American Elephants


A Quotation for a Rainy Monday in April

Masterpieces created by a committee are notably few in number, but the United States Constitution is certainly one of them. Amended only twenty-seven times in 215 years, it came into being just as the world was about to undergo the most profound—and continuing—period of economic change the human race has known. The locus of power in the American economy has shifted from sector to sector as that economy has developed. Whole sections of the country have risen and fallen in economic importance. New methods of doing business and economic institutions undreamed of by the Founding Fathers have come into existence in that time, while others have vanished. Fortunes beyond the imagination of anyone living in the pre-industrial world have been built and been destroyed. And yet the Constitution endures, and the country continues to flourish under it.

—John Steele Gordon:  An Empire of Wealth



Sanctuary Cities Are an Embarrassment

Yesterday the Department of Justice fired off letters to “nine jurisdictions which have been identified by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General as having laws that potentially violate 8 U.S.C.§ 1373. The letter reminds the recipients that if they want to receive certain financial year 2016 funding from the Department of Justice, they have agreed to provide documentation and an opinion from legal counsel  validating that they are in compliance with Section 1373. All documentation must be submitted by June 30, 2017, the deadline imposed by the agreement.”

All very formal language, but the nitty-gritty is this section of the agreement:

Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.

Not subtle, but straightforward. Lefties promote a politics based on feelings rather than facts, and they get all confused about immigrants who are good, to be loved and protected because this is “a nation of immigrants,” and of course everyone wants to come to America, and said Lefties need their lawns mowed and windows washed and roofs cleaned, and they don’t want to pay exorbitant prices for such menial work.

Most large American cities have been inflicted with gangs, often MS-13 from Central America. Chicago, as of this afternoon, had 31 people shot, five of them killed and 26 wounded, just this weekend. That city’s toll for the year so far adds up to 973 people shot with 168 fatalities. Chicago reportedly has some of the strongest anti-gun laws in the country. But it isn’t the guns that go around shooting people— guns are inanimate objects. It’s the shooter that is the problem.

The Left also seems unable to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, refugees, those who have overstayed their visas and the long, long list of people —4.4 million—who have applied to come to America to become citizens and are waiting patiently in line for their turn. Note that there is no wait list for green cards for future employees in high tech. Texas is reeling under new cases of mumps, a disease that had been thought ended in this country. TB is also on the rise.

ICE has issued detainer notices for criminal aliens being held in sanctuary cities, meaning that they are to be detained until ICE can pick them up for deportation. The sanctuary cities are simply releasing them. Makes the officials who have decided to be a “sanctuary” feel good, and puts the people of the city in danger. Sanctuary cities are an embarrassment.

Fortunately, the Justice Department is putting them on notice. May save some lives. We welcome legal immigrants. but there is no reason to favor illegals over people who wait their turn.



Accomplishment and Denigration: Goes With the Job.

The President of the United States of America is often referred to as “the most powerful man in the world.” Well, yes, but there are all sorts of other superlatives that can be supplied. Maxine Waters keeps blathering on about impeaching Donald Trump and simultaneously claiming she never said any such thing. Democrats are clearly suffering from ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome,” which apparently results in not only psychiatric and psychological disorders, but ‘Trumporrhoea —” insomnia, exhaustion and gastrointestinal disorders. Pity that.

Presidents and noted politicians are simply ordinary human beings, with an oversize dose of ambition and self-regard, and a taste for the limelight. I suspect that most of us have no desire at all to run for office, even an important one. Once thrust into the spotlight of national attention, it’s almost impossible to escape. The media will deal with politicians depending on their political orientation.

“It would be difficult for those,” as Roger Kimball says, who get their news from outlets like “the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC or CNN to have any sense of Trump’s stupendous accomplishments these past three months.”

Illegal border crossings are down by more than 90 percent. Sanctuary cities are on notice that defying federal law may lose federal grants. The Keystone and Dakota Access pipeline are moving ahead, and coal production is next. If Congress or agencies want a new regulation they have to get rid of two first, and executive orders are aimed at getting rid of inefficient regulations. The stock market is up about 2,500 points since the election and 3 percent growth may be on the horizon. That’s a pretty dramatic start. Do read the whole thing. And getting this U.S. citizen released from jail in nice too.

Aya Hijazi, a dual US-Egyptian citizen and her husband Mohamed Hassanein founded Belady, an NGO that promotes a better life for Cairo street children. They had been in prison in Cairo for three years, and her acquittal and that of her husband and four other humanitarian workers came about as the result of President Trump’s intervention.

That’s really a remarkable amount of accomplishment. Restoring deterrence, one bomb at a time, is pretty impressive as well. As historian Victor Davis Hanson notes, “the only thing more dangerous than losing deterrent power is trying to put it back together again.” Well done.



Quotation of the Day

As soon as journalists, while pretending to provide information, consider that they have the right to present current happenings in such a way as to orient  public opinion in a manner they regard as salutary, democracy is amputated of one of its major supports. It is affected just as perniciously as it is by a corrupt judiciary or electoral fraud. Totalitarianism can only live thanks to falsehood, and democracy survive thanks to truth.

—Jean-Francois Revel: The Flight From Truth                    




Not “Earth Day” Anymore, Now It’s “The March for Science”

This will be an interesting weekend. Today is Earth Day, so naturally there is a march somewhere.  Ah hah!: It is the March for (Political) Science in our nation’s capitol, described by the Washington Times:

Take the Women’s March on Washington, slash its attendance, throw in Bill Nye “the science guy,” and you have the formula for Saturday’s March for Science, the latest in this year’s series of anti-Trump protests.

Framed as a defense of scientific inquiry, the Earth Day march offered a lesson in political science as speakers urged thousands of rain-soaked attendees to fight President Trump’s “anti-science” agenda by advocating more federal funding for research.

“This is about last November’s election,” said Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970. “Did America somehow vote to melt the polar ice caps and kill the coral reefs and acidify the oceans? Did we vote to reduce the EPA’s research budget by a whopping 42 percent? Did we vote to defund safe drinking water by one third?”

I don’t know who Denis Hayes is, but the polar ice caps have a habit of melting every summer and freezing up every winter, as it has done for centuries. Renowned Australian geologist Ian Plimer wrote in  Heaven and Earth:

Climate has always changed. It always has and it always will. Sea level has always changed. Ice sheets come and go. Life always changes. Extinctions of life are normal. Planet Earth is dynamic and evolving. Climate changes are cyclical and random. I would be really concerned if there were no changes to Earth over time. In the light of large rapid climate changes,  just how much do humans really change climate?

The Earth’s climate is driven by the receipt and  redistribution of solar energy. Without this, there would be no life on Earth. Despite well documented linkages between  climate and solar activity, the Sun tends to be brushed aside as the driver of climate  on Earth  in place of a trace gas (carbon dioxide – CO2), most of which derives from natural processes. The CO2 in the atmosphere is only 0.001% of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life.

Although we are in one of the many warm periods between glacial stages in the current ice age, there is a significant amount of ice remaining in the polar regions. Polar ice has been present for less than 20% of geological time, life on Earth for more than 80% of time and liquid water on Earth for 90% of time. Planet Earth is a warm wet volcanic greenhouse planet, which is naturally recovering from glacial times and is naturally warming. Cooling has also occurred in the current interglacial times. Earth has warmed and cooled on all time scales, whether they be geological, archeological, historical or within our own lifetime. The key questions are: How much of this warming can be attributed to human activity?

If we humans are warming the planet now, how do we explain the alternating cool and warm periods during the current post-glacial warming?

Anthony Watts has a marvelous collection of pictures from the march. On the one pictured at the top here, he remarked: “Seems that the Union of Concerned Scientists has a lot of hate. This is from their Twitter feed, but note they are too timid to put their organization name on any of the posters.  Losers.”

You will notice that the pre-printed sign at the bottom of the picture says “Scientists for Racial Equity;, Climate Justice, Gender Equality, Economic Justice, Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice” which does give some clues to the thought process of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Earth Day” has been losing it’s luster. Fewer and fewer people believe in the need for panic, so they tried changing Earth Day into a “March for Science.” Bill Nye ‘the science guy’ turned up in DC, along with the constantly publicity-seeking Michael Mann, and the current Dr. Who turned up in London.

There’s a major reason why the scientists who are insulted as being “anti-science” or “deniers” or “skeptics” write and speak more frequently when they retire and are free to speak out. Until there was suddenly panic about global warming, the rise of the oceans, arctic melting, departments like astrophysics, ocean geology, and climate science were quiet backwaters in the science buildings of universities. With panic, funding arrived. Departments expanded, super computers and expensive equipment were purchased, and grants became very available. Unfortunately many of those deeply interested in climate change thought they could model the climate of the Earth on more powerful computers, which is where most of the junk science comes from. The climate is too complex, there is too much we just don’t understand— like the action of clouds. The “March for Science”  is all about funding, and not about science at all. And in the current climate it’s mostly about the Left hating Trump.

“Global Warming” has always been a far left effort to destroy capitalism, as Christiana Figureres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change confirmed that in Brussels in 2015. Steven Koonin, a theoretical physicist who served as undersecretary of energy for science during President Obama’s first term, wrote in the Wall Street Journal Thursday that “the general public is largely unaware of the intense debates within climate science. He advocates a “Red Team-Blue Team” process for climate science as the best practice for high-consequence situations.

A happy Earth Day to you all, and if you are a “skeptic” as I am, turn on lots of lights this evening to illuminate the night.  “I Speak For The Trees ” indeed! Can you possibly not realize how silly that statement is?



Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Remarks on Iran

Yesterday Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal, and the administration will continue to provide the relief from sanctions as called for by the agreement. He added that “Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods.”

Today he explained more thoroughly and more specifically Iran’s role as a leading sponsor of terrorism. He made it abundantly clear that the nuclear deal is not satisfactory, and that the United States government is engaged in a very thorough review of our policies dealing with Iran.

Secretary Tillerson characterized the Iran deal as “another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions,” comparing it to North Korea. He said “we buy them off for a short period of time, and then someone has to deal with it later.” The current administration does not plan to follow that example.

Our policy is still being discussed, there is clearly sharp disagreement within the administration as to how to proceed. The Obama administration’s illusions have left it successors in a difficult position. There are no clear or good options, but we have in this new administration deep experience in dealing with such problems. Today’s tough speech is a good start, to let that part of the world know that there has been a significant change in the American posture. The grown-ups are now in charge.




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