American Elephants

The Real Hard Questions About Syrian Refugees


The question about Syrian refugees — is not a question of just how much empathy we have, nor is it about whether or not they are actually Syrian and actually refugees. President Obama insists it is all about compassion, and we are a nation of refugees, and rejecting widows and 3 year-old orphans is just not who we are as Americans.

At a moment in history when Paris has just been attacked by jihadists, and the example of supposed Syrian refugees are flooding Europe with the most dire results, we need to think very clearly about just who we are inviting in as refugees. There is, in spite of pious pronouncements from the State Department and Homeland Security, no way for us to screen those who seek admission. There is no effective government in Syria, and Syrian Americans say that one can buy any kind of credential they want or need in Syria if they can  pay for it.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, writes that it is morally wrong to relocate refugees from the Middle East to the U.S. Welcoming refugees is not about making us feel good. The five year cost of resettling a single Middle Eastern refugee in the United States is conservatively estimated to be more than $64,000, compared with UN figures that indicate it costs about $5,300 to provide for that same refugee for five years in his native region.

In other words, each refugee we bring to the U.S. means that eleven others are not being helped with that amount of money. Mr. Krikorian uses the analogy of sending a luxurious one-man boat rather than twelve life jackets. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)  reports a $2.5 billion shortfall in caring for Syrian refugees in the Middle East. The five-year cost of resettling just 39,000 Syrians in the U.S. would erase the entire current UNHCR shortfall.

Europe has cut a deal with Turkey regarding refugees. Turkey will shelter more Middle Eastern refugees within its own borders so fewer of the will head for other European countries. Turkey, in return for tightening its border control, will get several billion dollars from the EU, and assistance in Turkey’s efforts to join the coalition of 28 countries. President Obama  wants to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year and every year thereafter. He says a “robust vetting process” will be in place. The State Department and Homeland Security obediently agree.

When questions about refugees from the Middle East arise, the word “Islamophobia”also arises. If you worry or object to a 10,000 yearly influx of refugees in perpetuity, you are Islamophobic and a bad person. Americans (excluding the college faculty) feel pretty strongly about free speech, even if college kids don’t understand. The kids are currently up in arms about words that might give offense. If they were properly taught, they would understand that a government that can put you in the gulag, or execute you for something you said—means that you are no longer free. You have no freedom at all. You are totally subject to the will of a bureaucrat who does not have your best interests at heart.

A little history should teach that is the rule in North Korea, was the rule in Stalin’s Russia, and in China, and in dozens of other socialist countries. In the Moslem religion, words that can be construed as insulting or denigrating the prophet get the death penalty. American college campuses have become a hotbed of politically correct speech. Kids have been driven out of school, their future ruined because someone took offense at something they said that  someone else considered politically incorrect. Here in America we have the First Amendment to the Constitution that protects your right to free speech. The amendment is always under attack from those who are ignorant of its meaning and those who have a wish to become tyrants and rule.

And there’s the rub. Sharia is classical Islam’s societal framework and legal code. “It involves the organization of the state, comprehensive regulation of economic and social life, rules of military engagement, and the imposition of a draconian criminal code.” This is from Andy McCarthy.  “Unlike the Judeo-Christian principles that informed America’s founding, classical sharia does not abide a separation of spiritual from civic and political life. Therefore, to rationalize on religious-liberty grounds our conscious avoidance of Islamist ideology is to miss its thoroughgoing anti-constitutionalism.”

“Sharia rejects the touchstone of American democracy: the belief that the people have a right to govern themselves and chart their own destiny. In sharia governance, the people are subjects not citizens, and they are powerless to question, much less to change, Allah’s law. Sharia systematically discriminates against women and non-Muslims. It is brutal in its treatment of apostates and homosexuals. It denies freedom of conscience, free expression property rights, economic liberty, and due process of law. It licenses wars of aggression against infidels for the purpose of establishing sharia as the law of the land.”

“Sharia is also heavily favored by Muslims in majority-Muslim countries. Polling consistently tells us that upwards of two-thirds of Muslims in the countries from which we are accepting refugees believe sharia should be the governing system.” Islam stands for submission. You must submit.

To the extent to which we are screening refugees, we are screening for terrorism, not adherence to sharia. We are not only vetting for the wrong thing, “we are ignoring the dynamics of jihadism.” The question is really “are we admitting Muslims who are apt to become violent jihadists after they settle here? (See Boston Marathon)

This is not meant to be alarming, but to approach the matter honestly. If people are worried, this is why. These are serious questions, and the administration is not interested in giving serious answers,  but in slandering those who dare to ask, because they want their way. Muslims are said to be reliable Democratic voters.

For Further Reading:

“Refugee Resettlement Is Immoral,”Mark Krikorian, National Review

“The Controversy over Syrian Refugees Misses the Question We Should Be Asking” Andy McCarthy, National Review

“Je suis…qui?”Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review: A visit to the Banlieues and Muslim immigrants in France.

The photo at the top is from Dabiq, the Islamic State magazine, of Syrian Refugees leaving for Europe.

Obama Summed Up His Foreign Own Policy in Just 60 Words

barack-obama_1Ted Cruz pointed out last week that Obama made a stunning indictment of his own policies in a news conference in Turkey. Have you noticed that Mr. Obama has a habit of criticizing his own country when he is abroad? Unpleasant characteristic. Here’s what Obama said:

What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning,’ or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and protect our allies and people like France.

That’s apparently what he actually believes, and a remarkably clear description of his foreign policy. No wonder he’s made such a mess of it.

Panic-Button Time: The Paris Climate Pact Would Reduce Temperature by An Imperceptible Amount in 100 Years

Kopie-von-IMG_1172President Obama is in Paris, a city still reeling from the deadly recent terror attacks, for the start of an eleven-day conference in which the promoters are hoping to get more than 130 world leaders to pledge support for an ambitious climate change agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and try to slow the earth’s rising temperatures.

During a White House ceremony in August, Obama spoke of his drive to reduce utility plant carbon emissions (shut down coal-fired power plants) as part of a larger global struggle to preserve the environment and avert catastrophic weather and public health problems and economic chaos. He cited some of the toughest challenges his administration has faced, including the Great Recession and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bang-up job with those, Mr. President, and right on track to make a mess of this one too. “No challenge poses a greater threat to our future than a changing climate.” Sigh.

That’s the mindset that the president takes to Paris. Au contraire. Carbon is not a pollutant. It is one of the building blocks of life. We are carbon life forms, and we exhale carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer in the cycle of life, and is taken up by plants in the process called photosynthesis. We learned that in high school biology. The plants exhale oxygen…surely you remember. And the small amounts of increased CO2 have meant a greening earth, able to feed greeningmore people. Catastrophic weather is not climate. We have been living in a period remarkably free of major hurricanes. Climate is always changing. It has been far warmer in the past, and the Medieval Warm Period was the best weather known to man.

We had a Little Ice Age — 500 years of colder weather from around 1300 to 1850. The Vikings gave up their farms in Greenland. The Scots had a period of mass starvation. 1816 in the U.S. was called “the year without a summer.” Since around 1850 the earth has been gradually warming. People and animals adapt.

The catastrophic warming that the president is so frightened of occurs only in the computer climate models of the IPCC, and it has been well established that they cannot predict today’s climate. There are too many things we just don’t know to accurately predict future weather, any more than we can accurately predict terrorist attacks in Paris.

Bjorn Lomborg, PhD is an expert in statistics, and just published a peer reviewed article investigating the temperature reduction impact of major climate policy proposals using the standard MAGICC climate model. Even assuming that the promised cuts are maintained, the impacts are small. They will do little to stabilize the climate and the impact will be undetectable for many decades. The Paris COP21 commitments with every nation fulfilling every promise by 2030, the total temperature reduction will be 0.048ºC (0.306ºF) by 2100. Can you possibly adapt? The president has actually called it the greatest threat to our national security. The military must be quaking in their boots. But after his visit to Alaska last summer (to see the melting glaciers) the president did, oddly, see the need for new icebreakers and promised the Coast Guard he would push for them.

Arctic and Antarctic ice grows in the winter and melts some in the summer. Greenies see only the melting and deny the increase. Back in July, the CCGS Amundsen, a Medium Arctic icebreaker and Arctic research vessel operated by the Canadian Coast Guard traveling in Hudson Bay was rerouted to help ships stuck in the ice. An expedition to study the effects of global warming was put on hold — they were stuck in the ice.

Today, Dr. S. Fred Singer wrote in the American Thinker ∼of how solar observers predict a “Little Ice Age” to arrive before 2100. A slightly warmer climate can be extremely beneficial, but cold can kill. He discusses the problems that might face us with a colder climate, and how we can deal with them.

Guns and Gun Violence, In Gun Controlled Chicago.


