Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Salena Zito’s latest column highlights what I think will be one of the biggest issues of the 2020 election cycle, in both the presidential election and in congressional races. The title of Ms. Zito’s column is “The crackers and frackers could hold the keys to 2020”. I’ve said for awhile that I think they will be one of the biggest issues in the race.

Democrats are in a difficult position. If Democrats side with Tom Steyer and AOC, they’ll lose the people who used to be the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, the industrial unions like the Pipefitters, the UAW, the USW and other major unions. If Democrats side with these unions, Tom Steyer stops writing checks for their campaigns.

Republicans don’t have such conflicts. They can support fracking without hurting their standing with other interest groups that support the GOP. The great news is that Republicans can boast how they support great-paying blue collar jobs that are helping rebuild close-knit communities in major battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

All Darrin Kelly wanted for the energy workers in Western Pennsylvania was that the Democratic presidential hopefuls would talk to them before going to war against shale. That opportunity slipped away last Friday when Elizabeth Warren joined Bernie Sanders in calling for a total fracking ban. “On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil-fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking — everywhere,” Warren tweeted.

“It is disappointing that any national candidate would not come in here and want to talk to the men and women of this area first before unilaterally making that decision,” said Kelly, a charismatic Pittsburgh firefighter who is also the head of the powerful and influential Allegheny Fayette Labor Council. They represent workers stretching from Pittsburgh to the borders of Maryland and West Virginia.

It isn’t just Bernie and Warren that’ve abandoned blue collar America. Joe Biden ditched them, too:

Biden denied the donor’s association to the fossil fuel industry before calling the young woman “kiddo” and taking her hand. He said, “I want you to look at my eyes. I guarantee you. I guarantee you. We’re going to end fossil fuel.

“There you have it. Blue Collar Joe just said that he’ll stop the fossil fuel industry. Then there’s this:

Trump’s magic came in rural and post-industrial counties such as Luzerne and Erie, but most importantly in the populous counties around Pittsburgh, where shale is king and fracking is seen as the second coming of the steel industry.

They may look like ordinary construction cranes to someone unfamiliar with the history of this region. But if you’re from here, they look like something different. Building the ethane cracker plant, each of these cranes looks like a new colossus rising from the ashes of yesterday’s despair.

Building the plant has brought in 6,000 good-paying jobs, with more to come. Ultimately, there will be 600 permanent jobs at the plant, with industry analysts predicting triple that amount in supporting industries.

Jobs postings are everywhere touting opportunities, no matter the skill level — high school education, trade school certificate, chemists, engineers, IT, labor. If you reliably turn up for work, there is likely a career for you in the oil and gas industry.

Let’s remember this: In 2016, then-candidate Trump promised he wouldn’t forget their communities. In 2020, he’ll return with the campaign slogan of promises made, promises kept.

The rebuilding isn’t complete but it’s been started, thanks to President Trump’s policies. President Trump identified the Obama administration’s anti-coal regulations as one of the things killing the energy industry. Thanks to the Republicans’ use of the Congressional Review Act, which they used 16 times, and the Trump/GOP tax cuts, communities are rebuilding. Under Obama/Biden, those communities were forgotten.

Just minutes ago, Democrat Sen. Ed Markey posted a picture through his Twitter feed. The message he conveyed was simple and utterly dishonest. Sen. Markey tweeted “If Donald Trump and the fossil fuel industry get their way and devastate the Arctic Refuge with drilling, we will never get this pristine wilderness back. The Senate needs to build off this House vote and pass our new legislation that will permanently ban all drilling there.” Here’s Sen. Markey’s dishonest tweet in its entirety:


I replied to Sen. Markey’s tweet with my own statement. Here’s that tweet:


A friend of mine is a retired engineer who worked for a company formerly known as AGAS, aka Alaska Gas & Oil. We’ve frequently talked about Section 1002. My friend told me that the area where the actual drilling would happen is hardly picturesque. I found this picture of a small portion of where the drilling will happen:

My picture hardly looks like Sen. Markey’s picture. In fact, I’d say that my picture looks like an oversized swamp whereas Sen. Markey’s is intentionally misleading. Back in the day, I remember how the Sierra Club predicted that building the pipeline would destroy the migration route of the Barrows Caribou, adding “and for what? Another 4-5 years worth of oil?” That grim statement was made in the mid-1970s. The pipeline was opened in 1978. It’s still transporting oil to tankers in Valdez, AK.

