American Elephants


An American Ally Assesses Our President by The Elephant's Child

The Wall Street Journal had a most interesting article titled “An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump: When he says something consistently, it will happen. And his message is that America will remain a reliable partner, but don’t expect too much.” It’s by Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia, 2013-2015.  (subscription barrier)

The truth is that the rest of the world needs America much more than America needs us. The U.S. has no threatening neighbors. It’s about as remote from the globe’s trouble spots as is possible to be. It’s richly endowed with resources, including energy and an almost boundless agricultural capacity. Its technology is second to none. Its manufacturing base is vast. Its people are entrepreneurial in their bones. From diversity, it has built unity and an enviable pride in country.

In many respects, America is the world in one country, only a better world than the one outside. If it decided to live in splendid isolation from troubles across the sea, it would lose little and perhaps gain much, at least in the beginning. A fortress America would be as impregnable as any country could be.

 

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The President, The Resistance, The People by The Elephant's Child

From The American Spectator

It’s June and the crush of undocumented immigrants at the U.S. border with Mexico has hit a crisis point.

Government officials are housing migrants in tents and separating some children from their parents. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors attempt to cross the southern border; some 90,000 are expected to be apprehended by year’s end. A former top administration official defends the government’s policy: “We have to send a clear message. Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean your child gets to stay.”

The year was 2014. Barack Obama was president and the quote was uttered by Hillary Clinton, Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 who also plainly stated that thousands of children “should be sent back” to their families.

‘The Resistance’ doesn’t seem to be creating a wedge between President Trump and the party.  It’s turning off Liberal supporters as well.
From Don Surber:

The Times approach to Trump supporters was laughably offensive. It reported, “In interviews across the country over the last few days, dozens of Trump voters, as well as pollsters and strategists, described something like a bonding experience with the president that happens each time Republicans have to answer a now-familiar question: ‘How can you possibly still support this man?'”

Buried in Paragraph 26 was the answer, from John Westling, 70, of Princeton, Minnesota, who said, “Let’s see. Economy booming, check. Unemployment down, check. Border security being addressed, check. Possible end to the Korean War that started when I was 3 years old, 68 years ago, check.”

Democrats fall in love. It’s the leader of “their team”— the savior who will bring them all good things. who will save them from the perils of life. It’s a romantic relationship. I have been in many Democrat homes where there is a picture of the (Democrat) President on the wall.

Republicans care about what the president does.They argue incessantly about what he does for the country, what Congress should do, whether what they have done will be effective. I have never been in a Republican home where there was a picture of the President (of either party) on the wall.



R.I.P. Charles Krauthammer. You Will Be Missed! by The Elephant's Child

A Life well and powerfully lived. Paralyzed from the neck down after a swimming pool accident, Charles Krauthammer became a psychiatrist, and a good one. And he became a columnist and author, and was an outstanding one. Of his own predicament, he said:

“Better to be paralyzed from the neck down
than the neck up.”

—”The Indispensable Man” by Steven Hayward

Charles Krauthammer” by the WSJ Editorial Board

America Lost Its Greatest Political Commentator”by Roger S. Simon

And here are a few of his columns”

Did the State Make You Great”by Charles Krauthammer

“The Bush Legacy” by Charles Krauthammer

“Moving from Left to Right” by Charles Krauthammer

“Trump’s ‘Madman Theory’ Diplomacy” by Charles Krauthammer



Andrew Klavan Explains Hollywood by The Elephant's Child

This video was made last year, but the ideas are perhaps even more relevant today, in the age of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Republicans try to inform people by explaining the laws of economics and the lessons of history, discussing the pros and cons of proposed legislation. They believe that some people are in real need and try to arrange that they can be helped, but for those who are able, they believe that a paycheck is better than a handout.

Democrats, on the other hand, believe in buying votes with handouts and promises of free education and free healthcare. I always remember the young black woman at Obama’s inauguration who was so excited that now she wouldn’t have to worry about paying her bills, because of Obama. Democrats are very good at propaganda. They don’t worry much about economics, but promise to relieve the worries of life with the good things they will vote for. That they seldom work out is just the way things go and never mind.

