American Elephants


Now It’s The IRS Again, With 334,000 Stolen Identities. If They Haven’t Got You Yet, They Soon Will. by The Elephant's Child

The news about our favorite bureaucracies just keeps coming. In this case it is the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS reported a wee break-in to its computer systems back in May. Now they have admitted that an additional 220,000 taxpayer accounts have been compromised.

So if the ObamaCare Hospital required computer breach didn’t get you, you have another chance to get your identity hacked by the IRS — that trusted organization that deals so efficiently with your taxes. There were also 170,000 instances of “suspected attempts that failed to clear the authentication processes.” whatever that means.

So the number of stolen identities now adds up to 334,000 , nearly three tunes the IRS original estimate of 114,000.

Why, it was only about a month ago that it was the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that admitted that Chinese-origin cyber attacks on its computer networks compromised the personal data of 22.1 million Americans who had been employed by the government.

And earlier this month defense officials said that Russia had launched a “sophisticated cyber attack” on the Pentagon’s unclassified email system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the end of July. That breach affected approximately 4,000 military and civilian employees, including Chairman General Martin Dempsey.

The IRS break-in occurred in an online service called “Get Transcript” an application that helps taxpayers get their prior year return information. It has been shut down. The IRS will notify taxpayers who were potentially affected as soon as possible and provide them with support — such as free credit protection.

It would be reassuring to hear a strong voice from Washington, telling us that tech experts are already hard at work hardening off or rendering government computer systems impregnable from enemy attack. Instead, we hear the Democratic candidate for president insisting that she never received, saw, or heard of a classified document, and certainly never sent one. That server of hers was all yoga exercises and wedding plans and baby showers and messages to Bill, who has never sent an email message in his life.

Can we expect Cyber-Security from the folks who gave us ObamaCare?



Pack the Whole Agency Up And Send Them to China. Where They Might Do Some Good by The Elephant's Child

Barbecue-Summer-Outside-cooking-meatSometimes you just don’t know whether to just laugh at the Obama administration, or pity them. The Environmental Protection Agency has it eyes on pollution from backyard barbecues. The agency has announced that it will fund a University of California project to limit emissions resulting in grease drippings with a special tray to catch them, and a “catalytic” filtration system.

Damn fools aren’t content with banning our efficient and inexpensive incandescent lightbulbs, and messing up the lighting fixture market, ruining our shower heads, ditto toilets, washing machines, most appliances, and trying desperately to get control of everything in our houses — now they are going to take on our backyards. The kids’ wading pool is next.

The grant is only for $15,000, so we’ll see what they can do to all barbecues with that much.

The school is proposing two fixes to reduce emissions from barbecues. First, they want to cut back on grease flare-ups. The idea: “A slotted and corrugated tray is inserted immediately prior to meat flipping, and removed immediately after. This short contact time prevents the tray from over-heating and volatilizing the collected grease. This collected grease will then drip off into a collection tray and can be used at the pit master’s discretion.”

But, total capture isn’t “practical,” so a filter and fan are proposed for installation. “The secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method. This system can be powered by either an exterior electric motor with a chain-driven drive shaft, directly spinning the fan blade, or a hand-powered crank,” said the project write-up.

When they get down to particulate matter that might possibly be inhaled by barbecue pit masters, it’s time to shut the agency down. Or even better, lets loan the whole bunch to China, permanently. They need help.

We expect to limit the overall air pollution PM [particulate matter] emissions from barbecuing and to alleviate some of the acute health hazards that a barbecue pit master can experience from inhalation. The particulate matter present during cooking with and without the grease diverter and PM2.5 filters will be tested and compared to that of current data using a conventional propane barbecue using a fumehood chamber with detectors at CE-CERT. Personal exposure of PM2.5 will also be monitored throughout the experimentation period to determine the degree of acute exposure of particulates to the cook.



Statistics That Will Change the World For Good or Ill by The Elephant's Child

The period between Christmas and New Years is always a strange time. Everybody on the news front has a substitute, does reruns, does best-of, or makes lists. It is the time of year for lists. Can be drummed up quickly and fulfills the need for a column, and the end of a year seems to call for a “summing up.” The best movies, the best books, the funniest cartoons, the best photos, the most admired people, the most important sports events, the most important events ad infinitum. A pox on all their houses.

