American Elephants


Another Weekend of Mayhem in Democrat Run Cities by The Elephant's Child

Our cities are in trouble. Mayors, who were accustomed to dealing with problems like traffic, utilities and minor problems like shoplifting and illegal parking suddenly have massive demonstrations, attacks on buildings, major looting and sudden waves of murder. Quick, find someone else to blame it on. Guess who?

Headlines: DeBlasio’s New York City: 34 people shot, 10 killed over weekend. Lightfoot’s Chicago: 30 shot, 3 dead. Violent Seattle Protest: 59 Police Officers Injured, 45 arrested after explosives thrown at officers. So far in 2020 there have been more shootings in Minneapolis already than the whole of last year, 275 so far.The Washington Post reported at the end of June that out of the top 20 cities for violent crime –17 have Democrat mayors. Democrats have their people demanding that police departments be defunded, or abolished. So now we are going to have major lessons in just why we have police departments, and why we depend on their skills to protect us from the people who are doing all those shootings.

President Trump is sending more federal agents to Portland, as his Constitutional duties require. Mayors are screeching and trying to blame Federal agents for the demonstrations and violence, getting it all completely backwards. The Seattle City Council decided, in its wisdom or lack thereof, to eliminate the nasty tools the police were using for crowd and riot control, like tear gas, and pepper spray and whatever else are usual police tools.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best politely informed Seattle businesses that the police probably couldn’t protect them in the event of riots or protests. A District Judge informed the City Council that they were out of line, and Downtown Seattle had a riot last night, with, to repeat, 59 police officers injured.

There are bad actors out there. Theoretically we elect public officials to deal with them promptly and efficiently. Elections are coming up, sounds like we need to be a little better informed about those who are running for public office than usual.

Also reported, Hollywood “celebrities” are renewing their calls to defund police departments around the country, urging local politicians to slash police spending and increase funding for “community programs”. They join in solidarity with the “freedom fighters in Minneapolis, Louisville and across the United States and call for the end to “Police Terror”. “Celebrities” listed include Natalie Portman, Joaquin Phoenix, John Legend, Jane Fonda, Kendrick Sampson, and Debra Messing who can claim some responsibility for the mayhem listed above.



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

First posted in 2018:
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

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.

Democrats cannot stop hating “the rich” as a useful group to envy when they are appealing to the less wealthy, but you can tell how sincere they are by noticing how hard they try to be in control so they can get rich or richer, as the case may be.

So Why are the demonstrators so determined (anxious?) to tear down Columbus statues? Columbus had nothing to do with our indigenous tribes. The closest he came to the United States was the Bahamas, a very nice vacation spot today. Historical ignoramuses. In the pictures of Columbus statues, one bears the painted message “Stop Creating Genocide”, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Columbus.

But that is the story with most of the demonstrations. Mindless fun in smashing and destroying. Antifa at least seems to want to end the Capitalism that has made America and the world rich, in favor of some kind of socialism that promises to make everybody equal and makes them prisoners instead.



Poor Old Columbus, To Blame for It All! by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

With all the statues being torn down or defaced, the most popular one to be tackled seems to be Columbus. I’m not sure just what it is about poor old Columbus that creates such ire, but he seems to be especially enticing for the statue-destruction bunch. Chicago just had some pretty violent demonstrations in an attempt to pull the poor old fellow down, and Mayor Lightfoot had it taken down with a crane in the middle of the night.

Columbus haters seem to think that his discovery of the Americas was some sort of predecessor to the slave trade, although the Americas weren’t exactly a pristine paradise before his arrival. I looked up pictures of Columbus statues to see what was so offensive, but he is mostly engaged in pointing!. Land Ho! I assume.

Charles Mann’s book 1491 takes on what the Americas were like before the fated arrival. In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe. Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capitol had more population than any European capitol of the period. That city had running water, beautiful botanical gardens and immaculately clean streets. Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively “landscaped” by human beings. And if you want to talk civilizations, you have to start by defining just what is meant by “civilization”.

