American Elephants


California “Prison Reform” Creates More Crime by The Elephant's Child

“Out here on the Left Coast, it is beginning to dawn on people that when you release criminals from custody in the name of “prison reform,” it is only the prisons themselves that are reformed. The criminals, those who are ushered out the prison gates into an unwary society, remain as un-reformed as ever.”

That’s retired police officer Jack Dunphy, writing at PJMedia. “In recent years California has enacted a series of reforms to its criminal justice system, the net effect of which has been the lowering of the state’s prison population.” First they shifted penal responsibilities from the state to counties meaning that some felons who would have been in state prisons were serving in county jails. Proposition 47 passed in 2014 redefined some crimes deemed as not violent as misdemeanors, thefts were downgraded, possession of cocaine, heroin and meth for personal use was downgraded as well.

Last November Prop. 57 authorized early release of felons whose crimes were deemed nonviolent, but that included assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious injury, rape of an unconscious person . burglary of a home and solicitation to commit murder. Nonviolent.

There seems to be, on the Left, an overweening desire to be nice. To not be mean. (Like those of us on the Right.) They are not only tolerant of crimes and misdemeanors of others (the ones that happen to someone else), but they seem to have lost the sense of why we have prisons, why we jail some people, or why we judge some crimes harshly. Even when ill-advised measures are adapted, or silly laws passed, the state’s police officers and courts are forced to deal with them.

The Left achieves whatever they do manage to achieve by dividing America up into voting groups and giving those voting groups nice benefits from other peoples money. They are sure that Blacks and Hispanics  are disproportionately in prison because they can’t seem to think in terms of ordinary people who have committed crimes, or of the basic reason for putting people who have committed crimes in prison. (To protect ordinary people who have not committed crimes from those who do?) It seems to be a common failing on the Left that I don’t quite understand. Immigrants seem to be a group that is not separable into ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’, but I digress. Jack Dunphy continues:

For proof of this, I present as Exhibit A one Michael C. Mejia, age 26, who stands accused of murdering two people in Southern California, one of them a police officer. Police allege that on Monday morning Mejia killed his cousin, Roy Torres, in East Los Angeles and stole his car. Later, while driving the stolen car in Whittier, a suburb about 12 miles southeast of downtown L.A., Mejia rear-ended another car. When police responded to the report of a minor traffic accident, Mejia opened fire on them, killing  Officer Keith Boyer and wounding Officer Patrick Hazell. Mejia was himself wounded in the gun battle but is expected to survive. …

Michael Mejia had demonstrated long before this week that he was the very sort of person who must be kept safely away from his potential victims. In this most elemental function of government, it failed, and now two people have lost their lives for the failure.

Do read the whole thing. It is a very clear illustration of how well-meaning notions wreck lives because people cannot, or do not, think issues through.



President Donald Trump Being Presidential by The Elephant's Child

trumpgeneric1It was a very good speech. Donald Trump was at his presidential best, clear, straightforward, positive and offering his hand to his opponents in Congress, inviting them to think first of our country. He began with a tribute to Black History Month and the work that still needs doing for civil rights, and the threats to Jewish Community Centers. He reminded us all that “we may be divided on policies, but we are a nation that stands together in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.” After scanning the state of the country, he turned our attention to a strategic effort to improve the lives of all Americans. And the heartfelt applause! Be a bit difficult to keep up with the silly ‘Nazi’ bit after this.

If you were watching, perhaps you noticed that many Democrat women were wearing white. After all the talk of how they would disrupt the speech, find nasty ways to protest, walk out, or just do something to acknowledge their fury, members of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group decided they would channel the suffragette movement when they wore white to President Trump’s joint address to Congress. I didn’t even notice them until near the end of the speech.

In a statement, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., said they will be wearing white to “unite against any attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century.”

Frankel chairs the Democratic Women’s Working Group, which said their commitment to women’s rights includes affordable healthcare and Planned Parenthood, equal pay, paid sick and family leave, affordable child care, secure retirement and “lives free from fear and violence.”

I’m not sure in what alternate universe this bunch of women assume that the Trump administration is trying to deprive them of their progress. The women of the House don’t have ObamaCare for their health insurance, so they really don’t know how expensive it is, nor why it is such a failure.  The Federal government has no business either supporting or attacking Planned Parenthood. The right to an abortion has been guaranteed by the Supreme Court, but a large portion of the country opposes abortion, and should not be forced to support it with their taxpayer money. Equal pay has been settled law since 1963, and this blather about 70% of mens pay is and has been totally false. Republicans passed the vote for women’s suffrage in 1920 in spite of Democrats opposition, just like they passed the Civil Rights Act in spite of Democrat opposition. A little late, Democrats are once again attempting to capture credit for something they historically opposed. This gets tiresome.

