American Elephants


Obama Offers Welfare to the Miners and Power Plant Workers He Threw Out of Work With His EPA Regulations by The Elephant's Child
May 15, 2015, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Ever wonder why the economy isn’t improving and columnists are wondering if we are entering another recession? Obama’s plans to create jobs don’t measure up to his efforts to throw people out of work. Agencies churn out regulations to better control the economy, without any realization that there is a cost for every regulation, either in lost jobs or in higher prices. The U.S. economy reported a 1.9% drop in productivity in the first quarter of the year.

Money that might have contributed to wealth-creating innovations has gone instead to financial deal-making. With fewer opportunities for growth, but plenty of available credit, mergers are often the most sensible way for a company to expand.

The Kauffman Foundation tracks new businesses, and its data show that 2013 was the second consecutive year to show an entrepreneurial activity decline in the United States. Becoming an entrepreneur takes a special kind of courage. It takes even more during an administration that has twice set a record by turning out more than 81,000 pages of regulations.

Senator Elizabeth Warren and others on the left want to blame this on corporations, but it is a perfectly rational response to the heavy burden of the Obama regulatory machine.The Left would like to demand that business make more investments, but when there is opportunity people are ready to exploit it. Even near-zero interest rates which make borrowing easy have not been able to offset ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, the EPA, and the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.

Thousands of coal miners and coal-fired power plant workers have been laid off since Obama took office, due to federal regulations. Kentucky has lost 644 power plant jobs from 2008 to 2013. More to come with the “Clean Power Plan.”

Now the Obama administration is happy to announce $35 million in grants:to help workers and communities to successfully adapt to changes in the coal industry and power sector.” The Power+Plan is to develop truly cohesive relationships at the federal level to create real economic opportunities for families throughout the region: In other words now that our dumb regulations have put you out of work, you can go on welfare.

The government is far more careful with their language. They will “take a comprehensive approach towards economic diversification and worker advancement in implementing their economic development strategic plans. Experience shows that projects which integrate both economic development and workforce development solutions with broad community partnerships are more successful than when independent solutions are pursued.”

There you go. Sounds better in bureaucratese. How about green energy jobs, or teaching people how to insulate houses? But that didn’t work last time either, did it? Infrastructure, that’s it. Those crumbling roads and bridges.



The EPA’s Clean Power Plan Must Be Defeated! by The Elephant's Child
May 15, 2015, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Superior-ice-5-31-2014-Lake-Superior-PhotoThe Environmental Protection Agency has sent its power-plant rules for final White House review. Known by the euphemistic name “the Clean Power Plan,” the rules are at the center of President Obama’s agenda to address the threat of global climate change. There is understandably fierce opposition to this administration’s climate strategy, and lawsuits have been filed, but judges were skeptical to the idea that they could offer regulatory relief to the states before the rules have been made final. If the Plan is finalized, lawsuits will follow.

EPA’s plan would shut down coal energy in this country—under the misconception that “carbon pollution” is a hazard of some sort. Coal-fired power plants produce around 40% of our electricity that powers factories, hospitals, schools, water treatment plants and homes. In some areas there is no replacement source of energy.

Proponents argue that the Clean Power Plan would result in enormous health benefits by reducing greenhouse gases. The idea that carbon is a pollutant stems from ignorance of high school biology, and started with the observation that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere was increasing at the same time the temperature was increasing. Obviously cause and effect. Except that temperatures stopped going up a little over eighteen years ago, and the amount of carbon in the atmosphere just kept on climbing. And of course the idea that carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer and helps plants to grow, that a doubling of the amount of CO² in the atmosphere would be a great good, and not begin to reach the optimum, is usually overlooked.

Proponents assume that we can just fill in with wind and solar, but wind turbines mostly stop working in cold weather, and solar cells don’t work if the sun isn’t shining —both technologies require full-time backup from a conventional power plant, often coal. $150 billion invested in “renewable” energy and it is still an undependable minor source.

The sun has gone through an unusually long quiet spell, and scientists are beginning to think that we urgently need to prepare for another ice age, or perhaps a little ice age. Congress has demanded that the EPA produce the science which supposedly backs up the regulations that flow so voluminously from their agency, but so far they have stalled, avoided, excused, and somehow  been unable to find that particular bit of science.

The thing is that cold weather kills. New England had a particularly heavy winter this last year, stocks of firewood ran out, unbuilt pipelines did not supply natural gas, closed coal-fired plants did not produce electricity. Shutting down coal-fired power plants to sap the demands of environmental loonies will, at some point, leave a lot of people to freeze in the cold.

