American Elephants


Questions Without Answers: Where and What is Reality? by The Elephant's Child

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I don’t know if there has ever been a time when reality was so much in question. What’s true and what’s not.  The new federal climate report comes out and climate scientists call it “tripe”–”embarrassing” – “systematically flawed” and said the key claim comes from a study funded by Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. The climate scientists who assume they can program the world’s climate into a computer and get accurate answers about what will happen in the next hundred years have too much faith in computers. (GIGO)

The nation’s farewell to President George Herbert Walker Bush was alternately a celebration of the life of a war hero and a patriot and a good man, and a rebuke to the current president, and the current president and Melania were rebuked by Hillary, but Jeb said the President couldn’t have been nicer.

In Britain, Brexit is damaging to the nation and the European Union, and alternately, it is necessary for Britain to get out from under the control of the European Union, and the migrants may be a huge problem or not at all.

In France, Prime Minister Macron wants a big carbon tax to lower their efforts to damage the climate, and the people don’t want any carbon taxes and don’t plan on having any. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it is inevitable that climate governance will create economic, social and racial justice. There will only be benefits, and no costs to passing a raft of new climate change laws. Others laugh at her.

Whatever the subject, opinion varies, which is normal, but opinion has become truth, and is not to be doubted. Google has been shown to be eliminating conservative truth and favoring their own leftist leanings. President Trump has said firmly that he is a nationalist, by which he means he loves his country and favors it. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron rebuked U.S. President Donald Trump for putting the interests of U.S. citizens above the demonstration of moral values, and said that nationalism is a bad thing.

The media in this country is conducting a war on President Trump, who they consider an illegal president to whom they are opposed, but clearly he is the legally elected and widely approved President of the United States. President Trump wants to build a wall on the Southern border to prevent the influx of illegal aliens. California has Sanctuary Cities and is, I believe, a sanctuary state.

Forest fires are caused by alternately poor forest management  or global warming, as stated by President Trump or California Governor Jerry Brown. We can determine the truth to the extent that we agree with one side or another, but over and over, there is no widely accepted truth.

This is the reality exposed by the technology giants, who are supposedly emanating only truth, and eliminating “hate speech”, but what is called “hate speech” depends on which voices attract the most valuable clicks. Hollywood celebrities, who have only the fact that we may recognize their faces or names to attest to the worth of what they say, are free to use all the “hate speech” they want because being celebrities they will have lots of followers, which means a lot of clicks for the website. So “Truth” is not what is approved by the websites that claim to be impartial judges of truth and falsehood, but the impartial judges lie as well.

Electoral Fraud is widespread, or simply does not exist. It is hardly surprising that so many are claiming that we are on the brink of a civil war. Truth is fiction, Animal Farm is real, and Maisie Hirono (D-HI) urges Democrats to consider “heart over mind. Don’t tell everybody how smart we are.”

The ceremonies for the mourning of a past president and the long, long lines of people waiting in the cold for a chance to pass by the catafalque suggested to many that President H.W. Bush was the last of the patricians, when everybody agreed on right and wrong and true and false. Of course they didn’t agree then, but the times have changed and we have organizations like Snopes and the SPLC, PoliFact, NewsBusters, the Media Research Center to tell us what is true and what is not, and they deliver falsehoods, and the atmosphere out there is far worse than it ever was.

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Immigration: Legal or Illegal? It Makes a Difference. by The Elephant's Child

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The Caravans have apparently gotten rides and around 7,000 to 10,000 of them are at the border in Tijuana. The residents of that city are up in arms with thousands of unwanted migrants on their streets. The Migrants are admitting that they are not after asylum, but just want American jobs. President Trump asked why are they waving flags of their native countries? They do not want asylum, they do not want to become Americans, they want jobs and the benefits our generous aid systems provide.

The military has been busy setting out razor wire all along the border. Tijuana has appealed to the Mexican military for help. The migrants know they are not eligible for asylum. They apparently intend to mass at the border and see what President Trump will do about it.

Homeland Security claims there are at least 500 criminals traveling with the caravans. Authorities have closed four lanes of traffic at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings in response to intelligence that groups of migrants planned to rush the border through automotive lanes. That led to closure of eight more lanes at the busy border crossings. There were already many Mexicans camped near the border waiting their turn to apply for asylum. The asylum rules are complex, but as I understand it, they have to apply in the first country they come to, which for the Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorians was Mexico – who offered jobs, but only 1,800 or so took them up on it.

Australia’s Prime Minister has promised a major cut in their migrant intake. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the country’s major cities have buses, trains and schools that “are full.” The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr. Morrison will ask state leaders to create their own population plans and will address the issue at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting on December 12.

