Excuses, Excuses

The Democrats and Obama are finding all kinds of excuses as to why Hillary lost the election. Rather than examine why the people voted against the policies of this popular President, they are looking to outside forces to explain it. Of course, an ancillary benefit to this campaign is to discredit the Trump presidency so that they can shout for the next four years that the Donald was not legitimately elected just like they did after the Bush/Gore election.

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The widely touted explanation is that the Russians interfered with the US election, presumably because they preferred Trump over Clinton. The theory goes that the Russians hacked Clinton’s and the DNC emails and turned them over to Wikileaks who in turn, dribbled them out in the closing weeks of the campaign thereby harming Hillary.

I don’t buy it. Trump doesn’t either. In his news conference the other day he said,”Does anyone in this room actually believe Putin prefers me over Hillary?” That has been my question all along. Why would Putin favor the guy who is certainly tougher?

Image result for tillersonThe Democrats like this theory for a couple of reasons. First, this gives them another jab at Trump and his Sec of State nominee, Tillerson because they supposedly have ties to Putin. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it diverts attention away from someone who very likely did do it, and one that has a motive.

Then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (R) and kisses Suha Arafat, wife of Yasser ArafatThe left wing has always favored the Palestinians over Israel. Hillary was buddy-buddy with Arafat’s wife and Obama is about 46% Arab and, at the least, sympathetic to the Arabs. Obama and Netanyahu have never hit it off and Obama slighted him publicly on several occasions. But open warfare developed between the two when Obama was trying to get the nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu thought the deal insured Iran would get nuclear weapons as a result of the deal and threaten the very existence of Israel. He was “invited” to address a joint session of Congress so he could plead for shit canning the deal. That infuriated Obama and he promised payback.

Image result for netanyahuThe opportunity came when Netanyahu ran for re-election in 2015. The Obama state department run by Clinton gave $350,000 to fund a left wing group called “One Voice” that had also been funded by international groups sympathetic to the Palestinians. The funds were used by One Voice to build campaign infrastructure, create data bases of potential voters and recruit and train activists all designed to defeat Netanyahu. This was exposed by a US Senate sub-committee on Investigations which also revealed that a letter was sent by the Israelis to Hillary complaining about the US meddling in their elections. The letter was never opened.

Obama also sent over his 2012 National Field Director, Jeremy Bird, to assist in the campaign. Bird’s strategy for Obama had been using data to target messaging to individual voting groups and a form of community organizing to get out the vote.

Netanyahu won despite the meddling of Obama. I would say that the Israeli leader might have been more than a little annoyed with Obama and Clinton.

The FBI has reported with 99% confidence that multiple foreign agencies hacked Clinton and the DNC’s emails…. at least five. Everyone knows the Israelis are very, very good at this sort of stuff and excellent at covering their tracks. Remember the Stuxnet virus that got planted in the Iranian nuclear centrifuges? It was widely believed that either Israel or the US did it. I’d bet on Israel. And, I bet they made it look like the Russians did it.

Both the Russians and Assange, the founder of Wikileaks deny that the Clinton and DNC emails came from the Russians. Assange joked that any fourteen year old could have hacked Podesta’s email. I don’t think the Obama administration believes the Russians did it either. Oh, the Russians likely were among the group who hacked into them but I think they suspect the Israelis gave it to Wikileaks. The Israelis actually have a motive. Obama meddled in their elections and so the Israelis paid him back.

All this sanctimonious prattle about a “foreign government interfering with our democratic institutions” is just frustrated journalist and politicians venting. Hell, the US has done it for years, most recently and openly in the Netanyahu contest. Obama got in the last punch though. He abstained in that UN vote to censure Israel over settlements, a landmine Trump will have a long job defusing.

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Climate and Fish

I can hear you saying, “Oh no, not another blog post on global warming!!” This is a piece about fish, something I know more than a little about. I majored in marine biology and ichthyology with courses in oceanography, marine ecology and nearly any science course you could imagine. Furthermore, I still study the fisheries issue.

So, you might conclude that when the “Province” newspaper came out with another junk science piece claiming this time that global warming is killing off fish stocks due to a warming ocean, I got a bit unglued.

Associate Professor William Cheung of the Institute of Oceans and Fisheries at UBC said his theory of preventing the collapse of fish stocks depended on everyone abiding by The Paris Agreement on climate change and thereby restrict the rise in air temperatures to 1.5 degrees C. Doing nothing, he said, would cause them to increase to 3 degrees C. Going to 3 degrees would warm the water and reduce fish catches by 40%, they concluded.

Let me ask you….. when you are going to heat up water for a cup of tea do you put the flame above the water or below? How long would it take to heat up the water with a temperature 3 degrees warmer than the room above the pan? I have no idea either but surely a long time. Associate Professor Cheung has a BS in biology and a masters degree in philosophy and apparently he’s going for his doctorate in that field. He works for the World Wildlife Fund. Doesn’t sound like he knows much about fisheries and the WWF is a notorious left wing, radical AGW outfit.

I grant you there are always, it seems, competing theories espoused by scientists in the area of climate science and we tend to believe the ones that reinforce our prejudices. In the case of warming oceans, I am inclined to believe the study sponsored by the Scripps Institute’s Argo program that has 3500 free drifting buoys all over the world. These buoys sample the temperature of the water every ten days and send it up to a satellite.  They have compared this accumulated data with that collected during the voyage of the HMS Challenger (1872-1876) and concluded that ocean temperatures have risen .33 degrees C since 1876. Most of that rise occurred during the first 50 years after 1876. It would seem that rising ocean temperatures are not a worrisome problem.

Ass. Professor Cheung’s contention that fish stocks have been declining because of rising water temperatures is merely an attempt to demonize Trump for threatening to pull out of the Paris Agreement. Man has been destroying fish stocks beginning in Roman times and over the course of our history. The list of species wiped out or nearly so is sobering. I won’t chronicle the entire butchers bill but will discuss a couple in detail. If this history of greed and stupidity interests you, pick up Callum Roberts book, “The Unnatural History of the Sea”.

The Romans developed a taste for the eggs and flesh of the mighty sturgeon and they spawn in rivers where they are relatively easy to catch. It was common to catch these monsters weighing 475 Kg and they had to be hauled out of the water with a team of oxen. Like many other species that have been driven to extinction or nearly so, when a species begins to be exploited, the larger fish are taken first and the average size of the fish caught falls. The collapse of the fishery begins when the size/age drops below the age where they become mature and can spawn. For example, the slow growing sturgeon does not spawn until they are 20 years old. This is precisely what happened to the Atlantic cod. More on that debacle later.

Russians developed a taste for caviar. Overfishing eventually led to a ban on the fishery in the Caspian Sea.

In Medieval Times, Europeans caught species that returned to the rivers to spawn such as salmon, whitefish, shad, eels and sturgeon using weirs, nets, spears, and hook and line.  At the time, forests were being cleared for crops and little attention paid to erosion. Soil washed into the rivers and streams destroying spawning grounds and smothering eggs. Dams also prevented migrating fish from reaching their spawning grounds. Populations plummeted. Atlantic salmon were prized and were soon nearly destroyed in the European countries.

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The Scandinavians discovered cod in the 11th century and found they could dry the huge fish that ran to 3 to 4 lbs. A trade in these dried cod flourished throughout Europe and soon became a target species for European fishermen. The results were predictable and soon their numbers and size shrank. The European fisherman using drift nets began pursuing other species and saw those numbers decline as well. The advent of trawlers, the dragging of heavy metal weighted nets over the bottom, soon finished the job on the eastern side of the Atlantic. Trawlers killed everything as they plowed the ocean floor, not only the fish they were seeking, but all manner of bottom life with the result that all species were swept up and the habitat was also destroyed.

The New World opened new fishing grounds. When the first white explorers came to North America they discovered an abundance in the sea that astounded them. Huge shoals of cod as long as your leg were so thick in number, you could not thrust a spear into the water without coming up with one. The rivers were choked with Atlantic salmon. Every manner of fish species and oysters clogged the shallow waters. Like the buffalo, passenger pigeon and the huge trees the early settlers could not imagine ever wiping them out.

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The steam trawler “Pelican”

Then the European and Russian trawlers showed up in their steam trawlers and with the advent of freezers proceeded to decimate the cod, halibut and haddock.  Then came the pollack, red fish and flounder. The scallop trawlers were even more destructive to the sea floor.

Extending the EEZ or “territorial limit” out to 200 nautical miles did help in keeping the foreign trawlers out but they were soon replaced by domestic trawlers that continued the over-fishing. The cod population collapsed. In a desperate attempt to save the cod fishery in 1992 the Canadian government put a two year ban of cod fishing and 40,000 people were out of work. That ban has been extended as the cod fishery struggles to recover.

The same sad story unfolded when men started settling in the Pacific Northwest. They found unimaginable riches in lumber, gold, furs and fish. The runs of salmon were massive and seemingly inexhaustible. All manner of fish in incredible numbers inhabited the sea. Salmon were especially important to the native tribes that inhabited this vast land.

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The various species of salmonids of the Oncorhynchus genus had been around since the Miocene period some 6 million years ago. They had survived the birth of mountains, glaciation and floods and seen cataclysmic climate change and continued to survive and thrive.

That is until the white man arrived and started killing them all and destroying their rivers. This history and the destruction is carefully documented in a book from a fisheries biologist from the University of Oregon, Jim Lichatowich called, “Salmon Without Rivers.” The usual suspects in habitat destruction were in play from logging, to mining to dam building. As the salmon runs started to decline, wrong-headed stocking programs were attempted and failed miserably. Of course, foreign fishing boats… factory ships…. continue to over-fish these amazingly resilient fish far at sea.

Warm water fish like groupers and sea bass have also been over-fished to dangerous levels. Sword fish and blue fin tuna are being fished to endangerment levels. The giant bluefin can weigh in at 400 kg and fetch as much as $100,000 at auction in Tokyo.  These fish are so valuable that they’re now using satellites to track these giant ocean wanderers. Soon these magnificent fish will be no more.

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So, what’s to be done about the elimination of one species after another? Eventually the problem takes care of itself. When all the fish are gone, it’s no longer practical to send fishing fleets thousands of miles. International agreements would help. It worked for whales. Perhaps limiting the killing of bluefin tuna could work, but I doubt you could change the taste of Japanese diners so the demand would remain. The Japanese have paid little attention to the ban on whale hunting.

One thing that might help is to ban trawling as a method of fishing. It not only kills everything in its path, but also destroys the habitat. Professor Roberts has sponsored the establishment of vast marine reserves where no fishing is allowed. This has shown great promise in allowing marine life to flourish and grow unmolested, and eventually repopulate surrounding seas.

