American Elephants


Obama Wants to Bankrupt the Coal Industry and Cause Energy Prices to Skyrocket… For Your Own Good! by American Elephant
November 3, 2008, 5:07 am
Filed under: Economy, Election 2008, Energy | Tags: , , ,

More desperately important reasons to vote for McCain/Palin and do everything in your power in these last two days to make sure as many other McCain/Palin voters get to the polls as possible:

From an interview in San Francisco (naturally) last January:

And, in the same interview, he admits freely that his plans will necessarily cause electricity prices to skyrocket:

Obama wants to drive prices up. He thinks Americans must change their evil energy consuming behavior, and that it is governments’ place to force them to do so. He believes the American free market, where we use electricity when we want it, turn on lightbulbs at our leisure, buy things we want and use them when and how we want — you know, the economic model that has lifted billions of people around the world out of poverty — must be fundamentally changed:

But we will have to subsidize energy for the poor! So not only are your personal energy costs going to skyrocket, you’ll be paying more taxes to subsidize energy for the poor.

And to what end?

As the video says, so that one day in the very distant future, the government will wave its magic wand and create a way to power the economy without oil, without natural gas, without coal, without nuclear — without any of the carbon producing, “dirty” energy sources that currently account for 90.4% of America’s electricity needs. That’s just electricity, it doesn’t even include America’s transportation energy needs.

And until the day when government can somehow make the solar and wind that currently supply 2.4% of our electricity needs, supply all the energy we need for electricity and transportation, you and your family, and your children, and their children, and their children’s children ad infinitum will have to suffer far higher energy prices, higher taxation, higher regulation of your personal behaviors and consumer choices….

THIS is what Obama means when he says he wants to bring about “fundamental change.” A level of Statism that has never, ever been known in this country. The government will tell you what, where and when you can travel. They will dictate through taxation and regulation how much energy you can use, what products you can buy, what temperature you can keep your house, what you can eat!

It is all implicit in his self-described vision. And it is contrary to almost every principle America is founded upon. Is Statism the change Americans are looking for? It’s the change they’re about to get!

Tell me where I’m wrong.

UPDATE: Sarah Palin responds to Obama’s vision for the coal industry:

(h/t Hot Air)



Don’t Cast Caution to the Winds! by The Elephant's Child

Denmark is usually cited as the world’s most successful wind-power pioneer.  Denmark is a small, flat, windy country with a population of around 5.5 million people.  Researchers have put a value on Danish wind energy.  They believe that wind power cut $167 million (1 billion kroner) off Danish electricity bills in 2005.  Danish consumers, on the other hand paid 1.4 billion kroner for subsidies for wind power.

The trouble with wind is that it doesn’t always blow when you need the electricity, and often blows when you don’t need it.  Wind power cannot be stored. Thus you must have electricity constantly available as backup for the times when the wind isn’t blowing.

Denmark relies on their neighbors, Norway and Sweden, and takes their excess production of electricity, and conversely sends it’s excess wind-power generated electricity back to the neighbors.  In 2003, the scale of subsidies caught the attention of the media, which claimed that the subsidies were out of control.  When subsidies were cut back, the building of wind turbines ground to a halt.

One of the big problems seems to be that where wind is, there are not transmission lines. Often, the wind is far from the grid.  Transmission lines run about a million dollars a mile.  Most of Denmark’s electricity comes from plants that burn imported coal.

There are some lessons here, which suggest that the “experts” in Congress should get out of the way and let the market find the way.  Congress doesn’t do well with making the rules for energy.



Speaker Pelosi’s Improbable Pronouncements. by The Elephant's Child

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, appeared on Meet The Press yesterday. Mr. Brokaw inquired about the Democrat Congress’s very low approval poll numbers. She admitted that the oil companies and the administration all ranked higher than Congress in those polls. “BUT the point is this. People—” she said,”we have to look after the consumer, we have to increase the supply of energy. And the President, even as recently as yesterday, said if you drill offshore, you’re going to bring down the price at the pump. It simply is not true.”

Many economists and professors have pointed out that the President is right, and Ms. Pelosi doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Professor Don M. Chance, a professor of finance at Louisiana State University said:

Thus, the current price of any storable commodity will be affected by expectations of future supply because producers use those expectations to determine when to bring their product to market.

Oil is an excellent example because it has a long storage life. Every drop of oil consumned is on the market for only a small fraction of the millions of years of its life.

If producers expect increased supply in the future, the incentive to bring oil to market later is reduced.

Ms Pelosi went on to say that “Well the fact of the matter is — and the President knows this — if you drill offshore today , you won’t have any impact at the price at (sic) the pump for 10 years, and then it’s 2 cents. We can move much quickly (sic) by releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserve and having an impact at the pump in 10 days, in 10 days.(sic)”

There are offshore oil rigs that have been sitting off the coast of California, idle since Democrats put a block on drilling decades ago. With restrictions lifted, they could potentially be producing in 3 years, because they know where the oil is.

The significantly explored areas are the central and western parts of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Demand all over the world is such that drilling companies are pulling rigs out of the U.S. Gulf. Larry Dickerson, CEO of Diamond Offshore Drilling, says that there are probably 30% fewer rigs working than there were 3 years ago. The rigs that they have are booked up quite a bit in advance, so they would have to build new rigs or relocate rigs here. While that was going on, oil company customers would be doing the seismic exploration, so he estimates four or five years to start producing oil. Not exactly what Ms. Pelosi claims.

Environmental organizations have a mystic belief in “alternative energy”. Wind, solar, and biofuels. Natural. Not “dirty”. Not nuclear. They make a huge assumption that if we just contribute enough money, these sources that contribute only a minuscule bit of energy will suddenly be able to take over the entire job of supplying American energy. That is wishful thinking. And as these organizations are a huge source of Democrat money, Congressional Democrats cannot afford to do other than follow their demands.

The Left always believes in giving taxpayers’ money to their pet causes. They think of it as government money, or their money, to do with whatever seems noble. Trouble is their ‘noble’ causes seldom seem to work. But Democrats are interested in intentions, not results.

They never seem to understand that if the price of gas is so high that people are interested in alternates, the free market will produce all sorts of folks tinkering in their garages to produce new engines, new batteries, new fuels, new cars.

That is what the Capitalism that they so despise does.

Subsidies, on the other hand, entice people hoping to make a quick buck. England has all sorts of problems with wind farms being put in places where the wind supply is doubtful, simply because the subsidies pay for it. In Japan, when subsidies were removed activity in solar power ceased; because there were not investors willing to risk their money in the hope of future profit.

Speaker Pelosi actually had the nerve to claim that big oil, needed to pay “royalties” to the American people, Big oil pays three times as much in taxes as they receive in profits. If they lease land on which to drill, they bid at auction, enormous sums. If they secure the lease, they pay rent every year. If they cannot find oil on the land that they leased, tough luck, rent continues until the lease term is up. At the end of the lease, it reverts to the government.

American corporations are more highly taxed than their counterparts around the world. U.S. corporations pay 39% in taxes. Their counterparts in Ireland pay 11%. There is a clue here to the reason why U.S. corporations move their business offshore.

The late Walter Wriston, former CEO of CitiBank, said in The Twilight of Soverignty:

Capital will go where it is wanted and stay where it is well treated. It will flee from manipulation or onerous regulation of its value or use and no government power can restrain it for long.

Perhaps if we embroidered little samplers with this quotation, and sent them to members of Congress…Nah!



The Mayor of Simpleton by American Elephant
August 21, 2008, 4:18 am
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Science/Technology | Tags: , , , ,

Michael Bloomberg is at it again.

The mayor of New York City, like far too many other politicians, is determined to save his constituents from themselves. First he banned smoking, then he banned transfats, now he wants to save the Big Apple from the evils of petroleum by mounting windmills and solar panels atop New York’s bridges, landmarks and skyscrapers. Imagine the Chrysler Building and the Brooklyn Bridge with giant pinwheels on top.

Ugh.

Now, I have nothing against wind power. Really. The wind contains energy; by all means let’s harness it. But the benefits it can provide are seriously limited, while the costs are extravagant. But Bloomberg and the Democrats are giving us yet another fine lesson in the dangers of the “do something disease.”

You’d think we would have finally learned our lesson with the biofuel disaster. In their rush to “do something” about global warming, our politicians, by giving farmers money to grow crops for gas tanks rather than dinner tables, caused skyrocketing food prices and contributed mightily to a world-wide food crisis. “Doing something” because it sounds good, can be an enormous waste of time and taxpayer money — or far worse — when it isn’t thought through.

Wind turbines take a fairly healthy amount of wind to move, they are enormous, and, some (like Ted kennedy and John Kerry) argue, unsightly. Solar panels require sunshine, and lots of it. Both need to be spread out over large areas to provide any significant energy benefit at all. But most importantly they also both require back up.

The problem with sun and wind is that they are not constant. Energy needs, by and large, are. And there are no batteries on the electrical grid. If the wind stops blowing, or the sun goes behind a cloud, that’s it! Blackout! So more reliable energy plants (ie: coal, oil, and natural gas) must be running at all times anyway to ensure a steady supply. And it is because they require constant back up, that wind and solar will never be able to account for more than a small portion of our energy needs.

Keep all that in mind, before indulging Bloomberg and the Democrats in their latest billion-dollar “do-something” boondoggles.

Update: Back to the Future? The times reminds us that New York had wind mills 400 years ago when it was New Amsterdam. And one has been on the city seal ever since. Do you think they found something more efficient?

Up-update: Architects and Engineers scoff at Mayor’s proposal.

Up-up-update: Apparently this is one green proposal that was a bridge too far for even the liberal media.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing off his suggestion to put windmills on city bridges and rooftops after newspapers mocked the idea with photo illustrations of turbines on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. 

“There are aesthetic considerations,” Bloomberg said. “Number two, I have absolutely no idea whether that makes any sense from a scientific, from a practical point of view.” [emphasis mine]

You don’t say!

Keep this in mind when Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats start making their energy proposals next month.



Pelosi Betrays Democrats Lies on Gas by American Elephant

I wasn’t even aware of Pelosi’s call to open up the Strategic Oil Reserves for political expediency until I read it on Significant Pursuit. But I wanted to point out that Renaissance Guy has it exactly right — Pelosi’s call for the President to open the reserves because the extra oil will reduce gas prices, while intended to shift blame to Bush and the Republicans, directly refutes the entire Democrat argument that more oil won’t bring prices down. You can read his post here.

The truth is that Democrats have had their way on energy, whether in the majority or the minority, since at least the Carter administration. For most of that time, they have controlled at least one, if not both, chambers of congress and have been able to block more domestic energy production that way. When Republicans took control in 1994, Clinton blocked it with his veto pen. Republicans have pressed the issue every year since Bush has been in office only to be blocked by Democrat filibusters in congress and their demonizing and demagoguery to the public. Remember how they smeared Vice President Cheney for daring to consult the people who produce the nation’s energy when devising a national energy policy? Democrats would have us meet only with Greenpeace and the Earth Liberation Front.

As a result, while the population and energy needs of America have increased dramatically, our domestic energy supply has remained virtually unchanged for decades. THAT is entirely why we are now, “dependent on foreign oil.” The saying has become so cliche, I worry that people forget the reasons.

I heard Bill O’Reilly the other day claim that Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame in his his sanctimonious, “look how independent I am” tone. I wanted to reach through the radio and throttle him. But at least I remembered why I don’t listen to his show.

The fact is Republicans have supported alternative energy, they have supported wind, biofuel (ugh), and solar — they have even supported conservation efforts — but they also understand that none of those are capable, nor will they be capable any time even relatively soon of meeting our energy needs. They recognize that we need to increase oil production, increase refinery capacity, reduce “boutique” fuels and standardize the gasoline blends, increase clean coal, natural gas and especially nuclear energy.

Democrats on the other hand, have blocked virtually everything BUT wind, solar and conservation. They won’t allow new refineries, they block nuclear plants, they block oil production and even want to tear down the hydro-electric dams that power most of the Northwest to “save” the same salmon they eat probably at least once a week. The same salmon undoubtedly served in the congressional lunchroom alder-smoked or herb crusted with fresh lemon and capers. They filibustered the Republican energy bill when they were in the minority, and their so-called “energy” bill passed now that they are in the minority. You will notice prices have continued to increase — more rapidly if anything — not decreased since.

No, contrary to Bill O’Reilly’s claims, our increased dependence on foreign energy is entirely and solely the Democrats fault. One need look no further than the congressional record for the proof.

So, it is very welcome indeed that Nancy Pelosi is finally admitting that her party has been lying to the people all these years, and admitting that increasing the oil supply will lower prices. Just think of all the damage to the economy and to people that could have been avoided if they hadn’t been lying all this time.

(chart h/t: Michelle Malkin)



Unpopular? Let me count the ways… by The Elephant's Child

Popularity? Gallup just did their annual update on confidence in institutions. They found that only 12% of Americans have any confidence in Congress. This is the lowest rating that Gallup has measured for any institution in the 35 years they have been measuring this question. And it gets worse! Only 6% have a “great deal” of confidence in Congress. Whew!

Newspapers and TV news rank along with George W. Bush, which is low enough, but it is Congress that is really, really unpopular. How can this be? Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the Democrat Congress were going to change everything for the better.

Let’s see. Democrats have raised the minimum wage which has the effect of making it harder for people who are beginners at work to get their first job. (Studies show that even raw beginners usually get promoted within 6 months). Did you notice the big jump this month in unemployment statistics? There weren’t any big layoffs. What there were is a lot of kids looking for summer jobs or first jobs after graduation.

Democrats passed a big energy bill banning incandescent lightbulbs. Now we have to use the florescent kind and call the Haz-Mat team if we drop one. They ordered more ethanol production, which is causing food riots and inflation in food prices. Since they are experts in how to make automobiles, they ordered car makers to increase cafe standards, without any conception that car makers are in the business of pleasing their customers and are working hard to provide them with more fuel-efficient cars. The last time congress did that, car makers were forced to make their cars lighter, and killed about 4,000 additional people a year in highway accidents.

Being expert in solving problems such as high gasoline prices, they called in oil company executives and raked them over the coals for their high salaries and high profits; threatened to take over their businesses; asked the Justice Department to sue OPEC, and demanded that oil companies promptly produce oil from public lands that they have leased. All, of course, while they steadfastly refused to open ANWR, offshore lands or onshore lands, or oil shale lands to exploration and drilling.

Democrats have insulted the Generals who have turned the War in Iraq around, suggested that they are liars, and smeared the troops. And to top it all, they have suggested that Congress should take over American oil refineries so that they can control prices. When I was growing up, they called that communism, and America was pretty definitely against it.

I could go on and on, but space is limited. There is a common thread here, and it seems to be an unfamiliarity with economics and history. Throw in a healthy dose of lack of interest in the meaning of freedom, and how it is attained, preserved and nurtured.



Poof! Nancy Pelosi solves the oil crisis! by The Elephant's Child
June 20, 2008, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Humor | Tags: , , , ,

Nancy Pelosi

Democrats are at it again, trying to trick you with fast action. Nancy Pelosi decides to stick it to the oil companies because they aren’t producing oil from the 68 million acres they already have. Why should Congress give them more land to do nothing with. (See, it is now not Congress’ fault for irresponsibly refusing to open onshore and offshore lands to exploration.We gave them 68 million acres and WHERE IS THE OIL?)

Well, Congress will fix that!

Congress will just compel them to produce oil. So there!

Red Cavaney, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, responds in today’s Wall Street Journal:

If only it were that easy to find and produce oil. Imagine, an act of Congress that could do what geology could not.

These lawmakers ask why oil and gas companies want more access to federal lands to drill if they aren’t using all of the 68 million acres they already have? Anyone with even the most basic understanding of how oil and natural gas are produced — and this should include many members of Congress — knows that claims of “idle” leases are a diversionary feint.

A company bids for and buys a lease because it believes there is a possibility that it may yield enough oil or natural gas to make the cost of the lease, and the costs of exploration and production, commercially viable. The U.S. government received $3.7 billion from company bids in a single lease sale in March 2008.

Pelosi is getting so silly that she just makes me laugh. YOU — Produce oil now!!! That’ll do it. Our gas crisis is solved.

It is always fascinating when Congress takes on business and industry. It is such unfamiliar territory for members of congress, and they know so little, yet are so completely condescending. Businessmen are so polite and so knowledgeable that it never reflects well on their inquisitors. But nobody ever watches committee meetings anyway, and far too often, never reads the response of industry to unfortunate lawmaking.



Do as Democrats Say, Not as They Do by Emerald City Elephant

Al Gore’s Personal Energy Consumption Up 10%. But Democrats want to force you to reduce yours. Energy, the new luxury.



Tell Democrats Enough is Enough! by American Elephant

American Solutions has started a petition drive demanding that congress start drilling for oil. They have collected over half a million signatures so far, but their goal is 7 million. Are you tired of paying $4/gallon and more for gas?

As we’ve illustrated before, Republicans have been warning America that supply wasn’t keeping up with demand for decades. Republicans have been trying to increase oil exploration, increase refining capacity, and improve infrastructure for decades. And for decades, Democrats have vetoed and blocked and filibustered Republicans at every turn. For decades Democrats have been lying and demagoguing and demonizing Republicans for “not caring” about the environment, and being in corrupt cahoots with big oil. All of which is a lie. And now Americans are paying the price.

The truth is Republicans are mostly business people — small and large — and other average Americans who know the lifeblood of the world’s economy is energy — especially oil. Without oil, people don’t travel, goods don’t get to market, people don’t work, and people don’t eat. Poor people suffer most, by far!

Barack Obama likes to talk on the stump about a man in Pennsylvania who lost his job and can’t afford the gas to look for a job. (No one seems to have asked him why he didnt give the man some gas money, but that’s another story), but he and the Democrats in congress haven’t done or proposed one thing that would lower the price of gas for that man or the millions like him. In fact, for over a decade they have been blocking every attempt to increase supply and improve infrastructure. The only thing they have done is to increase the price of oil by taxing and regulating oil companies to death.

If I sound like I’m pissed, it’s because I am. These high gas and food prices are hurting millions of Americans, and they wouldn’t be anywhere near as high if it weren’t for Democrats lies and demagoguery.

The fact is, Democrats want high gas prices. Oh, yes, they have the gall to drag oil executives in and demonize them for taking a measly 8 cents on the dollar, knowing all the while that government is taking 47 cents for every 8 cents the oil companies take. But they won’t allow anything that will bring down the price of gas, because they want to make you stop using it.

There is no technology that will replace gasoline right now. And there is nothing that even comes close to replacing gas in the near future. Biofuel costs more, is worse for the environment, produces less energy, and along with gas prices, is driving up the cost of food all over the world.

Electricity? We don’t have enough of that either. And Democrats are blocking that too! It’s not just oil production, but nuclear, hydro, hydrothermal, clean coal, natural gas, you name it. If it isn’t solar and sometimes wind, Democrats are blocking it. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry have been blocking windmills in their state for years because the proposed mills would sully the view of their Cape Cod mansions.

The fact is, Democrats don’t want to bring down the price of oil, or energy, because they want you to use less of it. They don’t want you to drive, they want you to live in dense urban areas and ride mass transit. And they intend to force you to, whether you want to or not. They think you, living your life, is bad for the environment. Unfortunately, it’s not just your gasoline, it’s your light bulbs, your toilets, your showers, your cars, your thermostats, your fireplaces, your grocery bags. Democrats want to tell you how to live, where to live, how, when and where you will travel. And they will be doing it, as they are doing now, by regulating and taxing, ensuring you can’t afford to do anything they don’t want you to..,

Naturally the super rich like Al Gore, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Howard Dean, John Edwards, and well, most Democrat elites, can afford all the energy they want. And as they’ve shown, they have no intention of doing without. It’s the people in the world who can least afford to do without cheap energy that they want to force to stop using it.

Sign the petition! America can produce oil cleaner than any other country on Earth, and leave hardly any footprint at all. Contrary to what you’ve been told, there is no shortage of it. Sure, the Earth may run out some day, but that day is hundreds, if not thousands of years from now. And there is no technology that will replace the internal combustion engine any time soon.

We have over a trillion barrels of oil that we know exists and we know we can recover. Democrats are blocking us from drilling off our own coasts, while China and Cuba are already recovering oil just 50 miles off the Eastern seaboard. Think they’re doing it as cleanly as we would?

If we had started when Republicans first passed legislation in the 1990′s, which Bill Clinton vetoed, that oil would be online and at gas stations right now. Refineries would have been built, infrastructure improved, and we wouldn’t be paying anything near what we are now, and we would be much more energy independent. Experts estimate the cost of a gallon of gas would be around 2 dollars. Do you want to find out just how much your life, and the economy can change in another decade without affordable energy?

Tell congress you’ve had enough! Sign the petition! And then forward it to your friends. Drill here! Drill now! Pay less!



What if Oil is Not a Fossil Fuel? by The Elephant's Child
February 1, 2008, 5:47 pm
Filed under: News, Politics, Science/Technology | Tags: ,

We have long learned that oil is a “fossil fuel” formed over centuries and millenia from compression of the remains of organisms, the biogenic theory.  But there is a rival theory that oil and natural gas are abiogenic, “that is that they are formed from non-biological chemical processes that convert carbon from one of the Earth’s inner layers (the mantle) into longer carbon chains as these lighter carbon compounds rise toward the surface of the Earth.”

Ken Green touches on several of the implications of recent research at ‘Planet Gore’ on National Review Online.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the greens aren’t going to like this.




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