American Elephants


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.

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“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.



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.



Can Someone Explain The Democrats’ Ideology? by The Elephant's Child

Daniel Henninger ‘s column on Thursday in the Wall Street Journal was a particular gem (subscription barrier). Like most of us he is trying to grasp the current configuration of the Democratic Party. They are stuck. Don’t know where they are going nor why, don’t understand why they lost, and their ideas are all old, very old, and very tired.

On climate change, Democrats believe they know to the 10th decimal place that Earth is on the brink of an apocalypse. But by their own admission this week, they don’t have a clue about which way the wind is blowing with the American voter.

On Monday the Democrats released something called “A Better Deal,” a set of policy ideas to win back voters. Think of it as the party laying down the first quarter-mile of blacktop on its road back to power.

The short version of “A Better Deal” is that they would bust up corporate trusts (Teddy Roosevelt, circa 1902), ramp up public-works spending ( FDR, circa the Great Depression) and enact various tax credits (Washington, circa eternity).

The more interesting question here lies in the document’s unspoken subtext: How in God’s name did we lose a presidential election to . . . him?

There’s a very famous old cover of the New Yorker magazine demonstrating the map of the United States as the mind of New York city’s elite conceive of it. Hillary referred to middle America as “the deplorables” (probably one of the reasons she lost), and how many columns have you seen since the election explaining that those who voted for Trump were working class who were not college educated. The Democrats do like to emphasize the “not college educated” and “working class” which is, of course nonsense. The working class ( doesn’t almost everybody work?) is, I suppose, identified as those who work in the trades, or factory workers.

I know lots of people who graduated from college who didn’t learn much of anything from that experience, and lots of people who never attended college and have made a great success of their lives. Sneering at “flyover country” really identifies those who (usually incorrectly) think especially well of themselves. Most Americans think of themselves as middle class patriotic Americans, and that “class distinctions” were something we left behind with the Brits when we won the Revolution, and we enjoy when we watch old British movies and root for the “underclass” in the kitchen.

The American Dream has always been that anyone can rise and they can  hope that their kids can do better than they did. Equal opportunity, not equal outcome. That everyone has the opportunity to make the most of themselves and their talents and abilities. The idea that you can make everybody equal has always been absurd, but Democrats also seem to believe that you can fix human nature, and get rid of the annoying traits that they don’t like. But human nature, by definition, is immutable and unchangeable—even with leftist indoctrination and instruction. Unfortunately, you can’t teach lefties much of anything. It all seems to be ideology.

In the news, a 20-time deported Mexican national moved to a Sanctuary City, in this case, Portland, and allegedly broke into the home of a 65-year old woman, tied her up, held her at knifepoint, and raped her. Court records show a long criminal record, besides the 20 times he was deported. Criminal aliens are drawn to sanctuary cities. Some 300 jurisdictions in the country refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities.

In another case, Sanctuary cities are protecting MS-13 gang members from deportation. Can someone explain why Democrats defend Sanctuary Cities, and ignore the fact that they lure the criminal aliens, ignore the murders and violence? Surely the idea that the sanctuary designation allows them to feel good about their compassion  is not an adequate justification. That is merely an example in a long list of what would seem to be a very confused ideology. It makes no sense at all.



What is Fake News? by The Elephant's Child




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