American Elephants


The Florida Election Count by The Elephant's Child

Florida Governor Rick Scott has taken legal action against the irregular vote counting operation in two of the most liberal counties in the state. A Florida judge has ruled that Broward County has violated election laws. The elections supervisor in Broward County illegally destroyed ballots in 2016, and has remained in the same office. She has refused to release information about the number of ballots cast and how many ballots had yet to be counted. Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips found that Snipes violated state public records laws. The Judge ordered Snipes to provide that information to the Scott campaign by 7:00 p.m.

Democrats, of course, claim there is no such thing as vote fraud. Those people who vote in their winter residence in Florida as well as their home residence in another state are committing vote fraud. Illegal aliens who are not citizens are committing vote fraud if they register to vote and do so. Election supervisors who destroy ballots they don’t like are committing vote fraud. One of the first things a candidate needs to know is how many ballots were given out, how many people actually voted, and something about absentee ballots. California has been issuing voter registration with drivers’ licenses, which are issued to non-citizens.

The European press has reacted to our election about as expected. Trump is demanding that NATO members cough up their agreed-upon contribution to defense instead of failing to pay, which means that their governments have less to distribute around their own country and as favors to the press. What follows at the link are snips from the major European outlets.

Advertisements


How Do You Introduce Someone to America For the Very First Time? by The Elephant's Child

For all those people like Alexandria Ocasia Cortez and Bernie Sanders who are just sure that a Socialist form of government would be much superior to this very unfair thing called Democracy and Capitalism, here’s a story of a Ukrainian woman’s introduction to America. Nolan Peterson brought his new Ukrainian wife to America for their honeymoon, and tried to show her–her new country.

Yet, I want to share with you a perspective of your country that might be as foreign to you as the conflicts on which I’ve reported. It’s the perspective of my wife—a 22-year-old Ukrainian woman who was born in the shadow of the Soviet Union and spent most of her young life amid the backdrop of revolutions and war.

Despite all the broken dreams in her country, Lilya, like so many Ukrainians of her generation, possesses a clear vision of the life she wants and deserves. And you, dear reader, are already living it.

When the jet broke through the clouds and out the window we saw the lights of the New York City skyline, Lilya smiled and said, “This is the dream of all my life.”

Do read the whole thing. It’s a nice and somewhat surprising story.



Weaponized Words: Language is Today’s Disruptive Technology by The Elephant's Child
pexels-photo-1309899Charles Hill explains that language is arguably the most fundamental human tool. In history, at certain times, when language has undergone major changes, it has disrupted the world order. This is such a time.

“A language revolution is under way, propelled by an eruption of electronic communication technologies that, while enhancing productivity, are also creating social and political chaos. The e-revolution in communication is challenging, even threatening, the conduct of responsible governance. Thanks to digital technologies, marginal sociopaths are being empowered to organize and act collectively as never before; dictatorial regimes are perfecting powerful tools to monitor and suppress entire populations; and instantaneous popular judgments on political issues are beginning to overwhelm representative government as designed by the founders to avoid the chaos-producing “direct” democracy of premodern societies. …

Today’s social media distort this relationship. Instant communication by way of platforms such as Twitter makes it possible for individuals to immediately express the slightest emotionally disruptive and damaging reaction to events or ideas to a worldwide audience. Opinions and private outbursts once perceived as self-harmful blunders, resolved by improving one’s repressive subconscious mechanisms, are now instantly exposed to multitudes in a permanent form. Civilization depends upon the time and ability to contain such eruptions; the “discontents” created by acts of self-control are the price of civil society. Were every discontent expressed, the public sphere would collapse as “all communication, all the time,instantly produces a surrounding effect. As the astute columnist Peggy Noonan wrote, we are agitating and exciting the unstable sector of the population, a sector that increasingly grows larger, a Pandora’s box of once-subconscious partisan venom breaking open as no one becomes able to suppress the slightest discontent.

As the individual is “liberated” by the ability to promulgate unconstrained feelings in every direction, the governing regimes of the world are gaining new powers of surveillance, intrusion, and control over their populations. The 2011 “Arab spring” uprisings were considered at first to be made possible by the new language-spreading technologies in every young person’s hand; it was widely agreed, at the time, that such tools of expression would be beyond the abilities of dictators to control. Such an assumption was foolhardy; the Arab spring was crushed in a few short months as the old powers—colonels, hereditary monarchs, strong-armed clans with puppet “parliaments”—regained control even as they were assaulted by even more ideologically autocratic radicals claiming religious dominion.

“For the rest of this essay, go here.

Strange times. We are already seeing the dictatorial regime in China increasingly controlling the lives of ordinary citizens. And here at home we are seeing the journalism profession being transformed by partisan politics into something unrecognizable as a profession or a purveyor of truth. Our universities are indoctrinating rather than educating our children.



About the Constitution and The First Amendment by The Elephant's Child

We talk a lot about Free Speech in America because we believe deeply in the First Amendment. I’m not sure that all of us are aware that it is solely directed at the government, not at us. You can say whatever you want, but it may get you expelled or censored or punched in the nose.

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.

Europeans are free to say only what the courts allow them to say.

When he was 50, the prophet of Islam took as his wife Aisha, who was then six or seven. The marriage was consummated when Aisha was nine.

This is not a smear. It is an accurate account of authoritative Islamic scripture. (See, e.g., Sahih-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 58, Nos. 234–236.) Yet it can no longer safely be discussed in Europe, thanks to the extortionate threat of violence and intimidation — specifically, of jihadist terrorism and the Islamist grievance industry that slipstreams behind it. Under a ruling by the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), free speech has been supplanted by sharia blasphemy standards.

Mrs. S appealed, relying on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That provision purports to safeguard “freedom of expression” although it works much like the warranty on your used refrigerator.  It sounds as if you would be covered, but the fine print doesn’t follow through.

Article 10 starts out: Europeans are free “to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”  Followed by the legal details: One’s exercise of the right to impart information, “carries with it duties and responsibilities.” What is called “freedom” is actually “subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties” that the authorities decide are “necessary in a democratic society,” including for “public safety” and for “the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others.”

Translation: Europeans are free to say only what they are permitted to say by the unelected judges of the European courts. Truth is irrelevant. As the jurists reasoned in the case of Mrs. S., a person’s freedom to assert facts must be assessed in “the wider context” that balances “free” expression against “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected,” as well as “the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace.”

In other words, you cannot say anything that might upset Muslims. Child marriage, violent jihad, the duty to kill apostates, the treatment of women as chattel, that sort of things. Doesn’t matter if these tenents are accurately stated or supported by scriptural grounding makes no difference. Reliance on what their scriptures say could be classified as “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which could stir up prejucdce and put religious peace at risk.

There is no free speech in Islam. Sharia does not merely forbid speech that insults or denigrates Islam; they regard as blasphemy – and punish viciously – any form of expression that places Islam in an unfavorable light. Enacting laws against child marriage would be tantamount to saying that Mohammed was in the wrong, and that is unacceptable. So child marriage, among other things, remains a major problem in Islamic countries. In Saudi Arabia, efforts to establish the marriage at age 15 and some hope to raise it to 18 have been rejected by sharia authorities.

As we have said before, Europe seems bent on committing suicide.

Here, the Left’s increasing reliance on feelings as the most important guidepost is worrisome, and their contempt for the Constitution is even more a matter for very deep concern.



The Socialist Dream, in which Reality Always Intrudes by The Elephant's Child

“How is it possible for any sentient human being to have lived through the 20th century without coming to understand that property rights are the basis of any rights that human beings have ever been able to secure, and that far from conflicting with human needs, profits are the only practical engine ever devised that even half succeeded inn fulfilling them.
Such willful ignorance does not stem from lack of intelligence, but has a deeper source in human desires that can only be satisfied by  religious faith. The socialist dream of achieving a kingdom of heaven on earth is as old as Eden.  It is the idea of putting a human design on the impersonal structures of the social order beginning with the economic market and extending to the constitutional order. In wishing this, socialists fail to understand that a market that human beings cannot control and a political process they are bound to respect are the very disciplines that human beings require in order to be human.”
…………………………………………………David Horowitz:  Jewish World Review 1/3/2000

“Ever since Karl Marx sat in the Reading Room of the British Library writing Das Kapital, great Western thinkers have been obsessed with discovering the flaw in capitalism, a kind of negative Holy Grail for the knights of progressivism. For Marx, capitalism functioned only by exploiting the proletariat. But the proletariat got richer and bought homes in the suburbs. So the next generation of Marxists turned their attention to “colonialism:” capitalism functioned by looting the West’s imperial possessions. But the West decolonized in the Fifties and Sixties, and they didn’t get any poorer,
only the colonies did. So the Marxists invented “neo-colonialism:”capitalism functioned by informally exploiting the nominally independent developing world. But the dramatically differing rates at which developing economies developed in Asia, Africa and Latin America seemed to have little to do with external forces and a lot to do with obvious local factors.
By the time the UN met at Durban, the grievance-mongers were down to slavery. Europe and America had built their wealth on the slave trade. By this theory, the United Kingdom, which was the first to abolish slavery – in the British Isles in 1772, and throughout the Empire in 1833 – ought to be an economic basket case, while the Sudan, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, to name just a few of the countries in which slavery is currently practiced ought to be rolling in dough. Instead, of course, large parts of the post-colonial world are more impoverished than they have ever been.”
…………………………………………………………Mark Steyn: The New Criterion, 2/2002

“From around 1970, supposed environmental degradation has played a useful role for the Left as proof of the many wrongs of capitalism. Marx’s theory of exploitation of the workers has long been disproved by increasing affluence among the working class. Lenin tried to substitute imperialism as an explanation, but as most colonies gained independence and many showed robust growth, this didn’t do the trick. In the 1970s hope rose that environmental disaster eventually would led to the destruction of capitalism. Hope dies hard, which explains the persistent refusal to accept that most environmental indicators are improving.
…A triumph for the European right will probably not stop the drift towards ever more draconian environmental regulations founded on weak science. Only a shift in public perceptions and priorities can reverse this trend. Given balanced information and realizing they have to bear the burden of environmental policies themselves, the public are probably more likely to be leading such a reversal than tottering politicians, left or right.”
…………………………….Jan Arild Snoen, Oslo. Tech Central Station – Europe 6/10/02



The Columbian Exchange: The Most Important Ecological Event in Human History by The Elephant's Child

Historical evidence proves that there were interactions between Europe and America before Columbus’s voyage in 1492, but Columbus’ contact began a large, impactful and lastingly significant transfer of animals, crops, people groups, cultural ideas and microorganisms between the two worlds.

In 1493, on his second voyage, Columbus brought horses, dogs, pigs, cattle, chickens, sheep and goats to the “new” world.  In the 1530’s the Spanish Conquistador and explorer Francisco Pizarro saw the potato in Quito, Ecuador, where the Incas in the Andes first cultivated the potato. Think kindly of Pizarro when next you have french fries,(that common name tells of its travels).

Alfred Crosby who wrote an important book in 1972, called The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 claimed that the commingling of plants, animals, and bacteria resulting from the Columbian Exchange is one of the most important ecological events in human history.

From the Americas to Europe
Avocados, Beans (kidney, navy, lima) Bell Peppers, Black-eyed Susans, Cacao (chocolate), Chili Peppers, Corn, Cotton, Marigolds, Papayas, Peanuts, Petunias, Pineapples, Poinsettias, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Quinine (for malaria), Rubber, Squashes, Sunflowers, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Tomatoes, Turkeys, Vanilla Beans, Zinnias

From Europe to the Americas
Bananas, Barley, Cabbages, Carnations, Chickens, Coffee, Cows, Crabgrass, Daffodils, Daisies, Dandelions, Horses, Lemons, Lettuce, Lilacs, Olives, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Pigs, Rice, Sheep, Sugarcane, Tulips, Turnips, Wheat

And unfortunately:
Smallpox, Influenza, Typhus, Measles, Malaria, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough

And in return, the Old World got:
Polio, Hepatitis, Encephalitis, and Syphilis

And I didn’t realize that here in Seattle, Columbus is not celebrated, instead it is Indigenous People’s Day.  All part of the Democrat’s vision of redeeming us from our immoral past — or denying history to put it bluntly,  except for the parts that they like.

Denying history is a major problem. We are supposed to understand history, not deny it, and we are supposed to learn from history. But then that might lead us to examine the history of communism and socialism and prefer the capitalism that has lifted much of the world out of poverty and into the middle class.



Trump Buries The Old-World Order by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson had a new column up yesterday at the Hoover Institution’s “Defining Ideas” in which he explains our history in statecraft and diplomacy, and what he calls the Old-World Order, since the end of the Second World War, He explains how we got here and where we are today, and what the Trump administration is doing about it. It’s not long and I found it fascinating to have it all put together so concisely.

The present continuance of institutions such as the EU, NATO, UN, and others suggests that the world goes on exactly as before. In fact, these alphabet organizations are becoming shadows of their former selves, more trouble to end than to allow to grow irrelevant. The conditions that created them after the end of World War II, and subsequently sustained them even after the fall of the Berlin Wall, no longer really exist.

The once grand bipartisan visions of American diplomats such as Dean Acheson, George Kennan, George Marshall and others long ago more than fulfilled their enlightened promises. The U.S. in 1945, unlike in 1918, rightly stayed engaged in Europe after another world war. America helped to rebuild what the old Axis powers had destroyed in Asia and Europe.

At great cost, and at times in both folly and wisdom, the U.S. and its allies faced down 300 Soviet and Warsaw Pact divisions. America contained communist aggression through messy surrogate wars, avoided a nuclear exchange, bankrupted an evil communist empire, and gave Eastern Europe and much of Asia the opportunity for self-determination. New postwar protocols enforced by the U.S. Navy made the idea of global free trade, commerce, travel, and communications a reality in a way never seen since the early Roman Empire.

Do read the whole thing, you’ll be glad you did.




%d bloggers like this: