American Elephants

If It Sounds Good, It Trumps Truth Every Time! by The Elephant's Child

I shouldn’t do this to myself.  I go to the White House website fairly frequently to read what the president has to say in his speeches and remarks.  I don’t want to judge him by what others have to say, but to read his own words. That’s only fair.

So I read what he had to say on Tuesday at a campaign speech in Austin, Texas. You expect campaign speeches to be self-enhancing, putting one’s best side forward, pointing out successes while ignoring the mistakes, so you have to allow some self-aggrandizement — but there are limits.

But we’ve got more work to do.  Some of you may have noticed gas prices are a little high.  And with all the instability around the world we’ve got to keep making those investments in alternative energy.  And to help pay for it, by the way, because we’ve got to worry about our fiscal situation, it’s time to eliminate the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies that were given to oil and gas companies — (applause) — $4 billion of your money that they’re making for record profits while you’re struggling at the tank.  Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy sources, let’s invest in tomorrow’s energies.

Sorry, that is false. The oil and gas companies don’t get “subsidies.” They get to depreciate their capital investments just like every other business does. If a company buys a big new machine, they get to depreciate it over its useful life, so that they can afford to replace it when they need to. An oil company has a pool of oil or gas that is of finite quantity. They get to depreciate it over its finite extent. In the case of oil companies it’s called a depletion allowance.

Oil and gas are not “yesterday’s” energy sources — they are the sources on which our economy will be dependent for the foreseeable future. Wind and solar energy have nothing to do with transportation, and biofuels contain less energy than gas, are more polluting, and use way too much land.

Because of you we’re putting hundreds of thousands of people back to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges, our infrastructure.  But now we’ve got to make sure America is built to compete in the 21st century — not just new roads and bridges, but high-speed rail lines and high-speed internet.  We always used to have the best stuff.  Texas knows something about that.  But today South Korea has faster high-speed Internet than we do.  China has got high-speed rail.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  We created the Internet.  Austin knows a little bit about the high-tech industry.  We should be leading the world when it comes to cutting-edge technologies and innovation.

Because of you? No, we’re not “putting hundreds of thousands of people back to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges, our infrastructure.”  He loves this idea, but it has never happened, whatever roads were crumbling are still crumbling. Ditto bridges. He admitted himself that there weren’t any “shovel ready” jobs, and it has become very clear that the “stimulus” was a gigantic waste directed largely at payback to the labor unions for their campaign support.

The Labor Department’s current jobs report, indicates that fewer black men now have jobs than at any time in recorded history. If the election of America’s first African-American president was supposed to give blacks an economic boost, it hasn’t emerged yet. Indeed the percentage of African-American men with a job has dropped to it lowest level since 1972, according to the government’s monthly jobs report.

I would urge you to read the speech.  This is what he says to his Democrat supporters, and there’s no truth in it. It’s all fluff at best or gross hyperbole. What it means is that we have to look carefully at candidates’ record of accomplishment, and demand real experience, not good looks.  America fell for showmanship, a deep baritone voice, a dazzling smile and a fraudulent resume.

So ultimately that’s what this budget debate in Washington is all about. it’s  about who we are. It’s not just about numbers.  It’s about our values, what we care about, the kind of country we believe in.

What a colossal load of #*&#! nonsense.  It is about spending. You are deliberately spending more money that you are taking in, and you can’t squeeze enough out of “the rich” to save the country. It is about the kind of country we believe in — responsible, dependable, solvent, able to pay our bills.

Caption Contest: Newt and His New Running Mate Need a Clever Campaign Slogan by American Elephant

Alas, the supposedly “brilliant”, Newt “Our country must take action to address climate change” Gingrich, ever in search of more attention, has thrown his overly-large hat into the Republican primary ring.

I want him out. ASAP.

To that end, I want to remind everyone (and their mother) how willingly this tool cooperated with Satan’s concubine herself to push the falsehood that is man-made global warming; and worse, that we need to DO something about it. (Can you tell I’m still hacked-off about it?)

He has lent what credibility he had and, by proxy, the conservative name to Democrats’ thinly-veiled attempt to grab power over every conceivable facet of the economy, destroying the American way of life and delivering the socialist “Utopia” they so long for.

What’s not to love?

This shameless act of populist pandering at the expense of everything conservatives stand for should automatically and unequivocally disqualify Newt (real name Rebecca?) from not only running for the Republican nomination, but from calling himself a Republican or conservative to begin with. Don’t get me wrong! I believe in a big Republican tent, but there are certain core principles that are uttely unacceptable and non-negotiable — government control over every facet of life being foremost among them. Which is precisely what the “global warming” fraud exists to bring about.

So, he’s got to go.

I think the image is a good start, but Newt & Nancy need a clever campaign slogan.  Perhaps a  twist on something they say in the video? Or on the meaningless, asinine campaign slogan he’s already chosen– one which is also already identified with Obama. It’s up to you! We’re aiming for short, sweet, and devastatingly snarky.

Batters up!

Update (via Doug Powers): Newt now claims the commercial for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection was not an endorsement of liberal ideas, but a debate…or something.

Related: Our friend ZeusisWatching has similar thoughts on Newts chances, and makes some good points.

The Price of Gas, The ESA, and a Lack of Adult Government. by The Elephant's Child

This little three-inch long lizard, called the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, has the potential to shut down oil and gas operations in portions of Southeast New Mexico and West Texas, including the states’ two oil and gas-producing counties.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has considered the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act, since 2001.  It is a rare species found only in 655 square miles in the Mescalero Sands in New Mexico, where it is listed as endangered by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and in at least five counties in adjacent parts of Texas. How many square miles that involves, I don’t know.

There seems to be a bit of a contradiction in terms—how can a 3″ species be “rare” or “endangered” in 655 square miles in one state, and five counties in another state.  That has to be a lot of territory for a lizard. even for hundreds of thousands of lizards. How would you possibly count the number of lizards occupying just one square mile, or even one square quarter-of-a-mile?

They don’t seem to be basing this on lizards, but on sand dune complexes where shinnery oak grows. That is habitat where Dunes Sagebrush Lizards would be expected to be found.  They don’t know whether there are lizards there in either small or large numbers, nor how much territory is needed for a family of lizards.

Species are listed by a petition process, which means that anyone can send a letter to the federal government asking that a species, either plant or animal, be put on the ESA list. The federal government must respond in 90 days. If the federal government fails to respond the petitioner can file litigation against the federal government and get its attorney’s fees paid. Between 2000 and 2009, in just 12 states and the District of Columbia, 14 environmental groups filed 180 federal court complaints to get species listed under the ESA and were paid $11,743,287 in costs and attorney’s fees.

The problem here is that the land includes a big chunk of the Permian Basin, important oil and gas country. The President is demanding that the two largest oil-producing countries increase their oil production to lower gas prices here.  At the same time, he is demanding that the 3rd largest oil producing country (us) cut back on drilling everywhere.

“We are very concerned about the Fish and Wildlife Service listing,” said Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, noting the service also has proposed listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken next year. “The wolf at the door is the lizard; we’re concerned listing it would shut down drilling activity for a minimum of two years and as many as five years while the service determines what habitat is needed for the lizard. That means no drilling, no seismic surveys, no roads built, no electric lines.”

At the moment, 1,374 U.S. species are listed as endangered, with 251 classified as potentially “warranted.” The Obama administration just announced that it will clear a decades-long backlog by agreeing to decide within six years whether or not to include any of the 251. And of course in six years, six times that many may well have petitioned.

As of last year, only 47 species have been removed from the list, and of that number, only 21 because they had “recovered”.  Nine species went extinct, (maybe) and the others should never have been on the list in the first place. Some species have been “saved” by making it illegal to shoot them.  Some extinct species have been found not to be extinct after all.

The American taxpayer is paying for Big Environment to petition for species to be listed as “endangered,”  if the government does not respond within 90 days, and with an apparent six-year backlog, the government doesn’t seem prepared for quick response.  This is simply not responsible law, but perhaps typical of Big Government, and good for the funding of Big Environment.

Most organizations are happy to agree to actions to preserve species, but the government moves with a very heavy hand. BrightSource Energy had to spend $20 million to relocate 20 tortoises and to create a permanent tortoise trust fund so that it could build a solar power plant.  That’s over $1 million per tortoise, and certifiably insane.

You have perhaps noticed that endangered species seem to pop up just when there coincidentally happens to be something going on that Big Environment wants to stop. Surely there can’t be a connection.

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