President Trump’s speech to Congress was truly presidential and a very good speech as well. Democrats were clearly not expecting that, and were totally unprepared for it to be anything even acceptable. In their current unhinged state they were expecting something they could really get their teeth into (so to speak) and were ready to take him on, but gracious, well-meaning, kind,  and celebrating our country and its history—the women in white slunk out of the chamber before anyone could notice, without a sound, utterly defeated.



What? You Mean Rioting Is Against the Law? by The Elephant's Child

dc-riotsNBC News has reported that 209 Inauguration Day rioters have so far been indicted for felony rioting charges. They will face a fine of up to $25,000 and a maximum of 10 years in prison. 230 people were arrested during President Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, but several cases have been dismissed.

Federal investigators were still going over hundreds of hours of video, some of it captured by undercover Washington D.C. police officers during the riots and protests, and many still photos. D.C. officers wore body cameras while on duty at the protests. Defense attorneys for the rioters have said that many of their clients are college students who live outside of Washington D.C., Maryland or Virginia. Poor victims, of course.  Who Knew? There are Consequences for Bad Behavior.



As I Was Saying: Human Nature 101. A Required Course. by The Elephant's Child

If you accept or tolerate bad behavior you will get more of it.

Headline from Breitbart: “Exclusive—Women Nationwide Cut Up Nordstrom’s Cards, Plan Boycotts After Political Decision to Drop Ivanka Trump Line.”  It would have been cheaper to hire some extra guards.

This is a strange political season. Democrats were absolutely confident that they could expect another four or eight years in charge of the government and the country, with Hillary. Because people seemed to like President Obama they thought it was a home run. They didn’t pay attention to the vast numbers of people who believed the country was going in the wrong direction. Democrats lost not just the White House, but straight down the line to city councils. And they lost to a man with an orange complexion and funny hair who often said rude things.

The latter is probably more important to Progressives because they are more superficial in their thinking. They are unconcerned about the threat from Islamic terrorism, and had no problem with the Obama administration’s refusal to use the term. They are unconcerned with graft and Hillary’s use of an illegal private email server that left top-secret State Department communications open to any enemy who cared to look. Progressives care about control. It is essential that they remain in charge, and they were gobsmacked by the loss of power. They have no bench of promising, well known young candidates.

The University of California, still mopping up after an estimated $100,000 damage, already has one of the organizers speaking out to call the Berkeley Riot “Stunningly Successful” and warns of a repeat if Milo returns to the college. “We are happy with the results,” Ronald Cruz, a former student,  told the Chronicle. “We were able to meet Mr Yiannopoulos’ fascist message with massive resistance.”

I would be surprised if he tries to after his humiliating defeat,” he declared. “But if he wants to be defeated again, he will be if he tries.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the damage to downtown Berkeley was around  $400,000 – $500,000. Pre-orders for Milo’s book Dangerous were soaring at Amazon.

Following the riot in Berkeley, Mayor Jesse Arreguin repeatedly smeared MILO as a “white nationalist” and declared that he would not be welcome back in the city, while several celebrities and news outlets expressed support for the riot, including Hollywood director Judd Apatow, who deleted his tweet shortly after, and Fusion, who smeared MILO as a “Nazi” and praised rioters before also deleting their tweet.

So rioters are welcome in any American city, will not be disturbed in their vandalism. Free speech is not permitted. The usual epithets of Nazi, fascist, Hitler etc. are applied to a speaker, not to the criminal behavior which is completely tolerated—because they’re mad that they lost the election.

Janet Napolitano might take notice that the University of Missouri  lost so many prospective students because of protests and rioting on campus that they have had to shut down dorms and struggle with sharply declining revenue. Parents took their kids and their money elsewhere.

Americans are not accustomed to major businesses playing politics. Donations by participants are expected.  But corporations encouraging their workers to demonstrate or protest against the president? Refusing to do business with the daughter of the President of the United States? Surrendering to political threats? Unacceptable.

When there is a riot and no one stops it, rioters are not put in jail for disturbing the peace — you have given power to the rioters. Next time it will be worse.



Memo to Peter E. Nordstrom & Janet Napolitano, Re: Human Nature 101 by The Elephant's Child

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When confronted with young thugs ( I do observe the Che tee shirt and “We need Socialism”sign, and probably Mexican flag). In the case of the University of California at Berkeley, the Black Bloc who threaten to, or  do create havoc when you surrender immediately to their silly demands, you will get more of the same behavior. If they can bully you into dumping a supplier, what will they bully you into next, Mr. Nordstrom? Mrs. Napolitano, you have taught the Black Bloc that you are so frightened of them that you will stand down your police force and let them do whatever they want. Human Nature 101. They will.

