American Elephants


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

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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.”



D-Day, June 6, 1944: 76 Years Ago! by The Elephant's Child

Every year, the remembrance of D-Day grows a little weaker, as it fades into history. A young man of 18 on June 6, 1944 would now be 94. There are not many left, and now it is only those who were children then who remember events as they were happening. I always post something about the anniversary, but many years it is just a re-post of what I wrote a previous year. You can access them all by entering “D-Day” in the blank over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar.  Last year’s post of a book review of “D-Day Through German Eyes” is interesting and the links still work.

They All Hate Us, Right?” was a post in 2008 about the French reenacters. I don’t know if they are still doing it, but it’s interesting simply because it points out that it isn’t just the current media who don’t know what they are writing about, it’s been going on for a long time. Piper Millin’s story is a good one as well.

One of my favorite stories I don’t know if I ever wrote about, but it is some real evidence of our common humanity. It concerns the photo which all of us have probably seen many times of the GI in the water on D-Day, huddled behind a beach obstacle, trying to avoid the rifle fire, and looking terrified, but determined. There are hundreds of men all across the United States who claim to have been that guy. Don’t give me any of your “toxic masculinity” nonsense. Men are useful far, far beyond their ability to open jars and eliminate scary spiders.

Once again I want to urge you, if you have an interest in history or maybe more if you don’t, to buy and read Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars. Europe does seem, at present, to be slowly committing suicide. They are realizing that a good many of their migrants have no intention of assimilating and some of the countries are considering ways to block more migrants and if they can, to remove some who are already there. Here are a couple of brief excerpts:

The D-Day invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord) was the largest combined land and sea operation conducted since the invasion of Greece by King Xerxes of Persia in spring 480 B.C. It dwarfed all of history’s star-crossed beach landings from Marathon to Gallipoli (April 1915). Normandy would serve as a model for large subsequent America seaborne operations from Iwo Jima (February 1945) and Okinawa (April 1945) to Inchon (September 1950). It made all prior iconic cross-Channel invasions in either direction—Caesar’s (55 BC), William the Conqueror’s (1066), Henry V’s (1415), or the 1809 British landing in Flanders—seem minor amphibious operations in comparison.  …

Over 150,000 Allied troops landed the first day on five British, Canadian, and American  assigned beaches, along with over twenty-five thousand airborne soldiers dropped behind German lines. Unlike possible spots in the Cotentin Peninsula or at Calais, the Allies believed that landings in Normandy would pose far more of a surprise, given the somewhat greater distance from Britain. More important, the expansive geography of the Normandy beaches would not box in the invading Allied armies on a confined peninsula or allow the  Germans to focus on a narrow front. Unlike the prior landings in Sicily and Italy, Operation Overlord had been carefully planned for over a year, drawing on the lessons from the Allies past amphibious problems at Dieppe, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio. New inventions and weapons were crafted for the invasion, from portable “Mulberry ” harbors to PLUTO (“pipelines under the ocean”) fuel lines laid under the English Channel and to Sherman and Churchill tanks modified  to uncover mines, cut barbed wire, provide pathways over the soft beaches, and bridge obstacles.

At this point I always have a flashback to the Robin Hood movie with Russell Crowe, when history deficient Hollywood had Robin headed for the beaches to prevent the landing of Henry V, and Henry’s troops were landing in Higgins Boats made out of driftwood, with the iconic front panel that drops down to allow the troops to run (or swim) for the beach. There were Higgins boats in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well, but fortunately not so obvious. Andrew Jackson Higgins’ little plywood landing crafts played a big part in winning the war.

The youngest recruit in 1944 would have been 18 years old, 94 this year if he is still alive. I have posted this annually, but it gradually becomes something familiar only to history buffs. If you enter June 6, 1944 or D-Day in the blank space over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar, you will find other stories. I like the one about Piper Millin.



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.



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.



Dr. Roy Spencer on Chaotic Climate Change and the IPCC by The Elephant's Child

1695 Winter Landscape: Snowfall near Antwerp by Lucas van Valckanborch

An interesting article by Dr. Roy Spencer reposted at Watts Up With That? Dr. Spencer is wondering if there is a preferred average state for the climate, and the variations gather around the average. That idea seems to guide the IPCC scientists who write the reports which guide international energy policy on fossil fuel use. They construct their climate models so that the models do not produce any warming or cooling unless they are forced to through increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gases, aerosols or volcanic eruptions.

What I’d like to discuss here is NOT whether there are other ‘external’ forcing agents of climate change, such as the sun. That is a valuable discussion, but not what I’m going to address. I’d like to address the question of whether there really is an average state that the climate system is constantly re-adjusting itself toward, even if it is constantly nudged in different directions by the sun.

If there is such a preferred average state, then the forcing-feedback paradigm of climate change is valid. In that system of thought, any departure of the global average temperature from the Nature-preferred state is resisted by radiative “feedback”, that is, changes in the radiative energy balance of the Earth in response to the too-warm or too-cool conditions. Those radiative changes would constantly be pushing the system back to its preferred temperature state.

If you have an interest in things climate, it’s an interesting read. Also, keep in mind that President Trump just got us out of the Paris Peace Accords, which would have done nothing at all to remedy anything about the climate, but would have shipped a lot of American funds off to the world’s poorer states.

Dr. Spencer adds:

It is clear that the UN IPCC, by its very charter, is primarily focused on human-caused climate change. As a result of political influence (related to the desire of governmental regulation over the private sector) it will never seriously address the possibility that long-term climate change might be part of nature. Only those scientists who are supportive of this anthropocentric climate view are allowed to play in the IPCC sandbox.

It’s an interesting read, and exposes some of the uncertainties under which our climate scientists operate. The comments following are interesting as well, as the Watts Up With That? readers are interested and have their own opinions.



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.



Victor Davis Hanson Explores the Strange Mythical Trump That Liberals Have Created Out of Whole Cloth by The Elephant's Child

Excellent article at American Greatness (amgreatness.com). Victor Davis Hanson explores the strange mythical Trump that Democrats have devised for themselves in order to explain the horrors of the last election. They have completely lost contact with reality.

Candidate Trump never really wanted to be president. His entire amateurish and buffoonish candidacy was designed only to enhance his brand. Once he was unexpectedly elected, Trump was more shocked than anyone, and quickly sought to maximize his profits from the Oval Office. Thus, followed the constant progressive evocation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution to prevent chronic Trump profiteering.

In reality, the Trump empire reportedly has declined by nearly $1 billion in net value, aside from the tens of millions of his own money that Trump spent on the 2016 campaign. Trump’s business interests are the most thoroughly investigated of any recent president in memory. Obama and the Clintons made millions from their presidencies; Trump may well end up losing billions.

Hanson takes a hard look at the strange mysterious Trump creation that Democrats have lodged in their minds. We were right all along. They have completely allowed their emotions to run away with them and the result is remarkably foolish and bears little resemblance to reality. Do read the whole thing. You’ll enjoy it.



They Had an Election in Europe by The Elephant's Child

If you find the results of the European elections somewhat confusing, welcome to the club. John O’Sullivan has a clarifying article at National Review entitled “Understanding the Results of the European Parliamentary Elections.”

Britain’s Theresa May has agreed to resign. Germany’s Angela Merkel has “un-resigned” as she was dissatisfied with whoever was to replace her. The elections were for members of the European parliament, not heads of state, yet several have lost, all very confusing. Hungary’s Victor Orban’s party got 51% of the vote, so his refusal to admit migrants has met with approval. Greens did well, and Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16 year-old who says she can see the molecules of CO² in the air, and led the skip school movement because of climate change, has been awarded a Doctorate by some Swedish university. As you can see, it is indeed very confusing. You will find John O’Sullivan helpful.

The general idea seems to be that the ordinary people of Europe are fairly fed up with the high-handed treatment they are getting from Brussels. The migrants, welcomed by Brussels, are not fitting in well, stabbings and rape, violence and no-go zones are not working out well, and while they like the freedom to move between countries, Brussels is getting way too heavy-handed. But that’s just my impression. Pay no attention to me whatsoever. You will find John O’Sullivan helpful.

Addendum: Angela Merkel spoke out today saying that she didn’t “un-resign” or didn’t mean to or was misunderstood, or something or other. Politics and the press.




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