American Elephants


The Presidential Campaign Centered on Climate Ends by The Elephant's Child

Today’s good news: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee is dropping out of the Presidential race. He made the announcement on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Inslee had made Climate the centerpiece of his campaign, but just didn’t get any traction with voters in the early battleground states. And even more embarrassing, he is unlikely to qualify for CNN’s Climate Town Hall or the third presidential debate to be held next month, anyway.

Today’s bad news: He will announce tomorrow whether or not he will run for a third term.

“I’ve been fighting climate change for 25 years, and I’ve never been so confident of the ability of America now to reach critical mass to move the ball. I believe we are going to have a candidate to fight this battle. I’m inspired by the people I’ve met across the country, the young people in the sunrise movement, the climate strikers, these people give me confidence we can move ahead. I’m not going to be carrying the ball, but we’re going to make sure somebody is.”

Well, whether he wins another term or not, the climate will go on peacefully changing as it has done for millions of years. The idea that the earth is going to end in ten or twelve years if we don’t eliminate a benign gas that is, among other things, what we exhale is, at best, silly.

The trouble is that all the wind farms and “alternative energy” don’t work, and cost the taxpayers a bundle. A bunch of other potential candidates for governor have been waiting to see if Inslee will run again. I simply do not know if voters are particularly fond of Jay Inslee.

It seems that many people just believe because they heard people talking about it, and never, never bother to study up and see if it is true.



Keep Calm and Try to Talk Sensibly. by The Elephant's Child

The Cry is echoing around the Media: “Stop Gun Violence!” Unfortunately there is no such thing as gun violence. Guns are inanimate objects. it’s the people that are violent. The question is much more difficult, and we don’t really know who is going to be violent and when, nor do we really know how to stop them when we do know. It really helps when you can address the problem in clear language. Stop shouting “Do-Something”. There are limits to federal solutions.

Having misidentified the perpetrators as the guns themselves, you get drawn into all sorts of silly arguments about banning and confiscating, and which guns and why, and why the NRA is evil, and why the Second Amendment should be overturned and so on and so forth. Ban Assault weapons is the usual first bright idea, but it turns out that nobody knows what an assault weapon is other than it’s one of those that look “scary.” And that is true. Gun makers have added scopes and fancy details to make the guns look more appealing and masculine and military-looking.

City people are likely to be less familiar with guns than rural people. Rural people are more apt to be plagued with varmints — a handy all-purpose word to cover woodrats, porcupines, skunks, coyotes, ground squirrels, badgers, hawks, rattlesnakes, wolves and wildcats, among other wild animals. Ranchers sometimes have to put down a badly injured animal to stop its suffering. Guns are just a necessary tool.

Many rural people hunt to fill their freezers with a meat supply for the winter months. Some city people also hunt, and many people hunt for sport rather than for food. Pheasant is very tasty indeed. In the South people shoot squirrels a lot, and oddly, I just saw pictures online of squirrel heads mounted, much as elk and antelope are, which was new to me. I couldn’t quite decide whether it was cute or horrifying. I’ve never considered squirrels as bad animals, but I have shot large numbers of woodrats. They really are nasty critters.

There you have an extensive discussion of gun violence without  any indication about what to do about the violence part, and how one is to identify the violent. President Trump is interested in the Red Flag warning for those who seem— troubled or dangerous. Parkland is an example of a mass shooting where there were red flags all over the place about the young shooter, but no one recognized the flags. There are no easy answers. Human kind is far from perfect, quarrelsome, troubled, angry, despondent, but also kind and caring. Might help if we forced people to talk about the problems seriously instead of in soundbites. Conversation instead of shrieking. So there you are, four paragraphs that solve nothing, nothing at all.



Boycott, Ban, Confiscate, Report, Red Flags, … Just Do Something! by The Elephant's Child

Now it’s time to boycott the NRA, Ban Guns, Red Flags, all the usual fuss about “assault weapons” and go over all the same old, same old arguments once more.

The NRA is not an evil organization that favors killing people and white supremacy and all of the other current buzz words of this particularly ugly campaign season. It is an organization that defends our Constitutional right to bear arms. There are a lot of ordinary people out there who hunt deer, elk, pheasants and ducks and geese, and depend on filling their freezers with game for the winter. There are all sorts of apartment-living people who have never held a gun in their hands, think killing an animal or bird for food is deplorable, and that no one should be able to own a gun.

