American Elephants


Smoky Air Today: Here’s Why: by The Elephant's Child

If you looked out the window today, you may nave noticed a tinge of smoke in the air. Sure sign of forest fires. This particular map did not include Canada, which also has forest fires, and the smoke, depending on the winds, is apt to affect us. Some rain expected later in the week, which might clear things up.

The so-called “environmentalists” have worked hard to prevent trees from being harvested for lumber. They do not want trees to be cut. But that has consequences as well. Logging roads do not get built into the timber so access to fight fire is more difficult so more territory burns. That dreadful Carr fire in California has burned over 90,000 acres and 6 people have died. It is only 20 percent contained, family homes burned.

Some expert mentioned that there are no “starter homes” being built any more. The cost of lumber has gone up dramatically because less lumber is being harvested.  I posted a story about 3-D printed houses in the Netherlands.

The Left envisions very dense American cities with everyone in high rise apartments (except for the important people, of course) They will have their estates, of course, but with the hoi-polloi  all in high rises, the rest of the country can all be parkland. Government owned, of course. Yet the federal government is having a hard time keeping up the national parks. My point is simply that there are always consequences. Studying up and doing our homework is a lifelong requirement. Sometimes we can prevent the consequences from overwhelming us.



Life Without Oil Is Not As Simple As You May Think by The Elephant's Child

Use Control + to enlarge.



Unfortunately There Is No Law That Prevents Cities From Being Stupid by The Elephant's Child

“Climate Alarmists” (the term for mostly Democrats who can’t be bothered to read the science and are sure the Earth is in it’s last days because of global warming) new thing has been to sue the hated fossil fuel companies (big and rich) to help to pay the city’s alleged costs of dealing with climate change. So far they are 2-0. You can easily guess the two cities involved — San Francisco and New York City. In June, Judge William H. Alsup for the Federal District Court in San Francisco dismissed a lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, filed by San Francisco and Oakland.

Now Federal Judge John F. Keenan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed New York City”s lawsuit against the same five major oil companies intended to force them to help pay the city’s alleged costs of dealing with climate change. In his 23-page decision Judge Keenan wrote that climate change must be addressed by the executive branch and Congress, not by the courts.

Although climate change “is a fact of life,” Keenan wrote, “the serious problems caused thereby are not for the judiciary to ameliorate. Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government.”

Keenan ruled New York’s state and federal common law claims were disallowed under the Clean Air Act, saying it would be “illogical” and violate U.S. Supreme Court precedents to allow the claims under state common law “when courts have found that these matters are areas of federal concern that have been delegated to the executive branch as they require a uniform, national solution … [and] the Clean Air Act displaces the City’s claims seeking damages for past and future domestic greenhouse gas emissions brought under federal common law.”

In addition, Keenan determined NYC’s lawsuit was unjustified because the city itself contributed carbon dioxide emissions and benefited from fossil fuel use.

Despite two courts saying clearly that climate policy is soley the business of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, New York City and Oakland and San Francisco say they plan to appeal thier cases’ dismissals. A day after Keenan’s dismissal, Baltimore sued oil companies for climate change in Maryland state court and Rhode Island sued in state court to recover the cost of climate change. This is, of course just a case of an attempted shakedown of companies assumed to have deep pockets. Cities don’t mind frittering away taxpayers money — there’s always more where that came from, they can raise money taxing drinking straws and save the sea life as well.

I don’t know what these cities consider the “costs” of global warming. Perhaps it’s banning plastic bags at the grocery store, or paying for electricity from wind turbines and buying solar panels to put on city buildings? But they should be charged for wasting taxpayer money on “renewable energy” that costs more than fossil fuel energy, and provides less energy. Solar energy and wind turbines are causing “energy poverty” in Germany and other European countries. There is no law against governments at any level being stupid. You have to vote them out. It is Your Responsibility.



Electing a President Who Is Not a Member of the Political Class May be a Very Good Thing! by The Elephant's Child

It’s hard to know what the Left really believes. Nancy Pelosi has announced that as soon as Democrats return to power, they will end all this “tax cuts for the rich” nonsense, and raise taxes. If they can just convince everybody that the tax cuts only went to the very rich and CEOs of big corporations, then they will return to power and have more money to spend. Republican tax-cuts are what is called “supply-side economics”. When you free people up, and let them keep more of their own money, then they have the money to start their own businesses, invest and grow the economy. When the economy is growing,business expands and grows and hires. Works every time. Here are some facts:

President Trump is the “Jobs President” after 8 years of Obama’s failure. The unemployment rate is at a record low. It  hit 3.8% in May, a record low. The unemployment rate of Latinos is at an all-time low. African-American unemployment is also at an all-time low.

A record number of Americans are working full-time. Almost 130 million Americans now have full-time jobs. This is six million more than the previous record.

The number of jobs available is at a record high. Job openings are ranging from 6.6 to 6.8 million between March and May —meaning there are as many jobs out there as unemployed Americans. In many cases, employers are waiving their usual requirements to training or retraining workers themselves. Congress is in the process of passing legislation supporting community college and technical training. A good time for preparing students for high paying jobs and avoiding the mountains of debt that many millennials face. When employers have a hard time finding qualified workers, salaries go up.

President Trump is keeping his commitment to the forgotten blue collar worker and to the older workers in middle America. As a result the economy grew at a robust 4.1 percent in the second quarter.

I often mention that the government has no money of its own. By that, I mean that every promise of “free stuff,” or “free college,”or “free health care, or “guaranteed jobs”or “subsidized housing” is not paid for by the government, which has no money of it’s own, but by you, the taxpayer, with, added on, the cost of a new bureau and a new bunch of bureaucrats to administer the new benefits. But that is not the end of it. We cannot expect the new bureau and the new bureaucrats to administer all this stuff from the nation’s capitol. Each of the fifty states will need a new bureau and a new bunch of bureaucrats to actually disperse all these wonderful new benefits, who also require salaries and pensions and benefits. Which means that the states will need new bureaus and bureaucrats. Unfortunately that is not the end of it, because all the extra taxes use up a lot of the money that was going to new businesses and new ideas., and slowly, the economy responds by slowing down, which means more people out of work and needing help, so the cycle repeats.

A while back when the Democrats were promising “free stuff” Nancy Pelosi informed Americans that now, with all these free benefits, people would be free to follow their dreams and paint and write and play music in all their new free time.



The Long Hot Summer by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging. It’s been hot. Well, those of you who live in other states are not particularly bothered by temperatures in the high 80ºs. I have lived in Arizona, but everything there is air-conditioned. This is the Pacific Northwest. where it rains a lot, and we grow mossy backs and suffer when it gets warm. It’s only really hot for a few days to a week, in the summer, and we have lots of fans. and suffer. Sorry, it’s not global warming, just summer.

For fun, here is a piece by John Scotto, at American Thinker, who attempts to define Modern Liberalism.  Pretty good list. He starts off with Promoting illegal immigration, Embracing open borders, Calling for the abolition of ICE, and Bashing law enforcement without pause.  What’s fun, is not only the list of 15, but the comments where everybody else chimes in with their own ideas.  What’s clear is that everyone is troubled by what is essentially a rebellion against the law and the Constitution, simply because they have been stripped of power.

How can roughly one half of the country have so little knowledge of history and ignorance of the workings of an economy? Well, yes, that’s a question that pretty much answers itself. We have a major problem with our educational system and the news media. We have done ourselves a disservice by laughing and calling it “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”I  plead guilty as well. They are not joking, but deadly serious, and furious at being out of power. Perhaps this is related to their paucity of candidates.

Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez as the new face of the Democratic Party? Joe Biden?  Andrew Cuomo? Bill DeBlasio? Pocahontas? I’m sure our governor wants to run. What was Hillary’s slogan? “Onward together” The new one is “For the People” Sure to be a winner, is it not?

No wonder they will fight to the death to prevent a law requiring citizenship to vote, or any restriction whatsoever on voting by illegal aliens. No wonder President Trump has spoken so frequently of “draining the swamp.” Being in power means far more than just running the country to ones’ taste. You get rich  by  getting jobs for your husband or wife, you can get book contracts, and even have the books ghost written for you. I don’t think we used to believe that holding a public office was meant to make the occupant a millionaire. From 1975 to 1979 Ronald Reagan wrote more than 600 radio addresses in his own hand, planning every plank in what would become his presidential platform. There’s a wonderful book, Reagan In His Own Hand
that explains why he was so successful, about how he prepared for the presidency. Democrats, you may have noticed, don’t even bother to find out how economics works.

The story of Supply-Side economics is quite interesting, and John Steele Gordon’s An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power is a wonderful history of how and why we learned that capitalism works. In getting a link to Amazon for the book, I noticed that there is a Chinese edition.
I wonder is Xi has read it?



Free Trade Is the Goal, Will it be Achieved? by The Elephant's Child

What an odd day in the news, such as it was. Lots of articles criticizing Trump for his outrageous tariffs and threats, with long moans about how important good trade relations were, how Trump was hurting the farmers, etc, etc. etc.

At the same time, and at the same websites that contained all the whining about trade, came the announcement that Trump and Juncker had agreed to avert a transatlantic trade war, expand European imports of U.S. liquefied natural gas, soybeans, and lower industrial tariffs on both sides and to work towards free trade, with zero tariffs. I suspect that this is exactly what Trump intended in the first place.

Lefties are so infuriated with Trump that they do not recognize that Donald Trump is a very bright man who knows what he is doing. But then they never do. Today they were too busy celebrating the unknown person who attacked Trump’s star on the Hollywood sidewalk with a pick-axe.

The founders did not specify that future presidents should be graduates of impressive schools and have lots of practice at politics by being governors and hold other offices before that. Winning elections is seen as a prime qualification for higher office. And moving in the right circles is a plus. Americans are getting very tired of the political class. Working as a businessman in New York City, dealing with bureaucrats, unions, construction workers. the mob and endless rules and regulations and becoming a billionaire in the process is probably better preparation for the presidency than just being a governor and dealing with a legislature.

There are quite a few governors out there who are making a huge mess of the states they are in charge of.  You have seen lists of badly-run states, they are usually run by Democrats, whose somewhat socialist leanings don’t work well in a capitalist country. Democrats believe firmly in taxing big business whose evil CEO’s make way more money than their workers, and need more rules and regulations to force them to be better citizens and kinder to the environment. The idea that business, freed of punishing taxes, and unnecessary regulation can grow and invent and prosper, is inconceivable. Individuals can act on their hopes and dreams and create new start-ups and expand, and that is how an economy grows. If you regard the people, with exceptions for ‘celebrities,’ as “deplorables” or consider all that fly-over country between the enlightened coasts as useless, you’re not going to get a lot of innovation.

Americans are getting very tired of the political class, who can’t seem to get much of anything done, and do a bad job with the little they do get done. Government mostly moves at a snail’s pace, and custom and regulation, unions and the vast number of people who have to sign off on endless documents slow it further. Devin Nunes’ efforts to find out what the initial application to the FISA Court was that prompted all this messy investigation that has produced nothing at a cost of millions and eating up months and months of time and effort. An effort to impeach Rosenstein has begun, which may shake some information loose. It’s already clear that “there was no there there” in the application to FISA. The Intelligence Committee has been persistent and demanding. Sooner or later, the truth will out.



Absolutely Brilliant! by The Elephant's Child

We’ve all seen this many, many times, but failed to recognize the potential  for real humor. I don’t know who did it, but just noticing was brilliant. Love it.

Also in the news was the fact that some of California’s wines have traces of the nuclear imprint of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, seven years after the event, 5,000 miles away. The Fukushima incident resulted in a radioactive cloud that crossed the Pacific Ocean, Nuclear scientists wanted to see if there was a variation in the cesium-137 level in a series of wines from vintage 2009 to 2012. They did find traces, but don’t worry, it will not harm you.

Washington State has developed a major wine region, and they are making some very good wines.




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