American Elephants


How This Election Came About, Who Is Responsible, and What the Heck We Are Going to Do. by The Elephant's Child

This is possibly the weirdest election year ever, though there have been some pretty disturbing ones in the past. We have candidates in each of the major parties who were not only not my choice, but far from it. We had our primaries and conventions, and this is what they came up with. We have two equally impossible candidates in the two minor parties.

The earth has shifted, and much has changed — and we are beginning to wake up to it. First, consider the news. The world of information as we knew it consisted of the news (solemn, reasonably accurate, and fairly non-partisan), and opinion — partisan, but you could identify those on your side and decide who among them to pay attention to. The news came on at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. A good percentage of the American people also got a daily newspaper, some even got two, and maybe some magazines. Where do you get your news today?

The powers that be do want desperately to divide us into classes — the upper class. middle class, working class and the poor — they have other names for the “upper” class, and the “they” clearly represents those who want to be considered “upper.” Charles Murray wrote:

Harvard economist Robert Reich was the first to put a name to an evolving new class of workers in his 1991 book, The Work of Nations, calling them “symbolic analysts.”Reich surveyed the changing job market and divided jobs into three categories; routine production services, in-person services, and symbol-analytic services. In Reich’s formulation, the new class of symbolic analysts consisted of managers, engineers, attorneys, scientists, professors, executives, journalists, consultants and other “mind workers” whose work consists of processing information. He noted that the new economy was ideally suited to their talents and rewarded them accordingly.

Murray, in The Bell Curve, called this new classthe cognitive elite,” and said that currently when he uses the term  new upper class, he is referring to a fuzzy set of people who run the nation’s economic political and cultural institutions, and at the top are those who have risen to jobs that affect the nation’s culture, economy and politics. So if you are one of those who mumbled about all of us working for a living, there you are.

So where do you get your information? Note that we no longer have a “news” class — it’s all opinion. Brief rants on Twitter are as apt to make the “news” as the latest from the wire services. (Are there still wire services?) Count up the sources you have for information — takes a heck of a lot more than two hands.

We are all human beings, including those we send to Congress as well as those we send to the White House, and to judges chambers, and those currently serving time. Oddly, the new upper class, who need so badly to think well of themselves, usually forget that—possibly because being human means we don’t know as much as we think we do, we make mistakes, some of us lie, commit fraud and are false to our best ideals — and worse. We are told that we must commit to lifetime learning, but when you come home at the end of the day, an old movie seems more enticing. Those who run for political office have an extra gene for public speaking and imperviousness to criticism, and of course ego. Don’t expect too much.

In the meantime, the Left has changed dramatically. Kim Holmes has written a fascinating book to explain the changes that have taken place.

For most of the 1980s and 1990s, leftists worked, if not underground, then certainly below the political radar. They were still operating in a Reagan or post-Reagan era. They inhabited universities and activist organizations that had existed on the fringes of American liberalism since the 1960s. This marginal existence ended in the 2000s under the presidency of George W. Bush. Progressive activists launched a movement against the war in Iraq, and eventually the Democratic Party broke with the moderation of the Clinton years. Energized and radicalized, Democrats moved left and began to take on the old liberal establishment, much as the New Left had done in the Kennedy and Johnson years. The result is a far more aggressive liberal party. This cause triumphed with the election of Barack Obama, a quintessential postmodern leftist, to the presidency in 2008.

The new Left is better characterized by groupthink and intolerance.  Hillary has disavowed her husband’s accomplishments in office, but her only real ambition has always been to get very rich and be the first woman President of the United States. She hasn’t given much thought to what would be good for the country as is easily evidenced by her claim to make college and university free to all.  (And how do we afford that?) She has arranged the rich part through the worst kinds of graft in pubic office, and ‘the first woman part’ seems fairly absurd in the wake of women presidents and prime ministers and heads of state around the world, not to mention long history of queens who headed states. The Big Whoop has pretty much gone out of it. Nobody cares.

We are stuck with 4 candidates that we mostly don’t like very much. We need to stop blaming it on the uneducated in backwoods districts, and realize that this is all entirely the work of the far left press. We had 17 candidates, too many, but the Republicans have a big bunch of extraordinarily successful governors. All were left desperately trying to get some attention while the press was only interested in what Donald would say next.

Most people don’t spend a lot of time on politics, and aren’t all that familiar with policy. They just know when things are not right and their lives are being turned upside down. They may not know all that much about government, but they revere their Constitution, their freedoms, and the idea that we have a system for immigrants that has, through the years, done an excellent job of welcoming immigrants and turning them into American citizens. So there you are.

Donald Trump blurts out whatever occurs to him — apparently in the vein of Obama’s statement “If they bring a knife to the fight, you bring a gun.” Hillary is a crook. She is not just untrustworthy, or lies occasionally — she has used the high office entrusted to her to enrich her family Clinton Foundation by responding to donations by doing federal favors for the donors. That is called graft. Or selling out your country for cash. Trump says things he shouldn’t say. Hillary does things that are very, very illegal and very damaging to our country.

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate, a successful governor and a “pot entrepreneur,” and is for drug legalization, and other unacceptable views. Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate,  a doctor of internal medicine, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard and Harvard Medical School, and a complete environmental nut who expects the United States to be underwater by 2030 or so, and is an environmental activist, sit-ins and protests too many to measure.



But Appearances! What Might People Think? What If They Blamed Us? by The Elephant's Child

San-Bernadino-Shooting-AerialTashfeen Malik, who with her husband carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, CA, passed three background checks by U.S. immigration officials as she moved from Pakistan to the United States. She had made many posts on social media about her support for violent jihad. She said she wanted to be part of it. So why…?

It seems, according to a whistleblower’s comments to ABC News that once again, political correctness  has trumped common sense.

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end the secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, according to a former senior department official.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

One current and one former senior counter-terrorism official confirmed Cohen’s account about the refusal of DHS to change its policy about the public social media posts of all foreign applicants.

A DHS spokesman said that a review of the broader policy is underway.

A former senior counter-terrorism official, who participated in the 2014 discussion, said, “Why the State Department and Homeland Security Department have not leveraged the power of social media is beyond me.”

“They felt looking at public postings [of foreign U.S. visa applicants] was an invasion of their privacy,” the official told ABC News. “The arguments being made were, and are still, in bad faith.”

The whistleblower said “It was primarily a question of optics. There were concerns from a privacy and civil liberties perspective that while this was not illegal, that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly.”

The obsession with political correctness, social justice, appearances rather than doing the right thing is breathtaking. There is no such thing as “social justice.” There is only one kind of justice which is enumerated in the laws of the United States, the Constitution, the actions of the courts and the laws of the states. How anyone feels about the laws is irrelevant.

Political correctness deals with what other people think. Also irrelevant. The Left is awash in political correctness, and as we have recently seen, so are our colleges and universities. Appearances again refers to how something looks to others. What is missing here is truth, legality, accuracy, dependability, honor, reliability, honesty — that sort of thing.

Conservatives often complain the those on the Left are concerned only with feelings. If you feel that it’s not fair that someone can say things that you disagree with, that someone earning more money than you do just isn’t fair, or that it’s not fair that someone earns only the minimum wage, you’re probably a Leftie. The missing factors, truth, or dependability play out in the Left’s lack of concern for graft, self-enrichment with public money, casual treatment of national secrets, lying to the public, which are common on the Left.  That sort of stuff is not a big deal, or it’s just what everybody does.

I’m pretty big on  the truth, legal and reliable bit. There is a moral dimension to truth and lying which involves the intent to mislead. We act on the information we receive, and the consequences of being misled can be dire indeed. When the president misleads the nation, it is a very big deal. When the Democrats’ anointed nominee is under investigation by the FBI, for putting top-secret documents on her own computer, exposed to any hacker,  is known to be a compulsive liar, and not only lied to the parents of the Americans killed in Benghazi, but then denied the lies she told them — we are deep into the weeds. There’s a reason why the economies of Democrat-run states are in the toilet. Yet such things are not supposed to matter.

If our country is being run on the basis of appearances and political correctness, and we are being misled about it all, we are in very deep trouble indeed.



Democrats Would Erase and Rewrite History In the Name of Their Ideology by The Elephant's Child

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More than a  month after the coldblooded murder of nine Black churchgoers in South Carolina by an overt racist, the event prompted an intense discussion of racism. Within hours the conversation, at least in the media, had switched to the Confederate battle flag as a symbol of racism that was flying over the South Carolina capitol, well, not the capitol, but over the confederate memorial on the capitol grounds.

Across the South the flag was furled, but a public hysteria quickly emerged demanding that monuments to Confederate leaders should be torn down, roads and bridges renamed, and at least the remains of one leading Confederate general should be dug up and…? The fight to make history conform to today’s moral standards was just in its beginnings, and it continues.

Ben Affleck discovered to his intense embarrassment that he had an ancestor who owned slaves, and attempted to eliminate any evidence of that from the broadcast of Roots. Actually it seemed to be four ancestors. Re-airings of The Dukes of Hazard were cancelled and the owner of the prop car, the General Lee, said the car’s famous rebel flag on the roof was to be painted over. Connecticut’s Democrat Party has dropped the names of Presidents Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson, founders of the Democratic party, from the title of the annual dinner.

Democrats, like Ben Affleck, are embarrassed by the party’s connections to slavery. Well, yes, and segregation, and the KKK, and Reconstruction, the Trail of Tears, and Margaret Sanger, and Woodrow Wilson. After a brief campaign by the Left to banish Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew decided on removing Alexander Hamilton, the father of the modern banking system, instead — to be replaced by — a woman. What woman? He’s asking for suggestions, because no woman comes to mind as being that outstanding. He might try reading up on Alexander Hamilton to avoid embarrassing himself. I’d recommend  Hamilton’s Blessing: The Extraordinary life and Times of Our National Debt by John Steele Gordon.

Please! History is a record of what happened in the past. The more distant the past, the more historians have to rely on fewer records. When we go back before recordings, before film, before photographs, historians must try to fill in the blanks. Newly discovered letters, diaries, or  papers can change our knowledge of the period. But we don’t get to rewrite history to suit our modern prejudices and ideas of the correct morality. We need history, as it is, warts and all, to guide us in the present. But we also need truth, not some made-up history that advances the Left’s idealized future.

Part of the problem is that Democrats are a little short in the history department. They grew up in the sixties, reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, which is pure Soviet propaganda, and Noam Chomsky’s assorted Marxist crap, and  consequently know nothing about history at all.

The drive to re-write history comes from the faculty lounges. The WWI Centennial Commission has been accepting design submissions, to memorialize The Great War, but they have already decided to move General John Pershing out of Pershing Park in Washington D.C. because they “have moved away from the ‘great man’ approach to war memorials.”

There has been a battle with the College Board over the Advanced Placement examination for U.S. history, to be released later this summer. Fifty-six professors and historians published a petition on the National Association of Scholars, urging opposition to the College Board’s framework. “Students should be able to explain how various identities, cultures, and values have been preserved or changed in different contexts of U.S. history, with special attention given to the formation of gender, class, racial and ethnic identities.” Orwellian.



The Basic Problem Is That The Left Is Not Troubled By Lies! by The Elephant's Child

The New York Times Well’ column, which seems to be about ‘living well,’ is today going on about the reliability of human memory, and how memories can be distorted or embellished over time, and then wanders into consulting a leading memory researcher about Brian Williams’ long, long history of “distorted” memories.

I hasten to add that I do not get my news from NBC, and I’m not at all sure that I have ever watched Brian Williams. Scientific studies, researchers, fabricated, distorted, embellished, mistakenly, etc. etc. It’s still pretty clear that the embellishing served the purpose of making Mr. Williams look a little better in his own eyes and the eyes of others. And yes, everybody lies:” You look really nice, dear” and so on and so forth, but we all know when it crosses the line into something else entirely.

And we seem to be entirely into the “entirely” category. We are unable to decide whether our president lives in a fantasy world, thinks the common folk out there will believe anything he says, is purposefully distorting, or is just a pathological liar.

Then we have the IRS, the EPA, HHS, NSA, OMB, NOAA, DOE, DHS, VA, I could go on, but you get the idea, and these are only a few of the agencies that have been in the news for scandal of one sort or another. I can ‘t remember any time when there are so many questions about the behavior of so many government agencies, or any time when confidence in government was so lacking. This is not normal.

