American Elephants


Black, Millennial, Female and Conservative by The Elephant's Child



“The Closing of the Scientific Mind” by The Elephant's Child

An excerpt from a post by David Gelernter on January 1, 2014, in Commentary: “The Closing of the Scientific Mind,” in which he challenges scientists, suggesting that “the cultural authority science has acquired over the last century has imposed large duties on every scientist.” Are you listening Michael Mann?

I hope this brief excerpt will prompt you to read the whole thing, which is brilliant.

The Kurzweil Cult.

The voice most strongly associated with what I’ve termed roboticism is that of Ray Kurzweil, a leading technologist and inventor. The Kurzweil Cult teaches that, given the strong and ever-increasing pace of technological progress and change, a fateful crossover point is approaching. He calls this point the “singularity.” After the year 2045 (mark your calendars!), machine intelligence will dominate human intelligence to the extent that men will no longer understand machines any more than potato chips understand mathematical topology. Men will already have begun an orgy of machinification—implanting chips in their bodies and brains, and fine-tuning their own and their children’s genetic material. Kurzweil believes in “transhumanism,” the merging of men and machines. He believes human immortality is just around the corner. He works for Google.

Whether he knows it or not, Kurzweil believes in and longs for the death of mankind. Because if things work out as he predicts, there will still be life on Earth, but no human life. To predict that a man who lives forever and is built mainly of semiconductors is still a man is like predicting that a man with stainless steel skin, a small nuclear reactor for a stomach, and an IQ of 10,000 would still be a man. In fact we have no idea what he would be.

And to return to 2017: This piece from Breitbart today:  “Kalashnikov Group Announced Fully-Automated Combat Robots.”

Kalashnikov, the Russian weapons manufacturer behind the most effective killing machine in history, has stepped into the future of warfare, announcing its development of autonomous AI-controlled combat robots.

If you find that all entirely too scary, here’s a thoughtful piece by Matt Ridley, who is always thoughtful:

“Why You Should Be Optimistic”



Victor Davis Hanson Speaks on the Problem of California by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Hanson speaks of the wealthiest state, the Golden State, and where has California gone wrong? California was supposed to be the answer or the guide to a better future for the rest of the world, with the best climate, the best universities, the most beautiful state with lovely beaches, redwood forests, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, bountiful farmlands and citrus groves — what happened? This is the San Mateo County “Progress Seminar 2017” held in May. Hanson is a renowned historian, emeritus professor of Classics at Cal State University at Fresno, fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University,  5th generation Central Valley farmer, and author of at least two dozen books.  If you’re not from California, why should you care?

Though he talks about what is going wrong in California, it is also what is going on in perhaps lesser ways in the rest of the country.  The cities of so many dreams have become unaffordable,  business is leaving for more welcoming states, a heavy tax burden, water problems, energy problems, a coastal elite and impoverished Central Valley. Hanson has retained all of his worlds, which inform his scholarship and views on modern life and the long span of history since the days of ancient Greece.



The NYT Claims Any Investigation of the Voter Rolls Is Designed to Keep Blacks from Voting And Is Racist, Sexist and Homophobic as Well by The Elephant's Child

President Trump has appointed a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, Republican, co-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Republican, and its members include two Democratic secretaries of state, Matthew Dunlap, Maine, and Bill Gardner from New Hampshire — and a Democratic judge, Alan Lamar King, to make sure that the commission is a bipartisan effort to get to the bottom of the issue. One of the principal duties of the Secretary of State is to certify candidates and election results, so the person holding the office plays a key role in determining the result of a close election.

Democrats reacted with anger, complaining that the Commission was hardly needed as our elections were fair and Donald Trump’s suggestion that they weren’t fair was just another wild and false claim from this President.

I don’t know how many remember the “Secretary of State Project” which was an interesting effort by the Democrats.

The Secretary of State Project (SoSP) was established in July w006 as an independent “527” organization devoted to helping Democrats get elected to the office of secretary of state in selected swing, or battleground states; these were states where the margin of victory in the 2004 presidential election (between George W. Bush and John Kerry) had been 120,000 votes or less. …

The idea for SoSP germinated shortly after the 2004 election, when the Project’s co-founders blamed then Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, for presidential candidate John Kerry’s defeat. To their chagrin, Blackwell had ruled that Ohio (where George W. Bush won by a relatively slim 118,599-vote margin) would not count provisional ballots, even those submitted by properly registered voters, if they had been submitted at the wrong precincts. Though the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ultimately upheld Blackwell’s decision, SoSP’s founding members nonetheless received Blackwell’s ruling with the same bitterness they had felt regarding former Florida (Republican) Secretary of State Katherine Harris’s handling of the infamous ballot recount in 2000, when Bush defeated Al Gore in the presidential election.

You surely didn’t think that suspicions of vote fraud were something new, did you? Back in 2000, it was the Democrats who were shouting “One man, one vote” and claiming election fraud. By 2006, they were ready to do something about it. The idea was that few people know what a state Secretary of State does, candidates for that office don’t receive a lot of funding, so some comparatively small donations of a few hundred thousand could make sure the Democrat won the office. They set  up a 527 political committee (which allows the group to accept unlimited financing) and succeeded in electing the radical, Alinsky inspired, community organizer Mark Ritchie as Minnesota secretary of state, which paved the way for the stolen election of Al Franken. By the 2010 election the group had run out of steam and become inactive.

Deroy Murdock enumerates some of the proven examples from the 2016 election. Here are a few:

—In May 2016, CBS2 Los Angeles identified 265 dead voters in southern California. Many cast ballots “year after year.”

—The Heritage Foundation’s non-exhaustive survey confirms, since 2000, at least 742 criminal vote-fraud convictions.

—North Carolina announced in April 2014 that 13,416 dead voters were registered, and 81 of them recently had voted. Among 35,750 North Carolinians also registered in other states, 765 voted in November 2012, both inside and outside the Tarheel State.

—South Carolina’s attorney general concluded in January 2012 that 953 people “were deceased at the time of their participation in recent elections.”

—The Public Interest Legal Foundation recently discovered that Virginia removed 5,556 non-citizens from its voter rolls between 2011 and last May. Among these non-Americans, 1,852 had cast a total of 7,474 illegal ballots across multiple elections. But there is no vote fraud.

What made this particularly interesting was an article on the Opinion page of The New York Times, entitled “The Voter Purges Are Coming.

The Trump administration’s election-integrity commission will have its first meeting on Wednesday to map out how the president will strip the right to vote from millions of Americans. It hasn’t gotten off to the strongest start: Its astonishing request last month that each state hand over voters’ personal data was met with bipartisan condemnation. Yet it is joined in its efforts to disenfranchise citizens by the immensely more powerful Justice Department.

The requested lists are the public lists of actual voters required to be maintained by Secretaries of State, and the implication that they are personal and private is once again “fake news.” The inquiry into whether or not actual voters are legal voters is proper and needed. Democrats, who are always involved in any vote fraud they can get away with, form sanctuary cities where the presence of illegal aliens who are not able to vote, nevertheless are counted in the census, which controls how many representatives a state has. Enough illegals present may get the state another House seat. Democrats are apt to vote in the state where they live and the state where they have a vacation home as well. College students may vote in the state where they go to school, and in their home state as well. And illegal aliens do vote, using false or stolen Social Security numbers. Any attempt to eliminate vote fraud will be met with claims that Republicans are racist, sexist, homophobes, bigots, etc. etc., who are trying to cheat honest people out of the right to vote.

Do read the NYT screed, and notice that it comes from the president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights, and who was a head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department in the Obama administration. Any attempt to clean up the voter rolls will be met with anger, accusations, ugly names, and complete denial of any possibility of voter fraud at any time and anywhere.

 



O Harvard Fair Harvard, Let The Puritans Die — They’re Not Inclusive! by The Elephant's Child

Harvard University will delete “Puritans” from alma mater song. Sheesh. Every time you think that our colleges cannot possibly get any nuttier —they do so  promptly. The Harvard University Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging (Stop and read that phrase again) is now taking submissions for a new line to replace the one referencing Puritans.

Harvard University will delete the reference to Puritans from its alma mater song, saying the word is not inclusive.
Its Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging is now taking submissions for a new line to replace the one referencing Puritans.The final verse of 181 year old  “Fair Harvard” currently reads:

Let not moss-covered Error moor thee at its side,
As the world on Truth’s current glides by;
Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,
Till the stock of the Puritans die.

According to the task force, the alma mater as it stands “suggests that the commitment to truth, and to being the bearer of its light, is the special province of those of Puritan stock. This is false.”

The task force states it is looking for a more inclusive phrase that will appeal to all members of the community, “regardless of background, identity, religious affiliation, or viewpoint.”

A  professor who will be one of the judges said they are looking for more inclusion, but with “literary flair”— and maybe with new musical variants, choral, electronic, hip-hop, etc.I happened to copy down some words from Tom Sowell this morning which seem particularly appropriate:

History is what happened, not what we wish had happened, or what a theory says should have happened. History cannot be prettified in the interest of promoting “acceptance” or “mutual respect” among people and cultures. There is much in the history of every people that does not deserve respect. Whether with individuals or with groups, respect is something to be earned, not a door prize handed out to all. … If everything is respected equally, then respect has lost its meaning.

Harvard University just lost another measure of respect.

 



Ranking the States for their Fiscal Reliability by The Elephant's Child

Here in greater Seattle, following national publicity surrounding the Seattle debacle with raising the minimum wage, the Seattle City Council has determined that it would be a good idea to raise taxes on the rich.  They passed an ordinance.  It will be challenged in court, for the Washington state constitution says they can’t have an income tax, and their plan clearly defines who is rich and who is richer, and has to pay even more.

Several states have decided to raise taxes this year to cover budget shortfalls. A new study suggests that the states might find themselves in worse financial shape after the money starts rolling in. (Leftists do not understand the free market. That’s why they are Leftists.)

According to the latest ranking of states by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the most fiscally sound states in the country are all low-tax, GOP strongholds, while the 10 least-solvent states are almost all high-tax and heavily Democratic.

The rankings in the fourth-annual “Ranking of the States by Fiscal Condition” report, which was released this morning, are based on an review of audited financial statements for 2015 covering five measures that gauge the states’ ability to pay their bills, avoid budget deficits,  meet long-term spending needs and cover pension liabilities.

Cash solvency measures a state’s ability to pay immediate bills. Budget solvency focuses on whether states will end the year with a surplus or deficit. Service-level solvency gauges a state’s ability to meet a demand for increased spending. Long-run solvency concerns a states’ ability to meet longer-term spending commitments. Trust fund solvency  examines the states’ unfunded pension liabilities and state debt.

The 25 most-solvent states are solidly Republican except for four. Of the bottom least-solvent states, all but five are solidly Democratic. The most fiscally sound states also tend to have the lowest tax burdens, according to a separate analysis by the Tax Foundation.

The Mercatus Center Analysis can be found here, along with a map which includes more separation of the states into groups. The bottom line seems to be that the more money the state government takes from taxpayers, the worse they do in handling it. That should be surprising, but it’s not.



It’s No Wonder the American People Are So Confused! by The Elephant's Child

While everyone is looking the other way, notably at Trump and Twitter, President Trump has announced plans to make the United States a global energy powerhouse. He has already taken steps toward unleashing domestic energy supplies, but he announced six more steps that he plans to take: reviving nuclear energy, removing barriers to building coal plants overseas, building more energy pipelines including one into Mexico, increasing exports of natural gas and creating a new offshore-leasing program.

Turkey threatens not to ratify the Paris Climate Accord.  Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan admits the only reason for signing was to get money from the U.S. and other wealthy nations. Now that the U.S. has pulled out of the accord, there’s no reason to expect the financial benefits. Proving once again that the Paris Climate Treaty (which we never signed) had nothing to do with climate, but only with redistributing economic wealth.

New York magazine has an article by one David Wallace-Wells titled “The Uninhabitable Earth,” subtitled “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak—sooner than you think.”

Yale Poll finds: 4 in 10 Americans (39%) think ‘global warming will cause humans to become extinct.

Bombshell study: Temperature Adjustments Account for ‘Nearly All of the Warming’ in Government Climate Data.

President Trump demanded and obtained a clear statement of the U.S. rejection of the Paris Climate Agreement and just as important, a statement recognizing the appropriate role of efficient use of fossil fuels as an energy resource for the future.

July o9, 2017: It was just reported that Greenland set a new all-time July cold record, where the mercury plummeted to -33ºC.

Famed MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Ricard Lindzen: Believing CO² controls the climate “is pretty close to believing in magic.”

If you are interested, Climate Depot and CFact have produced a new Talking Points memo, an A-Z  Debunking of Climate Claims




%d bloggers like this: