American Elephants


Devin Nunes Reacts to the Inspector General’s Inquiry by The Elephant's Child

Pulling information out of the FBI and the CIA has been an interesting exercise. You can tell how frustrated Chairman Nunes is. They were absolutely sure that Hillary would win, and none of it would have to be covered up. The best laid plans …and all that.

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The March for Our Lives Was Not What It Was Cracked Up to Be by The Elephant's Child

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The Left is very fond of “marches”— it feels really good, I guess, to be out being an activist for a cause your really believe in, as much as you believe in much of anything. That’s what the few studies that have been done seem to indicate—that they promote activism, but don’t have much of any effect on legislation. Lots of fellow feeling.

The “March for Our Lives” was, as is usual, not what it was cracked up to be. It wasn’t the voice of a new generation, the voice of the future, but the same middle-aged women from the Women’s March with some photogenic teenagers out front for the cameras. The Women’s March was 85 percent women. The March for Our Lives was 70% women. Only about 10% of the crowd were under 18. The average age of the adults was just under age 49. Only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting said they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue, though 60 percent of the experienced protesters were. The new protesters were motivated by peace (56 percent) and Trump (42 percent). Anti-War protesters are the most regular protesters. Lefty protests don’t really care about gun control, they hate Trump, the Right, and want the “U.S. Out of Everywhere” and the “Jews Out of Palestine.”

Daniel Greenfield did a marvelous job of digging out just who were the organizers and sponsors, and who directed the March. The kids who participated did not raid their piggy banks to get to the march. There were millions behind the funds.  The March for Our Lives Action Fund was overseen by six directors and incorporated in Delaware. Everytown for Gun Safety was formed out of two other groups: Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Both of which are front groups for Michael Bloomberg, the lefty billionaire, and the group is really New York City. Lots of long-time activist professionals to direct the events, from Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Florida was notably absent from the supporters. Lots of the usual Hollywood crowd.

Do read the whole thing to get an understanding of how these things work.  It has very little to do with Parkland. The mass shooting by Nikolas Cruz, which was badly fumbled and should have been prevented by the FBI. the Sheriff’s Office, the School District officials, or the school itself, who should be held responsible. Most of the participants have little idea of what actually went on. They shout about assault rifles, with no idea that there is no such thing, just ordinary rifles dressed up with some extra accessories to make them look sexier. The NRA is not some evil organization that sells guns. They support the second amendment and the shooting sports. Where I came from, people counted on hunting to fill the freezer for the winter. Others hunt ducks, or wild boar, or skeet.

 



Diversity Is Not Important. Merit Is. by The Elephant's Child

Heather MacDonald visits the “Diversity Debate” in her column today. The problem is apparently Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who “is being hammered for reportedly having rejected identity politics in favor of meritocracy. (Do read the whole thing, it’s short)

In the workplace we are supposed to ignore the knowledge and ability one brings to the job in favor of the color of one’s skin? Zinke is currently facing media criticism because he allegedly said that diversity is “not important,” and of course he absolutely correct. It is not.

(T)he Interior Secretary is being condemned for allegedly saying that he discounts racial categories in hiring, and prefers “having the right person for the right job.” This position, uncontroversial for decades, was the essence of Martin Luther King’s vision of a colorblind, merit-based society. Treating people the same way regardless of their race or sex used to be considered the definition of fairness; now it is understood to be vicious and intolerable.

We seem to be living in an era when the Left is seriously messing with our understanding of ordinary language and thought, and our minds.  Time to re-read 1984? The Constitution, written way back in the 1700’s, is outdated and needs the refreshing criticism of  a bunch of 17 year-olds who know better what it should say. Populism is supposed to be something bad, since it is the will of the people. Merit is undeserved. Only skin color matters, but is it trumped by ethnicity? Gender is a matter of your feelings at the moment. Citizenship is not only not important, but a question that should not be asked on the Census. The 12,000 gun-related homicides a year are heavily concentrated in inner- city neighborhoods that are afflicted with drugs, gangs and crime. There are serious  problems in the current understanding of the meaning of free speech. Universities have small designated spaces where one can go to practice free speech, which is not acceptable elsewhere.

If the tech companies want to know what ads I’d be most likely to be interested in, I’d be happy to answer a questionnaire, if they would stop monitoring my presence online.  And I have this odd idea that businesses have no business playing politics. If they want to financially support  a candidate privately, that’s their business. If they want to do politics then they should resign from business and do politics. But if they want to be political while asking customers to support them, they’ll be out of luck.



And About That Fake News… by The Elephant's Child


If you forced every website that presents the news to remove any pieces that are simply what some celebrity said, would there be anything left? How many “journalists” would lose their jobs? In the age of Twitter and Facebook, it can hardly be called ‘work”— you just follow them and whenever they say something, er, interesting, there’s your piece. But that can hardly be called “news” either. If you eliminated all the inane comments, would there be anything left?

