American Elephants


A Presidential Visit to Yosemite National Park by The Elephant's Child

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On Father’s Day, many families want to do something special for Dad. Those who planned a trip for the day to Yosemite National Park, were out of luck. The Park was closed to visitors most of Father’s Day. The presidential family arrived and departed from a Yosemite meadow on a Marine One helicopter. The entourage arrived in a 40 car motorcade. The visit was covered with more pictures by Britain’s Daily Mail. The British seem to be highly amused by America’s presidential motorcades and elaborate scheduled events.

Roads in the park and the entrances and exits were shut down for hours. Visitors already at the park found their movements restricted and even hiking trails were Restricted. The lower Yosemite Falls was closed to the public. He made a speech (to his entourage, Park Rangers? ) to tout his administration’s environmental record and to warn Americans about the danger of climate change.

The biggest challenge we are going to face in protecting this place and places like it is climate change. Make no mistake, climate change is no longer a threat it is a reality.

It has been warm over the last few weeks, and Obama was sure that the meadow where they landed was drying out because of global warming. Melting snowpack has the falls in the park at their fullest.  “Fires are raging across the west right now … all while it’s still really early in the season.” he said, but climate change has nothing to do with wildfire. But then the president is still warning that Manhattan would be “underwater”unless action is taken on climate change.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) whose district includes Yosemite, had a classic rejoinder:

With his comments about global warming, I would point out that if his speech had been given on this very spot 12,000 years ago we would be under a 3,000-foot sheet of ice. So global warming has been going on for a long time, long before the invention of the SUV.

Yosemite is a deservedly popular national park with over a million visitors every year and has many of the problems of a big city. President Bush avoided visiting popular venues while he was president, and was roundly criticized when he did not land in New Orleans during Katrina — which he did because he knew how disruptive a presidential visit is and didn’t want to mess up the rescue efforts. Is the Secret Service overdoing the motorcades and opulence of a presidential visit ? I don’t know, it seems excessive, but we want our president protected. Presidential motorcades disrupt traffic for hours, wherever they go, but part of that is the press.

The first family did Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico on Friday, which is also something special to see.



Happy Father’s Day! by American Elephant
June 19, 2016, 5:46 pm
Filed under: Environment | Tags: , ,

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Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!



Focusing on the Anger of the People! by The Elephant's Child

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The temper out there is quite remarkable, remarkably nasty to be precise. Our current election campaign is quite the nastiest I can ever remember, and anger seethes through the comments of even the most staid columns.

Britain is in the same spot with the battle over BREXIT —Britain’s upcoming vote over whether to exit the European Union or stay in.  Only Britain has a scheduled vote, but there is plenty of rumbling in other European nations who are not happy with the influx of migrants, and the response of their governments. The future is uncertain and the people know it and are not pleased with the preparedness.

It’s hard for most Americans to imagine that they would choose to stay in. We’re not much on unelected government passing down laws to regulate our lives, and having no ability to even say ‘Hey Wait a minute! You can’t do that.’ Well, they can and do.

Bureaucrats are the same all over the world. They discover power and that, pushed for, there is no end to the power they can accrue to themselves. They start out intending to do right by the people, and end up establishing a dictatorship, and enriching themselves and their friends and relatives. When people start out promising hope and change, you’d better inquire a bit more deeply into exactly what they mean by the pretty slogans.

We were lucky to be founded by men brought up under English Common Law and the Magna Charta. and all too familiar with the Wars of Religion, but they were soon busy with trying to survive and build communities and deal with wild animals and the native people. A number of the earliest settlers returned to England to fight in the English Civil War with Oliver Cromwell.

In a world run mostly by the divine right of Kings, or Caliphs, or Sultans, or Czars — Democracy and Liberty were an enormous shock to the system, and few expected it to last. The French tried with their bloody Revolution, and ended up with the Napoleonic Wars.

It is particularly interesting then, that the Left, the radical Left, is so determined on eliminating democracy in the name of complete control. It is fairly clear when they want to send “deniers” to prison on RICO charges for disagreeing with their idea that global warming is a huge crisis, when they want to do away with the Second Amendment, as well as the rest of the Constitution, reject patriotism and its traditions — like the Pledge of Allegiance, support open borders and reject our immigration laws.

I have been startled at the way the leftist media speaks the same leftist ‘talking points’ all at once, in the same words with the same exact punctuation, but I never realized what I was seeing and hearing until I posted the video below about “It’s Just What ISIL Wants.” They do it all the time, and we don’t really notice. But that is a very different kind of journalism than we expect in a free country! You can think of dozens of different subjects in which they have tried to set the agenda by repetition of precisely the same words. That is not thought, nor is it journalism — who hands our the talking points? Think Progress?

We have a generation or two of ambitious youngsters who have signed on, not to accurately report events, but to put a label on things before the ordinary person has time to think it through — in the goal of changing the world. I can remember it being reported that the journalism schools were producing young reporters ambitious to change the world. I should have paid more attention. That is really the problem, isn’t it? We are just not paying close enough attention.