Of course movies are powerful propaganda. Think about the extent to which people quote lines from a popular movie in ordinary conversation. Why is the news, on any day filled with comments from celebrities in the entertainment industry. They are celebrities because we have seen them in movies or on TV. We recognize them, know their names and are fascinated by gossip about them. Yet do they have any qualifications for assuming that their thoughts and ideas will be of value?

If celebrities were banned from the news, the news would be about real events and real problems, and much, much shorter. Is your view of the world  clearer and better understood because Bill Mayer said he hopes for another recession so we can get rid of Trump? But that is what passes for news today, and people are upset when President Trump says something about “fake news.”



I’m Not Funny! But Neither Are Most of Our Comedians. by The Elephant's Child

We have certainly had a plethora of people persecuted for something they said in this profoundly politically correct period. (after ‘plethora’ I couldn’t resist all the other p-words) People keep losing their jobs or their careers after saying the wrong thing. This is also a very political period. Democrats have chosen to refuse to accept the results of the last election because they don’t like President Trump. They call themselves “the Resistance” and we call them victims of “the Trump Derangement Syndrome.” So it is somewhat understandable that those who identify as “comedians” fail to understand what comedy is all about.

If you have whole groups of people seething with rage, an especially strong insult can provoke cheers and applause, but it may not go down so well with those who are not seething. There are a lot of what you might call under-stories here as well. When you are consumed with hate, however illogical, the normal societal barriers are shoved aside and a presumed “comedienne”can assume that a mock, bloody, severed head of the President of the United States will be funny. Another presumed “comedienne” can think that calling the president’s daughter a vulgar word for spurious reasons will be funny. Kathy Griffin was just wrong. In an era when terrorists are decapitating victims on camera, one should assume that it would not go over well. Her career may be over. Samantha Bee went off on misunderstood fake news —The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today all had to issue formal corrections to their reporting on immigration. They falsely claimed that President Trump had enacted a policy to separate illegal border-crossing parents from their children at the U.S. Mexico border. The New York Times wrote:

Correction: An earlier version of this column mischaracterized the legal status of 1,475 undocumented migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents. Those children were placed in the custody of sponsors screened by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They are no longer in federal custody.

USA Today’s correction read:

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this column mischaracterized the legal status of 1,475 undocumented migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents. Those children were placed in the custody of sponsors screened by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They are no longer in federal custody.

The media also got all confused when someone found a picture of illegal immigrant children in locked cages with their bedding, and that went viral, as they thought they really had something real on Trump — and then the picture turned out to be from the Obama administration, and not Trump’s responsibility at all. So if a comedienne gets all confused and calls the president’s daughter a vulgar word because the comedienne didn’t bother to check her information and just wanted to say something nasty about Ivanka Trump, it’s just an accident, isn’t it?

We seem to have entered a period when the people who are trying to make a go of a career in “comedy” have no real understanding of what comedy is, and what makes something funny.

I am not funny. I have never been funny. I laugh at someone else’s joke and then can’t remember what the punch line was when I try to tell it. Mildly amusing I can sometimes handle, but seldom.

But I do understand some things about comedy. Only the rare comedian can be funny with insults. Don Rickles was so good at it, that people misconstrued his humor. His insults were never designed to hurt, and his audience knew that. You can make a joke about someone’s fondness for Big Macs, done the right way, but you can’t successfully make a joke by calling them a fat pig. Self-deprecating humor can be really funny, Attacks not.

It is hard to be funny. You walk a very narrow line between joke and insult. Don Rickles’ insults were carefully planned to be funny and not insulting. Jack Benny invented a whole character so he could make fun of himself  as stingy and mean. We have all sorts of late night comics who try to be amusing about the news of the day, but they seldom manage it. Roseanne Barr made a racist tweet and had her show cancelled. The insults were unacceptable, and Ms. Barr has a history of mouthing off. But the executives at ABC and Disney decided early in the day to pull the plug on Roseanne. It seemed to be supporting Donald Trump, and that would not do.