Could we try it? Pretty please?



There Are Some Conversations That Shake Up Your Ideas. This Is One of Them. by The Elephant's Child

You probably remember Charles Murray’s speech at Middlebury College back in March last year, that essentially turned into a riot. This video was made about a week after the embarrassing incident. I had never seen it before, and found it to be not only fascinating but a little frightening.

We had lots of similar embarrassing occasions on college campuses across the country since, but the events all have a similarity. Students have no understanding of the meaning of the free speech clause in the Constitution,  and are unprepared to hear speech with which they do not agree, Dr. Murray, a noted political scientist, was invited to speak at the campus by Middlebury Professor and Political Scientist Allison Stanger.

One of the first sources to report on the melee was The American Interest should you need a reminder of what transpired. The involved students should have been disciplined, suspended, or just sent home, because there was no excuse for such behavior. Of course, that didn’t happen, with the confused situation on campus discourse today.As the National Interest story says: “If students (and especially professors…) want to criticize an author, they should read what he has written first.” Clearly, academic rigor has deteriorated, along with majors in things like English and History.

This video was made about a week after the events at Middlebury, but I had not seen it before. The comments by Jonathan Haidt, a Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and Frank Bruni, an op-ed columnist at the New York Times, are a fascinating discussion about the Middlebury Melee and the problems of higher education that brought it about, and the implications of the event. It’s the implications that are important.

Clearly, students had no idea what a political scientist does, nor what Dr. Murray had written about, nor why his writings should be read, nor why his studies are important. How many (mostly conservative) speakers can you think of who have been similarly badly treated on today’s college campuses or banned from speaking in the time since that event?

A college campus is not a “community” it is a campus. The reigning meme seems to be “diversity” but diversity of thought and ideas just doesn’t enter into it at all. The acceptable ideas are that diversity is about race, sex, ethnicity, and representation of groups deemed marginalized, but there are “norms” that exclude all sorts of people. Elite businesses and universities assume that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is not only a means to excellence, but an end in itself. No one should be allowed to question that  evident truth. Community should not be disturbed by disagreement. Richard Epstein remarks:

Having chosen its members, D&I champions next embrace a message of “fairness and protection to all regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.” But rarely do they face up to the conceptual ambiguities and practical tradeoffs that this grandiose statement conceals.

And here is Thomas Sowell:

Nothing so epitomizes the politically correct gullibility of our times as the magic word “diversity.” The wonders of diversity are proclaimed from the media, extolled in the academy and confirmed in the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States. But have you ever seen one speck of hard evidence to support the lofty claims?

Although diversity has become one of the leading buzzwords of our time, it has a history that goes back several generations. In the early twentieth century, the principle of geographic diversity was used to conceal bias against Jews in the admission of students to Harvard and other leading academic institutions.

“Diversity” oddly, does not include diversity of thought or belief. Since there is little diversity among the administration and faculty of most universities, it should not be surprising that both campus and workplace are now considered “communities”, and since communities are supposed to be peaceful places where everyone is truly communal, the observation that they are becoming communes is obviously true, but unacceptable as a comment.

The tech industry, in particular, seems to be a source for much of the groupthink. Businesses seem to believe that they can become advocates for correct political thought, since as Hillary says so often, the places that did not vote for her were clearly ignorant deplorables who did not recognize correct enlightened ideas. Is this all a result of the idea that everyone should get a medal or a gold star and no one should be excluded? Of supervised play, and computers and social media where those who have improper thoughts or words can be blocked or unfriended? If you think about that process, it bears a striking similarity to what is happening on college campuses and in the workplace.

Our public schools are anxious to get all the kids computerized, as that seems to be the necessary element in education for the future. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe that’s why thoughtful people tell college students to avoid any class that has “studies” after its name. Maybe the idea of reducing or eliminating competition is faulty. Maybe everyone shouldn’t get a gold star. Maybe Nancy Pelosi’s call for open borders as opposed to any ideal of  “merit” in admission of immigrants is totally haywire. Canada and Australia admit immigrants by considering what skills or benefits they bring to their new country, much like the most selective schools do, or used to do. The video isn’t very long, but there’s a lot of food for thought there.



Here’s the Story Behind the National School Walkout by The Elephant's Child

Why am I not surprised? The same progressive groups that were behind the Women’s March to protest the election of Donald Trump, were the progressive groups that planned the “National School Walkout.” Students were asked to “walk out” of school for 17 minutes to “honor” the 17 victims. Instead of a memorial, the walkout became marches and protests to demand “gun control” and demonize any support for the Second Amendment and to blame the National Rifle Association for the “gun violence” in schools.

Sponsors on the Women’s March website are called “partners.” The two premiere sponsors were Planned Parenthood Foundation and the National Resources Defense Council. Others were SEIU, AFL-CIO, GLBTQ, ACLU, Occupy Wall Street, Pussy Hat Project, moveon.org, Center for American Progress, CODEPINK, Communist Party USA, Emily’s List, Human Rights Campaign, and the National Abortion Federation. And many others. The Leftists really like to organize, there are all sorts of little clubs, so you have backing for your protest, power in numbers, and financial backing from George Soros and his cohorts. You can feel good because you’re with “friends.”

—The new “Women’s March Youth Empower webpage” and its “Enough” anti-gun protest cover everything needed for a good protest that will get lots of press attention. The “toolkit” tells the kids that parent support would be helpful to influence the school.

—Suggested chants: “No More Silence, End Gun Violence,” “Guns in schools? We say NO, NRA has got to go,” “Enough is Enough.”

There’s a list of demands too. “We demand that Congress enact an immediate resolution declaring “gun violence” a public health crisis, and dedicating federal funding to research solutions and implement violence intervention programs. We demand Congress recognize all forms of gun violence, including violence committed by police.”

You didn’t think that this was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion from the kids, fearful of their own lives as they grieved for their compatriots in Florida did you?

Any kid’s danger of being shot in an attack on a school is approximately one in 641 million someone calculated. There is no such thing as “gun violence.” Guns are inanimate objects, and require a shooter and bullets, which require a license. More people are killed with fists, clubs of some sort, and pistols than what they are calling “assault weapons” or lately the Center for American Progress has sent out the talking point “Weapons of War.” Which is also nonsense, as military weapons are not available to citizens, unless stolen. What they like to call “assault weapons” are just ordinary rifles duded-up with scopes and fancy magazines to make them look more impressive. They still shoot the same bullet, one pull of the trigger at a time. The majority of gun deaths are suicides, mostly with handguns.

Some of the more ludicrous signs were “18th Century Laws Cannot Regulate 20th Century Weapons,”  and “De-Militarize the Police.” Locally, some students made speeches—one 16-year-old said, according to the local newspaper “When your leaders act like children and your children act like leaders that’s when you know change is coming.” Four years ago, she was 12. The whole purpose of the “walkout” was for an “out of the mouths of children” effect on the country.

The kids were truly sincere in their feelings, and unfortunately being disgracefully used by hard-left adults who couldn’t care less about the kids themselves. The kids were used as an emotional tool to influence the press for maximum attention and to influence people who were horrified by the Parkland attack and want to “do something.” What is dramatically missing from the whole national conversation is information. The loudest voices are the most ill-informed. Unfortunately, all the Left really wants is power and control, and they don’t care who they have to use to get it.



The Left Sometimes Just Goes Too Far by The Elephant's Child

John Hinderraker at Powerline had a good piece on “the  Despicable Misuse of Children.”

Today students were excused from classrooms all across America to participate in demonstrations in favor of firearms bans of one sort or another. These were anything but spontaneous actions organized by children. Rather, the anti-gun demonstrations were condoned, if not sponsored, by school administrations that are almost universally liberal. And the teachers’ unions played a part too. The National Education Association issued a statement that included this:

Since the horrific shootings in Parkland, Florida, students across the country have launched an inspired movement to demand long overdue action on school safety and gun control. NEA, its affiliates, and members throughout Florida and the nation, support these calls to prevent further school massacres.

Ironically, the demonstrations in favor of school safety featured, in some instances, attacks on non-conforming students. At one Minneapolis high school, two students stood apart from the throng calling for more gun control. One of them carried a sign that said “Blame the Culture, Not Guns.” The other carried a Donald Trump banner. He was cursed, pursued, knocked down and beaten up by “pro-school safety” demonstrators. School officials, who purport to be so concerned with the safety of their students, did nothing to intervene.

Kids are in school because they don’t know very much yet. I’m sure they feel badly about the horrific attack on Parkland, Florida. They may even be alarmed about their own safety. Their chances of an actual school shooting are something like one in 641,000,000. Unfamiliar with history, they are probably unaware that we have tried gun control before, both locally and nationally, and it accomplished nothing at all. In spite of the screeches of the Left,  gun control has not worked anywhere it has been tried, including in Australia, where they confiscated all the guns.

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Most of the deaths from guns nationally, are suicides. Fully automatic weapons have been banned for years. Violent crime has been declining steadily since the early 1990s. The 2011 rate was almost half of the rate in 1991, and the 2013 rate was half of the rate in 1993.

The well-meaning kids had signs to carry that they had proudly made themselves. This one,from Twitchy shows how clueless the kids are.

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Other notable ones were “The Second Amendment isn’t meant to protect our citizens” and “De-Militarize the Police,” along with “Give us Our Reparations.” Well, I’m sure it was an exciting time for the kids and they got to miss time in school. Wiser parents kept their kids at home.

The Left’s hijacking our children for their own political purposes is disgusting.




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