BOOM!!! It Was 36 Years Ago Today! by American Elephant
May 18, 2016, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Environment, History, News | Tags:

[Note: the following was originally posted in 2008 on this infamous day]

Chances are, if you’re not from Washington or Oregon, the date May 18th has little meaning to you. Heck, even around here many don’t think of it unless someone reminds them. But I remember — every year. It’s one of the only world events I remember from back then — I was very young after all; but the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980 was just the kind of event that little boys remember forever.

We were very fortunate; the mountain exploded northwards, but the winds carried the ash-cloud away to the southeast. I remember being somewhat disappointed that the ash wasn’t turning day into night for us like it was for all the people on the television. In fact, we didn’t seem to get any ash-fall at all, much to my chagrin; while people on the other side of the mountain were measuring it in inches, like snow.

So much excitement! …and so little pay off.

About the most exciting thing I personally experienced was standing on my father’s roof to see the enormous plume looking fairly small and unimpressive so many miles away. I’m not sure if we heard the explosion or not. They say people heard it as far as 700 miles away, and we were certainly much closer than that. I think we did — but that could just be my memory playing tricks on me.

So close, and yet so far. But I still remember it every year.

Where were you?

Update: Michael Rubin at the Corner links to an excellent photo montage on the eruption and the aftermath.



Private Property Rights Seem Unimportant Until They’re Yours, and They’re Gone. by The Elephant's Child

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Andy and Katie Johnson own a small 8-acre ranch near Bridger, Wyoming, on which they run 10 head of cattle and 4 horses. A creek runs through the property. Mr. Johnson wanted to build a stock pond to water his animals. He got approval from the local government and from the State of Wyoming, and they invested most of their savings in building the stock pond. Birds, fish and other wildlife came.

So did the EPA, who went after the family for violating the Clean Water Act. EPA Director Gina McCarthy used the Johnson family to test the power of the EPA in advance of the passage of their harsh new rules. The rule wasn’t even passed when Ms. McCarthy took out her pen and her phone.

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EPA regulators showed up at the Johnson property in 2014, and announced that the Johnsons were facing a “very serious matter.” The EPA claimed the Johnsons violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA claims the pond discharges into other waterways. Mr. Johnson was ordered to restore the property to its pre-pond state, according to EPA rules for restoration, and pay a fine of $37,500 a day until it was completely restored, and face criminal charges as well.

The EPA’s new rule is a power grab, clean and simple. When Congress created the Clean Water Act, they neglected to define “water.” Big mistake. The Supreme Court defined “the waters of the United States” as “navigable waters” which the EPA promptly redefined as anything that flowed into the navigable waters, and believed they were justified in tracing the “navigable waters” right back to your downspout. Imagine! I’ve used a picture of a trickle in a roadside ditch to point out what they are after. Ms McCarthy wants to be a Commissar of the EPA’s own Empire.

The Johnsons refused to cave in, and enlisted the help of Wyoming Senators Barasso and Enzi, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, and the Libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation. The Clean Water Act specifically excludes stock ponds. No matter.The fines had reached $16 million when Mr. Johnson’s counter lawsuit against the EPA reached the courts.

More than two years later, Johnson won. In a settlement reached with the EPA, he gets to keep his pond, he won’t need to get a federal permit, the EPA fines have been removed, and all Johnson agreed to do was plant some willow trees and limit access to a portion of his pond for a while.

Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Jonathan Wood called the settlement “a win for the Johnson family, and a win for the environment.”

The federal government stormed onto private property, threatened  a family with massive fines (could $37,500 a day be any more absurd?) and walked away only after being countersued. While the Johnsons were being harassed, the EPA was finalizing their new rule to cover anything from prairie puddles to power plants.

A lawsuit filed by several states came to a halt when a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the EPA from enforcing the rule, which the judge said was “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge ruled that the injunction be applied to all 50 states, but the EPA decided that they would go ahead and enforce the rule in the states that hadn’t sued, until an appeals court stepped in and blocked that runaround.

The EPA has been slapped down by the courts repeatedly for overreaching , but they are zealots — intent on power. “The environment” has become a magical word to which  every business is careful to genuflect. That’s power. Packages and papers come with a notation to ‘please recycle’. Laws protecting the people from polluted air or polluted water are in place.

The EPA is reduced to scanning archives for old studies, not necessarily valid, that will give them a legal leg to stand on. Words are parsed for other possible meanings. Your freedom and property rights depend on a lawyer asking the right questions to get you off whatever hook the EPA decides to impale you with. The agency has long outlived its usefulness and needs to be disbanded permanently.

This is how you suddenly wake up one morning to find yourself resident in a tyranny — with no rights at all. Democrats are quite up front about their contempt for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution provides only Impeachment as a remedy for “high crimes and misdemeanors” — not for overreaching with executive orders and pardon powers and the regulations handed down by agencies established by the executive. We’d all better pay real attention. Government is not a spectator sport.



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.



Parenting Isn’t Always a Picnic! Happy Mother’s Day! by The Elephant's Child

 

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Bear urinal
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Keep going, there’s more after the fold
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