American Elephants


City vs. Country—The Same Old Story by The Elephant's Child

People who don’t pay a lot of attention to political news, and there are lots of them, often wonder about the real difference between parties. There are many who at least claim that they vote for the man, not the party. I ran across a good example in Politico Magazine. I had no idea that Politico had a magazine. Short piece by the editor, one Stephen Heuser, to introduce their “Cities Issue” — “One Nation, Divided by Density”

Pick a city in America, any city. Chances are it’s younger, more diverse and more educated than the countryside around it—and way, way more liberal. The resurgence of the city has been one of the most striking reversals in modern America, as the bleak streets of the 1970s have turned into magnets for a new kind of young, hyperconnected professional, and even wealthy retirees flocking back from their suburbs. It has also created a widening split in a country now wondering what “indivisible” is really supposed to mean.

If you were to pluck a person at random out of the fictional city on our cover, odds are overwhelming that you’d find a Hillary Clinton voter. (In real life, there are big cities—Boston, Washington, San Francisco—where not a single precinct went for Donald Trump.) If you toured the rural landscape below, you’d find nothing but Trump signs in front yards. Politics has become another symptom of a growing cultural gulf. Think pickup trucks vs. subway cars. Church vs. brunch. Diner coffee vs. single-origin beans roasted by a guy selling vinyl LPs. We are one nation, divided by density.

The new president exploited that divide with the genius of someone who understood cities from the inside and was willing to sell them out. It worked, but at what cost? Rural America needs cities to thrive. Cities depend on the people and land around them, more than they like to think. The modern city might feel like a kind of island in a global archipelago, a nucleus of prosperity and avocado toast, but urbanites can no longer afford the smug assumption that the future is theirs. You can smell the fires outside the walls.

Do read the whole thing, there are only 4 more short paragraphs.

It wasn’t just Hillary calling small town and rural America “Deplorables”— it’s what the Left believes. (We’re smart and you’re dumb.) You see it in the media constantly.  The Left does not understand human nature, doesn’t like it, and wants to fix it. They will fix it with other people’s money, giving alms to the poor, food stamps to the hungry, and sending all black children to college. It’s just socialism, as Margaret Thatcher said, “sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.” So when they run out of money, they expect to have converted everyone to Democrat voters, by giving them stuff.

Smart people don’t have to be “educated” to be knowledgeable. Lots of people graduate from college and remain remarkably ignorant. Silicon Valley billionaires may be technologically brilliant with things cyber, and not very bright about the rest of the world. There are lots of people with degrees in rural America, and there are lots of  prosperous cities in flyover country.

Mr. Heuser goes on about city people and the “creative class”— Lefties like to think of themselves as “the creative class.” They either don’t notice, or don’t care about the wreckage they leave in their wake. In any case, if you are feeling annoyed by the Left, this is quite a splendid example of just why you find them so completely annoying.



CNN’s Very Bad, Horrible, No Good Week by The Elephant's Child

CNN has had a very bad week. Tuesday, the network announced the resignation of three journalists — Eric Lichtblau, recently hired from the New York Times, Thomas Frank, and the head of the network’s new investigative unit, Les Harris. (We can probably assume fired). The cause —they had published a Russia/Trump story that had turned out to be completely false, so false that it had to be retracted by CNN. Retracted is really, really bad.

Apparently CNN’s CEO had told their reporters that the Paris climate thing was nice, but it was time to get back to Russia.

According to Power Line:

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has infiltrated CNN, and he has video of a CNN producer admitting that the network’s Russia fixation is “mostly bullshit,” but they do it because it brings in the money. Paul wrote about O’Keefe’s dynamite video this morning; if you missed it then you should watch it now. The CNN producer says things like “it’s mostly bulls**t right now.” And “I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me.”

This is, of course, a body blow to whatever is left of CNN’s credibility. But the bad news doesn’t end there. O’Keefe says today’s video is just Part 1. He has more on CNN, and he has put other corrupt news media on notice. So there could be more fireworks soon.