There is no such thing as an “assault weapon.” There are military weapons that are illegal for people not in the military. There are some ordinary rifles, jazzed up with fancy looking scopes to look more masculine, dangerous, and exciting, but they don’t really do anything different, they just look different. That’s what the people who get all excited about assault weapons have in mind. They go through a lot of pictures of current guns and pick out those that look “scary” and call them “assault weapons”.

It is quite clear that some mental aberration causes a shooter and a mass shooting. There is talk of “Red Flags” for someone who seems to be violent or disturbed. It is certainly true that in the aftermath of a mass shooting there often seems to be something that responsible people should have noticed, or should have acted upon. For example in the Parkland shooting, there were all sorts of Red Flags waving about the young man, about his behavior at school, about his homelife, but in every case they were ignored or excused, or just dismissed. That seems to be the case most times. There was something that should have been noticed, reported or acted upon— that wasn’t. Sometimes there have been real warnings, and the people in charge of safety just don’t take it seriously.

There’s always an outcry to ban all guns, more background checks, stop selling bullets, boycott anyone that sells guns, yet most guns used in crimes are purchased on the black market or stolen. What about all the Democrat-run cities where gun crime is rampant. The death toll from a weekend in Chicago can top the toll in a real mass shooting. But Gun bans don’t seem to work. Gun confiscation? I doubt most gun owners would turn in their guns. What about those rural folks who count on game to fill their freezers?

As always in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting, everybody wants answers right now. There are people and organizations studying the problems, and lots of bad answers. Video Games don’t cause mass homicides. Mass shooters are not male white supremacists. Hateful people are attracted to hateful ideologies. But most mass shooters don’t proclaim any ideology at all. Mental illness is very common. Lots of stereotypes, lots of misconceptions. Here’s a good article explaining a little of what we know and don’t know.

The wonderful Michael Ramirez cartoon at the top was so appropriate that I have saved it form another mass shooting at another time. We all wish we had solutions, but we don’t. Pay attention to warning signs. Try not to dismiss them casually. There are a lot of people searching the available evidence for clues to what to do. Remember that one of the biggest mass killings was accomplished not with a gun, but with a truck in Nice, France, on Bastille Day when 84 people were mowed down.



Mass Shootings, Phony Accusations, No Real Answers by The Elephant's Child

Democrat candidates for the presidential nomination seem to have decided that the way to win the competition is to come up with a nastier insult for the President of the United States. Which is almost funny, since that is the office they seek.

It might be helpful if they would identify some policy correctly, explain why they thought it unfortunate, unworkable or bad, and tell us what they would do instead, but no one has bothered, too troublesome.

The accusations center around “racism” and “white supremacy”which seem to be centered around illegal immigration and control of our border. The American people, according to polls, want the borders controlled, are opposed to illegal immigration, and opposed to open borders. But when Trump opposes illegal immigration, wants more control of the border, it’s different — he’s racist.

I’m convinced that Democrats are terrified that American blacks will notice that Trump’s actions have changed the job market for them completely. Even black youth are close to full employment. I think that’s why the “racist” claims, because Trump clearly is not racist, but if they repeat it frequently enough, people will start to believe it.

A few Democrat-run cities have such frequent shootings that they get mixed up in the mass-shooting list, although for cities like Chicago and Baltimore, it seems to be just an ordinary weekend. That was the case for Chicago last weekend.

Over the weekend we had two big mass shootings, 22 dead in El Paso, 9 dead in Dayton, Ohio, and many wounded. We don’t really know what sets the shooters off. The outcry was predictable. “Gun control”, and every variation of that that people could come up with. “Assault weapons” an undefined term that seems to refer to all guns that are “scary-looking” rather than those that are efficient. Of course all Democrats insisted that both shootings were Trump’s fault. Talk about “Red flag” people. as if we could correctly identify those who are slightly cracked and want to take it out on their fellow citizens.

The biggest mass murder was on Bastille Day, 84 people mowed down with a truck in Nice, France. Clayton Cramer wrote today that there is too much focus on the role of guns in mass murders.

I am currently creating an encyclopedia of mass murder in America and have catalogued 504 incidents so far. Common methods used throughout our history include axes, hatchets, blunt objects, knives, hanging, drowning, poison gas, poison, fire, and aircraft (and not just on 9/11). Some of the rarer weapons demonstrate that where there is an evil will, there is a way. Scythes. Blowtorches.

Human beings are a quarrelsome bunch. We have trouble getting along with our own families, let alone people who seem to be against everything we revere and have heads filled with strange nonsense. How anyone could reach adulthood without learning the value of freedom and the simple fact that socialism does not work remains a mystery. Enchanted with the idea of making everybody equal, I guess. Unfortunately those who most want to make everybody equal always seem to have in mind being in charge of all the rest.

There is a lot of talk about “Red Flags” – supposedly finding some way to identify the crackpots before they begin shooting. Clearly, they are disturbed in some way, but we don’t know in what way and what the impetus might be. There have been suggestions of childhood mistreatment of some sort. One schoolteacher came up with a brilliant way to look out for troubled kids, which you might recommend to any teachers of your acquaintance. Would help produce healthier kids for any reason., even if there was no relation to shootings.

Zero Hedge posted some of issues turned up by two criminologists who have been studying the life histories of mass shooters in the U.S. for a project funded by the Dept. of Justice, looking for some commonalities among the perpetrators of mass shootings. The article has a graph from Babylon Bee with a satirical take, which makes the whole piece somewhat confusing. Ignore the graph and scroll down to the results of the study of life histories. I’m not even sure that what they have found is actually useful, but there are clues. Gun laws and banning “assault weapons” will not help. There are important Second Amendment Issues that prevent the wild-eyed nonsense proposed.

When people are grieving, it’s not really the time for quick decisions.

Most of the reporting and much of the commentary is misguided, unhelpful, and unnecessarily partisan. Americans of all political persuasions would really like to avoid any more of these events.



Is Big Tech Going to Control Our Elections? by The Elephant's Child

A very liberal professor warns that Google has manipulated voters,and can manipulate them far more in the 2020 election.

Dr, Robert Epstein explains what happened in the last election and the potential for Google to manipulate votes by manipulating search results. Scary.

When you need to search, use Duck Duck Go. They don’t track you.

Facebook has just been fined $5 billion, which is apparently the maximum the law allows, but is a drop in the proverbial bucket for Facebook which earned many more billions this last year.

Ted Cruz has been holding hearings on the misbehavior of Big Tech, and Congress is hearing plenty from their constituents. The monitoring of the citizenry in China is an alarming example of what is now possible, and what Big Tech knows about us is disturbing as well.

I don’t know that I have ever been aware before of business companies playing politics. not just in their advertising attempts, but actually getting into national politics. Apparently Conservatives are not welcome at Google, as James Damore showed us. And supposedly the rest of that bunch as well. One would think that they would know better, but apparently not. Write your congressperson if you are concerned. Congress does not as yet have a clear understanding of the public attitude nor understanding of what is going on.



Pure Partisan Politics. God Bless the USA. by The Elephant's Child

When we elect a president, we are not electing him to be “the most important man in the world” or any of the other encomiums  which an American president sometimes receives. We are electing someone to manage the economy and our international affairs. And I find myself remarkably happy with a booming economy, full employment, fewer folks needing food stamps. Some Republicans are worrying about the national debt, but apparently haven’t noticed that Trump is working on reducing the cost of government in the long term, by reducing the size of government. He is moving the Department of Agriculture to the center of agricultural America in Kansas, where they are close to the people they serve instead of the residents of the capitol. Ditto for the Bureau of Land Management, which is to be moved to Colorado. The agency does not manage any land in Washington D.C.

Democrats are quick to suggest that the employees may not like leaving the amenities of the Capitol — to which one can only guess that may be part of the reason for agencies that are way too big and too comfortable. Housing will be cheaper, the cost of living will be cheaper. A trip to see what the problems of those you serve really are – will be a short drive instead of a long airplane journey. President Trump has reportedly asked all of the federal agencies to take a hard look at their advisory councils to see if they really need all of those advisors. If he succeeds in reducing the flow of illegal aliens, that will result in vast savings for the economy as well. If the Democrats would help in getting control of our borders instead of pushing for more illegals to illegally vote Democrat in our elections, and boost their representation in Congress by getting counted in the Census — that would help too.



Climate Alarmism is Now a Real Economic Threat! by The Elephant's Child

From Alan Carlin: Carlin Economics and Science:
Climate Alarmism is Now a Real Economic Threat to the U.S”

Climate alarmism is probably the most insidious, largest, and most dangerous scam ever perpetrated on the American public and most of the developed world. Unless brought down by reality, it is now reaching such dimensions that it could even end the position of the current developed countries as the primary engine for economic and technological progress. Instead, the dictates of climate alarmism may eventually consume as much as half of the resources available and yield nothing but climate virtue signalling. Western Europe has been badly impacted by the climate scam, and is no longer providing the technical and economic leadership that it long has. The United States has been adversely affected by all the money it wastes on economically inferior renewables but the current fiscal stimulus is great enough to obscure it except in very blue states such as California. Here energy prices have increased substantially and some workers are moving elsewhere on a net basis.

In terms of countries, if the scam continues and expands, the “old” developed countries will be the primary losers because they will spend much more for energy of much lower quality. One proposal, the Green New Deal (GND), advocates spending about half of US national product on this virtue signalling over the next ten years That means real output will fall by half since virtue signalling is the only alleged useful product of this half. If the US decides to implement the GND as the Democratic Party wants, it will suffer the consequences. But at least two large countries will gain, China and India, since they are rapidly expanding their already large numbers of coal-fired power plants and are doing so based on their underdeveloped county status (how China made it into this group is unclear to me). I believe that every country in the world should be able to build the lowest cost, most useful power plants, but the case of India is particularly compelling. China, India, and other less developed countries will have much lower energy costs and thereby be able to attract more customers for their products by their lower energy prices.

It is thus rather clear that climate alarmism will help China and India gain economically from radical decarbonization proposed by the developed world. It is not clear whether the US will remain outside the Paris Treaty if Trump loses in 2020. This could lead to a calamitous reduction in US economic strength relative to China particularly. US energy independence has been accomplished during the Trump Administration, but could be rapidly eroded by a Democratic President or Congress if they decided to try to end fracking or oil production on public lands or waters. more…

From Zero Hedge:

Bombshell Claim: Scientists Find “Man-Made Climate Change
Doesn’t Exist in Practice”

A new scientific study could bust wide open deeply flawed fundamental assumptions underlying controversial climate legislation and initiatives such as the Green New Deal, namely, the degree to which ‘climate change’ is driven by natural phenomena vs. man-made issues measured as carbon footprint. Scientists in Finland found “practically no anthropogenic [man-made] climate change” after a series of studies. 

“During the last hundred years the temperature increased about 0.1°C because of carbon dioxide. The human contribution was about 0.01°C”, the Finnish researchers bluntly state in one among a series of papers.

This has been collaborated by a team at Kobe University in Japan, which has furthered the Finnish researchers’ theory: “New evidence suggests that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth’s climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an ‘umbrella effect’,” the just published study has found, a summary of which has been released in the journal Science Daily. The findings are hugely significant given this ‘umbrella effect’ — an entirely natural occurrence  could be the prime driver of climate warming, and not man-made factors.

The scientists involved in the study are most concerned with the fact that current climate models driving the political side of debate, most notably the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) climate sensitivity scale, fail to incorporate this crucial and potentially central variable of increased cloud cover.

There’s more, Do read the whole thing.

I’m particularly interested in the spread and adoption of radical ideas. There seem to be an uncountable number of people who not only believe in climate change, and that we have only a short time to save ourselves and the earth, without ever having read anything from a scientist of some repute, nor from many scientists, nor found out where they got their information and why they believe what they do believe. I call it “doing your homework”, and keep urging everyone to “study up.”

I am certainly not a scientist, but I grew up in the mountains of Idaho, largely outdoors, on 400 acres surrounded by National Forest and Bureau of Land Management land, with a river running through it. I’ve been snowed in, had lightening strike close by, and coped with floods. Five feet of snow is not a big deal if you keep it plowed. I’ve had the Union Pacific derailed in the front yard as well, so I’m not apt to fall for a sudden panic about climate change. Some winters are mild, some are hard, and sometimes it gets very hot in the summer. There seem to be some long cycles, but then there always have been. Everybody seems to confuse climate with weather. California wildfires are neither, but have specific causes. Hurricanes are weather, not climate. And an unusually long hot summer is indeed, climate.




%d bloggers like this: