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.

Eliminating ICE Seems to Be the New New Thing for The Left by The Elephant's Child

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said that abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — and thus all immigration enforcement — should be the “first thing” Democrats do if they win back the House and Senate in the upcoming midterm elections. Well, she said “When we flip the House and When we flip the Senate,” but with the increased radicalization of the Democratic-Socialist party that may not be an inevitability.

Republicans and Democrats just see things differently, at base. Democrats operate on feelings. It makes them feel good about themselves when they are compassionate and caring. It makes them “good people.”

At Front Page Magazine, Michael Cutler agrees:

Pro law-and-order immigration advocates in America whine about the emotional arguments and unhinged publicity stunts used by the open borders/abolish-ICE anarchists to sway public opinion.

But, when they use these emotional arguments, the abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) crowd are merely playing to their own personal strengths: irrationality, magical thinking, and projection. The important issue is that law-and-order advocates, like us, have failed abysmally to use our own emotional arguments in changing minds on the immigration topic.

Indeed, the most persuasive emotional arguments strongly favor secure borders and effective immigration law enforcement.

What greater proof of your compassion could you find, than caring about all those innocent little children ripped from their mother’s arms. Possibly one should be concerned about the Central American migrants who have left their children with ICE and gone back home, 142 this year so far and may reach several hundred. according to a July 23 agency statement to a district court judge in California. They are gaming the federal government’s asylum process to deliver their children to in-laws or relatives living in the US, all mostly also illegal.  In 2016, the AP reported that 80 percent of the “Unaccompanied Alien Child” process were handed over to sponsors who are illegally in the United States. This is creating a quasi-legal chain-migration pathway for foreign youth into the United States.

The agency’s support for the parents’ children is shaped by President Barack Obama’s interpretations of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act 0f 2008, whose text says it is designed “to combat trafficking in persons.”

The media does not tell you about the fact that most children are brought by human traffickers. Nor do they mention that on any given day there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2016, over 687,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care. The average age of entering foster care is 7. Most are in homes, but some 12% are in group homes or institutions. No great compassion from the Left about those kids.

The ICE agency people are the police who detain illegal aliens who have committed crimes. How would Kristin Gillibrand react if all of the police agencies in the county or state where she lives were removed, so that anyone with bad intent was free to do whatever they chose about robbery, rape, brutality, arson and murder? Her home wide open for invasion, her car for theft. That is precisely what eliminating ICE would entail. Not all illegals are kind people who are happy to mow your lawn for a pittance. There are plenty of Americans who have testified to that, and have lost family members to illegals. Democrat activists pay no attention.

A popular sign at demonstrations is “No human is illegal” which is nonsense. Our nation and any nation has borders and the citizens and their government will make the laws that say who can be admitted and who can not. This is not, as some like to claim a matter of race. It’s a matter of how many new immigrants the country can absorb at a time.

Aside from that, polls pretty clearly point out that it is a losing proposition. The American people are not happy with the levels of immigration, legal and illegal. We admit about one million new immigrants a year. That represents a lot of changes and adjustments. Most of the numbers admitted come from chain migration, which is another problem. The wait list for people who have applied to immigrate legally, gone through all the requirements and have to wait for years for openings to come up is very long.

In Bellevue, there are 8 language schools besides what the public schools offer.The Democrats may be committing suicide with their demand for open borders, the elimination of ICE, raising taxes. Their constant assault on the President of the United States is not going over well. Democrats remain so sure that Trump is hated by all, that Russian collusion remains a scandal, and that Democratic Socialism is the new new thing, that they seem to be delusional. We can only hope.

Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, True Believer, Truly Scary. by The Elephant's Child

DNC Chairman Tom Perez suggests that Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez is the exciting new face of the Democrat Party. Her mother said she’s really excited about running and wants to be President some day. She is indeed, the poster-child for the failure of American Universities. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a BA in economics and international relations. She was 4th in her class, but seems not to have learned any economics whatsoever. But she is a member of the Democratic Socialist Party and was an organizer for Bernie Sanders.

Reading up a little on her, it would be a mistake to fail to take her seriously. She has been a political activist, and had a lot of support from Hispanic organizations. She lied about being from the Bronx which she left at age 5 for a wealthier enclave. Her father was an architect, but he died intestate from lung cancer. She worked two jobs, as a waitress and a bartender, which shows determination and hard work.

She said attending the Standing Rock Sioux protests about the pipeline running near their reservation was a defining moment for her. The tribe was ostensibly afraid the pipeline would contaminate their water supply (highly unlikely). The pipeline did not cross reservation land, nor affect any reservation property, but they worked with Earthjustice against fossil fuels and loved the national attention. The final bill for their protests came to about $43 million. And the debris and mess left by the protesters took up over 20 dumpster loads. I wrote about that protest several times.

Ocasia-Cortez supports progressive policies like Medicare for All, a job guarantee, tuition-free universities and public schools, and said that “for the cost of the GOP’s tax bill, we could forgive ALL the student loan debt in the United States. She favors single-payer healthcare as “a human right.” She says a single government insurer should ensure that every American has insurance—while reducing costs overall. Uh huh. Of course she wants to abolish ICE, calling it “a product of the Bush-era Patriot Act suite of legislation enforcement that takes on more of a paramilitary tone every single day.Just two days before the primary election, she attended a protest at an ICE child detention center in Tomillo, Texas, and supports a “path to citizenship” for all immigrants who entered the United States. She told CNN that she would support the impeachment of President Trump, saying that “I think that, you know, we have the grounds to do it, citing Trump’s violations of the Emoluments Clause.

Other than that she is a self-described hardliner on climate issues, and wants us to transition by 2015 to an electrical grid running on 100% renewable energy production and end the use of fossil fuels. She also calls for a “Green New Deal” in the U.S.

Sigh. I was an English major, but I did learn that the federal government has no money of its own. And if you stack all of our billionaires together, they still don’t have enough money to abolish our taxes and give us all that free stuff. 4th in her class! And she favors guaranteed jobs, that is— federally subsidized jobs, a truly interesting proposal. Good grief, the federal government can’t even do job training.  See James Pethokoukis writing at AEI.

She is out there campaigning hard and promising all sorts of free stuff for the American people, and if everyone has a job and is forced to work, well then, there you are.

The American Media Remains Unbiased and Truthful by The Elephant's Child

Don’t know who came up with this, but it kinda makes further discussion unnecessary.

The Scandal Unfolds. Where Do We Go From Here? by The Elephant's Child

Well, well, well. Representative Trey Gowdy R-SC said that in 18 months, he has not seen “one scintilla” of evidence that Donald Trump colluded with Russia. He added that if such evidence existed that Adam Schiff would have leaked it by now.

Over the weekend the FBI finally released its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications for warrants against former Trump aide Carter Page. Now we know why the bureau resisted disclosing them. Even in heavily redacted form the applications confirm that the FBI relied on very dubious partisan evidence to justify the warrant and withheld relevant information from the court.

The applications also vindicate the criticism of the FBI’s surveillance requests that were laid out last February by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. On the basis of an uncorroborated document that was commissioned by he Hillary campaign, the FBI accused a U.S. citizen of being “an agent of a foreign power” who should be wiretapped.

Mr. Nunes also reported that the FBI did not inform the FISA court that the dossier and “trusted source” (Christopher Steele) were paid by the Clinton campaign. The applications for the FISA court do not mention the words Clinton, Democratic National Committee, Fusion GPS (the Clinton-financed oppo research firm that hired Mr. Steele) or Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson.

The FBI cited a Sept. 23,2016 story in Yahoo News to back up its Steele dossier information with the court — noting that the story said “intelligence reports” and a “well-paced Western intelligence source”  had made claims like those in the dossier. But the “reports” were the dossier, and the “Western intelligence source” was Mr. Steele. Some evidence! The media claims that Mr. Page’s history of personal Russian dealings justified the surveillance, but no one has produced evidence that Mr. Page was anything beyond an innocent abroad. There is no justification for the FBI’s use of uncorroborated partisan smears to back up the application. They appear to have played fast and loose with the facts, and the ethical boundaries of the FISA statute to unleash a counterintelligence campaign against a presidential candidate.

Investigative journalist Daniel Greenfield explains the whole thing very clearly at Front Page Magazine, the players and the role of the media.

On Saturday, the former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper admitted in a CNN interview that former President Obama instigated the ongoing investigations into Donald Trump, his campaign and his associates. In the interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Clapper said:

If it weren’t for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today including Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place.

I guess if you’re all into beheadings and flag-burning and claims that the country is on the verge of Auschwitz, comparing the President of the United States to Hitler—the previous president’s spying on the campaign of the candidate who opposes his own preferred successor doesn’t seem especially notable. But it is. This is an enormous scandal. And it would not have been possible without the cooperation of a partisan media. It is a direct assault on the rule of law and our free Republic for partisan political purposes.

Jordan Peterson at the Aspen Ideas Festival by The Elephant's Child

This is a long video, an hour and-a-half, which I just completed, when I really didn’t have time for it at all. Jordan Peterson is a compelling speaker who has thought deeply about the things encompassed by psychology, which is most everything, and he tries to make sense of them. Quite often, something he says will spur thought about an entirely different issue and clear that one up as well. I find him very interesting. This interviewer has the good sense to mostly just allow him to talk and not interrupt with dumb questions.

If you can make time for it, you will find it to be rewarding.

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