American Elephants

Revolutionary, Bolivarian Dictator, Visionary, Crook. by The Elephant's Child

chavez 2

Venezuelan dictatorial socialist president Hugo Chavez has died, and his impoverished country has slight chance for recovery. He has held power and repressed his people to create his vision of a “Bolivarian state, “looking backwards to the glory days of the liberator Simon Bolivar. A new election will be held soon, Vice President Nicolas Maduro (Chavez’s appointed heir) is set to run against chief opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

This will be an interesting choice to see whether state propaganda of how much Chavez loved the poor of Venezuela whom he oppressed, deprived of food, opportunity and electricity, and essentially eliminated the middle class, will trump the $2 billion dollars of graft and oil money that he managed to squirrel away as his personal fortune. He mismanaged Venezuela’s oil resources, and mismanaged the country. They say they are going to embalm him and put his body in a glass case in imitation of other communist dictators. Why do they do that?

Former President Jimmy Carter “commitment to improving the lives of his fellow countrymen” and said he would be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment.” Well, what did you expect, it’s Jimmy Carter.

The Atlantic wrote, presumably while weeping openly, Passionate and charismatic, Chavez slipped comfortably into the role of romantic Latin American revolutionary, championing the poor against an unfeeling local oligarchy and its imperial paymasters…Today millions of Venezuelans will weep tears of genuine anguish at his passing.”

Bloomberg TV said “He rode a wave of revolution into power, and over 14 years would transform his country’s place on the world stage…It was oil revenues that allowed Chavez to pour money into food and education programs in Venezuela.” —and apparently his pockets. Those revolutionary socialist ideas never work. The poor remain poor, and the rest of society is made poor as well, but they do manage to thoroughly enrich themselves. Casts a pall on their ‘legacy.’

ICE Agents Sue For The Right to Enforce the Law They Have Sworn to Uphold by The Elephant's Child

When in the 2010 election, Republicans took over the House of Representatives, President Obama could have worked more closely with Congress to accomplish more bipartisan legislation. Not his thing. Obama blames Congress regularly for not passing the bills that he wants passed, but he has no interest whatsoever in working with Congress to get it done. He does not like disagreement, particularly from Republicans for whom he has no respect. He really doesn’t get the two parties thing. Republicans are the enemy.

So, if he can’t get what he wants through Congress, he uses regulatory fiat as a substitute for enacting laws. That this is in direct conflict with the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution makes no difference. He has no respect for the separation of powers, it is just another annoying impediment to getting his own way. This is where the Imperial Presidency label comes from.

Obama has wanted to pass the “Dream Act” as he is urged to do by the activist Latino organizations. Election, Hispanic votes, no-brainer. It is a more complicated problem than pandering to potential voters. Many illegal immigrants brought their small children with them to this country. The kids have gone to American schools, and grown up in this country. They are illegal, and according to the law, should be sent back to their country of origin. Everybody feels sorry for the kids. “Through no fault of their own” is the standard phrase. But if you keep jiggling the law to allow those who are not here legally to stay, then we have no laws. It becomes an incentive for more to cross the border illegally with their kids, who we then would be expected to appreciates “through no fault of their own” and let them stay too. The obvious remedy is to reform immigration laws. Congress refused to pass the “Dream Act.”

The President tried to go around Congress with a regulation that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  officials should just not enforce immigration laws against anyone under 30, in a Homeland Security order this month. This mimics the provisions of the Dream Act — the failed bill that Obama favored as a back-door amnesty gambit. That’s why it didn’t pass. Nor did Obama want to do the hard work of coming up with a solution.

Arizona was the first to step forward because they have an enormous problem and want to be accountable.

Ten Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents have filed a lawsuit in federal court, suing for the right to enforce the laws that they have sworn to uphold. ICE agents have a big job. There is a constant flow of border-crossers, drugs, sex-trafficking, terrorists, weapons. It is not an easy job.  ICE removed a record 216,000 criminal aliens in fiscal 2011.  Politicians unnecessarily make their work much more difficult because of the potential votes of Hispanic citizens and non-citizens.

The suit was filed Thursday in Texas federal court, by ten ICE Agents. It challenges recent directives allowing some illegal immigrants, especially non-felons and those who came as children — to stay, in some cases to get work permits, and unfortunately vote.

We need to reform our immigration laws with an eye to what kind of immigration we want, what kind of immigration will be most valuable to the country. Graduate students from abroad get PhDs from American universities, and we then send them on home. There are programs especially in Asian countries that help wealthy pregnant women to come to America to deliver their babies so they can provide them with American citizenship. We need serious bi-partisan work, hard work, to reform the laws and stop the constant political infighting over potential Democrat Hispanic voters.

The House Finds Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress. by The Elephant's Child

In a 255-67 vote, the House placed Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a Congressional subpoena, in the Fast and Furious inquiry.

Seventeen Democrats ignored party lines and voted with Republicans to find the Attorney General in contempt of Congress. 108 Democrats didn’t cast votes to protest the fact that the House GOP was holding the vote.The Department of Justice is not expected to enforce the criminal contempt measure. But less than an hour later, the House passed a separate resolution allowing Issa’s Congressional Oversight Committee  to pursue civil court action against Holder.

The Congressional Black Caucus and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) staged a walkout during the vote as Democrats charged the GOP with staging a witch hunt against Holder that demeans the lower chamber.The Congressional Oversight Committee is concerned with uncovering just who is responsible for an operation that unlawfully sent nearly 2000 guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels where they were responsible for killing Border agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata and something over 300 murdered Mexican nationals. That is an awful lot of dead bodies, for which the United States is apparently responsible, and the Democrats want to call attempting to find out who authorized it a “witch hunt?’

If the drug wars just across the border weren’t killing so many people, it might well have been called an “international incident.” It is against the law to invoke “executive privilege” to cover up wrongdoing, but the President has invoked executive privilege which is usually used to protect conversations between a president and advisers.

Bad Law, But Really Compassionate. by The Elephant's Child

Here we are. The president of the United States has announced that he doesn’t like the Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States, because his reelection strategy is to pander to Hispanics with a de facto amnesty on immigration. He is a fierce competitor, and his support from the Hispanic community has  fallen off, possibly related to their sky-high unemployment.

His Secretary of Homeland Security ( embarrassingly a former Governor of Arizona)  has dutifully announced that  unless Arizona police call with an illegal immigrant who committed a major offense, don’t bother to call, because they won’t do anything. This is the president declaring that he will not obey, let alone enforce, the laws of the United States.

As a man of the hard left, Obama has had no consideration for the traditions and customs of the presidency. Many of us thought that he was just unaware of the history of the office. What do you do when you have someone in office who simply will not follow the rules? Who judges himself above the law, and as too important to be restrained by mere tradition.

We are a nation of laws. We have a remarkable Constitution that in 223 years has only been amended 27 times, while other nations rewrite theirs with regularity. But we have it because Americans revere it, and revere the brilliance that hides in the phrase “We the people … do ordain.” But what do you do when the chief executive officer, sworn to’ preserve protect and defend the Constitution’ and to’ faithfully execute the office of the presidency’ decides not to?

Steven Hayward summarized the problem in the forward to William Voegeli’s Never Enough, which I recommend heartily:

Liberalism’s irrepressible drive for an ever larger welfare state without limit arises from at least two premises upon which the left no longer reflects: the elevation of compassion to a political principle (albeit with other people’s money) and the erosion of meaningful constitutional limits on government on account of the idea of Progress.

The president, ‘compassionately’ announces that enforcing the law, or deporting anyone, or not allowing unauthorized workers to take the jobs of Americans, is just not the American way. The Congress makes the immigration laws. The Court made an error of law in essentially saying that because they have ‘compassion,’ you don’t have to pay any attention to the laws made by Congress. And the Supreme Court doesn’t get to do that. And because of the error, the problem will have to go back to Congress for new law to fix things.

As a nation, you have to have some control over your borders. You really can’t just throw the borders open to one and all. Half the world wants to move to America. The “open borders” advocates don’t care about the borders, they care only about power, and they see unlimited immigration as a key to power.

Justice Scalia’s opinion is scathing on the sovereignty of a state:

The United States is an indivisible “Union of sovereign States.” Hinderlider v. La Plata River & Cherry Creek Ditch Co., 304 U. S. 92, 104 (1938). Today’s opinion, approving virtually all of the Ninth Circuit’s injunction against enforcement of the four challenged provisions of Arizona’s law, deprives States of what most would consider the defining characteristic of sovereignty: the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there. Neither the Constitution itself nor even any law passed by Congress supports this result. I dissent.


