American Elephants

EPA’s New Regulations Will Cause Double-Digit Increases in the Cost of Electricity in Most States. by The Elephant's Child

blobThe EPA’s Clean Power Plan is meant to fulfill Obama’s brag about bankrupting the coal industry. Burning coal produces carbon dioxide, which Obama believes to be the cause of global warming which he sees as the greatest threat to mankind, and darn it, he’s just determined to save us all from the horrors of a warming planet. Even NASA has said the 2015 is the warmest year ever, but they came up with those numbers by making up temperatures for the vast areas of South America where there are no temperatures available.

Two new studies by Energy Ventures Analysis and NERA Economic Consulting claim the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will raise electricity prices in every state it covers, with nearly all of them seeing price increases of 10 to 25 percent by the 2030s, which will accomplish nothing, nothing at all.

Forty-six states will face double digit increases in wholesale electricity cost when the CPP is fully implemented in 2030, with 16 states projected to experience a 25+ percent increase,” according to EVA’s report that was done on behalf of the National Mining Association.

NERA’s study found that “40 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 10% or more” and “17 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 20% or more.” Another “10 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 30% or more,” according to NERA’s study, financed by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Many noted scientists believe that the globe is cooling, rather than warming, and shuttering coal-fired power plants may be disastrous in colder parts of the country. Obama’s favored wind turbines are inclined to shut down  when it freezes.

The goal is to achieve a 32 percent reduction in CO2 by 2030. With its usual hubris, the EPA claims the CPP will yield $26 billion to $45 billion in net health and climate benefits from fewer power plants. That will be all the children who didn’t get the asthma they surely would have suffered from if nothing were done. As I keep pointing out, the EPA always goes for asthma, because doctors don’t know the cause.

Republican lawmakers  and dozens of states have warned that any global climate treaty can be undone in the courts. Obama expects to get China and other Asian countries to sign on to his climate change treaty, but China and India, and all the nations in between are building coal-fired power plants as fast as they can be built.They want the benefits of low cost power to grow their economies.

The Germans are turning back to coal fired plants, and the British will likely follow. They have done wind and solar and found them wanting, and now they want out.

Obama sees a planetary disaster, but the American people are not much interested. We have been threatened with disaster for over 20 years, and Americans are not willing to carpool, ride a bike or forego a vacation, In 1980, 0.05 percent of American biked to work. Today 0.06 percent of the people do. (That’s why we built all those expensive bike lanes.) Americans tell pollsters that they care about global warming, but when it comes right down to it — they seem to be pretty dubious.

Affordable power has meant growth and prosperity wherever it is available. Shutting down coal-fired plants will accomplish nothing, nothing at all, except a lot of unemployment and a lot of misery. It will make not the slightest differece in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. A higher cost of electricity will go a long way towards eliminating any growth in the economy. Takes sheer brilliance to accomplish all that.

Controlling the American People With a $183 Billion Web of Regulation This Year Alone by The Elephant's Child

A-spiders-web-007Thanksgiving approaches — a major American holiday in which our attention turns to a brief reflection on the Pilgrims, and a major focus on turkey, stuffing and football. Everyone is looking forward to a day off. While we are distracted, the Obama administration released its plans for 2,224 federal rules on Friday. This is a preview of just how many more regulations the president intends to issue before he leaves office.

You probably thought we were already thoroughly over-regulated, which we are. It is a major drag on the economy, not just in make-work and annoyance, but financially. Michael Bastach is on the case at The Daily Caller. The Left has realized that to install socialism, they don’t need to own the means of production, they just need to control it, and this can be accomplished with a web of regulation.

Obama’s Fall 2014 regulatory agenda was released the Friday before Thanksgiving with 3,400 new regulations. Obama’s Spring 2015 agenda detailing the reach of 2,300 new federal rules was released the eve of Memorial Day weekend. You are not supposed to notice. There are new rules for coal mines, and rules banning common pesticides, major energy and environmental requirements, added to more federal control over U.S. waterways, new hydraulic fracturing rules and even stricter smog rules. Notice how many are from the EPA.

The last week’s batch of regulation imposes $1.8 billion in costs, according to the American Action Forum (AAF) which brings the total for 2015 to a startling $183 billion. Half of it comes from final rules and the other from proposed rules. The per capita regulatory burden is $570 for 2015, for every man woman and child. That’s 72,898 pages of regulations. Think of a busy spider spinning webs over  your family. At first you don’t even notice, but by the time you do, you are already wrapped up and stowed away on the web for dinner, later.

There is always some overreach, and organizations and businesses fight back, and some end up in court. The EPA has frequently been smacked down in court, but some of their rules stick. Are they accomplishing anything positive for society? No. We are already over-regulated. It isn’t about  improving anything, it is about control.     

You may have noticed that the progressives are a little weak in the economics department. They get all confused with Keynesian ideas about money multiplying as it circulates through the economy. They don’t get the burden that per capita $570 inflicts on us all, in higher costs for everything we use, the disappearance of small businesses that we patronized, the annoyance of new rules, the shrinking of our lifestyle, more unemployment, more national debt, and a shrinking economy.

The evidence is there, and very clear. Socialism does not work.  It will not be different this time, nor next time. Progressives are not interested in free markets, nor free people, but believe everything will mysteriously be  better when they are firmly in control.

Trust in Government is at an all-time low. Is anyone surprised?

Thanksgiving Break: Time For Some Serious Talks With The Kids. by The Elephant's Child

AP_yale_protest_05_mm_151110_12x5_1600The campus hooplah has died down, as it’s time for Thanksgiving break. Even the community organizers have to take time off for turkey. It becomes clearer and clearer that that’s what’s up. Organizing for Action and Americorps community organizers are hard at work stirring up discontent. An outgrowth of the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, and Baltimore, they are mobilizing mobs against “biased cops,” “climate change deniers,” “Wall Street predators,” and other assorted crimes against social justice.

They’ve had their power demonstrated as they get administrators to resign and faculty members admonished or fired or disgraced. But they don’t really have anything real to protest about. The hate crimes against blacks turn out to be fake, the fists held up in solidarity are unsure about just what they are in solidarity about. When those supposedly in charge want to know what the fuss is all about — somebody used the n-word, except there is no evidence. What do they want? More black studies courses! But there is declining interest in black studies courses because nobody wants to enroll. In today’s difficult job market, there is no demand for black studies, nor ethnic studies.

At Princeton the mob called for eliminating Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus buildings. He was a president of the University, and yes he was a bigot, and went on to become a president of the United States. History is simply what happened in the past. You can’t change it , or make it go away by disapproving of it in the present.

At Yale it was about Halloween costumes. At the University of Missouri, Jonathan Butler, the son of a wealthy railroad executive, went on a hunger strike to protest “revolting” acts of racism. Except the supposed acts of racism never seem to have occurred, or at least there was no evidence that they did.

Like the “campus rape culture” that never happened, Emma Sulkowitz has carried her mattress around in protest, but that seemed to be second thoughts about consensual sex.

At Amherst College, there are nonnegotiable demands from a student group that the president apologize for Amherst’s institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latinx racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native indigenous racism, heterosexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma and classism.” Oh please. The community organizers may have got the mob all stirred up, but once stirred, they don’t really know what to do with it nor do they have any clear idea about just what they are excited about.

The safe spaces, microaggressions, trigger warnings, are all nonsense promulgated by faculty more interested in social justice — whatever that is — than in scholarship and substance. No wonder some companies are looking abroad for STEM employees. Who needs a new employee who needs a safe space and no microaggressions? Every workplace on this planet has microaggressions daily. Roger Kimball has long investigated campus trends, notably in his book Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Higher Education. (2008). Take a look at his other books too. They are directly applicable today.

Mr. Kimball’s article in the Wall Street Journal was accompanied with a photo of a girl with a bullhorn (You can’t have a protest without a bullhorn) in the Odegaard Library at the University of Washington in Seattle. The rally was in support of black students at the University of Missouri where Jonathan Butler, son of a multimillionaire railroad executive was conducting a hunger strike because someone drove by in a pickup with confederate flags shouting the n-word— except no one could be found who saw such a pickup. But the football team threatened to strike in solidarity with Mr. Butler, because of other racist utterances, also unproven. Forfeiting the football game would have cost Mizzou $1 million, so the students got what they wanted, but they weren’t too sure of what it was. Lots of solidarity though.

But everybody across the campuses of America was in solidarity with whatever it was. I hope the parents of the unruly offspring have a word with their kids over Thanksgiving and return them to campus suitably cowed or don’t return them and suggest they get a job instead.

This is going to reverberate across academia. It is an ideological fantasy, and it’s going to get much worse. A lot of parents aren’t going to be willing to pay the freight at elite schools if this is the result. Universities have gotten way too greedy on the governmental push on student loans to back an ever expanding tuition bill. The American people are firm believers in freedom of speech and the Bill of Rights, even if the faculty isn’t, and they won’t put up with much of this.


Those Senseless Campus Protests Are Not What They Seem by The Elephant's Child

Campus-Protests-Michigan-8Barack Obama was famously a community organizer before he ventured into Illinois politics. I should have read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, but I haven’t. My impression is that it is a course in how to manipulate people. Obama really took to Rules for Radicals, and according to Paul Sperry, writing in the New York Post, it has been a hallmark of his presidency.

The senseless protests we’re seeing break out on the campuses of the University of Missouri, Yale and other colleges, as well as on bridges and highway overpasses and outside police stations, are precisely the kind of thing Obama was trained to organize while attending leftist agitation schools founded by Chicago communist Saul Alinsky. He learned to a fare-thee-well how to “rub raw the sores of discontent.”

Obama. Sperry says, has trained more than 10,000 leftist organizers, who, in turn, are training more than 2 million youths in Alinsky street tactics. This is being done by his former campaign organization OFA, now Organizing for Action, registered as a 501c4 nonprofit eligible for unlimited contributions. The leftist group holds regular “organizing summits” on college campuses.

Through social media, they mobilize flash mobs against “biased cops,” “climate-change deniers,” “Wall Street predators” and “gun extremists.” They hold rallies against conservative foes of gay marriage, LGBT rights, abortion and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Young agitators have also been trained by AmeriCorps and My Brothers Keeper, the “racial justice” group founded in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. They agitate for “school discipline reform” or alternatives to suspensions and expulsions.

These three federally sponsored projects share manpower, resources and radical agendas with Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street.

Well, that would explain a lot of the senseless protests now inflicting college campuses. It is becoming clear that the accusations of racial attacks and racial epithets simply don’t pan out. N-word insults are not heard by anyone else,  the person who threatened to ‘shoot every black kid on campus’ is a black kid.  A Columbia student claims to be traumatized by reading about white people.Some black students seem to be demanding — segregation. But radicalized kids are getting administrators and professors to resign. Ginni Thomas explores the same question from the perspective of the National Association of Scholars.

At National Review, David French says “the campus culture wars aren’t about “victims” or “racial injustice” or “safe spaces.” …They’re revolutionaries, and the revolution they seek is nothing less than the overthrow of our constitutional republic, beginning with our universities.

This is a movement built from the ground up around power and coercion. They hate free speech because free speech represents nothing but a threat — a chance for dissenters to expose the bankruptcy of their ideas. They hate due process because due process stands in the way of class-based justice, of identity-based jurisprudence. They hate the orthodox Christian faith because it rejects their sexual ideology and places the human conscience beyond the reach of mortal man.

Obama Intends To Bring European Chaos to America by The Elephant's Child


The news stories about the flood of refugees invading Europe are bewildering. They are “refugees.” “migrants,” “immigrants,” Syrian refugees, four out of five are not from Syria. What is one to make of it all. The stories are contradictory.

In August, German chancellor Angela Merkel made a mistake. Refugees who had hoped to wait out the Syrian war in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey were losing patience and began trickling into Europe. By this summer traffickers had built a profitable streamlined route that could efficiently accommodate millions of ‘clients.’ Merkel announced in August that Germany could probably accept 800,000 Syrians. Poison gas, barrel bombs, ISIS, who could not be sympathetic? Anyone who could pass as a Syrian took Merkel’s statement as an invitation.

