American Elephants

The American Melting-Pot is Broken! by The Elephant's Child

There are two stories going on in the news concurrently that are related. One is the Boston Marathon bombing, and the other is the attempt to pass a new immigration law in Congress.

The American melting-pot is broken. We have traditionally had an outstanding assimilation process for new immigrants that develops them into citizens, and it is broken. Traditionally, our new immigrants, upon completion of the citizenship process and taking the oath of citizenship — became proud Americans, more patriotic and more knowledgeable about American history and the U.S. Constitution than most of the rest of us. Unlike immigrants to many European countries who had no possibility of ever becoming ‘real citizens’, in America there is no difference between a Mayflower descendant and the latest immigrant.  That is no longer working.

In his book Plagues of the Mind, Bruce Thornton tackles the problem of false knowledge. “We are subsumed in the ideology of “Multiculturalism”, the dominant narrative used by popular culture and many intellectuals alike to explain our historical moment and public moral goals:”

Despite what we are led to believe by its apologists, Multiculturalism is not about respecting cultural differences or the diversity of ethnic groups in America. Multiculturalism is instead a melodramatic tale of the wickedness of the West and its role in destroying the peaceful paradises in which other peoples (usually “of color”) lived before Europeans and then Americans came along to inflict on them racism, sexism, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, homophobia, technology, and environmental degradation.

Multiculturalism, the ideology — the false knowledge of the left — sees little in Western heritage beyond Western crimes.  The Western tradition, “American exceptionalism” is inherently racist, sexist, classist, hegemonic, repressive, and oppressive.  It has spread not through any innate quality of the American culture, but simply through the spread of Western power. Of what importance then is patriotism, reverence for tradition, pride in heritage and history?

The high-tech media multiplies the mischief that false knowledge can work, even more insidiously because we are a democracy.  Jean-Francois Revel has written:

democracy cannot thrive without a certain diet of truth. It cannot survive if the degree of truth in current circulation falls below a minim al level. A democratic regime, founded on the free determination of important choices made by a majority, condemns itself to death if most of the citizens who have to choose between various options make their decisions in ignorance of reality, blinded by passions or misled by fleeting impressions.

We  have two ethnic Chechen brothers, one a naturalized citizen, the other a permanent resident. For whatever reason, America’s patriotic assimilation system didn’t work for them, and that fact is important.

The Hudson Institute has released a new study by  John Fonte, examining the differences between  native-born American citizens and naturalized citizens. •By a 21 percentage point difference native-born citizens are more likely than immigrant citizens to view America as “better” than other nations. •Native born citizens are significantly more likely to think that Americans share a unique national history based on shared beliefs, values and culture. •Native born citizens think of themselves as American citizens rather than “citizens of the world, by about 30 points •Thirty percent more Native-born Americans believe the U.S. Constitution is a higher legal authority for Americans than international law. There is much more in the study.

The Study concludes that there can be no comprehensive immigration reform without comprehensive assimilation reform. We cannot determine immigration policy unless we seriously examine what our assimilation policy should be.

Why is there a patriotic gap between native-born and naturalized citizens? Undoubtedly there are many different reasons. One in particular, however, strikes us as responsible, at least partially, for this gap. Since the 1970s American elites have altered our “de-facto assimilation policy” from Americanization (or patriotic integration) to a multiculturalism that emphasizes ethnic group consciousness at the expense of American common culture.

In short, we have sent immigrants the wrong message on assimilation. It is our fault, not theirs that this gap exists.

Administrative-legal barriers to patriotic assimilation have developed gradually through a combination of federal bureaucratic policies, congressional activities, executive orders and court decisions. There’s the root cause of the patriotic integration gap. It’s time to stop giggling at how stupid political correctness and multiculturalism are, and start understanding that it is seriously damaging propaganda.

The Virtual Town Hall Considers Immigration by The Elephant's Child

Mr. Virtual President Bill Whittle speaks at a Virtual Town Hall about the problem of immigration, and has some important things to say.

Also in the news, the Associated Press has refined their Stylebook to eliminate the phrase “illegal immigrant”. Also “illegal alien,” “an illegal”, “illegals” or “undocumented”).

Back in October of 2012, AP had reaffirmed use of the term “illegal immigrant.” Why do we not say “undocumented immigrants” or “unauthorized immigrants?”

