American Elephants


What is this “Social Justice” Thing? by The Elephant's Child

Everybody, or at least all Liberals, seem to talk about “Social Justice” all the time, but what do they mean by that? What is social justice?

We have a Constitution that has served us well for 228 years, and in all that time has been amended only 27 times. We have laws and courts that, for the most part, administer the law fairly, and when it isn’t fair, we try to fix it. Leave it to the Left to come up with a whole new kind of “justice” that will better serve their feelings. Now they are trying to expand social justice to environmental justice and economic justice. Make everybody absolutely equal except for us important people in the progressive aristocracy, who will administer the justice. It is of course, hogwash.

Jonah Goldberg explains the hidden agenda behind the words, and it is not either noble nor caring, and turns out to be something that is clearly — not just at all.



There Is No Right To Be Free From Being Offended. by The Elephant's Child

How did we get to this spot in the history of the world when the guiding rule of society seems to be —”You must not offend anyone.” Is it an outgrowth of the self-esteem movement that did so much damage to our national psyche?  Do not disagree with me or you might damage my self-esteem?

In the last few days, a Mozilla executive was expelled from his position at the firm he co-founded by left-wing campaigners who determined to punish him, not for something he said in his role at the company, but for a donation he made to a California ballot initiative that defined marriage in the customary terms in which it had been defined for several thousand years. A donation that was made 6 years ago. The Los Angeles Times helpfully had published a list of all donors to the anti-Proposition 8 ballot issue.

Also in the last few days, one Adam Weinstein, who writes at Gawker, called for literally sending people who have the incorrect views about global warming to prison. “Those malcontents must be punished and stopped,” he wrote. He is not the first to suggest that conservatives should be sent to prison or a concentration camp for their crime of disagreeing with liberal thought.

Charles Murray, an important social scientist of our times, was denounced as a “known white supremacist” by Texas Democrats for holding improper views about education policy.

Condoleezza Rice was invited to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony at Rutgers University where she would receive an honorary doctorate. The faculty criticized the university decision, saying “Condoleezza Rice…played a prominent role in the administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction.” The editorial staff of The Daily Targum said “Do the positive aspects of her personal accomplishments really outweigh the destruction of war she contributed to during her political career? She was a major proponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which has been arguably the worst and most destructive decision in the history of U.S. foreign policy.” All of which goes to prove that if you want to major in history, you should select some other university.

Then there’s Lois Lerner who is facing contempt charges relating to her role in using the IRS as a weapon against the Obama administration’s political enemies for their improper thought and advocacy.

Harry Reid, a liberal champion of campaign-finance reform, was caught channeling tens of thousands of dollars to his granddaughter, while carefully omitting her surname (same as his) from official documents, and hiding the transaction. When discovered, he quickly wrote a check to his campaign to cover-up his indiscretion. At the same time,Mr. Reid has been viciously attacking the Koch Brothers, who are prominent philanthropists, especially in seeking a cure for cancer, for implausible crimes because the Libertarian brothers donate to conservative causes.

I don’t know what part the self-esteem movement, in which most of our current adults were raised, plays into this liberal failure to recognize that good and honest people may have opinions that differ from theirs, or if it even does; but it is all right, and they just need to suck it up. Conservatives often marvel at the march in lockstep of Liberals. They regularly espouse the same ideas in exactly the same words, and apparently assume that no one will notice.

I have generously always assumed that the wordsmiths at Think Progress come up with what they hope will be the most fortuitous description of an idea or a policy to sway the minds of potential voters, then run the preferred words by a few focus groups to assure that they’ve got the best verbiage, then send it out to every Democrat politician who might use the words in public.  If that is the case, you must also assume that the Democrats in question don’t bother their pretty little heads with boring things like economics and history, and the long-term effects of past legislation. No scientific studies for this bunch, they will be told the proper language. Consider the words “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” that’s some major wordsmithery!

As evidence, I offer the media’s longstanding effort to capitalize on Republican disagreement—all that crowing about how Republicans are at war among themselves. We don’t all think the same, we do study history, we do pay attention to how legislation actually plays out, and we even read scientific studies. We are ordinary human beings and we have our own opinions, and aren’t afraid to disagree. Disagreement is —normal.  We’ll present our evidence, and try to compromise eventually, but we never, never march in lockstep.

Jonathan Rauch said it nicely in his Kindly Inquisitors, using ‘liberal’ in the classical sense: “Liberal science is built on two pillars. One is the right to offend in the pursuit of truth. The other is the responsibility to check and be checked.”

Irving Kristol wrote: “In every society the overwhelming majority of people live lives of considerable frustration and if society is to endure, it needs to rely on a goodly measure of stoical resignation.”

Feel free to offend. Stand up for what you believe. Refuse to be cowed by those who claim to be offended. We don’t do “thoughtcrime” in the United States of America, do we?



Slash the Budget of the Department of Agriculture! by The Elephant's Child

Just briefly looking around the USDA website convinced me that the Department of Agriculture has way too many bureaucrats employed, and their conception of what they should be doing is way too broad. I have never known anyone who has paid the slightest attention to the USDA’s guidelines as to just what we should be eating, which is just as well because they have mostly been wrong anyway.

The schools, unfortunately, have to pay attention because they get funding, but anyone who has ever visited a school lunchroom notices that enormous quantities of food end up in the garbage. The kids have mostly hated Michelle Obama’s school lunch program. The USDA’s high carb diet was all wrong, butter is fine, they’re still trying to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” although carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is what makes plants grow, and apparently, according to the EPA, soon their mission will be to reduce cow flatulence.

The federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is currently working on updating nutritional guidelines to conform with Mrs. Obama’s ideas and new scientific evidence. Mrs. Obama has been behind the drastically altered school lunch menus and the federal push to change restaurants’ most popular items to healthier fare and add calorie counts to every menu. She also has a new nutritional food labeling scheme.

One of the committee members, Miriam Nelson,  feels the guidelines shouldn’t be confined to nutrition, but should include the long-term sustainability and environmental impact of crops recommended for eating.  Another committee member is pushing a “plant-based diet” — suggesting that meat eating is not sustainable.

Another new idea under consideration are federal phone texts to obese citizens warning them regularly of their unhealthy eating behavior.

I pay no attention to the “my plate” guidelines, and I’m sure you don’t either, but the work of this committee guides the food purchases by the feds for government cafeterias, school meals across the country, all branches of the U.S. military and the entire federal prison system.

Michelle has insisted that the White House chef change from sugar to fruit purees to sweeten foods, but the White House consumes six different kinds of pie for Thanksgiving, The state dinner for the president of France came in at 2,500 calories per plate — a more-than-healthy whole day’s allowance. Remember that when you get your text-message from the government telling you what to eat, and reminding you that you are officially categorized as obese.



Empty Buildings Are Costing Us Billions! by The Elephant's Child

emptybuild-1024x681

“The boarded up building in the photo sits a mere 6 blocks from the White House on prime real estate, but it’s been empty for 30 years! What’s the problem? The building is owned/controlled by the Federal government which often doesn’t even know what it owns, lacks the incentive to control costs and whose bureaucratic strictures make selling difficult even when motivation exists.”

A Google search suggests that most articles have picked up on a 77,000 number, as the number of empty or underutilized buildings owned by the federal government—as a proxy for you and me. The “federal government” is simply the representative of us—a fact that is worth remembering.

Other numbers range from 45,000 to 100,000 and 300,000 which really points out that they have no idea how many empty, underutilized, abandoned buildings or properties there are across the whole country. Missile sites are included, as are buildings so abandoned that trees are growing through the roof. Taxpayers own them, and even when they are vacant—they are still expensive.

The Office of Management and Budget estimates that these buildings could be costing taxpayers $1.7 billion a year. Even empty, someone has to mow the lawns, keep the pipes from freezing, maintain security fences, or pay for some basic power, except when it doesn’t. The only known centralized database that the government has is the inventory maintained by the General Services Administration called the Federal Real Property Profile and it’s not reliable.

Doing something with these buildings is complicated—even when an agency knows it has a building it would like to sell, bureaucratic hurdles limit what they can do. No federal agency can sell anything unless it’s uncontaminated, asbestos-free and environmentally safe. Expensive fixes.

