American Elephants

83 Percent of All Statistics Are Made Up on the Spot by The Elephant's Child

Climate Scientist Dr. Tim Ball said recently that 83 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot. Probably true, as it is becoming established that the computer models proclaimed to predict future climate aren’t predicting anything.

A good example is a 2008 report that claimed,

Human activity is wiping out close to one percent of every other species on Earth every year, a global environmental report said Friday.

What absolute rubbish. They can’t possibly substantiate these claims. We don’t know how many species there are. We don’t have even crude estimates of populations. We don’t know how much population numbers vary. What do they mean by “every other”? They should name all the species that comprise their claims.

Numbers in the 2008 Report are part of the ridiculous, completely unscientific claims made originally by E.O. Wilson about species extinction. Self-proclaimed Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki traveled across the country a few years ago claiming the demise of 2 species an hour. He wouldn’t name any of them because it’s a false claim.  …

Animal populations and distributions vary considerably over time. Every report of decline or discovery in a new location is now attributed to human induced climate change or other human activity. Perhaps the most outrageous is the claim of humans hunting Ice Age species to extinction. All ignore natural variability, but that is the pattern of anti-humanity environmental hysteria. As Lord Dunsany said,

It is very seldom that the same man knows much of science, and about the things that were known before science came.

Do read the whole thing, Dr. Ball gives some wonderful examples of how false statistics have led us astray. Now that the computer climate models on which global warming alarmism depends have been shown to be fraudulent, their predictions false, and the vast enterprises spawned by a fear that the climate was warming shown to be a waste of funds, waste of regulation and  waste of concern.  I wish someone would tell President Obama.

The Supreme Court Struck Down Arizona’s Proof of Citizenship for Voting, But… by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court ruled today on Arizona’s requirement that voters must present proof of citizenship in order to vote. The Court held, by a seven to two vote, that federal law preempts — renders invalid— An Arizona law requiring voter registration officials to reject a voter’s application for registration if it is not accompanied by evidence of U.S. citizenship above and beyond the attestation of citizenship the applicant has made on the federal “Motor Voter” form.

Many conservative writers erupted in high dudgeon, assuming that the majority had just made voter fraud easier than credit card fraud.  This is a real dividing point between the two political parties. Democrats usually insist that there is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud. Republicans point to any number of elections that were determined largely by voter fraud. Republicans believe that Democrats depend on voter fraud of one kid or another to win elections. Democrats complain the requiring photo ID keeps many people from being able to vote. Republicans point out that you have to present photo ID to open a bank account, get food stamps, apply for welfare, board a plane, or get into City Hall in most cases.

All is not as it seems though. The Court usually gives some precedence to laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. In this case, the Arizona law came after the “Motor Voter” law and attempted to supersede it. At the end of its opinion, the Court suggests several ways that Arizona can accomplish proof of citizenship — ranging from returning to the Election Assistance Commission to getting a clarifying statute enacted by Congress, with several other options in between. Complicated. Here is the explanation from the Scotus blog, and here are the objections from an Investors’ editorial.

Not a Lot To Crow About! by The Elephant's Child


(Click to enlarge)

Michael Ramirez has said that the news of the day presents him with so many ideas, he doesn’t really have to dream them up on his own. I think that’s what we need, a healthy sense of humor, to keep up with the news. We seem to be in a sort of a — “can you top this? phase.”

See Michael’s book: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinions

Mired in Scandal, The Administration Adds Syria to the Mess. by The Elephant's Child

Obama came into office as the Progressive Messiah, brilliant, a polymath, who was going to fix all the depredations committed by George W. Bush. “This is our moment. This is our time — to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm the fundamental truth — that out of many we are one; that while we breathe we hope; and where we are met with cynicism, we hope; and where we are met with cynicism and doubt; and those who tell us that we can’t —we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes we Can.” That went well.

Didn’t happen, any of it. It was just talk. But the people wanted to believe. Obama’s second term was not based on what  he promised to do, but upon the sheer awfulness of Mitt Romney, with some serious help from the Internal Revenue Service, plus putting off anything disagreeable until after the election. After the election, the disagreeable stuff started to assert itself. We began to grasp just what had really happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and that the administration had sent out administration officials to lie about it.  The details began to come out, and the “Arab Spring” was noticeably falling apart, while Obama offered support to the new Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. to keep it in power, without noticing that this was a radical Islamist administration.

Then the details of the IRS scandal began to appear, blamed on a couple of low-level rogue workers in a back room in Cincinnati. The use of a government bureau to help to swing an election by refusing 501(c)(4) status to groups that disagree with the administration, releasing information to their political opponents, frightening donors, and the appalling consequences of loss of trust were just beginning to sink into the American consciousness, when the unsuspected reach the government’s surveillance of telephone records, email  and Facebook pages into the activities of U.S. citizens without their knowledge shocked America. We had Edward Snowden’s revelations from Honk Kong, for whatever they are worth, to disturb nations around the world.  There were the AP subpoenas, and the Fox investigation revealing another scandal involving the Justice department.

The reaction to the information that telephone carriers were supplying the government with call logs and leading technology companies were participating in a secret surveillance program known as PRISM, was a direct assault on public trust, for the public uses telephones, and email, and computers, and Facebook and Twitter. So where is the president? Out of the country, but he reappeared just long enough to remind people that he was not Darth Vader Dick Cheney, who reminded the country in the president’s absence, that there are terrorists out there and the law is supposed to protect the privacy of American citizens while trying to track down terrorists under close control of the courts.

So in the center of all this scandal, the president sent forth an aide to announce that the “red line” in Syria had been crossed and Assad was indeed using poison gases on his own people. Somewhat late, but better late than never? The CIA will supply weapons to the rebels, and supposedly we are able to sort the nice rebels from the al Qaeda ones.

We apparently have some 4500 troops practically on the Syrian order engaging in “wargames” with Jordan, which has incensed the other neighbors. Obama clearly does not want to really do anything, but on the other hand there are all those people dying and some want him to do something. Iran has announced that it is sending 4000 troops to aid Assad. The general opinion of those who really know something about the region is that we should stay out entirely, and send food and medicine to alleviate the suffering of the innocent.

This does not bode well, and promises to become another mess.

They Just Do Not Know What They Are Doing, It’s That Simple. by The Elephant's Child

To save us from the horrors of global warming, the administration has gone to great lengths to promote electric cars, and hybrids, subsidize their manufacture, offer big tax credits, the government has mandated  better gas mileage, and a bad economy and high gas prices have dictated that people start watching how much they drive. When you issue a lot of regulations and mandates there are always consequences. In this case, with less driving, there is far less money coming in the form of gas taxes.

So what next? Will more and more people opt for electric cars or hybrids? Fiskers has given up, the Volt is apparently a flop that catches fire, and a Tesla turns into a brick if the battery runs down. Is there any resale value? The batteries are horrendously expensive. Hybrid and electric cars are sparing the environment by issuing less CO2. On the other hand, CO2 is not the cause of global warming, and in a cooling world more CO2 will help crops to grow.

Hybrids and electric cars do just as much wear and tear on the roads as any gas-powered vehicle, but they are not paying their share of gas taxes. So naturally, states are debating just how to tax electrics so they are paying “their fair share”.

Add in the fact that to promote the use of bicycles, States and local governments have used gas tax money to pay for bike lanes, animal overpasses or underpasses, freeway art, and rest stops that they can’t seem to keep open and functioning.  Here in Washington state, electric-car owners began paying a $100 annual fee. Virginia has approved a $64 annual fee on hybrid and electric cars. Arizona,  Texas, Indiana, North Carolina are all considering fees. Copycat legislatures. And if someone else is doing it first, then they have an excuse. Expect big hikes in the fees.

The electric cars that were subsidized with taxpayer money (for cars costing over $100,000) don’t sell as well as hoped, even though we offered tax credits as an incentive to buy. And to reduce the damage from CO2 we used taxpayer money to subsidize wind and solar energy, but they cost far more than conventional power, which is the engine that powers our economy. People aren’t excited about wind and solar, so we try to force all the coal-fired power plants out of business, which means thousands of more jobs lost, so there is less taxpayer money coming in. And now there is less tax money coming in from the subsidized buyers of hybrid and electric cars.

If you tried to graph the mandates that kill jobs, the subsidies that don’t work — except to enrich  the president’s cronies — the regulations that mean less tax income, and the need to increase tax income because the government spent it all on subsidies, you might well go mad in the process. In both senses — crazy and furious. It all makes no sense. These people do not know what they are doing, and they are making a mess of everything they touch.

When the government finally gives up on the vast solar arrays and the onshore and offshore wind farms, will the failed promoters have to take them down and restore the landscape? Didn’t think so. Many of the enthusiastically installed charging stations for electric cars have already been torn out. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, and we are asked to pay the cost.

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