American Elephants


Cultural Appropriation and Other Leftist Stupidity by The Elephant's Child

Sometimes news about America appears first in the British papers, in this case, the Daily Mail. Not big or even important news, but slightly embarrassing.  Two young women, friends from Portland, opened Kooks Burritos in Portland, Oregon. A taco truck. After a visit to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico last December, they learned the basics of tortilla making by talking to cooks and peeking into the windows of kitchens.

For the first few months, the weekend pop-up shop housed in an taco truck was a smash hit. It gained so much popularity, a local weekly newspaper decided to profile the entrepreneurial duo.

But that’s when the trouble started for Wilgus and Connelly, after quotes they gave to the Willamette Week led to them being accused of “stealing their success.”

Well, two white women and Burritos, a taco truck! You can guess what happened. The terminally ignorant cried out:

Cultural Appropriation!!!

Of course. This would more properly be referred to as “social contagion.” Idiots hear someone else claim “cultural appropriation” and want to be noticed for the first accusation directed at someone new. You apparently can’t be”woke” if you’re not indignant.

Interviewed by Willamette Week, they mentioned “peeking in windows” to learn how burritos were made, so they were also accused of stealing, and preying on Mexican women. Do read the article to see just how far this goofiness has gone. The shop closed. But the stupidity of the commenters and the emptiness of liberal language is thoroughly demonstrated.

The world is about “cultural appropriation.” We learn from each other. When the Pilgrims arrived in America, they survived that first 1620 winter with  corn ‘appropriated’ from the Wampanog—a food unknown to Europeans. You might find it of interest to look up “the Columbian Exchange” which lists all the foods appropriated by Europeans from America and European foods brought to the new world. It’s an extensive list. We’ve appropriated language, food, customs, fashion, weapons, wildlife, as has every other culture around the world, with the possible exception of some only lately discovered tribes on the upper Amazon, and they’re just getting started.

What is more troubling is the extent of social contagion. Ignorant people attacking strangers about whom they know nothing with accusations based only on having heard them used elsewhere, and they want to be indignant because being indignant is all the fashion. So it’s a state of perceived intellectual superiority to get all indignant about a couple of American girls making burritos. Social contagion also explains much of what passes for news these days, and the Trump Derangement Syndrome as well. Attempting to destroy history  by removing monuments, renaming buildings, ‘purifying the world.’ Or you could call it all a result of ‘community organizing.’



Remember the Huge Protests When Obama Was Elected, So Now It’s Payback Time? by The Elephant's Child

The Democrats’ derangement gets more alarming. I’ve seen three pieces so far from respected reporters suggesting that what we are seeing is an attempt at a silent coup. One would think that this could be dismissed with an “Oh please!” but they are quite serious.

John Podesta is reportedly reduced to delusional claiming, without any evidence whatsoever, that Donald Trump is “unfit for office,” whose actions are often “absolutely crazy” and whose White House has “a complete disregard for the truth.” “It’s clear to him that Republicans on Capitol Hill are not going to turn on him at this point.”

Mr. Podesta is still trying to make something out of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, which he seems to believe was because of his interference which damaged Hillary. Mr. Comey was fired because he exceeded his authority which is strictly investigative, by assuming  the role of the Justice Department in deciding not to prosecute Hillary. Then the Democrats got all excited by the idea that President Trump was guilty of obstructing justice because he said something to Comey about not prosecuting Michael Flynn. The President doesn’t need a reason to fire an FBI director, the decision is his to make. His remark about going easy on Flynn has had no effect on the Flynn investigation, which has continued.

We know that the Democrats were urging their activists to go to their Republican representatives’ town hall meetings and raise hell. Scare them into refusing to vote for any of Trump’s initiatives. Now it seems that Republican congresspeople are facing violence and death threats from Left-wing activists. “A man was arrested last week for threatening Rep. Martha McSally in voicemail messages, telling her that her days “were numbered” because of her support for the president. At her February town hall she was heckled as activists carried signs saying “Stop Trump’s crusade of hate” (?) and “No! this fascist regime must be stopped before it starts.” “A woman was arrested after she allegedly attempted to drive Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) off the road over his support of the Republican health care bill after an event. When the car stopped, she is alleged to have attacked the car, hitting the windows and reaching inside the car. She was arrested after she bragged about it on Facebook.” A number of representatives are increasing their security. Often the members of their families are getting threats.

I’m not one to point fingers, but I might mention that John Podesta was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.