Democrats learn from each other, and from approved leftist publications, and from Democrat talking points and late night comedians, I think. They do not seem to learn from evidence.

“As of November 23, there had been 2,703 shootings which resulted in 440 deaths year-to-date in heavily gun-controlled Chicago,” according to AWR Hawkins, writing in Breitbart.  That is an increase, he said, of approximately 400 shootings over the same time last year.

The Chicago Tribune reported these numbers as part of their broader coverage of the 11 people shot, five killed, over the course of last weekend alone. Half of those wounded were shot on November 22 “between about 12:25 p.m. and 8:40 p.m.” Three of those killed were shot on that same day, between those same hours as well.

It is especially notable that gun control laws have little to do with actual gun violence. Lefties always believe that it’s the guns, not the gangs. It’s the guns, not the drug dealing. And the violence is, of course, to be blamed on bad policing. Because there is gun violence and bad policing, the assumption is that people who are in prison for “non-violent crimes” should be released, because it isn’t fair. I am inclined to believe that selling drugs is a violent crime. At least it does violence to someone else’s life.

Chicago established a “violence tax” at suburban Cook County gun stores in April 2013. The tax is levied on each gun and bullet sold within the county. In 2014, the first full year after the tax, gun deaths increased by 19 over the toll in 2013. As if November 23rd, the Tribune shows 440 deaths with over a month left to go, so  Chicago has already topped 2014, and who knows what December will bring.

Evidence be damned. The Seattle City Council adopted a similar tax on August 10. Gun violence is raging in Seattle, but to the Democrat run  city council the problem is the guns, or the bullets, not who is holding or shooting the weapon. Seattle has suburbs all around the city, and they haven’t, and probably won’t, initiate such a tax. Seattle is similar to Berkeley, with a similarly useless city council.

You can look all around the world, and gun control laws simply do not work. See Australia, Britain, Canada for example.

America has lots of hunters. There are, as of 2011, 10.6 million deer hunters, 1.4 million duck hunters, 3.1 million turkey hunters, and 1.7 million squirrel hunters. Then we have elk, quail, grouse, goose, bear, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and wild pig and other species that are available to hunt in some locations. Where I grew up, a lot of families depended on the fall hunting trip for deer or elk to fill the freezer to get through the winter. Hunters are responsible gun owners and users for the most part, and many of them have several guns.

Criminals are not, but they don’t buy their weapons at gun stores, nor do they pay a tax on each bullet. The police take a very risky job because they believe in keeping the public safe. The “Black Lives Matter” crowd is doing a lot of uncalled for damage to neighborhood policing.

That is not a gun at the top.  It is simply a picture of a hunting rifle.

The Rise and Fall Of American Education

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The Democrats have been trying to end poverty and problems like crime and drugs and lack of education in the black community. After a long history of segregation and slavery, being on the wrong side of the Civil War, they are anxious to make the black community reliable Democrat voters. Thus any black person who leans Republican has become an Uncle Tom, a traitor to his people, and other rhetoric that is even worse. Democrats’ efforts to improve the schools or the educational attainment of black children has been a mixed bag. They consistently focus on the wrong things.

The attempts to improve things have been many, desegregating the schools, busing, classroom amenities, Head Start, and now pre-pre school. Well-to-do families put their kids in pre-school, so that must be the answer. Head Start shows a slight improvement in outcomes which disappear by 3rd grade.

In Washington D.C., there is a program called “Opportunity Scholarships”which provides scholarships to children from low-income families to attend a private school of choice. It operates by a lottery. President George W. Bush signed the program into law in 2004. It targeted 2,000 children from low income families to give them funding to help offset the cost of private schooling, and has been hugely successful and popular.

In 2009, new President Barack Obama ‘s budget proposal cut all funding for the program and included language to prohibit any new students from receiving scholarships. Whether this was simply to attack all things Bush, or at the urging of the teachers’ unions, I don’t know.

In 2011, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senator Joe Lieberman introduced a new Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR), restored funding and allowed new students to participate. Again, in 2012, Obama’s budget proposal did not include new funding for the program. Jason Riley argued that the program cost less per child and had a higher graduation rate than D.C. public schools. A very popular program with parents and students.

Well, never say die. The federal intrusion into schooling continues. There is a push for  pre-kindergarten, or extended babysitting for parents. Tuition-free two years of community college. Entrepreneurship education. Of course Bernie Sanders and Hillary are pushing for free college tuition, without the slightest idea how it could possibly be paid for. Obama demands less testing. Now comes the zinger. America’s national obsession with raising our “educational attainment” level has reached a new height of absurdity.

