Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category
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.
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.
Technorati: Mitt Romney, National Security, Terrorists, Vladimir Putin, Reset Button, Russia, Baltic States, Election 2012, The Bakken, Gas Prices, Pipelines, Republicans, RNC Winter Meetings, Election 2016
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.
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.”
Technorati: Barack Obama, Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Environmental Activists, Special Interests, Democratic Party, Keystone XL Pipeline, Pipefitters Union, Construction Jobs, Drill, Baby, Drill, Sarah Palin, Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less, Newt Gingrich, Republicans
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.
Technorati: Pipelines, Sandpiper Pipeline, Fossil Fuels, Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce, Dale Lueck, Legislator, Scott Erlander, Pipefitters Union, Agriculture, Transportation, Dave Carroll, Environmental Activists, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, DFL
If ever there was proof that Democrats hate the fracking boom, this article provide that proof:
Still, conservatives and centrist Democrats will be watching for several regulations the Obama administration is expected to propose this year so that they are finished before the president leaves office.
The first would be Interior Department rules on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that they call duplicative. “That will end up in legal challenge, but there may be legislative action or oversight there as well,” said Matt Kellogg, manager of government affairs at the Independent Petroleum Association of America.
It isn’t just the EPA that wants to abolish fracking:
The state of New York is officially moving toward a fracking ban.
After presenting the findings of an exhaustive five-year study on the potential environmental, economic, and public health effects of fracking, state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Joseph Marten said he would issue a “legally binding findings statement” seeking prohibition of the controversial process.
Fracking is the process of injecting high-pressure volumes of water, sand, and chemicals underground to crack shale rock and let gas flow out more easily.
DFL legislators in Minnesota tried imposing a moratorium on frack sand mining. During the debate on the House floor, one DFL legislator said that imposing the moratorium might stop oil production on the Bakken. That’s a silly statement but it’s a perfect illustration of the DFL’s opposition to fracking.
What’s ridiculous is that Democrats support the EPA’s rules that oppose fracking, then praise President Obama for increasing oil production. It’s the environmental equivalent of John Kerry saying that he voted to fund the Iraq War before he voted against it.
Let’s simplify things. First, it’s undeniable that Democrats support EPA regulations that would restrict oil production. Next, it’s verifiable that Democrats still want to take credit for the increase in oil production because cheap gas prices are popular politically.
Marco Rubio’s op-ed utterly demolishes President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba. In his op-ed, Sen. Rubio correctly states that President Obama’s decision will have long-lasting, negative consequences — for us and the oppressed Cuban people:
The opportunity for Cuba to normalize relations with the U.S. has always been there, but the Castro regime has never been interested in changing its ways. Now, thanks to President Obama’s concessions, the regime in Cuba won’t have to change.
The entire policy shift is based on the illusion—in fact, on the lie—that more commerce and access to money and goods will translate to political freedom for the Cuban people. Cuba already enjoys access to commerce, money and goods from other nations, and yet the Cuban people are still not free. They are not free because the regime—just as it does with every aspect of life—manipulates and controls to its own advantage all currency that flows into the island. More economic engagement with the U.S. means that the regime’s grip on power will be strengthened for decades to come—dashing the Cuban people’s hopes for freedom and democracy.
Cuba’s economy has been circling the drain for 2-3 years. Venezuela and Russia, its 2 biggest supporters, have hit tough times, too, thanks to rapidly dropping oil prices. At exactly the time when Cuba is collapsing from within, President Obama threw them a lifeline with this initiative.
Already, a Minnesota representative is planning a trip to Cuba:
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Minnesota congressman who has long advocated for changes to the United States’ Cuba policy says a decision to normalize relations with the island country is a “monumental step” in the right direction. Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan praised Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. would re-establish diplomatic ties to Cuba. Nolan traveled to Cuba in 1977 during his first stint in Congress and was involved in a past deal to release U.S. prisoners held there.
Nolan says he hopes to travel to Cuba next year to meet with officials there.
Another Democratic member of the Minnesota delegation, Betty McCollum, described the announcement as “a new beginning.” She says she would continue working to end a U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. McCollum spent time in Cuba last summer.
Apparently, Nolan and McCollum, like President Obama, are willing to ignore Cuba’s disgusting human rights abuses. Apparently, they haven’t thought things through nor have they put a high priority on human rights. Sen. Rubio has:
While my personal ties to Cuba and its people are well known, this is not just a personal issue. American foreign policy affects every aspect of American life, and our people cannot realize their full promise if the world becomes more dangerous because America retreats from its role in the world. Moreover, the Cuban people have the same rights that God bestowed on every other man, woman and child that has ever lived. All of those who are oppressed around the world look to America to stand up for their rights and to raise its voice when tyrants like the Castros are trying to crush their spirits.
It’s amazing that the ‘party of the little guy’ supports the dictators who trample the little guys for criticizing the Castros’ oppressive dictatorship. What isn’t surprising, though, is that Rick Nolan is ignoring the Castros’ reign of terror. He’s always been soft on human rights and friendly towards oppressive dictators.
Don Davis’s article is the perfect starting point for highlighting the upcoming fight between Minnesota’s farmers and Twin Cities environmentalists:
From Gov. Mark Dayton on down, it is common to hear them wishing that Minnesota had a resource worth as much as that being pumped from the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota. Then, almost without pause, a politician can pivot and complain that North Dakota’s oil makes Minnesota a more dangerous state.
So it was no surprise the other day when the Minnesota Legislative Energy Commission slipped, as if on an oil puddle, from talking about rail congestion slowing the delay of coal to power plants to the dangers of railroads transporting oil across the state. Rail safety is not in the commission’s portfolio, but over the past couple of years, the nine or 10 oil trains a day that pass through Minnesota has become an explosive issue in the Capitol.
Six or seven trains, each with at least 100 cars of oil, travel from Moorhead through the Twin Cities and on southeast each day, headed to Midwest and East Coast refineries. Fewer go from North Dakota, then south through Willmar and Marshall to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. So when Dave Christianson of the Minnesota Department of Transportation was telling the commissioner about rail congestion that many blame on North Dakota crude oil, questions arose about rail oil safety.
Last fall, Gov. Dayton sidestepped why the commissioners he appointed to the Public Utilities Commission voted to stall building the Sandpiper Pipeline by 3-5 years. Minnesota is at a tipping point, a crisis:
Christianson said that if every pipeline proposed through 2025 is built, “we could empty all the oil trains being moved today.” However, he quickly added, Bakken production is growing so fast that its output would be so big that pipelines could not handle it all and the same number of oil trains would be needed as are on the tracks today.
In other words, Minnesota needs to throw environmentalists under the bus. It’s indisputable that pipelines are the safest way of transporting oil from the oil fields to refineries. It’s equally indisputable that they aren’t 100% safe. What’s sad is that environmentalists insist that they be perfectly safe.
They insist on that knowing that that isn’t possible.
Meanwhile, farmers can’t get their grains to market and iron ore can’t get their ore to steel mills. Environmentalists have consistently won those fights during the Obama administration. Now we’re facing a crisis. We’re experiencing a fracking boom but we don’t have the infrastructure to transport the oil & natural gas fracking is producing.
This year, the DFL will have to decide if they’re pro-farmer or pro-environmentalist. Gas prices are dropping. Home heating bills are less expensive. Families are liking the fact that they’ve got more money in their pockets when they finish paying their bills. That trend isn’t likely to stop anytime soon: