American Elephants


A Slow-Motion Disaster Unfolding Before Our Eyes by The Elephant's Child

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Last Monday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual Policy Conference, National Security Advisor Susan Rice spoke to the conference. The most important element of the post-World War II nuclear non-proliferation regime is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968. Iran is a signatory to that treaty and has never pulled out.  As outlined in Rice’s speech, the actions of the Obama administration “obviate the NPT as a tool against future proliferation and fatally weakens the UN Security Council. In fact, the Obama administration is jettisoning the entire system by which we have prevented countries and non-state actors from building and obtaining nukes for almost half a century and virtually guaranteeing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” according to Jonathan Greenberg, a Senior Fellow at the Salomon Center.

 In 2002, the world discovered that Iran had secretly built – in violation of their treaty obligations under the NPT – nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak. Since 2002, there have been six U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for Iran to cease uranium enrichment. In her speech Monday, Rice said that ending Iranian enrichment is an “unachievable ideal.” That the President’s National Security Advisor is willing to say, in public, that enforcing the NPT and six Security Council mandates is “unachievable” is astounding. The Security Council was designed to be the real seat of power at the UN – the only international body with any real teeth. It will now spend whatever existence it has left gumming pureed solids.

This is like watching a candidate for a Darwin Award gradually demonstrating why he became a candidate, in slow motion. It cannot end well. Rice repeated her boss’s usual blather about “we are keeping all options on the table to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.” This used to be, Mr. Greenberg says, “vaguely coded language for hawks who wanted an acknowledgement that the administration was willing to consider military action against Iranian nuclear targets.” Nobody believes them anymore. Shortly after vowing that all options are on the table, Rice suggested that a military option “would only set back Iran’s program” a little. We’ll consider military action but it won’t work;

You might think that new sanctions would work. No, says Rice. “sanctions never stopped Iran from advancing its program.” The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate concluded exactly the opposite. It was the sanctions that brought Iran to the table. Mr. Greenberg summarizes:

So, if we pull all those strings together, here’s what we get: even though we have the legal authority to stop them from enriching uranium, we can’t do that. We’ll consider bombing them, but only as seriously as you would consider something you’ve publicly conceded can’t work. And sanctions don’t work despite the fact that they work. Oh, and, incidentally, if talks fail, the preceding lemons are the only measures we’ve got as a fallback option so the talks kind of have to work.

“Any deal,” she said, “must increase the time it takes Iran to reach breakout capacity.” That’s a fine goal, except that the goal used to be to deny them the ability to achieve breakout at all. …“Any deal,” she continued, “must ensure frequent and intrusive inspections at Iran’s nuclear sites.” According to a UN report released yesterday, another from late-February, and a series of reports from the unfortunately acronymed Institute for Science and International Security, Iran is violating this requirement while sitting in negotiations.

It’s like watching a slow-motion disaster unfold on the screen. You know what is going to happen inevitably, but you are powerless to do anything about it.



Hee-Hee. The EPA Embarrasses Itself Again! by The Elephant's Child

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy proved to be remarkably clueless in a Senate hearing on her request for $8.6 billion to help in the fight against the horrors of climate change.

She claimed that the increased frequency of droughts due to warming, was due to mankind’s increased production of greenhouse gasses, notably carbon dioxide which the EPA seems to think is a pollutant.  CO² is a natural fertilizer for plant growth, essential to life on earth through the photosynthesis process, and since we exhale it with every breath—not likely a dangerous pollutant.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Ms. McCarthy that Dr.Bjorn Lomberg from the Copenhagen Institute and Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado had both written that we have had fewer droughts in recent years, and asked “Do you dispute that?”

Ms. McCarthy responded that she “didn’t know in what context he was making statements like that.” Context?

Dr. Pielke, a professor of Climate Science, told the Senate environment48.6 billion and public works subcommittee in July 2013, that droughts have “for the most part have become shorter, less frequent and cover a smaller portion of the US over the last century. “Globally, there has been little change in drought over the last 60 years. (There goes the theory that climate change is the reason for the rise of ISIS. Yes really, they were claiming that).

Sen. Sessions then asked Ms. McCarthy if we have had more or fewer hurricanes in the last decade? She responded that she could not answer because “it’s a very complicated issue.” Only if basic math is complicated. The last hurricane to hit America as strong as a category 3 or higher was Wilma, which hit Florida in October of 2005. Superstorm Sandy was barely Category 1. The damage came from a storm surge, not the hurricane winds.

The senator inquired about the increase in global temperatures. There has been very little if any increase in temperatures in the last 18 years—90% below what the computerized climate models predicted that temperatures would increase.  Ms. McCarthy replied that she didn’t know “what the models actually are predicting that  you are referring to.”

From the Administrator of the EPA, attempting to justify a request for $8.6 billion, that ill-informed knowledge of basic and widely circulated facts about climate change are pretty stunning, but not all that surprising.  For the zealots, global warming is a religion — a war that must be fought to save the earth and bring about that ‘better world’ that zealots are so sure is out there — somewhere.




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