The Smelly Swamp

Breitbart posted an article today with the following headline:

Russian Lobbyist at Don Jr. Meeting Says He ‘Might’ Have Seen John McCain at Summit Where Senator Learned of ‘Pee’ Dossier

Wow. What an incredible coincidence.

The article reports:

Russian-born Washington lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin says he might have spoken to McCain and the senator’s assistant David J. Kramer at the Halifax International Security Forum in 2016. However, Akhmetshin claimed that he did not discuss the dossier with McCain or Kramer, and that he didn’t know about the existence of the controversial dossier.

The information raises immediate questions about the possibility of dirty tricks in arranging the infamous Trump Tower meeting. This considering a recent Breitbart News report that email transcripts and other information disclosed in Akhmetshin’s testimony reveal a significant relationship between the lobbyist and the controversial Fusion GPS firm that produced the infamous, largely discredited anti-Trump dossier.

It was at the security conference in Canada in November 2016 that McCain says he was approached by Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow and friend of ex-British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier.

Wood briefed McCain and Kramer, a former State Department official and longtime McCain associate who agreed to meet Steele in London for a fuller briefing on the dossier contents.

The Washington Post reported in February that after meeting with Steele, Kramer went to Washington and received the dossier document directly from Fusion GPS. McCain then passed the dossier to FBI Director James Comey.

In a New York Times oped in January, GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritch wrote that they helped McCain share their anti-Trump dossier with the Obama-era intelligence community via an unnamed “emissary.”

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is becoming obvious that members of both parties were involved in the ‘insurance policy’ to derail the Trump administration. This actually makes sense when you realize the threat President Trump is to both parties–if an outsider who is not part of the ‘in crowd’ can be successful in Washington, the power of both political parties will be diminished. Most of the people in Congress are there to increase their power–not to have it diminished. We can only hope that the few members of Congress who love America more than they love their own power can drain the smelly swamp Washington has become.

The New Economic Advisor

Bloomberg reported yesterday that Larry Kudlow was chosen to be the new White House economic adviser.  Mr. Kudlow is an economist frequently seen on CNBC.

The article outlines some of his views:

Kudlow spoke at length on the U.S. currency, including its appropriate valuation, saying he would like to see it “a wee bit stronger than it is currently, but stability is the key.” He said the president shares his views.

“A great country needs a strong currency, he knows that,” said Kudlow, after being chosen to replace Gary Cohn as director of the White House National Economic Council. “I have no reason to believe that President Trump opposes a sound and stable dollar.”

…He said the administration will pursue a “phase two” of Trump’s tax overhaul, seeking to make tax cuts for individuals permanent. Making the tax changes permanent would add $500 billion to the budget deficit, while tripling the amount of economic growth, according to a paper earlier this month from two Harvard economists.

The next phase, Kudlow said, should include a lower capital gains rate — and a rate that’s indexed for inflation. The top rate for long-term capital gains was left untouched at 20 percent.

Kudlow said he is “on board” with the duties Trump has imposed on steel and aluminum imports. He said he was encouraged by the president’s move to grant temporary waivers to allies including Canada and Mexico.

Bloomberg is not known for his support of conservative politics, so the article goes on to list some of the times that Larry Kudlow has been wrong or not supported President Trump. Be that as it may, Kudlow has been a supporter of reasonable economic policies in the past, and I am sure he will do a good job as economic advisor.

President Trump has been willing to shuffle his cabinet to get the most qualified people in the right positions. I think the choice of Larry Kudlow is a good choice.

 

 

The Keystone Pipeline Will Be Good For The Environment, But You Might Have To Search A Bit To Find That Story

On March 24th, The New York Post posted an article about the environmental impact of the Keystone Pipeline. I would like to point out that none of the environmental studies on the pipeline done during the Obama Administration ever stated that the pipeline would harm the environment. The objection to the pipeline at that point was that if President Obama allowed the pipeline to be built, the Democratic Party would lose the donations of the radical environmental groups. If they refused to build the pipeline, they would lose a large portion of donations from unions. They made a choice to keep the environmentalists happy and ignore the unions who wanted the jobs the pipeline would create.

The article points out:

Environmentalists like to tout scary spill statistics. But in actuality, oil travels most securely by pipeline, reaching its destination safely 99.999 percent of the time, according to the Association of Oil Pipe Lines and the American Petroleum Institute.

A recent study by Canada’s Fraser Institute provided more reassuring information: Of the rare spills that do occur, 83 percent happen in facilities specially equipped to handle them, not along the pipeline’s route, where they could cause environmental harm. Moreover, 70 percent of the spills that do occur amount to a total of less than a cubic meter of spilled oil.

The article explains the impact of alternative forms of transporting oil:

As energy-related rail traffic increased, 2013 alone saw more train-related crude-oil spills than the entire 37 years prior, combined. And between 2013 and 2015 alone, the United States and Canada saw 10 separate explosions involving oil-laden trains.

To understand how much riskier railway transportation can be, look no further than to Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. In 2013, a crude-oil train derailed, plowing into town at more than 62 miles per hour and exploding. Forty-seven people died, and the blaze wiped out 44 buildings.

The wreck unleashed nearly 1.5 million gallons of oil, and what didn’t char the town seeped into the soil and contaminated the nearby Chaudière River.

Transporting oil by truck also carries major risks. At the peak of the oil boom, The New York Times reported that highway fatalities were the top cause of deaths in the industry — more than 300 between 2002 and 2012. In North Dakota, highway fatalities skyrocketed as energy production soared; at one point, a person was killed in an accident every two-and-a-half days.

A 100 percent risk-free method of energy transportation doesn’t exist, and the Obama administration was well aware of the comparative risks of pipeline, rail and road. Five separate State Department studies examined safety and environmental concerns surrounding the pipeline. Their findings were consistently favorable to Keystone XL.

The most recent State Department report concluded that because of pipelines’ superior safety record, Keystone XL could prevent as many as six fatalities and 48 injuries each year.

Without the pipeline, the oil would travel by truck and rail. Both of these methods have a higher carbon footprint and a higher risk than a pipeline. It is also no coincidence that without the pipeline the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad is transporting large amounts of oil through the area where the pipeline will be built. The railroad is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett, a close friend of former President Obama. The delay of the Keystone Pipeline was truly a case of ‘follow the money.’

A Very Good Picture Of Where We Are

The Canada Free Press posted an article yesterday about the American presidential election. It is always interesting to get a perspective on American elections from the press in other countries. The Canada Free press tends to be very conservative and very much a supporter of liberty and freedom in the United States.

This is the heart of the article:

Is “choosing neither of two evils” always the right choice? Is it always the wise choice? Is it always the moral choice? What if, God forbid, something like this happened: Let’s say that devout Muslims capture you and your family, hold a gun to your head and say, “You have one of two choices: We will either behead your children, or, alternatively, we will cut off your foot, patch you up and send you hobbling along your way. Choose one. If you refuse to choose, we will choose for you.”

…Imagine our two families are miles from land in a sinking boat,” writes pastor John Barber (no relation) at The Aquila Report. “Suddenly, out of the mist, come two boats to save us. One is captained by an adulterer; the other is captained by a thief. Which boat will you get into? You say, ‘Neither one. I’m waiting for the evangelical boat which is captained by a devout Christian who will end abortion.’ I say, ‘You’re kidding, right?’ You reply, ‘Both these guys are reprobates and I’m not going to choose between two evils.’”

To expand on pastor Barber’s analogy, let’s say that the boat with the thief is worse than first thought. As it approaches we immediately discover that it’s crawling with pirates and that if we come onboard, our doom is assured. This certainly limits our options, doesn’t it? What now? Does getting on board with the adulterer mean we support adultery, or does it simply mean that, despite his moral failings, we believe he’s better equipped to get us to safety?

…”But there’s a third choice!” you say.

Sure, there may be a few pieces of driftwood floating about that represent options three, four or five, but we all know that a piece of driftwood has little chance of saving our families – especially with hungry sharks circling. You may choose a piece of driftwood out of principle, but are you willing to stake the lives of your family on what you perceive as the principled stand?

These are perilous times, and we’ve got difficult choices to make. When we’re sinking, sometimes God sends us a boat with a reprobate at the helm. He has a history of doing quite a lot with reprobates.

Will He this time?

God only knows.

Pray hard.

And then pick your boat.

For me, this article totally sums up November 2016.

Changing A Position In The Hope Of Changing The Subject And Gaining Political Points

I understand that politics is a strategy and is played to win, but I wish we could reach a place where the good of the country was more important than personal political gain. Unfortunately, we are not there. What would energy independence mean to America? It would probably result in a dramatic shift in our foreign policy. We would no longer have to cater to the whims of oil producing countries that fund terrorism and do not allow their citizens to live in freedom. We would not longer be borrowing money from other countries to give to countries that hate us. At least we could do it with our own money.

What would it take for America to be energy independent? I would suggest building a few new oil refineries. Since 2008 we have built three refineries. The last refinery built before 2008 was built in 1998. (This is according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.) We would also have to find ways to better tap into our energy resources and transport the petroleum products we produce. On February 12, 2014, I posted an article about the people who are making money because the Keystone Pipeline is not being built. A number of those people are in Congress voting on the Pipeline. Somehow I don’t think that is in the interest of the American people–I think they are voting on their own financial interests.

Meanwhile Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has come out in opposition to the building of the Keystone Pipeline.

Fox News has the story, and contrasts her current position with her past position:

In 2010, then-Secretary Clinton indicated potential support for the project as she told a San Francisco audience, “We’re either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the [Persian] Gulf or dirty oil from Canada.”

She was right about that, now she has changed her mind.

It is interesting that the unions support the Pipeline because it will mean jobs. The extreme environmentalists oppose it.

Yesterday Politico reported the following:

Two major unions have decided to delay endorsements in the presidential race — a move labor insiders attribute in part to the uncertainty Vice President Joe Biden’s potential run has inserted into the Democratic primary.

The decisions are a setback for Hillary Clinton, who has been courting the labor giants in the hopes of an early lock down of two powerhouse unions that can organize millions of members and resources on the ground. And they come against the backdrop of a Clinton campaign show of force — in terms of establishment donors, delegates and endorsements — as Biden weighs his options. Adding the support of two of the most muscular unions now would have sent a powerful message there is little room in the race for the vice president.

The two unions are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Does The Truth Change The Impact Of The Picture?

We have all seen the recent picture of a three-year-old boy who drowned as his family was traveling to Europe from Turkey. The story surrounding the picture was that the family was fleeing the violence in Syria. The facts are somewhat different.

On Monday The Daily Caller reported that Abdullah Kurdi, the boy’s father, had been living in a relatively safe part of Turkey for the past three years. The family was not fleeing the war in Syria, they were traveling to Europe in order for Abdullah Kurdi to have his teeth fixed. The trip was financed by a relative in Canada. It was reported that the family had sought asylum in Canada and been turned down, but that was also proven to be false.

The facts are important, but have gotten lost in the impact of the picture.

The truth does not change the fact that there is a refugee crisis. The truth does not change the fact that unscrupulous people are making a lot of money bringing people out of Turkey on boats that are not safe. The truth does not change the fact that western countries need to take some of these refugees in. However, the the truth also does not change the fact that because the majority of these refugees are healthy young men–not families–they need to be vetted carefully or we may find ourselves importing terrorists into western countries in the name of charity.

Free Speech Does Not Mean The Same Thing To Everyone

One of my favorite lines from “The Princess Bride” is “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” I think the time has come to understand that when you hear government leaders talk about the concept of free speech, not everyone who is using the term means the same thing..

In June I posted an article about how Muslims view free speech. I pointed out that Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been working with the United Nations since 2005 to subtly change the definition of free speech. According to the OIC, all laws, including free speech laws, should be subject to Sharia Law. The law being supported in the United Nations by the OIC includes the statement “but not to criminalize speech unless there is an incitement to imminent violence.” This moves the focus away from what was actually said to any reaction to what was said. This means that any rent-a-mob can be called up claiming to be incited to violence by any statement. Therefore whatever was said was not covered by the concept of free speech.

Yesterday Townhall posted an article about a move in Canada to pass Bill 59, a bill that would grant the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) the authority to investigate so-called “hate speech”, even without a complaint being filed.

The article reports:

The Head of the QHRC, Jacques Frémont has already openly said that he plans to use such powers, “to sue those critical of certain ideas, ‘people who would write against … the Islamic religion … on a website or on a Facebook page’” according to Canada’s National Post.

The legality of the QHRC asserting jurisdiction over the entire Canadian Internet-using public is under debate, but the growing consensus in Canada appears to be that this bill is a step backwards.

In 2013, the Canadian parliament moved to end scrutiny of Internet speech by its Human Right Commissions when it abolished the infamous Section 13, of Canada’s Human Rights Act. The elimination of that odious and censorious clause followed a successful campaign given voice by Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant after the two were targeted for writings and publications which reportedly “offending” Muslims.

But like a zombie rising from the grave, the idea of censoring “blasphemous” speech, continues to come back, no matter how dead it may have appeared.

The OIC is behind the move to censor speech in Canada. It is important to remember that the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is to institute Sharia Law worldwide–to put Muslims and non-Muslims under Sharia Law. When governments begin to made free speech laws that are compliant with Sharia Law (as an anti-blasphemy law would be), they are bringing their citizens under one aspect of Sharia Law. This is truly the nose of the camel under the tent.

Sending Terrorists Back To Battle

Fox News is reporting today that a Canadian judge has released Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, who in 2002 threw the grenade that killed U.S. Army medic Christopher Speer as Speer and four others cleared a building in the Khost province following an air raid. Khadr was fifteen at the time.