I have the impression that Columbus statues were being attacked long before George Floyd was killed, but I have never really understood than animus against Columbus. Italian Americans regard Columbus as one of their heroes, and are apt to turn out to try to protect the statues.



A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury… by The Elephant's Child

Is there some kind of cause here? The media has lots of stirring film of demonstrations and protests in Portland and Seattle to tuck away for the next appropriate moment. Does it mean anything? The police officer who had his knee on George Floyd’s neck has been charged with murder, and will face the courts.

This has all evolved into an extended accusation that America is the most racist nation in the world, and according to some should be completely transformed into something more appropriate. The protesters have accomplished nothing much other than tearing down or destroying some statues, damaging a lot of businesses and buildings, racking up millions of dollars in damage, attempting to refight the Civil War, and abolish anything reminiscent of the Confederacy. They seem to have had a good time breaking windows, looting, and trying to set buildings on fire.

Has it all accomplished anything at all? Certainly individuals, businesses and governmental entities are rushing to prove how opposed to racism they are and to make gestures of one sort or another to demonstrate their sincerity. Have we gone through some noble kind of societal transformation with all the rioting and shouting and attempts to demonstrate what? President Trump indicated that he believed it was the business of the federal government to maintain some kind of order in such circumstances. The Secretary of Homeland Security acknowledged that to be the task of his department, and sent in federal officers to restore order, since the mayors and governors could not manage to do anything useful whatsoever.

Democrats erupted in outrage, talking about Trump’s “Storm Troopers”, and tried to portray it as authoritarian and tyrannical, and the worst thing any president has ever done. There is an election coming up this fall, and Democrats are getting desperate. Their candidate keeps forgetting what he is trying to say and having senior moments.

What has been accomplished? Statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, an Elk,  the Virgin Mary, and Jesus have all been torn down, attacked or damaged. Military bases named after Confederate Generals long ago will apparently have their names changed, confusing all the military veterans who trained there.

Colleges have removed their statues and are changing names where appropriate. Sports teams across the country are changing their names and logos, stadium names, and uniforms, with particular reference to those names referring to Native Americans, although our Native Americans didn’t seem to be demanding any change. Millions of dollars in damages. Many small businesses destroyed, Some woman who has always wanted, apparently, to expose herself in public stripped and sat on the pavement in front of the approaching police forces, spread legs and all, but what she accomplished or what happened to her has not as far as I know, been reported.

I don’t see that all this smoke and fury has accomplished much of anything at all. We should perhaps start charging would-be protesters a hefty fee to be allowed to demonstrate. It might help to pay for all the damage they have done. I’m sure it seems as if it will be exciting to tear down statues, break windows and set things on fire. Do they assume that in future years they will tell their kids or grandkids about what they did back in 2020?

 



Long Beyond Demonstrations, But Why? by The Elephant's Child

Antifa is out rioting again in downtown Seattle. There must be something both enticing and in some way rewarding, or fun in rioting. At least it seems to be popular, and the young people keep doing it. I say young people, because in the videos of rioting I see, I don’t see any real adults, except the policemen.

I can sort of understand looting, the idea that since nobody is paying real attention and guarding stuff, it’s free to grab something and make off with it. That was pretty much disproven here in Bellevue when looters broke into the biggest regional shopping center to loot the expensive stores. A lot of people were standing around outside and filming the excitement, and got pictures of the looters emerging from the Square with wastebaskets and garbage cans full of their loot.

The Bellevue Police Department took advantage of the films, and have tracked down a large percentage of the looters, and charged them–23 was the last number I saw, but I’m sure it’s much greater now.

What mystifies me is that people across the country and in Europe decided that looked like a fun thing to do and started rioting and tearing down statues in their countries. Is there no sense in the back of youthful brains that these are bad things to do, probably against the law, and potentially will get one in trouble? Is there a latent hunger there to do something really bad if one does not expect to get caught?

Or does “the abolition of the United States as we know it” sound appealing to the ignorant and unwashed? What do I know? I’m merely an ordinary law-abiding citizen to whom all of this is something of a mystery. Strange times, and I don’t pretend to understand. That “abolition” part is worrying.



