American Elephants


We’re Living In a Golden Age Of Clean Energy by The Elephant's Child

The Green New Deal is not only a silly unserious proposal that has nothing to do with the environment but that to which they supposedly aspire, has already been accomplished by free market capitalism. Not in the wind farms where turbines may or may not be turning, but this is Seattle – and the solar cells aren’t doing anything either, it’s raining, and will be for the rest of the week. Where it has been accomplished is in the Permian Basin, the Bakken Formation, and the Marcellus Shale. The Fracking revolution and plentiful natural gas has meant we are living in a golden age of clean energy. As Jim DeMint has written today:

The natural gas revolution, made possible by both the discoveries of new reserves and the development of technologies to extract it from previously inaccessible deposits, has helped the United States cut pollutant emissions by 70 percent over the last three decades. Despite adding almost 100 million people to our population since 1990, an increase of 30 percent, even total carbon emissions have increased by only 2 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions are not just rising slowly. They are actually falling in recent years.

The left has long said we need to treat climate change and environmental protection as the moral equivalent of war. If that is true, where are the celebrations now that it is a battle we are finally winning? Why? Because when the facts do not fit with the liberal political narrative, they often print the narrative as fake news. Progressives said we need to find new, clean sources of energy to get us away from coal and oil. Well, we have. Natural gas is clean.

According to the climate group Carbon Brief, natural gas use has cut 50 percent more emissions than wind and solar power combined. Gas also has negligible local pollutants, 50 percent less carbon emissions than coal and 30 percent less than oil. What is not clean is the record on the left of opposing the development of natural gas-rich regions and the infrastructure such as pipelines that needed to further lower the costs of energy to consumers and the environment.

Somehow the Left operates on emotions and feelings – not so much on facts. What facts they need or find are meant to develop the feelings. I don’t quite understand how they think, but it doesn’t seem quite useful. but probably that’s just me. Very strange. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, by the way, but fossils are not involved.



What Do We Do When Social Media Isn’t Social At All? by The Elephant's Child

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The watchmen at the big social media websites are busily trying to police the flow of conversation that they initiated with their ideas about how to become rich and powerful. They thought people would like to share their thoughts, news, ideas, recipes and pictures with their friends. They have indeed become rich and powerful, but they forgot everything they learned in grade school and junior high, or perhaps did not learn about human nature.

The perpetrators of the constant hum of the online conversation we call “social media” blame any problems on “hate speech”, a poorly defined selection of words that someone, somewhere, objects to. All too often, it is simply the opinion of someone in the opposing political party.

One can say whatever one chooses if they agree with what you say, but your words must pass tests of race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual preference, age, political affiliation, part of the country you come from, and a few dozen other qualifying questions. Vulgarity is fine, and broadly circulated, as is any amount of coarseness, crassness, crudity, grossness, indelicacy, rawness, rudeness and tastelessness or don’t you read the comments on popular websites? Here is one definition I found:

Primarily internet or cellular phone based applications and tools to share information among people. Social media includes popular networking websites, like Facebook and Twitter; as well as bookmarking sites like Reddit. It involves blogging and forums and any aspect of an interactive presence which allows individuals the ability to engage in conversations with one another, often as a discussion over a particular blog post, news article, or event.

Having created this mess and trying desperately to find a way to manage the flow of conversation or discussion before the government steps in to slap them down, as Europe is already beginning to do, they are attempting to pacify by creating “independent” judges to parse your speech for anything that might get them in trouble. The fact that they are simultaneously parsing your speech to sell to advertisers is a separate problem.

Human nature. We are a quarrelsome lot. We have a hard time getting along with our immediate family, let alone a bunch of complete strangers. People do not speak well, and write even less well. We have a hard time saying what we mean, and it is usually poorly thought out. We have never really thought clearly about the big questions, let alone the little ones. That’s why Jordan Peterson has made such an impact. He tries to clarify what we are thinking and saying and point out where we have gone astray.

Oddly, with the enormous increase in people using social media, psychologists tell us that loneliness is an increasing problem. I think in the effort to connect people, we have created far greater problems that are just beginning to emerge. I suspect we may have been better off when you had to pick up the phone and dial your friend’s house, and didn’t stay on the line too long because it would cost too much.

I think this phenomenon has had some very unfortunate effects on our society that we do not yet understand. If you have any answers let me know.



This Is A Strange Political Season, Even Stranger Than We Think by The Elephant's Child

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Here’s the mess the Women’s March left behind, for someone else to clean up.

Have you just become accustomed to being called “racists”, or “fascist,” “white-supremacists,”? So it doesn’t bother you much any more? I wrote, back on February 8, 2017:

Headline from Breitbart: “Exclusive—Women Nationwide Cut Up Nordstrom’s Cards, Plan Boycotts After Political Decision to Drop Ivanka Trump Line.”  It would have been cheaper to hire some extra guards.

This is a strange political season. Democrats were absolutely confident that they could expect another four or eight years in charge of the government and the country, with Hillary. Because people seemed to like President Obama they thought it was a home run. They didn’t pay attention to the vast numbers of people who believed the country was going in the wrong direction. Democrats lost not just the White House, but straight down the line to city councils. And they lost to a man with an orange complexion and funny hair who often said rude things.

Two years later, and the Democrats are still crazed, and Republicans still wonder what is the matter with them. We do not think in the same way. We even have some “Democratic Socialists” who yearn for a classless fully egalitarian society – a golden age where everyone is equal and we don’t have billionaires and zillionaires keeping all the money for themselves. They really believe that Medicare for all is a possibility, that the minimum wage should be raised by the government so everyone has a living wage. AO-C really believes in free college for everyone, and she graduated with a degree in international affairs and economics?

Democrats don’t think economically. Their politics begins with hatred of the rich, probably left over from the first days of the union movement. They don’t understand that the buying and selling of goods and services provide an unemotional report on what is happening in the economy. They don’t understand that cutting the taxes of the rich frees up money to invent, create, hire, and expand. And they do not understand that raising the minimum wage leaves no place for the the beginner with no training, who doesn’t know how to work. AO-C, when asked how we would pay for her ideas, says we’ll just pay for it. Print more money.

The Left has a propaganda shop, with wordsmiths who devise the most useful language to use in all political discussions. You have probably seen the videos of many Democrat politicians all saying exactly the same thing in the same words at the same time. Propagandists choose the words most likely to sway the minds of the public.

The illegal immigrants turned DACA “kids” by the Obama administration are always described as “kids” though some are in their late 30s or 40s by now. Always “brought here through no fault of their own” and always “Dreamers” who dream of a college education and to become Americans. A large percentage are school dropouts, many still do not speak English, few have gone to college, and the fraud rate pertaining to age and identification is as high as 40% or more. ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has been demonized to such an extent that many believe that they abuse little children. and, of course “rip them from their mothers arms.” That’s how the language is used to affect emotions, or in other words propaganda. ICE is simply a necessary police force, and there to keep us safe.

The Left is engaged in an all-out war on the Right. Their best weapon  yet is “de-platforming.” They threaten in one way or another those who support conservatives with their advertising. Here in Seattle, conservative talk radio, the station that carries Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved and Mark Levin has lost its national advertisers and now carries mostly ads from conservative companies, weight-loss, patent medicines and very local businesses, plus a lot of public service ads. They have been very successful with this tactic, even getting major banks and credit card companies to refuse to do businesses with gun manufacturers.

The success with advertisers has spurred them to go farther with the credit card business. Their success with Facebook, Twitter, Google and now Microsoft is with labeling conservative thought and ideas as “Hate Speech,” White Supremacy” and/or racist if they can find anything to so label, and it is succeeding beyond all expectations. CNN. The New York Times, and the Washington Post are happy to go along.  It’s Partisan Politics in full-on attack mode.

The all-out attack on the Covington Catholic High School boys is a warning about their attack on Catholicism, and religion in general, in preparation for a full-on attack on Trump’s potential nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ginsberg should she choose to retire, for Barrett is Catholic. They are not going to have Ginsberg replaced with a Conservative, and now they are trying to impeach Justice Kavanaugh. They are sure that he must have lied to Congress.

It seems that Republicans mostly just assume that the Left has gone nuts with their hatred of Trump, without understanding the depth and breadth of the attack. It’s getting extremely dangerous out there, and our Republicans in Congress don’t seem to understand what is reallly going on.



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.



Questions Without Answers: Where and What is Reality? by The Elephant's Child

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I don’t know if there has ever been a time when reality was so much in question. What’s true and what’s not.  The new federal climate report comes out and climate scientists call it “tripe”–”embarrassing” – “systematically flawed” and said the key claim comes from a study funded by Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. The climate scientists who assume they can program the world’s climate into a computer and get accurate answers about what will happen in the next hundred years have too much faith in computers. (GIGO)

The nation’s farewell to President George Herbert Walker Bush was alternately a celebration of the life of a war hero and a patriot and a good man, and a rebuke to the current president, and the current president and Melania were rebuked by Hillary, but Jeb said the President couldn’t have been nicer.

In Britain, Brexit is damaging to the nation and the European Union, and alternately, it is necessary for Britain to get out from under the control of the European Union, and the migrants may be a huge problem or not at all.

In France, Prime Minister Macron wants a big carbon tax to lower their efforts to damage the climate, and the people don’t want any carbon taxes and don’t plan on having any. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it is inevitable that climate governance will create economic, social and racial justice. There will only be benefits, and no costs to passing a raft of new climate change laws. Others laugh at her.

