American Elephants


The Worst Food Regulation Ever by The Elephant's Child

A government shutdown not only allows the rest of us a chance to think about the usefulness of government and all that it does, but quite a few people have been talking about the unnecessary size of government, the things the government does that they don’t really need to be doing, and there was an article in the Wall Street Journal today titled “This May be the Worst Regulation Ever” with an even more interesting subhead: “A USDA rule about labels on ‘bioengineered’ food cost hundreds of millions and has no benefits.

Well, Frabjous Day, Henry I. Miller has hit on one of my pet peeves. He is talking specifically about the “Non GMO” required label, but the “Certified Organic” is almost as bad. I blame it all on suburban housewives, who are supposed to be “highly educated”, but in my experience are highly susceptible to phony claims.

The “Organic” movement started because they got it in their heads that their food was being fertilized by the petroleum industry. Well, yes, petroleum products are rich in nitrogen which is a fertilizer for plants, and oil companies made fertilizers. Panic time! Poisoning children. The Organic movement wanted “natural” fertilizer, not fossil fuels. “Natural fertilizer” comes from cow poop and chicken poop. Food grown without a lot of noxious chemicals in a “natural way” grew, and the Dept. of Agriculture agreed to certify foods produced by organic farmers as “Organic” so folks could be sure to reach for the right can. Unfortunately  cow poop and chicken poop have a risk of e-coli, which is poisonous, And when you get to advertisements on the radio for “Organic Cotton sheets for your bed” it gets remarkably silly. If the cotton fields from which the cotton was picked were fertilized with manure, what earthly difference does that make to the fabric eventually woven for your bed?

The GMO scare was similar. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. They tweaked the genes of the plants that grew what eventually became food to add a more desirable element. In some cases it helps to resist a virus, or resist a certain kind of bug, or need less water or fertilizer when growing. The statute acknowledged that bioengineered food is neither more nor less safe than other food, but the new rule — the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) will not help consumers to understand that. So you have labels on most of the canned food on your supermarket’s shelves that identify Organic foods and Non GMO foods, that give you useless information and cost you a whole bunch. Organic food costs about 30% more than its non-organic counterpart, and is a complete waste of money.

I refuse to buy anything with an “Organic” label, but stores now have a large organic fruit and vegetable section. I blame it, as I said on suburban women, and on Gwyneth Paltrow, who has always been very big on food scares.

The original article is here, but may be behind a subscription barrier. Henry I. Miller is a great debunker of things that need debunking. Watch for him.



What Do We Do When Social Media Isn’t Social At All? by The Elephant's Child

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The watchmen at the big social media websites are busily trying to police the flow of conversation that they initiated with their ideas about how to become rich and powerful. They thought people would like to share their thoughts, news, ideas, recipes and pictures with their friends. They have indeed become rich and powerful, but they forgot everything they learned in grade school and junior high, or perhaps did not learn about human nature.

The perpetrators of the constant hum of the online conversation we call “social media” blame any problems on “hate speech”, a poorly defined selection of words that someone, somewhere, objects to. All too often, it is simply the opinion of someone in the opposing political party.

One can say whatever one chooses if they agree with what you say, but your words must pass tests of race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual preference, age, political affiliation, part of the country you come from, and a few dozen other qualifying questions. Vulgarity is fine, and broadly circulated, as is any amount of coarseness, crassness, crudity, grossness, indelicacy, rawness, rudeness and tastelessness or don’t you read the comments on popular websites? Here is one definition I found:

Primarily internet or cellular phone based applications and tools to share information among people. Social media includes popular networking websites, like Facebook and Twitter; as well as bookmarking sites like Reddit. It involves blogging and forums and any aspect of an interactive presence which allows individuals the ability to engage in conversations with one another, often as a discussion over a particular blog post, news article, or event.

Having created this mess and trying desperately to find a way to manage the flow of conversation or discussion before the government steps in to slap them down, as Europe is already beginning to do, they are attempting to pacify by creating “independent” judges to parse your speech for anything that might get them in trouble. The fact that they are simultaneously parsing your speech to sell to advertisers is a separate problem.

Human nature. We are a quarrelsome lot. We have a hard time getting along with our immediate family, let alone a bunch of complete strangers. People do not speak well, and write even less well. We have a hard time saying what we mean, and it is usually poorly thought out. We have never really thought clearly about the big questions, let alone the little ones. That’s why Jordan Peterson has made such an impact. He tries to clarify what we are thinking and saying and point out where we have gone astray.

Oddly, with the enormous increase in people using social media, psychologists tell us that loneliness is an increasing problem. I think in the effort to connect people, we have created far greater problems that are just beginning to emerge. I suspect we may have been better off when you had to pick up the phone and dial your friend’s house, and didn’t stay on the line too long because it would cost too much.

I think this phenomenon has had some very unfortunate effects on our society that we do not yet understand. If you have any answers let me know.



The Always Quotable Dr. Thomas Sowell by The Elephant's Child

Economist Mark J. Perry featured a quote from Thomas Sowell’s 2012 column “Socialist or Fascist?” in his Carpe Diem column at AEI.

“What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people – like themselves – need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.”

And here’s another:

“The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.

Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom.”



Nancy Pelosi Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving by The Elephant's Child

Nancy Pelosi is a gift to the Republican Party. After she explained about how the “wrap-up smear” that they applied to Judge Brett Kavanaugh, works, she has now explained how the Democrats will calm the political rhetoric that is traumatizing the nation.  When Democrats win the House, it will all calm down.

Just like your two-year-old will stop the tantrum when he gets the cookie he wants! I mean, we knew this, but it is extra-delightful to have the House Minority Leader confirm it, in public, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday evening. 

COLBERT: There’s been a lot of talk about lowering the temperature of political discourse. Have you seen evidence of that?

PELOSI: Well, I think when we win, you will see evidence of that. Because when we do win, we will have, as we open the new Congress, we will honor the vows of our founders. E Pluribus Unum.

PELOSI: We couldn’t imagine how many we would be or different we would be from each other, but they did know we have to strive for oneness. “It’s okay to disagree in the marketplace of ideas. That’s exciting. But it is also important to find solutions that unify and not divide. And that’s what makes a big difference between Democrats and what’s in the White House now.”

Do try to avoid giving them the House. She already told us that the first thing they would do when they get back in charge, would be to raise your taxes.

Absolutely brilliant!



Democratic Socialism is Still Socialism by The Elephant's Child



Slowly, Slowly, the Truth is Coming Out by The Elephant's Child

The more one reviews accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, the worse it gets — as I expressed in the previous post. There’s the little girl “up-talk”— the last syllable at the end of a sentence goes higher in tone. It’s another little girl thing. She’s just so unsure, she needs help to recall, doesn’t name anyone who can verify her memories.

I cannot imagine how anyone who talks like that could be a professor at a university and at Stanford Medical School. Nobody would take her seriously. Yet she seems so wounded, that it’s easy for viewers to take her defenseless little girl pose as the plaintive plea of a wronged woman, and assume that she is credible.

She pretends that she doesn’t understand the questions, needing more time to reply. When we first heard from her, she didn’t really know who it was, only that someone got on top of her and put his hand over her mouth. Then she was suddenly absolutely clear that it was Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge.  All four of her confirming witnesses did not confirm her story. At Breitbart, John Nolte explores the veracity of her testimony with devastating results.

Christina Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she began having memories of her abuse returned when she and her husband put, at her demand, a second front door on their house. She said she had never told anyone about anything until May 2012 when she went to couples counseling.

In explaining why I wanted a second front door, I began to describe the assault in detail. I recall saying that the boy who assaulted me could someday be on the U.S. Supreme Court, and spoke a bit about his background at an elitist all-boys school in Bethesda, Maryland. My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh.

The second front door was already installed by March 2011, perhaps earlier,  and apparently installed as a door to an office where she had a private business called The Couples Resource Center.

