American Elephants


The Worst Food Regulation Ever by The Elephant's Child

A government shutdown not only allows the rest of us a chance to think about the usefulness of government and all that it does, but quite a few people have been talking about the unnecessary size of government, the things the government does that they don’t really need to be doing, and there was an article in the Wall Street Journal today titled “This May be the Worst Regulation Ever” with an even more interesting subhead: “A USDA rule about labels on ‘bioengineered’ food cost hundreds of millions and has no benefits.

Well, Frabjous Day, Henry I. Miller has hit on one of my pet peeves. He is talking specifically about the “Non GMO” required label, but the “Certified Organic” is almost as bad. I blame it all on suburban housewives, who are supposed to be “highly educated”, but in my experience are highly susceptible to phony claims.

The “Organic” movement started because they got it in their heads that their food was being fertilized by the petroleum industry. Well, yes, petroleum products are rich in nitrogen which is a fertilizer for plants, and oil companies made fertilizers. Panic time! Poisoning children. The Organic movement wanted “natural” fertilizer, not fossil fuels. “Natural fertilizer” comes from cow poop and chicken poop. Food grown without a lot of noxious chemicals in a “natural way” grew, and the Dept. of Agriculture agreed to certify foods produced by organic farmers as “Organic” so folks could be sure to reach for the right can. Unfortunately  cow poop and chicken poop have a risk of e-coli, which is poisonous, And when you get to advertisements on the radio for “Organic Cotton sheets for your bed” it gets remarkably silly. If the cotton fields from which the cotton was picked were fertilized with manure, what earthly difference does that make to the fabric eventually woven for your bed?

The GMO scare was similar. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. They tweaked the genes of the plants that grew what eventually became food to add a more desirable element. In some cases it helps to resist a virus, or resist a certain kind of bug, or need less water or fertilizer when growing. The statute acknowledged that bioengineered food is neither more nor less safe than other food, but the new rule — the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) will not help consumers to understand that. So you have labels on most of the canned food on your supermarket’s shelves that identify Organic foods and Non GMO foods, that give you useless information and cost you a whole bunch. Organic food costs about 30% more than its non-organic counterpart, and is a complete waste of money.

I refuse to buy anything with an “Organic” label, but stores now have a large organic fruit and vegetable section. I blame it, as I said on suburban women, and on Gwyneth Paltrow, who has always been very big on food scares.

The original article is here, but may be behind a subscription barrier. Henry I. Miller is a great debunker of things that need debunking. Watch for him.

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Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence by The Elephant's Child

From the new issue of Imprimus from Hillsdale College:

Alex Berenson is the author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence

The following is adapted from a speech delivered January 15, 2019 at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington D.C.

*******************

Seventy miles northwest of New York City is a hospital that looks like a prison, its drab brick buildings wrapped in layers of fencing and barbed wire. This grim facility is called the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute. It’s one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill—defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Until recently, my wife Jackie­—Dr. Jacqueline Berenson—was a senior psychiatrist there. Many of Mid-Hudson’s 300 patients are killers and arsonists. At least one is a cannibal. Most have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that provoked them to violence against family members or strangers.

A couple of years ago, Jackie was telling me about a patient. In passing, she said something like, Of course he’d been smoking pot his whole life.

Of course? I said.

Yes, they all smoke.

So marijuana causes schizophrenia?

I was surprised, to say the least. I tended to be a libertarian on drugs. Years before, I’d covered the pharmaceutical industry for The New York Times. I was aware of the claims about marijuana as medicine, and I’d watched the slow spread of legalized cannabis without much interest.

Jackie would have been within her rights to say, I know what I’m talking about, unlike you. Instead she offered something neutral like, I think that’s what the big studies say. You should read them.

So I did. The big studies, the little ones, and all the rest. I read everything I could find. I talked to every psychiatrist and brain scientist who would talk to me. And I soon realized that in all my years as a journalist I had never seen a story where the gap between insider and outsider knowledge was so great, or the stakes so high.

I began to wonder why—with the stocks of cannabis companies soaring and politicians promoting legalization as a low-risk way to raise tax revenue and reduce crime—I had never heard the truth about marijuana, mental illness, and violence.

******

You might want to read this one. The whole issue is here, and you can subscribe to Imprimis at the end. I have enjoyed my subscription. Only comes once a month, and it’s completely free.



Not Exactly A Day Like All Days, Thank Goodness! by The Elephant's Child

If you want to see pictures, they are here:

What a thoroughly weird day. We had a Women’s March yesterday in the nation’s capitol and some other places, but only the DC one matters. That’s where you get the speeches and the press obligingly takes pictures of the most outrageous and vulgar signs. This one was even more excruciatingly embarrassing than the last one. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke in response to the major speech by the President of the United States. The newest and youngest of the 435 members of the House of Representatives felt called upon for a response.

Republicans made her a celebrity, so now we apparently have to live with it. Republicans were shocked by the inanity and wrongheadedness of what she said, and listened closely for the next stupidity. The media promptly started paying attention, and that is how celebrity gets made these days. I think it was Chris Buskirk who said that what she clearly was not stupid, it’s just that what she believed was completely wrong. Scott Adams warned that because Republicans found her threatening, she was dangerous and we must not underestimate her. She really just confirms what is the direction of the Democrat Party — neither knowledge of nor understanding of free-market capitalism, and an embrace of socialism instead.

I think the Left started off back in the day when Democrats were trying to start unions, with a viscous hatred for the “Captains of Industry,” Corporate bosses or CEOs.  College professors loathed them, for they made way more money than they and their fellows did, and they didn’t even have PhDs! That’s just my theory. Thus they have no interest in capitalism, free-market or any other kind, and they do not understand it because they loathe it. Listen closely and it pops up all the time. I often quote Christiana Figueres, General Secretary of the UN’s IPCC– supposedly the last word on world climate, who admitted that the goal of the environmental movement was not to save the world from climate doom, but “to rid the world of Capitalism.”

The United States is the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world, and we can’t seem to sell anybody else on free-market capitalism. Of course Obama could never manage anything over 2% growth, but that was not the norm. Donald Trump has restored growth, restored prosperity, restored jobs, and naturally everyone loathes him, and cannot say things vulgar enough about how much they hate him. Go figure.

A lot of people dumped their support for the Women’s March because of the Anti-Semitism of the leaders, and their connections. They support the BDS movement, and of course Linda Sarsour,a leader of the march is a Palestinian-American, and the march isn’t much about women anyway, and women are doing just fine.

The other big event of the day was that a group of boys from a Covington, Kentucky, Catholic Boys School were here for the March for Life on Saturday, in which their school traditionally participates. They were waiting at the Lincoln Memorial for their bus, and a bunch of Black Supremacy Activists started yelling at them, then a elderly Native American activist worked his way through the crowd and started playing his drum right under the nose of one of the boys.

The young man smiled at the activist, maintained his poise, asked their counselor for permission to do the school yell. His parents should be proud of him. Twitter got into the event, and disgraced themselves and their pretensions of fairness, and the whole thing became an “event,” falsely portrayed, and the kids were being called awful names, getting death threats, and even their principal and their church assumed that they had done something wrong — they had not. It will all blow over, the kids will be proven to be without fault, and to have behaved extremely well under great provocation.

The current leftist meme is that the poised young man who smiled in response to someone drumming right in his face – was “smirking.” And clearly “smirking” is a “face-crime.” There are no depths to which the Left will not descend.

Just another ordinary day. I’m not sure just how many more ordinary days like that one we can handle.



The “Green New Deal” and Other Lefty Fantasies by The Elephant's Child

alexandria_ocasio-cortez

Supposedly Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “‘Green’ New Deal” is quite popular among the new far-leftists in Congress. Democrats remain enamored of the memory of FDR. Some believe that he saved the nation from the Great Depression, (he didn’t). But anything with the term “New Deal” will be more popular on the Left. Young Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has a veritable wealth of ideas that are just plain wrong. She is not stupid, as so many claim. She just has a lot of very, very bad ideas. Money is not a problem – “We’ll just pay for it.” she says. Raise taxes as high as 82% on the wealthy? Fine. Her Green New Deal would cost 8,000 times as much as President Trump’s Border Wall request, according to Tyler O”Neil at PJ Media.

The “Green New Deal” will cost approximately $49,109 trillion in the first ten years, enough to fund Trump’s border wall 8,616 times over. The president is requesting $5.7 billion for the wall.

PJ Media calculated the cost of the “Green New Deal” by integrating each of the cost aspects involved in a Power the Future analysis and calculating their cost for the U.S. over about ten years — and in one case through 2050.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, the “Green New Deal” will force America to transition to an economy run from 100 percent renewable energy. Christopher Clark, a physicist who has studied rapid deployments of renewable energy, told The Hill that building this kind of generating capacity would cost “at least $2 trillion.”

Her idea for “renewable energy” probably does not contain nuclear power, for there seems to be a lot of resistance to building new nuclear power plants, although California’s small Diablo Canyon nuclear plant produces more energy than all of California’s many solar farms and wind turbines put together. The website for the left-wing think tank Data for Progress explains:

The goals of the Green New Deal are nothing short of radical. As the website for the left-wing think tank Data for Progress explains, the Green New Deal aims to “transform the economy and the environment in ways that achieve sustainability, equity, justice, freedom, and happiness.” Achieving happiness has never been easy. Even harder will be the Green New Deal’s aim of completely eliminating the use of coal, oil, and natural gas by 2050.

How all this happiness and energy legerdemain will be achieved is anyone’s guess. Supporters are particularly vague about how they would find the hundreds of billions — or even trillions — of dollars needed to attempt such a plan. Nevertheless, there is one unassailable fact about the Green New Deal: It is not green. Indeed, the entire notion of an all-renewable-energy system is the antithesis of environmental protection and scenic conservation.

Promoters seem to assume that there are vast tracts of vacant land, territory that is just waiting to be covered with renewable energy projects. To fuel the U.S. economy, would require state-sized empty territories to be covered with nothing but wind turbines and solar panels. (All that territory where the Deplorables live) It would require stringing tens of thousands of miles with new high-voltage transmission lines. Vox featured an explanation of the Green New Deal, and the feature was the kind of solar plant that proved to be essentially worthless at Ivanpah, in the Mojave. Doesn’t work. Didn’t produce the energy required, killed birds by the thousands.

Two researchers from Harvard published a study that looked at energy-production data from 1,150 solar projects and 411 onshore wind projects. Meeting U.S. electricity consumption would require 12 percent of the continental U.S. land area for wind— or an area more than twice the size of the state of California. Not going to happen.

Here are some notable facts. Environmentalists and climate change activists want to believe in themselves as “social-justice warriors” fighting for the good, but the policies they promote would seriously harm people, especially the poor and disadvantaged. They are anti-human.

Here is a graph from a panel organized last month by the Heartland Institute, and the European Institute for Climate and Energy. Dr, Craig Idso , Founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change said:

[R]adiosondes’ [balloon] measurements shown in blue reveal that the actual warming rate is three times smaller than that predicted by the models [red bars show warming that should have occurred from 1979-2017, as predicted from 102 different climate models].

See the important graph here: It explains how and why the average of climate models has vastly overestimated the warming. Some climate scientists thought they could put the climate of the world into a computer, and get a program that would correctly predict the future climate. GIGO: garbage in garage out. But that became the “Scientific Consensus”.  They knew a few facts, added some estimates and some guesswork, and a significant bunch of mistakes, and lo and behold: “Science”
Do Read the Whole Thing



So Much for a Productive Weekend! by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging. We had a windstorm, The street sweeper came by yesterday, and we were delighted with the pristine streets. Today they are covered with leaves, needles, branches, cones, everybody’s grass clippings, and anything else that was loose and movable by a brisk wind. You have to feel a little sorry for the street sweeper – he must feel really good about making a neighborhood all shining and clean, and then this!

The windstorm took out our internet provider for hours, and by the time we got our connection back, it was too late to be up even for night owls. Looks like I’ll have to sweep up a bushel or so of douglas fir cones. Nothing new for the Pacific Northwest.

Oh hell, the internet connection just went out again.



How to Prepare for Disaster by The Elephant's Child

This has been a sad week. First someone was sending pipe bombs to President Trump’s detractors. The Media was quite sure it was President Trump or someone on his behalf. The people weren’t quite so sure. President Trump spoke out emphatically, and set the FBI on the case. They promptly found a fingerprint on one of the bombs, found the nutcase, and put him in jail. Excellent work by the FBI. We still don’t know if any of the mailed bombs would actually have blown up.

Then in Philadelphia, an Anti-Semite conducted a mass shooting in a synagogue where a religious ceremony was taking place, killing eleven people and wounding six, and 3 policemen as well.  I simply cannot understand how in today’s world some people cannot seem to allow others to have differing or opposing views. And I just don’t understand Anti-Semitism, nor how anyone can hold such crackpot ideas.

PJ Media published a useful article in response: “Everything You Think You Know About an Active Shooter Situation is wrong.” No one ever expects to be caught in such a situation, but knowing what to do if you are – is valuable information. Print out the article, teach your family and your friends.  It’s called ALICE training. There’s a video of a lawyer being attacked by a deranged shooter, that helps to explain how he stayed alive.

There are good people and bad people out there, and a smattering of nutcases, we don’t have any idea how many. All kinds of emergency situations might arise. Take the trouble to prepare as best you can. And while you’re at it, get a flu shot.



The Beautiful City of Portland, Oregon by The Elephant's Child

Here’s a travelogue for the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. It’s the city where the Columbia River and the Willamette River (pronounced will Lam et, not willa met) meet and the latter flows right through the middle of the city.

Residents say”don’t go downtown, it’s too dangerous” The problem seems to be Antifa, some kind of vicious organization that claims to be anti-fascist with no understanding of what is and is not  fascist. They dress up in black, particularly black masks to hide their identity, break windows, set fires, beat on cars and threaten ordinary residents who do not do what they are told. Very much like Nazi jackboots of another era. What they want is unclear, other than what they do, which is beyond unacceptable. The Portland Police have chosen to refrain from getting involved, so they just watch, supported by the Mayor,

Occasionally we have an Antifa outbreak in Seattle, when there seems to be something worth rioting about. I don’t know whether it’s the same bunch or not. I don’t know what, if anything, they advocate, other than causing trouble and damage. Significant terms in jail might help. But apparently you are not supposed to do anything about a violent mob of Leftist rioters — someone might get hurt.




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