American Elephants

The President Has to Give Jim Acosta’s Press Pass Back! by The Elephant's Child

A  Trump-appointed judge has ruled that the President has to give Jim Acosta his White House press pass back, and based his ruling on an only partly-related due process precedent instead of plain common sense. That’s apparently a lawyer thing, to search for precedent first. I object, but I don’t count either. My precedent goes back to the First Amendment’s statement that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. When the First Amendment was ratified in 1791, “the press” referred to the printing press. There were no reporters and there was certainly no press gaggle. In larger towns there was a town crier, and the amendment said that printers could print whatever they chose without government approval or interference. I am clearly not a lawyer, but the Constitution was devised to protect the people from an overbearing government, not the other way around.

There was no White House, the White house was built between 1792 and 1800. So I would contend that the term “the press” doesn’t include reporters at all. The first “press conference” occurred during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency by accident. He apparently said some things to reporters which were then printed, and he liked that and decided to do it again. “Press Conferences” have been different for different presidents since then, with each president deciding how to handle them. And different presidents had different relationships with the press as well– friendly, or not so much.

Huffington Post 3/04/15: “Obama Administration’s Relationship With The Press Among The Worst Ever, Report Shows”

Rolling  Stone 8/04/14: “The White House Distrusts the Media, Reporters Feel Persecuted – a former Obama Spokesman on the history of the toxic relationship” (The wonderful illustration by Victor Juhaz accompanied this article)

MSNBC 9/12/13: “Obama and the press: A relationship in the rough”

the hill 12/19/16:Obama’s legacy will be one of secrecy and hostility toward the press”

Washington Post 05/08/14  “The Obama White House has a terrible relationship with the Press Corps: whose fault is that?”

The President’s response was a mild “well, we will just publish rules of deportment for members of the press who clearly don’t know how to behave.” (not a direct quote.)


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.

Caravan , March, Bands of Migrants, Invaders, Whatever by The Elephant's Child

Democrats are trying to romanticize the massive marches of Central Americans heading for our Southern Border, with the appellate “Caravans,” which does have a romantic sound. If Trump is going to declare war on these bands of migrants, then the Democrats are going to be for them. They had a great success with the “ripped from their mothers’ arms meme” when enough attention was called to the fact that existing law requires that children may not be detained with the parents who are detained. The fact that the children were well cared for and entertained was brushed aside with the “ripped” phrase. The Democrats work very hard to get just the right messaging out there. Republicans are not all that good at messaging, just at doing the right thing most of the time.

There’s much about the current bands of migrants that is as yet unknown. The Honduran official supposedly behind it is known, but there’s lots of help turning up to feed and shelter them, and help them on their way. The Left is still trying to emphasize the women and children part, and there are some, but the vast majority seem to be young men of working age, and what they want is paying jobs so they can send money home, and the benefits that go along with being “refugees.” Refugee status carries special privileges, and there are plenty of immigration attorneys to tell them the correct claims to make and words to say.

The first group which some are estimating well over 1,000 has broken through Mexico’s border. The Mexican government has offered asylum, and work, and some 1800 or so accepted, but the vast majority headed on. Someone is supplying trucks for transport. A second group has formed and has broken through the Mexican border fences, with a shooting, one migrant killed, and some violence. The second group comes from El Salvador, home of MS-13, the gang that is terrorizing some American cities.

There are many in the first large group who have been previously deported for a crime. Some of the marchers say that there are a lot of criminals among them. There are supposed to be a number of Bangladeshis among them as well, which is a home for ISIS. Now there is a third caravan forming out of Guatemala with several hundred migrants who hope to catch up to the big group. Certainly all take courage from their sheer numbers. Some local residents offer food or water. We’ve been told that they just invade local grocery stores and help themselves.

A Guatemalan government official told Judicial Watch that the caravan is a movement of radicalized forces to destabilize Central American countries. “It is very strategic and extremely organized. It is very complex, not a simple march. There is nothing spontaneous about it.”

Today, we are a living parody.  A massive parade of foreign nationals is marching toward our border, its members openly proclaiming that they intend to illegally enter our country.  They have already stormed and breached the southern border of Mexico in a glaring preview of their defiance of law, so they are clearly to be believed.

And where is the American political left?  Are leftists decrying the violation of our national sovereignty?  Are they demanding that our government protect its citizens from encroachment?  Of course not.  They are the parody.  They of the left are seeking ways in which to prevent the administration from doing any of that.

This is President Trump’s PATCO moment.  Remember that?  Soon after President Ronald Reagan took office, in 1981, members of the unionized left organized a strike of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization.  They were adamant that their demands be met, or else PATCO would shut down all air traffic in the United States.  Reagan gave the union members 48 hours in which to return to work or be irrevocably fired.  You can’t do that, the striking controllers jeered.  Twenty-four hours later, they were all fired, and not one of those who continued the illegal strike has been rehired.  Shortly afterward, PATCO ceased to exist.

