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.

Elections Have Consequences. by The Elephant's Child
February 25, 2011, 5:52 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Liberalism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

The American people are more concerned about budgets and deficits and debt than ever before.  That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone gets it.  What are students from the University of Wisconsin doing sleeping in the capitol building, and participating in protests?  Well, great fun being part of a big noisy protest, beating drums, singing protest songs.  But the likelihood that they have any idea of what the protests are all about is slim.

Teachers are being asked to pay 12.8% of their health-care premiums, up from 6%.  That means that the taxpayers are still paying 87.2% of their health-care costs.  They are being asked to contribute 5.8% of their salary toward their own pensions.  The unions said they wouldn’t object to that.  So why didn’t all the protesters pack up and go home? The unions don’t want to give up their power. Nobody is taking away their right to bargain collectively over salaries.

The problem is collective bargaining over benefits.  No state can possibly afford that. States are required to balance their budgets, and most states can no longer raise taxes, they’re already too high and significantly damaging the free market and killing jobs. In Wisconsin, either public employees agree to fairly modest cuts, or there will be massive layoffs.  There isn’t another choice.

In the private sector, unions bargain collectively with management.  Private sector management has an interest in keeping labor costs on a par with their competitors.  Thus management has an incentive to push back against union demands. If their labor costs get too high, they will lose business to their competitors, and eventually fail.

Public sector unions donate large amounts of money to the campaigns of the very public officials who will bargain collectively with the same unions.  The public officials have an interest in pleasing the unions so that they can again receive campaign funds from the unions.  They have no incentive to push back against union demands for larger pensions and more generous health care benefits.

People act in their own self-interest.  That’s just the way of the world. You can try to order people to do things they don’t want to do, but it doesn’t work well.  People respond to incentives.  The left seldom understands this.

General Electric and Phillips found it would improve their bottom line to force the American people to buy CFL lightbulbs made cheaply in China , which they could then sell at a larger profit. The American people didn’t like CFL bulbs. GE and Phillips helped the government to write a bill banning the use of incandescent bulbs.  The American people still do not like CFL bulbs and are stocking up on regular incandescent bulbs, and demanding that their congressmen repeal the ban.  People respond to incentives.

The American people don’t like the government telling them what kind of shower head they can use.  They have either installed multiple shower heads, or removed the restrictors from their government-mandated shower heads.  People respond to incentives.

The federal government can order school districts to feed broccoli to the kids.  There are no incentives there.  Kids don’t like broccoli.

The states cannot keep raising taxes, and thus put more people out of work, so that public sector unions can have more power.  The people who receive overly generous benefits from their public sector unions are vastly outnumbered by the ordinary people who have to pay higher taxes so that public sector workers can receive big pensions when they are no longer working.

Last year alone, 612,000 US workers dropped their union memberships — each representing as much as $500 in dues.  The average wage for public sector state and local government workers is $48,742, while the average private sector worker  receives only $45,155 . Used to be that public sector workers accepted a slightly lower wage in return for greater job security and better benefits.

SEIU gave $28 million to the Obama campaign, which went to Organizing for America to deploy activists to agitate for unions in Wisconsin.  As Michael Barone says: public sector unions “are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.”

Is This Finally the End of the IPCC? by The Elephant's Child

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 244–179 on February 19, to eliminate U.S. funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The  Republican majority went on record as saying that it no longer wishes for the IPCC to prepare its climate assessments.

The IPCC was founded over 20 years ago by politicians who intended to use the government-funded establishment to achieve policy goals. The IPCC does no research, but merely reports. A total of 23 climate models cover a wide range of warming estimates for our future — but there is no way to test them to see if their climate change predictions are accurate.

The climate has been far warmer in the past, and far cooler as well. Why should today’s warmth be manmade when the Medieval Warm Period was natural.  I’ve always suspected that baby-boomer scientists just can’t believe that anything important happened without them — but that’s just me.

Do follow the link. Dr. Roy Spencer works on the satellite program that measures global temperatures — the only accurate measurement of temperatures that we have. He is always ready to explain what we know and what we don’t know. An assessment without the usual scare–mongering is always welcome.

At Climate Depot, Marc Morano reports on the more than 1000 International scientists who dissent over man-made global warming claims — more than 20 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

They always claim that there is a scientific consensus on climate change. We are told that there is by pundits and the press.  They typically point to the number 2500 — the number of scientists associated with the UN’s IPCC.  Those 2500, the press believed had endorsed the IPCC position. That wasn’t true. Those 2500 had merely reviewed some portion of the IPCC studies. Many of those scientists actually disagreed with the IPCC’s conclusions.

The pundits, embarrassed, looked for an alternate number. They found the statement “97% of the world’s climate scientists” accept the consensus.” That number comes from a 2009 survey of 10,257 earth scientists conducted by two researchers from U. of Illinois. The researchers chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change.  They started out by excluding any of the thousands of scientists who were most qualified to speak on climate. They excluded the solar scientists, space scientists , cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers. About 1000 of those surveyed did not have a PhD, and some didn’t even have a master’s degree.  So they asked two non-questions

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

Since the Little Ice Age did not end until around 1850, global temperatures have risen, and many skeptics believe that human activity has played some part in what warming there has been, the questions were pretty meaningless.  But that ‘s how the climate battles go.

In science, there is no such thing as “consensus”.  Whether organizations of scientists approve or disapprove is meaningless. That’s not how the scientific method works.

The Obama Doctrine: Surely There is One? by The Elephant's Child

Elliott Abrams spoke out about “Obama’s Pathetic Response to Libya:

With a thousand Libyans (and perhaps many more) dead already from the Qaddafi regime’s attacks on its own population, and with reports of thousands of mercenaries and militiamen streaming toward Tripoli, President Obama finally spoke to the nation about this violence on Wednesday afternoon. He announced solemnly that he was sending Secretary of State Clinton to Geneva to visit the U.N. Human Rights Council and “hold consultations”—next Monday!

As did John Podhoretz at Commentary: “Better He Should Have Said Nothing

After days of silence, the president of the United States took to the microphone and, in a statement of almost unbelievable pointlessness, said as little as he could. He condemned the violence, said he was sending Hillary Clinton to Europe, said he had instructed his team to look at all options, and said that the “most basic aspiration” of people was (and here he quoted a Libyan) “to be able to live like human beings.” Crises either elevate leaders or make them look shrunken and unequal to the task history has assigned them. I think there’s little question which of these two categories describes Barack Obama right now.

And over at the Doug Ross Journal it’s All Summed-Up with “The Obama Doctrine Cheat Sheet,” to help you to keep everything straight in your mind.  Don’t miss it.

X-Men First Class Trailer by American Elephant
February 24, 2011, 10:06 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Movies, Politics | Tags:


‘Cus it’s hard to go wrong with Mutants. Best watched in full screen HD.

About the Situation in Libya… by The Elephant's Child

President Obama finally spoke out forcefully about the situation in Libya, on the seventh day of violent protests against the dictatorship of Moammar Gaddafi.  Gaddafi has rejected demands that he relinquish power. He continues his violent crackdown on the mass protests.

The president said that “we strongly condemn the use of violence in Libya.”  He said “the violence must stop.”  He has “asked his administration to prepare the full range of options.”  He reminded Libya that “the whole world is watching.”  He has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to go have some meetings in Europe.

Some pilots in the Libyan Air Force flew their planes out over the desert, and parachuted out, allowing the aircraft to crash in the desert.

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