American Elephants


The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain by The Elephant's Child
December 31, 2015, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Heartwarming, Music, United Kingdom | Tags: , ,



The Great Big Wall, Revisited. by The Elephant's Child

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A lot of Americans are concerned about immigration, particularly illegal immigration. Donald Trump has made immigration central to his campaign, with his talk of building “a great big wall” and deporting everybody. He will make Mexico pay for it, and after he has deported all the illegals, he’ll put in a great big door and let the good ones back in. This is bombast, not a solution to anything. But Trump is speaking to public anger, and garnering the needed media attention. The Left attempts to portray concern about illegal immigration as nativism, or lack of concern for the unfortunate, or just plain mean, but that’s just what they always do.

Illegal immigrants welcomed with welfare and food stamps and public housing instead of being deported, doesn’t seem quite right to taxpayers. Sanctuary cities that prevent illegal immigrants from being deported don’t seem right either. When Katy Steinle is murdered senselessly in a sanctuary city, by illegal alien Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, with seven felony convictions, who has been deported 5 times, which means he has entered the country illegally at least 6 times — Americans really don’t like it.

When the numbers of Americans no longer looking for work reach incredible heights, and the Chamber of Commerce is simultaneously demanding more visas for foreign workers, something doesn’t seem right. Then there were the videos of trains from Mexico with children and adults, members of Mara Salvatrucha with their tattoos, crowded on top of the railway cars, admitted and scattered all over the country to wreak havoc with school districts and local welfare services. We were told they were required to report back to Customs and Immigration for hearings, but that never happened either. Some said the Democrats just wanted more Democrat voters.

The American people have been pretty clear about what they want. They want the immigration laws enforced, and Obama’s waivers and executive orders and executive notes and never minds halted. We have laws and open borders isn’t in them. We don’t care for presidents deciding which laws will be enforced and which will not. There is this thing called the oath of office, which we believe it is not only wrong, but immoral to ignore.

Congress has developed some bad habits. They want to solve problems with big comprehensive bills that cover everything and get the problems out of the way. And that is the way they intend to solve immigration. The people want the borders closed, and our current laws fully enforced — then we’ll talk about the next step.

We are regularly told that we must have amnesty for the 11 million illegal aliens among us; that they cannot be deported because there are 11 million of them. The Heritage Foundation exposed the dirty secret in a post at their Daily Signal. We have no idea how many illegals there are in the country. We have no idea how many have overstayed their visas. We have no idea how many are not citizens. We don’t have meaningful exit controls. The 11 million number is a guess, and it’s been the same number for over a decade. Congress just wants to get rid of the problem. A big fix, and if it doesn’t work, another big fix down the road, and so on and so on.

ADDENDUM: I must emphasize that I do not believe that Americans are anti-immigrant. They are anti-illegal immigrant. We are a nation of laws and we expect the laws to be enforced. It is unconscionable that we have millions of people who have gone through the legal process of wanting to immigrate, and have to wait 10 or 20 years, while illegals just pop over the border or overstay their visas.



Why American Politics Is the Way It Is by The Elephant's Child

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from
Take No Prisoners
by David Horowitz

A defining characteristic of the progressive outlook is its belief in the doctrine of original innocence. The modern source of this belief is the French radical Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who maintained that private property is the source of social evils and that “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains.” This is doctrine so obviously false it hardly  needs refutation except progressives believe it. What they believe is that “society” is the root cause of social problems. In their view, human beings are naturally cooperative and sharing, honest and moral, but are corrupted by social institutions that encourage prejudice and greed and set them against each other. They believe that  “social justice” is the model of how human beings naturally relate to each other, that equality and cooperation reflect human nature, and that socialism is therefore the name of a truly  human future.

Conservatives believe the opposite. They believe that human beings are the root cause of social problems and that social institutions are corrupt because human beings create and run them. It is the barbarity of the species that requires the intervention of a social order with the disciplines of morality and law to civilize its inhabitants. This is also what the Founders believed. It is why they did not create a pure democracy that would express the popular will, which they regarded as unruly, emotion driven, and dangerous. Instead they devised a system of checks and balances to frustrate the majority’s natural instinct to tyrannize the weak and outnumbered. And they set limits to government.

Take No Prisoners by David Horowitz



The Art of Getting Rich on the Taxpayer’s Dime by The Elephant's Child

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Big Solar developments depend on government subsidy, and if the subsidies end, the solar project usually ends as well. Greens deny that, but that’s the way it happens all over the world.

We are about to have proof once again:

Elon Musk’s SolarCity stated Wednesday it will immediately cease operations in Nevada after a state commission voted unanimously to repeal taxpayer support for the rooftop solar industry.

“If the Nevada Public Utilities Commission’s [PUC] proposed decision is accepted tomorrow it will destroy the rooftop solar industry in one of the states with the most sunshine. There is so much wrong with the decision, [sic] the only option for the PUC is to reject it,” Lyndon Rive, the CEO of SolarCity, writes in a Monday statement. “If the PUC approves this proposal, it will force SolarCity to cease sales and installation operations in Nevada.

Elon Musk received a $1.4 billion in taxpayer support from the state of Nevada to build a “gigafactory” for Tesla Motors. That must be a thrill for Nevada taxpayers to help out in producing the glamorous Tesla Roadster — prices start at $101,500 and options are extra.

But Solar City is a different operation. They also got a big incentive to move to Nevada. The commission’s decision will gradually reduce the subsidies over the next four years, so it is not abrupt, but a gradual reduction. But Solar City has a history of threatening to pull out of states who end their support. They play hardball.

Solar subsidies in the U.S. go to support a 30 percent tax credit for residential solar. Companies like Solar City install rooftop systems which usually cost a minimum of $10,000, at no cost to the consumer. This huge bargain is actually profitable because the subsidies from the state and federal government are so massive. A MIT study concluded that rooftop solar subsidies are inefficient and costly and the companies cannot compete without government support. Of course company profits are a cost of doing the subsidized business.

Would be fun to see your big ideas brought to fruition with the government financing the whole deal. Please explain how this is a good deal for the taxpayers who don’t get a choice about whether or not they want to pay for it. Solar power gets 326 times more subsidy than conventional energy producers. In 2013, only $1.7 billion went to support nuclear power. And the EPA went to work trying to end coal-fired power plants. For all that, solar power amounted to only 0.4 percent of the electricity generated in the country. Note that is not 4%, but 4 tenths of one percent!

Ideology may trump common sense if you are convinced that using “natural” energy is the only way to save the world from catastrophic climate change, rising seas, all that bit; but you have to be remarkably obtuse and weak in basic arithmetic to go for this kind of deal. No wonder Democrats want big unaccountable government. It’s how they all get rich. The feds gave the solar industry another five-year tax credit extension last week.

Solyndra, Ivanpah, SolarCity and lots of other scandals are mounting up. You’d think someone would notice and put a stop to it.



Who Me Worry? Well, Yes, Yes I Do. by The Elephant's Child

We have been told for some time that in less than 50 years Europe will be Muslim. Simple demographics. The European birthrate is far below replacement numbers, except for Muslim families. But that is what we were told before the current wave of refugees/migrants.

And the Muslim immigrants are apparently aware of the demographic claims. They have said, and it has been reported, that they will impregnate Europeans to hasten the transition. What happens when Muslims outnumber the Europeans and control the factories and facilities of European nations, including their military assets? We are in a religious war. We may not recognize that fact, but Iran and ISIS readily admit it.

Do we then have another great European War? We turned back the invasion of Europe once before at the Gates of Vienna. Is it all inevitable or are we just being Islamophobic? President Obama appears to believe that if we just turn the Middle East over to Iran to manage, then all will be well and we can just mind our own business. And that “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” business is just some kind of local PR. Iran would never, ever, use a bomb.

That ‘s when I get worried. I’m not convinced that anyone is thinking clearly about what is happening in the world today, particularly in this administration. Pat Condell is a clear-thinking and clear speaking British gentleman, and it pays to listen to what he has to say.

(h/t: Thomas Lifson )



Promises, Promises, From the Real Good Talker. by The Elephant's Child

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Today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we have long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt they cannot repay — and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration for getting our spending under control.
………………………………Barack Obama, Fiscal Responsibility Summit 2/23/09

On January 20, 2009, the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated and saved the nation from the clutches of runaway capitalism, the national debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08; Obama acting more responsibly than any Wall Street villain increased that by around $6,000,000,000,000. If Barack Obama paid the debt back a dollar a second, it would only take him 126,750 presidential terms to “finish the job” and put us back on solid fiscal ground. Assuming the debt didn’t grow in the meantime.
………………………………………………………..David Harsanyi, The Federalist



Endless Hype, Because That’s All They Have. by The Elephant's Child

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More myths, old stories, rumors, hype and prevarications. Ever hear of the “Great Garbage Patch” in the middle of the ocean? Doesn’t exist. We are not “choking the ocean with plastic.” A post at Watts Up With That explains how many of our scary stories “come from the interaction of actual science with activist scientists and clickbait-seeking journalists. It is an example of how real problems become masked by myths, leaving us divided and unable to respond.”

I have written several times of how plastic bags became an endangered species in Democrat run cities. They believe in the great garbage patch, they believe that it must be caused by plastic grocery bags, and they want you to buy and use cloth bags, which are dangerous if not washed between uses, for meat drippings and drippings from moist vegetables can become a source of  E-coli or other illnesses. The orgin of the story was very complicated, but the pursuit of a big tax on plastic bags is just cities trying to raise a little extra money.

