American Elephants


California Is Determined to Stop Global Warming In It’s Tracks by The Elephant's Child

cowsYou have probably learned by now that the great state of California has determined to advance it’s fight against global warming by a serious effort to reduce emissions from bovine flatulence. Yes, cow gas.

Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure.

“If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming,” said Ryan McCarthy, a science adviser for the California Air Resources Board, which is drawing up rules to implement the new law.

Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with beef and dairy production accounting for the bulk of it, according to a 2013 United Nations report.

California is a the nation’s largest dairy farming state, and dairy farmers are not taking this lying down. This will drive up costs when farms have struggled for five years with drought, low milk prices and rising labor costs. The state has set up $50 million to help dairies set up methane digesters which capture the methane from manure in large storage tanks and convert the gas into electricity. Farmers, who probably understand the cost analysis better than state bureaucrats, say this is not nearly enough to equip the state’s roughly 1,500 dairies. More dairy farmers will move out of the state, following other businesses that are leaving California in droves for states where they are better treated.

The difference this will make with climate issues, probably not measurable, but hope is eternal. Governor Brown’s high speed rail doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at enormous cost. The giant Ivanpah solar project has been a flop. In the wake of the election, some Californians demanded that California secede from the Union, apparently unaware of the results of the last time States decided to secede. That demand led to suggestions that California rejoin Mexico, and good riddance, but Californians didn’t like that either. The  “Golden” State continues in its drive to make itself unpopular.



Antarctic Sea Ice Is Pretty Much the Same as in Ernest Shackleton’s Logs of a Century Ago. by The Elephant's Child

antarctic-sea-ice-100617-02A 2008 paper by James Hanson, former Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies … showed the true gravity of the situation. In it, Hansen set out to determine what level of atmospheric CO2 society should aim for if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted. His climate models showed that exceeding 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere would likely have catastrophic effects. We’ve already blown past that limit. Right now, environmental monitoring shows concentrations around 400 ppm.

There were no consequences. Real-world evidence clearly demonstrates that Hansen’s hypothesis is wrong. (Scientific method)

Also in the news is that the El Nino warming effect has ended, and things are getting colder.

Scientists were shocked by what they found when pouring over accounts from the famous South Pole explorers  a century ago. The Antarctic Sea Ice is just about the same as it was 100 years ago according to the ships logs of Ernest Shackleton, in addition to other explorations in those waters. Scientists had only really looked at Antarctic sea ice levels from the 1950s onward, which shows a relative decline in sea ice. But researcher Dr. Jonathan Day and his team were the first to look at conditions prior to the 1930s. Current sea ice is just 14 percent smaller than the highest point of the 1900s and 12 percent greater than the lowest point.

Why is that a big deal? It shows that Antarctic sea ice has fluctuated throughout the 20th century—due to natural climate shifts, not man-made warming. The problem is that if you want to predict the state of the climate in a hundred and fifty years, you won’t know whether you were correct or not until 150 years from now, no matter how many computer programs you have or how many peer-reviewed papers you produce.

Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk more than 7 percent per decade since 1979 while Antarctic sea ice has actually grown about one percent per decade — despite what most climate models predicted.

A 2015 NASA study found Antarctica’s ice sheet increased in mass from 1992 to 2008. The study found ice gains in Eastern Antarctica more than offset ice loss from melting glaciers in the west.

Day’s study comes just after the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) found the collapse of a major South Pole was sparked by an El Nino during the 1940s, not man-made climate change.



Update on the Recounts, or Something Like That. by The Elephant's Child

Jill Stein’s campaign to raise money to challenge the vote in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan is apparently going nowhere rapidly. Pennsylvania informed her that the deadline was last Monday—a week ago, not today. Wisconsin said they weren’t going to do a recount. And Michigan just finished laboriously counting the ballots from the election for the first time, and Trump won healthily.

Haven’t seen any response from Dr. Stein, but she would seem to retain her 1% in the final tally, if it’s any comfort. Sorry about that.

