American Elephants


“We Need To Face Reality. There Is No Planet B.” by The Elephant's Child

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry speaks about the Ukraine crisis after his meetings with other foreign ministers in Paris

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a haughty speech on climate change at the Atlantic Council in Washington on Thursday. He is upset that those Republican yokels don’t understand that climate change is happening and that humans are largely responsible, and those facts should be as universally accepted as the law of gravity.

Well, we yokels do accept the laws of gravity, not so much because Sir Isaac Newton said so, but because it is an observable truth. I would be most gratified if the dishes I drop would float for a while before falling, so I could catch them before they break, but gravity triumphs every time.

No one denies that climate change is happening. The climate is always changing, always will. It has been far warmer in the past, and far colder as well. We  have all heard of Ice Ages. What we are skeptical about is that the current warming phase occurs only in computer climate programs — not in the real world. In the real world, where accurate temperatures across the world are measured by satellites, there hasn’t been any warming for eighteen years. Mr. Kerry said:

Now folks, we literally do not have the time to waste debating whether we can say ‘climate change.’ We have to talk about how we solve climate change. Because no matter how much people want to bury their heads in the sand, it will not alter the fact that 97 percent of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible.”

Oh dear, the 97% “consensus” (2013) Cook et. al. has been refuted in scholarly peer-reviewed journals, major news media, public policy organizations and think tanks, credentialed scientists. 100 percent of the former say that warming has nearly stopped.

I’ll bet Mr. Kerry has never read any of the science, but only accepted what he believes to be the conventional wisdom.  He insisted that last year was the warmest of all, (it wasn’t even close ) and added that “I don’t mean to sound haughty” — when has he ever not? I’m not sure that you can be a skeptic and a member of the Obama administration.

He issued a passionate call for nations to forgo the short-term lure of “outdated” fossil fuels — “The bottom line is that we can’t only factor in the price of immediate energy needs. We have to factor in the cost of long-term carbon pollution. We have to factor in survival.”

“We need to face reality,” he added. “There is no ‘Planet B.’”

Joe Biden made a speech along exactly the same line. “Climate Change is as real as the law of gravity” so that is apparently the administration’s approved line of the day. It is a concerted Democratic assault on “deniers,”or those who do not follow the party line on climate change orthodoxy.  Why? Because as with all progressive campaigns, the issue is never the issue.

The computer climate simulations put in what information we knew about the climate for sure, which wasn’t much, some assumptions, some complete guesses, and unfortunately could not predict the climate of today—when we already knew the correct answer. There is a lot that remains unknown — especially the action of clouds, and if you are a cloud-watcher, that difficulty is easy to understand.

When new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell first spoke to her department, she said  “I hope there aren’t any deniers here!” That orthodoxy is clearly expected in the Obama administration, and it is clearly expected in the Science departments of many universities.

Climate science, because of governmental interest — which includes grants, prestige, higher salaries. For the university more interest, more money, better equipment. Aside from government grants, there is money from NGOs and even some corporations. If the world is really heating up dangerously a lot of people want to know about it. Scientists in many different departments suddenly found that they could write a good grant proposal and suddenly they were climate scientists and in the money.

The list of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dependent on global warming panic for their funding and livelihood is long, and you know the big ones. NRDC, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Wilderness Society, World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society,Environmental Defense Fund—that’s just a few of the biggies. There are literally hundreds more.

They have depended on emotional appeals to raise money and entice activists to the cause — first, it was baby harp seals who were being clubbed to death, then the spotted owl, and finally the Greens latched on to the polar bears as their standard-bearer. Not enough ice, the bears were endangered, going to go extinct if you didn’t cough up enough funding. The bears were never endangered, though they did get them labeled “threatened, but better surveys certified that the bears were just fine, increasing in numbers, and Arctic ice melts in the summer and grows in the winter, and in recent winters of “polar vortexes” is more extensive than ever.

It seems, however, that Mr. Kerry’s speech and Mr. Biden’s speech are only the tip of a fairly massive iceberg floating along under the surface. More to come.

 



There Are Always Tradeoffs Between What’s Right and Politics by The Elephant's Child

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The Wall Street Journal reports that:

This week, nine years after a federal agent infiltrated a religious ceremony to seize an American Indian tribe’s sacred objects, pastor Robert Soto finally got his feathers back. But the feds are still threatening civil and criminal penalties against Mr. Soto if he shares his feathers with anyone. And the government intends to seize them again upon his death. In the annals of government abuse, the federal “Operation Powwow” is one for the ages.

As long ago as 2005 gumshoes from the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service started sniffing around Mr. Soto’s Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas and the McAllen Grace Brethren Church, where he leads the exercise of traditional American Indian worship. In 2006 a special agent made his not-so-daring move.

He attended the ceremony, asking questions about the feathers but identifying himself as a federal investigator only after encouraging a worshiper to share information. The government eventually confiscated dozens of eagle feathers that were being used in the peaceful exercise of religion.

There is such a thing as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means that unlicensed possession of feathers can result in fines or even jail time. Two of Mr. Soto’s offending feathers were given to his brother-in-law by an American Indian soldier who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not easy to get a license to receive feathers for religious purposes, and can take  years.

Mr. Soto is a Lipan Apache, a tribe that is recognized by the State of Texas,, but not Washington. It is therefore illegal for Mr. Soto to practice his faith. With help from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, he filed a civil suit against Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. He won his appeal last year along with the Hobby Lobby case which was also a religious freedom case.He got his feathers back, but he cannot give feathers to other worshipers.

Seems like they ought to be allowed to wander around the nation’s wind farms to pick up the feathers from the dead eagles.  The Washington Times reported in September of 1913 that wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most occurring between 2008 and 2012 as the industry was expanding. Most were struck by a turbine. Wind farm turbines are as tall as 30-story buildings, and the spinning rotors can reach speeds up to 170 mph at the tips ‘creating tornado-like vortexes.’ Texas has wind farms.

The Obama administration finalized a rule to allow wind farms to kill eagles for up to 30 years — undoubtedly another executive order in December of 2013. The American Bird Conservancy has sued because the rule violated the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and was adopted without any consultation under the Endangered Species Act.

A study estimated 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities per year, with 83,000 raptors included. That would produce a pretty big pile of feathers. There are even more deaths at the big solar arrays, but those birds just go up in a puff of smoke — no feathers left. So you see how complicated federal regulations are.

Mr. Soto is threatened with jail if he gives anyone a feather, because he had two eagle feathers from Afghanistan, and the federal government makes a new rule that killing eagles with wind turbines is just fine, because President Obama is sure that we can support America’s energy needs with environmentally friendly (except for birds and bats) wind and natural energy from the sun — that is as soon as they get the problems of the natural intermittence of the wind and those dang clouds worked out.

*The image at the top is what I found when I Googled “Apache Indian headdresses,” so I don’t know if it is Lipan Apache, or even if it is really Apache at all, but it is extremely handsome. We wish Mr. Soto well.

I found a description, The headdress is Lakota Sioux.



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.



Send Obama Dozens of Bills to Veto. Make His Warped Ideology Clear to All. by The Elephant's Child

MG_4735-Panorama_01Obama, as expected, vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline bill. I would have thought there were the votes to override, but they undoubtedly needed some Democrat votes in the Senate (I haven’t seen the numbers), and Democrats march in lockstep. This bill was meant to speed up the process a bit.

Since it crosses an international border, the State Department has to study the agreement and approve it.  The Clinton State Department approved it, the Kerry State Department approved it, but now they decided that the State Department has to consult all the government agencies to determine if it is “in the best interests of the country.”That is a new hurdle, and undoubtedly the one to kill it permanently. Unbelievably stupid.

Obama  has weighed in on that himself — extensively — with whoppers big enough to get him a full four Pinocchios from the Washington Post. But I just went into that on Monday. Surely he can’t be so ill-informed at this late day. This has been going on for something like 6 years. Mr. International Relations Obama has antagonized our most important trading partner to the North. I’m sure that several departments will be happy to swear that it is not in the best interests of the United States, though they may have a hard time coming up with reasons that anyone would believe.

The EPA has just been slapped down in court, again. I imagine Interior will be happy to chime in.

King Cove, Alaska, pictured above, is a remote Aleutian fishing village that is often locked in by gale force winds and fog. They have a clinic but no doctor and no hospital — for trauma cases or difficult childbirth they need to get to an airstrip in bad weather that is 22 miles away. They requested a one lane gravel road from the Interior Department that would allow access to lifesaving medical care. Etta Kuzakin, a 36 year-old King Cove resident needed an emergency Caesarean section after going into early labor. Ms. Jewell rejected the road because “it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.” Waterfowl cannot cross a one lane gravel road? Please!

Ms. Jewell is already on my idiot list. A former president of REI, she is supposedly an outdoorswoman, but when she spoke to her new department, she announced “I hope there aren’t any “deniers” in this department.” Not cool.  Aside from that, the feds are going to spend $10,450,000 to help Native Americans adapt to “Climate Change.” They will teach Great Basin tribes how to adapt to global warming as it affects their hunting fishing and “gathering activities.” That’s my favorite bureaucrat story. And a major reason why I believe in a much smaller government!

Obama’s opposition can only be due to Tom Steyer’s money, as there is no sane reason to  oppose a pipeline that is clearly in the best interests of both Canadians and Americans.



Obama Versus The Pipeline: An Ideological Battle! by The Elephant's Child

keystone1

President Obama  in an interview with WDAY of Fargo ND, Feb. 26, 2015 — tried to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline:

“I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf. It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.”

Obama has come to believe that he can say whatever he wants and the people will believe it, and it’s getting to be embarrassing.

Infrastructure is just equipment and structures like, well, pipelines. Building infrastructure is a construction job. Construction jobs only last until the structure is complete, and then construction workers move on to the next project. There are around 20,000 high-paying construction jobs in the pipeline and in materials, and the State Department estimates 42,000 spin-off jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy. Beats losers like Solyndra and the enormous Ivanpah Project.

The crude oil would indeed travel to the Gulf Coast. and be refined there. Most of the refined product is likely to be consumed in the United States. For Gulf refineries heavy bitumen from the oil sands is an attractive substitute for declining offshore heavy crude supply from Latin America. A report from IHS Energy concluded that 70 percent of the refined product would be consumed in the United States. Canadian crude is eligible for crude export licenses. The likelihood that WCSB crudes would be exported in volume is considered low.

TransCanada has signed contracts to move 65,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, and about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity has been set aside for the Bakken region. U.S companies control about 30 percent of the production in Canada’s oil sands region, so production is not strictly Canadian, But the last time I looked, Canada was our friendly neighbor to the North, and our most important trading partner.

Obama got  Four Pinocchios for that speech from the Washington Post Fact Checker.



Petulant President Vetoes Pipeline, Promises Permits to Illegals by The Elephant's Child

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told CNS News that already in this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people who have come across the border with Mexico, apprehended and  unauthorized.

In fiscal year 2014, U.S. immigration officials removed 213,719 individuals who were caught while attempting to enter the  United States unlawfully. Texas already has some 800,000 illegal aliens living in their state.

Abbott has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 26 states challenging Mr. Obama’s decision to go around Congress by unilaterally giving millions of illegal immigrants permission to stay in the US. and to give them Social Security numbers, and work permits.

A federal judge has put President Obama’s amnesty plan on hold, and Abbott said he expects the case to continue through the court process all the way to the Supreme Court. Abbott added that the president has violated the rule of law and is actually making up the law himself and imposing his own standards in immigration.

Government data , as of December 2014, show 9.3 million new jobs have been added since January 2000. In the same time period, data show 18 million new immigrants (legal and illegal). So for every new job, there have been two new immigrants. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) says:

Government data  reveal that more than 7.4 million work permits (formally known as Employment Authorization Documents) were issued to aliens from 2009 to 2014. Because neither lawful permanent residents (green card holders) nor temporary work visa holders need a work permit, this amounts to a huge parallel immigrant work authorization system outside the numerical limits and categories set by Congress. The huge number of work permits being issued above and beyond these limits inevitably reduces opportunities for U.S. workers, damages the integrity of the immigration system, and encourages illegal immigration.

Obama has been talking about the improving economy and all the new jobs, without including the downside of the long-term unemployed, nor the jobs lost or turned part-time. You get better numbers if you just talk jobs created, and forget to subtract the jobs lost—a regular Obama trick.

He also does not include all the work permits he has granted to illegals. Nor will he count the potential jobs that were included with the Keystone XL pipeline bill that he vetoed today. In every way, the Keystone XL pipeline would be a boon to the American economy. His veto has nothing to do with the merits of the project.

The application to build the pipeline was filed more than 2,300 days ago. It has been approved by the Clinton State Department, and the Kerry State Department, and Obama’s excuses are getting more and more embarrassing. He claims the bill would “cut short” the process for approving the project — over 6 years and climbing. It’s purely political. (Tom Steyer’s money) Keystone has passed every environmental test, and the recent derailment of an oil tanker train has demonstrated, once again, that pipelines are safer than the alternative.

According to TransCanada, the pipeline means at least 20,000 new high-paying jobs. They are only temporary, sneers Obama. All construction jobs are temporary until the construction is complete then the workers take their newly learned skills on to the next job. And by the way, the Keystone pipeline IS infrastructure. Besides the 20,000 construction jobs in pipeline construction and material production, the State Department projects 42,000 jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy.

This is just Obama being childish and petulant. Remember that when he starts telling you about all the new jobs, or the improving economy. Any improvement has not come from Obama initiatives, but by going around the president. The economy keeps trying to break out, but this president keeps standing directly in the way.



What Did Obama Mean By “Fundamentally Transform”? by The Elephant's Child

Obama lecturing

Most of us are apt to divide the world up into the good guys and the bad guys. Opposites.  Simplistic thinking, of course. No nuance. (when did that word slip into the daily vocabulary?) Winners and losers. Short and tall, rich and poor, hard-working and lazy, handsome and ugly, cruel and kind, smart and stupid. It helps us to understand those things we encounter in the world, we can modify our judgment later.

World War II was clear — Allies and Axis, and the Cold War — Communists and the Free World. Things began to get confused with the War in Vietnam. Protesters couldn’t decide who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Jane Fonda has never been forgiven for her stupidity, but she was not alone among the far left. It was a confusing time, and when the Draft was ended, surprisingly so were the protests.

Questions today on the internet ask “Is Obama a Christian?” and “Is Obama a Muslim?” But those are the wrong questions. Obama has given every indication of signing up with the bad guys, the Axis, the Communists, and those who oppose our country. His dislike for the Israeli prime minister is obvious; his distaste for the United Kingdom is clear; his support for a deal with Iran; his support for the Muslim Brotherhood; for the deposed president of Egypt; inability to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq; Benghazi; refusal to help the dissidents in Iran, and in Syria; and the silly outreach to Cuba; and the support for most anti-American governments in South America.

There is a pattern.  A pattern which is behind Rudy Giuliani’s asking if the president loves America. One would think that the media would be somewhat aware of the direction of the entire Obama administration, instead of dissolving in wrath when someone actually notices. (Or is that why the media boiled over —they’re beginning to notice?)

I think he is just doing exactly what he said he would do: attempt to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Everybody was so excited with the idea of the first black president, the mellow baritone voice, the moving phraseology “Yes We Can!,” “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!,” that they didn’t really pay any attention to what he actually said that he wanted to do. I don’t think he is trying to destroy the country, he just wants to “fix” it.

We are paying the price for our inattention. And it’s up to us to find out exactly what he meant by “fundamentally transform.” It matters. It matters a lot.




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