American Elephants


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.

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The Closing of the Liberal Mind by The Elephant's Child

From The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind by Bruce Bawer

“For two centuries, America accomplished something that would have previously seemed impossible: the creation of a brand new national identity by individuals who, in forsaking old loyalties and joining to make new lives, melted away ethnic differences. Hector St. John Crèvecouer (Letters from an American Farmer) described Americans as “a new race of men” From a race that, paradoxically, had nothing to do with race.

1944: Gunnar Myrdal marveled at the fact that Americans of every ethnicity, religion and color shared a more explicitly expressed system of general ‘ideals’ than the people of any other country in the Western world. ”

See The Victims’ Revolution



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.



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.



QQQ: Thought for the Day by The Elephant's Child

Historians inescapably both write with the benefit of hindsight and shape the stories they tell. So history always appears much tidier and more dramatic to the reader than the events depicted seemed to those who lived through them day by day. Human beings have to live with a future that is always unknown while enveloped in the fog of mere existence that can be as hard to penetrate as the far better recognized fog of war.

 …………………………………………………………………John Steele Gordon
…………………………………………………………………An Empire of Wealth

 




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