American Elephants


Mission Accomplished. Honor Those Who Made It Possible! by The Elephant's Child
February 21, 2010, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, Iraq, Military | Tags: , ,

Here’s a must-read article on our mission in Iraq by David Bellavia, author of  House to House: A Tale of Modern War, an absolutely unputdownable account of the Battle of Fallujah in 2004.

If you haven’t read House to House, I recommend it highly.  It is one of the great combat stories of all time, searing, honest and compelling.

But don’t miss his post “Our Mission is Finally Accomplished…  Anyone Care?”

The gentlemen of PowerLine add:

Gabriel Ledeen served two tours in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. He is now studying at Stanford Law School. He writes to ask his friends to “read this article, written by decorated combat veteran and author David Bellavia. It is an almost perfect expression of what it feels like to be a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (now concluded), trying to assimilate back into a society that doesn’t understand what our war was and is.” Readers may know Bellavia by House to House, his account of the Battle of Fallujah as seen through the eyes of an infantryman who was there and who played a heroic role in it.

JOHN adds: House to House is one of the most riveting books, and maybe the best book about warfare, I’ve read. If you haven’t read it, you should.



The Next Financial Crisis May Be a Carbon Trading Bubble. by The Elephant's Child
February 21, 2010, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Housing bubble, credit bubble?  According to an article in The Telegraph by Jeremy Warner, the newest area of securities trading that is potentially even more lucrative is carbon trading.  According to an article in Harper’s Magazine, carbon trading is now the fastest growing commodities market on earth, damaging economies right and left.

Signatories to the Kyoto Protocol bought into the cap-and-trade concept in 2005,  and since, there have been more than $300 billion carbon transactions, convincing several investment banks to set up their own carbon trading desks.

The promise lies in the fact that if President Obama and his supporters can pass a cap-and-trade system in the United States — a rather large if — demand could explode into a $ 2 trillion to $3 trillion market.

And here is the truly exciting thing about it.  The carbon market is based on a lack of delivery of an invisible substance to no-one.

The market is about creating carbon credits , or finding carbon reduction projects whose benefits can be sold to those who have too much emissions, the whole thing is completely intangible. Can not producing carbon then be described as an asset?  Has everyone gone completely nuts?

This is the most wide-open invitation to fraud and abuse perhaps ever seen.



Green Jobs, The Last Redoubt of the True Believers. They Remain Uninterested in the Evidence. by The Elephant's Child
February 21, 2010, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

Donald Hertzmark of Master Resource does a little math experiment.  In the interests of green tech, and what it can do for the U.S. economy, he chose a number at random: $287.4 billion dollars.

What can you do with $287.4 billion?  Well, in green tech you can construct about 136.9 GW of wind generation.  At an average plant factor of 25% this will yield about 299.7 billion kWh per year.

Is There Any Other Way to Generate 300 billion kWh/year in the USA?

Actually, there is.  If you took 2 trillion ft3/year of gas from shale deposits, put that gas into 45.6 GW of CCGT units operating at 75% plant factors, then voilà, your 299.7 billion kWh would appear.  To produce 2 trillion ft3 of gas from shale annually you need about $85 billion (present value) in fixed investment and production costs over 20 years.  You also need to build the CCGT plants, for say, $38.8 billion.

So the “bad” future, the one that produces reliable and clean electricity from natural gas (domestic US gas, no laughing Russians I bet), will cost about $123.4 billion, or 43% what the windy future costs.  And the terrible thing about it, from the green point of view, is that not one cent (well, about $0.00025 per kWh) comes from taxpayers.  Willing investors and customers will be all that is needed to support the investments and production.  What are we going to do with the $164 billion that’s left over?

Actually, there are a lot of things we can do with $164 billion, but it’s not really the government’s business if we stop fooling around with subsidies for wind and solar (subsidized at a rate of about $0.024/kWh in the US).  People can invest in new plants, skills training, technology research.  In short, we can invest in figuring out new and better ways to use that energy we have so efficiently generated from gas.  While energy is the master resource, it is not the purpose of the economy.  We love energy for what it does, not what it is.  The greenies love the machines more than they love the economy.  That’s why they are willing to destroy the economy in order to build the machines.

As ever more evidence accumulates that the army of global warmism is on life support, a new battle line is arising.  “The American economy is ill, energy is important, green jobs will save us, so we must promote green jobs, give us your money.” The trouble is that their much hyped stalwarts — wind, solar, ethanol, and high-speed trains —are simply not up to the jobCap-and-trade and/or a carbon tax were supposed to force that support, but they have failed.

There are very few things that the government does well.  To deflate the enormously overblown budget, a good start would be to defund every agency, bureaucracy, office and program that funds attempts to eliminate, reduce or sequester carbon dioxide or replace it with “renewable” energy. And lose the subsidies for useless “green technology,” and “green jobs.”

The European Union has already volunteered to be an example for us.  They are watching their future sink into a sea of red ink by subsidizing “renewable” energy and putting excessive taxes on electricity and fuels to pay for the subsidies. ” Spain”s annual subsidy bill for renewable energy is now about $38 billion — more than twice as much as the U.S. Federal government spends — to subsidize energy for an economy just one-ninth the size of the U.S. ”

Just this once, could we pay attention to the evidence?  A good intention is not a successful policy.  It may seem old-fashioned, but studying the evidence is how you learn.  You learn what has been successful and what has failed, so you emulate success and try to correct for failure.  Beats the hopey-changey stuff every time.

ADDENDUM: Spain is Europe’s second worst economy with nearly 20% unemployment (thanks in part to all those green jobs) and a crumbling GDP.  The leadership of the Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero have blamed the collapse on everything but their socialist policies.




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