American Elephants


Manchester, Muslims, Migrants and the Middle East. by The Elephant's Child

Many of us have wondered why Europeans seem to have welcomed so many migrants from the Middle East. At first, they welcomed the migrants with flowers and food and housing, and even song. Whether this was simply a case of accepting at face value the term “refugees” or “migrants,” and believing that they must help the unfortunate, or just being terminally uninformed, I have no idea. In the wake of the Manchester attack, the thoughts of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble give a glimpse of the thought processes. The growing number of Muslims in Germany, he said, represent a learning opportunity rather than a threat.

“It is fanaticism, not only in Islam, that leads to terrible crimes,” he said, speaking on German public radio station Deutschlandfunk Wednesday evening, when asked about the Islamist attack in which 22 mostly young people, including an eight-year-old girl, lost their lives. …

“The world’s great religions all preach the message that one must look upon others as their sisters and brothers, and that one must live with the other because man cannot live alone,” Schäuble told presenter Christiane Florin.

“‘Islam is part of Germany’ is a sober, factual statement,” the minister remarked, commenting on sentiments voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion – which are not shared by the majority of Germans.

“Anyone who denies this denies reality and is therefore not suited to being a politician, because politics begins with the confrontation of reality,” he added.

The number of refugees in Germany who are capable of committing terrorist acts has quadrupled since 2011, the German Federal Criminal Police Office has said.

Security concerns have heightened in Germany after close to a million refugees arrived in 2015 from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Fears worsened when more than 1,200 women were reportedly assaulted in various German cities on New Year’s Eve in 2015.

Officials say there are 657 refugees capable of committing terror attacks and 388 potential accomplices in such attacks.

The Manchester attack has awakened British officialdom to the threat to their people, and armed military people are guarding the trains in Britain. Hungary has put up a wall, and is accepting no migrants. Other nations are having all sorts of trouble with the migrants who have arrived in their countries. France has ‘no go’ neighborhoods  where even the police will not venture, and numbers of attacks.

The new French President, Emmanuel Macron, wants Islam to have more room in France. Like many European leaders Macron seems to be convinced that the remedy for the demographic deficit and the aging of ethnic European populations is more immigration. Besides, they seem to be more worried about climate change. Macron claimed to be a ‘centrist’, but the outgoing Socialist President François Hollande has spoken of him as a “continuity”, not an alternative. His entire program is socialist. Lots of additional public expenditures, and climate change is defined as the “key issue for the future of the world.”

Our own Secretary of Homeland Security, General John Kelly, remarked today that “if we knew what he knows about terror threats in this country, we’d never leave the house.”

He was interviewed on Fox and Friends on Friday and said that the terror threat is “worse than we realize.” He pointed out four major terror attacks in the last week, by “more or less the same groups,” in Manchester, England, in Egypt where 28 Coptic Christians were slaughtered, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, and in Indonesia.

“It’s everywhere. It’s constant. It’s nonstop. The good news for us in America is we have amazing people protecting us every day. But it can happen here almost any time,” Kelly said.

Here’s Andy McCarthy:

Here is the blunt, inescapable fact: The United States is in a defensive war against what is imprecisely called “radical Islam.” The war proceeds on two tracks: the kinetic militancy of jihadists, and the cultural challenge of anti-Western, anti-constitutional Islamic law and mores. The ideology that catalyzes both tracks is sharia supremacism — the implementation and spreading of sharia, classical Islam’s societal structure and legal code, is the rationale for all jihadist terror and of all the Islamist cultural aggression that slipstreams behind it.

The dividing line is sharia supremacism. On one side of it we find patriotic, pro-American Muslims who are spiritually devout but reject the imposition of sharia on civil and political life; on the other, the Islamists — the sharia supremacists. The challenge posed by the latter is not merely that some percentage of them are jihadists; it is that as a population — or as enclaves that take hold in the West — they are assimilation-resistant, and their ideological havens will breed the jihadists of the future while stifling the Constitution in the here and now.

That is what we have to vet for. That is what the majority of the American people want: Muslims who embrace our way of life invited in, Muslims who threaten our way of life kept out. You can’t get there without subjecting Muslim aliens to more-extensive inspection.

