American Elephants


Who Me Worry? Well, Yes, Yes I Do. by The Elephant's Child

We have been told for some time that in less than 50 years Europe will be Muslim. Simple demographics. The European birthrate is far below replacement numbers, except for Muslim families. But that is what we were told before the current wave of refugees/migrants.

And the Muslim immigrants are apparently aware of the demographic claims. They have said, and it has been reported, that they will impregnate Europeans to hasten the transition. What happens when Muslims outnumber the Europeans and control the factories and facilities of European nations, including their military assets? We are in a religious war. We may not recognize that fact, but Iran and ISIS readily admit it.

Do we then have another great European War? We turned back the invasion of Europe once before at the Gates of Vienna. Is it all inevitable or are we just being Islamophobic? President Obama appears to believe that if we just turn the Middle East over to Iran to manage, then all will be well and we can just mind our own business. And that “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” business is just some kind of local PR. Iran would never, ever, use a bomb.

That ‘s when I get worried. I’m not convinced that anyone is thinking clearly about what is happening in the world today, particularly in this administration. Pat Condell is a clear-thinking and clear speaking British gentleman, and it pays to listen to what he has to say.

(h/t: Thomas Lifson )



Environmental Hype, Politics, Fads and Prevarications by The Elephant's Child

567d2443c36188c5408b45afWhen one starts pondering fads, hype, politics, advertising and lies, you quickly get involved in the environment, from which much of the voluminous bubble of hype flows. We have records of a sort going back over a significant amount of time, from tree rings to ice cores, stalagmites and the careful measurements of sea temperatures of Captains in the British Navy in the 1700s, to landscape paintings during the Renaissance.  Of a sort.

We have three systems of measuring heat and cold — Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin, each, I believe, named after the inventor. Most of us are familiar with the Fahrenheit of 20º below zero and the upper ranges of 90º and 100º discomfort, and don’t pay much attention the rest of the time.

Surface temperature records are unreliable because of siting issues, failure to recognize the urban heat island effect, and poor coverage of the oceans — but not so aware of the deliberate falsification of  temperature records by alarmist climate scientists who depend on climate alarm for their jobs and federal grants. They constantly revise temperatures recorded in the past to make the past appear cooler to get more warming in the present.

But we now have satellite data that gives accurate global readings, though it only goes back to 1978. That is, however 37 years of satellite data. Anthony Watts summarized the data.

The average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere has warmed just over four tenths of a degree Celsius (almost three fourths of a degree Fahrenheit) during the past 37 years, with the greatest warming over the Arctic Ocean and Australia, said Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Microwave sounding units on board NOAA and NASA satellites completed 37 complete years of collecting temperature data in November, giving us nearly global coverage of climate change during that time.

If that trend was to continue for another 63 years, the composite warming for the globe would be 1.1 C (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) for the century, Christy said. That would put the average global temperature change over 100 years well under the 2.0 C (3.6 degrees F) goal set recently at the climate change summit in Paris.

Anthony Watts notes that a “1.2º C. or 2.2º F. is roughly equal to the warming seen most spring days between 10 a.m and noon.” Well, run for the hills, we’re all doomed!

The policies and programs arising from climate alarmism range from organic food, wind farms, solar arrays, and all the costs and features involved (which have always included the promise of vast employment which hasn’t materialized either.) Consider all the programs, regulations and disastrous policies of the EPA, the Energy Department, the Interior Department, and the White House that arise from the belief in catastrophic global warming. We have even been told that we cannot bomb the oil trucks that transport stolen oil for illegal sale by ISIS to support their beheadings and crucifixions—because blowing them up might harm the environment.

Fads, hype, politics and national security lies. I rest my case.

The picture at the top is indeed ISIS tanker trucks being blown up. Unfortunately it is being accomplished by Russian bombers. We are dropping leaflets to warn the drivers to run away because we might drop a bomb.



The Real Hard Questions About Syrian Refugees by The Elephant's Child

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The question about Syrian refugees — is not a question of just how much empathy we have, nor is it about whether or not they are actually Syrian and actually refugees. President Obama insists it is all about compassion, and we are a nation of refugees, and rejecting widows and 3 year-old orphans is just not who we are as Americans.

At a moment in history when Paris has just been attacked by jihadists, and the example of supposed Syrian refugees are flooding Europe with the most dire results, we need to think very clearly about just who we are inviting in as refugees. There is, in spite of pious pronouncements from the State Department and Homeland Security, no way for us to screen those who seek admission. There is no effective government in Syria, and Syrian Americans say that one can buy any kind of credential they want or need in Syria if they can  pay for it.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, writes that it is morally wrong to relocate refugees from the Middle East to the U.S. Welcoming refugees is not about making us feel good. The five year cost of resettling a single Middle Eastern refugee in the United States is conservatively estimated to be more than $64,000, compared with UN figures that indicate it costs about $5,300 to provide for that same refugee for five years in his native region.

In other words, each refugee we bring to the U.S. means that eleven others are not being helped with that amount of money. Mr. Krikorian uses the analogy of sending a luxurious one-man boat rather than twelve life jackets. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)  reports a $2.5 billion shortfall in caring for Syrian refugees in the Middle East. The five-year cost of resettling just 39,000 Syrians in the U.S. would erase the entire current UNHCR shortfall.

Europe has cut a deal with Turkey regarding refugees. Turkey will shelter more Middle Eastern refugees within its own borders so fewer of the will head for other European countries. Turkey, in return for tightening its border control, will get several billion dollars from the EU, and assistance in Turkey’s efforts to join the coalition of 28 countries. President Obama  wants to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year and every year thereafter. He says a “robust vetting process” will be in place. The State Department and Homeland Security obediently agree.

When questions about refugees from the Middle East arise, the word “Islamophobia”also arises. If you worry or object to a 10,000 yearly influx of refugees in perpetuity, you are Islamophobic and a bad person. Americans (excluding the college faculty) feel pretty strongly about free speech, even if college kids don’t understand. The kids are currently up in arms about words that might give offense. If they were properly taught, they would understand that a government that can put you in the gulag, or execute you for something you said—means that you are no longer free. You have no freedom at all. You are totally subject to the will of a bureaucrat who does not have your best interests at heart.

A little history should teach that is the rule in North Korea, was the rule in Stalin’s Russia, and in China, and in dozens of other socialist countries. In the Moslem religion, words that can be construed as insulting or denigrating the prophet get the death penalty. American college campuses have become a hotbed of politically correct speech. Kids have been driven out of school, their future ruined because someone took offense at something they said that  someone else considered politically incorrect. Here in America we have the First Amendment to the Constitution that protects your right to free speech. The amendment is always under attack from those who are ignorant of its meaning and those who have a wish to become tyrants and rule.

And there’s the rub. Sharia is classical Islam’s societal framework and legal code. “It involves the organization of the state, comprehensive regulation of economic and social life, rules of military engagement, and the imposition of a draconian criminal code.” This is from Andy McCarthy.  “Unlike the Judeo-Christian principles that informed America’s founding, classical sharia does not abide a separation of spiritual from civic and political life. Therefore, to rationalize on religious-liberty grounds our conscious avoidance of Islamist ideology is to miss its thoroughgoing anti-constitutionalism.”

“Sharia rejects the touchstone of American democracy: the belief that the people have a right to govern themselves and chart their own destiny. In sharia governance, the people are subjects not citizens, and they are powerless to question, much less to change, Allah’s law. Sharia systematically discriminates against women and non-Muslims. It is brutal in its treatment of apostates and homosexuals. It denies freedom of conscience, free expression property rights, economic liberty, and due process of law. It licenses wars of aggression against infidels for the purpose of establishing sharia as the law of the land.”

“Sharia is also heavily favored by Muslims in majority-Muslim countries. Polling consistently tells us that upwards of two-thirds of Muslims in the countries from which we are accepting refugees believe sharia should be the governing system.” Islam stands for submission. You must submit.

To the extent to which we are screening refugees, we are screening for terrorism, not adherence to sharia. We are not only vetting for the wrong thing, “we are ignoring the dynamics of jihadism.” The question is really “are we admitting Muslims who are apt to become violent jihadists after they settle here? (See Boston Marathon)

This is not meant to be alarming, but to approach the matter honestly. If people are worried, this is why. These are serious questions, and the administration is not interested in giving serious answers,  but in slandering those who dare to ask, because they want their way. Muslims are said to be reliable Democratic voters.

For Further Reading:

“Refugee Resettlement Is Immoral,”Mark Krikorian, National Review

“The Controversy over Syrian Refugees Misses the Question We Should Be Asking” Andy McCarthy, National Review

“Je suis…qui?”Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review: A visit to the Banlieues and Muslim immigrants in France.

The photo at the top is from Dabiq, the Islamic State magazine, of Syrian Refugees leaving for Europe.



The EPA Is Not Now, And Never Has Been, In Any Situation — Transparent! by The Elephant's Child

AR-150829613.jpg&maxw=725&maxh=575I have wondered about the progress of the spill from the Gold King Mine as it proceeds down the Colorado River System through Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon. As the spill approached Lake Powell, news about the spill precipitously dropped from the news. Not an accident. Environmental Protection Agency officials have required their contractors to sign non-disclosure agreements, or secrecy pledges.

“The statement of work includes a standard requirement that the contractor shall not publish or otherwise release, distribute, or disclose any work product generated under the contract without obtaining EPA’s express advance written approval,” an EPA spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This does not require either an NDA or confidentiality agreement be signed by individual employees.”

Non-disclosure agreements are often used to protect important government secrets, they are not supposed to obstruct official accountability at critical times. The EPA was clearly at fault here for a massive spill of 3 million gallons of highly toxic mine waste, not only rife with materials such as cadmium, lead and arsenic. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the cadmium turned the river a bright mustard yellow, so it couldn’t exactly be kept secret. The picture above is of the narrow-gauge railroad that runs from Durango to Silverton, and is very popular with tourists. I have ridden it, and it’s a beautiful trip, but not with a yellow river.

The initial reporting was plentiful as it flowed through small Colorado towns and as it reached the Navajo Reservation where the river flows right through the center of the reservation near Shiprock and Teec Nos Pos. This is water essential to the reservation, for tribal animals and water, and for irrigation, and just for drinking water. There were some sloppy attempts to truck water in to the reservation, with dirty tanks, and the tribal leaders said they would sue. This is public business, and lawsuits will be paid with taxpayer  money.

The EPA has said that there are 28 separate contracts with Environmental Restoration and it would take until the 22nd of December to review them all to determine just which contract would pertain to the Animas and Colorado Rivers. Uh huh. Even looking through Google’s array of pictures, they don’t seem to include Lake Powell nor the Grand Canyon National Park. Interesting.

The EPA is forestalling transparency in a spill that affects the regional supply of drinking water across the American Southwest. Timely? Nah.

But it is a bit of a pattern for agencies of the Obama administration. The IRS? Don’t ask. The VA? Congress is working on transparency, but it seems that it is difficult to impossible to fire government officials. This was going to be the most transparent administration in history. That’s turning out well.

animas-map

(click to enlarge)



Whatever Bad Thing is Happening is Caused by Climate Change! by The Elephant's Child

In the Democrat Debate in Las Vegas, the candidates were asked what is the greatest crisis facing America? A little Middle East, and more of income inequality, but for Bernie Sanders  it was Climate Change. I’m becoming convinced that Progressives, or Socialists in Bernie’s case, get all of their information from Progressive talking points.

Our colleges and universities have insisted that they are teaching our children “critical thinking” which seems to mean the progressive line. This has widely been called “the Information Age” — which refers more to volume than quality. But where is the help in managing the flow?

There was a time when we had 3 major networks, but not only has that expanded, but the sources of information have exploded. Newspapers may be dying, but they are moving online, and with a few keystrokes I can access any newspaper in the world, most in English. There is social media, and Twitter for instantaneous information, far more than anyone has the time to pursue — yet we are told that a significant number of people get their news from late night comedy shows.

It seems to me to be essential to teach our kids how to manage information. How do you determine which websites are honest and reliable? The ‘fact checkers’ have not been either reliable or helpful. When you have a debate among candidates for the presidency of the United States and one of those candidates announces that the greatest crisis facing Americans is climate change, and that we must act because our grandchildren will face an uninhabitable world, what are you supposed to think?

Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, just announced that the mess in Syria is caused by Climate Change.

The president himself scoffed at Vladimir Putin’s adventures in Syria and said his own efforts on climate change were more important leadership for the world.

Where does this panic about the climate come from? I haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary actually occurring. California has a drought, as they have had many times in the past. South Carolina just got a lot of rain and floods, but it’s not even a 100 year event. Hurricanes are down in number and severity.

According to the satellite data, we have had no warming in the past 18 years and 8 months. Dangerous climate change exists only in computer programs that attempt to model the climate and predict the future. But we don’t know enough about our present climate to be predicting the future. We are just learning that the surface of the ocean has effects on clouds that we don’t understand, and for that matter we don’t have any understanding of just how clouds affect climate. The ocean is rising by millimeters, not inches or feet, and those with waterfront lots don’t need to worry for a century or two.

Progressives ignore science completely in their fear of genetically modified crops (GMOs). According to the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and countless other well qualified international bodies there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that GMO crops are unfit for human consumption in any way.

