American Elephants

Scott Walker Has Saved Wisconsin Voters $1 Billion by The Elephant's Child

The recall vote in Wisconsin is just days away.  A new study shows that the reforms passed by Governor Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers has saved the state one billion dollars.

Act 10, which curbed (not eliminated) collective bargaining for most unionized public employees has reduced the state’s $3.6 billion budget shortfall. Unions are furious. Instead of having free healthcare and not having to contribute to their retirement benefits, the now have to make contributions to their benefits — not anywhere nearly as much as most people do, but it was a heavy burden on Wisconsin taxpayers. The reforms saved hundreds of jobs as well. So he had the temerity to do just what he said he would do when he was elected.  He more than fulfilled his promises.

You have undoubtedly seen the rioting union people, the teachers’ unions, the union members bussed in from out-of-state. And remember how the Democrats in the legislature ran away to Illinois to avoid having to vote. The governor and his family have had death threats and wild accusations thrown at them for months. The Governor holds a six point lead in the latest Marquette poll. And last weekend the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, hardly a conservative paper, endorsed him in the governor’s race. If you believe in real political courage, and want to support Gov. Walker, his website is here.

The American West in the 1860s and 1870s by The Elephant's Child

Pah-Ute (Paiute) Indian group, near Cedar, Utah in 1872

The Atlantic has done another of their wonderful photo essays: in the 1860s and 70s, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan created some of the best-known images in American History. He covered the U.S. Civil War, and afterwards joined a number of expeditions organized by the federal government to help document the new frontiers in the American West. The teams were comprised of soldiers, scientists, artists and photographers. Their task was to discover the best ways to take advantage of the untapped resources of the region. O’Sullivan had an outstanding eye, and strong work ethic, and returned with beautiful photographs that captured the vastness and beauty of the American West in a way that would later influence Ansel Adams and thousands of photographers who admired O’Sullivan’s work.

Pay No Attention to This, Look Over There—Under the Tree! by The Elephant's Child

About the “War on Women” — “A group of Democratic female senators on Wednesday declared war on the so-called ‘gender pay gap'”, and urged their colleagues to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act when Congress returns from recess next month. But it turns out that there is a substantial gender pay gap in their own offices according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of Senate salary data.

Of the five senators in the Wednesday press conference: Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) — three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers.

Patty Murray, “who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a “war on women” is one of the worst offenders. Female members of Murray’s staff made about $21,000 less per year than male staffers in 2011, a difference of 35.2 percent” — way more than the the 23 percent Democrats claim as a nationwide difference.

The other offenders were Feinstein and Boxer.  Of the 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, 37 senators paid their female staffers less than male staffers. Women working for Senate Democrats in 2011 pulled in an average salary of $60,877. Men made about $6.500 more.

Golly darn, that just makes their “War on Women” even sillier, doesn’t it.

Basketball by The Elephant's Child

The Problem is Humanity. Get Rid of Them! by The Elephant's Child

Are you familiar with the World Wildlife Fund? Huge, wealthy worldwide organization, preserving wildlife, caring for the environment, doing good environmental works. If you visit their website and look at their board of directors, it’s an impressive list of the prominent and very well-to-do.

The other face of the World Wildlife Fund is as an extremist green campaigning group. In their just-issued Living Planet Report for 2012, they state that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world’s wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race’s energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now.

The hard greens demand that the enormous numbers of wind farms, tidal barriers and solar arrays required under their plans should be built while at the same time severely rationing supplies of concrete, steel, copper and glass. The document is endorsed by the European Space Agency (ESA) an organization which would cease to exist were the document’s recommendations to be fully carried out. They’re important. Nobody said they had to make sense.

Ben Pile, the convenor of the Oxford Salon, said simply: “The real enemy is humanity itself.”

At Rio+20 next month, the world’s elites will meet in Brazil with the aim of holding back human progress.

Forty years ago, two ideas about humanity’s relationship with the natural world caught the imagination of the richest and most influential people. The first was that the demands of a growing population were taking more from the planet than could be replaced by natural processes. The second, related idea was that there exist natural ‘limits to growth’. These two reinventions of Malthusianism became the basis of a new form of global politics, which has sought to contain human industrial and economic development ever since.

Organizations like the WWF draw their supporters for emotional reasons. Love of baby animals, love of large and noble species like African elephants, pandas, rhinoceros, giraffes; beautiful photography can be very moving.

Fears of out-of-control population growth led Malthus and then Paul Erlich, author of the 1968 prophecy The Population Bomb to fear that we would run out of food, and humanity would starve. Fortunately Norman Borlaug came along with the Green Revolution, and put that worry aside.

The Club of Rome, a talk-shop for diplomats, noted politicians and researchers fostered the development of all sorts of organizations and conferences and commissions designed to save the world. An entire ecosystem of global, national, governmental and non-governmental organizations has emerged to advocate closer integration of human productive life with environmental care and to observe “the limits to growth.” Most notable is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which seeks a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Well, all the predictions of doom didn’t happen. Average life-expectancy has increased by 10 years, the number of infants dying before the age of five has fallen from 134 per thousand to 58 per thousand. Human population has nearly doubled, and we are healthier, wealthier (even in spite of the recent downturns) and global GDP has risen threefold. We’ve learned to grow more food on less land, cured diseases, and made amazing progress, but those who joined the church of the doomed have established “sustainable development’ as an imperative of global politics. The first ‘Earth Summit’ was held in Rio leading to Agenda 21 and ‘the blueprint for a sustainable planet.’

If you are perpetually worried about very big things, with other, um, planetary leaders, you are moving in rarefied circles.The conferences are held in the world’s finest resorts, the finest people attend, the finest food and drink is served, and you discuss the finest subjects. It seems quite proper to be discussing surrendering national autonomy, solving the problem of world poverty, solving the problems on inequality.

What if you think we do pretty well with progress, that an emphasis on sustainability is not particularly useful, and that in general the planet is in pretty good shape? Doesn’t matter. These NGOs, world leaders, celebrities, and environmentalists have moved to a higher level where no such dissent is allowed. These meetings are already far beyond democratic control.  The slogan is “global problems need global solutions.”

It is simply another political drive for power, this time on running the world. The participants, drunk on the association with the most important people and the most important ideas, think big thoughts. Easy. All the real dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and the real enemy is humanity itself.

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