To us, they said, these terms obscure the essential fact that such people are here in violation of the law. It’s simply a legal reality….What they lack is the fundamental right to be in the United States.

Jay Leno considered the AP change and asked why they just don’t consider them “Undocumented Democrats?”

We are deep into a territory where political correctness is so rampant that the language no longer represents reality. If reality is too uncomfortable to face, we shall just change the language that describes it. Like putting a tire patch on a hot air balloon, and hoping it holds.

In the Defense Dept. Final Report on the Fort Hood Massacre, There Was No Mention of Radical Islam. None. by The Elephant's Child
February 18, 2011, 4:44 pm
Filed under: Liberalism, Statism, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

It was only eight days ago that I was writing about U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s public denunciation of multiculturalism, along with the leaders of France and Germany, and his declaration that it was a proven disaster and a threat to society. Multicultural values had led to segregated communities and Mr. Cameron said, imposed policies of  blind toleration that had helped to nurture radical Islam’s terrorist cells.

This was a major, major event.  Multiculturalism and it’s accompanying religious tenet diversity have been “the unofficial established religion of the universities, the faith whose requirements have shaped every aspect of cultural, economic and political life in Western democracies for the last 50 years.”

This happened just when a report was released, reported Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal, titled “A Ticking Time Bomb” that provided the most complete disclosures about the multiculturalist zeal that had caused  the Army and medical school superiors to smooth Nidal Malik Hassan’s way through training, promote him, and in spite of plain clear evidence of his unfitness, raise not one single concern.  Major Hassan, now a U.S. Army psychiatrist, was assigned to Fort Hood where he opened fire on his fellow soldiers in November of 2009, killing 12 plus a civilian employee and wounding 32 others.

The report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs led by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) concerns the Department of Defense’s official report on the Fort Hood bloodbath.  It made no mention , none, of Hasan’s well documented jihadist sympathies.

During his medical training at Walter Reed, and his two years at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, multicultural taboos reigned.  Walter Reed required a presentation on a psychiatric theme, Hasan produced a draft largely from the Quran “arguing for the painful punishment and liquidation of non-Muslims.” When he was told that the presentation was “not scholarly”, he revised slightly and was allowed to graduate. In his medical fellowship, he delivered a class lecture on the theme that the West in general and the U.S. Military specifically had mounted a war on Islam and continued with themes sympathetic to Osama bin Laden. His classmates were outraged.

Hasan’s contacts with terrorist suspect came to the notice of the FBI, but the agents were lulled by the impressive evaluation reports that described Hasan as an authority on Islam, whose work had “extraordinary potential to inform national policy and military strategy.” He was commended as “a star officer” who was focused on “illuminating the role of culture and Islamic faith within the Global War on Terrorism.”  Rabinowitz adds “No single word of criticism or doubt about Hasan ever made its way into any of his evaluations.”

His superiors noticed all right, but as Ms. Rabinowitz says:

Some of those enthusiastic testaments strongly suggested that the writers were themselves at least partly persuaded of their reasoning. In magical thinking, safety and good come to those who obey taboos, and in the multiculturalist world, there is no taboo more powerful than the one that forbids acknowledgment of realities not in keeping with the progressive vision. In the world of the politically correct—which can apparently include places where psychiatrists are taught—magical thinking reigns.

He was a star not simply because he was a Muslim, but because he was a special kind—the sort who posed, in his flaunting of jihadist sympathies, the most extreme test of liberal toleration. Exactly the kind the progressive heart finds irresistible.

A decision should be made soon about whether Major Hasan will go to trial before a military court-martial.  He is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder.  The trial will probably go forward. But the Department of Defense still has not specifically named the threat which is represented by the Fort Hood bloodbath.

Multiculturalism and Diversity live on in the nation’s colleges and universities and in the human resources departments of most major corporations, always concentrating on exactly the wrong thing.

In his book Plagues of the Mind, Bruce Thornton described the problem:

Despite what we are led to believe by its apologists, Multiculturalism is not about respecting cultural difference or the diversity of ethnic groups in America.  Multiculturalism is instead a melodramatic tale of the wickedness of the West and its role in destroying the peaceful paradises in which other peoples (usually “of color”) lived before Europeans and then Americans came along to inflict on them racism, sexism, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, homophobia, technology and environmental degradation.

