American Elephants

Why Are We Allowing Congress to Commit American Economic Suicide? by The Elephant's Child
June 23, 2009, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Freedom | Tags: , ,

There are big differences in the way that Conservatives and Liberals address policy.  Liberals are sure that things are better done by a wise and authoritative government, namely themselves.

Conservatives, believing firmly in free enterprise, competition and learning from mistakes remain unconvinced that government is wise and don’t care much for being bossed around.

Liberals, having decided that a policy is a good, spend great amounts of time determining just how to pass the policy into law.  Horse-trading, bullying, threatening, focus groups to see what language is most appealing to voters.

Conservatives study the policy to understand the costs and benefits and the consequences that it might entail down the line.  They study the history of such policies to see how effective they have been elsewhere.

President Obama said in today’s press conference “the House of Representatives is moving ahead on historic legislation that will transform the way we produce and use energy in America.  It …will finally spark a clean energy transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet.”

To be as polite as I can, this is hogwash.  Carbon is not pollution, but an element essential to life. Barack Obama should have learned that in high school biology.  The carbon emitted by internal combustion engines, SUV exhausts, coal-fired power plants, human breathing and cow burps is not the cause of the small amount of warming over the last century.  There is no climate crisis. The earth is always warming and cooling, and it has not warmed since 1998.

The rising sea levels, submerged Manhattan, killer hurricanes, melting Arctic and Antarctica, all the disasters arise from flawed computer climate models that cannot predict anything because they are programmed with guesses and estimates and output nonsense.  The legislation, in its entirity, would not reduce climate temperatures at all.

The President went on to say: “This energy bill will create a set of incentives that will spur the development of new sources of energy, including wind, solar, and geothermal power….these incentives will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy.  And that will lead to the development of new technologies that lead to new industries that could create millions of new jobs in America — jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.”

“At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air we breathe.”

Does he actually believe these things, or are these just focus-group-tested phrases?  Carbon emissions are not dangerous, do not contaminate the water nor pollute the air.

Wind energy is a proven job killer, in Spain killing two jobs for every one “created”.  Wind blows only occassionally, seldom when it it most needed, and requires backup from an ordinary power plant when the wind does not blow.  Solar is not cost effective.  When a wind farm or large solar array is planned, the environmental activists who demanded clean energy quickly file suit to prevent harm to an endangered species or because they make too much noise.  Environmental activists want to remove the blight of humanity from mother earth.

Economist Martin Feldstein says that the cap-and-trade program would raise the average family’s cost by $1,600 a year.  Heritage Foundation says $1,870.  Nancy Pelosi wants the House of Representatives to pass this Economic Suicide bill by Friday.  It’s time to get on the phone, and contact your Representative by calling the House switchboard at (202) 225-3121.  Tell your Representative to vote No on H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act. You can also send your Member an e-mail by going to and following instructions to find your Representative’s website.

Liberals have trouble with basic economic common sense.  You would think that they would understand that raising taxes or consumer costs during a recession is not a winning policy.  When tax receipts go down because so many are unemployed, their natural reaction seems to be to raise taxes rather than cut expenses.  Go figure.

Losing Your Liberty, a Little Here, a Little There. by The Elephant's Child
June 23, 2009, 2:37 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Law, Politics, The Constitution

The onrush of news and the sheer volume of information is debilitating. We have to read, listen, sort and think about the the news that is presented to us and decide what is important and what is not.  Much is not, but how will we know?

Just the normal flow of information gives us an astounding amount of sorting, organizing, prioritizing, compartmentalizing, discarding and ignoring before we even get to the understanding part. And this may be in addition to a separate flow of information and decision making in our work.

We are pretty remarkable processors, but we get no real training in how to do this.  We are easy prey for manipulated language and pretty pictures, and suckers for a sad story.  We are easily persuaded by what seems to be authoritative without any idea of what constitutes authority and from whence it comes.

We all process this flow differently.  Some people follow war news closely, while others abhor violence.  Some people care about the latest doings of Brangelina and some people don’t.  We each have our filters.

Our personal filters come from what our mothers told us, something we read at the doctors office, a favorite movie, our friends’ opinions, the history books we read and a teacher we had in high school.  We act on whims and fancied self-interest, and studiously avoid original thought.

So now we have protests in Iran and the Ayatollahs are responding with violence.  We have a war in Afghanistan, and one winding up in Iraq.  The North Koreans are trying to spread WMD around to make some money, and we are trailing them with the USS John McCain and may ask them to stop and let us check out what they have in their hold.

The Obama administration is attempting to pass a completely unnecessary cap-and-trade bill, by Friday, to prevent global warming in an earth that has been cooling for several years.  At the same time they are nationalizing America’s auto industry, voiding bankruptcy laws and deciding what kind of cars the industry may make.  They are pouring money into the economy in the vain hope that something will stop the swift climb of the unemployment rate.

Although the financial industry did not cause the housing meltdown, vast new regulations are planned, for it is much more desirable to blame the problems on an absence of regulation (which Congress is happy to supply) rather than an oversupply of misguided regulation (which makes them look bad).

Then there is the drive to take over our health care, promoted by an array of phony statistics, buttressed by fantasy promises, with an enormous cost that nobody knows how to pay for.

How do we process all of that?  Some will just want to avoid thinking about it at all.  Each problem is complex and the solutions that are suggested are far more complicated. There are statistics to be understood and trade-offs, and many of the facts presented are not factual.  To understand, we need to study and there is no time, no time.  Which is surely the strategy for the rush.  Everything must be passed quickly before the glow of the first hundred days fades completely.

But this is how liberty is lost, slyly, when we are not paying attention.  Liberty is a rare element, easily lost and maintained only with attentive effort by the individual human spirit. We have been lucky, we Americans, that there have always been some who will stand up to be counted when freedom is at risk.

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient…The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
Justice Louis Brandeis

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