A RETURN TO BASIC VALUES
By Alan Caruba
My thought is that, as long as Obama is on vacation things cannot get much worse here at home, short of a foreign invasion. Oh wait, we are being invaded by a horde of “undocumented” aliens from south of our border. Most, we’re told, are here to join their undocumented families who are already here. What is wrong with this picture?
The delay of the Keystone XL pipeline is a perfect example of the way President Obama and his administration has engaged in, not just a war on coal, but on all forms of energy the nation has and needs. Even his State Department admits there is no reason to refuse its construction and, as turmoil affects the Middle East, there is an increased need to tap our own oil and welcome Canada’s.
The latest news, however, is that Canada has just approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, a major pipeline to ship Canadian oil—to Asia.
The pure evil of the delay is compounded by the loss of the many jobs the pipeline—that will not require taxpayer funding—represents to help reduce the nation’s obscene rate of unemployment and to generate new revenue for the nation. That’s what oil, coal, and natural gas does.
Less visible has been the out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency that has, since Obama took office on January 20, 2009, issued 2,827 new final regulations totally 24,915,000 words to fill 24,915 pages of the Federal Register. As a CNSnews article reported, “The Obama EPA regulations have 22 times as many words as the entire Harry Potter series which includes seven books with 1,084,170 words.” Every one of the EPA regulations affects some aspect of life in America, crushing economic development in every conceivable way.
The worst part of the EPA regulation orgy is the fact that virtually all of it is based on a hoax. As reported by James Delingpole, a British journalist, “19 million jobs lost plus $4,335 trillion spent equals a global mean temperature of 0.018 degrees Celsius. Yes, horrible but true. These are the costs to the U.S. economy, by 2100, of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory war on carbon dioxide, whereby all states must reduce emissions from coal-fired electricity generating plants by 30% before 2005 levels.”
Citing a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Delingpole reported that the new regulations will cost the economy another $51 billion annually, result in the 224,000 more lost jobs every year, and cost every American household $3,400 per year in higher prices for energy, food, and other necessities.”
This is an all-out attack on industry, business, and the use of electricity by all Americans.
There is absolutely no reason, nor need to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas on which all life on Earth depends because it is to vegetation what oxygen is to all living creatures. It is the “food” on which every blade of grass depends. More CO2 means more crops and healthier forests.
Disastrously, even the Supreme Court—the same one that signed off on Obamacare as a tax—has not ruled against the EPA’s false assertions about CO2. In late June, however, it did place limits on the EPA’s effort to limit power plant and factory emissions blamed for a global warming that does not exist. The Earth has been cooling for seventeen years, but the Court ruled that the EPA lacked authority in some cases to force companies to evaluate ways to reduce CO2 emissions.
Three years before Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki would be forced out of his job because of the veterans who had died under him, he visited the Massachusetts National Cemetery. He wasn’t there to see the men and women who had died because of him.
The Massachusetts National Cemetery was getting a wind turbine so that the dead veterans would have all the sustainable energy they needed.
A VA press release about the cemetery turbine boasted that “under the leadership of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki… VA is transitioning into a 21st century organization that better serves America’s Veterans.”
Shinseki arrived in person at the dedication ceremony to flip the switch on the cemetery wind turbine.
“Nationally, VA continues to expand its investment in renewable sources of energy to promote our Nation’s energy independence, save taxpayer dollars, and improve care for our Veterans and their families,” he said.
The cemetery turbine had cost $533,000. Veterans were dying to save the VA a few hundred dollars. Shinseki had made his order of priorities clear. Green energy boondoggles came first. Improving veteran care came last.
Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro told the crowd, “With one of VA’s first wind turbine projects, the Massachusetts National Cemetery is leading the way in the use of renewable energy while providing the burial benefits that New England Veterans and their families have earned.”
Muro had made the entire macabre spectacle worthy of a Joseph Heller novel. Obama’s people had not only killed veterans, they had killed satire.
When the VA wasn’t installing a wind turbine at a cemetery, it was installing solar panels at cemeteries to better serve the dead veterans that it was killing.
The Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery’s solar panels cost $787,308. According to the press release, the solar panels in the cemetery would “reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.
$742,034 worth of solar panels was put in at the Calverton National Cemetery. The San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery got an $800,000 solar panel setup. The Riverside National Cemetery got a $1.3 million solar system.
