American Elephants


It’s Earth Day. Yawn. Zzzzzz-zzz… by The Elephant's Child

The Humor:

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Fort Mason Park in San Francisco after last year’s Earth Day.

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I was visited late yesterday by an earnest young woman representing WASHPIRG, which is the Washington State version of the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups. Every college student is required to pay a fee to this group, which seems a little odd since this is just another of Ralph Nader founded private activist groups. They send college students out every year to shill for donations to their cause of the moment. Ralph Nader, “consumer advocate” has formed dozens of “nonprofits” but somehow managed to become a multimillionaire in the process.

The WASHPIRG group this time is the Environment Washington Research and Policy Center. My visitor left a handy leaflet which says:

In Washington, extreme weather in hitting closer to home.

If you think we’ve seen more than our usual share of extreme weather in and around Washington lately, you’re right. Last year’s wildfires, which devastated eastern and central Washington and cost $67.5 million to fight, were a tragic example. Unfortunately it’s not just wildfires, In fact 98% of Washingtonians live in counties hit by at least one weather-related disaster between 2007 and 2012.

And it could get worse. Climate scientists warn that if we keep polluting the way we are now, the next generation is likely to see even more floods, more intense hurricanes, more drought, more heat waves and more dangerous smog pollution as the planet warms and the climate changes.

Sigh. Weather is not climate. Climate is average temperature and has nothing to do with weather. Warmer or colder climate does not cause wildfires, floods, hurricanes, drought or smog pollution. We had some forest fires last year, as we do most years, but it was a fairly low year for forest fires, which are most often caused by lightning strikes or human carelessness. Floods are usually caused by either snowmelt or heavy rain, not climate. This has been one of the quietest years for hurricanes in recent years, and 2012 was a record year for lowest number of tornadoes, until beaten by 2013. So far 2014 is matching 2013. California had a mild winter with light snowpack, but the devastation of the Central Valley drought can be laid in the laps of the environmentalists who have forced the state to cut off water to the breadbasket of the country because of a tiny bait fish which they think may be “endangered.” The planet is not warming, and has not warmed for 17 years and 8 months. There has been no warming, none, since August 1996.

The main culprit: Carbon pollution from fossil fuels

Sigh. There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” We are carbon-based life forms. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide which rises from the oceans and is a natural fertilizer for plants. Trees grow and die and decay and release carbon dioxide. We have posted a video from Matt Ridley explaining the “greening of the planet” and the blessings that brings, like feeding hungry people.

What’s driving these changes? We know that carbon pollution from cars and trucks that run on gas and coal-fired power plants owned by utilities like Puget Sound Energy, plays a major role. And the more pollution we allow, the more likely our children will face the consequences of more extreme weather, more smog, rising sea levels and the extinction of certain animals and plants.

I may be mistaken, but I think Washington state had only one coal-fired power plant and I thought they shut that down a year or two ago. I remember my legislator voting to close it because he saw pollution (steam, water vapor) rising from the smokestacks. There’s the litany: “extreme weather, more smog, rising sea levels, and extinction of certain animals and plants.” Greens managed to decimate the logging industry in the state because we had to save the spotted owl, which could only live and breed in old growth forest. Then after massive unemployment, ruined lives and devastated communities, they learned that the spotted owl was perfectly happy in young forests, that its numbers were declining because it was being attacked by its larger, stronger cousin the barred owl. They’re planning to shoot barred owls.

I will spare you the rest of this silly leaflet. At the end, they announce that :

Environment Washington Research and Policy Center has already made a difference for your environment:
Our public education campaigns played a key role in passing plastic bag bans in seven Washington cities. Thanks to our research, outreach and education, Puget Sound wildlife is now better protected from the growing threat of plastic pollution.

Oh, bwa-ha-ha-ha. “the growing threat of plastic pollution.” Cities love banning plastic bags because they charge 10¢ a bag for a plastic bag, which goes to the city. You’re supposed to buy and use cloth bags which are dangerous, often contaminated with e-coli or other bacteria,  and have actually killed people.



Dueling Climate Reports: Here’s the Important One. by The Elephant's Child

There is a vigorous scientific debate over humanity’s influence on climate. The leftist media prefers to attempt to prevent that simple fact from being heard. This is a strange time in history when disagreement is not to be allowed. Those who disagree are to be prevented from speaking. Some want dissenters jailed. It’s getting really weird out there.

