American Elephants


In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two, Columbus Sailed… by The Elephant's Child

Exactly how George Floyd’s unfortunate death led to the excesses of Black Lives Matter riots and marches and looting, is not especially clear. How things multiplied from that to attacks on statues all around the country is even less clear. They started with the generals on the losing side of the Civil War, and then included generals on both sides and Spanish Friars, founding fathers and their horses too.. Perfect frenzy of attacking bronze statues that couldn’t possibly fight back, but perhaps that was the point. They could demonstrate their rage while in attacking inanimate objects they had no opposition, and no risk.

But one statue led to another, and when they couldn’t find enough Robert E. Lee statues, they turned to Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and, of course, Columbus.  It is all simply theater. What was intended as a powerful political statement was thoroughly messed up by the historical ignorance of the perpetrators. There was some interest in destruction of the four presidents at Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, encouraged slyly by the New York Times, which brought out Sioux Chieftains to remind everyone that the Black Hills were once sacred grounds for Native Americans.

I think the statue thing is probably over, except for Columbus. There are so many things around the country named for Columbus that it remains a tempting victim — Columbus, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska and Texas, the Columbia River, Columbia University, and many ships and lots of wildlife and plants.

What is far more interesting is the “Columbian Exchange” — the plants and animals brought to the new world and from the new world to the old. Search for “The Columbian Exchange” and you will be astounded to find the list of species that were unknown prior to 1492, and how they changed lives. Diseases too. Horses and dogs and cats! Did residents of the new world have no pets until Columbus? And when did they decide that dogs were desirable pets?



History is a Record of What Happened. You Cannot Fix it! by The Elephant's Child

File:Emancipation Proclamation - LOC 04067 - restoration1.jpg

Democrats are apparently terrified that Donald Trump might win re-election this fall and subject them to another four years of terror. Their immediate focus concerns the vote of Black Americans. They have already shown that they will kneel in abject humility on the floor of the United States Congress, draped in what they consider to be African apparel to show their plaintive agreement that “Black Lives Matter,”and encourage Blacks to vote for them.

Not enough. Nancy Pelosi is now attempting to demonstrate that Republicans are the “white supremacy” party and Democrats deeply oppose the side of the South in the Civil War of 1861, by removing four portraits of former Speakers of the House who once served in the Confederacy.

Well, it’s a little difficult to blame it all on Republicans when one recalls that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.  He issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, which became effective on January 1, 1863. The reproduction shown above was from 1864 and is in the Library of Congress.

History is a record of what happened.  Sometimes new evidence is discovered that alters our understanding, but in general we’re stuck with the evidence of what really happened. Human nature is not all sweetness and light. We are human beings, some good, some bad and some really dreadful. No saints.  Do remember that most families have trouble getting along,

Most of us don’t know enough history. Our public schools are clearly doing a lousy job, and if we have kids, we need to help them to get interested.  The general knowledge of history, American history and world history is lacking. Knowing how we screwed up in the past sometimes helps us to avoid doing it again, but we cannot remake the past. What happened, happened.

Slavery was at one time common. Muslims ruled the slave trade in Africa, and marched captured Africans north, and to the Atlantic coast to ship to the Americas. Most of the slave trade went to the sugar islands and South America rather than to the Southern States. American Indians kept slaves. When they warred with another tribe, those captured were kept around to do the scut work, rather than killed when the fight was over. That may be the origin of much of slavery. Britain stamped out the slave trade. They set the Royal Navy to eliminating the Atlantic slave traffic, which they did.

Look at all the changes in society that have made slavery unnecessary, aside from being disgusting, of course.  Most of the slave trade in the South was because of the cotton crop which the British needed for their fabric mills, and the South needed for income.  Farm work today has become heavily mechanized, though there are some things that still must be picked by hand. Farm equipment is truly astonishing these days, and the elaborate machines are something to behold. And we are just at the beginning of the age of robots and computer printing and there are plenty of enthusiastic applicants for the Space Force. The more we know about our own history, the better it will help us to avoid bad mistakes in the future.



The Western World Has Gone Stark Raving Mad. by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

Here’s the box they built around the statue of Winston Churchill in Britain. Police also protected the cenotaph, and protesters bravely threw some statues into the River Thames.

