American Elephants


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,



Captured On Video — The Real Agenda of the Climate March by The Elephant's Child

It was at a news conference in Brussels in early February 2015, that Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity—but to destroy capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

Socialists, intent on the wonders of social justice and the ‘better world’ of their dreams, never, never seem to pay any attention to the monumental failures of socialism everywhere it has been tried. The  past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty  in the history of the world. An 80 % reduction in world poverty in only 36 years. Globalization, Free markets, free trade, international entrepreneurship. The free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world. This is not the first time some greenie has blurted out the truth behind their campaign to protect the world from the horrors of the carbon dioxide we exhale every time we breathe. Go figure.

As far as that goes, climate change doesn’t really matter to them, it is only another tool in their drive for control. The failures of socialism all over the world never seem to penetrate. There’s the romance of manning the barricades, as seen in Antifa and the anarchists riots and breaking windows and setting fires. I was surprised to see in a video of the rioters in either Portland or Berkeley, I forget which, the women whose masks has slipped  and exposed their gender, with the clubs they carried. Romantic. Look how many celebrate Cuban Communism with Ché t-shirts honoring a nasty killer.

Here, from the Wall Street Journal is an article about the Venezuelan experiment with socialism. “Venezuela is Starving: Once Latin America’s richest country, Venezuela can no longer feed its people, hobbled by the nationalization of farms as well as price and currency controls”

YARE, Venezuela— Jean Pierre Planchart, a year old, has the drawn face of an old man and a cry that is little more than a whimper. His ribs show through his skin. He weighs just 11 pounds.

His mother, Maria Planchart, tried to feed him what she could find combing through the trash—scraps of chicken or potato. She finally took him to a hospital in Caracas, where she prays a rice-milk concoction keeps her son alive.

Well, they just didn’t do it right. The ability to apply expert administration, administrative scientism— the continual search for perfectionism in our ability to apply scientific knowledge to tomorrow’s problems by the elite. All just steps on the way to a glorious future when they are in complete charge.
They believe.



Democrats Are Making a Mess of Things! by The Elephant's Child

Trump is bad at being a tyrant: Brandon Weichert,  American Greatness
The past 100 days have been a disaster-for Democrats: Mark Thiesson, Washington Post
Marches for Science vs. Actual Science: John Hinderaker, Powerline
And What is the Scientific Basis for Imposing Energy Poverty On the Masses?: Francis Menton, Manhattan Contrarian

And then there is this:  A Little Golden Book! Who thought this was a good idea? Perhaps (hopefully) it’s not real. But there are far too many things these days that one assumes blithely that are not real, and it turns out they are. Or perhaps this is the bedtime book that was read to the little progressives and snowflakes inhabiting our colleges.

Or perhaps it’s just a photoshop for a clever comment on our times. Your guess?

From Victor Davis Hanson: Fundamentalist Nihilism, American Greatness

Dr.Hanson considers three separate cases: Nihilist Environmentalism, Nihilist Immigration, and the Factories of Nihilism: Our Universities.

At some point, progressivism begins to collapse by the weight of its own internal contradictions and becomes faith-based. Future anthropologists will have a difficult time sorting out all the bizarre rituals and sacraments of this early 21st-century progressive cult.

In today’s headlines, we have three crystal clear illustrations of the phenomenon. Let’s begin first with the recent case of the four-year California drought (2011-2015)

1) President Obama, Governor Jerry Brown, and California’s legislative leadership all declared the drought to be a result of climate change. Accordingly, it would both be near permanent and demand government intervention to make radical changes in Californians’ lifestyles;

2) Yet in some 120 years of accurate record-keeping, no California drought seems to have lasted much longer than four years;

3) Not a single new reservoir, canal, or aqueduct was started during the drought, although several projects had been envisioned over a half-century earlier in the original blueprints of the state California Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

California has not handled the immigration thing well, to say the least. The problems are fairly clear, but the ability of progressives to deal with them is another matter entirely.

The refusal by California universities to hear speakers who might say something offensive to pearl like little ears, which then developed into riots,  is becoming almost commonplace. That is not to say it is acceptable.

A sad story of the failure of Progressivism. Means well. Doesn’t work.



The Other Side of Hate Speech — In Israel. by The Elephant's Child

From The Jerusalem Post:

“Sometimes we are privileged to meet rare and inspiring people, people whose life experiences are so different from our own that hearing about them provides us with a new understanding of the human spirit, a new way to see things, and a new way to think. Yahya Mahamed is one such person. Tall, dark and slim, the first thing one notices about him is his smile.”

“I grew up in Umm el-Fahm, the third-largest Arab city in Israel. It’s a very problematic place. The Islamic Movement runs the municipality. This means they have power over everything: schools, services, who gets hired… and they are very anti-Israel. ISIS logos and swastikas are common,” he says.

“Violence is the norm in Umm el-Fahm,” he continues.
“Bullets are shot into the air, and several people have been hit by them. The police aren’t where they need to be. If they were, it would greatly improve quality of life and safety for the city.” It would also help dispel the accepted view that the job of the police is to oppress the residents, he adds.

Mahamed was raised to perceive Israel as an oppressive, evil regime. “I remember being a child and watching television with my mother. The only thing on was Palestine, Israel oppressing Palestine, Israelis killing Arabs, Arabs killing Israelis. Nothing else. My whole world was the conflict; in school, on TV, in the community. I was an Arab and therefore a

Mahamed’s story is a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Middle East. He identifies as a proud Israeli Arab. He was given the illusion that one could have either Israel or Palestine but not both. He was taught that Israel only existed because it took land from the Palestinians.  That he was given no education, only propaganda. He was taught in school that Hitler did a good thing and left a small group of Jews alive so that the world would know why he killed the rest. In the Israeli town where he grew up, there is no one to give an alternative viewpoint.

Do read his whole story. He is only correcting what even Israeli Arabs are taught—with the facts. And he takes his story around the world with him in spite of the death threats and danger. He remains in his Arab-Israeli town, but he removes the ISIS graffiti and the swastikas because they normalize terror and hate.”We need to take away the hate” he says. An inspiring young man.

Learning what we don’t know is important.



Cutting the Corporate Tax Will Create Growth. That’s A Good Thing! by The Elephant's Child

To quote John Steele Gordon this morning “Only the brain dead could see Trump’s tax plan as a negative for the economy.Newsweek: “Trump’s Proposed Tax Plan Could Cost the Government $6 Trillion.” Why am I not surprised? Democrats simply do not understand economics. Allowing the people to keep more of their own money is simply incomprehensible to your standard run-of-the-mill Lefty.

Under the new rules, an individual making $35,000 each year would be able to remove $15,000 from their taxable income through the deduction, leaving just $20,000 for the government to tax.

On top of these tax cuts, Trump is expected to outline his proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. And he will seek to reclassify small, individually-owned businesses that currently file their taxes under the individual code so they are under the corporate tax code instead.

Democrats can only think of the 20% of corporate income that would not be taxed and how can the government possibly get along without that corporate money? Leftist hatred for rich corporations is always a mystifying thing. Everything they wear, eat, use and work with is a product of a large corporation, if they are not government bureaucrats they probably work for a large corporation and they indignantly badmouth corporations and seethe at the exorbitant salaries of American CEOs.

For a business, taxes are just a cost of doing business. Those costs are figured into the price of whatever the business produces, and are paid by the taxpayers who buy the products. If taxes go up, so does the cost of the product. If taxes go down, the business has some extra to expand, to innovate, to create, and the economy grows.

It is very simple, but Democrats do not think in those terms. They want a bigger pile of tax money so they can buy more votes to win elections so they can be in charge. Being in charge means giving nice things to the people, to get their votes, and spreading the wealth around, again so they can be in charge. Being in charge is the goal because they can get rid of all the annoying interference in their goal of a more perfect socialist world where everyone lives in peace and harmony in a world saved from the horrors of global warming and capitalism and guns. Or something like that.

They thought they had glimmers of a real move towards the glorious future with Hillary, and this obnoxious blowhard buffoon smashed it all up and they can’t wait to destroy him or impeach him or put him in prison. They still remain sure that if they can just turn over the right rock, they will find the Russian involvement — in something or other. Good Lord, they are predictable.

From The American Thinker by Thomas Lifson: “Trump tax plan goes for growth”

After President Obama’s two terms of anemic economic growth and huge federal deficits, there is a lot of room for growth in the American economy.  Targeting “seed corn taxes” that obstruct investment is the smart way to spike growth rates, which will bring jobs, increase taxes (in the long run), and swing political approval toward the GOP president and Congress.  It worked for Reagan, and it will work for Trump, if a version of the tax plan becomes law.

The White House briefing and one-page description of President Trump’s plan for tax reform issued yesterday contain the bones of an ambitious plan that could indeed jump-start the economy by lowering corporate income and capital gains tax rates, and by repatriating corporate money held overseas to avoid the punitive 35% levy on overseas profits when they are brought home to the USA.

From Economics21: “No, New York Times: Bush’s Tax Cuts Did Not Disappoint”

Basic economics tells us that if you tax something, you’ll get less of it. True, not all tax cuts are created equal. Successful tax reductions are immediate, permanent, broad-based, and (unlike tax rebates) rely on tax rate reductions to encourage working, saving, and investing. Such well-designed tax policies have a clear record of success.

Nobel Laureate Edward Prescott has shown that much of America’s widening economic advantage over other major economies between the 1970s and 1990s can be traced to America’s decision to lower tax rates while other countries raised them.

Harvard economist Martin Feldstein estimates that a dollar increase in taxes costs the economy 76 cents of growth.

Aside from the constant, furious Democrat insistence of being outraged at anything done by President Trump, they are predictable, predictable predictable. And possibly scared to death that he’ll get his tax plan passed.

Thanks to Obama, America’s corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. Growth has been anemic for 8 long years. A significant cut in the corporate tax rate could raise growth to 3% which is getting closer to the long-term norm —which would create jobs and put those folks who have essentially given up at the idea of working back in business. Hope and growth will do a lot for the country, and the American people.

ADDENDUM: Another contrast in media headlines — Wall Street JournalTrump Unveils Broad Tax-Cut Plan.” The New York Times Tax Overhaul Would Aid Wealthiest.” Like I said Predictable!




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