American Elephants


BOOM!!! It Was 36 Years Ago Today! by American Elephant
May 18, 2016, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Environment, History, News | Tags:

[Note: the following was originally posted in 2008 on this infamous day]

Chances are, if you’re not from Washington or Oregon, the date May 18th has little meaning to you. Heck, even around here many don’t think of it unless someone reminds them. But I remember — every year. It’s one of the only world events I remember from back then — I was very young after all; but the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980 was just the kind of event that little boys remember forever.

We were very fortunate; the mountain exploded northwards, but the winds carried the ash-cloud away to the southeast. I remember being somewhat disappointed that the ash wasn’t turning day into night for us like it was for all the people on the television. In fact, we didn’t seem to get any ash-fall at all, much to my chagrin; while people on the other side of the mountain were measuring it in inches, like snow.

So much excitement! …and so little pay off.

About the most exciting thing I personally experienced was standing on my father’s roof to see the enormous plume looking fairly small and unimpressive so many miles away. I’m not sure if we heard the explosion or not. They say people heard it as far as 700 miles away, and we were certainly much closer than that. I think we did — but that could just be my memory playing tricks on me.

So close, and yet so far. But I still remember it every year.

Where were you?

Update: Michael Rubin at the Corner links to an excellent photo montage on the eruption and the aftermath.



Fooling the Public and Manipulating the Media by The Elephant's Child

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On May 5th, The New York Times Magazine published a lengthy interview with Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser.  Mr. Rhodes “travels with the president, sees him all day long, and not only writes his speeches and communications strategies but also shapes the content of policy.”

The piece was titled “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru: How Ben Rhodes rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age” by David Samuels. It was a revealing interview. Mr. Rhodes says he has a sort of mind-meld with the president. Much has been made of the fact that Rhodes was working on an M.F.A. in creative writing, and now he channels the president’s consciousness into an optimistic narrative that shapes the president’s foreign policy.

Rhodes strategized and ran the successful Iran-deal messaging campaign, helped negotiate the opening of American relations with Cuba after a hiatus of more than 50 years and has been a co-writer of all of Obama’s major foreign-policy speeches. “Every day he does 12 jobs, and he does them better than the other people who have those jobs,” Terry Szuplat, the longest-tenured member of the National Security Council speechwriting corps, told me. On the largest and smallest questions alike, the voice in which America speaks to the world is that of Ben Rhodes.

Rhodes is a storyteller who” uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal.”

His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.

The revelations of how the campaign to sell the Iran Deal to the public was developed, and though planned from the first days of Obama’s presidency, the “story” of the Iran deal began in 2013 when a “moderate” faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then began to pursue a policy of “openness,” which included a newfound willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit nuclear-weapons program.”

The president announced the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015: “Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.” Actually the meaningful part of negotiations with Iran took place in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the moderate group where chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by the supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There was never any new reality in Iran nor any moderate faction. With this one bold move, the administration would begin the process of a large- scale disengagement from the Middle East, which had always been Obama’s goal.

With the smug innocence of the morally superior, Mr. Rhodes revealed far too many truths about manipulating the media, his contempt for the press, and how he manages the flow of information. Since the actions of the Obama administration are obviously correct, selling the deal to Congress, and framing the deal as a choice between peace and war was Rhodes strategy.

Guided by his moral superiority, Rhodes neglected to consider that the American people aren’t much on being deliberately lied to, and the media isn’t enthusiastic about being manipulated, and especially about that being publicly revealed.

Articles about Ben Rhodes, about the NYT Magazine piece, and about the lies in presenting the Iran Deal have been forthcoming in a steady flow from all over the world. Congress has invited Mr. Rhodes to come testify about his part in the episode and it is suggested that if he does not turn up voluntarily, he will be subpoenaed.



Vegans are Outraged. I Can’t Stop Giggling. by The Elephant's Child

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Steven Hayward has linked to and written about the “Vegan Green Weenie if the Year” over at Powerline. The whole thing is just so typical of the Left — Posing, posturing, oozing empathy, pretension —  to bring in a celebrity following.

The Guardian exposé is to be found here, with descriptions of their restaurants, of the names of the restaurant’s “affirmation” dishes like the “grateful” kale salad, and the “accepting” sushi bowl.  Be Love Farm is where they raise their vegetables (and their new beef products). “Their website is named Eternal Presence and they invented a board game called The Abounding River Board Game which they said would train players to embrace “an unfamiliar view of Being Abundant” and develop a “spiritual foundation” for looking at money.” Oh my.

CGKC-Food-Cleanse-Menu-2016_1-1(click to enlarge)



Fighting Back Against Political Correctness: by The Elephant's Child

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Here is the most important article you will read this week, or for many weeks. Daniel Greenfield takes on the Republican Party and Political Correctness in a piece titled FIGHTING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IN THE AGE OF TRUMP: Republicans must stand up to political correctness or lose”

When the left exploited the Charleston church shooting to begin a purge of Confederate flags that extended all the way into reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard, Republicans failed to defy the lynch mobs and even cheered the takedowns, some of which took place under Republican governors, as progress. Congresswoman Candice Miller, a Republican, announced recently that state flags in the Capitol featuring confederate insignia will be taken down due to the “controversy surrounding Confederate imagery”. The “controversy” is another term for the left’s manufactured political correctness.

There are legitimate positions on both sides when it comes to the Confederate flag, but the historical debate is not the issue. Just as it doesn’t matter very much that Harriet Tubman was a Republican. It matters far more that both moves were driven by the social media mobs of political correctness.

Culture wars are not about actual historical facts, but a tribal conflict over culture between clashing groups. This is a conflict in which it mattered a great deal that northeastern elites were lining up to get $400 tickets to see Hamilton, a hip-hop musical praised by many of the same Republicans who wouldn’t be caught dead watching reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard. That New York theater trend led to Southerner Andrew Jackson being displaced on the currency instead of New York’s own Alexander Hamilton.

We have always opposed political correctness, but also laughed at it as, well, stupid.  Our mistake. It is a serious matter.

This is not a battle over facts. It’s a cultural struggle over process. Political correctness is not actually a debate about the events of a past century, but about whether political and economic power should also translate into a cultural dominance so pervasive that it can reach out and strangle everything it dislikes.

Follow the link and read the whole thing. Print it out and read it again, and consider sharing it with your friends and family. You have noticed the attacks on free speech, the bizarre hatred for courses in Western Civilization, the insistence that “black lives matter,” but saying “all lives matter” will get you attacked.

While we are sneering at the latest PC, our freedom of speech is being attacked once again. One of the latest politically correct attacks is that of the attorneys general of a number of states attempting to get massive recompense from ExxonMobil under the RICO laws for denying that climate change is dangerous and life-threatening. Monuments and statues are being removed because the historical figures portrayed had views which we do not approve of today—the very history of our nation is being changed before our eyes. It is silly, but an exercise of power and control.

Add Daniel Greenfield to your personal list of must-read writers. He can be found at www.frontpagemag.com and at www.sultanknish.blogspot.com. “Political correctness isn’t just about politics. It’s about power. It’s about who has it and who doesn’t.”



Target Succumbed to the PC Wars And is Paying a Price. by The Elephant's Child

mrz042816_color-640x360Target announced in the last weeks of April that “transgender customers at its stores are welcome to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, the latest corporate reaction to a wave of legislation seen by critics as anti-LGBT.

“We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity,” the retailer said. “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong.”

More than a million consumers have pledged to boycott the retail giant after they announced an “inclusive” policy allowing customers to choose their own identity, and use the facilities of their choice. Their stock price has dropped from an opening price per share of $83.50 on April 19 to today’s $79.71.

Target is attempting to protect the feelings of an approximate 0.2% to 0.3% of the population who are psychologically troubled compared to women and girls who make up roughly one half of the American population, and an even larger percentage of Target customers. There have always been stray males who find some kind of excitement in getting into women’s bathrooms and/or fitting rooms. Children and young girls particularly need protection.  The Federalist listed some of Target’s errors:

  1. Single-Sex Bathrooms Weren’t Discriminatory Yesterday
  2. Target is Solving No Real Problem
  3. Some Men Will Exploit This Policy to Cruise Women’s Restrooms
  4. Target is Risking its Primary Clientele
  5. Gender Identity is Subjective

Gender dysphoria is closely related to other dysphorias like anorexia, which killed Karen Carpenter, bodily dysphoria which leaves sufferers believing that one of their arms or legs should not be there.

There is the case of a man who believed that he really was a cat, and had tattoos, piercings and surgery to get his desired look, another became a devil with horns. It is a psychological problem from which some sufferers eventually recover, or are helped with medical care. To turn it into another weapon in the feminists’ gender wars is deeply unfortunate and unfair to those who suffer. It is clearly not a matter of “choosing one’s identity.” Anorexia is not a joke, and sufferers may die unnecessarily without care.

ADDENDUM: Frisco TX police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who was peering over the wall of the changing room and taking cellphone pictures of her. The girl told her parents and Target employees, but the man had already left the store.

ADDENDUM II: thinkprogress: “No, Transgender Protections do Not Justify Men in Women’s Restrooms. A State Agency Just Said So.”

ADDENDUM III: Attorney John Hinderaker takes on the politicization of the Justice Department in general, and the Obama Justice Department’s “Insane Attack of North Carolina” in the bathroom and  locker room matter, in particular.



Communicating With the American People: We Don’t Like Being Lied To! by The Elephant's Child

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“The rate of real economic growth is the single greatest determinate of America’s strength as a nation and the well being of the American people.” President Obama has not delivered a single year of 3,0% growth. The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy expanded at the slowest pace in two years, rising at an anemic 0.5% rate after a 1.4% fourth quarter advance. Not good, and one of the reasons why so many people are angry.

From Investors Business Daily:

Legacy: The same day the 0.5% GDP growth came out, President Obama is quoted in the New York Times saying the country has done “better” than “any large economy on Earth in modern history.” Delusional doesn’t begin to cut it.

The only real problem with the economy, as far as Obama is concerned, is that he hasn’t been selling his successful policies aggressively enough.

“We were moving so fast early on that we couldn’t take victory laps. We couldn’t explain everything we were doing. I mean, one day we’re saving the banks; the next day we’re saving the auto industry; the next day we’re trying to see whether we can have some impact on the housing market,” he told the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Investors added that Obama didn’t “save” either industry. His only contribution to the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy process was to protect union interests at taxpayer expense. Dodd-Frank killed many, many community banks. The stimulus was an enormous expense and accomplished nothing at all.

At a townhall meeting in London, Obama was asked about what he wanted his  legacy to be after eight years.

There are things I’m proud of. The basic principle that in a country as wealthy as the United States, every person should have access to high-quality health care that they can afford — that’s something I’m proud of, I believe in. (Applause.) Saving the world economy from a Great Depression — that was pretty good. (Laughter and applause.)

Well, laughter indeed, but no applause. In early days, Obama was hailed as a great communicator. He was even awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for merely talking about peace. As Noah Rothman said today at Commentary:

The image of Obama as the left’s Great Communicator was always a fabrication. Given how often Obama himself has admitted his persuasive skills have failed his supporters, you might think this invention of a center-left media would have long ago been buried. Yet, it remains with us even today. Born out of a wish and unresponsive to falsifying evidence, the idea that Obama was somehow a marvelously successful communicator will probably be with us long after the president leaves office.

Mr. Trump’s foreign policy speech was similarly hailed as strong and wide ranging.  A lot of people believe what Mr. Trump said, and they’re wrong.

Mr. Trump: “NAFTA, as an example, has been a total disaster for the United States and has emptied our states — literally emptied our states of our manufacturing and our jobs.  Not true.

The North American Free Trade Agreement went into force January 1, 1994. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these were the numbers at the end of December in 1993:

  • Manufacturing employment: 16.8 million
  • Labor force participation rate: 66.4%
  • Unemployment rate: 6.5%

These were the numbers at the end of December 2000:

  • Manufacturing employment: 17.2 million
  • Labor force participation rate: 67.0%
  • Unemployment rate: 3.9%

After seven years of NAFTA, unemployment was down, more people were in the labor force, and there were more people who were employed in manufacturing. In year 8 China joined the World Trade Organization, and problems came from that. This is when the drop in trade came. China is not a good economic partner, but the Obama administration is negotiating an investment deal with China. Either they should stop or Congress should stop them. In any case, Mr. Trump is plainly mistaken on his major arguments.



