American Elephants


Chicken Little in Full Cry: “The Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling” by The Elephant's Child

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In a press release, the World Meteorological Organization said:

The long-term warming trend has continued in 2018, with the average global temperature set to be the fourth highest on record. The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years.’

The BBC and others picked up on that and said:

Climate change” Last four years are the ‘world’s hottest”

And the Guardian:

“Past four years hottest on record, data shows.”

 

As you can see a graph tells a very different story. The past decade has a climate change contribution but what elevates the past four years above the previous ones is an El Nino event, the strongest one on record. As we have said many time before an El Nino is not a climatic phenomenon, it is weather. What’s more, after its peak in 2016 the global temperature has fallen by around 0.4° C. The past four years being the warmest on record is true, but it has been primarily due to the 2015/16 super El Nino.

Warmest on record? Not exactly, the WMO got weather and climate mixed up. For the full commentary, go here.

It is fascinating that in the information age, when we supposedly have access to anything and everything in the way of information, it is so hard to figure out just what the truth is.  What is not politicized, seems to be printed in sheer ignorance.  Politics trumps Truth every time. We should make a little more noise about facts and truth. Google employees apparently wanted to ban any Conservative commentary, yet are happy to connive with the Chinese government in suppressing the freedom of China’s citizens to complete control. Apparently those who have spent their lives so far learning technology issues, have neglected to learn any history, or read the Constitution, or learn the nature of the free enterprise system.

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An Evening With Tucker Carlson by The Elephant's Child

The Independent Institute presented An Evening With Tucker Carlson, in Alameda, California, on October 16th. It is an interesting companion piece to the panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation on “Identity Politics” below.

Conservatives seem to recognize that something is truly out-of- whack with the Democrats who seem to have gone rather rudely balmy. Or, more accurately, refer to the quotation from Thomas Sowell just below.

Here Tucker isn’t trying to make sense of what some balmy liberal has to say, but simply being himself and explaining how a “ruling class” is bringing America to the brink of a civil war. If you enjoy Tucker, you will really enjoy this.



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



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.



The Differences between the Political Parties Couldn’t be Clearer. by The Elephant's Child

I posted this piece in November of 2013, and not all that much has changed.

What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats?  I suspect that most people don’t really know. Republicans  are usually pretty clear about what we believe, and can express it clearly — that’s why we argue so much. It’s a big-tent party that welcomes Conservatives, Tea Party people, Libertarians, “mainstream” Republicans, Independents, and all sorts of people who are deeply interested in a single issue. Republicans don’t usually conform to current talking points as Democrats do.

Republicans are committed to principles, Democrats admit that they don’t have any, and react to events as they occur, which they believe is a superior way of thinking.

Republicans worry about debt and taxes, economic growth, and individual liberty. Democrats’ care about winning. When they win, they have the power to tax and spend which will enable them to win the next time.

Republicans believe in low taxes, because the money belongs to individuals who, on the whole will use it far better than the government would. Free people and free-market capitalism. The decisions of the mass market will usually be far better than the decisions of the enlightened few.

Democrats believe in government money. It is money they are entitled to spend because of taxes which are paid by rich people who don’t deserve it. (At some point you have enough money). When they leave government “service” they will move to lobbying or NGO’s or corporate boards, or other well remunerated positions. It’s a good life.

Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Charles Schumer and Max Baucus have never done anything but government. No private sector experience at all. I haven’t had time to go through the rest of the list, but I would expect a lot more of the same. So they do not understand profit and loss, nor risk, nor meeting a payroll— any of that stuff. They seem a little weak in the math department as well. And economics? Any bets?

So these are the people who believed they could write a successful health insurance program for 330 million people to replace the world’s finest health care system. They believed they could convince ordinary Americans that it will cost less and be a vast improvement over what they had. They knew perfectly well that it would take some convincing. We got a lot of convincing, direct from their President and all his minions.

And there is not any part of it that can be believed. They tell you that they care about you, but unfortunately — they lie.

No change. We just get called more names, and they’re not even creative ones.



The President Has to Give Jim Acosta’s Press Pass Back! by The Elephant's Child

A  Trump-appointed judge has ruled that the President has to give Jim Acosta his White House press pass back, and based his ruling on an only partly-related due process precedent instead of plain common sense. That’s apparently a lawyer thing, to search for precedent first. I object, but I don’t count either. My precedent goes back to the First Amendment’s statement that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. When the First Amendment was ratified in 1791, “the press” referred to the printing press. There were no reporters and there was certainly no press gaggle. In larger towns there was a town crier, and the amendment said that printers could print whatever they chose without government approval or interference. I am clearly not a lawyer, but the Constitution was devised to protect the people from an overbearing government, not the other way around.

There was no White House, the White house was built between 1792 and 1800. So I would contend that the term “the press” doesn’t include reporters at all. The first “press conference” occurred during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency by accident. He apparently said some things to reporters which were then printed, and he liked that and decided to do it again. “Press Conferences” have been different for different presidents since then, with each president deciding how to handle them. And different presidents had different relationships with the press as well– friendly, or not so much.

Huffington Post 3/04/15: “Obama Administration’s Relationship With The Press Among The Worst Ever, Report Shows”

Rolling  Stone 8/04/14: “The White House Distrusts the Media, Reporters Feel Persecuted – a former Obama Spokesman on the history of the toxic relationship” (The wonderful illustration by Victor Juhaz accompanied this article)

MSNBC 9/12/13: “Obama and the press: A relationship in the rough”

the hill 12/19/16:Obama’s legacy will be one of secrecy and hostility toward the press”

Washington Post 05/08/14  “The Obama White House has a terrible relationship with the Press Corps: whose fault is that?”

The President’s response was a mild “well, we will just publish rules of deportment for members of the press who clearly don’t know how to behave.” (not a direct quote.)



An Historic Timeline: Leaving Out Quite a Bit by The Elephant's Child

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I am fond of making timelines for my own information, to help me understand the order in which things happened, which it turns out, matters. Here’s one:

The Norman Invasion, Battle of Hastings 1066 : “William the Conqueror”
Magna Charta 1215
Black Death 1348-1350
The Renaissance 1350-1600
Hundred Years War  1337-1453 (France: Crecy, Portiers, Joan d’Arc)
War of the Roses  1455-1485  Lancaster v. York
First Watch invented  1502
Martin Luther 1517, Calvin 1532, John Knox 1541, – The Reformation
Spanish Conquest 1519-1535
Henry VIII 1534  Breaks Away from the Catholic Church
First Western Entry to Japan  1542
The Armada  1588
Elizabeth I Dies  1602
The English Civil War 1642-1660 Roundheads v. Cavaliers, Cromwell
American Revolution 1776-1781 (Yorktown)
Washington’s Farewell  1783
Napolean Bonaparte coup -proclaimed emperor 1799
Napoleonic Wars 1804-1815
Waterloo 1815
Crimean War 1853
Darwin Origin of Species  1859
American Civil War  1861 – 1865
Canada becomes Dominion  1867
Boer War 1899 – 1902
Russian Revolution  1903 – 1917
Irish Potato Famine  1846
Irish Free State (Dominion Status) 1922

………………………..Little Ice Age circa 1450 – 1850

……………Yes, It’s an odd quirk, and I obviously left out quite a bit.




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