American Elephants

The Great Gibson Guitar Raid. by The Elephant's Child

It was back in August, last year that armed federal agents raided Gibson Guitar’s Nashville headquarters, seizing wood, instruments and creating a national outcry over the high-profile persecution.  Now, more than six months later, the Department of Justice still has not filed any charges.

At the time of the raid, agents were supposedly working from a tip that Gibson had broken laws in India and Madagascar, two countries that supply Gibson with ebony and other scarce woods for its guitars. Both India and Madagascar say that Gibson has done nothing wrong.  Federal agents seized more than $1 million of Gibson’s property, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz has testified before Congress, but no charges from Obama’s Justice department.  Power grab.

Obama is Leading Us to An “Energy Abyss” by The Elephant's Child

In a speech before the Detroit Economic Club in May, 2007, Candidate Obama chastised American automakers for building the wrong cars.  They were building “bigger, faster cars,” while “foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology.” He said”it’s not enough to only build cars that use less oil—we also have to move away from that dirty dwindling fuel altogether.” He said that “the transformation of the cars we drive and the fuels we use would be the most ambitious energy project in decades.” And of course he promised generous tax incentives and more tax credits to make it happen.

There’s the Obama ideology. He has not changed his mind, nor has he learned anything. He was in Miami today to talk about “securing a future for America built on home-grown energy —and his blueprint to help us get there.” (Algae)

He pointed out that fuel prices are up, but, like everything else, it’s not his fault.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem. You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices. If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more.

In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade. We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been. In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years.

“We’re focused on production.”

Fact: Obama has canceled leases on federal lands in Utah suspended them in Montana, delayed in Colorado and Utah, and canceled lease sales off the Virginia Coast, as well as putting 85% of offshore lands out of reach.

Obama always uses the old saw:”The U.S. consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil, but we only have 2% of the world’s oil reserves.”

Fact: he U.S. has an estimated 1.4 trillion barrels of oil, enough to fuel the present needs in the U.S. for around 250 years. Obama has put most of this out of reach.

“Because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled.”

Fact: Production of renewable energy—biomass, wind, solar —climed just 12% between 2008 and 2011 according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

“We need to double down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.”

Fact: Renewable energy simply won’t play an important role in the country’s energy picture, accounting for just 13% of US energy production by 2035 according to the EIA.

“There are no short-term silver bullets when it comes to gas prices.”

Fact: Obama could drive down oil prices right now by announcing a more aggressive effort to boost supplies. When President Bush lifted a moratorium in 2008, oil prices immediately fell by $9 a barrel.

Obama remains fascinated with renewable energy, but you can’t put solar or wind in your gas tank. They will never produce enough energy to be significant because of the nature of the wind and the sun themselves. Neither different designs of turbines nor use of rare earths will help. Wind is too intermittent, the sunlight is too diffuse. In both cases they must be supported 24/7 by conventional fossil-fueled power plants. What has changed is the amount of oil we have available.

Ten years ago, the environmentalists were saying you can’t drill here, and even if you did, you wouldn’t be producing any oil for ten years.  So ten years later, here we are.

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“These have been the most difficult three years from a policy standpoint that I’ve ever seen in my career.” said Bruce Vincent, President of Swift Energy. “They’ve done nothing but restrict access and delay permitting. The Obama administration, unfortunately, has threatened this industry at every turn.”

American Petroleum President and CEO said “The administrations’ actions and its policy proposals on domestic oil and natural gas development are out of synch with its words. The administration is restricting where oil and natural gas development may occur, leasing less often, shortening lease terms, going slow on permit approvals, and increasing or threatening to increase industry’s development costs through higher taxes, higher royalty rates, higher minimum lease bids, and more regulations. It is also proposing an $85 billion tax hike that would chase energy investment out of the country, stifle job creation, drive up imports – and our trade deficit – and increase the volatility of gasoline markets.”

Wind Power May Be The Greatest Scam of Our Age. by The Elephant's Child

The wind power industry is in a panic. The deal to renew a tax credit failed on Thursday in Washington. This will have major ramifications where installations of wind projects are planned. Without the subsidy, wind goes out of business.

Christopher Booker points out the problems in Britain’s Daily Mail.  Governmental obsession with wind is an enormous political blunder. Under an agreement with the European Union, Britain is committed within ten years — at enormous expense — to generate nearly a third of its electricity from renewable sources. He lists 3 major reasons why it is a gigantic fraud:

  1. Promoters speak entirely about “capacity” which means the energy a turbine could produce if all conditions were perfect all the time. Doesn’t happen. Wind is, by its very nature, intermittent, and requires backup from a conventional power plant whenever the wind is not blowing. The expense of putting up wind farms gets an added, and uncounted, expense of building new conventional power plants.
  2. Wind is a preposterously expensive way to produce electricity. No one would dream of building wind turbines unless they were guaranteed a huge government subsidy. What other industry gets a public subsidy of 100% or 200% of the value of what it produces.
  3. The idea that the industry is somehow making a vital contribution to “saving the planet” by cutting our emissions of CO2 is a lie. The CO2 reduction achieved by wind turbines is so insignificant that one large windfarm saves considerably less in a year than is given off by one jumbo jet flying between Britain and America. That doesn’t count the CO2 emissions generated by the construction.

Aside from that, academic experts at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh say half of the turbines at four proposed offshore windfarms are likely to be destroyed by hurricanes in their 20-year life.  What?  Is their life expectancy only 20 years?

The proposed wind farms in Massachusetts, New Jersey , North Carolina and Texas could cost $175 million each, but researchers believe current designs of turbines mean many will not survive. In Europe, salt water damage has proved to be a big problem. Turbines can shut down during high winds, but can still buckle in hurricanes. Texas is the most dangerous of the places they studied.

Around the world, wind depends on government subsidy. If the subsidy is removed, the wind farms shut down. A sad comment on their economic viability.

The tax credit, which debuted in 1992, has a history of one- to two-year extensions and years in which it wasn’t extended at all. A bill tied to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extended the program until the end of 2012.

Kevin Borgia, who heads the Illinois Wind Energy Coalition, said several years of stability for the tax credit helped drive down costs for wind generation. Without the tax credit, the market for wind power generation will grind to a halt, he predicts.

Paul Bowman, vice president of development at wind developer E.ON Climate and Renewables North America, which has its North American headquarters in Chicago, said his company had about $1 billion in construction planned for next year, tied to the tax credit extension.

Companies are laying off workers or planning layoffs. Some are looking to other countries for business. Germany has dozens of anti-wind power groups, and there are increasing numbers in Britain. The Dutch have lost interest. Spain is out except for the Canary Islands. It’s hard for governments who were so sure they had abundant clean green energy at hand to admit that they were only green dreams.

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