American Elephants

The Paranoid Style of American Politics and the Left. by The Elephant's Child

In The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left,  Kim Holmes addresses the “paranoid style of American politics” as described by political scientist Richard Hofstadter in the 1960s.

Liberal populists, … are big believers in conspiracy theories. Hillary Clinton once spoke of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against her and her husband, and she is not alone in her paranoia. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (whose financial disclosure reports showed her to be worth about $8 million in early 2015) believes businessmen, bankers, and the rich are irredeemably selfish and make decisions solely for their own benefit which hurts the poor. To many progressive liberals, opponents of same-sex marriage are not honest people guided by conscience, but malicious bigots out to do harm. American history is not a complex unfolding of events but a cynical conspiracy driven by rich white people whose only interest is to keep their racial and economic privileges. Since the “enemy” is in control of everything—the radio waves, the churches and the banks—they are thought to be all-powerful. It is perfectly acceptable to apply any means whatsoever to dislodge them from power. It is justice of the revolutionary sort, because according to the paranoid’s viewpoint, one’s political opponents  are simply too evil to be given  fair shake in the debate. They must not be merely opposed. Them must be silenced and removed.

Oh, come on! Surely that’s an exaggeration. Surely you have noticed that you are being called a “white supremacist,”

The city of Seattle, WA, has offered a class on “white fragility” to white people in order to explain white guilt and why white people cannot “handle matters involving race.”Lecturer Robin DiAngelo, who coined the term, is teaching the taxpayer-funded class for the city Office of Arts and Culture. She defines white fragility as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”

Critics say it is just the latest attempt at spreading white guilt, following in the footsteps of concepts such as “white privilege.”

From Richard Hofstadter:

Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated —if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

Unrealistic goals? I give you millions of jobs from repairing our infrastructure, or how about running the country on wind and biofuels? Or possibly handing control of the entire Middle East over to the Mullahs in Iran, so we can have peace. I’ll even bet that you can think of some other unrealistic goals.

A Devastating Flood in Louisiana Does Not Mean that Global Warming Caused It! by The Elephant's Child


Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. is a Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado, and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) slammed the idea of linking the recent dreadful floods in Louisiana to Global Warming.  It is always tempting to attribute catastrophe to those things that can be linked to a current political theme, but extreme weather is NOT getting worse.

‘Flood disasters are sharply down. U.S. floods not increasing either.’

‘Is U.S. drought getting worse? No.’

‘U.S. hurricane landfalls (& their strength) down by ~20% since 1900.’

‘Recent years have seen record low tornadoes.’

Climate Depot (add this site to your list) has an excellent article quoting Dr. Pielke which includes graphs of what is really happening and show the decline in disaster. Useful to keep in mind when confronted with the alarmists. Hurricanes are down by approximately 20% since 1900. Tornadoes are at a record low. Drought is not worse, though California’s government mismanagement has nearly caused disaster.

The hacked documents from George Soros Open Society Institute published by DC Leaks has revealed that the Liberal billionaire gave former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental group millions of dollars over three years to create a “political space for aggressive U.S. action” on global warming. “That included budgeting $10 million in annual support to Gore’s climate group over three years.”

So a little corruption here and there is just the normal way that government works these days? Don’t you hate the feeling that they are attempting to manipulate you and your ideas?

More Than You Wanted to Know About Garbage Disposals. by The Elephant's Child


Late last night, very late, I must have put something I should not have put down in the disposal. Probably lettuce, because we had a big salad for dinner. Got it  unclogged and flowing freely again, but it was clearly time to look up what to put down the disposal and what not to. The Don’t List is long, and includes nothing that is not biodegradable food. Or as someone else said — just put down what you would feed your baby. So why did I buy this appliance?

  • Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
  • Don’t grind anything combustible.
  • Don’t grind cigarette butts
  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes (avoid artichokes like poison), asparagus, carrots Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains .
  • Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.
  • Don’t put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.
  • Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running; this will help the food scraps flow down freely through the drain pipes and plumbing.
  • Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
  • Don’t grind large animal bones (beef, pork etc.), no shrimp shells. Other lists contain even more no-nos.
  • Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They won’t harm the garbage disposal and they’ll actually help eliminate odors. However, they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs. Best to avoid. If you don’t have one, buy one of those little screen covers for the drain that keeps bad things from inadvertently going down.

So what can you actually use the expensive little appliance for? Not much. Sour milk, baby food. You can grind up a lemon or orange and rind to make it smell better. Once a month or more often, freeze some vinegar in an ice cube tray and grind that up. The ice will scour the disposal, and keep the blades sharp.

If, in spite of faithfully following the rules, your disposal still gets clogged, Google or Bing will have specific directions for clearing it, but if you have dumped artichoke leaves in, prepare to buy a new disposal. Been there, done that.

The problem is that those little green waste bags made for your city-supplied little green bin, are made from cornstarch and will instantly dissolve at the merest hint of moisture. Things like coffee grounds do make wonderful compost. If you live in a house, buy a small or build a large compost bin. Coffee shops are often happy to have you take used coffee grounds off their hands. If you live in an apartment, there’s no hope. You just have to cope. Consider this my good deed for the day.

There is No Infrastructure Crisis. They Just Think You’ll Believe Them. by The Elephant's Child

When  you come to do political battle with your opponent, I guess you try to pick simple clear problems to talk about that people will understand, rather then the difficult, complex problems that really exist. Things like Infrastructure sound important and sound like there could be lots of jobs there. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are claiming that repairing our crumbling infrastructure will be a source of great jobs. Hillary has even gone so far as to call it a “national emergency.” The picture above is very old.

Clinton promises to send a $275 billion infrastructure spending bill to Congress in her first one hundred days of office. In her campaign stops, she invites voters to dream of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that her infrastructure spending will create. Her promised infrastructure boondoggle has drawn Donald Trump into the bidding game with an unseemly pledge to double Clinton’s program. Trump should stick to attacking regulation and tax reform rather than aping her public spending giveaways.

But is our infrastructure really “crumbling?” U.S infrastructure ranks near the top in the world. The lobbyists angling for federal funds are happy to gin up a crisis with D+ report cards for whatever client they represent. “There are 15,000 transportation lobbyists in DC who routinely contribute huge amounts to politicians on both sides of the aisle. Opponents of infrastructure spending are decried as wanting to poison grandma with polluted water and send school buses over the guard rails of decaying roads. Good people want good roads, safe bridges and clean drinking water”— and we all want to be good people don’t we?

This report from the Hoover Institution suggests that there is no crisis, that if we really want to be ‘citizens of the world’ we should help some of the nations that really do have an infrastructure problem that has a real negative effect on the lives of their people.

Under this category is California’s great high-speed rail boondoggle, and the determined goal of the Left to get us all out of our cars and onto trains that won’t work and nobody wants. Seattle has a light rail project that has no riders and costs a bundle, as do many other American cities whose mayors and governors passionately want a legacy and  don’t want to fall behind what their counterparts are doing.

Besides that — there are no jobs. For any infrastructure process, there is a long period of preparation for the project that may involve no new jobs at all and last for years. First there is the planning process, which involves permissions and agreements from all the jurisdictions involved. Architects and engineers design the project. Land must be purchased or condemned (eminent domain and a long court process) and then there are the environmental impact statements.

If the enviros don’t like the project, they are sure to find an endangered species to protect or some other life form they found. With some projects, Indian tribes have claimed ancient burial plots. It  is usually a long painful process that may take ten or twenty years before any new jobs arise, and those may go to experienced construction workers first.

Obama, if you remember, cited crumbling infrastructure, and lots of new jobs — and eventually admitted that there didn’t seem to be any “shovel ready jobs.”  Politicians, it seems, have short memories.

Not to Worry. The Bees Are Just Fine. by The Elephant's Child


The true believers of the environmental movement need causes that will entice contributions from the gullible to get the funding to support their organization and their demonstrations. “A decade ago, a sudden die-off in some regional honeybee hives got the fundraising juggernaut rolling to protect us from another apocalypse. And they get to claim their methods have worked so far. ”

The science on bee deaths was settled long ago; bees have been dying off for no real reason for as long as we have kept records of bees. It used to be given fancy names, before neonics or pesticides even existed, like Autumn Collapse, May Dwindle, Spring Dwindle and Disappearing Disease. Environmentalists promoted something more apocalyptic sounding: Colony Collapse Disorder.

Yet it was just a new name for a long-existing phenomenon. Taking surveys of bee deaths kept the hype going for a little while, but the public quickly learned that environmentalists were taking up beekeeping as a fad and that resulted in huge numbers of deaths due to mismanagement.  Rather than admit they had amateur incompetence, they wanted to blame pesticides.And small beekeepers did nothing about varroa mites, the big killer of bees. Viruses have evolved too. Bumblebees prefer infected plants over healthy ones because the viruses cause the gene expression of plants to change to be more appealing.

A new study drives another nail into this manufactured neonics coffin. American Council on Science and Health Scientific Advisor Dr. Allen Felsot, Washington State University Tri-Cities professor of entomology and environmental toxicology, and colleagues reaffirm what those versed in science know; hazard is not risk. Mainstream media certainly gets that wrong – it’s why the International Agency for Research on Cancer will get attention with crazy claims like that bacon and plutonium are same level of carcinogen while any junk yard employee knows that’s not true.

I was looking on Yelp yesterday for some recommendations on companies to deal with garden pests, lots of recommendations from women who are frightened by spiders and want them all removed. But there were also recommendations for those who wanted very careful pest removal in order to avoid hurting any honeybees, because the bees were in trouble. Well, no they are not. I don’t know if it has always been so, but the current age seems to have a deep belief in catastrophe waiting right around the corner. And things like “Colony Collapse Disorder” are more comfortable to worry about than problems like ISIS, or corrupt federal agencies like the IRS, or a lack of economic recovery because the current occupant of the White House can’t stop regulating, and controlling, and spending in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.

ADDENDUM: I am not one of those frightened by spiders, but many years ago when we lived in Phoenix, we returned from a trip to Mesa Verde to find out the air conditioner has quit. (In Phoenix in the summer that’s a big deal) The unit was located in a closet accessible only from the outside of the house. Went out to open the door to the closet, and the whole thing was filled with thousands of black widow spiders. That’s something else entirely! Had Raid or the equivalent on hand. Mass death. I was once charged directly by a huge potato bug.The pest control people take care of serious problems as well, including trapping and removing Rats and Raccoons. I once had a mother Raccoon  give birth in the attic over my carport. Cute babies, but Raccoons hiss when annoyed. I put a loud radio in the attic, and encouraged them to leave, which they did, and I quickly made it impossible to get back in.  Adventures with pests!  I’m deadly with woodrats. Nasty critters. Ask about my other adventures with wildlife –rattlesnakes, garter snakes, porcupines, and a lynx.

Sometimes This Climate Change Stuff Gets So Silly All You Can Do is Laugh by The Elephant's Child


Even when the President is off on vacation golf courses, he prepares his Weekly Address in advance. This week he returned to what he conceives to be the most urgent challenge of our time:

When I took office, I said this was something we couldn’t kick down the road any longer – that our children’s future depended on our action.  So we got to work, and over the past seven-and-a-half years, we’ve made ambitious investments in clean energy, and ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions.  We’ve multiplied wind power threefold.  We’ve multiplied solar power more than thirtyfold.  In parts of America, these clean power sources are finally cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.  And carbon pollution from our energy sector is at its lowest level in 25 years, even as we’re continuing to grow our economy.

We’ve invested in energy efficiency, and we’re slashing carbon emissions from appliances, homes, and businesses – saving families money on their energy bills.  We’re reforming how we manage federal coal resources, which supply roughly 40% of America’s coal.  We’ve set the first-ever national standards limiting the amount of carbon pollution power plants can release into the sky.

We also set standards to increase the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon of gas every year through 2025.  And they’re working.  At a time when we’ve seen auto sales surge, manufacturers are innovating and bringing new technology to market faster than expected.  Over 100 cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks on the market today already meet our vehicles standards ahead of schedule.  And we’ve seen a boom in the plug-in electric vehicle market – with more models, lower battery costs, and more than 16,000 charging stations.

Late last month, the EPA said they were on track to meet the goals the Obama administration put out in 2012. They call for car manufacturers to produce fleets of vehicles that average 54.5 miles per gallon. An “average”—so if they make some gas-guzzling trucks, they need to sell a lot of hybrids to make up the difference. it also includes credits for more efficient air conditioning systems.  So it’s more like 40 miles per gallon. But nobody has any way of knowing because the EPA’s tests to make sure the car companies are hitting their CAFE numbers don’t work, at all.

The 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act specifies that “the Administrator shall use the same procedures for passenger automobiles the Administrator used for model year 1975.” In other words: When it comes to enforcing the only law that demands cars get better for consumers’ wallets and lungs, the EPA tests like your grandfather.

The president worries about carbon, but he’s talking about carbon dioxide (CO2) which is a natural fertilizer for plants — all plants including trees and food crops. The slight increase in CO2 in the atmosphere has meant a greening of the earth, which in turn has meant that famine and starvation are mostly ended — except in today’s Venezuela, where they really are starving.

Now California’s Climate Cops Are Going After the Cows by The Elephant's Child

California is sliding slowly into the abyss. It’s not enough that 9,000 companies have packed up and moved to more tax-friendly states. The Bay Area is so expensive that few can afford to live there. Progressives run the place like their own personal slot machine.

The California Air Resources Board has issued regulations to cut the state’s greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but the board is getting worried about their climate agenda. It could all be ruined by natural phenomena.They’ve gone after the oil producers, the manufacturers and now they are going after the cows.

It’s methane, which”according to the board is a ‘short-lived climate pollutant with an outsized impact on climate change in the near term.” ” “Cow manure and ‘enteric fermentation’ (flatulence) account for half of the state’s methane emissions.”

“If dairy farms in California were to manage manure in a way to further reduce methane emissions,” the board explains, “a gallon of California milk might be the least GHG intensive in the world.” And the most expensive. Many California dairy farms have already been converted into nut farms, which are more economical amid the state’s high regulatory costs.

The board suggests that dairy farms purchase technology to capture methane and then sell the biogas to consumers. Yet the regulators acknowledge that most ideas involve environmental trade-offs and are not cost-effective without substantial government subsidies and regulatory credits that can be sold to fossil-fuel producers….

Other brainstorms include breeding animals that belch less and testing “gut microbial interventions”—though no doubt Democrats will want to see if the anti-genetic-modification activists object. This all may be too much information for readers, but it shows that in their attempt to impose their climate religion there is no corner of the economy or life that progressives won’t try to control.

They don’t give up. They believe what they want to believe, and are sure that anything else is a lie and shouls probably be prosecuted. The climate of the earth over the past century has warmed by approximately 7 tenths of a degree Centigrade.  Carbon dioxide, which they are desperately trying to get rid of, is fertilizer for plants and is greening the world, and helping to feed a hungry planet. California has managed its water resources so poorly that the great Central Valley, the breadbasket of the world, has turned into a dust bowl as they attempt to save the Delta smelt, a tiny bait fish that may or may not be endangered.

%d bloggers like this: