American Elephants


If You Cannot Believe What You Are Told, You Have Lost Your Freedom.

Lies matter. If you cannot believe what you are told, it changes your life for the worse. Kevin Williamson had an excellent column on Sunday about the real price of lies. He said “There can be no free society without trust.”And he’s right. He begins with U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen who was deliberately lied to by Obama’s lawyers acting for the president in the matter of Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty program.

More than that, I suspect that is a big part of what is wrong with the dysfunctional societies of the Middle East. They are societies built on lies and distrust, but that is true to one extent or another on all dictatorial societies. Americans’ First Amendment rights are the envy of the free world, but other nations have found such rights too scary to adopt in full. Remember that those rights came in an amendment. The Constitution did not fully protect the rights Americans believed that they should have.

Increasingly, we are coming up against a culture of lies. The Obama administration’s push for more bureaucratic control is in direct opposition to our freedoms. The belief that a government run by those who have confidence that they are smarter than the  rest of us is not quite what the framers had in mind.

We are slowly learning that our  president frames his comments  in terms to flatter himself. Naturally, to mark the 5th anniversary of ObamaCare, its backers used the occasion to congratulate themselves on its many successes. Investors took the occasion to point out the five biggest told about ObamaCare:

  1. In many ways, it’s working better than anticipated.” That was the president himself. We know the whoppers— the $2500 everybody was going to save on their premiums went up instead. You weren’t able to keep your plan or your doctor, and were forced to find something new and less favorable or in many cases much worse. Enrollment is less than expected and the government is lying about the numbers. It is costing many their jobs, covering fewer uninsured, and hurting part-time and low wage workers.
  2. It has slowed the increase in heath cost increases to the lowest rate in 50 years.” Health care costs have been going down steadily since before ObamaCare, as new drugs, new diagnostic techniques and new organizations have improved. ObamaCare has little to do with the decreases.
  3. Sixteen million have gained insurance thanks to ObamaCare.” This is not a credible estimate, but based on a dubious analysis of a Gallup survey of the uninsured.
  4. The law has been a boon to the economy The economy appears to be growing, but the growth is hard to find. Annual growth in real GDP since ObamaCare became law has averaged just 2.2%—the weakest recovery since the Great Depression. Job growth has been poor, and much of it has gone to immigrants. Household income is way below  pre-recession levels.
  5. Its helping reduce the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office has stopped trying to figure out what ObamaCare’s impact on the deficit will be because there are too many moving parts. The administration has made improper changes to the law, lawsuits are in the courts, and a lot of things just aren’t working. The long term forecast is bleak.

Obama sold the law to the public on false promises, it was passed by Congress using legislative tricks and back-room bribery. It has never won public support. Emergency room use is up, not down. People on Medicaid cannot find doctors. Computerizing everything has only made patient records available to anyone, changed the practice of medicine so that doctors are interacting with computers instead of patients, and completely failed to connect hospital communities across the country.

It has been a disastrous program for the American people, and its flaws are both predictable and immune to fixing by tinkering. The Left will not give up on it because they hope to change it completely into a single-payer plan, the mother of all failed health care systems.



About the Coming Catastrophe: It’s Not the Climate!

Fear of catastrophic climate change exists only in computer models which are used to predict the future on the basis of not very much real knowledge. That we don’t really know very much about earthly climate should be obvious from all the controversy.

The earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, well before we discovered the use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age was the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, and it was warmer than today. That was a period when humanity thrived. Before that were the Dark Ages, and before than the Roman Warming. Humanity has been pretty successful at adapting to change. Why is it only now that we fear change as a portent of disaster? Too many end if the world scenarios in the movies?

The idea that it would be catastrophic if carbon-dioxide were to increase and average global temperatures were to rise a few degrees is just silly. And there is no evidence whatsoever that the climate will become drastically warmer, or that the sea will rise by feet rather than millimeters. None.

A new scientific study by Bjorn Stevens of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany published in the American Meteorological Society Journal—finds the effect of aerosols on climate are much smaller that those in almost all of the computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Aerosols are the minute particles added to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels (as well as by non-anthropogenic sources, like volcanoes). The reason they are important is that they are so often cited by alarmists to excuse the awkward fact that the world has stubbornly failed to warm at the disastrous rate they predicted it would.”

A NASA expert in 2009 said:

Using climate models, we estimate that aerosols have masked about 50 percent of the warming that would otherwise have been caused by greenhouse gases trapping heat near the surface of the Earth.

There was a lack of global warming, a cooling period, between 1940 and 1970 (ice age?) when there was increased industrialization and extra man-made CO².  Aerosols have been used to explain the lack of warming.

The new Stevens paper has been called a “game changer” by one expert in the field — Nic Lewis.

According to the IPCC’s models, the effect of aerosols on the climate could be as much as 4.5 degrees. The Stevens paper says this is a big overestimate and the reduction they effect on temperature cannot be more than 1.8 degrees C. If the cooling effects of aerosols is much smaller than the IPCC thinks, then the rise in global temperatures that can be attributed to man-made CO² is much smaller than the alarmist computer models acknowledge.

The terrestrial temperature measuring stations have been shown to vastly overestimate warming as well, for many are improperly sited next to air-conditioner exhausts, walls that reflect heat, trash burners, next to asphalt parking lots — all locations that artificially raise the heat measurement on the thermometers.

Satellite measurement began about 1980, I think. The climate models are unable to predict the present climate when we know what it is. Mankind has always wanted to predict the future, but I don’t know that it’s any better now than when they were tossing bones, or reading tea leaves. Lord knows they’ve tried, especially with financial markets.  The models devised for predicting the future of the stock market were, I believe I read, the original source for the climate models. Any successful predictions are apt to be just lucky guesses, otherwise we wouldn’t have Las Vegas, nor a Lottery, nor losses on the stock market. We are not meant to know the future,but to be wise enough to prepare for what might be.

 



The California Governor’s “Crusade” to Stop Climate Change

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California Governor Jerry Brown, speaking Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was “unfit” to run for the presidency  because of his views on climate change.

That man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of the existing scientific data,” he said. “It’s shocking, and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office.”

Brown said that there should be urgency to deal with climate change.”I think this almost has to be at the level of a crusade.”

Host Chuck Todd asked if California’s four-year drought was directly attributable to climate change, but then the climate zealot responded “Well they say the scientists know more about it, but I will tell you this. There is research that says there is a connection between the current drought and the extreme weather in the east and other parts of the world. The UN has said that 40% of the world is suffering from a water shortage.”

But somehow the cold and record snow levels in eastern cities like Boston have persuaded the governor that the planet is heating up?

Well what I mentioned is to particularize a particular storm or absence of rain in a given week, you can’t tie that into the buildup of the presence of carbon dioxide, methane and other green house gasses. We know there is some connection and we know that this drought is just the kind of things that are absolutely inevitable that in the coming years and decades. And it builds up slowly. That’s the challenge. And it becomes irreversible.

Uh huh, but there is no time for delay in combating climate change. He continued:

So you can’t just sit around and engage in rhetoric, because some of your donors and your constituents say ‘We want to make profit.’ The coal companies are not as important as the people of America and the people of the world. I think that this has to be almost at the level of a crusade to whip people up and take the steps intelligently, carefully, and nevertheless forcefully from this point going forward.

That is the voice of a zealot who gets what little information he has from leftist talking points, and turns it into matters of faith. He believes. He has never been interested enough to investigate and see what the scientists are saying and writing; nor has he any idea what his “crusade” could possibly consist of. Will banning fracking end the mild winters? Will eating less meat bring more rain and snow to fill the reservoirs? Will shutting down all the coal-fired power plants do anything except make people in colder areas freeze to death?

How about refraining from flushing all the Sacramento River water out to the ocean to save the river smelt, a tiny bait fish of no use to anyone? That might help the drought in the great Central Valley. You could raise the cost of water to encourage more careful use. How many water features are there in the California desert golf resorts anyway?

He’s done a marvelous job of sending California’s businesses, residents and jobs to other states, especially Texas. And he’s replaced the fleeing residents with illegal aliens, and making them comfortable with drivers licenses and welfare subsidies.

And just think what he could do with the funds that are designated for his high-speed rail connection between San Francisco and Los Angeles that is slower and cheaper than a flight. That line will not be completed for eighty years, when we’ll all be traveling by driverless vehicles on programmed roadways or pneumatic tubes or something.



Unearned Moral Superiority: Liberals , Progressives and Collectivists Are Not Good People. They Fight Dirty.

This is a post saved from 2013. Bill Whittle addresses the Western Conservative Summit in Colorado, with some instructions on how to deal with progressives. A lesson in which we all need a refresher.



“Let’s Make a Deal” vs. “Of Course, yes, Death to America”

436c1a3e-ef75-4fcc-8820-11966b177712We have a bit of a hiatus in the nuclear arms talks with Iran, for the Persian New Year (Nowruz) on Thursday. And then for the weekend. because President Rouhani’s mother died.

President Obama released a happy Nowruz video timed for the celebration, and urged Iran’s  people to push the regime in Tehran to agree to the “reasonable deal” that he is offering the on its nuclear weapons program.

“Iran’s leaders have a choice between two paths,” Mr. Obama says on the video. They can accept his deal, or stay on “a path that has isolated Iran, and the Iranian people, from so much of the world, caused so much hardship for Iranian families, and deprived so many young Iranians of the jobs and opportunities they deserve.”

Obama is clearly hoping that young Iranians have forgotten how in June 2009, he met their appeals for support when they were protesting the election stolen from them by then President Ahmadinejad and the mullahs. Young Iranians took to the streets in huge numbers and they were ruthlessly crushed. When the violence became too bloody to ignore, Obama did say he was “deeply troubled.” His message was not really for young people who have no influence, but about the March 31 deadline for a deal.

Supreme leader Ali Khamenei responded “Of course yes, death to America because America is the original source of this pressure. They insist on putting pressure on our dear people’s economy” he said, referring to economic sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear  program. “What is their goal? Their goal is to put the people against the system. The politics of America is to create insecurity,” he added.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that “France wants an agreement, but a robust agreement. That is to say, an accord that really guarantees that Iran can obviously have access to the civil nuclear (program.)”  “But to the atomic bomb? No.”

French diplomats have been urging their counterparts not to give in on key elements, like easing sanctions before serious progress is made, and arguing that the March 31 deadline was an “artificial” deadline.

Officials said the Obama administration is looking for a deal that commits Iran to a 40 percent cut in the numbers of centrifuges used to enrich. They want a deal that stretches the time Tehran would need to make a nuclear weapon from the present two or three months to a least a whole year.

That’s their goal?

The break-even price for Iranian oil is somewhere in the vicinity of $130 a barrel. Iran subsidizes gasoline for its citizens. How far can they go in deficit spending?

According to MEMRI, Ali Shirazi, the representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps elite Qods Force promised at a Feb. 26 ceremony attended by the families of martyrs that:

We will not rest until we have raised the banner of Islam over the White House. The Islamic nation is determined to enter the arena with all its force, backed by Allah’s will and his grace, and to stand fast against the world of arrogance. They will not suppress us with sanctions and threats. You did not succeed in harming the regime on the day it emerged, and now that the regime is 36 years old, you, the enemies of Islam, must expect and realize that every day [you] will be beaten, across the world.

Myron Magnet, City Journal’s editor-at-large reminds us of the history of Jimmy Carter ‘s dealings with Iran, and offers another historical remembrance:

So now President Obama wants to make an agreement that will ensure that Iran can produce an atom bomb essentially overnight. He has not seen fit to explain his reasoning to the American people, and it is hard to imagine what it might be. But all I can think of is Churchill’s rebuke to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain when he returned from his infamous appeasement of Hitler in Munch in 1938. “You were given the choice between war and dishonor,” Churchill thundered in Parliament. “You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” Certainly President Obama is choosing dishonor. What kind of war he might unleash, the world watches with dread.

In an important Wall Street Journal piece, Douglas Feith adds:

Iranian leaders have a long record of shameless dishonesty. Their aid to the tyrannical Assad regime has been massive since the Syrian civil war began, but they routinely deny it. And they make a practice of lying to United Nations weapons inspectors. Commenting on how the inspectors have repeatedly been surprised by what Iran hides, Olli Heinonen, former deputy director-general of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, told this newspaper in 2013, “If there is no undeclared installation today . . . it will be the first time in 20 years that Iran doesn’t have one.”