Then the agency has to make sure another agency doesn’t want it. Then state and local governments get a crack at it, then nonprofits—and finally a 25-year-old law requires the government to see if it could be used as a homeless shelter. No wonder many agencies just lock the doors and say forget it.

These publicly owned properties are managed by the federal government for the benefit of the people. There are also enormous amounts of public lands. Military bases: Fort Hood, Texas, now sadly in the news, is 340 square miles in size.

There are National Parks and National Monuments, National Forests, and land ‘managed’ by the Bureau of Land Management. Trillions of dollars worth of land.  And I am undoubtedly neglecting other jurisdictions. My brief Google search made it clear that we are not alone. It is a common governmental problem. I did find one article on “how to squat in abandoned property,” (probably British) and of course, reference to the empty cities of China.

I emphasize taxpayer ownership because President Obama, for political reasons, chose to shut down what he thought of as “government land” under his purview, during the “government shutdown.” The Constitution clearly says “We the People.” Bureaucrats, far too often, forget just who is the boss. They may prefer to think of themselves as enlightened public servants. They are the hired help.

This is one reason why Republicans believe in smaller government, but they aren’t much better at property management. It’s bipartisan.

The boarded up building in the photo sits a mere 6 blocks from the White House on prime real estate but it’s been empty for 30 years! What’s the problem? The building is owned/controlled by the Federal government which often doesn’t even know what it owns, lacks the incentive to control costs and whose bureaucratic strictures make selling difficult even when motivation exists. – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/03/wasted-resources.html#sthash.2Wo3AW3Q.dpuf
The boarded up building in the photo sits a mere 6 blocks from the White House on prime real estate but it’s been empty for 30 years! What’s the problem? The building is owned/controlled by the Federal government which often doesn’t even know what it owns, lacks the incentive to control costs and whose bureaucratic strictures make selling difficult even when motivation exists. – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/03/wasted-resources.html#sthash.2Wo3AW3Q.dpuf


Your Federal Government At Work: Oh Ha, Ha, Ha! by The Elephant's Child

 

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This is something truly special. Our betters in the nation’s capitol—what I have called “the ruling class”— has taken advantage of the information age to engage in blogging. Who knew? This very remarkable blog is a project of the Department of Agriculture.

Grandkids are a grandparent’s greatest treasure. From time to time during grandchildren’s young lives, grandparents may have the pleasure of being their caregiver. Show them how to be healthy, including how to make healthy food choices—an important way grandparents show how much they love and care about their grandchildren.

As a proud grandmother, I can attest that grandkids learn by example! They mimic everything you do, so be a healthy role model by taking care of yourself and they will learn to value healthy habits. Use ChooseMyPlate.gov to guide your food choices and better understand the nutrition needs of young children in your life. Take your grandchildren shopping at a farmer’s market and the grocery store. Talk about the choices you are making—choosing the juicier oranges or the fresher vegetables. Help them learn cooking skills, which will benefit them throughout their lives. Encourage them to be active throughout the day. …

Spend time walking in the neighborhood, planting a vegetable garden, or shooting a few hoops. Dance, run, and play hopscotch or soccer with them when they’re full of energy—it’s fun and healthy for both of you!

Show your grandchild games, activity sheets and other fun ways to learn about good nutrition at MyPlateKids’Place. For a bedtime story, read The Two Bite Club.

If this does not warm the cockles of your heart, read the whole thing,and if that doesn’t do it for you, do scroll down to the comments, because you will enjoy the comments! If you do not read the comments, you are missing the point of this whole post.

I don’t think I have ever seen a better example of the gap between left and right, or between the government and the people. The comments are a treasure. Click on all the links to see the extent of the sheer wonder of this post. Do go to the link and add your own comment. Or write your congressman and tell them to cut the budget of the Department of Agriculture to the bone.

Grandkids are a grandparent’s greatest treasure.  From time to time during grandchildren’s young lives, grandparents may have the pleasure of being their caregiver.  Show them how to be healthy, including how to make healthy food choices–an important way grandparents show how much they love and care about their grandchildren. – See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/03/31/grandparents-help-kids-develop-good-eating-habits/#sthash.yp104Y0x.dpuf
Grandkids are a grandparent’s greatest treasure.  From time to time during grandchildren’s young lives, grandparents may have the pleasure of being their caregiver.  Show them how to be healthy, including how to make healthy food choices–an important way grandparents show how much they love and care about their grandchildren. – See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/03/31/grandparents-help-kids-develop-good-eating-habits/#sthash.yp104Y0x.dpuf


A Brief Trip Down Memory Lane: by The Elephant's Child

The foreign policy favored by liberalism and pursued by the Clinton administration reflects a coherent vision of the world—coherent, consistent, and dangerously at odds with the realities of the international system. This misguided foreign policy…rests on three shaky pillars:

  1. Internationalism (i.e. the belief in the moral, legal, and strategic primacy of international institutions over mere “national interests”).
  2. Legalism (i.e. the belief that safety and security ar achieved through treaties—international agreements on such matters as chemical weapons, nuclear nonproliferation an anti-ballistic missiles).
  3. humanitarianism (i.e. the belief that the primary world role of the United States is—to quote Secretary of State Madeline Albright—to “terminate the abominable injustices and conditions that still plague civilization”).

In reality…the “international community” is nothing more than a fiction. [It is] a state of nature with no enforcer and  no universally recognized norms. Anarchy is kept in check, today, as always, not by some hollow bureaucracy on the East River, but by the will and power of the Great Powers, and today, in particular, of the one great super-power. The administration’s penchant for treaties—a hopelessly utopian project—and the third pillar stems from an abiding liberal antipathy to any notion of national interest—thus it is only “disinterested intervention’ that is pristine enough to justify the use of force.

Charles Krauthammer: “A World Imagined” The New Republic, March 15, 1999

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 



Harry Reid Calls Harry Reid a Liar. Or Something Like That. by The Elephant's Child

HarryReid 3
It must be really hard for politicians to grasp that they must change their ways, for the world has changed around them. The words that they say so confidently on Monday, cannot be erased on Friday, for they are preserved for all time on YouTube, and will be called up whenever it is useful to call them up.  Case in point:

Oops! Well there you go. Caught in the act for all posterity.

We heard about the evils of Obamacare, about the lives it’s ruining in Republicans’ stump speeches and in ads paid for by oil magnates, the Koch brothers. But in those tales, turned out to be just that: tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements.”

“There’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”

- See more at: http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/barbara-boland/reid-denies-making-videotaped-claim-obamacare-horror-stories-are-lies#sthash.7mu0KEMB.Y7yvZ0II.dpuf

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that, “I have never come to the floor, to my recollection, I’ve never said a word about examples that Republicans have given regarding ObamaCare and how it’s not very good.”

“Mr. President, the junior senator from Wyoming has come to the floor several times recently talking about the fact that examples that he and others Republicans have given dealing with ObamaCare, examples that are bad, I’ve called lies. Mr. President, that is simply untrue,” Reid said.

- See more at: http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/barbara-boland/reid-denies-making-videotaped-claim-obamacare-horror-stories-are-lies#sthash.7mu0KEMB.Y7yvZ0II.dpuf

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that, “I have never come to the floor, to my recollection, I’ve never said a word about examples that Republicans have given regarding ObamaCare and how it’s not very good.”

“Mr. President, the junior senator from Wyoming has come to the floor several times recently talking about the fact that examples that he and others Republicans have given dealing with ObamaCare, examples that are bad, I’ve called lies. Mr. President, that is simply untrue,” Reid said.

– See more at: http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/barbara-boland/reid-denies-making-videotaped-claim-obamacare-horror-stories-are-lies#sthash.7mu0KEMB.Y7yvZ0II.dpuf

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that, “I have never come to the floor, to my recollection, I’ve never said a word about examples that Republicans have given regarding ObamaCare and how it’s not very good.”

“Mr. President, the junior senator from Wyoming has come to the floor several times recently talking about the fact that examples that he and others Republicans have given dealing with ObamaCare, examples that are bad, I’ve called lies. Mr. President, that is simply untrue,” Reid said.

– See more at: http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/barbara-boland/reid-denies-making-videotaped-claim-obamacare-horror-stories-are-lies#sthash.7mu0KEMB.Y7yvZ0II.dpuf

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that, “I have never come to the floor, to my recollection, I’ve never said a word about examples that Republicans have given regarding ObamaCare and how it’s not very good.”

“Mr. President, the junior senator from Wyoming has come to the floor several times recently talking about the fact that examples that he and others Republicans have given dealing with ObamaCare, examples that are bad, I’ve called lies. Mr. President, that is simply untrue,” Reid said.

– See more at: http://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/barbara-boland/reid-denies-making-videotaped-claim-obamacare-horror-stories-are-lies#sthash.7mu0KEMB.Y7yvZ0II.dpuf



Obama’s Changing The Rules Again! by The Elephant's Child

That March 31st deadline to sign up for ObamaCare—they didn’t really mean it—if you started signing up and just couldn’t get done, or if you can offer some valid excuse (anything at all) well, you can finish up sometime in April. The law is completely fluid until we have enough people signed up to make this thing work.

The White House and congressional Democrats are ramping up a coordinated effort to celebrate the fourth anniversary of ObamaCare. The White House has provided members of Congress with packets that detail state by state benefits of the law and what the cost of repeal would mean for constituents within their districts. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-SF)  has provided members with data and sample language for members to use on new Medicare drug savings data.

The president and other senior administration officials will mark the anniversary through efforts to highlight the individual stories of consumers who say their families have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act.

White House staffers will tweet a series of six graphics highlighting the dumb ideas that guarantee that the program cannot work: eliminating lifetime limits, prohibiting denial because of pre-existing conditions, and mandate free birth control and free mammograms. The graphics feature an image of the president’s very own signature on the ObamaCare bill.

Many Democrats would prefer “single-payer” which means that you can go to a doctor who is a salaried employee of the state and not have to pay at the point of service. Liberals think that is the ultimate good. Everyone is dependent on the government, which is their ideal, and you just raise taxes enough to pay for it. This makes our ruling class proud that they are doing this wonderful charitable thing for the people, but they really don’t care much about what kind of care the people are getting, and they will just issue regulations and directives to reduce costs.

Liberals like the warm, fuzzy feelings of doing good for others. It is really good, isn’t it with free contraceptives. Women can have all the sex they want with no consequences. But you will notice that already, before it has really even begun, the cost of the thing means you can’t have keep your doctor, your local hospital may not be available, you may be sent to a nurse-practitioner instead of a doctor, and your insurance doesn’t cover anything outside of your local program, so if you travel to another town and have a heart attack, you’re out of luck. Planning a trip to Europe? You will have to find a separate policy to insure you for the trip. And people are already saying that they cannot afford the premiums. Wait till next year.

The Ruling Class plays hardball. They want ObamaCare. They want to gradually move it to a single-payer plan specifically to glorify themselves. They will fight repeal tooth and nail, and attempt to “reform” it enough to make it palatable, and they will try to scare people that any Republican plan will probably kill them.

ObamaCare fails basic math and basic economics. The National Health Service in Britain is so dire that it is killing people, particularly the old and helpless. The French hate their health care. The Canadians have long, long waits for service and many of the diagnostic machines we count on are either unavailable or there is too long a wait for a diagnosis. The federal government runs Veterans healthcare, and has made a mess of it.The backlog of requests for appointments grew so long that they just dumped the requests and pretended they didn’t exist. The Indian Health Service is reportedly dreadful. The Secretary of the Interior just denied a needed road so a community of Aleuts could get out to get health service because it might disrupt the shorebirds.

The Democrat’s “narrative” is that Republicans are merely out to sabotage ObamaCare because they object to the race of the president. When they start crying “racism” you can tell they know they are in trouble. Kevin Williamson has a column today on “Antithought” — the “use of language as an instrument for concealing or preventing thought.”There’s a lot of that going around, and we must be on our guard.



More About Our “Ruling Class,” And What To Do About Them by The Elephant's Child

Back to Angelo Codevilla:

“Our ruling class is a machine. That is, it lives by providing tangible rewards to its members. “Machine parties” around the world often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods, and enhance mightily the upper level members’ wealth. Because of this, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges—civic as well as economic—to the party’s clients, whether directly or indirectly. …

Hence, our Ruling Class’ first priority in any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, it to increase the power of the government—meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves. Secondly it is to recompense political supporters with public money, privileged jobs, contracts, etc. That is why our Ruling Class’ solution, not just for economic downturns and social ills but also for hurricanes and tornadoes, global cooling and global warming, has been to claim more power for itself. A priori, one might wonder whether enriching and empowering individuals of a certain kind can make American kinder and gentler, much less control the weather. But there can be no doubt that such power and money makes Americans ever more dependent on those who wield it.

By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our Ruling Class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. …By endowing some in society with the power to force others to sell cheaper than they would like to, and forcing others yet to buy at higher prices—or even to buy in the first place—modern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are. Whatever else government may be, it is inherently a factory of privilege and inequality. “

***************

Reason said: “Few essays attracted as much attention from right-wing readers this summer as “America’s Ruling Class—and the Perils of Revolution,” an extended argument that an incestuous social set “rules uneasily over the majority of Americans.” Written by Angelo Codevilla of the Claremont Institute and first published in The American Spectator, this very long article has now been expanded into a very brief book, called The Ruling Class.”

I’ve found the book fascinating because there are so many good arguments to ponder. Real food for thought about just where we are and what we might do about it. Recommended



Wooden High-Rise Buildings to Fight Climate Change? by The Elephant's Child

Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack announced a new partnership at the White House Rural Council last week, to train architects, engineers and builders about the benefits of advanced wood building materials, and plans for a forthcoming prize competition to design and build high-rise wood demonstration projects.

In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan
goal of preserving the role of forests
in mitigating climate change.

Secretary Vilsack is a former governor of the State of Iowa, which means he must know about farming and corn and trees, right? Actually, he doesn’t seem to have ever done anything but Democratic politics, but that makes him a good candidate for Secretary of Agriculture.

Wood may be one of the world’s oldest building materials, but it is now also one of the most advanced, said Vilsack. Building stronger markets for innovative new wood products supports sustainable forestry, helps buffer reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and puts rural America at the forefront of an emerging industry. Presently, the market for wood and other related forest products supports more than one million direct jobs, many in rural America. As these markets expand, so will the economic opportunities.

The Secretary also announced plans to launch a new prize competition, expected to begin later this year, for developers, institutions, organizations and design teams competing to demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability of using sustainable wood products in high-rise construction.

The lumber mills that provided employment for most of the small towns where I grew up are long gone. The log trains as well. Seldom see a logging truck. Back in the Clinton administration, one of his bright ideas was to ban roads in the woods. Of course that meant the hotshot crews had a harder time getting to the fires. Greens have had a hard time understanding that trees are a renewable resource. The time frame is just longer. Oddly enough, plentiful carbon dioxide  in the atmosphere, a natural fertilizer, helps them to grow.

Perhaps you remember this 2008 video of a bunch of Earth First loonies in a stand of saplings wailing over one that has been cut down. I feel confident that they are all city apartment people whose connections with the out-of-doors are a little tenuous at best.

They usually don’t know much about the environment itself, only their emotional response to nature.  We shut down the forests to save the spotted owl, who nests only in old growth, except that turned out to be false. And their declining numbers were due to their barred owl cousins, not evil loggers.

We must refuse to build the Keystone XL pipeline because a pipeline might someday spring a leak, but this pushes the transportation of oil onto trucks and trains which is much more dangerous. The newest protest is against the  Cove Point facility in Maryland that is due to be the first to export liquified natural gas, which Europe needs badly for fuel to counter the risk of Putin’s blackmail with Russian natural gas. In the meantime, we are exporting wood pellets to England to fire the furnaces to keep the Brits warm. Go figure.

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan will do nothing to change the climate, but if Democrats keep talking as if it will, they will get $100 million from Tom Steyer who is a billionaire hedge fund climate activist. The promise of more subsidies for solar and wind will reward Obama’s supporters and accomplish nothing for our energy mix. Secretary Vilsack is a big ethanol supporter, which is probably what got him the appointment. If I have given the impression that nobody knows what they are doing, that’s what I had in mind. Actions have consequences. If you think things through, the consequences don’t have to be unfortunate unintended ones.