The thing that everyone should remember is that the Democrats’/Environmental activists’ predictions is really more propaganda than prediction. I’ve never seen one of their predictions come true. Most have been off by virtually orders of magnitude. When AOC said we had 12 years left to live because of climate change, I totally dismissed that prediction. It’s a total joke.

Of all the stupid things to say, Kamala Harris told a CNN townhall audience that she would ban fracking. In her effort to win the Democrat presidential nomination, Sen. Harris attempted to pander to the heart of the Democrats’ base, aka the hard-left environmental activist wing of the party.

“There is no question I am in favor of banning fracking,” Harris said during an all-night CNN town hall event focused on climate change.

Given her track record of flip-flopping on the biggest issues to Democrats, there’s little question that she’ll tell voters in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania that she misspoke and that she loves blue collar workers. The truth is that Sen. Harris leaves herself plenty of wiggle room to extricate herself from tight positions. For example, the article notes that “Harris’ formal climate plan, published earlier Wednesday, does not explicitly call for Congress to ban fracking.” Gee. How handy that is. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

Unless Sen. Harris turns things around fast, she’s history. I’ve said for a month that this is essentially a 3-4 candidate race, with Biden leading, trailed by Bernie, Warren and finally by Harris. The thing that’s getting obvious to voters who pay attention is that Sen. Harris’s initial statements on each issue is quite strong, followed by less firm statements as she fields criticism for her most forceful statements. Look how forceful her initial statement is:

It’s difficult to picture Sen. Harris standing out from standing out from any of the other Democrats’ presidential candidates on this subject. Still, it’s difficult to see Sen. Harris not participating in this townhall. To skip such a townhall might be seen as having something to hide.

Finally, Sen. Harris’s statement will doom her in the general election if she’s the Democrats’ presidential nominee. Banning fracking is one of the best ways of losing in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio.

You’d think that a Fordham-educated politician like Andrew Cuomo would be able to understand simple math. Apparently, that’s above his pay grade. According to this article, Gov. Cuomo either is too dishonest to tell New Yorkers that his policies have led to this looming crisis or he’s too beholden to the environmental activists to do the right thing for the average New Yorker.

New York, California and Minnesota especially need to stop with their outright disdain for fossil fuels and mining. It isn’t healthy but it is counterproductive. Here’s what’s happening in New York:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo doubled down last week on his blame-the-messenger approach to New York’s growing shortage of natural-gas supplies by ordering the Department of Public Service to “broaden its investigation” of National Grid and threatening to “find another franchisee.” Anything, rather than admit that his own policies are at fault.

The utility has stopped taking new gas customers in parts of Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens where it can’t handle the new demand — because Team Cuomo vetoed the proposed Williams pipeline to bring in supplies from New Jersey. (Jersey is also blocking the pipeline, since Gov. Phil Murphy is appeasing the same green extremists.)

National Grid gave months of warning that it would need to impose the moratorium if fresh supplies weren’t ensured. Con Ed did the same in advance of its recent new-biz moratorium in most of Westchester, which was also prompted in good part by the nixing of new pipelines.

Gov. Cuomo’s policies are mainstream Democrat policies. That’s the problem. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2,000,000 voters, idiotic ideas can pass because they’re that month’s flavor-of-the-month trend. It doesn’t matter if the policy hurts 200,000-400,000 people. If it’s trending in popularity, that’s what matters in New York. Whether it fixes anything is irrelevant. This is what Gov. Cuomo gets excited about:

That photo says one thing to him — reelection. That’s all he cares about. He won’t care about the crisis until it hits. Even then, he’ll do as little to fix the problem as possible. Most likely, if he acts, it will be a short-term fix.

Democrats aren’t about doing what’s right for the long-term. They’re mostly about maintaining power.

After reading just a few paragraphs of this article, the first question that popped into my mind was whether consumers were wiser than Wall Street. I know that isn’t a fair question but I think it’s pointing to a simple reality.

First, it’s apparent that the Trump/GOP tax cuts, aka the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, have really worked. As long as people see the extra cash in their paychecks, consumers will spend money. It isn’t that Wall Street’s jitters about President Trump’s tariffs are unwarranted. It’s that consumers worry more about whether their jobs are still they’re paychecks keep growing.

Here’s what’s sparking consumer optimism:

Drivers hitting the road this Labor Day weekend will enjoy the cheapest gasoline prices in three years, a boon to consumers who have remained confident, while fears of recession grip much of Wall Street. Price-tracking firm GasBuddy predicts the national average for a regular gallon of gas will be $2.55 a gallon on Labor Day, down nearly 30 cents from last year and the lowest price on the holiday since 2016. The national average has fallen for six straight weeks to $2.58.

“Oh, Lord, people love these prices,” said Susan Begnell, a cashier at the Murphy USA gas station on Interstate 20 in Meridian, Miss. At $1.89 a gallon, her station currently is among the cheapest in the nation.

With winter right around the corner, gas prices might continue to drop. President Trump’s deregulation policies have made the US energy dominant, not just energy independent. That’s why the economy is still strong. That’s why consumers are still confident. That’s why consumers continue to confound Wall Street.

Saying that the Democrats have a candidate crisis this presidential election cycle is understatement. It isn’t just about the Democrats’ candidates, though that’s part of their problem. Part of their problem is that they’ve alienated their traditional base. Specifically, Democrats alienated blue collar workers and industrial unions. It’s more than interesting that Democrats have pushed aside unions like the UAW, Teamsters and United Mine Workers.

In this LTE, Rob Braun wrote “Middle America feels as if no one on the coast is taking their views and opinions seriously. The coastal liberal elites don’t want to hear that they aren’t happy with the moral and social re-engineering they promote. Or, calling Middle America bigots because they adhere to traditional sexual standards. And more importantly, the elites haven’t done a very good job at convincing middle America that their experiment in social and moral re-engineering is the best way of structuring a healthy and functional society.”

That’s certainly a significant part of why Democrats are pushing aside people of faith and rural America. When President Obama demonized people living in “small towns in Pennsylvania”, he criticized these people, saying that it isn’t “surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

That’s an invitation for rural voters to abandon Democrats. That’s what those voters did in 2016. President Trump capitalized on the situation, promising these voters that his policies would revive rural America’s economy. President Trump has delivered on that promise. Remember President Obama mocking then-Candidate Trump about promising to improve the US economy? I remember it because of this:

Longtime Democrat operative Mark Jaede responded to Braun:

It seems that the author thinks the Democratic Party should throw LGBT people and people of color under the bus in order to win votes from socially conservative rural white people.

I disagree. We won’t win by pandering to anti-gay people. We won’t win by dismissing the struggle against racism as “identity politics.” We won’t win by concerning ourselves with how many counties have GOP majorities. We will win by fielding a candidate who can offer Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, and North Carolina a reason to turn out and vote.

As long as Joe Biden promises to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, as long as Bernie promises to spend $16,300,000,000,000 on his version of AOC’s Green New Deal, as long as the entire Democrat field promises to decriminalize illegal immigration and give illegal immigrants free health care, Democrats will continue losing those states cited by Prof. Jaede, with the possible exception of Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Democrats love saying that budgets are moral documents. Democrats then say that budgets reflect our priorities. If that’s true, which I think it kinda is, then Tina Smith’s budget priorities are disgusting. As Minnesota’s junior senator, she’s opposed all projects that would’ve helped the people of northern Minnesota. That isn’t opinion. It’s fact. She’s fought the Line 3 Pipeline. She’s opposed the PolyMet and Twin Metals mining projects.

Just those projects alone would’ve had the opportunity to transform the Iron Range from a region with sky-high poverty rates and a virtually nonexistent middle class into a prospering region of the state. The median household income in Virginia, MN is $36,327, compared with the statewide average of $65,699. The percentage of people living below the Federal Poverty Level in Minnesota is 10.5%, compared with 24% living below the FPL in Virginia, MN.

While visiting southern Minnesota, Sen. Smith said “I think at the end of the day, I’m just thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking about, which is prescription drug costs being too high, how can they get the kind of amazing workforce training that they need to get great jobs like they can get here at Red Wing Shoes, and that’s where I’m going to stay focused as long as I can.”

If Smith was honest, which she isn’t, she’d admit that she’s thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking about as long as they aren’t living in rural Minnesota. That isn’t just true now that she’s a US senator. It was true in her time as Minnesota’s Lieutenant Governor. It was true when she was Gov. Dayton’s chief of staff.

Writing off a huge geographical part of the state, including the part that feeds the rest of the state, is disgusting. Still, that’s what Tina Smith is doing. That’s been a staple of her political life for years.

If Smith won’t pay attention to rural Minnesota, she should get fired next November. Tina Smith isn’t about doing the right thing for the entire state. Tina Smith and the DFL is only interested in doing what’s best for the metro DFL. That’s why the DFL has lost the farm vote and the laborer vote. When the Metro DFL unanimously opposes the Line 3 Pipeline, which provides the vast majority of jet fuel for Minneapolis International Airport, they’re saying that serving their special interest masters is more important than doing right by the biggest airport in Minnesota.

How foolish is that? Does that like the decision that a person who is “just thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking?” I’m betting that a significant majority of Minnesotans would disagree with Tina Smith and the Democrats on that issue.

It’s time to fire the DFL, Tina Smith included. The DFL’s priorities, like Tina Smith’s priorities, increasingly aren’t Minnesota’s priorities.

Tina Smith couldn’t be clearer about her position on taxes. If Tina Smith was queen for a day on taxes, Minnesota and the entire nation’s economy would screech to a standstill in a New York minute.

In an interview, Smith said “Jason Lewis supported the Republican tax bill that gave giant tax cuts to big corporations and the richest among us, and I wouldn’t have supported that.” Those “giant tax cuts to big corporations” have led to companies moving back from overseas. Had Democrats been in charge, they would’ve kept the corporate tax rates at 35%, which was making the United States uncompetitive with other countries.

This isn’t a fairness issue. It’s a competitiveness issue. President Obama’s policy focused on fairness. As a direct result of that, the Obama economy grew at a sluggish pace. If Tina Smith wants to defend anemic economic growth while the US economy is booming, that’s her option. It isn’t a particularly attractive option but it’s the Democrat’s option. Further, Minnesota Republicans defeated Gov. Walz on the tax issue because money was pouring at a stronger-than-expected clip.

Lewis didn’t waste time before going after Smith’s record on the environment, highlighting Smith’s opposition to the Line 3 Pipeline project. Lewis pointed out that over 80% of the jet fuel for Minneapolis International Airport airplanes. While Smith insists that she’s fighting against special interests, she’s in bed with Twin Cities-based special interests opposed to mining on the Range.

“Senator Smith has a record of working hard for the people of Minnesota, taking on powerful special interests and working across the aisle to get things done, whether it’s fighting to protect health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, standing up to the big drug companies to lower prescription drug prices or making sure young people have the skills they need to fill high-demand jobs,” Furlong said.

Right now, there are more job openings than there are people to fill those jobs. That means 3 things. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act that Jason Lewis voted for is working. The deregulation that happened through the use of the Congressional Review Act has revived entire communities, especially in the Rust Belt states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Lewis voted for most, if not all, of the deregulation. Third, it means that Democrats were wrong to unanimously vote against the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act.

No Democrats in the House or Senate voted for the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. That means that Democrats were terribly wrong on economic policy. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act took a barely-growing economy and kicked it into a higher gear virtually immediately. When Smith says that she wouldn’t have voted for the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, she’s telling Minnesotans that she would’ve voted against the policies that jump-started the economy.

Do we really want to vote for a senator that wouldn’t vote for prosperity-inducing policies? Do we really want to vote for a senator who is totally controlled by special interests that’ve stopped Iron Range prosperity, that have killed blue collar jobs and that would’ve stopped the US from becoming energy independent?

If killing jobs, undermining national security and preventing Iron Range prosperity are your highest priorities, then Tina Smith is your candidate. If you want prosperity, then voting for Jason Lewis is imperative.

Though the Democrats have tried convincing consumers that the economic sky is falling, consumers aren’t buying the Democrats’ schtick. Instead, they’re heading to Walmart to buy lots of things that they can suddenly afford thanks to the Trump/GOP tax cuts. In case you hadn’t heard the economic good news, which is highly likely if you get your news from the New York Times or MSNBC, Walmart profits are up, consumer confidence is through the roof and retail sails are increasing, not decreasing.

That isn’t to say that everything is hitting on all cylinders. China’s tariffs on farmers are hurting them. Nancy Pelosi’s unwillingness to hold a vote on ratifying the USMCA trade agreement is hurting farmers and car manufacturers, too. That’s the intent of House Democrats. House Democrats hate President Trump more than they love prosperity and their constituents.

Desperate Democrats deny that they’re trying to talk the nation into a recession but the proof is too abundant to ignore. First, Trump-hating Democrats put their eggs in the Trump-Russia collusion concoction. When that failed, Democrats put their eggs in the Mueller testimony Basket. When that failed, Democrats put their eggs in the Racism Basket. The minute that failed, Democrats hurriedly put their eggs in the Recession Basket.

Larry Kudlow dumped a few pales of ice-cold water on the recession talk during his interview on Meet the Press:

Kudlow opened by saying “Well, I’ll tell you what, I sure don’t see a recession. We had some blockbuster retail sales consumer numbers towards the back end of last week, really blockbuster numbers…despite all of the worries about the volatile stock market, most of the economists on Wall Street towards the end of the week have been marking up their forecasts for the third and fourth quarters. That echoes our view.”

It’s worth noting that the negativity found in these doom-and-gloom reports talk about a slowdown. The minute that they hit the NYTimes or are reported on by CNN, the report changes from slowdown to recession. Isn’t that interesting? I wonder what additional information the NYTimes or CNN has that Wall Street doesn’t have.

Let’s review the fundamentals. Marginal tax rates are low. Corporate tax cuts have given CEOs new incentives to invest in bigger plants and more employees. The deregulation has triggered a huge boom throughout the domestic energy industry.

Let’s admit that the Democrats’ economy grew at a pretty pathetic pace. Think of it as keeping the car idling. When Trump got in, the economy shifted from being a family station wagon into a 73 Mustang with a 351 Cleveland in it. Suddenly, that idling station wagon turned into Steve McQueen’s Mustang from Bulitt:

Eventually, we’ll go through a recession. It won’t be anytime in the next 6 months, though. Too many people have much bigger paychecks thanks to the Trump/GOP tax cuts to let this economy start contracting anytime soon.

People need to reject the MSM’s attempt to talk the US economy into a recession. The Democrats’ media wing is doing its level best to convince people that their rising wages haven’t happened. The Democrats’ media wing is also trying to families’ strong confidence isn’t warranted.

Democrats are doing this in their attempt to win an election. They aren’t talking about the strong fundamentals. Democrats won’t admit that the Trump/GOP tax cuts work. Democrats won’t admit that the Trump/GOP regulation reductions have turned the US energy industry into one of the strongest growth industries in the world. Admitting that would be disastrous for Democrats.

It’d be disastrous for Democrats because it would tell people that voting for President Trump’s re-election would keep the US economy strong and growing. As Liz Peek writes “it’s hard to call for a revolution if the people are happy.” That’s exactly right, Liz. And right now, people are happy:

That’s why Democrats and their media enablers were beyond giddy to see markets nosedive. This was it, pundits proclaimed: Trump’s trade war has brought us to the brink of a downturn. Maybe. But maybe not. The very next day, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail sales surged 0.7 percent in July, up from a 0.3 percent gain in June, beating expectations.

The U.S. consumer continues to defy prognosticators; despite Democrats campaigning on the miseries of the middle class, by gosh the middle class insists on streaming into Walmart and pumping up the economy. Walmart just reported that its “U.S. comp sales increased on a two-year stacked basis by 7.3%, which is the strongest growth in more than 10 years.”

Also, the Labor Department reported that productivity rose 2.3 percent in the second quarter, down from 3.5 percent in the first quarter, but a solid gain nonetheless, and one that bodes well for future wage hikes.

Those damned uppity peasants just won’t listen to their Democrat betters. Those uppity peasants have maintained a strong confidence in the US economy’s trajectory. That might be irrational but it’s nonetheless real. Consumer confidence is currently at 135.7, which is exceptionally high.

Again, it’s impossible to get the peasants to grab their pitchforks and run the President out of office when they’d rather thank him for starting the rebuilding of their communities, the tax cuts and the pay raises. Speaker Pelosi hasn’t admitted that the economy is humming, especially in this statement:

“The July jobs report shows some encouraging news, but for the families across the nation working multiple jobs and struggling to make ends meet, the cost of living has surged, wages have stagnated and the GOP’s disastrous special interest agenda has left them behind.

“Republicans continue to push a radical agenda that enriches the wealthy and well-connected while failing hard-working Americans. Farmers are struggling, economic uncertainty is growing, and the Trump Administration is making it harder for hungry families to make ends meet. But while Republicans explore handing even bigger tax breaks to billionaires, the Democratic Majority has taken bold action to deliver bigger paychecks for up to 33 million hard-working Americans, passing the Raise the Wage Act to gradually increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

I’d love watching Speaker Pelosi, or any Democrat for that matter, debate Eric Trump. Eric’s appearance here was impressive:

Eventually, there will be a recession. Will that happen soon? I’m betting it’s a ways off.