Here’s a little dissent from the scientists at the independent Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

Guest essay by Dr. Craig D. Idso

The release of a United Nations (UN) climate change report last week energized various politicians and environmental activists, who issued a new round of calls to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the most fiery language in this regard came from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who called upon Congress to “wake up and do everything in its power to reduce dangerous carbon pollution,” while Secretary of State John Kerry expressed similar sentiments in a State Department release, claiming that “unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy.” 

Really? Is Earth’s climate so fragile that both it and our way of life are in jeopardy because of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions?

In a word, no! The human impact on global climate is small; and any warming that may occur as a result of anthropogenic CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions is likely to have little effect on either Earth’s climate or biosphere, according to the recently-released contrasting report Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, which was produced by the independent Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

This alternative assessment reviews literally thousands of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that do not support and often contradict the findings of the UN report. Whether the subject is the effects of warming and rising CO2 on plants, animals, or humans, the UN report invariably highlights the studies and models that paint global warming in the darkest possible hue, ignoring or downplaying those that don’t.

To borrow a telling phrase from their report, the UN sees nothing but “death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods” everywhere it looks—as do Senator Boxer, Secretary Kerry, and others. Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts demonstrates that life on Earth is not suffering from rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels. Citing reams of real-world data, it offers solid scientific evidence that most plants actually flourish when exposed to both higher temperatures and greater CO2 concentrations. In fact, it demonstrates that the planet’s terrestrial biosphere is undergoing a great greening, which is causing deserts to shrink and forests to expand, thereby enlarging and enhancing habitat for wildlife. And much the same story can be told of global warming and atmospheric CO2 enrichment’s impacts on terrestrial animals, aquatic life, and human health.

Why are these research findings and this positive perspective missing from the UN climate reports? Although the UN claims to be unbiased and to have based its assessments on the best available science, such is obviously not the case. And it is most fortunate, therefore, that the NIPCC report provides tangible evidence that the CO2-induced global warming and ocean acidification debate remains unsettled on multiple levels; for there are literally thousands of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that do not support a catastrophic, or even problematic, view of atmospheric CO2 enrichment.

Unfortunately, climate alarmism has become the modus operandi of the UN assessment reports. This fact is sad, indeed, because in compiling these reports, the UN either was purposely blind to views that ran counter to the materials they utilized, or its authors did not invest the amount of time, energy, and resources needed to fully investigate an issue that has profound significance for all life on Earth. And as a result, the UN has seriously exaggerated many dire conclusions, distorted relevant facts, and omitted or ignored key scientific findings. Yet in spite of these failings, various politicians, governments, and institutions continue to rally around the UN climate reports and to utilize their contentions as justification to legislate reductions in CO2 emissions, such as epitomized by the remarks of Senator Boxer and Secretary Kerry.

Citing only studies that promote climate catastrophism as a basis for such regulation, while ignoring studies that suggest just the opposite, is simply wrong. Citizens of every nation deserve much better scientific scrutiny of this issue by their governments; and they should demand greater accountability from their elected officials as they attempt to provide it.

There it is, that’s my op-ed. It’s what some people apparently do not want you to read. While the over 3,000 peer-reviewed scientific references cited in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts are likely more than sufficient to establish scientific fact in a court of law, they are not sufficient to engage the real climate deniers in any debate. The rise in atmospheric CO2 is not having, nor will it have, a dangerous influence on the climate and biosphere. But don’t take my word for it, download and read the report for yourself (available at http://www.nipccreport.org). Compare it with the UN report. You be the judge!

Dr. Craig D. Idso is the lead editor and scientist for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).



Another Stunning Example of Political Opportunism. by The Elephant's Child

 

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The U.S. State Department has cleared the Keystone XL Pipeline twice, so far, but now they are going to have to pass it again, after an extension of the public comment period which will, coincidentally, last until after the election. Part of the pipeline’s planned path has been changed to suit protesters. It is not a coincidence that the news of the ‘decision’ was released on the convergence of Good Friday and Passover. News that they’d rather cover up is always released late on a Friday. The cover story is that a further delay in the five-year saga of the Keystone couldn’t be avoided because of ‘unresolved legal issues’ over land seizures in Nebraska. Of course.

Let’s see what is involved:

TransCanada has provided a detailed job breakdown for the pipeline. They say it will create 13,000 union construction jobs, 7,000 jobs for Americans in manufacturing. It is estimated that there are up to 250,000 jobs over the life of the pipeline. That boom in employment would have spin-off jobs in the local economies that support each segment of the pipeline.

The Canadians are mightily annoyed. The United States imports eight to nine million barrels of oil every day. A stable, secure supply of oil from Canada makes better sense. Obama has orated about “our dependence on”foreign oil” often enough when it suits what he wants his audience to think.

Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America said “Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

Pushing the Keystone XL through would send an important message to Vladimir Putin that America is willing to develop our energy. And allowing the export of liquified natural gas would put a thorn in the side of Putin’s ability to blackmail Europe because of their need for natural gas. But we don’t actually want to annoy Mr. Putin, do we?

On the other side you have:

Leftist billionaire Tom Steyer has promised to spend $50 million of his own money and raise another $50 million for the Democrats in this election if they support the cause of global warming. He really “hates” the Keystone XL pipeline. Steyer has made much of his money at Farallon Capital by investing in fossil fuel producers.

Steyer now claims that stopping Keystone will somehow prevent Canada’s oil sands from being developed. That’s hogwash. The oil is now being carried by rail. In 2008, there were less than 10,000 carloads of crude oil moved by rail. Last year it was more than 400,000 carloads. Rail transportation is far less safe than a pipeline, and the network of pipelines across the country is already extensive, and safe.

Steyer will profit from any delay of the Keystone because he is, or was until recently, a major investor in Kinder Morgan which is building a competitor to the Keystone pipeline. He is, today, a bitter opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. Banning coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his solar projects. He owes his fortune in large part to the fact that he has been one of the world’s largest financiers of coal projects in Australia and Asia.  He has led recent campaigns with climate nut Bill McKibben to encourage university endowments to divest coal equities. John Hinderaker at Powerline has assembled a remarkable list of Steyer interests. The Hypocrisy is breathtaking.

The most notable takeaway is that, for Barack Obama political money for the upcoming election trumps jobs for unemployed American construction workers, unemployed American manufacturing workers, and for the taxpayer money going to import all that “foreign oil. Everything, for Barack Obama, is about politics. All that talk about jobs, jobs, jobs is just talk.



A Conservative Guide to Liberal Thought: by The Elephant's Child

The common conservative response to a liberal pronouncement is “You’ve got to be kidding!” Can they possibly believe what they are saying? The real divisions between liberals and conservatives are deep and wide, but Andrew Klavan takes a shot at explaining what it is that liberals believe, and how liberals think. It may be helpful, but —It’s not pretty!



The Age of Global Warming Is Over: Sanity Returns. by The Elephant's Child

Mankind cannot predict the future. We attempt it constantly. Prediction has become a profession of sorts, with strategists, planners, futurists—and governmental agencies. We’re not always successful with our plans for tomorrow, which should teach us something about prediction, but hope springs eternal.

The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, is a prime example. Weather forecasters can predict the future pretty well for the rest of the week, but the IPCC attempts to do a “gigantic weather forecast for a century or more.”And they know that because they have computer programs the tell them so. The total absurdity of such predictions is clearly expressed by Christopher Booker in The  Telegraph:

When future generations come to look back on the alarm over global warming that seized the world towards the end of the 20th century, much will puzzle them as to how such a scare could have arisen. They will wonder why there was such a panic over a 0.4 per cent rise in global temperatures between 1975 and 1998, when similar rises between 1860 and 1880 and 1910 and 1940 had given no cause for concern. They will see these modest rises as just part of a general warming that began at the start of the 19th century, as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age, when the Earth had grown cooler for 400 years.

That’s four-tenths of one percent! And the panic over that 0.4 percent of warming has become a religion, with ardent true believers who want to send “denialists” to prison. That 0.4 percent has drawn forth massive government investment in low-flush toilets, banning lightbulbs, massive wind farms, solar arrays, electric cars, ethanol, biofuels, and pages and pages of regulations. The stage of the panic can be partly measured by the list of things caused by global warming. The amount of money misapplied to preventing global warming, with no visible result, is immeasurable. The totals would be humiliating, and we will probably never know. Wasted. Completely wasted.