As a sovereign, Arizona has the inherent power to exclude persons from its territory, subject only to those limitations expressed in the Constitution or constitutionally imposed by Congress. That power to exclude has long been recognized as inherent in sovereignty. Emer de Vattel’s seminal 1758 treatise on the Law of Nations stated: (The entire opinion is here)

There are no easy answers to the immigration problem, nor to the problems that illegal immigration is causing. They are hard questions, and will be difficult to work out. There are only trade-offs. You must draw clean legal lines. This is about the country, not feel-good compassion, and not about buying votes. Illegals are not all innocent children, nor are they all dreamers and strivers, and the laws must deal with terrorists and drug dealers as well. The law is not about compassion, it’s about law or lawlessness.

What’s “Fast and Furious” Really All About? by The Elephant's Child

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tried valiantly to claim that nasty Republicans were only attacking poor Attorney General Eric Holder because he was attempting to righteously prevent nasty Republicans from keeping poor black Minority members from voting by requiring them to prove to polling officials who they are by showing a picture ID. I don’t know where you could sell that whopper, and have it believed.  Perhaps in San Francisco.

We also have learned that panicky Democrats have hauled out Watergate, and attempted to claim that was worse.  There were NO dead bodies in Watergate, it was an ill-advised break-in to the opposition’s party headquarters. And that was wrong. But the Watergate scandal was about the attempt to cover it up. There were still NO dead bodies. The Court determined that “Executive Privilege” cannot be used if the assertion is shielding wrongdoing. The DoJ must provide a compelling rationale for each assertion.

Fast and Furious, the gunrunning scandal, depended on dead bodies for success. If the scheme was to work, people had to be killed, and that is indefensible.

HealthCare Mandates and Pizza Toppings by The Elephant's Child
April 6, 2012, 6:28 am
Filed under: Latin America, Movies, Politics, Television

Everything You Wanted to Know About Immigration and the Border Wars by The Elephant's Child

The argument about legal and illegal immigration is usually heated and extremely confused. A very large percentage of Americans simply want immigration laws that are obeyed and enforced, and they don’t want drug suppliers or terrorists from Latin America entering the country illegally. We want people here on temporary visas to go home when their time is up. That doesn’t seem either too complicated or in any way unfair.

We prize the text on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” in recognition of the fact that America is a nation of immigrants, and a lot of tired, poor immigrants have contributed greatly to our country. On the other hand, we want to welcome those who come with big brains  and  big bank accounts who want the freedom to create wonders. We are troubled when foreign students come to our universities to get advanced degrees in engineering and physics and then we send them home, even if they want to stay. And those who overstay their visas need to go home.

Any child born in the United States is a citizen, yet we have “tourists”who come here specifically to give birth to an American citizen. We are troubled by the idea that all of a citizen’s relatives may get a spot in line before others.  The whole immigration thing is impossibly complicated, and enormously political.

Then add in cries of racism, prejudice and ethnic profiling directed at those who want legal limitations on immigration. Many feel empathy for illegal immigrants who have avoided questions about their legal status, settled here and paid taxes, and think they should be offered amnesty. Others see no end to the amnesty because there is a constant influx of illegal immigrants who settle and establish themselves. There are somewhere between 9 million and 11 million illegals here.

Democrats usually favor amnesty and even open borders because they believe that Hispanic immigrants are reliable Democrat voters, and obtaining power is always on the mind of a Democrat politician. Memos from the Department of Homeland Security’s highest ranks show that the Obama administration has tried to form a strategy to achieve amnesty for the illegal  population without input from Congress.

The course decided upon seems to be “prosecutorial discretion” in an ICE memo of June 2011, that prevents the enforcement of immigration law, and is effectively worker authorization for much of the current illegal population. Federal lawyers are escalating their crackdown on tough immigration laws, and challenge state laws in court. The Justice Department has sued Arizona and Alabama, and gone after Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  In January, the administration proposed new hardship rules to make it easier for illegals to apply for legal status if they have a spouse or parent already living here. The Washington Post says “Immigrant-rights groups call the move a “tremendous victory.” Others, who obeyed the rules and came to the country legally are deeply offended.

There are 20.7 million acres of federal land along the U.S.–Mexico border. There are also over 1,000 miles of federal land along the U.S.–Canada border. The number of illegals detained at the border has fallen in recent years— the promise of jobs is down, but there  is an  increase in violent criminals, drug smugglers and human traffickers. Reports of Iran-sponsored activity in Mexico are increasing.