If it was intended to make sure we were all nice to people of different colors and ethnicities, multiculturalism and diversity have evolved into a sort of required tolerance that does not distinguish.  Required equality. Differences in behavior will not be noticed, because it might mean that you are noticing ethnicity or skin color.

Oddly, differences in skin color or country of origin are seldom problems, but bad behavior, which is  to go unnoticed can cause all sorts of problems.  Honor killings, female circumcision, forced marriages are to be tolerated, and major attempts to blow up Americans are simply “man-caused disasters.” Terrorism and Islamic jihad  are preferably not mentioned. Tolerance in all things.

The End of Multiculturalism? by The Elephant's Child

Perhaps it began in the European Union.  The continent of Europe has been the site of one bloody war after another for centuries.  The nations of Europe, exhausted after the Second World War, wanted to stop.  Anti war rallies were very much in vogue while the Cold War left an aggressive Soviet Union threatening from the East.

The European Union’s birthrate has dropped below replacement rate. Which means, if nothing else, that the young workers to support Europe’s aging welfare state simply would not be there.  The EU encouraged immigration, particularly from their former colonies. Immigration did not necessarily mean assimilation, immigrants were not always welcomed, and belonging wasn’t necessarily a part of the multicultural vision.

All the differences people brought with them were theoretically to be melded into the colorful tapestry of the modern multicultural state.  Differences in language, custom, religion and  race were to make the  tapestry richer and more interesting, and anyone who publicly disagreed could be investigated by the thought police and charged with the sin of racism.  Careers could be destroyed by incorrect thought by anyone indigenous, white and male.  Freedom of thought was officially out of fashion and official language was closely controlled.  Keeping your head down became a way of life.

Overnight, all has changed.  Angela Merkel, chancellor of a country where political correctness is carefully nurtured, has just told us that multiculturalism “has failed utterly.”  France’s  President Sarkozy has been saying the same thing for some time.  Prospect, Britain’s leading left-wing intellectual monthly carried a headline “re-thinking race; has multiculturalism had its day? And now Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a reasoned demolition of “state multiculturalism” and made a start at rooting it out of official British policy. In Switzerland a referendum about minarets revealed the population’s concerns about Islamism. In Canada a leader of the country’s Muslim community, Tarek Fatah, has spoken out to say that just like Britain, Canada’s multiculturalism will fail.

Cameron delivered the analysis at the annual conference on international security in Munich. It removed multiculturalism from the categories of welfare and anti-discrimination policy to that of national security and anti-terrorism, where conservatives have an advantage over the left.

His argument is that terrorism is threatening the West, not only in Afghanistan, but also at home. It has its roots in the underlying “extremist ideology” of Islamism. Young Muslim men in Britain begin their road to jihad by picking up this ideology from institutions, leaders and organizations subsidized by government money and official favors. It is further promoted by multiculturalism which encourages different cultures to live separate lives, and delivers impressionable young men into the hands of state-funded extremists. It would have to be confronted by denying funds to bodies that preach hatred and separatism, and ideologically as well.

Both Mark Steyn and John O’Sullivan have insisted that one reason for the success of extremist Islamism is the absence of British patriotism. Multiculturalism has refused to offer its new citizens the real opportunity to become British.  To offer real assimilation and pride in their country’s national identity.  Multiculturalism and political correctness have created a vacuum where British patriotism ought to be.

America has been a melting pot from the beginning.  And when we wrote a Constitution, we wrote that into it.  American was already a blend of immigrants from many countries with many languages and many religions.  Our national identity became a country of immigrants united by ideas of freedom and opportunity, protected by a Constitution in which the people gave the government some few limited powers, with lots of checks and balances.

That has not made us immune to the liberal elite’s embrace of multiculturalism and diversity to enhance their push for radical equality and insistence that racism is the greatest problem in American life. Our history and deep national patriotism have made multiculturalism and diversity more often the subject of jokes, but it is there and needs to be rooted out.

Americans who made multicultural jokes, and laughed at diversity and got kicked out of college by the faculty language police were in the right. Our elites should take notice of what is happening across the water.

More Differences Between Republicans and Democrats. by The Elephant's Child
July 9, 2009, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

Democrats think you are dumb.  Or at least a lot dumber than they are.  They think you are too unintelligent to get along in the world without their guidance and care.  They are so sure that you need their expertise that they are developing a vast catalogue of rules and regulations to control your lives.

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg (yes I know he is temporarily a Republican, but he is a liberal through and through) has banned smoking and transfats, and is now waging war against the demon salt. (There is no evidence that transfats are bad for you).

The United States Congress is interested in telling the nation’s schools what they can and cannot serve  in school cafeterias.  If they have their way, the U.S. Agriculture Department would be given the authority to regulate all food sold in schools, including in vending machines — when Congress renews their child nutrition programs. You can lead a child to a tofu hot dog, but you can’t make him eat it.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (candidate for governor) has banned spending any money to buy bottled water and mandated composting citywide.  Now he has issued an executive directive that gives city departments six months to conduct an audit of unused land — empty lots, rooftops, windowsills and median strips — that could be turned into community gardens or farms that could grow food for residents. Citizens could work the farms or purchase the fresh produce.

And effective at once, city workers may no longer make runs to the donut shop before meetings and conferences. A new ordinance will mandate that food served in city jails, hospitals, homeless shelters and community centers must be healthy.

Guidelines will include cutting bagels into halves or quarters so people can take smaller portions, and serving vegetables instead of potato chips.

As one wag commented, he thought most San Franciscans were already doing a lot of farming, but it was going on in closets with grow lights.  Can you imagine the lead content of the veggies grown on median strips?

Republicans believe that you are perfectly capable of running your own life without guidance from city mayors or busybodies in Congress.  They believe that you can probably decide what you want your children to eat as well.

Mayor Newsom’s administration provided directives for “healthy” and “sustainable”.  (Could we please drop that bologna word?)

  • Safe and healthy: No pesticides, high nutritional value.
  • Culturally acceptable: Chinese veggies for the Chinese, multicultural and religiously acceptable veggies for SF’s diverse population.
  • Sustainable: At last, a definition — use manure, not chemical fertilizer.  Yep, manure.  That’s appropriate.

Newspeak: cultural cancer in the brave new world by The Elephant's Child
December 8, 2008, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Education, Freedom, History, Socialism | Tags: , , ,

From The Times in London:

Traditional subjects such as history, geography and religious studies will be removed from the primary school curriculum and merged into a “human, social and environmental” learning programme as part of a series of education reforms.

Under the plans, information technology classes would be given as much prominence as literacy and numeracy, and foreign languages would be taught in tandem with English.

The reforms are the most sweeping for 20 years and aim to slim down the curriculum so that younger children can be taught fewer subjects in greater depth.

Sir Jim Rose, author of the interim report to be published today said that the changes were aimed at producing a curriculum for the 21st century.

Why is it always “for the 21st century?” You can always tell that it is a really sappy program if they have to tell you that it is new and fresh by identifying as century appropriate.  And be sure to indoctrinate the kiddies in environmentalism, so they can turn in their parents if they don’t recycle.

Teachers get really bored teaching the same thing over and over. A new batch of little kids, and you have to start over teaching them their letters and beginning reading and beginning numeracy again.  Computers are more fun.

I suspect we were far better off back when we had teacher’s colleges that offered a two year course in how to teach elementary school children to read, write and cipher with a little beginning science, geography and history thrown in.

Schools are no longer teaching kids basic math because now the kids can do it on a calculator.  They are just poorly equipped to figure out the tip on a bill in a restaurant or make change if the power goes off or even add, subtract or multiply if they don’t have their calculator at hand.  Schools no longer teach cursive writing because kids will mostly use a keyboard.  But children cannot write a simple thank you note, as you have perhaps noticed.  When was the last time a sales clerk (excuse me, sales associate) counted your change back to you?

The 10,000 word Oxford Junior Dictionary published by Oxford University Press is intended for the use of UK schoolchildren, large numbers of whom are increasingly not English.  Words considered no longer useful for children have been removed, words related the Christmas like “carol, holly, ivy, mistletoe,” fantasy words such as “dwarf, elf, goblin” or words related to Christianity  such as “altar, bishop, chapel, minister, monastery, monk, nun, psalm, saint or devil,” and even such ordinary English animals like “piglet, magpie, starling, weasel or wren.”  They have been replaced with words like “blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, chatroom and celebrity.”  How very, very important that an English child should know the word “celebrity.”

Roger Kimball also discusses language today.

