American Elephants


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 The Constitution, written way back in the 1700’s, is outdated and needs the refreshing criticism of  a bunch of 17 year-olds who know better what it should say.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.

Advertisements


The Children of Parkland, Used Again by The Elephant's Child

The children of Parkland have been out demonstrating today for gun control. Not that they have any idea what that means or what if anything it would do for school safety. The people who are paying for the demonstrations and the transportation and the microphones have chosen to remain anonymous and invisible behind protective regulations.

Nikolas Cruz is variously called a monster, a nut-case and other expletives, but no one mentions his years of crying for help. He was adopted, and his adoptive father died early, his mother died more recently. He threatened kids at school, the girl he liked dumped him. He was said to have abused animals. He was sent to a program for mental health. He was expelled from school. The school said specifically that he was not to be allowed on the premises with a backpack. He mentioned wanting to do a school shooting. This is what I have gleaned from the reporting. It seems that the school was aware that they had reason to be suspicious and watchful, but chose for some reason not to do anything about it at all.

That reluctance has been blamed on the Obama administration’s regulations about not removing students who might fit the “school to prison pipeline” theme, and schools are afraid of being designated as racist, and Nikolas Cruz was designated as Hispanic. Kids don’t know enough to say “I need help”— so they act out. Most parents are aware of that, aren’t they?

The FBI was warned twice, and did not act on the warnings. The school knew, and did not act on the warnings. The Sheriff’s office was warned. The deputies remained outside while the school shooting went on.

Democrats are far more interested in promoting marches, and using the kids of Parkland for the emotional push of children. They want the NRA abolished, because they do a little lobbying on behalf of the Second Amendment, and donate a little to the Republican Party, far less than Planned Parenthood  gives to Democrats.

Lax gun laws are not the problem. The Miami Herald Sun-Sentinel, has been documenting how federal, state and local authorities simply failed to enforce the law, or simply kicked the can down the road. Police visited Cruz’s home over 30 times and were warned that he had threatened people with guns before. He bought the rifle  shortly after he was expelled in February of 2017.

I was curious, so I investigated briefly online to see if there have been any studies to determine the effectiveness of marches and demonstrations. Not much. What little there appears to be suggests that marches tend to make the participants more apt to be activists, but there is no influence on governmental actions or legislation.

Those who are so sure that banning guns is the answer have never made the slightest effort to see what is known  about that. The producers of this video put out a casting call, and asked the actors to cold read statistical truths about guns and crime in the United States.

Most people who are familiar with guns and the debate are familiar with these statistics. Most of those shrieking about “gun violence” are not. They might have asked what the NRA is, and what it does. Or perhaps what the AR in AR-15 stands for, to see how many think it stands for Assault Rifle. It doesn’t.



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.



Here’s What “Draining the Swamp” Really Means! by The Elephant's Child

“Draining the Swamp” is a newly popular phrase for trying to rein in the overgrown government in Washington D.C. that seems to be leading to an administrative state — a catastrophic error devoutly to be avoided. Philip Hamburger has written a splendid assessment titled Is Administrative Law Unlawful and a companion The Administrative Threat which explain just what we have to worry about.

Investors Business Daily has written about just how it works.

What was first proposed by Congress as a modest law to assess the environmental impact of highway construction and other publicly owned projects, has grown into a bureaucratic monster, the likes of which no one ever imagined.

Nearly a half-century ago, before major federal environmental laws existed, Congress wanted to ensure that all federal agencies consider the environmental impact of their actions. This well intended action led to passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

America’s permitting and regulatory process is now so tightly bound in red tape, virtually no major energy or construction project can be accomplished without years of permitting delays, involvement of multiple government agencies, and seemingly endless  litigation. According to a 2016 review by the National Association of Environmental Professionals, it now takes an average of 5 years to complete one NEPA environmental impact statement. This timeline doesn’t include the years of litigation that routinely follow every major energy and construction project.

In North Dakota a badly needed drinking water project was held up in permitting and court for nearly 15 years. Colorado is still waiting after 10 years of trying to expand a reservoir to boost their drinking water supply. Everyone recognizes that the permitting process is a huge problem. The Obama administration ran into it with his stimulus program, and tried to speed up the process. But what is needed is not just “fixing” the rule, but to reform the NEPA process by making environmental permits a “one agency, one decision” deal, include a two-year deadline. For most NEPA permits, a lawsuit can be filed up to six years after the project ends. Environmental activists often simply do not want any change to take place in the area of their concern, and will use all kinds of silly lawsuits to end or slow development. The “endangered species” idea can be used anywhere, if you can’t find a specimen, but there may be large quantities on the other side of the ridge.

The Obama administration imposed a record 600 major regulations, which added rules that cost the economy $100 million or more at a rate of every three days.

