Oil

President Obama’s first message to the new Republican majority tells you how the next two years will go

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Upon receiving his second and final midterm electoral thumping last November, President Obama vowed to work with the new Congress and its Republican majorities in both House and Senate. On Sunday, Obama reiterated his pledge:

“I’m being absolutely sincere when I say I want to work with this new Congress to get things done,” Obama told reporters before leaving on his annual end-of-the-year holiday in Hawaii. “We’re going to disagree on some things, but there are going to be areas of agreement and we’ve got to be able to make that happen.”

But Tuesday, while the new Congress was being sworn in and voting for their caucus leadership, Obama sent his real message to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner: roughly, “GFY”:

“I can confirm that the president would not sign this [Keystone XL] bill,” Earnest said at a White House press briefing when asked about legislation set to advance in Congress this week that would greenlight the project.

It takes a lot of guts to project an image of bipartisanship, compromise, and utilitarian pragmatism and then threaten vetoes of bills that haven’t even been introduced. At least give them a day to put their names on the doors.

Frack Nation: A Systematic Takedown of Gasland

Frack Nation

I was one of the millions of people who had seen the footage of the “flaming water” supposedly caused by fracking in Pennsylvania, but had never seen Gasland or really studied the issue in depth. When the opportunity to attend the Los Angeles premiere of Frack Nation arose, I decided to see what the fuss was about. Cinematically and content-wise, Frack Nation did not disappoint.

Frack Nation starts with the same flaming water shot from Gasland that has alarmed environmentalists and the masses and describes the anti-fracking movement’s complaints. What was helpful for a newbie like me was to have the fracking process described in detail.

McAleer interviewed many of the farmers of Dimock, Pennsylvania, the “ground zero”  of this issue. The farmers almost unanimously want the ability to lease their mineral rights to the gas companies for fracking. Many of them are dairy farmers whose land has been in the family for generations. They passionately tell McAleer that they need this money to be able to survive, as farming is a money-losing proposition these days. It is what they love to do, and leasing mineral rights will allow them to do that instead of joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Just as passionately, they state they would never allow anything on their land that harms the environment. Their homes are on this land. Their dairy cows graze on this land. They’ve tilled this land for a lifetime. They are believable – they would not allow any process that harms their asset, the land, just for money.

Who Has The Party Delegates?

What all the GOP candidates are after, are so-called ‘delegates.’Elected officials that will broker the convention of either party this fall. Officials are parcelled by the amount of votes, the candidates receive in the primary.

During Michigan’s primary recently, for instance, there were 30 official delegates, state-wide. Two were ‘at-large’ candidates, which meant they could be assigned individually to any winning candidate. The other 28 were ‘proportional’ ones, alotted through 14 congressional districts. During the push for the nominations in Michigan last night, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum spent millions of dollars to influence the voting population; with TV ads, pamphlets, media, interviews, rallies, stickers, and much more. Michigan’s grand sum of politcal expenditure was near six million bucks.

Delegates are what really counts at the GOP convention. What looks to be happening, is that no clear winner will come out victorious. There’s a righteous number: 1444 delegates will win any nominee the victory-nod of the Republican National Committee. Nationwide, 2169 delegates are extended for contestation, until the RNC celebration in Tampa, Florida. From the RN Committee, an additional 117 delegates are added into the mix, ostensibly to keep debate lively and clear-up dead locks. So what appears, on first looks, to be a rather hot-headed and fast paced Republican rocket-launch to the RNC, is more like a jammed or misfired pistol in a duel.

Momentarily, Mitt Romney is in the lead, with 167 total delegates. Rick Santorum is second with roughly half, at 87. Newt Gingrich won only one state and has 32, while Ron Paul has 19 carefully collected delegations. The count may reshuffle at any moment, since constitutionalism and populism together, ring alarm-bells in states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

5 Ways Old Energy Fuels Big Government

In his column on December 30, George Will seemed positively giddy that 2011 ushered in a new era of fossil fuel abundance. You see, according to Will, this newfound energy abundance is good news for conservatives (and, presumably, libertarians) because the absence of energy scarcity is bad news for progressives. They need scarcity, Will writes, to justify “rationing … that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior.” And with this newfound energy abundance, progressives will have less justification for many of their big government endeavors.

There may be valid reasons for conservatives and libertarians to take a skeptical approach to anthropogenic climate change. There are certainly good reasons for those who care about limited government to oppose the means that have been proposed to deal with it, which include such big government gems as carbon taxation and its initially conservative alternative, cap and trade. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a conservative or libertarian who doesn’t oppose the scandal (Solyndra), overregulation (good golly), or nannyism (We <3 Incandescent Light Bulbs) that have passed for energy and environmental policy in Washington.

But there are no good reasons for either conservatives or libertarians to be excited about fossil fuels. George Will argues that our newfound energy abundance will liberate us from many big government endeavors. I argue that our dependence on Old Energy empowers progressives — and, in some cases, conservatives — in at least five ways to insist upon the necessity of big government.

The GOP’s Energy Economy Short-Sightedness: It’s the Internet, Stupid

Though I didn’t notice it at the time, techPresident’s Nick Judd makes a very astute observation about the recent Bloomberg/Washington Post GOP presidential debate on the economy:

 

  • Number of times the Internet was mentioned by name in a debate about the economy: 2.
  • Number of jobs that were in the American information sector in 2007: 3,496,773.

 

Texas Governor Rick Perry will unveil his economic plan in Pittsburgh (emphasis mine):

My plan is based on this simple premise: Make what Americans buy. Buy what Americans make. And sell it to the world. We are standing atop the next American economic boom…energy. The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down. My plan will break the grip of dependence we have today on foreign oil from hostile nations like Venezuela and unstable nations in the Middle East to grow jobs and our economy at home.

Leftists Shouldn’t Complain about Corporate Rent-seeking when Leftists Encourage Corporate Rent-seeking

A notice in this morning’s Federal Register gives us insight about how regulatory capture begins.

The Department of Energy is looking to create a a regulatory subcommittee of vetted stakeholders to develop energy efficiency standards for electricity distribution transformers:

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) is giving notice that it intends to establish a negotiated rulemaking subcommittee under ERAC in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act (NRA) to negotiate proposed Federal standards for the energy efficiency of low- voltage dry-type distribution transformers. The purpose of the subcommittee will be to discuss and, if possible, reach consensus on a proposed rule for the energy efficiency of distribution transformers, as authorized by the Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, as amended. The subcommittee will consist of representatives of parties having a defined stake in the outcome of the proposed standards, and will consult as appropriate with a range of experts on technical issues. DATES: Written comments and requests to be appointed as members of the subcommittee are welcome and should be submitted by August 29, 2011.

So the government is looking for parties with “a defined stake” — meaning entities operating in distribution transformer space, from electricity companies and device manufacturers to green groups and (probably) well-heeled and connected Democratic donors — to appoint (not elect) to a committee responsible for promulgating efficiency criteria that will eventually have the force of law.

Congress raiding our Oil: About to require the sale of U.S. SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) to fund additional spending

Today, as part of H.R. 2354, Congress is requiring the sale of $500 million of Strategic Oil Reserves - and then requiring any money from those reserve sales be used to fund additional spending as part of the general treasury.

This sets a terrible precedent, threatens our national security and is in all likelihood not entirely legal.

On the floor of the house today Congressman McClintock called it a scandal - and we agree. This is nothing more than accounting tricks and blatant disregard for the very idea behind the Strategic Oil Reserve.

The vote is tomorrow, spread the word.

Economic Silver Lining: Gas prices are on the decline — and that’s good for average Americans

Gas prices are below $3 again in 1/3 of U.S. states. Prices are down 30% from four months ago and set to lower 15-20 cents more per gallon, per MarketWatch.

Gas prices

The explosion of fracking in North Dakota and other parts of the United States has created an increase in supply, while the global recession (or slowed economic growth, depending how you look at it) has kept demand lower.

Oil companies aren’t happy about it, but individual consumer are. And they should be, for more reasons than their pocketbook.

One reason is job creation. More U.S. oil production means more U.S. jobs. Not just jobs with oil companies, either. Employees working for oil companies need places to eat, shop, and live. And more affordable transportation is also better for jobs. At some point, commutes will cost more than it’s worth to go to work.

Another reason is the environment. Oil is better for the environment than coal. Of course, there are other sources of energy that are better for the environment than oil, but when oil costs less, the positive economic result is seen by the environment as well. Historically, a better economy not only helps families living in poverty, it allows people to more disposable income and the ability to make choices that are better for the environment and even offset their environmental impact.

The third reason to cheer for low gas prices is that it is a result of increased U.S. oil production, because of which the U.S. is more energy-independent. It is probably good to be less reliant on unstable oil-rich countries such as Iran and Venezuela.

Obama costing America coal jobs just to court environmentalists

Patriot Portraits/George Neat - Used with permission

It isn’t any secret that Obama has no love for the fossil fuel industry, and the political math involved is simple enough. Environmentalists have gotten votes for him, and the coal, oil, and gas industries haven’t. Energy policy, such as it is in this administration has absolutely nothing to do with our economy, resources, or the marketability of energy sources. Honestly, it doesn’t have anything to do with preserving the environment either.

While Obama and his environmentalist cronies would like to say that global warming is “settled science,” it seems that’s disputed more and more all the time. The latest is the contention that environmentalists were fiddling with the numbers to fit their theories. That makes much more sense, given their habits these days. The level of hypocrisy involved is astounding when one considers that a Greenpeace executive uses a jet to commute to work.

Then there are the liberal members of the media that are helping Obama preach the false narrative - not only about the true environmental impact of fossil fuels on our climate, but also about the impact of his policies on our economy. There is no reason we should take anyone seriously when they claim that the loss of coal as a fuel doesn’t have far-reaching implications in this economy.

Barack Obama’s new strategy in Iraq makes no sense

U.S. Embassy in Iraq

Just what is the strategy in Iraq?

The country is going to hell in a hand basket, and America’s strategy is to send 300 “advisers” to help the Iraqi government. The “advisers” are special forces soldiers, and, despite what President Barack Obama claims, it means troops are back on the ground in the country. This shatters Obama’s statements from 2011 and 2012 that the war in Iraq was over and troops were coming home. It isn’t a bad thing the troops were taken out of Iraq, but why are they going back?

The mission is rather nebulous as well. If anyone thinks the “advisers” are just going to sit back and relax while telling Iraqis what to do, then there’s a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. The U.S. doesn’t just send 300 special forces soldiers to do nothing. Best guess is they’ll be involved in intelligence to help the Iraqis fight the Islamic State In Iraq and Syria (ISIS). And that means they’ll probably end up in harm’s way.

 


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