American Elephants


The Mythologies of the 2016 Election by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson was a featured speaker at David Horowitz’  Restoration Weekend, talking about the election and all the myths and misunderstandings and meanness and media excess. It’s a fascinating talk, and I hope you can find time.



It isn’t About Tribal Rights, And It’s Not About the Water Supply by The Elephant's Child

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The protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline are, like so many protests these days, not about what they purport to be about. A piece in the Wall Street Journal clarifys the situation. The author, a resident of North Dakota who represents his state in the U.S. House writes:

Like many North Dakotans, I’ve had to endure preaching about the pipeline from the press, environmental activists, musicians and politicians in other states. More often than not, these sermons are informed by little more than a Facebook post. At the risk of spoiling the protesters’ narrative, I’d like to bring us back to ground truth.

It isn’t about tribal rights or cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned or controlled by the Standing Rock Sioux. The land in question belongs to private owners and the federal government.

The courts have rejected any claim that the tribe was not consulted. More than 50 tribes were consulted and resulted in 140 adjustments to the route. It’s not about the tribe’s water supply. The drinking water intake is about 70 miles downriver from where the pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River, 100 feet below the river. Other pipelines cross the river upstream of the tribe’s intake, this one would run directly adjacent to a natural gas pipeline that already runs under the riverbed.

It is not about the climate. The oil is already being produced, and transporting it by train or truck is much more susceptible to accidents and spills. Trying to litigate historical grudges onto the back of a legally permitted river crossing makes no sense.

It’s largely about a White House attempt to build on their climate legacy by a president who doesn’t want to be bothered with the rule of law. ” That the economy depends on a consistent and predictable permitting regime seems never to have crossed the president’s mind.”

The signs of the protesters: “Water is Life”, “Don’t Take Our Land,” “Defend the Sacred,” “Oil and Water Don’t Mix” demonstrate the distance between the actual situation and the emotional supposed causes of the protesters. The tribe, flush with the attention they get from their protest, has even appealed to the UN Human Rights Council. Lots of theater, many teepees, tribal costume and celebrities turn up to get their pictures taken. This has been going on since August. They even ran a herd of buffalo through the area, but winter has arrived, and teepees are not nearly so comfortable in the snow.

Do read the whole thing. (Subscription barrier, but you can Google it) The battle continues in the comments.



Exposing the Left’s Sanctimonious Stupidity by The Elephant's Child

Tucker Carlson just said that this young woman was a candidate for Congress from the State of California. It is fascinating proof that those on the Left believe their own propaganda. They don’t investigate, they don’t attempt to study up and understand the mindset of the opposition. They know—because Leftist propaganda is, to them, infallible.

They do not question their beliefs, and what is “conventional wisdom” is as permanent and infallible for them as any history book or any scientific authority. She truly doesn’t know what Carlson is talking about, and having called Trump ‘Hitler’, his appointee a stooge, among other things, Steve Bannon a white supremacist and an anti-Semite, and accused Trump of hate speech—she doesn’t understand what Carlson means about irony.

This young woman demonstrates complete and utter idiocy. Her beliefs are provably nonsense, and thank heavens that she was not elected to anything. Obama’s legacy of demonizing anyone who disagreed with Democrats as racist, homophobic, sexist, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, racist, transphobic and spouting racist hate speech.

Perhaps that is why, when a Democrat wins the election, Republicans hunker down a little and study up to see where they went wrong, but I can’t ever remember or imagine a conservative response such as we have seen from the Democrats. If there was ever a demonstration, I missed it completely.

Hillary lost because she was a lousy candidate. She has wanted to be the first woman president, but never felt it necessary to build up a record of knowledge and accomplishment that qualified her for office. Her compulsive lying and record of graft in office were more than most could take, but to the left she would be the “first woman president,” and that was enough.

Obama remains personally popular. Nice looking, nice family. But he was an ideologue. For eight years he has encouraged those who demonize Republicans. He had the opportunity as the first black president, to improve race relations in America, instead, he suggested that anyone who disagreed with his policies was racist. He welcomed Black Lives Matter to the White House and urged them on, which has resulted in a horrendous death toll among American police officers.

The outcry among Leftists has been a constant shriek of “Racist, Sexist, Homophobe, Misogynist, Xenophobe, Fascist, Anti-Semite,” and of course the constant “Racist” over and over. It does get a little tiresome. But it is used in the absence of argument. That’s all they have—name-calling. They understand as little of the underlying issues as the unfortunate young woman in the video above.

