American Elephants


Can We Have A Do-Over With The Mainstream Media? by The Elephant's Child

Flock of sheep, New Zealand, Pacific
Comments on even the most staid websites are angry, commenters are ready to fight. I have never seen an election season with so much anger, and it’s not very focused. People are beginning to notice that the media is not addressing the real world, but their own political leanings, and truth and clarity and honesty are not to be found. Everybody’s got an agenda, and truth just isn’t in it. And perhaps you have noticed — they blame it all on us. Voters are just too darn ignorant. Really? Or is it just the rapid, frantic changes in technology that are leaving people searching desperately for some kind of reality.

And it is quite true. As technology has changed, just in our lifetimes, we have adapted to the changes which seem to come faster and faster. Newspapers are slowly dying, and people get more of their news from the internet. I don’t know how the typical American gets his news. Once it was the morning paper at breakfast, then Morning news on TV. But the major channels no longer dominate the news as they once did. Teens seem permanently attached to their cell phones and social media.

Tumblr blogs now total over 291.7 million estimated by April 2016. Nielson reported 173,000,000 blogs by October 2012.  WordPress reported 76.5 million blogs out of 26% of websites that use WordPress. In other words it’s a lot — and with some blogs posting only very occasionally, others unchanging and there only as a conduit to a business. I’m not sure that numbers are at all meaningful anyway.

The anger of the public, not just ours, but across the world has been notable, yet at the same time much is written about the ignorance of potential voters. Is this just the sour grapes of those who disagree? Or are we talking about real ignorance?

June 14, Washington Post, Ilya Somin writing for the Volokh Conspiracy (a lawyer’s blog) writes about the British polling firm Ipsos MORI which found that most of the British public is ignorant or misinformed about basic facts relevant to the Brexit decision. They massively overestimate the numbers of EU citizens now live in the UK. They believe on average that EU citizens make up about 15% of the British population—while in reality it’s 5%.

At American Thinker today, Thomas Lifson writes about the hysteria of the mainstream media this week “in response the Donald Trump’s revocation  of the Washington Post’s campaign press credential in response to coverage so unfair that the paper went back and changed them.” In 2008, the Obama campaign threw the Dallas Morning News, New York Post and Washington Times reporters off the campaign plane. (Glamour, Ebony, and Jet) got to stay. Media reaction, crickets.

Sharyl Attkisson, who has built up a reputation for media integrity, told Breitbart News that “media elites have become adept at controlling media narratives, going so far as to ostracize reporters who ‘veer’ from a particular narrative. She said “I think they’ve been pushing narrative a lot for the last couple of years in a way I haven’t seen five years ago…ten years for sure, It’s almost like someone ‘s given a license at the top. It used to be done kind of subtly, but now it’s sort of encouraged. ”

“I just got back from a conference in Russia, of all places, where global journalists gathered to talk about this as a trend globally, where government interests, corporate interests, special interests have learned how to use the news media,”Attkisson said, “how to use social media to control the narrative in ways, I think, more aggressively than has ever been done before.”

Historian and Classicist Victor Davis Hanson chimed in at NRO:

For a variety of historical and cultural reasons, most of those who work in the media are progressives. They believe that government must undertake to fix an array of social maladies, such as income inequality, perceived racial and gender disparities, and the general dangerous superstitions, bad habits, and cultural baggage of those of less education than reporters, investigative journalists, and Internet and television commentators.

Yet sometimes simply reporting on society’s perceived ills does not offer quite a rich enough landscape in which to save humanity. And sometimes reality offers examples that confound the progressive ideology.

Therefore, journalists often fabricate stories and justify their cons as necessary means to achieve their higher aims. The falsifications range from the absurd to the existential, as we’ve seen with the editing of 911 tapes and photoshopping of pictures of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case. The syndrome includes the organizing of a private and secretive liberal political guild like JournoList and the slaps on the wrist dealt to progressive mythographers and plagiarists such as Fareed Zakaria and Maureen Dowd.

This is at the same time that the ways media reaches us are fracturing and changing before our eyes. Do you read the same blogs or refer to the same sources as you did last year? And how much faith do you have that what you read is actually true?

Do you know how to surf through the media rejecting the false and saving the real, and is the real real? Certainly our schools are not teaching our young what information is and what it is not, and how to manage the information we receive. They are not taught how to distinguish propaganda from truth, nor falsehood from reality. And it shows in the chaos emerging from the campuses.

Our enemies have learned how to use the media to achieve their ends, and I fear we are unarmed against their assault.

The people, worldwide, have noticed that they are being lied to, and they are not happy about it at all.



Models are Models. Science is Something Different. by The Elephant's Child

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We are so in love with our computers and what they can do, that we often forget what they cannot do. G.I.G.O.— garbage in garbage out. The climate models on which the panic about global warming depends are only very partly based on science. The models themselves aren’t science. There are some scientific facts that are known and accepted. Once  you get beyond that small amount — all is based on modelling. That means you take the known, add some approximations, some guesswork, and your favorite theory and you get a model of the earth’s climate, that may have little to do with the real world.

“Patrick Michaels and David E. Wojick wrote last week in a Cato at Liberty blog post that modelling completely dominates climate change research” What that means  is that climate change science is only about 4% of the whole, and not all climate science is about climate change. They are putting their faith in math calculations rather than scientific observation. The energy and the resources are directed to improving the models, which have a remarkable record of being consistently wrong.They cannot even accurately predict the climate that has already happened.

We have very little understanding of the action of the clouds, though they clearly effect climate. The heat that the models have predicted has not arrived. In science, there are questions, and a hypothesis is developed, then tested through repeated experimentation.” The federal government has spent billions —close to $100 billion since fiscal 2012 —on “science” that is undergirded by failed models.” The models were unable to predict the greening of the world caused by slight increases in CO2. Most of the money goes to improving and upgrading the models, and what most climate scientists will consider improved models to be those that predict greater amounts of warming.

For a more authoritative explanation of Global Warming go here.



How Healthy Are Your State’s Finances? by The Elephant's Child

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The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has published a new study on the fiscal condition of the states. They rank each state on their fiscal health based on short-and long-term debt and other key fiscal obligations including unfunded pension liability and  healthcare  benefits. Growing pension obligations and increasing healthcare costs are straining budget planning.

Many states are facing big jumps in insurance premiums. Humana is seeking a 50% ObamaCare price hike in Michigan, deductibles are going up. Silver plan deductibles of $6,000 and $7,000 are not uncommon.

Ranking the 50 states is based on five separate categories.

  • Cash solvency: Does a state have enough cash on hand to cover its short term bills?
  • Budget solvency: Can a state cover its fiscal year spending with current revenues, or does it have a budget shortfall?
  • Long-run solvency: Can a state meet it’s long-term spending commitments? Will there be enough money to cushion it from economic shocks or other long-term fiscal risks?
  • Service-Level solvency: How much “fiscal slack” does a state have to increase spending if citizens demand more services?
  • Trust Fund Solvency: How much debt does a state have? How large are its unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities?

The top five states, Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota rank in the top five. Pensions and healthcare will be long term challenges, but these states are considered fiscally healthy. The top five have changed since last year. Wyoming moved up and edged Florida out, but Nebraska moved up to second place.

Kentucky, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut are in the bottom five largely owing to low amounts of cash and big debt obligations. That little bright red spot at the bottom is Puerto Rico.



The Madness of Fighting Global Warming Will Impoverish the World, and Ignores Engineering Reality by The Elephant's Child

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Professor of Electrical Engineering at Cambridge University Dr. M.J.Kelly wrote in a peer-reviewed journal article that any attempt to fight global warming with green energy will impoverish the world.

Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions enough to actually slow the natural warming of the globe in a measurable way simply is not possible without reducing worldwide standards of living so much that it would plunge most of the world into poverty, destitution and starvation.

Over the last 200 years, fossil fuels have provided the route out of grinding poverty for many people in the world.This trend is certain to continue for at least the next 20 years based on the technologies of scale that are available today. A rapid decarbonization is simply impossible over the next 20 years unless the trend of a growing number who succeed to improve their lot is stalled by rich and middle class people downgrading their own standard of living.
Current CO2 emissions are not falling rapidly enough to slow global warming largely because most public policy has been focused on developing green energy like wind and solar which may actually increase emissions. These energy systems do not justify the massive costs of the subsidies required to support them.
“It is clear to me that every further step along the current pathway of deploying first-generation renewable energy is locking in immature and uneconomic systems at net loss to the world standard of living. Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality,” Kelly wrote in a press statement.
The total amount of energy created by wind and solar is relatively small, in spite of massive subsidies in place at least since the 1970s. In 2010, wind power alone received $5 billion in subsidies, which dwarfs the $654 million that oil and gas receive in depletion allowances — which are not subsidies.  In 2015, solar and wind power accounted for only 0.6 and 4.7 percent of electricity generated in America, respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration, which does not account for the backup power supplied by conventional power plants.


Leftists Don’t Understand “Cause & Effect” And That Makes a Huge Problem for the Rest of Us! by The Elephant's Child

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Progressives, Liberals, Lefties consistently have trouble understanding cause and effect. I’ve been noticing this for quite a while, particularly in relation to crime. That is where the famous “Butterfield Fallacy” comes in( well, maybe not famous, but it should be.) Fox Butterfield was a reporter for the New York Times, “whose crime stories served as the archetype for his eponymous fallacy.”

“It has become a comforting story for five straight years, crime has been falling, led by a drop in murder,” Butterfield wrote in 1997. “So why is the number of inmates in prisons and jails around the nation still going up?’  He repeated the trope in 2003: “The nation’s prison population grew 2.6 percent last year, the largest increase since 1999, according to a study by the Justice Department. The jump came despite a small decline in serious crime in 2002.” And in 2004: “The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.”

The Butterfield Fallacy consists of misidentifying as a paradox, that which is a simple cause-and-effect relationship. You put more bad guys behind bars, and the crime rate goes down. Lefties disapprove of sending people to prison because they believe it to be racially discriminatory. “In 2004 almost 10 percent of American black men were in prison” and it diverts tax money from what should be higher priorities. I’ve written about this a number of times, but I have a hard time recognizing how pervasive the inability to understand cause and effect is.

Today’s problems also include the “Ferguson Effect” which has resulted in policemen being more hesitant to arrest or deal with crime, especially in the black community — because of the blowback from the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson MI.

When the demand for a higher minimum wage began to circulate, we explained that a minimum wage was a starting wage for beginners, and low because they weren’t worth more, and there was no end to the numbers of people who wanted a starting-out job. We explained that most get a raise within the first 6 months. We mentioned automation. But the Lefties said “you can’t raise a family on the minimum wage.” Of course you can’t — the minimum wage is for beginners.

So Lefties are raising the minimum wage legally (government has no business telling businesses how much they must pay workers). Well effect follows cause and Wendy’s Restaurants are installing self-service kiosks in their approximately 6,000 restaurants across the country in the second half of the year. There are 258 Wendy’s in California where the minimum wage has gone up to $10 an hour. The former CEO of McDonalds warned that Robots cost less than paying a $15 minimum wage. Hillary jumped in on the controversy to demand an end to disabled workers’ exemption from minimum wage requirements — and got a stinging rebuke from economist Don Boudreaux.  Cause and effect.

Greenies usually use Denmark as a stunning example of the beneficial use of natural wind power. Well, Denmark is abandoning wind power. Danes’ cost of energy has been climbing and climbing, with 66% of the bill being “green taxes” and only 15% going to energy generation. Denmark’s energy prices were the highest in Europe, and politicians are abandoning wind power as too expensive. Greenies celebrate the natural source of energy, but the problem remains that wind does not blow at the correct speed to generate power even most of the time. They’ve tried to remedy that with taller turbines, more exotic minerals, better designs — doesn’t matter. The cause is the nature of wind, the effect is unaffordability.

In desperation our federal government has raised the numbers of eagles and other birds that the wind farms and solar arrays can chop up or fry each year, But that too is a cause and will have an effect — not yet recognized.  In the meantime, the world’s largest solar array at Ivanpah which has never produced the electricity they promised (cause) and is under enormous pressure to do something — did. It caught on fire.

Keep an eye on the inability of the Left to grasp this simple fact, you will find that it explains a lot.



Mark Steyn Has Taken a Principled Stand Against Climate Alarmism by The Elephant's Child

Published on Apr 25, 2016

For the New Criterion, Ben Weingarten, commentator and Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media sits down with Mark Steyn, international bestselling author, political pundit, cultural critic and hardened climate change dissenter Mark Steyn for an in-depth interview.

During their discussion, Weingarten and Steyn discuss the chilling of free speech by the climate alarmists and their enablers in the political and legal system, the stakes of the defamation suit filed against Steyn by climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann over a critical blog post, why it is the scientific community that resembles a racket rather than demonized “Big Oil,” the misogyny of the “climate cabal” and its attack on Dr. Judith Curry, the parallels between climate supremacists and Islamic supremacists, why the West should celebrate increasing levels of carbon dioxide and much more.



The Earth is Greening From CO2, And That’s a Very Good Thing. by The Elephant's Child

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The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay against the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming plan in February. But EPA officials are moving right ahead with a central part of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). They’ve devised a song and dance way to get around the order from the court. Court orders don’t have the authority under this administration that they once did.

The EPA submitted a proposal to the White House for green energy subsidies for states that meet the federally mandated carbon dioxide reduction goals early. The Clean Energy Incentive Program would give “credit for power generated by new wind and solar projects in 2020 and 2021” and a “double credit for energy efficiency measures in low-income communities,” according to Politico’s Morning Energy. …

EPA argues it’s doing this for states that want to voluntarily cut emissions — despite this being part of CPP.

“Many states and tribes have indicated that they plan to move forward voluntarily to work to cut carbon pollution from power plants and have asked the agency to continue providing support and developing tools that may support those efforts, including the CEIP,” reads a statement provided to Politico from EPA.

A report says that the Earth is turning greener because of carbon dioxide emissions, but America is not doing its part. Other countries are pumping out more CO2, shutting down wind farms, and the United States has cut its output. In 2000, America pumped out 5,868 million metric tons of CO2, then 6,001 million metric tons in 2007, and the figure fell to 5,406 in 2014. This means an increase in growing season over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated areas, which means more hungry people are fed, and more small children live to grow up.

Theoretically we all learned about photosynthesis in junior high or high school. More CO2 means more plant life. We breathe in the air, use the oxygen, and exhale CO2. If CO2 were poisonous or dangerous we’d all be dead from breathing on each other.

A new study says that if the extra green leaves prompted by rising CO2 levels were laid in a carpet, it would cover twice the continental USA.

Climate skeptics argue the findings show that the extra CO2 is actually benefiting the planet.

The new study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change by a team of 32 authors from 24 institution in eight countries. But the numbers don’t count in science. What counts is what the evidence proves.

Norwegian scientists, according to a 30-year long study, are finding that plants adapt well to differing environmental conditions — in contrast to claims that plants won’t be able to adapt from the climate worriers. “There is a kind of flexibility in the genetic material, …much like a ‘molecular thermostat’ that can shift the growth cycle of the plant” said Carl Gunnar Fossdal of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research. “This phenomenon has great importance for the discussion around climate change.” The scientists speculate that animals adapt in the same way, suggesting that the evidence linking global warming to extinctions is sparse.

The Climate Change Lobby, like much of the rest of the Left, doesn’t like disagreement, nor studies that contradict their firmly-held truths. They want to shut the contrary voices up. No skeptics allowed. That’s why the word “skeptic” never passes the green lips — it’s always deniers — like holocaust deniers,  you see. They don’t accept mild rebukes, nor proof of error. It’s their way or the highway. They have too much invested in changing the world and ending nasty capitalism.




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