American Elephants


How to Revise History, With Some Cautions by The Elephant's Child


In Charlottesville, Virginia, we had another case of millennials attempting to fix history. Some wanted to tear down a statue, of Robert E. Lee, and others determined to stop them also turned up, to do violence. This incident apparently got all confused with World War II themes (fascism) which the press wants to connect to Donald Trump because they don’t like him and though they are undoubtedly unclear about what “fascism” means, it’s a bad thing.

The effort to eliminate Confederate monuments seems to be because of slavery, which ended in America with the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. There are approximately 700 remaining monuments left in various locations, mostly in the South, but there are around 1500 places or things that commemorate a Southern hero, so good luck with that. I suppose the illusion is that by tearing down statues, they have in some way changed history, but history remains, immutable and unchanged.

The push to begin the purge of Confederate monuments and memorials began after Dylan Roof shot up a historically black church in South Carolina in 2015. At the time, the debate centered around whether or not state governments should house Confederate flags on public property.

The city government of Baltimore, Maryland quietly removed a series of monuments, and Gainesville, Florida also removed a statue of southern soldiers last week. Additionally, officials in Kentucky and North Carolina announced plans to get rid of their own statues.

The Democrat minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, has suggested removing eight Confederate statues from the capitol’s Statuary Hall, but others out there insist that is not enough. We must remove statues of Washington and Jefferson because they were slave owners. If that is the case, it means the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument and bulldozing our Capitol city. Maybe we could just re-name the city so it doesn’t remind anyone of the father of our country. For the historically ignorant, you should perhaps remember that General Washington won the Revolutionary War— the War for Independence. Does that mean we would have to give it back to England? Just how far do these people want to go?

Perhaps a better solution to changing history that you don’t like would be to wait a bit, as some scientists are suggesting that time travel may indeed be possible. Forbes magazine published a story back in April about the scientific possibilities of time travel. The objectives might be • faster so you could go to the future but stay the same age,  •slower so you could get more done in the same amount of time, or • backwards so you could return to a time in the past and alter it, perhaps changing the future or even the present? Most of us would like to go back just briefly to undo something we know we shouldn’t have done.

A note of caution though. The International Criminal Court, located in the Hague, has found Islamist militant Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi liable for more than $3 million dollars in reparations for ordering the destruction of ancient landmarks in Timbuktu, Mali. He was previously sentenced to serve nine years in prison last September after pleading guilty to destroying historic shrines at a world heritage site in 2002. The court said attacks on historic sites “destroy part of humanity’s shared memory and collective consciousness, and render humanity to transmit its values and knowledge to future generations.

Anybody spotted a blue telephone booth? Probably somewhere in London, but who knows?



Bill Whittle With a Little Historical Fact by The Elephant's Child

On Tuesday, President Trump held an impromptu press conference at Trump Tower. When he was asked about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia,he branded the members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and Antifa activists as “criminals and thugs.” The leftist media, promptly went ballistic. AP insisted that the antifas were just “protesting” the white supremacists, which is why they arrived with baseball bats, axe handles, and clubs.

The Associated Press wants the public to believe that Trump’s statements were a disaster:

The president’s comments effectively wiped away the more conventional statement he delivered at the White House one day earlier when he branded members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who take part in violence as “criminals and thugs.”

The president’s retorts Tuesday suggested he had been a reluctant participant in that cleanup effort. During an impromptu press conference in the lobby of his Manhattan skyscraper, he praised his original response to Charlottesville and angrily blamed liberal groups in addition to white supremacists for the violence. Some of those protesting the rally to save a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee were “also very violent,” he said.

The leftist media went on to claim that the brave Antifa members were like the young GIs who invaded Normandy on D-Day to fight fascism. We had a strong hunch that the current herd of leftist reporters were more than a little wanting in their knowledge of history. It’s not just Trump Derangement Syndrome extremism, it’s sheer ignorance.



“DIVERSITY: The Invention of a Concept” by The Elephant's Child

Last night I was looking for the next book in a series I’m re-reading, and noticed another book that has long been on my overloaded bookshelves. It is titled simply “DIVERSITY: The invention of a Concept” by Peter Wood. I had forgotten all about it, though I bought it when it first came out fourteen years ago, read it and enjoyed it, which is why I still have it. Here’s a bit from the jacket flap, and remember this was written in 2003:

In just a few years, diversity has become America’s most visible cultural idea. Corporations alter their recruitment and hiring policies in the name of a diverse workforce. Universities institute new admissions procedures in the name of a diverse student body. Presidents choose their major appointees in the name of a diverse cabinet. And what diversity’s proponents have in mind, Peter Wood argues, is not the dictionary meaning of the word—variety and multiplicity—but a new and often narrow kind of conformity.