“We are investing in clean energy and renewable energy projects at our national cemeteries to reduce our environmental footprint,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki declared. ”The transition toward these renewable energy sources helps VA continue to be a leading example of going green in the federal government.”
Vets might be dying at VA facilities, but they would have solar panels and wind turbines over their graves so that Shineski could provide Obama with a leading example of “greenness”.
The cemeteries may have been where the VA’s scandal of shorting care for vets ended, under the shade of solar panels and wind turbines, but it was not where it began.
The VA scandal began at the Phoenix VA Health Care System where administrators earned promotions and bonuses by shunting patients who needed treatment into fake waiting lists.
As many as 40 veterans had died while waiting for care and 1,715 veterans in the Phoenix VA Health Care System had waited more than 90 days for an appointment.
Americans are feeling the same fear for the future that preceded the Civil War when the incompetent James Buchanan left the mess that Abraham Lincoln had to address. I don’t think we have ever had a President with less knowledge of history than Barack Obama and less ability to solve domestic economic problems and address threatening foreign ones.
“Rarely has a U.S. President been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney, along with his daughter Liz, in a June 18 opinion published by the Wall Street Journal. Liz has been a deputy assistant secretary of state for eastern affairs.
My fear now is that the President is not, as I originally assumed, driven just by ideology, but that he keeps demonstrating the illegal use of powers that he does not have under the Constitution, coupled with a disdain for the other branch of government, the Congress.
If Obama is eminently impeachable, but Congress is so divided that this is not an option.
Despite what his Justice Department told him, Obama disobeyed a law requiring him to give Congress a 30-day notice for the exchange of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay. His use of executive orders may meet some legal standard, but they are often his way of getting around legal limitations such as his wish to open America’s borders to the flood of illegal immigrants we are seeing.
There is some comfort in being someone who warned against electing him both times, but there is no comfort in reviewing the harm he has done to date. Only a major Republican victory in the November midterm elections will offer any protection against him until he leaves office.
Let’s just do a quick review:
He traded five members of the Taliban’s highest ranked detainees from Guantanamo for an alleged prisoner of war who deserted his unit in Afghanistan, negotiating with the Islamic criminal group, the Haqqani, known for extracting high ransoms but no mention of money has been made.
Having initiated negotiations with Iran in a futile attempt to get them to cease seeking their own nuclear arsenal, there is conjecture the U.S. will enlist Iran’s help in addressing the jihadist attack on Iraq, but Iran has been the declared enemy of the United States since it seized our diplomats in 1979 and held them hostage until President Reagan was sworn into office. Iran is the world’s greatest supporter of terror. It was behind the truck bomb that destroyed our embassy in Beirut in 1984 and a few months later killed U.S. Marines in an attack on their barracks there. It provided weapons to our enemies during the Iraq war.
He has driven the nation’s debt up so high that, for the first time in its history, its credit rating was reduced. That debt continues to grow and is pegged at $17 trillion. The price of food is beginning to soar.
Unemployment now affects the lives of those unable to find work—literally millions—and those who have ceased to look. Raising the minimum wage will only serve to further reduce job creation and opportunities. Millions are on food stamps while millions are receiving disability benefits. There is likely no way to know who legitimately deserves assistance and who does not.
While our attention is focused on events in the Middle East, a domestic enemy of the nation is doing everything in its power to kill the provision of electricity to the nation and, at the same time, to control every drop of water in the United States, an attack on its agricultural sector. That enemy is the Environmental Protection Agency.
Like the rest of the Obama administration, it has no regard for real science and continues to reinterpret the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. It has an agenda that threatens every aspect of life in the nation.
As Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) recently warned, “True to her word,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, “is busily grabbing powers for EPA that Congress specifically chose not to grant, and that the Supreme Court has denied on multiple occasions.”
“The federal bureaucracy under the Obama presidency has a voracious appetite for more power. It despises individual liberty and drags down the economy every change it gets,” Rucker warns.
In addition to implementing President Obama’s “war on coal” that is depriving the nation of coal-fired plants that provide electricity, the EPA has announced a proposed rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act”, redefining, as Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise reported in the Washington Examiner “nearly everything wet as ‘waters of the United States or WOTUS—and potentially subject us all to permits and fines.”
The President has made it clear that the rule of law has no importance to him and his administration and this is manifestly demonstrated by the actions of the EPA. “This abomination,” says Arnold, “is equivalent to invasion by hostile troops out to seize the jurisdictions of all 50 states. WOTUS gives untrustworthy federal bureaucrats custody of every watershed, creates crushing new power to coerce all who keep America going and offers no benefit to the victimized and demoralized tax-paying public.”
In response to the EPA’s new power grab, more than 200 House members called on the Obama administration in May to drop its plans to expand the EPA’s jurisdiction over smaller bodies of water around the nation. A letter was sent to EPA Administrator McCarthy and Department of Army Secretary John M. McHugh (re: Army Corps of Engineers) asking that the proposal be withdrawn.
“Under this plan, there’d be no body of water in America—including mud puddles and canals—that wouldn’t be at risk from job-destroying federal regulation,” said Rep, Doc Hastings (R-Wash), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. “This dramatic expansion of federal government control will directly impact the livelihoods and viability of farmers and small businesses in rural America.”
Nearly thirty major trade associations have joined together to create the Waters Advocacy Coalition. They represent the nation’s construction, manufacturing, housing, real estate, mining, agricultural and energy sectors. The coalition supports S. 2245, “Preserve the Waters of the U.S.
I get very discouraged when I come across polls that show Barack Obama’s job approval rate as high as 43.9% and a generic congressional ballot that has Democrats leading Republicans 43% to 42.3%, even though the percentage of those thinking that America is headed in the right direction stands at just 29.8%.
Apparently, about 14% of us are incapable of connecting even two or three dots. So much for public education!
Still, being an eternal optimist, I take some comfort from the fact that Obama is the only two-term president who ever received fewer votes the second time around, and that since 2008, the GOP has won most of the elections, whether it was Senate and House seats, or a governor’s mansion, that was up for grabs.
We Republicans would have done even better if we had kept just a few simple rules in mind. First off, no matter how enticing you, as a candidate, find a TV lens or how much you enjoy having reporters hang on your every word, never answer a question unless you happen to be appearing on Fox. Just about everyone else in the media is your mortal enemy.
Also, never go off script. Even Bob Hope didn’t become Bob Hope by ad-libbing. He had a stable of very expensive writers.
If you can’t avoid answering questions, learn from the opposition. On those very rare occasions when Democrats find themselves being asked a question they don’t wish to deal with, they pretend they were asked an entirely different question and that’s the one they answer.
So, whenever a reporter asks how you feel about some social issue, such as same-sex marriages, abortions or the legalization of marijuana, ask them how they feel about it. If the reporter replies that how he feels is unimportant because he’s not running for the Senate or the House, point out that you are, and the reason that you are is because you want to do something about ObamaCare, the EPA, taxes and unemployment, and finish up by mentioning that you intend to do everything in your power to restore America’s military might. By the time you stop talking, he’ll have probably forgotten his own silly question and so will everyone else.
Obama has been so badly damaged by the scandal at the VA and his pretense of knowing nothing about it until he read about it in some newspaper — even after we saw footage of his talking about the problems at the VA as far back as 2009 — that he was forced to don a military jacket and put his golf game on hold while he flew to Afghanistan for a photo op with the troops, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and gave a commencement address at West Point.
I know some people are put off by Obama’s obvious contempt for the military, a contempt shared by Secretary of State John Kerry. I, on the other hand, am more deeply offended when the alleged Commander-in-Chief feigns respect for those in uniform. At least the contempt has the saving grace of being sincere.
Before President Obama took office in 2009, the amount of electricity being produced by coal-fired utilities was approximately fifty percent of the total. Today it is approximately forty percent and, when the Environmental Protection Agency regulations take effect as of June 2, more such utilities are likely to close their doors. The basis for the regulations is utterly devoid of any scientific facts.
Environmentalism, as expressed by many of the organizations that advocate it is, in fact, an attack on America, its economic system of capitalism, and its need for energy to maintain and grow its business and industrial base. Electricity, of course, is also the energy we all use daily for a multitude of tasks ranging from heating or cooling our homes to the use of our computers and every other appliance.
The EPA regulations are said to be necessary to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) which the Greens deem to be a “pollutant” in our atmosphere. It is not a pollutant, despite a Supreme Court decision that identifies it as such, but rather a gas vital to all life on Earth, used by all vegetation for its growth. CO2 is to vegetation what oxygen is to all animal life. Humans, all seven billion of us, exhale CO2!
