American Elephants

Nevermind The Economy, The Real Issue Is Cow Flatulence. by The Elephant's Child


We grasp at any evidence of the slightest improvement in the economy. Everybody knows someone who is having a hard time. So when the Labor Department says that there was a 288,000 gain in payroll jobs in April, it seems like progress, but that just gets us back to where we were in the middle of the last recession—December 2007 – June 2009. The new payroll jobs number comes from surveying businesses, but the broader survey of households shows a decline of 73,000 jobs in April.

The broadest survey is the labor participation rate, the broadest gauge of demand for workers. That fell 0.4 percentage point to 62.8%, an all-time low. That’s because 806,000 people left the labor force last month.  When  you add this into the statistical mix, you get the U6 unemployment rate, which now stands at 12.3%, down from a high of 17.1% in 2010 and the lowest level since early in the last recession.

Even during the Bush recovery—the one Obama constantly claimed as the worst since the Great Depression—the U6 unemployment rate never got above 10.4%. For each person who is not in the labor force, just 1.3 people are working full time. This is Obama’s economy. And add in Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who famously claimed that unemployment insurance made the economy grow. That’s based on the Keynesian theory that any money you put into the economy has a multiplier effect, and a each dollar divides and increase. Pleasant idea, doesn’t work.

Why is this such a weak recovery? Economist John Makin at AEI points out investor uncertainty in the wake of the financial crisis and “substantial regulatory changes by the Obama administration.” The administration has been busily regulating anything that moves and anything that doesn’t. Convinced that the wise experts in Washington D.C. can fine-tune and improve the American economy, they’re going at it with a vengeance.

The perception is that the Obama administration may at any moment impose a new regulation that will cost a business millions, or they may descend on a business with a SWAT team for breaking some law that nobody ever heard of, or the IRS may audit and send in teams from other agencies to look into business practices. There is no confidence that this administration has any understanding of business and it’s needs. Very large corporations have lobbyists, but not every business can afford a full-time high-priced team to plead their problems. No confidence.

Then you have ObamaCare with all the uncertainty involved in that, and what is put off till after the election and what is not. The low cost of borrowing should normally boost investment, but everything about doing business is a risk, and there is no evidence that taking a risk will pay off. So there you are.

The public cares about jobs. The Obama administration does not know how to fix that, so they are going for a different distraction. Brilliant. Make yourself a laughingstock instead.

Obama adviser John Podesta told reporters today that “Congress could not derail the Obama administrations efforts to unilaterally enact policies to fight global warming.” The president wants to limit “carbon pollution” that he thinks causes global warming. Congress has urged the Obama administration to scale back the climate goals because of the adverse impact of new regulations on the coal industry. The administration’s “war on coal” has caused huge job losses in coal states like Kentucky and West Virginia— for no reason whatsoever. Any time there is the slightest uptick in economic statistics, Obama finds another way to put the brakes on the economy—his only real expertise.

The Obama administration’s most recent attempt to lower U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is to target methane emissions. A major part of his plan will be to limit emissions from the dairy industry, which sees large amounts of emissions from cow flatulence and burps.

If Obama sees banning cow flatulence as the way to restore the public’s declining trust in his administration, he’s getting some pretty poor advice.

Has the Government Gone Completely Nuts? by The Elephant's Child

The Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, created in 1947 by President Harry Truman to replace the Wartime OSS, now protects us all — by operating a special center dedicated to global warming. What?

It was launched under President Obama in 2009, and known as the Center on Climate Change and National Security, and it operates under a cloak of secrecy that rejects all public-records requests. It is considered an exclusive unit that is led by “senior specialists.”

As the agency suffers through a huge scandal this month, it has come out with a startling report exposing the national security dangers of global warming. Climate change is accelerating at such a fast pace that it will put severe strains on U.S. military and Intelligence agencies in coming years, the CIA -sanctioned study found. The changes will trigger increasingly disruptive developments around the world as well.

Scientific evidence indicates that the global climate is moving outside the bounds of past experience and can be expected to put new stresses on societies around the world, prompting examination of a variety of plausible scenarios through which climate change might pose or alter security risks for the United States,” according to a summary from the report. It goes on to offer an improved understanding of the links between climate and security as well as the ability to anticipate potential security risks arising from “climate phenomena.

Keeping with the CIA’s primary mission of gathering foreign intelligence, the report focuses on climate-related “social and political stresses outside the United States.” It outlines security risks that might “exceed the capacity of affected populations to cope and respond.” How exactly will this occur? Seemingly unrelated events exacerbated by climate change will cause an unpredictable crisis in water and energy supplies, food markets and public health systems…

Well, climate is changing, just as it always does. We haven’t had any warming at all for over fifteen years, and the planet has been cooling slightly. But these guys seem to be getting their advice from the Society of Environmental Journalists who don’t talk to scientists either, they learn from each other. If the EPA keeps insisting that we put our food crops in our gas tanks, we may have some shortages of food supplies. But there is no sign yet of another Little Ice Age.  But that doesn’t seem to be what the Center has in mind:

Its charter is not the science of climate change, but the national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources. The Center will provide support to American policymakers as they negotiate, implement, and verify international agreements on environmental issues. That is something the CIA has done for years. “Decision makers need information and analysis on the effects climate change can have on security. The CIA is well positioned to deliver that intelligence,” said Director Leon Panetta.

Why on earth is the CIA involved? President Obama may be the last of the ‘true believers’ in alarmist climate change along with Al Gore and Bill McKibben. But it’s not just the CIA. According to a new report on financial waste in the Department of Defense, the Pentagon initiated more renewable energy projects in 2010 — the year measured— than any other federal agency, including the Energy Department and the EPA. Senator Tom Coburn released a report highlighting Defense programs that are wasteful, duplicative, or superfluous:

The federal government launched 679 renewable energy initiatives in 2010 including those at the Department of Energy. The Department of Defense accounted for 116 initiatives,more than any other department or agency. By contrast, DOE started less than 100.

There is currently no comprehensive inventory of which federal agencies are implementing renewable energy-related initiatives and the types of initiatives they are implementing. In light of efforts to balance the federal budget and target spending on activities that will most effectively meet national needs, the lack of available information on agencies’ renewable energy initiatives has further raised congressional concerns about the ability to identify whether efforts are fragmented, duplicative, or operating at cross-purposes.

The military’s “green push,” notes Heritage, needlessly bleeds scarce resources away from core missions to advance a political agenda.

The Pentagon and the environmental movement seem to have found common cause by linking America’s national security to the basic tenets of the President’s green agenda. The DOD bureaucracy benefits by securing resources to engage in climate change and alternative energy research, and the green movement benefits by keeping its agenda alive. Unfortunately, there are real costs for national security, energy technology, the taxpayer, and the American consumer.

So al Qaeda is back, stronger than ever, the Middle East is aflame, the president is attempting to burnish his nonexistent foreign policy credentials by visiting Myanmar, and demonstrating how peaceful he is by cutting the military back to bare bones in a dangerous world. He will save the world by running what military we have left on ethanol?

ADDENDUM:According to The Hill’s E² Wire, 11/19/12, The CIA Center on Climate Change and National Security has closed. The agency’s work on climate change has been transferred to a new office.

“The CIA for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change. As part of a broader realignment of analytic resources, this work continues to be performed by a dedicated team in a new office that looks at economic and energy matters affecting America’s national security. The mission and the resources devoted to it remain essentially unchanged,” Ebitz said in a statement to The Hill.

The CIA is one of multiple federal agencies to explore the nexus between climate change and security — sometimes drawing GOP criticism in the process.

The article does not identify “the new office.” The most interesting description of the previous office says “it operates under a cloak of secrecy that rejects all public record requests.”

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