American Elephants


The Environmentalists Are Not On Your Side! by The Elephant's Child

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You have undoubtedly noticed rising prices at the grocery store. Bacon aficionados have certainly noticed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday predicted that fruit and vegetable prices will rise by 5% to 6% this year due to lower production in California’s great Central Valley. California has just endured one of the driest  years on record— but much of the blame lies directly on extreme environmental policies.

More than half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, most of the lettuce, berries and tomatoes come from the Central Valley. This year federal water regulators cut farmers’ allocations of water to zero because of a long bout of dry weather. Farmers had to pump groundwater, and many saved their groundwater supply for fruit and nut trees that take years to come to full production.

About 500,000 acres of land lay fallow this year. This didn’t have to happen. The state could have stored up more water from the wet years, but they flushed 800,000 acre feet into San Francisco Bay last winter and another 445,000 acre feet this spring to “safeguard” the “endangered” delta smelt, a tiny 3 inch bait fish endangered by pumping at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta which under the Endangered Species Act must be protected at any cost. Last winter, when 300 smelt were snared in the pumps, regulators ordered that a deluge of melted snowpack from the Sierras be discharged to the ocean rather than delivered to farmers. That amount of water would have irrigated 600,000 acres of land and been enough for 3 million households.

The Endangered Species Act has an outstanding record of stopping projects, being used as evidence in endless lawsuits, costing billions, but accomplishing nothing whatsoever as far as actually “saving” endangered species. The slaughter of birds of prey, and songbirds chopped up in wind turbines or cooked in solar arrays, on the other hand, does not trump the small amounts of expensive “renewable” energy that environmentalists keep hoping will

The California Farm Bureau estimates conservatively that the average American family will spend about $500 more on food this year as a result of crackpot environmentalism. That’s added to the increased price of gas, higher electricity bills, and higher premiums on your health insurance.

ADDENDUM: There’s more. Henry I. Miller writes in the Wall Street Journal that Santa Cruz, Mendocino and Marin counties in California, have banned a proven, modern technology that could conserve vast amounts of water. The technology is genetic engineering at the molecular level, or gene splicing. Plant biologists have identified genes that regulate water use and transferred them into important plant crops. The new varieties grow with smaller amounts of water or lower-quality water, such as that higher in mineral salts. Irrigation accounts for roughly 70 percent of the world’s fresh water consumption.

In Egypt, Miller says, researchers have shown a decade ago that transferring a single gene from barley to wheat, the plants can tolerate less watering for a longer period of time. The new drought-resistant variety in some deserts can be grown with rainfall alone, and in a conventional field requires only one-eighth as much irrigation. For a country like Egypt that regularly has trouble feeding their own people, this is am enormous benefit.



A Dangerous World — The Wages of Weakness. by The Elephant's Child

Obama Profile

No president in my memory has so often referred to himself as “the President of the United States of America”or as “the Commander in Chief,” as if he needs to keep reminding everyone of his importance. Perhaps I’m being unfair. George W. Bush often said of himself “I’m the decider.” That seemed to me to be a humble statement that the troubles of the world landed on his desk and he had to make a difficult decision—whether it turned out well or ill. As I said, perhaps I’m being unfair.

But Bush was right. Decisions have to be made. We may make a decision about Iraq, but as in all conflicts, the other side gets a vote. The Obama administration has admitted that they were blindsided by the ISIS invasion of Iraq and their rapid progress. Obama is accustomed to, well, dithering. He doesn’t like foreign affairs. He likes traveling with an enormous entourage to other countries and making a speech or two, but he came to office convinced that America was a world bully, interfering in other countries, and was no more exceptional than any other country. He has followed a deliberate policy of disengaging from the world and its quarrels.

We called it “the Apology Tour” when Obama made his way around the world bowing to foreign rulers and apologizing for our influence in world affairs. Democrats were offended at the name, but is that really what Democrats believe, that we should fail to assert a positive influence over world events? Or have they remained too enamored with Obama himself to have given it much thought? The world clearly expects more American leadership. Many countries have not done much about raising a military or acquiring major weapons because we were there.

Obama drew a red line that did not faze Assad, turned the Syrian bloodbath over to Vladimir Putin, which undoubtedly led the Russian president to launch his claim on the Crimea and his aggression against Ukraine. Obama frequently cites polls showing American “war weariness,” but just what is meant by that is not clear. America had won the War in Iraq, and Obama just wanted out. As Elliott Abrams said:

 So we got out, fully, completely, cleanly—unless you ask about the real world of Iraq instead of the imaginary world of campaign speeches. We could no longer play the role we had played in greasing relations between Kurds, Shia and Sunnis, and in constraining Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s sectarian excesses. The result was an Iraq spinning downward into the kind of Sunni-Shia confrontation we had paid so dearly to stop in 2007 and 2008, and ISIS—the newest moniker for al Qaeda in Iraq—saw its chance, and took it.

So we’re back in Iraq—Obama has sent 300 military advisers. That’s a very small number.

I’m inclined to believe that just as members of a family have trouble getting along, so the natural state of world affairs is not peace and harmony. That doesn’t mean that we must be eternally engaged in war. Weakness invites ambitious nations to act on their ambitions.

Putin has long regarded the collapse of the Soviet Union as a disaster and wants to restore its position as a world power. The Mullahs in Iran are quite clear about their ambitions regarding the Great Satan and the Little Satan. The newly enriched and increasingly dangerous fanatics of ISIS have already warned that they will see us in New York. Germany has said the United States must consider a renewed military intervention. “It’s the Americans’ task to deal with security in Iraq.” The  French place the direct cause of the Iraqi implosion on Obama’s decision to back off from air strikes against the Assad regime last August as the fatal step.

Here are some excellent pieces on our current dilemma:




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