American Elephants


Thomas Sowell, Provocative and Intriguing, On “Uncommon Knowledge.” by The Elephant's Child

I am a great fan of the Hoover Institution’s “Uncommon Knowledge.” Peter Robinson interviews a great variety of interesting people, and he is a wonderful interviewer. This week, his guest is Dr. Thomas Sowell, who has a new book out: Intellectuals and Society. Dr. Sowell is as provocative as usual (and right), and completely entertaining.

In the 1920s, he says, an intellectual movement arose which said that smart people could get together and renounce war.  [ that worked out well].  We did not lose the war in Vietnam, he contends, the intellectuals lost it for us.

Espousing social justice, or saving the environment, puts you on a higher plane than ordinary mortals. Intellectuals believe that they should influence, if not control, the decisions made in society.  Central planning doesn’t produce the good results that the marketplace does. Intellectuals have every incentive to believe that they are brighter than other people.

As usual, there are five segments of the Sowell interview, of around 7 minutes each.  Very worth your time.  You will find the first one here.  And all the previous interviews are available there as well.



Saving the Planet Whether it Needs it Or Not. by The Elephant's Child

Copenhagen was a fiasco.  The U.S. Senate is probably not going to touch cap-and-trade with a ten-foot pole.  The Green lobby is off on a new approach.  If at first you don’t succeed, switch to plan B.

Across the country, green pressure groups and trial lawyers are teaming up to sue electric utilities for carbon emissions under “nuisance” laws.

A group of 12 Gulf Coast residents whose homes were damaged by hurricane Katrina are suing 33 energy companies for greenhouse gas emissions that allegedly contributed to the global warming that allegedly made the hurricane worse.

In Connecticut, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and seven state Attorney Generals plus New York City are suing American Electric Power and other utilities for all sorts of ecological maladies.

A native village in Alaska is suing Exxon and 23 oil and energy companies for coastal erosion.

They are trying, Richard Blumenthal told Carbon Control News, “to compel measures that will stem global warming regardless of what happens in the legislature.”  In other words, he’s trying to force a policy that the legislative branch will not pass, because it is too damaging to the economy.

It’s hard to know how the courts will react.  I think we can safely assume that the justices don’t spend their evenings reading the emails from Hadley’s CRU, or the latest studies about CO2.  They decided that polar bears could be considered a threatened species in spite of plenty of evidence that the polar bears are just fine.  Activist courts are ever eager to arrogate more power to themselves.



Sounds Good, but “Green Jobs” Are Not The Answer. by The Elephant's Child
January 8, 2010, 2:27 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Spain has traditionally suffered from relatively high unemployment, double the 9.3 percent average for the European Union,  but for the 16 to 24 age group it has now reached 42.9 percent, the highest in Europe.

Spain was going to have a booming economy with promised green jobs.  Spain was on the forefront of a conversion to renewable energy, a sustainable life style free from an addiction to oil, by adopting wind and solar power.  California has often pointed to Spain as an example for California to follow, as has the Obama administration.

Every green job in Spain created by government subsidies has resulted in the loss of 2.5 jobs in the regular economy as employers are forced to cut back their work force in response to higher energy costs.

Spain attempted to make it easier to put young people to work, by employing them on temporary contracts, so when the economy sank, they were the easiest to let go.  How many jobs are being created here on temporary contracts funded by the new stimulus program?

If you take tax money out of the pocket of voters and use it to pay for a temporary job, is that called “creating or saving a job?”  Someone should explain private enterprise to the Obama people.



American Security and Islamic Jihad. by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama spoke to the American people today about the “screw-up” in which his own intelligence team had the information to catch the Northwest flight 253 bomber but “failed to connect the dots.” Perhaps Obama has missed some “dots” himself as he has traveled the world extending his hand and apologizing for his country.

This was designed to be the ‘angry Obama in charge’ speech.  He said that we are a country at war, a war against al Qaeda. Which is misidentifying it in a way that the far left has preferred.

Jihadis desiring an Islamic caliphate have declared war on us.  And the Jihadis come from a vast number of loosely-connected groups all over the world.  Declaring that the United States military is making war on al Qaeda makes al Qaeda far more important than they are, and gives them a more useful propaganda tool than Guantanamo ever was.

Claudia Rosett summarizes the situation in an informative column for Forbes:

Obama had a lively December. He kicked it off with an address at West Point promising a smaller increase in troops in Afghanistan than his specially tasked adviser, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, had asked for. (He also gave the Taliban a handy tip that he’d start pulling the troops out again in 18 months.) He flew to Oslo to collect a Nobel Peace Prize. He flew to Copenhagen for a United Nations “climate change” conference at which he pledged to lame the U.S. economy and fork over more American tax dollars to other countries. He then stuck around Washington not for priorities of defending U.S. security, but for the Christmas Eve passage of the Senate’s monstrous health care bill.

Then Obama flew to Hawaii for some R&R at a beachfront estate. American holiday travelers, waiting in gridlocked airport security lines, absorbing news about six-foot flames shooting from the suicide pants of a jihadi inbound for Detroit, were initially left to ponder the alternative universe of the absentee president and Homeland Security Secretary Janet “the-system-worked” Napolitano.

More than a week after the attack, Obama finally returned to Washington. On Tuesday he announced that “the system has failed in a potentially disastrous way” and that it is his job “to find out why and correct that failure so that we can prevent such attacks in the future.”

Claudia Rosett points out seven “huge, blinking-red” warning signs that Obama is ignoring.  1.  Iran: Ignoring another UN deadline for halting uranium enrichment.  It is clear that the Mullahs have no interest in talks.  2.  China: Says that the time is not ripe for new UN sanctions on  Iran.  Chinese companies banned from doing business in the US for selling missile technology to Iran continue to do a brisk business with American Companies.   3.  Gaza:  Hamas has tightened its grip on  Gaza.  2009 brought a “spread and buildup of “global jihadi organizations in Gaza” several of which identify with al Qaeda.  4. North Korea: A report from A.Q.Kahn–Pakistan’s nuclear-marketing guy indicates that Kim Jong Il may have a more advanced program and missile-ready nuclear arsenal than suspected, and they keep sending munitions to Iran.  5. Russia: Putin now threatens that Russia, to balance any American missile defense will develop new offensive weapons.  6.  Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez says that “The Obama Illusion is finished.”  7.  Piracy: Pirates off the Horn of Africa have almost doubled their attacks over 2008.  This past year 214 ships were attacked. Do read the whole thing.

This is a lot on the plate of a president who is not much interested in his most important duty— national security.  The Left has chosen to believe that al Qaeda was simply incensed by Bush’s venture in Iraq, offended by Guantanamo and Bush in general (as they themselves were).  Obama has said repeatedly that he was opposed to the War in Iraq, and the “good war” was in Afghanistan against al Qaeda.  This is a deep misunderstanding of jihad and Muslim fanatics.

It is always a mistake to assume that your adversaries look at things the same way that you do.




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