You’ve got the Coronado National Forest, the Sonoran Desert National Monument, The Organ Pipe National Monument and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which is directly adjacent to the border. Oversight of one sort  or another is provided by the U.S. Forest Service (Dept. of Agriculture) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) — all Department of Interior Agencies. Then you have the Department of Homeland Security, which supervises customs, immigration and naturalization, transportation security, and — the U.S Border Patrol.

The previous paragraph exposes the problems. Who is in charge of what? Add to that the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Earthjustice, World Wildlife Fund and the Center for Biological Diversity. There are also ranchers who own private land and lease public lands along the border. There’s the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

For  environmental groups, activities that assist in securing the border may do damage to healthy ecosystems. In other words, ecosystems trump security and American safety. DHS has given university researchers a grant of $771,000 to track jaguar wanderings. Since 1996, there have been confirmed sightings of five jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico. Whether these endangered animals are native to Arizona or only visiting from Mexico is unknown. This is a portion of the $6.8 million grant to Interior for environmental projects—to compensate for environmental damage done by illegals and border protection activities including the border fence.

H.R. 1505:  The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act was introduced last April by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) to protect federal lands from being despoiled and to secure the borders. It would “prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from taking action which would impede border security.” In other words, it gives the Border Patrol instead of federal land managers operational control over U.S. borders on public lands. It gives DHS authority over federal lands within 100 miles of the border, and authorization to waive any environmental policies that impede border security.

Turf battle. Enraged Greenies. A serious problem in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, for all the agencies, and for local law enforcement. Obama has directed that only those convicted of serious crimes will be deported. He pushed for the DREAM Act again in the SOTU speech. He has pressured staff to speed up and approve immigrant visa applications, even when fraud is suspected. He has cut back on Border Patrol personnel, and now there’s a new Illegal Alien Czar to make nice with illegals, Latino organizations, the “stakeholder community,” and to fail to remove those who might be potential voters. Andrew Lorenz-Strait is the nation’s first “public advocate” for the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Agency. Obama wants the Latino vote.  And he intends to devise any way he can to get around Congress and do what he pleases.

The drug wars in Mexico are spilling over into Arizona. A woman shopping on a downtown street in El Paso a few days ago, was shot by bullets flying across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Bullets have struck a local high school, City Hall and the University of Texas at El Paso. El Paso is generally safe, but Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the hemisphere.

Representative Bishop and his committee seem to have drawn up a sensible bill that tries to address the most urgent problems. The current situation is untenable, and the administration attempt to use it as a way to buy votes is shameful. When we do not control the border, that is just the beginning of the problems that result.

Operation Fast and Furious, Project Gunrunner, and Lots and Lots of Questions. by The Elephant's Child

Polls show that the public is largely unaware of the growing scandal of Solargate, or Solyndra, or administration support for nonviable solar energy or if so, what the problem is.

They are probably also unaware of the scandal variously known as “Gun Walker,” “Operation Fast and Furious,” and “Project Gunrunner.”  Why the  confusion of names, I don’t know, but as scandals go, this seems to be a bad one.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) is part of the Justice Department in the Obama administration under Attorney General Eric Holder. The official story was that Project Gunrunner was merely a botched sting operation run by BATF designed to track and stop cross-border arms-trafficking.

Our neighbor to the South, Mexico, has been deep in a long, vicious war to fight seven major drug cartels at once. Mass killings and executions have been the rule, and the border has become an incredibly dangerous place.

The idea behind the operation was to allow gun dealers to sell weapons to cartel middlemen, who would then ship them to criminal gangs in Mexico, so that they could be traced or something. Nearly 2,000 weapons went south based on this taxpayer-financed program. Two of the weapons turned up at the scene of the Arizona murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, killed by illegal aliens in December 2010.

The whole thing was so contrary to the stated aims of the bureau that agents raised anguished protests over and over — only to be rebuffed by their superiors — according to testimony presented to the House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) who is investigating the scandal.

The White House made a big deal about weapons flowing south to Mexico, and claimed that 90% of all weapons in the hands of the cartels came from U.S. gun dealers. That argument seemed to be false, but Mexico wanted to divert attention to their loose border controls. Obama wanted to reinstate an assault-weapon ban in 2008, but said that he did not have the political capital to do it. Mr. Obama has been an advocate of gun control and has stated that he does not believe that people should be allowed to possess guns.

The acting director of ATF, Kenneth Melson was unwilling to be made a scapegoat in the affair, and testified behind closed doors to two oversight committees, accompanied by his own private attorney. ABC reported that the Justice Department tried to delay his testimony. Apparently there is involvement by other agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security. Allowing thousands of weapons, financed by taxpayers, to cross the border and be diverted to criminal cartels while agents were ordered to stand down and not interfere.

The investigation is ongoing. There are extensive email direct connections to the White House just exposed. The Department of Justice is reportedly talking about abolishing the BATF.  ICE Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila were ambushed in Mexico by members of the Zeta cartel, with at least one weapon traceable to Texas.  Administration response has been to hunker down, cover up, stonewall, rely on a compliant media and hope that nothing really comes out.

It is all confusing, and all the different operation names make it even more confusing. Who dreamed up this mess is still unknown, nor what the real intent was.  But it looks bad — very, very bad.

Jobs Are Not Obama’s First Priority! by The Elephant's Child

According to the Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama’s administration is quietly offering a quasi-amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, while aiming to win reelection by mobilizing a wave of new Hispanic voters, say supporters of stronger immigration laws if illegal immigrants are enrolled in an education center or their relatives have volunteered for the US military.

…The Hispanic vote could be crucial in the 2012 election, because the Obama campaign hopes to offset its declining poll ratings by registering new Hispanic voters in crucial swing states, such as Virginia and North Carolina.

The document offers ICE officials new reasons for refusing to deport illegal aliens. It is estimated that there are roughly 10 million illegal immigrants in the United States, of which roughly 7 million are working.  Some businesses and Democrats have opposed any efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants. This is sort of a stealth DREAM Act (which Congress has refused to pass)  through non-enforcement.

At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and looking for work, this is an interesting approach from the Obama administration.  If the administration cared about putting Americans back to work, they would be vigorously enforcing the immigration laws.  Instead, potential Hispanic voters  (legal or illegal) are more important than a 9.1% unemployment rate.

Hispanic immigrants should beware. Many African-Americans believed that a black president would improve their lives and offer them more benefits. Instead the unemployment rate for African-Americans is 16.2%, and even higher for black males, and 41% for black teens.

The administration has been unusually determined to do exactly what they want, while ignoring the separation of powers, and however Congress happened to vote. Tradition says the President proposes, Congress disposes.

La Raza is pleased.  After all they spend around $500,000 a year lobbying the administration.

El Mirador, the Lost City of the Maya by The Elephant's Child

                                                                                                      Christian Ziegler

In 1979, archaeologist Richard Hansen, at the Jaguar Paw Temple,  discovered pot fragments that proved the Maya had developed a complex society more than 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.  Now overgrown by jungle, this ancient site was once the thriving capital of the Maya civilization.

If you have ever wanted to discover lost worlds, this article from Smithsonian Magazine should be right up your archaeological alley. This is another of those mysterious sites where the residents suddenly picked up and abandoned their city of an estimated 200,000 people,  2000 years ago, and we don’t know why, or where they went.  They seem to have left suddenly, leaving everything behind.

Here are photos of the city and here are El Mirador’s Rare Plants and Animals with a turkey whose astonishing plumage puts our dowdy American turkeys to shame.

Obama’s Energy Policy, Or the Lack of One. by The Elephant's Child

This last weekend, Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared on Fox News Sunday.  Host Chris Wallace asked him about his expressed desire in 2008 that Americans be forced to pay more at the pump in order to wean them off gasoline. In the past Chu  has attempted to sidestep his previous comments, but this time he did not.  He embraced the strategy saying that his focus is to ease the pain of his energy policies by forcing automakers to make more fuel-efficient automobiles:

[W]hat I’m doing since I became Secretary of Energy has been quite clear.  What I have been doing is developing methods to take the pain out of high gas prices. We have been very focused in the Department of Energy on that.  And, in fact, the entire administration has been very focused on that.

So, the increasing of the mileage standards is one way of doing this.  A very concerted effort in electric vehicles, where we think within reach, within maybe four or five years, we could be testing batteries that can allow us to go 200, 300 miles on a single charge in a mass-marketed car.

The recent spike in gasoline prices following that huge spike in 2007,2008 is a reminder to Americans that the price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up just because of supply and demand issues.  And so we should see the buying habits of Americans as they make choices for the next car they buy.

Secretary Chu suggests the energy policy of the US should be focused on more expensive vehicles that get better mileage. This is not an energy policy.  Sell your car and buy an expensive new one, while your government cuts off domestic supply to make gas more expensive.  This is a policy—long discredited everywhere it has been tried—called “Central Planning.” Master Resource has questions:

  1. For all the claimed deep energy expertise in the department and in our national laboratories, how come there are so little results from the approximately $150 billion poured into “energy R&D” since 2009?
  2. Are the assumptions that more spending will overcome technology hurdles and economies of scale will make the cost competitive in the commercial market really justified?
  3. Has an energy technology promoted by DOE ever made it into unsubsidized commercial application?
  4. How many technologies have been picked as “winners” by DOE or Congress, only to be proved higher in cost, lower in value, technically impractical, or environmentally unacceptable?

The correct answers are Um, No, No, and Quite a few.

Meanwhile the administration is encouraging Brazil to drill offshore in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. [But we? I thought? ] The White House is making a deal with Brazil for the oil it  not allowing companies to produce here.  As the head of the American Petroleum Industry says: “The administration’s energy policy will add jobs for Brazil.” This makes sense because they don’t have an unemployment problem?

While we leave U.S. oil and jobs in the ground, our traveling president tells a South American neighbor that we will help them develop their offshore resources so that we can someday import their oil.   Go figure.

A Trip to Latin America. Odd Timing and Odd Goals. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is off on a five-day visit to Latin America. He made a speech in Brasilia, and is off to Rio.  Critics suggest that he’s getting out-of-town while his unpopularity is high, but that’s not fair. These tours are long-planned and there are many meetings in advance so that agreements can be signed and public appearances will be fortuitous. So let’s assume that he’s just following his schedule.  Brazil is one country that has prospered during the financial crisis in the rest of the world.

President Obama and President Rousseff  ‘have completed an agreement for a new Economic and Financial Dialogue.”  Sounds good.  They agreed to talk.

President Rousseff and I also agreed to launch a Strategic Energy Dialogue.  By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States.  We want to work with you.  We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.  At a time when we’ve been reminded how easily instability in other parts of the world can affect the price of oil, the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy.

President Obama seems to be offering the help of America’s private oil business, since they are the ones with the technology and know-how. Since Obama is opposed to drilling for our own oil and gas reserves, it’s interesting that he is anxious to buy Brazil’s. Then he was back to his standard pitch for “clean energy technology.” His ideas are indeed, as we have been told, set in concrete. He is impervious to evidence, and he does not change his mind.

Now, even as we focus on oil in the near term, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the only long-term solution to the world’s dependence on fossil fuels is clean energy technology.  And that’s why the United States and Brazil are deepening our cooperation on biofuels — (applause) — and why we’re launching a U.S.-Brazil Green Economy Partnership, because we know that the development of clean energy is one of the best ways to create new jobs and industries in both our nations.

Already, more than half of the vehicles in Brazil run on biofuels.  Nearly 80 percent of your electricity comes from hydropower.  In the United States, we’ve jumpstarted a clean energy industry and we’ll soon have the capacity to produce 40 percent of the world’s advanced batteries.  If we can start sharing these new technologies, and leverage private investment from businesses like the ones in this room, we can grow our economies and clean our environment by making, using, trading, selling clean energy products all over the world.  That is a win for both our nations.

According to his Press Secretary, the big interest in Brazil is biofuels, and the “biofuel relationship,”which seems to be why EPA Chief Lisa Jackson is along.  The press asked about Brazil’s interest in reducing or eliminating our high tariffs on sugar and sugar-based ethanol, but that question was brushed aside to return to the “biofuel relationship.”

The president will also visit Chile and El Salvador.  This is a trip with the campaign in mind.  The president hopes to bring home future trade agreements for the unemployed and the unions; and favorable impression from Latin America for the Hispanic voting block.  He will not be visiting Colombia or Panama, whose trade deals he has refused to sign since taking office.  Trade deals don’t always set well with labor unions.

Once again, Obama is counting on long-range ‘hope’ to create the jobs that are so needed at home. It looks like he’s still trying to find those “green jobs.” It will be nice if we have increased trade with Brazil, but these things take time, usually quite a long time, to work out.  This has been characteristic of the president.  He puts his faith in the hope of trade in the future to create jobs—someday.


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