In Whittier, California, BLM protesters defaced a statue of John Greenleaf. Who is he?  He was a prominent Quaker abolitionist, known for his anti-slavery writings.  A picture shows the usual graffiti. Sometimes, it seems, we get a little over-excited about attacking statues. Of course, unlike attacking real people, statues just sit there and behave like the inanimate objects they are, and there’s no fuss unless the police catch you at it, and even then it depends on what the local rules are about attacking statues. It is entirely about the symbolism, and attacking a king symbolically ranks a little higher than a symbolic mere member of Parliament, for example.

Of course in America we went for bigger targets than mere statues (which were attacked as well) but that can’t compare to HBO blacklisting Gone With the Wind. Good Grief! Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Hattie McDaniels, who is black, won the first Oscar ever given to a person of another race. It was well deserved, but there’s the rub. She played the role of Mammy, a slave.

Well, never mind Oscars, the outrage was furious. Banning Gone With the Wind!  America’s favorite movie of all time. What happened immediately was that everybody went out and bought a copy for their own, and just think through the economics of that little stunt, and how it would reverberate down through the years. I can even quote you the opening lines of the book: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm, as the Tarelton twins were.”

HBO decided that unbanning Gone With the Wind was probably the better idea, but because of George Floyd and all, they hired  Black scholar and TCM host Jacqueline Stewart. She is a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.  Cinema and Media Studies is a major at the University of Chicago? It has not been yet announced just when GWTW and Scarlett and Brett will return to streaming services. Jacqueline Stewart will provide an introduction to the movie, so you understand the correct viewpoint. This is a very odd time, we can’t seem to decide whether we can allow history to remain unchanged, or if we have to have a do-over that we like better. Historically, we do recognize that the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Southern forces fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and on April 15, President Lincoln issued a public declaration than an insurrection existed and called for 75,000 militia to stop the rebellion.  It ended on April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S, Grant at the Appomattox Court House, with a remarkable lot of history in between those two dates. If you are unfamiliar with the Civil War, study up! You’ll be glad you did. Here’s a guide to books on the war.

You might want to look up the Emancipation Proclamation.

Race has come up as a major subject in the international outrage over the death of George Floyd. Statues are being destroyed in this country, in Britain, Australia, Scotland–Robert the Bruce, the Scottish King who freed Scotland from England’s clutches, and who knows where else, which accomplishes nothing at all, but expresses varying degrees of outrage over varying subjects. The Civil War in general, any generals who fought for the South,  anything named for a general who fought for the South, that sort of thing.  Fort Bragg and Fort Benning are especially mentioned as needing to be renamed immediately to appease the anger about race.  Quick, can you tell me where Fort Bragg is, and who it is named for? Didn’t think so. How about Fort Benning — location, named for? If we are going to be outraged and change names, shouldn’t we know what we are talking about, and how it relates to, for example, “CHAZ” or “CHOP” as it is now, on six blocks of Capitol Hill in Seattle? And what does that have to do with putting a box around the statue of Winston Churchill in Britain?

What seemed to happen to George Floyd was clearly an outrage, but what actually happened was not as it seemed. The call to police about Floyd was that he was trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. We never learned if it was counterfeit or not. There must have been some kind of resisting arrest going on for him to end up on the ground with an officer holding him down with his knee.

Floyd was a very large man who worked as security in a night club, a “bouncer” as they are called, as did the police officer, and they apparently worked at the same establishment. The cause of death is unclear. Yes, he was saying “I can’t breathe” but before the choke hold as well. He was apparently high on fentanyl. The autopsies (there were two) also mentioned a heart attack, and another fatal condition. The officer has been charged with murder, but in the middle of international outrage. I have no idea. It just sounds like it is a lot more complicated than we were led to believe. The outrage over what was seen on film was huge. The emotion stirred up was huge and has led to all the rest.

