American Elephants


Assigned Reading by The Elephant's Child

The new American history by Wilfred M. McClay has had excellent reviews and I’m giving it as Christmas gifts, but I haven’t read it yet.

Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story

Another I like is John Steele Gordon’s

An Empire of Wealth:
The Epic History of American Economic Power

Essential:
The Black Book of Communism
Crimes, Terror, Repression

Communism
A History
By Richard Pipes

The Black Book is huge, over 700 pages, Richard Pipes book is small at 160 pages, but dense. Read both.

It’s clearly time to know a lot more about China than we do. The unknown story of:

MAO
by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

Two from Bernard Lewis:

The Middle East:
A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years

What Went Wrong
The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East

And I like this:
Voices of 1776
The Story of the American Revolution in the Words
of Those Who Were There
by Richard Wheeler

And let me add:
1491
New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
By Charles C. Mann



Jack Dorsey Has Banned Political Advertising From Twitter by The Elephant's Child

What precisely is “hate speech”? Everybody talks about it, but it seems to boil down to — speech you don’t like. It is mentioned all the time, but what makes it hateful? We have had a fairly new entrant in the judging speech area in the popular name of Twitter. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter has announced that he is going to ban all political ads from the platform. This follows a long discussion about political ads in general and the Twitter workforce apparently wanting to ban all Republican ads. Law and Liberty.org made fairly short work of that.

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, is basking in accolades for his decision to ban all political ads from his platform. That is Twitter’s call to make, but if Dorsey is going to wrap himself in a populist defense of the common man’s voice, he might conjure a justification whose posture toward that man is less condescending.

Dorsey argued that the reach of political messages “should be earned, not bought.” To what extent anything on Twitter is “earned” through 280 characters of substantive, nuanced political conversation is questionable. Shallow outrage is likelier to “earn” retweets, which is not to say that Twitter—which can encourage concision, a precondition of wit—does not have its place. Regardless, Dorsey’s claim is the populist celebration of social media: Anyone can speak and, with a sufficiently compelling message, reach a limitless audience.

Yet Dorsey’s reason for pulling political ads is that the same everyday people whose voices deserve projection are so easily duped by readily disprovable claims that they must be protected from seeing them in the first place. A people that cannot exercise sufficient discernment to separate propaganda from information has no business governing itself. Why a people Dorsey so characterizes is qualified to participate in his call for “more forward-looking political ad regulation,” which he acknowledges is “very difficult” but which is actually very unconstitutional, is unclear.

The United States of America was founded on the idea of freedom of speech, but the current generation is a little short in the history department, and doesn’t seem to understand the meaning. What Dorsey means by his statement that “political messages should be earned, not bought” is another mystery. How do we have free speech while calling much of the conversation out there “hate speech?” Does calling the winner of the last election and the people who voted for him “Deplorables” count as “hate speech”or do you have to add in her conclusion that God had picked her out to be the president of the United States? Or just the names she called those who voted for the other side?

Free Speech is hard to understand. You are free to disagree, but you don’t get to demand that you not be allowed to say your piece. You are, of course, responsible for what you say, but you don’t get to be banned.

“There is no such thing as government regulated free speech.”

That’s from Barry Brownstein writing at FEE. “Without Free Speech, All Speech Becomes Government Speech.

When I viewed this video, I wondered if it was a hoax. I thought it must be a group of actors trying to make a point about how far restrictions on speech have gone. Unfortunately, the video captures reality in Scotland in 2019.

The video picks up an exchange between a Scottish high school teacher and a student. The class was asked to sign up for a website, and according to the student, the teacher commented on how old fashioned the website was for listing only two sexes. The student, Murray, remarked, “But sir there’s only two genders,” and the teacher insisted they continue the discussion outside the classroom.

Much of the problem is located in our schools, and though this example took place in Scotland, you probably could have found the same conversation on any one of a good many American campuses.

There is a clear reason why the very first Amendment to the Constitution says Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…Too bad the folks in Silicon Valley don’t seem to get it. Or understand why it is needed.



Now We Have to Offer “Refuge” To Those Displaced By a Changing Climate! by The Elephant's Child

From Breitbart:

Democrat legislators have drafted a bill to import at least 50,000 “climate refugees” per year despite the damaging impact on Americans’ wages and rents.

“America will continue to stand tall as a safe haven for immigrants,” declared Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), who was born in Puerto Rico and chairs the House Committee on Small Business. She said:

Despite this Administration’s efforts to strip the world’s most vulnerable populations of refuge … this legislation will not only reaffirm our nation’s longstanding role as a home to those fleeing conflict and disasters, but it will also update it to reflect changes to our world brought on by a changing climate.

The bill is titled the “Climate Displaced Persons Act,” and it offers green cards to “climate-displaced persons … [who] are individuals who have been forcibly displaced by climate change or climate-induced disruptions, such as sea-level rise, glacial outburst floods, desertification or fires … there could be as many as 200 million CDPs by 2050 globally,” said a statement from Velázquez‘s office.

Doesn’t anybody on the Left side of the aisle do their homework? Study up, so they know what they are talking about? There are certainly those who have been displaced and lost everything because of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Japan has just suffered under a massive earthquake and a typhoon. But these are not climate related events. If your house is built on a known earthquake fault, you might think about moving. Hurricanes are not climate related

This is supposed to be a “humanitarian”program separate from the U.S. refugee admissions program. It would admit a minimum of 50,000 Climate Displaced Persons (CDP) beginning in 2020. The President would be granted authority to “promote resilience among communities facing the impacts of climate change, The Secretary of State must devise a Global Climate Resilience position responsible for all federal efforts to address the effects of events caused by climate change.

There are no “Climate Refugees”. The climate has been changing for millions of years. It has been warmer in the past, and it has been cooler in the past, much warmer and cooler than it is today.

The United States first responsibility is to its citizens, not to those who think they might like it better here. If you want to come to America, go to your nearest consulate and apply, and wait your turn. If you need to fix up your country, figure out what is wrong and enlist others to help fix it. America currently has the finest economy the world has ever known. You might think that some of the discontented might try to find out just what Capitalism is, and why it works, instead of plotting to destroy Capitalism so they can have the kind of economy extolled by the worst mass murderers in the history of the world.



The Unrecognized Perils of Running For the Presidency by The Elephant's Child

You have probably noticed that people who have run unsuccessfully for the presidency of the United States don’t fade quietly away after their unsuccessful run. Immediate example is, of course, Hillary. She seems to have convinced herself that she actually won the election, and through some nefarious trickery, the horrid Trump got the nod, but he didn’t actually win. Everybody cheated, including the now famous “Deplorables.”

Hillary is not alone. Mitt Romney is now in the news for his secret Twitter account where he is accused of being a Twitter ‘Lurker’ under the name “Pierre Delecto” for keeping up with the news. I think if you have seriously competed and lost, you are bound to look at each new event with the consideration of how you would have handled it and what you would have done, and how much better your ideas are. Human nature. I think it extends to those who dropped out early as well.

Every act of a new president will be put under a magnifying device, and certainly Donald Trump has had more nay-sayers than most. Past presidents will feel they have the authority to chime in, and of course present events may suggest the correctness (or not) of their actions in office. Lots of people are suggesting that Hillary may jump in at the last minute.  We’ll see. Wouldn’t take much to convince her that she should.



What is a Fact? Who Says So? Do We Need Fact Checkers? Who Checks Them? by The Elephant's Child

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We seem to be living in a world where nothing is quite the same as it is supposed to be. Ulterior motives, political beliefs, political goals, our view of the world, our understanding of right and wrong, good and evil, true and false. Our news media is failing in its assigned task of informing the public about what is going on, to such an extent that the President of the United States is reduced to calling them “fake news”, and unfortunately, he is correct. They speak and write from a partisan viewpoint.

Susan Crockford is a zoologist who is the world’s greatest expert on polar bears. I posted her State of the Polar Bear Report for 2017 in March last year. Now we find that this accomplished scientist has been stripped of her Adjunct  Professor role by Canada’s  University of Victoria. The problem?
She promotes facts and doesn’t go along with climate activism. When the matter was last considered, the committee voted unanimously in her favour. What changed? Talks she was invited to give to schools in which she probably assured the kids that “the polar bears were just fine and thriving“ generated concern among parents regarding balance.” That concern was “shared with various levels of the university,” according to an April 2017 e-mail from Ann Stahl, then chair of the Anthropology Department.

These vague accusations, leveled by an unknown number of unknown individuals who may or may not have been garden variety climate activists, were first used to expel Crockford from the UVic Speakers Bureau. They then became the impetus to expel her from the UVic academic community altogether. Climate activists come in several guises. Some have become convinced that the climate crisis is a real thing, and we have to do something or the earth is going to end in just a few short years. That’s Greta Thunberg, 16 year-old from Sweden, who just missed getting a Nobel Peace Prize, because someone who actually did something about world peace received it instead.

On the other hand, you have Christiana Figueres, who was
executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change who admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity—but to destroy capitalism. She said, in early February 2015 in Brussels:

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that she was entering the 2020 presidential race, during a snowstorm, because it is a known fact that “climate change is happening.” Well yes, dumb statement. The climate has been changing for millions of years, that does not make it an emergency.

The “Justice Democrats” announced the “Green New Deal” back in March. It is an ignorant pack of lies which some people having not done their homework of studying up, belieeeeved. And it’s still going on. Jane Fonda, as always on the wrong side of an issue, got herself arrested in a DC Climate Protest, claiming that she had been a “climate scientist” for years. Elizabeth Warren is calling for “environmental justice” a transition to the clean energy outlined in the “Green New Deal”. No, the Green New Deal will not provide millions of new jobs, and eliminating fossil fuels would put the economy into an enormous recession. Just do your homework and study up. Find out who are our most respected climate scientists and listen to them.

ADDENDUM: Don’t miss what actually happened here. World’s expert on polar bears visits a school, tells the kids that the polar bears are just fine and multiplying and thriving. Kids go home, tell parents that polar bears are just fine, and mommies get all upset because it doesn’t jibe with their own panic about a dying earth, complain to the university, which fires famous scientist. 2019: Planet Earth.



Here’s a New, Powerful Democrat Campaign Ad by The Elephant's Child

Very powerful. Be afraid, very afraid!



I Went Missing: Here’s Why by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about that! Microsoft decided to add a formal update, and it did not go well. Needed things disappeared, unneeded things were added, nothing worked, and it took a full day to just become functional again. Beyond my level of expertise. Didn’t miss much.

Democrats remain certifiably crazy in their search for something with which to impeach the bad orange man. They were quite sure that anything and everything he did would be extremely bad, but the economy seems to be booming, wages are up significantly. Unemployment is at record lows. They were sure they really had him when when he took the troops out of Syria, and left the Kurds unprotected, but the President reminded Turkey’s dictator Erdogan that Turkey was being left alone without a single ally in the Middle East, and the Middle East is not a calm settled area of peace and tranquility, and Turkey may have gotten the message. We’ll see.

I remain deeply unimpressed with the lineup of Democrat candidates yearning to be president. Bernie Sanders had the burden of advanced age right off the bat, wondering when advanced age becomes too advanced, but adding a heart attack probably eliminates him. Elizabeth Warren has moved into the lead, but she misses a central fact about Americans. The freedom we celebrate makes it possible for anyone with a great idea to become rich. And Americans are doing so all the time. Elizabeth Warren seems to believe that no one should be allowed to become rich, and she will promptly take away their money to give to those who need it more. Can’t come up with a more un-American idea than that. Democrats want to buy your vote. Conservatives want to preserve the ability to become rich – because you have a good idea.

Democrats aren’t impressed with their own array of candidates. They keep pushing some other choice — Michelle Obama, Hillary again. Even Chelsea. Hillary may yet jump in. She remains obsessed with being the first woman president.




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