Whether as prescribed numerical outcomes or as the celebration of cultural “difference,” diversity, according to Wood, is now a deadening force in American life, a cliché that promotes group stereotypes and undermines any real diversity of ideas and individuals. …

But the current cult of diversity is no laughing matter. Wood shows how the elevation of this concept to the highest social good marks a profound change in our cultural life. Diversity as it is practiced today is anti-individualist and at odds with America’s older ideals of liberty and equality.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai believed himself to be defending diversity and opportunity for women in his company. James Damore was trying to point out that cultural taboos cloud corporate thinking about gender diversity. The Liberty Lawsite compared the Google bubble with the University bubble. At Hoover, Richard Epstein discusses the rigid ideological conformity in Silicon Valley, At American Greatness, Boris Zelkin noted that Sundar Pichai said that what Damore did was “Not OK” and suggested that Pichai could have thrown in a “double plus ungood” for good measure.

Meanwhile down in Charlottesville a very diverse meeting between three dramatically opposed groups— white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Antifa got together with the tools of their trade: baseball bats, bullhorns, flags, costumes and Tiki-torches, to protest the Civil War and any leftover remembrances thereof, did a lot of injury and killed two people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. President Trump pointed out that there is blame on both sides for the deadly violence, while the Associated Press went crazy and insisted that the antifas were just “protesting” the white supremacists. The president said they were all thugs and criminals and incited violence, for which he, though correct, was excoriated by the press.

I recommend Peter Wood’s book. There are used copies for only around $2 at Amazon, or you can pay over $100 — but if a good read would start a significant conversation about the deliberate invention of a concept and how it happened, it might be very helpful indeed.



More in the Lighten-Up Vein: You’re Making Fools of Yourselves, Lefties by The Elephant's Child

Again, the Left is frothing at the mouth, not at the stupid groups looking for an opportunity to do battle of some kind, but at Donald Trump who didn’t condemn them strongly enough, or soon enough, or in the right words, and can we impeach him for that? The Right, exhausted with the wretched excess, finds the Left funny.

People actually on the right side of the political spectrum don’t include white supremacists, nor neo-Nazis, nor anti-Israel violence in their group at all. Never have. History is a little more complicated than that. The Confederate statues that the historical revisionists are trying to tear down were erected during the Woodrow Wilson administration. Wilson was a prejudiced bigot, a Democrat, and praised the KKK from the White House. The attempt to change history by eliminating statues or changing names of buildings or monuments or programs will not change history, but then most people have no idea who or what the statues are, what they represent, nor any idea who the buildings were named for, anyway.The most current idea is to remove the name Lynch, a common surname, from buildings, street names, parks, and any where because once upon a time blacks were lynched. Just how they are going to get everyone in the Lynch family to cooperate is a question. They can check with Loretta.

Our schools should have been teaching some real history and some real constitutional law, and some geography instead of “social” justice— which does not exist. There is no such thing as “social” justice. Justice involves the United States Constitution, the courts, and the laws and regulations passed by our governing entities.

The Democratic Party has adopted the idea of “social” justice in which everyone can be a victim. They will “save” the victims by giving them other people’s money, which will make them dependent on the government, so they will vote for Democrats again and again to keep the other people’s money coming. History, with which they are unfamiliar, shows that sooner or later they run out of other people’s money. Margaret Thatcher famously said that, but that’s a bit of history too.



Why Politics and Business Don’t Mix by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know about boycotts, I don’t think about joining some kind of boycott, nor of mounting the barricades. But if businesses get all political, I can certainly take my business someplace else. That’s basic economics. The market speaks louder, or at least more firmly than any soapbox.

Starbucks had five straight quarters of decreased sales, and they know exactly why their sales had fallen. It’s not a softening of the market but abandonment by Conservatives. Wall Street agreed. Financial analysts blame Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz’ repeated attacks on Conservatives and leftist activism.  Started when they took “Merry Christmas” off their holiday cups in November 2015. There was the message to customers to “please don’t bring your guns into Starbucks”, the backing of gay marriage, and the change the world with messages written by a barista on your coffee cup “Race Together”, so you will stop being racist, and “Come Together” to get partisans to rethink their opposition to their opponents. Baristas became “partners,” and Schultz pledged that the company would hire 10,000 refugees over Americans to protest President Trump’s executive order on immigration. That one did it. Americans are not in favor of increased immigration or open borders. They have since backed off with an effort to hire veterans.

Kevin Johnson has become President and chief executive officer. Howard Schultz has left the company, and is reportedly considering running for president.

Some are convinced that taking political positions helps a company show their responsibility, but I suspect that is simply partisan-speech. I may or may not like your product. If you expect me to buy your product and your political views, forget it.

Now we have Google asserting their leftist political views and firing someone who had the nerve to speak up. The monoculture at Google is not to be trifled with.

It is extremely difficult for lefties to grasp the nature of free speech. According to California law, you cannot fire someone for their political beliefs, but in Silicon Valley, on the other hand, you apparently may not disagree. I’ve already received a long message with alternatives for everything Google.



A Hot Day in Puget Sound Country by The Elephant's Child
August 4, 2017, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Canada, Environment, News of the Weird | Tags: , ,

Hot today, 92º, and the air is foul with smoke from British Columbia forest fires. People in the Puget Sound region are unaccustomed to hot weather, though it happens for a week or so every year, and we complain and suffer immeasurably. My two cats are sprawled in front of the fans — I have 3 going, and it will apparently continue like this well into next week. The mountains and waterfalls and rushing streams are only a short drive away, or the ocean in the other direction, so relief is readily available. But we complain, loudly and at length.



Could Global Warming Slow the Rise of the Sea Level? by The Elephant's Child

Since the first Planet of the Apes movie, the image of the Statue of Liberty drowning in rising sea waters has been done and done and overdone. But images are powerful and that may have helped to make many people think that a global rise in sea levels is the most to-be feared consequence of global warming. Flooding Pacific Islands, environmental refugees, panic in the streets. If I remember correctly, Santa Barbara was going to paint a line on city streets to indicate the potential rise of waters.

Remember that Obama predicted a deceleration of sea level rise when he accepted the Democratic Party nomination in 2008. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal.”  Some scientists have predicted an acceleration of ongoing global rise, while others insist stoutly that there has been no increase in the rise of sea level. Here is climate scientist S. Fred Singer to explain the complications.

The difficulty with projections of sea level rise is nicely illustrated by the IPCC. The initial estimates of its first assessment report (1990) showed a range of 10-367 cm for sea level rise in 2100. The second report published in 1996 narrowed the range to 3-124 cm. The third report published in 2001 showed 11-77 cm. The fourth assessment report published in 2007 showed 14-43 cm in draft form but changed it to 18-59 cm in the final printed version.  As can be seen, the maximum SLR decreased successively as estimates improved.  All these IPCC projections are very much smaller than the extreme values of about 600 cm (20 feet!) by activist-scientist James Hansen (and by climate multi-millionaire Al Gore) — which assume excessive melting of the Greenland icecaps.

If you pour yourself a glass of water and add some ice cubes, as the ice melts the glass does not overflow. Keep that in mind. If you add another handful of ice, the glass may overflow.

During the strong warming of 1920-1940 there was no SLR — indicating a rough balance between the opposing effects.  In fact, scrutinizing the record, I can even discern a slight lowering of sea level, an over-compensation.  Unfortunately, back then in 1997 we had no data on Antarctic ice accumulation; so the hypothesis was not publishable.  However, now we do have sufficient data in support of such a scenario.

But if, as surmised, ice accumulation roughly balances ocean thermal expansion and contributions from melting mountain glaciers, why then is sea level rising?  Another riddle requiring a solution.

The relevant clue comes from corals and from geological observations: It seems that sea level has been rising for the past centuries at about the same rate as seen by tidal gauges in the last 100 years.  In other words, sea level was rising even during the colder Little Ice age, from about 1400 to 1850 AD.  This provides further support for the hypothesis that the observed global SLR since 1900 is reasonably independent of the observed temperature rise.  [It is also a killing argument against a widely quoted (‘semi-empirical’) theory that assumes rate of SLR is proportional to global surface temperature.]

Dr. Singer concludes that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is not floating ice but like a mountain glacier—contributes more water to the ocean thus raising the sea level by about 7 inches per century. The melting will continue for another several millennia until the ice sheet is all gone (barring another ice age in the meantime), and there is nothing that we can do to stop this future rise. It is as inevitable as the ocean tides. Do read the whole thing. You will become an expert, able to dispel the anxieties of the true believers, and  your own, if any. Learn how they measure, and how recent studies have clarified the picture. And no, even Obama’s valiant efforts had not the slightest effect.




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