Hopefully, enough information will eventually come out to clarify the whole thing. Why it has led to the destruction of Columbus statues, names of anything connected to the South in the Civil War, remains unknown. Aunt Jemima syrup has changed its name and picture. Kellogg’s Rice Crispies has been attacked for Snap, Crackle and Pop who seem to be three white boys. The same white boys are on the Cocoa Crispies box, although the cereal is brown.  In other words, a big section of America has become certifiable. A City Councilman in Charlotte, SC has declared that it is time to proclaim that racism is a public health crisis. The worst reaction is the call to defund the police. which is beyond stupid. Unfortunately it has all been exacerbated by the CORONA-19 turmoil and societal shutdown and all the chaos that has caused. Emotions were already stirred up by people locked down.

This too shall pass.  From the Federalist: “Why White People Will Always Be Racists: Whites are continually put into the position of forever having to prove the negative, that they’re not racists. This is impossible. And that’s the point.”



Here’s What the World Health Organization Has to Say: by The Elephant's Child

I am trying to keep up with worldwide reports, especially after learning of the dreadful case of Italy who lost so many elderly people, so I checked in with the World Health Organization (WHO), and thought that probably many of you had not, and were depending on the American media, who have become (as Hillary called anyone who dared to support President Trump) — the”Deplorables.” And you can’t trust the media any more. They are trying to blame the entire coronavirus on Donald Trump. Nevermind that he seems to be doing exactly the right things, effectively, and a pretty good job of protecting American citizens.

So here is the website for the WHO and what they are reporting for each country. Again, this is what has been reported to them. Africa is experiencing it only very lightly, as is the Russian Federation. Is that really few cases or lax reporting? Only 304 cases in Canada, and not too much is South America. They have a list for each country, besides a dandy map that gives a visual idea. We are told that the death toll from the flu is high, but I haven’t seen reports of how many Americans died from the flu, nor how it affected other countries. The flu was devastating following World War I, and killed thousands. Have heard constantly from pharmacies to be sure to get your flu shots, so apparently many people don’t or they wouldn’t nag.

China has 81,077 cases, Italy 24,747 cases.  I don’t know. Do you hunger for more statistics so you feel more prepared, calmer? Or are you sick of the whole subject? I always line up with “studying up” — the more you know, the less the chance that you can be a victim.



The Day Before St. Patrick’s Update by The Elephant's Child

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “CoronaVirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

“On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). On January 31, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19. This declaration freed up funding and regulations to aid in efforts until Congress had a chance to act. President Trump also halted all travel from China, other affected areas, and put Americans returning from China into quarantine. On March 11, WHO publicly  characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak. a National Emergency

That’s the official language and dates from the CDC. Washington State and New York State each have 501 to 1,000 cases. King County has reported  today, March 16, that they have 420 confirmed cases and one more death. Snohomish County,  reports 176 confirmed cases and 4 deaths, Pierce County 29 confirmed cases and Island County had 6. Which indicates that a lot more testing has been done. Scientists here in King County have produced a vaccine, which has just begun human testing.

I am currently re-reading John McPhee’s Table of Contents. In an essay about scientists at Princeton, he quotes Freeman Dyson as saying: “The first rule of technology is that no one can tell in advance whether a piece of technology is any good. It will hang on things that are unforeseeable. In groping around, one wants to try out things that are quick and cheap and find out what doesn’t work.” which applies to our current situation rather nicely.

ADDENDUM: Late day, checking in with King County virus updates: Confirmed cases have reached 488. This demonstrates that testing is increasing, and identifying those who have been infected. This is a good thing. As testing increases, you should expect numbers to rise–not because infections are increasing necessarily, but because existing infections are being identified. Sadly, 43 deaths in total, most from the nursing home in Kirkland.



This Too Shall Pass.* by The Elephant's Child

What’s new, you might ask, in the center of the CoronaVirus in the country? Unfortunately the “stocking-up” goes on apace. Grocery store shelves are empty, deliveries take far longer than was usual. That’s what is reported. We have not left the house. That which we have ordered delivered will be here next Monday (a week away, not tomorrow) And as these things go, the more bare shelves there are, or the more anxiety that is expressed, the more people try to stock up. We used to call it just plain hoarding. But that word has gone out of style.

It’s a growth thing. The more it’s talked about, the more empty shelves, the more people panic, and their actions inflict another bunch.

