American Elephants


Reason TV Went to the Big Climate March! by The Elephant's Child

Reason TV went to the Climate March, and chatted with some of the marchers. Watch the whole thing. Only 3.17 minutes! They really don’t like the corporations that make all their stuff. More corporate haters than advocates of green policies, which they seem a little fuzzy about. Kind of embarrassing. They didn’t pay attention in high school science class.



Socialism Is The Cure For Climate? Bwa-Ha-ha-ha by The Elephant's Child

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The climate loonies have been out for their big march today, with names like “The Science is Settled”, “We have the Solutions”, and climate scientists like SEIU, CAIR, and Democratic Socialists and Greenpeace, of course. They want to ban coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear energy, and rely on free wind and clean solar energy which amount to about 1.4 percent of our energy requirements. Good luck with that. The Communists were there, Radicals demanding revolution., but it wasn’t much about climate.

These useful idiots demand an end to free enterprise which has produced the solutions to clean air and clean water and environments better cared for. Socialism has been an environmental disaster.  Check out the Chinese in masks peering dimly through the smog, or China’s deadly rivers.  But they are quite sure that Capitalism is killing the planet, and only a socialist future can save the world, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. They don’t care about the climate anyway. They really just want power and money.

Fortunately Americans don’t buy it. Climate change ranks at the very bottom of America’s list of concerns.



An Out-of-Control Agency of Zealots, Destroying Your Freedom. by The Elephant's Child

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You have undoubtedly seen this picture before. I haul it out every time I write about the EPA and the agencies’ effort to transform the words of the Clean Water Act which give the EPA authority over the “navigable waters of the United States of America.”

It is partly Congress’ fault. They have chosen to write bills in general form, and leave the intricacies to federal agencies to work out and regulate. This has led to the growth of government, the growth of agencies, the growth of unionization of federal agencies, bad regulation and bad law.

Undoubtedly the Congress didn’t know how to define “clean water” in a specific and legal way—in which case they had no business making such a law.

In 2006, a US.Supreme Court Case from Michigan produced five different opinions and no clear definition of which waterways were covered and which were not. This left the government with a clean slate on which to write it’s own interpretation —everything they wanted to regulate. They are zealots and want to control everything.

I wrote about this problem in May of 2011, when the EPA was suspending 79 surface mining permits in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee because they could possibly violate the Clean Water Act. They revoked the coal mining permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine No.1, a permit that had been in force for 4 years and obeyed in every comma and dot.  Arch Coal provides 16% of America’s coal and have invested $250 million in the operation which would have employed 215 miners and 300 support jobs.  The President has expressed his desire to bankrupt the coal industry.

I wrote about it again in  June of 2012 when they started trying to control the land alongside ditches, gullies and temporary water sources caused by rain or snowmelt by claiming that they are part of navigable waters. It doesn’t sound scary until you recognize that it would make it harder for private property owners to use their own land, in their backyards, to grow crops, raise livestock or even raise kids. The bill they had then had 64 co-sponsors, and John Barrasso (R-WY) said “It’s time to get EPA lawyers our of Americans’ backyards.”

October, 2013: “The Clean Water Act charged the agency with keeping the navigable waters of the United States clean. What Congress probably had in mind was shutting down any sewers emptying improperly and keeping boats from dumping oil and stopping the Cuyahoga River from catching fire. In many places the water naturally contains some methane. Not harmful to people, but it can catch fire.”

There was a big arsenic flap where some springs were found to contain arsenic in what were presumed to be dangerous quantities. The EPA made a nationwide regulation determining that every municipality would be required to treat their water to remove any trace of arsenic. Many communities had no arsenic in their water, but the agency demanded expensive water treatment anyway. In the case of safety for humans, many things that are poisonous in large quantities are perfectly safe in small quantities. The rule is always “the dose makes the poison.”

In 2013, they were going for a proposed rule—the “Water Body Connectivity Report” which removed the limiting word “navigable” from “navigable waters of the United States” and replaces it with “connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters” Whoa! Change one word officially and expand your overreach by billions. Congress saw what they were trying to do and demanded answers. I don’t know how that one turned out, but it would seem to be this one.

A little over a week ago, the House passed legislation that would prevent the EPA from implementing a proposed rule to define its jurisdiction over bodies of water. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said the rule does not significantly expand the agency’s existing authority. Uh huh. Republicans said the rule would go too far and subject trivial bodies of water to federal regulation.