Portland Erupts in Fury, Nancy Pelosi Erupts. by The Elephant's Child

Well, well, Portland has erupted in fury. How dare the President of the United States send in DHS agents to protect the federal buildings being attacked by Antifa protesters? For over 50 nights Antifa anarchists have been attempting to destroy government buildings and the Mayor of Portland, who could have allowed his police force to do their jobs. is blaming Donald Trump for restoring order.  The rioting has been going on for almost six weeks.

Mayor Wheeler tried to claim that the rioting had come close to fizzling out until Trump escalated the violence. What kind of idiot blames law enforcement for enforcing the law instead those doing the rioting? Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland. Even the journalists were having none of that.

One Black Lives Matter leader Lilith Sinclair says she’s “organizing for the abolition of not just the militarized police state but also the United States as we know it.”

 “The abolition of the United States as we know it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blames Trump for “kidnapping Protesters.” Describes violent Antifa as “First Amendment Speech.” Well, well. So that’s what the Democrats have in mind. Siding with terrorists, attacking police officers, trying to burn down the federal courthouse — all just peaceful First Amendment Speech. I suspect the Portland police would not agree with Ms. Pelosi. Millions of dollars of damage, wounded policemen, looted businesses. The “unidentified” agents had POLICE  prominently labeled across their chests and DHS patches on their arms.  Met with explosives, hammers, knives sledgehammers, slingshots with ball-bearings, pipe bombs. Just peaceful First Amendment protesters? She also called them “Trump’s Secret Police.”  I think that perhaps this time, Ms. Pelosi has gone just a little too far.



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?



Bellevue Police Have Arrested 23 Looters So Far. by The Elephant's Child

https://img.particlenews.com/img/id/23hQ5d_0PQj5XPc00?type=thumbnail_1024x576

The world is changing around us, and we often don’t notice until we are suddenly confronted with the evidence. In this case, I think I mentioned that BLM protesters turned up in downtown Bellevue, doing their protesty thing, fists raised to indicate how serious they were.

The presence of Bellevue Square, the most affluent mall in the Seattle area, brought potential looters up from South Seattle. And they promptly found looting far more interesting than just plain old protesting. The Square had been closed and locked down for Covid-19, but they knew the stores were all there with luxury goods inside.

We could see, online, bystanders watching while looters came out of the square carrying wastebaskets and garbage cans piled high with loot. Today, however, everybody has a camera. And as the looters came out, bystanders were taking their pictures.

Bellevue police have arrested 23 looters identified so far, from the photos taken by bystanders. They have recovered tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise, as well as alcohol, tobacco, weapons and drugs. Gosh, who knew that while you were getting the clothes for the new school year for free, someone was taking your picture. And the Police Chief even spoke to the crowd to express his sympathy for the George Floyd protest. Didn’t impress the protesters at all. Of course the protesters were far more interested in the looting than in the protesting. Do follow the link above for the King 5 coverage.

I’m appalled that it was allowed to go on so much. If you want some kind of change, act like a grownup, express your objective clearly with evidence, to the people who can make the legal changes which you advocate. Running around with fists raised shouting vulgarities is more plain childish than effective. And looting is simply theft and will be punished by law. Hope you all get significant terms in jail.



Reading for Pure Pleasure, Or How to Get Lost in a Book by The Elephant's Child

I recommended a few books a few days ago to add to your knowledge. There are many kinds of reading, thrillers, histories, mysteries, westerns and romances, among others. If you are still locked down, or avoiding going out, you are likely to need more reading just for pure pleasure. To get lost in a book.

At the very tip-top of my list is Patrick O’Brien. with seventeen novels described variously as “the best historical novels ever written”, “the best sea story I have ever read,” books you will keep to read again and again. The series is about the Royal Navy in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey R.N. and Stephen Maturin. ship’s surgeon and intelligence agent against the thrilling background of the Napoleonic wars.

