American Elephants


Remember the Huge Protests When Obama Was Elected, So Now It’s Payback Time? by The Elephant's Child

The Democrats’ derangement gets more alarming. I’ve seen three pieces so far from respected reporters suggesting that what we are seeing is an attempt at a silent coup. One would think that this could be dismissed with an “Oh please!” but they are quite serious.

John Podesta is reportedly reduced to delusional claiming, without any evidence whatsoever, that Donald Trump is “unfit for office,” whose actions are often “absolutely crazy” and whose White House has “a complete disregard for the truth.” “It’s clear to him that Republicans on Capitol Hill are not going to turn on him at this point.”

Mr. Podesta is still trying to make something out of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, which he seems to believe was because of his interference which damaged Hillary. Mr. Comey was fired because he exceeded his authority which is strictly investigative, by assuming  the role of the Justice Department in deciding not to prosecute Hillary. Then the Democrats got all excited by the idea that President Trump was guilty of obstructing justice because he said something to Comey about not prosecuting Michael Flynn. The President doesn’t need a reason to fire an FBI director, the decision is his to make. His remark about going easy on Flynn has had no effect on the Flynn investigation, which has continued.

We know that the Democrats were urging their activists to go to their Republican representatives’ town hall meetings and raise hell. Scare them into refusing to vote for any of Trump’s initiatives. Now it seems that Republican congresspeople are facing violence and death threats from Left-wing activists. “A man was arrested last week for threatening Rep. Martha McSally in voicemail messages, telling her that her days “were numbered” because of her support for the president. At her February town hall she was heckled as activists carried signs saying “Stop Trump’s crusade of hate” (?) and “No! this fascist regime must be stopped before it starts.” “A woman was arrested after she allegedly attempted to drive Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) off the road over his support of the Republican health care bill after an event. When the car stopped, she is alleged to have attacked the car, hitting the windows and reaching inside the car. She was arrested after she bragged about it on Facebook.” A number of representatives are increasing their security. Often the members of their families are getting threats.

I’m not one to point fingers, but I might mention that John Podesta was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.

When Barack Obama won the election in 2008, a good many Republicans were less impressed with a  need for the first black president than they were worried about Mr. Obama’s meager experience, and the fact that the Democrats were calling him things like “light-worker” and the most brilliant man ever to run for the presidency. I just don’t recall any demonstrations at his inauguration, or protests at his speeches. Poor Mr. Podesta is still blathering on about the popular vote, apparently still unaware that we don’t elect people by the popular vote in America. William Voegeli wrote in the Spring 2017 issue of the Claremont Review of Books that:

 Soon after the 2016 election result was in, Donald Trump’s opponents designated themselves melodramatically “the Resistance.” … either you’re part of the Resistance, or you’re part of the evil the Resistance is resisting.In the Age of Trump, public figures can neither declare themselves neutral nor simply decline to have, or share, their personal views. Gallon’s critics made clear that to do anything less than revile Trump. in any public setting, is to “normalize” him, thereby imperiling all that is good and decent in our land. The Old Normal, where everything Trump represents  and intends was understood to be odious and catastrophic, must never devolve into a New Normal that legitimates Trump and Trumpism.

I refer you back to the map in a previous piece below, of the counties in America and who they voted for. The Democrats not only lost the election, their prominent people are old. Diane Feinstein is 83, Hillary is 69, Nancy Pelosi is 76, Chuck Schumer is 66, Jerry Brown is 78, Elizabeth Warren is 67 and she may not survive the next election, she’s reportedly unpopular. The head of the DNC, Tom Perez, has a vulgarity problem, and announced that there  was no room in the Democrat Party for anyone who was pro-life. I’m not sure that all this “resistance” is really going to play well in America. Hillary announced that she was part of the Resistance, and was going back to raising money. We’ve had a surprising number of perennial candidates who keep running and running. Someone even suggested that Jerry Brown should run again.



A Complete and Unverifiable Explanation of Most Everything by The Elephant's Child

Are you paying attention to the news? It is difficult. James Comey has been unjustly fired, Comey deserved to be fired. Comey kept memos of his conversations. Comey is very close  to Senator Schumer. Comey refuses to testify before Congress. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller will head the investigation into Russia ties. Robert Mueller and Comey are old friends. Robert Mueller is widely respected.

The storm has been gathering for more than a week. It started when Trump impetuously fired the FBI director, James Comey, claiming at first that he did so on the advice of Rosenstein. Then the president changed his story and told NBC News that he was going to fire Comey anyway and that part of this was because the bureau’s Russia investigation was dragging on.

The Comey camp soon struck back. First his allies leaked that Trump had asked Comey for his loyalty back in January over dinner. Then in a more damaging story, the New York Times reported on a memo Comey had written to record a conversation in which Trump asked him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, the national security adviser Trump fired after three weeks on the job.

To state the obvious, all of this made Trump look like he had something to hide. And it did not take long for Democrats to seize on this theme, mounting a campaign for a special counsel as a condition to approve the next FBI director.

If you read all that or the equivalent, and there is lots of equivalent out there, you know no more than you did before you started reading. Here’s The American Conservative:

America is in crisis. It is a crisis of greater magnitude than any the country has faced in its history, with the exception of the Civil War. It is a crisis long in the making—and likely to be with us long into the future. It is a crisis so thoroughly rooted in the American polity that it’s difficult to see how it can be resolved in any kind of smooth or even peaceful way. Looking to the future from this particular point in time, just about every possible course of action appears certain to deepen the crisis.

What is it? Some believe it stems specifically from the election of Donald Trump, a man supremely unfit for the presidency, and will abate when he can be removed from office. These people are right about one thing: Trump is supremely unfit for his White House job. But that isn’t the central crisis; it is merely a symptom of it, though it seems increasingly to be reaching crisis proportions of its own.

The President who is so unfit for the presidency has assembled the most impressive national security team, perhaps since Eisenhower: James Mattis, John Kelly, H.R. McMaster,  Nikki Haley. His appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is outstanding. Executive orders have begun the task of whittling down the abusive powers of the rogue EPA.  Illegal immigration is reportedly down around 70%. He’s working to simplify the tax code and business regulation to boost the private sector.His cabinet appointments are outstanding. Today he is leaving on a trip to meet some of the heads of state of our allies and some who are not. He has been criticized for meeting with Erdogan, and Abbas, yet he clearly wants to get a feel for who these people are, rather than just read the intelligence dossiers.

Trump is described as crude, uncouth — and he tweets. Democrats, in the meantime, seem unable to utter a simple sentence without the F-word or the S-word. They suggest in the crudest way incest, that Melania Trump was of low morals, attack the Trump children, late night “comics” compete to see who can be most vulgar, and who can do the most repellent imitation. Maxine Waters waffles between demanding Trump’s impeachment, being confident that she can turn up an impeachable offenses and denying that she ever asked for his impeachment.

Trump promised to deport criminal aliens, so many sanctuary cities have redoubled their efforts to protect illegal immigrants.

The policy has evolved into active non-cooperation with federal law enforcement, to the extent that Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City, for example, will not comply with requests to detain illegal immigrants unless they have recently been convicted of a serious crime and a judicial warrant accompanies the request. Federal immigration authorities have been banned from operating within municipal jails, and sanctuary cities will not expend any resources in assisting these agents.

Despite these efforts, it has not been possible for cities to protect their illegal aliens from deportation to the extent that sanctuary advocates demand. Cities cannot forbid federal officers from arresting criminal aliens in their homes, on the streets, or in courthouses. The best way to deter possible deportation, sanctuary advocates contend, is to limit interactions between illegal immigrants and the criminal-justice system, not in the traditional way—by obeying the law—but rather, by not enforcing the law. If there are no arrests, then there is no criminal record to base deportation orders on.

And so it goes. Somehow it is Donald Trump who is uncouth, not the real president, illegal, impeachable, unfit for office, yet he seems to be accomplishing quite a lot. And the once-respected fourth estate labors on enlightening and elucidating the affairs of the nation and the world, or whatever it is that they are doing, And we are all living in some dystopian alternate universe aren’t we?  It’s all very confusing.

 



Misconceptions About Wind: Basic Arithmetic by The Elephant's Child

Here’s the headline from an article in the Spectator, dated May 13: “Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy” with the subhead “We urgently need to stop the ecological posturing and invest in gas and nuclear.” The post is from Matt Ridley.

The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’.

You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.

Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.

Basic math. World energy demand has been growing about two percent a year for nearly 40 years. Between 2012 and 2014 it grew, according to International Energy agency data, just under 2,000 terawatt-hours. If all that had to be supplied by wind turbines—just that and no more—how many new turbines would have to be built? Nearly 350,000. A two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s 1½ times as many as have been built in the world since governments first started subsidizing them with taxpayer money.

Wind farms typically have a density of about 50 acres per megawatt, at that density, that many turbines would need a land area larger than the entire British Isles. In 50 years, if we kept this up, we would have covered a land area the size of Russia. But there’s more, hidden pollution, rare earths, the materials required, how turbines are made. Do read the whole article.  Matt Ridley is always worth our attention.

It just turns out to be that wind and solar are essentially very costly and extremely useless pursuits. Aside from the intermittency problem, the arithmetic just doesn’t work. Lot of people  have made some big money on the subsidies though.



Where is the Left Going And What Do They Want? by The Elephant's Child

I ran across my notes from a panel discussion on where the Left is going, back in the fall of 2014, and it’s still of interest.

“The left is intellectually dead, and where it is headed toward is authoritarianism.”That was Kevin Williamson, roving correspondent for National Review.

William Voegeli of the Claremont Review of Books argued that “The fundamental assumption of the left is the innate goodness of each person.  This assumption means that they are seeking to undermine the Constitution, which is based on a very different view of human nature. The Constitution pits the different branches of government against each other so that each will keep the others in check.”

As James Madison put it in the Federalist, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” and the Constitution supplies the “defect of better motives” through such balancing.

The Constitution, in other words, expects selfish ambition, and by expecting ambition, Voegeli noted, it legitimizes it—which is precisely what the left does not want to do. The left wants to supply not the “defect of better motives” but rather just “better motives,” Voegeli said. Liberals want to set up a system that allows our latent goodness to “flourish,” and the checks of our constitutional system can be discarded in favor of technocratic, centralized disinterestedness that allows each individual to live an authentic life of his choosing.

“The object is not to have one’s own way so much as to have a way that is one’s own,”



What Liberty Looks Like: by The Elephant's Child

This is a video that I posted originally in early 2015. After wallowing in the horrors of socialist Venezuela, and seeing the folks that Ami Horowitz interviewed who were quite sure that there is nothing wrong with socialism, (You did watch the video below “What’s Wrong With Socialism?” didn’t you?) it seemed time for a small refresher. Here is Bill Whittle explaining why the things that seem utterly inconsequential to us, are in actuality a very big deal in the history of the world. It’s very short, but a bracing reminder of what’s real and what is not.



Sun and Wind and Rainbows and Magic Do Not Power the Planet by The Elephant's Child

A post I wrote back in 2013 is getting another round of attention, as it does now and then. I wrote about abandoned wind turbines, and the misguided notion that wind and sun are free, therefore renewable energy—and to be endlessly subsidized as our most desirable source of power. I hasten to add that I am not a scientist nor do I have any pretense of being one. I was an English major at a time and in a college where the pursuit of knowledge and the critical examination of sources were considered essential.

But I also grew up in the mountains of Idaho on 400 acres with a river running through it, and spent most of my time, winter and summer, outdoors. We had winters with 5′ of snow and winters that were fairly mild. Flood, forest fires, lightning strikes, cougar, bear, lynx and woodrats. (I’m a deadly shot on woodrats. They gather up the cotton from cottonwood trees, store it in the attic of the woodshed and then pee all over it, and have their babies there.) You don’t live outdoors for years interacting with weather, and get all panicky about a few degrees warmer or cooler.

Science is complicated. I just read about a cave discovered in Mexico, a half a mile down, so hot that scientists can only stay for a few minutes, where there are microbes trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old, living on minerals like iron and manganese. Lots left on Earth for us to discover yet, diseases to conquer, unknown territory, they are discovering new species every year. The world economy runs on some form of electric power, and not just for our convenience, light and heat. Transportation, manufacturing, business and government are dependent on electricity and their needs are growing constantly, so the more power we need.

People are frightened by nuclear power after the horrific catastrophe in Japan, and the nuclear accident in Russia. We have dams on most of our major rivers, and environmentalists long for free wild rivers. Power good, but dams bad. Environmentalists say that coal, oil and natural gas are all evil, and should “stay in the ground where they belong.” So it’s unsurprising that there is a fetish for energy from the wind and the sun. Surely with our advanced modern technology we can invent wind turbines and solar arrays to harness the free energy of the wind and the sun. Well, no, no we can’t. Or we can, if we’re content to live in extreme poverty.

The wind is terminally, fatally intermittent. When the wind blows, which is not most of the time, it blows in gusts and wafts or gales. What you need is a steady stream of wind and then you get “capacity,” which is what the manufactures of the turbines promise when they are extolling the virtues of wind. Never happens. In winter, when you are freezing, the wind is apt to not blow at all, and the turbines don’t turn. They have already tried most of the really windy places —Altamont Pass in California, the tip of the Hawaiian Islands, they’ve even replaced a lot of the idle turbines in my 2013 post, so now they are moving offshore. There’s a big offshore farm coming online off our East coast shortly. Offshore turbines take a lot more punishment from saltwater and weather. The life of an onshore turbine is 20 years at best, offshore is a lot less.

The sun, on the other hand, is too diffuse. For real power you need really hot sun bearing down, in a cloudless sky. How many cloudless, sunny days do you get? This is the Northwest, where we get rain all the time, and plenty of clouds. The sun also has a habit of sinking beneath the horizon at night, and even more so in the short days of winter. Elon Musk keeps promising battery arrays to take care of that, but it certainly hasn’t happened yet, and his solar farms haven’t been in the news much. Wind turbines have a nasty habit of chopping up bats and birds by the hundreds, birds of prey as well. What that does to our insect population and rodent population I don’t know, but it doesn’t bode well for malaria and Zika. and other disease.

Both of these technologies demand more and more land each year as the need for more and more energy increases, land in quantities simply unavailable.  Look for Robert Bryce’s book: Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper. It’s a clear, simple explanation of why wind and solar will remain interesting, but are not a major source of power except in the remote places where any source of power, however limited,  is a bounty.



Here’s the Response to the True Believers’ Faith in Elite Control by The Elephant's Child

http://wonderfulloaf.org/

This is a perfectly charming video, beautifully illustrated, of a poem by economist Russ Roberts explaining how things work in the story of a wonderful loaf of bread. The perfect answer to the depressing video below of the climate march. Who knew that economists could write poems?

Thanks to Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek,




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