American Elephants

Britain Takes the Lead in Protecting Libyan Citizens. by The Elephant's Child
February 28, 2011, 4:24 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East, United Kingdom | Tags: ,

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that Britain will help to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya, designed to prevent Moammar Gaddafi from using jet fighters against his own people.  The Prime Minister is the first Western leader to publicly commit to the no-fly zone, in a statement to Parliament which marks a significant escalation in the crisis after sanctions and an arms embargo were imposed by the UN Security Council.

The Times headline says Britain and its NATO allies are making plans to send warplanes to Libya and arm rebels as Western democracies harden determination to force out Gaddafi and prevent a humanitarian disaster — already under way.

President Obama says the violence in Libya is “outrageous” and “unacceptable.” He has signed an Executive Order regarding Sanctions, and protecting assets that belong to the people of Libya.

Don’t Let Obama & His Corrupt Union Bosses Stand in the Way of Recovery Any Longer by American Elephant
February 28, 2011, 4:11 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, News, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , , ,

Michael Ramirez Takes on the “Green” Economy. by The Elephant's Child

Michael Ramirez always has an appropriate comment on the political affairs of the day.  You can see all of his cartoons at  I stand in awe of his talent.

The Budget, The Deficit, Corn, Oil and Elementary Arithmetic. by The Elephant's Child

In his State of the Union speech in January, President Obama said “We can break our dependence on oil with biofuels.” Corn ethanol is not one of your 21st Century innovations.  Henry Ford built his first automobile, the quadricycle, to run on pure ethanol.  It’s been around for a very long time.

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 was passed by Congress to “reduce our nation’s dependence on imported petroleum by requiring certain fleets to acquire alternative fuel vehicles which are capable of operating on nonpetroleum fuels.” Several Acts in the meantime ratcheted it up and in 1995, the EPA began requiring the use of reformulated gasoline year round in metropolitan areas subject to smog.  September 2006, the Renewable Fuel Standard Program was signed, designed to double the use of ethanol and biodiesel by 2012.

Billions in subsidies for corn ethanol haven’t cut our oil imports.  This year 40 percent of the nations corn crop will be consumed for ethanol production.  The quantity of grain — 4.9 billion bushels — is more than twice as much as all the corn produced in Brazil and more than six times as much as is grown in India.  More corn than the output of the European Union, Mexico, Argentina and India combined.  Ethanol producers claim that their sector has a negligible  effect on grain prices, but soaring food prices have led to the violent protests across northern Africa.  There have been food riots in many developing countries. Rising prices for corn always lead to rising prices for wheat as well. The idea that 40% of our corn crop has no effect of food prices is absurd. !

A Rand Corp. study in 2008 warned that diverting corn to ethanol production was bad economics and a security threat.  The OECD projects that global grain prices are likely to be as much as 40 percent higher by 2020 — a disaster for areas where people live on only one or two dollars a day, or less. Bill Clinton said “We have to become energy independent, but we don’t want to do it at the expense of food riots,” to an agricultural conference on Thursday.

The chaos in Libya and unrest in the other oil-producing states has led some analysts to predict unprecedented oil-price spikes.  So right now is a really terrible time for the Obama administration to be discouraging the domestic production of oil and natural gas.  Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is on hold in spite of the Obama administration being held in contempt of court, and court orders to start drilling within 30 days. The Eastern Gulf, Atlantic , Pacific and Alaskan coasts have all been put out of reach for 7 years.

So the Obama administration wants to stop “subsidizing yesterday’s energy” so that the government can appear to be boosting revenues and cutting back on wasteful expenditures.  The taxpayer’s bill for all “subsidies” is around $4.4 billion.  Studies show that eliminating these deductions could result in an increased cost to consumers of $11.5 billion per year in the form of higher natural gas prices.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the cost to taxpayers for using corn ethanol to reduce gasoline consumption by one gallon is $1.78.   This year the corn ethanol sector will turn out about 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol — the energy equivalent of about 9.4 billion gallons of gas.  According to the CBO’s numbers, the cost of the ethanol boondoggle will be about $ 16.2 billion — in exchange for cutting $4.4 billion .  According to energy expert Robert Bryce:

So annual ethanol subsidies are nearly four times as great as those provided for oil and gas, even though domestic drilling provides about 36 times as much energy to the U.S. economy.  Per unit of energy produced, the tax preferences given to corn ethanol are 130 times as great as those given to oil and gas.

Do you suppose that this is the reason why President Obama has never released any of his school records?  Did he flunk basic arithmetic?  The evidence that someone in the White House is mathematically illiterate is piling up.

The Price of Oil is Rising, Let’s Shut Down the Source. by The Elephant's Child

The Energy Blog at has a decorative little title line that says ENERGY BLOG followed by symbols for nuclear, wind, water, solar, a lightbulb (undoubtedly a CFL), a plant, and some power lines.  What is missing is anything representing coal, oil, natural gas, or the industries that actually produce most of our energy.  Isn’t that interesting?

The blog post was by Steven Chu, earlier this month,”‘Winning the Future with a Responsible Budget.” “The DOE as part of President Obama’s commitment to winning the future (WTF) will make critical investments in science, research and innovation that will create jobs, grow the economy, and position America to lead the global clean energy economy.” $8 billion.

While they are making these useless investments, they are cutting programs – that they wouldn’t cut if they didn’t have to.  They are reducing funding for the hydrogen technology program by $70 million, ending operation of the Tevatron at Fermi National Lab saving $35 million, reducing the budget for the Office of Fossil Energy by $418 million, zeroing out the Fuels Program, the Oil and Gas R & D Program and the Unconventional Fossil Technology Program. Hmmm. They really don’t like fossil fuels.

“In accordance with the President’s agreement at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels so the country can transition to a 21st century energy economy, the Administration proposes to repeal a number of tax preferences available for fossil fuel.

I am, frankly, very troubled by the Obama administration’s approach to energy. They seem to swallow whole the claims of rent-seeking companies who wish to go into business on the taxpayer’s dime. All over the world, if wind energy companies do not get generous government subsidies they go out of business – at once.  Venture capitalists are not interested.

Apparently Obama believes deeply in a “21st century energy economy” and is unfamiliar with  science, engineering and experience of other countries who have fallen victim to promoters. Is there any reason to trust Secretary Chu to pick winners and losers? Comments from Master Resource:

“Wind provides no modern power.  Rather it throws out spasmodic, highly skittering energy that cannot by itself be converted to modern power.”

Wind machines, even massively tall and wide contemporary turbines, are wholly inimical to modern power quality.  They are rarely reliable, by nature randomly intermittent, and, since their power is a function of the cube of the wind speed along a very narrow speed range, they are always variable.  No one can know what they will yield at any future interval.

DOE wants to build 54,000 megawatts of offshore wind.  This would mean 115 projects — 15,000 turbines located within 10 miles of our coastlines and spanning 3,000 square miles of open water.  The eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine is only 1,342 miles.

In 2005, all eighty of the Vestas V90 turbines at Denmark’s offshore Horns Rev facility had to be removed and repaired owing to the effect of salty water and air on the generators and gearboxes, after only 2 years of operation.  A similar repair problem was reported on 30 Vestas turbines off the UK coast. Hundreds of European offshore wind turbines were found to have a design fault that caused them to slide off their bases.  This is the same  Department of Energy that has found offshore oil rigs so dangerous, even in shallow water, that they are not issuing permits in spite of court orders to do so.

DOE insists that such an undertaking will revitalize our manufacturing sector and create more than 43,000 permanent, well-paid technical jobs. We’ve heard that one before.

The Stimulus was going to create all sorts of “shovel ready jobs.” As taxpayer money flowed like a waterfall onto the economy, we heard constantly about the jobs “created and saved” that turned out to be only a printout from economic computers.  We’ve heard about “green jobs” that have never appeared unless the definition of a green job is changed to be more inclusive. And green jobs that were promised to those who enrolled in the government’s green education camps, but they never turned up either.  The promise that more spending on projects that are of questionable value and years away will create 43,000 “well-paid technical jobs” sounds as ephemeral as all the previous promises. There are currently no offshore wind turbines in the United States.

Obama expects his very own clean green economy to rely on 80% renewable energy by 2035. So he’s shutting down everything actually useful in advance — to get us used to energy poverty and blackouts, I guess.

Are They Completely Nuts, or Are There Ulterior Motives? by The Elephant's Child

Oil prices are skyrocketing under President Obama.  The oil futures market is climbing under the threat of the revolution in the oil producing countries of North Africa. The spreading unrest in the African nations is not yet reflected in the price at the pump.

The day before President Obama was inaugurated, the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.83.  Today it is well over $3 and headed up. President Obama has been taking steps unilaterally to raise the cost of gasoline for two years.

  1. President Obama Has Crippled Domestic Oil Exploration:  The administration demonstrated its hostility to drilling immediately upon taking office.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar cancelled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah.  In September 2008, before he was appointed energy secretary, Steven Chu told the Wall Street Journal that somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.
  2. President Obama Has Completely Shut Down the Existing Oil Drilling Infrastructure in the U.S. At least 103 permits are awaiting review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. The federal government has not approved a single new drilling plan in the Gulf, since Obama ended the drilling moratorium in October, 2010.  He also reversed an earlier decision to open access to coastal waters for exploration. Instead he has placed a seven-year ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico.  Four pending lease sales in Alaska have been cancelled.
  3. The Obama Administration Has Been Held in Contempt of Court. Judge Martin Feldman held the Interior Department in contempt of court on February 2, 2011, and has since given them 30 days to act on permits, saying that inaction is not a lawful option.
  4. The Administration’s Oil Policies are Killing Jobs. Companies that help supply our country’s domestic oil needs are going out of business. Not only high paying drilling jobs are being lost, but vendors, suppliers and all the shops and restaurants that depend on the industry are losing ground or going out of business as a result of Obama’s economically crippling policies.
  5. Oil and Gas Fuel our Transportation Sector. Wind and solar energy serve only a minute part of our electric power needs.  Renewable energy has nothing to do with the turmoil in the Middle East.  Subsidies for ethanol are affecting the world market for grain.  Putting food crops in our gas tanks is not an answer to dependence on foreign oil,.  Oil is a commodity sold on a world market.
  6. The Oil Industry Produces Revenue for the Federal Government, Now Lost. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the U.S. will suffer lost income of $3.7 million per day as a result of lost royalties.  If that is accurate, and continues, the federal government would lose more than $1.35 billion just this year.
  7. The Presumption is That Obama is Attempting to Force Americans to Accept His Clean Green Renewable Fantasy. Engineers and energy experts explain that although wind is free, producing energy from it is not. Wind is too intermittent to effectively produce any significant amount of power. It requires 24/7 backup from fossil fueled coal or gas fired power plants.  Solar energy is too diffuse to be significant.
  8. America Has Abundant Supplies of Coal and Natural Gas. The EPA is denying approval of the Keystone pipeline which would increase the amount of oil the U.S. receives from our friends to the North by over a million barrels a day.  EPA rules and regulations are hurting business and costing jobs in an economy where jobs are desperately needed.  Every administration energy decision has had the effect of raising the cost of oil.

Obama’s 2012 budget includes over $8 billion for research, development and deployment in “clean energy technology” programs.  This is part of Secretary Chu’s energy plan to Win the Future (WTF).

State Budget Battles: The Showdowns by The Elephant's Child

Coming soon to your state! Protesters are making absurd claims.  Essentially, they are claiming that taxpayers should pay for their health care and their pensions, and in a budget crisis created largely by their own outsized demands, somebody else should pay.  Wisconsin taxpayers now pay 94% of the cost of the teacher’s health care insurance.  The governor is asking teachers to pay a little larger percentage of their own — taxpayers will still pick up 87.2 % of their healthcare.

Sorry, I know it’s hard when your budget is a little tighter, but preferring that large numbers of your fellows lose their jobs to keep you from having to pay the slightest bit more isn’t exactly an admirable quality. Are these folks simply unaware of the nation’s financial problems? If teachers are so uninformed, it’s no wonder that Wisconsin kids can’t read.

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