You see how slow the legislative process is. The Bill passed the House 263-152. Vulnerable Democrats broke with their party and signed on. Before final passage the House rejected 179-240 an amendment offered by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) that would prevent enactment if implementation would harm water quality. The White House issued a veto threat, saying it “would derail current efforts to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act, hamstring future regulatory efforts, and create significant ambiguity regarding existing regulations and guidance.”

Harry Reid would be unlikely to bring the bill to a vote. You have heard much about a “Do Nothing Congress,” which is a Democrat slander. The Republican House of Representatives has passed over 297 bills, a fairly standard number for a session. The Do Nothing Democrat-led Senate has passed just 59 bills— the fewest number of any Senate session since 1972. So the next time the President claims the Republicans aren’t doing anything, which he does with some regularity — he’s just doing politics again. Harry Reid tries to avoid bringing anything to a vote that the president would have to veto.

If you attend a town hall meeting with one of your representatives, you might let them know you’re concerned. Or give them a phone call. Those probably get tallied. I suspect emails just vanish into the ether. They really don’t want to hear from you.



What If You Have A Party and Nobody Comes? by The Elephant's Child

World leaders are expected to meet as at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 21 to announce plans for reducing carbon emissions. Unfortunately, world leaders are staying home. It’s turning into a bit of an embarrassment for President Obama and UN Secretary General Bank Ki-Moon.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott can’t make it because he has a country to run. Chinese President XI Jinping and new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also indicated they won’t attend. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be attending. And even Angela Merkel, President of very, very green Germany just can’t make it.

Well, some people do pay attention to the news. The Antarctic ice is at the greatest extent ever measured. Arctic ice is expansive and growing. There has been no warming at all, none, for seventeen years and eleven months. We’ve had snow in September in the northern Midwest and New England. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to grow—which supposedly means that world climate is getting warmer—but the climate is not getting warmer, but cooler.  So possibly the increase in the benign gas that we exhale each time we breathe, the one that is a natural fertilizer for plants, is not the cause of the 1º of warming that occurred over the last hundred years? Well, yes. Exactly.

The sun, which does have a lot to do with climate, has gone quiet, and all the vast dollars and crony capitalism that have gone into finding an alternative source of energy in solar and wind energy has been for naught? Yep.

“There is essentially zero evidence that carbon dioxide from human activities is causing catastrophic climate change:” Australian geologist Dr. Bob Carter.

Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry warns of decades of possible global cooling: Suggests the “current cool phase will continue until the 2030s.”

Leonardo DiCaprio: “How we respond to the climate crisis in the coming years will likely determine the fate of humanity and our planet.”

Nancy  Pelosi: “Republicans winning the Senate would be the end of civilization.”

Activist green groups are drumming up a way to use the federal courts to force Americans to drastically reduce their energy consumption whether or not Obama signs a new climate change treaty in Paris next year.

The EPA plans to propose and finalize regulations establishing first-ever carbon dioxide (CO²) regulations for jet aircraft.

The Obama administration is reading the Clean Air Act to require a climate policy never intended or approved by Congress, and intends to negotiate an international agreement that would not survive a Senate vote on ratification.

Green organizations are planning a big climate march in conjunction with the UN Climate meeting. They are concerned about “climate justice” which seems to have nothing to do with climate (which they can’t affect anyway) and everything to do  with ‘justice” which seems to be about putting the people in charge, destroying large corporations, and redistributing income. They are particularly interested in the particular large corporations who extract energy from Mother Earth and use it to power civilization, but that is secondary to “justice.”

Emails obtained through Freedom of Information Act show that Obama’s EPA is in collusion with “green” lobby groups — the report details the conflicts of interest, “unalterably closed minds,” internal activism and influence of outside interest groups on the Obama Administration EPA. Documents raise questions about the legality of EPA rules.

The EPA also wants to garnish your wages if they accuse you of something, without any court order. How do they get that power? They just announce that they have it. That is apparently the way that some 30 government agencies have granted themselves the power to garnish your wages.  There are more problems with big government that we ever knew.



Oh, ha, ha, ha. Obama Just Made His Failure to Have a Strategy Worse. by The Elephant's Child

Snort! President Obama’s statement about ‘not having a strategy to deal with the Islamic State’ has gone round the world several times since his misguided press conference, gathering up  unfavorable international commentary on the way, and he doesn’t appear to have a strategy for dealing with a Russian invasion either.

So, Friday, the President declared September “National Preparedness Month.” Irony? Hypocrisy? Nobody around to point out the, um, awkwardness?

Actually, he has in mind dealing with a more important crisis — climate change!

Emergencies — from hurricanes and wildfires to cyber and terrorist attacks — can strike anywhere at any time. Americans should be familiar with local threats and hazards and take steps to reduce their devastating impacts. Families should assemble a disaster supplies kit well in advance and have a plan to reconnect after a tragedy.

The president also announced an “American PrepareAthon” drill on September 30 for Americans to show that they are ready for climate’s worst disasters. How about September 11?

When and where emergencies occur are beyond our control — but how we prepare and how we respond are up to us. Let us resolve to be ready for any crisis and work to inspire a new generation of Americans, vested with the knowledge and experience to protect themselves, their families, and their communities in the face of any challenge.

Oh, look. Obama didn’t declare this, somebody in the White House wrote it on his behalf, and that somebody had no clue how inappropriate it was in the wake of Obama’s blunder at his press conference. But Obama is responsible for everything that comes out of his administration. The buck stops at his desk, no matter how hard he tries to deflect it. Doesn’t speak well for the caliber of the White House staff, either.



A Volcano Is Erupting Under a Glacier in Iceland! by The Elephant's Child

Iceland has put airlines on notice as their delightfully named Barðarbunga volcano has begun erupting under the ice of the Vatnajokull glacier. There have been thousands of small earthquakes, and magma from the volcano is melting ice within the glacier’s Dyngiujokull icecap. It is a remote area 200 miles east of the capital of Reykjavik, and is uninhabited.

Ash plumes, however, can cause problems. A 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano produced an ash cloud that caused a week of international airline chaos, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled. Europe’s air space was closed for five days.

The ice over the Barðarbunga volcano is 300 to 1,300 feet thick, and how long it would take the magma to beak through is not known. They have experimented with pouring hot magma on ice, but this is coming from the other direction. So those of you who are planning an imminent  trip to Europe can worry.

I, however, will spend the time pronouncing the wonderful names, or trying to. Barðarbunga! Vatnajokull! Dyngiujokull! Eyjafjallajokul! You need a high school or college named after Barðarbunga! Cheerleader heaven.



Do Dead Birds Matter? by The Elephant's Child

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Let’s see. We are capturing the energy of the sun because it’s free, and replaces nasty coal-fired power plants that produce CO² because the CO² we exhale with every breath is poisoning the earth and causing global warming which causes the seas to rise, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, bad weather, carbon pollution and…Oh wait, it doesn’t? CO² is a natural fertilizer, causes plants to grow and resist drought. That part, at least, is true.

California’s massive Ivanpah solar power plant has 350,000 mirrors which bounce sizzling sunlight to the tops of three 40-story boiler towers, heating steam for turbine electricity generators. Temperatures near the towers can reach up to 1.000 degrees Fahrenheit, heat certainly sufficient to fry a fowl.

Workers in those “green jobs” at the state-of-the-art solar plant call the birds that fly through the concentrated solar rays — “streamers.” Birds ignite in midair with a smoke plume, instant barbecue. Federal investigators saw a bird burn about every two minutes. One environmental group claims the plant kills up to 28,000 birds each year.

The American Bird Conservancy estimates that wind turbines chop up 440,000 birds each year, but an analyst writing in the Wildlife Society Bulletin says it’s closer to 573,000 in addition to 888,000 bats. ( I thought bats only come out at night —our bats did, and slept all day). Airline pilots whose course takes them near the solar plants report being blinded.

The Obama administration remains wildly enthusiastic, and gave Ivanpah a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz called Ivanpah “a shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy.” Interestingly, everybody else is trying to get out of solar energy because it’s too expensive. And the sun does go down at night.

I’m not sure what bird fatalities that extensive mean. More mosquitoes, a return of Malaria, and that other new disease transmitted by mosquitoes? What about migratory birds and birds of prey? There is a balance of nature to some extent and if it gets out of whack there are unintended consequences. Europeans still kill off their songbirds by erecting great nets along the flyways to catch them. Whole fried or pickled songbirds were considered a gustatory treat. I thought the practice was outlawed, but apparently not.

The Mohave Desert Food Chain:

  • Raptors (golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, falcons, owls),Small insect-eating birds (finches, warblers, gnatcatcher, doves, bats),

    Reptiles (desert tortoise, Chuckawalla lizard),

    Moths and insects (yucca moths, soaptree moths, other insects)

    Yucca plants (Joshua trees, soaptree yuccas, etc.)

    The raptors prey on the small birds; the small birds and reptiles forage on insects; yucca moths and butterflies pollinate yucca trees and other plants; and yucca trees provide habitat and nectar for yucca moths. Without yucca moths, you have no Joshua trees.




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