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Gov. Dayton is trying to shift the spotlight away from building oil pipelines by preaching the gospel of railroad safety:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — State officials estimate that 326,170 Minnesotans live within a half mile of railroad tracks that carry crude oil, a distance often known as the danger zone. People within a half mile of tracks usually will be evacuated if an oil train could explode or catch fire after a derailment.

The estimate, released this morning after state officials could not answer a Forum News Service question about the issue last week, is the first time Minnesotans had an idea about the number of people that state transportation and public safety officials say could be in danger of oil train explosions like those seen elsewhere in the United States and Canada.

“This data provides a greater emphasis on the need for a strong rail safety program,” Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle said. “If trains derail and an emergency occurs, many lives could be in danger.”

This is a phony issue created by belligerent environmental activists serving on the Public Utilities Commission, aka the PUC. If the PUC hadn’t delayed by at least 2 years the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline, the amount of oil shipped via railroad would drop significantly.

Environmental activists are fighting the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline and other proposed pipelines because these activists hate the use of fossil fuels. As long as people don’t criticize Gov. Dayton and these environmental activists, the activists will continue needlessly putting Minnesotans in harm’s way. Even if this money would get spent, the danger would still exist because millions of barrels of oil would still be shipped via trains.

The truth is that pipelines are dramatically safer than shipping oil via railcar. If Gov. Dayton doesn’t change that policy, the problem will still exist. It’s that simple.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL are insisting on spending $330,000,000 on railroad safety to prevent oil car derailments/fires. This article shows how short-sighted the Dayton-DFL plan is:

With a throng of officials from towns dealing with the headaches of heavier train traffic behind him, Dayton called it “totally unacceptable” that railroads would oppose contributing more money to the state’s safety efforts. The governor and other fellow DFL lawmakers have proposed a series of tax increases and annual fees on railroads to upgrade railroad crossings and ease congestion across Minnesota.

As usual, Gov. Dayton is removing all doubt that he’s a blithering idiot. Railroads are already spending $500,000,000 on safety improvements in Minnesota. Further, the Dayton-DFL plan isn’t a solution, though Rep. Paul Marquardt isn’t bright enough to figure that out:

“That is the responsibility of the railroad,” Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said of improvements.

These improvements don’t do anything to solve the underlying problem, which is to free up rail capacity to transport agricultural products to market. The only way to do that is to build more pipelines, which the DFL is unwilling to do. Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t willing to do that because the anti-fossil fuel activists won’t tolerate the building of pipelines. That’s because they’re the dominant wing of the DFL.

The only way to improve railroad safety is to stop shipping oil on trains. I’ve yet to hear of a grain car derailing and exploding. Oil should be transported via pipelines because it’s the safest way to transport oil to the refineries.

I can’t emphasize this point enough: Money spent on railway safety won’t be efficiently spent if oil is shipped by railroad.

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Brian Beutler’s article is a testimony to how warped hardline progressives’ thinking is. Check this out:

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years. So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works.

As a theme, this riff should have struck a chord with the conservative movement’s myriad Reaganologists.

This, supposedly, is Beutler’s attempt to prove that Barack Obama is the next Reagan. Let’s check that comparison. The ‘Obama Recovery’ is still the slowest recovery in history. It’s created few full-time jobs. Most of the jobs it’s created are part-time jobs. Economic growth has stagnated because a) regulation has skyrocketed and b) Obamacare became the law of the land.

Most of the full-time jobs that’ve been created were created in spite of Obama’s policies. Think Texas, which is pretty much putting anti-Obama policies in place, and North Dakota, where the Bakken Boom is happening because they didn’t have to deal with Obama’s oppressive, stifling regulations.

Any comparison with Reagan is foolish. In September, 1983, the economy created 1,100,000 jobs. For 6 straight quarters, GDP topped 5%. Thus far, the economy hasn’t grown by 4% two quarters in a row. It hasn’t had back-to-back quarters topping 3.5%.

Comparing Obamanomics with Reaganomics is like comparing a small plate of tofu with a thick, juicy steak with a side of hash browns. They’re both food but that’s where the similarity ends.

The economy’s rapid growth in recent quarters has scrambled these assumptions, and now the White House is pitching the Reagan comparison to political reporters in Washington.

What rapid growth? Seriously? Economists will slap down Beutler’s claims in a New York minute.

“All historical analogies are imperfect,” Obama’s senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told me recently, but “people connected the economic success of the ’80s to Reagan’s policies and Democrats also became convinced that the only way to win was to move to the middle. … We want to make sure people understand the policies we put in place, how they work, how they’ve improved their situation, so when Republicans get back into it we’ll have shifted the four corners of the political debate to the left.”

First, there’s no question that President Obama’s policies are definitely to the left of where people are at. Further, there’s no question that it’ll take time to fix the myriad of messes President Obama has created.

Finally, here are the biggest ways to show Obama isn’t like Reagan:

  1. Economic growth was robust during the last 6 years of Reagan’s time in office.
  2. Economic growth during President Obama’s time in office has been pathetic.
  3. Reagan’s national security policies brought the Soviet empire to its knees.
  4. President Obama’s policies of appeasement has helped terrorism expand its control while threatening most of the civilized world.

Other than that, Obama’s accomplishments are virtually identical with Reagan’s.

Juan Williams’ column is filled with faulty premises. Here’s the first of Williams’ faulty premises:

Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) strategy for defeating Democrats in the final two years of the Obama administration is clear: divide and conquer.

There’s no doubt that Democrats are divided over Keystone. What Williams didn’t detect is that the people are incredibly united on the issue. Almost 70% of registered voters support building the Keystone XL Pipeline. A pathetic 25% of registered voters oppose building it.

If Democrats want to listen to the environmental activist wing of the Democratic Party, that’s their right. If Democrats want to ignore the will of the American people, that’s their option, too. Just don’t try telling me that that’s divide and conquer. That’s giving people the option between doing the right thing and playing partisan politics.

Now he is testing Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) ability as minority leader to hold Senate Democrats together in opposition to a Republican agenda favoring the pipeline, halting immigration reform, lowering corporate taxes, and seeking to destroy Obamacare.

If significant numbers of Senate Democrats are willing to join with Republicans to force presidential vetoes, McConnell wins. He gains the power to paint himself as the good guy working across political lines. And he will smear the remaining Democrats as members of an out-of-the-mainstream party in the grips of leftist ideologues — Obama, Reid, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and possibly Hillary Clinton.

Sen. McConnell’s agenda this year consists of passing lots of things that 70+ percent of the American people support. Pundits call that picking off the low-hanging fruit. It’s the stuff that President Obama and Sen. Reid ignored the past 4 years.

It isn’t surprising that Republicans have a different agenda than President Obama and Sen. Reid. President Obama and Sen. Reid frequently thwarted the will of the American people. They weren’t just characterized as out-of-the-mainstream ideologues. It’s that President Obama and Sen. Reid have been out-of-the-mainstream ideologues.

In 2010, the American people spoke with a clear voice that they didn’t like President Obama’s and Sen. Reid’s agenda. This past November, they spoke with an even clearer voice. They rejected President Obama’s and Sen. Reid’s agenda.

Rather than listen to the American people, President Obama said that he isn’t interested in the American people’s agenda. President Obama and the Democrats have forcefully said that they’re interested only in their agenda.

Hooray for Sen. McConnell for putting the Democrats’ feet to the fire. It’s time to find out if they’re aligning with the American people or with the Democrats’ special interest allies.

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After reading this part of this article, it’s clear that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be the GOP presidential nominee:

He said Mr. Obama and Clinton would have America “walk back from red lines…lead from behind…[carry] a small stick.” He ticked through the world’s hotspots: Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Iran. “Terrorists are not on the run,” he said. In a “post-Obama era,” he argued, the next president will need to use economic and diplomatic strength to shape events around the world and “make the world safer for freedom.”

Mitt’s right that President Obama’s red lines are seen by President Putin as being more of a rose color than red. Mitt’s wrong that diplomacy is what’s needed to shape world events, especially with terrorists and Putin.

What’s needed with President Putin is a combination of supplying Ukraine with arms to defend themselves against President Putin’s expansionism and the US announcing plans that they’re building a natural gas pipeline to Ukraine. Couple those things with hitting reset on Hillary’s reset button. That isn’t done with a cheesy-looking red button. It’s done by putting US missiles in Poland, Romania and throughout the Baltic States. That doesn’t mean going to war with Russia. It simply means confronting Putin’s expansionist initiatives. Better yet, it means acting proactively to prevent Russia from attempting to expand its influence.

President Putin is acting like a superpower. The West’s mistake is in treating Putin’s Russia like they’re a superpower. They aren’t. They never will be. Their economy can’t produce the wealth they need to compete with an economic and military superpower.

This paragraph highlights what went wrong with Mitt’s 2012 campaign:

On the third principle, he said, “We’re an abundant nation. We have the resources” to lift people out of poverty. He didn’t say precisely how he would accomplish that without increasing the size of the government, but he argued that Mr. Obama’s policies have not worked. “They work for a campaign, but they don’t get the job done,” he said. Only conservative principles like a focus on family formation and education, he added, would “end the scourge of poverty in this great land.”

That’s exceptionally timid. Just blast it out there. Capitalism is the only economic system that lifts families out of grinding poverty. Mitt’s biggest personal weakness is that he’s an apologetic capitalist. What he needs is a lesson like this from Milton Friedman:

Republicans need a candidate who a) isn’t bashful about being a capitalist, b) loves explaining the virtues of capitalism vs. the tyranny of collectivism and c) highlights the times where capitalism has improved people’s lives.

In 2015-16, that means highlighting how Obama’s EPA has hurt the coal, the natural gas and oil industries and how private citizens and local governments have made life significantly better for people. Highlight how North Dakota’s state policies have helped the Bakken lead a fossil fuel comeback that led to cheap gas prices. The GOP presidential nominee needs to remind people of the Democrats that said we “can’t drill our way to cheap gas prices.’

Mitt won’t make that case. That’s why he’s wrong.

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This article highlights how badly wrong Ruy Teixeira was when he wrote The Emerging Democratic Majority. A dozen years after co-writing The Emerging Democratic Majority with John Judis, it’s clear that proof is piling up that they were wrong:

In the November elections, Democrats lost their eight-year Senate majority, and saw their House numbers fall to the lowest level in seven decades.

In the states, Republicans will hold 31 governorships, and more state legislative seats than they’ve had since 1928. It especially vexes Democrats to see Republicans dominate the U.S. House delegations and the state governments in several states that President Barack Obama won, including huge legislative majorities in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Democrats that think things will improve soon are wrong. Here’s why:

“We believe we’re on the right side of the issues, and all we can do is keeping making the case,” Yarmuth said. “Hopefully we’ll get better at that.” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California on Tuesday announced a new messaging team led by Steve Israel, D-N.Y. “We need a message,” Israel said. “An effective message doesn’t tell voters what to think. It builds on what they feel.”

A majority of House and Senate Democrats vehemently oppose building the Keystone XL Pipeline. The vast majority of House and Senate Democrats oppose major tinkering with the ACA.

According to the American people, Democrats are on the wrong side of both issues. By a wide margin.

Then there’s the belief that Democrats oppose a robust all-of-the-above energy plan. Actually, it isn’t just a belief. It’s that there’s plentiful proof that Democrats vehemently oppose fossil fuels. They even oppose natural gas, which is pretty foolish.

The other thing that’s holding Democrats down is their honesty deficit. This quote is the perfect illustration of that deficit:

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said Democrats must do a better job of highlighting economic improvements and a dramatic increase in energy production under Obama’s watch.

I wrote here that the Obama administration is an impediment to increased energy production:

Oil production on federal lands, those under the president’s control, fell 6 percent since 2009, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, while production on private lands increased 61 percent.

If Democratic politicians like Sen. Kaine keep peddling the notion that the energy boom is the result of the Democrats’ advocacy for increased fossil fuel production, people won’t take them seriously.

That’s what’s led to a shrinking Democratic minority. It hasn’t led to an “emerging Democratic majority.

For years, Democrats have said that we can’t drill our way to cheap oil prices. That’s part of the Democrats’ catechism. Today’s cheap oil prices are forcing Democrats to eat their words:

In 2012, President Obama called it “a slogan, a gimmick, and a bumper sticker … not a strategy. They were waving their three-point plans for $2-a-gallon gas,” Obama told a laughing audience during an energy speech in Washington. “You remember that? Drill, baby, drill. We were going through all that. And none of it was really going to do anything to solve the problem.”

“‘Drill, baby, drill’ won’t lower gas prices today or tomorrow,” Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., echoed on the floor of Congress in 2012. “But it will fuel our addiction to fossil fuel.”

Here in St. Cloud, the cheapest gas I’ve seen this month is $1.91/gallon. I remember August, 2008 because the know-it-alls in the DFL were criticizing Michele Bachmann for saying that lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling would lead to $2.00/gallon gasoline if the Democrats would just let it happen. FYI- Gas was at $4.11/gallon at the time.

Naturally, the DFL accused Michele of being insane or of not knowing what she was talking about. On Jan. 20, 2009, the day Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th president, gas was $1.78/gallon. Nobody in the DFL admitted that Michele was right. The conservative blogosphere, however, was ‘admitting’ it frequently.

Then President Obama’s policies took over and gas prices started increasing. Intentionally.

President Obama is now attempting to claim credit for the latest dramatic drop in oil prices. He shouldn’t. Here’s why:

Oil production on federal lands, those under the president’s control, fell 6 percent since 2009, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, while production on private lands increased 61 percent.

Let’s restate that with different wording. Where President Obama can obstruct the flow of oil, production has dropped by 6% since 2009. Where President Obama can’t obstruct oil production because oil is discovered oil on private lands or under state-owned lands, production has grown by 61% since 2009.

A simple tongue-in-cheek observation is in order. If God is going to create oil, He should create it where the government can’t stop production. Here’s a different observation worth appreciating:

America built the Empire State Building, then the world’s tallest office building, in 410 days during the Depression. We built the Pentagon, still the world’s largest low-rise office building, in 16 months while waging a war across two oceans. Keystone has been studied for more than six years. And Obama considers this insufficient?

Actually, there no longer is any reason to think he has ever reasoned about this. He said he would not make up his mind until the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled. It ruled to permit construction, so he promptly vowed to veto authorization of construction.

After reading all of this information, a person might believe that Democrats are stupid when it comes to the rules of supply and demand. They aren’t, though they frequently sound like it. It’s that Democrats are willing to say anything to appease the environment activist wing of the Democratic Party rather than doing the right thing.

This is instructive:

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) objected that if Congress authorizes construction of Keystone this “would take consideration out of the hands of the administration,” and “out of the current administration process.”

The reason why Republicans want this taken “out of the current administration process” is because the process is the fast track to nowhere, which is the Democrats’ goal.

Simply put, it’s time to tell the Democrats to sit down and shut up when it comes to setting energy policy. Thanks to the work done at the state level and by private landowners, the US is on the cusp of regaining its status of being the world’s energy superpower.

It’s instructive that Democrats are attempting to obstruct that progress for the American people.

This editorial by the Mesabi Daily News’ Editorial Board beautifully defines who’s fighting against the Keystone XL Pipeline project:

So why should the Barack Obama administration continue to drag this “good for the USA” project out after six years of review and a recent Nebraska Supreme Court ruling paving the way on a local level for the pipeline?

We see no reason other than the president being controlled by the far-left environmental wing of the Democratic Party that is so far out of step with the vast majority of Americans that you need some powerful binoculars to even find its members.

Let’s be blunt. The environmental activist wing of the Democratic Party isn’t just out of step with “the vast majority of Americans.” It isn’t that you’d “need powerful binoculars” to see these activists from America’s political mainstream.

It’s that the environmental activist wing of the Democratic Party isn’t interested in anyone’s opinions. They’re like crazed cult members. Though these environmental activists don’t respect other people’s opinions, that doesn’t mean they’ll pick fights with the people that support their agenda:

And we would also like to hear what both Sens. Klobuchar and Franken think about what the anti-Keystone zealots say about the thousands and thousands of construction jobs that would be created by the pipeline.

The people that make up the environmental activist wing of the Democratic Party will never get asked difficult questions by politicians like Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken. That’s because politicians like Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken know that environmentalists are significantly more reliable Democrat votes than construction union members are.

Members of the local pipefitters or other unions sometimes meander away from the Democratic Party. Politicians like Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken know that. They also know that environmental activists vote for Democrats almost as reliably as journalists or trial attorneys. Private sector union workers don’t.

That’s why Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken voted against cloture on S.1, the bill that would force the Obama administration to permit construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline:

The motion passed with strong bipartisan support by a 63-32 margin. Five senators didn’t vote. Democrats mocked Republicans for coming up with slogans like “Drill, baby, drill” and “Drill here, drill now, pay less”:

It isn’t that Democrats are stupid when it comes to energy policy. It’s that they’re that beholden to those crazed cult members known as environmental activists. You know the type. They’re the wing of the Democratic Party that’s “so far out of step with the vast majority of Americans that you need some powerful binoculars to even find its members.”

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In 2007-08, then-Sen. Obama campaigned as America’s first post-partisan presidential candidate. In 2004, he said he envisioned a nation not composed of red states and blue states. He envisioned a return to the US becoming the United States. President Obama lied to us. Here’s what we got instead:

Matt Lewis nailed it in this article:

[The Keystone XL Pipeline]project has been mired in controversy and delay for years. But it actually has supporters on both sides of the aisle, including labor unions on the left and free-market conservatives on the right. It’s largely just liberal environmentalists who are pressuring Democrats to hold things up.

That’s more proof that President Obama earned the title of being the “Most-Partisan President” in US history. He’s done more to stand in the way of progress than Jimmy Carter could’ve done in 4 presidential terms.

Here’s the part that Lewis especially got right:

Obama has the ability to rhetorically present both sides of every issue. But he also has a habit of ultimately coming down on the left side. He’s a liberal at heart. But there’s more to it than that. Obama fans are loathe to admit it, but the president can be a divider, and an obstructionist.

It’s foolish to think that President Obama plays things straight down the middle. That isn’t him. He’s a hardline leftist who hates compromise. We’ve seen, in fact, through his delaying the employer mandate and his executive actions on immigration that he’s mostly an autocrat. He isn’t a statesman or a diplomat. He’s a hardline leftist autocrat at heart.

But Obama’s own State Department produced an environmental impact statement long ago green-lighting the project. “The central finding in the draft environmental impact statement,” The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza told NPR’s Terry Gross last year, “was, if you don’t build Keystone, the Canadians will sell this stuff anyway, they’ll build pipelines to their east coast, to their west coast, and they’ll send it to the Gulf of Mexico via rail, and by the way, sending oil by rail releases a whole lot more greenhouse gas emissions than putting it in a pipeline.”

I knew that President Obama’s initial explanation for delaying the Keystone XL Pipeline project was dishonest. Pundits at the time said it was just to get past the 2012 election without upsetting the environmental activist wing of the Democratic Party. I immediately said that he wasn’t worried about upsetting the environmental activists in the Democratic Party. I said that he did it because he’s an environmental activist at heart.

President Obama has given us ample proof that he’s the “Most-Partisan President” in US history. It’s up to us to believe what our eyes have seen.

This article is worth reading just based on this quote alone:

But opponents argued that the pipeline will worsen the problem of climate change by continuing reliance on fossil fuels, instead of developing renewable energy. “It’s a not a matter of how safe that pipeline is, better than trains,” said Dave Carroll. “We’re looking at the survivability of all civilization.”

That’s stunning! It’s stunning in its ignorance. It’s just more proof that environmentalists’ predictions aren’t tethered to the truth in any meaningful way.

In the grand scheme of the universe, humans are insignificant at best. Let’s scale that to the grand scheme of this solar system. People are still pretty insignificant. But according to Mr. Carroll, we’re capable of destroying Planet Earth with a 616-mile long pipeline from North Dakota through Minnesota to Wisconsin. That’s utter nonsense.

According to this graph, there’s already 1,566,495 miles worth of pipelines crossing the United States. Why should anyone think that another 616 miles of pipeline will suddenly make the environment toxic?

Thankfully, some voices of sanity testified at this week’s hearing:

State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said there’s a “pressing need” to increase the amount of oil moved by pipeline instead of by rail, which he said is responsible for far more fatalities. “This is not about anything more simple than we need to put crude oil in pipelines in the interest of public safety,” Lueck said.

Several union members testified in favor of the project, saying it would create much-needed well-paying jobs. Scott Erlander, a member of the Pipefitters Local Union 455 of St. Paul, said pipe workers care about safety and water quality too. “No one here wants to see our water contaminated including all the workers on this project … This is not trading water for oil,” Erlander said.

Teresa Bohnen, president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Sandpiper would provide “real benefit” to Minnesota, including the creation of about 1,500 construction jobs. Bohnen noted that the increased amount of oil rail traffic is interfering with the state’s commerce and movement of goods, including agricultural products and coal for the Sherco plant in Becker.

It’s time to shout this information from the rooftops: renewable energy won’t replace fossil fuels in the next generation. Period. Their capability is limited at best. Meanwhile, fossil fuels have supplied a steady stream of relatively inexpensive energy that’s helped make the United States the world’s economic superpower of the last half-century.

Finally, environmentalists protesting the Sandpiper Pipeline project are hurting farmers. That includes the environmentalists appointed by Gov. Dayton to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, aka MPUC. Thanks to the environmental activists’ protests, farmers are getting hurt because they aren’t getting their crops to market in a timely fashion.

The pipeline battle is really a fight between Twin Cities-based environmental activists vs. outstate farmers, both of which are supposedly part of the DFL.

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