American Elephants


“DIVERSITY: The Invention of a Concept” by The Elephant's Child

Last night I was looking for the next book in a series I’m re-reading, and noticed another book that has long been on my overloaded bookshelves. It is titled simply “DIVERSITY: The invention of a Concept” by Peter Wood. I had forgotten all about it, though I bought it when it first came out fourteen years ago, read it and enjoyed it, which is why I still have it. Here’s a bit from the jacket flap, and remember this was written in 2003:

In just a few years, diversity has become America’s most visible cultural idea. Corporations alter their recruitment and hiring policies in the name of a diverse workforce. Universities institute new admissions procedures in the name of a diverse student body. Presidents choose their major appointees in the name of a diverse cabinet. And what diversity’s proponents have in mind, Peter Wood argues, is not the dictionary meaning of the word—variety and multiplicity—but a new and often narrow kind of conformity.

Whether as prescribed numerical outcomes or as the celebration of cultural “difference,” diversity, according to Wood, is now a deadening force in American life, a cliché that promotes group stereotypes and undermines any real diversity of ideas and individuals. …

But the current cult of diversity is no laughing matter. Wood shows how the elevation of this concept to the highest social good marks a profound change in our cultural life. Diversity as it is practiced today is anti-individualist and at odds with America’s older ideals of liberty and equality.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai believed himself to be defending diversity and opportunity for women in his company. James Damore was trying to point out that cultural taboos cloud corporate thinking about gender diversity. The Liberty Lawsite compared the Google bubble with the University bubble. At Hoover, Richard Epstein discusses the rigid ideological conformity in Silicon Valley, At American Greatness, Boris Zelkin noted that Sundar Pichai said that what Damore did was “Not OK” and suggested that Pichai could have thrown in a “double plus ungood” for good measure.

Meanwhile down in Charlottesville a very diverse meeting between three dramatically opposed groups— white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Antifa got together with the tools of their trade: baseball bats, bullhorns, flags, costumes and Tiki-torches, to protest the Civil War and any leftover remembrances thereof, did a lot of injury and killed two people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. President Trump pointed out that there is blame on both sides for the deadly violence, while the Associated Press went crazy and insisted that the antifas were just “protesting” the white supremacists. The president said they were all thugs and criminals and incited violence, for which he, though correct, was excoriated by the press.

I recommend Peter Wood’s book. There are used copies for only around $2 at Amazon, or you can pay over $100 — but if a good read would start a significant conversation about the deliberate invention of a concept and how it happened, it might be very helpful indeed.



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.

 



Charles Krauthammer: Build the Wall by The Elephant's Child

Charles Krauthammer nails it. As the Center for Immigration Studies says —they are anti illegal immigration and pro immigrant. We have around 4.4 million people who want to immigrate to the United States and become citizens. They are obeying our immigration laws, waiting patiently, and hoping. I see no reason why illegal immigrants of questionable integrity, who are flouting our laws should take precedence over those who are doing it correctly.

President Obama wanted more bodies and believed that illegals would be more reliable Democrat voters. No actual care for the people —he just wanted to win and defeat Republicans. He ordered the Border Patrol to pay no attention and flooded the country with illegals, violent gangs—MS-13—the international criminal gang, diseases we thought were gone, like smallpox, measles, and Mexican drug gangs and traffickers, who are responsible for the current opioid crisis, sex traffickers and criminal activity in general. All that, and he managed to decimate the Progressive party in the course of his efforts. Nice going.

Dr. Krauthammer is correct about Amnesty. Any time you offer amnesty to illegals—it is an open invitation to the next influx who will expect amnesty in their turn. Doesn’t matter if we claim this is the very last time.

CIS has also established that the wall would pay for itself if it prevents a  significant number of illegals. Illegal immigrants cost a lot, whether in police work, Border Patrol and the courts, health care (emergency rooms) or benefits.  Most who are rounded up and given hearings for deportation never show up for the hearings, and just disappear into the population. That all costs a lot. We welcome legal immigrants and wish them well. The Seattle area is home to a lot of high-tech with Microsoft, Amazon, and lots of others, and we have new residents from all over.



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.



Sometimes Explaining Something Carefully Actually Works. by The Elephant's Child

Larry Elder explained systemic racism to Dave Rubin. A note for Father’s Day in that explanation as well. Larry Elder is a conservative Republican, and gets death threats for his trouble.



Is It Time for Candles and Teddy Bears or Time For Something More Serious? by The Elephant's Child

During Ariana Grande’s “One Love Manchester” benefit concert for the victims, Katy Perry attempted to say something helpful.

“It’s not easy to always choose love, is it, especially in moments like this… but love conquers fear and love conquers hate, and this love you choose will give you strength, and it’s our greatest power.

There was more, but this gets the gist. No. Love doesn’t conquer all. We have whole governments across the world who cannot speak clearly or accurately about Islamic jihad. We in the West had our wars of religion—an Inquisition, a Reformation, and the American Revolution and Constitution to end the rule of Kings and proclaim in our First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That has not meant that everything has been completely peaceful on the religion front, but it has had an influence round the world. Still, Westerners have become hesitant to criticize any religion in any way, which makes us unprepared for suspicion or attack.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others who were convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and of planning a series of attacks against New York City landmarks. He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He is a contributing editor of National Review. When he writes about Islam and Sharia Law, you want to pay attention. He has studied deeply.

His article today is especially worth your time and attention. It begins:  “Islamists want to impose sharia law on the West—which means all Islamists are ‘extremists‘ — The Western schizophrenia about radical Islam is on full display in Britain, in the aftermath of the latest jihadist atrocity, the third in just the past three months.”Please read the whole thing.

Our political elites have a hard time with it. They just don’t see immigration, refugees, or illegal immigrants as much of a problem. This is where European countries have been. Only 4% of Congressional Democrats think it’s much of a problem, four times as many Congressional Republicans do, but still only 16%. The American people are far, far more concerned.

After three brutal attacks, British officialdom have suddenly started paying attention. British intelligence agencies have identified 23,000 potential jihadis living in Britain, according to the Times of London on Saturday. Of this ‘pool’ of potential terrorists, 3,000 are suspected of posing an “imminent threat” and are being investigated accordingly. The other 20,000 have been involved with past investigations and are categorized as a “residual risk.

What a dreadful situation. Does it then take three attacks in short order, 22 dead kids, to make people sit up and take notice? Armed policemen are patrolling British streets again. Ramadan seems to be a significant time for attacks. Over at American Thinker, Ed Straker assembled a selection of  comments about Manchester and London Bridge from all over, and a variety of people, to demonstrate the utter vacuity of serious thought.

There isn’t much serious thought going on, especially in our universities. Lots of blather about “hate speech” and race. Suddenly, black students are demanding segregation, separate dorms and facilities, even separate graduation exercises. Students refuse to listen to noted scholars because they have been told that the speakers are racists or bigots or just shouldn’t be listened to, though in every case, students would have deeply benefitted by learning something new. So it isn’t just the language about Islam, it is a matter of language in general.  The problems at our colleges and universities are a matter of inability to identify what is going on or understand what an appropriate response might be.

Everybody is afraid of protesters or boycotts. Businesses don’t want to be known for taking a position that might prompt some adverse attention. On the other hand, some business executives want to be known as prominent  environmentalists, or prominent opponents of fossil fuels, or other hot button issues. Ordinary people have opinions too, and we don’t have to listen to unwanted lectures from those who supposedly want our business.

There are plenty of articles out there proclaiming the end of Europe as we knew it. They have signed their own death warrant by admitting so many “refugees.” They are discovering that the refugees who claimed to be “children” are not only not children but ISIS fighters. (You couldn’t tell?) In some countries like Sweden, so many women are attacked that the government tries to cover up, and they don’t seem to know what to do. They are trying desperately to find the correct pacifying language, to find a way to tamp the trouble down. Is it all too late?



Venezuelans Are Starving. by The Elephant's Child

Venezuelans are starving. Not the kind of starving when you burst into the well stocked kitchen after a football game and demand a sandwich. This is the real kind where 15 percent of the people are eating garbage in order to survive. Scrounging among the refuse thrown out by the city’s restaurants. A majority of Venezuelans go to bed hungry, mass protests and riots are breaking out across the country, and the despised dictator Nicholas Maduro attempts to dump the Venezuelan constitution in order to tighten his grip on power. The oil rich country desperately lacks the basic resources of medicine and power. Hospitals are dirty, empty of supplies and medicines. Venezuela has plenty of oil, but they cannot afford to take it to market to sell it.

Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999, an authoritarian who locked up his opponents, ended press freedom and paid gangs to intimidate poor communities into supporting him. He  promised that the miracle of socialism would feed the poor, help them to realize their dreams with free health care and education for all. He was celebrated by the usual suspects—Noam Chomsky, Jesse Jackson, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, but the only person he managed to enrich was his daughter who has become a billionaire and the wealthiest woman in Latin America. Chavez died in April of 2013.

His chosen successor, Nicholas Maduro, has made even more of a mess of things. Inflation is out of control, and the rebellion of the people is growing apace. In a recent speech to loyalists he announced his plan to arm hundreds of thousands of supporters after a years-long campaign to confiscate civilian owned guns. The highest denomination 100 Bolivar note is now worth abut 3 cents in American dollars. Inflation is expected to rise 1,660% this year, The country’s foreign reserves are down to only $10 billion, Venezuela was once Latin America’s richest country.

Protestors turn out in massive crowds, demanding change. Other pictures show the streets in other directions, equally packed with angry Venezuelans. This particular demonstration was because of Maduro’s attempt to upend the constitution.

Investors Business Daily wrote of the bewilderment of reporters at Venezuela’s descent into extreme poverty. The New York Times blamed it on “low prices for oil, the country’s main export and a drought.”The Los Angeles Times  said that it’s only “anti-government protesters” who blame Venezuela’s problems on the policies of Maduro. The Associated Press says “the oil boom and bust” is to blame for the crisis. USA Today said that the reason Venezuelans were hunting dogs and pigeons for food was because” Although Venezuela has the world’s largest petroleum reserves, the country has suffered from a combination of lower oil prices and tight limits on dollar purchases… and most imports.” No mention of socialism. None. IBD surmises that it’s largely because liberal journalists are infatuated with the idea of socialism.

Here’s how the AP lovingly described Chavez:

a political outsider promising to upset the old order and funnel some of the country’s enormous oil wealth to the poor. Poverty rates fell sharply during his administration, and many people continue to see him as a beloved Robin Hood figure who gave them houses, free health care, better education and a place at the table in government.”

IBD suggests that that list of accomplishments sounds remarkably like the Democratic Party platform.

Socialism does not work. Never has, never will. Reporters who are unwilling to face up to the facts and the history will always look for something, anything to blame when the socialist idea inevitably fails.




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