American Elephants


Remember the Men of D-Day, June 6, 1944 by The Elephant's Child
d23_0p012623
Reposted from 2013 ……..…………………………….(click to enlarge)
Major Werner Pluskat in his bunker overlooking Omaha Beach had heard nothing from his superiors. He was cold, tired and exasperated. He felt isolated. He couldn’t understand why there had been no reports from either regimental or division headquarters. …Once more he swung the artillery glasses over to the left, picked up the dark mass of the Cherbourg peninsula and began another slow sweep of the horizon. The same low banks of mist came into view, the same patches of shimmering moonlight, the same restless white flecked sea.Behind him in the bunker his dog Harras, was stretched out asleep. Nearby,  Captain Ludz Wilkening and Lieutenant Fritz Theen were talking quietly. Pluskat joined them. “Still nothing out there,” he told them.” I’m about to give it up. But he walked back to the aperture and stood looking out as the first streaks of light began to lighten the sky. He decided to make another routine sweep.

Wearily, he swung the glasses over to the left again. Slowly he tracked across the horizon. He reached the dead center of the bay. The glasses stopped moving. Pluskat tensed, stared hard.

Through the scattering thinning mist the horizon was filling with ships — ships of every size and description, ships that casually maneuvered back and forth as though they had been there for hours. There appeared to be thousands of them. Pluskat stared in frozen disbelief, speechless, moved as he had never been before in his life. At that moment the world of the good soldier Pluskat began falling apart. He says that in those first few moments he knew, calmly and surely, that “this was the end for Germany.”      Cornelius Ryan: The Longest Day

ADDENDUM:  The Greatest Generation is passing into history. The youngest who turned 18 in 1943 will be 90 years old in 2015,(not including those who lied about their age). Honor them, for they saved the world at enormous cost.  Think too, of those on the home front who built the ships and planes and made the materials that won the war. They built the arsenal of Democracy.



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.



Will The Keystone Pipeline Get Built? Probably Not. by The Elephant's Child

Keystonepipeline

It has been more than six years since TransCanada filed with the State Department for a cross-border permit for their plans to build the Keystone XL Pipeline to carry crude oil from Alberta tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries. The permit was approved — twice.

President Obama has used one excuse after another to avoid approving it. Nebraska has approved it, approved it again after the route was shifted to meet objections, and now the Nebraska Supreme Court has said that Governor Heineman has the authority to review and approve major pipeline projects. The ruling ended litigation brought by  three Nebraska landowners who claimed the governor’s 2013  approval was unconstitutional. This was the latest of Obama’s excuses.

He has said firmly that he will veto any bill that approves the pipeline, and offered some really silly excuses for opposing it. It would only favor Canada, and why should we do a pipeline to help them make money, the jobs were only temporary jobs (all construction or infrastructure jobs are temporary).

The House has passed a bill 266 to 153 with 28 Democrat votes, and the Senate will deal with it next week. Mr. Obama has subjected the project to two separate State Department reviews, both of which received positive findings. Will there be enough Democrat votes to override a presidential veto? Don’t know, but 60 percent of the American people want it built.

It means at least 20,000 high paying jobs in pipeline construction and materials construction, according to TransCanada. The State Department projects 42.000 jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that 9 agencies need to review the project to “see if it is in the interest of the American people” and the State Department cannot approve it until all the agency reports are in. I think you can conclude that the State Department has been told to find it not in their interest. Kerry’s a big environmental backer.

This will be show-and-tell for the Democrats. Are they the party of jobs and work, or of rich green donors? A correspondent for Barron’ said that Obama was a true believer in global warming and  passionate about saving the environment. The Wall Street Journal says” the real reason is that his environmental supporters oppose the pipeline as a matter of climate-change religious faith.” Take your pick. I’d say follow the money.

The ridiculous part of it is that the oil will go to market. It is going now. Some over other expanded pipelines, some by rail. Rail is subject to derailments and serious spills. There have been several with many people killed.

Canada has approved projects for pipelines to the Atlantic and to the Pacific. The current importance of the Keystone is much diminished. It means a lot to the Canadian economy. The President has seriously damaged our relations with our neighbor to the North, our closest ally and biggest trading partner — for no reason at all, unless he can come up with better excuses than he has so far. I have seen no evidence that President Obama is actually interested in job creation. He likes to take credit for the jobs created by others.



The Christmas Truce, One Hundred Years Ago, Remembered. by The Elephant's Child

Here is Sainsbury’s official Christmas 2014 advertisement, made in cooperation with the Royal British Legion. It was inspired by very real events one hundred years ago. The chocolate bar featured in the video is being sold by Sainsburys, a British supermarket chain, all profits go to the Royal British Legion and benefit British armed forces and their families.

The Wall Street Journal published an article on the Christmas Truce in 1914. A British soldier named Frank Richards wrote about the event:

On Christmas morning we stuck up a board with ‘A Merry Christmas’ on it. The enemy had stuck up a similar one…. Two of our men then threw their equipment off and jumped on the parapet with their hands above their heads. Two of the Germans done the same and commenced to walk up the river bank, our two men going to meet them. They met and shook hands and then we all got out of the trench…

Up and down the four hundred-odd miles of trenches on the Western Front, men risked their lives with similar acts, meeting opposing soldiers in “no man’s land.” Wary and unarmed, they made their way out of their trenches, taking steps that, a day earlier, would have guaranteed their death at the hands of sharpshooters and machine gunners a hundred yards away.

The relaxation of hostilities spread, and what has come to be called the “Christmas truce” took hold. Soon, soldiers were holding joint burial services for the dead. They began trading goods. British soldiers had been given holiday tins of plum pudding from the king; German soldiers had received pipes with a picture of the crown prince on them; and before long the men were bartering these holiday gee-gaws that celebrated the enemy’s royals. Eventually, soldiers prayed and caroled together, shared dinner, exchanged gifts. Most famously, there were soccer matches at various locations, played with improvised balls.

The truce mostly held through Christmas and, in some cases, even to the New Year. It took senior officers’ threats for fighting to resume, and such comprehensive battlefront peacemaking never happened again during the Great War. Courts-martial were brought against those involved later in even brief Christmas truces to retrieve the dead.

ADDENDUM: Here’s a photograph of a real football game played on the battlefield in 1914 during the Christmas truce, from Twitter.

ChristmasTruce



Obama Is Right, So He Will Not Alter His Views! by The Elephant's Child

pipeline-transcanda-537x402

President Obama said today, during a press conference in Myanmar, that a looming vote in the Republican-led House of Representatives to approve the Keystone XL pipeline would not alter his views on the project. He accused GOP leaders of falsifying the numbers of jobs created by the pipeline.

Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices,” the president said, issuing some of his strongest language yet against Keystone.

I have also noted that, as policy matter, my government believes that we should judge this pipeline based on whether or not it accelerates climate change or whether it helps the American people with their energy costs and their gas prices,” he added. “And I have to constantly push back against this idea that somehow the Keystone pipeline is either this massive jobs bill for the United States, or is somehow lowering gas prices.

The president’s “strongest language yet” reveals nothing quite so much as the fact that he has no understanding at all of how an economy works. Look at how he transforms the project from a benefit to both nations into a greedy Canada using us to transport their oil which they will sell all over the world — with no benefit to the U.S. at all. He is apparently speaking to the same stupid voters that Jonathan Gruber says they tricked into approving ObamaCare.

TransCanada spelled out the number of jobs that would be required, 13,000 construction and 7,000 to build the pipeline materials, for a total of 20,000. Then there are spin-off jobs. The workers have to eat, be sheltered, buy gas for their cars. The U.S. has stalled Canada for so long, that the Canadians have made other plans for a pipeline to the West Coast and one to the East Coast, so there may be less oil being sent down to Texas, but I believe that sector is still needed. I’m just confident that the Canadians will no longer trust the U.S. to do what it claims it will.

Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is fighting for her Senate seat in a runoff election, and the Democrats have pulled their money out. She introduced the bill in the Senate in a two-hour plea to the chamber. She is hoping her effort will persuade Louisiana voters to return her to office.

Democrats in the House and Senate are not as protective as they were before the election in which they feel he really let them down. It quickly passed the house 152-161 with 31 Democrats crossing over to vote in favor, and one Republican, Rep. Justin Amash (MI) voting “present.” The Senate will vote on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal mentioned:

Someone should tell the President that oil markets are global and adding to global supply might well reduce U.S. gas prices, other things being equal. A tutor could add that Keystone XL will also carry U.S. light oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. So even if he thinks that bilateral trade only helps Canada, he’s still wrong about Keystone.

The oil will be transported to the market. The world needs the oil. It is currently being transported by oil train tanker cars. Trains derail, sometimes spectacularly, and sometimes kill people. Pipelines are safer.

sns-rt-us-crude-train-explosion-20131108-001



Tom Steyer Blew $74 Million On Fighting A Pipeline. by The Elephant's Child

keystone1

Tom Steyer became a billionaire by investing in fossil fuels. Now he is betting against them, and blew at least $74 million trying to persuade the voters to oppose Republicans who disagree with him about the Keystone XL pipeline. He opposes the pipeline, he opposes oil sands from Alberta, and apparently would prefer to see Alberta’s oil sent to market by rail. Rail, of course, is far more dangerous and subject to oil spills than a pipeline — pipelines have an excellent safety record.

Well, proof, once again, that money doesn’t buy elections. Mr. Steyer and the teacher’s unions wasted far more money than most. Mr. Steyer gave most of his money to his NextGen Climate Action Super PAC. Environmental groups including NextGen spent $85 million to support President Obama’s agenda, especially the regulations for “bankrupting coal.” They are not taking the defeat well. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune  whined:

Despite the climate movement’s significant investments and an unprecedented get out the vote program, strong voices for climate action were defeated and candidates paid for by corporate interests and bolstered by sinister voter suppression tactics won the day.

Mitch McConnell made opposition to “the war on coal” the centerpiece of his campaign, and won what was supposed to be a close election by 15 points. Shelley Moore Capito’s support for coal made her the first female GOP Senator in 55 years from West Virginia.

Mr. Steyer and the greens made opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline a litmus test of their support for Democrats, and Mr. Obama dutifully delayed approving the pipeline, despite multiple government reports showing no effect on the climate whatsoever from the pipeline.

In his statement to reporters following the election, Mr. Obama once again went off on “infrastructure and roads and bridges” suggesting that nasty Republicans wouldn’t support those opportunities for creating good jobs for unemployed Americans struggling to join the middle class. That has been Obama’s constant refrain repeated endlessly since 2009. Hello? An oil pipeline guaranteeing  something like 20,000 jobs IS infrastructure.

Republicans are promising to push pro-fossil-fuel  energy policy in Congress, including support for the Keystone XL,  fast-track approval for liquid natural-gas-export terminals, and reining in anti-coal regulations. Democrats might want to help create jobs, and perhaps save their own. Principle works better than falling all over yourself when a billionaire promises money.

If these environmental zealots would spend as much time studying up on the science of energy as they do on trying to buy politicians, they would save a fair amount of cash.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,309 other followers

%d bloggers like this: