American Elephants


Unity and Diversity, Integration and Segregation, Sense and Utter Complete Nonsense. by The Elephant's Child

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The Obama Administration, in its final months, is on a drive to integrate America. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a new program called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) which requires any locality (think suburbs) that receives any block grant funding — to rezone their neighborhoods based on income and racial prerequisites.

This is based on the 40-year-old Fair Housing Act. What they mean is there are not going to be any more low-income housing projects, all will be integrated into the suburbs. The push is to reduce economic and racial segregation in favor of  “diversity.”

We recognize that a growing body of research supports the benefits of socioeconomic and racial diversity in schools and communities, and that such diversity can help establish access points for opportunity and mobility. We also recognize that children raised in concentrated poverty or in communities segregated by socioeconomic status or race or ethnicity have significantly lower social and economic mobility than those growing up in integrated communities.

HUD, and Departments of Education and Labor will all work together to make local and state education and transportation departments consult the federal government about where they can site schools and public transportation lines, Head Start programs, and community colleges and similar entities in designing new communities and redesigning old ones. The federal government is taking over the American suburb to change it in the name of equality. Small town America will disappear.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has decided that since the rest of the world is polyglot, America should have the same rich culture with lots of different languages and different ethnicities. States are to instruct early childhood students in home languages different than English to help them retain separate cultural richness. “not recognizing children’s cultures and languages as assets” may be hurting them with their schoolwork.

America has long had a process of becoming a citizen that is quite unique. One has to begin to learn English, learn about our history and culture in citizenship classes. volunteer for the military if called upon in a national emergency. Obama has been eliminating those requirements by executive order. He has said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship that they didn’t need to assimilate.

Europe doesn’t have such citizenship policies. To become a German citizen, you have to have German ancestors. But you can see in the news daily that the flood of migrants and terrorists flooding Europe is all going very well. Just a few occasional mass killings and rapes. I don’t know if these migrants ever become citizens. They just live in segregated communities and tear the European nations apart. Here, a proud new American has the same rights and privileges as those whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower or on the Winthrop Fleet.

Meanwhile, back at the universities, Yale students have told the English professors to change the curriculum. “They don’t think it should feature so many English poets who were straight, white, wealthy and male.” The “Major English Poets” sequence, a mandatory two-course commitment for English majors covers Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot. The students believe that the sequence “creates a culture that is hostile to students of color.” Poor saps want the Major English Poets abolished.

When students are made to feel so alienated that they get up and leave the room, or get up and leave the major, something is wrong. The English department loses out when talented students engaged in literary and cultural analysis are driven away from the major. Students who continue on after taking the introductory sequence are ill-prepared to take higher-level courses relating to race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, ability, or even to engage with critical theory or secondary scholarship. We ask that Major English Poets be abolished, and that the pre-1800/1900 requirements be refocused to deliberately include literatures relating to gender, race, sexuality, ableism, and ethnicity.

Parents — you’re wasting your money. Take them home, spank them soundly and send them to bed without any supper.

At DePaul University, the Black Leadership Coalition is infuriated that the college invited Milo Yiannopoulos to visit the College in May. They have a long list of demands that seem to add up to demanding segregation again. There is not enough support for students who are suffering from “microaggressions” and “racial profiling” at the school and there were chalk signs on campus that said “Build the wall” and “Blue Lives Matter!”

If there is a plan or a need for a plan or a rationale for a plan behind all this nonsense, it escapes me. The idea seems to be that inner city residents are seething with envy about wealthier people who live in suburbs, and want to move there, or to be forcibly moved there. And that such changes will fix something or other, and some kind of Improved Outcome will be guaranteed. I doubt it, but then I was an English major.

I don’t expect much from the students. Unfortunately the current crop seems to be unaware that the reason they are in college is because they are young and very stupid, and are there to be educated — not to be pandered to. They are there to be exposed to ideas and writings that are new to them and different from their expectations. The real world is not particularly concerned with gender, race, and sexuality, but with finding a job and putting food on the table and shelter for their families. Ask the folks in Venezuela.



Time Passes, Wars Fade into History, and We Fail to Learn the Lessons we Needed to Learn. by The Elephant's Child

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D-Day was 72 years ago, even the youngest survivors are in their 90s, and soon there will be no one at all who was alive then. And wars fade into history, poorly remembered as the historians try to understand how it all happened and what lessons we learned and what lesson we didn’t learn. Fortunately, after WWII we learned that you can’t just pack up and go home. You have to try to put things back together. Unfortunately, Obama didn’t learn any history.

When wars are over, everyone wants to bring the troops home and forget. We came home and disarmed ourselves after World War I, the “war to end all wars.” In 1933, the Army of the United States was 137,000 men — 16th in size in the world. The French army was five million strong. By Pearl Harbor , December 7, 1941, the U.S.Army was 1,640.000, and with U.S. entry into World War II, the army expanded to 8,300.000 officers and men. About 5,000,000 served overseas. By 1948 the army had declined to 554,000 and was totally unprepared for  the North Korean invasion of the South.

We just observed Memorial Day which is a remnant of the Civil War once called Decoration Day, when the surviving families decorated the graves of those who had died in the war. After 150 years, the Confederate Flag under which the South had fought is suddenly deemed too controversial and offensive to be seen. I lost two uncles on each side of the War Between the States.

It was Higgins Boats which led the D-Day invasion of Europe and the island hopping war in the Pacific. Yet how astounding to see, in Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood, the Normans invading England in 1066 in Higgins boats, and in The Lord of the Rings, it was the Orcs who manned the (admittedly more primitive) Higgins boats. So it is when wars slip into history. We receive our history in Hollywood fashion and the true history disappears forever, and we don’t learn the lessons we needed to learn.



Just Eleven Long Months and The War With Germany Was Over. by The Elephant's Child
Victor Davis Hanson wrote in 2014 in an excellent piece:

Seventy years ago this June 6, the Americans, British, and Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion of Europe since the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 b.c.

About 160,000 troops landed on five Normandy beaches and linked up with airborne troops in a masterly display of planning and courage. Within a month, almost a million Allied troops had landed in France and were heading eastward toward the German border. Within eleven months the war with Germany was over.

Eleven months to reduce the “Thousand Year Reich” to rubble. From the archives:

Berlin After the War, An Archive of Photos, newly Discovered in 2010

 A gallery of 19 photos from  Der Spiegel in 2010, showing the devastation and the small signs of resilience of Berlin in the weeks after the surrender of the city at the end of World War II.  There are hundreds of newly discovered photographs in the archive of a Berlin publishing house that will become a book titled Berlin After the War to be published to mark the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany, on May 9, 1945.

Forgotten for decades, a trove of post-war photographs from 1945 has recently been unearthed. The snapshots illustrate the devastation of the German capital and capture the desperation of the city in the weeks after the end of World War II. They also show glimpses of Berlin’s resilience.

The soldier with the Iron Cross on his chest lies in the middle of the street.  His steel helmet has rolled away.  The Red Army Soldiers are turning him onto his back and cleaning their weapons.  They take no notice of the photographer kneeling to take the picture. He’s already taken dozens of shots today — this time he’s just chosen a corpse for the foreground.

It’s a scene from the final days of the World War II, taken somewhere in the center of Berlin.  For decades this picture , along with thousands of others lay in the archives of a Berlin publishing house.  Unnoticed.  It is only now that the collection has come to light.

The pictures capture a moment in the city that had reached the end of 12 years of dictatorship and a devastating war: Signs of those final battles, of death, destruction and hopelessness — but also of  life growing once again among the ruins.  They are photos that portray a grotesque normalcy, in contrast to the better-known images of heroic liberation and optimistic reconstruction.  They provide documentation of the city”s downfall in the blink of an eye between an end and a beginning.  A Berlin that was just beginning to free itself from its lethargy.

The sampling of the photos is fascinating.  And the book will fill a gap in the history of the War.   For history buffs, I highly recommend Antony Beevor’s The Fall of Berlin 1945.  And from John Keegan’s The Second World War:

On the 26th of April, 464,000 Soviet troops, supported by 12,700 guns, 21,000 rocket-launchers and 1500 tanks, ringed the inner city ready to launch the final assault of the siege. The circumstances of the inhabitants were now frightful.  …Food was running short, so too was water, while the relentless bombardment had interrupted electrical and gas supplies and sewerage; behind the fighting troops, moreover, ranged those of the second echelon, many released prisoners of war with a  bitter personal grievance against Germans of any age or sex, who vented their hatred by rape, loot and murder. …

The cost to the Red Army of its victory in the siege of Berlin had also been terrible.  Between 16 April and 8 May, Zhukov, Konev and Rokossovsky’s fronts had lost 304,887 men killed, wounded and missing, 10 per cent of their strength and the heaviest casualty list suffered by the Red Army in any battle of the war.  …

Peace brought  no rest to the human flotsam of the war, which swirled in hordes between and behind the victorious armies.  Ten million Wehrmacht prisoners, 8 million German refugees, 3 million Balkan fugitives, 2 million Russian prisoners of war, slave and forced labourers by the million — and also the raw material of the ‘displaced person’ tragedy which was to haunt Europe for a decade after the war — washed about the battlefield. … in the Europe to which their soldiers had brought victory, the vanquished and their victims scratched for food and shelter in the ruins the war had wrought.