Are we doomed to simply get dumber each year as our sources of information increase? To know less and less about how to separate fact and fiction? Scary indeed.



Government Workers Make 78 Percent More Than Their Counterparts In The Private Sector by The Elephant's Child

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Annoyance or Last Straw? The federal government employs 2.1 million civilian workers in an uncountable (new ones pop up all the time) number of agencies or offices  across the nation. “This federal workforce imposes a substantial burden on American taxpayers.” says the CATO Institute. “In 2015 wages and benefits for executive branch civilian workers will cost more than $260 billion,”

Since the 1990s, federal workers have enjoyed faster compensation growth than private-sector workers. In 2014 federal workers earned 78 percent more, on average, than private-sector workers. Federal workers earned 43 percent more, on average, than state and local government workers. The federal government has become an elite island of secure and high-paid employment, separated from the ocean of average Americans competing in the economy.
After the “Worst recession since the Great Depression” as Obama always claims for his excuse, after more than six years of economic “recovery,” the middle class is worse off than at the end of the Great Recession in 2009. The number of working age people not in the workforce is over 92,000,000.

In 2014 federal civilian workers had an average wage of $84,153, according the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). By comparison, the average wage for the nation’s 111 million private-sector workers was $56,350. …

The BEA data can be broken down by industry. Among 21 major sectors that span the U.S. economy, the federal government has the fourth highest paid workers after only utilities, mining, and management of companies.6 Federal compensation is higher, on average, than compensation in the information industry, finance and insurance, and professional and scientific industries.
federal-worker-pay-2
The federal government has the fourth highest paid workers after only utilities, mining, and company management. Federal compensation is higher on average than compensation in the information industry, finance and insurance, and professional and scientific industries.
Rising federal compensation stems from legislated increases in general pay, increases in locality pay, expansions in benefits, and growth in the number of high-paid jobs as bureaucracies become more top-heavy. Compensation growth is also fueled by routine adjustments that move federal workers into higher salary brackets regardless of performance, and by federal jobs that are redefined upward into higher pay ranges.
The little dip in the blue line of rising federal wages is the recent partial pay freeze. The chart above includes benefits such as health care and pensions, which makes the advantage over private sector workers even larger. The level of compensation does not represent the nation’s highest skilled workers, but the security of working for the government. (The quit rate for the federal government is ¼ of the rate for the private sector. Security and generous benefits.)

The benefits package is overly generous. Jobs should be privatized wherever possible. It is the nature of a bureaucracy to grow. Congress has shoved way too much of the task of lawmaking off to federal agencies — easy example: the sloppy designation of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act (congressmen weren’t sure what they meant so they left it to the EPA and other agencies to figure it out, This has resulted in a power grab perhaps unrivaled in the history of bureaucracies.) And there is SEIU, the Service Employees International Union. If you can manage the time, do read the whole thing. It should affect your vote.



They’re At it Again! Another EPA Spill! by The Elephant's Child

WASGINGTON DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 2013/06/03: EPA building, Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

It’s not the Gold King Mine this time, it’s the Standard Mine, and it’s not 3 million gallons of toxic waste, but only 2,000 gallons — so much smaller, but once again the EPA neglected to notify the appropriate officials and agencies of the spill in a timely manner.  Once again it’s in Colorado.

The Standard King Mine is an EPA designated superfund site, where the EPA has been directing ongoing clean-up at another abandoned mine.  A spokesman for Rep Scott Tipton (R-CO) said that more than 2,000 gallons of reportedly uncontaminated water were spilled from the mine site Wednesday into a local watershed.

So what has happened to the noxious mustard yellow spill from the Gold King Mine into the Animas river? Last we heard it was moving though Lake Mead on its way to the Grand Canyon, our beloved National Park. It just dropped out of the news didn’t it? Funny how things detrimental to the administration do that.

I suspect that what infuriates people most is that when a rancher makes a small pond to water his stock, the EPA descends with threats and warrants and massive charges designed to reduce the victims to abject terror. The size of the fines is designed to terrorize. But when it’s the EPA at fault — ho hum.

The EPA is under investigation by the Interior Department for the Gold King Mine  near Silverton, Colorado. I’m sure the Interior Department will deal with them fairly, and they will be found to have dealt with a difficult situation with the grace and efficiency expected from an agency of the United States Government.

Brain freeze: corrected. The Gold King Mine spill was 3 million gallons (est,) the Standard Mine spill was 2,000 gallons of”gray water” maybe toxic, maybe not. (est.)




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