American Elephants


Only 6% of Americans Think the World is Getting Better! by The Elephant's Child

So how do you feel about the state of the world? Is it getting better or getting worse? According to Alex Berezow of the invaluable American Council on Science and Health (ASCH), only 6% of Americans think the world is getting better. The question was “All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better or worse?”

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A majority of people—54 percent—surveyed in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom believe there’s a risk of 50 percent or more that our way of life will end within the next 100 years. Even worse, some 25 percent of respondents in the same poll believe it that likely that we’ll go extinct in the next century. Americans were the most pessimistic, giving those gloomy answers 57 percent and 30 percent of the time, respectively. And younger respondents tend to be more pessimistic about the future than older ones. …

For all the talk from the president and the Democrats, one of our biggest problems is gun violence, yet gun homicides in the U.S. are down 43% from 1993 to 2014, the lowest rate in 24 years.

I wrote in May that two centuries ago, average world income per human (in today’s prices) was about $3 a day. Today is is $33 a day in Brazil, and the level of the U.S. in 1940. Matt Ridley wrote that what happened two centuries ago was that “ideas started having sex.” by which he meant that there is no end to what people can do when they are set free to have ideas and the freedom to act upon them.

Democrats specialize in a gloomy outlook, from which they promise to rescue you by giving you more stuff, but wealth is created by the free market and capitalism. Free people are endlessly inventive, and the hope of improving your financial situation, making a new idea the next big thing, becomes in a free market the opportunity to succeed. Where did Uber come from? Or telephones unconnected to phone lines that do, well, almost everything.

Democrats and environmentalists are endlessly gloomy. Rolling Stone just had a big article about how New York would shortly be submerged beneath the rising ocean waters. If you consult the scientists who actually know about the increase in ocean waters, you find they speak in millimeters not feet. The Obama administration is reportedly promoting Navy Commanders based on their support for Global Warming. This list of Climate Panics may add a little balance to Obama’s current worries.

The world is better fed than ever before, and starvation is rare except in socialist paradises like Venezuela. Major diseases have been nearly eliminated in the United States, although Obama’s refugees are bringing Tuberculosis and measles and others back. Malaria is way down in Africa. People are living longer. There really is a lot to be upbeat about.



Here’s 4,000 Years of Climate History! by The Elephant's Child

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(click to enlarge)

Not quite what President Obama has in mind. Nor what all the fuss was about the “Paris Accords.” As the scientists keep telling us, it has been lots warmer in the past, and lots colder too. So there you are.

ADDENDUM: Please visit the comments to see a better version of this chart that is more detailed and eliminates the “hockey stick” false warming on which President Obama’s climate panic is based.



Fantasy and Talking Points In Search of a Legacy for Obama by The Elephant's Child

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The Democrat’s Convention platform is slowly being revealed, unprobable bit by bit. It will include a plan to get the United States completely off of fossil fuels by 2050. Oh dear. Not going to happen.  Who writes these talking points? Doesn’t anyone ever check in with reality?

President Barack Obama met at a “Three Amigos” summit in Ottawa this week with  Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. The three NAFTA partners will pledge that in less than 10 years, half of North America’s energy will come from “clean” sources. The administration patted itself on the back and called it “ambitious.” How about “improbable” or “a joke?”

The U.S. accounts for three quarters of the energy produced by the three countries., so living up to the agreement falls on the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, so-called “clean energy”— nuclear, hydro electric, solar, wind, biomass makes up a total of less than one-fifth of U.S. energy production.

Nuclear accounts for around 8% of all clean energy, and California plans to shut down Diablo Canyon, their last nuke, which produces two times more energy than all of California’s solar arrays put together. The environmentalists who are energy-literate are beginning to understand that only nuclear power is currently capable of generating significant amounts of baseload electricity. The first new nuclear plant is starting up in Tennessee with environmental support. Biomass accounts for 4%, solar and wind put together only 3% of our energy needs and hydroelectric a little more than 2%. Environmentalists oppose hydro, because they don’t like damming up rivers, and most of the good spots are already taken.

Even if they went whole hog for Nuclear energy, it wouldn’t make any difference over the next decade.The permitting, construction and approval steps alone would take more than 9 years. Obama said he was sure that some 15 year-old was working on a new energy source in his bedroom, or perhaps it was his garage.

But that leaves wind, solar and biomass. Production levels from these sources would have to increase by something like 470% in nine years to add up to half of the nation’s energy production. Well, maybe everyone will have forgotten his silly pledge in 9 years. Keep trying, maybe you’ll find something to claim as a legacy.



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

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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.



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