American Elephants

Taking Credit for the Actions of Others Does Not Demonstrate “Cool Competence.” by The Elephant's Child

Politico reports that the “White House is in a P.R. ‘panic’ over spill.” See the video accompanying the Politico article.

The ferocious oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening President Barack Obama’s reputation for competence, just as surely as it endangers the Gulf ecosystem.

Once again, it’s all about him.  “Hope and change,” Politico says, “was Obama’s headline message in 2008, but those atop his campaign have always said that it was Obama’s cool competence — exemplified by his level-headed handling of the financial meltdown during the campaign’s waning days — that sealed the deal with independents and skeptical Democrats.  The promise of rational, responsive and efficient government is Obama’s brand, his justification for bigger and bolder federal interventions and, ultimately, his rationale for a second term.”  Talk about spin!

“Have the reporters not noticed” asks Jennifer Rubin, “that those bigger and  bolder federal interventions are what is driving down his and the Democrats’ popularity? The panic,…is indicative not of the magnitude of the issue or the reaction of the public…but instead of the obsession of this administration …with spin, image, and communication as the answer to every challenge Obama faces.”

What is interesting is what isn’t panicking the White House. The “we have no plan” Iran memo from Robert Gates doesn’t panic them. SCUD missiles in Syria only engenders “deep concern.” Sky-high unemployment figures with little prospect of robust job creation? Yawn.

No one thinks the administration is responsible for the spill or the explosion.  They are only responsible for preparedness.  Other than burning the oil on the surface, there’s not much the government can do, but though there was a plan, there were no booms. All of the action and efforts to control the disaster fall on the experts from the industry.  They have the equipment and the expertise. But Obama here does what he has often done before. He simply moves in and takes credit for what others have done. He was right on top of it “from Day One.”

The Washington Post calls it a “challenge of message management.”  After saying that the President (9 days later) had no plans to go to Louisiana, the President sent off Admiral Mullen, Secretary Napolitano, Secretary Salazar, Director Lisa Jackson of the EPA, Obama’s Assistant for Energy and Climate, and the Administrator of NOAA,  whose name escapes me.  All of whom repeated at every opportunity “from Day One.” And a fat lot of good six additional politicians will do.

The big deal, unfortunately is not the missing and dead oil rig workers, nor the potential damage to the Louisiana gulf coast, but, as the Washington Post says: “handled right, these two crises (the failed bombing) have the potential to restore an increasingly skeptical public’s faith in Obama… Bungled, either or both could go down as his administration’s Hurricane Katrina.”

The offshore oil rigs are in the jurisdiction of the federal government.  The Gulf Coast, deluged by Hurricane Katrina, was under the legal jurisdiction of the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Let’s try not to play politics with disasters, but just be helpful and, um, honest.

The United Nations Can Find Things to Praise in the Strangest Places! by The Elephant's Child
May 4, 2010, 12:48 am
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

There are situations in the world that make you want to bang your head on the wall, because they are so senseless.  They are all too often found in the proximity of the United  Nations.

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan has returned from Pyongyang, with wonderful news.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is making great strides in health care.  They now boast one “household doctor” for every 130 households.  North Korean doctors selflessly have chosen not to emigrate and have even  conquered the decadent West’s problem of obesity! Ms. Chan’s surreal statements, as reported by several wire services, really did include praise for North Korean health care and for the lack of obesity.

Not exactly consistent with the reports of other visitors or with the accounts of North Koreans fleeing starvation — after a poor harvest and a harsh winter a climbing trend again.  Ms Chan’s predecessor described the North’s health-care system near collapse in 2001.  The North has depended, since then, on foreign aid to feed one-third of their population.  The statistics the government offers on doctors, nurses and midwives are highly unlikely.

Today the WHO has become a cheerleader for Cuban health care.  As long as a totalitarian state gives poorly trained people the title of “doctor”, and takes visiting officials on tours of pretend hospitals, the UN is happy to offer its seal of approval.  Michael Moore fell for it too.

Wind and Solar Fantasies Meet Financial Reality. It’s Not Pretty! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has told us, at least eight times, to look at the wonders of Spain’s “green jobs” and green-energy economy.  But when Standard & Poor’s cut their credit rating on April 28,  Spain’s socialist government began to recognize that, just as Gabriel Calzada warned, their wind and solar programs were a big waste of money.  You can’t keep spending $750,000 per “green job” when you are going broke.

The media has been covering the government’s admission of the collapse and spectacular costs of Spain’s solar industry.  The country’s unemployment rate has already passed 20 percent, the public deficit will soon reach 12 percent, and the example of the financial meltdown of Greece is frightening everyone.  The current situation of the renewable sector is a big threat.  Last year the cost of aid to the renewable sector was higher than the total cost for all electricity for the country.

Reductions in subsidies for solar plants has caused big photovoltaic plant owners to shelve their Spanish stock offerings.  Investors are scared off.  The following quote tells you what you need to know about Spain’s “green’ energy:

Solar-plant owners including General Electric Co. earn about 12 times what’s paid for power from fossil fuels. Most of that is a subsidy charged to customers.  The rest is charged to taxpayers.

You would think that $750,000 per green job would make the red lights start flashing, but when you are swept up in an ideological fantasy, it apparently takes a louder wake-up call.  The debacle of Greece is shaking up the European Union.

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