Viv Forbes, the Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, notes that the Earth’s atmosphere “is not a greenhouse” and “does not have a glass roof. It uses convection to redistribute heat very quickly.” The claim for several decades has been that CO2 has an effect on the Earth’s surface temperature, but Forbes points out that “water vapor is a far more effective agent for insulating the Earth and preserving its warmth than carbon dioxide,” adding that “there is no evidence that man-made carbon dioxide is a significant cause of global warming.”
Indeed, even though the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere has increased, Forbes points out that “Close examination of past records shows that temperature tends to rise before carbon dioxide content rises, sometimes centuries earlier.” Significantly, at the same time Greens have been crying out against emissions of CO2 from coal-fired utilities and other sources, the Earth has been in a cooling cycle now verging on eighteen years!
The EPA is lying to Americans regarding carbon dioxide and, worse, its proposed regulations will reduce the number of coal-fired utilities and drive up the cost of electricity for Americans.
One of the many Green organizations, Earthjustice, claims that “Climate change threatens the world as we know it—and the chief culprit is fossil fuel burning. To avert ecological disaster, Earthjustice is pushing for a shift from dirty to clean energy to stabilize our climate and build a thriving sustainable world.”
There is literally nothing that mankind can do to “stabilize” the Earth’s climate. While the Earth has been going through climate change for 4.5 billion years, there is no evidence that anything mankind does has any effect on it. The change the Earth has encountered, as mentioned, is a cooling, a far different scenario than the “global warming” claims of the past three decades or more.
Tom Richard, the editor of ClimageChangeDispatch.com, notes that “Arctic sea ice has rebounded to higher and higher levels each year.
What is this incessant nonsense over Keystone XL?
It’s a pipeline, for crying out loud. The United States already has 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, 320,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2,000,000 miles of gas distribution pipelines. Using the latest steel, valves and other technologies to build another 1,179 miles of pipe – to move 830,000 barrels of oil per day safely from Alberta, Canada oil sands country and North Dakota’s Bakken shale territory to Texas refineries – should not be an earth-shattering matter.
KXL would create jobs – in an economy that grew at a pathetic Depression-era clip of 0.1% during the first quarter, and where the true jobless rate (unemployed, underemployed and those no longer looking) is almost 13 percent, and much worse for minorities.
In fact, Keystone would create some 20,000 construction jobs; another 10,000 in factories that make the steel, pipelines, valves, cement and heavy equipment needed to build the pipeline; thousands more in hotel, restaurant and other support industries; and still more jobs in the oil fields whose output would be transported to refineries and petrochemical plants where still more workers would be employed.
States along the pipeline route would receive $5 billion in new property tax revenues, and still more in workers’ income tax payments. Depleted federal coffers would also realize hefty gains.
The pipeline would ease railroad congestion all over the central USA. The pipeline’s absence is forcing oil producers to move crude by railroad tanker car. That certainly improves the bottom line for RR companies and folks like Warren Buffet who have big-time investments in tankers.
But it causes train logjams and delays that are creating backlogs in getting fertilizer and other supplies to farmers, who have already been hard-hit by a long winter and now may not be able to plant on schedule. Come fall, their efforts to ship corn, wheat and other crops to market will also be stymied.
By reducing the need for RR tankers, KXL would also reduce oil spills and improve safety. A 2013 derailment in Quebec killed 47 people; 2014 rail accidents in Colorado and Virginia resulted in significant oil spills but fortunately no deaths. The Bakken Field’s light crude contains more dissolved gases and thus is more flammable than heavier crudes (like Canadian oil sands output), but both tanker cars and the Keystone pipeline would carry a variety of crude products.
Improved track maintenance, train scheduling and other safety practices would reduce rail accidents and spills. However, as US State Department studies point out, the Keystone pipeline is inherently safer than RR alternatives – and would likely result in fewer than 520 barrels of crude being spilled annually, compared to 32,000 barrels in the three rail spills just noted.
KXL will augment America’s national security, make North America more energy independent, further improve US balance of trade, reduce global supply and demand imbalances, and aid our European allies in their quest to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy blackmail.
The hydrocarbon wealth the pipeline would transport will help ensure improved human health, welfare, living standards and other many other benefits, in a more stable world that has more sources of jobs, wealth and income equality. Approval would improve relations with our ally and trading partner Canada.