Clearly, Cheung’s theory that a minor uptick in temperature, even if it happens, is not going to impact fish populations. And, his contention that warm water species are going to move to the Arctic is pure fantasy and disconnected from fish behavior. This is not science, it’s pure BS.

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Doubling Down on a Losing Hand

After the cry-ins dried up and the marches in the streets dwindled on the heels of very cold and unpleasant weather, the mourning began. Michelle Obama gave an interview to Oprah opined that while her hubby fostered hope, the US was now entering “a period of hopelessness.” Really? The stock market doesn’t reflect that.

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Meanwhile, Hillary emerged from her exile to meet with her major donors at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. The Christmas party had been planned as a victory celebration. I think most donors showed up to see what the hell happened to the $1.2 billion they raised for her campaign.

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Hillary in her speech to the assembled fat cats offered them her excuse… the Russians did it because they did not like her. She further explained that they meant to undermine the integrity of the US election. But last week, Obama in his final press conference prior to jetting off to Hawaii, said that the Russians did not compromise the voting process or effect the outcome.

Most, except the true believers in the Democrat Party, are clever enough to understand that the emails released by Wikileaks simply exposed how sloppy they were about electronic security. (Her campaign manager, Podesta apparently gave out his email password in a phishing scheme!) The emails showed how snaky they are and the disdain they held for the lesser humans out there. This was, of course, certified by her public comments about the “basket of deplorables” that supported Trump.

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This blame-the-Russians thing came after the recount effort fizzled. Jill Stein, the Green Party entry in the Presidential sweepstakes decided the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania should be recounted to ‘insure the integrity of the election’. She had received 1% of the votes so that seemed too public spirited to believe. She had collected about $3.5 million for her whole campaign but immediately raised $7.3 million for the recount effort. Naturally, the Clinton supporters wanted the recount, hoping to turn enough votes to reverse the results.

Here’s how it went:  in Wisconsin, Trump gained 316 votes. He had led originally by over 22,000 votes so it begs the question, why would Stein, et al. spend $3.5 million on this futile exercise?

In Michigan, the recount was stopped by the courts because Stein had “no standing” since she got less than 1% of the vote. The Hillary folks did not step forward to admit this was really about her.

In Pennsylvania, a sampling of the largest counties in and around the big cities found Clinton gaining only a handful of votes. It was not enough to order a statewide recount in a state where Trump’s lead was 46,000 votes. With that faint hope demolished, the Democrats settled on the Russia-did-it meme. Supposedly leaked by the CIA who refused to talk to anyone about it, sparked the new cause of intimidating the 538 electors with tons of letters, emails and threatening phone calls to get them to switch their Electoral votes to Hillary. They called for a delay of the vote scheduled for Monday so the CIA could brief the electors on the Russian involvement in a meeting prior to the vote. The CIA wanted nothing to do with it. Dan Henninger of the WSJ in a brilliant piece yesterday called “Steal this election” dubbed this latest ploy the “goofball gambit”. Tough to top that.

Hunters who get lost in the woods generally walk in circles. Sometimes clockwise and sometimes the other way. When they come across a set of tracks in the snow they often follow them, not realizing that they are their own. Democrats frequently act like lost hunters. When things get sticky they go left resulting in crushing defeats in the next election.

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Henninger recounts the history of these leftward lurches in his piece. After the ’68 election that saw Nixon defeat Humphrey, they decided to go left with McGovern in ’72 who got 17 electoral votes. Ouch.

After the Nixon impeachment, the Democrats could have run Howdy Doody and won.  Come to think of it they did run Howdy Doody….. Jimmy Carter. His colossal mess brought in Reagan and in response to his success, the Dems once again reverted to the leftward tack and brought in Mondale in ’84. He got his ass handed to him with a total of 13 electoral votes.

After the Trump victory and the shellacking by the GOP in the House, Senate and Governorships, the Democrats are instinctively going leftward again. They elected Pelosi as Minority Leader. The new darlings of the party are Lizzy (Pocahontas) Warren and Bernie (Socialism is great) Saunders. They are thinking about appointing Keith Ellison as DNC chairman. Ellison, a muslim, has been linked to supporters of ISIS and is a clear opponent of Israel. What could possibly go wrong with this team?

 

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I think it was Napoleon who suggested: “Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

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The Everybody Gets a Trophy Generation

After the election of Donald Trump one opinion writer speculated that Trump’s election signaled the ‘end of political correctness’. Perhaps. But before that happens, the death throes will be protracted. This struggle will be led by the current generation of pampered, helicoptered, everybody-gets-a-trophy youth who have been sheltered from the real world and any smidgen of adversity.
Youthful Hillary Clinton supporters were seen on TV crying uncontrollably. Major universities had crying rooms complete with coloring books and Play-Doh to soothe students distraught over the election of Trump. My own alma mater, Cornell, had a “cry-in” where students could sit in a circle and cry together. When I was at Cornell, I would have had to cry in my dishwater where I washed pots for my food. One Yale professor made the midterm exam optional so that students depressed by the election results wouldn’t have to discommode themselves with one of the more troublesome aspects of university life.

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The more visible expression of their dismay were the marches and riots in many of the big cities across the US and the complete meltdown of the left-leaning media. Any marches always bring out the anarchists who use any pretext to break windows and start fires. Tearful youths made up many of the marchers, but naturally were joined by their helicopter left-wing parents convinced that America was doomed. Many were “triggered” and felt “unsafe” now that Trump would be president. Really? Unsafe? What did they really think was going to happen? Did they believe Trump was going to send the police to break into their dorm rooms and confiscate their pot stash?

