American Elephants

Nancy Pelosi Tells C-Span: “There Has Never Been A More Open Process” by The Elephant's Child

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA),  responding to C-Span’s letter to congressional leaders asking to film the debate on the health care bills in which the President’s promise of “transparency” was quoted, said firmly — when she emerged from the secret meetings behind closed doors:

“There has never been a more open process for any legislation.”

Do write that on a 4 x 5 card and tack it up where you can see it every day until the next election.

She also “hinted” that holding informal negotiations — likely without TV cameras — might be the “most practical” way to push the legislation through.

“We will do what is necessary to pass the bill.

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), assistant to the Speaker said the healthcare bill had been “subjected to unprecedented level of public scrutiny.”

“We don’t even know if there’s going to be a conference committee,” he said, alluding to the likelihood that Democrats will reconcile the two bills behind closed doors.

Terrorism. Part of the Rest of the Story. by The Elephant's Child

It seems interesting to me that the American-born Islamist imam, Anwar al-Awlaki,  who groomed Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood killer and the Christmas day Northwest flight 253 bomber  Umar Abdulmutallab, remains mostly unknown and undiscussed.

Somehow it seems worse to train and inspire someone to become a suicide bomber— to kill the maximum number of people and one’s self — than it is to actually do the killing.

The imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, prevailed upon Major Hasan over a long period here, was his ‘mentor’ if that word can be used in such a context, and convinced him that killing his fellow soldiers was a very good thing.

Umar Abdulmutallab, while a student in London between 2005 and 2008 listened to a number of video-link lectures given by al-Awlaki at the East London Mosque’s Muslim Centre.  By then, al-Awlaki was communicating at long distance from Yemen, where he had taken refuge and become affiliated with al Qaeda.  When Abdulmutallab himself went to Yemen, where he was trained and equipped as a suicide bomber, he had personal contact with al-Awlaki, evidently his mentor.

The East London Mosque is one of the largest and most influential Islamic institutions in Britain.  Its Muslim Center is a meeting place which acts somewhat like a college, offering lectures and sermons where people can meet.

David Pryce-Jones reports that the Muslim Centre has received at least £60,000 from a British Government initiative known as “Preventing Violent Extremism.” The intent is to fund moderates in opposition to the extremists, but the very opposite has happened.  The worst violent extremism has been subsidized.

In the last two years, al-Awlaki has addressed at least two gatherings at the Centre via video-link, including one last year called “The End of Time,” advertised with a poster showing the destruction of New York.

It’s bad enough that the President keeps making the silly claim that Guantanamo is what drives jihadists to al Qaeda, but misplaced notions about diversity open the visa spigot to young men from the Middle East without enough oversight.  Profiling is avoided because it might offend.  We fund terrorism in many ways, as does the British government through well-meant foolishness.

And as Hasan and Abdulmutallab are charged and tried, presumably either sentenced to death or life in prison, their imam who is really responsible sits in Yemen.  If he is captured can he even be charged with something that approaches the magnitude of his crime?

Senator Boxer, Congressman Waxman, What if There Is No Carbon To Offset? What If The Planet’s Just Fine? What then? by The Elephant's Child
January 6, 2010, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Environment, Law | Tags: , ,

A New study from the University of Bristol shows that the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions has stayed approximately constant since 1850. What if there is no carbon to offset?

All that “settled science”, the “consensus” — nevermind.  Wolfgang Knorr of the  Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol in England has followed the data where it led, instead of trying to manipulate it to ” hide the decline” in global temperatures that we have been experiencing for the last decade.  Investors Business Daily says:

The new study, published in the online journal Geophysical Research Letters, does not deny that increasing amounts of CO2 have been generated as the world has industrialized, eradicated disease, produced agricultural abundance and improved man’s standard of living.  It shows that only 45% of man’s  emissions, not 100% as warmers claim, stays in the atmosphere and that includes the carbon emissions of the private jets that flew to Copenhagen last month and the limos that drove the occupants around.

This suggests that the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.  The proportion of CO2 that is absorbed has remained constant, even as the amount of CO2 has increased.

Patrick Michaels notes, at World Climate Report that:

In other words, like we have repeated over and over, if the models can’t replicate the past (for the right reasons), they can’t be relied on for producing accurate future projections.  And as things now stand, the earth is responding to anthropogenic CO2 emissions in a different (and perhaps better) manner than we thought that it would.

There remains much to learn about why this happens.  Scientists derided as “skeptics” or “deniers” (see here) do not deny that there has been warming.  They have concluded that the earth’s climate is a result of many complex interactions and processes that are not completely understood.  Clouds, solar cycles, cyclical ocean currents and even cosmic rays have been documented as playing a role in the earth’s climate and weather. We don’t understand all this well,  but it seems to be normal processes of warming and cooling. chief meteorologist and expert forecaster Joe Bastardi says this could be the worst winter in 25 years.  And many regions of the country are reporting record snowstorms.

Mark Steyn Gives Credit Where It’s Due: by The Elephant's Child
January 6, 2010, 11:20 am
Filed under: Law, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

Mark Steyn this morning in the Corner at National Review:

2010: The United States Government revokes Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s visa a mere 12 days after he tries to kill 300 people.

2002: The United States Government approves Mohammed Atta”s visa six months after he’s actually killed 3,000 people — and is , in fact, himself deceased.

If that’s not objective, measurable improvement in the U.S. Bureaucracy, I don’t know what is.  Like they say, the system worked!

Obama Diverting CIA Resources Away From National Security to Propping-Up Global Warming Fraud by American Elephant

Because the CIA really hasn’t got enough on their plate, and because the Obama administration has so thoroughly demonstrated what a bang-up job they’re doing with national security, Obama thinks what our intelligence services really, really need, is a new hobby to occupy all that free-time they surely must have:

The nation’s top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government’s intelligence assets — including spy satellites and other classified sensors — to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change. They seek insights from natural phenomena like clouds and glaciers, deserts and tropical forests.

The collaboration restarts an effort the Bush administration shut down and has the strong backing of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the last year, as part of the effort, the collaborators have scrutinized images of Arctic sea ice from reconnaissance satellites in an effort to distinguish things like summer melts from climate trends, and they have had images of the ice pack declassified to speed the scientific analysis. …

The monitoring program has little or no impact on regular intelligence gathering, federal officials said, but instead releases secret information already collected or takes advantage of opportunities to record environmental data when classified sensors are otherwise idle or passing over wilderness.

Secrecy cloaks the monitoring effort, as well as the nation’s intelligence work, because the United States wants to keep foes and potential enemies in the dark about the abilities of its spy satellites and other sensors. The images that the scientific group has had declassified, for instance, have had their sharpness reduced to hide the abilities of the reconnaissance satellites.

Controversy has often dogged the use of federal intelligence gear for environmental monitoring. In October, days after the C.I.A. opened a small unit to assess the security implications of climate change, Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, said the agency should be fighting terrorists, “not spying on sea lions.”

Now, with the intelligence world under fire after the attempted airliner bombing on Christmas Day, and with the monitoring program becoming more widely known, such criticism seems likely to grow.

Notice how the Times so authoritatively states that the very Director of the Central Intelligence Agency himself approves! Strongly! That sounds so official! And important! Central! And intelligent!

What they fail to mention is that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is not some career intelligence expert, but a lifelong Democrat political hack by the name of Leon Panetta who has absolutely no experience with the intelligence community whatsoever and was appointed by the man whose policies he is defending. Nor do they mention that as Director, he is the bonehead who directed them to divert their time and attention in the first place.

The undie-bomber’s near success, despite the fact that the Obama administration was directly warned of such tactics months ago, should divest anyone of the mistaken impression that it is a good idea, or even appropriate, for the CIA to spend any time whatsoever searching for new polar bear pics for Al Gore’s next Power Point presentation.

(h/t Hot Air)

The Anatomy of a Recession: by The Elephant's Child
January 6, 2010, 1:48 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy | Tags: , ,

Here is a fascinating interactive graphic showing the geography of a recession by unemployment rate per county and how it slowly spreads across the country, beginning in 2007 — nearly a year before the recession began.   From the folks at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Another Obama Promise Bites the Dust! by The Elephant's Child

Democrats in the House and in the Senate have passed health care reform bills.  The bills are quite different, and it is customary to work out the differences in an official conference committee process to get a bill passed.  They plan, however, as they have done to pass the bills in the first place, to operate behind closed doors so that Republicans have no opportunity to gum up the works.

There are highly controversial lingering issues, and if they risked a traditional conference committee, the motions to select and instruct conferees “would need 60 votes all over again.” Can’t have that!

Brian Lamb, CEO of C-Span, wrote to the leaders of Congress asking them to allow cameras in the room for the final negotiations on the health care bill.  He wrote:

President Obama, Senate and House leaders, many of your rank-and-file members, and the nation’s editorial pages have all talked about the value of transparent discussions on reforming the nation’s health care system.  Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American.

Direct and right to the point.

Neither the President nor the Congressional Democrat leaders have the slightest intention of allowing anything to be filmed, and they expect the doors to be closed.  After all, the bills were passed with all sorts of bribes and  threats.

They are quite aware that a majority of the public is opposed to the bill, but they figure that if they can just get it passed in a hurry that people will accept it.  That there is something wrong with their thinking is demonstrated by their rush to pass a bill (so urgent — no debate, just hurry) that will not take effect until 2014.  And above all, they don’t want to let you know what is in the bill.  The more people learn, the more they oppose the legislation.

I cannot improve on what Investors Business Daily had to say:

Both Congress and the president set high standards in the flush of campaigning, and they should be held to them in what is supposed to be the deliberation of policymaking.  They should not be free to hide what they’re doing and hustle through legislation before the public has fully caught on to the deception.

This is, after all, the United States Congress, not the Soviet Politburo.  Our lawmakers are elected public servants, not unaccountable masters who make laws in secret.

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