His plan is to move away from top-down discussions about population to set specific migration caps to how many can enter. In Sydney, Mr. Morrison said, that migrants accounted for about 70% of the population growth last year. Australians want an end to mass migration.

And then there is Europe. Angela Merkel has, for whatever reason, perhaps German guilt, encouraged the European Union to welcome refugees, and they have come from all the troubled countries of the Middle East and Africa. But swallowing this massive influx is something else again. Initially they were greeted with flowers and food and song. (Really) But the immigrants have had a habit of burning cars, complaining about the housing arranged for them, raping women and girls, and killing innocent Europeans.

Some of the Eastern Europeans, more familiar with being invaded by violent armies, have built walls or fences to keep the migrants out, and are castigated for it. In England, it was reported that the most popular baby’s name was Mohammed. It is hard for the Europeans who also believe in Freedom of Religion, having had a reformation and many wars over religion, to accept criticism of the Moslem religion. There is, however. a major problem in that religious Muslims believe that infidels (us) must discard our religion and submit fully to Allah, which is a different matter.

Canada is helped immeasurably by their geographic location. On three sides they have ocean – the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Atlantic – and you can’t get there easily unless you have a boat and crew. Their southern border with America, the world’s leading economy, has been a magnet for immigration rather than the reverse. At some times in their history they worried more about the volume of emigrants from Canada to the U.S. to such an extent that Canadians feared for the future of their country. Generally, the movement of people into Canada has been law abiding and orderly. Most arrivals come through the front door. Canadians have a high commitment to policing, and you could call their fifth border “bureaucratic”. Visitors have to apply in advance for a visa, and if they are coming from a place that has recently sent more than a certain number of asylum applicants (or vacation overstayers) they are not admitted. Canada has some of the world’s most restrictive visa rules. Most applicants from countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria are turned down. And since the U.S. is not considered a threat, claiming asylum in Canada doesn’t work.

Illegal aliens often demonstrate here, bearing signs that say things like “No human is illegal” but dictionaries explain that “Illegal” simply means not according to the law. An alien is a person who owes allegiance to a country other than this. The Left favors massive immigration because new immigrants are likely to vote Democrat, and they are happy to sign up illegals to vote, as in California where anyone can get a driver’s license, and along with the driver’s license, you register to vote. and then they have sanctuary cities and states as well.

Then you have the inflow of various categories of temporary tech workers, who are apparently cheaper to hire than our own tech graduates. Farm workers, exchange students, and some foreign students sent here to learn our technology to take back home again, and just plain old tourists who overstay. It’s a very complicated mess even without migrants clamoring at the border and climbing the walls.  The Center for Immigration Studies has told us that a wall would actually pay for itself in the reduced cost of welfare and emergency health care and policing that are involved with illegal immigration. So there you are.



Public Opinion Isn’t What Its Cracked-Up to Be by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Jefferson said that our democracy rests on a “decent respect to the opinions of mankind” In a long essay Democracy and its Discontents: Reflections on Everyday America, (1971), Daniel Boorstin,  the late Librarian of Congress suggests that “we suffer from a disease different from that which any society before us has suffered. I call it “overcommunication.”

He suggests that we could actually define the rise of civilization as the rise of communication, and sharing of information and knowledge. This is called the information age, and so it is. Communicate means to impart information, knowledge or the like, to impart or convey knowledge of or inform a person of, to tell. But there is an indispensable counterpart, the right to listen – or not to listen – begins to disappear. I am sitting in front of my computer monitor, listening on Tune-in Radio to a local radio station because on the actual radio (which is turned off) there is too much static. I am writing as I listen, but can search for a bit of information I lack, turn to any one of dozens of websites for other opinion or information.

Daniel Boorstin goes on to suggest that we have too much communication, too many opinions, and the good manners that did, or at least should, accompany opinion has gone a-glimmering.You only have to read the comments section on any popular website. It’s not just good manners that have disappeared. Comments are vulgar, ugly, scatological and often ungrammatical, and give opinion a bad name. .

The progress of civilization depends on the ability of people to develop a more self-controlled attitude about what they say – and how, when and where. In the early days, there was a town crier, who called out the important news as he walked around the town. Riders brought the news of an election – days after it happened, depending on how big and important your town was. The news from England in the 1700’s probably took about 6 months. Think the invention of the steam engine, the Panama Canal, the Pony Express, canals, railroads, the telegraph, the telephone, photography. I saw a brief video yesterday of President Trump talking to reporters in the Oval Office. A huge mob of people with microphones on long poles and cameras — and think of all the inventions involved in that brief occasion that was brought across the continent to my desk in the Pacific Northwest, shortly after it actually happened.

Boorstin is right, there is too much opinion, you can’t get away from it. The websites that offer news offer opinions not just from those who make the news and those who record it and disseminate it, but opinions from people who have the opportunity to express their opinions because they are “celebrities”, which means that we know their names because they did something to get their name known, like sing, or tell jokes, or act on television or on the screen. (This is a personal bugaboo.) I don’t think that having their names made public, whether we recognize it or not, qualifies them to have their opinions listened to – nor does the content of their opinions qualify as “news.” So Boorstin is absolutely correct there is way too much opinion, and you can’t get away from it. I would like to know what is happening without the intrusion of Cher, or any of the other formerly famous who cannot wait to get their opinions out there.

It’s opinion that is the problem. Opinion was once something personal, thought (as Boorstin says, “Opinions then, are distinguished by the strength with which they are held rather than the authenticity with which their conclusions  are demonstrable.”) And we have reached the point where there is Big Opinion, or as it is usually called, Public Opinion. Public Opinion is more important and somehow more respectable than private opinion. We have Opinion Leaders, Opinion Writers, huge polling businesses to tally Public Opinion. Opinion has moved from something that should be kept to yourself, to a controlling voice in our society.



Weaponized Words: Language is Today’s Disruptive Technology by The Elephant's Child
pexels-photo-1309899Charles Hill explains that language is arguably the most fundamental human tool. In history, at certain times, when language has undergone major changes, it has disrupted the world order. This is such a time.

“A language revolution is under way, propelled by an eruption of electronic communication technologies that, while enhancing productivity, are also creating social and political chaos. The e-revolution in communication is challenging, even threatening, the conduct of responsible governance. Thanks to digital technologies, marginal sociopaths are being empowered to organize and act collectively as never before; dictatorial regimes are perfecting powerful tools to monitor and suppress entire populations; and instantaneous popular judgments on political issues are beginning to overwhelm representative government as designed by the founders to avoid the chaos-producing “direct” democracy of premodern societies. …

Today’s social media distort this relationship. Instant communication by way of platforms such as Twitter makes it possible for individuals to immediately express the slightest emotionally disruptive and damaging reaction to events or ideas to a worldwide audience. Opinions and private outbursts once perceived as self-harmful blunders, resolved by improving one’s repressive subconscious mechanisms, are now instantly exposed to multitudes in a permanent form. Civilization depends upon the time and ability to contain such eruptions; the “discontents” created by acts of self-control are the price of civil society. Were every discontent expressed, the public sphere would collapse as “all communication, all the time,instantly produces a surrounding effect. As the astute columnist Peggy Noonan wrote, we are agitating and exciting the unstable sector of the population, a sector that increasingly grows larger, a Pandora’s box of once-subconscious partisan venom breaking open as no one becomes able to suppress the slightest discontent.

As the individual is “liberated” by the ability to promulgate unconstrained feelings in every direction, the governing regimes of the world are gaining new powers of surveillance, intrusion, and control over their populations. The 2011 “Arab spring” uprisings were considered at first to be made possible by the new language-spreading technologies in every young person’s hand; it was widely agreed, at the time, that such tools of expression would be beyond the abilities of dictators to control. Such an assumption was foolhardy; the Arab spring was crushed in a few short months as the old powers—colonels, hereditary monarchs, strong-armed clans with puppet “parliaments”—regained control even as they were assaulted by even more ideologically autocratic radicals claiming religious dominion.

“For the rest of this essay, go here.

Strange times. We are already seeing the dictatorial regime in China increasingly controlling the lives of ordinary citizens. And here at home we are seeing the journalism profession being transformed by partisan politics into something unrecognizable as a profession or a purveyor of truth. Our universities are indoctrinating rather than educating our children.



Tucker Carlson on Free Speech and How the Left Uses Tragedy For Their Own Ends by The Elephant's Child

Tucker Carlson tackles today’s free speech problem. The problem is that the Left wants to decide what is and is not free speech, and eliminate the speech they don’t like. Which throws the whole idea of real free speech out the window. They are using tragedy to fuel their own ends. There was a mass shooting at a synagogue in Philadelphia. The Left immediately  twisted it so it is the fault of President Trump because they don’t like President Trump. They are offended when he wants to pay his respects at the synagogue, apparently unaware that his son-in-law, daughter, and his grandchildren are members of the Jewish faith. Leftists have said that Trump’s moving the embassy to Jerusalem “doesn’t let him off the hook for this shooting.” That  is absurd.

The man who committed the shooting was an anti-Semite who hated Trump, and is solely responsible, and has been charged and will pay for the crime. The deranged man who shot Steve Scalise at the Congressional Softball Game was a Bernie Sanders supporter. Bernie Sanders had no responsibility for his act. The man who sent pipe bombs to a number of Democrats was solely responsible for his actions.

The woman portrayed in this video, blaming President Trump’s unwelcoming comments on the Honduran Caravan, was incorrect on everything she said. The “Caravan” are not “refugees”. “There is a specific legal definition of a “refugee.” Immigration Lawyers often coach their clients in what to say to get admitted under the refugee laws. Hollywood types have adopted the illegal alien saying “No human being is illegal.” which is a nonsense phrase. We are a country with immigration laws. Those who break the law by trying to enter the country without permission, are by definition criminals. Those who owe their citizenship to another country are by definition, aliens. The Left’s ideas of such subjects are based on ‘feelings’, not on law, and for the Left, ‘feelings’ trump law every time. Unfortunately, you cannot run a government on ‘feelings’.

You cannot have a government nor a country that censors speech, where those in charge decide what may or may not be said. The technology people who dreamed up the ideas and algorithms of social media, with their backgrounds in math and electronics and engineering assumed that people would welcome the opportunity to share their lives with their friends and relatives online. They missed the understanding of human nature that you get from wide reading in history and literature. They expected to learn from what their customers did and said on the internet enough to be able to tell advertisers what they might be interested in. Advertisers jumped at the chance, and the technology people got very rich indeed.

We are seeing something quite new in the reaction to Donald Trump’s election, and it has a lot to do with social media. I would love to see some analysis of how things seem to be “catching”, and get repeated endlessly. The technology people like to feature celebrities, who people follow because they think they know them, because they have seen them on TV.

I thought Kathy Griffin’s severed head trick so disgusting that it should have ended not only her career, but anything in that line. Instead  it started some sort of “can you top this” contest, in which celebrities try to outdo one another in Trumpian insult. The trouble with being a celebrity is that you have to stay in the public eye,  or people might start thinking you are a has-been.

We are gradually learning that social media is damaging for kids. The social media people are gradually learning about the monster they have created, and don’t know how to fix it other than banning people from its use. Which places them in control of what is acceptable speech and what is unacceptable, which is a role that they are completely unqualified to fill.

They talk about “hate speech” which has no real definition, and depend on sources like the Southern Poverty Law Center or Snopes to tell them what is hate and what is false without any recognition that half the people in the country, at least, find that dependence laughable.

There has been an enormous decline in the civility of language. The comments on many popular websites are filled with profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, and scatology that used to be unacceptable, not just in polite society, but in public anywhere. But that speech was not limited by ‘elites’ who have appointed themselves as the arbiters, but by a general recognition that you just didn’t talk that way in public, because it wasn’t nice. That time seems very distant.



What Happened to California? by The Elephant's Child

Here is Victor Davis Hanson on Tucker Carlson’s program talking about their native state of California. Both were born and grew up in California. Victor Davis Hanson is the 6th generation living in the same house, with obviously a deep sense of family history.I have lived in California, on both sides of the Bay area, and in Southern California. As I often say, I can remember when anyone who did not live in San Francisco dressed up to go to the city. Now, Travel agents and event planners suggest avoiding San Francisco because of the prevalent feces on the sidewalks and the  needles and addicts also on the sidewalks. So how did a once beautiful city and a once ‘golden’ state go so haywire?

California is now a state with probably more billionaires than any other and definitely with the largest number of people in poverty. Jerry Brown is not rated as abjectly low as the governors of Oregon and Washington in fiscal discipline—but what is it with this coastal corridor? There are lessons to be learned here.



George Gilder On The Future of Computing by The Elephant's Child

Uncommon Knowledge, from the Hoover Institution. 9/24/18

Is blockchain the technology of the future? George Gilder, author of Life After Google, argues that bitcoin and blockchain technology is revolutionizing the Internet. He sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss technology, cloud computing, big data, and the growing role of blockchain in innovating new technologies.

Gilder argues that cloud computing, while it was the hot new technology ten years ago, has reached its limits as the physical limitations of big data storage centers maxes out. Improvements in parsing big data are incremental at this point, and it’s time for the next big technology to take its place. Gilder points to blockchain as the technology of the future, with its ability to prevent corruption and manipulation of transaction data and the infinite uses it could have in third world countries.

Gilder also discusses the history of technology, artificial intelligence, and the revolutionary bitcoin. He argues that artificial intelligence can never replace human intelligence and creativity and that in principle, it is impossible for machines to take over.

For the full transcript go to:
https://www.hoover.org/research/georg…




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