Details of life aboard a man of war in Nelson’s navy are faultlessly rendered; the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging and the roar of the broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

The first, Master and Commander, was published in 1970, the last in 1995. You can get the whole series from Amazon for a hefty $240.75 or one at a time for $10.89. One of the best investments you will ever make.

Another series I recommend highly is James Clavell’s Asian Saga which begins in 1600 with Shogun, followed by Tai-Pan, 1841, Gai-Jin,1862, King Rat, 1945, Noble House,1963, and Whirlwind,1979. Clavell is an excellent storyteller. Today’s China and Hong Kong add to the interest although the books are fiction.

If you are female and do not read books about wars and battles, shame on you, but you might enjoy anything by Penelope Lively, Joanne Greenberg, or Elizabeth Spencer.



The Free Capitol Hill Protest Zone Now Has A Murder by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

Things are heating up in CHOP-land. On Sunday night, gunshots erupted in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, less than 48 hours since an earlier shooting left one man dead and a 17 year-old male shot in the arm. Thought this was supposed to be a peaceful protest place, a “summer of love” thing. It appears that Seattle’s feckless mayor Jenny Durkan will have to act in some way. But she hasn’t figured out just how yet.

Perhaps our feckless governor, Jay Inslee, who has preferred to simply ignore the whole thing, will notice that it is giving his state a major black eye in the national news media.

But what to do and who will do it? Will they reclaim the East Precinct? The Police, who have been thoroughly demonized for no reason? The National Guard? That takes an order from Inslee. The neighborhood, and the six block area of homes and small shops and the residents are reported to be becoming restless. Small wonder.

I have no idea what the revolutionaries’ original vision was, in seceding from the United States to become an independent six blocks, but they dug up a patch of the local park to plant seedlings for their kitchen garden. Presumably they thought it would take only a few days to produce fresh vegetables, who knows. A little long on revolutionary fervor, short on common sense or just basic information.

Nationwide, the statues keep being attacked, but the major offenders are gone, so they’re down to the fringe characters like Francis Scott Key. He did write the Star Spangled Banner, but wasn’t that in the War of 1812 rather than the Civil War? I’m not sure just what the objection to him is.  It was a Southern Fort with the rockets’ red glare. The statue attackers are also a little long on revolutionary fervor and quite short of basic information.

If we just ignore it will it go away? Get tiresome? Fervor grow stale? I’m already sick of it all and not feeling at all charitable towards the perpetrators. Put them away for a while to cool off. It is simply posturing, virtue-signaling, but not much virtue. “Summer of Love”indeed. The police are anxious to preserve the rule of law, but the city’s Democrat management simply doesn’t know what to do, or how to do it.



Cheap Virtue, Jumping on Bandwagons of Public Feeling* by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

Every time you think you have seen it all, something else pops up. In this case, it is protesters in Portland, Oregon who last night dismantled a statue of George Washington, after they wrapped Washington’s head in an American flag and set it all on fire. George Washington?

The statue was created by an Italian-American sculptor, Pompeo Coppini, and was installed in Portland’s Rose City Park neighborhood in the late 1920s. Many years ago I lived about ten blocks from there, though I had never been to that park. It seems like an odd place for a George Washington statue. It was also defaced with spray paint.

Sprayed on the statue was the number “1619“. That suggests massive historical ignorance, which unfortunately is more common than anyone would like to admit. The 1619 date would seem to be a reference to the New York Times’ embarrassing 1619 Project attempting to rewrite the nation’s history to make it ever so much more racist, and useful.

Democrats have been chafing for years by being reminded of the Civil War, and being on the wrong side. They were terrified that would lose their Black votes. Then they elected the First Black President, which absolved them of any previous errors. And now a policeman put a black man in a neck hold, and the man died, though from the neck hold, a heart attack or a drug overdose is not clear, the world exploded in anger, started looting, and attacking statues. Just how attacking a statue of our First President and Founding Father accomplishes anything is somewhat unclear, but it seems to be the most popular solution, after looting.

This seems to be how the common saying “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!” may have arisen.

*An appropriate phrase for the headline, borrowed from Hillsdale College.



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.




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