What can we do? Try to be informed, and I guess, be ready with the candles and flowers.

 



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.’



The American Left and the American Right: Is It War? by The Elephant's Child

In some ways, it’s really quite amazing that we can talk to our progressive friends. We don’t speak the same language and we definitely don’t define words in the same way.

They speak emotion and future and purification of the human race, we speak of Constitution and laws, economics, innovation and opportunity. They talk endlessly about fairness and diversity. But we don’t mean the same thing, for example, by diversity. For the left it means skin color, ethnicity, country of origin—surface things. Conservatives are interested in diversity of ideas, interests, habits and history, hopes and dreams. The left is terminally interested in gender, to the disadvantage of everyone, and all of its variations which must be noted, celebrated and paraded and now joined forever in shared bathrooms. Conservatives recognize two genders descended from Adam and Eve with the same characteristics those two started with. Conservatives celebrate and respect family. The left tries to destroy it.

There are remarkable numbers of useless phrases in circulation: clean energy, sustainable development, renewable energy, fairness, income inequality, normative framework, undocumented citizens and of course multiculturalism — the NYT recently came up with “incorrect promise.” Some of these constructions are meant to change minds and actions.

Grocery stores celebrate all thing organic,which means quite specifically that they must be grown and fertilized with manure, not chemicals.  Technically it’s all nitrogen, but real animal poop has the extra advantage of possibly infecting you with e-coli. Consider how it is supposed to effect the quality of the sheets for your bed if the cotton from which they were woven was fertilized with steer manure? Organic is pure bunk, and costs about 30% more.

College students are so sensitive to language that they cannot bear to hear ideas or thoughts expressed which disagree with their own ideas.  Free speech is a term that has specific First Amendment meaning for Conservatives, but I’m unclear about just what the Left thinks it means.

The most recent idiocy is perhaps cultural appropriation, which became a big deal on some campus with the idea that large hoop earrings were a cultural appropriation, and should be rejected. This is perhaps the silliest idea they have come up with. Bruce Bawer said it nicely:

For two centuries, America accomplished something that should have previously seemed impossible: the creation of a brand new national identity by individuals who, forsaking old loyalties and joining to make new lives melted away ethnic differences. Hector St. John Crevecour (Letters from an American Farmer) described Americans as “a new race of men” a race that paradoxically had nothing to do with race.” In 1944, Gunnar Myrdal marveled at the fact that Americans of every ethnicity, religion and color shared a more “explicitly expressed system of general  ideals” than the people of any other country in the Western world.”

Lots of cultural appropriation — and good for us.



Where is the Left Going And What Do They Want? by The Elephant's Child

I ran across my notes from a panel discussion on where the Left is going, back in the fall of 2014, and it’s still of interest.

“The left is intellectually dead, and where it is headed toward is authoritarianism.”That was Kevin Williamson, roving correspondent for National Review.

William Voegeli of the Claremont Review of Books argued that “The fundamental assumption of the left is the innate goodness of each person.  This assumption means that they are seeking to undermine the Constitution, which is based on a very different view of human nature. The Constitution pits the different branches of government against each other so that each will keep the others in check.”

As James Madison put it in the Federalist, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” and the Constitution supplies the “defect of better motives” through such balancing.

The Constitution, in other words, expects selfish ambition, and by expecting ambition, Voegeli noted, it legitimizes it—which is precisely what the left does not want to do. The left wants to supply not the “defect of better motives” but rather just “better motives,” Voegeli said. Liberals want to set up a system that allows our latent goodness to “flourish,” and the checks of our constitutional system can be discarded in favor of technocratic, centralized disinterestedness that allows each individual to live an authentic life of his choosing.

“The object is not to have one’s own way so much as to have a way that is one’s own,”



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.