We had a light winter, no skiing, light snowpack. Our governor has just declared a water emergency, with an eye on California, though we have plenty of rain. Another year we may have a heavy winter. Contrary to the predictions of the climate computer models, we cannot yet predict the future, only make intelligent guesses, and hope we do as well as the Old Farmer’s Almanac.



Carly Fiorina Is Running for the Presidency. Get to Know A Bit about Her! by The Elephant's Child
May 14, 2015, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Election 2016 | Tags: , , ,

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Here is a most interesting interview with Carly Fiorina by Jennifer Rubin of the “Right Turn” Blog at The Washington Post. I suspect that most of us don’t know much about Carly Fiorina beyond the fact that she was once CEO of Hewlett Packard, and is an accomplished woman.

Fiorina’s critics call her a “failed” chief executive, but, again, over time her tenure can be seen in a different light. Her defenders observe that during her tenure as CEO, Hewlett-Packard’s revenue doubled to nearly $90 billion and growth quadrupled to 9 percent. During her time at HP, the rate of innovation was tripled to 11 patents a day. Between 2004 and 2005, HP added 5,000 patents and was ranked as one of the top 10 patenting companies between 2002 and 2005. HP donated more than $395 million in cash and goods to charities under her watch. Even the merger with Compaq that precipitated her downfall has been judged by many in hindsight to be a success (“fast-forward a decade, and solution providers say the historic merger was a surprising success and ultimately helped their businesses. And the bold move ultimately produced what the two companies promised – a worldwide technology powerhouse with top revenue positions in servers, PC and printers”).

But there’s more, a lot more. We may be underestimating her again. Do read the whole thing.



Another Day of Drama in Seattle! “Awareness Was Raised.” by The Elephant's Child
May 14, 2015, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Arctic Offshore Drilling

Behold the Kayak flotilla attempting to keep Shell Oil from drilling in the Arctic Ocean, to which point they are specifically trying to be annoying enough to keep Shell from repairing their drilling rigs at one of Seattle’s currently unused docks. You can tell it’s Seattle because that’s the Space Needle at the far left. If you follow the link on their banner, you will find pleas for all righteous citizens to rent a kayak and join the protest. Six kayaks obviously aren’t going to do much to stop anything. Seattle has a great plenty of environmental loons so they may get their fleet. One of the rigs arrives today, and will depart in the summer.

President Obama has given Shell permission to drill in the Arctic. Environmentalists see this as incipient disaster, because any drill rig in their minds will spill noxious oil which will despoil the entire Arctic Ocean, a place of violent storms and waves, and kill the beautiful polar bears, the seals they eat, despoil all life, and they must be prevented from doing that because the kayak people do not use cars nor use electricity nor expect their goods to be transported to their local stores.

If fossil fuel is reasonably cheap and plentiful, the whole world benefits. Oil rigs operate under very strict regulation to assure safety and avoid any kind of spills. And major spills that do real damage are quite rare.

There is no such thing as “carbon pollution” as EPA administrator Gina McCarthy likes to claim. Carbon dioxide is a natural plant fertilizer and essential to life. We need more CO² in the atmosphere, not less. It is the sun that affects our climate, and the sun has gone quiet. We are in an extended pause, over eighteen years, where there has been no warming. The Arctic is not melting, and the Antarctic bases are in danger of having to be abandoned because there is so much ice that resupply ships cannot reach them and they are having to be resupplied by helicopter.

The Global Warming movement has nothing to do with climate, but as Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change has admitted—the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity—but to destroy capitalism. Which is why President Obama is so passionate about protecting the world from global warming—fundamentally transforming the United States and so on. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has managed to claim that global warming harms women in developing nations, forcing many into “situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage.” There are loons everywhere, so the Seattle kayak fleet is not remarkable, just annoying. 150514_arctic_oil_rig_seattle_660

Here is the Polar Pioneer, 400 feet long and rising nearly 300 feet above the water, with a Washington State Ferry in the middle ground and if you look very closely a tiny bunch of kayakers, just off the point.

“Unless people get out there and put themselves on the front lines and say enough is enough, then nothing will ever change,” said Jordan Van Voast, 55, an acupuncturist who was going out on the water to confront the Polar Pioneer. “I’m hoping that people are waking up.”



ISIS is Recruiting ‘Thousands’ of young American Muslims on the Internet, and We Are Not Responding. by The Elephant's Child
May 13, 2015, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

FBI Director James Comey last week testified that the terrorist group ISIS is using social media to attract and radicalize “maybe thousands” of Muslim Americans  to “kill kill kill.” Discouraging young Muslims from joining ISIS has become a wartime imperative. We must have an answering message. Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson warns that one or more of these ISIS recruits could strike at any moment on orders directed through Twitter. One of the American Muslims who opened fire in Garland Texas at the free speech event, traded calls for violence on Twitter with ISIS fighters. The warnings have prompted the Pentagon to elevate its threat level on U.S. military bases to Bravo. Judicial Watch has warned that there are ISIS training camps just 8 miles south of the border.

U.S. Intelligence officials agree that the Internet is a huge recruiting tool for ISIS and that we are losing the propaganda war. What are we doing? The man President Obama has named to head the country’s counter messaging effort against ISIS — the director of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications —Rashad Hussain is a terror-supporting Islamist who says that terrorists need more of fundamentalist Islam.

Hussain is a lawyer who has defended known terrorists and is associated with groups that espouse jihad. He claims to be a moderate, but is affiliated with the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He denies that Islam has any role in violent extremism, and has defended more than half a dozen Muslims who have been convicted in high-profile terrorism cases, while denouncing the Patriot Act. President Obama has seemed to think he can work with the Muslim Brotherhood.  Bret Stephens remarked:in his book America in Retreat:

Four years after his Cairo speech, just 16 percent of Egyptians had a favorable view of the United States, down from 30 percent in 2006. at the height of George W. Bush’s global unpopularity.The administration has performed the extraordinary feat of enraging every corner of Egyptian society from the Muslim  Brotherhood, to the military who know he sold out cheap on their historical alliance. After the United States refused to sell Egypt F-16 fighters, Cairo opened talks with Moscow, its military patron in the days of Nasserist glory..

Countries have options. An American president who does not honor the basic bargain of Pax Americana—military protection in exchange for diplomatic pliancy—will sooner or later squander the benefits of Pax Americana.

Obama has seldom made good choices in terms of advisors. Rashad Hussain would seem to be among the number. He has been on the job since February, but has not yet produced an anti-ISIS counter propaganda video for the State Department while ISIS has flooded the internet with more than 250 graphic recruitment messages.



Taliban Commanders Headed Back To Afghanistan. Nice Going, Mr. President! by The Elephant's Child
May 13, 2015, 6:57 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, National Security | Tags: , ,

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The five senior Taliban Commanders who were released from Guantanamo in exchange for the return of army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are set to be freed from their confinement in Qatar effective June 1. The hardened terrorist five were classified as some of the most dangerous Taliban commanders held at GITMO, according to Thomas Joscelyn of  The Long War Journal. Qatar helped to broker the deal. This is what we expected.They are deemed “high risks” by the US and its allies. Two have been wanted by the UN for war crimes. They will soon be back on the battlefield.

The naivety of the Obama administration has long been obvious.  They have sought to coax the Taliban into meaningful peace talks, which have been fruitless. A key goal of talks has been to get the Taliban to renounce al Qaeda, something Mullah Omar’s group has declined to do. All five were closely allied with al Qaeda, and undoubtedly now with ISIS.

Bowe Bergdahl willingly walked away from his post while deployed in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan. Six months after Bergdahls desertion in November 2009, according to his platoon mates, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admiral Mike Mullen knew the details of his desertion. As Chairman, Mullen had to report  the details to the Secretary of Defense and to the President. Why the President decided to trade the five high risk prisoners for the return of Bowe Bergdahl remains a shocking affair. Why he expected Qatar to retain the terrorists indefinitely is unknown. Bergdahl has been charged with one count of “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty” and one count of “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.” Hearings are set for July 8, 2015 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Huston. The hearing similar to a grand jury hearing in civilian court will determine whether to try him in a court-martial.

If you wonder why Obama acted as he did, Daniel Pipes’ article from the Middle East Forum is the clearest statement I have seen anywhere. Still hard to stomach.



Here’s What Close Air Support Looks Like by The Elephant's Child

Let’s hear it for the venerable A-10 Warthog. Old and ugly, but beloved by the troops for it can get up close and personal with the enemy. The Air Force wants to retire the planes, which are currently needed, in favor of turning the upkeep funds towards the next generation F-35, which seems to constantly be in need of more money. This video gives an idea of what it can do. Put it on full screen and enjoy.  Representative Martha McSally (R-Arizona) a retired Air Force Colonel who has been an A-10 pilot is fighting to keep the Air Force from retiring the A-10 thirteen years ahead of schedule.

ADDENDUM: 5/14 – Detachments of U.S. warplanes are operating throughout the Baltic region, sending a reassuring message to our allies—and a warning to Russia. Defense wonks call it a theatre security package or TSP. This is a first in Europe. Previous ones have been deployed to Asia. They are actively conducting surveillance and intelligence gathering missions, which we know because a Russian SU–27 almost collided with an American surveillance airplane, the Boeing RC–135U. Its specialty is collecting intel on opposing radar, by spotting and analyzing emissions from the ground. It provides a vital map of the location and types of radar that guard Russian borders.




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