American Elephants


“Democratic Socialism” Indeed. No, It’s Venezuela by The Elephant's Child

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The United States of America is a big messy country, full of wildly diverse opinionated people. The country itself is hugely diverse ranging from desert to mountain splendor. We are a nation built on an idea brought from the religious wars of Europe to form a new nation based on the simple idea of individual freedom.  All men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights the Declaration said, and among those are the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What other country ever suggested that you should pursue happiness? We have lots of resident cranks who chafe at that and insist that we are getting the “created equal” part all wrong. We should be ensuring that everyone is equal. That’s government’s real job and we should buy you lots of stuff to make you equal.

Nobody promised that you would be equal, just that you could, from birth, strive to be whatever you choose—pursue happiness. We can’t guarantee anyone’s success either. Just pick up your ideas and your energy and see what you can do. Some people get a head start, born to great wealth, and make a colossal mess of the whole thing. Others start with nothing and become fabulously wealthy. The rest of us are somewhere in between.

But those resident cranks, promising to make everybody equal are always more interested in enforcing the equality bit than in actually being equal themselves. They want to be in charge. Oddly they remain unfamiliar with the long dreadful history of socialism, and just insist that those other people just didn’t do it right. Unfortunately those other people turn out to be Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Kim’s North Korea, Castro’s Cuba or Maduro’s Venezuela. Socialism does not work. Ever.

At American Thinker, Monica Showalter asked if Time Magazine, notable for the fake picture of Trump with a crying child ‘ripped from her mother’s arms’ would put a photo of a starving Venezuelan on its cover, too? You need to see the pictures. That’s Venezuela today. Someone should send a copy to “Democratic Socialist” Ocasia Cortez, the new star of the Democratic Party.

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An American Ally Assesses Our President by The Elephant's Child

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The Wall Street Journal had a most interesting article titled “An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump: When he says something consistently, it will happen. And his message is that America will remain a reliable partner, but don’t expect too much.” It’s by Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia, 2013-2015.  (subscription barrier)

The truth is that the rest of the world needs America much more than America needs us. The U.S. has no threatening neighbors. It’s about as remote from the globe’s trouble spots as is possible to be. It’s richly endowed with resources, including energy and an almost boundless agricultural capacity. Its technology is second to none. Its manufacturing base is vast. Its people are entrepreneurial in their bones. From diversity, it has built unity and an enviable pride in country.

In many respects, America is the world in one country, only a better world than the one outside. If it decided to live in splendid isolation from troubles across the sea, it would lose little and perhaps gain much, at least in the beginning. A fortress America would be as impregnable as any country could be.

 



Carbon Taxes Are Sheer Bunk! by The Elephant's Child

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Governors and Legislatures are always tempted by the potential of new taxes. Having more money to do stuff that the people might like is usually a good way to get re-elected.  Of course sometimes people notice that their taxes have gone up sharply and governors and legislators get thrown out of office. It obviously helps if the new taxes are for a noble cause, like feeding the hungry or creating a new transportation system. But the economy is currently humming, and food stamp use has dropped sharply. New transportation systems or bridges or tunnels are always popular. Unfortunately legislators are not skilled planners, nor are governors and such projects seem always to cost millions or billions more than was promised. (See Gov. Jerry Brown’s High Speed Train to Nowhere). Probably most states have had some project that cost catastrophically more than intended.

Another boondoggle popular, particularly among lefties, lately has been a carbon tax. Tax greenhouse gas emissions to save the earth from climate change! Our very own governor Jay Inslee is anxious to pass a carbon tax, the legislature has not obliged, but greenies may have succeeded in putting it on the ballot as an initiative.“Carbon Tax” is a misnomer. It is a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, and would sharply raise the price of energy, which doesn’t just mean gasoline taxes, but would raise the cost of everything. A carbon tax is a tax on prosperity.

Real Clear Energy has published a careful analysis of carbon taxes. “According to a 2014 Heritage Foundation analysis, the creation of a $37-per-ton carbon tax  would lead to a loss of more than $2.5 trillion in aggregate gross domestic product, amounting to $21,000 in lost income per family by 2030.”

In addition a carbon tax would result in a loss of more than 1 million jobs, including 500,000 manufacturing jobs by 2030. And it would be a regressive tax, punishing the relative poor more than wealthier families because the poor spend more of their income on energy and goods for which energy is a key component. But saving the Earth from disastrous climate change? The best evidence suggests that humans are not causing dangerous climate change.

Dangerous climate change seems to exist only in computer models. Almost every testable projection made by computer models has been proven wrong. Sea levels are not rising at an unusual rate. Antarctica ice is growing, not melting. Scientists can show no species that have been lost due to climate change. There are droughts and rainy seasons. Hurricanes continue to cause damage occasionally. Measured temperatures are much lower than the computer models predict. And carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

We breathe in air, use the oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide—every human breath contains about 40,000 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Which if you remember photosynthesis from high school biology, plants use as a natural fertilizer and produce oxygen.  Greenhouses pump in something like 1,000 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 to help their plants grow, and you probably haven’t read of dead nurserymen being found in the world’s greenhouses. The use of fossil fuels has enriched the world, and increased human well-being.

Unfortunately alternative energy has proven to be mostly undependable and useless. The sun goes beneath the horizon each night and doesn’t shine many days. Clouds. Nor does the wind blow at the right speed for the most technologically advanced wind turbines to produce energy reliably. Germany tried to move to wind and solar, and arrived at energy poverty. Now President Trump is correctly blaming them for becoming dependent on gas pipelines from Russia (which could be cut off at any time) at the same time Germany expects us to defend them from Russia.




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