nuclear reactor for a stomach, and an IQ of 10,000 would still be a man. In fact we have no idea what he would be.

And to return to 2017: This piece from Breitbart today:  “Kalashnikov Group Announced Fully-Automated Combat Robots.”

Kalashnikov, the Russian weapons manufacturer behind the most effective killing machine in history, has stepped into the future of warfare, announcing its development of autonomous AI-controlled combat robots.

If you find that all entirely too scary, here’s a thoughtful piece by Matt Ridley, who is always thoughtful:

“Why You Should Be Optimistic”



Just What Is Fake News Anyway? by The Elephant's Child



Stop The Presses! The President Just Tweeted! by The Elephant's Child

Twitter first gained public attention only in 2006, and has grown in popularity. Those who cry “It’s not Presidential” when the president tweets, are ignoring the simple fact that Obama is the only other president who could possibly have tweeted. Twitter has been especially popular among celebrities, because big numbers of followers can warm celebrity hearts. Celebrities, as we all know, are famous for being known.

The thought initially was that Twitter could be sort of an early-warning signal of upcoming political trends, but that’s giving it far too much credit. Mostly, it seems to be a channel for insults and snide remarks. Those who can manage a truly cogent remark in such limited words are celebrated—most cannot. President Donald Trump’s tweets are the focus of far too much attention. I would bet that you know far more about President Trump’s most recent tweet striking back at a remarkably nasty broadcast by Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, than you do about the accomplishments that the president is pushing through with members of his cabinet and through his own Executive Orders.

The fact that you know more about what he said about Mika’s facelift than you do about Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s efforts to find out whether all the regulations, taxes and subsidies that benefit “green energy” providers were harming the power industry and forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants. This was a study, an effort to get some clear information, and predictably, the Solar Energy Industries of America and the Advanced Energy Economy, the New York Times and allies in Congress even went after the economist overseeing the study planning how to debunk it. That gives  you a clue about what the study will turn up, and how the media will address it.

What is a tweet—140 characters? I don’t tweet, so I’m not well informed. But that brief emanation from the White House was the focus of almost every journalist in the country.  Important things happening could go a  glimmering. Trump tweeted! Feminists shouted “objectifying women.” Republicans gasped, because Republicans don’t insult people directly, just behind closed doors so they can maintain their decorum.

Democrats are desperate to attack Trump in any way possible. They have no real policies to challenge what Trump is accomplishing and proposing, only defense of Obama’s failed programs. So Trump’s tweets are hugely welcome targets, and at just 140 characters—hardly challenging. They don’t even have to read any long pieces or do research—or even worry about being called “fake news.”

As far as being shocked by Trump’s tweets, you can find far worse in any comments column. Democrats are becoming notable for potty mouths. Language has dropped several rungs closer to the gutter. As far as “not presidential” we can recall LBJ holding conversations and meetings while sitting on the toilet.

There are far worse things that have gone on in the White House than some unmannerly tweets. There are far worse things and far more important things going on around the world, but harder for lazy journalists to write or speak about. It would require research and a knowledge of history and world affairs that these lightweights don’t seem to possess.




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