American Elephants


Common Sense is Not Anywhere as Common as Assumed by The Elephant's Child

Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University, had an excellent article in the Washington Post last Wednesday about GMO foods. The campaign against GMO foods he says, is the kind of foolishness that only rich societies can afford to indulge.

Of the several claims of “anti-science” that clutter our national debates these days, none can be more flagrantly clear than the campaign against modern agricultural technology, most specifically the use of molecular techniques to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Here, there are no credibly conflicting studies, no arguments about the validity of computer models, no disruption of an ecosystem nor any adverse human health or even digestive problems, after 5 billion acres have been cultivated cumulatively and trillions of meals consumed.

And yet a concerted, deep-pockets campaign, as relentless as it is baseless, has persuaded a high percentage of Americans and Europeans to avoid GMO products, and to pay premium prices for “non-GMO” or “organic” foods that may in some cases be less safe and less nutritious. Thank goodness the toothpaste makers of the past weren’t cowed so easily; the tubes would have said “No fluoride inside!” and we’d all have many more cavities.

The article is an excellent plea for a little common sense. Mitch Daniels points out that suggesting that the poor in developing countries should fear GMO foods is not just wrong, but immoral. The story of the Green Revolution and the work of Norman Borlaug who should be one of the great heroes of the world should be taught in school.  Golden Rice is a variety of rice (Oryza sativa)  produced through genetic engineering (there are the ‘scary’ words) to biosynthesize beta-carotene in the edible parts of rice. It is intended to produce a fortified food to be grown and consumed in areas where there is a shortage of dietary vitamin A, a deficiency which is estimated to kill 670,000 children under the age of 5 each year.

This is a broad problem of political and scientific ignorance. Ilya Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy added his views on the problem.He links to Reason science writer Ron Bailey and William Saletan of Slate. The basic problem of ignorance is heightened by the very words “genetically engineered” which sound, to the ignorant, really scary. Ilya Somin notes that a 2012 National Science  Foundation survey found that about 25% of Americans don’t know that the Earth revolves around the sun rather than visa versa. There’s a lot about basic knowledge in Ilya Somin’s article that certainly suggests that we have a major problem with our schools. Do read that whole thing too.

I would suggest though, that much of the problem exists because of our grocery stores. Food producers are concerned with their marketing, and inclined to cater to any possible fears of the consumer. Hence you have “low sodium” products, “sugar-free,” “low-fat,” and “No GMO products” among others on every can or carton in the store. If everyone is telling you that GMO is a bad thing, pretty soon you’ll start to believe it.

Another article by Ilya Somin explains the problem of mandatory government warnings where the state of Florida required producers of skim milk that does not contain added vitamins to label it as “imitation milk” which it of course is not. The European Union has imposed mandatory labeling of GMO foods, even though there are no dangers involved. Read the comments on Mitch Daniels’ fine essay. You might wonder if perhaps Leftism is just a cult.

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Chain Migration And Other Complicated Problems by The Elephant's Child

We’ve been hearing a lot about “chain migration” but what is it and what does it mean? Jessica Vaughan from the Center for Immigration Studies explains in this short video.

CIS is a think tank that studies immigration and immigration laws, which are not only complicated, but should be a positive for our country and our citizens. CIS is pro-immigrant, but anti illegal immigrant, which is a reasonable position for us all.

We have welcomed immigrants since the beginnings of our country, but there are problems. The Obama administration planned to encourage refugees and migrants with the aim of placing them where they would do the most good in increasing the population count in the 2020 Census, which counts heads, without any distinction between legal and illegal residents, thereby changing the electoral college count for upcoming elections.

Becomes a little clearer about why our immigration laws should be tidied up.



Explaining the Trump Derangement Syndrome: by The Elephant's Child

All is explained. Or at least a goodly part of all. Economist Mark Perry refers us to an article by Jeffrey A. Tucker last May in FEE. All good things eventually become clear, but the path may be a little tangled. Dr. Perry offers a condensed version:

For the center-left crowd, all their hopes and dreams are bound up with particular political processes, outcomes, and institutions. The state is their favorite tool for all the good they aspire to do in this world. It must be protected, guarded, defended, and celebrated. The illusion that the government is not a taker but a giver and the source of all good things must be maintained. The gloss of the democratic process must be constantly refurbished so that the essential sanctity of the public sector can be constantly cited as the highest calling.

The center-left has at least one hundred years of work and resources invested in the state’s health, well-being, reputation, and exalted moral status. Nothing must be allowed to threaten it or take it down a peg or two. Any failures must be deemed as temporary setbacks. The slightest sign of some success must be trumpeted constantly. The population must be subjected to unrelenting homilies on the essential holiness of the public sector.

They believe so strongly that they can make the world a better place through the managerial state that it has become their religion. It’s their very core! The president is supposed to at least pretend to be the high priest of the statist religion. That’s his job, according to this outlook.

Everything seemed to being going so well under the Obama administration, which was so earnest, so decorous, so civil. He was funny, smart, respectful of process, and sincere in his pronouncements. He ran on hope and change but governed as the person who kept hope for a new freedom and any radical change at bay.

Trump has profoundly disturbed the balance(click here for the rest)

We keep wondering just what spurs the Trump Derangement Syndrome. This is not a bad diagnosis.



Sometimes a Headline… by The Elephant's Child

Holman Jenkins column in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday was titled:
“The Long War on Donald Trump: The president is guilty of something. It’s Robert Mueller’s job to figure it out. “

That captures the whole thing so precisely that it made me laugh.



Are You in Favor of Tax Cuts? Why or Why Not? by The Elephant's Child

Democrats are fully organized to defeat their opposition: us. They recognize that most of their voters are busy with their plebeian lives, and don’t pay much attention to the news. They just don’t have time. That’s why they are out there crying “racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, etc” whenever the wind shifts slightly. Added on to that will be whatever seems to be the hot button of the moment. Talking points come from John Podesta and the Center for American Progress. You can tell about talking points because when there is any notable think in the news, all major Democrats will speak of it in identical words, often right down to the apostrophes and quotation marks. They speak with one voice, but it does not represent individual thought.

Ordinary Democrats don’t receive the talking points, you have to be somebody who might get interviewed or who might speak on their own. This is simply the old notion that if a lie is repeated often enough, pretty soon everybody will believe it. They are scared to death of the Republican effort to cut taxes, you may have heard them— xxx (this cut) is going to kill people, people will die (work requirement for welfare), removing the penalty for refusing to buy ObamaCare health insurance. That sort of thing, plus all the other drastic results of Republican tax relief.

But guess what: polls are showing that Americans not only do not understand the Republican tax proposals, but a stunning 41 percent of voters say that tax reform will increase their taxes, while just 20 percent think their taxes will fall. Complete nonsense. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that most Americans will have their taxes cut by Republican efforts to reform the tax code. Those who do not get cuts will be because of the elimination of some deductions. The media, of course, is reporting that tax reform is very unpopular. This is the result of a highly successful disinformation campaign.

The Left is highly organized to get their messages out. There’s the Center for American Progress, David Brock and Media Matters and his other efforts, and the Democracy Alliance, a big organization of very wealthy Democrats who have to cough up big bucks just to join, and then commit funds regularly to advance the Leftist project. George Soros is a big player and supporter.

Republican efforts to inform about tax relief get a few quotes from Paul Ryan, Speaker and “policy wonk”, who gets lost in the weeds on tax intricacies. There isn’t much of anyone explaining what is happening. The Left, on the other hand,  is remarkably uninterested in economics, only in control.

Random economists explain, but most people don’t really know how much they pay in taxes. They have automatic withdrawals for taxes where they work, and don’t pay much attention to the total until it’s tax time and they just turn the papers over to their tax guy. Same thing with the news. How many get their news of the day from late night ‘comedians’ or what they hear on the radio on the drive home? What they hear is likely to be more confusing than informative, and highly opinionated.  When and how does all this getting informed happen? Who can you trust? What publication online, or in a newspaper or magazine can you trust?

