American Elephants



Random Jottings from my Notepad by The Elephant's Child

— Tom Sowell: “Socialism, in general, has a record of failure that only an intellectual could ignore or evade.”

—Scott Carpenter was asked: “What did you think about as you were rocketing into space?”
He answered: “That each part of this rocket was made by the lowest bidder.”

—Ralph Peters:  “Obama’s Mideast Policy: Praise Muslims, Ignore Christians, Blame Jews.”

—Charles Schumer: “The only way we’re going to work with him is if he moves completely in our direction.”

— The Iran Deal: There is no deal. Nothing was signed. Iran said we’ll do this. Obama said, fine, we’ll pay for it.

— Monica Crowley: “Government has no profit motive, only a power motive.”

—You cannot spend your way out of recession nor borrow your way out of hard times. Social Security workers per beneficiary: 1960 – 4.9, 2010 -2.8, 2035 – 1.9 (CBO estimate).

— The population of Israel before the Holocaust was 600,000.

—Andy McCarthy: “Nihilism is the key. Today’s hard left is defined by what it is against: the United States, free-market capitalism, and any foreign policy premised on defending American interests or promoting individual liberty. Only this part of the agenda is concrete, leaving neo-communism elastic enough to strike alliances with any movement that shares it. What neo-communists are for, by contrast, is a set of abstractions—”social justice”, “equality”, “redistributive rights instead of the rule of law” and, of course, “our values.” The details of those can be worked out later, once the more pressing imperative of undoing the existing order has been realized.”

—Zero Hedge: “All that debt Obama acquired and all the stimulus did work to redistribute wealth and income toward the well-connected cronies that funded Obama into office. Obama can talk all he likes about cutting taxes for the middle class, the data shows who Obama’s redistributionist policies have overwhelmingly favored.”

—Vaclav Klaus: “The people who are supporting Global Warming are not interested in temperature. They are interested in government control—identical to Communism.”

—C.S. Lewis: “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road: in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”



Meet Professor Jordan Peterson: The Remedy For All of It by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Jordan Peterson is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto. He is cranky, disagreeable, and pokes holes in all the silliness we are being deluged with on a daily basis. He is straightforward, clear, and completely delightful. Enjoy.



Assigned Reading: Sunday, March 26, 2017 by The Elephant's Child

I hardly know where to start. Let’s begin with Left 3.0″ by Tod Lindberg at the Hoover Institution ( Feb.1, 2013).

The Left’s passion for equality begins with the pursuit of greater economic equality, but it doesn’t end there. The Left has also long been in pursuit of equality in the matter of identity. “Identity” is a concept that substantially modifies the principle that individuals have rights. An identity is something one has in common with others. Identity puts people in groups, and societies have long assigned status on the basis of identity — in many instances, in the view of the Left, improperly so. Some statuses have been improperly privileged, for example, white males in racist and sexist societies. And some statuses have been improperly denigrated, for example, gay men in homophobic societies. The Left has long sought to bring down the status of the privileged and elevate the status of the denigrated. This, too, is the pursuit of equality.

On Sept.27.2016, before the election, Angelo Codevilla wrote a piece for The Claremont Review of Books titled “After the Republic” that was remarkably prescient. It’s long, but worth reviewing for a good sense of where we were:

Never before has such a large percentage of Americans expressed alienation from their leaders, resentment, even fear. Some two-thirds of Americans believe that elected and appointed officials—plus the courts, the justice system, business leaders, educators—are leading the country in the wrong direction: that they are corrupt, do more harm than good, make us poorer, get us into wars and lose them. Because this majority sees no one in the political mainstream who shares their concerns, because it lacks confidence that the system can be fixed, it is eager to empower whoever might flush the system and its denizens with something like an ungentle enema.

In Orbis, Summer 2002, Hudson Institute scholar John Fonte wrote a long piece about “Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism: The Future of the Ideological Civil War Within the West.”

Nearly a year before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, wire service stories gave us a preview of the transnational politics of the future. It was reported on October 24, 2000, that in preparation for the UN Conference Against Racism, about fifty American nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) sent a formal letter to UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson calling on the UN “to hold the United States accountable for the intractable and persistent problem of discrimination” that “men and women of color face at the hands of the U.S. criminal justice system.”

This one I have as a printout. When I called it up, it came as a PDF, and beyond my ability to figure out how to get the text to you. Enter this in your search engine ( Orbis/Summer 2002 /Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism ) and you will receive a download. It’s worth your time to grasp just what is going on and where we are.