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Reporters covering the protest marches started asking the young marchers if they had voted in the election. About half admitted they had not voted. Call me old-fashioned, but I figure if you did not bother to get off your butt and vote, you have no right to bitch about the outcome.

Speaking of triggered and unsafe…Thursday’s edition of “The National Post” featured an article by Christie Blatchford about a teacher at a posh BC private school who got fired for expressing an opinion on abortion. His class was a criminal law unit on “vice, ethics, morality and the law”. He was pointing out that in a pluralistic democracy there is often a difference between people’s personal morality and the law. Here is where he uttered the fateful opinion
that he personally disapproved of abortion but it was, in fact, the law. One of his female students was “triggered” by this comment and felt “unsafe”, refusing to return to class.

What the Hell is triggered anyway…stuffed like Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger? Physically assaulted by the horse? OK, that’s absurd. I will anxiously await some thoughtful reader explaining triggered to me.

The teacher found himself reprimanded by the school administrator and forced to make a humiliating public apology in front of students and fellow teachers. Ms. Blatchford likened this to Maoist China where public confessions for ideological sins were punished. The spoiled brat then rushed out of the room crying because she thought she was being singled out. That was it. They fired the guy.

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I wonder if the school administrators and the parents felt really good about firing the poor guy right before Christmas for a politically incorrect comment? What the parents of this spoiled child should have done was confiscate her cell phone and car keys and saved the $30,000 tuition and made her go to public school. And made her apologize to the teacher for the consequences of her behavior. As far as the administrators of this school…they should be publicly humiliated.

These kids, the Everybody-Gets-a-Trophy Generation, will be our future leaders. Most of these youngsters have never had any adversity in their lives. How are they going to survive the setbacks that inevitably happen at some point? Like when they get fired, or one of their kids comes down with a terrible disease, or the arrogant young woman comes home early to find her husband in bed with her best friend. Shit happens in life and if you can’t even deal with encountering someone with a different opinion or belief without freaking out, how are you going to deal with some really serious stuff?

Our forefathers survived the adversity of the fear and death of the Spanish flu epidemic, the horrors of WWI, the depression years and the massive deaths of WWII. In the 40’s and 50’s most people lived on farms where hard work and sacrifice were common, where helping your neighbor was expected and political correctness incomprehensible. It is not surprising that those of us who lived those years find the behavior of these pampered teens and college
students ridiculous.

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I have theorized that the survivors of SEAL training, regarded as the most difficult in the world, are usually the men who have had a history of adversity in their young lives. The training is the definition of adversity writ large. If you’re sensitive to verbal abuse, this is not the program for you. As the Instructors in BUDS like to say, “Second place is First Loser.”

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I Was Wrong

It certainly seemed like long odds to me and the so called experts who pontificated on this election. My belief had been based on the skewed electoral college map and the ingrained voting blocks and special interest voters. I wrote and I blogged she would win a couple of times. I was wrong. And I was not alone. The TV gurus on ABC, NBC and CBS looked like they had just received news that their house had burned down and the dog had died. Several looked like they were about to break out in tears. The newspapers and magazines had cover stories already written calling Trump a loser. Stop the presses!! It was the worst call since the Dewey vs Truman election. I should have listened to myself and my last blog piece about “experts”. Dan Gardner’s book “Future Babble” shows that so-called experts are right only 50% of the time, but in this election, the experts were right maybe 3% of the time.

I’d often said that the choice was between a buffoon and a crook. Calling him a buffoon was overstatement. You don’t build a business like his without both acumen and the ability to hire good people and let them do the job. As the campaign wore on, I heard some stories (unpublished in the main stream media) of Trump’s amazing generosity and smarts. These, of course, were overshadowed by his ability to say and tweet some over the top crap. He insulted and pissed off a number of Republicans in the primaries and many of the pure conservatives refused to support him.

The main stream media, both print and televised, are decidedly liberal and hated Trump and openly cheered for Hillary. The polls showed a decided lead for Hillary, and the experts refused to be daunted by the recent miserable failure of the polls in the UK on the Brexit issue. The media focused on the “horse race” aspect and refused to get out in the fly-over states and talk to real people. Instead they hunkered down in their liberal enclaves of New York and Washington DC and talked to each other.

None of it mattered. If you look at the US map of the election results by county, the country is nearly pure red with pockets of blue in the major cities. Of course, the numbers of Hillary voters in the cities gave her a slight lead in the popular vote (about 1%) but a loss in the electoral college…. just the way the Founders envisioned.

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The reaction, after the Democrats and liberals let what had happened sink in, was anger and frustration. They think they know best what the country needs and their prescription was four more years of the leftist policies of Obama. The problem is that Hillary is a flawed human being and corruption and controversy follows her around like a cloud of stink around a skunk. People go to jail for the security violations she and her staff committed with that email server. Also, the Clinton Foundation used Hillary’s position as Secretary of State to enrich herself, her husband and her cronies. That she and Bill were protected from prosecution by the Obama Justice Department fooled no one.

She’s been around for 30 years and everyone is sick to death of that snarky smirk.

What everyone underestimated is the middle class have been squeezed for years with stagnant wages, higher taxes and costs. They are sick to death of the over regulatory Federal Government. By huge margins they think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

The pundits claimed that the white, uneducated men swung the election, a clear demonstration of their smug elitism. Celebrities once again vowed to leave the country.

Canada seemed to be a popular destination. Some joked that Canada should build a wall and make the Americans pay for it. One immigration official pointed out that moving to Canada is not so simple. We’ll see how many actually move out.

I think this election result happened because of ‘a revolt against the machine’.

The ordinary Americans are fed up with the corruption, and over reach of the Federal Government. One wag said that this was a stealth return of the Tea Party that had been destroyed by the “weaponization of the IRS”. I believe it was also a statement about the ineffectiveness of the GOP in Congress who seemed more interested in getting reelected than in stopping the Obama machine.

The Black Lives Matter movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement joined with a bunch of college kids who are ignorant of history and civics, and urban liberals and are protesting in the streets right now. There’s not much they can do about it. Trump is the next President, like it or not.

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Experts

 

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am not a big believer in global warming, to say the least. Both the Vancouver newspapers with a decidedly leftward tilt, however, are all in on AGW.

I used to get upset with them about publishing articles that were clearly not done by climate scientists but came from some US-based advocacy group. They were cleverly disguised to look like a scientific study but you could never figure out any scientific group that had actually performed it.

So, I’d write them an email asking what peer-reviewed study this article came from. I said it was lazy reporting for their so-called journalists to simple publish some press release they received from a California anti-carbon group. They would never publish any of my letters to the editor pointing out the disinformation from the AGW crowd.

2015 was a drought year in the Pacific NW. The big sea of unusually warm water sitting out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean called an El Nino condition caused an unusually hot and dry summer. The summer and early fall were marked by frequent and serious forest fires.

The flip side of the El Nino event is the La Nina condition with colder than normal masses of water in the central Pacific. This is part of a normal cycle called the ENSO or the El Nino Southern Oscillation and reverses every seven to twelve years. The NOAA website says “… the ENSO has large scale impacts on global weather and climate.”

The people who study this stuff were predicting last fall that the El Nino was falling apart and the La Nina was taking over. A La Nina year usually means a cooler and wetter year in the PNW. So, it baffled me why a purported “expert” on water resources would confidently predict another exceptionally dry year in which Vancouver would likely have to ration water and allocate more money to fight forest fires. The underlying assumption on his part was that global warming would cause drought and less rainfall. AGW does not cause droughts in the PNW but an El Nino year can and does frequently.

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One would hope that a “water expert” would know this fact. Apparently not. He confidently predicted that 2016 would be as dry and possibly worse, requiring rationing of water. “The Province” published his scare prediction on December 19 and ran a full-page headline stating, “Brace for Another Drought Crisis”. The teaser underneath stated, “Recent precipitation has replenished Metro Vancouver reservoirs but a water expert warns the worst is yet to come.”

I cut out the front page and the full-page article on the inside and set it aside. I said to myself, “Let see what actually happens.” I had just finished reading a book called “Future Babble” by Dan Gardner, a senior writer for the “Ottawa Citizen”. He had come to my attention a number of years ago when he wrote a 10 part series on drugs. Carefully researched and even-handedly written, I thought it was excellent. When I learned he had published a book, I had to read it.

Gardner carefully documented his study of “experts” and the success of their pontificated predictions on many subjects. He found that the experts were correct only about half the time and you could do just as well with a coin flip. He cites some highly public failures and how they shrug off their mistakes to make yet another sweeping prediction. Two examples among many in the book were Revi Batra who published a best selling book in 1985 called “The Great Depression of 1990.” Of course, that didn’t happen. Did he run off and hide from the press? Nope. He published numerous other books in subsequent years making pretty much the same predictions for future years and all did not happen.

Similarly, Paul Ehrlich who I have mentioned frequently, published “The Population Bomb” in 1968 predicting some 200 million people would die of starvation in the 1980’s. Obviously, did not happen, but did not deter him from continuing to predict and publish, appearing on talk shows and giving speeches. You gotta hand it to these guys, they have a lot of gall.

If Al Gore had been right, Florida would be underwater by now and the oceans would be 20 feet higher by the end of the century. But, the oceans are only rising less than 1/8th inch per year, the same pace since the end of the last ice age. He should miss it by 19 feet!

One expert in England predicted that children in school now would never have seen snow in their lifetimes. Nope. Wrong.

The La Nina took over in the central Pacific and it’s been a colder and wetter summer in the PNW as one would expect in a La Nina year. I checked with the various weather sites and BC has had a normal amount of moisture this year and September has been unusually wet this year. Subsequently, forest fires were minimal this summer.

Our water expert can join a long list of expert predictions that were totally wrong.

