American Elephants


American Indians Are Still Getting a Raw Deal by The Elephant's Child

Keep this in mind when considering health care. The federal government is incapable of doing good health care (except for Congress) and the Indian Health Service is a prime example, along with the VA.



What the Heck is “Hate Speech” Anyway? by The Elephant's Child

I do worry rather a lot about language, perhaps because I was an English major. More correctly, because the Left attempts to control the dialogue by changing the meaning of words. Immigration or immigrant is one example, by conflating the term with illegal immigrant, illegal alien, (both perfectly acceptable and accurate terms) refugees (and how that word is defined). But I have posed this question before.

The more problematic case of language is much more difficult.  The words are “hate speech.” Exactly what is hate speech? From the current dialogue, it is apparently any speech that you don’t agree with. Clearly that is an impossible definition, yet that is the basic problem in college campuses all across the country.

Students have been taught that they do not have to listen to speech that offends their delicate sensibilities by not agreeing with their preconceived ideas. Enough professors have spoken out in the media to indicate their despair that the students they are expected to teach—simply don’t know anything. They are unfamiliar with the most basic history, geography, civics and science. Not the hard stuff. They don’t know who won the Civil War. They don’t know who we fought in the Revolution. I could go on at length, but just those two missing facts summarize the situation fairly well.

Headlines from the battle: “Student activists demand college ‘take action’ against conservative journalists.” American Thinker.  “Students claim Objective ‘Truth’ is a ‘White Supremacist Myth,”Breitbart. “Why Colleges Have a Right to Reject Hateful Speakers Like Ann Coulter” New Republic.  “It’s Time to Crush Campus Censorship” National Review, “Those ‘Snowflakes’ Have Chilling Effects Even Beyond the Campus” WSJ, “On Political Correctness” The American Scholar  “Report: Women’s and gender studies courses have increased 300% since 1990” The College Fix  “College makes it easier to graduate by requiring students to learn less: The College Fix.  Those are just a few of dozens.

Middlebury has become famous for rioting to refuse to listen to Dr. Charles Murray, a noted social scientist.  Claremont students refused to hear Heather MacDonald. It was very clear that the students had no idea whatsoever what the speakers represented, or what they might say. In the case of Dr. Murray, the Southern Poverty Law Center (a far-left fringe group made false claims about Dr. Murray). In the case of Heather MacDonald, it was “Black Lives Matter” giving a completely false impression of what she might say. Sad. The kids in both cases would have profited from and learned something valuable from the speeches.

The students are wrapped up in the idea that they should not have to listen to anyone with whom they might disagree, and completely ignorant of the facts. The fault lies with faculty and administration who should have packed up the offenders the following morning and sent them home to perhaps be admitted the following semester — if they had learned anything. That’s what happened to friends of mine for significantly lesser offenses, but that was a long time ago.

You see how the words “hate speech” have corrupted the situation. There is no such thing as hate speech. There are inflammatory words, there is incitement to riot,  there’s shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, but I submit there is no such thing as hate speech. We are watching daily, people thrown in prison, sentenced to hard labor for 15 or 20 years, as the fat junior Kim just did to two Americans, as happens throughout the Middle East — and some people can’t get it through their heads that the Freedom of Speech guaranteed to us by the Constitution matters. There aren’t all that many places in the world where you can’t be jailed for speaking your mind. In a moment in time when the language out there (do you read the comments?) has been vile, insulting, vulgar, and just plain offensive. Well, we do live in interesting times.

ADDENDUM: Over at the Federalist, John Daniel Davidson also wrote about Hate Speech, and wrote even more thoroughly about what it is and isn’t, and it’s very well done. The photo at the top of his post is not of college students, but of older folks with pre-printed signs from the “antiwar committee” urging viewers to “Stop the War on Muslims at Home and Abroad,” “Unite Against Islamophobia,” “End Racism,” and “Stop Racism, Islamophobia and War!” It should be observed that there is no war on Muslims, no such thing as Islamophobia, our problems with radical Islam have to do with their war on the West, their habit of chopping off heads, throwing people off of tall buildings, or burning them alive if we don’t submit to their radical religion. We have not yet declared war, since Obama abruptly pulled the troops out of a hard-won peaceful Iraq, but he has left a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear Iran for his successor to deal with. Again the Federalist photo is a good example of using language inaccurately to make their point, which thanks to our Constitution, they are completely free to do. But we are also completely free to make fun of them.



A Quotation for a Rainy Monday in April by The Elephant's Child

Masterpieces created by a committee are notably few in number, but the United States Constitution is certainly one of them. Amended only twenty-seven times in 215 years, it came into being just as the world was about to undergo the most profound—and continuing—period of economic change the human race has known. The locus of power in the American economy has shifted from sector to sector as that economy has developed. Whole sections of the country have risen and fallen in economic importance. New methods of doing business and economic institutions undreamed of by the Founding Fathers have come into existence in that time, while others have vanished. Fortunes beyond the imagination of anyone living in the pre-industrial world have been built and been destroyed. And yet the Constitution endures, and the country continues to flourish under it.

—John Steele Gordon:  An Empire of Wealth



Accomplishment and Denigration: Goes With the Job. by The Elephant's Child

The President of the United States of America is often referred to as “the most powerful man in the world.” Well, yes, but there are all sorts of other superlatives that can be supplied. Maxine Waters keeps blathering on about impeaching Donald Trump and simultaneously claiming she never said any such thing. Democrats are clearly suffering from ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome,” which apparently results in not only psychiatric and psychological disorders, but ‘Trumporrhoea —” insomnia, exhaustion and gastrointestinal disorders. Pity that.

Presidents and noted politicians are simply ordinary human beings, with an oversize dose of ambition and self-regard, and a taste for the limelight. I suspect that most of us have no desire at all to run for office, even an important one. Once thrust into the spotlight of national attention, it’s almost impossible to escape. The media will deal with politicians depending on their political orientation.

“It would be difficult for those,” as Roger Kimball says, who get their news from outlets like “the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC or CNN to have any sense of Trump’s stupendous accomplishments these past three months.”

Illegal border crossings are down by more than 90 percent. Sanctuary cities are on notice that defying federal law may lose federal grants. The Keystone and Dakota Access pipeline are moving ahead, and coal production is next. If Congress or agencies want a new regulation they have to get rid of two first, and executive orders are aimed at getting rid of inefficient regulations. The stock market is up about 2,500 points since the election and 3 percent growth may be on the horizon. That’s a pretty dramatic start. Do read the whole thing. And getting this U.S. citizen released from jail in nice too.

Aya Hijazi, a dual US-Egyptian citizen and her husband Mohamed Hassanein founded Belady, an NGO that promotes a better life for Cairo street children. They had been in prison in Cairo for three years, and her acquittal and that of her husband and four other humanitarian workers came about as the result of President Trump’s intervention.

That’s really a remarkable amount of accomplishment. Restoring deterrence, one bomb at a time, is pretty impressive as well. As historian Victor Davis Hanson notes, “the only thing more dangerous than losing deterrent power is trying to put it back together again.” Well done.



Quotation of the Day by The Elephant's Child

As soon as journalists, while pretending to provide information, consider that they have the right to present current happenings in such a way as to orient  public opinion in a manner they regard as salutary, democracy is amputated of one of its major supports. It is affected just as perniciously as it is by a corrupt judiciary or electoral fraud. Totalitarianism can only live thanks to falsehood, and democracy survive thanks to truth.

—Jean-Francois Revel: The Flight From Truth                    



Not “Earth Day” Anymore, Now It’s “The March for Science” by The Elephant's Child

This will be an interesting weekend. Today is Earth Day, so naturally there is a march somewhere.  Ah hah!: It is the March for (Political) Science in our nation’s capitol, described by the Washington Times:

Take the Women’s March on Washington, slash its attendance, throw in Bill Nye “the science guy,” and you have the formula for Saturday’s March for Science, the latest in this year’s series of anti-Trump protests.

Framed as a defense of scientific inquiry, the Earth Day march offered a lesson in political science as speakers urged thousands of rain-soaked attendees to fight President Trump’s “anti-science” agenda by advocating more federal funding for research.

“This is about last November’s election,” said Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970. “Did America somehow vote to melt the polar ice caps and kill the coral reefs and acidify the oceans? Did we vote to reduce the EPA’s research budget by a whopping 42 percent? Did we vote to defund safe drinking water by one third?”

I don’t know who Denis Hayes is, but the polar ice caps have a habit of melting every summer and freezing up every winter, as it has done for centuries. Renowned Australian geologist Ian Plimer wrote in  Heaven and Earth:

Climate has always changed. It always has and it always will. Sea level has always changed. Ice sheets come and go. Life always changes. Extinctions of life are normal. Planet Earth is dynamic and evolving. Climate changes are cyclical and random. I would be really concerned if there were no changes to Earth over time. In the light of large rapid climate changes,  just how much do humans really change climate?

The Earth’s climate is driven by the receipt and  redistribution of solar energy. Without this, there would be no life on Earth. Despite well documented linkages between  climate and solar activity, the Sun tends to be brushed aside as the driver of climate  on Earth  in place of a trace gas (carbon dioxide – CO2), most of which derives from natural processes. The CO2 in the atmosphere is only 0.001% of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life.

Although we are in one of the many warm periods between glacial stages in the current ice age, there is a significant amount of ice remaining in the polar regions. Polar ice has been present for less than 20% of geological time, life on Earth for more than 80% of time and liquid water on Earth for 90% of time. Planet Earth is a warm wet volcanic greenhouse planet, which is naturally recovering from glacial times and is naturally warming. Cooling has also occurred in the current interglacial times. Earth has warmed and cooled on all time scales, whether they be geological, archeological, historical or within our own lifetime. The key questions are: How much of this warming can be attributed to human activity?

If we humans are warming the planet now, how do we explain the alternating cool and warm periods during the current post-glacial warming?

Anthony Watts has a marvelous collection of pictures from the march. On the one pictured at the top here, he remarked: “Seems that the Union of Concerned Scientists has a lot of hate. This is from their Twitter feed, but note they are too timid to put their organization name on any of the posters.  Losers.”

You will notice that the pre-printed sign at the bottom of the picture says “Scientists for Racial Equity;, Climate Justice, Gender Equality, Economic Justice, Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice” which does give some clues to the thought process of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Earth Day” has been losing it’s luster. Fewer and fewer people believe in the need for panic, so they tried changing Earth Day into a “March for Science.” Bill Nye ‘the science guy’ turned up in DC, along with the constantly publicity-seeking Michael Mann, and the current Dr. Who turned up in London.

There’s a major reason why the scientists who are insulted as being “anti-science” or “deniers” or “skeptics” write and speak more frequently when they retire and are free to speak out. Until there was suddenly panic about global warming, the rise of the oceans, arctic melting, departments like astrophysics, ocean geology, and climate science were quiet backwaters in the science buildings of universities. With panic, funding arrived. Departments expanded, super computers and expensive equipment were purchased, and grants became very available. Unfortunately many of those deeply interested in climate change thought they could model the climate of the Earth on more powerful computers, which is where most of the junk science comes from. The climate is too complex, there is too much we just don’t understand— like the action of clouds. The “March for Science”  is all about funding, and not about science at all. And in the current climate it’s mostly about the Left hating Trump.

“Global Warming” has always been a far left effort to destroy capitalism, as Christiana Figureres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change confirmed that in Brussels in 2015. Steven Koonin, a theoretical physicist who served as undersecretary of energy for science during President Obama’s first term, wrote in the Wall Street Journal Thursday that “the general public is largely unaware of the intense debates within climate science. He advocates a “Red Team-Blue Team” process for climate science as the best practice for high-consequence situations.

A happy Earth Day to you all, and if you are a “skeptic” as I am, turn on lots of lights this evening to illuminate the night.  “I Speak For The Trees ” indeed! Can you possibly not realize how silly that statement is?



Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Remarks on Iran by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal, and the administration will continue to provide the relief from sanctions as called for by the agreement. He added that “Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods.”

Today he explained more thoroughly and more specifically Iran’s role as a leading sponsor of terrorism. He made it abundantly clear that the nuclear deal is not satisfactory, and that the United States government is engaged in a very thorough review of our policies dealing with Iran.

Secretary Tillerson characterized the Iran deal as “another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions,” comparing it to North Korea. He said “we buy them off for a short period of time, and then someone has to deal with it later.” The current administration does not plan to follow that example.

Our policy is still being discussed, there is clearly sharp disagreement within the administration as to how to proceed. The Obama administration’s illusions have left it successors in a difficult position. There are no clear or good options, but we have in this new administration deep experience in dealing with such problems. Today’s tough speech is a good start, to let that part of the world know that there has been a significant change in the American posture. The grown-ups are now in charge.




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