American Elephants


Despite the Best Efforts of the Media, Some Glimmers of Hope! by The Elephant's Child

Small glimmers of progress. The New York Times now admits that Seattle’s CHOP was not the ‘Block party’ they claimed it was. Portland’s Mayor partially defunded the Cops in June and now the bodies are piling up. New York had a mail in Vote, and the results have been Lax deadlines, late ballots, carelessness, missing postmarks.  The Democrats got wiped out in the Louisiana election, and the press is trying to keep it quiet. And a New York City Democrat just called Bill DeBlasio the “Worst Mayor in the History of This Great Country.” Here in Seattle hundreds of ordinary citizens turned out at City Hall to protest and let them know that they liked the police and weren’t happy with City Hall. One has to grasp at those small bits of progress. It all takes time. You mean that if you defund the police crime goes up and people get killed? But,  but…

Another Democrat City Councilman announced that hydroxychloroquine saved his life. I thought that once Trump suggested that it works, it became impossible for anyone to use. .

On the other hand, Bureaucrats at the space agency NASA wanted to show that they were as woke as anyone else, so they are checking out all the names of celestial objects to display their sensitivity. The planetary nebula NGC 3392 which is blowing off outer layers at the end of its life will no longer be called the “Eskimo Nebula”.  and NGC 3568, a pair of spiral galaxies found in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster will no longer be referred to as the “Siamese Twin Galaxy.” Do read that one for a stunning picture of the “Horsehead Galaxy” which doesn’t look much like the head of any horse I’ve known, and I have been pitched off a few.

But what to do about the celestial objects named for women? There’s Portia, one of the moons of Uranus, and Venus, and Pandora. And yes we won’t mention the other obvious problem there. They have already gone way too far with the “sensitivity” bit. and wandered off into absurdity. Don’t get me off on destruction of statues of Columbus again.



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.



Politics Does Not Belong in the Workplace. by The Elephant's Child

Just saw, online, another of those annoying claims that profess to know every public figure’s IQ. They do not. They claim to know the IQ of Presidents going way back, which they do not. The IQ test was not devised until 1904. They’re making it up.

NBC claims that Google has blacklisted Zero Hedge and the Federalist. Google says not so. My immediate response is that the Big Tech companies are too new to the American Business community to grasp that it is unwise for corporations and smaller businesses to publicly profess political leanings.

The other party may well be in control of the government, and be annoyed. Companies of any size have lots of employees, who, despite resident loudmouths, probably vote quite differently. Yes, I know, it’s tempting, if unwise, to assume that everyone thinks the same way as you do, because it’s so obviously the “right way.” Do read the Constitution again, including the Bill of Rights, and remember that the first thing a Socialist government would do is to remove all those silly protections.

Yes, I know that Socialism promises to make everybody equal. That’s bunk. Those who assume that Socialism is a good thing need to look a little closer at socialist governments, beginning with Venezuela and Cuba. Those pushing for Socialism are not pushing for equality, but simply pushing to be in charge.  They want to run things.

Keep politics out of the Workplace, and protect workers’ personal freedom.



Tear Them Down, Civil War Generals and Columbus Too! by The Elephant's Child

https://americanelephant.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/084d4-00066339.jpg

Now we seem to have reached the stage of tearing down statues and destroying monuments, for what purpose is not entirely clear. History has become a bad thing, to be ignored or changed to suit more contemporary minds. Since our schools have been doing a lousy job with history anyway, our people don’t seem to know much history. The center of the current rioting is, of course, the American Civil War, fought between the North and the South, and at the heart of things was slavery. The South lost. The Slaves were freed, and slavery became against the law. So why do they seem to be fighting it all over again 169 years later? Statues of Civil War Generals must be torn down, defaced, destroyed. Places named for Civil War generals need to have their names changed, and Nancy Pelosi wants large numbers of the statues in Statuary Hall (I’ve never been there) removed, although they were put there by the states themselves.

Place names: Fort Bragg, and Fort Benning. Quick, can anybody tell me who is honored with these names of military posts, and cities? Does the name Braxton Bragg ring any bells? Thought not. How about Henry L. Benning? How can these be names that must be removed because of their terrible associations if nobody knows who they are and Forts Bragg and Benning are just names, like Sally or Bill? that serve only to distinguish the bearers from Susan and Sam?

Of course Christopher Columbus has been torn down in the last few days as well. I can guarantee that he had nothing to do with the Civil War, so why? I think it’s the vague thought that he was mean to the native Indians, ignoring the wonders of the Columbian Exchange, and the childhood rhyme “In 14 hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” That latter verse may be what most kids learned about history in grade school.

Victor Davis Hanson took up the same subject in National Review’s Corner: “On Name Changing and Statue Toppling” . The removal of anything Columbus has been going on longer, but I have no idea what they have in mind. The Nation of Columbia, the Columbia River, Columbia University, and several hundred other things come to mind. Take a moment and look up “The Columbian Exchange” if you are unfamiliar with it.

As I have said, and so many other have said, history is the record of what happened. And for that matter a record of the order in which things happened. If tractors and plows had been developed much earlier, the South would have had no need for slaves to produce their cotton crops for British mills. Remember, it was the British that really started the elimination of slavery when they banned the Atlantic slave trade, and set the Royal Navy to work to stop it..

It’s clear that what must change is a little more attention to the curriculum in our schools. They are doing a lousy job with history, and the historical ignorance out there is having a major effect on politics and our understanding of the world. Hillsdale College offers some free online classes in history, especially American history. If we don’t understand where we have been, and how we have progressed and why, we’re going to make a mess of the future.

I don’t believe that tearing down statues, changing the names of military bases, or re-fighting the Civil War, the War Between the States, will improve the lives of our Black citizens in  the slightest. We have created many programs, opened many doors and clearly, more is needed. Charter schools seem to be doing a good job, but I guess it’s teachers’ unions who fight against them. Perhaps the most important example was the young black kid in Columbus Ohio, who was written up recently for walking 3 miles every day to the public library that offered homework help. He has been offered admission to 12 different colleges, including the one he most wants to attend.



History is What Happened in the Past. Unchangeable. by The Elephant's Child

antifa rioters take over Seattle

The Autonomous state of CHAZ on Seattle’s Capitol Hill continues, The folks who actually live in the area are somewhat terrorized, because if someone tries to break into their houses or attacks one of the occupants, they cannot call the police. And the occupants of the new state don’t seem to be the most congenial group.

The Seattle Police Chief, Carmen Best, who is a black woman, has been ordered to leave the East Precinct Police station to the anarchists. Neither our Governor, Jay Inslee, nor the Seattle Mayor, Jennie Durkin, want to be put in a position where they might actually have to do something that might possibly be criticized. Life is just so complicated these days.

History, one might remind, is what happened in the past. You cannot change it. There may be many things you might wish to change, but you can not. You don’t get to rewrite it either. We seem to have arrived at a point where all traces of the Southern side of the Civil War must be obliterated, statues torn down, anything named for a Southern general renamed. Won’t work.

The Civil War remains a major event in American history. The Confederacy lost, but that does not mean that they didn’t have some good generals. The Confederate Flag should not be flown over  statehouses, just the American flag. But it is not necessary to recoil at the sight of the stars and bars. History is what happened. We can  learn from it. You can tear down statues, but those men once lived and did what they, in real life, actually did.

Nancy Pelosi wants to remove something like 13 statues of Southerners from Statuary Hall, which will accomplish nothing. Her Father, Thomas D’Alessandro was mayor of Baltimore, and put up statues to Generals Robert E. Lee and  Stonewall Jackson. This is simply virtue-signaling.

Trying to assert that because you want to tear statues down, you are more completely one with today’s blacks who are angry about the death of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman who held him down with a knee. The death of George Floyd was clearly excessive force, but we don’t know what actions preceded George Floyd’s being taken down and what made the drastic hold necessary. Awful situation, and it has developed into a world wide situation.  And just what will be improved by defunding the police? That they cannot seem to understand what the results of that would be remains a major puzzle.



Other Voices About Race And Policing by The Elephant's Child

Aside from the goofiness on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the discussions about Race and Police are serious and deserve serious thought and discussion.

Heather Mac Donald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research who has written extensively on criminal justice. She has several important books out and here are her comments submitted to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives in response to the Oversight Hearing on Policing Practices. It is truly important to get the views of someone who is an expert in the field and knowledgeable about the criminal justice and policing. Do read the whole thing if you can make the time. You’ll be glad you did.

Here is Columbia University linguist John McWhorter on “How Anti Racism Hurts Black People.”

And PowerLine included this tweet from Doctor Tyrone Wilson:

Dr. Tyrone Wilson @DrTyroneWilson1

In 8 years of residency and attending as a trauma surgeon, I’ve had 67 young black men end up on my operating table from gunshot wounds.

I CAN’T MAKE THIS CLEAR ENOUGH

NONE OF THEM ENDED UP THERE AT THE HANDS OF POLICE OR A WHITE PERSON.

NONE OF THEM….ZERO#BLMisLiberalBS

Serious subjects, and many of us are inclined to respond to emotion rather than taking the time to study up. The death of George Floyd was surely a terrible act. Suggestions that it was intentional are clearly premature, as the autopsy’s suggest , but such an emotional thing to see his death online, that the whole world was troubled.

Black lives of course matter, and more people than many blacks can conceive want them to succeed and prosper.



The Independent State of CHAZ on Capitol Hill by The Elephant's Child

There is today, unsurprisingly, a remarkable amount of conversation in the press about race. The protests have spilled out internationally to England, to the European continent and to Australia and South America, and maybe other locations. Lots of tearing down statues and fiery speeches.

I live in a Seattle suburb, so the construction on an “independent state” which has seceded from the rest of the country, is of particular interest to the press who are always breathtakingly waiting for a happening, and usually have to settle for what some so-called celebrity has to say, and about which nobody cares at all.

Our Governor, Jay Inslee, having extremely unsuccessfully run for the presidency, was surprised to be questioned about the new autonomous state in the largest city in his state. He seemed entirely unaware of its existence, which is a little embarrassing when the press in the rest of the country is more informed than he is.

The Antifa people displaced a bunch of homeless who were occupying the sidewalks in the six block area they had claimed as their state, so they invited them in. But quickly complained when the homeless had eaten all their food, so they had to appeal to their friends on the outside to buy them some food, preferably vegan with meat substitutes. It’s the little details that make this all so fascinating.

There are around 500 people who live in the area, and the city has provided a fire truck in case things get out of hand. They are trying to charge the businesses in their new state rent, (they have to find a way to pay for the food) but that is actually a crime like entrapment or something. Lots of demands, but they have already invaded City Hall, so there’s not much left to invade, and nobody is paying any attention to their demands.



Shelby Steele, Longtime Civil Rights Leader, Says “Blacks Have Never Been Less Oppressed” by The Elephant's Child

Shelby Steele had a long interview with Mark Levin last night. He has long been a champion of black civil rights, was a veteran of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and a bestselling author. He doesn’t think much of the riots and looting that have been dominating the news. Blacks, he says, have never been less oppressed in American society. Blacks, he said flatly, have never faced less oppression, and they simply have to take responsibility for their position at the bottom of any socioeconomic measures.

Steele is a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and an author of many books on race relations. Some are White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, and Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country.

This article about the Mark Levin show, includes a video from the show, and much more of the conversation with Steele. I don’t think that the things that are holding blacks back are things that have to be given to them. Demand Charter Schools, they seem to really work well. Demand that public libraries offer homework help. Wait till after you are married to have babies. It mostly helps to have a father in the home. Public libraries have free storytimes, when a librarian reads to the kids, and they get to discover what wonders can be found in a book. Large numbers of companies are anxious to hire black workers, and not just for the scut work. It enhances their reputations to be welcoming to people of many races.



Going Just a Little Too Far! by The Elephant's Child

The Democrats in the House of Representatives of the United States of America, confronted with “Black Lives Matter” mobs on television, promptly took what action seemed most appropriate to them to retain black voters for the upcoming election. They donned Kente Cloth scarves, especially purchased for the demonstration, and knelt in humble supplication before the mobs they saw on television, and expressed their best intentions. Nancy Pelosi, who has passed her 80th birthday, needed help to get back up, but she was truly sincere in not wanting to lose any black votes.

I had a sort of old idea stuck in my head that one of the reasons we fought a Revolutionary War, was that we were not going to kneel before tyrants like Britain’s King George the Third any more. We were free people and knelt only before our God.

Employees at a number of major corporations have demanded proper obeisance before the Black Lives Matter protests, and even  Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos scolded a customer who suggested that “All Lives Mattered.” HBO has blacklisted “Gone With the Wind”, so if you want to see that old film, you’d better buy a copy. Hattie McDaniels was the first black person to win an Oscar, for that film, and the first racial minority to be nominated.

Oddly enough, riots have broken out in Britain and in Europe as well. Britain, of course, has the whole British Empire to answer for, but some other countries joined in too. I guess the influx of migrants from Africa? Not sure. Maybe rioting just looked like fun and everybody decided to jump in. The British nave been tearing down statues like crazy, particularly of anyone who ever might have been connected with slavery like their South African colony. Tearing down a statue does not change history, just deprives today;s people of an historical representation. Doesn’t really accomplish anything at all.

Human nature is just not all peaches and cream and sunshine. We’re a quarrelsome lot, and we have trouble getting along with our own families, let alone all those other unrelated people. That’s why we learn manners, and think education is useful, and learning history is especially needed. Yes, the Confederate flag should not be flown over statehouses, but the Civil War is long over. The South lost.  I lost two great uncles on each side of the war which meant that I have a lot fewer cousins than I might have had, but I might not have liked them anyway.

There is no magic wand that will make everybody agreeable and kind and helpful. Disbanding the police is perhaps the dumbest idea that anyone has come up with. Chicago just had 18 murders in 24 hours in the most violent day in 60 years. And disbanding the police seems like a good idea?



Everything You Wanted to Know About Covid-19 by The Elephant's Child

As the lockdown fades away into masks or no masks, open society, or partly open, or don’t even think about it, or growing revolt, it becomes ever more confusing. At this late date, Kamala Harris has introduced a resolution that says calling Covid-19 the “China Virus” is “hate speech.” So helpful.

It is important, however, to recognize that Democrats are incapable of “hate speech” because they are nice people. And nevermind that viruses are usually called by their place of origin, to distinguish them from other viruses arising elsewhere. West-Nile virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, for example. The latter you got from ticks if you wandered around in the sagebrush, which I did a lot as a kid. Got lots of ticks, but no spotted fever.

The authorities, whoever they may be, cannot seem to make up their minds about masks. Some say useless and others say mandatory. We are told that you get the virus by being in range when someone with the disease sneezes or coughs, and the virus may linger in the air, or you will get the virus from touching something that someone with the disease has touched, to the mandatory washing your hands thoroughly as you have been taught.

Other than that, all is perfectly clear. The authorities are changing their minds from taking their information from models to adding up actual statistics, but then you have to consider what actions each country took and how they are different and who did what right.

If you want clear information, visit the think-tanks. Hoover.org, AEI.org, Cato.org, Reason.org, Heritage.org. A vast improvement over today’s media, who keep decorating their posts with terms like “blockbuster”,”bombshell”, and other words especially chosen to rouse interest rather than inform.

It appears from the quantity of masks advertised online that everyone has jumped into a new business of selling masks with funny mouths or monster mouths, or well designed to go with your clothing, or just appealing patterns. They are now, I am told, selling tri-kinis. That’s a bikini with a matching mask.  If, as they are now saying, masks are useless, we have another bunch of businesses going broke.

So there you are, wandering in a mysterious changing world where we mostly don’t have a clue.  But then nobody else seems to have a clue either. We are learning that models don’t work. But, for the most part, Americans are fortunately blessed with a great sense of humor. If you can still laugh, we’ll be alright.



Innovation and Inspiration: Matt Ridley and “How Innovation Works” by The Elephant's Child

I wrote that screed below because I was annoyed, and went to the Hoover Institution website to see what they had had to say. Where I promptly ran into an interview with British Journalist Matt Ridley on Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Matt Ridley has a new book out: How Innovation Works and the wide-ranging interview starts there and gets more and more fascinating. It is long, so you need to allow plenty of time, but do make the time if you can. There is so much there! I’m going to have to order the book.  Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works.  Don’t miss it, and set aside time to enjoy the video.



How Do We Decide What is Real and Who to Believe? by The Elephant's Child

Have you ever stopped to think that almost all of which we consider as “the news” is just what someone has said. If they have the qualifications of belonging to a “news” organization, then it is news. But then whatever a “celebrity” says is also apparently considered to be news, although a “celebrity” is merely someone whose name we recognize.

Hollywood people used to hire press agents to make people think that what they said was of note, so that they could eventually become a “celebrity”. Being a “celebrity” meant that they were more apt to get jobs, because more people were apt to be attracted by the recognized name. They don’t need press agents anymore because they have the press itself, who if they can get a quote from someone whose name is recognized, are apt to get that piece published.

Today’s real “news” is that a dam in Michigan broke and flooded everything below, and people had to be evacuated. The rest of it is what somebody said. I find it helpful to understand the difference, because a lot of what somebody said is inaccurate and biased. Twitter now has a new 20 member fact-checking group to weed out any conservatives. The tech people seem a little lacking on the freedom of speech part, and don’t know how to manage it.

So how do we decide where we are going to learn about what is going on in the world around us, who to trust, and what are the guidelines to use?

Fredrich Hayek, the Austrian-American economist and Nobel Laureate, devoted much of his brilliant career to describing how rationalism could never work. How can anything good happen, Hayek asked, if individuals cannot think and act for themselves? Rules preclude initiative. Regimentation precludes evolution. Letting accidents happen, mistakes be made, results in new ideas. Trial and error is the key to all progress. The Soviet system of rules and central planning is doomed to failure. Hayek stated fifty years ago because it kills the human faculty that makes things work.
Philip Howard: The Death of Common Sense

In a liberal society knowledge –not belief– is the rolling critical consensus of a decentralized community of checkers, and nothing else.
Jonathan Rauch, Kindly Inquisitors




%d bloggers like this: