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Polar bear attack

October 11, 2010

In September of 1994, Alvah Simon motored his 36-foot sailboat into a place few people have heard of, visited, or even noticed on a map—a place called Tay Bay.  To give you an idea of where this place is, start in Michigan and go straight north into Canada, straight north across Canada to Hudson Bay, straight north across Hudson Bay to Baffin Island, straight north across Baffin Island to Eclipse Sound, and finally straight north across Eclipse Sound to a little island called Baylot.

That’s where Tay Bay is, on the west side of Baylot Island.  In the Inuit language Baylot means Too Cold To Pee Without Freezing Your… actually I don’t speak Inuit.  I’m just guessing.

Tay Bay isn’t the North Pole but it’s close enough to trade Sunday brunch invitations with Santa Claus, watch the northern lights by looking south, and share a backyard fence with Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

Alvah’s big plan was to find a small bay in the Arctic, anchor his boat, and get frozen in for the winter.  (At first that sounds a little nutty, even for a sailor, but after thinking about it for a minute you’ll raise your estimate.)  He wanted to test his resistance to solitude and experience the beauty of the north but he was running out of time because summers are short in those latitudes.  Tay Bay already had a thin crust of ice on it—not enough to stop the boat but enough to tell him he needed to find an anchorage soon.

Tay Bay was perfect—small enough to give him shelter from winter storms but big enough (probably) to melt and let him escape in the spring.

He could see a polar bear standing on a hill looking at him as he entered the little bay and his first thought was, “How beautiful!”  Once he was anchored, hard against a forty-foot-long mound of ice, he turned to admire the bear some more and that’s when Mr. Beautiful charged down the hill, dove into the bay, and started swimming under the ice toward the boat.

Alvah could see the bear through the ice and once in a while it would surface, breaking gently through the ice to study the boat briefly before ducking underwater to resume its approach.  The bear was probably thinking, “This dumbass isn’t running away yet?

Alvah was amazed at how fast the bear could swim and how huge it was.  That’s the first thing people notice when they see a polar bear for the first time: their size.  The next thing they notice (and possibly last thing) is how crafty they are and how perniciously they hunt people.  Polar bears are in fact the only predators on Earth that habitually hunt humans for food.  Oh, sure, they prefer a fat seal but they will spend significant time stalking, out-smarting, and imagining how they will eat you.  In the Arctic, man is not the top of the food chain which requires some mental adjustment for newbies.

Breaking through the ice one last time, the bear’s eyes stared straight into Alvah’s.  That was important because looking into a predator’s eyes tells him he doesn’t have to be sneaky anymore.  The bear immediately changed direction, swam to the mound of ice, and hauled himself out of the water.  Next thing Alvah knew, he was looking up at a polar bear getting ready to leap from the ice to his boat.  Lucky for him the bear hesitated.  We can guess what the bear was thinking: “This is one stupid seal.  He knows I’m here but still hasn’t jumped in the water to escape.  Am I missing something?”

Just as the bear was concluding, “Who cares what I’m missing, I’m a polar bear and I’m hungry!” Alvah finally regained his senses, reached into his pocket, and pulled out the only weapon he had handy: a small compressed-air horn.  He pointed it at the bear and blasted it just as the bear was about to leap.  The bear backed up, irritated.  Not only the stupidest, but also the loudest seal the bear had ever seen.  When he turned back to resume his attack, Alvah blasted him with the horn again and the bear decided to give his ears a break and think about things for a minute.

Diving back into the water, the bear swam around behind the boat, poked his head up though the ice, and then, as Alvah watched, scraped up some ice and slush with his giant paws and covered his head.  With his eyes half closed, and the ice over his head, the bear completely disappeared even though he was mere feet from the boat.  This is a good trick that works on seals almost every time.  The seals have short attention spans.  They forget.  They know the bear is there but after a while of not seeing the bear they just forget about him.  That’s when the bear eats them.

So Alvah let the bear know he wasn’t going to forget.  Every time the bear opened his eyes to check out the situation, Alvah waved his coat and pointed at him and yelled at him and generally let him know he could see him.  “There you are, bear!  I can see you!  You didn’t hide so good, did you?”