The article reports:

“Omar Khadr is a convicted Al Qaeda terrorist, guilty of war crimes,” Ezra Levant, author of “The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies, and the Whitewashing of Omar Khadr,” told FoxNews.com. “He murdered a U.S. medic in cold blood. A jury sentenced him to 40 years in prison, but President Obama offered him a plea deal for just eight years, and now parole will reduce that further. This isn’t sufficient, especially given that Khadr has never publicly renounced terrorism or Al Qaeda, or his own father’s terrorism.”

Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby said Thursday there is no evidence of risk in releasing Khadr, now 28, who has been serving his time in an Innisfail, Alta., prison, after being moved from Guantanamo Bay.

When we release prisoners from Guantanamo, we are no longer in control of their prison terms. Because Khadr has never renounced terrorism, I have no doubt that he will rejoin the ‘war on terror’ in some capacity fairly quickly.

Common Sense Takes A Vacation

Sometimes I think common sense has been on an extended vacation. Today Ted Cruz announced today that he would be seeking the nomination for President of the United States. I have not yet decided whom I will support, so please don’t draw any wild conclusions. However, the discussion that has followed has been comical.

Donald Trump has stated that Ted Cruz is not eligible because he is not an American citizen. I beg to differ.

GlennBeck.com posted the following today:

Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His father, a popular figure in conservative circles, is a Cuban-born immigrant to the United States and his mother is a U.S. citizen.
“One of his parents is American. That’s all it takes. For the love of heaven, if illegal aliens can come to the America and give birth, and that birth child is a citizen, then so is Ted Cruz, for the love of heaven. Stop it!” Pat said.
The Immigration and Nationality Act states that a person is a citizen by birth if they are born to a parent with U.S. citizenship…

Let’s all relax and take a deep breath. There is a whole lot more known about Ted Cruz’s life than is known about the man who currently occupies the White House. There is no question as to where Ted Cruz was born, who his parents are, and the citizenship of one of those parents. Please return whatever you were doing. Even better, start to learn where all of the candidates stand on various issues. Let’s make a better choice this time.

Will Keystone Make A Difference?

The Wall Street Journal (not linked–the article is subscribers only) posted an editorial in its weekend edition about President Obama’s recent remarks about the Keystone XL Pipeline.

When asked about the pipeline, President Obama responded, “Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.”

Either the President is economically ignorant or he is attempting to take advantage of the lack of economic knowledge of the average American (the tactic used to sell ObamaCare).

The editorial at the Wall Street Journal points out:

Someone should tell the President that oil markets are global and adding to global supply might well reduce U.S. gas prices, other things being equal. A tutor could add that Keystone XL will also carry U.S. light oil from North Dakota‘s Bakken Shale. So even if he thinks that bilateral trade only helps Canada, he’s still wrong about Keystone.

…Mr. Obama routinely entreats Congress to spend taxpayer money on “infrastructure” to create jobs, yet he implies that the 1,179-mile Keystone infrastructure project won’t create jobs.

Chances are that President Obama will veto the bill that passed the House and Senate regarding the Keystone Pipeline. The only reason the Senate allowed the bill to be brought up was to help Senator Landrieu win re-election. I am not sure the bill would have been brought up if the Democrats were not sure the President would veto it. I doubt enough Democrats will actually support the bill to override that veto. It would be nice if they did. Keystone would be a wonderful way to boost the American economy without charging Americans more taxes.

 

Terrorism In Canada

CBN News is reporting today that a recent convert to Islam purposely drove his car into two Canadian soldiers on Monday.

The article reports:

Police say the suspect, 25-year-old Rouleau, sat in his car outside a veterans’ support center for at least two hours before hitting the two Canadian soldiers and leaving the scene.

Police chased Rouleau for a few miles before he lost control of the car, which rolled over several times.
    
Investigators say the suspect waved a knife when he got out of the vehicle. Police then opened fire, killing Rouleau.
    
Royal Canadian Mounted Police say authorities knew Rouleau, and he recently had his passport seized.

“He was part of our investigative efforts to try and identify those people who might commit a criminal act traveling abroad for terrorist purposes,” RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said
    
Paulson also said Rouleau was one of 90 suspected extremists in the country with the goal of joining fights overseas or who have returned to Canada.

It is becoming very obvious that there is a strain of Islam that is not peaceful. We need to find a way to discourage those Muslims who feel that they should follow the Koranic instructions to kill the infidel. The Muslim community also needs to learn to stand up against those who practice terror in the name of Islam.

An Email From A Friend

Canada‘s Top Ten List of American Stupidity

Number 10) Only in America…could politicians talk about the greedy rich at a $35,000 per plate campaign fund-raising event.

Number 9) Only in America…could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black, while only 14% of the  population is black.  And 40+% of all federal entitlements go to black Americans, which is 3X the rate that go to whites and 5X the rate that go to Hispanics! (This one should probably be closer to #1 than #9)

Number 8) Only in America…could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the House Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax evaders who are in favor of higher taxes!

Number 7) Only in America..can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

Number 6) Only in America..would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just ‘magically’  become American citizens.

Number 5) Only in America …could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by their country’s Constitution be thought of as extremists .

Number 4) Only in America ..could you be asked to present a driver’s license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.  This one is a real joke!

Number 3) Only in America ..could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of that of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

Number 2) Only in America could a country collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year (for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE), and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.

And Number 1) Only in America could the rich people (who pay 86% of all income taxes) be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who do not pay any income tax at all.

With Friends Like These…

The friendship between President Obama and Warren Buffett is not news. Warren Buffett supported President Obama’s tax increase proposals saying that his secretary paid higher taxes than he did. The failure of the Obama Administration to permit the Keystone Pipeline to be built allows the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, owned by Warren Buffett, to transport the oil (see rightwinggranny.com) from the oil fields to other areas of the United States.

Well, President Obama has often stated that companies that move their headquarters overseas are unpatriotic. He has stated that it is patriotic to stay in America and pay higher taxes. I guess Warren Buffett does not let President Obama’s opinion interfere with his business decisions.

Today’s Washington Post is reporting that Burger King is buying Canadian chain Tim Hortons Inc.. CNBC is reporting today that Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett) is helping to fund the deal by committing $3 billion of preferred equity financing. Berkshire Hathaway will not play a role in the management, it is only providing the financing.

So why is this ironic? This acquisition will allow Burger King to move its headquarters to Canada where the corporate tax rate is 26.3 percent as opposed to America where the corporate tax rate is 39.1 percent.

It is not unpatriotic to want to save money. Burger King is accountable to its stockholders for its finances. It is not illegal for the company to move its headquarters to Canada to avoid an unreasonable tax burden. The solution to the exodus of corporations from America would be for Congress to lower the corporate tax rate. The Laffer Curve illustrates that this would create income for the government–not reduce income.

An Opportunity Lost

Breitbart.com is reporting today that the Canadian government has approved plans for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, which will move 600,000 barrels a day of Alberta oil to the pacific coast town of Kitimat, British Columbia, where a new state-of-the-art super tanker port facility will be built to ship the oil to thirsty Asian ports. Obviously, this will create a large number of jobs for Canadians. I don’t begrudge the Canadians the economic boom that will be the result of this decision, but it is frustrating to me that America had the first chance to enjoy the economic boom the Keystone XL Pipeline would have brought. That chance is gone, and the oil will be used to build the Canadian and Chinese economies instead of the American economy. The environmental impact is no less than it would have been if America built the Keystone Pipeline, but because of President Obama’s continuing putting off of the project, America has lost the opportunity to have a reliable energy source close to home.

The article reports:

Rather than purchasing crude from a friendly and allied neighbor, the United States will most likely need to continue its reliance upon hostile sources like Venezuela. Energy analysts had hoped that construction of Keystone could have replaced almost half of the current U.S. daily crude purchases from that volatile, anti-American dictatorship, depriving Venezuela of the resources it relies upon to stay in power and fund its Cuban allies. 

Refusal to approve Keystone has forced suppliers to deliver their flammable crude via thousands of trucks and railcars traveling on America’s highways and railroads, rather than in a pipeline.  

The negative economic growth in the first quarter of 2014 is not the result of weather–it is the result of the bad economic policies of the Obama Administration. We need a Congress with the backbone to institute good economic policies regardless of what the President does.

Following The Money On The Keystone Pipeline

In February of last year, I posted an article explaining how the delay of the Keystone Pipeline is making money for Warren Buffett (rightwinggranny.com). The article included the following quote from John Hinderaker at Power Line:

If the Obama administration holds firm on blocking Keystone, the big loser will be TransCanada Corporation. But who will the big winners be? American railroads:

And of them, the biggest winner might just be the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Obama supporter and Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett. In December, the CEO of BNSF, Matthew Rose, said that his railroad was shipping about 500,000 barrels of oil per day out of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and that it was seeking a permit to send “crude by rail to the Pacific Northwest.” He also said the railroad expects to “eventually” be shipping 1 million barrels of oil per day.

However, it seems as if Warren Buffett is not the only one benefiting from the delay of the Keystone Pipeline. The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today highlighting some other people who have a financial interest in making sure the Keystone Pipeline is not built.

Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.) is one of the people opposed to the construction  of the Keystone Pipeline.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

The freshman Democrat (Senator Kaine) has between $15,000 and $50,000 invested in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, according to his most recent financial disclosure. Kinder Morgan is looking to build a pipeline that would directly compete with Keystone.

Kinder Morgan is considering expanding its Canadian pipeline infrastructure with an expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries oil sands crude from Alberta to refineries and export terminals on Canada’s west coast.

The expansion would boost Trans Mountain’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day. Keystone, a project of energy company TransCanada, is expected to carry about 830,000 barrels per day if fully constructed.

Observers have said a rejection of Keystone would be a boon for Kinder Morgan, since the Trans Mountain pipeline presents a viable alternative for exporting crude from Canadian oil sands.

The article reminds us:

The availability of alternatives to Keystone—from Kinder Morgan and Enbridge, another TransCanada competitor and Canada’s largest crude oil transporter—is integral to the State Department’s assessment that approving the pipeline will have little impact on carbon emissions, President Barack Obama’s stated standard for approval.

Another Congressman has investments in Enbridge:

Another anti-Keystone Democrat, California Rep. Alan Lowenthal, has between $15,000 and $50,000 invested in Enbridge Energy Management, $1,000 to $15,000 in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, and $15,000 to $50,000 in Kinder Morgan Management, which is a limited partner in and handles everyday management for the company’s Energy Partners subsidiary.

Lowenthal has been less outspoken then Kaine on Keystone, but he voted against legislation last year that would have approved the pipeline without sign-off from the administration, which has repeatedly put off a decision on the project.

He was also one of 22 Democrats to sign a December letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman insisting that the Keystone Pipeline would be detrimental to the environment.

Shouldn’t Congressmen who have a vested financial interest in a vote taken by Congress be forced to abstain from that vote? This seems to be an example of Congressmen padding their own pockets while blocking a project that would provide jobs for many unemployed Americans.

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Slime Comes To Healthcare

There are a lot of problems with the ObamaCare website right now. That’s not news–you knew that already. But did you know about the connection between the AARP, United Healthcare, and this miserable healthcare website?

Yesterday the Washington Post reported:

The company chosen by the Obama administration to oversee the repair of the new federal health insurance Web site faced questions from lawmakers a year ago about whether it was an appropriate choice for earlier work on the site, given that it is owned by the country’s largest health insurance company.

Columbia-based Quality Software Services Inc. — known as QSSI — was purchased by ­United­Health Group in September 2012, months after it was picked by the Department of Health and Human Services to help set up the Affordable Care Act Web site. That called for work on three areas: build a data hub for the site so that information could be transferred between different groups, deliver a tool to help users register, and do some testing of the technology.

Keep in mind that QSSI was chosen without the normal bidding process. Remember that the AARP was one of the early supporters of ObamaCare because they will make millions on supplemental medicare programs through United Health Group, the parent company of United Healthcare. There are other interesting connections between OSSI and various White House types.

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported a connection between the Obamas and the website developer.

The article reports:

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

…George Schindler, the president for U.S. and Canada of the Canadian-based CGI Group, CGI Federal’s parent company, became an Obama 2012 campaign donor after his company gained the Obamacare website contract.

Meanwhile, Da Tech Guy On DaRadio makes another interesting observation:

Now there is nothing wrong with pointing out the issues with the site, it speaks to the competence of this administration or lack thereof but any conservative writer or pundit who does had better damn well make sure they stress the real problems with Obamacare which have nothing to do with coding.

Because if they don’t, when the coding interface is repaired the media will declare Obamacare “fixed” and it won’t matter how many people lose their insurance. How many people’s deductibles double or how much more individuals pay for worse coverage. The conversation will be over and they will move to the next topic that serves the administration’s purpose.

That is the crux of what DaTechGuy is saying, but please follow the link above to his article–he includes a few very good video clips to make his point.

Generally speaking, ObamaCare is an example of crony capitalism at its worst. The Republicans were right to shut down the government in an effort to stop this runaway train.

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The Next Birther Controversy

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story today about the next birther controversy–it’s not Barack Obama–it’s Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz has released his birth certificate to the Dallas Morning News. Senator Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a father who fled Castro’s Cuba. Under American law, Cruz became an American citizen at birth because his mother was an American. Under Canadian law, Cruz is a Canadian citizen because he was born in Canada.

The article reports:

The presidential requirement of being a “natural born citizen” in Article 2, Section 1 of the US Constitution is unique, in that the concept has pretty much no other application in American life.  However, it’s not so unique as to be completely without analogy or comprehension.  A natural-born citizen can be defined as an American that does not require extra intervention to access citizenship rights.  If Cruz had to go through the naturalization process to vote, for instance, or to get a US passport, then he would not qualify to run for President.  Instead, Cruz has been able to legally exercise his rights as a citizen without any other intervention except his coming of age, as all American citizens do.  Current law makes it clear that regardless of how Canada sees Cruz, the US saw him as a citizen by provenance of his birth — a natural-born citizen.

Senator Cruz’s birth certificate is actually not related to this controversy. Ed Morrissey wonders if Senator Cruz is being a little tongue-in-cheek here. Since the controversy is rather silly to begin with, he might as well have a good laugh about it.

 

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It Is Too Soon For This, However…

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article discussing whether or not Ted Cruz would be eligible to run for President in 2016. The article describes Ted Cruz as “one of the most brilliant constitutional lawyers ever to serve in the Senate.” The question arises because Ted Cruz was actually born in Canada.

The article reports:

Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother was a lifelong American, born in Delaware. (His father was a political refugee from Cuba.) So under federal law, Cruz was born an American citizen by virtue of his mother. His family moved back to Texas, where Cruz grew up, and lived his entire life except the years he spent in New Jersey attending Princeton, Massachusetts attending Harvard Law School, and Washington, D.C., clerking for Chief Justice William Rehnquist at the Supreme Court and later serving in the Bush administration. So this former Texas solicitor general was born an American citizen and has spent almost all his life in America—usually serving his state or nation. 

It would be better to report, “Some constitutional experts say he would be ineligible,” or more accurate still, “A small minority of constitutional experts say he would be ineligible.” But no one can make the unqualified claim that the Constitution declares Ted Cruz is unable to run for president.

The entire discussion is a typical pre-emptive strike by the Democrat Party and the media on someone who might eventually be a Republican candidate for President. The old guard of the Republican Party has stood by as the media and Democrats have destroyed some of their most qualified people. It’s time for them to wake up and fight back. There are many smart, gifted, and capable Americans who will never run for office because of the way the media treats conservative candidates. It’s time for a change on the part of reporters and on the part of the Republican Party.

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The Dangers Of Bureaucratic Overreach

Yesterday Mary Katharine Ham posted an article at Hot Air about Michael Arrington, a prominent tech blogger, who sold his site Tech Crunch to AOL in 2010. Mr. Arrington lives in Seattle, Washington, and recently bought a boat. The boat was made in Canada, so Mr. Arrington had to fill out paperwork with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to bring the boat into America.

When Mr. Arrington went to pick up his boat and fill out the forms, there was a problem with the forms. The primary form, prepared by the government, had an error. The price was copied from the invoice, but DHS changed the currency from Canadian to U.S. dollars. Mr. Arrington suggested that the DHS change the form so that the amount would be correct. Mr. Arrington points out that the form has language at the bottom with serious sounding statements that the information is true and correct, and a signature block. Since he was being asked to swear that the information on the form was correct, he thought that the information on the form should be correct.

The article then explains that the DHS agent called another agent over and stated that Mr. Arrington would not sign the form. Mr. Arrington asked to speak to that agent to give them a more complete picture of the situation. She wouldn’t allow that. The agent then seized the boat and took possession of it.

The article states:

A person with a gun and a government badge asked me to swear in writing that a lie was true today. And when I didn’t do what she wanted she simply took my boat and asked me to leave.

…Arrington got back his boat, largely he says because the company that built it went to great lengths to extract it from DHS. The company has no doubt dealt with the customs office before, knows who to call, and has more sway than a single citizen. But you shouldn’t need to know the right people to simply sail the boat you own. Arrington says it succinctly: “My point in writing this isn’t to whine. Like I said, this will get worked out one way or another. No, it’s to highlight how screwed up our government bureaucracy has become.”

And, if it’s this hard for a well-educated and well-heeled citizen who can get a lawyer to navigate the system, there are many more with fewer advantages dealing with this kind of abuse at every level about whom we never hear.

Please follow the link above and read the entire article for a very insightful perspective on American bureaucracy.

I have no idea how to deal with the runaway bureaucracy we have created in this country, but I do know that we need to deal with it before it gets worse. A law-abiding citizen had his boat temporarily seized because he tried to correct a government mistake in the paperwork. That is not the America I grew up in.Enhanced by Zemanta

Following The Money On The Keystone Pipeline

 

My reason for supporting the Keystone Pipeline is that it will provide a source of energy for America that is based in North America and provided by someone that actually likes America. To me, that is a security consideration and should be considered. However, there are also some very interesting reasons for blocking the pipeline–none of which have any relationship to the environment.

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today entitled,”Blocking the Keystone Pipeline: Who Benefits?”

Mr. Hinderaker points out:

If the Obama administration holds firm on blocking Keystone, the big loser will be TransCanada Corporation. But who will the big winners be? American railroads:

And of them, the biggest winner might just be the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Obama supporter and Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett. In December, the CEO of BNSF, Matthew Rose, said that his railroad was shipping about 500,000 barrels of oil per day out of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and that it was seeking a permit to send “crude by rail to the Pacific Northwest.” He also said the railroad expects to “eventually” be shipping 1 million barrels of oil per day.

Isn’t it an incredible coincidence that Warren Buffet, one of President Obama’s biggest supporters, will benefit greatly if the pipeline is stopped. Who will lose? American workers who need jobs.

The article points out that because the oil from Canada can be transported by rail (instead of pipeline), American refineries are already being built to handle the increased amount of oil. Stopping the pipeline has no impact on the flow of oil–only on the way it is transported. Therefore, stopping the pipeline has no impact on the environment–in fact the pipeline probably has a lower carbon footprint than the railroad!

This story is another example of why you should never assume that the mainstream media is actually reporting the news. That’s why we need the Internet!

 

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An Interesting Perspective On America’s Economic Future

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about the role of hydrocarbons in the American economy in the future.

The article states:

Since becoming president, Mr. Obama has treated hydrocarbon production like an infectious disease to be eradicated. His administration had to commission a study to learn, as announced last week, that allowing American companies to export liquefied natural gas would be beneficial to the U.S. economy. Still, the Department of Energy says it can’t make “final determinations” on export applications until it hears from those who object. So much for property rights.

America currently has the fastest rate of growth in production of oil and gas in the world. This is happening at a time when the demand for energy in America is slowing.  However, the worldwide demand for energy is increasing, creating a market for American energy exports.

The article goes on to describe energy developments in America, Canada, and Mexico:

Three democracies, sitting on vast resources, each have their own comparative advantages to offer an integrated continental market that could lead the world. Greater North American energy supplies imply millions of new jobs, higher tax revenues, plentiful energy for continental manufacturing and the end of reliance on hostile producers like Venezuela. But to reach optimum potential, investors need the freedom to explore, exploit and refine hydrocarbons and move output at every stage of production throughout the continent. In other words, governments need to get out of the way.

We can find our way out of the economic mess we are currently in–we just need to use the resources we have.

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Fiddling While Rome Burns

It’s nice that Congress is back to work after the election. Between expiring tax cuts and the new taxes of ObamaCare, we are facing a fiscal cliff on January 1, so it is good to see Congress back to work addressing the task at hand. Just yesterday, according to CBS News, the Senate voted 92-5 to debate a bill to ease restrictions on hunters and fishermen and allow 41 U.S. hunters to bring home polar bear carcasses trapped in Canada due to a ban on trophy imports.

The article reports:

The polar bear provision would allow the 41 hunters — two are from Tester’s home state— who killed polar bears in Canada just before a 2008 ban on polar bear trophy imports took effect to bring the bears’ bodies across the border. The hunters involved were not able to bring the trophies home before the Fish and Wildlife Services listed them as a threatened species.

The bill has bipartisan support and is backed by the National Rifle Association and the National Wildlife Federation. The White House said Tuesday that the Obama administration also supports the bill.

Anyway, I guess I am glad that Congress is back to work on something.

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Under The Radar This Weekend

Breitbart.com reported yesterday that Guantanamo terrorist Omar Khadr has been transferred from Guantanamo to Canada.

The article reports:

Khadr was transferred from Guantanamo under a long standing agreement between Canada and the United States that allows prisoners to serve out part of their sentence in their home country. Given Canada’s lax justice system, liberal judges and light sentences, it is likely Khadr could be released soon despite his conviction for Speer‘s murder and his admission to supporting terrorism. In fact the left wing Toronto Star has already published an editorial calling for the young terrorist’s swift release from prison.

The article further reports:

The jury at Khadr’s trial recommended that he be sentenced to 40 years but before deliberations had even begun the prosecution had struck its deal to see the sentence top out at 8 years with the possibility of transfer to Canada after 1 year. The jury was never told about the plea bargain.

Omar Khadr was born in Canada. He is the son of Egyptian Ahmed Khadr, a financier for Al-Qaida who moved his whole family into the Osama bin Laden compound in Afghanistan in the years before 9-11.

I am assuming this move is legal, but it is certainly not wise. If Canada frees him quickly, we will have been part of letting another terrorist lose in the world.

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Sometimes Things Just Get Ridiculous

Yesterday CNS News reported that the Iran‘s Foreign Ministry has warned Iranians traveling in Canada to be alert to danger.

The article reports:

“Foreign Ministry said in a statement that based on current evidences, Islamphobia and Iranphobia have not stopped in Canada, rather escalated over the past few days,” reads a report from the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), which also quoted the ministry as stating,  “Such a trend has influenced behavior of the governmental and non-governmental authorities in the country.”

The “Canadian government’s double-standard about human rights has been the focus of the world and Canadian public opinion,” said the Foreign Ministry.

Last month the Canadian government issued a statement warning Canadians not to travel to Iran. The educated guess is that this statement from Iran is a response to that statement.

The unfortunate part of this is that many people in Iran who do not have access to foreign media will believe this nonsense.

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