American Elephants


Surprise! Another Clintonian Scandal. This One Is A Big Deal.

140611-hillary_clinton_cantor-1246_b389bd4261f2ead53ddd871648b90ba8Once again, it’s that great political question: Ethics vs. Graft. Each day there are new revelations about Hillary Clinton’s behavior during her tenure as Secretary of State, and after. The questions will continue, and she needs to start answering.

Peter Schweizer’s upcoming book Clinton Cash clearly suggests that Hillary Clinton may have engaged in corrupt behavior while in office. Even  the left-wing media is taking notice of a leading Democrat’s ethical lapses. The New York Times took up the story today headlined:” Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal,” fact checking the Schweizer story. Peter Schweizer is not some obscure right-wing flack, but a noted Scholar at the Hoover Institution, who must be taken seriously. Here’s the gist:

That while Clinton was secretary of state, a federal committee approved the $610 million sale of Wyoming-based uranium mines to Russia’s state atomic energy agency, Rosatom, as it tried to corner the market for the radioactive mineral.

Clinton’s State Department was one of those that approved the deal. That’s not illegal, but there’s a conflict: The chairman of Uranium One, the Canadian company that sold the uranium mines to Russia, was Ian Telfer, who gave $2.4 million to the Clinton Foundation.

That’s not all. The New York Times notes that a Russian investment bank that was behind the deal paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech in Moscow.

It also should be noted that the Wyoming mine is no small operation, and that Rosatom makes nuclear weapons, among other things. So national security is at stake.

There’s more. Beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation told the IRS for three years that it got nothing from foreign or U.S. governments. In previous years, it had reported tens of millions of dollars. Judicial Watch says it has received 126 pages of State Department documents that relate to possible conflicts of interest were the Secretary of State accepted funds from entities linked to Saudi Arabia, China and Iran. among others.

Then there were the questions about Hillary’s emails as Secretary, the private server in her home, and it coincidentally being scrubbed clean. There are questions about Benghazi and why our Ambassador to Libya could not get the security he requested, and questions about what he was doing in Benghazi in the first place and why help never came.

There are going to be lots and lots of questions., but this one looks bad, really bad.

At the Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel notes that the Clintons are predictable. Their consistent lack of ethics and stock response when caught — is a constant.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial “Quid Pro Clinton” says that Democrats who expect Bill and Hillary to change are delusional. Their adventures in the uranium trade recall nothing as much as Tammany Hall’s concept of “honest graft.” James Taranto is funnier.

At Powerline Steven Hayward and each of their lawyers have much to say.

John Podhoretz writing at Commentary points out that this is a wake-up call for the Democrats, but not the one we might expect. The classic Clinton dodges aren’t going to work so well this time, and Democratic party health is an open question. A poll today said that a majority of the American people believe they cannot trust Hillary.



More Trouble at the VA, But it’s a Symptom of an Overgrown Dysfunctional Government

A Veterans Affairs hospital in Beckley, West Virginia switched out patients’ prescribed medications with older drugs to cut costs, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced in a letter to Congress and the White House. The OSC is an independent federal agency that handles claims of whistleblower retaliation and improper personnel practices. They also found the hospital’s pharmacy and therapeutics committee was chaired by a non-physician. All violations of VA Policy and a risk to health and safety.

Many veterans are grappling with mental health issues, and switching medications may well be a big deal. W whistleblower reported on the corner-cutting.

A March report by the Veteran’s Affairs Inspector General found a Hampton VA hospital failed to flag a patient as a suicide risk, despite the patient disclosing suicidal thoughts to both emergency room doctors and the hospital’s mental health clinic. The patient was found dead shortly after of an apparent accidental overdose.

A federal investigation also is under way to determine whether the VA did enough to treat a Des Moines veteran who committed suicide after seeking treatment.

A December review by the Washington Free Beacon of thousands of errors and lapses in treatment at VA hospitals nationwide over the past few years found several similar instances where hospital staff failed to follow up on suicide concerns reported by veterans and their families, sometimes with fatal consequences.

The Washington Post, in an opinion piece asked in their headline “Why Don’t We Just Abolish the VA?

The men and women who serve in the military protect both the United States’ security and its values, including political liberty, free enterprise and individual choice.

How strange, then, that when their time in uniform ends, we thank them for their service and turn them over to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which epitomizes centralized bureaucracy.

There’s the key point — centralized bureaucracy. The article goes on to enumerate a long list of problems that have not been corrected. The author says “it’s a Soviet-style structure, minus the coherence of a one-party state”. Instead the VA answers to 535 members of Congress, after they answer to the VA, and after they answer to the state VA or regional VA or however the chain of command goes.

A hospital in a mid-sized city or even a smaller city will have a wide clientele who will know how well that institution performs, and if it’s not working, if there are big problems —they will get fixed. This is the big mistake of the hard left political class. They assume that things will be better if they are in charge, because their government will be more empathetic, more caring and more efficient — because they went to the right schools and associate with the right people and because they care. The trouble is that they care about having empathy far more than they actually care about things actually working. Socialized medicine does not work, as is clearly demonstrated by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS):

Over 9,000 people die each year needlessly thanks to the unwillingness of Britain’s political classes to embrace public-private partnerships in healthcare, a new report has found. Far from being the “envy of the world”, the report’s authors highlight the fact that the NHS lags behind many European models in terms of outcomes, and that Britain is far from being the only country to provide universal access to healthcare. (emphasis added)

When the Left’s political class wants to take over and nationalize something like health care, we must fight back. They really only want power and to feel good about making you dependent. on them. They want you to keep them in power for fear of losing the “good stuff” they believe they are giving you. If you are paying attention, you will see that they can’t even fix what’s wrong — even after it has been clearly pointed out to them.

Smaller government that does not try to do so much. That’s why we have a Constitution that the Left despises. Hillary has already volunteered that she wants to get rid of the First Amendment. Fewer bureaucracies doing busywork. Fewer unnecessary regulations, or is it really imperative that every pizza parlor prominently display the caloric content of each pizza ingredient?



George Will, Who Was Disinvited, Spoke at the Disinvitation Dinner

The William F. Buckley Program at Yale University, sponsored a “Disinvitation Dinner,” in honor of those who our American universities had invited to speak, and then disinvited because some of our precious students had been frightened by the possibility they might hear some words spoken which disagreed with their own. Excellent idea. The dinner, not the disinvitation. Students are enrolled in our colleges and universities because they don’t know much of anything, a fact of which they need be reminded.

George Will gives an excellent speech that is very funny about the very serious matter of freedom of speech, which is under threat today as never before. Make time for this when you can. You will enjoy every minute.



Climate Panic Through The Years. Unsure About the Cause, But We Were Always Doomed!

Obama is not alone in worrying about the climate. For at least 120 years climate “scientists” have been insisting that the climate was going to fry us with increasing heat, or starve us in a new ice age. This list is from Anthony at Watts Up With That.

  • 1895 Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again New York Times, February 1895
  • 1902 – “Disappearing Glaciers…deteriorating slowly, with a persistency that means their final annihilation…scientific fact…surely disappearing.” – Los Angeles Times
  • 1912 Prof. Schmidt Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice AgeNew York Times, October 1912
  • 1923 – “Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada” – Professor Gregory of Yale University, American representative to the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, – Chicago Tribune
  • 1923 – “The discoveries of changes in the sun’s heat and the southward advance of glaciers in recent years have given rise to conjectures of the possible advent of a new ice age” – Washington Post
  • 1924 MacMillan Reports Signs of New Ice Age New York Times, Sept 18, 1924
  • 1929 – “Most geologists think the world is growing warmer, and that it will continue to get warmer” – Los Angeles Times, in Is another ice age coming?
  • 1932 – “If these things be true, it is evident, therefore that we must be just teetering on an ice age” – The Atlantic magazine, This Cold, Cold World
  • 1933 America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise New York Times, March 27th, 1933
  • 1933 – “…wide-spread and persistent tendency toward warmer weather…Is our climate changing?” – Federal Weather Bureau “Monthly Weather Review.”
  • 1938 – Global warming, caused by man heating the planet with carbon dioxide, “is likely to prove beneficial to mankind in several ways, besides the provision of heat and power.”– Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
  • 1938 – “Experts puzzle over 20 year mercury rise…Chicago is in the front rank of thousands of cities thuout the world which have been affected by a mysterious trend toward warmer climate in the last two decades” – Chicago Tribune
  • 1939 – “Gaffers who claim that winters were harder when they were boys are quite right… weather men have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer” – Washington Post
  • 1952 – “…we have learned that the world has been getting warmer in the last half century” – New York Times, August 10th, 1962
  • 1954 – “…winters are getting milder, summers drier. Glaciers are receding, deserts growing” – U.S. News and World Report
  • 1954 Climate – the Heat May Be OffFortune Magazine
  • 1959 – “Arctic Findings in Particular Support Theory of Rising Global Temperatures” – New York Times
  • 1969 – “…the Arctic pack ice is thinning and that the ocean at the North Pole may become an open sea within a decade or two” – New York Times, February 20th, 1969
  • 1969 – “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000″ — Paul Ehrlich (while he now predicts doom from global warming, this quote only gets honorable mention, as he was talking about his crazy fear of overpopulation)
  • 1970 – “…get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters – the worst may be yet to come…there’s no relief in sight” – Washington Post
  • 1974 – Global cooling for the past forty years – Time Magazine
  • 1974 – “Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age” – Washington Post
  • 1974 – “As for the present cooling trend a number of leading climatologists have concluded that it is very bad news indeed” – Fortune magazine, who won a Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics for its analysis of the danger
  • 1974 – “…the facts of the present climate change are such that the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty to major crop failure…mass deaths by starvation, and probably anarchy and violence” – New York Times

Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age

  • 1975 Scientists Ponder Why World’s Climate is Changing; A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be InevitableNew York Times, May 21st, 1975
  • 1975 – “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind” Nigel Calder, editor, New Scientist magazine, in an article in International Wildlife Magazine
  • 1976 – “Even U.S. farms may be hit by cooling trend” – U.S. News and World Report
  • 1981 – Global Warming – “of an almost unprecedented magnitude” – New York Times
  • 1988 – I would like to draw three main conclusions. Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements. Number two, the global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect. And number three, our computer climate simulations indicate that thegreenhouse effect is already large enough to begin to effect the probability of extreme events such as summer heat waves. – Jim Hansen, June 1988 testimony before Congress, see His later quote and His superior’s objection for context
  • 1989 -“On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” – Stephen Schneider, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Discover magazine, October 1989
  • 1990 – “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing – in terms of economic policy and environmental policy” – Senator Timothy Wirth
  • 1993 – “Global climate change may alter temperature and rainfall patterns, many scientists fear, with uncertain consequences for agriculture.” – U.S. News and World Report
  • 1998 – No matter if the science [of global warming] is all phony . . . climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” —Christine Stewart, Canadian Minister of the Environment, Calgary Herald, 1998
  • 2001 – “Scientists no longer doubt that global warming is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible.” – Time Magazine, Monday, Apr. 09, 2001
  • 2003 – Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels,” shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration” – Jim Hansen, NASA Global Warming activist, Can we defuse The Global Warming Time Bomb?, 2003
  • 2006 – “I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” — Al Gore, Grist magazine, May 2006
  • 2006 – “It is not a debate over whether the earth has been warming over the past century. The earth is always warming or cooling, at least a few tenths of a degree…” — Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT
  • 2006 – “What we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes. It is always…warming or cooling, it’s never stable. And if it were stable, it would actually be interesting scientifically because it would be the first time for four and a half billion years.” —Philip Stott, emeritus professor of bio-geography at the University of London
  • 2006 – “Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling and warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping time periods. From 1895 until the 1930’s the media peddled a coming ice age. From the late 1920’s until the 1960’s they warned of global warming. From the 1950’s until the 1970’s they warned us again of a coming ice age. This makes modern global warming the fourth estate’s fourth attempt to promote opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years.” – Senator James Inhofe, Monday, September 25, 2006
  • 2007– “I gave a talk recently (on fallacies of global warming) and three members of the Canadian government, the environmental cabinet, came up afterwards and said, ‘We agree with you, but it’s not worth our jobs to say anything.’ So what’s being created is a huge industry with billions of dollars of government money and people’s jobs dependent on it.” – Dr. Tim Ball, Coast-to-Coast, Feb 6, 2007
  • 2008 – “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress” – Dr. John S. Theon, retired Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program at NASA, see above for Hansen quotes

Section updated by Anthony:

  • 2009Climate change: melting ice will trigger wave of natural disasters. Scientists at a London conference next week will warn of earthquakes, avalanches and volcanic eruptions as the atmosphere heats up and geology is altered. Even Britain could face being struck by tsunamis – “Not only are the oceans and atmosphere conspiring against us, bringing baking temperatures, more powerful storms and floods, but the crust beneath our feet seems likely to join in too,” – Professor Bill McGuire, director of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre, at University College London, – The Guardian, Sep 2009.
  • 2010What Global Warming Looks Like. It was more than 5°C (about 10°F) warmer than climatology in the eastern European region including Moscow. There was an area in eastern Asia that was similarly unusually hot. The eastern part of the United States was unusually warm, although not to the degree of the hot spots in Eurasia. James HansenNASA GISS, August 11, 2010.
  • 2011Where Did Global Warming Go? “In Washington, ‘climate change’ has become a lightning rod, it’s a four-letter word,” said Andrew J. Hoffman, director of the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Sustainable Development.   – New York Times, Oct 15, 2011.

  • 2012Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists. “This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University’s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London. Reuters, Mar 26, 2012
  • 2013Global-warming ‘proof’ is evaporating.  The 2013 hurricane season just ended as one of the five quietest years since 1960. But don’t expect anyone who pointed to last year’s hurricanes as “proof” of the need to act against global warming to apologize; the warmists don’t work that way. New York Post, Dec 5, 2013
  • 2014  – Climate change: It’s even worse than we thought.  Five years ago, the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painted a gloomy picture of our planet’s future. As climate scientists gather evidence for the next report, due in 2014, Michael Le Page gives seven reasons why things are looking even grimmer. – New Scientist (undated in 2014)



Earth Day, 2015. A Day Like All Days, Except With More Platitudes and Recycling.

Rampart-Ridge-Trail-2754137063_fc8ff44f7d-e1274916807446
For Earth Day: The late Michael Crichton on the intoxicating vanity of man
destroying or saving the planet.

You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There’s been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away — all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time.

It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. Might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It’s powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. You think this is the first time that’s happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive gas, like fluorine.

When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. Hundred years ago we didn’t have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we’re gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.

From the prologue to Crichton’s two-volume book Jurassic Park and Congo, via Mark Perry.



A New Species of Frog Has Been Found in Puerto Rico. No, Not Kermit, the Other One.
April 21, 2015, 10:58 pm
Filed under: A New Species, Glass Frog | Tags: , , , ,

Kermit_CREDIT2

A new species of glass frog has been discovered in Puerto Rico that looks remarkably like our friend Kermit. They are called “glass frogs” because they are so transparent that you can see their organs inside their skin.

Just a reminder that there are many things undiscovered on this remarkable earth. They have just decided that the sage grouse is no longer endangered, but it’s sub-species might be. The record of “endangered species” is a little fuzzy. It’s very hard to tell if the species exists only here, but not over there. Small numbers in one place don’t mean there aren’t more over on the other side of the mountain.

Very often the problem is a specific predator which has multiplied. Or it’s a simple matter of miscounting. Extinct species have been discovered to be thriving in another location. It is complicated, and environmentalists lie. Fear of an endangered species going extinct brings more funding into environmentalist group coffers. They have always counted on especially appealing species like harp seals and polar bears to bring in the money.

Yet how amazing that a tiny new frog has been discovered, and how would anyone know if it went extinct? They could be hiding anywhere. Cute little fellows though. If he didn’t look so much like Kermit, you’d never hear about it. Which says something about our society.



Hillary, Searching for a Political Advantage, Takes On Fortune 500 CEOs , Who She Thinks Make Too Much Money!

hillary clinton

The news today seems to be mostly about Hillary, and about income and wealth distribution. But I repeat myself. The phrase that sticks in my mind from Hillary supporters goes something like “Don’t you want a really powerful woman to be our next president?” Well, no. And Hillary is not a “powerful woman.” She’s a celebrity — famous for being famous. Powerful women are deemed to be powerful based on their accomplishments. We can all recite a number of Hillary’s scandals, but accomplishments are harder to come up with.

(Reuters) – Hillary Clinton, under pressure from the left-wing of her Democratic Party to aggressively campaign against income inequality, voiced concern about the hefty paychecks of some corporate executives in an email to supporters.

Striking a populist note, Clinton, who announced on Sunday she was running for president in 2016, said American families were still facing financial hardship at a time “when the average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes.

That’s an old phony statistic derived from an ABC News article citing a 2009 study, comparing the income from the CEOs of S&P 500 companies (which are only a part of the largest companies in the country, many of which are privately owned). And who is the average worker? Does this compare union longshoremen in west coast ports with McDonalds workers? Is the comparison with average workers in those S&P 500 companies? This is a favorite theme of the left, trying to drum up class envy and then promising to help everyone on the lower end. They talk a lot about income inequality. What they don’t talk about is human nature.

Some people are born with the proverbial silver spoon in their pampered lives. Some people desperately want to be rich, really rich. Hillary charges $300,000 a speech for a half-hour of platitudes, often to Universities who are sticking kids with huge student-loan bills. She adds on amenities due to one in her position. Some people would like to make a little more, but prefer a life that is not centered on a drive for money. They value other things in life more.

What amazes me is that Hillary’s life has been centered on becoming the first woman president. I simply don’t understand that kind of goal. Hillary has been in the public eye for 23 years. One would assume that she would have some pretty definite ideas about what she would want to accomplish as president. Apparently not. She is being urged to champion income inequality by supporters of Elizabeth Warren who like Warren’s attacks on big banks.

Most first ladies have had a philanthropic cause that they champion, though there is no formal need to do so. Laura Bush championed books and reading as a former librarian. Lady Bird Johnson chose highway beautification. There are a number of websites that tell the story of the President’s wives and their accomplishments. You can look up Hillary.

We are always fascinated by the lives of the very rich (consider Downton Abbey and the struggle to maintain that great architectural pile and avoid bankruptcy). Most people who appear on the Forbes 500 move off the list within a few years, and most people who are among the poor move up. The top 20% of the income pile pay 85% of all taxes. The bottom 20% don’t pay any taxes and are subsidized with 2.3% of national income.

Think of the kid who gets his first real job and moves out of his parents’ home. Shares an apartment, eats lots of Top Ramen and macaroni and cheese. As he gains experience and skills, he moves up. In a bad economy some move back into the parents’ home. Most of us have known someone whose drive to make money trumps everything else. Or there are those who choose to marry money. Or musicians who work dumb jobs to support their music, hoping to someday make it pay. That’s real life. It’s all very well to cite data, but real human beings are not data. Life happens.There is such a thing as luck. Some people fall into a situation where their abilities and ideas are highly valued, and some people get fired.

Real people are not statistics. Statistics and data can tell us some things, but they are not very useful in describing human nature. Some people are sure they can regulate social justice, make everything fair, end poverty, stop crime, end wars. Life doesn’t work that way. On the whole, poverty is declining everywhere. Capitalism and free markets are making everyone’s lives better, while at the same time religious fanatics are chopping off heads and throwing people into the ocean to drown because they believe in a different religion. If you don’t understand human nature in all its strengths and flaws and go on a fevered crusade to pretend to make everybody equal — it’s not going to work out too well for real people.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,037 other followers

%d bloggers like this: