American Elephants

They’re a Vital Interest, But Who Are They? by The Elephant's Child

In his speech at Georgetown University on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said the following:

We meet here at a tumultuous time for the world. In a matter of months, we’ve seen regimes toppled. We’ve seen democracy take root in North Africa and in the Middle East. … We’ve led an international effort in Libya to prevent a massacre and maintain stability throughout the broader region.

Unfortunately we have not seen democracy take root in North Africa.  In the Middle East there are  two democracies, one long-standing and one fledgling:  Israel and Iraq. No one, in the Arab nations, has had any experience of democracy in the past 3,000 years.  Lots of tumult, rebellion and violence, but there is no clear evidence of who the rebels are and what they want.

Now that we have gone to war to defend the rebels, American CIA agents are studying the rebel forces to find out just who they are. “There are flickers of al Qaeda and Hezbollah,” said NATO Commander Admiral Stavridis.  President Obama has issued a secret finding to send in CIA agents to find out.

We have been repeatedly assured that the forces that led the upheaval in Egypt were young, liberal, pro-democratic, and technically hip. The movement’s leadership appears to be a small group of independent people with no particular structure, according to Barry Rubin of the Middle East Review of International Affairs.

To the extent that  you can identify organized groups participating the fall into three categories, Rubin says: left-wing radical Marxists or nationalists, reformists allied at the time to the Muslim Brotherhood, or Islamists. The evidence for them comes from analyzing the history of the April 6 Youth Movement.

During the two weeks that Obama dithered, it would have been a good time to find out who these rebels were and what they wanted.


Obama Talks Energy. Long on Gimmicks. Short on Action. by The Elephant's Child

After an incoherent speech on Libya, the president has followed up with a deeply dishonest and incoherent speech on energy, at Georgetown University.  Perhaps he really believes his claims. Some he has repeated often enough that we must make that assumption.

“We’ve known about the dangers of our oil dependence for decades….And every President…has talked about freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil.” Every President may have talked about it but they were all wrong.  Oil is an international commodity, on which the world depends. It doesn’t matter if it is “foreign,” If the Saudis don’t sell their oil, they don’t have any revenue. If they don’t have any revenue, they cannot keep order in their country.

We’re delighted to see the President re-committing to oil and gas production onshore and offshore, which can lower prices and create jobs. But, as usual, actions do not match the rhetoric. Drilling rigs are in place in the Gulf of Mexico, but only a few have been allowed to start drilling again in wells where they were previously producing oil.  The administration is still dragging its feet on new permits.

The Obama anti-energy agenda has decreases expected production in the Gulf of Mexico by 360,000 barrels of oil per day.  By withholding permits in Alaska, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline is only filled to one-third of its capacity. The Outer Continental Shelf holds at least 80 billion barrels—four times as much as the two percent the President says we have.

The President, however fell back on the old tired Leftist talking point:

Right now the industry holds tens of millions of acres of leases where they’re not producing a single drop.  They’re just sitting on supplies of American  energy that are ready to be tapped.

This is embarrassing. The earth is not a pincushion filled with oil, and all you have to do is drill a hole.  When a company buys a lease, they do not know if there is any oil there. A lease is the first step in a long complicated process that involves surveying, seismic studies, bureaucratic red tape, lawsuits by environmental activists determined to stop energy development, followed by appeals—long before there is any possibility of drilling.

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This was followed by the announcement that he’s going to cut our importation of oil by one-third a decade from now. Because we’re going to be getting so much electricity from wind and solar (and  oil from Brazil, which isn’t foreign?)  We’re going to do it with ingenuity, cleaner alternative fuels (ethanol) and greater efficiency. ” We’re going to replace oil with fuels like natural gas and biofuels, and reduce our dependence by making cars and trucks that useless oil in the first place.”

“There are few breakthroughs as promising …as electric vehicles.” Everybody has loved the idea of electric cars since the early 1900s.  So far this year, Government Motors has sold a resounding  928 Chevy Volts and 173 Nissan Leafs. That’s with a $7,500 bribe with taxpayer money. Since Obama is requiring the Government to buy Volts, and GE has announced their intention to buy half the output of Volts, the figures don’t seem very impressive.

The Leaf claimed a 100-mile range, but as that is tested in real life—stranded Leafs! One buyer said “2.3 miles from dealer. 4.2 miles from home.” Others reported similar results.  In several countries the Tesla electric car was less efficient and more polluting than its petrol sibling. Obama subsidized that one big time too.  [The dirty little secret that no one mentions is that the electricity for electric cars is produced with—fossil fuel.] We have reached the end of the periodic table in battery technology, and no one knows when or if there can be a breakthrough.

It was a remarkably dishonest speech, filled with gimmicks, misunderstandings and fantasy. and feel good fantasy.  Some of the current price of gasoline is due to the violence in Middle East, North African oil states, but some of the current price is due to the Obama anti-energy policy as well.  The American people deserve some straight talk, which is the missing element.

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