President Trump lost no time claiming vindication–rightly, according to the CNN producer.

I was looking through one of my bookshelves and noticed several books on  the Media. Damned Lies and Statistics by Joel Best, showing how statistics are manipulated by the media, and the difference between the world as it is, and the world portrayed by the media and the statistics they use to support their view. Published — 2001

Then there was Coloring the News by William McGowan, also published in 2001, exposing how crusading for diversity has corrupted American Journalism. Newspaper publishers and editors insist that promoting ‘diversity’ in the newsroom has produced better reporting and journalism. The assumption was undoubtedly that being of a different race or ethnicity would naturally produce a different viewpoint. McGowan carefully proved that they were wrong.

Bernard Goldberg’s Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News came out in 2002.Emmy Award-winner  Goldberg said the media too often ignored their primary mission—objective disinterested reporting.

Mobocracy: How the Media’s Obsession with Polling Twists the News, Alters Elections, and Undermines Democracy. Also published in 2002, by Matthew Robinson. Mark Levin’s blurb said Robinson had meticulously documented how the once-benign concept of gauging public opinion has been perverted into a weapon wielded by journalists with a political agenda.

Apparently I have been concerned about the American Press even longer than I remembered.  I can remember a day when we did trust the news and the reporters who brought it to our attention. I also recognize how hard it must be to put your politics aside and do objective disinterested reporting, but the current crop seem to wallow in their political agendas and are unfamiliar with the task of keeping politicians in line with honest reporting assigned to the profession by the Founders.



Deregulating the Administrative State by The Elephant's Child

We have Trumpkins and Trumpsters, Never Trumpers, and on the other side foul language, Russian conspiracy freaks, Maxine Waters and CNN, among others. The Left goes on about Authoritarianism, and is apparently extremely worried about a new burst of  Fascism, Administrative control and loss of Freedom while President Trump works hard at lessening the regulatory burden that the Obama administration inflicted on business, the economy in general and our individual lives. There’s a bit of a disconnect here.

Look, we the people are the board of directors, and every four years we endeavor to hire someone to run the place for four years. Big job, and an important job. Keep the economy running, try to keep the peace, get along with other nations, keep the federal bureaucracy in check, world’s policeman—not a job we or the world wants, but somebody has to pay attention. Just keeping the country running properly is a huge job. Lots of agencies and offices and administrations and services, transportation and intelligence, military and the courts. It’s very very complicated and most things happen very slowly and it’s little wonder that they refer to it as a swamp.

A lot of the agencies and services don’t work very well, and President Trump is already endeavoring to straighten some of them up. The Veterans Administration can now fire people who are not meeting the needs of the vets they are assigned to serve. Maybe we won’t have our veterans dying while they are waiting for an appointment. Most people will not appreciate the fact that Trump has ended the task of a government agency to keep reporting on the progress of their efforts to deal with Y2K — the change of the calendar from 1999 to 2000 that was expected to be a major problem for America’s computers. 17 years have passed and only now can they stop working on formal reports, due every year. The roots and tangles that gum up the swamp are rules,  regulations and requirements that go on eternally unless they receive an official order to stop. That—is how you drain a swamp. The president is very pleased with ending unnecessary regulation, and welcomes suggestions for more bad regulations to remove.

The Left is incensed that the Supreme Court has allowed President Trump’s temporary travel ban to proceed. If they were even slightly aware, they would recognize the depth of the problems Europe faces because of the flood of migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Europe, long slumbering under waves of unwanted immigration, is beginning to awaken and notice the constant terror attacks, the sexual attacks, no-go areas, the new attacks with trucks and cars and knives rather than explosives. Banning travel temporarily from seven nations designated as sources of terror by the Obama Administration — until they can figure out a way to vet them, is not cruelty but common sense.

The Left needs to take a deep breath, and stop making fools of themselves. But that’s undoubtedly asking too much.



This Is What Passes for News These Days by The Elephant's Child

There are small mentions of what would seem to be unimportant news items, but if you follow up and see what the Leftists with bylines do with it, it gets pretty funny. Here’s what happened. President Trump declined to hold a “Iftar Dinner” at the White House to celebrate Ramadan. (Translation, nothing happened because there was no dinner and there were no invitations). Can’t let something like that pass without comment (see Islamophobia). The ‘establishment media” promptly tried to turn it into a crisis.

“Amy B. Wang of the Washington Post led the pack” with a claim that Thomas Jefferson held the “first Iftar Dinner” with a June 24 piece titled “Trump just ended a long tradition of celebrating Ramadan at the White House.” She even “recounted the time when the diplomatic envoy from the Bey of Tunis, Sidi Soliman Melli Melli, visited Washington during Ramadan in 1805.”

Jefferson invited the envoy to dinner at the White House at 3:30 PM, the time when dinner was usually served in those days. He was told that Melli Melli could not partake of a meal until after sunset because of Ramadan. It was either cancel the dinner or change the time, which he did. He had no intention of honoring Islam, didn’t ask about any special food. In fact, there was no tradition. Only three presidents in all of American history ever held an Iftar dinner: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  Three presidents out of 45 does not a “tradition” make.  Do recall that Jefferson fought the Barbary pirates. Obama claimed in 2010, that his Ramadan dinner was the first since Jefferson, but his speechwriters were not known for research accuracy.

Interestingly, it seems that Islamic extremists killed more than 1,620 people during this year’s holy month for Muslims, making it one of the bloodiest Ramadans in history. At the end of Ramadan on Saturday, the total number of casualties for the entire holy month reached 3,451 (421 deaths 729 injuries) more than tripling the 1,150 casualties from 2016. ISIS issued many messages urging its followers to carry out deadly attacks in the United State, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Philippines. Except for Russia, they did carry out attacks. Breitbart has a list of all the attacks they have been able to record. It’s a very long list. Does fasting and avoiding sex from dawn to dusk make a person particularly irritable?  Who knew? So — news, fake news, bad research, overreach, dumb journalists. But that’s what passes for news these days.

ADDENDUM: Well, now that I’m fully awake, the math doesn’t add up 421 deaths +729 injuries adds up to 1,150 apparently from last year. If this year is a total of 3,451, that would indeed by a tripling. The error was in the original post, and I just unthinkingly copied it. Sorry about that.



Democratic Female Senators And Identity Politics by The Elephant's Child

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs held a hearing last week on political Islam, also referred to as ‘Islamism.’ The committee invited four witnesses: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Asra Q. Nomani, Michael E. Leiter, former director of the U.S National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and John Lenczowski, president of the Institute of World Politics. The hearing called our attention to the dysfunction that we face in addressing the topic.

The two female witnesses were on edge. Earlier that day, a shooter had attacked the Republican baseball team in Alexandria, and only moments before the hearing began a man wearing a Muslim prayer cap had stood up and heckled them, putting Capitol police on high alert. They were expecting tough questions. Both women had been born into deeply conservative Muslim families. Both have been threatened with death by jihadists for things they have said and done. Ayann, who survived genital mutilation and forced marriage, and Asra defied Sharia by having a baby while unmarried. Ayann cannot appear in public without armed guards.

The four female Democratic senators, Clair McCaskill, Missouri; Kamala Harris, California; Heidi Heitcamp,North Dakota; and Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire; are ardent feminists, so the witnesses might have expected sympathetic questions. Senator Claire McCaskill,  announced that she took issue with the theme of the hearing itself. “Anyone who twists or distorts religion to a place of evil is an exception to the rule.” she said. “We should not focus on religion,” she said, adding that she was “worried” that the hearing organized by Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, would “underline that.”

Ayaan and Asra emphasized the meaning of what went down:

[W]hat happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives when it comes to confronting the brutal reality of Islamist extremism and what it means for women in many Muslim communities here at home and around the world.

When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.

[W]hen we speak about Islamist oppression, we bring personal experience to the table in addition to our scholarly expertise. Yet the feminist mantra so popular when it comes to victims of sexual assault — believe women first — isn’t extended to us. Neither is the notion that the personal is political. Our political conclusions are dismissed as personal; our personal experiences dismissed as political.

That’s because in the rubric of identity politics, our status as women of color is canceled out by our ideas, which are labeled “conservative” — as if opposition to violent jihad, sex slavery, genital mutilation or child marriage were a matter of left or right. This not only silences us, it also puts beyond the pale of liberalism a basic concern for human rights and the individual rights of women abused in the name of Islam.

Why?

Partly they fear offending members of a “minority” religion and being labeled racist, bigoted or Islamophobic. There is also the idea, which has tremendous strength on the left, that non-Western women don’t need “saving” — and that the suggestion that they do is patronizing at best. After all, the thinking goes, if women in America still earn less than men for equivalent work, who are we to criticize other cultures?

Obama made a big deal about helping refugees, largely because they were expected to become Democrat voters. Refugees from communist totalitarian states like Cuba and Venezuela, were rejected.  Identity politics, moral relativism or political correctness are more important than real information or some victims are more important than other victims. Things like sex slavery, violent jihad, genital mutilation, honor killings, polygamy or child marriage simply don’t measure up to equal pay for women (federal law since 1963).

They didn’t ask the two women a single question. Not just rude, for the two women were invited guests as well as witnesses who are pro-democracy, pro-free speech, pro-freedom Muslims. What an excellent chance to learn a little more about the Muslim religion and Islamic ideology firsthand.

Mackubin Owens pointed out that “Islamism isn’t a religion. It’s a political system at war with us. Political Islam seems to be the front runner in who is the most oppressed of all?  They cannot be criticized even if it means throwing other favored victim groups under the bus. Islamists punish homosexuals with death by throwing them off tall buildings or stoning, but “Islamophobia” trumps “homophobia.” The problem is distinguishing between Islam as a religion and political Islam as a system for organizing society. This is a pathology that is aimed at effecting the final destruction of the West.  We can’t seem to get our minds around that simple fact.

 



Everything You Have Thought About Today’s American Journalism is True by The Elephant's Child

The new issue of Imprimus  features a piece from long time journalist Michael Goodwin, chief political columnist for The New York Post, based on a speech that Goodwin gave at a Hillsdale event. It is a raw and intensive look at contemporary journalism by a long time practitioner who knows his way around the media. It’s just as bad as you thought.

I’ve been a journalist for a long time. Long enough to know that it wasn’t always like this. There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner. Today, all that has changed. For that, we can blame the 2016 election or, more accurately, how some news organizations chose to cover it. Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close. …

During the years I spent teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism, I often found myself telling my students that the job of the reporter was “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m not even sure where I first heard that line, but it still captures the way most journalists think about what they do. Translate the first part of that compassionate-sounding idea into the daily decisions about what makes news, and it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that every person afflicted by something is entitled to help. Or, as liberals like to say, “Government is what we do together.” From there, it’s a short drive to the conclusion that every problem has a government solution.

Goodwin goes on to explain how today’s journalism has gone astray,  how it came about, and how bad it really is (Just what you thought, and even more).

I knew all of this about the media mindset going into the 2016 presidential campaign. But I was still shocked at what happened. This was not naïve liberalism run amok. This was a whole new approach to politics. No one in modern times had seen anything like it. As with grief, there were several stages. In the beginning, Donald Trump’s candidacy was treated as an outlandish publicity stunt, as though he wasn’t a serious candidate and should be treated as a circus act. But television executives quickly made a surprising discovery: the more they put Trump on the air, the higher their ratings climbed. Ratings are money. So news shows started devoting hours and hours simply to pointing the cameras at Trump and letting them run.

A study, Goodwin says, estimated that Trump had received so much free airtime that if he had to buy it the price would be around $2 billion. Executives realized that they had helped Trump’s rise, which made them furious, and soon they were gunning for him.

It’s a fascinating look at a failed media that can no longer perform its assigned task in the American political landscape. Do take the time to read it if you can. It has changed how we search for information. I have long believed that in the new electronic age, students need to be taught how to look for information, how to judge the quality of the information, and enough history to understand why it is important to search carefully, to be informed, and why their vote is important and needs to be well informed. We’ve been watching the education establishment disintegrate before our eyes, and the evidence from college students that they need safe spaces where they can refuse to listen to ideas that might disagree with their own.

With journalism no longer a viable source for accurate news, we have turned to blogs, judged their information and veracity, and the trustworthiness of the provider. Others have turned to social media, and Twitter has assumed an outsized role as a potential clue to future trends, currency, reach, and yet it may not have that significance at all. Combine that with our ordinary human shortcomings — impatience, laziness, reluctance to read anything long— and I suspect we are becoming less and less informed. But then I was an English major and a glutton for reading. Do any of us currently have a hunger to know and understand in an age when sheer entertainment is so pleasurable and so readily available?

Do read the Imprimus article. It will give you a deep understanding of where the media is and why, and give you armor and a nudge towards knowing more and to hell with the “journalism” profession.

(To subscribe to Imprimus, just go to the Hillsdale College website and sign up. It’s free and always informative.)

 



Patagonia Pledges Their Entire Business to The Resistance by The Elephant's Child

How interesting that Lefty CEOs feel that their politics takes precedence over any potential customers, particularly at a time when so many retailers are going under because of the online marketplace. The CEO of Patagonia, a maker of outdoor clothing, has announced that she intends to pledge her entire company to the “resistance” movement against President Donald Trump. Essentially, she has decided that the law and the Constitution and the business of conservatives don’t matter, only her personal politics.

Chalk up Patagonia as another company responsible for the shooting in Alexandria and the fight for their lives that Steve Scalise and Matt Mika are undergoing as well as the others wounded: Zachary Barth, Chrystal Griner, David Bailey and Roger Williams.

Donald Trump is the duly elected President of the United States. If you don’t like him, shut up and wait your turn in the next election. Americans don’t go around romantically joining the preposterously named “Resistance”. The popular vote has no meaning in our Constitutional system.  Lefties will excuse any crime or aberration of anyone with a “D” attached to their name, and they’ve harbored many real criminals.

For those who actually pay attention, Hillary was a dreadful candidate, a compulsive liar, even when lying made no sense. She did not do her homework preparing for events. Used American taxpayers as her personal piggy bank. As Secretary of State, she refused help to her ambassador and his aide ( her responsibility), after they had begged for help nearly 50 times, and refused military aid to the two CIA contractors who were trying to save the embassy staff. She was unfamiliar with the fact that Ghadaffi had abandoned any effort to get nuclear weapons, and although a rotten dictator, kept a lid on his tumultuous country.  Sold a big chunk of America’s uranium reserves to the Russians, for her personal gain. Always believed that she was above the law, which, it appears, may be true. It’s odd that we send small-time violators of national security to prison, but if you are”important” the law does not apply.

Like the Patagonia CEO who has no interest in conservatives, Hillary called more than half the nation “Deplorables” and thought their votes unnecessary. Rose Marcario (the CEO) attacked President Trump for his statements about rolling back President Obama’s aggressive campaign of confiscating millions of acres of state lands and claiming them as “national monuments”, apparently under the notion that the federal government should own all available land other than the high rise cities in which they expect the citizen subjects to live. Unfortunately the federal government is a lousy manager of public lands, and they are not effective guardians of the national parks, let alone “national monuments.” A friend recently went to Yellowstone and reported that they were out picking up cigarette butts, so things have improved somewhat there after a lot of very bad publicity.

Sixty percent of the residents of Utah opposed Obama’s land grab, and many state governments fully agree with Trump’s assessment and oppose such land grabs. Patagonia is very “Green” — more high-minded activism than any interest in actual science or facts, but that is quite common on the Left, as is attested to by the mess their high-minded demonstrators always leave behind.

Do read this short piece by George Neumayr at Hot Air: “The Left’s Flirtation with Trumpicide” which is directly applicable.




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