Also in The Telegraph, Charles Moore reviews The Age of Global Warming by Rupert Darwall.

The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky 21st century, “global weirding”) has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. All the action plans, taxes, green levies, protocols and carbon-emitting flights to massive summit meetings, after all, are not because of what its supporters call “The Science”. Proper science studies what is – which is, in principle, knowable – and is consequently very cautious about the future – which isn’t. No, they are the result of a belief that something big and bad is going to hit us one of these days.

James Delingpole, another Brit, reports on the latest Climate Change Reconsidered report by the NIPCC — the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change, an independent research body funded by the Heartland Institute:

The latest verdict is in on ‘climate change’— and the news is good. The planet is greening, the oceans are blooming, food production is up, animals are thriving and humans are doing better than ever; and all thanks to CO2 and global warming.

Mr. Delingpole summarizes the work of the NIPCC, and the scientific studies which support it. Nice to have a concise summary of where we stand. And the scientists and  ordinary people who disagree with the true believers are not “deniers,” they are skeptics— skeptical that humans are causing a disruption in the climate of the earth, skeptical that computer programs based on a superficial understanding of climate and a lot of sheer guesses can predict the climate 50 to 100 years out, and very skeptical that we should be spending billions to attempt to change the climate.

Do read all three pieces. They’re not long, and they give a good picture of the real world of climate change.

 



EPA Subjects Human Victims to Lethal Pollutants, Doesn’t Warn of Risks! by The Elephant's Child

McCarthy testifies before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency has for years been basing their actions on the need to protect human beings from dangerous air pollutants and fine particulate matter (PM). The findings of the Office of Inspector General’s March 31 report say the EPA has followed all laws and regulations concerning human studies research.

While the IG’s report absolves the agency of breaking rules, it notes that the EPA did in fact expose human test subjects to concentrated airborne particles or diesel exhaust emissions in five studies done in 2012 and 2011. And it didn’t bother to plainly inform the subjects of the dangers the agency emphasizes in the proposals for their actions. When the EPA tells Congress about a proposed action, they can tell you exactly how many kids will die from asthma, and how many old folks will die from heart attacks. That’s how they get their way. What congressman could risk refusing to save dying kids?

The agency has said that fine particulate matter can cause premature death, a risk for older individuals with cardiovascular disease. A 2003 EPA document says even short-term exposure to PM can result in heart attacks and arrhythmias for people with heart disease. Long-term exposure can result in reduced lung function and even death. A 2006 review by the EPA reiterates that short-term PM exposure can cause “mortality and morbidity.”

“Particulate matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should,” former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson told Congress on September 22, 2011. “If we could reduce particulate matter to healthy levels it would have the same impact as find ing a cure for cancer in our county.”

So why has the EPA been subjecting unknowing human guinea pigs to high levels of carcinogens and potentially lethal pollutants in order to justify tough new air quality standards?  The EPA has been carrying out these unethical human experiments in which subjects are made to inhale freshly pumped-in diesel truck exhaust fumes — without advising them of the risk to their health — which the EPA claims may be mortal. Junk Science.com, October 5, 2012:

EPA has admitted to a federal court that it asks human guinea pigs to sacrifice their lives for regulatory purposes — at $12 per hour.

  • Failure to provide/obtain written consent. The Common Rule, as codified in federal regulation 40 CFR 26.117, specifically requires that written informed consent be obtained when risk of serious injury or death is involved in an experiment. As the consent form provided by EPA makes no mention of the risk of death, written consent acknowledging that they are willing sacrifice themselves for EPA regulatory purposes is not obtained.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy sounds much like her boss. She doesn’t know anything about that, all studies are of the highest quality, etc. etc. etc.

Steven Milloy, founder and proprietor of JunkScience.com, which attempts to inject real science into phony government claims, has impeccable credentials. He writes that the “EPA air pollution scare is debunked by the best data set ever assembled on particulate matter and deaths.” In a subsequent column he explains just what the rules are on different kinds of studies.

