American Elephants


President Trump Has Signed 40 New Pieces of Legislation, Getting Rid of Unneeded Regulation by The Elephant's Child

President Donald Trump continues to sign legislation, an achievement that he called “nice” on Friday. There is a bill to improve weather forecasting, a long-term vision for NASA, and some long-awaited reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs. All three had bipartisan support.

—The Weather Research and Forecasting innovation Act of 2017 was described by the Washington Post as “the first major weather legislation enacted since the early 1990s. It aims to increase research into improving weather forecasts and to modernize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. David Titler, professor of meteorology at Penn State, said “improving weather-related safety of our people and assets is not political, but just common sense.”

—The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 calls for a $19.5 billion budget for NASA, a increase over the $19.3 billion budget for 2016. It asks that NASA create a plan for getting humans “near or on the surface of Mars” in the 2030s. Trump said during the campaign that “making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration.”

—The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act allows wrongdoers to by punished and gives more protection to those who inform. It puts veterans in charge of their own care.

Fifteen of the 40 bills signed repeal Obama-era regulations. Examples include a rule that made it harder for states to drug test welfare recipients and a regulation that imposed permitting requirements on mining sites. These were bills signed under the Congressional Review Act which allows Congress to nullify any regulation created in the previous administration’s final 6 months.

—Other bills, less consequential, included the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act  which reduces the time families of fallen officers have to wait to receive survivors benefits. Another  bill gives federal grants to law enforcement agencies that hire veterans.

Many businesses and government offices have been hamstrung with over-regulation, which is what happens when agencies are given free rein to establish rules and regulations.



Democratic Female Senators And Identity Politics by The Elephant's Child

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs held a hearing last week on political Islam, also referred to as ‘Islamism.’ The committee invited four witnesses: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Asra Q. Nomani, Michael E. Leiter, former director of the U.S National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and John Lenczowski, president of the Institute of World Politics. The hearing called our attention to the dysfunction that we face in addressing the topic.

The two female witnesses were on edge. Earlier that day, a shooter had attacked the Republican baseball team in Alexandria, and only moments before the hearing began a man wearing a Muslim prayer cap had stood up and heckled them, putting Capitol police on high alert. They were expecting tough questions. Both women had been born into deeply conservative Muslim families. Both have been threatened with death by jihadists for things they have said and done. Ayann, who survived genital mutilation and forced marriage, and Asra defied Sharia by having a baby while unmarried. Ayann cannot appear in public without armed guards.

The four female Democratic senators, Clair McCaskill, Missouri; Kamala Harris, California; Heidi Heitcamp,North Dakota; and Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire; are ardent feminists, so the witnesses might have expected sympathetic questions. Senator Claire McCaskill,  announced that she took issue with the theme of the hearing itself. “Anyone who twists or distorts religion to a place of evil is an exception to the rule.” she said. “We should not focus on religion,” she said, adding that she was “worried” that the hearing organized by Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, would “underline that.”

Ayaan and Asra emphasized the meaning of what went down:

[W]hat happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives when it comes to confronting the brutal reality of Islamist extremism and what it means for women in many Muslim communities here at home and around the world.

When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.

[W]hen we speak about Islamist oppression, we bring personal experience to the table in addition to our scholarly expertise. Yet the feminist mantra so popular when it comes to victims of sexual assault — believe women first — isn’t extended to us. Neither is the notion that the personal is political. Our political conclusions are dismissed as personal; our personal experiences dismissed as political.

That’s because in the rubric of identity politics, our status as women of color is canceled out by our ideas, which are labeled “conservative” — as if opposition to violent jihad, sex slavery, genital mutilation or child marriage were a matter of left or right. This not only silences us, it also puts beyond the pale of liberalism a basic concern for human rights and the individual rights of women abused in the name of Islam.

Why?

Partly they fear offending members of a “minority” religion and being labeled racist, bigoted or Islamophobic. There is also the idea, which has tremendous strength on the left, that non-Western women don’t need “saving” — and that the suggestion that they do is patronizing at best. After all, the thinking goes, if women in America still earn less than men for equivalent work, who are we to criticize other cultures?

Obama made a big deal about helping refugees, largely because they were expected to become Democrat voters. Refugees from communist totalitarian states like Cuba and Venezuela, were rejected.  Identity politics, moral relativism or political correctness are more important than real information or some victims are more important than other victims. Things like sex slavery, violent jihad, genital mutilation, honor killings, polygamy or child marriage simply don’t measure up to equal pay for women (federal law since 1963).

They didn’t ask the two women a single question. Not just rude, for the two women were invited guests as well as witnesses who are pro-democracy, pro-free speech, pro-freedom Muslims. What an excellent chance to learn a little more about the Muslim religion and Islamic ideology firsthand.

Mackubin Owens pointed out that “Islamism isn’t a religion. It’s a political system at war with us. Political Islam seems to be the front runner in who is the most oppressed of all?  They cannot be criticized even if it means throwing other favored victim groups under the bus. Islamists punish homosexuals with death by throwing them off tall buildings or stoning, but “Islamophobia” trumps “homophobia.” The problem is distinguishing between Islam as a religion and political Islam as a system for organizing society. This is a pathology that is aimed at effecting the final destruction of the West.  We can’t seem to get our minds around that simple fact.

 



Charles Krauthammer: Build the Wall by The Elephant's Child

Charles Krauthammer nails it. As the Center for Immigration Studies says —they are anti illegal immigration and pro immigrant. We have around 4.4 million people who want to immigrate to the United States and become citizens. They are obeying our immigration laws, waiting patiently, and hoping. I see no reason why illegal immigrants of questionable integrity, who are flouting our laws should take precedence over those who are doing it correctly.

President Obama wanted more bodies and believed that illegals would be more reliable Democrat voters. No actual care for the people —he just wanted to win and defeat Republicans. He ordered the Border Patrol to pay no attention and flooded the country with illegals, violent gangs—MS-13—the international criminal gang, diseases we thought were gone, like smallpox, measles, and Mexican drug gangs and traffickers, who are responsible for the current opioid crisis, sex traffickers and criminal activity in general. All that, and he managed to decimate the Progressive party in the course of his efforts. Nice going.

Dr. Krauthammer is correct about Amnesty. Any time you offer amnesty to illegals—it is an open invitation to the next influx who will expect amnesty in their turn. Doesn’t matter if we claim this is the very last time.

CIS has also established that the wall would pay for itself if it prevents a  significant number of illegals. Illegal immigrants cost a lot, whether in police work, Border Patrol and the courts, health care (emergency rooms) or benefits.  Most who are rounded up and given hearings for deportation never show up for the hearings, and just disappear into the population. That all costs a lot. We welcome legal immigrants and wish them well. The Seattle area is home to a lot of high-tech with Microsoft, Amazon, and lots of others, and we have new residents from all over.



Everything You Have Thought About Today’s American Journalism is True by The Elephant's Child

The new issue of Imprimus  features a piece from long time journalist Michael Goodwin, chief political columnist for The New York Post, based on a speech that Goodwin gave at a Hillsdale event. It is a raw and intensive look at contemporary journalism by a long time practitioner who knows his way around the media. It’s just as bad as you thought.

I’ve been a journalist for a long time. Long enough to know that it wasn’t always like this. There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner. Today, all that has changed. For that, we can blame the 2016 election or, more accurately, how some news organizations chose to cover it. Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close. …

During the years I spent teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism, I often found myself telling my students that the job of the reporter was “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m not even sure where I first heard that line, but it still captures the way most journalists think about what they do. Translate the first part of that compassionate-sounding idea into the daily decisions about what makes news, and it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that every person afflicted by something is entitled to help. Or, as liberals like to say, “Government is what we do together.” From there, it’s a short drive to the conclusion that every problem has a government solution.

Goodwin goes on to explain how today’s journalism has gone astray,  how it came about, and how bad it really is (Just what you thought, and even more).

I knew all of this about the media mindset going into the 2016 presidential campaign. But I was still shocked at what happened. This was not naïve liberalism run amok. This was a whole new approach to politics. No one in modern times had seen anything like it. As with grief, there were several stages. In the beginning, Donald Trump’s candidacy was treated as an outlandish publicity stunt, as though he wasn’t a serious candidate and should be treated as a circus act. But television executives quickly made a surprising discovery: the more they put Trump on the air, the higher their ratings climbed. Ratings are money. So news shows started devoting hours and hours simply to pointing the cameras at Trump and letting them run.

A study, Goodwin says, estimated that Trump had received so much free airtime that if he had to buy it the price would be around $2 billion. Executives realized that they had helped Trump’s rise, which made them furious, and soon they were gunning for him.

It’s a fascinating look at a failed media that can no longer perform its assigned task in the American political landscape. Do take the time to read it if you can. It has changed how we search for information. I have long believed that in the new electronic age, students need to be taught how to look for information, how to judge the quality of the information, and enough history to understand why it is important to search carefully, to be informed, and why their vote is important and needs to be well informed. We’ve been watching the education establishment disintegrate before our eyes, and the evidence from college students that they need safe spaces where they can refuse to listen to ideas that might disagree with their own.

With journalism no longer a viable source for accurate news, we have turned to blogs, judged their information and veracity, and the trustworthiness of the provider. Others have turned to social media, and Twitter has assumed an outsized role as a potential clue to future trends, currency, reach, and yet it may not have that significance at all. Combine that with our ordinary human shortcomings — impatience, laziness, reluctance to read anything long— and I suspect we are becoming less and less informed. But then I was an English major and a glutton for reading. Do any of us currently have a hunger to know and understand in an age when sheer entertainment is so pleasurable and so readily available?

Do read the Imprimus article. It will give you a deep understanding of where the media is and why, and give you armor and a nudge towards knowing more and to hell with the “journalism” profession.

(To subscribe to Imprimus, just go to the Hillsdale College website and sign up. It’s free and always informative.)

 



Tucker Carlson Goes All In on DC by The Elephant's Child

I have enjoyed Tucker’s take on all sorts of subjects, but I had not heard him before in a speech, a fairly long and absolutely brilliant speech to the International Association of Fire Fighters. He explains Trump, the Republicans, the Democrats and the atmosphere, habits and situation in the nation’s capitol. It’s not pretty. And Tucker is very good.

This just seems to be a day when videos offer more than the written word. I guess nobody has written anything brilliant at all today. Some days are like that.

The Democrats’ role is to drum up enthusiasm for voting in what they consider their base. This election has really scared them. They are slowly realizing how much power they have lost and how empty their bench is, how old their leaders are, and how much it all went wrong when they were expecting another triumph. Did you see any mourning by Democrats at the shooting in Alexandria at a supposedly bi-partisan baseball game for charity? Did you see Twitter after Scalise was shot? Many felt that he deserved it because he was a racist and KKK enthusiast, I guess because he is from Louisiana? They all deserved to have been shot because they were Republicans. That is simply not sane. It’s not even American. It like something out of Stalin’s Gulag. And alarming.



Does Alphabet/Google Want Conservatives’ Business? Well, No, No They Don’t. by The Elephant's Child

Justin Danhof of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project challenges executives of Alphabet – Google’s parent company – about the company’s tolerance of political diversity. Does a company that routinely and publicly supports liberal causes take into account its conservative employees, investors and consumers?

Well, no, no they don’t.The smartest men in the universe, who hire only the most intelligent people publicly flunk science, flunk diversity (Not interested in diversity of ideas) flunk public relations, and have no problem with insulting nearly half the people in the United States,and the majority of the Congress and the state houses, and are so oblivious that they don’t even know that their positions are hard left, and don’t realize that they are suggesting that the rest of the people might just prefer to use some other search engine.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t track every click of your mouse.  Brilliant presentation, fellas. They don’t want your business. Don’t give it to them.



Dr. Roy Spencer’s Keynote Address to Ninth International Conference on Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Roy Spencer  is the climatologist who runs, with Dr.  John Christie, the only real measures of earthly temperatures by satellite from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He gave the keynote address to the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on July 9, 2014.

I’ve managed to make this sound dull—”keynote address”—but it isn’t at all. He’s funny! Non technical, and even though he shows a few graphs, you will come away duly enlightened and better informed, and you will have enjoyed it. If you don’t, let me know.

Dr. Spencer clearly explains the state of Climate Science, and why nothing much has changed in the past three years. He is a delightful speaker, funny, entertaining and will clear up more than a few misconceptions about the state of the climate.




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