On November 6, the U.S. Department of Education put out a press release that declared a “sense of urgency about the need for significant improvement in both the rigor and flexibility of accreditation.”

The rationale is that the Obama administration is concerned that the U.S is falling far short of the president’s stated goal of becoming the nation with the highest percentage of citizens holding college degrees by 2020 — 60 percent. The numbers have actually declined slightly.

Schools with poor graduation rates are said to be “failing their students.” The federal government push for “affirmative action” has resulted in minority students enrolling in colleges where under ordinary circumstances they would not qualify for admission, but in a school with lower admission qualifications they might do well. It is meant well, but the results are bad for the schools and bad for the students. The administration fixation on graduation rates ignores the plain fact that we already have a glut of young people with college degrees, and employers are devising harder and harder tests to see if job applicants know anything.

We have an economic problem in that not enough well-paying jobs are being created — because of the actions of the federal government. An excess of regulation, high taxes, and a general suspicion of business have forced many small businesses to give up.  Colleges have designed more easy classes to appeal to kids. I don’t remember who puts out the list of silly college classes every year, but it’s enough to give you nightmares if you care about education.

The current furor on Campuses is an outgrowth. Faculty and administrative inability t0 act like grown-ups and insist on order demonstrates why the students are acting like children. We have a problem, and it’s going to get worse. Businesses will not hire graduates who exhibit no learning. Parents won’t pay for big tuition bills for poor results. The result of a college education is not supposed to be one more tic on the number of college graduates on some national list. It’s supposed to be hard, and they are supposed to have really learned something.

Big Climate Agenda in Paris: What to Expect.

WCS header-0“Next week I will be joining President Hollande and other world leaders in Paris for the Global Climate Conference,” Obama said at a press conference on Tuesday. “What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.” His remarks came a day after the State Department issued a worldwide travel alert urging American citizens not to travel abroad for fear of increased terrorist activity. The travel advisory will expire in February.

The President seems completely sure that climate change is destroying the world, and to preserve it we have to switch to alternate forms of energy and put large amounts of corn into our gas tanks, and in general worship at the altar of pure environmentalism. The opposition are so-called “deniers” who are to be scorned for disagreeing. The problem is that the “global warming” in which the president believes so firmly exists only in the computer programs of the UN’s IPCC. They start with what we actually know about today’s temperatures, add a lot of informed guesses, some ill-informed estimates and  a lot of maybes and what ifs. We’ve had centuries of worry about the winters getting colder or warmer and everything melting. This is not the first time we have been through this. In the 70s they worried about cooling, and nuclear winter.

The so-called “Deniers” (intended to associate with Holocaust Deniers) or Skeptics believe that the climate is always changing, that it has been much warmer in the past, and much colder as well. Man and animal species are adaptable and have successfully adapted to changes. No need for panic.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change has admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity — but to destroy capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

I have no idea if this is Obama’s underlying belief, or if he is a true believer, like Prince Charles and Bill McKibben. The true believers are sure that the drought in Syria is the cause of terrorism, yet scientists say there is no drought. This gets us to the very awkward place where the people cannot agree on reality which is the increasingly common state of affairs between right and left.

There are increasing accusations that The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has cooked the books in a scientific paper which they prepared. They denied that there has been a “pause”  in the warming, which other scientists put at 18 years and 9 months of a quiet sun and no warming. History shows that scientists are not above doctoring the data to further an agenda, and there are very big bucks riding on a warming climate. Climate change activists are begging for the “deniers” to be scared to death to further their goals.

The Obama administration expects to update a controversial standard for ethanol levels in gasoline. Researchers say there is no benefit from including ethanol in gasoline, and it actually increases the CO2 in the atmosphere. The farmers in the Midwest want more ethanol so they can sell more corn at higher prices. The greens want more ethanol because gasoline is evil.

There’s a report from CFact that the Obama administration may be prepared to shut down the entire U.S. government unless Congress appropriates funds for the UN’s “Green Climate Fund.” This fund was created as a mechanism for the transfer of funds from  prosperous nations to  “developing countries.” Naturally the developing countries are anxious to blackmail the prosperous nations into funding their development, and much of UN funds are apt to fall into the outstretched hands of dictators and strongmen. They see no reason to agree to anything unless they get a major payout.

The newest bright idea is a demand for member countries to cut down on meat consumption to help them stem global warming. The livestock sector is responsible for  7.1 GtCO2  a year of greenhouse gas emissions (burps and flatulence), and equivalent to tailpipe emissions from the world’s vehicles. Adoption of a healthy diet (vegetarian) would generate over a quarter of the emission reductions needed by 2050. Raising the price of meat, or removal or subsidies for the livestock sector and substituting ‘plant-based alternatives.’ Uh huh.

The annual UN Conference of the Parties (COP-21) on climate change brings together over 191 countries and over 100 heads of state. Estimates are of around 40,000 in attendance to reach a legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that global temperatures do not rise more than 2 degrees C. over pre-industrial levels. A legally binding treaty would require signatures of 190 or more nations. Unlikely to happen.

There are not 67 supporting votes in the Senate, the Democrats are increasingly unwilling to vote for higher energy costs in an election year. European nations need higher levels of economic growth, and they are currently devastated with a massive influx of refugees and migrants.

Developing countries face real poverty, with need  for potable water, commercial electricity, and cure for diseases. They want a higher standard of living which means the use of fossil fuels. Windmills and solar panels aren’t going to do it.

The pursuit of significant emission reductions represents an agenda of the arrogant and crony capitalists who want to further enrich themselves by promoting subsidies, mandates, and loan guarantees to encourage solar, wind, and electric vehicles—even though these vehicles are not commercially viable and have no near-term prospect of being so.

That’s where we stand right now. Lots of hype and threats, and hard work to sort out reality. Britain is backing off from unworkable climate schemes, and looking to go for fracking to get at the natural gas in their shale deposits. Germany is building more coal-fired power plants, as are Japan, China, and India and all the smaller nations in between. Looks as if Obama is the one who is completely out of step.

EPA’s New Regulations Will Cause Double-Digit Increases in the Cost of Electricity in Most States.

blobThe EPA’s Clean Power Plan is meant to fulfill Obama’s brag about bankrupting the coal industry. Burning coal produces carbon dioxide, which Obama believes to be the cause of global warming which he sees as the greatest threat to mankind, and darn it, he’s just determined to save us all from the horrors of a warming planet. Even NASA has said the 2015 is the warmest year ever, but they came up with those numbers by making up temperatures for the vast areas of South America where there are no temperatures available.

Two new studies by Energy Ventures Analysis and NERA Economic Consulting claim the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will raise electricity prices in every state it covers, with nearly all of them seeing price increases of 10 to 25 percent by the 2030s, which will accomplish nothing, nothing at all.

Forty-six states will face double digit increases in wholesale electricity cost when the CPP is fully implemented in 2030, with 16 states projected to experience a 25+ percent increase,” according to EVA’s report that was done on behalf of the National Mining Association.

NERA’s study found that “40 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 10% or more” and “17 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 20% or more.” Another “10 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 30% or more,” according to NERA’s study, financed by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Many noted scientists believe that the globe is cooling, rather than warming, and shuttering coal-fired power plants may be disastrous in colder parts of the country. Obama’s favored wind turbines are inclined to shut down  when it freezes.

The goal is to achieve a 32 percent reduction in CO2 by 2030. With its usual hubris, the EPA claims the CPP will yield $26 billion to $45 billion in net health and climate benefits from fewer power plants. That will be all the children who didn’t get the asthma they surely would have suffered from if nothing were done. As I keep pointing out, the EPA always goes for asthma, because doctors don’t know the cause.

Republican lawmakers  and dozens of states have warned that any global climate treaty can be undone in the courts. Obama expects to get China and other Asian countries to sign on to his climate change treaty, but China and India, and all the nations in between are building coal-fired power plants as fast as they can be built.They want the benefits of low cost power to grow their economies.

The Germans are turning back to coal fired plants, and the British will likely follow. They have done wind and solar and found them wanting, and now they want out.

Obama sees a planetary disaster, but the American people are not much interested. We have been threatened with disaster for over 20 years, and Americans are not willing to carpool, ride a bike or forego a vacation, In 1980, 0.05 percent of American biked to work. Today 0.06 percent of the people do. (That’s why we built all those expensive bike lanes.) Americans tell pollsters that they care about global warming, but when it comes right down to it — they seem to be pretty dubious.

Affordable power has meant growth and prosperity wherever it is available. Shutting down coal-fired plants will accomplish nothing, nothing at all, except a lot of unemployment and a lot of misery. It will make not the slightest differece in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. A higher cost of electricity will go a long way towards eliminating any growth in the economy. Takes sheer brilliance to accomplish all that.


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