American Elephants


Matt Ridley, On The Greening of the Planet. by The Elephant's Child

This video is a year old this month, but the very clear message seems not to have reached the true believers, so I’m re-posting it.  Apple CEO Tim Cook has just told global warming skeptics to “get out of this stock.” In essence, he told every Apple shareholder to take a hike and waved away any potential investors.

When Mr. Cook met with shareholders on Friday, a group proposed that the company be more open about its environmental activism and more transparent about the costs it incurs as it increases its dependence on renewable energy. “If you want me to do things only for ROI (return on investment) reasons, you should get out of this stock,” he said.

What he was saying is that profit is overrated, and if you aren’t interested in a warm feeling from political activism, you are misdirected. Cook succeeded Steve Jobs in 2011, and Apple has gone for fighting global warming in a big way, tripling the use of renewable energy for its offices to 75%, The goal is to go 100% renewable.

Unfortunately, comparing costs is interesting. The cost per megawatt hour of a new natural gas power plant averages $66, while the tab for wind is $96, and solar photovoltaic $153, and solar thermal $242. It not only costs way more, it doesn’t do anything whatsoever to stop the natural warming and cooling of the planet. And you may have noticed that cooling is the current mode. There has been no warming for over 17 years.

European countries are becoming aware of the vast drag on their economies from their investment in “renewable” energy. Germany is realizing that its Energiewende — its radical energy policies — cost taxpayers €22 billion last year alone, making businesses uncompetitive.

True believers aren’t interested in facts, but are hell-bent on saving the planet. It’s a religious belief, and it’s adherents are cult-like in their devotion.

Over the past three decades, our planet has gotten greener!

Even stranger, the greening of the planet in recent decades appears to be happening because of, not despite, our reliance on fossil fuels. While environmentalists often talk about how bad stuff like CO2 causes bad things to happen like global warming, it turns out that the plants aren’t complaining.



Naivety And Incomprehension: What Happened to The Working Relationship? by The Elephant's Child

lead

Vladimir Putin just pitched the post Cold War rule-book out the window, and the European countries are understandably nervous. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s announcement that he wants to downsize the military to the size it was before World War II, may go down in history as the most inappropriate announcement ever made by a cabinet member.

The White House spin machine is telling friendly reporters that Vladimir Putin has fallen into a trap,  which may be carrying the idea of “spin” a little too far. Walter Russell Mead said “Putin is increasingly likely to go down in history as a failed state builder, a man who took Russia down the wrong path and who added to the burden of Russian history.”

But those are long term considerations that, unfortunately for the diligent White House staffers working to spin the next news cycle, won’t help the President now.  In the short term President Putin has put President Obama in an ugly spot. President Obama’s foreign policy depends on three big ideas: that a working relationship with Russia can help the United States stabilize the Middle East, that a number of American adversaries are willing to settle their differences with us on the basis of compromises that we can accept, and that President Obama has the smarts to know who we can trust.

Putin’s attack on Ukraine calls all three propositions into question. What Obama’s belief in the possibility of deals with countries like Russia and Iran leaves out is that some countries around the world may count the reduction of American power and prestige among their vital interests. They may not be hampering and thwarting us because we are unnecessarily and arbitrarily blocking their path toward a reasonable goal; they may be hampering and frustrating us because curbing our power is one of their central objectives. This is not necessarily irrational behavior from their point of view; American power is not a good thing if you hate the post-Cold War status quo, and it can make sense to sacrifice the advantages of a particular compromise with the United States if as a result you can reduce America’s ability to interfere with your broader goals.

Washington’s flat-footed, deer-in-the-headlights incomprehension about Russia’s Crimean adventure undermines President Obama’s broader credibility in a deeply damaging way. If he could be this blind and misguided about Vladimir Putin, how smart is he about the Ayatollah Khameni, a much more difficult figure to read? President Obama is about to have a difficult meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in which he will tell Netanyahu essentially that Israel should ground its national security policy on the wisdom of President Obama and his profound grasp of the forces of history. The effect will be somewhat undermined by President Obama’s failure to understand the most elementary things about Vladimir Putin.

Foreign policy is harder than it looks, and Mr. Obama’s foreign policy team is not an impressive bunch. Will the American public see this as just another case of difficult foreigners doing bad things in some little-known country, or will they see this as  clear evidence that this president is too naive and too passive and he is endangering the country?

Secretary Kerry said huffily on Face the Nation: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country. That’s not the act of somebody who’s strong, Putin is acting out of “weakness” and “desperation.”

It’s easier to threaten friends. They probably won’t do anything. Obama said essentially that if Israel wouldn’t agree to the U.S. idea of a peace deal with the Palestinians, then the U.S. won’t be able to defend Israel if the peace talks fail. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which began last July, have made no visible progress. Palestine refuses to recognize the right of the Israeli state to exist, won’t stop shooting rockets into Israel, continues to teach its small children that martyrdom in the interest of killing Jews is a holy aim, and insists of the ‘right of return.’ Obama’s ideas about Israel were likely formed by his friendship with the radical Palestinian professor Rashid Khalidi. He does not change his mind.



The Ukraine Crisis is Upsetting, so Obama Does What He Likes Best — Campaigning. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama, focused like a laser beam on the crisis in the Ukraine, hits the campaign trail to pitch an increase in the minimum wage. He will appear with four Democrat governors from New England on Wednesday in Connecticut to boost his uphill fight to get Congress to approve an increase in the federal minimum wage.

His 2015 budget proposal  will be released on Tuesday, calling for increased spending on manufacturing and early childhood education as well as hiking the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, theoretically redistributing income, but mostly destroying more jobs — in this case an estimated 2,500,000 jobs. We already have 7.8 million people working part-time who want full time jobs. Raising the minimum wage will put a lot more on part-time (ObamaCare regulations) and fulfill only the president’s fantasy of redistributing income.

The Democrats aren’t going to be able to run on the economy this fall. They won’t be able to run on increasing employment opportunities, nor on foreign policy, but by golly, there’s always the minimum wage. That’s the only thing they have to campaign on. If employers don’t just say the hell with it and purchase robots, tablet menus, or automated check out machines, they can always move to a state where business is more welcome.

You can trust Obama to always inadvertently come up with another way to kill jobs.

 




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