ADDENDUM:  When she filed her challenge to Wisconsin election results, Jill Stein assumed that the recount would be done by hand. State officials decided that counties would not be forced to do a hand recount of ballots. Officials decided a machine recount would do, unanimously. Now Stein is suing to force a hand recount. “We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system” she said in a statement. Since Wisconsin voting machines are not connected to the internet, hacking is unlikely.  Officials said no recount will happen until she pays the $3.5 million fee ahead of time.The Democrat Elections Commission chairman cited a 2011 hand recount that changed only 300 votes out of 1.5 million as the basis for declaring a machine recount adequate. Real drama out in the hustings. (what are ‘hustings’ anyway?) Merriam Webster: “Hustings are where babies are kissed, flesh is pressed and media events are staged.”



A Botched Utopian Fantasy by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s statement on the passing of Fidel Castro was much more carefully phrased than that of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In fact, it is a marvelous example of an attempt to dot every i and cross every t and offend no one, no one at all.

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him. …

(Do read the whole thing. It’s quite precious. Makes me want to throw up).

At The Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O’Grady counts Castro’s victims, and reviews “The Secret Life of Fidel Castro” a biography by Juan Renaldo Sanchez who was for 17 years a part of the team of elite Cuban security specialists charged with protecting Castro’s life and privacy. It’s worth remembering that Castro begged the Russians to nuke the U.S., and Russian missiles were installed in Cuba.

At The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead explains that “A Dictator Dies a Failure.

Fidel Castro wanted an independent path for Cuba. He leaves a shattered society and a desperately poor country behind him, less able to shape its destiny than it was in 1959.

At City Journal. Michael Totten had a lovely essay on “The Last Communist City: A visit to the dystopian Havana that tourists never see. ”

I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba—not because I’m nostalgic for a botched utopian fantasy but because I wanted to experience Communism firsthand. When I finally got my chance several months ago, I was startled to discover how much the Cuban reality lines up with Blomkamp’s dystopia. In Cuba, as in Elysium, a small group of economic and political elites live in a rarefied world high above the impoverished masses. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of The Communist Manifesto, would be appalled by the misery endured by Cuba’s ordinary citizens and shocked by the relatively luxurious lifestyles of those who keep the poor down by force. (For some reason, I was unable to link to the essay from 2014, You can find it on Google)

And the great political cartoonist Michael Ramirez captured the moment:  (click to enlarge)
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Human Nature is Fixed, Unchangeable and Immutable by The Elephant's Child

awhittleparty

 

Every form or progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special, “scientific” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward: the world is not as it should be because society’s basic “structural” feature is ordered badly.

In one version or another it always boils down to the fact that they don’t like human nature. (Why can’t they be more like — Us?) The quotation is from an essay in the current Claremont Review of Books by Angelo Codevilla. Progressives, Communists, Socialists, in all their forms find human nature deeply flawed, and believe that they can fix it. For our current crop, the avenue seems to be “diversity.”

When they have made everybody equal and all neighborhoods are diverse, and schools are diverse and everybody believes exactly the same diverse things, then there will be no more problems like wars, and high crime rates in the cities run by progressives. The administrative state will take care of keeping the diversity diverse.

Christiana Figureres, Secretary General of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, cheerfully admitted not long ago, that they weren’t really interested in saving the Earth from a climate disaster, but that it was their best chance of ridding the world of Capitalism.

Steven Hayward quoted a paragraph from Boston University law professor Gary Lawson, in a 1994 Harvard Law Review article “The Rise and Rise of the Administrative State.”

The [Federal Trade] Commission promulgates substantive rules of conduct. The Commission then considers whether to authorize investigations into whether the Commission’s rules have been violated. If the Commission authorizes an investigation, the investigation is conducted by the Commission, which reports its findings to the Commission. If the Commission thinks that the Commission’s findings warrant an enforcement action, the Commission issues a complaint. The Commission’s complaint that a Commission rule has been violated is then prosecuted by the Commission and adjudicated by the Commission. This Commission adjudication can either take place before the full Commission or before a semi-autonomous Commission administrative law judge. If the Commission chooses to adjudicate before an administrative law judge rather than before the Commission and the decision is adverse to the Commission, the Commission can appeal to the Commission. If the Commission ultimately finds a violation, then, and only then, the affected private party can appeal to an Article III court. But the agency decision, even before the bona fide Article III tribunal, possesses a very strong presumption of correctness on matters both of fact and of law.

Here’s Richard Epstein on “The Perils of Executive Power

One of the most disturbing trends in the United States is the relentless concentration of power in the federal government. Ever since the New Deal, the classical liberal vision of limited government and strong property rights has taken a back seat to a progressive vision of a robust administrative state, dominated by supposed experts, whose powers are largely unimpeded by legal constraints. Wholly apart from Congress, the new administrative state has adopted and enforced its own laws and regulations, and is defined by unilateral actions by the President and other members of the executive branch, all of which threaten the system of checks and balances built into the original constitutional design.

Obama’s agencies push flurry of ‘midnight’ actions

Federal agencies are rushing out a final volley of executive actions in the last two months of Barack Obama’s presidency, despite warnings from Republicans in Congress and the reality that Donald Trump will have the power to erase much of their handiwork after Jan. 20.

Regulations on commodities speculation, air pollution from the oil industry, doctors’ Medicare drug payments and high-skilled immigrant workers are among the rules moving through the pipeline as Obama’s administration grasps at one last chance to cement his legacy. So are regulations tightening states’ oversight of online colleges and protecting funding for Planned Parenthood.

Donald Trump has promised to wipe out as much of Obama’s regulatory agenda as he can, saying he will cancel “all illegal and overreaching executive orders” and eliminate “every wasteful and unnecessary regulation which kills jobs.”

So, there you go.



Tucker Carlson Grills Journalist Nathan Allen by The Elephant's Child

We need a little more of this. The media is not doing right by us, and they should be told that we are aware of what they are doing. Good for Tucker Carlson.



A Look at the Real American Crisis! by The Elephant's Child

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-8-49-06-pm-600x463The picture in the post below of the young man holding a homemade sign saying “DEPORT FASHISOM!” was pretty typical. He probably has no idea what fascism is. One of the biggest problems of the Left is that they believe their own propaganda.

Lots of very big words flung around: populism, illiberalism, misogyny, historicism, positivism and of course, the inevitable and constant “racism,” that offer nothing in the way of understanding. John Marini offered some real understanding in the Claremont Review of Books. The piece is long, and I had to look up the big words, but it’s worth your time and provides real food for thought.

Since the end of the Cold War, American leaders have understood their offices in terms of global and administrative rule, rather than political rule on behalf of the American people and the sovereignty of the American nation. Yet those offices were established on the foundation of the moral authority of the people and their Constitution. Once elected or appointed, politicians and bureaucrats have utilized their will, in both domestic and foreign policy, in an unrestrained manner on behalf of bureaucratic rule. They govern on the implicit premise of elections as plebiscites, but it is no longer clear who confers the legitimacy of an electoral mandate. Bureaucratic rule has become so pervasive that it is no longer clear that government is legitimized by the consent of the governed. Rather it is the consent of the various national—and often international—social, economic, political, and cultural interest groups that determine the outcome of elections. True political rule requires, at a minimum, the participation of citizens in their own rule, even if not in government itself. But this is possible only when people understand themselves as citizens and when the regime recognizes them as citizens. This requires distinguishing American citizens from all others and identifying them as one people.

American elections have increasingly been framed by Washington professionals. Social scientists, media pundits, and policy professionals may tilt liberal or conservative and may differ in their party preferences, but they are united in their dependence upon intellectual authority, derived from empirical science and its methodology, in their understanding of politics and economics. At the same time, historicism or (critical theory) has established itself as the closest thing to a public philosophy when it comes to understanding history, society, and culture. Applied to elections, the empirical method required that politics be understood in terms of measurable and quantifiable aggregates. This proved compatible with the positivist understanding of law and interest group liberalism. Critical post-modern theory established personal autonomy and group diversity as central to what is morally defensible in terms of public policy. As a result, political partisanship and analysis has focused on race, class, gender, and other such demographics, to provide the kind of information that has become central to the shaping and predicting of elections and to legitimize dividing the electorate into categories that came to be understood in moral terms. Consequently, political campaigns have made a science of dividing the electorate into groups and reassembling them as voting blocs committed to specific policies and issues denominated by the demographic categories themselves. This strategy requires the systematic mobilization of animosity to ensure participation by identifying and magnifying what it is that must be opposed.

Do read the whole thing. Mr. Trump has brought in a great assortment of free market experts for advice as he works on filling out his cabinet and advisory team.

Here’s an astonishing fact about the expansion of the administrative state. President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council numbered 25 people. Barack Obama’s National Security Council is over 400 people.




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