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Rest In Peace

Today we put our freezer to sleep. No it did not die. We put it to sleep
much like you would an ailing and aging pet. And, like a much loved pet, it
was a sad day for us for the freezer has faithfully kept ticking along without
complaint for 48 years.
After we got out of the Navy we moved to Chicago where I worked on the
60 story 1st National Bank building learning the methods of the high rise
construction business. Specifically, how to apply granite panels to the
outside of multi-story buildings.
After nine months and a cold and windy winter in Chicago we packed up
our baby daughter Tara, our English Setter Zeke and our worldly
possessions in our ’66 Barracuda and headed for the Pacific Northwest.
We moved in to our frst house, a wood frame rambler on a sandy bluff
overlooking Eld Inlet (AKA. Mud Bay) a tidal arm of Puget Sound. It was
about 20 miles outside of Olympia in an area of hobby farms and wooded
home sites.
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The place already had a stove and a fridge courtesy of the previous owner
so we had to buy furniture and our frst big appliance purchase— an
upright freezer. Considering cost, we chose a Sears Coldspot and placed it
in our tuck under garage.
It got plenty of use. Every year we’d make a trip or two out to Westport on
the Washington coast and go salmon fshing. A cooler full of salmon and
perhaps some ling cod would be carefully flleted, wrapped and stashed in
the freezer. Our neighbor down the road raised lambs and each year we’d
purchase one, cut it up and have lamb for a year. A quarter or half of beef
got stashed in there as well.
Just to fll up any holes in the space of the freezer duck and pheasant
hunting proved excellent in western Washington in those days and they
ate well. One fall I shot a blacktail buck in my neighbor’s apple orchard
and that really filled the Coldspot to over flowing.
Karen and Mike were born when we lived in that house and they all
learned to love seafood as we could catch trout in local creeks and sea run
cutthroat off the beach. Clam digging on our beach was easy and our
friendly neighbor had an oyster farm. I vividly remember the girls sitting
on the counter on either side of the sink while I popped oysters that they
quickly slurped up.
It was a great time, but shit happens and the recession of the early ’70 hit
western Washington particularly hard. Boeing laid off something like
65,000 people and the ripple effect through the economy raised the
unemployment rate to 25%. We went from 25 employees to just me and I
could not get a freplace job. I took a job with a granite company in
Minnesota and we had to move. It would be the first of 14 times we and
the poor freezer moved.
We and the Coldspot got hauled to Minnesota and some years later to
Wisconsin. We moved several times in Wisconsin as our circumstances
improved. Finally, we retired to Whistler, BC and after our skiing days
ended with various injuries and ailments, moved to Surrey, BC.
The Coldspot too was showing its age. It had some dents and the light no
longer worked but it still kept plugging away. It got flled with ducks and
moose a few times in recent years but it became clear that the door
gaskets were leaking. Finding parts for a 48 year old appliance is not
possible. Besides, we had two other freezers and sadly we decided that
it was time.
In this age of planned obsolescence our Sears Coldspot has been a
champion. As they say, they don’t make ’em like that anymore.
RIP

coldspot-open

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Scientific and Economic Ignorance

“This election is about climate change.” Bernie Sanders has made this statement numerous times and his success in his primary battle with Hillary Clinton has forced her to the left on climate issues to win his endorsement. For example, as Secretary of State she supported exporting fracking technology to foreign countries to encourage natural gas development. She frequently differed with New York’s Cuomo on the fracking ban in that state. However, in a campaign ad for the NY primary she changed her position and supported the ban. To get the support of Bernie’s acolytes and the big money environmental true believers in the Democrat Party she’s going to abandon any pretense of common sense and join the “Hate Carbon” crowd.

March 6, 2016 Clinton said, “By the time we get through all my conditions, I doubt there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”

Hillary’s turn around on fracking was extracted by Bernie Sanders as a condition of his endorsement. This may turn out to be a political mistake as Jade Clemente pointed out in a Forbes article called “Hillary Clinton’s Mistake on Fracking for Natural Gas” (March 13, 2016). Ohio sits atop the Utica Shale and Pennsylvania atop the Marcellus Shale both of which are being drilled using fracking. The economic benefits for both states is substantial. No one has ever won the Presidency with out carrying those two states.

Of course, Hillary also supports Obama’s Clean Power Plan that is essentially a war on coal. Ohio is also a big coal producing state. It is expected to cost $650 billion in lost GDP and shutter 66 power plants. The EPAs own projections show the coal industry will shrink by 48 percent. But, I saw a piece the other day that claimed the power plant closures were 4 times greater already than the EPA had projected.

A lot of power plants have been switching to natural gas but now Hillary promises to shut that down as well. Good luck keeping the lights on.

I have read numerous explanations written by warming enthusiasts on the difference between “global warming” and “climate change”. Apparently it boils down to the “effects” of global warming – sea level rise, melting glaciers, more droughts, forest fires, etc. This change in terminology was prompted by the finding by the IPCC that temperatures were not rising as predicted while CO2 levels continued the upward trend. This threw the whole theory and modeling of global warming into doubt. Time to change the name to confuse the issue. It’s still global warming though.

The Obama Administration has already spent heavily on climate change. Hard to get an exact figure as it is scattered among various government agencies but it looks like $32.8 billion on climate studies and $79 billion for tech related research. The SBA estimates the regulatory cost at $1.75 trillion. Taken together, big bucks to study a non-problem.

Consider this…. It snowed in three states last week – Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. That has not happened in 30 years. It also snowed in the Alps…. Up to 30 cm in Eastern Switzerland and Italy. People are starting to talk about global cooling (“Is the Earth Cooling” by Peter Ferrara, Forbes). Astronomynow.com has a piece called “Diminishing Solar Activity May Bring New Ice Age by 2030”.

This is based on rapid cooling recently in the upper atmosphere and ZERO sunspot activity on our source of heat….. the sun. There is a picture of the sun without a single sunspot on the website “Wattsupwiththat”.

The last time that happened for an extended period was 1645 to 1715 and was called the Maunder Minimum and that period was also called the “Little Ice Age”.

The sun goes through sunspot cycles of generally 11 years but can last 30 to 70 years like the Maunder Minimum. The current cycle began in 2008 and is on course to have the lowest sunspot activity since accurate records began in 1750.

If we go into another Little Ice Age we are going to look pretty stupid for falling for the big scam of global warming. We may live to welcome a little global warming.

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Silly Season

The silly season commonly refers to the slow news time during the doldrums of summer when the media are forced to fill the newspapers and broadcasts with trivial and unimportant stories just to take up time and space. However, this is an election year in the US and the whole year qualifies as a silly season.

I first voted in an election in 1960 when I was 19 years old. John Kennedy got my vote. He was a Democrat and a WWII Navy combat veteran. Democrats were different in those days as was the electorate. Kennedy believed in pro growth policies and that included cutting taxes to accomplish it. He believed in a strong military and had the balls to back it up. I doubt that few young voters today have ever heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis that risked a nuclear war with the USSR. For those youngsters who may be curious how that turned out…..the Russians backed down. Can anyone picture Obama doing that? Or Hillary, or Sanders?

How different Kennedy, Scoop Jackson and other Democrats of their era from the politicians today who are deathly afraid of offending anyone. Some pervert wants to piss in the women’s bathroom even though he’s got a pecker? Have at it pal, we wouldn’t want to hurt the delicate feelings of the few transgender guys around. How many can there be, really? The women may not like it but they don’t count in this season of political correctness.

Maybe that’s the appeal of Trump? A lot of people are fed up with do nothing professional politicians who waste money and lie their asses off. Politically correct Trump is not. Nor shy. Throughout this long primary campaign I have been amazed at Trump’s success and wondered why? I speculated that he won some states that allow people from one party to vote in the primary of the other party. I know the Democrats believe Trump is easiest to beat and I happen to agree with that point. I wondered if the Dems had a strategy to vote for Donald just to defeat the more traditional candidates. But Trump is winning in states where crossover voting is not allowed. So I guess conservative voters are so frustrated that they are willing to overlook Trump’s obvious shortcomings – his brash braggadocio and his tendency to ramble on with annoying and insulting remarks.

On the other side of the aisle things are just as baffling to me. First of all, how the Hell does Bernie Sanders get taken seriously by so many people? To me the popularity of this cranky old socialist tells me two things: 1). The young people who form the bulk of his supporters are so poorly educated that they know nothing of history or have the most rudimentary understanding of economics and 2). Democrat voters are so sick of Hillary Clinton and so distrustful of that lying, smarmy broad that they will go for any alternative. Like I said, it’s a silly season and will go on.

The cost of this endless farce is enormous. The presidential contest in 2012 was 2.6 billion between the two contestants. Estimates for this year range from 3 to 5 billion and this is not counting the primary contests just to find out who will be the candidate of the two parties. Nobody knows yet how much money has been pissed away as the 17 GOP aspirants vied for the nomination slowly dropping by the wayside so that now the only serious contender is The Donald. Cruz was handily defeated in Indiana today and bowed out, leaving only Kasich doggedly hanging on for some unknown reason.

These primaries have been going on for about nine months already and there are still six more months until the election. Contrast this with the Canadian system of elections. Historically the median amount of time for an election is 50 days and the parties are restricted to spending about $25 million each. That certainly compresses things and saves a lot of cash, although I am uncertain the electorate is any better at making choices. The last time around Justin Trudeau, the son of a popular PM was elected. His name was his greatest asset for his qualifications were few. He was a former school teacher, part time actor. But despite the accomplishments of Harper, the Conservative PM, the Eastern Left and the media were sick of the guy. As an dry witted friend of my said, “Trudeau got elected by the young people. He’s young (45), good looking, has great hair and has promised to legalize pot.”

This will be the first US election in my memory where the two nominees are disliked by their base. Trump’s unfavorable rating is 57% and Clinton’s 52%. Maybe those numbers will change as the campaign wears on. One thing is certain, this will be a nasty one. Trump is sure to go after her for her many illegal and unethical failings and the Democrats have certainly unearthed dirt on Trump.  The mud slinging will be historic.

I stick by my prediction first made in 2008 and again in my May 2015 blog post, “The Next President”, that Hillary would be the next president. As I pointed out then, the deck is pretty heavily stacked against the GOP nominee. Furthermore, I believe the Democrats who dislike Hillary will hold their nose and vote for her anyway to prevent a Republican president from appointing the next couple of Supreme Court justices. And, of course, Trump has gone out of his way to piss off Hispanics and women, two important voting blocks. Only an indictment by the FBI over Hillary’s email violations and mishandling of top secret documents can upset her march to the White House and coronation as the Evil Queen of the Liberals.


God help the USA.

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Unintended Consequences

Cecil the lion at Hwange National Park (4516560206).jpg

The shooting of Cecil the “beloved” lion in Zimbabwe created a furor all over the world as animal rights and anti-gun fanatics piled on to dentist Walter Palmer, the hunter who shot him. The news was non-stop and everywhere. Palmer quickly became the most reviled man in the world. He had to go into hiding because of the death threats. The killing of Cecil was neither illegal or particularly unusual although for my tastes, not especially sportsmanlike. No charges were ever filed against him yet he became the most hated man in the world.

Fortunately for him, along came Mark Shkreli the CEO of Turning Pharmaceuticals, who raised the price of his newly acquired HIV/AIDs drug, Daraprim, 5000%. Had he done the same with a drug for toenail fungus probably no one would have noticed. But for HIV? Forget it. That hits the max on the politically incorrect scale. He quickly secured the title of “Most Hated Man” from Palmer. It certainly didn’t help his cause when in interviews he certified that he was indeed an arrogant asshole. Walker quietly returned to his dentistry and dropped out of the news.