Last winter, Department of Homeland Security issued a document called “Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations form American Muslims.”  While you ponder why the Department of Homeland Security is gathering recommendations about how to combat radical Islam from American Muslims, let me mention a few things this document recommends.

Because we are supposed to be “communicating with, not confronting,” Muslims, the document advises us not to “insult or confuse them with pejorative terms such as ‘Islamo-fascism’ which are considered offensive by many Muslims.”  The word “progress ” is OK, but — George Orwell where are you? — “the experts consulted” rejected the word “liberty” “because many around the world would discount the term as a buzzword for American hegemony.”

He goes on to say:

While emissaries from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are making Herculean efforts not to do or say anything to “offend Muslims,” radical Muslims are busy extending the list of things they are offended by while also seeking new ways to  insinuate elements of Sharia law into the West — a mode of theocratic imposition that, far from being “fully compatible” with secular democracy, is something close to its antithesis.

Do read the whole thing, linked above.

It is time to reread George Orwell’s 1984 and familiarize yourself once again with “Newspeak”.   There is a disease abroad in our bureaucracies that seems to involve a worm in the brain.  Highly contagious apparently.

Bush and McCain each tried to reform Fannie Mae. Democrats Blocked them both times. by The Elephant's Child

First from the New York Times: Note the date!

September 11, 2003– The Bush Administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry,

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies.  It would exercise authority over any new lines of business.  And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt — is broken.  A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

From the Congressional Record: Again, Note the Date!

The United States Senate, May 25, 2006

Sen. John McCain [R-AZ]:  Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives.  In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets.  The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac. …

For Years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs— and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market.  OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns.  In fact, the report does quite the contrary.  OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

Democrats blocked both attempts to reform Fannie Mae.

Thanks to Sweetness &Light which has printed these two articles in full.

Barack Obama is out trying to blame this all on the Bush Administration, as usual, and scare people as much as he can, — so that he can promise to “rescue” them.  But his solutions are the worst possible, and his speeches are irresponsible.

First Trust economists note that:

The most important thing to remember is that the emphasis belongs on the word financial. These financial market problems are not a result of general market weakness, otherwise known as a recession.  In fact, real GDP has grown 2.2% in the past year and accelerated to a 3.3% annualized growth rate in the second quarter.

The economy is not taking down investment banks; lousy lending standards and the excessive use of leverage are taking down investment banks.

This whole thing had its’ beginnings in a well-intentioned law during the Carter Administration, The Community Redevelopment Act, which was designed to encourage minority homeownership.  President Clinton, influenced by multiculturalism, encouraged it further by dictating where mortgage lenders could lend.  Tough new regulations required that lenders increase their lending in high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make loans that sound business practices had previously rejected.  Clinton cronies Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick became multimillionaires through their supervision of the quasi-governmental agencies that came to manage the real estate market in America.

Low interest rates in the marketplace persuaded Investment banks to purchase packages of sub-prime loans, and risky decisions and a little greed, of course, let them use too much leverage.

This is not the first time that Investment Banks have failed and disappeared. E.F. Hutton, Goodbody & Company, and Kidder Peabody are three of the vanished.  Today’s Investment Banks did not do anything against the law, they just exercised bad business judgment.

Unemployment in the economy is largely confined to the housing crisis with home builders and related trades suffering, as well as the auto industry and related trades and now there will be some investment bankers on the unemployment line.

They are in trouble because they are affected by unfortunate laws made by a Congress that does not always understand what they do. Remember that most congressmen never read the bills that they sign. Congress has long been inclined to well-intentioned regulation to help the poor and save the planet.  They fall in love with the goals, and never consider or learn about the consequences of what they do.

It seems kind to help a poor family get into a house larger than they can really afford, with less of a down payment, but it isn’t really kind.  Kindness would be helping them to learn how to work hard and save their money, and how to move up to better jobs. Government can make it easier for private industry to build smaller, more affordable houses, without telling them what kind of houses to build, where to build them and under what qualifications to sell them.

The great problem with Socialism is their pursuit of “social justice”.  They believe that they can make the poor — not poor — by taking money from the well-to-do and giving it to the poor.  Never works.  Though there is extraordinary mobility in our society, those who are induced into dependency on government are inclined to lose that mobility.

Barack Obama, in all his economic plans, is extraordinarily invested in the pursuit of “social justice”. That should be a serious warning.