Robert Samuelson came up with a list of “Best Stats of 2014” which he cheerfully admits he didn’t even collect all the statistics himself proving the significant lack of effort peculiar to the period. I enjoyed it completely, and link to it here. but I will mention a few of my favorites.

— China’s government estimates that by 2020, 30 million eligible bachelors will be unable to find a wife.

— The average teen processes 3,700 texts per month.

— In 2013, more than 40 percent of American births were to unmarried mothers for the sixth consecutive year. (In 1997, the share was 32 percent)

— Only half of American men shave daily.

— Two years after the Newtown school shooting, 52 percent of Americans support gun ownership — up from 32 percent in 2007.

These statistics are all important, but we don’t know how important.  Just how the trends will play out remains to be determined. We have not heard the last of any of them.

(Typo in the gun ownership date fixed)



Why Do You Assume That Things Have to Make Sense? by The Elephant's Child

The Left seems to believe that President Obama’s climate deal with China is a great accomplishment. It commits the United States to continue the downward slope of our  CO² emissions for the next 16 years. Quite a commitment. China, on the other hand, can continue building coal-fired power plants at the rate of one a day for the next 16 years, then China will put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions. Such a deal! Even calling this a deal should be terminally embarrassing. Obama is  once again proclaiming himself the source of all law.

One nation after another is discovering that renewable energy is essentially a fraud and cannot exist without constant backup from conventional power sources. Obama ‘s unenforceable agreement with China allows Beijing free rein in building up their energy infrastructure, yet he has put severe restrictions on funding projects in Africa that are linked to fossil fuel energy, insisting that such poor countries use expensive and unaffordable renewable energy. He’s happy to allow China and India to develop, but at the same time kill the African dream of development and progress.

“A new paper published yesterday in the Journal of Atmospheric and  Solar-Terrestrial Physics finds a “strong and stable correlation” between the millennial variations in sunspots and the temperature in Antarctica over the past 11.000 years. In stark contrast, the authors find no strong or stable correlation between temperature and CO² over that same period.” In other words, there is strong evidence that the Sun has controlled climate over the past 11.000 years, not CO².

Forty years ago, the experts said that the cold, snowy winters in the East were caused by global cooling and excess Arctic ice. Today, the experts say that cold snowy winters are caused by global warming and a deficiency of Arctic ice. So there you go. Whoever said that things have to make sense?



Obama Goes to Australia, Offends Everybody. by The Elephant's Child

There didn’t seem to be much news from President Obama’s trip to Australia for the G20 meeting. The media made a lot of his climate accord with China at his previous stop in Beijing. The commentary recognized that Obama set a path for America to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, and China would go ahead building coal-fired plants at a tremendous rate until 2030 when they might start paying attention to their emissions. The general assumption is that China will pay no attention the agreement anyway, but Mr. Obama seems to believe it to be a great accomplishment.

President Obama ruffled feathers by demanding to make a speech to young people at Queensland University, where he offended everybody with what they called “an ill-informed, insulting speech from Barack Obama about climate change, the Great Barrier Reef and coal.”

The U.S. Embassy carefully had advised the president not to couch his climate change comments in a way that would be seen as disobliging to the Abbott government. “Historians of the US-Australia relationship are unable to nominate a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech to the host government.” Heads of State just don’t go to other countries and insert themselves into political debates in that country.

Queensland is a coal mining state. Mr. Obama said that climate change “here in Australia” means “longer droughts, more wildfires”  and “the incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened.” Well, no it doesn’t, but it has been a contentious point in Australian politics. Climate change does not cause wildfires, nor does it harm the Great Barrier Reef.

Prime Minister Abbott has been critical of Obama’s Green Climate Fund, and points out that the “four-fifths” of the developed world that had used fossil fuels to develop could not deny “the other fifth” access to coal to generate electricity for the hundred million people who were without it.

Queensland officials are so angry at Mr. Obama’s remarks about the Great Barrier Reef and his attack on coal production in a resources state that they are considering a formal complaint. Informal messages were sent to the U.S. delegation that the president’s speech was not in keeping with that of a guest and ally.

Hopes for a positive G20 summit meeting crumbled abruptly when Obama called Vladimir Putin a jackass. At a joint press appearance President Obama blurted “Everyone here thinks you’re  a dick.” Mr. Obama then unleashed a ten-minute tirade at the Russian President.

Look, I’m not just talking about Snowden and Syria,” Mr. Obama said. “What about Pussy Riot? What about your anti-gay laws? Total jackass moves, my friend.”

As Mr. Putin narrowed his eyes in frosty silence, Mr. Obama seemed to warm to his topic.

“If you think I’m the only one who feels this way, you’re kidding yourself,” Mr. Obama said, jabbing his finger in the direction of the Russian President’s face. “Ask Angela Merkel. Ask David Cameron. Ask the Turkish guy. Every last one of them thinks you’re a dick.”

Mr. Putin released  a terse official statement reading, “I should be afraid of this skinny man? I wrestle bears.”

After one day of meetings, the G20 nations voted unanimously on a resolution that said perhaps everyone should just go on home.

The American press, for the most part simply reported that Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper told Putin that he wasn’t sure about shaking Putin’s hand, and Putin “should get out of Ukraine.” For Obama’s tirade I had to go to the Daily Mail and Zero Hedge.  Interesting omission.

ADDENDUM: I ‘m told that the conversation between Obama and Putin comes from a parody in the New Yorker last year, and has inadvertently been picked up by many bloggers as accurate. Apparently it is not. I apologize. It seemed to fit right in with his speech that so offended the Aussies. That was quite real, and reported in the Australian newspapers, as well as in the text supplied by the White House. Mr. Obama has seemed particularly angry since the election, and short tempered, but that’s just the view from partial glimpses.

 



A Legacy of Shame by The Elephant's Child

There is little doubt that within a matter of days, President Obama will issue executive orders that will grant amnesty to numbers of illegal aliens currently in the United States. He would prefer the discussion to be about reforming our “broken immigration system,” but no one has done so much to “break” our  existing laws as this president.

Immigration officers and Border Patrol officers are being told to ignore laws they have been charged with enforcing. The administration has essentially invited the influx of “unaccompanied children” from Central America, and instead of sending them promptly back, they have farmed them out all over the United States, insisted they be enrolled in public school, get welfare, and the results have been outbreaks of Enterovirus D68, measles, tuberculous. The administration has been careful to deny that illegal immigrants have any connection to disease outbreaks —but then it seems to be more than a coincidence. Some legacy.

Work permits for some up to 5 million illegals would be a terrible blow to our own unemployed who cannot find work. We have 46.5 million people on food stamps. How this remedies our “broken immigration system” is not exactly clear.

In China, Mr. Obama committed America to big cuts in greenhouse gas  emissions by 2025 and China will start to cut theirs sometime around 2030 or not in a completely meaningless treaty. Then in Australia for a meeting of the G-20, he demanded that Australia  follow the carbon deal he had made with China. Without a bit of scientific evidence he claimed that global warming “means longer droughts, more wildfires” in Australia. He repeatedly referred to the dangers that global warming poses to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef — a canard used by Mr. Abbott’s opponents. Always helpful to go around the world insulting our warmest allies and bowing and scraping to our enemies. Obama believes that saving the country from the horrors of global warming will be one of the shining accomplishments of his legacy. It’s more apt to make his a laughingstock as his efforts prove to be an enormous waste of money.

Another American was beheaded by ISIS. On the last occasion, Obama made a brief public statement about Americans being beheaded by terrorists and then went off to pay 18 holes of golf, a stark revelation of character.

Mr. Obama insists that he doesn’t know Mr. Gruber, that he was just some “adviser who was never on our staff who expresses an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run.” But who seems to have made several million dollars for consulting on ObamaCare — which is clearly becoming more problematic by the minute, as cost goes up and quality care declines. Their great accomplishment was supposed to be giving insurance to those who had never had insurance before, but we learn that giving people access to Medicaid is worse for their health than doing without insurance.

Approval of ObamaCare ranks as 37% according to Gallup, while disapproval is up around 59%. Instead of regarding the result of the recent election as public repudiation of his policies (he did say that he wouldn’t be on the ballot, but his policies would) he’s quite sure it had nothing to do with him as he is the only one who was elected by all the people.

Old sayings often offer good advice. “If you find  yourself in a hole, stop digging!”



Judge Jeanine Pirro States the Obvious, Clearly and Succinctly by The Elephant's Child


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