When Barack Obama won the election in 2008, a good many Republicans were less impressed with a  need for the first black president than they were worried about Mr. Obama’s meager experience, and the fact that the Democrats were calling him things like “light-worker” and the most brilliant man ever to run for the presidency. I just don’t recall any demonstrations at his inauguration, or protests at his speeches. Poor Mr. Podesta is still blathering on about the popular vote, apparently still unaware that we don’t elect people by the popular vote in America. William Voegeli wrote in the Spring 2017 issue of the Claremont Review of Books that:

 Soon after the 2016 election result was in, Donald Trump’s opponents designated themselves melodramatically “the Resistance.” … either you’re part of the Resistance, or you’re part of the evil the Resistance is resisting.In the Age of Trump, public figures can neither declare themselves neutral nor simply decline to have, or share, their personal views. Gallon’s critics made clear that to do anything less than revile Trump. in any public setting, is to “normalize” him, thereby imperiling all that is good and decent in our land. The Old Normal, where everything Trump represents  and intends was understood to be odious and catastrophic, must never devolve into a New Normal that legitimates Trump and Trumpism.

I refer you back to the map in a previous piece below, of the counties in America and who they voted for. The Democrats not only lost the election, their prominent people are old. Diane Feinstein is 83, Hillary is 69, Nancy Pelosi is 76, Chuck Schumer is 66, Jerry Brown is 78, Elizabeth Warren is 67 and she may not survive the next election, she’s reportedly unpopular. The head of the DNC, Tom Perez, has a vulgarity problem, and announced that there  was no room in the Democrat Party for anyone who was pro-life. I’m not sure that all this “resistance” is really going to play well in America. Hillary announced that she was part of the Resistance, and was going back to raising money. We’ve had a surprising number of perennial candidates who keep running and running. Someone even suggested that Jerry Brown should run again.



A Complete and Unverifiable Explanation of Most Everything by The Elephant's Child

Are you paying attention to the news? It is difficult. James Comey has been unjustly fired, Comey deserved to be fired. Comey kept memos of his conversations. Comey is very close  to Senator Schumer. Comey refuses to testify before Congress. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller will head the investigation into Russia ties. Robert Mueller and Comey are old friends. Robert Mueller is widely respected.

The storm has been gathering for more than a week. It started when Trump impetuously fired the FBI director, James Comey, claiming at first that he did so on the advice of Rosenstein. Then the president changed his story and told NBC News that he was going to fire Comey anyway and that part of this was because the bureau’s Russia investigation was dragging on.

The Comey camp soon struck back. First his allies leaked that Trump had asked Comey for his loyalty back in January over dinner. Then in a more damaging story, the New York Times reported on a memo Comey had written to record a conversation in which Trump asked him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, the national security adviser Trump fired after three weeks on the job.

To state the obvious, all of this made Trump look like he had something to hide. And it did not take long for Democrats to seize on this theme, mounting a campaign for a special counsel as a condition to approve the next FBI director.

If you read all that or the equivalent, and there is lots of equivalent out there, you know no more than you did before you started reading. Here’s The American Conservative:

America is in crisis. It is a crisis of greater magnitude than any the country has faced in its history, with the exception of the Civil War. It is a crisis long in the making—and likely to be with us long into the future. It is a crisis so thoroughly rooted in the American polity that it’s difficult to see how it can be resolved in any kind of smooth or even peaceful way. Looking to the future from this particular point in time, just about every possible course of action appears certain to deepen the crisis.

What is it? Some believe it stems specifically from the election of Donald Trump, a man supremely unfit for the presidency, and will abate when he can be removed from office. These people are right about one thing: Trump is supremely unfit for his White House job. But that isn’t the central crisis; it is merely a symptom of it, though it seems increasingly to be reaching crisis proportions of its own.

The President who is so unfit for the presidency has assembled the most impressive national security team, perhaps since Eisenhower: James Mattis, John Kelly, H.R. McMaster,  Nikki Haley. His appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is outstanding. Executive orders have begun the task of whittling down the abusive powers of the rogue EPA.  Illegal immigration is reportedly down around 70%. He’s working to simplify the tax code and business regulation to boost the private sector.His cabinet appointments are outstanding. Today he is leaving on a trip to meet some of the heads of state of our allies and some who are not. He has been criticized for meeting with Erdogan, and Abbas, yet he clearly wants to get a feel for who these people are, rather than just read the intelligence dossiers.

Trump is described as crude, uncouth — and he tweets. Democrats, in the meantime, seem unable to utter a simple sentence without the F-word or the S-word. They suggest in the crudest way incest, that Melania Trump was of low morals, attack the Trump children, late night “comics” compete to see who can be most vulgar, and who can do the most repellent imitation. Maxine Waters waffles between demanding Trump’s impeachment, being confident that she can turn up an impeachable offenses and denying that she ever asked for his impeachment.

Trump promised to deport criminal aliens, so many sanctuary cities have redoubled their efforts to protect illegal immigrants.

The policy has evolved into active non-cooperation with federal law enforcement, to the extent that Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City, for example, will not comply with requests to detain illegal immigrants unless they have recently been convicted of a serious crime and a judicial warrant accompanies the request. Federal immigration authorities have been banned from operating within municipal jails, and sanctuary cities will not expend any resources in assisting these agents.

Despite these efforts, it has not been possible for cities to protect their illegal aliens from deportation to the extent that sanctuary advocates demand. Cities cannot forbid federal officers from arresting criminal aliens in their homes, on the streets, or in courthouses. The best way to deter possible deportation, sanctuary advocates contend, is to limit interactions between illegal immigrants and the criminal-justice system, not in the traditional way—by obeying the law—but rather, by not enforcing the law. If there are no arrests, then there is no criminal record to base deportation orders on.

And so it goes. Somehow it is Donald Trump who is uncouth, not the real president, illegal, impeachable, unfit for office, yet he seems to be accomplishing quite a lot. And the once-respected fourth estate labors on enlightening and elucidating the affairs of the nation and the world, or whatever it is that they are doing, And we are all living in some dystopian alternate universe aren’t we?  It’s all very confusing.

 



The American Left Has Gone Very Wrong by The Elephant's Child

Over at The Federalist John Daniel Davidson wrote a piece headlined “The American Left is Talking Itself Into Violence”

Something is wrong with the American Left. The recent spate of violent protests on college campuses has been well-documented, but the violence and intolerance championed by left-wing student activists is beginning to creep off campus and into mainstream public life.

The reason for this is straightforward enough: although progressives pride themselves on their putative tolerance and diversity, the imperatives of leftist politics are fundamentally illiberal. Justice imposed through power is the philosophical foundation of the political left, and when earnest progressives become convinced the only avenue to power is violence, their tolerance quickly falls by the wayside.

The reason for it all is not the campuses, that’s just more evidence of the derangement. The Left lost the election. They have been astounded to learn that the popular vote does not count, and think that is highly unjust. They are unfamiliar with the reason the founders set our governance up that way, so that small enclaves with large populations cannot dominate the rest of the states. They were absolutely sure that Hillary’s win was a sure thing. They envisioned permanent Lefty rule with no annoyance from a failed Republican party, no stupid Tea Party, and their grand vision of a better world and intelligent governance by qualified elites would bring the dream of socialist perfection ever closer. They would be in control.

But they lost, Hillary lost, and to a man with orange skin and a weird haircut who said crude things. They lost the House — 69 seats, the Senate —13 seats, 910 state legislative seats, 30 legislative chambers. They were so enchanted with the first Black President. and his brilliance, and being in power, and doing all the things that were on the lefty agenda, that they simply didn’t notice that their president was doing a lousy job—doubled the national debt, doubled the debt per citizen, put another 10 million on food stamps, added an average of $6,000 to the cost of a family health insurance plan, and managed to make the world a far more dangerous place by portraying America as a weak, unreliable country. They still don’t understand that.

They awakened to a world in which their leaders were all—old. In their 70s and eighties. They had no deep bench of up-and-coming successful governors. States governed by Democrats are not successful. Many of their potential candidates are roundly disliked in their current posts. What can they do? Clearly, they must revert to their past victories in bringing down George W. Bush, destroying Nixon—they do know how to do that. They will impeach Donald Trump. He is so awful that they can surely find something to impeach him for.

Chucky Schumer, peering over his glasses, intoned: “We know Director Comey was leading an investigation in [sic] whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, a serious offense. If there was ever a time when circumstances warranted a special prosecutor, it is now” Andy McCarthy responded “No it’s not. “ Hillary has attempted to blame her defeat on Russian collusion, but now it seems that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich has sent 44,053 DNC emails to Wikileaks, though family and FBI sources discount that story. But it appears that the “Russian interference” may have been an inside job. And Russian interference was not why Hillary lost the election. She was unlikable, untrustworthy, and ran a lousy campaign.

If you read the Federalist piece on the Left talking itself into violence, you will find several examples where they have.  Representative Martha McSally, who represents the Arizona district where Rep Gabrielle Giffords was shot, has received serious death threats (he was going to shoot her between the eyes) from a Tucson school district employee who said “he was venting frustrations with congressional votes in support of the President of the United States. The article gives several other examples of people “inspired by the Resistance.”

The media isn’t even pointing out the fact that there’s a pattern forming, much less suggesting anyone else is ultimately responsible. That would be fine if they’d just stick to those rules the moment someone on the right does some crazy. But they won’t. There are two sets of rules for how these things are handled by the media.

The hard left media is increasingly irresponsible in their reporting, and  trying to make major news out of sketchy information. Law Professor and Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein took to the pages of Vox to say “Attention, liberals: Comey deserved to be fired and the Constitution is just fine. The hyperventilation in Washington is unjustified.”

Donald Trump won the election in part, because he promised to “Drain the swamp in Washington,” and there were a lot of Americans who thought that was a very good idea. As time passes, it becomes clear that it is not only a good idea, but very necessary.

 

 



A Lesson in Pure Partisanship by The Elephant's Child

More jottings from my notebook:

No date, but the conversation makes the time element fairly clear. This is Chris Matthews at MSNBC explaining partisanship to the uninitiated.

Before I get started today I want to express how grateful I am for the awe-inspiring leadership of my president. Syria is a bloodbath, Iraq is in the hands of terrorists, Israel is on the verge of war with the Palestinians, and Russian troops are in Ukraine.  On top of that we’ve got the Benghazi, IRS, NSA, and VA scandals and our Southern border is rife with diseased children, gang members and Middle Eastern terrorists donning sombreros. All these problems that were created by the Bush administration would have crippled the most stoic of leaders. Yet, last night I saw a news video of President Obama laughing and enjoying himself in Denver as he ate Pizza, drank beer and played billiards. Our president is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, but you’d never know it by looking at him. Today he’s headed to the golf course before attending three different fundraisers. Tomorrow he’s shooting a game of hoops with LeBron James and Barbara Streisand before hosting a $45,000 a seat fundraiser at Steven Spielberg’s East Hampton. Calm, cool and self-assured folks. Those are the characteristics of a leader.

You can probably guess why I copied this down. It was hard writing because I couldn’t stop giggling. It’s all so innocent.



Sun and Wind and Rainbows and Magic Do Not Power the Planet by The Elephant's Child

A post I wrote back in 2013 is getting another round of attention, as it does now and then. I wrote about abandoned wind turbines, and the misguided notion that wind and sun are free, therefore renewable energy—and to be endlessly subsidized as our most desirable source of power. I hasten to add that I am not a scientist nor do I have any pretense of being one. I was an English major at a time and in a college where the pursuit of knowledge and the critical examination of sources were considered essential.

But I also grew up in the mountains of Idaho on 400 acres with a river running through it, and spent most of my time, winter and summer, outdoors. We had winters with 5′ of snow and winters that were fairly mild. Flood, forest fires, lightning strikes, cougar, bear, lynx and woodrats. (I’m a deadly shot on woodrats. They gather up the cotton from cottonwood trees, store it in the attic of the woodshed and then pee all over it, and have their babies there.) You don’t live outdoors for years interacting with weather, and get all panicky about a few degrees warmer or cooler.

Science is complicated. I just read about a cave discovered in Mexico, a half a mile down, so hot that scientists can only stay for a few minutes, where there are microbes trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old, living on minerals like iron and manganese. Lots left on Earth for us to discover yet, diseases to conquer, unknown territory, they are discovering new species every year. The world economy runs on some form of electric power, and not just for our convenience, light and heat. Transportation, manufacturing, business and government are dependent on electricity and their needs are growing constantly, so the more power we need.

People are frightened by nuclear power after the horrific catastrophe in Japan, and the nuclear accident in Russia. We have dams on most of our major rivers, and environmentalists long for free wild rivers. Power good, but dams bad. Environmentalists say that coal, oil and natural gas are all evil, and should “stay in the ground where they belong.” So it’s unsurprising that there is a fetish for energy from the wind and the sun. Surely with our advanced modern technology we can invent wind turbines and solar arrays to harness the free energy of the wind and the sun. Well, no, no we can’t. Or we can, if we’re content to live in extreme poverty.

The wind is terminally, fatally intermittent. When the wind blows, which is not most of the time, it blows in gusts and wafts or gales. What you need is a steady stream of wind and then you get “capacity,” which is what the manufactures of the turbines promise when they are extolling the virtues of wind. Never happens. In winter, when you are freezing, the wind is apt to not blow at all, and the turbines don’t turn. They have already tried most of the really windy places —Altamont Pass in California, the tip of the Hawaiian Islands, they’ve even replaced a lot of the idle turbines in my 2013 post, so now they are moving offshore. There’s a big offshore farm coming online off our East coast shortly. Offshore turbines take a lot more punishment from saltwater and weather. The life of an onshore turbine is 20 years at best, offshore is a lot less.

The sun, on the other hand, is too diffuse. For real power you need really hot sun bearing down, in a cloudless sky. How many cloudless, sunny days do you get? This is the Northwest, where we get rain all the time, and plenty of clouds. The sun also has a habit of sinking beneath the horizon at night, and even more so in the short days of winter. Elon Musk keeps promising battery arrays to take care of that, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet, and his solar farms haven’t been in the news much. Wind turbines have a nasty habit of chopping up bats and birds by the hundreds, birds of prey as well. What that does to our insect population and rodent population I don’t know, but it doesn’t bode well for malaria and Zika. and other disease.

Both of these technologies demand more and more land each year as the need for more and more energy increases, land in quantities simply unavailable.  Look for Robert Bryce’s book: Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper. It’s a clear, simple explanation of why wind and solar will remain interesting, but are not a major source of power except in the remote places where any source of power, however limited,  is a bounty.



Venezuelans Are Starving. by The Elephant's Child

Venezuelans are starving. Not the kind of starving when you burst into the well stocked kitchen after a football game and demand a sandwich. This is the real kind where 15 percent of the people are eating garbage in order to survive. Scrounging among the refuse thrown out by the city’s restaurants. A majority of Venezuelans go to bed hungry, mass protests and riots are breaking out across the country, and the despised dictator Nicholas Maduro attempts to dump the Venezuelan constitution in order to tighten his grip on power. The oil rich country desperately lacks the basic resources of medicine and power. Hospitals are dirty, empty of supplies and medicines. Venezuela has plenty of oil, but they cannot afford to take it to market to sell it.

Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999, an authoritarian who locked up his opponents, ended press freedom and paid gangs to intimidate poor communities into supporting him. He  promised that the miracle of socialism would feed the poor, help them to realize their dreams with free health care and education for all. He was celebrated by the usual suspects—Noam Chomsky, Jesse Jackson, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, but the only person he managed to enrich was his daughter who has become a billionaire and the wealthiest woman in Latin America. Chavez died in April of 2013.

His chosen successor, Nicholas Maduro, has made even more of a mess of things. Inflation is out of control, and the rebellion of the people is growing apace. In a recent speech to loyalists he announced his plan to arm hundreds of thousands of supporters after a years-long campaign to confiscate civilian owned guns. The highest denomination 100 Bolivar note is now worth abut 3 cents in American dollars. Inflation is expected to rise 1,660% this year, The country’s foreign reserves are down to only $10 billion, Venezuela was once Latin America’s richest country.

Protestors turn out in massive crowds, demanding change. Other pictures show the streets in other directions, equally packed with angry Venezuelans. This particular demonstration was because of Maduro’s attempt to upend the constitution.

Investors Business Daily wrote of the bewilderment of reporters at Venezuela’s descent into extreme poverty. The New York Times blamed it on “low prices for oil, the country’s main export and a drought.”The Los Angeles Times  said that it’s only “anti-government protesters” who blame Venezuela’s problems on the policies of Maduro. The Associated Press says “the oil boom and bust” is to blame for the crisis. USA Today said that the reason Venezuelans were hunting dogs and pigeons for food was because” Although Venezuela has the world’s largest petroleum reserves, the country has suffered from a combination of lower oil prices and tight limits on dollar purchases… and most imports.” No mention of socialism. None. IBD surmises that it’s largely because liberal journalists are infatuated with the idea of socialism.

Here’s how the AP lovingly described Chavez:

a political outsider promising to upset the old order and funnel some of the country’s enormous oil wealth to the poor. Poverty rates fell sharply during his administration, and many people continue to see him as a beloved Robin Hood figure who gave them houses, free health care, better education and a place at the table in government.”

IBD suggests that that list of accomplishments sounds remarkably like the Democratic Party platform.

Socialism does not work. Never has, never will. Reporters who are unwilling to face up to the facts and the history will always look for something, anything to blame when the socialist idea inevitably fails.




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