Race is one of the under stories. Democrats are extremely dependent on the votes of Blacks and Hispanics, and have been ramping up racial prejudice at every opportunity. How many times have you heard Republicans accused of racial prejudice? And the President and his administration. When they are not being called Nazis, which as the president has moved the US. embassy to Jerusalem and has a Jewish son in law and daughter and their children, gets a little absurd.

Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas and other prominent Blacks are regularly called Uncle Toms simply because they are Republicans. Democrats want to make it clear that they are the party of color and ethnicity because they can’t afford to lose those votes. They get the votes by giving presents — welfare, housing, food stamps, free phones, all the presents that make people dependent on government. It’s always possible to buy votes. And somehow the help to escape dependency never arrives. That, by the way, is why Democrats want sanctuary cities and open borders. New immigrants mostly vote Democrat, or can be bribed to do so. The Border Patrol has kept track of all the illegal immigrants who confess to having voted several times. There are a lot of them.

The comedy focus, of course, is on the rude words. The ones uttered by good Democrats are excusable, and vanish down the memory hole. Joy Reid has a long history of “hateful” blog posts attacking John McCain, praise for Iran’s former president, anti-Semitic comments which were quickly absolved by MSNBC. And so it goes. Would-be comedians need to study up on comedy. They’re missing the point.

Then there’s the matter of “free speech” which is also deeply misunderstood. Free speech does not mean that you can say whatever you want with no consequences. The First Amendment says quite specifically that “Congress shall make no law,”  It is entirely about protecting the individual from acts of Congress. Which is especially interesting in the light of the case in Britain of Tommy Robinson.

Tommy Robinson was a reporter and activist concerned especially with Islamic “grooming gangs” who were raping young girls. He was reporting outside a London courtroom where a trial was going on of just such a gang. He was arrested,  promptly convicted and sent to prison for 15 years because he dared to say out loud things that society did not want mentioned. It was, in the judge’s mind, “racism.” Is that something catching from America’s news which appears prominently in English papers? The judge put a block on anyone mentioning the trial, Islam, Tommy Robinson, or what it was all about. The British are protesting, and they learn about the case from the discussion in our news media and that of other countries in the Anglosphere. Americans are shocked and disbelieving.

Our ideas about free speech, about what’s funny, about what can be public knowledge are all  under attack, and attempted to be changed irrevocably, so that the goals of another political party can triumph as they assume is their due.

Addendum: Kathy Griffin popped up today to defend Samantha Bee, which only proves that the poor thing does not understand what she did. Everyone she knows thinks Trump is a terrible president and a terrible person, Nazi, dictator, etc. There’s nothing wrong with Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump the C word because nobody she knows likes Ivanka Trump either.

Let me spell it out. When someone threatens the life of the President of the United States, the Secret Service descends and they are taken into custody. Your cute little beheading “joke” was a threat and an incitement to have someone do harm to the President. You could be in prison for a significant term. Tommy Robinson has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Britain, for far less.

Fortunately the authorities recognized that you were too dumb to recognize what you had done. Samantha Bee decided that because Ivanka Trump is the daughter of the President, it’s fine to attack her with vulgarity although Ivanka has done nothing whatsoever to deserve such an attack. You both demonstrated a profound lack of understanding what comedy is. That career is probably over, but thanks to President Trump, unemployment is back to the level it was in 2000 and equals the lowest rate ever, set in 1969. You’ll probably be able to find something.



The Left’s Real Vision, Exposed. by The Elephant's Child

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Events in the world continue to astound. Starving, desperate Venezuela is supposedly so pleased with Nicholas Maduro that they have elected him to another term as president dictator, so they can starve longer. In Turkey, Recip Erdogan has apparently decided to be a dictator. And China’s President Xi Jinping also serves as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and the Communist Party has decided to allow him to reign indefinitely, instead of the two terms he originally planned on.

So perhaps it should not be surprising that New York magazine would carry an article titled “America’s Version of Capitalism Is Incompatible With Democracy” by someone named Eric Levitz. You really need to read the whole thing to grasp just where leftist minds are wandering.

American democracy is unwell; on this much, President Trump’s detractors can agree.