Green Energy is a Complete Flop, as the World Is Beginning to Realize by The Elephant's Child

National Climate Change Certification Scheme
We are mostly so engrossed in the political battles, that we have little time to pay attention to the rest of the world.  Or perhaps it’s just the media that is so engrossed, for they certainly are.

But a bunch of Democrat Attorneys General gather to attempt to garner mega bucks from Exxon Mobil because they are not interested in investigating the science, but in silencing dissent.

This is a very big deal, right out of Stalinist Russia. You dare to disagree with the “truth” handed down from the federal government and you must pay immense fines and/or be sent to the gulag. Glen Reynolds (Instapundit) said that conspiring to prohibit free speech is a crime in itself. Their idea is that they can sue Exxon Mobil under the RICO laws, which were devised for organized crime, as states attorney’s once did with tobacco. The cigarette companies knew that their product caused cancer, and tried to hide that knowledge, so there were immense damages.

Exxon Mobil, the AGs claim, is committing fraud in the interest of maximizing their profits by deceiving the public about the impact of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

The fascinating thing is that these climate zealots have never read any of the science involved—they are just true believers. And every once in a while one of the true believers readily admits what it is all about—which is a brave new world where the world’s wealth will be redistributed by  climate policy.

Turns out that “the offices of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and those of other politically aligned AGs secretly teamed up with anti-fossil fuel activists to launch those investigations against those whose political speech challenged the global warming policy agenda.”

Beyond that, the drop in the price of energy is changing things all over the world.

— Hundreds of wind turbines in the Netherlands are operating at a loss and are in danger of being demolished. The main cause is the very low energy prices, which mean that the maintaining the turbines costs more than what the generated energy brings in, the Financieele Dagblad reports based on its own research. Subsidies for generating wind energy are in many cases no longer cost-effective. Smaller, older windmills in particular are running at a loss, but even newer mills are struggling to be profitable with insufficient subsidies. –Janene Pieters, NL Times, 15 April 2016

—Lights Go Out On Solar Power After British Government Cuts Subsidies The Guardian, 8 April 2016 (everywhere, when subsidies are cut, the green fraud dies)

—Polish Government plans to kill Wind Industry. Financial Times, 18 April 2016 (subscription)

—German Government Bill Threatens Renewable Energy Revolution, Green Lobby Warns
Solar Server News, 18 April 2016

—Norway to End Renewable Subsidy Scheme by 2021
Reuters, 15 April 2016

—Europe’s Energy Crisis Poses Warning for the U.S. Countries including Germany, Spain and England are finding that their recent “green energy” experiments are proving too costly to continue.
Breitbart, 14 April 2016

—Teslas May be making Hong Kong’s Pollution and CO2 Emissions Worse. The electric power for charging electric Tesla motors comes from coal generated power plants.
Bloomberg, 14 April 2016

The petrostates assembling in Doha to discuss a potential output freeze two days from now aren’t coming together in a show of solidarity or out of some sense of duty towards one another, but rather as an act of desperation. The American Interest, 16 April 2016

Cheap fossil fuels make the kinds of subsidies necessary to prop up renewables like solar a lot less politically justifiable. Buy into the solar hype at your own risk. SunEdison is one of the biggest players in the U.S. solar industry and was for a time the fastest growing renewables firm in America….today the company stares down more than $12 billion in debt and the looming threat of bankruptcy. The American Interest, 14 April 2016

Indian lenders are becoming increasingly reluctant to finance solar-power projects by foreign companies as bankruptcy looms for SunEdison Inc. in the U.S. live mint
21 April 2016 / E-Paper

There’s lots more. Britain is bringing in shale gas in a gusher, and Scotland looks to have success with shale. Huge fortunes have been made with governments’ subsidies for renewable energy, but if the subsidies are not forthcoming—wind and solar cannot stand on their own. The problems are in the nature of wind and solar energy. Wind is too intermittent, and there is no technology that can change the nature of the wind itself. The same goes for solar energy, but there the problem is night—when the sun sinks beneath the horizon and clouds.

Tesla has quietly discontinued its 10 kilowatt-hour home battery wall. The economics for backup power alone just aren’t that attractive.




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