Ernest Sternberg, professor at the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York, in December 2010 published “Purifying the World: What the New Radical Ideology Stands For” Again, enter this:
https://www:researchgate.net/publication/222675491 ) in your search engine and you will get a PDF download.  From the Abstract:

The past decade has seen the coalescence of a new ideology that envisions social movements in a cataclysmic struggle against global capitalist Empire. Controlled  by U.S. militarism and multinational corporations, in cahoots with Zionism, Empire contaminates environments and destroys cultures. Its defeat will bring about a new era of social justice and sustainable development, in which the diverse cultures harmoniously share the earth. Is this a totalitarian ideology? From fascist and communist precedents, we learn that lovers of renewed humanity are not sufficiently motivated by abstract ideals. They must also identify humanity’s enemy, the cause of all suffering. Equipped with a scapegoat, diverse communities can achieve solidarity through shared execration. (emphasis added)

The new ideology is most clearly identified by what it opposes. Its enemy is the global monolith called Empire, which exerts systemic domination over human lives, mainly from the United States. Empire does so by means of economic liberalism, militarism, multinational corporations, corporate media and technologies of surveillance, in cahoots with, or under the thrall of Empire’s most sinister manifestation, namely Zionism. So far there is no controversy—these points will be readily admitted by advocates as well as critics. … (emphasis added)

Through bundist struggles, “A Better World is Possible” (the World Social Forum’s slogan). That world will be environmentally clean, culturally harmonious, and politically just. The new life’s advent will occur when harmonious, and politically just. The new life’s advent will occur when networked bunds triumph over Empire and purge societies of their toxicity.

Whereas capitalism creates and destroys and is constantly changing, the new order will be sustainable. It will run on alternative energy, organic farming, local food markets, and closed-loop recyclable industry, if any industry is needed. People will travel on public transit, or ride cars that tread lightly on the earth, or even better ride bicycles. They will occupy green buildings constructed of local materials and inhabit cities growing organically within bioregions. Life will be liberated from carbon emanations. It will be a permanent, placid way of life in which economies are integrated into the earth’s ecosystem.

The new world will also achieve cultural purity. By “culture” purification does not mean interesting folkways, nor simply heritage, and certainly not any literary and musical canon. Rather, culture is the offspring of folk-spirit: that mysterious life-source from which identity, meaning and pride emerge. It is found in indigenous life-style, local habitat, feeling of community, and the heady experience of fringe art. Even communities that may have little left by way of traditions can look inward, perhaps just to their shared experience of oppression, for the folk-spirit from which to extract identity and pride.

While global corporations produce the artificial psuedo-culture that serves Empire’s interests, communities possess or can rediscover real culture. These culture-communities are organic in two senses. First, like organic food, they are pure rather than adulterated. Second, they are integral totalities rather than associations of free individuals.

The United States is 1: “the Enemy of Humanity” and 2: Israel also “the Enemy of Humanity. If you search YouTube for Ernest Sternberg, there is a video of a talk he gave largely about how come Israel emerged as the enemy. Also gives you a look at Dr, Sternberg.

I’m giving you a lot of reading. Don’t fail to do it. We have to understand what the hell is happening. It seems quite impossible that anyone could actually believe this claptrap — but that’s why they call it an ideology.  Sternberg says that an early proponent was Hugo Chavez. Yes, that Hugo Chavez. It all is, of course, a kind of neo-communism, or as an essay yesterday in American Greatness  brilliantly called it “Americanism vs. Marxist-Lennonism” derived from John Lennon’s “Imagine”

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace…

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man.

The trouble, of course, is human nature. They always find it abhorrent and want to fix it, without the slightest understanding that it is immutable and can never, never be “fixed.” That’s when all the purification dies and they get all totalitarian.



Inauguration Day. by The Elephant's Child

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Renowned satirist Oleg Atbashian has been spoofing authoritarianism and leftist overkill at his blog The People’s Cube, for years, but now the activist editors at Wikipedia have decided to destroy him. They have deleted his blog.

Congratulations, comrades. We are now officially a non-site populated by non-persons sharing non-thoughts and making non-jokes,” Atbashian wrote in a post at The People’s Cube  “It makes me feel right at home, back in the Soviet Union, where an invisible hand obstructed any of my efforts to manifest my existence. How liberating. No visibility means no responsibility. Out of sight, out of mind.”

Not exactly the first time Wikipedia has brazenly demonstrated its hard left political affiliations. Drop by if you have a chance and wish him well. He is very talented and way too familiar with the Left and their machinations.



The End Of the Obama Administration Or Just the Beginning of Something Very Different? by The Elephant's Child

obama-sour

As we leave 2016, it becomes the time when journalists attempt to sum up the past year. I’m afraid that Obama’s desperate flurry of executive orders and regulations as he leaves the White House will merely add to the recriminations as he tries to finish up the wrong-headed promises he made upon being elected. He has completely disgraced himself and his administration with instructions to abstain from the Security Council’s vote on Israeli “settlement policy”— a vote intended to tilt the “peace process” towards the Palestinian terrorists.  He is attempting to empty Guantanamo, sending the “worst of the worst” to other countries so they can quickly go back to terrorism, as they are doing. The funerals of their victims will be Mr. Obama’s real legacy, and real journalists are already writing the epitaphs.

Here’s Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal: The betrayed: Obama’s decision to allow the UN to censure Israel, Iranians, whose 2009 Green Revolution whose protest of a stolen election Obama failed to endorse. Iraqis, who were promised a diplomatic surge to secure the gains of a military surge, Syrians, Ukrainians, and most of all, and most betrayed: Americans.