She has no idea that simply stating “pollution” is not an argument. She called Trump “Hitler,” his appointee for EPA head as a stooge, a “puppet” of the evil oil industry, with no understanding that our civilization relies on the oil industry to provide the power that allows it to operate. Scott Pruitt was the attorney representing 28 states who were suing the federal government and the EPA for unlawful and illegitimate regulations. She had no understanding whatsoever that what she was engaging in was “hate speech” based only on emotion—no facts. There are no such things as “Climate Deniers,” only scientists whose work proves that the climate has been changing for millions of years, there is nothing that man can do to keep it from changing, and we just have to adapt. It is the need for panic that is denied. She has no idea that her proud degree in “Social and Cultural Analysis” left her a little short in the knowledge department.

It’s both a funny and a sad video. Will Democrats catch on and refuse to appear on Tucker Carlson’s show? Or is the chance to appear on national television just too enticing?



Sometime it’s What You Don’t Know That Really Hurts! by The Elephant's Child

shockedbaldeagleA splendid essay by Angelo Codevilla in the Fall Claremont Review of Books on “The Rise of Political Correctness” points out that :

Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special “scientific,” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward: the world is not as it should be because society’s basic “structural” feature is ordered badly. Everything else is “superstructure” meaning that it merely reflects society’s fundamental feature “For Marx and his followers that feature is conflict over the means of production in “present day society.” From the dawn of time, this class warfare has led to “contradictions”: between types of work, town and country, oppressors or oppressed, and so on. The proletariat’s victory in that conflict will establish a new reality by crushing all contradictions out of existence. Other branches of progressivism point to a different structural problem. For Freudians it’s sexual maladjustment, for followers of Rousseau it’s social constraint, for positivists it is the insufficient application of scientific method, for others it is oppression of one race by another. Once control of society passes exclusively into the hands of the proper set of progressives, each sect’s contradictions must disappear as the basic structural program is straightened out.

At the Democrat convention before Obama won his first election, Michelle Obama spoke of her husband’s speech about how “the world as it is just won’t do” and “the world as it should be,”and how much that inspired her.

The Left just doesn’t like the world as it is, and it doesn’t like human nature—which they believe must be “fixed.” This is a remarkable idea, for human nature is by definition not “fixable”. Human nature refers to the general psychological characteristics, feelings and behavioral traits of humankind regarded as shared by all humans. What the Left really means—is “fixing”     those who have the nerve to disagree. You have probably noticed the absurd response to the election of Donald Trump instead of Hillary.

At our colleges and universities, there is a drive to “fix” history, by removing statues, changing names of buildings or programs, hiding the real history so no one will be offended by people living a couple of hundred years ago who owned slaves, or thought slavery was normal, without any understanding whatsoever that history is what happened. We have not yet managed to invent time travel. and you cannot change the past. In an era when the meaning of words is changed, people can change their gender to however they identify at the moment, religion becomes an enemy to be eliminated rather than a solace. Family is an outdated form, one’s personal plumbing and where to use it is merely a matter of preference rather than a rule or a custom.

The Left is wants a world where everybody is equal, and to move towards that goal they believe that you must tax those who are rich or have too much and give to those who do not have enough. That is their vision of economics. You will notice that how new money is  created doesn’t seem to be in the mix. When they are fully in control of the reins of government, they believe that new ideas will come from those enlightened people in government. Oddly, they are deeply opposed to businessmen (or businesswomen) as oppressors of the workers, and insist on issuing more and more regulations to control the actions of business. They don’t like the free market, and don’t grasp the idea of the wisdom of the people and their free transactions in a free market as a source of innovation, wealth, and new ideas. They despise CEOs of large corporations. Those who serve in a proper Leftist government are the enlightened who control and regulate the rest.

They simply cannot comprehend that an increase in the minimum wage for beginning workers is an unemployment program for the least accomplished or rawest beginners. If you explain that McDonalds has announced their plan to install self serve kiosks across the country, they are indignant that a business would do such a thing. They cannot understand that lowering or removing corporate taxes is good for the economy because corporations don’t pay taxes. Taxes are simply a cost of doing business for a corporation, and it is the customers (you and me) who pay for it. When you don’t understand the basic rules of economics, you keep messing up, and the citizens are the ones who get hurt. What if it turns out that Trump is a good president? What will the Left do then?



Sometimes a Picture Speaks More Loudly than Words by The Elephant's Child

piepline-protest

The Standing Rock Sioux, a tribe of about 10,000, are leading the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, which they claim could pollute the Missouri River, the tribe’s main source of drinking water, and harm cultural lands and tribal burial grounds.

The tribe is working with the environmental group Earthjustice and has filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers, claiming the government didn’t properly consult them before approving the section of pipeline that runs near the reservation.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, says it has followed state and federal rules, met with Native American tribes, and proposed different versions of the pipeline route. The pipeline is 92 percent complete, only the small portion near the reservation is being contested. The pipeline does not enter the Standing Rock reservation.

Aseem Prakash, director of the Center for Environmental Politics at the University of Washington contends that the conflict reflects deeper-seated grievances of Native Americans. Years of injustices and their preferences not adequately taken into account. The pipeline goes through private land, not the reservation, but the tribe contends the land was acquired improperly and actually belongs to them by the terms of a 1851 treaty with the US government.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered a mandatory evacuation of protesters. A group of military veterans have said they will join the tribes’ protest. CNN says ‘hundreds’ of veterans, but that’s CNN. There’s apparently a lot of fossil-fuel hatred in the mix as well. You can tell how deeply serious it all is by the fact that Jane Fonda and someone named Shailene Woodley turned up to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the protesters.

President Obama, who had approved the pipeline, reneged and halted it. The Army Corps of Engineers who had approved the pipeline reneged, and said they would have to reroute it, and that’s where it is at the moment. The map above, though humorous, clearly indicates the absurdity of the whole thing. Donald Trump is probably not up to either being fearful of fossil fuels, nor particularly sensitive to Native American angst about an 1851 Treaty that they’ve decided was unfair.

If the oil cannot be transported safely by a pipeline, it will be transported unsafely by train or truck.



Here’s the Incoming Cabinet So Far by The Elephant's Child

Feb. 2, 2010

Courtesy of Jim Geraghty at National Review, here’s a list of the incoming cabinet so far: It’s a pretty impressive group!

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions.

Secretary of Defense: General James Mattis

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Representative Tom Price

Secretary of Transportation: Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao

Secretary of Education: Philanthropist Betsy DeVos

Treasury Secretary: Banker Steven Mnunchin

Secretary of Commerce: Financier Wilbur Ross

Deputy secretary of Commerce: Todd Rickets, co-owner of Chicago Cubs

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Dr. Ben Carson

Ambassador to the United Nations: Governor Nikki Haley

White House Chief of Staff: House RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

National Security Advisor: Former Defense Intelligence Agency director Michal Flynn

Deputy National Security Advisor: K.T. McFarland. Fox News Analyst who served in the Reagan Administration.

Department of Homeland Security: Marine General John Kelly (Ret) Former head of Southern Command, with special concern for Mexican border, and Gitmo.

CIA Director: Representative Mike Pompeo.

EPA Director: Oklahoma Attorney General, Republican Scott Pruitt

Administrator Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Indiana health-policy consultant Seema Verma

White House counsel: Donald McGahn partner at Jones Day who served as campaign counsel.McGahn is a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.

Marine General James Mattis will need a waiver from Congress, as he has only been retired for three years, and the law specifies military officers must be retired for seven years. General George Marshall required such a waiver, which was promptly given, as will be the waiver for General Mattis.

Senator Kirsten Gillebrand, who replaced Hillary in the Senate, and reportedly has presidential ambitions, says she will oppose General Mattis’ appointment. I guess she will take advantage of any opportunity to get attention. You’ve probably noticed that Democrats are really having a hard time accepting the new reality.



California Is Determined to Stop Global Warming In It’s Tracks by The Elephant's Child

cowsYou have probably learned by now that the great state of California has determined to advance it’s fight against global warming by a serious effort to reduce emissions from bovine flatulence. Yes, cow gas.

Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure.

“If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming,” said Ryan McCarthy, a science adviser for the California Air Resources Board, which is drawing up rules to implement the new law.

Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with beef and dairy production accounting for the bulk of it, according to a 2013 United Nations report.

California is a the nation’s largest dairy farming state, and dairy farmers are not taking this lying down. This will drive up costs when farms have struggled for five years with drought, low milk prices and rising labor costs. The state has set up $50 million to help dairies set up methane digesters which capture the methane from manure in large storage tanks and convert the gas into electricity. Farmers, who probably understand the cost analysis better than state bureaucrats, say this is not nearly enough to equip the state’s roughly 1,500 dairies. More dairy farmers will move out of the state, following other businesses that are leaving California in droves for states where they are better treated.

The difference this will make with climate issues, probably not measurable, but hope is eternal. Governor Brown’s high speed rail doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at enormous cost. The giant Ivanpah solar project has been a flop. In the wake of the election, some Californians demanded that California secede from the Union, apparently unaware of the results of the last time States decided to secede. That demand led to suggestions that California rejoin Mexico, and good riddance, but Californians didn’t like that either. The  “Golden” State continues in its drive to make itself unpopular.




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