It was more embarrassment than the bear could stand, eventually, and he finally ducked back under the ice and swam away, disgusted.  Alvah had survived a polar bear attack, which not many people can say.

Good for Alvah, but how about you and me?  The United States of America is experiencing its own polar bear attack and we’re acting exactly like seals who forget about the bear they don’t see for a while.  The socialists are determined to control us by controlling carbon, an ingredient which is crucial to both life and civilization.  We eat it, we breathe it, we are made of it.  Civilization uses it to create the energy which powers it.

Once the socialists control carbon, they control everything.

The attack is on two fronts.  The first and most visible attack comes from the EPA which is using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide, which they formally declared a threat to public health and the environment in December of 2009.  That declaration was based on the Global Warming scam promulgated by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization we now know (thanks to the Climategate scandal) is incompetent, unscientific, and pushing a political agenda.  The EPA doesn’t care.  They work for Obama and Obama wants control so they are about to announce regulations limiting the amount of carbon we can use.  Those regulations will be the law of the land unless enough Republicans are elected in November to reattach reins to the EPA and remind them that this is supposed to be a democratic republic, not a nation ruled by unelected bureaucrats.

The second attack—the polar bear attack—comes from the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.  This attack is craftier.  It’s been gliding along beneath the ice, sneaking up on us, patiently waiting until our attention wandered to other things: elections, unemployment numbers, the NFL season...

Like dumbass seals, we forgot about the polar bear.

On May 15, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the polar bear as a threatened species.  Listing a species as threatened or endangered doesn’t normally entail the end of freedom, or a nail in the coffin for the U.S. economy, or death to the American way of life, but this time Fish and Wildlife’s decision, for the first time, was based on the absurd notion that Global Warming is going to melt the ice which polar bears need to survive.  An ice-free Arctic is nothing more than schlock science fiction belied by two straight years of increased ice cover, but back in 2008, after two years of atypical ocean currents had melted a hole in the Arctic Ocean’s ice cover—in the summer, mind you—the notion was marketable to gullible liberals and bonehead bureaucrats.

By making Global Warming the basis for a listing for the first time, Fish and Wildlife opened up the entire U.S. economic engine to paralyzing lawsuits.  Need another power plant in California?  Sorry, you can’t build it, because increasing carbon output will accelerate Global Warming and kill polar bears.  But you argue that California is nowhere near the polar bears?  Doesn’t matter, because anything that contributes to Global Warming harms the bears.  That covers just about everything anybody tries to do, from farming to building automobiles to flying airplanes to warming your house in the winter to having children to doing yard work to communicating your political views on the website.

The startling fact that the world’s polar bear population has been increasing for the last fifty years makes it clear they are not threatened with extinction, but the bureaucratic mind seldom allows facts or common sense to impede its progress.  The study which was the foundation for Fish and Wildlife’s decision in 2008 was primarily authored by a U.S. Geological Survey employee named Steven Amstrup, who based his conclusions upon the forecasts of—can you guess?—the IPCC.

Yeah, that’s right, the polar bear attack is using the same justification as the EPA attack.  Everything these people are trying to do to us is based on the coven of creeps at the IPCC.

If the IPCC is wrong about the Arctic melting from Global Warming—and they almost certainly are—then the polar bears are not threatened and Amstrup’s study is a giant pile of walrus poop.  That’s clear, right?  But Amstrup’s study might be wrong for other reasons as well.  Apparently he isn’t very scientific when he’s writing a scientific paper.  A few months after Fish and Wildlife announced their decision to list the polar bear as threatened, a group of scientists published a review of Amstrup’s study and they were merciless in their condemnation.  Here’s what they had to say:
“Calls to list polar bears as a threatened species under the United States Endangered Species Act are based on forecasts of substantial long-term declines in their population. Nine government reports were written to help US Fish and Wildlife Service managers decide whether or not to list polar bears as a threatened species. We assessed these reports based on evidence-based (scientific) forecasting principles. None of the reports referred to sources of scientific forecasting methodology. Of the nine, Amstrup et al. … and Hunter et al. … were the most relevant to the listing decision, and we devoted our attention to them. Their forecasting procedures depended on a complex set of assumptions, including the erroneous assumption that general circulation models provide valid forecasts of summer sea ice in the regions that polar bears inhabit. Nevertheless, we audited their conditional forecasts of what would happen to the polar bear population assuming, as the authors did, that the extent of summer sea ice would decrease substantially during the coming decades. We found that Amstrup et al. properly applied 15 percent of relevant forecasting principles and Hunter et al. 10 percent. Averaging across the two papers, 46 percent of the principles were clearly contravened and 23 percent were apparently contravened. Consequently, their forecasts are unscientific and inconsequential to decision makers. We recommend that researchers apply all relevant principles properly when important public-policy decisions depend on their forecasts.”
Let me paraphrase: even if you accept the “erroneous” assumption that Arctic ice is melting, even then the application of scientific forecasting principles was so poorly accomplished that Amstrup’s study is worthless.

Yet it is because of that study that the entire U.S. economy is slowly grinding to a halt in favor of polar bears.

The Inuit insist that polar bears are left-handed… important to remember if you’re attacked and need to jump one way or the other to avoid a swipe from a bear paw.  Not sure what that has to do with anything—just thought I’d mention that the attack generally comes from the left.

The crucial thing about the Endangered Species Act is that, legally, it trumps everything else.  That’s the way our foolish congresscritters wrote the damn thing.  At first there was a caveat in the legislation which said economic costs could be factored into a decision about whether to protect a species but radical environmentalists objected and congress closed that loophole.  Now, the way it stands, we have to protect a listed species no matter what it costs.

Three weeks after the 2008 polar bear decision by Fish and Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit to stop all—all—offshore oil development in Alaska.  That was the first swipe of the polar bear’s paw.  The Center for Biological Diversity is not what it sounds like.  It employs no biologists.  It employs lawyers and fund raisers.  They don’t study wildlife or research wildlife or know any more than the average fifth grader about wildlife.  They’re plain ol’ leftists with a radical left social agenda.  What they do is travel around the country filing lawsuits to stop any and every attempt to build a factory, or build a power plant, or drill for oil, or any other kind of commercial enterprise which might benefit the nation.

What they do, like so many of these so-called “environmental” groups, is use the Endangered Species Act as an excuse to file an endless stream of paralyzing lawsuits.

By listing the polar bear as a threatened species in 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave them the ultimate weapon.

From Reno, Nevada, USA


August 30, 2011

A few things have happened since I wrote this column (which is the record holder for number of hits).

Good news: the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) won a lawsuit filed by the previously-mentioned Center for Biological Diversity, which was demanding that the polar bear be listed as "endangered" rather than "threatened."  An endangered listing would have given the radical environmentalists more power to shut down the U.S. economy.  Thank God for small miracles.

Bad news: the State of Alaska, using for ammunition the awkward fact that polar bear populations have doubled in the last forty years, filed and lost a lawsuit challenging Fish and Wildlife's decision to list the polar bear as threatened.  The state filed an appeal of the decision August 26.

Finally, the federal government scientist, Charles Monnett, who galvanized the world—or at least the gullible residents of the world—by writing a paper about drowning polar bears, was suspended from his job for six weeks while the inspector general's office investigated both his scientific claims and his conflicts of interest with grant-receiving scientists in the private sector who received funds courtesy of Monnett.  Turns out that Monnett merely saw four dead bears floating in the water, inferred they must have drowned with no real physical examination to warrant such a conclusion, and even got confused in his paper about whether there were three dead bears or four... typical of the level of scientific methodology employed by the worldwide AGW cabal.  Monnett was eventually cleared of scientific fraud, but after watching the investigations which white-washed Michael Mann and Phil Jones, did we expect anything else?  One pertinent detail: although the AGW crowd will say Monnett has been vindicated, the federal government has removed him from authority to issue contracts.  You have to wonder if a man who can't be trusted with government money can be trusted to be an honest scientist.
October 13, 2010 - Excellent article, a very good and entertaining story as well as instructive and making one of the most relevant points that can be made about current society in an amusing way.  More please! - Emma, Australia

October 12, 2010 - You know what’s really disgusting about this is that the Lefties used things that people really care about — people generally — of both parties, of no party — something that human beings care about: Nature. They use peoples’ love of nature as an ugly insidious device, as a flat bold-faced lie to gain them power.  If something is supposed to save bears, well it’s not like we hate bears.  Bears are grand in their place.  People want polar bears to continue.  But this isn’t really even about the bears.  They just put on a fake act, are the “environmentalists” — but it’s power they want.  Power over us. - Anns New Friend, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - Howdy Geoff, The second half of your first post is a good starting point for pruning the beauracracy. We also need to abolish the Endangered Species Act. It has been abused almost as badly as the EPA.  The Tay Bay polar bear story is cute, but certain fiction.  No one ever scared off a polar bear with an air horn.  Best Regards, - CAPT Mike, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)
J.P. replies: I don't think it's fiction, Mike.  I put a link to the man's book in the first sentence of the column – I've read the book and he seems like an honest man.  The polar bears hunted him most of the winter, although if I remember correctly the bear pressure eased as the winter set in because the bears had to move out of Tay Bay to where the ice was thinner.

October 12, 2010 - Great story. Great metaphor. - Oxbay, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - Howdy to you, too, MT Geoff!  Thanks for the little story about the heron and the snake. Years ago I had the pleasure of working for a very pragmatic boss, when I worked for the phone company. Corporate political gamesmanship, as with many big companies, was rampant. My boss told me something that stuck with me ever since: a snake is only dangerous when you fail to recognize that it’s a snake. - Mick, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - Howdy Mick: The sneaking polar bear is one analogy. An allegory would be the story of the heron that carried the viper across the river. In the end, in spite of its promises, the viper bit the heron. “You knew what I was when you put me on your back.” Same thing with a government that can grant us all we think we want — it does this by taking all we have in the first place, including freedom. - MT Geoff Brown, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - I don’t know anything at all about Tay Bay, but am having trouble getting my brain wrapped around the idea that anyone would want to winter there, alone in a 36 ft sailboat. That’s not even a big boat and I’m surprised the icepack didn’t just crush it. No way, no how, not me. I admire the guy’s courage, but question his sanity.  The piece is great, though, and draws a wonderful parallel to our present precarious situation. “Like dumbass seals, we forgot about the polar bear”… - Mick, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - Howdy, Tim.  Your friend was a wise bird.  Large carnivores that have not been “trained” to fear man-scent will eat you or me just as quick as a deer or rabbit. - Old School Conservative, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - MT Geoff: Had a friend of mine who would not go into the woods without a large caliber rifle in Grizzly country, at least something in the .458 win category… He’d been attacked when he was a hunting in the Bob Marshall…. (Mt wilderness)  Now the Greenies want to restore them to Oregon… - Tim M., West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - We thought he would change the political landscape by not cleaning house.  What he ended up doing was allowing clinton appointees to remain and retrench. So, even after 8 years of r rule, we still had the same socialists, communists and environmental terrorists running these bureaucracies. o didn’t have the same desire to change the political landscape, so he dumped any r appointees and left in the clintonistas. Just made the matter worse.  We need a House of Reps that will outlaw the bureaucratic take over of government and defund agencies. - Jim, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - On the first attack: any close encounter with a large predator can end badly. The noisy, big, aware approach is the best bet. To be honest, if you go into large-bear country without a firearm, you are taking a serious risk. Do it with your eyes wide open, or bring a big-bore gun, or don’t go.  On the second attack — our big-bore gun is to elect conservatives and libertarians, preferably conservative-libertarians. Most libertarians I trade comments with — OSC and r-b come to mind — want people to choose responsibly in their lives and don’t want to legislate most of that. A lot of conservatives will use Thomas Jefferson’s baseline — “… it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg …”. The carbon scam is all about picking our pockets and breaking our legs, possibly literally breaking our legs if more people ride bicycles and drive very small cars. The carbon scam is all about fencing us in, constraining us, controlling us, exactly as our most paranoid-seeming commenters say.  Then the conservatives/libertarians need to legislate. First: an explicit law that finds, as fact, that the AGW story is a fairy tale and that prohibits the EPA and the Endangered Species Act agencies from issuing any regulation based on AGW or climate theory. If there’s a veto, refuse to fund the EPA entirely. The EPA can have valid uses — everyone does live downstream and downwind — but AGW is now a litmus test.  Then there’s a long string of stuff to go after. Demcare, “hate” crimes laws, environmental regs with standards so far below detectable or clinically-significant levels as to be stifling, etc. Maybe the Department of Education. Turn the Department of Energy into an actual Department of Energy, not a Department to Stop Energy. - MT Geoff Brown, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - As I’ve thought for years, changing presidents is like painting over wood rot. Unless and until, one of those characters has tthe cajones to clean out those agencies of leftists who lurk their like computer worms and viruses to awaken and destroy the nation from within. we are doomed.  This is precisely why character matters. - Don L., West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 12, 2010 - We won’t survive the second [attack] unless lots of people go to the polls with their eyes wide open and BS detectors set on high. Even a Republican landslide in Novemner won’t be enough – we need to squeeze the regulatory community down to a manageable size, slap it around a little, and fire the ones who don’t get into line for their common sense injections. - Old School Conservative, West Virginia (Charlestown Daily Mail)

October 11, 2010 - J.P. I am so glad you finally got around to the carbon control attack however you are about 14 years too late. When I was a cattle farmer in the Centralia area of Washington state over 14 years ago us dumb, stupid, ingnorant, gun toting, God fearing, truck driving, food producing farmers knew already that a tax/limit on the carbon dioxide our animals exhaled was coming around the turnpike. It was the topic of all auctions/get togethers conversations and believe me when I tell you many a farmer (myself included) went immediately to our local real estate office and proceeded to sell our food producing farms as we all knew that when the carbon tax would go into effect (which is only a matter of time) our food producing farms would not only run in the red they would literally bankrupt and ruin us financially.  The government will tax your dog because of the carbon dioxide it exhales along with the carbon dioxide you and me exhale.  If "We the People" don't wake up and notice the bear stalking us we will certainly be eaten for lunch.  By the way anyone besides myself notice the rising cost of food these past few years?  Don't for get to point the finger where it belongs, right at the democrat/liberals who will not stop until they control every aspect of your life and this is coming from a control freak and yes it does take one to know one and I truly know this one when I look at it.  People beware, your life as you know it is truly coming to an end.  Those of you who put your head in the sand should just pack up and move directly to Venezuela so you don't have to wait for what is right away the corner.  Just saying... - Domme Yankee, Connecticut

October 11, 2010 - Thanks.  I shall link at 8 AM tomorry.  Beats the guy who sent pictures of a polar bear attack.  (PS You don't want to see them.) - Don Surber, West Virginia
J.P. replies: Thanks, Don!

October 11, 2010 - Is there anything Obama is not responsible for... in your world?  Sometimes, it's just nice to step away from the political BS... read a funny story and just have a hearty laugh. I was doing that... and then you inserted Obama.  Jeez! - Unowho, Reno
J.P. replies: If a man robs you three times, is it wrong to complain about him three times?  Obama is the chief executive of the federal government and he has appointed people to head federal agencies who are determined to control our carbon dioxide output.  Who should we blame, Pee Wee Herman?  (Wait a minute, has anybody seen Barack Obama and Pee Wee Herman at the same time?)

October 11, 2010 - The Endangered Species Act and the way it is administered is one of the biggest travesties in our nation's history.  But there is one way to get around it: when Fish & Wildlife goes too far out on a limb, like they've done by listing the polar bear, Congress can override them.  That's what they did when the endangered snail darter was holding up the Tellico Dam in Tennessee in the 1970's.  (Like your website by the way.) - Stevie Q., California

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