But when they turn to the tasks of identifying our republic’s symptoms, naming its illness, and writing a prescription, different factions of “the resistance” produce divergent diagnoses.

One group — comprised of comparative politics scholars, liberal pundits, and NeverTrump conservatives — have their eyes fixed on Donald Trump. They see the moral cowardice of a Republican elite that declined to deny an illiberal demagogue their nomination, or to abandon him in the general election, or to let the investigation into his campaign proceed unimpeded. They observe a president who relentlessly assails the independence of federal law enforcement,veracity of official election results and a conservative base that takes his lies to be self-evident. And, pulsing beneath it all, they discern the rise of a hyperpartisanship that’s leading each party’s elected officials to eviscerate informal constraints on their authority — and each party’s voters, to believe that the other side has no legitimate claim to power.

It’s quite clear that when he writes about ‘capitalism’ and ‘democracy’ he is not writing about anything familiar to us.  Capitalism is to do with corporations which are evil, I won’t even attempt to explain his delusions, you’ll have to read it for yourself. But it becomes clearer just why it often seems like we are speaking different languages. We are.

A reader reminded me of a post from 2014 that seems appropriate, titled “The Ultimate Global Antipoverty Program”

Extreme poverty in the world fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990.  The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world. An 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years.

The World Bank reported on Oct. 9 that the share of the world population living in extreme poverty had fallen to 15% in 2011 from 36% in 1990. Earlier this year, the International Labor Office reported that the number of workers in the world earning less than $1.25 a day has fallen to 375 million 2013 from 811 million in 1991. …

The reduction in world poverty has attracted little attention because it runs against the narrative pushed by those hostile to capitalism. The Michael Moores of the world portray capitalism as a degrading system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet thanks to growth in the developing world, world-wide income inequality—measured across countries and individual people—is falling, not rising, as Branco Milanovic of City University of New York and other researchers have shown.

So what accounts for that? “It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.

Freedom and opportunity make all the difference. Some people just can’t grasp the idea of freedom, they can only see a world that would be better if only they were in charge.



Just What is the Common View of Technology and Artificial Intelligence? by The Elephant's Child

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Headline: “Mark Zuckerberg Warns Elon Musk: More People will Die if We
‘Slow Down Progress’ on AI” from PJ Media.” This made me laugh.  Mr. Zuckerberg is suffering from a bad case of poisonous publicity, and has been doing a vast round of public appearances to show everyone what a very nice chap he really is. I’m sure he is, and he really means well. But his Facebook business was founded on a childlike idea of real people. He began on the assumption that people would really like a platform where people could share thoughts and ideas, news and events with their friends and relatives. Uh huh.

I say “childlike” because any person who has been a part of a family knows that the average family gets along part of the time, and it’s better the greater the distance between you. That seems true for most families that I know. There are big resentments for a slight maybe 20 years ago. Have you read the ordinary ‘comments’ column on any news article? People not only don’t like each other, they are downright vicious and vulgar.

Elon Musk seems to be better at getting government money to finance his experiments than in actually developing the experiments, but then I haven’t the slightest knowledge of engineering, so perhaps it’s always like that. Driverless cars that run people down and crash into other vehicles don’t inspire a lot of confidence. His people tube under Los Angeles may turn out to be the transportation idea of the future, but I lean towards the Wright Brothers who tested out their ideas at Kitty Hawk themselves.

If he has a wonderful idea, he should sell stock to those who expect a huge windfall, but I don’t want to support driverless cars with my taxes. I don’t believe governments should be in the business of supporting untested pipe dreams. We have a lot of Teslas around here in the neighborhood of Microsoft and other high tech companies, so perhaps they are more confident in high tech wonders than us ordinary people.

I’m not convinced that people have any interest in driverless cars either. The people I know like to drive, and like the freedom that a vehicle provides. I think of roads I have driven that have a 200 foot dropoff on one side, and when you go around a corner there might be a deer in the middle of the road. Driverless cars, so far, don’t always recognize a pedestrian, or another vehicle. How are they on deer and mountain goats? Get the problems worked out, test in all kinds of terrain and conditions and perhaps we can talk again.




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