We’ve seen the pictures of flimsy boats, overloaded, coming from Africa, sinking, with huge loss of life. The little Syrian toddler washed up on the beach, whose photograph circled the globe, and the story became something quite different than was first alleged. Stories of rape and assaults in the refugee camps. The refugees are demanding, not pleading. Some are actually suing because governments are too slow in offering their benefits. What is one to make of all this?

Hungary is putting up border fences of razor wire. Slovakian police are escorting the long columns of refugee men, pictured above, young men, who have left their families behind till they get settled, through the country. Denmark is advertising in the Middle East to tell everyone not to try to come to Denmark. Swedish homes may be confiscated to accommodate Asylum Seekers. Sweden is also now the rape capital of the world. Bits of information from all over. Many Europeans are unconcerned. ISIS fighters posing as migrants? Who knows? Refugees in these numbers cannot help but transform the continent. When they become aware, Europeans may react with fury. Volunteers distribute food and clothing. It’s late fall and getting cold.

The European Union’s grand idea of open borders isn’t working any better than their grand idea of a single monetary system. What they’ve got is a rupture between government and the people. Under the EU’s so-called Dublin regulations, passed in stages starting in 1997, refugees must apply for asylum in the first EU country they enter. Germany is almost landlocked, and Middle Easterners need visas to fly into it.  Merkel got the reputation for generosity, but it was Germany’s EU neighbors who got the flood of refugees.  Christopher Caldwell writes:

There is something in this that reminds one of the financial crisis of 2008. Like a too-big-to-fail bank, Merkel has made a bet that will allow her to pocket the credit if she succeeds and spread the baleful consequences to others if she fails. It appears now that she is going to fail. Her defenders exult that she is showing a different face of Germany than the one the world knows from the last century of its history. It is premature to say so. Merkel is showing the face of a Germany that is acting unilaterally, claiming superior moral authority, and answering those who object by saying they’ll thank her for this someday. As such, she is dragging the whole European continent towards unrest. No German role is older.

Obama has apparently decided to set a target of more than 100,000 ‘Syrian’ refugees a year by 2017, and will seek ways to increase that number in subsequent years.

President Obama said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship that they don’t have to change their attitudes or beliefs.

“It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adding a new chapter to your journey… and to our journey as a nation of immigrants,” Obama narrates in his two-minute video urging almost 9 million resident migrants to sign up for citizenship so they can vote in 2016.

Obama’s deputies will award citizenship to 36,000 over the next few days.

But federal law — and reality — contradicts Obama’s progressive-style denial of Americans’ sophisticated, evolved and unique society, and contradicts his support for a chaotically diverse “nation of immigrants” devoid of any unique and shared loyalties and obligations.

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen,” says the first sentence of the citizenship oath.

Drunk with power, Obama is going way too far. This one is about changing the electorate into a permanently Leftist mass who will preserve his attempt to “Fundamentally transform the United States of America.” That’s what he promised, and he’s determined to keep his campaign promises.

Whatever Bad Thing is Happening is Caused by Climate Change! by The Elephant's Child

In the Democrat Debate in Las Vegas, the candidates were asked what is the greatest crisis facing America? A little Middle East, and more of income inequality, but for Bernie Sanders  it was Climate Change. I’m becoming convinced that Progressives, or Socialists in Bernie’s case, get all of their information from Progressive talking points.

Our colleges and universities have insisted that they are teaching our children “critical thinking” which seems to mean the progressive line. This has widely been called “the Information Age” — which refers more to volume than quality. But where is the help in managing the flow?

There was a time when we had 3 major networks, but not only has that expanded, but the sources of information have exploded. Newspapers may be dying, but they are moving online, and with a few keystrokes I can access any newspaper in the world, most in English. There is social media, and Twitter for instantaneous information, far more than anyone has the time to pursue — yet we are told that a significant number of people get their news from late night comedy shows.

It seems to me to be essential to teach our kids how to manage information. How do you determine which websites are honest and reliable? The ‘fact checkers’ have not been either reliable or helpful. When you have a debate among candidates for the presidency of the United States and one of those candidates announces that the greatest crisis facing Americans is climate change, and that we must act because our grandchildren will face an uninhabitable world, what are you supposed to think?

Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, just announced that the mess in Syria is caused by Climate Change.

The president himself scoffed at Vladimir Putin’s adventures in Syria and said his own efforts on climate change were more important leadership for the world.

Where does this panic about the climate come from? I haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary actually occurring. California has a drought, as they have had many times in the past. South Carolina just got a lot of rain and floods, but it’s not even a 100 year event. Hurricanes are down in number and severity.

According to the satellite data, we have had no warming in the past 18 years and 8 months. Dangerous climate change exists only in computer programs that attempt to model the climate and predict the future. But we don’t know enough about our present climate to be predicting the future. We are just learning that the surface of the ocean has effects on clouds that we don’t understand, and for that matter we don’t have any understanding of just how clouds affect climate. The ocean is rising by millimeters, not inches or feet, and those with waterfront lots don’t need to worry for a century or two.

Progressives ignore science completely in their fear of genetically modified crops (GMOs). According to the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and countless other well qualified international bodies there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that GMO crops are unfit for human consumption in any way.

Are we doomed to simply get dumber each year as our sources of information increase? To know less and less about how to separate fact and fiction? Scary indeed.

Independent, Free, and Self-Directed, Or the Democrat’s Gulag? by The Elephant's Child

At Real Clear Politics (the Real Clear Policy sector) Sherzod Abdukadirov writes about “How Uncle Sam Uses Behavioral Science,” in Mr. Obama’s “executive order urging federal agencies to use behavioral science insights in designing government policies and regulations. The order argues that such insights have the potential to improve consumer welfare through better policy design.”

I wrote about this week or so ago, but I find I’m not ready to leave the subject. It’s straight out of the Marxist playbook, and you can talk about ‘nudges’ or ‘behavioral experiments’, but it’s just plain propaganda designed to make you do what the government wants you to do. No “consumer welfare” about it. If at first they don’t succeed, they will try a little harder.

The example used in Sherzod’s piece is from the Energy Department, with their “Energy Star” appliances. They boast about consumer savings which are supposed to justify the higher price of the appliances.

Unfortunately, the evidence marshaled by the agency for consumer myopia is highly dubious. For example, the latest standard for residential dishwashers promises consumers a savings of $3 over 15 years — it takes twelve years just to cover the higher up-front price — while the standard for clothes dryers delivers $14 in savings over 16 years, with the higher price covered after five years.

That DOE would declare consumers irrational for not chasing trivial, long-term savings defies common sense. And when one considers the fact that another objective for energy-efficiency regulations is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, it becomes clear that the agency’s motivation may have less to do with improving consumer welfare and more to do with hitting its environmental goals. The use of behavioral insights in policy opens the door for agencies to impose more stringent regulations that aim to advance the administration’s agenda rather than consumer welfare.

This is why everything that the EPA does to take further control of your life and options is cloaked in preventing childhood asthma. Or the noxious twisty lightbulbs or their expensive counterparts. Consider a federal department and you can probably come up with something intended to shut down your options and force you to do something you don’t want to do. Consider ObamaCare.

The Left wants control. They don’t want you to have the option of free speech if it disagrees with them. Obama just said that you couldn’t have freedom of religion if it opposes gay marriage. The federal government will put restrictors in your shower head so you don’t use too much water. Just think of what the feds have done to make driving a car more expensive.

Conservatives talk about freedom, but perhaps that is too broad a term. What we are really talking about is autonomy: the quality or state of being independent, free, and self-directing.  It’s the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision. Take away our autonomy and welcome to the Gulag.

The Department of Energy believes that paying more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a public good. We would suggest that the Department of Energy has not studied the science of carbon dioxide. The Department of Agriculture has ordered that we enrich factory farms by putting the corn crop in our gas tanks. Mrs. Obama has ordered that small school children eat what she tells them to, but because even little children prize their autonomy, they throw the food in the garbage.

Both Barack and Michelle Obama became lawyers. How can you study law in the United States of America and fail to understand the importance of freedom and autonomy? Did they never read the whole Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and not understand what it was about? Obama announced early on that the law was about empathy. And he has repeated that many times, emphasizing how important empathy is to him. Take another look at Dierdre McCloskey’s graph, and what personal autonomy has meant to America.


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