Too many of today’s young reporters are products of schools that haven’t taught Western Civ for years, who don’t require much in the way of history, and they look at being in the news business as becoming a player in the political game. Go back and read the interview with Claudia Rosett, a real honest-to-goodness journalist. Today’s young reporters seem to be political enthusiasts with bylines who don’t spend their spare time studying up.



“We Came, We Saw, He Died” She Joked. by The Elephant's Child

Hillary. Could not vote for her. She is a compulsive liar, and not a very good one. She keeps getting caught out. But I also knew that Mommar Gadhafi was a brutal dictator, and not a very nice one. But he kept his troublesome country in line. He had had nuclear ambitions, and when he saw Iran’s Saddam Hussein being dragged out of his hidey-hole and what happened to him, he discarded his ambitions thoroughly.

Hillary, as Secretary of State, not only ignored the rumbling of terrorists and revolutionaries in Syria, refused to send help to her ambassador and his aide, and extraction for the former Seals contractors who were attempting to save the embassy people, but decided to promote the end of the Gadhafi reign, apparently unaware of the fact that sometimes we have to support ruling bad guys in the interest of larger causes. Our ambassador died, unnecessarily, as did his aide and the two former Seals. Libya promptly descended into chaos, which continues.

Today USA Today reported:

Black Africans are being sold in open-air slave markets,  and it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault. But you won’t hear much about that from the news media or the foreign-policy pundits, so let me explain.

Footage from Libya, released recently by CNN, showed young men from sub-Saharan Africa being auctioned off as farm workers in slave markets.

And how did we get to this point? As the BBC reported back in May, “Libya has been beset by chaos since NATO-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Col. Moammar Gadhafi in October 2011.”

Under President George W. Bush, in 2003, the  United States negotiated an agreement with Libyan strongman Gadhafi. If Gadhafi would give up his weapons of mass destruction peacefully, we would not try to depose him. The Obama administration wasn’t much on continuing anything done by Bush, and in an operation spearheaded by Hillary Clinton, the United States went ahead and overthrew him. That has an effect on our options with North Korea.

The overthrow turned out to be a debacle. Libya exploded into chaos and civil war, and refugees flooded Europe, destabilizing governments there. But at the time, Clinton thought it was a great triumph — “We came, we saw, he died,” she joked about Gadhafi’s overthrow — and adviser Sidney Blumenthal encouraged her to tout her “successful strategy” as evidence of her fitness for the highest office in the land.

Uh huh.

 



Diversity and Exclusion: You Can’t Make This Up! by The Elephant's Child

Returning to the diversity front, Apple has fired their new diversity chief, Denise Young Smith, who is stepping down after only six months on the job. She made the mistake back in May, of commenting during a conference: “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room, and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

“Her comments were seen by some as insensitive to people
of color, women, and members of the LGBT community, who have long faced an uphill battle in the workplace.”

Denise Young Smith later apologized for her comments, saying that they “were not representative of how I think about diversity and how Apple sees it.” “For that I’m sorry, she added in a staff email, “More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.”

Apple, like many Silicon Valley companies, is struggling to diversify its workforce, especially in its leadership and in tech jobs. In 2017, only 3% of its leaders were black, and women held just 23% of tech jobs.

Apple has said that it is making improvements, as shown in its latest diversity report in which it said that “50% of new hires are from historically underrepresented groups in tech.”

How revealing that Apple does not consider diversity of thought or ideas important. Orwell would be fascinated. And how interesting to note that they hire people not for their expertise, but for their race and sexual orientation. Although apparently correct thinking trumps even race, for Denise Young Smith, who is a 20 year veteran at Apple, is black and female.

Lest the Social Justice Warriors object, let me hasten to mention that in every race, every ethnicity, every sexual orientation there are geniuses and the intellectually challenged, and there are some in every group who are technologically skilled. I would much rather deal with a company that hires people for their expertise than one fixated on race, sex and ethnic origin to meet some wispy goal ginned up by the social justice folks. If you can’t make excellent products, we’ll take our business elsewhere.




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