American Elephants

Consequences, Consequences, Consequences. by The Elephant's Child

When President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that he would have to look elsewhere for  sales of Canadian oil.  Mr. Harper headed to Beijing earlier this week for a four-day trade mission in which he is expected to seek a deal to sell millions of barrels of Canadian oil to China.  China has been aggressively pursuing energy deals around the world, so Harper will probably come home with a signed deal.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, China is pushing for a free-trade agreement, though Canada isn’t sure they’re quite ready for that.

The development came as China and Canada declared Thursday that bilateral relations have reached “a new level” following a series of multibillion-dollar trade and business agreements to ship additional Canadian petroleum, uranium and other products to the Asian superpower.

The two countries have agreed that a joint economic study being conducted will be completed by May 2012, “after which Canada and China will proceed to exploratory discussions on deepening trade and economic relations.”

President Obama rejected Keystone and its 20,000 jobs, as well as the estimated 250,000 spin-off jobs, over purported environmental concerns, but those had been addressed fully during the three-year long review by the state Department. Just two years ago, the State Department approved a similar pipeline. State said at that time approval was granted because “the department found that the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States.”

Meanwhile in the U.S., gas prices have been the highest ever for a January, and prices usually rise in February and March.  Expectations for this summer are in the $4 range. If it gets along toward the election, Obama will probably open up the strategic reserve again.  After all, with all the wars over, and the defense establishment cut way back, we won’t need all that oil, will we?

China wants to buy Canadian uranium too.  Harper has said that building the Northern Gateway pipeline to the West Coast and a separate one for liquified natural gas is a national priority for Canada as they look to ship their natural resources to Asia. Harper has to look out for Canadian national interests.

Our president is in full campaign mode, and Big Environment threatened  that they might withhold their money.  And as usual, it’s all about him.

When Obama Says Everybody Has to Play by The Same Rules; He Means You Have to Play by His Rules. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration has lighted a firestorm over their requirement that religious organizations offer free contraception, sterilization and abortifacients to all employees or students. We have been told that this was Obama’s own decision, which is unsurprising in view of his continuing disregard for the Constitution. But the uproar is growing.The Bill of Rights guarantee of freedom of religion is not taken lightly, and a very large percentage of Americans consider themselves religious.

There is a long history of Catholic hospitals in the United States. By 1872, there were already 75 such hospitals in operation.  Now there are about 615, and 499 Long Term Care facilities.  The hospitals are among the finest in the country. There are around 6,900 Catholic K-12 schools. Around 23-25% of Americans are Catholic.

Dr. Richard Land, one of the most influential evangelical leaders is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He said “we will not comply” with the HHS mandate.  And other religious leaders are speaking out. Protestants also care about religious liberty, and about the Constitution.

The flap over the Komen Foundation dropping their support for Planned Parenthood aroused indignant shrieks from the abortion on demand crowd — how dare a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer stop giving free gifts to the nation’s largest provider of abortions for their work in providing mammograms when it turns out that they don’t provide mammograms at all? That’s the voice of the secular left.

When Catholic bishops said they would have to close their hospitals, the medical establishment collectively gasped, and said there was no way they could absorb that many patients. Catholic hospitals treat about 5.5 million overnight patients a year. The Catholic church is the single largest provider of not-for-profit health care in our country. Did Obama not grasp what he was taking on, or did he just not care?

The main sources of trouble for Catholic hospitals have come from the institutions that oversee the flow of financial resources, both public and private. In many cases, they want to impose a homogenous, secularist vision on all health care service regulation. James Capretta remarked in an article in The New Atlantis:

But there is also an intangible element to the enduring appeal of these institutions. Patients, especially when they are very sick and vulnerable, would prefer—all else being equal—to be cared for in settings that bring to mind compassion and human concern as well as professionalism. Hospitals named Providence and Holy Cross and St. Vincent’s communicate through their very names and histories a sense that they understand human beings as more than human bodies, and that inherent dignity is not dependent on physical health.

The same principles and ideals that move Catholic hospitals to care for the weakest and neediest also move them to oppose abortion, sterilization, and other practices at the juncture of medicine and morality. And at that juncture, Catholic hospitals are running into an increasingly hostile public health establishment with very different values. It is simply incomprehensible to many people in positions of power in both the public and private sectors that the same vision that inspires widely-respected compassionate care would also compel closure or sale of a facility to avoid complicity in providing abortions—yet that is just the difficult choice some Catholic health facilities have faced.

Do not be confused about this battle. It isn’t about birth control.  It is about freedom of conscience and religious liberty. It is about the raw political grab for power that lurks at the very core of ObamaCare. Politics will determine who gets what care, and government will use its force to dictate the outcomes they want, whether it’s to control costs — which means less care for those who might be expensive, or to promote their political values according to what seems expedient for their reelection.

Here is a roundup of editorial opinion and commentary. There have already been three lawsuits filed against HHS, with more to come. Take this struggle very seriously, your life may someday depend on it.

ADDENDUM: Congressional Democrats (female) rushed out to shriek to the press about ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’ — if their employers aren’t required by law to pay for their birth control pills. Why don’t you pay for your own, they’re not that expensive?

The Truth About Wind Farms: by The Elephant's Child

James Delingpole, writer, journalist, novelist, who is right about everything, blogs at The Telegraph in Britain. Yesterday he called to our attention “the best article on wind farms you will ever read” by Kevin Myers in the Irish Independent. Here is a sampling, but you will want to read the whole thing.

Russia’s main gas-company, Gazprom, was unable to meet demand last weekend as blizzards swept across Europe, and over three hundred people died. Did anyone even think of deploying our wind turbines to make good the energy shortfall from Russia?

Of course not. We all know that windmills are a self-indulgent and sanctimonious luxury whose purpose is to make us feel good. Had Europe genuinely depended on green energy on Friday, by Sunday thousands would be dead from frostbite and exposure, and the EU would have suffered an economic body blow to match that of Japan’s tsunami a year ago. No electricity means no water, no trams, no trains, no airports, no traffic lights, no phone systems, no sewerage, no factories, no service stations, no office lifts, no central heating and even no hospitals, once their generators run out of fuel.

Modern cities are incredibly fragile organisms, which tremble on the edge of disaster the entire time. During a severe blizzard, it is electricity alone that prevents a midwinter urban holocaust. We saw what adverse weather can do, when 15,000 people died in the heatwave that hit France in August 2003. But those deaths were spread over a month. Last weekend’s weather, without energy, could have caused many tens of thousands of deaths over a couple of days.

Why does the entire green spectrum, which now incorporates most conventional parties across Europe, deny the most obvious of truths? To play lethal games with our energy systems in order to honour the whimsical god of climate change is as intelligent and scientific as the Aztec sacrifice of their young. Actually, it is far more frivolous, because at least the Aztecs knew how many people they were sacrificing: no one has the least idea of the loss of life that might result from the EU embracing “green” energy policies.

Delingpole goes on:

Of all the miserable specimens on this planet, no category repels me quite so much as those parasites involved with the great renewables boondoggle.

Mr. Delingpole is enthusiastically opinionated, delightfully cranky, and thoroughly enjoyable. A man after my own heart. Here he is on Uncommon Knowledge:

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