Whatever the subject, opinion varies, which is normal, but opinion has become truth, and is not to be doubted. Google has been shown to be eliminating conservative truth and favoring their own leftist leanings. President Trump has said firmly that he is a nationalist, by which he means he loves his country and favors it. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron rebuked U.S. President Donald Trump for putting the interests of U.S. citizens above the demonstration of moral values, and said that nationalism is a bad thing.

The media in this country is conducting a war on President Trump, who they consider an illegal president to whom they are opposed, but clearly he is the legally elected and widely approved President of the United States. President Trump wants to build a wall on the Southern border to prevent the influx of illegal aliens. California has Sanctuary Cities and is, I believe, a sanctuary state.

Forest fires are caused by alternately poor forest management  or global warming, as stated by President Trump or California Governor Jerry Brown. We can determine the truth to the extent that we agree with one side or another, but over and over, there is no widely accepted truth.

This is the reality exposed by the technology giants, who are supposedly emanating only truth, and eliminating “hate speech”, but what is called “hate speech” depends on which voices attract the most valuable clicks. Hollywood celebrities, who have only the fact that we may recognize their faces or names to attest to the worth of what they say, are free to use all the “hate speech” they want because being celebrities they will have lots of followers, which means a lot of clicks for the website. So “Truth” is not what is approved by the websites that claim to be impartial judges of truth and falsehood, but the impartial judges lie as well.

Electoral Fraud is widespread, or simply does not exist. It is hardly surprising that so many are claiming that we are on the brink of a civil war. Truth is fiction, Animal Farm is real, and Maisie Hirono (D-HI) urges Democrats to consider “heart over mind. Don’t tell everybody how smart we are.”

The ceremonies for the mourning of a past president and the long, long lines of people waiting in the cold for a chance to pass by the catafalque suggested to many that President H.W. Bush was the last of the patricians, when everybody agreed on right and wrong and true and false. Of course they didn’t agree then, but the times have changed and we have organizations like Snopes and the SPLC, PoliFact, NewsBusters, the Media Research Center to tell us what is true and what is not, and they deliver falsehoods, and the atmosphere out there is far worse than it ever was.



Immigration: Legal or Illegal? It Makes a Difference. by The Elephant's Child

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The Caravans have apparently gotten rides and around 7,000 to 10,000 of them are at the border in Tijuana. The residents of that city are up in arms with thousands of unwanted migrants on their streets. The Migrants are admitting that they are not after asylum, but just want American jobs. President Trump asked why are they waving flags of their native countries? They do not want asylum, they do not want to become Americans, they want jobs and the benefits our generous aid systems provide.

The military has been busy setting out razor wire all along the border. Tijuana has appealed to the Mexican military for help. The migrants know they are not eligible for asylum. They apparently intend to mass at the border and see what President Trump will do about it.

Homeland Security claims there are at least 500 criminals traveling with the caravans. Authorities have closed four lanes of traffic at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings in response to intelligence that groups of migrants planned to rush the border through automotive lanes. That led to closure of eight more lanes at the busy border crossings. There were already many Mexicans camped near the border waiting their turn to apply for asylum. The asylum rules are complex, but as I understand it, they have to apply in the first country they come to, which for the Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorians was Mexico – who offered jobs, but only 1,800 or so took them up on it.

Australia’s Prime Minister has promised a major cut in their migrant intake. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the country’s major cities have buses, trains and schools that “are full.” The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr. Morrison will ask state leaders to create their own population plans and will address the issue at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting on December 12.

His plan is to move away from top-down discussions about population to set specific migration caps to how many can enter. In Sydney, Mr. Morrison said, that migrants accounted for about 70% of the population growth last year. Australians want an end to mass migration.

And then there is Europe. Angela Merkel has, for whatever reason, perhaps German guilt, encouraged the European Union to welcome refugees, and they have come from all the troubled countries of the Middle East and Africa. But swallowing this massive influx is something else again. Initially they were greeted with flowers and food and song. (Really) But the immigrants have had a habit of burning cars, complaining about the housing arranged for them, raping women and girls, and killing innocent Europeans.

Some of the Eastern Europeans, more familiar with being invaded by violent armies, have built walls or fences to keep the migrants out, and are castigated for it. In England, it was reported that the most popular baby’s name was Mohammed. It is hard for the Europeans who also believe in Freedom of Religion, having had a reformation and many wars over religion, to accept criticism of the Moslem religion. There is, however. a major problem in that religious Muslims believe that infidels (us) must discard our religion and submit fully to Allah, which is a different matter.

Canada is helped immeasurably by their geographic location. On three sides they have ocean – the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Atlantic – and you can’t get there easily unless you have a boat and crew. Their southern border with America, the world’s leading economy, has been a magnet for immigration rather than the reverse. At some times in their history they worried more about the volume of emigrants from Canada to the U.S. to such an extent that Canadians feared for the future of their country. Generally, the movement of people into Canada has been law abiding and orderly. Most arrivals come through the front door. Canadians have a high commitment to policing, and you could call their fifth border “bureaucratic”. Visitors have to apply in advance for a visa, and if they are coming from a place that has recently sent more than a certain number of asylum applicants (or vacation overstayers) they are not admitted. Canada has some of the world’s most restrictive visa rules. Most applicants from countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria are turned down. And since the U.S. is not considered a threat, claiming asylum in Canada doesn’t work.

Illegal aliens often demonstrate here, bearing signs that say things like “No human is illegal” but dictionaries explain that “Illegal” simply means not according to the law. An alien is a person who owes allegiance to a country other than this. The Left favors massive immigration because new immigrants are likely to vote Democrat, and they are happy to sign up illegals to vote, as in California where anyone can get a driver’s license, and along with the driver’s license, you register to vote. and then they have sanctuary cities and states as well.

Then you have the inflow of various categories of temporary tech workers, who are apparently cheaper to hire than our own tech graduates. Farm workers, exchange students, and some foreign students sent here to learn our technology to take back home again, and just plain old tourists who overstay. It’s a very complicated mess even without migrants clamoring at the border and climbing the walls.  The Center for Immigration Studies has told us that a wall would actually pay for itself in the reduced cost of welfare and emergency health care and policing that are involved with illegal immigration. So there you are.



Public Opinion Isn’t What Its Cracked-Up to Be by The Elephant's Child

Thomas Jefferson said that our democracy rests on a “decent respect to the opinions of mankind” In a long essay Democracy and its Discontents: Reflections on Everyday America, (1971), Daniel Boorstin,  the late Librarian of Congress suggests that “we suffer from a disease different from that which any society before us has suffered. I call it “overcommunication.”

He suggests that we could actually define the rise of civilization as the rise of communication, and sharing of information and knowledge. This is called the information age, and so it is. Communicate means to impart information, knowledge or the like, to impart or convey knowledge of or inform a person of, to tell. But there is an indispensable counterpart, the right to listen – or not to listen – begins to disappear. I am sitting in front of my computer monitor, listening on Tune-in Radio to a local radio station because on the actual radio (which is turned off) there is too much static. I am writing as I listen, but can search for a bit of information I lack, turn to any one of dozens of websites for other opinion or information.

Daniel Boorstin goes on to suggest that we have too much communication, too many opinions, and the good manners that did, or at least should, accompany opinion has gone a-glimmering.You only have to read the comments section on any popular website. It’s not just good manners that have disappeared. Comments are vulgar, ugly, scatological and often ungrammatical, and give opinion a bad name. .

The progress of civilization depends on the ability of people to develop a more self-controlled attitude about what they say – and how, when and where. In the early days, there was a town crier, who called out the important news as he walked around the town. Riders brought the news of an election – days after it happened, depending on how big and important your town was. The news from England in the 1700’s probably took about 6 months. Think the invention of the steam engine, the Panama Canal, the Pony Express, canals, railroads, the telegraph, the telephone, photography. I saw a brief video yesterday of President Trump talking to reporters in the Oval Office. A huge mob of people with microphones on long poles and cameras — and think of all the inventions involved in that brief occasion that was brought across the continent to my desk in the Pacific Northwest, shortly after it actually happened.

Boorstin is right, there is too much opinion, you can’t get away from it. The websites that offer news offer opinions not just from those who make the news and those who record it and disseminate it, but opinions from people who have the opportunity to express their opinions because they are “celebrities”, which means that we know their names because they did something to get their name known, like sing, or tell jokes, or act on television or on the screen. (This is a personal bugaboo.) I don’t think that having their names made public, whether we recognize it or not, qualifies them to have their opinions listened to – nor does the content of their opinions qualify as “news.” So Boorstin is absolutely correct there is way too much opinion, and you can’t get away from it. I would like to know what is happening without the intrusion of Cher, or any of the other formerly famous who cannot wait to get their opinions out there.

It’s opinion that is the problem. Opinion was once something personal, thought (as Boorstin says, “Opinions then, are distinguished by the strength with which they are held rather than the authenticity with which their conclusions  are demonstrable.”) And we have reached the point where there is Big Opinion, or as it is usually called, Public Opinion. Public Opinion is more important and somehow more respectable than private opinion. We have Opinion Leaders, Opinion Writers, huge polling businesses to tally Public Opinion. Opinion has moved from something that should be kept to yourself, to a controlling voice in our society.




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