Every time the EPA introduces a new policy that results in another power grab, the need for the power grab is couched in terms of how many kids are going to die from asthma, although doctors don’t even know what causes asthma. I find that suspicious. Yet with all the dead kids off there in the not distant future, the EPA is involving kids in their experiments without informing them or their parents of what the EPA believes to be their expected demise. They are deliberately exposing kids with asthma to what they regard as dangerous levels of toxic pollutants— which they then try to cover up. How do they get volunteers? Breitbart dug up some examples.

I am convinced that the EPA is an organization of environmental zealots solely interested in their own power. I have been writing about them for years, and I think the agency should be shut down and permanently shuttered. They exist only because of the bogus environmental scares fostered by the U.N.’s IPCC for political reasons, not scientific ones.

If fine particulate matter is not dangerous to human health, the EPA needs to stop using it to justify its power grabs. If it is dangerous the EPA has no business conducting tests on human subjects. And not to fully inform the poor guinea pigs of the dangers of the tests is beyond despicable.



Six Years Into the “Recovery” And There Still Aren’t Any Jobs. by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama’s approval rates are at record lows. Only 26 percent approve of ObamaCare, and Democrats running for re-election have been trying to disassociate themselves from the law as much as possible.

They need a new agenda, and think they have discovered it in rising inequality. Obama has laid out an array of populist proposals: more unemployment insurance, raising the federal minimum wage, giving women “equal pay for equal work”, a perennial favorite already in the law, ignored in the White House—where female staffers are not paid as well as male staffers.

The theory is that Republicans who are vulnerable at the polls can be forced to join them on  these poll-tested issues. It’s good old class warfare, always a winner in desperate situations. But this time it doesn’t seem to be working. People want jobs, not another handout. We are six years into an Obama “recovery” and people still need extensions on their unemployment insurance.

Obama has curiously mastered the art of killing more jobs with every attempt to increase employment. He promotes a national group of manufacturing hubs, as an excellent way to create jobs, but none have gotten off the ground, in spite of taxpayer money invested. At the same time, the EPA continues to shut down coal-fired power stations—killing thousands of jobs.

Vice President Joe Biden did the weekly address while Obama was in Brussels, and began by stating:

There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty. But right now a worker earning the federal minimum wage makes about $14,500 a year. And you all know that’s incredibly hard for an individual to live on, let alone raise a family on.

The minimum wage is a “starter wage” for those who have no skills to offer an employer, but have to learn how to work. The federal poverty level for an individual is $11,670, and someone earning the current federal minimum wage earns more than the federal poverty level. Biden added:

The big difference between giving a raise in the minimum wage instead of a tax break to the very wealthy is the minimum wage worker will go out and spend every penny of it because they’re living on the edge. They’ll spend it in the local economy. They need it to pay their electric bill, put gas in their automobile, to buy fundamental necessities. And this generates economic growth in their communities.

So give money to the poor, vilify the wealthy, because the poor paying their electric bill will stimulate the economy, but the rich building businesses and hiring more workers will not.  There’s the reason why we are in the sixth year of the Obama “recovery” spelled out. Add hundreds of regulations that increase the cost of building businesses and hiring workers, demonstrate with improper use of the IRS that businesses that do not toe the line will be audited, inspected by the ATF, perhaps raided by a SWAT team, and your business practices or your inventory confiscated by the Justice department.

There are enormous numbers of jobs waiting for the president to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, to O.K. the export of liquified natural gas to a needy Europe, and the EPA continues its path of destruction through the entire American economy, and nobody is supposed to notice that they not only kill jobs, but make companies reluctant to take the risk of expanding or hiring.

Kim Strassel, writing in the Wall Street Journal notes that:

Democrats have also become embarrassingly obvious, talking openly of how this agenda was devised not to help Americans, but to punish Republicans and rally the base. The New York Times’s Wednesday headline baldly read, “Democrats, As Part of Midterm Strategy, to Schedule Votes on Pocketbook Issues,” and quoted Sen. Chuck Schumer promising the vote would “mute” complaints about ObamaCare. Subtle, dudes. …

Democrats aren’t backing off; they are all-in for inequality, and they’re betting that a few more dedicated weeks of hammering Republicans as callous will force some movement. Maybe. But for now Americans seem unconvinced that any of their top concerns—a stalled economy, their health-care woes, the U.S.’s humiliation abroad, government dysfunction, soaring debt—are the result of “inequality.” Their president is talking past them.



