American Elephants


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.



A Little Humor Can Punish or Deflate. A Good Sense of Humor is a Blessing. by The Elephant's Child

After President Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, the Washington Post quickly came up with an unfortunate obituary. The Post’s headline for its obituary, apparently the second attempt was: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48. The Post is pretty political, but who would have believed they could come up with this gem? It has produced mockery across the internet. (They apparently had it better in the first place with “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-‘Chief”) Everybody that writes is out there re-writing obituaries for all the great villains of history.

David Burge: (Iowa Hawk) “Adolph Hitler, Austrian vegan activist and landscape painter dies at 56.

John Noonan: “Osama Bin Laden, spiritual leader and architect of lower Manhattan urban revitalization projects, dead at 54.”

Levi Gilbian: “Jeffrey Dahmer, amateur chef with a flair for exotic cuisine, dies at 34.

Stung by the mockery, the Washington Post switched its obituary headline to a third version. “Abu Bakr Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State dies at 48” But then they go on to describe his background:

From his teens, he was fascinated with Islamic history and the intricacies of Islamic law. Acquaintances would remember him as a shy, nearsighted youth who liked soccer but preferred to spend his free time at the local mosque.

“He always had religious or other books attached on the back of his bike,” Tariq Hameed, an acquaintance from the same lower-middle-class neighborhood, told a Newsweek interviewer in 2014. The young Ibrahim disdained the Western clothes popular with Sammara young men, preferring the traditional prayer cap, beard and white dishdasha robe of the religiously devout, neighbors said.
He graduated from the University of Baghdad in 1996 and received a master’s degree in Koranic recitation from the Saddam University for Islamic Studies in 1999. Immersing himself in the arcane world of 7th-century religious codes, he grew increasingly conservative. Acquaintances remembered how the college-age Mr. Baghdadi took offense at the sight of men and women dancing in the same room during wedding celebrations.

Power Line noted that at approximately the same time when special forces were killing al-Baghdadi, Saturday Night Live was airing a sketch claiming that President Trump has been a boon to ISIS.

Sounds like most everybody got the mocking they deserved.



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.



Trump? Expect A Second Great Depression ! by The Elephant's Child

Democrats learn with their mother’s milk that Republicans are basically quite stupid. If they were not they would be Democrats. Republicans give big tax cuts to the rich, and don’t care about ordinary folks, who may need help. They simply do not care about working people.

“[Donald] Trump’s economy is great for billionaires, not for working people,” Sanders likes to say. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grouses that under the Trump agenda, “the rich get richer, and everyone else is stuck paying the bill.”

Uh-huh. That’s been the standard liberal riff for the last couple of years as they try to explain how a president who they said would create a second Great Depression has created boom times with the lowest inflation and unemployment in half a century.

The facts, which the Left prefers not to take seriously, show something quite different. According to new Census Bureau data on the incomes of America’s middle class, Census Bureau researchers and statisticians at Sentier Research, the middle class has received gigantic income gains under Trump. The median or average-income family has seen a gain of $5,003 since Trump came into office. Median family income is now (August 2019) $65,976, up from about $61,000 when he entered office in January, 2017.

Under George W. Bush, the household income gains were a little over $400 in eight years. Under Barack Obama,  the gains were $1,043. That was in eight years for each former president. Under Trump, in less than three years, the extra income is about three times larger. They were asked to triple check the unexpected numbers, and in each case the income growth was $5,000. The tax cut added an additional $2,500 to a typical family of four’s after-tax incomes, so after taking account of taxes owed, the income of most middle-class families is up closer to $6,000 in the Trump administration. (Yoo Hoo, Nancy Pelosi!)

Democrats were quite sure that under Trump, the economy was going to create a second Great Depression. Instead, we have boom times with the lowest inflation and unemployment in half a century. Dang.



Businesses Beware! You Are Not There to Teach Us How to Think! by The Elephant's Child

One of the most disturbing trends at present it the urge to be “woke”— currently defined as “alert to injustice in society, especially racism. “we need to stay angry, and stay woke”, or “I was sleeping, but now I’m woke.” from a dialect called AAVE. The Urban Dictionary defines it as “a person who pretends to be of greater intelligence than he or she in fact is.”

From the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse: “How Woke Capitalism Corrupts Business”

One of the more disturbing trends to emerge throughout the business world is “woke capitalism.” Whether it is Nike recalling Betsy Ross flag-emblazoned shoes because it was counseled by activist advisors that the flag represents slavery, or almost 200 CEOs of major firms signing a full-page New York Times advertisement describing laws restricting abortion as “bad for business,” corporate America is rapidly aligning itself with progressive causes.

The reasons for this are manifold. Those active in commerce or who teach in business schools inhabit the same sentimental humanitarian milieu as the rest of us. There’s no reason why they should be less susceptible to this culture than anyone else. No one should be surprised that many business leaders consequently believe that their companies should aggressively promote the progressive agenda, ranging from gender ideology to radical curtailments of religious freedom.

For others, it’s just easier to go along to get along. Why risk your Wall Street job by telling the human resources manager that the firm’s commitment to “diversity” doesn’t appear to include a pluralism of political views? In some instances, corporate wokeness is all about placating militant progressives. But if CEOs think that liberals can be appeased, then they don’t know much about the contemporary left.

There is evidence that some businesses are responding to some consumers’ desires that their purchasing choices align with their political stances, as well as to pressures from institutional investors who have embraced liberal causes. But as companies such as Gillette and Dicks Sporting Goods have discovered, that often produces financial losses as a consequence of backlashes from consumers who hold different view.

Well, of course politicizing everything is such a splendid idea. Or rephrased, Progressives understand that herding American entrepreneurs and businesses into the pursuit of liberal concerns is an excellent pursuit. Many business leaders consider it the way of the future. We must critique woke capitalism clearly and strongly, remembering that a business exists to realize the particular economic ends that constitute its common good. They are not there to teach us how to think. Wave your Betsy Ross flag, if you have one. They couldn’t even get that one right. Tell a business when they get out of line, and take your trade elsewhere. Do read the whole thing. This is a trend that must be stamped out!




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