Mr. Obama promised a responsible end to the war in Iraq. We are again fighting in Iraq. He promised victory in Afghanistan. The Taliban are winning. He promised a reset with Russia. We are enemies again. He promised the containment of Iran. We are witnessing its ascendancy in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. He promised a world free of nuclear weapons. We are stumbling into another age of nuclear proliferation. He promised al Qaeda on a path to defeat. Jihad has never been so rampant and deadly.

These are the results. They would be easier to forgive if they hadn’t so often been reached by disingenuous and dishonorable means.

Perhaps you remember back in the change of administrations in 2000, when the departing Clinton administration left the White House in a mess, and the “W”s missing from all the computer keyboards, out of pure spite. The Bush administration took a bipartisan tack, and tried to be helpful to the incoming Obama administration. George W. Bush recognized the change, that his time was past, and the real assessment would be done by future historians. He has refused to comment on his successor’s policies and actions, and simply continued with his efforts to help returning veterans in any way he could.

Mr. Obama has not only not appreciated the help he was provided, but not grasped the gentlemanly way the transfer of power took place. There were major lessons there, but Obama didn’t get it. He told David Axlerod today that if the Constitution didn’t prevent him from running again, he could have won the election. A snide comment on Hillary’s campaign.

As always, it is all about him. I doubt that he could have persuaded the American people to give him another term to run our national security into the ground. Though the American people like Mr. Obama as a person, they think the country is going in the wrong direction, both economically and internationally. ObamaCare is collapsing. Terrorism is increasing, and Obama has been more interested in increasing the numbers of Syrian refugees in expectation the they would become Democrat voters, than in any possibility that they might be members of ISIS.

The Obamas will remain in Washington D.C. for the next year at least, and Mr. Obama has said he will spend the time “rebuilding the Democrat Party.” He will use his community organizing skills to build a hard-left version of the old Democratic Party, and with his old “Organizing for Obama” Team which has become “Organizing for America,” and now “Organizing for Action.”

Daniel Greenfield says that Obama wants to force radical change, building networks across the urban elite and into the halls of power. He intends to force radical change from outside the White House by using the network he’s built. Obama believes that he can rule America from outside the White House, and he may be right.

The Democrats are ceasing to be a national party. Instead they are becoming a nationalizing party. They are losing their presence in much of the country, from state legislature to state legislature, and becoming the party of major cities and the national government. Their agenda is to move power from local areas to central ones, from the villages and the suburbs to the cities, from states to D.C. and from locally elected legislators in D.C. to the satellite bureaucracies of the Federal government.

Obama sees Hillary’s defeat as an opportunity to burn the Dem’s last bridges with the larger country and its “bitter clingers”, to double down on nationalizing power and to define the political narrative around the agendas of urban elites. The left crippled the Democrats. Now it wants to utterly consume them.

The election was a catastrophic disaster for the Democrats, but it opened all sorts of doors for Obama.

You need to read the whole thing. Daniel Greenfield is a columnist, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He has his own blog, and writes at David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine as well as many other outlets.  He is very perceptive, and in this case, very scary. But Mr. Greenfield’s writing seems to follow closely with everything we know about Obama’s character. You read “Obama Plans to Rule America Outside the White House” and see what you think. Forewarned is forearmed.

Angelo Codevilla, writing in the Claremont Review of Books explains:

But whenever progressives have gained power, all manner of contradictions have remained and new ones have arisen. Progressive movements have reacted to this failure by becoming their own reason for being. Theoretically, the Revolution is about the power and necessity to recreate mankind. In practice, for almost all progressive movements it is about gaining power for the revolutionaries and making war on those who stand in their way.

This is a long, but important article, widely recommended. You will be glad you read the whole thing.



A Botched Utopian Fantasy by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s statement on the passing of Fidel Castro was much more carefully phrased than that of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In fact, it is a marvelous example of an attempt to dot every i and cross every t and offend no one, no one at all.

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him. …

(Do read the whole thing. It’s quite precious. Makes me want to throw up).

At The Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O’Grady counts Castro’s victims, and reviews “The Secret Life of Fidel Castro” a biography by Juan Renaldo Sanchez who was for 17 years a part of the team of elite Cuban security specialists charged with protecting Castro’s life and privacy. It’s worth remembering that Castro begged the Russians to nuke the U.S., and Russian missiles were installed in Cuba.

At The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead explains that “A Dictator Dies a Failure.

Fidel Castro wanted an independent path for Cuba. He leaves a shattered society and a desperately poor country behind him, less able to shape its destiny than it was in 1959.

At City Journal. Michael Totten had a lovely essay on “The Last Communist City: A visit to the dystopian Havana that tourists never see. ”

I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba—not because I’m nostalgic for a botched utopian fantasy but because I wanted to experience Communism firsthand. When I finally got my chance several months ago, I was startled to discover how much the Cuban reality lines up with Blomkamp’s dystopia. In Cuba, as in Elysium, a small group of economic and political elites live in a rarefied world high above the impoverished masses. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of The Communist Manifesto, would be appalled by the misery endured by Cuba’s ordinary citizens and shocked by the relatively luxurious lifestyles of those who keep the poor down by force. (For some reason, I was unable to link to the essay from 2014, You can find it on Google)

And the great political cartoonist Michael Ramirez captured the moment:  (click to enlarge)
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