Congress is still trying to pry out some information about the attack on our facility in Benghazi, the murder of four Americans (one of them an Ambassador of the United States of America) and that was back in September of 2012!

We have a president, a graduate of Harvard Law School, who does not feel it necessary to pay attention to the Constitution, let alone the preserve, protect and defend oath he took on Lincoln’s Bible. The Constitution is quite clear that Congress gets to make the laws, and the President’s job is the executive part.

Is falsehood contagious? Does falsehood in the Executive Department spread to the agencies by some sort of osmosis? Or do instructions go out to each department head about what may be said and what may not? Examples made by the swift firing of someone or other? How does it all work?

Why do I find more clarity about an event in this country by reading about it in the British press rather than our own?

We now have the biggest science scandal ever, in which the official temperature records — on which the entire global warming panic has rested and about which billions of taxpayer money has been spent — temperature records which were systematically adjusted to show the Earth as having warmed significantly more than was justified by the actual data.

I reject the idea that it has always been thus. Candidates in the next election must convince us that next time things will be different. And we’re not going to be all that easy to convince any more.

So to clarify everything and restore honesty to the situation, NBC is going to suspend the aforesaid Mr. Williams for six months. At that point maybe everybody will have forgotten, or moved on,  and Brian Williams will have forgotten all those unfortunate misremembered memories.



You Are Being Misled With Euphemisms! by The Elephant's Child
August 18, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Islam, National Security, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

Most of us have made jokes about political correctness, or been annoyed by it.  The rise of public relations firms and the use of focus groups provide politicians with ways to put their efforts into more pleasing language.  We shrug such things off, but it is a very serious problem.

We have sneered at Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s effort to refer to terrorist attacks as “man-caused disasters,”without appreciating the extent to which we are being misled. When we learn that terms such as “Islamic radicalism” have been officially removed from American security documents and replaced with “new euphemisms to emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terrorism, we are being misled.” 9/11 was NOT a “Man-caused disaster. it was an act of war that killed nearly 3,000 people in a vicious attack by Islamic radicals.

Facing the facts directly means that we look at the actions and events that followed in a clear light.  Euphemisms destroy our understanding, and change our votes — which is what was intended.

That should clarify the dispute over the mosque at Ground Zero.  President Obama called 9/11 a “traumatic” incident. The Islamic radicals, the terrorists who perpetrated the attack become “extremists” or “militants.”  In the fear of offending, we are lied to.  And the lies have consequences.  Using soft, gentle, namby-pamby words we are told that it isn’t really important, never-mind, just move along, nothing to see here — don’t blame us!  Liberals call people who carry signs in Tea Party protests — extremists.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had a “re-branding program” designed to keep us from understanding clearly just what was happening to our financial sector and our economy.  The Bank Bailout Plan became “the Financial Stability Plan” and then morphed into “the Public-Private Investment Program.

American Thinker had an article headlined “Geithner Plan for Banks Leaked — A Trillion More Down the Toilet.” Now that’s clarity.  Secretary Geithner preferred to refer to all those toxic mortgages as “The Challenge of Legacy Assets.” Who is going to get irate about “legacy assets?”

Major Nidal Hassan was known to his military associates and superiors as a somewhat troubled personality.  They probably knew more than that, but ideas about “political correctness” and the value of “diversity” put everyone in a tolerant doze.  Consider the synonyms for “tolerance:” lenient, forbearant, permissive, indulgent, complaisant, liberal, indulgent.  Weak words for weak posturing — take no action, be kind, don’t offend,  So, quite deliberately, no one noticed that he was a little, um, extreme in his adherence to Islam, and so a lot of people died unnecessarily.

Don’t let them get away with it.  Demand truth and accuracy.  Laugh and poke fun at examples of political correctness, diversity, and multiculturalism.

All cultures are not equal.  We don’t execute people who commit adultery (or who are claimed to have) by stoning them to death. We do not throw acid in the faces of girls who commit the sin of going to school. We do not cut off noses and ears as punishment.  And in not understanding, we become pawns, and soft, and lazy — and unprepared.




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