American Elephants


Peter Thiel: The Decline of Western Civilization by The Elephant's Child

This is a fun commentary on today’s world. Food for thought, which is always welcome. Congressmen are just ordinary folks who don’t know very much? Yet are designated to make the laws that govern us? Perhaps we should think a little more deeply about just whom we elect to office. We have had great eras of ideas and invention. What is the situation that creates and encourages those ideas? Is it the desire for profit? The simple desire to carry an idea through to fruition?

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Here’s Some of the Excitement of “Earth Day” by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday was “Earth Day” which I take no notice of.  Penn State University, however marked the day by announcing that they would refuse to allow a near-century old recreation club— The Penn State Outing Club founded in 1920—to organize the outdoor, student-led trips of camping and hiking . It seems they judge the activities to be too risky. Two other outdoor recreation clubs — the Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club have been directed to end trip offerings.

Mark J. Perry Ph.D. a professor of economics at the University of Michigan Flint, writing for the American Enterprise Institute, posted a spectacular list of 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around the first “Earth Day” in 1970.

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

Here are the other fourteen: The true believers heard this news, swallowed it
whole, and attributed any suggestion that they were not true to the “deniers.”

A good many of the most hysterical anti-Trump crowd are in despair or fright because he withdrew from the Paris Climate Accords, which would have accomplished nothing, nothing at all for the climate. An amount too  small to be measured, the scientists said.



We Aren’t Recognizing the Anger and Despair! by The Elephant's Child

Former FBI  Director James Comey’s new book is being released today, and he will be on a long book tour trying to push the book. He hates President Trump, whines like a 9-year-old, and reflects badly on the organization that he formerly headed. He expected Hillary to win, his wife was really excited about having a female president. He has not behaved well, and serious FBI people are concerned for the reputation of the agency.

Democrats clearly expected Hillary to win, but for the most part they seem to be pretty much done with her. I think that it wasn’t so much Hillary’s loss, but that red map of all the counties in the country that went for Trump. I suspect that they didn’t even consider the possibility that Trump might win, it was unthinkable. All those Republicans, a despicable bunch, and most of the Democrats had particular Republicans to hate, but the idea that Trump could triumph attacked all of their sureties, their world view, the things he espoused were beyond the pale — cutting taxes, closing the border.

Republicans aren’t all that inclined to fall in love with presidents. They recognize that presidents are only ordinary men, with all the flaws and faults of ordinary men, perhaps a little more so, when they suddenly become “the leader of the free world.” The “Never Trumpers”, certified members of the ruling class, were appalled by his tweeting, although many of them were on Twitter as well, but a president—tweeting? Clearly beneath the dignity of the office! His speech offended! Dan Bongino, who is from Queens, said Trump talked like someone from Queens who was in the construction trade. Trump told the people what he thought, and who he did not like nor trust. Beneath the dignity…

Barack Obama was, as someone said—a real good talker. Flowery words, designed to rouse the emotions, but fairly devoid of meaning. But people were thrilled, including the Nobel Prize committee, Not much follow through.

I think it’s that map. The Democrats lost control of practically everything, a huge,  immense loss. Their reason for everything is control. They are the intelligentsia. They are destined to run everything as soon as they dispose of the annoying Republicans. They went to the best schools, they run the biggest companies, they have the most billionaires, and all the movie stars, and the Republicans are backwoods people, racists, sexists, deplorables from flyover country. Who even knows what is down there when you fly from one enlightened coast to the other? Hillary thought it was her due, her destiny. She’s still out complaining, but the Democrats are done with her, and looking for someone who can restore their rightful place in the universe.  Joe Biden?



Do You have the Feeling That There Is Something Wrong Out There? by The Elephant's Child

Do any of you have the sort of unsettled feeling that things are not quite as they are being portrayed? News made of too little information, asking the wrong people, not exactly President Trump’s “fake news”— but just an instinctive feeling that something is wrong out there. Here’s a post from Real Clear Investigations:

Broward County, Fla., school officials portray as a great success their Obama administration-inspired program offering counseling to students who break the law, instead of having them arrested or expelled. They insist that it played no role in February’s school massacre by Nikolas Cruz. They also claim that in fact juvenile recidivism rates are down and school safety is up, thanks to the program.

The evidence tells a far different story.

Broward County juvenile justice division records, federal studies of Broward school district safety and the district’s own internal reporting show that years of “intensive” counseling didn’t just fail to reform repeat offender Cruz, who allegedly went on to shoot and kill 17 people at his high school. Records show such policies have failed to curtail other campus violence and its effects now on the rise in district schools — including fighting, weapons use, bullying and related suicides.

Meanwhile, murders, armed robberies and other violent felonies committed by children outside of schools have hit record levels, and some see a connection with what’s happening on school grounds. Since the relaxing of discipline, Broward youths have not only brazenly punched out their teachers, but terrorized Broward neighborhoods with drive-by shootings, gang rapes, home invasions and carjackings.

Do read the whole thing. Things are not as they seem. We have entered an era when everything is being analyzed for its proportionality. There seemed to be a significant number of young students of color being sent to prison for commission of crimes. If the number of young people of color in prison for committing crimes was out of proportion to the general percentages of young people of color in society, clearly school teachers were cracking down on troublesome students because they were racially prejudiced. The “school to prison pipeline.” The Obama administration cracked down. Schools sending too many young people to prison would have to answer for their racism, and they would receive a visit from the feds.

This is apparently what happened with Nikolas Cruz, of Hispanic descent. His threats were recognized by the school officials, but because he was Hispanic and the federal government had said to ignore it, the school did not take the actions that they might have taken had there been no federal interference. The school had issued instructions that Cruz was not to be allowed to enter campus if he was wearing a backpack. And in their response to the killings, the school demanded that all students carry transparent backpacks so the contents could be seen. That does make it fairly clear, doesn’t it?

Tom Steyer continues to travel around the country urging college students to vote Democrat and to work for impeaching President Trump, thus aligning himself with Maxine Waters who is also demanding that President Trump be impeached. Neither one seems to have any particular high crime or misdemeanor for which they want him impeached—they just hate him. I suspect that Steyer is having fits over the useless environmental regulations being discarded, and perhaps the useless Paris Climate Accords.

Steyer is very green, and apparently a true believer that the Earth is dying without our immediate action to…? There are a remarkable number of people who appear at the front of any climate march in polar bear suits, though the polar bears are doing just fine according to the Canadian zoologist, Susan Crockford, who has become the world expert on all things polar bear and who issues a report each year on their progress. Their numbers are increasing comfortably, they are well fed and healthy.

When you hear or read something that seems, if not immediately wrong, at least questionable, do you plan to study up a little to see if it is indeed true, or do you just take the word of whatever article you read? Look at all the Lefties who insist that we would be far better off if we just kept all the petroleum products in the ground, where they belong. Wind and solar, their favored energy sources, deliver about 4% of our energy needs. How are their favored electric cars supposed to charge their batteries? How do our cars and trucks run? How does the food get delivered to our grocery stores? Starving to death is not a nice way to go.

Why do they keep circulating what Hollywood celebrities have to say, as if they know anything, or have any authority to speak out beyond the fact that we might recognize their names or faces?



Sunny Southern California And Smog by The Elephant's Child

Los Angeles smog

Scott Pruitt has been doing a great job of eliminating useless regulations at the EPA, so naturally the Left is going bonkers. Under the Obama administration, the EPA became a heavy handed armed bully, attacking innocent landowners, attempting to control all the waters of the United States, including the water draining from your downspouts. It was a vast overreach. The EPA was innocently founded by Congress with the idea that when great interstate projects were built, perhaps someone should be in charge of making sure they weren’t doing something damaging to the environment.

Downspouts are one thing, but Lefties are claiming that the Trump Administration’s plans to roll back the Obama fuel-mileage rules will increase pollution. Environmentalists have long blamed L.A.’s millions of cars and freeways for its smog, but even if most gas-burning vehicles were replaced by electric cars, L.A. would still have a smog problem. Los Angeles is a natural basin, ringed in by taller hills, a pollutant trapping topography, and sunny weather.

I lived in Los Angeles when it was smoggy, and it was bad. When you flew in, you’d look down at that brown soup and think— if I have to breathe that I’m going to die.

A recent study in the journal Science traced and measured volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Los Angeles. In the presence of sunlight, these compounds react with NOx to form ozone and smog. Car exhaust was once a greater relative contributor of VOCs and NOx, but engines are now much cleaner.

Researchers at the University of Colorado found that petroleum-based chemicals such as those found in deodorant, soap, hair spray, household cleaners, pesticides and other commercial products account for about half of VOCs emissions in industrial cities. Gasoline fuel and exhaust make up about 32%.

So, if you want less smog, shower less, don’t clean your house so often, but trees and people also emit VOCs. The biological sources of VOCs are also responsible for the blue haze in the Appalachians. The real target of the greens are automobile carbon emissions, but if all vehicles had electric engines, would we have enough electricity to support the country’s power needs and run all our vehicles as well?

Of course that’s why the Left wants to get us all out of our cars and into the nice electric trains they are building. The new Seattle Mayor is talking about tolls to drive on downtown Seattle streets, which isn’t going to improve her popularity.



A Timelapse of the Entire Universe by The Elephant's Child

 

h/t Maggie’s Farm

Spectacular special effects. Could it have been like this?



California Shifts Hard Left by The Elephant's Child

California is drifting farther and farther left.  Joel Kotkin is executive director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, and long concerned with demography. He has an interesting piece today in City Journal about a further leftward shift evidenced by California’s Democratic Party’s refusal to back Dianne Feinstein’s reelection bid, suggesting that she is the last in a line of the old Democrats.

Tech oligarchs and activist CEOs have committed themselves to extreme environmentalism, identity politics, and open-borders immigration policy. California’s bevy of clueless celebrities, now celebrated by Time as “suddenly serious” for following the identitarian party line, have also climbed aboard.  As anyone knows who has suffered through awards shows or listened to interviews with stars, the entertainment industry—much like tech—has become homogeneous in its views.

The key issues for the glitterati are not income inequality, upward mobility, or the preservation of middle-class neighborhoods but the feverish pastimes of the already rich: gender and racial issues, climate change, guns, and anything that offends the governesses and schoolmarms of intersectionality. To the ranks of these over-exposed but influential voices, you can also add California’s media and most of its intelligentsia, who seem to get their talking points from progressive sources and work assiduously to limit the influence of moderate (much less conservative) views. With Silicon Valley increasingly able to control content and ever more willing to curb debate, the policy agenda of the state’s new elite may well become reality—a nightmarish one for millions of ordinary Californians.

Then Politico Magazine did an article on “Jerry Brown, President of the Independent Republic of California.” adding the subhead “As he crusades across Europe, the governor is acting like the leader of a sovereign country—an alternative to the United States in the Trump era.”

He “stopped over at the Vatican, where a doleful group of climate scientists, politicians and public health officials had convened to discuss calamities that might befall a warming world. The prospects were so dire—floods and fires, but also forced migration famine and war—that some of the participants acknowledged difficulty staving off despair.”

“California’s doomsayer governor did not express much optimism either. Seated between an economist and an Argentine bishop at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Brown leaned into his microphone and said, ‘It is despairing. Ending the world, ending all mammalian life. This is bad stuff.’”

The leader in much of this nonsense is billionaire Tom Steyer, who is a true believer in climate catastrophe, a ferocious opponent of President Trump, striving for his impeachment, but can’t seem to fix on a reason but is apparently putting big funds behind his efforts. Keep an eye on that. He’s probably extremely incensed about Trump’s exit from the Paris Accords, which would have accomplished nothing, nothing at all. But anyone that says that is excoriated as a fascist and ‘denier’.




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