American Elephants


An American Ally Assesses Our President by The Elephant's Child

The Wall Street Journal had a most interesting article titled “An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump: When he says something consistently, it will happen. And his message is that America will remain a reliable partner, but don’t expect too much.” It’s by Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia, 2013-2015.  (subscription barrier)

The truth is that the rest of the world needs America much more than America needs us. The U.S. has no threatening neighbors. It’s about as remote from the globe’s trouble spots as is possible to be. It’s richly endowed with resources, including energy and an almost boundless agricultural capacity. Its technology is second to none. Its manufacturing base is vast. Its people are entrepreneurial in their bones. From diversity, it has built unity and an enviable pride in country.

In many respects, America is the world in one country, only a better world than the one outside. If it decided to live in splendid isolation from troubles across the sea, it would lose little and perhaps gain much, at least in the beginning. A fortress America would be as impregnable as any country could be.

 

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Carbon Taxes Are Sheer Bunk! by The Elephant's Child

Governors and Legislatures are always tempted by the potential of new taxes. Having more money to do stuff that the people might like is usually a good way to get re-elected.  Of course sometimes people notice that their taxes have gone up sharply and governors and legislators get thrown out of office. It obviously helps if the new taxes are for a noble cause, like feeding the hungry or creating a new transportation system. But the economy is currently humming, and food stamp use has dropped sharply. New transportation systems or bridges or tunnels are always popular. Unfortunately legislators are not skilled planners, nor are governors and such projects seem always to cost millions or billions more than was promised. (See Gov. Jerry Brown’s High Speed Train to Nowhere). Probably most states have had some project that cost catastrophically more than intended.

Another boondoggle popular, particularly among lefties, lately has been a carbon tax. Tax greenhouse gas emissions to save the earth from climate change! Our very own governor Jay Inslee is anxious to pass a carbon tax, the legislature has not obliged, but greenies may have succeeded in putting it on the ballot as an initiative.“Carbon Tax” is a misnomer. It is a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, and would sharply raise the price of energy, which doesn’t just mean gasoline taxes, but would raise the cost of everything. A carbon tax is a tax on prosperity.

Real Clear Energy has published a careful analysis of carbon taxes. “According to a 2014 Heritage Foundation analysis, the creation of a $37-per-ton carbon tax  would lead to a loss of more than $2.5 trillion in aggregate gross domestic product, amounting to $21,000 in lost income per family by 2030.”

In addition a carbon tax would result in a loss of more than 1 million jobs, including 500,000 manufacturing jobs by 2030. And it would be a regressive tax, punishing the relative poor more than wealthier families because the poor spend more of their income on energy and goods for which energy is a key component. But saving the Earth from disastrous climate change? The best evidence suggests that humans are not causing dangerous climate change.

Dangerous climate change seems to exist only in computer models. Almost every testable projection made by computer models has been proven wrong. Sea levels are not rising at an unusual rate. Antarctica ice is growing, not melting. Scientists can show no species that have been lost due to climate change. There are droughts and rainy seasons. Hurricanes continue to cause damage occasionally. Measured temperatures are much lower than the computer models predict. And carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

We breathe in air, use the oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide—every human breath contains about 40,000 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Which if you remember photosynthesis from high school biology, plants use as a natural fertilizer and produce oxygen.  Greenhouses pump in something like 1,000 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 to help their plants grow, and you probably haven’t read of dead nurserymen being found in the world’s greenhouses. The use of fossil fuels has enriched the world, and increased human well-being.

Unfortunately alternative energy has proven to be mostly undependable and useless. The sun goes beneath the horizon each night and doesn’t shine many days. Clouds. Nor does the wind blow at the right speed for the most technologically advanced wind turbines to produce energy reliably. Germany tried to move to wind and solar, and arrived at energy poverty. Now President Trump is correctly blaming them for becoming dependent on gas pipelines from Russia (which could be cut off at any time) at the same time Germany expects us to defend them from Russia.



EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Resignation Is Not What It Seems to Be by The Elephant's Child

CBS-on-EPA

Scott Pruitt has resigned as Administrator of the EPA, and President Trump has accepted his resignation while praising his accomplishments. Pruitt has cut back or rescinded 22 unnecessary regulations at a savings of $1 billion. But the scandals, the scandals? What about all the scandals?

The EPA was an agency turned by the Obama administration into a weapon to put land use and our natural resources under administration control. The EPA agency had its origins in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, in 1962 she foresaw the death of wildlife in the use of pesticides, which she blamed for her cancer diagnosis. It was a passionate book and alarmed the world into the beginnings of an environmental movement. President Nixon proposed the establishment and it began in 1970, conducting environmental assessment, research and education and  has the responsibility of maintaining and enforcing a variety of national standards. It delegates some permitting, monitoring and enforcement.

An offshore oil rig in California fouled beaches with millions of gallons of spilled oil. The Cuyahoga River near Cleveland burst into flames (which it did regularly). There was, of course, vast agreement that we needed to care about our environment. That, again of course, turned into a huge invitation for all those folks whose familiarity with the environment was limited to the nearest city park, to believe that all was in danger. Governments at all levels found it necessary and politically rewarding to favor conservation, prevention of pollution, and doing something about clean air and water.

Activists soon found it useful to find an endangered species on the very site where a project, a factory, a bridge, a highway, might be built to bring it to a halt. Add in former NASA scientist James Hansen and his “climate event of cosmic significance,” some 30 years ago, when he singlehandedly elevated climate change into a worldwide panic.

Universities have established new departments, funded with vast grants to investigate global warming. The United Nations has vast organizations, Every country, county and city have environmental departments, and the problem of global warming has consumed many a passionate adherent (see Tom Steyer) in spite of admissions by Canadian Environment Minister Christine Stewart who said “No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral benefits…Climate change (provides) the greatest change to bring about justice and equality in the world.”  Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change admitted at a news conference in Brussels in early February of 2015 that the goal of environmental activists was 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.

That explains a good deal of the passion of climate activists, and there are true believers who call us “deniers” or worse. Obama’s EPA was an agency using environmentalism as a tool to bring the natural resources of the United States under more direct federal control. Congress, in its innocence, had long ago authorized the EPA to monitor the navigable waters of America to prevent them from becoming polluted. The Waters of America became a tool to control everything that flowed from the downspouts of your house to every ditch and stream into something that could actually be defined as a “navigable” water. Enormous fines were levied on ranchers with a small stock pond, people building a cabin on a lake view lot, $30,000 $50,000, ending in a Supreme Court case. Huge scandal of a massive EPA caused spill from the Gold King Mine desecrating pristine wilderness, turned the Colorado River into a yellow sludge.

Scott Pruitt was doing a terrific job of getting the agency back on its correct path. The Left, intent on getting rid of him, started digging, looking for anything that could be turned into a scandal. Democrats have noticed that Republicans in government who are involved in a scandal are quickly booted out. Democrats have no such compunctions about their own people. This is a open invitation. With a win in getting rid of Scott Pruitt, Democrats are already turning on his replacement, his former deputy, Andrew Wheeler, who is expected to carry on reforming the EPA. It also appears that they will be going for Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior. A New York State University professor has suggested that Zinke stands for white people, Christianity, and his corporate overlords, favoring Americans on their potential to increase fuel consumption?

In his resignation statement, Pruitt said the attacks on his family were too much, but what threats or attacks have not been reported. As far as I can tell, nothing he supposedly did in office is unforgivable or bad or even notable. He was a victim of a sustained well-funded leftist assault aimed specifically at removing him from office. Andrew Wheeler can expect more of the same, as can Ryan Zinke. This is not cutesy Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is something far darker and far more evil.



Yoo Hoo, Mr. Mueller! Collusion! by The Elephant's Child

CFACT has put up a new billboard on the busy I-10 highway in Louisiana which reads: “Russia funneled Green Groups millions of dollars to oppose fracking & cripple American energy” and asks, “How’s that for COLLUSION?

The Russian economy depends on their energy exports. They want to reduce competition to their exports to Europe and their goal is to keep prices high and the world, especially Europe, dependent on Russia energy. What better allies could Mr. Putin find than American Greens?

Russia’s actions are well documented in a detailed report released by the U.S. House of Representatives this year.



Globalization: The Dream and the Nightmare by The Elephant's Child

climate-change

Here I was, posting Jonathan Haidt’s commentary on Globalization, and I turned to American Greatness, and conveniently, there was Victor Davis Hanson, writing even more extensively about globalization.

After World War II, only the United States possessed the capital, the military, freedom, and the international good will to arrest the spread of global Stalinism. To save the fragile postwar West, America was soon willing to rebuild and rearm war-torn former democracies. Over seven decades, it intervened in proxy wars against Soviet and Chinese clients, and radical rogue regimes. It accepted asymmetrical and unfavorable trade as the price of leading and saving the West. America became the sole patron for dozens of needy clients—with no time limit on such asymmetry.

Yet what would become the globalized project was predicated on lots of flawed, but unquestioned assumptions:

The great wealth and power of the United States was limitless. It alone could afford to subsidize other nations. Any commercial or military wound was always considered superficial and well worth the cost of protecting the civilized order.

Only by piling up huge surpluses with the United States and avoiding costly defense expenditure through American military subsidies, could the shattered nations of Asia and Europe supposedly regain their security, prosperity and freedom. There was no shelf life on such dependencies.

Do read the whole thing. This is a major contention point with the Democrats in their current mental and moral breakdown. If we are going to fight back, we have to know what we are talking about.



The Fuego Volcano in Guatemala Has Erupted on Sunday by The Elephant's Child

The Fuego volcano in Guatemala has erupted today, many deaths much destruction. Here’s a link to the Twitter coverage. At least 25 people have been killed. This is apparently the second eruption this year.  The mountain is close to the capitol city.

Very scary.

Addendum: The death toll in Guatemala has risen to over 125 and there are still missing people. They are finding bodies under the volcanic ash, most not yet identified. Here is today’s coverage so far:

 



How Obama’s Presidency Destroyed the Democratic Party by The Elephant's Child

This isn’t new, but is a very good reminder about the culture wars, and who’s on which side and why, and why there are culture wars. Short, but as all of Victor Davis Hanson’s speeches do, it makes you think.

Every day, things seem a little more outlandish. Ivanka Trump posts a picture of herself with her son for Mother’s Day, a charming shot of a mom nuzzling her kid, and the Left falls apart. But Trump is separating children at the border from their parents! Abusing little children! Putting little children in locked pens! The pictures of penned children go viral, when someone notices that it was from 2014, and the Obama administration.




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