Did you see the pictures of the great walrus haulout this last year? It was supposed to be a great environmental catastrophe, except when the wildlife biologists spoke up, apparently walruses like to do that every so often, and it’s not a big deal. They do it all the time.

The polar bears have gotten most of the hype. They are beautiful creatures living in a remote and frozen environment, their cubs are adorable, and they have become the fundraising image for a good many environmental fund drives. Surely you saw the bear costumes in Paris and at other big climate whingdings. At the urging of the Greens, the bears have been considered “threatened” which makes their funding more urgent. However, the bears are doing just fine. Their numbers are increasing, and have been doing so for years.

Environmental activists have learned that they can stop most any project with a claim of “endangered species” needing that particular patch of ground. The sage hen is the current threatened or endangered species, but you never know whether it is true or not. The threat is easy, the proof that the “endangered” category is unnecessary is harder to get. On the other hand, the wind farms are killing raptors at a tremendous rate, and songbirds as well, and although bird lovers are outraged, “natural” wind energy trumps wildlife, because the Greens have a bigger investment in wind.

Carbon Dioxide, CO2, is not a pollutant. It is what we exhale every time we breathe, and your little dog too. The trees absorb the CO2 in a process called photosynthesis, which we all learned in high school biology, except President Obama was busy with his “Choom gang” at the time and missed the whole discussion. CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants and helps to feed a hungry world. More CO2 in the atmosphere would be a good thing. Greenhouses have way more CO2 in their atmosphere and we haven’t had any noticable deaths of nurserymen yet.

And don’t get me started on the Keystone Pipeline.



Environmental Hype, Politics, Fads and Prevarications by The Elephant's Child

567d2443c36188c5408b45afWhen one starts pondering fads, hype, politics, advertising and lies, you quickly get involved in the environment, from which much of the voluminous bubble of hype flows. We have records of a sort going back over a significant amount of time, from tree rings to ice cores, stalagmites and the careful measurements of sea temperatures of Captains in the British Navy in the 1700s, to landscape paintings during the Renaissance.  Of a sort.

We have three systems of measuring heat and cold — Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin, each, I believe, named after the inventor. Most of us are familiar with the Fahrenheit of 20º below zero and the upper ranges of 90º and 100º discomfort, and don’t pay much attention the rest of the time.

Surface temperature records are unreliable because of siting issues, failure to recognize the urban heat island effect, and poor coverage of the oceans — but not so aware of the deliberate falsification of  temperature records by alarmist climate scientists who depend on climate alarm for their jobs and federal grants. They constantly revise temperatures recorded in the past to make the past appear cooler to get more warming in the present.

But we now have satellite data that gives accurate global readings, though it only goes back to 1978. That is, however 37 years of satellite data. Anthony Watts summarized the data.

The average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere has warmed just over four tenths of a degree Celsius (almost three fourths of a degree Fahrenheit) during the past 37 years, with the greatest warming over the Arctic Ocean and Australia, said Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Microwave sounding units on board NOAA and NASA satellites completed 37 complete years of collecting temperature data in November, giving us nearly global coverage of climate change during that time.

If that trend was to continue for another 63 years, the composite warming for the globe would be 1.1 C (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) for the century, Christy said. That would put the average global temperature change over 100 years well under the 2.0 C (3.6 degrees F) goal set recently at the climate change summit in Paris.

Anthony Watts notes that a “1.2º C. or 2.2º F. is roughly equal to the warming seen most spring days between 10 a.m and noon.” Well, run for the hills, we’re all doomed!

The policies and programs arising from climate alarmism range from organic food, wind farms, solar arrays, and all the costs and features involved (which have always included the promise of vast employment which hasn’t materialized either.) Consider all the programs, regulations and disastrous policies of the EPA, the Energy Department, the Interior Department, and the White House that arise from the belief in catastrophic global warming. We have even been told that we cannot bomb the oil trucks that transport stolen oil for illegal sale by ISIS to support their beheadings and crucifixions—because blowing them up might harm the environment.

Fads, hype, politics and national security lies. I rest my case.

The picture at the top is indeed ISIS tanker trucks being blown up. Unfortunately it is being accomplished by Russian bombers. We are dropping leaflets to warn the drivers to run away because we might drop a bomb.



The Organic Food Zealots Are Wrong, And So Is Your Grocery Store! by The Elephant's Child

4886682532_b29722fd6b_bI have been pondering the many ways we are confused by fads, hype, advertising and lies. The Chipotle restaurant chain has been much in the news for a rash of very bad e-coli cases. Chipotle, the once-popular fast food Mexican restaurant chain  fell in line with a pop-culture idea for their advertising. “We source from farms rather than factories,””we’re working to cultivate a better world,” which they aimed to do by favoring local foods and organic food and all things natural.

Partly, it’s the Greens distaste for oil, petroleum in all its forms. Why? It’s black and smells industrial, and they have a passion for things “natural.” Nitrogen fertilizer makes things grow better. Common agricultural fertilizers are made from petroleum, which immediately falls into the ‘Eeew’ category for those who are intolerant of modern corporations and industry. Natural fertilizers come from cow or chicken manure, and organic produce is not pesticide free. Instead it is grown with more primitive pesticides that can be significantly more hazardous to humans and to the environment.

Contrary to popular opinion, organic foods are not superior in any way to ordinary food at the grocery store. The label is a bit of a scam, for it refers only to how the food is produced and requires growers to use “natural” manure and “natural ” pesticides, but the FDA has concluded that organic food is four to eight times more likely to be recalled over safety concerns than conventionally grown products. Organic foods also exclude the benefits of genetically improved techniques that, for example, reduce the population of insects that allow toxic molds to infest corn. Dr. Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is a research fellow at Stanford  University’s Hoover Institution writes:

Chipotle rejects modern synthetic fertilizers in favor of suppliers who use manure on their crops. This approach may be “all natural” and “organic” and make some customers feel warm and fuzzy, but it should not come as a surprise that applying stool, feces and excrement to growing fruits and vegetables significantly raises the risk of spreading disease.

“Food poisoning,”he adds, “is a serious business. Four years ago, 53 died and 3,950 were sickened from an E. coli outbreak in Germany caused by organic bean sprouts.

ADDENDUM: The term “organic” is popping up in peculiar places where being grown with manure is not really a particular additional recommendation. A current radio commercial advertises sheets and pillowcases made from “organic” cotton. The fact that the cotton was fertilized with manure does nothing for the quality of the cotton. I once bought some “organic” lotion ( which was silly), but it came in lemon verbena, and I love lemon verbena.  Watch out for “natural” too.



Pentatonix: “Mary Did You Know?” by The Elephant's Child



Pentatonix “The First Noel” by The Elephant's Child
December 25, 2015, 6:26 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Freedom, History, Israel, Music | Tags: , ,



So You Think You’re Right, Do You? Well, Think Again! by The Elephant's Child

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The general mood in America seems, on Christmas eve, to be fairly sour — at least according to comments and gripes and posts and articles. The public is unhappy with our government. Republicans are furious with Republicans, especially over the so-called Omnibus spending bill. The purity police are out in full force arguing over who is and who is not a proper conservative. Breitbart has even gone so far as to give each Republican voting member of the House or Senate a red-flagged grade according to their purity — according to Breitbart.

Whatever happened to the big tent? The amusing thing is that they are getting close to the kids on campus demanding an end to free speech, and the Democrats who are furious with anyone who has the gall to disagree with them, and scream bloody murder about Citizens United. You must think the way we demand that you think.

Democrats, or Progressives if you prefer, have long despised anyone who disagrees with them. They’ve tried to have RICO charges brought against anyone who does not accept the notion that 97% of all scientists insist that global warming is going to cook the earth and all its creatures. Some have gone so far as to suggest jail and felony charges. Republicans demand an end to any subsidy for Planned Parenthood. Democrats demand full funding. But sorry, it’s not that simple. There are Democrats who don’t like abortion, and Republicans who do.

There are 435 members of the House. And after the last election 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats and one vacancy. In the Senate, there are 100 members, 2 for each state, and 44 are Democrats and 54 are Republicans, and two independents —Sanders and King. Immediate family does not agree on much of anything, and politically it’s even more unlikely. We are all human and fallible. Democrats are more likely to forget the human part.

Being human means that even the brightest people can be quite stupid in some departments. There was a story in the last few days about a robber who had an exceptional number of tattoos, including devil’s horns on his forehead and written across his forehead was “F##k the Police.” The business he held up was unsurprisingly able to identify him, and the police were quickly able to apprehend him. We are all stupid in ways small and very large. Some are definitely sins, and others are just unfortunate. We just don’t know as much as we think we do.

Yet that is what Christmas is all about and what we never seem to learn. A little more humility please, and try to remember that we all are human and struggling to find our way through this life that we don’t understand very well. It’s hard to know when to be tough and when to give comfort, when to teach and when to listen carefully. More tolerance please, and more listening. We will not agree, but it will go down better if we explain why. And knock it off with the purity police. Your definition of correctness ( did I hear the word political correctness applied to Republicans?) is not necessarily correct. Michael Ramirez said it more succinctly than I could.




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