American Elephants


The Extremists Are Coming, The Extremists Are Coming! by The Elephant's Child

This video from Andrew Klavan on the Culture is a couple of years old, which just goes to show you that nothing much changes.  Nancy Pelosi is not Speaker any more,  but nothing else is all that different.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, or something like that.



Completely Confusing and Infused With Politics! by The Elephant's Child

This is getting very confusing.  Republicans managed to defund the ban on 100 watt incandescent lightbulbs that was to begin on January 1, so we understood that the ban was postponed.  That is apparently not the case. What is deprived of funds is the regulation of the ban, so apparently they can’t put you in jail if you are still using the bulbs, nor do they have the funds to go after any dealers who continue to sell the bulbs if anyone has courage enough to go up against the Obama administration. The bulbs will still become unavailable and if you need 100 watts, you’re stuck with CFL bulbs or LED bulbs.

This is not an administration that pays the slightest attention to the fact that the majority of people who are aware of the ban, really hate it and detest the twisty lightbulbs.  This president is not in office to please the American people, but to substantially transform the country according to his personal preferences — which are to pursue radical environmentalists’ desire to starve America of energy so that we can lean more on wind and solar.  We don’t know how many people are completely unaware of the ban and will be mystified when they go to the store and can’t find any 100 watt bulbs.

In 1978, Congress created ethanol subsidies, and has repeated the authorization every few years —a 30-year-old adventure in corporate welfare.  But lo and behold, Congress adjourned this month without extending the $6 billion annual tax subsidy for blending corn ethanol into gasoline and the steep import tariffs on the industry’s foreign competition. The coalition against the subsidy has been growing, and in an October report was lent support from the National Academy of Sciences.  They concluded that grain ethanol “could not compete with fossil fuels in the U.S. marketplace without mandates, subsidies, tax exemptions and tariffs.”

The fuel was sold as a global warming palliative, but evidence is growing that biofuels increase net carbon emissions. No one would ever buy ethanol at the pump if they weren’t forced to by Congress’s mandate — which continues, stupid as it is.  Green carbon fuel standard regulations from the EPA  credit sugar ethanol produced in Brazil with better climate benefits than corn ethanol. Doesn’t matter if a gallon of ethanol contains less energy — won’t take you as far — as a gallon of gasoline.  You get to pay the same price for it.

South American makers have been shipping sugar ethanol to the West Coast, paying the tariff and selling it at a premium. U.S. makers than send their product south to backfill the Brazilian market.  The National Academy of Sciences said:

Without biofuel tax credits . . . the cost of biofuel programs is borne directly by consumers, as they are forced to pay a higher cost for the blended renewable fuel than for petroleum-based products. Otherwise, consumers bear the cost of biofuel programs indirectly through taxes paid.

The environmental group Friends of the Earth praised the move:

The end of this giant subsidy for dirty corn ethanol is a win for taxpayers, the environment and people struggling to put food on their tables.

The EPA has pushed for a new blend of ethanol called E15 because it contains 15 percent ethanol instead of the customary 10 percent. E15 will damage the engines of cars older than 2001.  Automakers have opposed approval, and said that it is likely to harm auto engines, void warranties and reduce fuel efficiency. It will damage the engines of lawn mowers, boats and other power equipment. The House has voted 285-136 to block the EPA from moving ahead with E15 regulations.

Gevo, an advanced biofuels company that has received millions in government funding to develop fuels made from cellulose sources like grass and wood chips is going to use corn, but to manufacture chemicals rather than fuel.

Lots of players in this game. Corn growers, biofuels companies, environmental groups, world food organizations, ranchers, Congressmen from corn states, an administration that has other goals, and all the other innumerable industries that use corn in their products. It gets very complicated indeed.  If Friends of the Earth is calling it “dirty corn ethanol” things are shifting a little.




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