We want you to speak English… by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday, Obama’s comments to an Hispanic audience about speaking English were widely discussed. The context of Obama’s remarks seemed to be that there is something negative about demanding that immigrants learn English. Here is what Obama said:

You know, I don’t understand when people are going around worrying about “We need to have English — only.”They want to pass a law, “We want English — only.”

Now I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But understand this. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English — they’ll learn English — you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.

Obama’s assumption that all immigrants learn English is incorrect. Many do not take advantage of English classes on offer. But that is not the point. English is the language of commerce in this country, and people who cannot speak English correctly are handicapped in the job market, and in their financial dealings.

But there is a far more important point, made particularly by Daniel Boorstin.

No nation ever believed more firmly that its political life was based on a perfect theory. It was given to us by our first settlers and the Founding Fathers, and is continually embodied in the American experience. We celebrate the United States as the Land of the Free. We believe in American Independence, American equality, American liberty and American democracy; in sum, the American Way of Life. And it is embodied in this special land. The American Myth tells the story of ordinary people moving into an extraordinary land, and in overcoming the challenges of the frontier, they were changed, transformed. The ordeal in the wilderness created the American — free-thinking, optimistic, tough, open and self-reliant.

What we ask of new immigrants is that they become Americans, accept our history as theirs, our values and our way of life. We give no special honors to those who have been here longer. The American whose ancestors came with the Winthrop fleet, or across the land bridge from Siberia or through Ellis Island share the very same American way of life as the newest citizen from El Salvador or Ethiopia.

They must stop being citizens of Mexico or Britain or El Salvador and become Americans. Equal Americans. And part of that is speaking the American language. Not for our convenience as Obama suggests in The Audacity of Hope:

And, if I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I’m not entirely immune to such nativist sentiments….When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.

But as a necessary part of becoming an American, they must learn our common language, for we want them to become full participants in American life.

Obama is thinking (again) of foreigners’ impressions of America. How tacky of us not to speak several languages as our European betters do. But Europeans can travel a few miles and be in another country where another language is spoken. Many Americans learn a foreign language in school, yet never have the experience of having to speak it, and it soon fades away.

English is best learned in school by immersion, not by treating English as a “second language”. Liberal ideas of “multiculturalism” are naïvely intended to celebrate all cultures as equal. Helping new immigrants to remain apart, living in their own neighborhood, speaking their old language, observing their old customs may seem kind. The problems that Europeans are having with immigrants who do not assimilate, and who want to impose their old customs and laws on their new country, are a direct result of misguided and meaningless “multiculturalism”.

The United States has done a surprising job of assimilating newcomers. We are, after all, a nation of immigrants. What is astonishing is the intensity of patriotism among new citizens created by this simple fact.

We must understand, when the left pushes “multiculturalism”, that it has nothing to do with cultures, and everything to do with politics. Americans know this instinctively. 83% say getting immigrants to speak English is a higher priority than creating a “bilingual” America.

Disaster relief here, there and elsewhere. Be very glad to be an American. by The Elephant's Child

Cyclone Nargis aftermath

When Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar (Burma) on May 2 with winds up to 120 mph, the US Navy sailed to offer aid, as did the world’s major relief organizations. Estimates of the number of dead ranged from 77,000 to 110,000, with as many as 220,000 missing and 2.4 million severely affected. The inability of farmers to plant rice seeds in time for the growing season is a major concern. Losses of cattle and water buffalo suggest future famine. The military junta ruling Myanmar has been reluctant to accept any aid, provoking deep frustration from relief organizations.

Nearly a month after the cyclone hit, fewer than one in three victims of the storm had been reached with aid. There were reports of supplies confiscated by the government and re-labeled to show that they came from the Myanmar government. The government did allow a limited number of U.S. Air Force C-130s to fly in supplies from Thailand. They have allowed 116 flights of water and other relief supplies to Yangon. By June 10, the Government of Burma reported granting visas to 911 relief workers and authorizing 569 to work in affected areas, and issued guidelines to follow. Some organizations reported being turned away at police checkpoints, and lack of access continues to prevent needs-driven approaches to relief operations.

The junta is particularly sensitive to allowing U.S. helicopters, which would highlight the American effort in a country where the people have been taught that the U.S. is a hostile aggressor. Washington has been a leading critic of the junta for its poor human rights record. Stories deeply critical of that record seep out from many sources.

It’s worthwhile to think back to a January 2, 2005 report by a Dutch diplomat who traveled to Banda Aceh to see the reality on the ground following the Asian tsunami on December 26, 2004.

The US military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They completely have taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but is now completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operation room, teams of doctors, water and food. Most of the patients who were lying in the hospital untreated for a week have undergone medical treatment by the US teams by this afternoon. US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organized the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport. A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven’t been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground. IOM staff (note; this is a USAID-funded organization) is very busy briefing the incoming Americans and Australians about the situation. (emphasis in original)

The US, Australia, Singapore and the Indonesian military have started a “Coalition Co-ordination Centre in Medan to organize all the incoming and outgoing military flights with aid. A sub-centre is established in Banda Aceh.

The US Navy finally sailed away from Myanmar on Thursday June 5th. leaving behind an offer of 22 helicopters and including an offer to allow Myanmar officials aboard all helicopters to monitor their routes and to unload relief supplies.

Yes, yes, I know. No culture is any better than any other. All must be considered equal.

ADDENDUM: The excerpt is from the account by the Chief Diplomad who observed the tsunami aftermath from Banda Aceh, and reported his daily observations at It is a wonderful website to browse around, in January of 2005, to get a glimpse of disaster relief and how it works or not.

Brave New World by The Elephant's Child

Is this the world of the future? Gordon Brown announced last summer, plans for 10 eco-towns in response to the housing shortage in Britain. Half of the households in eco-towns will have to live without a car, and those that have one will be limited to a speed-limit of 15mph.

These new towns will have about 20,000 residents each, and such amenities as skateboard parks will be included to help achieve community cohesion. Rainwater will be captured and wastewater recycled so there is no overall increase in water demand.

The Secretary of State for Communities and the Minister for Housing and Planning have other plans. Happy socialist plans to assure that everyone gets along. The possibility of limiting Britain’s open door immigration policies to ease the housing crisis seems never to have occurred to anyone.

Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan, has a must-read article from the Daily Mail about what is happening to England, and what seems to be her inexorable future.

Glowing descriptions of the eco-communities of the future sound uncomfortably familiar to the glowing descriptions of gracious apartment buildings in “modern housing projects” that were described to us many years ago. The notion that government can do a better job of planning our future than we can, is fairly frightening.

There’ll always be an England
And England shall be free
If England means as much to you
As England means to me.


How modern liberals think by American Elephant


How liberals think. Funny and right on the money.

Whose side are they on? by Emerald City Elephant

The blithering idiocy of liberalism and political correctness rear their ugly heads once again in Seattle…

suspicious men staking out ferriesThe FBI has released photographs of two men that have been seen engaged in suspicious activity on several Washington State ferries, as reported by numerous citizens and ferry employees. Last year, the Justice Department named the Washington State Ferry system as the No. 1 target for maritime terrorism. The Captain of one ferry found their behavior so suspicious that he snapped this photograph. The FBI has said the men seemed, “overly interested in the workings and layouts of the ferries.”

However, both the Seattle Post Intelligencer and the Seattle Times refused to publish the photographs citing “civil liberties” and “privacy” concerns. Never mind that Washington Ferries are part of the public highway system, and no one has any reasonable expectation of privacy on them, and never mind that the men had been accused of no crimes…non-existent “civil liberties” trump the public safety at both papers.

And lest you think that the PI was serious in their deliberation, note that instead of the photographs, the PI chose to run a haiku contest about the story.

Keep in mind also that while the PI wouldn’t run the photographs of potential terrorists to protect their identity, it is the same paper that ran front page stories accusing a man of having sex with his dog, then later buried the revelation that his wife made the whole thing up. They stood up for James Ujaama, who recently confessed to terrorism charges. You may also remember that the Seattle Times newsroom erupted in cheers when Rove resigned last week.

I’m from Seattle, I know these people and these papers very well. The Times is a very liberal paper, the PI is outright left-wing-lunatic. Both papers oppose the Bush administration, and I guarantee therein lies their refusal to cooperate. The FBI reports to Bush, therefore the Times and PI will not cooperate. Period.

Finally, I’d like to submit my own haiku to the PI:

    Explosion on board!
    Screaming, sinking, drowning, death!
    Didn’t have to be.

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