Forecasting the Climate: Maybe Not So Bad After All. by The Elephant's Child

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will soon publish the second part of its latest report on the likely impact of climate change. It will reportedly be less frightening than last time around in 2007.

Contrary to media opinion, the real debate has never been between “deniers” and the rest, but between those who think warming is fairly harmless and those who think the future is alarming.

Matt Ridley writes in the Wall Street Journal that a small amount of warming over a long period will probably be a good thing. People can adapt. Satellites have recorded roughly a 14% increase in greenery on the planet over the past 30 years, in all ecosystems.

And if renewable energy had proved by now to be cheap, clean and thrifty in its use of land, then we would be right to address that small risk of a large catastrophe by rushing to replace fossil fuels with first-generation wind, solar and bioenergy. But since these forms of energy have proved expensive, environmentally damaging and land-hungry, it appears that in our efforts to combat warming we may have been taking the economic equivalent of chemotherapy for a cold.

Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population “bomb,” pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.

 



Obama’s Delay of the Keystone XL Pipeline is All About Politics. by The Elephant's Child

Last month at a press conference after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama was asked about his delay in approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

Harper has been urging Obama to do the right thing and approve the pipeline that would pump oil from Alberta, Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The president is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. He has claimed that all the jobs are just “temporary.” The State Department has approved the pipeline twice, both Hillary and Kerry. It will not increase greenhouse gases. Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer has promised $100 million to the Democrats if they just keep opposing global warming. Green activists are continually demonstrating against the Keystone, for unknown greenie reasons. Unions badly want the jobs involved. The oil is being moved by rail at present, which is more dangerous.

By delaying a decision, Obama is hoping to get past the 2014 election without hurting the re-election chances of several Senate Democrats running in red or purple states that strongly support the Keystone XL and the energy industry.

Those candidates include Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, plus two open seats in Montana and West Virginia held by two retiring Democrats.

Think about the political problems facing these Democrats.

Montana, where Democratic Sen. Max Baucus just retired, will be able to ship 100,000 barrels a day of oil from the Bakken shale formation. If Obama kills the Keystone XL, he kills Montana jobs and may hurt the chances of a Democrat holding that Senate seat.

TransCanada has released a detailed job breakdown in response to critics who argue that the company’s job creation estimates for the project are too high and will lead only to ‘a few hundred’ temporary jobs. They presented a detailed account of employment potential in the U.S. right down to the number of oilers, labourers and welders needed for the  U.S. $7 billion project.

Their claim (January 2012)breaks the project into 17 pipeline segments with 500 workers per segment —8,500 jobs. Thirty pump stations, each station requires 100 workers—3,000 jobs. Six hundred jobs for the six construction camps at Cushing, Oklahoma.Construction, management and inspection oversight — 1,000. That’s 13,000 construction employment opportunities and 7,000 in manufacturing. The spin-off jobs for materials, steel pipes, related services would generate all sorts of indirect jobs and revenue for suppliers.

If the vulnerable Democrats can waffle on the issue, and Obama continues to deny the project, he gets money from the green activist lobby, and they have a lot to donate.

Democrats biggest claim in an election year is that they care about the little people. They don’t. ObamaCare is a clear example. Once they get  you signed up and dependent on their program, they don’t care what kind of health care you actually receive. Evidence: “If You like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” “Your insurance will cost $2,500 less,” VA insurance. Indian Health Service. Medicaid.

It’s all about politics. Not the “little guy.”



Wooden High-Rise Buildings to Fight Climate Change? by The Elephant's Child

Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack announced a new partnership at the White House Rural Council last week, to train architects, engineers and builders about the benefits of advanced wood building materials, and plans for a forthcoming prize competition to design and build high-rise wood demonstration projects.

In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan
goal of preserving the role of forests
in mitigating climate change.

Secretary Vilsack is a former governor of the State of Iowa, which means he must know about farming and corn and trees, right? Actually, he doesn’t seem to have ever done anything but Democratic politics, but that makes him a good candidate for Secretary of Agriculture.

Wood may be one of the world’s oldest building materials, but it is now also one of the most advanced, said Vilsack. Building stronger markets for innovative new wood products supports sustainable forestry, helps buffer reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and puts rural America at the forefront of an emerging industry. Presently, the market for wood and other related forest products supports more than one million direct jobs, many in rural America. As these markets expand, so will the economic opportunities.

The Secretary also announced plans to launch a new prize competition, expected to begin later this year, for developers, institutions, organizations and design teams competing to demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability of using sustainable wood products in high-rise construction.

The lumber mills that provided employment for most of the small towns where I grew up are long gone. The log trains as well. Seldom see a logging truck. Back in the Clinton administration, one of his bright ideas was to ban roads in the woods. Of course that meant the hotshot crews had a harder time getting to the fires. Greens have had a hard time understanding that trees are a renewable resource. The time frame is just longer. Oddly enough, plentiful carbon dioxide  in the atmosphere, a natural fertilizer, helps them to grow.

Perhaps you remember this 2008 video of a bunch of Earth First loonies in a stand of saplings wailing over one that has been cut down. I feel confident that they are all city apartment people whose connections with the out-of-doors are a little tenuous at best.

They usually don’t know much about the environment itself, only their emotional response to nature.  We shut down the forests to save the spotted owl, who nests only in old growth, except that turned out to be false. And their declining numbers were due to their barred owl cousins, not evil loggers.

We must refuse to build the Keystone XL pipeline because a pipeline might someday spring a leak, but this pushes the transportation of oil onto trucks and trains which is much more dangerous. The newest protest is against the  Cove Point facility in Maryland that is due to be the first to export liquified natural gas, which Europe needs badly for fuel to counter the risk of Putin’s blackmail with Russian natural gas. In the meantime, we are exporting wood pellets to England to fire the furnaces to keep the Brits warm. Go figure.

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan will do nothing to change the climate, but if Democrats keep talking as if it will, they will get $100 million from Tom Steyer who is a billionaire hedge fund climate activist. The promise of more subsidies for solar and wind will reward Obama’s supporters and accomplish nothing for our energy mix. Secretary Vilsack is a big ethanol supporter, which is probably what got him the appointment. If I have given the impression that nobody knows what they are doing, that’s what I had in mind. Actions have consequences. If you think things through, the consequences don’t have to be unfortunate unintended ones.



Need Arguments for the Lefties in the Family? by The Elephant's Child

Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is one of my favorite Senators. As ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, he had a few choice words for Jack Lew when the Treasury Secretary appeared at a Budget Committee hearing on President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal.  Even more than usual, the president’s budget is based on ideological fantasy rather than substance, and dead on arrival. There is zero chance of it becoming the basis for federal spending next year, let alone the next then years. Senator Sessions said:

Thank you, Secretary Lew, for appearing before us today.

In 2009, the Administration wagered America’s financial future on the idea that a record increase in government spending and debt would revive the economy. Since then, government debt has increased 64 percent and is on track to double by the end of the President’s second term. What are the results?

* America is in the midst of slowest recovery since the end of World War II.
* Workforce participation has shrunk to a nearly 40-year low.
* The Labor Department reports that most occupations pay less today than they did when the President took office.
* Government debt has leaped from roughly $10 trillion to $17 trillion, yet median income has dropped $2,268 per household over that same time, and the decline has actually accelerated.

This is a huge disaster.

The justification for this unprecedented accumulation of debt was the claim that it would lead to prosperity. And yet now, we have none of the prosperity and all of the debt. This plan has proven to be one of the most costly failed gambits in American history. The White House’s average 2013 growth projection in their 2009 through 2012 budgets was 3.9 percent. Economic growth is critical for America’s workers—translating into higher wages and better jobs with benefits.

But actual growth last year came in at half what was projected, 1.9 percent—a huge difference with real impact on millions of Americans. For example, CBO has repeatedly said that the Administration’s $870 billion stimulus bill would be a long-term drag on the economy.

So what does the President propose in his new budget?

The plan increases spending growth by almost $1 trillion, bursting through the Ryan-Murray spending caps he signed into law only two months ago. So, while the military gets hammered, other agency budgets soar. The White House proposes the following increases next year:

* A 45% increase for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
* An 18% increase for the Legal Services Corporation.
* A 15% increase for the Department of Energy.
* A 30% increase for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and
* A 7% increase for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

The plan also raises taxes more than $1 trillion—in addition to the $1.7 trillion in taxes he’s already enacted. New proposed taxes include:

* Limit the value of itemized deductions to raise taxes by almost $600 billion.
* Raise the death tax and reduce the exclusion to increase taxes by over $100 billion.
* Increase taxes on unemployment insurance by $78 billion.
* Increase taxes on energy production by $49 billion.

So the President raises taxes to increase spending. It is a tax-and-spend budget that will never pass. Altogether, the White House budget plan would add another $8 trillion to our $17 trillion debt. [Ed.: And that assumes that all of the optimistic assumptions in Obama's ten-year plan come true--which has never happened yet.]

The seriousness of the situation is demonstrated by this fact: last year, we paid our creditors $221 billion in interest on our federal debt. Under the President’s plan, according to his own numbers, annual interest payments will nearly quadruple to $812 billion.

Rising interest payments represent arguably the gravest threat to our nation’s financial security. Should interest rates increase even slightly above projections, the costs of financing our debt would quickly surge to emergency levels. As the Director of the Congressional Budget Office warned, we face “the risk of a fiscal crisis.”

Clearly, we must pursue a new course that creates jobs and that does not add to our debt. Here’s how:

* Produce more American energy to create jobs right here in the U.S.
* Streamline the tax code and lower rates to make America more globally competitive.
* Eliminate every unnecessary regulation that destroys jobs.
* Adopt a trade policy that defends the legitimate interests of U.S. workers.
* Enforce an immigration policy that serves American workers.
* Turn the welfare office into a job a training center.
* Make government leaner, doing more with less.
* Balance the budget to restore confidence and growth.

Senator Session has solid judgment, and an excellent instinct for what issues deserve priority. This is an excellent summary of just how ObamaCare has contributed to the dismal economy. A clear majority of Americans know that more government spending and higher taxes hurt the economy.



When a Billionaire Says Support Climate Change, Democrats Hold a “Talkfest”. by The Elephant's Child

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer

Why did the Democrats in the Senate hold an all-night pajama party talkfest? They have no intention of passing a bill or doing anything about “cap and trade.” It is all about campaign cash. Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge-fund manager, who made much of his money on government-subsidized “green’ energy projects, has become one of the Democrat Party’s most important donors.

He has retired from hedge funds to devote all his attention to politics, and particularly to the “urgent” case of climate change. He has pledged to contribute $50 million and raise another $50 million to help Democrats in the 2014 campaign. The catch is that they have to emphasize global warming as an issue. His new group NextGen Political Action. The group will refuse to spend money on behalf of Democrats who oppose climate regulation, but will not spend against them either. To quote Breitbart:

Once upon a time, Democrats complained about fatcats funding campaigns. Then they discovered that it was they who had the fatter cats. So that made the situation different: Fatcats—at least liberal fatcats— are okay.

The new breed of fat cat demands that candidates espouse a Green ideology that happens to be ballot-box poison. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple just announced that he didn’t want any climate change deniers investing in Apple. Way to go! For many Democrats it is a matter of faith, not of science. when it comes to political donations the Koch brothers are far down the list, something like 59th. They are more inclined to invest their money in searching for a cure for cancer. It was John Kerry, married to another Green billionaire, Theresa Heinz Kerry, who declared “Climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

The environmental true believers range from passionate to Malthusian. They run around in private jets and limousines, but as a recent Sierra Club press release said “There’s no such thing as sustainable growth, not in a country like the US. We have to de-grow our economy.” Their goal is to de-grow the economy. Passionate true believers are seldom interested in ordinary science, or ordinary economics either.

Among other things they are totally opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline. Dirty Canadian oil needs be banned and to hell with all the jobs. The voters do want jobs, they do want plentiful, cheap energy, and common sense and direct observation leads them to believe that climate change is not an urgent problem.

Leaves Congressional Democrats walking a fine line. They want and need the political donations, but want to avoid anything that might upset the voters on the one hand or the donors on the other. Hence the talkfest.

 




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