American Elephants


Stop Spending! Just Stop! It’s Not Working and It’s Not Helping. by The Elephant's Child

President “Transparency Is the Touchstone of my Administration” Obama has noticed that while the official calendar calls for a revised budget estimate to be issued in July, um, we’ll just put it off till at least mid-August.  President Obama wants major health care reform and, if possible, a global warming bill from Congress before they recess in August.  And we don’t want any inconvenient budget overruns mentioned just now.

As details of the cost of these policies begins to emerge (reading thousand-page bills takes time) Americans are beginning to get glimpses of the trillions of dollars in spending that will do nothing whatsoever to improve health care or lessen the amount of CO2 in the air.

This year alone, the deficit will be upwards of $1.8 trillion, and earlier deficit estimates total up the red ink through 2019 at $9.3 trillion.

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) says that what began as a “modest” $700 billion program to buy up bad mortgages has morphed into 12 programs with $3 trillion in government commitments.

According to Barofsky’s testimony, total efforts to “stabilize and support the financial system” since 2007 could eventually “reach up to $23.7 trillion.”

The total take by government at all levels will be well over 50 percent of GDP, or the destruction of the American economy.  Investors Business Daily puts it well:

Good governance begins with honesty. Unfortunately, the Democrats’ plans to expand the scope and reach of government to nearly every part of Americans’ lives have been marked by fiscal deception and budget chicanery. The American people deserve better.

It has been exactly six months since Barack Obama was inaugurated.  Is the honeymoon over?



The Bears Are Doing Just Fine! Really! by The Elephant's Child
June 28, 2009, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Environment, Science/Technology | Tags: ,

polar bears

New headlines will soon be featured in the world’s newspapers, as long as they are not still overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson and the affair of Mark Sanford.  Watch for them, they will report something along the lines that “scientists say that vanishing Arctic ice threatens the extinction of our beautiful polar bears.”

There is a conference in Copenhagen of the Polar Bear Specialist Group under the auspices of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission, and at the very tippy top of their agenda will be the need to produce a report designed to increase fears that polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.  Financial support and donations from polar bear enthusiasts will hopefully be forthcoming if the report is sufficiently scary.

Dr. Mitchell Taylor, a leading world expert on polar bears, had obtained funding to attend this week’s meeting,  but he has been impolitely dis-invited.  He is known to have signed the Manhattan Declaration — the statement by 500 scientists that climate changes are natural, and not caused by CO2, but by changes in the activity of the sun and in ocean currents — and that just simply won’t do.

Dr Taylor has been researching the state of the polar bear population around the Arctic Circle for 30 years as a government employee and an academic.  His work has made headlines  by insisting that polar bear numbers are much higher than they were 30 years ago and of the 19 different polar bear populations almost all are increasing or at optimum levels.  Only two have modestly declined, for local reasons.  He has also noted that the Arctic has been warming, but not as warming activists claim, from CO2, but from current changes bringing warmer water into the arctic from the Pacific. And here it is, nearly midsummer and the temperature is still below zero, and with the cooling climate the summer melt will probably be less.

Dr. Taylor was told that his views running “counter to human-induced climate change are extremely unhelpful.”  The science, you see, is not of interest.  It is the agenda that matters.  So please, just shut up!



Hopenchange Indeed. Take a Look at This Map. by The Elephant's Child
June 25, 2009, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Global Warming, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

PowerLine Blog has a dandy map , created by John Boehner, of  the convoluted bureaucracy that would be created if Democrats succeed in passing their Cap and Trade Bill.   This bill is such a pathetic disaster, and will do such damage to the American people.  $1,600 to $3,900 per household.  Graft and corruption.

Nancy Pelosi apparently thinks she has the votes, after twisting agricultural arms with ethanol promises.  That’s going to look really smart when crop yields drop because of the colder climate and late planting, and we start hearing stories of food riots and hunger caused by putting food crops in our gas tanks.



Another Government Loan to a Surprising Recipient. by The Elephant's Child

Our government has given a $468 million loan to Tesla Motors to build an electric sedan and the battery packs to run it.  When we have been hearing billions and trillions daily, $468 million begins to sound like chump change.  For those unfamiliar with Tesla motors, I have written about their sexy little Tesla Roadster ($110,000) here and here.  It’s a good looking little electric sports car;  when the London Times car guy tested first one and then another, um, there were a few problems.  But for $468 million they should be able to come up with a sedan.

The Chevy Volt is still much hyped by the Obama administration, and if they can get the price ($40,000) down, the  miles it can go up (40 mi.) on a charge, cover the nation with stations where one can plug in to get recharged less than 40 miles apart, and come up with new sources of energy to make the necessary electricity,  then all will be well, if GM can survive long enough to sell one that anybody wants to buy.

The problem is that the Obama administration is attempting to bankrupt the coal companies, deny nuclear permits, deny coal-fired power plant permits, and rely on “clean” wind farms which produce electricity only when the wind blows, which is definitely not all the time.

When the wind does not blow at the right speed, or when it does, there must be full-time back-up from a regular power plant.  Thus if you are depending on wind power you need more power plants, coal-fired or gas-fired, not fewer.  Wind, solar and geothermal are not cost-effective, cannot produce energy at all without vast subsidies, and there is no indication that they can ever become cost-effective.

But I wish Tesla well, I’m just not sure I understand why taxpayers should finance their experiments.

ADDENDUM: How could I forget to mention the $1.6 billion loan to Nissan to develop electric cars.  I got all wrapped up in the $468 million and completely forgot the $1.6 billion.  My bad.



The Sheer Stupidity Simply Boggles the Mind. by The Elephant's Child

rainforest

If a tree falls in the forest in Brazil, or Indonesia, will American taxpayers be paying for it? According to a little-noticed provision in the pending climate change bill the plan is ” to pay companies billions of dollars not to chop down trees around the world, as a way to reduce global warming.”

The very liberal Center for American Progress says it will be pricey. “By 2020, the U.S. could be spending $4 billion on international offsets.”

“Supporters of the legislation counter that the plan recognizes the need to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to curb global warming — in the United States and beyond.  Supporting ways to keep trees alive or plant new trees, wherever those trees are located helps the effort, they say.”

I’m beginning to think that term limits are a very good idea. For other posts on global warming or more euphemistically “climate change”, enter either term in the search function just above Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar.



It’s Time To Stand Up And Be Counted, People! by The Elephant's Child
June 24, 2009, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Freedom, Law, Politics | Tags: , ,

If you have not called or e-mailed your Representative, it’s time to do it.  Nancy Pelosi is trying to force through a vote on the Waxman/Markey climate bill by Friday.  No debate, no floor discussion,  every legislative maneuver to rush it through quickly will be employed.  They don’t want any input from you stupid voters out there.  Surprise them.

This bill is a disaster for America.  It is a big net job killer.  Utility costs will skyrocket.  It would reduce global temperatures (the supposed aim of the legislation) by 2050 by an amount too small to measure.  It will invest useless billions in supposed “clean energy” that cannot produce electricity in a cost effective manner now,  nor in the foreseeable future.  Doesn’t work.  In Spain, their wind energy investment killed 2 jobs in the wider economy  for every “green job” created.  And that’s without even knowing all the economic disasters they have written into the bill.  It’s not available for anyone to read it.  Why is that not a surprise? It is officially and euphemistically HR 2454 “The American Clean Energy and Security Act.”

For e-mail: www.house.gov.  For the House switchboard, call (202) 225-3121 to reach your Representative.



Why Are We Allowing Congress to Commit American Economic Suicide? by The Elephant's Child
June 23, 2009, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Freedom | Tags: , ,

There are big differences in the way that Conservatives and Liberals address policy.  Liberals are sure that things are better done by a wise and authoritative government, namely themselves.

Conservatives, believing firmly in free enterprise, competition and learning from mistakes remain unconvinced that government is wise and don’t care much for being bossed around.

Liberals, having decided that a policy is a good, spend great amounts of time determining just how to pass the policy into law.  Horse-trading, bullying, threatening, focus groups to see what language is most appealing to voters.

Conservatives study the policy to understand the costs and benefits and the consequences that it might entail down the line.  They study the history of such policies to see how effective they have been elsewhere.

President Obama said in today’s press conference “the House of Representatives is moving ahead on historic legislation that will transform the way we produce and use energy in America.  It …will finally spark a clean energy transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet.”

To be as polite as I can, this is hogwash.  Carbon is not pollution, but an element essential to life. Barack Obama should have learned that in high school biology.  The carbon emitted by internal combustion engines, SUV exhausts, coal-fired power plants, human breathing and cow burps is not the cause of the small amount of warming over the last century.  There is no climate crisis. The earth is always warming and cooling, and it has not warmed since 1998.

The rising sea levels, submerged Manhattan, killer hurricanes, melting Arctic and Antarctica, all the disasters arise from flawed computer climate models that cannot predict anything because they are programmed with guesses and estimates and output nonsense.  The legislation, in its entirity, would not reduce climate temperatures at all.

The President went on to say: “This energy bill will create a set of incentives that will spur the development of new sources of energy, including wind, solar, and geothermal power….these incentives will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy.  And that will lead to the development of new technologies that lead to new industries that could create millions of new jobs in America — jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.”

“At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air we breathe.”

Does he actually believe these things, or are these just focus-group-tested phrases?  Carbon emissions are not dangerous, do not contaminate the water nor pollute the air.

Wind energy is a proven job killer, in Spain killing two jobs for every one “created”.  Wind blows only occassionally, seldom when it it most needed, and requires backup from an ordinary power plant when the wind does not blow.  Solar is not cost effective.  When a wind farm or large solar array is planned, the environmental activists who demanded clean energy quickly file suit to prevent harm to an endangered species or because they make too much noise.  Environmental activists want to remove the blight of humanity from mother earth.

Economist Martin Feldstein says that the cap-and-trade program would raise the average family’s cost by $1,600 a year.  Heritage Foundation says $1,870.  Nancy Pelosi wants the House of Representatives to pass this Economic Suicide bill by Friday.  It’s time to get on the phone, and contact your Representative by calling the House switchboard at (202) 225-3121.  Tell your Representative to vote No on H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act. You can also send your Member an e-mail by going to http://www.house.gov and following instructions to find your Representative’s website.

Liberals have trouble with basic economic common sense.  You would think that they would understand that raising taxes or consumer costs during a recession is not a winning policy.  When tax receipts go down because so many are unemployed, their natural reaction seems to be to raise taxes rather than cut expenses.  Go figure.




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