Businesses who engage publicly in politics are apt to find that their customers are just as able, or even more, to engage in politics as well, and take their business elsewhere for a very long time.

This time the Black Bloc and Anarchists have learned that a little breaking of windows, setting fires and scrawling signs on buildings, or destroying banks will get little, if any response—they’ll be back to do even worse. It’s clear that they enjoy creating havoc.

In Seattle, the anarchists turned out to disrupt the World Trade Organization Meeting. They were successful. Now, every time there is something to protest—surprise, there they are again.

In his last hours as president, Barack Obama pardoned 78 federal prisoners and commuted the sentences of 153 others. Most were convicted of drug crimes —selling and trafficking, not being caught with a joint. At least one of them is already back behind bars, being found with a couple of pounds of cocaine. Nice going, Mr. President. Obviously, anyone convicted of a drug crime is convicted because of “racism,” not because of anything they did.

The reason we have laws, courts and prisons is not because we are a bunch of meanies. It’s because the bad behavior of a few hurts ordinary citizens, and we want to prevent more bad behavior, and hopefully teach those who behave badly not to do it again.

Incentives matter—because ordinary people respond to them. Plain human nature.  Wise to keep it in mind.

P.S. Probably not Nordstrom regulars. It’s the rest of us who are.



Planned Protests, Anarchists, Baseball Bats and Hammers by The Elephant's Child

berkeley_riot-1486069721-1414The Riots at the University of California at Berkeley were also not spontaneous. The “Black Bloc” arrived well equipped with metal baseball bats, hammers and clubs, The Black Bloc is not a group, but a tactic adopted by anti-capitalists and anarchists. According to Discover the Networks, they view capitalism as an “intrinsically violent and repressive” system that “cannot be reformed or mitigated.” Who’s intrinsically violent and repressive? The damage is estimated at $100,000 and rumors indicate that the police were told to stand down. Whether campus police or town police, or if true, I don’t know. Clearly the anarchists were there.

Black Bloc is not an organization, but rather a protest tactic employed by anti-capitalists and anarchists. Clad in black helmets, black ski masks, and black garments to conceal their faces and whatever distinctive clothing they may be wearing underneath their dark coverings, Black Bloc radicals make their presence felt by participating in all manner of left-wing demonstrations against free-market capitalism and Western culture; they generally are far outnumbered by fellow protesters who, while like minded, are more traditionally attired. Because the Black Blockers hide their identities, they are often able to engage in criminal behavior—most notably property destruction—with impunity. In instances where they are pursued by police—whom they contemptuously regard as nothing more than “guard dogs for the rich”—fleeing Black Bloc protesters typically shed their dark coverings and blend quietly into the surrounding crowd. When they are not protesting, these activists organize and communicate with one another mainly through Internet chat groups and websites.

The animating core belief of Black Block, as explained in the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective’s Black Bloc Papers, is that “private property—and capitalism, by extension—is intrinsically violent and repressive and cannot be reformed or mitigated.” Lamenting “all the violence committed in the name of private property rights,” this document charges that “corporate private property” in particular “is itself infinitely more violent than any action taken against it.” By this logic, the destruction of a storefront window can be redefined and justified as the laudable creation of “a vent to let some fresh air into the oppressive atmosphere of a retail outlet.”

We had around 300 of them here at the 1999 WTO protests, smashing windows and destroying property of multinational corporations, and helped force the meeting to collapse. They turn up whenever there’s a chance of a good riot,May Day, the Occupy riots.  Seem remarkably ill-informed but really like to uselessly smash things up. Do read the whole thing.

The riots at Berkeley trying to prevent Milo Yiannopoulus from speaking at the event to which he was invited, managed to make his message available to millions on the internet, and promote sales of his book. Nice work! But those weren’t spontaneous either, and Black bloc anarchists smashed up the campus and the streets of Berkeley, and of course banks (capitalists).

The Democrat establishment, the Left, has been gobsmacked. They have been firmly removed from power. They were expecting another, perhaps, eight years of the commanding heights, and they are no longer in control of much of anything. They have no bench, no heroes, and they don’t know what to do. Maxine Waters is a perfect example. She wants President Trump impeached right now. Never mind “the high crimes and misdemeanors bit.” She wants him out. They’re old. They have no new ideas. They don’t know what to do, and their predicament is just beginning to sink in.

