American Elephants


A Presidential Visit to Yosemite National Park by The Elephant's Child

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On Father’s Day, many families want to do something special for Dad. Those who planned a trip for the day to Yosemite National Park, were out of luck. The Park was closed to visitors most of Father’s Day. The presidential family arrived and departed from a Yosemite meadow on a Marine One helicopter. The entourage arrived in a 40 car motorcade. The visit was covered with more pictures by Britain’s Daily Mail. The British seem to be highly amused by America’s presidential motorcades and elaborate scheduled events.

Roads in the park and the entrances and exits were shut down for hours. Visitors already at the park found their movements restricted and even hiking trails were Restricted. The lower Yosemite Falls was closed to the public. He made a speech (to his entourage, Park Rangers? ) to tout his administration’s environmental record and to warn Americans about the danger of climate change.

The biggest challenge we are going to face in protecting this place and places like it is climate change. Make no mistake, climate change is no longer a threat it is a reality.

It has been warm over the last few weeks, and Obama was sure that the meadow where they landed was drying out because of global warming. Melting snowpack has the falls in the park at their fullest.  “Fires are raging across the west right now … all while it’s still really early in the season.” he said, but climate change has nothing to do with wildfire. But then the president is still warning that Manhattan would be “underwater”unless action is taken on climate change.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) whose district includes Yosemite, had a classic rejoinder:

With his comments about global warming, I would point out that if his speech had been given on this very spot 12,000 years ago we would be under a 3,000-foot sheet of ice. So global warming has been going on for a long time, long before the invention of the SUV.

Yosemite is a deservedly popular national park with over a million visitors every year and has many of the problems of a big city. President Bush avoided visiting popular venues while he was president, and was roundly criticized when he did not land in New Orleans during Katrina — which he did because he knew how disruptive a presidential visit is and didn’t want to mess up the rescue efforts. Is the Secret Service overdoing the motorcades and opulence of a presidential visit ? I don’t know, it seems excessive, but we want our president protected. Presidential motorcades disrupt traffic for hours, wherever they go, but part of that is the press.

The first family did Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico on Friday, which is also something special to see.



Bill Whittle On Transgendered Bathrooms by The Elephant's Child



Models are Models. Science is Something Different. by The Elephant's Child

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We are so in love with our computers and what they can do, that we often forget what they cannot do. G.I.G.O.— garbage in garbage out. The climate models on which the panic about global warming depends are only very partly based on science. The models themselves aren’t science. There are some scientific facts that are known and accepted. Once  you get beyond that small amount — all is based on modelling. That means you take the known, add some approximations, some guesswork, and your favorite theory and you get a model of the earth’s climate, that may have little to do with the real world.

“Patrick Michaels and David E. Wojick wrote last week in a Cato at Liberty blog post that modelling completely dominates climate change research” What that means  is that climate change science is only about 4% of the whole, and not all climate science is about climate change. They are putting their faith in math calculations rather than scientific observation. The energy and the resources are directed to improving the models, which have a remarkable record of being consistently wrong.They cannot even accurately predict the climate that has already happened.

We have very little understanding of the action of the clouds, though they clearly effect climate. The heat that the models have predicted has not arrived. In science, there are questions, and a hypothesis is developed, then tested through repeated experimentation.” The federal government has spent billions —close to $100 billion since fiscal 2012 —on “science” that is undergirded by failed models.” The models were unable to predict the greening of the world caused by slight increases in CO2. Most of the money goes to improving and upgrading the models, and what most climate scientists will consider improved models to be those that predict greater amounts of warming.

For a more authoritative explanation of Global Warming go here.



The Madness of Fighting Global Warming Will Impoverish the World, and Ignores Engineering Reality by The Elephant's Child

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Professor of Electrical Engineering at Cambridge University Dr. M.J.Kelly wrote in a peer-reviewed journal article that any attempt to fight global warming with green energy will impoverish the world.

Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions enough to actually slow the natural warming of the globe in a measurable way simply is not possible without reducing worldwide standards of living so much that it would plunge most of the world into poverty, destitution and starvation.

