American Elephants

Bad Science, Bad Politics, Bad Results. by The Elephant's Child

“Obsessive” doesn’t even begin to describe Dr. James Hansen, the Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. (GISS)  Since  trumpeting the cause of global warming before a sweltering Congress in the late 1980s, on the hottest day of summer, he has been an indefatigable agitator on behalf of climate crisis.

He is a government employee, but he has been well rewarded by sources outside of the U.S. government for his climate activism.  In 2001, he received a Heinz Foundation award that included a $250,000 payment for promoting global warming.  Investors Business Daily has reported that Dr. Hansen has been funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute by $720,000 to encourage his advocacy of the global warming cause.

Now James Hansen has endorsed the Capitol Climate Action in “mass civil disobedience” at the coal-fired Capitol Power Plant in Washington DC.  He says:

The Capitol Climate Action comes not a moment too soon.  For more than thirty years, scientists, environmentalists and people from all walks of life have urged our leaders to take action to stop global warming; and that action has yet to come.  The world is waiting for the Obama administration and Congress to lead the way forward on this defining issue of our time.  They need to start by getting coal out of Congress.

A recent op-ed by Dr. Hansen in the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. proclaimed that Coal-fired power stations are death factories, and the trains carrying coal to them as “death trains.” In October of 2007 he stated to the Iowa Utilities Board that:

If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains — no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.

He has called for the trial and prosecution of energy company executives.  Elements of carelessness and hype in the promotion of climate change have alienated increasing numbers of scientists, as well as evidence that the planet is actually cooling.  He has called for the trial and prosecution of energy company executives.

Coal-fired plants currently contribute 48.4 percent of the Nation’s electric power.  Nuclear plants contribute 19.4 percent and 21.4 percent comes from gas-fired plants.  Ordinary hydroelectric power provides 6.4 percent of the total, and all the other “renewables” — wind, solar, geothermal and biomass generate the remaining 3.1 percent of electric power.  The assumption among activists that 50% of our power needs can be supplied by “renewables” is simply a Utopian pipe dream.

A recent article in Der Spiegel reports that Germany’s renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story.  Roughly 15 percent of the country’s electricity comes from renewables, but there is a catch — all the renewable energy produced by the nation’s windmills has not prohibited the emission of a single gram of CO2.  The amount of CO2 contributed by human action is simply too small to measure.  And there is another catch.  In spite of the EU emissions trading system and massive government subsidies and taxes, power plants simply cannot meet their government mandated limits on CO2.

But never mind.  The Capital Climate Action isn’t about saving endangered species or preventing CO2 emissions, or ending the threat of rising sea level, or even the ‘niceness’ of clean energy.  As the sponsors and endorsements make clear, it is about “social change”, and “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” and “climate justice”.  That’s why it is endorsed by the SDS, Code Pink – Women for Peace, Washington Peace Center, Network of Spiritual Progressives, the Hip Hop Caucus, Greenpeace, the Ruckus Society, Global Exchange and other far-left activists.

The global warming case is breaking down in the face of a political “consensus” about climate policy that is simply collapsing.  Europe is admitting that their cap-and-trade policies don’t work and are far too costly to be tolerated.  Targets for emissions are not achievable, and the public no longer believes.  Hence the desperate effort to stir up support.

The whole global warming hoax was never about saving the earth in a biological sense. It was about saving the earth from Capitalism and Liberty and Democracy, from free trade and  free people.

The brilliant folk who run the world’s Non-Governmental Organizations are much better suited to be in charge and manage the affairs of the world.  Just ask them.

Atlantis Found? by American Elephant
February 20, 2009, 4:48 am
Filed under: History, News of the Weird, Science/Technology | Tags: ,

Map from Atlantis ... spotted on ocean floor

I’m sure there’s a more reasonable explanation , but its fascinating to think about just the same!

New Conservative Ad Slams Obama’s Phony Stimulus by American Elephant

Strong new ad from the conservative group, The American Issues Project.

That the Congressional Budget Office has determined Obama’s stimulus will actually harm the economy in the long term should be the mantra on every conservative’s lips from coast to coast. Whatever minimal “stimulus” this bill will provide for the economy, it is little more than window dressing on a bill that, first and foremost, is designed to make certain Democrats never lose power again.

While Democrats hold all but complete power in Washington, and with a media intent on protecting them, they are working fast and furiously to cement that power. And there is next to nothing conservatives can do to stop them EXCEPT for getting the word out. Americans know very little about this heinous bill. The most important thing we can do is explain to friends and neighbors how corrupt it truly is.  And we can support groups like The American Issues Project who are working to circumvent the media filter and get the truth to the American people.

And a Growing Crisis of Confidence As Well. by The Elephant's Child

Having addressed the “greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression” with a $787,000,000,000 stimulus plan that will put an additional $8 into a worker’s weekly paycheck,(“Making Work Pay”, also known as a tax cut) President Obama has turned his attention to the housing crisis.

Another $75,000,000,000 will be allotted to subsidize select mortgages.  To keep the expenses from ballooning  well beyond that paltry sum, some folks “will pay more in taxes so that others can pay less for housing” as economist Alan Reynolds remarked in the Wall Street Journal today. He pans the plan here. Another editorial points out that re-default rates are 55% after six months.

The reaction to the mortgage bailout from the Chicago Board of Trade and CNBC’s Rick Santelli has been all over the internet.

Apparently people found the rant inspiring, or at least comforting, to know others feel the same way.  Markets have not given the plan a rousing cheer.  Today marked a new low, down nearly 50%.

Stan Liebowitz, Ashbel Smith Professor of Economics at the University of Texas said:

The government still can’t keep its hands off the housing market, even after its previous interventions wound up leading to our current economic problems.  Obama’s plan lowers mortgage rates… to just about everyone, which is just another stimulus program in a different guise that will hardly imlpact house prices.  The plan rewards the homeowners who took out the worst mortgages, whom it defines as “at risk,” with interest rates that can be as low as two percent, less than the best mortgage applicant can receive in the market.  It plans to lower monthly payments even for homeowners who are current on their mortgage and have not had a change in circumstances, if they are deemed to be paying too much or the house is underwater.  In spite of its rhetoric, the plan rewards speculators and people who lied about their income on their mortgage application.  Read the rest here.

Beyond that, the banks have not been bailed out yet, and the car companies  in Detroit are awaiting funding.  And it seems like the rest of the country has it’s hands out.

So, do you want to lean into the crisis, learn all you can?  Or do you find it too scary?  We cannot do much right now, except to call our congressional representatives.  But you can learn about what is going on, you can educate your  family, friends and neighbors.

We have this situation because our congressional representatives did not read the bill, but just listened to the siren call of “Crisis.” Without learning that there was no haste, that they didn’t have to act without giving the public a chance to respond, they responded emotionally to the fellow who was crying “crisis”  in a crowded theater.

Funny, among those old sayings from your grandmother are “Haste makes waste” and “Look before you leap.” Plain common sense.  It’s what forms the guardrails of life.

Daniel Mitchell is Back, Explaining Economic Growth. by The Elephant's Child
February 19, 2009, 2:34 am
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, The Constitution | Tags: , ,

Daniel Mitchell, economist with the CATO Institute, has done a fine job of explaining the current economic crisis and what should be done about it.  He is always worth your time.  Scroll down for his previous videos.  (They can be seen here, and here.)

(h/t Hot Air)

Thinking about scary things, and about thinking. by The Elephant's Child
February 16, 2009, 10:16 pm
Filed under: History, Military, Movies, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

People approach events differently.  Some lean into a crisis, want to know all about it.  Others dissemble.  If it is scary, they don’t want any part of it.

For example, take war movies.  Some people don’t want to see anything that contains violence.  Others want to know as much as they can about an event, even as it is not very accurately portrayed in a movie where there is no real blood or real bullets.

Supposedly it is women who don’t want to see, hear, or think about violence.  I don’t know if that is true, though I know it to be true for many of my friends.  I assume that is where the “chick flick” vs. “war movie” division between men and women came about. But then I’ve heard “eeuw, gross!”  from plenty of guys as well.

That goes for other worrisome things as well, such as economic crisis, natural disasters and politics.

I have always been of the former kind.  I read military history, read everything I can find about the current economic crisis and the stimulus bill, am afraid of neither spiders or snakes, and am decidedly female.  Are little girls taught by their mothers to jump on a chair and say “eek!” at spiders or mice?  My mother was much like I am, though I don’t know about the war movie part.  Perhaps I am just more my father’s daughter.

My bookshelves are a testament to those interests. The Rape of Nanking, Survival in Auschwitz, The Battle Cry of Freedom, Saratoga, A Soldier’s Tale, House to House, With the Old Breed, or Black Hawk Down, for example.  Probably my all-time favorite books have been Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey-Maturin series of 20 books on the Royal Navy in the 1700s.  I have read them over and over, as have many historians, and recommend them to anyone who likes to read.  But the 18th century in the Royal Navy was decidedly bloody.

I have always known from the pictures of refugees streaming from the cities and bombs of World War II, that that could be me.  That the unexpected could happen. Yet I suspect most people don’t think like that.

I also believe that many people simply do not want to know about the Stimulus Bill, what it contains, or what it portends for the country.  I have been shocked at members of Congress and their aides who did not read the bill that they voted for.

There are columns by college professors concerned because their students don’t read, and suggestions that television, the internet and new media like Facebook, Twitter and Kindle are changing Americans’ relationship with words and understanding.

How about you?  Do you fear or enjoy violence?  Snakes and spiders?  Are these things related?  Do you want to know everything you can about a problem or would you prefer not to know if you feel that you can’t do anything about it?  War movies, chick flicks?  What is learned and what is innate?  And does thinking or reading about frightening things or big crises prepare you a little better for actual things that happen?

Promises, Promises. by The Elephant's Child
February 16, 2009, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: ,

President Obama has made a number of promises to the American people.  He promised:

  1. to make government “open and transparent”.
  2. to make it “impossible” for Congressmen to slip in earmarks or pork-barrel projects.
  3. to make meetings where laws are written more open to the public. (Even Congressional Republicans were shut out of meetings)
  4. no more secrecy.
  5. to give the public 5 days to look at a bill.
  6. the public will know what is in a bill.
  7. the administration will put every pork-barrel project online.

Oh yes, and no lobbyists either.  That worked out well.

(h/t: Sweetness & Light.)

Quotation of the Day by The Elephant's Child
February 16, 2009, 3:44 pm
Filed under: Politics

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!

— Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, London, 1841

(h/t: CCNet: The Power of Consensus)

They passed the “Impoverish Your Grandkids Bill”, just because they could. by The Elephant's Child
February 14, 2009, 12:09 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Politics | Tags: , ,

Never in history has a more important vote been cast on legislation that no one has read, no one understands, and what the results will be — no one knows.

An administration that promised bipartisanship, allowed no input whatsoever from Republicans. They were even prevented from reading the bill.

An administration that promised transparency, rushed the bill through without debate and without anyone having a chance to read its 1,434 pages.  Oh, that’s not quite correct, apparently lobbyists had a chance to go through it, only Republicans did not, and Democrats couldn’t be bothered.

Investors Business Daily noted:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed to give members of Congress at least 48 hours to look at the historic legislation before them.

After all, the bill will spend the equivalent of nearly 9% of our GDP while adding $1.2 trillion to our national debt.  Obama vows to “create or save” 3.5 million jobs at a cost of $263,000 per job.

Minority leader John Boehner said angrily on the House floor “not one House) member has read this bill.”

Part of the rush was that Pelosi and several other Democrats were due to leave on a week’s tour of Europe, with Rome included on the itinerary.  On the taxpayer’s dollar, of course. Barbara Boxer was choosing carpet samples instead of listening to the debate.

The Heritage Foundation pegs the true cost of the Stimulus Bill at $3.27 trillion on the assumption that any increased funding for programs that are popular with the Left  will never be cut.  Programs like Head Start, Medicaid, COBRA and the Earned Income Tax Credit will not be in any way temporary.

Never have so few spent so much, so quickly, to accomplish so little, and cause so much damage.

And Now for Something a Little Different. by The Elephant's Child
February 13, 2009, 2:49 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Music | Tags: , , ,

This is amazing.  I never dreamed anyone could do this.  I wonder how many of us owned a harmonica but never got beyond the suck in, blow out phase?

An appropriate movie trailer? by The Elephant's Child
February 10, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Politics

The non-stimulating Stimulus Bill has passed the Senate and will move on to the reconciliation battle, where everyone tries to get what was eliminated previously, put back in.  Well, shucks.  Mark Hemingway at National Review suggests this movie (which I have never seen) which may be appropriate to rent.  Here’s the trailer:

(h/t) Mark Hemingway, the Corner NRO

A Letter from General John Kelly, from Iraq. by The Elephant's Child

Michael Ledeen posted a letter, at National Review, from Marine General John Kelly which was sent to Blackfive after the recent Iraqi elections.

This is what everyone should see, and what President Obama should be celebrating — the incredible American victory in Iraq.  Kelly writes of Anbar Province, as Michael Ledeen says, “once the most dangerous province in the country, and now the most peaceful, thanks to the Marine Corps, the Army, and a lot of brave Iraqis.”General Kelly said:

I don’t suppose this will get much coverage in the States as the news is so good.  No, the news is unbelievable.

Something didn’t happen in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, today.  Once the most violent and most dangerous places on earth, no suicide vest bomber detonated killing dozens of voters.  No suicide truck bomber drove into a polling place collapsing the building and killing and injuring over 100.  No Marine was in a firefight engaging an Al Qaida terrorist trying to disrupt democracy.

What did happen was the Anbar Sunnis came out in their tens of thousands to vote in the first free election of their lives.

Read the rest of the letter here.  It’s not long, but oh my, it is heartwarming.

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