The Prediction Was That the Manatees Are Doomed

manatees1From Don Surber, “The Scorekeeper

The prediction from The Save The Manatees Club:

“Perhaps the most challenging obstacle that manatees will face with a changing climate is a lack of financial resources dedicated to the protection of this species. As human priorities shift to disaster reduction, concern for wildlife may decrease, and agency funding may shift away from individual species.”

The Reality, the population of Manatees is Up 25%

The Tampa Times reported that : Researchers counted a record numbers of manatees in Florida’s warm inland waters this winter, with the robust population numbers serving as ammunition in the simmering war over whether to restrict human interaction with the sea cows. The Feb. 20 tally, conducted by a team of 20 observers from 11 organizations, counted 6,063 manatees in Florida, 3,333 along the east coast and 2,730 on the west coast. The total is about 25 percent more than were counted last year.

From Dr. Katie Tripp, Director of Science and Conservation, Save the Manatee Club:

Imagine a Florida where the coral reefs have dissolved, droughts are the norm, humans are abandoning multi million dollar coastal homes and retreating inland, daily high tides flood the streets of coastal cities and neighborhoods, and exotic species outnumber natives. Climate change could make this scenario a reality for the sunshine state, with some impacts being observed within as few as 10 years.

The global warming crowd is, as usual, completely wrong. It’s the “We’re Doomed” crowd, always ready to claim a coming catastrophe.

Always ready to create an organization dedicated to collecting funding and doing feel-good publicity, but never interested enough to actually study the science.

The polar bears are also increasing nicely.



The World Crisis of a Nuclear Iran: They May Already Be There.

Iran-Military-Chief-AP

Here’s your chilling paragraph for today:

Suspected for years of plotting to dismantle the U.S. electric grid, American officials have confirmed that Iranian military brass have endorsed a nuclear electromagnetic pulse explosion that would attack the country’s power system.

American defense experts made the discovery while translating a secret Iranian military handbook, raising new concerns about Tehran’s recent nuclear talks with the administration.

In the article was a link to the website of Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) with the headline “Franks Launches Caucus to Address EMP Threat, Introduces “SHIELD Act,” which seemed a positive step, but then I noticed the date was February 16, 2011 — 5 years ago!

So I went to the congressman’s website, and apparently he has just introduced another bill, “encouraged by last year’s unanimous House vote.” So was this one of those bills that Harry Reid tabled to be sure no one had a chance to vote for it? As with all congressional offices, they don’t want to hear from you if you don’t live in their district.

A further search turned up an article written by Dr. Peter Vincent Fry, Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both Congressional Advisory Boards. Senior advisers to President Reagan warned that Iran has nuclear capability already:

“Iran should be regarded by national security decision makers as a nuclear missile state capable of posing an existential threat to the United States and its allies.”

“Iran has orbited four satellites, some weighing over one ton, demonstrating it can deliver a nuclear weapon anywhere. Iran has been secretly working on nuclear weapons for over twenty (20) years.

…The IAEA has also repeatedly warned that it has only partial access to Iran’s nuclear program and does not know what is going on in several underground facilities suspected of nuclear weapons development. …

Thus, Iran with a small number of nuclear missiles can by EMP attack threaten the existence of modernity and be the death knell for Western principles of international law, humanism and freedom.  For the first time in history, a failed state like Iran could destroy the most successful societies on Earth and convert an evolving benign world order into world chaos.”

Barbarism, he says, can triumph over civilization without war. The capability to make an EMP attack, means Iran can inflict Assured Destruction on the United States using a single warhead, cancels all the credibility of U.S. security guarantees. Iran with nuclear missiles is a world crisis comparable to Islamic conquests during the Dark Ages, the rise of Nazi Germany, or the Soviet threat during the Cold War.

It’s a long article, but you should read the whole thing. And  you might do what you can to get your congressional representatives moving on this. Iran does not need an agreement. Why are they stringing the president along?




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