American Elephants


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

Obama lecturing

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Eastern United States As Seen From Space by The Elephant's Child

nasa-modis-02-20-15-record-cold-snowNASA took a picture of the Eastern United States from their Terra satellite. (click to enlarge) If you look closely, you can see the lines of the states superimposed over the picture. Makes  you cold just to look at it. Yes, that is the Great Lakes, faintly seen and all frozen over. Arctic and Siberian air masses have settled in over the Eastern U.S. bringing record low temperatures in many states.

Temperatures from Maine to Florida were up to 40° lower than normal. Twenty-six Americans have died from weather-related issues, 18 in Tennessee alone. Nine died from hypothermia, others from traffic accidents on icy roads. One died of kidney failure when he could not get to a dialysis appointment, and a married couple died in a house fire. Cold weather kills. Be grateful for Fracking and the declining price of oil.



Snow in the Northeast. February, 2015. by The Elephant's Child

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If you want to see pictures of the biting cold and burgeoning snow in the Northeast, where do you go? To the British papers of course! The UK’s The Telegraph has “Snowmageddon: 17 amazing photos of record-breaking U.S. snow”, thanks to camera phones, with some pretty funny comments as well. Seems like it was only yesterday that they were talking about the end of snow, and how children would never get to experience it.

City snow is much more troublesome than country snow. Icy streets, questionable transportation, worries about power outages. And people don’t seem to know that they should start shoveling early, keep their sidewalks clean, and shovel roofs when needed. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re having a mild winter. Terrible winter for the ski resorts — not much snow. It’s 56° here.



Ban The EPA: A Crooked Agency Intent Only On Power! by The Elephant's Child

Maps of the cold in Illinois today show temperatures ranging well below a minus 20°. I can assure you, from personal experience, that -20° is getting into the uncomfortable range. All the little hairs in your nose freeze, but with the proper insulation and a scarf across your face, not that bad.

Last week, in his interview with the Vox website, President Obama claimed that the media “overstated” the risk of terrorism as compared to the real problem of global warming. Slate sums that up—a 2012 DARA International report  claims that climate change causes an average of 400,000 deaths each year, a total that could grow to more than 600,000 by 2030. Oh, please!

250 million “face the pressures of sea-level rise” which is drowning thousands at a rise of 3.2 ±0.4mm a year? 30 million are affected by more extreme weather.(Climate is worldwide temperature—not weather) nor flooding. 25 million people are affected by permafrost thawing (define ‘affected’). The global Terrorism Index says there were nearly 18,000 deaths from terrorism in 2013. They’ve moved along from polar bears because research shows that public-health is more likely to elicit emotional reactions than a traditional environmental frame or even one on national security.

Far more people die from cold exposure than are ever harmed by a few degrees more of heat. (I lived in Phoenix for a while). So naturally the EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80 percent of America’s current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to man.

A large percentage of rural homes, and many of the country’s poorest residents depend on wood stoves for heat and even for cooking, for rural homes that have power don’t necessarily have reliable power. And America still has plenty off-the-grid homes. According to the 2011 Census 2.4 million American housing units burned wood as their primary heating fuel, compared with 7% that depended on fuel oil.

The EPA bases this all on their supposed studies of fine particulates, which are made-up figures that have not been peer-reviewed nor is there any evidence that the limits they propose can be achieved using available technology. This is supposedly based on theoretical computer model-based warnings. You will have court cases and evidence, and the EPA will likely get slapped down again by the courts.

The EPA has operated more and more from made-up evidence and false statistics in their relentless search for more power. The best evidence that the air is essentially as clean as nature will allow is the EPA attempt to regulate “fine particles” and wood smoke.

The people of the United States who have wood stoves will ignore the whole thing. Keeping warm in a cooling Earth trumps ‘fine particles’ every time. The Earth has been cooling for over 18 years, and the sun—which is responsible for the warming and cooling of a naturally changing climate —is remarkably quiet. Today’s sun:

latest_solar_image



You Must, You Must, You Must Divest, Because… by The Elephant's Child

divestFI

Friday is apparently the kick off for “Global Divestment Day,” though it is a two day event. Climate activists will try to stir up a lot of college kids and campus hangers-on into marching and carrying homemade signs to scare college administrators into acceding to activists’ demands to sell off any fossil fuel-related equities in their endowment portfolios, because — sustainability.

Where to start? If you ever hope to get a job in the American economy or any of the industrial world’s economies, you should be aware that those economies run on fossil fuel. There is, for the foreseeable future, no other choice. Wind and solar energy don’t produce enough energy to be of any significant use, and to produce any energy at all require 24/7 backup from conventional power plants fueled by — fossil fuels. Climate activists have been lying to you for years. Wind is intermittent. Solar is too diffuse. The major greenhouse gas is not CO², but water vapor, more familiarly known as clouds. You are not doing something positive for the climate, you are being used.

Divestment of fossil fuel stocks could significantly harm an investment portfolio. Investing in something that everyone needs is usually a good idea, as opposed to investment in things like Solyndra (bankrupt) or the giant Ivanpah solar array (losing money and killing birds in very large numbers). So you want to march to make your university’s endowment to collapse? Bright idea. Your college costs will just go up sharply.

If you pay the college regularly, take out enough student loans, and in general behave yourselves, you still have no say whatsoever about the college endowment. The endowment is built of the savings and investments of many generations of previous students who have expressed their gratitude to their alma mater by leaving them some money. If you study hard and really learn, you may eventually with hard work, become rich, and able to add to your university’s endowment.

The reason you have been admitted to a college or university is in the hope that over four or more years the faculty can drum enough information into you that you can hope to get an entry-level job if you do manage to graduate. You are there because you don’t know anything yet, and the school and your parents are hoping that some of it will take.

You are messing up that faint hope by investing your time and your parent’s money in marching and drinking and smoking pot and trying to be activists about some cause which you don’t understand, but feel very passionate about. Social Justice is crap — there is no such thing. Justice refers to the body of laws and the Constitution of our country. If you spend more time in the library and less time in the streets, you may be able to avoid encountering the justice system, which would be wise. And do try not to embarrass your parents.



The Goal of Environmental Activists is to Destroy Capitalism. That’s Why They Lie About the Numbers. by The Elephant's Child

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When historians write of the early Twenty-First Century, will they be shocked at the gullibility of the people, or will they be shocked at the extent to which the official temperature records on which the works of governments and their economies were distorted by systematic “adjustments” to the records to show that the earth was warming far more was justified by the actual data. Christopher Booker wrote in the Telegraph:

Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record. …

Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. (Read the whole thing)

At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity — but to destroy capitalism(emphasis added)

figueres021015_345.gif.cms“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

Socialists, intent on the wonders of social justice and the ‘better world’ of their dreams, never, never seem to pay any attention to the monumental failures of socialism everywhere it has been tried. The  past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty  in the history of the world. An 80 % reduction in world poverty in only 36 years. Globalization, free trade, international entrepreneurship. The free enterprise system, American style which is our gift to the world. This is not the first time some greenie has blurted out the truth behind their campaign to protect the world from the horrors of the carbon dioxide we exhale every time we breathe. Go figure.

And of course, this is why National Security Adviser Susan Rice soberly informed us that Climate Change is a major threat to our National Security Strategy.



Obama’s Secret Strategy for Iran And the Middle East by The Elephant's Child

Richard Epstein, professor of law at University of Chicago, and New York University, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, spoke about President Obama early on in his administration. He had known Obama at the University of Chicago, and through his next-door neighbor who was one of Obama’s best friends. He said that Obama was very dogmatic. Once he made up his mind, it was fixed in concrete. He does not change his mind. I have found it useful to keep that in mind.

In an important essay by Michael Doran in Mosaic magazine, the author writes about “Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy,” and suggests that a strategy, centered on Iran, has been in place from the start and consistently followed to this day.

In the giddy aftermath of Obama’s electoral victory in 2008, anything seemed possible. The president saw himself as a transformational leader, not just in domestic politics but also in the international arena, where, as he believed, he had been elected to reverse the legacy of his predecessor, George W. Bush. To say that Obama regarded Bush’s foreign policy as anachronistic is an understatement. To him it was a caricature of yesteryear, the foreign-policy equivalent of Leave It to Beaver. Obama’s mission was to guide America out of Bushland, an arena in which the United States assembled global military coalitions to defeat enemies whom it depicted in terms like “Axis of Evil,” and into Obamaworld, a place more attuned to the nuances, complexities, and contradictions—and opportunities—of the 21st century. In today’s globalized environment, Obama told the United Nations General Assembly in September 2009, “our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. . . . No balance of power among nations will hold.”

For the new president, nothing revealed the conceptual inadequacies of Bushland more clearly than the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Before coming to Washington, Obama had opposed the toppling of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein; once in the U.S. Senate, he rejected Bush’s “surge” and introduced legislation to end the war. Shortly after his inauguration in January 2009, he pledged to bring the troops home quickly—a commitment that he would indeed honor. But if calling for withdrawal from Iraq had been a relatively easy position to take for a senator, for a president it raised a key practical question: beyond abstract nostrums like “no nation can . . . dominate another nation,” what new order should replace the American-led system that Bush had been building?

When he arrived in Washington in 2006, Obama absorbed the ideas of the final report of the Iraq Study Group, in which the co-chairs of the bipartisan congressional commission. Lee Hamilton, former Indiana congressman, and former secretary of state James Baker,” interpreted their mission broadly, offering advice on all key aspects of Middle East policy.”

The report, published in December 2006, urged then-President Bush to take four major steps: withdraw American troops from Iraq; surge American troops in Afghanistan; reinvigorate the Arab-Israeli “peace process”; and, last but far from least, launch a diplomatic engagement of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its junior partner, the Assad regime in Syria. Baker and Hamilton believed that Bush stood in thrall to Israel and was therefore insufficiently alive to the benefits of cooperating with Iran and Syria. Those two regimes, supposedly, shared with Washington the twin goals of stabilizing Iraq and defeating al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadi groups. In turn, this shared interest would provide a foundation for building a concert system of states—a club of stable powers that could work together to contain the worst pathologies of the Middle East and lead the way to a sunnier future.

There you have the basic strategy. Engage Iran to stabilize Iraq and Syria, to defeat ISIS, and enter an era of harmonious relations with the rest of the world. Obama is very anxious to show himself as that “transformational leader.” He, at least, is not in thrall to Israel, He wants Iran to become a “successful regional power and a friend and partner to the United States.”

Meanwhile, Iran has sent a thousand rockets to Hezbollah, is supporting the Houthi in Yemen (look at a map to see why that is important), and adding more centrifuges. White House national security advisor Susan Rice denied, in a speech to Brookings Institution, that the threats facing the United States are in any way “existential” — blaming that perception on media “alarmism.” (With more centrifuges, a bomb in 2 months!)

After a year that saw a Russian invasion in eastern Europe, continued violence in Israel, massive international cyber-attacks on American companies and the rise of an ultra-violent Islamic caliphate in the Middle East, Rice took pains to assure her audience that all is well.

“Too often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective,” she said. “Yes, there is a lot going on. Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or during the Cold War. We cannot afford to be buffeted by alarmism or an instantaneous news cycle.”

She listed other threats to U.S. security, including “the very real threat of climate change” and the necessity of promoting equality for homosexuals. The new National Security Strategy is here, should you wish to delve more deeply. Foreign Policy remarked:

Of course, if you are like most Americans, you won’t ever read it at all. Which is just as well. Along with being devoid of strategy, the document is also devoid of surprises or new ideas. That could be because its focus is not, as would be the case in a real strategic planning document, the future. Instead, it is the past. This document is really a brief filed by the president in defense of his record to date.

The discussion of the rising cyber-threat is under a heading called “Access to Shared Spaces”. preceded by “Climate Change” and followed by “Increasing Global Health Security.”

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline quotes the Washington  Post’s concerns:

The three concerns are: (1) that a process began with the goal of eliminating Iran’s potential to produce nuclear weapons has evolved into a plan to tolerate and temporarily restrict that capacity; (2) during the negotiations, Obama seemingly has conceded Iran’s place as a regional power at the expense of Israel and other U.S. allies; and (3) Obama has signaled that he will implement his deal without a vote by either chamber of Congress.

Charles Krauthammer sees us as back in the perilous days of the late 1930’s, when some could see glimmers of what was coming down. I’m inclined to agree with him.




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