The Experts’ New Regulations Mean Prosperity is Just Around the Corner. by The Elephant's Child

two-dollar-bill-hoard

Our political elites’ agenda is power for itself. They believe they know the formula for spreading economic wealth, for engineering social  happiness, and for legal and constitutional fairness. The future will be bright, we are assured by the Federal Register, and should ease anyone’s concerns over the direction of the U.S. economy.

Hundreds of new regulations guide the economy into doing the right thing. To assure that the regulations are appropriate, agencies are required to conduct cost-benefit analysis for any regulations estimated to cost more than $100 million. The hundreds of rules underway forecast tremendous growth for our sluggish economy.

Consider one such regulation, the Utility Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS), which applies to coal-fired plants. The rule was finalized by the EPA in 2011, and is estimated to cost the economy about $10 billion a year. The EPA claims the annual benefits from the rule will be between $37 billion to $90 billion — in other words, four to nine times higher than it’s costs.

The EPA says their benefits are not theoretical, but “monetized,” meaning they will show up eventually in higher gross domestic product. Our GDP is about $16 trillion, this rule should add as much as half a percent of growth to the economy.

Regulations do have costs as well. The EPA acknowledges the MATS rule will mean the loss of 200,000 jobs by 2015, and 23,000 megawatts of electricity production.  It is just one of seven major rules that will eliminate between 544,000 jobs and 887,000 jobs and cause a 1.5 reduction in the nation’s electric generation capacity.

The economic benefits trump these losses with the economic benefits of lower carbon emissions resulting from MATS. They claim the value of carbon not entering the atmosphere is somewhere between $12.60 and $119 per ton. The EPA does not explain just how this works, but they are quite sure it does. It all comes from the “social cost of carbon” as developed by a panel of  experts.

There are rules for microwaves, for cement manufacturing, for furnace fans. A single regulation for microwave ovens is said to produce benefits that are 35 times higher than its costs.

The benefits of regulation are derived primarily from the social cost of carbon, as it has been divined by a panel of experts. An interagency working group determined the price of carbon based on estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the future impact of carbon emissions.

Well, who can you trust if you can’t trust an interagency working group composed of political elites and presidential appointees? Just look at the list of working groups involved. You can tell right off that economic growth is just over the horizon. You can depend on the EPA.



How to Do Political Propaganda for Your Low-Information Voters by The Elephant's Child

Sheep Flock

Powerline posted a piece by John Hinderaker entitled: “Washington Post Falls for Left-Wing Fraud, Embarrasses Itself,” about the Koch Brothers being “the biggest lease holder in Canada”s oil sands.”

The Left is heavily invested in smearing the Koch brothers, and it’s important to understand why this is so. Gallup polls on political self-identification. Their 2014 poll shows the percentage of Democrats who self-identify as “liberal” has reached a new high of 23%.  Thirty four percent self-identify as moderate, and 38% identify as “conservative.” That’s “conservative Democrats,” not Conservatives.  It would be interesting to see what the difference is between conservative Democrats and Conservative Republicans, but that isn’t on offer.

Politically, the Left is heavily invested in the claim that the hated Republicans are “the party of the rich.” They deeply believe in class divisions and class warfare. Since they see themselves as the superior class, entitled to run the country, and see themselves in helping the poor by making them dependent on government. You only start hearing a lot about classes when the Democrats are in power.

If you need a shining example of “the rich” — who better than the Koch brothers who donate to Republicans, are billionaires, and make their money in petroleum that is destroying the planet because of global warming.  If you doubt the effect upon the ‘sheeple’ of this example, see any article about the Koch brothers or even just prominent mention of them and in the comments you will find pure rage and hatred of the rich and capitalism personified by the Koch brothers, because they are rich.

If you look up Koch Industries in Wikipedia, you will find that it a multi-national corporation that is involved in many different things, and petroleum refining is only one part. Should you look a little deeper, you would find that they are Libertarians, not Republicans, and donate generously to all sorts of charities that benefit ordinary people.

Should you not focus on the Koch brothers, you might notice the vast number of billionaires who donate to Democrats, and the numbers of millionaires in Congress who have never done anything but politics, and if you noticed that — it might make it hard to call the Republicans “the party of the rich.”




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