According to information found on the Internet, a business was located at the exact same address as the Ford house (please note that the address of this house was released on the Internet weeks ago). The Couples Resource Center was located at the exact same location as the Ford’s home.

Michael Walsh takes on the profession of journalism as it relates to Ford, and the media does not come off well.

Victor Davis Hanson summed it all up nicely in a single paragraph:

The “process” of memorializing Ford’s testimony involved a strange inversion of constitutional norms: The idea of a statute of limitations is ossified; hearsay is legitimate testimony; inexact and contradictory recall is proof of trauma, and therefore of validity; the burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser; detail and evidence are subordinated to assumed sincerity; proof that one later relates an allegation to another is considered proof that the assault actually occurred in the manner alleged; motive is largely irrelevant; the accuser establishes the guidelines of the state’s investigation of the allegations; and the individual allegation gains credence by cosmic resonance with all other such similar allegations.

The descriptions of the house, what one can hear of people going up and downstairs , she contradicts herself. Supposedly her friend Leland drove her home, but Leland denies the whole thing, says she never encountered Kavanaugh at all, and has no knowledge of the party. Ford reports proudly of her polygraph, (her lawyers made her do it) and neither the lawyers nor herself as a practicing psychologist should be unaware of the limitations of polygraphs.

And at Powerline, John Hinderaker comments on the smear:

Brett Kavanaugh enjoys one of the most spotless reputations of anyone in American public life. He has been enthusiastically endorsed by those who have known him all his life–by girls he knew in high school and college, by judges he has served with, by professors and students and Harvard and Yale law schools, by judges who have worked with him, by his judicial clerks–most of whom have been women–by the American Bar Association, by sitting Supreme Court justices. In short, everyone who has ever known or dealt with Brett Kavanaugh endorses him.

I think that Judge Kavanaugh’s pristine reputation is one reason why the Democrats have unleashed against him a smear campaign unparalleled in American history. This is the message they are trying to send: If we can do this to the Boy Scout Brett Kavanaugh, we can do it to anyone. Are you thinking of serving in a Republican administration? Or accepting an appointment to the federal judiciary from a Republican president? Think twice, and then think again.

Nope, I don’t believe a word of it, including her claim that she was sexually abused. Her story just falls apart.



We Need to Take the Idea of “Control” A Lot More Seriously by The Elephant's Child

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The news is, at best, as disturbing as could be imagined, but it takes a lot of reading to understand the developments. Let’s start with China. President Xi Jinping is not merely an authoritarian leader. He evidently believes that the Party must have absolute and complete control over society, and he must have absolute and complete control over the Party. China returns once more to totalitarianism.

“By 2020, Chinese officials plan to have about 626 million surveillance cameras  operating throughout the country. The cameras will, among other things, feed information into a national “social credit system.

That system, when it is in place in perhaps two years, will assign to every person in China a constantly updated score based on observed behaviors. For example, an instance of jaywalking, caught by one of those cameras, will result in a reduction in score.

Although officials might hope to reduce jaywalking, they seem to have far more sinister ambitions, such as ensuring conformity to Communist Party political demands. In short, the government looks as if it is determined to create what the Economist called “the world’s first digital totalitarian state.”

That social credit system, once perfected, will surely be extended to foreign companies and individuals.

A journalist named Liu Hu was prevented from taking a flight because he had a low score. According to the Global Times (a communist controlled paper) by the end of April 2018, authorities had blocked individuals from taking 1.4 million flights and 4,25 million high-speed train trips. Liu said “I can’t buy property. My child can’t go to a private school” You are being controlled by the list all the time.

Chinese leaders have long been interested in making defiance virtually impossible. With the the capabilities they are developing it would seem that absolute control is in the works.

Americans who have studied up on Communism as practiced in Russia, the eastern European nations, and Castro’s Cuba, and now Venezuela, find our own Democrat party’s fight to be in control of our country and our Politics off-putting. But this kind of control is far beyond anything that we even could imagine. Do Read the Whole Thing. It’s not that long.




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