Victor Davis Hanson’s home is in an area of California that is home to large numbers of Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal, and his book Mexifornia is a valuable guide to understanding. Writing in the Washington Times, he said:

Or, as 17th-century British statesman George Savile famously put it: “Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen.”

In the modern world, we call such prompt, uniform and guaranteed law enforcement “deterrence,” from the Latin verb meaning “to frighten away.” One protester who disrupts a speech is not the problem. But if unpunished, he green-lights hundreds more like him.

Worse still, when one law is left unenforced, then all sorts of other laws are weakened.

The result of hundreds of “sanctuary cities” is not just to forbid full immigration enforcement in particular jurisdictions. They also signal that U.S. immigration law, and by extension other laws, can be ignored.

So now we have three marches, one each from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. All seem to believe that by the sheer force of numbers, they can force their way into the United States and between our offerings of employment and free benefits get their way. You will have to admit that the timing with the election in just days is more than a bit suspicious. Before you start claiming that “we are a nation of immigrants” and should thus let them all in, please understand that worldwide there are approximately 4,060,046 people registered on the waiting list for visas to come to America legally. The list includes all countries with at least 50,000 persons on the waiting list. There is a seven percent per-country limit which issuance of visas to one single country may not exceed. For fiscal year 2018 the per-country limit will be 25,620. (Do click on the link. It’s 3 short paragraphs but explains the complications which are many.)

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.

About the Constitution and The First Amendment by The Elephant's Child

We talk a lot about Free Speech in America because we believe deeply in the First Amendment. I’m not sure that all of us are aware that it is solely directed at the government, not at us. You can say whatever you want, but it may get you expelled or censored or punched in the nose.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Europeans are free to say only what the courts allow them to say.

When he was 50, the prophet of Islam took as his wife Aisha, who was then six or seven. The marriage was consummated when Aisha was nine.

This is not a smear. It is an accurate account of authoritative Islamic scripture. (See, e.g., Sahih-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 58, Nos. 234–236.) Yet it can no longer safely be discussed in Europe, thanks to the extortionate threat of violence and intimidation — specifically, of jihadist terrorism and the Islamist grievance industry that slipstreams behind it. Under a ruling by the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), free speech has been supplanted by sharia blasphemy standards.

Mrs. S appealed, relying on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That provision purports to safeguard “freedom of expression” although it works much like the warranty on your used refrigerator.  It sounds as if you would be covered, but the fine print doesn’t follow through.

Article 10 starts out: Europeans are free “to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”  Followed by the legal details: One’s exercise of the right to impart information, “carries with it duties and responsibilities.” What is called “freedom” is actually “subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties” that the authorities decide are “necessary in a democratic society,” including for “public safety” and for “the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others.”

Translation: Europeans are free to say only what they are permitted to say by the unelected judges of the European courts. Truth is irrelevant. As the jurists reasoned in the case of Mrs. S., a person’s freedom to assert facts must be assessed in “the wider context” that balances “free” expression against “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected,” as well as “the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace.”

In other words, you cannot say anything that might upset Muslims. Child marriage, violent jihad, the duty to kill apostates, the treatment of women as chattel, that sort of things. Doesn’t matter if these tenents are accurately stated or supported by scriptural grounding makes no difference. Reliance on what their scriptures say could be classified as “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which could stir up prejucdce and put religious peace at risk.

There is no free speech in Islam. Sharia does not merely forbid speech that insults or denigrates Islam; they regard as blasphemy – and punish viciously – any form of expression that places Islam in an unfavorable light. Enacting laws against child marriage would be tantamount to saying that Mohammed was in the wrong, and that is unacceptable. So child marriage, among other things, remains a major problem in Islamic countries. In Saudi Arabia, efforts to establish the marriage at age 15 and some hope to raise it to 18 have been rejected by sharia authorities.

As we have said before, Europe seems bent on committing suicide.

Here, the Left’s increasing reliance on feelings as the most important guidepost is worrisome, and their contempt for the Constitution is even more a matter for very deep concern.

Democratic Socialism is Still Socialism by The Elephant's Child

Where Did Political Correctness Come From? by The Elephant's Child

This is not a recent video, it was published in 2012, but unfortunately political correctness has only gotten worse, so perhaps a look at the origins will help a little. Reject it. Don’t let them get away with it. Insist on honest language about real things.

I ‘m sure that much is related to a simple lack of understanding of ordinary human nature. Families have trouble getting along. Immediate families – brothers and sisters. Simple recognition of that very real fact should lead to a recognition that government works best at the local level, school boards and city councils. The county level gets a little more difficult, as bureaucracy grows. By the time you get to Washington D.C. the bureaucracy is immense, and our ability to be heard is minuscule. Dividing the people up into categories simplifies a way of thinking about them.  Think Hillary’s “Deplorables.” And the Left’s insistence on “white privilege”, “racists”, “#Me too”, and today, “nationalist”.  Putting people into imaginary groupings means you don’t have to deal with real problems or real people.

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