On Monday the 22nd I happened upon a piece in the “Vancouver Sun”…. on Page A11…with the headline, “’Cecil Effect’ creates lion surplus, Wildlife park may have to cull 200 big cats.” [Article can be found here.]

Well, well. Peta Thornycroft, a former British citizen who now resides in Zimbabwe and reports for “The Telegraph” wrote the story and presumably the headline and goes on to explain that the world-wide hiding of Mr. Palmer has put a huge damper on the willingness of wealthy American hunters to risk getting vilified in an unsympathetic press. As the saying goes, ‘They are staying away from Zimbabwe in droves.’

The Bubye Valley Conservancy, the largest wildlife area in Zimbabwe, supports local schools and clinics and provides jobs and meat to local residents. Like other intensely managed wild life reserves, Bubye receives much of its operating revenue fromcontrolled big game hunts, including lions. However, since no rich Americans want the Walter Palmer treatment, they are staying home or going to other countries. A victory for the anti-hunting crowd, right? Well, you judge.

The unintended consequence is that in a very short time the lion population in Bubwe has become unsustainable. Their numbers have reached 500 and they are wiping out all the other animals including antelopes, giraffe and even cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs. Perhaps the animal rights people should go to Zimbabwe and train the lions to become vegans? Blondie Leathem, the general manager of Bubwe feels they need to cull 200 lions. Mostly that means shoot because re-locating the lions to other preserves (presuming you could convince the preserves to take them) is generally unsuccessful. The immigrants are usually killed by the resident prides.

This example of animal rights zealotry backfiring because of ignorance of population dynamics, conservation management, ecology (the science, not the ideology) or ethology (animal behavior), leads to politically and emotionally motivated decisions that often backfire. Here are just a few examples.

Hypomesus transpacificus.jpg

The Delta Smelt. A few years ago environmentalists went to court to divert water from farmers in the drought stricken San Joaquin valley of California in an effort to save the 3” delta smelt, a fish of no commercial or sporting value. At the same time they began breeding thousands of the critters in hatcheries and releasing them into the river. The result: The smelt numbers continue to decline and sample netting only produces a couple hundred per year. Maybe something other than diverted water is killing the smelt. Some would argue that the effort to save the delta smelt was a great idea, but was it worth it?

The human toll was steep. Some 40,000 people lost their jobs as farmers went broke and once fertile and productive farms and orchards turned to dust. Small towns in the area dried up too as residents fled.

As the suburbs expanded into farmland around major cities in North America, it inevitably encroached on wildlife habitat. Understandably, no hunting was allowed anywhere near these communities. Some animals like white tail deer found these safe zones much to their liking and hung around, breeding without check. Soon they became a pest browsing on people’s gardens and shrubs. Clearly the population needed to be reduced but, animal lovers would not permit shooting the excess animals who were starting to show distress from malnutrition. As an alternative, many communities decided to capture and release the animals into wilder habitats. Seemed like a good idea. One problem, almost all whitetail deer live their entire lives in about a one half to one square mile area. Dumping them in a strange place disoriented them and almost all starved or wandering around bewildered and were hit by cars. [For a great article by Time Magazine in December 2013 can be found here].

A similar thing happened with the urban goose populations. The geese figured out they were safe and could live year around in city golf courses, public parks and urban lakes. No hunters and no need to migrate. Life was good. But, the public parks became infested and unusable due to goose feces. Local ponds and lakes were polluted. Again, killing the excess geese offended the animal rights people so they were relocated. Ignored was the fact that these animals can fly thousands of miles and are excellent navigators. In days they were all back.

Grizzly bears are also excellent navigators and have been known to travel hundreds of kilometers though unfamiliar terrain over mountains, valleys and across rivers to arrive back at the same chicken coop where they had previously enjoyed a nice easy meal. People who would not know a grizzly from a teddy bear recently raised all kinds of Hell when an NHL star from BC, Clayton Stoner, was discovered having killed a male grizzly. The anti-hunting crowd jumped in and coming on the heels of the Cecil, the lion incident, knew giving this bear a name and calling him “beloved Cheeky” would evoke the anger and sympathy of folks who know nothing of griz. First of all, calling a grizzly beloved is absurd. They are the meanest, angriest, most aggressive and unpredictable beasts in the northern forests. They are huge and deceptively fast. The pictures of tourists watching them fishing for salmon from safe platforms is not an indication of what it’s like to run into one of these buggers in the woods. Furthermore, they are not endangered. Ask anyone who hunts for moose or elk in northern BC and they will tell you there are plenty of them and they are very, very dangerous.

In the end Clayton Stoner was charged with his only real crime…. they deemed he was not a legal resident of BC because he played for a US hockey team and did not spend six months of the year in BC. That he got fined for not having a non-resident license and that calmed the outraged anti-hunters and they soon went back to fretting about global warming.

Species valued by sportsmen are heavily supported in many independent conservation groups such as: Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as well as countless others. These groups raise millions to preserve habitat, facilitate stocking programs and support laws to insure the protection of the species. Of course, as a direct benefit sportsman dollars for licenses and tourism support local economies.

As the sad consequences of the anti-hunter’s campaign against the killing of Cecil has shown, their outrage has not helped the lions, the animals of Zimbabwe or the people who live there. I guess it has made the animal lovers feel good about themselves. I suppose that’s something.

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