Remember the Men of D-Day, June 6, 1944 by The Elephant's Child
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Reposted from 2015 ……..…………………………….(click to enlarge)

Major Werner Pluskat in his bunker overlooking Omaha Beach had heard nothing from his superiors. He was cold, tired and exasperated. He felt isolated. He couldn’t understand why there had been no reports from either regimental or division headquarters. …Once more he swung the artillery glasses over to the left, picked up the dark mass of the Cherbourg peninsula and began another slow sweep of the horizon. The same low banks of mist came into view, the same patches of shimmering moonlight, the same restless white flecked sea.Behind him in the bunker his dog Harras, was stretched out asleep. Nearby,  Captain Ludz Wilkening and Lieutenant Fritz Theen were talking quietly. Pluskat joined them. “Still nothing out there,” he told them.” I’m about to give it up. But he walked back to the aperture and stood looking out as the first streaks of light began to lighten the sky. He decided to make another routine sweep.Wearily, he swung the glasses over to the left again. Slowly he tracked across the horizon. He reached the dead center of the bay. The glasses stopped moving. Pluskat tensed, stared hard.Through the scattering thinning mist the horizon was filling with ships — ships of every size and description, ships that casually maneuvered back and forth as though they had been there for hours. There appeared to be thousands of them. Pluskat stared in frozen disbelief, speechless, moved as he had never been before in his life. At that moment the world of the good soldier Pluskat began falling apart. He says that in those first few moments he knew, calmly and surely, that “this was the end for Germany.”      Cornelius Ryan: The Longest Day


The Decline and Fall of Socialist Venezuela by The Elephant's Child

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( A food line in San Cristobal, Venezuela)

Bernie Sanders is out in the hustings talking about banning fracking, the new way of producing oil and natural gas that has brought down the cost to consumers so dramatically. In Venezuela, the price of oil, Venezuela’s only significant export, has plummeted which means that government income will probably be down by around 40 percent this year. A disaster for this socialist paradise.

The government’s massive borrowing—a legacy of the days when oil prices were far higher, is blamed, but specifically, the lingering death of a beautiful country can be blamed directly on socialism. You will notice that the reporting on the decline and death throes of Venezuela seldom contains any mention of socialism. It is undoubtedly not on the list of approved talking points. They’re having trouble repaying their foreign debt. On top of that there has been a drought, which has meant trouble for the country’s hydropower generation, which in turn has meant that  power is only available part of the time. It’s back to candles if you have any.

The Manhattan Contrarian has been checking left-wing websites: the Huffington Post has a post titled “Why Venezuela is on the Verge of Actual Collapse” on May 20. Five reasons are given: 1. Murder—lots of murder; 2. Low oil prices—not always a good thing;  3. Plummeting economy; 4, Scarcity of essential goods; 5. Widespread corruption.

I particularly like reasons 3 and 4. The economy is collapsing because the economy is collapsing! Why hadn’t we figured that our on our own?

Socialism is unmentioned, though anybody with any knowledge of history has a long list of collapsing economies due to Socialism. It’s what economies that turn to socialism do. I guess you can’t run around badmouthing socialist systems when your presidential candidates seem to think it’s the answer to something or other.

It is, of course, the answer to government control of everyone. Every Progressive has dreams of becoming Ceasar Chavez, or Fidel Castro, or Pol Pot — becoming fabulously rich and being in charge of everything.

Zero Hedge talked to Fernando Aquirre who recorded the hyperinflation in Argentina in 2001, and has followed the story of other collapsing economies.

The greatest points to keep in mind is overwhelming corruption. People get lost on what exactly went wrong in Argentina, in Venezuela, or what’s happening right now in Brazil. What they all have in common is that the people in charge had no real interest in doing things right; they really didn’t care about destroying the country. They just cared about filling their pockets as much as possible.

Think of Venezuela this way: you have a country where water is more expensive than gasoline. What sense does that make? I mean, you had Hugo Chavez walking down the street pointing with his finger saying “Nationalize this. Nationalize that”. And when he was saying “nationalize”, he was saying “Steal this“. He didn’t have any great plans or political grandeur going on in his mind. He just wanted to steal as much as he could.

