American Elephants


Quite an Accomplishment, Mr. President! by The Elephant's Child
March 10, 2010, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Michael Gerson, in the Washington Post today:

Whatever the legislative fate of health reform — now in the hands of a few besieged House Democrats — the reformers have failed in their argument. Their proposal has divided Democrats while uniting Republicans, returned American politics to well-worn ideological ruts, employed legislative tactics that smack of corruption, squandered the president’s public standing, lowered public regard for Congress to French revolutionary levels, sucked the oxygen from other agenda items, reengaged the abortion battle, produced freaks and prodigies of nature such as a Republican senator from Massachusetts, raised questions about the continued governability of America and caused the White House chief of staff to distance himself from the president’s ambitions.

It is quite an accomplishment. For the president, it must also be quite a shock, because he thought he was taking a reasonable, middle path on health reform.



Is President Obama a Desperate Man? by The Elephant's Child
March 10, 2010, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Taxes | Tags: , ,

The president is still talking about health care, but he is increasingly less and less successful in moving the numbers.  57 percent of voters believe that passage of health care legislation would harm the economy while only 25 percent believe that it would help.

People simply don’t trust official projections (with reason).  In Washington the pronouncements of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) may be holy writ, but voters are familiar with the seemingly inevitable, immense cost overruns. 81 percent of voters say it’s likely that the plan will end up costing more than projected, only 10 percent say the official numbers are likely to be on target.

Most believe that the health care plan will increase the deficit and likely mean higher taxes on the middle class.  For American voters, reducing the deficit is a higher priority than health care reform. They don’t believe that reform will bring down the cost.

If the program is supposed to save money, how come you have to spend an additional trillion dollars?  That just doesn’t make sense to most people.

President Obama would like you to believe that he is riding a wave of newfound optimism.

The president’s increased desperation is apparent in his arguments.  He is blaming insurance companies unilaterally for rising costs — but the combined annual profits of America’s ten largest insurers are only $8.3 billion — which is one-seventh of what Medicare loses each year to fraud, and just 0.4 percent of the $2.5 trillion that the U.S. spends annually on health care. No wonder people don’t believe the numbers.

The late Walter Wriston once wrote:

The clear lesson of history is that individual liberty, the basic underpinning of American society, requires constant defense against the encroachment of the state.



Politics and Science, An Increasingly Uncomfortable Mix. by The Elephant's Child
March 10, 2010, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Environment, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

The great Professor Ian Plimer, scourge of climate alarmists, was scheduled to give a lecture in May, at “the Prince Philip Annual Lecture” at the Royal Society of Artists (RSA). The Duke of Edinburgh was to be in the audience.

Now Professor Plimer has suddenly been disinvited by the RSA:

“The debate around climate change has recently become highly politically charged both globally and especially in your home country. Equally, as I am sure you are aware, members of the Royal Family need to be scrupulous in avoiding any appearance of advocating or supporting a particular political stance. The RSA’s charitable status also requires us to maintain absolute political independence in our programme of events and research events.”

The good James Dellingpole takes the RSA to task:

Actually, no I don’t think that Prof Plimer DOES “recognise that the now highly controversial debate surrounding this issue would make it inevitable that he was seen to be taking a particular position.” Au contraire, he’d consider closer to being a case of bringing a sense of balance and proportion to a hitherto very one-sided debate. After all, if the Prince of Wales is permitted to take such an extremist  “100 months left to save the world” approach to AGW, why on earth shouldn’t his Dad be allowed to adopt a more sensible, sceptical position.

As Plimer puts it: “Strange that those who preach environmentalism at The Palace are feted as concerned scientists with no political agenda whereas those that try to speak rationality are regarded as political.”

Professor Ian Plimer is one of my heroes.  His splendid book, Heaven and Earth: global warming, the missing science, is available here.  Or a fascinating earlier interview with Dr.Plimer is available here.

I suppose it is a little difficult when you have a family member being one of the most extreme alarmists, to attend a lecture that gently establishes that Prince Charles’ “100 months” is a little overwrought.  Disinviting someone is tacky, though.



States That Adopted Aggressive Climate Policies Are Paying a Heavy Cost. by The Elephant's Child

The U.N.’s IPCC may have been thoroughly discredited, and the scientists behind its alarmist assessments disgraced; but the governments who were alarmed by their pronouncements aren’t going to give up either easily or gracefully.  It is really embarrassing to have to admit that you have been had.

The scientists falsified the data, refused to share data, and attempted to keep those scientists who did not support their alarmist position from publishing or being heard.

European governments were investing in clean, green, wind farms, in solar arrays, new regulation and lots of bragging about their efforts to live up to their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.  Congress had made it clear to the Clinton administration that it would not consent to any treaty that would damage the U.S. economy.

Governors, however, were concerned about being seen as laggards and uncommitted to saving the planet.  A number of states decided by 2007 that in spite of the discredited Bush administration, they just had to get with the program, and if Bush wouldn’t sign Kyoto or pass cap-and-trade, they’d just do it on their own.They had plenty of environmental activists advising and urging them on.

There had, of course, been no warming of the climate since 2001, but they certainly weren’t going to listen to any “Skeptics”, who, their activist advisers assured them, were simply a bunch of nutcases  funded by “big oil”.

The notion that Oregon, for example, could make the slightest difference to carbon dioxide emissions, or that carbon emissions had anything to do with a globe that wasn’t warming, was not anything that crossed anyone’s mind. States and cities went to work to do good climate works that would show how forward thinking they were, and surely it would impress voters.

Flash forward to 2010, and all that money that states have invested in things green, the programs, the policies, has become a burden.  No state has embraced the green lifestyle and green regulation as enthusiastically as California, and no state has suffered so much from their foolish investments.  Nor are they about to admit anything.

The Great Central Valley has some of the worst unemployment in the country.  Farms are damaged from drought caused by environmental protection for a supposedly endangered minnow. The High-Speed Rail project is supposed to save energy, reduce emissions although it clearly won’t do any such thing.

People are leaving California.  The outflow from 2000 – 2009 has been 1,509,000.  Businesses are moving out.  The Green Party had a registered membership of 158,000 five years ago or.95 percent of the electorate, but it has shrunk to .66 percent.  Unemployment in the state is 12.5, 3% higher than the national average.

“California is likely to see modest job losses in the near term from its aggressive climate change policy due to higher energy costs and other factors, the state’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office said.”

They are beginning to talk about it though.  Reuters says “hotly debated”, but California is still attempting to cut its “greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  At least Arizona was smart enough to get out of the Western Climate Initiative.




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