American Elephants


Beware the Snake Oil Salesmen! by The Elephant's Child

This post was originally written on March 8, 2011.

It’s hard to visualize just how big these things are.  In Europe, and I don’t know the location, adventurous souls are climbing turbines and jumping off with parachutes (parafoils?).

When those who are pushing for more wind farms talk about “capacity” they are talking about the amount of energy that could be produced if the wind was blowing at a constant speed of about 30 mph.

The problem with wind is not the turbines, the problem is the nature of wind. It is intermittent. It blows in puffs and gusts, in gales, zephyrs, breezes, squalls or not at all, and there may be no wind for days. In a gale, the turbines may have to shut down to avoid damage.  Each turbine requires 24/7  backup for the times when the wind does not blow, or does not blow strongly enough, or too strongly.  The usual backup power plant is fired with natural gas, but power plants are not meant to cycle on and off so frequently to compensate for intermittent wind. You can build bigger and better turbines, but it won’t solve the problem of intermittent and unpredictable wind.

Europe has been far ahead of us in falling for the promise of wind energy. They fell for the global warming fraud with a greater degree of panic, and for the promise of “green energy” and “green jobs.” That did not work out well.  Britain, however, had long-standing power plants that needed replacement and were required to be shut down at a certain point. Enthusiasm for green energy and EU imposed greenhouse gas targets have created enormous problems for the British people.

“Electricity consumers in the United Kingdom will need to get used to flicking the switch and finding the power unavailable” according to Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the country’s grid operator. “The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030.  We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it.  It’s going to be much smarter than that.”

“We are going to change our own behavior and consume it when it is available and available cheaply.”

Holliday says that blackouts may be a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines to meet greenhouse gas targets.  Have to do it, but it will mean lifestyle changes.  Maybe they should get the EU to bag the “greenhouse” nonsense, instead.  Britain had a higher number of deaths from the cold this year and more energy poverty.

Under the so-called “smart grid” that the UK is developing, the government-regulated utility will be able to decide when and where power should be delivered, to ensure that it meets the highest social purpose.

The government might decide that the needs of some industries take precedence over others, or that the needs of industry might trump that of residential consumers. Government would also be able to price power prohibitively if it is used for non-essential purposes.  Smart grids are being developed by utilities worldwide to allow the government to control electricity use in the home, down to the individual appliance, and be capable of turning them off if the power is needed elsewhere.

So Britain’s wind farms aren’t having back-up power plants?  I can think of a few objections.  You cannot predict when the wind will blow.  Mr. Dalrymple requires a 3 hour surgery for some major repairs — how do you schedule the operation?  A manufacturing plant has machines that must run all day — processes can’t simply be suddenly halted. Long periods without wind often come during especially cold periods.  It doesn’t matter how “smart” your grid might be if whether or not power is produced at all is completely unpredictable.

We must take Britain seriously. Their long romance with the welfare state provides us with vast evidence of what not to do.  Their National Health Service is a growing disaster, and they are trying to save it with major reform that returns authority to doctors and patients. Their welfare state has created a permanent underclass. And their belief in the fraud of global warming is leading them to another disaster. We must pay attention to the evidence.

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American Life Expectancy Has Declined for the Third Year in a Row by The Elephant's Child

he Center for Disease Control and Prevention just revealed that American life expectancy has declined for the third year in a roll. The last time that happened was at the end of the first World War and the huge flu pandemic. The reason is clear – drug overdoses, and suicide. Last year 70,000 Americans died of a drug overdose.

This is double that of Canada, relative to population, and three times the rate in England and Wales. The health care system, on the other hand, works. The number one killer in the United States for decades has been heart disease. Between 2000 and 2017 the death rate from heart disease has dropped by more than 35%, and last year there were 63,000 fewer deaths from heart disease than in 2,000, and one-third the rate in 1969. I should note that if you take the suicide and drug overdoses out of the tabulation, life expectancy is back to increasing slowly. This is a lesson in how statistics can be deceiving.

The United States has also made tremendous gains against cancer, the second-most prolific killer of Americans. From 2016 to 2017, the overall mortality rate from cancer declined 2.1%. And since its peak in 1991, the U.S. cancer death rate has fallen nearly 30%.

Cancer kills more people, as a share of the population, in other countries. Canada’s cancer mortality rate is 198 deaths per 100,000 people — 30% higher than the corresponding rate in the United States. The United Kingdom’s cancer death rate is 80% higher than in the United States.

Socialized medicine does much worse. The government-run systems in Canada and Britain are not able to serve the needs of their patients. In England, 28,000 patients whose doctors referred them urgently to a hospital had to wait more than two months to start treatment. Almost 11,000 of those patients had to wait more than three months. In the U.S. 45 drugs for cancer have been approved between 2009 and 2013, Canada’ health care system covered just 13. Don’t let anyone sell you on Single-Payer Health Care.

There aren’t many things that are better done by a large bureaucracy. Health Care is not one of them. When a bureaucracy does it, cost becomes the major factor, and cutting costs ranks higher than anything individual. The other thing to take away from those statistics is the urgency of drastically cutting the flow of drugs into the country.

 



Questions Without Answers: Where and What is Reality? by The Elephant's Child

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I don’t know if there has ever been a time when reality was so much in question. What’s true and what’s not.  The new federal climate report comes out and climate scientists call it “tripe”–”embarrassing” – “systematically flawed” and said the key claim comes from a study funded by Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. The climate scientists who assume they can program the world’s climate into a computer and get accurate answers about what will happen in the next hundred years have too much faith in computers. (GIGO)

The nation’s farewell to President George Herbert Walker Bush was alternately a celebration of the life of a war hero and a patriot and a good man, and a rebuke to the current president, and the current president and Melania were rebuked by Hillary, but Jeb said the President couldn’t have been nicer.

In Britain, Brexit is damaging to the nation and the European Union, and alternately, it is necessary for Britain to get out from under the control of the European Union, and the migrants may be a huge problem or not at all.

In France, Prime Minister Macron wants a big carbon tax to lower their efforts to damage the climate, and the people don’t want any carbon taxes and don’t plan on having any. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it is inevitable that climate governance will create economic, social and racial justice. There will only be benefits, and no costs to passing a raft of new climate change laws. Others laugh at her.

Whatever the subject, opinion varies, which is normal, but opinion has become truth, and is not to be doubted. Google has been shown to be eliminating conservative truth and favoring their own leftist leanings. President Trump has said firmly that he is a nationalist, by which he means he loves his country and favors it. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron rebuked U.S. President Donald Trump for putting the interests of U.S. citizens above the demonstration of moral values, and said that nationalism is a bad thing.

The media in this country is conducting a war on President Trump, who they consider an illegal president to whom they are opposed, but clearly he is the legally elected and widely approved President of the United States. President Trump wants to build a wall on the Southern border to prevent the influx of illegal aliens. California has Sanctuary Cities and is, I believe, a sanctuary state.

Forest fires are caused by alternately poor forest management  or global warming, as stated by President Trump or California Governor Jerry Brown. We can determine the truth to the extent that we agree with one side or another, but over and over, there is no widely accepted truth.

This is the reality exposed by the technology giants, who are supposedly emanating only truth, and eliminating “hate speech”, but what is called “hate speech” depends on which voices attract the most valuable clicks. Hollywood celebrities, who have only the fact that we may recognize their faces or names to attest to the worth of what they say, are free to use all the “hate speech” they want because being celebrities they will have lots of followers, which means a lot of clicks for the website. So “Truth” is not what is approved by the websites that claim to be impartial judges of truth and falsehood, but the impartial judges lie as well.

Electoral Fraud is widespread, or simply does not exist. It is hardly surprising that so many are claiming that we are on the brink of a civil war. Truth is fiction, Animal Farm is real, and Maisie Hirono (D-HI) urges Democrats to consider “heart over mind. Don’t tell everybody how smart we are.”

The ceremonies for the mourning of a past president and the long, long lines of people waiting in the cold for a chance to pass by the catafalque suggested to many that President H.W. Bush was the last of the patricians, when everybody agreed on right and wrong and true and false. Of course they didn’t agree then, but the times have changed and we have organizations like Snopes and the SPLC, PoliFact, NewsBusters, the Media Research Center to tell us what is true and what is not, and they deliver falsehoods, and the atmosphere out there is far worse than it ever was.



A Song of Patriotic Prejudice by The Elephant's Child

The rottenest bits of these islands of ours
We’ve left in the hands of three unfriendly powers.
Examine your Irishman, Welshman or Scot
You’ll find he’s a stinker as likely as not

The English the English are best
I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest

The Scotsman is mean as we’re all well aware
And bony and blotchy and covered with hair,
He eats salty porridge, he works all the day
And he hasn’t got Bishops to show him the way

The English are noble, the English are nice
And worth any other at double the price

And crossing the Channel one cannot say much
For the French or the Spanish. the Danish. or Dutch
The Germans are German, the Russians are Red
And the Greeks and Italians eat garlic in bed

The English are moral, the English are good
And clever and modest and misunderstood

Flanders & Swann



How Do You Solve A Problem Like Human Nature? by The Elephant's Child

There are faint signs that perhaps the tensions involved over the debate about “globalism” and “national sovereignty” may be clearing a bit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that European Union (EU) member states must be prepared to transfer their powers over to Brussels at such a debate.

“In an orderly fashion, of course” Merkel said, as she explained that Germany had given up some of its sovereignty in order to join the EU, but national parliaments were in charge of deciding whether or not sign on to international treaties.

The CDU (Christian Democratic Union) leader said that trust and the willingness to compromise are essential in discussing the controversial UN migration pact, which the debate has continued to divide her own party.

Some important allies are pulling out of the agreement – Australia has left saying they will not risk their ‘hard won’ success in controlling their own borders. Trump has said no, and others are trying to figure out where they stand.

Chancellor Merkel accused critics of the Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration of “advocating ‘nationalism’ in its purest form.” She paraphrased her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron who recently claimed that “patriotism is the exact opposite because nationalism is treason.” Europe must surrender national sovereignty she said, to Brussels over “foreign affairs, migration, and development, as well as an increasing part of our budgets and even fiscal resources.” She also called for the creation of a real, true EU army and she stated that only through globalism can the world see peace.

This is an old, old argument — even on the original Thanksgiving we celebrate — can’t we all just get along? Well, no we can’t. It is now and always has been a pipe dream. And on throughout world history. The first humans probably started dispersing because they couldn’t get along together and were fighting about the kill that Roku dragged home for dinner, or who was going to get the choice piece of meat. You probably noticed in all the talk about happy family get-togethers for Thanksgiving dinner, there was also a lot of talk about how to deal with Uncle Harry who was a far Left Trump hater, or Uncle Ralph who was a bigoted Conservative.

The concept of a perfect society, or utopia, is as old as humanity. That is really the origin of communism and socialism and Nazism. They believed they were creating the perfect system. Here in America the Utopian Movement gained traction in 19th century America when thousands of people formed communities hoping to improve on existing society. The heyday was between 1820 and 1860. One of the remaining groups from that period is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or the Mormon Church, founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith. There was also the Oneida Community in upstate New York, the Shaker Movement, Brook Farm, a utopian community in Massachusetts.

We have had a lot of movements for “world peace.” There was the “war to end all wars” followed by the League of Nations”, followed by the rise of socialism with Mussolini and Hitler and World War II and the United Nations and the Cold War and another bunch of wars and Angela Merkel ought to be aware that the odds are quite definitely not in her favor.

In the present, Europe is suffering from Merkel’s invitation to all the unhappy people from the Middle East and Africa to migrate to Europe in the mistaken idea that Europe’s problem of declining birthrates and lack of young people to do the scut work and boring jobs would be solved by migration. Instead they got an invasion of Moslems whose religion demanded that those who did not submit to Allah should be killed. The migrants were welcomed all over Europe with gifts of food and clothing, flowers and song. The migrants were happy to accept the gifts, complained bitterly about the accommodations provided, and wanted to be supported by European generosity. They have instead proved willing to burn cars, rape any available women and girls, and engage in occasional shootings, and their communities have become dangerous ‘no-go’ districts. Merkel has just still not given up on her ideas of utopia.

In spite of all the Never-Trumpers, the deranged ‘celebrities’ in a constant search for the nearest microphone, and the newest “Democratic-Socialists”, plain old free-market capitalism in a constitutional republic seems to work better than anything else. The news of the day is not usually about how peaceful and happy the nations of the world are, but about their quarrels. Quarreling remains human nature, and we seem to be stuck with it.



A Day of Thanksgiving, Then And Now. by The Elephant's Child

First published in 2008

On March 22, 1621, an official Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to negotiate with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement.  At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum, a distrusted captive, whom Massasoit had reluctantly brought along as an interpreter.

Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli.  About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity.  Whole villages had been depopulated—indeed, the foreigners ahead now occupied one of the empty sites.  It was all he could do to hold together the remnants of his people.  Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west.  Soon, Massasoit feared, they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them.

Desperate threats require desperate countermeasures.  In a gamble, Massasoit intended to abandon, even reverse, a long-standing policy.  Europeans had been visiting New England for at least a century.  Shorter than the natives, oddly dressed, and often unbearably dirty, the pallid foreigners had peculiar blue eyes that peeped out of the masks of bristly, animal-like hair that encased their faces.  They were irritatingly garrulous, prone to fits of chicanery, and often surprisingly incompetent at what seemed to Indians like basic tasks.  But they also made useful and beautiful goods—copper kettles, glittering colored glass, and steel knives and hatchets—unlike anything else in New England.  Moreover, they would exchange these valuable items for cheap furs of the sort used by Indians as blankets.  It was like happening upon a dingy kiosk that would swap fancy electronic goods for customers’ used socks—almost anyone would be willing to overlook the shopkeeper’s peculiarities.

This is how author Charles C. Mann describes the first contact between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, in his fascinating book 1491, which alters our view of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492.  He goes on to say: “British fishing vessels may have reached Newfoundland as early as the 1480s and areas to the south soon after.  In 1501, just nine years after Columbus’s first voyage, the Portugese adventurer Gaspar Corte-Real abducted fifty-odd Indians from Maine.  Examining the captives, Corte-Real found to his astonishment that two were wearing items from Venice: a broken sword and two silver rings.”

As for the Indians, evidence suggests that they tended to view Europeans with disdain as soon as they got to know them.  The Huron in Ontario, a chagrined missionary reported, thought the French possessed “little intelligence in comparison to themselves.”  Europeans, Indians told other Indians, were physically weak, sexually untrustworthy, atrociously ugly, and just plain smelly. (the British and French, many of whom had not taken a bath in their entire lives, were amazed by the Indian interest in personal cleanliness.)…The Micmac in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia scoffed at the notion of European superiority.  If Christian civilization was so wonderful, why were its inhabitants all trying to settle somewhere else?

The Wall Street Journal has two editorials that it has been publishing on this day ever since 1961 : “The Desolate Wilderness”, and “And the Fair Land.” This year they have another piece by Ira Stoll on the first national Thanksgiving holiday, “A Day of Thanksgiving”, on Thursday, Dec. 18, 1777.  You will want to read all three.

We wish you and yours a most Happy Thanksgiving.  We all have much to be thankful for.



Immigration: Legal or Illegal? It Makes a Difference. by The Elephant's Child

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The Caravans have apparently gotten rides and around 7,000 to 10,000 of them are at the border in Tijuana. The residents of that city are up in arms with thousands of unwanted migrants on their streets. The Migrants are admitting that they are not after asylum, but just want American jobs. President Trump asked why are they waving flags of their native countries? They do not want asylum, they do not want to become Americans, they want jobs and the benefits our generous aid systems provide.

The military has been busy setting out razor wire all along the border. Tijuana has appealed to the Mexican military for help. The migrants know they are not eligible for asylum. They apparently intend to mass at the border and see what President Trump will do about it.

Homeland Security claims there are at least 500 criminals traveling with the caravans. Authorities have closed four lanes of traffic at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings in response to intelligence that groups of migrants planned to rush the border through automotive lanes. That led to closure of eight more lanes at the busy border crossings. There were already many Mexicans camped near the border waiting their turn to apply for asylum. The asylum rules are complex, but as I understand it, they have to apply in the first country they come to, which for the Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorians was Mexico – who offered jobs, but only 1,800 or so took them up on it.

Australia’s Prime Minister has promised a major cut in their migrant intake. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the country’s major cities have buses, trains and schools that “are full.” The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr. Morrison will ask state leaders to create their own population plans and will address the issue at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting on December 12.

His plan is to move away from top-down discussions about population to set specific migration caps to how many can enter. In Sydney, Mr. Morrison said, that migrants accounted for about 70% of the population growth last year. Australians want an end to mass migration.

And then there is Europe. Angela Merkel has, for whatever reason, perhaps German guilt, encouraged the European Union to welcome refugees, and they have come from all the troubled countries of the Middle East and Africa. But swallowing this massive influx is something else again. Initially they were greeted with flowers and food and song. (Really) But the immigrants have had a habit of burning cars, complaining about the housing arranged for them, raping women and girls, and killing innocent Europeans.

Some of the Eastern Europeans, more familiar with being invaded by violent armies, have built walls or fences to keep the migrants out, and are castigated for it. In England, it was reported that the most popular baby’s name was Mohammed. It is hard for the Europeans who also believe in Freedom of Religion, having had a reformation and many wars over religion, to accept criticism of the Moslem religion. There is, however. a major problem in that religious Muslims believe that infidels (us) must discard our religion and submit fully to Allah, which is a different matter.

Canada is helped immeasurably by their geographic location. On three sides they have ocean – the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Atlantic – and you can’t get there easily unless you have a boat and crew. Their southern border with America, the world’s leading economy, has been a magnet for immigration rather than the reverse. At some times in their history they worried more about the volume of emigrants from Canada to the U.S. to such an extent that Canadians feared for the future of their country. Generally, the movement of people into Canada has been law abiding and orderly. Most arrivals come through the front door. Canadians have a high commitment to policing, and you could call their fifth border “bureaucratic”. Visitors have to apply in advance for a visa, and if they are coming from a place that has recently sent more than a certain number of asylum applicants (or vacation overstayers) they are not admitted. Canada has some of the world’s most restrictive visa rules. Most applicants from countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria are turned down. And since the U.S. is not considered a threat, claiming asylum in Canada doesn’t work.

Illegal aliens often demonstrate here, bearing signs that say things like “No human is illegal” but dictionaries explain that “Illegal” simply means not according to the law. An alien is a person who owes allegiance to a country other than this. The Left favors massive immigration because new immigrants are likely to vote Democrat, and they are happy to sign up illegals to vote, as in California where anyone can get a driver’s license, and along with the driver’s license, you register to vote. and then they have sanctuary cities and states as well.

Then you have the inflow of various categories of temporary tech workers, who are apparently cheaper to hire than our own tech graduates. Farm workers, exchange students, and some foreign students sent here to learn our technology to take back home again, and just plain old tourists who overstay. It’s a very complicated mess even without migrants clamoring at the border and climbing the walls.  The Center for Immigration Studies has told us that a wall would actually pay for itself in the reduced cost of welfare and emergency health care and policing that are involved with illegal immigration. So there you are.




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