I know for a fact that they’re slaughtering one another in the streets right now in Venezuela. For at least three years it’s been a case of out-of-control crime and corruption over there. It’s not getting better any time soon unless something changes on a deeper level.

It’s not just that there’s no toilet paper. There’s no medicine, and those dependent on medicines are dying. The middle class person who still has a good job would need two years of wages to pay for a single plane ticket out. Aguirre said that if he was in Venezuela right now he would leave on foot, any way he could. And we have college students who think socialism is a great idea, and ‘feel the bern’ for Bernie.

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Here’s economist Thomas Sowell with “Socialism for the Uninformed

And law professor Glenn Reynolds: “Don’t Be a Sucker for Socialism



“Why is the World So Dangerous?” by The Elephant's Child

“Herbert  E. Meyer (Herb) served as vice chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council under President Reagan. He was one of the few people in the 1980’s to perceive that the U.S. and its allies might have turned the corner and were on the way to winning the Cold War.”

You may not have noticed, but the media seldom talks about facts. It’s almost all opinion. Herb Meyer talks facts, and gives you the evidence on which the facts are based.  That original paper: “Why Is The World So Dangerous?” from 1983 has long since been declassified, and is available to be downloaded here. Most of his speeches are different versions of “Why is the World So Dangerous”— because that’s what we need to hear. This one was delivered to the Northwest Business Club on March 9th this year. He gives us his version of history, and explains what we need to know to cope. The address is a little over an hour and worth every minute, so try for some time this weekend. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll think a little differently about the world today. He is a great speaker, funny, charming, and utterly fascinating.

ADDENDUM: If you go to You Tube, there are lots of Herb Meyer’s speeches, many with the same name. I picked this one as one of the most recent. and they are similar because Mr. Meyer has to put you in the right historical frame of mind to grasp the changing nature of the trends. His basic argument does not change, because, well, he’s clearly right, and a little repetition merely reinforces the point.



Who Would Have Ever Dreamed that American College Students Would Have So Little Understanding of Freedom? by The Elephant's Child

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They have noticed that their climate change propaganda has not been as effective as it used to be, that countries are backing away from their subsidies for wind and solar energy, or perhaps it’s that the Paris Accords didn’t transfer enough wealth to the have-nots. In any case, the effort to prosecute climate skeptics for “denying” the urgency of battling climate change is not going as well as it was.

The letter that 20 professors fired off urging President Obama to investigate climate skeptics for suspected violation of the RICO laws for denying that climate change is an earth-shaking problem, has been described as a “big mistake.”

The professors have hired Climate Nexus, a PR firm that specializes in global warming publicity and spin, and they’ve gone into full damage control mode. Activists have been urged to emphasize the role of fossil fuel companies instead. More people are susceptible to the idea that fossil fuel companies are somehow evil. Besides they’re big and rich.  The American people just don’t rank climate change among their most urgent issues. It usually ranks at the bottom of their concerns.

The California Senate failed to take up a landmark bill arguing for the prosecution of climate change dissent. It would have “authorized prosecutors to sue fossil fuel companies, think tanks and others that have ‘deceived or misled the public on the risks of climate change.'”

This bill explicitly authorizes district attorneys and the Attorney General to pursue UCL claims alleging that a business or organization has directly or indirectly engaged in unfair competition with respect to scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change,” said the state Senate Rules Committee’s floor analysis of the bill.

The big deal here is not the argument about whether or not climate change is a major threat. The big deal is the push by the Left to silence anyone who disagrees with them. Freedom of speech is under attack across the globe, which simply emphasizes how far to the left the Left has moved.

The President of the unelected executive arm of the European Union has stated that he will block all “right-wing populists” from power across the continent. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission promised to exclude Norbert Hofer, the leader of Austria’s Freedom Party from all EU decision-making if elected ahead of yesterday’s presidential vote. Across the continent there has been a surge to the right, and the decidedly undemocratic Commission could be in for a battle if they attempt to exclude every elected government that they choose to call “far right.

On college and university campuses across the country, the effort of student activism has been to silence dissent, eliminate any trace of free speech, and forbid anyone from saying anything whatsoever that might offend sensitive feelings. Surely all of this denial of the most basic speech rights protected in America by our Constitution is not a mere coincidence. Who would ever have dreamed that our college students would know so little about American history, the U.S. Constitution and how it came about, or the importance of free speech in keeping a people free. Or, as far as that goes, why there is any particular value in freedom anyway.




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