Over the last 200 years, fossil fuels have provided the route out of grinding poverty for many people in the world.This trend is certain to continue for at least the next 20 years based on the technologies of scale that are available today. A rapid decarbonization is simply impossible over the next 20 years unless the trend of a growing number who succeed to improve their lot is stalled by rich and middle class people downgrading their own standard of living.
Current CO2 emissions are not falling rapidly enough to slow global warming largely because most public policy has been focused on developing green energy like wind and solar which may actually increase emissions. These energy systems do not justify the massive costs of the subsidies required to support them.
“It is clear to me that every further step along the current pathway of deploying first-generation renewable energy is locking in immature and uneconomic systems at net loss to the world standard of living. Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality,” Kelly wrote in a press statement.
The total amount of energy created by wind and solar is relatively small, in spite of massive subsidies in place at least since the 1970s. In 2010, wind power alone received $5 billion in subsidies, which dwarfs the $654 million that oil and gas receive in depletion allowances — which are not subsidies.  In 2015, solar and wind power accounted for only 0.6 and 4.7 percent of electricity generated in America, respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration, which does not account for the backup power supplied by conventional power plants.


Technology is Changing the World, Faster Than You Think! by The Elephant's Child

Technology has advanced so rapidly that a laptop computer
today is 96% cheaper than a 1994 model
and 1,000 times better.

Some more good news from Economist Mark Perry at the
American Enterprise Institute.

bestbuy1-768x495Best Buy is currently advertising a Dell Inspiron 23.8″ Touch-Screen All-In-One computer for only $650 (without a printer), with about 1,400 tunes more hard drive space (1TB vs, 720MB) and 2,000 times more memory (8GB vs, 4MB) as the 1994 Compaq.

bestbuyYou spend $200 today for a basic laptop that has performance standards infinitely better than the notebooks available in 1994 that cost more than $5,ooo (in 2016 dollars). And you can get computers today with thousands of times more memory, speed, performance and disk storage space than computers in the mid 1990s at a fraction of the price. Sometimes we just accept these advances without really thinking about them and fail to appreciate the benefits of the change.

We hear constantly from Bernie Sanders and other progressives that all the economic gains from the last 20 years have gone only to the top 1% of Americans. But the top 1% could always afford any computer they wanted. It’s the poor, low-income and middle-class Americans who benefit from the “miracle of the marketplace” that now delivers $200 laptops.

Bernie doesn’t want to talk about Venezuela, He says he’s running for president.



Leftists Don’t Understand “Cause & Effect” And That Makes a Huge Problem for the Rest of Us! by The Elephant's Child

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Progressives, Liberals, Lefties consistently have trouble understanding cause and effect. I’ve been noticing this for quite a while, particularly in relation to crime. That is where the famous “Butterfield Fallacy” comes in( well, maybe not famous, but it should be.) Fox Butterfield was a reporter for the New York Times, “whose crime stories served as the archetype for his eponymous fallacy.”

“It has become a comforting story for five straight years, crime has been falling, led by a drop in murder,” Butterfield wrote in 1997. “So why is the number of inmates in prisons and jails around the nation still going up?’  He repeated the trope in 2003: “The nation’s prison population grew 2.6 percent last year, the largest increase since 1999, according to a study by the Justice Department. The jump came despite a small decline in serious crime in 2002.” And in 2004: “The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.”

The Butterfield Fallacy consists of misidentifying as a paradox, that which is a simple cause-and-effect relationship. You put more bad guys behind bars, and the crime rate goes down. Lefties disapprove of sending people to prison because they believe it to be racially discriminatory. “In 2004 almost 10 percent of American black men were in prison” and it diverts tax money from what should be higher priorities. I’ve written about this a number of times, but I have a hard time recognizing how pervasive the inability to understand cause and effect is.

Today’s problems also include the “Ferguson Effect” which has resulted in policemen being more hesitant to arrest or deal with crime, especially in the black community — because of the blowback from the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson MI.

When the demand for a higher minimum wage began to circulate, we explained that a minimum wage was a starting wage for beginners, and low because they weren’t worth more, and there was no end to the numbers of people who wanted a starting-out job. We explained that most get a raise within the first 6 months. We mentioned automation. But the Lefties said “you can’t raise a family on the minimum wage.” Of course you can’t — the minimum wage is for beginners.

So Lefties are raising the minimum wage legally (government has no business telling businesses how much they must pay workers). Well effect follows cause and Wendy’s Restaurants are installing self-service kiosks in their approximately 6,000 restaurants across the country in the second half of the year. There are 258 Wendy’s in California where the minimum wage has gone up to $10 an hour. The former CEO of McDonalds warned that Robots cost less than paying a $15 minimum wage. Hillary jumped in on the controversy to demand an end to disabled workers’ exemption from minimum wage requirements — and got a stinging rebuke from economist Don Boudreaux.  Cause and effect.

Greenies usually use Denmark as a stunning example of the beneficial use of natural wind power. Well, Denmark is abandoning wind power. Danes’ cost of energy has been climbing and climbing, with 66% of the bill being “green taxes” and only 15% going to energy generation. Denmark’s energy prices were the highest in Europe, and politicians are abandoning wind power as too expensive. Greenies celebrate the natural source of energy, but the problem remains that wind does not blow at the correct speed to generate power even most of the time. They’ve tried to remedy that with taller turbines, more exotic minerals, better designs — doesn’t matter. The cause is the nature of wind, the effect is unaffordability.

In desperation our federal government has raised the numbers of eagles and other birds that the wind farms and solar arrays can chop up or fry each year, But that too is a cause and will have an effect — not yet recognized.  In the meantime, the world’s largest solar array at Ivanpah which has never produced the electricity they promised (cause) and is under enormous pressure to do something — did. It caught on fire.

Keep an eye on the inability of the Left to grasp this simple fact, you will find that it explains a lot.



Private Property Rights Seem Unimportant Until They’re Yours, and They’re Gone. by The Elephant's Child

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Andy and Katie Johnson own a small 8-acre ranch near Bridger, Wyoming, on which they run 10 head of cattle and 4 horses. A creek runs through the property. Mr. Johnson wanted to build a stock pond to water his animals. He got approval from the local government and from the State of Wyoming, and they invested most of their savings in building the stock pond. Birds, fish and other wildlife came.

So did the EPA, who went after the family for violating the Clean Water Act. EPA Director Gina McCarthy used the Johnson family to test the power of the EPA in advance of the passage of their harsh new rules. The rule wasn’t even passed when Ms. McCarthy took out her pen and her phone.

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EPA regulators showed up at the Johnson property in 2014, and announced that the Johnsons were facing a “very serious matter.” The EPA claimed the Johnsons violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA claims the pond discharges into other waterways. Mr. Johnson was ordered to restore the property to its pre-pond state, according to EPA rules for restoration, and pay a fine of $37,500 a day until it was completely restored, and face criminal charges as well.

The EPA’s new rule is a power grab, clean and simple. When Congress created the Clean Water Act, they neglected to define “water.” Big mistake. The Supreme Court defined “the waters of the United States” as “navigable waters” which the EPA promptly redefined as anything that flowed into the navigable waters, and believed they were justified in tracing the “navigable waters” right back to your downspout. Imagine! I’ve used a picture of a trickle in a roadside ditch to point out what they are after. Ms McCarthy wants to be a Commissar of the EPA’s own Empire.

The Johnsons refused to cave in, and enlisted the help of Wyoming Senators Barasso and Enzi, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, and the Libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation. The Clean Water Act specifically excludes stock ponds. No matter.The fines had reached $16 million when Mr. Johnson’s counter lawsuit against the EPA reached the courts.

More than two years later, Johnson won. In a settlement reached with the EPA, he gets to keep his pond, he won’t need to get a federal permit, the EPA fines have been removed, and all Johnson agreed to do was plant some willow trees and limit access to a portion of his pond for a while.

Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Jonathan Wood called the settlement “a win for the Johnson family, and a win for the environment.”

The federal government stormed onto private property, threatened  a family with massive fines (could $37,500 a day be any more absurd?) and walked away only after being countersued. While the Johnsons were being harassed, the EPA was finalizing their new rule to cover anything from prairie puddles to power plants.

A lawsuit filed by several states came to a halt when a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the EPA from enforcing the rule, which the judge said was “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge ruled that the injunction be applied to all 50 states, but the EPA decided that they would go ahead and enforce the rule in the states that hadn’t sued, until an appeals court stepped in and blocked that runaround.

The EPA has been slapped down by the courts repeatedly for overreaching , but they are zealots — intent on power. “The environment” has become a magical word to which  every business is careful to genuflect. That’s power. Packages and papers come with a notation to ‘please recycle’. Laws protecting the people from polluted air or polluted water are in place.

The EPA is reduced to scanning archives for old studies, not necessarily valid, that will give them a legal leg to stand on. Words are parsed for other possible meanings. Your freedom and property rights depend on a lawyer asking the right questions to get you off whatever hook the EPA decides to impale you with. The agency has long outlived its usefulness and needs to be disbanded permanently.

This is how you suddenly wake up one morning to find yourself resident in a tyranny — with no rights at all. Democrats are quite up front about their contempt for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution provides only Impeachment as a remedy for “high crimes and misdemeanors” — not for overreaching with executive orders and pardon powers and the regulations handed down by agencies established by the executive. We’d all better pay real attention. Government is not a spectator sport.




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