Democrats Are Making a Mess of Things! by The Elephant's Child

Trump is bad at being a tyrant: Brandon Weichert,  American Greatness
The past 100 days have been a disaster-for Democrats: Mark Thiesson, Washington Post
Marches for Science vs. Actual Science: John Hinderaker, Powerline
And What is the Scientific Basis for Imposing Energy Poverty On the Masses?: Francis Menton, Manhattan Contrarian

And then there is this:  A Little Golden Book! Who thought this was a good idea? Perhaps (hopefully) it’s not real. But there are far too many things these days that one assumes blithely that are not real, and it turns out they are. Or perhaps this is the bedtime book that was read to the little progressives and snowflakes inhabiting our colleges.

Or perhaps it’s just a photoshop for a clever comment on our times. Your guess?

From Victor Davis Hanson: Fundamentalist Nihilism, American Greatness

Dr.Hanson considers three separate cases: Nihilist Environmentalism, Nihilist Immigration, and the Factories of Nihilism: Our Universities.

At some point, progressivism begins to collapse by the weight of its own internal contradictions and becomes faith-based. Future anthropologists will have a difficult time sorting out all the bizarre rituals and sacraments of this early 21st-century progressive cult.

In today’s headlines, we have three crystal clear illustrations of the phenomenon. Let’s begin first with the recent case of the four-year California drought (2011-2015)

1) President Obama, Governor Jerry Brown, and California’s legislative leadership all declared the drought to be a result of climate change. Accordingly, it would both be near permanent and demand government intervention to make radical changes in Californians’ lifestyles;

2) Yet in some 120 years of accurate record-keeping, no California drought seems to have lasted much longer than four years;

3) Not a single new reservoir, canal, or aqueduct was started during the drought, although several projects had been envisioned over a half-century earlier in the original blueprints of the state California Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

California has not handled the immigration thing well, to say the least. The problems are fairly clear, but the ability of progressives to deal with them is another matter entirely.

The refusal by California universities to hear speakers who might say something offensive to pearl like little ears, which then developed into riots,  is becoming almost commonplace. That is not to say it is acceptable.

A sad story of the failure of Progressivism. Means well. Doesn’t work.



Oh Good Lord, Another March, And Another! by The Elephant's Child

There was a “march” on Saturday, this one for the Climate, just when Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin admitted that in the Obama administration they manipulated the scientific data about the climate to mislead the public. Marches have become so common that I completely missed this one, which was apparently financed by George Soros, all-purpose villain, to the tune of $36 million. But a march for the climate, how perfectly silly. This charming shot is of the aftermath of the march by the folks who care so much about the planet, and recycling, and the pristine outdoors.

Today is May Day, no longer a sweet holiday to celebrate the coming of spring with maypoles and such, but time for another march. You have probably noticed that all these marches are just anti-Trump and have no other real purpose. When May Day became a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, the date was taken over by the Soviet Union and other communist regimes as a propaganda tool, where they could show off their military might and big weapons. Ilya Somin recommends using the day to remind the world of the victims  as a Victims of Communism Day. The one hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution—the Bolshevik takeover of Russia.

The authoritative Black Book of Communism estimates the Soviet victims as a total of 90 to 100 million dead, greater than all the other tyrannies combined. Yet we still have useful idiots who are just sure that Communism is a better system.

The Soviet Union was not the most oppressive communist regime. It probably did not match the even more thoroughgoing totalitarianism of the Khmer Rouge and North Korea. Nor did it kill the most people – a record held by Mao Zedong the Chinese communists. But the Soviet experiment was the principal model for all the later communist states, and it is hard to imagine communists seizing control of so much of the world without it.

So we have thousands of college students who are so ignorant of history that Communism seems quaint, and Bernie Sanders is cute with his great  shock of white hair and lifelong enthusiasm for socialism. Obama opens relations with communist Cuba and all the lefties are anxious to visit and see the charming old cars and crumbling buildings.

We are having a march in Seattle for May Day, workers’ rights,  communism and, of course,  mostly anti-Trump. They carry signs, but they can’t spell or make sense. Tiresome.  In Portland, they are more violent and are breaking windows and setting fires in the street.

Are marches loosing their effectiveness or was there never any effectiveness to begin with? A happy May Day to all, and perhaps we’d better go back to Maypoles and flower baskets and a welcome to Spring.

 




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