American Elephants


It’s a Dark Mood, and Getting Darker… by The Elephant's Child

The country seems to be simply — fed up. Fed up with the culture wars, fed up with the biased media, fed up with being lied to, fed up with hypocrisy, fed up with overregulation, fed up with people who are “offended” way too often. Fed up with the language police, and the food police, the thought police, and the opinion police, and fed up with worry and being fed up.

Victor Davis Hanson asked that today. “Is the World Becoming Fed Up?” A great pushback is awakening here and abroad, but its timing, nature, and future remain mysterious. He enumerates the fed-upness that he sees.

At the Federalist, Tom Nichols writes “The New Totalitarians Are Here,” Totalitarians want their rule, and their belief system, to be accepted and self-sustaining—even if it takes bludgeoning every last citizen who disagrees.”

Ben Domenech and Robert Tracinski write “Welcome to Culture War 4.0: The Coming Overreach” which explains how we got here, but suggest that we turn the culture war into a culture competition, which is slightly more positive.

Along the same lines, the Z Man posted “The Rachet.” He says “I’m not sure reality ever catches up with Progressives. They simply exhaust themselves and go into a dormant phase for a while. It is the ratchet effect. The Progressive push begins and we get a series of clicks until finally some push-back and the advance is arrested. The core holds for a while and then the advance begins again. Click, click, click and then another pause.”

Glenn Reynolds said the “Declaration should still wake the powerful up at night.”More than complaints about a king, the Declaration of Independence was a justification for rebellion that applies today.

So if you’re feeling irritable and, well, fed up — you’re not alone. There’s a whole lot of us out there.



Ideologies, Obama says, Are Not Defeated With Guns. Hell of a way to win a War. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama dropped by the  Pentagon today, for a rare visit for the first time since October 2014. Military leaders including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and General Martin Dempsey provided an update on the campaign against ISIS. Obama spoke to reporters from prepared notes (n0 teleprompter). He said coalition operations have scored successes in Iraq and Syria, but the battle against “the extremist group” promises to be a “generational” one.

Obama stressed “we’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam while fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims.”

We’re going to work day and night with allies and partners to disrupt terrorist networks and thwart attacks and to smother nascent ISIL cells that may be trying to develop in other parts of the world. This also includes remaining vigilant in protecting against attacks here in the homeland,” the president said. “Now I think it’s important for us to recognize the threat of violent extremism is not restricted to any one community. Here in the United States, we have seen all kinds of home-grown terrorism and tragically recent history reminds us how even a single individual motivated by a hateful ideology with access to dangerous weapons can inflict horrendous harm on Americans.”

He mentioned the attack in Garland,Texas, and added:”And because of our success over the years in improving our homeland security, we’ve made it harder for terrorists to carry out large-scale attacks like 9/11 here at home. But the threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is complex. It’s harder to detect and harder to prevent. It’s one of the most different challenges that we face.”…”The good news is that, because of extraordinary efforts from law enforcement as well as our military intelligence we are doing a better job at preventing any large scale attacks on the homeland.” Apparently he was worried about the warnings of threats over the Fourth of July weekend.

He said the broader “twisted” ideology behind ISIS and al-Qaeda must be “discredited” and “ideologies are not defeated with guns they’re defeated by better ideas, more attractive and more compelling vision.”

Tell Adolph Hitler and his crew that ‘ideologies are not defeated with guns,’ or tell the militarists in Japan. The “twisted” ideology of ISIS is opposed to modernity and everything it represents. They intend to return to the pure Islam of the Prophet, and eliminate everyone and everything that stands in the way. Obama wants to bomb oil and gas facilities that fund their operations, “We’re going after the ISIS leadership and infrastructure in Syria, the heart of ISIS that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world.”

Although they knew the seven buildings in downtown Raqqa in eastern Syria as the main headquarters of the Islamic State, the buildings have gone untouched  during the 10-month allied air campaign. When convoys of heavily armed ISIS fighters paraded through the streets of the provincial capital of Ramadi after they forced Iraqi troops to flee, they rolled on unscathed by coalition fighter-bombers. Most bombing runs, it is reported, return with their bombs still aboard. because of the rules of engagement.

American and allied warplanes are equipped with the most precise aerial arsenal ever fielded. But American officials say they are not striking significant, and obvious, Islamic State targets out of fear that the attacks will accidentally kill civilians. Killing such innocents could hand the militants a major propaganda coup and alienate the local Sunni tribesmen, whose support is critical to ousting the militants, and Sunni Arab countries that are part of the fragile American-led coalition.

Obama will not risk harming any civilians. Drones are fine, though there is sometimes”collateral damage.” Strange way to run a war. Really strange.



It wouldn’t Be the Fourth Of July Without John Phillip Souza! by The Elephant's Child

The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus :

The Stars and Stripes Forever

John Phillip Souza’s most famous march.
To see the lyrics please turn on your closed captioning starting at 1:04



Abraham Lincoln Spoke July 4, 1858 About the Meaning of the Declaration by The Elephant's Child

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln’s Fourth of July speech looked back for 82 years to the Declaration of Independence and at its meaning:

We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers; they were iron men, they fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done in this process of time of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it; and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves—we feel more attached the one to the other, and more firmly bound to the country we inhabit. In every way we are better men in the age, and race, and country in which we live for these celebrations. But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole. There is something else connected with it.

We have besides these men—descended by blood from our ancestors—among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe—German, Irish, French and Scandinavian—men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration [loud and long continued applause], and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world. 

(The whole speech is here)



An Inauspicious Beginning, But Here We Are In 2015 by The Elephant's Child
July 4, 2015, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, The United States | Tags: , , ,

from
Hamilton’s Blessing
The Extraordinary Life and Times of
Our National Debt
by John Steele Gordon

But there can hardly be a poorer credit risk than a newly formed government in rebellion against a Great Power. Such governments vanish with defeat, the leaders are hanged, and their debts become uncollectible. More, the American colonies had had only rudimentary tax systems, and the new Continental Congress, established in 1775, had none at all. The Congress was able to borrow something over $11 million from the French government and Dutch bankers — both countries soon went to war with Britain hoping to take advantage of this situation — mostly for purchases in those countries. And Congress and the states sold bonds to wealthy patriots who were willing to risk the loss of their capital for the cause. But the money raised was not nearly enough. Thus the nascent United States had no choice but to resort to every financial expediency at its disposal in order to feed, equip, and pay the state militias and the Continental army.

The main source of revenue was in fact, the printing press. Congress issued massive amounts of so-called continentals, paper money that was backed by nothing more than a declaration that it was legal tender. By the end of the war these issues amounted to more than $200 million at face value. But this fiat money had quickly depreciated, as fiat money always does.  Before the war ended, Congress had been forced to revalue earlier issues at only 2.5  percent of face value, and the phrase “not worth a continental” would be part of the American idiom for a century. Further, the state governments and Continental Congress used what were, in effect, forced loans, requisitioning food and supplies from citizens and paying for the goods with IOUs. These also quickly depreciated as they passed from hand to hand.



God Bless The USA by The Elephant's Child
July 4, 2015, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, The United States | Tags: , ,



A Few Memorable Lines from Calvin Coolidge On The 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by The Elephant's Child
July 3, 2015, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, The United States | Tags: , ,

coolidge_dawes3_070124a

A few lines from Calvin Coolidge’s address at the Celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, Pa.
July 5, 1926

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

 




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