American Elephants


Symbols Matter. Understanding What the Symbols Mean Matters Even More. by The Elephant's Child
June 28, 2015, 7:48 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Law, The United States | Tags: , ,

From the Archives, May, 2009

justice

Lady Justice is the symbol of the judiciary. She carries three symbols of the rule of law: a sword symbolizing the court’s coercive power, scales representing the weighing of competing claims, and a blindfold indicating impartiality. This particular representation says:

Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civilized society. It ever has been, ever will be pursued until it be obtained or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.

The judicial oath required of every federal judge and justice says “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I…will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me… under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.

President Obama has a record of statements on justice. In September 2005, on the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, Obama said:

What matters on the Supreme Court is those 5 percent of cases that are truly difficult. In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.

During a July 17, 2007 appearance at a Planned Parenthood conference:

We need somebody who’s got the heart to recognize — the empathy to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.

During a Democratic primary debate on November 25, 2007, Obama was asked whether he would insist that any nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court supported abortion rights for women:

I would not appoint someone who doesn’t believe in the right to privacy…I taught constitutional law for 10 years, and when you look at what makes a great Supreme Court justice, it’s not just the particular issue and how they ruled. But it’s their conception of the court. And part of the role of the court is that it is going to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process, the outsider, the minority, those who are vulnerable, those who don’t have a lot of clout.

During a May 1, 2009 press briefing:

Now the process of selecting someone to replace Justice Souter is among my most serious responsibilities as president, so I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity. I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives, whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes. I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time.

“Empathy” is the word that has caused so much concern. For empathy has no place in jurisprudence. Federal judges swear an oath to administer justice without respect to persons. If they are to feel more partial to the “young teenage mom,” the “disabled,” the “African-American,” the “gay,” the “old,” then they are not and cannot be impartial, and the rule of law counts for nothing. The “depth and breadth of one’s empathy” is exactly what the judicial oath insists that judges renounce. That impartiality is what guarantees equal protection under the law.

That is what the blindfold is all about.



Free Speech and the Courage to Dissent by The Elephant's Child

Steven Pinker is a Harvard  psychology professor and bestselling author. Dissent plays a crucial role in keeping society sane. We have pluralistic influence making society crazy. It’s not what people actually think, it’s what they believe everyone else thinks too. Here he talks about Taboos, Political Correctness, and Dissent. Few are willing to be the little boy who stands up and says that the King is naked, and that’s the problem.



When the Crazies are Demanding Censorship, Jonathan Rauch Speaks Out for Free Speech by The Elephant's Child

Most of the idiocy about anything Confederate, anything critical of gay marriage, unisex bathrooms, comes from the Universities. When the Humanities have turned to Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Diversity and microaggressions and triggering, and for the most part dumped Shakespeare as another dead white male, it’s getting really weird out there. Apple has dumped all their military games that include the Civil War, Amazon. Walmart, eBay and Sears have all dropped any reproduction of the battle flag like a hot potato. University buildings must be renamed, statues and memorials are being defaced.

Book-burning comes next. They have already announced that Gone With the Wind must go, but that’s probably the only Civil War book they know, clearly they haven’t read any history. When the current hysteria dies down, we need to speak out, as Jonathan Rauch has long done, and is doing now in recognition of its importance.

The gift shop at the Gettysburg memorial has just eliminated the Confederate Battle Flag from their merchandise. Apparently we were fooled all along, it was just a maneuver where the Yankees fought Yankees, for what reason I don’t know.



There are Always Consequences, You Just Have to Learn to Recognize Them. by The Elephant's Child
June 26, 2015, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: ,

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The Supreme Court has declared the Constitution meaningless, or at least the separation of powers. They are busy making law from the bench, which is not their function. Their job is to decide if a law in question agrees with the Constitution, not make up new and different emanations. In Australia, Canada and Britain, you can go to prison for expressing objectionable speech. Think about that.

The Left has long been at war with free speech. They often have really bad ideas, but they don’t like to be disagreed with, and they really and truly want you prevented from so doing. Hillary has said that when she becomes president, she will have a litmus test for Supreme Court candidates. They have to promise to repeal the Court’s Citizens United decision. Well, of course she would, it was a campaign piece critical of Hillary, but it was about free speech.

The Court has firmly said that corporate money spent on a campaign according to the election laws is free speech. The McCain-Finegold law  that limited spending on political advocacy by corporations and unions was unconstitutional. Lively political debate is supposed to benefit everyone. The Left was sure that Union spending was fine, but not corporate money. It all depends on whose Ox is getting gored.

Our Universities have become hotbeds of liberal thought, and they are teaching the current generation of students that they are little snowflakes who must not be offended. This falls under the “inside every liberal is a tyrant trying to get out” department. Nobody likes to be insulted or enjoys being offended, but suck it up kids.

Tyranny is a lot worse than merely being offended. Eventually that gets around to disposing of those who disagree. Today, it is the attempt to rename any campus buildings that were named for anyone who was a racist, that designation to be supplied by the “offended” kids. Be very careful what you wish for.

That said, the professors and administrators who allow and encourage such things as “microaggressions” and “triggering” should be fired.  You are not engaging in critical thinking (supposedly a goal of higher ed) but destroying clear thought. “Life is hard” our parents or grandparents tried to explain to us. Life gets a lot harder if you cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, or reality and fantasy.



We are not their subjects. They work for us. by The Elephant's Child

A House Republican has introduced the SCOTUSScare Act which would make all nine justices and their employees join the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare law exchanges. It would only allow the federal government to provide healthcare through the exchanges.

Not going to go anywhere, but the policy of not applying laws inflicted on the rest of society, but not our representatives in the federal government, is problematic. Our elected representatives, including the president and all his appointees work for us. We are not their subjects. Ours is a government “of the people and by the people,” and when  you vote — keep that in mind.

Hillary’s refusal to answer questions, and rude telling one of the people to “just go to the end of the line” should give you pause.

Any law passed by Congress and signed by the president should apply equally to those in the government.



About the Racism Inherent in the Stars and Bars of the Confederate Battle Flag. by The Elephant's Child
June 24, 2015, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, Media Bias, The United States | Tags: , , ,

After the dreadful racist murders of nine black members of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, some member of the media called attention to the Confederate battle flag on the South Carolina Capitol grounds, and the media was off and running. Unable to adequately express their dismay, which I assume — they went for the flag.

The flag did not fly over the capitol, but over the Confederate memorial on the Capitol grounds. The conversation quickly moved from the nine murdered church members to the flag as a ‘symbol of racism.’ Governor Nikki Haley promptly said they would take down the flag to end any offense from its presence. It had been placed over the Confederate memorial by a Democrat governor and a Democrat legislature at the time of the Civil War Centennial and would take a 2/3 vote of the legislature to remove.

That wasn’t enough for some members of the media, who began advocating for the removal of Confederate flags everywhere. Retailers said they would no longer sell the flag. Then they went for the statues of Confederate heroes.  Monuments were defaced, names of streets and towns named after Confederate heroes should be changed, and some nitwit from CNN even suggested that the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. should be torn down because Jefferson owned slaves.  Congratulations! You have managed to match the tactics of ISIS and the Taliban.

The Civil War is over. The South lost and surrendered unconditionally. History is a record of the past, things that actually happened. The Civil War, (The War Between the States), was a dreadful war, the most deadly ( 620,000 dead) in our history. It was a war over the Union and the South’s right to secede. It was a war over the institution of slavery — but to the South it was a war over their entire economy which depended on producing cotton for English textile mills. Sixty percent of American exports at the time were cotton for the mills of Britain — and some 440,000 workers in Britain were employed in the textile industry.

Slavery was a great evil, but it was the norm all over the world, and most people just accepted it as the way things were. The British killed the slave trade between Africa and the new world, and we followed suit. It is estimated that about 88 percent of the transatlantic slave trade went to the sugar islands and South America, and only about 12 percent came to America (per Wikipedia) Am I apologizing for slavery? Certainly not. It has taken a long time to get over the Civil War, a long time for the Southern economy to recover. and a long time for blacks to become full and valued participants in every segment of society. It’s all just a lot more complicated than those who are squawking about the symbolic racism inherent in any display of the Stars and Bars. Read some history. Please!



For Good Health Eat Chocolate? What Lovely Advice. by The Elephant's Child
June 17, 2015, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Health Care, Humor | Tags: , , ,

150615191518_1_540x360(photo credit: © larisabozhikova / Fotolia)

I take it all back. This changes everything. “Eating 100 grams of chocolate daily linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk.”

Eating up to 100 g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk. The calculations showed that compared with those who ate no chocolate higher intake was linked to an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25% lower risk of associated death.

They base their findings on almost 21,000 adults taking part in the EPIC-Norfolk study, which is tracking the impact of diet on the long term health of 25,000 men and women in Norfolk, England, using food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires. …

The EPIC-Norfolk participants (9214 men and 11 737 women) were monitored for an average of almost 12 years, during which time 3013 (14%) people experienced either an episode of fatal or non-fatal coronary heart disease or stroke.

Around one in five (20%) participants said they did not eat any chocolate, but among the others, daily consumption averaged 7 g, with some eating up to 100 g.

This sounds like Edward Archer’s ‘ poor way of doing science,’ that is asking people in the study to remember what they ate. But but hey, it’s chocolate! Maybe this study is right. Wouldn’t hurt. How much is 100 grams?




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