Archive for February, 2014

By R.C. Seely

“An elephant is killed every 15 minutes,” that’s the war-cry to action by the activists at iWorry a program set up by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a charity based in Kenya. According to the Trusts’ own, Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the elephant could be extinct in the wild in about 12 years. Reportedly last year 36,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory ” buying ivory only serves to fuel a trade which results in more senseless deaths of these beautiful animals. We can’t let man-made extinction be the end of this iconic species,” she continued.

Their webpage is not dissimilar to the Humane Society’s format complete with an “adopt an elephant” feature.

On October, 4 2014, the group even held an “International March for Elephants” boasting more than 18,000 participants taking to the streets to petition their government to establish a total moratorium of ivory in their country. Amongst the supporters of this cause is actress, Kristin Davis, from the Sex and the City franchise. “All elephants are under siege,” said Davis.” Elephants have such personality.” That’s one point Davis and I agree “elephants do have a lot of personality” – but it’s not necessarily a pleasant one! Elephants are one of the most ill-tempered and destructive species on the planet, after Alec Baldwin.

Unlike Davis, however, I’m not so eager to foist over control of a trade to any single group or government – not without finding out the specifics of their course of action and examining all options. All that is reported by the Sheldrick Trust is they call for an establishment for a “complete ban” international on ivory and to have the elephant wholly protected. Is that all? While the endeavor is a good one the results are not, as is common with activists the leading with their emotions – going full steam ahead without letting something like facts get in the way of their grand standing.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see the extinction of the elephant (or any species for that matter). I think the world is worse off without the Tasmanian Wolf, Dodo bird and Passenger Pigeon, but careful aforethought of the best way to proceed is the only way to succeed. The game plan the Sheldrick Trust is pushing for has been tried numerous times without success, an ivory prohibition would be as successful as every other prohibition has been, but in this case it will end with the extinction of the elephant.

The problem that is not being addressed: There’s a lot of money involved here, and that won’t end simply because you want it to. As far-fetched as it might sound the only plan that will work isn’t to increase restrictions on the ivory market, but instead to lift the bans. Set up a legal market for ivory, then you will create a vested interest by a group to protect the species.

Davis is obviously a caring individual (if you’re an elephant at least, I don’t know how she is with people), but caring doesn’t get the job done if you ignore logic. What has any government done to successful protect a species from demise? It was the Australian government that ignored the decreasing numbers of the Tasmanian Wolf, to protect the sheep trade; it was the laws of the United States government that killed the orphan fawn “giggles” in Wisconsin; it was the government that turned a blind eye when at the numerous needy killings of peoples’ dogs by overzealous policemen; and it was the government that took away a man’s pet raccoon, simply because they could. The way to save the animals from extinction are the individuals, the people of the Sheldrick Trust, Kristin Davis, the zoos and other establishments, people who care enough to step in and do something – not callous and ignorant governments, that the same with human activities, only make things far worse.

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By R.C. Seely

Recently there has been a legislative push in the “Beehive State” (Utah) to abandon the current elective system of the caucus and reinstitute the more common questionable-on-it’s-efficiency system of the primary. As you’ve probably gathered, I’m extremely biased against the primary system and the initiative to bring it back – but not without due evidence to support my contempt of the despicable ploy.
First off, the reason for the change to the caucus system was to encourage voter participation and it worked exceptionally well. The results have been similar in the other states utilizing the caucus; Iowa, Nevada, Maine, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Washington, New Hampshire, Wyoming and Michigan; Texas and Arizona, have hybrid versions of it as well.
So, why should the state switch back to a flawed system? Who benefits from it? Well, as is the case with most bad laws: the special interests, the lobbyists, and in turn the politicians.
Another point of consideration, is the misleading moniker – “Count my Vote” – it might initially sound like a beneficial policy targeted at helping “the people.” This is far from the case, but that’s the emotional response it’s creators wanted to elicit – pick an unassuming title to sell it to an unsuspecting public. It’s like the Media Shield Law – which was sold on the idea that it protects reporters and bloggers, the “Count my Vote” initiative doesn’t help those it’s supposed to protect – it in fact disables and punishes them. Both laws work the same way too, they silence the little guy, who doesn’t have the huge financial backing – but an independent opinion – and puts them into submission.
Here’s how: With the caucus system, the candidate without the large capital of special interests can compete head to head with the big boys, because it costs a lot less to put on the – town hall style – caucus system, than it is to put on the formal primary. But the way in which this hurts “the people” is that in a primary, your concerns are usually ignored. In a caucus the people there at the caucus get there questioned answered – the ones who care enough to be physically present – get to have their concerns addressed. To some this may sound unfair, but if you don’t care enough to educate yourself about the candidates and the issues – don’t vote! Why should those who are diligent enough to do their homework, be penalized by the uninformed?
The worst tenet of “Count my Vote” is a major change to affect candidate qualifying – going from a signed petition based on the numbers of the populace, to instead having it based on a basis 2% of the party needed. In a state that’s mostly Republican, that means that more registered Republicans would have to sign up than Democrats to qualify. Let’s say the number of registered Republicans in an area is 20,000 under the change, the candidate would need 400 signatures to qualify; in the same area, there is 1,000 registered Democrats and they only need 20 signatures to qualify. That means the majority of that area are not honestly represented! That should have everyone concerned – no matter what your political affiliation, as a citizen of the country, this should be alarming – because by eliminating the caucus and replacing it with this mess it is not voting your vote – it’s discarding it.
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