I suspect they are doing an outstanding job of discarding all of those Obama voters who, fed up, voted for Trump. Democrats keep whining about the “popular vote.” But it is the popular vote individually in the states that matters, and Trump won those. If California manages to secede, which some of us are devoutly hoping for, Republicans will run the country for years and years to come.



How Do You Deal With A Problem That You Refuse to Recognize? by The Elephant's Child

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One of the British papers remarked recently that people were beginning to refer to themselves as ‘English’ rather than ‘British.’I think that is significant, but I’m not quite sure just what it means. The BREXIT exit is still in a state of uncertainty. PM Theresa May was not in favor of leaving the European Union, but believes that the people have spoken and intends to shepherd the nation’s exit. There’s been a  legal ruling that says she has to get approval from Parliament, but I’m not sure of all that either. Across Europe there is rumbling of populism, but what will happen remains unknown.

In Sweden, sexual assault has increased by 70%. Many are saying that Angela Merkel will not survive another election.  Mark Helprin, writing in the Claremont Review of Books suggests that Europe has constantly shifted between unification and dissolution.

The European Continent and for a time even the British Isles have been partially unified—by the Romans, Charlemagne, Spain, Austria, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler, and the European Union.  Even if it didn’t get very far, the Mongols, Muslims, and Turks gave it the college try, and then there was the papacy. The Romans were champions of endurance, but Napoleon’s stint was as short as he was, the empire of the Thousand Year Reich didn’t make it by 995½ years and the Soviets got only halfway across.

As it evolved from the European Coal and Steel Community into the European Economic Community, and the the Schengenized “E.U. plus,” bureaucracy’s pacific conquest of Europe was different, its weapons the ballot box, rubber stamp , and pen. Furthermore, other than in one civil war, the U.S. had shown that 50 states could unite to great advantage.

Now we have Britain ready to leave the E.U., Scotland and Wales want independence, Belgium and Italy want to break in two and Spain in three parts. Yugoslavia is already is pieces, Hungary may either be expelled or quit. Greece is a complete mess, and Marine Le Pen wants France out, and everybody blames Angela Merkel for inviting the Middle East in.

One need not be hostile to the idea of this union to know the essential flaw in its conception, namely the statist assumption that bureaucratic conceit will prevail over geography, history, tradition and individual attachments, preferences, and loyalties. Greek profligacy and German prudence cannot sleep in the same bed. Good luck to the Frenchman who tells an Englishman how much sugar to put in his tea. Rivers, alpine ranges, marshes, and seas have carved into the landscape physical barriers that for millennia have shaped the economics, histories, and cultures of these disparate nations. Unlike the United States—at its founding English in culture and language, with a pressure-relieving wilderness to the west—Europe as it united was a densely populated grudge-filled continent with scores of major languages and their dialects. Its people had been governed in a hundred different ways , fought countless wars, and inherited dozens of philosophical traditions.

Grand designs don’t work. If government becomes a machine, then everything becomes a machine part. This is where the Left’s dream of addressing human needs with a universal mechanism always fails and fails badly. Humanity cannot be fixed. Human nature may be untidy, but any war against that untidiness is designed to fail.

But the question of the invasion of Europe by Islamist “refugees” can be avoided only so long. As I said, Sweden has had an increase of 70% in sexual assaults. There are No-Go areas everywhere, where even the police are reluctant or refuse to go. Angela Merkel invited the refugees; empathy and kindness were presumed to be the way to welcome them. The hordes have more young men than families, and the young men are of military age. They have been instructed by their religion that European women, as unbelievers, are whores and fair game., and assaults are the rule. Hungary has put up a wall and is refusing to admit refugees. ISIS brags that they have sent their forces to Europe. Many of the refugees refuse to work and expect to be supported.

Refugees seem to be from all over, including Russia and Africa. If the morality you have been taught is empathy and religious freedom, it’s very difficult to turn hostile without feeling like a bad person. Syria is obviously a battleground and unsafe, but Syrian passports are cheap and readily available. Terrorist attacks happen and are deadly. Top that mess off with an unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels that is not responsive to the fears of the people, and there  you are. What do you do, what do you believe and how do you deal with it? Nobody seems ready to decide, but to just wait and see how things work out.   There will be more terrorist attacks.

Our history is not the same as Europe’s, and our immigrants have mostly wanted to become Americans, learned the language, and in a generation or two become indistinguishable from anyone else. But we have had an administration that refuses to identify terrorism by name. And in his “farewell speech” Obama blithely said that we haven’t had any terrorist attacks here. I’m not sure that that is any less avoidance than Europe’s, and the results of avoidance will be undoubtedly be much the same.

 




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