American Elephants


Let’s Have Some Really Good News for a Change! by The Elephant's Child

Here at home, the plumbing disaster has evolved into a replace a bathroom adventure. Sorry about the light blogging, but some days that just the way it goes. This is merely the beginning.

So I will turn to good news for a change. How’s this for a headline? “The Era of Great Famines is Over” Here’s Paul Ehrlich writing in The Population Bomb in 1968,

The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.

—India has been suffering from widespread drought in 11 states across the country, yet the country’s foodgrain production is actually set to grow marginally, the third advance estimates released by the agriculture ministry on Monday showed. The grain production for human consumption for 2015-2016 is estimated at 252.23 million tons, marginally higher than the 252.92 million tones produced in 2014-2015 according to the data. If the estimates hold up, it implies that the damage to the farm economy is less than was feared, but also demonstrates a bit of resilience of Indian agriculture to a deficit monsoon.

—Ethiopia is moving from being “the world’s symbol of mass famines to fending off starvation.” Ethiopia could choose to avoid another disaster because “Famine isn’t caused by overpopulation, and as Ethiopia’s experience shows, it’s not a necessary consequence of drought. Politics creates famine, and politics can stop it.” The New York Times, May 8 , 2016

—South Africa aims to be malaria free by 2018. The National Health Department in confident that they can reduce locally transmitted cases to zero, because they have already managed to reduce cases dramatically.

Malaria accounts for 40 percent of all public health spending on the continent, killing up to 438,000 people each year mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.

But, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s world malaria report for 2015 states that there’s been a major decline in global malaria cases and deaths since the year 2000, with the mortality rate decreasing by 60 percent.

—In the middle of the political season, everyone seems to be angry, unhappy with Congress because they didn’t stop Obama from using his phone and his pen to accomplish all the things that he could not get through Congress, and decided to accomplish by executive order.. The media is fascinated with following unpredictable candidates around, so we aren’t hearing all that much from the rest of the world.  From Guy Sorman at City Journal:

Worry over America’s recent economic stagnation, however justified, shouldn’t obscure the fact that the American economy remains Number One in the world. The United States holds 4.5 percent of the world’s population but produces a staggering 22 percent of the world’s output—a fraction that has remained fairly stable for two decades, despite growing competition from emerging countries. Not only is the American economy the biggest in absolute terms, with a GDP twice the size of China’s; it’s also near the top in per-capita income, currently a bit over $48,000 per year. Only a few small countries blessed with abundant natural resources or a concentration of financial services, such as Norway and Luxembourg, can claim higher averages.

“America’s predominance isn’t new; indeed, it has existed since the early nineteenth century.” By the 1830s American per-capita income was already the highest in the world. It wasn’t just our size and natural resources, for other countries had those attributes.

They couldn’t compete with Americas strong intellectual property rights. The U.S, Constitution was the first in history to protect intellectual property rights, and “secured for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Two hundred years later, the U.S. has more patents in force —1.8 million—than any other nation. American wages were significantly higher than those in Europe, which meant that landowners needed high levels of productivity, which meant that the mechanization of agriculture got under way in America before it did overseas.

America’s enormous territory and “the freedom people had to move and work across it” encouraged an advanced division of labor, which is essential to high productivity.

Globalization is having the same effect today, making prices drop by assigning the production of goods to countries that are relatively efficient at making them.

Immigration has been another component of American economic dynamism, for evident quantitative reasons: national GDP grows when total population and productivity increase simultaneously. But this effect has worked particularly well in the United States because its immigrants have tended to be young, energetic, and open to American values. Immigration is a self-selecting process: those who find the courage to leave behind their roots, traditions, and family often have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Guy Sorman adds:

In the current sluggish economic environment, the remarkable history of American dynamism is thus more instructive than ever. America’s economic might is rooted in an entrepreneurial culture and a passion for innovation and risk-taking, traits nourished by the nation’s commitment to the rule of law, property rights, and a predictable set of tax and regulatory policies. Policymakers have lost sight of these fundamental principles in recent years. The next era of American prosperity will be hastened when they return to them.

Do read the whole thing. It’s not long.



Sexual Assault, Rape, Islam, And Nothing To See Here, Just Move Along. by The Elephant's Child

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The reactions in Europe to the coordinated sexual assaults and rapes on hundreds of women in Cologne, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Berlin and a few other German towns, in Salzburg, and in Finland — deserves our close attention. The media covered it up. The police and town officials made excuses, or simply tried to ignore it. The Cologne police chief got fired, but the mayor has not yet resigned as she should. The cathedral square in Cologne, filled with nightclubs, bars and coffee shops is where locals have seen in the New Year for hundreds of years.

Britain’s Daily Mail reported:

The men, speaking Arabic and seemingly either drunk or high on drugs, moved around in large groups among a gathering of around 1,000 male migrants and deliberately targeted women. The men easily outnumbered the 190 police officers on duty, who were quickly overwhelmed.

In Cologne, 120 women reported assault, 50 women in Hamburg complained to police, in Berlin a tourist was assaulted by 5 men right in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Just a coincidence? Let’s not be totally gullible. The common thread is that the attackers were Mediterranean men of Arabic appearance and an immigrant background.

In Britain, Quadrant magazine reported in October, of Muslim sex gangs described by authorities as “Asian” in Banbury, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bristol, Burnley, Cambridge, Carlisle, Derby, Leeds, London, Manchester, Oldham, Oxford, Peterborough, Preston, Rochdale, Rotherham. Sheffield and Telford. The victims are under-age English girls, and the gangs are Muslim and traffickers. The press and broadcasters go out of their way to avoid any connection between the acts and the central practices of the religion of the malefactors, or even to name that religion. Referring to them as “Asian” is insulting, for Sikh and Hindu Punjabis in Britain do not commit rapes or assault children, but Muslim Punjabis do. The attacks are characteristic only of Muslims.

The Press and police and social workers have mostly been unwilling to to investigate, take action, or disturb ‘community harmony.’ The only common characteristic is the Muslim religion throughout Britain, Australia, Germany, and Scandinavia. In the Muslim communities, the victims did not matter because they were not Muslims.

The real problem is that Muslims believe in their own superiority and supremacy over others. They hate Israel and India because these are lands that they believe are —theirs by right of conquest. Over a millennium ago conquering Muslim armies detached Palestine along with the rest of the Middle East from the Christian world. Likewise the Muslims invaded India, subjugated the Hindus and forcibly converted many of them. Now the Jews have returned to their ancestral land and the Hindus are masters of their own country and “impudent” enough to want to reclaim their own history. According to Muslim doctrine no country that was once under Muslim rule can ever finally escape from it. What is happening in Britain is that the Muslims are fighting out their foreign conflicts on our territory against our Hindus and our Jews, two groups who have made an unparalleled contribution to the prosperity and intellectual life of our society. We have an overriding duty to defend them.

People in public office have a deep resistance to being accused of Islamophobia, or racism or any other offense against the reigning political correctness in our current society. They might be called unpleasant names, lose their jobs, be demoted, have a black mark against their names — or lose an election. How did we get here? I don’t think ordinary Americans care at all about being politically correct, yet our schools and our governments at all levels are obsessed. Is it the finger-pointing of the press?  As far as that goes, why does the press seem to have less and less understanding of events in the world?  Just asking.

ADDENDUM: Breitbart reports that a peaceful protest in Cologne by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe (PEGIDA) today turned violent as German police turned water cannon against the demonstrators. 143 police officers had been turned out to stop the migrant rape of the previous night, 1500 officers were turned out to stop the anti-rape protest. Elsewhere, protesters were accused by some officials as “racists.” Protecting the establishment by accusing those who protest establishment inaction of being at fault— in other words blaming the victims.

 



Paris Agreement, American Leadership, and Pure Fantasy. by The Elephant's Child

The report of the President’s response to the jihadist attack in San Bernardino should give you pause. As soon as he realized that some would classify the killing in San Bernardino as a terrorist attack, he called together his National Security Council and the heads of federal law enforcement agencies to discuss a public relations strategy. A designation of the killing as a terrorist attack would threaten to upset his “strategy” in Syria.

The President of the United States has declared publicly, 22 times, that climate change is a greater threat by far than Islamic terrorism: Jan. 15, 2008; Jan 26, 2000; May 2010; Sept.6, 2012; Jan 23, 2013; Feb. 16, 2014; June, 2014; Sept. 2014; Sept 24, 2014; Oct. 29, 2014; 2015 State of the Union address; Feb. 2015; Feb. 09, 2015, Feb. 10, 2015, April 18, 2015; May, 2015; May 20 2015; July 13, 2015; Defense Dept report, July 29, 2015; Aug 28, 2015; September UN 2015; Sept.28, 2015 at the United Nations, he said “No country can escape the ravages of climate change.”

The Big Climate Meeting: COP 21, has concluded. The negotiators have thrashed out their final details. The agreement will make no difference whatsoever to “climate change,” and the total effects will be another very expensive meeting to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco  next year.

As James Delingpole, who is always correct, said, “All that stuff you’ve read and heard about “time running out,”  “deadlock,” “last minute deals,” — it’s all a charade, everything was pre-ordained. COP is not really about saving the planet, it’s a massive jobs fair for activists, shyster politicians, bureaucrats, and people with otherwise worthless degrees in “sustainability,” “conservation biology,” and “ecology.”

He adds that “No serious person in the world believes in man-made climate change any more. They just don’t. Only people like Secretary of State John Kerry — who has staked the reputation of the Obama presidency on how well it deals with this non-existent problem.” Delingpole adds “If you live by fairies you will die by fairies.”

We said in the beginning that China and India aren’t about to sign on to any plan eliminating or reducing their efforts to industrialize and their need for cheap energy. China is building one new coal-fired power plant every 7 to 10 days, while Japan plans to build 43 coal-fired power projects to replace its Fukushima nuclear plant, which killed 19,000 people and destroyed 150,000 buildings. India has some 500 coal-fired power plants planned.

The stated aim of the meeting was to prevent the earth’s temperature from rising more than 2º C. above pre-industrial levels. If all the world’s leading nations stick to the carbon-reduction commitments they will make (which are totally not binding) then they will stave off ‘global warming’ by the end of this century by 17 one hundredths of one degree C. (0.170º C.) That is the “optimistic scenario,” assuming that nobody’s lying.

The annual cost to the global economy is approximately $1.5 trillion. As Ebeneezer Scrooge said, Bah Humbug!

“We met the moment,” Obama said. “We may not live to see the full realization of our achievement but that’s OK,: he said. “What matters is that today we can be more confident this planet will be in better shape for the next generation.”

So there you go. Nothing binding. Opt-outs written in. Totally fake agreement. What more could you ask for, if you are trying to decorate your legacy? But they will have another big meeting next year, and the year after…

Nevertheless, the press, totally invested in saving the earth, as you hear from them constantly, erupted with delight:

(h/t: T. Becket Adams)



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?



Just What You Thought! Silicon Valley Billion-Dollar Firm Pays Illegal Workers $1.21 an Hour. by The Elephant's Child

About those Silicon Valley claims that they just can’t find enough talented STEM workers in this country:

Although there is a surplus of American high-tech workers, high-tech companies continue to clamor for more guest-worker visas to lower the wages of their workers. Companies like Microsoft have lobbied for massive increases in foreign workers even while laying off 18,000 American workers.

Electronics for Living is a billion-dollar manufacturer of computer peripherals with sales of $727 million last year. They apparently have an operation and employees in Bangalore, India. The company decided to install a new computer system and imported eight workers from India to do this work. The first arrived in September 2013, and the last left in December of that year.

The workers continued to be paid at their Indian wages plus  an apparently tiny bonus, in rupees, or 74 Indian rupees an hour. In American dollars, their total pay was $1.21 an hour. Oops! Temporary or not the were completely covered by both federal and California minimum wage law, the latter calls for at least $8.00 an hour and time-and-a-half  for overtime. At least one of the workers was forced to work 122 house in a week, but details for the others are not available.

They were busted, but while both workers and corporation were egregiously violating the Immigration and Naturalization Act. they got off with a minor slap on the wrist. The Dept. of Labor figured the difference between $1.21 and the state’s minimum of $8.00 an hour plus the missing overtime payments came to about $20,000. Labor did double that figure, and each worker got about $5,000 or $40,000 all together. And they added in a $3,500 administrative  fee to the total. Electronics for Living  said “We unintentionally overlooked laws that require even foreign employees to be paid based on local U.S. standards.”

When India-based Infosys was called into court for multiple violations of the INA, they were smacked with a $34 million fine. The two cases are separate, but if you look upon whines from Silicon Valley about their inability to find satisfactory STEM graduates in this country with a bit of a jaundiced eye, you cannot be blamed.

Importing foreign workers pushes the wages for available jobs downward. Massive increases in guest-worker visas will cut off opportunity for American workers to enter the middle class through technology jobs.



The Biggest Election in The World. A Sweeping Victory For Free Markets. by The Elephant's Child

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India’s remarkable parliamentary election has lasted for five weeks and counted some 550 million ballots. Indian voters have given  a landslide victory to Narendra Modi”s Bharatiya Janata Party. Mr. Modi will be the first Prime Minister to govern without a coalition in nearly 30 years, and he has an unusual mandate to enact market-opening reforms that had stalled under the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The losing Congress Party had ruled India for most of its 67 years. Under Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Party kept to its old political strategy of doling out benefits to the poor and discouraging foreign investment. Growth was below 5% which to most Indians felt like a recession. The Indian work force was growing by 12 million a year, but only two million new jobs were being created. That would feel like a recession. As the Wall Street Journal said:

Mr. Modi’s record offers reason for optimism. As governor for 13 years of Gujarat state, he was the archetypal energetic executive, forcing through approvals of new projects and welcoming foreign investment. Gujarat now accounts for 25% of India’s exports, and the poverty rate has plunged. As the son of a tea-seller, Mr. Modi also has a gut sense of the economic aspirations of ordinary Indians.

India’s growing middle class has been exposed to the broader world and wants more opportunity. He appealed to this class in his campaign, and emphasized the difference between an older generation who “died for independence” and a younger India that “will live for good governance.”It looks like far more Indians found his record appealing. India is celebrating Hope. The Wall Street Journal adds:

More importantly, Mr. Modi will need to build ideological consensus to reverse India’s deep-rooted distrust of markets. Riding herd on civil servants is possible in a state of 60 million people like Gujarat, but it is impossible in a fractious nation of 1.2 billion people.

Richard Epstein, Hoover Institution fellow and  Law professor who often works at the confluence of law and economics visited India for the first time in January. His account of his attempt to buy a local phone so he could make an occasional call to family back in the United States is a far better demonstration of the crushing weight of the enormous Indian bureaucracy and its civil servants, than anything I could write.

The American media hasn’t paid much attention to this sweeping victory of conservative, free-market, and anti-Islamist forces. Modi is moving quickly to dispel fears that his pro-Hindu leanings would sideline minorities.

“The age of divisive politics has ended, from today onwards the politics of uniting people will begin,” Modi said. “We want more strength for the well-being of the country … I see a glorious and prosperous India.”

“I want to take all of you with me to take this country forward… it is my responsibility to take all of you with me to run this country,” he added.

Congratulations to the Indian people on a remarkable democratic election. We wish you well for the future. May your hopes be well-rewarded.




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