Two brothers from Tennessee who tried to capitalize on the outbreak of coronavirus bought up nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer which they were selling for between $8 and $70 each. Much higher than any in the local stores. Amazon and other online sellers cracked down on sellers who were found to be price gouging. Now they are stuck with a huge supply and nowhere to sell it. To which the American people are undoubtedly saying “Good! Serves ’em right.”

In New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that the CoronaVirus is a case for “Nationalization of crucial factories and Industries that could produce the medical supplies needed” Brilliant! He added that “every factory that can make hand sanitizer should be on 24/7 shifts and the distribution should be going to the places that need it most.” President Trump has just asked companies for their help and offered federal help to them in a time of crisis, and they are going to work.

Some people go to work, others pontificate. Bit of a test of character. The Israelis have a vaccine ready for testing. We have vaccines close to being ready. You have to conduct testing with real people to find out if it really works as hoped for., and that all takes time. Stay calm, study up, and wash your hands a lot.

*“This too shall pass” is a Persian adage translated and used in multiple languages. It reflects on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets such as Rumi.



COVID-19 Update by The Elephant's Child


Yes, the Corona virus is scary. Here in Washington state, we learn that we are the leader in the center of the virus in the U.S.  Governor Inslee has closed the schools starting Tuesday, for at least a month. Nationally, the media is still trying to blame it all on President Trump — who is handling the outbreak very, very well indeed. When that becomes fairly clear ( He declared a national emergency today, which frees up more government money and more government action) the media turn their attention to his calling the virus the “Wuhan virus” or the Chinese virus” as “racist” and “xenophobic”, ignoring the obvious point that it arose in Wuhan, China, and was spread from there.

Now there is constant talk about the “shortage” of testing kits, as the president is arranging for “drive by” testing at cooperative popular retailers who have drive by windows. Mostly left out of the conversation is the fact that you shouldn’t request a test unless you have some symptoms. If you seem perfectly healthy, you probably are. Stay home, wash your hands a lot, wipe down packages that are delivered with antiseptic, and try not to hoard and unnecessarily stock up as if for the duration of a war.

Here are some articles that you may find useful. The first is from Heather Mac Donald, who does correct math, and researches facts carefully. The second is from John Hinderaker on “The Politics of Coronavirus.” The third from Paul Mirengoff also from Powerline about “The Coronavirus in Iran.” Here’s David Harsanyi from National Review on “COVID-19:Scary Enough without the Scaremongering.” And from City Journal, Clark Whelton recalls the 1957 Asian Flu pandemic.  I was around then, but have no memory of that one. Obviously I didn’t get it or I would remember. All good articles, and good common sense as opposed to all the Media hype and hysteria. The American media has a lot to answer for these days. They are partisan and forgetting, shamefully, what journalism is all about, or what it is supposed to be.

King County WA cases: up slightly from Wednesday: 328 confirmed cases, 30 deaths. Washington state has 568 cases,most in adjacent counties.

Italy has had 1,266 deaths, and we are reminded that the population of Italy is the oldest in Europe. They are not even treating the oldest people, but saving resources for the younger. France has 3,661 cases and 70 deaths, Spain  4,209 cases and 120 dead. The UK has only 798 cases. Helps to be an Island.



Brexit Day Has Arrived and Britain Leaves the European Union by The Elephant's Child

Well, Happy Brexit Day to our British friends across the pond. It’s a thing that seems to be going around. People aren’t too happy with  giant bureaucracies trying to control their prized freedoms with ever more regulations and laws and nit-picking.

Whether government is elected or assigned, human nature intrudes, and once in power bureaucracies want to fix their subjects, make them behave better, become whatever they think will or might be an improvement. The people don’t mind some moderate regulation, but the regulators always go too far. Americans started off with a bit of that when the British initiated the Stamp Act and the taxes started interfering with daily life. America became it’s own nation with a unpleasant Revolutionary War just  to make things clear. So we fully understand what the Brits are up to with Brexit. The Bureaucrats of the European Union went too far, and it wasn’t just regulating the proper size and curvature of bananas and cucumbers, but food regulations went so far by 2008 that shops were refusing to stock up to 20% of food and vegetables because it didn’t meet EU regulations. And it’s not just food, but illegal immigrants, refugees, who is or isn’t, and what to do about it. The EU has become a busybody and the fear, of course, is that other nations might follow Britain out.

If the complexities of regulation interest you at all, you might enjoy Matt Ridley’s speech to the House of Lords about Genome Editing. OK that sounds unbearably boring, but the speech is short and demonstrates just how the future can be fouled up with bad regulation. It really is interesting.



The Death of Europe: A Special Conversation by The Elephant's Child

This is one of Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge videos from the Hoover Institution, a particularly fascinating and essential one: a conversation with Douglas Murray about his book The Death of Europe and his coming new book The Madness of Crowds.  This is deep insight into the state of the world today, and why it is so.

Understanding Britain and America and the oncoming problems, and why people are the way they are. Absolutely brilliant. It’s very long, and worth every minute. No time now, come back and watch it later, or make your own copy from You Tube. You will be rewarded and your understanding deepened.



Politics, Politics and More Politics, Ours & Theirs. by The Elephant's Child

Politics. Many of our friendly nations are currently embroiled in politics. Our Democrats are trying for a do-over of the previous election, because they simply cannot get over the fact that they lost the 2016 election to the hated Trump.  Just why they hate President Trump so much remains a mystery, because he is doing a remarkable job of getting the economy back on track, which is what we elected him to do.

Canada is not entirely happy with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but he is going to keep his job and form a minority government. His Liberals are again the largest party, but have lost their parliamentary majority.

The British have a Prime Minister in Boris Johnson, but are embroiled in Brexit. From what I can tell, the people want out of the European Union, but the Parliament does not. The battle goes on, and on. Back in 2007, Valery Giscard d’Estaing was writing a Constitution for the European Union, and briefly looked at the American Constitution, but couldn’t handle all those freedoms, and rejected it outright as an example. Unfortunate.

The Israelis are having a crisis of sorts because Prime Minister Netanyahu could not form a government because of the (weird to Americans) way the Israeli government is formed. The Prime Minister gets elected, I think, and then has to create a government by getting all the other parties to agree to what he comes up with, or something like that. We all get accustomed to our own form of government and do not understand any other countries’ politics, which usually is just as complex as ours, and often more so.

South America is a mess, but since we don’t speak their languages, we don’t pay all that much attention. Odd, but I don’t know how many Americans could name the countries of South America on an unlabeled map. And of course, we always call ourselves “Americans” which undoubtedly annoys the citizens of Central and South, who are just as much “Americans” as we are.

Hong Kong and China are getting bloody. China is Communist, which works only for those at the top, and until they are overthrown. We have enough world history about what works and what does not to teach us all – how to go about doing government. The most passionate are always the least-informed, and sure that they have a better idea.

Apparently our colleges and universities are graduating a new class, sure that the answer to the problem of the rich is Socialism or Communism. They are, of course,  tutored by professors who discover that there are successful entrepreneurs who without the qualification of a PhD in something or other receive enormous salaries and benefits for keeping a corporation healthy and thriving. No Fair! If you wondered why a college education costs so much today, there you go.

President Trump is beginning to move governmental agencies out of the “swamp” and closer to the people they are supposed to be serving. Thus the Farm Bureau is moving to farming country which is excellent, but those who are being moved from cosmopolitan D.C. to farm country are not happy.  I think it’s a great idea.



Uncommon Knowledge, with Author and Columnist Douglas Murray by The Elephant's Child

In this issue of Uncommon Knowledge from the Hoover Institute, Peter Robinson is joined by British author and columnist Douglas Murray to discuss “The Death of Europe.” Important and chilling. You can just shove stuff to the side and avoid taking it on for so long, but at some point you have to take a hard look at what is, and decide what, if anything, you are willing to do or even can do about it. Do watch the whole thing, it is important.



An Interview from the Candace Owens Show. by The Elephant's Child

Candace Owens interviews British Journalist and author of “The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity” for a dynamic conversation about race, LGBT issues and feminism. Candace Owens is terrific. Not long and worth your time.




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