American Elephants


Gov. Inslee Wants to Save Us From Global Warming With a New Carbon Tax! by The Elephant's Child

While everyone’s attention was consumed with the Parkland, Florida shooting, we apparently had a visit from former Secretary of State John Kerry to advocate for our Washington governor Jay Inslee’s bright idea of a carbon tax.  Stupid tax, and extremely bad timing. The vote on the school levy here in King County was on Tuesday, the 13th. Don’t know how that has turned out yet, but it is close. They wanted lots of money to build new schools and give all the kids their own laptops. The following day, the new property tax bills arrived. Don’t try to tell anyone that those dates were an innocent accident. Adding another huge tax may seem like a good idea to the Democrats who always like higher taxes, but there are limits. The beautiful state of Washington is following California down the drain.

At the request of Gov. Jay Inslee, former US. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the state Capitol on Tuesday Feb. 13, to advocate for the governor’s proposed carbon tax.

Flanked by Inslee and several prominent Democratic lawmakers outside of the Capitol Legislative Building, Kerry Argued that, in the absence of action on climate change from President Donald Trump, states such as Washington need to independently pursue carbon-pricing  systems and investments in sustainable energy. “Washington has an opportunity to lead here and I can tell you that, as a former Secretary of State of our country, that the world is looking to the United States, the world believes in us and in what we’re trying to do” Kerry said.

The climate of the Earth has been changing for millennia. We have had warm periods and ice ages. The only place where there is dangerous carbon buildup making the climate warm alarmingly is in the computer programs of the climate ‘scientists’ who got new labs and assistants from government grants as a result of their computer results.

Unfortunately, we still can’t predict the future, and the Earth seems to be cooling slightly at present. Please pause and watch this video from Dr. William Happer, one of our most distinguished climate scientists.

Carbon dioxide, which we exhale, has increased slightly and caused a great greening of the earth. Better crops, forest growth, fewer starving people, fewer dying children. The polar bears are just fine and multiplying nicely. Consult Dr. Susan Crockford, expert on all things polar bear, excluding the goofy costumes worn by lefties at climate get-togethers.

Governors have been assisted over the years since 2008 or 09 by the guidance of the Center for Climate Strategies. I copied this bit down back in 2009:

You ration energy use and coerce the public into major lifestyle modification and we’ll help you to inflate your reputation with media attention and praise as a pragmatist.

They came from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, offering software and training for quantification. tool kits, online resources, case studies, fact books, policy and practice manuals and guides on approaches. They added access to a professional network of peers list serves, newsletters, conferences, workshops and training workshops for staff and elected officials to implement long term emission reduction strategies and notice of grant opportunities.

The cities got CCP—Cities for Climate Protection, advocating a 20¢ tax on paper and plastic shopping bags (failed) to generate $10 million for the city to take effect 1/1/09.

I don’t know if they are still around and advising the governor and the City of Seattle, but they were in 2009. I have seen no signs that anyone in governance in our state is out there studying up on climate science, nor anyone even vaguely interested in just why President Trump would dare to ban our participation in the revered Paris Climate Accords. The answer is quite simple. At the end of the next 100 years the change in climate due to the Paris Climate Accords would be completely negligible.  But they were never intended to make a difference to the climate, only to transfer money from the rich nations to the poor, and promote world government.

You have probably noticed that those who advocate controlled borders and effective immigration laws are now referred to as “Nativists” and “Nationalists” and even more derogatory epithets. They seem to have declared war on us. At some point we should probably wake up and take notice.

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Planning for A Self-Driving Future? by The Elephant's Child

Our local throwaway newspaper arrived today with an article about our city and autonomous vehicles. Traffic is a major problem in most cities, and governments have no idea how to solve it. So of course they are planning.

Experts in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology say the path forward requires city and state leaders to be proactive, making changes to local roadways, infrastructure, and legislation.

Our city, it seems is right on top of the question, and paving the way to accommodate the impact of replacing human drivers. The governor has signed an executive order allowing for easier testing and operation of self-driving cars. Our city is very technology friendly, it seems. Without going into all the radar system, detecting of objects, fiber optic stuff, I find that they are looking down the road and noticing that we have major transportation problems right now, mostly caused by big ideas from local and state governments.

They are looking down the road to a day when nobody will own a car. This seems to be an interim step to the flying car stage. There are shuttles now that are fully autonomous and will carry six people seated and six people standing. (See, we just got rid of six to 12 cars). They are envisioning a city  of solely ACES technology (Autonomous, Connected Electric and Shared) vehicles. This, they believe will allow all those parking lots and parking garages to become residential. When you need a vehicle, you will just summon one and it will pop over and take you where you want to go. Amazon, I guess, will deliver whatever else you need.

I’m leaving out six columns of excitement for the future, but this is what the Left has been talking about for years. Stuff all the people into high rise cities, and turn the rest of the country into wilderness parkland, saving the environment you know. It would seem that there is to be not much freedom in the future. They always ignore the real people out there. People who work have errands. We even have a new and apparently thriving doggy day care center where you can drop your dogs off for the day, but have to be picked up on the way home. One kid at daycare, another in elementary school, need groceries, have to get to the hardware store sometime soon, books to return to the library, pick up the dry cleaning. That sort of thing.

How does a small fleet of city-owned AV cars deal with a city full of people who want to go somewhere on the weekend? Do you have to reserve a car months ahead? If you like to hike or fish? If population growth is a problem, why are they not talking about building up some of the small cities or dying towns that could use more business and jobs and growth? Cities don’t want to get smaller or even stay the same. Growth is hardwired in. Every legislator wants to be in charge of more and become more important. We don’t do a very good job of planning for the future, and we aren’t much good at learning from history. Look at all the millennials out there trying to erase the parts of history they don’t like. Some high school just banned (once again) Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird.

So what happens when Amazon delivers everything and we have an EMP attack frying the grid, electric vehicles don’t run, and America starves to death in a massive famine? I think I read some science fiction novels along those lines a while back. This is all idle speculation of course, very idle. Do you worry about stuff like this?



Why Is Infrastructure Always “Crumbling?” by The Elephant's Child

President Donald Trump announced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan at the State of the Union speech on  January 30. But he had earlier revealed a price tag of $1.7 trillion at a meeting with about a hundred mayors of major American cities. The mayors were excited. Mr. Trump said he wanted all of the projects funded by his plan to be “on time and under budget.”

My question was “what is infrastructure?” Are we talking about the power grid? Concern about EMP attacks? The interstate highways? Airports? The president was complaining about our airports back during the campaign. What infrastructure is the responsibility of the federal government and what is the responsibility of the states or those cities? When thinking about “infrastructure” do people think beyond their own familiar potholes?

Why does it always come with the modifier “crumbling”? We have all sorts of big projects going on all over the country to improve transportation, or other things one would probably identify as “infrastructure”— California has a big high speed rail to nowhere that just keeps costing more and more and going nowhere, that nobody seems to want except Jerry Brown.

We have Light Rail here that nobody wants and seems to be a massive boondoggle. It is building across a floating bridge, and nobody seems to know if that will work. They have added what we call “Lexus Lanes” to the freeways where you have to pay a hefty sum to use them and that has screwed up traffic in the rest of the lanes. Our traffic is nothing to write home about. (Better they should have given trucks and buses their own lane.) In DC I think I read that freeway tolls are over $40  for a single trip. No wonder they are back to talking about flying cars.

Obama was going to accomplish great things with his infrastructure project, but he ran into the “shovel ready” problem, and he simply did not know or understand the problems with permitting and environmental regulations, how long they took and how involved they were. The  Transcontinental Railroad took railroad companies six years to lay 1,907 miles of track, tunneling through mountains at one foot a day, building bridges, all mostly by hand.

California’s bullet train is still slowly building and the new deadline is 2025 for high speed rail from San Francisco to San Diego. The old deadline was 2018, but the first leg will only run from  Madera to Shafter, a small town north of Bakersfield. This was the most “shovel ready”stretch when the Obama administration was passing out stimulus funds. The original plan was for 800 miles of high-speed rail up and running by 2020. It will be only very slightly faster than an airline flight if its ever finished. The project’s lead just announced another $2.9 billion increase in costs for the first 119-mile stretch, mostly for land acquisition. Voters approved the project back when it was estimated to cost $40 billion, and a one-way ticket from San Francisco to LA  was expected to be $55. The most recent estimate is $64 Billion and they are talking about routing it through Silicon Valley for obvious reasons.

Elon Musk is still messing around with his hyperloop project, with some success with his models. His greatest expertise seems to be his ability to get governments to subsidize his ideas. Across the country, many cities are engaged in big transportation projects, and I don’t have an impression of many successes.

I went to Google to see what I could find about Obama’s stimulus,  the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In general, Democrats thought it was a great success, but were a little thin on explanations of what it accomplished. Since I’m a right-leaning crank, I consulted the Hoover Institution and John B. Taylor and John F. Cogan explained that “more than $1 trillion in federal-deficit spending did little or nothing to help the economy, because it was used to pay down debts and reduce borrowing.”

At Fox News, John R. Lott said that “the states hardest hit received the least money. States with higher bankruptcy, foreclosure and unemployment rates got less money. And lower-income states also received less. It looks like Democrats ended up helping their supporters, including unions and many very wealthy supporters.”

It’s easy to get politicians all enthusiastic about big projects that can crown their term with achievement. Think about Eisenhower’s transcontinental highways, or Hoover Dam. It’s very tempting. Obama’s high speed rail fantasy has led to Jerry Brown’s train to nowhere and apparently to the deadly derailment we just had down by Tacoma. It involved a new stretch of track that bypassed an existing rail line. The train was doing 80 mph when it hit a curve engineered for speeds of 30 mph.

“My high-speed rail proposal will lead to innovations that change the way we travel in America,” Obama boldly proclaimed at the time.

Washington state, however, eagerly took the stimulus money and promised to use it to speed up service between Portland and Seattle on Amtrak’s Cascade line.

One of the big projects — which consumed $187 million — went to build a 14.5 mile high-speed bypass between the cities of DuPont and Tacoma.

The stimulus was advertised as financing “shovel ready” projects, but work on the bypass did not begin until 2013, 5 years after the end of the recession.

President Trump is probably better prepared than most presidents to deal with big construction projects. He understands the hazards and the hubris, and knows what is involved. I’m willing to be convinced.



The Usual Suspects Are Back Again, Trying to “Save the Planet” by The Elephant's Child

Four Democrat senators are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt recuse himself from repealing a 2015 Obama-era regulation that places significant burdens on fossil fuel energy providers, according to the Washington Post.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), an add-on to the Clean Air Act, was meant to curb carbon emissions from fossil fuel fired energy plants in order to conform to the emissions targets agreed to by the United States in the Paris climate accord. President Trump announced last June  that he was pulling the U.S. out of the accord, and Pruitt and the EPA proposed repealing the CPP about three months later. Repealing the regulation could save $33 billion in compliance costs by 2030.

The Democrat senators are Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Brian Schatz of Hawaii. They claimed that since Pruitt had sued the EPA four times at attorney general of Oklahoma he would not be able to make a fair judgment.

“The evidence for Pruitt’s inalterably [sic.] closed mind on CPP rulemaking is overwhelming,” the senators wrote, according to The Hill. “It falls into three categories: (1) his deep and wide financial ties to the fossil fuel industry which is ferociously opposed to the CPP; (2) his status as a previous petitioner suing the EPA to block the CPP; and (3) his numerous statements denouncing the CPP, questioning the ability to regulate carbon emissions under the [Clean Air Act] as the CPP proposes to do, and casting doubt on climate science.”

Environmentalists and Democrats have never been able to get it through their heads that our economy runs on electricity produced by fossil fuel fueled power plants, that is coal, natural gas, and petroleum products. All the solar arrays and wind turbines that we have installed manage to produce about 4% of our energy needs — when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining on a mostly cloudless day. That’s all.

Carbon dioxide is plant food. It makes plants (including food crops and trees) grow. The planet has been greening because of the very slight rise in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and more of the world’s people are getting enough food. Greenies like to think that CO2 is poisonous, but it is what we exhale. Nurserymen pump extra CO2 into their greenhouses to help the growth of the plants therein. You haven’t seen any stories in the news about all the dead bodies in greenhouses have you?

The Paris accords were designed to transfer money from the western nations to the poor countries of the developing world, under the guise of the global warming theme. Would have done nothing for global warming, and very little for the countries it meant to benefit. All about globalism.

The Clean Power Plan is a dumb regulation that should be repealed. It accomplishes nothing, and harms fossil fuel fired power plants for no reason at all except for pleasing environmentalists, who illogically hate fossil fuels. Drop a note to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, and tell him he’s doing a great job. I’ll bet he isn’t getting a lot of fan letters just now, though he should.



Are You Missing the Elephant in the Room? by The Elephant's Child

The left-wing media is frantically busy fact-checking every word of the State of the Union Speech, defiantly positive that it was all a pack of lies. Yet the American people not only approved of the speech, they really liked it. Trump’s approval rating is up significantly, and that will not do.

Interest in the Super Bowl was way down, many people simply turned it off, extending their rejection of professional football throughout the season. At the Emmys, host Stephen Colbert promised an all-out assault on Trump, and the ratings came in at an all time low. The Grammys took an all-time 24% nosedive to 10 million fewer viewers. CNN, the noted fake news network, has had a ratings disaster, not one program  ranked in the top 23. Movie attendance for Hollywood movies has reached a 24 year low.

Is it possible that there is a message here in all these collapsing ratings? What could it be? How come everything seems to be going down just as things are looking so decisively up? Taxes are way down, and the incomes of ordinary people are way up. Businesses are hiring, employment is up, unemployment is way down. Business is busy passing out bonuses, which on top of a tax cut is very good news for a lot of families.

The left-wing media is apparently so busy fact-checking the State of the Union speech and the Nunes memo, and their general fury at all things Trump, that they simply  haven’t noticed these statistical details in the news.



The Memo, The Memo, The Memo, And What it All Means. by The Elephant's Child

Here is the article on the publication and the White House approval:

—”Memo Released: FBI Officials Knew Political Origins of Dossier, but Used it Anyway.”

— Here is the article from Yahoo the FBI used to corroborate the Dossier, even though it’s just a repeat of the information in the Dossier.

The Spectator: “Media propaganda can’t erase the fact that the FBI used Hillary’s dossier to spy on Trumpworld.”

Heritage: Anti-Trump Politics in FBI Drove Russia Probe, Memo”

PJ Media: Spengler: “Trump Triumphs with Release of House Intel Memo”

Powerline: John Hinderraker: “What the House Intelligence Committee Memo Says:” (John Hinderraker is an attorney)

The Wall Street Journal: “Obama and the FISA Court” (pay barrier)

The Weekly Standard: Nunes: More Memos Are Coming

American Greatness: “Worse Than Watergate” by Chris Buskirk

Manhattan Contrarian:Comments on the House Intelligence Committee Memo” Francis Menton is also an attorney.

Frontpage Magazine: The Memo Reveals The Coup Against America
by Daniel Greenfield

The Diplomad 2.0: The Release of the MemWow” The  author is a long time American diplomat, now retired.

There, that gives you lots of varied opinions on the memo so far. The anguished Democrats are going to vote on releasing their version of the contents of the memo on Monday, insisting that the Republican version is a pack of lies and misleading and hating Trump and all that. The whole thing is very damning to the Democrat claims, and they’ve had a few days and the weekend to cook up a good story. Pathetic.



The Trials and Tribulations of Technology Gone Haywire by The Elephant's Child

People who run big companies are only human, like the rest of us. Some are not as bright as they think they are, they are subject to fashion and fads, and very much influenced by what other companies are doing—because they might know something that their own company does not. It’s not easy running a big company, that’s why they make big salaries, and why the Democrats always want to raise their taxes.

One of the very BIG words floating around in our society at present is “Diversity.” An organization must be diverse or they will be accused of being racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-another underrepresented minority or another of those words, and held up to censure, ridicule, bad publicity or even attacks from the more enlightened. Womyn are particularly interested in diversity, as they know that all women are paid 9% less than men for doing the same job, even though equal pay has been the law since 1963. Group pictures will be scanned for the correct mixture of skin colors and ethnicity. It is a very big deal, and utterly meaningless.

James Damore, a software engineer at Google, was attempting to help to alleviate the problem, which Google apparently considers to be a very major problem indeed.  J. Christian Adams wrote about Mr. Damore and his lawsuit against Google at PJ Media.

I met James Damore at a conference last November after he received an award for speaking out against Google’s race obsession and cultish orthodoxy. The poor fellow seemed bewildered, still stuck in those good old-fashioned American notions of free speech, tolerance, and color-blindness toward other people. Damore didn’t seem to understand the Left has big plans for America. His experience at Google should make clear to every American that this gang is playing for keeps.

This article cannot possibly capture all of the rancid, racialist, thuggish things going on at Google, so I’d urge you to take time to read the whole complaint. It’s like reading Solzhenitsyn’s travel log from Ekibastuze. It reveals nothing short of the psychologies of totalitarianism in their timeless forms. The purges. The moral relativism. The threats. The lists of enemies.  The upside-down world of the wicked justifying their wickedness.

Do read Mr. Adams’ short article, and then follow the above link, to the whole complaint. I read it last night, and had a hard time getting to sleep.

Google is so wrongheaded, so foolish. They have fallen for a racist meme and are criticizing the most valuable thing they might have in their employees which is diversity of ideas. Real advances come about when someone thinks differently, follows up on a moment of inspiration, refuses to accept the standard idea as the standard.  Neither Orville nor Wilbur Wright had a pilot’s license.

Back in 1852, “Joseph Lister was a young house surgeon at London’s University College Hospital. While dealing with an outbreak of gangrene, he noticed that when he cleaned his patients’ ulcers—an unusual practice at the time—they had a much higher incidence of recovery. ”

He kept following up on his unorthodox idea, and learned of Louis Pasteur’s work, and eventually was able to decide that it wasn’t bad air, but “its constituent of microbial life” that was the source of hospital infection. Generations of people are alive today because Joseph Lister pursued his own diversity of thought. You can quickly come up with dozens if not hundreds of advances in our world that came about because someone had the fortitude to think differently, even in the face of taunts and condemnation.

It is, of course, much more comfortable when no one ruffles the feathers of anyone else, goes along to get along, does not rock the foundations. But thinking a little differently is what allows us to advance. It will take a courageous court in Santa Clara County to deal properly with Mr. Damore’s complaint, and conventional thinking would take note of the fact that Google is a very large and prosperous employer in the county. Think differently.




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