President Trump is taking on the issue of permitting reform head-on, laying out a comprehensive plan to streamline approval for major infrastructure projects. A big part of the cost of any infrastructure project is red tape, which I’m sure he knows well from his construction projects. So far by the end of December had saved some $8.1 billion in net federal regulatory costs. The impact on the larger economy is more significant. Scott Pruitt is doing a fabulous job.

Regulations destroy freedom. The question: Is the loss of freedom worth what the regulation will cost?



All About Gun Control by The Elephant's Child

I often write a bit about Democrat wordsmiths who come up with the daily language with which to attack Republicans or Deplorables or Right-Wing extremists or whatever we are today. I’m not sure just who the wordsmiths are, but I assume they are from the Center for American Progress, and if you look up their website and their board of directors, you’ve got a good idea. I just don’t understand why all the lefties are so ready to use someone else’s words in harmony with all the other lefties. I would be embarrassed, wouldn’t you?

It says something about their education, or intelligence, or obedience or basic ignorance, but I don’t intend to get insulting here, I just don’t quite get it. In any case, this short video is a perfect example of how it works. The subject is the desire of the Left to get rid of the Second Amendment, and/or confiscate all guns, since their ultimate goal is control. They want to be in charge with no one able to disagree or talk back, or, especially—to make fun of them. Do not take a large mouthful of coffee or tea just before playing the video.

There. I told you so.



What is American Greatness? by The Elephant's Child

The Question was “Can the Swamp Be Drained?” Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal speaks on the Governmental Swamp, Can the political corruption in our government be defined and can we actually actually make progress in fixing it?

It’s a fairly long speech, you may need to save it for the weekend, but don’t miss it. It’s important, and Kim is terrific.  The lecture was given as part of the April 2018 National Leadership Seminar for Hillsdale College, and posted on Feb. 27.



“Greens” Embarrass Themselves Once Again by The Elephant's Child

King Cove is back in the news again. An Alaskan tribal council voted yesterday to aid the Department of the Interior in a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental organizations against  the Department of the Interior and Secretary Zinke over a federal land swap to save Aleutian tribal lives.

In January Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke approved a land swap that would turn over 500 acres of federal wilderness to King Cove, Alaska, so the small city could complete the construction of a land route to Cold Bay, and the region’s only all-weather airport.

King Cove is a small fishing town of about  1,000 souls on the remote Aleutian coast. They call themselves King Cove City. People there have accidents, have babies, have trauma and other health issues that may need fairly immediate attention. For emergency cases they must get to the all-weather World War II airport in Cold Bay, 11 miles away. They requested of the Interior Department a 11 mile-long, one-lane gravel road which would provide for all-weather access for transportation for the 600 miles to Anchorage and doctors and hospitals.

At least 18 residents of King Cove have died because foul weather prevented a rescue helicopter from reaching King Cove. The town has a clinic for ordinary accidents, but no doctor and no hospital. It has a tiny airport, which is frequently socked-in with gale-force winds or fog. Back in March of 2014, Etta Kuzakin, a 36-year-old resident who was the tribal president, needed an emergency Caesarean section after going into early labor with her daughter. Giving birth in King Cove could have killed her and her baby. Medevac flights were grounded by ugly weather. She waited in labor for ten hours when a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was finally able to fly her out. Mother and daughter survived, thanks to the Coast Guard.

Sally Jewell, Obama’s Interior Secretary, met with Aleutian citizens in the gymnasium at King Cove to listen to their request for a single one-lane gravel lifeline to a dependable airport.  Ms. Jewell, former head of R.E.I. told her King Cove audience that “I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals.” She rejected the road, saying that “it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.”

Waterfowl fly, hop and walk. They are quite able to walk off a rarely used road to avoid being run over by a vehicle. They are not flightless species. A waterfowl’s potential annoyance at having to move trumps human life every time? Environmentalists always leave a mess behind.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke approved a land swap in January, turning over 500 acres of federal wilderness to King Cove to finish their road. Five hundred acres sounds like a lot of land, but it isn’t really much. I grew up on 400 acres, and I knew every inch. King Cove residents have been begging for this road for 35 years. At least 18 King Cove residents have died from causes related to not having a road available.

Nine ‘environmental’ groups, led by Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, are pushing to block the land swap. They are accompanied by all the usual suspects: Wilderness, Audubon, Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and 4 others. One would assume that the idiocy of their lawsuit would be so apparent that there would be no contest, but Sally Jewell demonstrates the closure of the leftist mind. This is a swap, not a giveaway.

King Cove Corporation Spokeswoman Della Trumble said “After fighting for decades for a road, we will do everything in our power to defend the land exchange. This is a matter of life and death for us.”




%d bloggers like this: