What Did He Actually Do?

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner posted a list of accomplishments of President Trump. The list is divided into categories. Please follow the link to the article to read the entire list, but I will list a few highlights.

Under the category of jobs and the economy:

  • Passage of the tax reform bill providing $5.5 billion in cuts and repealing the Obamacare mandate.
  • Increase of the GDP above 3 percent.
  • Creation of 1.7 million new jobs, cutting unemployment to 4.1 percent.
  • Saw the Dow Jones reach record highs.
  • A rebound in economic confidence to a 17-year high.
  • A new executive order to boost apprenticeships.
  • A move to boost computer sciences in Education Department programs.
  • Prioritizing women-owned businesses for some $500 million in SBA loans.

Under Killing job-stifling regulations:

  • Made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Opened up the North American Free Trade Agreement for talks to better the deal for the U.S.
  • Worked to bring companies back to the U.S., and companies like Toyota, Mazda, Broadcom Limited, and Foxconn announced plans to open U.S. plants.
  • Worked to promote the sale of U.S products abroad.
  • Made enforcement of U.S. trade laws, especially those that involve national security, a priority.
  • Ended Obama’s deal with Cuba.

Under Boosting U.S. energy dominance:

  • The Department of Interior, which has led the way in cutting regulations, opened plans to lease 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.
  • Trump traveled the world to promote the sale and use of U.S. energy.
  • Expanded energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline snubbed by Obama.
  • Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
  • EPA is reconsidering Obama rules on methane emissions.

Much of this has gone unreported. Please follow the link to the article to see the entire list.

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.’

Leadership Matters

One America News is reporting today that President Trump has signed Executive Orders to streamline the permitting process and regulatory burden for domestic manufacturers. He is also signed orders to expedite environmental review and approval of high-priority infrastructure projects, to accelerate the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects and to decree that any pipelines intended for the United States should be built in the country.

These are things that need to be done. We need to maintain a balance between protecting the environment and allowing the American economy to grow. In March 2016, I posted an article that included the following quote:

If they were honest, the climate alarmists would admit that they are not working feverishly to hold down global temperatures — they would acknowledge that they are instead consumed with the goal of holding down capitalism and establishing a global welfare state.

Have doubts? Then listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

The American economy has struggled for the past eight years. We have not had a year of over 3 percent GDP growth since President Obama took office. Even if Congress had done what President Trump just did, President Obama would have vetoed it. Politics have blocked our economic growth for the last eight years. Results matter. It will be interesting to see how what President Trump did today impacts economic growth in America. It will also be interesting to see if the mainstream media is willing to give President Trump credit for the economic growth these Executive Orders generate.

The Other Side Of The Dakota Access Pipeline Story

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about the protests surrounding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The story you have been told in most of the media is simply not true.

The article reports a few basic facts the media has overlooked:

• This isn’t about tribal rights or protecting cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux. The land under discussion belongs to private owners and the federal government. To suggest that the Standing Rock tribe has the legal ability to block the pipeline is to turn America’s property rights upside down.

• Two federal courts have rejected claims that the tribe wasn’t consulted. The project’s developer and the Army Corps made dozens of overtures to the Standing Rock Sioux over more than two years. Often these attempts were ignored or rejected, with the message that the tribe would only accept termination of the project.

• Other tribes and parties did participate in the process. More than 50 tribes were consulted, and their concerns resulted in 140 adjustments to the pipeline’s route. The project’s developer and the Army Corps were clearly concerned about protecting tribal artifacts and cultural sites. Any claim otherwise is unsupported by the record. The pipeline’s route was also studied—and ultimately supported—by the North Dakota Public Service Commission (on which I formerly served), the State Historic Preservation Office, and multiple independent archaeologists.

• This isn’t about water protection. Years before the pipeline was announced, the tribe was working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps to relocate its drinking-water intake. The new site sits roughly 70 miles downstream of where the pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River. Notably, the new intake, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, will be 1.6 miles downstream of an elevated railroad bridge that carries tanker cars carrying crude oil.

Further, the pipeline will be installed about 100 feet below the riverbed. Automatic shut-off valves will be employed on either side of the river, and the pipeline will be constructed to exceed many federal safety requirements.

Other pipelines carrying oil, gas and refined products already cross the Missouri River at least a dozen times upstream of the tribe’s intake. The corridor where the Dakota Access Pipeline will run is directly adjacent to another pipeline, which carries natural gas under the riverbed, as well as an overhead electric transmission line. This site was chosen because it is largely a brownfield area that was disturbed long ago by previous infrastructure.

This isn’t about the climate. The oil that will be shipped through the pipeline is already being produced. But right now it is transported in more carbon-intensive ways, such as by railroad or long-haul tanker truck. So trying to thwart the pipeline to reduce greenhouse gas could have the opposite effect.

We would probably know exactly who was paying the protesters (many of them are paid) if we knew who owns the railroad or the tanker trucks currently transporting the oil. In the case of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the railroad could be traced to Warren Buffett, a friend of President Obama. Things are often not as they are portrayed in the major media. Please follow the link above to read the entire story. It is very different to what you have been told.

When You Look At The Entire Picture, It Does Not Look Really Good

Chances are that someone in the news today is going to celebrate the fact that the unemployment rate has dropped to 4.9 percent (he lowest since February 2008, the Labor Department said on Friday). That sounds really good until you start looking at the entire picture.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today that shows the entire picture. Here are a few inconvenient facts from the article:

Looks like the 2015Q4 GDP results told a broader story than some credited. The Associated Press called the results from today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reporta sharp deceleration from recent months” (later removing “sharp” from that description), paralleling the sharper deceleration of production. The US economy added only 151,000 jobs, a miss on expectations and barely enough to tread water on population expansion.

…Numerous news services heralded the a drop in U-3 rate of unemployment to 4.9%, but the number of people not in the workforce also rose by 360,000 people from last month (table A-16). That follows an increase of 284,000 the previous month. Those not in the labor force who want a job increased by 461,000, and that follows an increase of 379,000 in the previous month. The latter measure had been falling in 2015, but has reversed itself by 840,000 in two months — both in the 0.7%-growth-rate Q4.

The article concludes:

The sharp reversal on exits from the labor force should be the greatest concern from this report. The 151,000 added jobs pales in comparison to those numbers, and those added jobs only account for population growth anyway. Combined with last quarter’s GDP growth rate, it appears that 2016 is off to a tough start, and may signal a very tough year.

Eight years of President Obama’s economic policies have had consequences. The over regulation, the war on coal, the war on fracking, the decision to stop the Keystone Pipeline, and ObamaCare have all had economic consequences. If Hillary Clinton is elected, we will have more of the same. If a small government Republican is elected, he will be in a position to set the American economy free. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Does President Obama Have A Relationship With The Concept Of Truth?

Last night Breitbart.com posted a list of the top ten lies told during the State of the Union speech. I watched the speech last night and wondered what world President Obama was living in. I am thoroughly disgusted with the President and with Congress for not shutting down executive orders. I fear for an America whose politicians ignore the U.S. Constitution. The guilt is on the part of both the Democrats and the establishment Republicans.

Breitbart lists the lies. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. The lack of truth in the speech is amazing:

1. “[W]e’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.”

2. “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.”

3. “That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about. It’s about filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we lose a job, or go back to school, or start that new business, we’ll still have coverage.”

4. “Food Stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did.”

5. “We’ve protected an open internet…”

6. “Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results.”

7. “No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.”

8. “As someone who begins every day with an intelligence briefing, I know this is a dangerous time.”

9. “We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria [from Islamic State].”

10. “Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, setting us back in Latin America.”

Now let’s look at a few facts.

President Obama did slow down the growth of government spending, but not until the Republicans took the House of Representatives in 2010. Generally, President Obama has had higher deficits than the Presidents before him.

The American economy is not currently healthy–the labor participation rate is down and wages are stagnant. The economic recovery has been very slow and is not yet complete.

There is at least one article every day about people forced to give up their health insurance because of huge increases in premiums due to ObamaCare. ObamaCare has not been a successful healthcare solution.

Wall Street did not cause the economic crisis. The roots are fully and correctly explained here.

President Obama’s Net Neutrality policy has limited freedom on the Internet–not opened it up.

President Obama’s policy on clean energy has wasted millions of dollars on companies that have gone bankrupt, killed the coal industry, and blocked the Keystone Pipeline that would have brought jobs and brought America closer to energy independence.

I am not sure our allies feel safe. Ukraine never received the help it needed, and certainly Iran had no second thoughts about capturing our sailors. A more accurate statement would be that our allies don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us.

We are making a show effort to stop the Islamic state in the Middle East. We have been on the wrong side of history since the revolution in Egypt. We have supported the Muslim Brotherhood to the point of having their members in the American government.

Opening relations with Cuba has not helped anyone. The government of Cuba is still aligned with Russia and Iran and is still imprisoning political dissidents. All we have done is provide them with more money with which to do their mischief.

Any resemblance to the world as it is and the world painted by President Obama is purely coincidental. The speech was a waste of airtime. I would have been better off watching reruns of the Weather Channel.

The Direct Impact Of Campaign Money On Decisions That Affect All Americans

The Keystone Pipeline has been studied, found to be harmless to the environment, and rejected. The political forces behind the rejection of the Keystone Pipeline have very little to do with the pipeline itself–they have to do with campaign money flowing into Democratic campaign coffers. The unions support the Keystone Pipeline–it will produce jobs and move America toward energy independence, which is also a national security issue. The environmentalists oppose the pipeline because it involves carbon-based fuel, and they still believe that we can run our economy on the flapping of butterfly wings. Both of these groups are important contributors to Democratic campaigns. That is the reason deliberation on the pipeline took so long before it was finally turned down.

TransCanada, the people who would build the pipeline, are not impressed by America’s political decisions. The Wall Street Journal reported today that TransCanada is bringing an international arbitration case against the U.S. for not treating the Canadian company the way it would an American company, as it is obliged to do under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The article reports:

That was the story last week out of Kenya, where U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec told Kenya’s energy minister that Washington would help Nairobi raise $18 billion to finance its PowerAfrika project. The pipeline would stretch from Kenya’s Rift Valley to Lamu on the coast. “Kenya needs $18 billion worth of financing,” Mr. Godec said, according to a dispatch in Oilprice.com, “so one of the questions we are discussing is how we can work together with the private sector and governments to raise that sum, to find ways to make certain that this financing becomes available.”

Has Mr. Godec checked with Secretary of State John Kerry, or, perhaps more important, anti-oil Democratic financier Tom Steyer? Kenya and Northeast Africa could certainly use the investment and jobs that would come from the oil project. Then again, so could the United States. What’s with the double standard on pipelines?

The article mentions that TransCanada is asking $15 billion on costs and damages. Multiple reviews of the Keystone Pipeline showed that it would not harm the environment, but President Obama rejected the pipeline anyway. TransCanada has also filed a suit in U.S. federal court alleging that President Obama’s decision to block Keystone exceeded his constitutional authority.

Get out the popcorn, this is going to be entertaining. The article also notes that American taxpayers need to keep an eye on government spending to make sure they are not funding the Kenyan project while being denied their own project.

The decision was delayed in order to postpone the political consequences as long as possible. At some point President Obama decided that the environmentalists were a more important ally than the unions. There was no rational excuse for the decision to block the Keystone Pipeline–it was a political decision driven by money.

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.

I Think We Have Run Out Of Pinocchios

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today detailing some of the recent lies told by President Obama. Because the press so rarely points out these lies, Mr. Hinderaker listed a few.

President Obama claims that it is undeniable that the planet is getting warmer (tell that to the people in Massachusetts).

Power Line notes:

Far from being undeniable, the claim that “the climate is getting warmer” is false. Satellite measurements show that there has been no warming for around 18 years, a fact that has caused great consternation among climate alarmists:

In 2009, Kevin Trenberth, one of the leading alarmist scientists, wrote in an email: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

Global warming has been used as an excuse for various things–including the veto of the Keystone Pipeline. The fact that it is currently  non-existent does not seem to bother the President or the press.

Another lie has to do with justification for gun control.

The article reports:

During the same town hall, Obama lamented his inability to get gun control legislation through Congress:

Increased gun control measures would go a long way toward cutting down on America’s homicide rate, President Obama said during a town-hall event on Friday.

“Our homicide rates are so much larger than other industrialized countries, by like a mile,” he said during a speech at Benedict College in South Carolina.

“Most of that is attributable to the easy, ready availability of firearms, particularly handguns.”

There are two things wrong with Obama’s claims. First, the homicide rate in the United States is relatively low, and falling. The World Bank has compiled homicide rates by country; most are higher than ours, some many times higher. To be sure, some “industrialized” countries have lower rates than we do. Norway, for example, has a murder rate that is only a fraction of ours. But the reasons are entirely demographic: I would wager that the homicide rate among Norwegian-Americans is even lower than Norway’s.

The article at Power Line notes that the homicide rate in America is now half of what it was during the Clinton Administration–despite the fact that many more people own guns now than did then.

The article concludes:

Barack Obama is not the only Pinocchio in political life, but more than any other public figure I can think of, he seems to think he is entitled to make up his own facts. That sense of entitlement probably results from the press’s unwillingness to point out his many errors.

I would love to have a President who did not lie, but if that is not possible, I would at least like to have a press that points out what the truth is.

 

Ethics Are Always A Bit Of A Challenge With The Clintons

After Bill Clinton left office, he set up the William J. Clinton Foundation, now called the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The Foundation, under whatever name, has had some interesting challenges along the way.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal posted an article which included the following:

The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency.

Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline.

In 2009, the Clinton Foundation stopped raising money from foreign governments after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state. Former President Bill Clinton, who ran the foundation while his wife was at the State Department, agreed to the gift ban at the behest of the Obama administration, which worried about a secretary of state’s husband raising millions while she represented U.S. interests abroad.

The ban wasn’t absolute; some foreign government donations were permitted for ongoing programs approved by State Department ethics officials.

As Mrs. Clinton prepares to run for President, foreign donations are again coming in.

The foundation did not announce the foreign donations, The Wall Street Journal had to look for them:

The donations weren’t announced by the foundation and were discovered by The Wall Street Journal during a search of donations of more than $50,000 posted on the foundation’s online database. Exactly when the website was updated isn’t clear. The foundation typically updates its website with the previous year’s donations near the beginning of the year. All 2014 donations were noted with asterisks.

The dangers here are obvious–if a country wanted to curry favor with President Hillary Clinton (or gain access to the President), all they would have to do would be make a large donation to the foundation. Whether it is decided that this is legal or not, it is another example of the Clinton family being involved in financial activities that are questionable at best. Do we really want these ethically challenged people back in the White House?

A Step Forward On The Keystone Pipeline

The Washington Times is reporting today that a Senate filibuster of the Keystone Pipeline has failed, and the pipeline will be voted on later today.

The bill passed with both Republican and Democrat votes. The article reports:

The nine Democrats who sides with Republican on the pipeline vote were: Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Mr. Hoeven and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee, said if Mr. Obama does eventually veto the bill they’ll try to find ways to attach it to other energy legislation the president wants, hoping to get him to sign it through a compromise.

I would think they would have learned by now that this this president does not compromise.

I hope this bill eventually gets past President Obama. It is the beginning of energy independence for America. It will provide cheap energy, which has the potential of making America a more attractive place to do business. The oil that the Keystone Pipeline will carry is going somewhere. I would be better if it were going to America.

The Battle For The Keystone XL Pipeline Continues

Yahoo Finance reported yesterday that Nebraska’s highest court has cleared the pathway of the Keystone XL Pipeline through Nebraska.

The article reports:

Justice William Connolly, writing for the judges who wanted to block the project, criticized dissenters for refusing to address its legality. Those three judges argued the property owners who challenged the pipeline don’t have the right to sue.

“Because the case presents a matter of great public concern, the citizens of this state deserve a decision on the merits,” Connolly wrote. Lawyers for the property owners and some pipeline opponents said Keystone XL may still be subject to legal challenge in Nebraska, once TransCanada reveals its path and begins condemnation proceedings as soon as this month.

However, the real battle for the Pipeline will be centered in Washington.

The article reports:

The U.S. Senate Energy Committee yesterday passed a measure seeking to force approval of the pipeline, which along with the House vote sets up a confrontation with Obama, who has pledged to veto such legislation. The full Senate is to take up the issue next week, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. In the past when Senators voted on the Pipeline, the vote was symbolic. Now the vote actually means something. President Obama is expected to veto the Pipeline, and Congress will need a two-thirds majority to override that veto. The majority of Americans say that they support the Pipeline, so it will be interesting to see in Congress is listening to the people it is supposed to represent.

This Is One Example Of Why Congress Never Gets Anything Done

The Washington Examiner posted a story today about Congress and the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Republicans want to pass a bill in the House and the Senate approving the Pipeline and essentially daring President Obama to veto it. The Pipeline is supported by the majority of the American people, most Republicans, and some Democrats. Under normal circumstances, the bill should pass easily and Congress could possibly override a Presidential veto. Enter New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Senator Schumer plans to add amendments to any Keystone XL Pipeline bill that will prevent it from passing in the Senate.

The article reports:

The measures are unlikely to garner enough support in the GOP-held Senate, much as they’ve failed on Keystone XL bills in previous years in the Republican House. But Schumer said that the amendments his caucus plans to offer will make the legislation “more of a jobs bill,” as he downplayed the 35 permanent jobs the State Department said that TransCanada Corp.‘s project would create.

“We’re going to introduce an amendment to say that the steel used in the pipeline should be made in America, creating American jobs. We’re going to introduce an amendment that says that the oil that is used in the pipeline should be used in America,” the New York Democrat said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” adding that the caucus will also “introduce an amendment to add clean energy jobs.”

President Obama has been successfully stalling the Keystone XL Pipeline for years. There are a variety of reasons for this–to approve the pipeline would put an end to Democrat campaign contributions from radical environmental groups, and there is also the matter of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the railroad that is currently carrying the oil because the pipeline does not exist. Oddly enough, that railroad is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Obama supporter and Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett. I understand that that is simply an incredible coincidence, but somehow I think that this fact also plays into President Obama’s refusal to allow the Keystone XL to move forward.

A Political Gambit That Failed

Politico.com is reporting tonight that the Keystone XL Pipeline has been defeated in the Senate. The bill received 59 votes–not the 60 needed to break a filibuster. The bill had been sitting on Harry Reid‘s desk for years–he would not bring it to the floor after it passed the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

The defeat deals a blow to Landrieu’s campaign ahead of her Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, whom polls show running comfortably ahead. Winning on Keystone would have helped her demonstrate her clout on the Hill as a champion of her state’s influential oil and gas industry.

The Republicans will bring the bill up again when they take control of the Senate. At that time, they will aim for a veto-proof majority vote.

The article also illustrates some divisions in the Democrat party:

The bill’s failure left a bad taste in the mouth of centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), who had urged his colleagues in a closed door meeting to support it.

“This was ridiculous for us to [get] 59, one short. It really was uncalled for,” he said. “And those were some passionate conversations that we had in there. They were respectful and they were very passionate that we had in the caucus, and I would have thought it would have changed [the vote].”

Passing the bill will help American energy independence and will boost the American economy. Hopefully, it can be passed with a veto-proof majority in January.

 

Sometimes I Hate Politics

The Keystone Pipeline is something that will help energy independence in America, boost the American economy, and provide jobs for Americans. In 2012, the Pipeline was blocked in the Senate because the Republicans could not break the Democrat filibuster. President Obama has been running interference to prevent approval of the Pipeline since he took office. But now things have changed.

Fox News posted an article today about Congress’ latest moves regarding the Keystone Pipeline. It will be interesting to see if the Pipeline gets approved this time. The possibility of approval has nothing to do with the American economy, jobs, or energy independence. It has to do with the runoff election to be held in Louisiana next month involving Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu.

The article reports:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, traveling with President Obama in Burma, told reporters that the president takes a “dim view” of legislative efforts to force action on the project. Earnest stopped short of threatening a veto, but reiterated Obama’s preference for evaluating the pipeline through a long-stalled State Department review. Obama has repeatedly ordered such reviews under pressure from environmental groups, who say the project would contribute to climate change. 

Landrieu, who is thought to be trailing Cassidy ahead of their Dec. 6 runoff election, wants to deliver a win for the energy industry by pushing Keystone. The measure was one she co-sponsored with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., back in May. 

“We can pass the Keystone pipeline and answer the frustrations of the American people,” she said. “So they could rest next and say, oh my gosh the senators of the United States of America have ears and they have brains and they have hearts and they heard what we said and we can do this.” 

The irony here is that Tom Steyer, a rather extreme environmentalist, pledged to contribute $100 million to anti-Keystone Democrats during the mid-term election. The Democrats took the money. How soon they forget.

The ideal outcome for the Democrats in this situation would be for the bill to be filibustered again. That way Senator Landrieu could say she tried,  the environmentalists who oppose the pipeline would still be happy because the bill failed, and Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway owns the railroad transporting the oil because there is no pipeline (see rightwinggranny), would still be making money with his railroad. The only people who would lose are Americans who want energy independence, the American economy, and people who want jobs. But if the Democrats win the runoff, they won’t worry about such trivial things.

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.

A Rather Weak Resume´

Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at National Review today which sums up the presidency of Barack Obama. The article is simply entitled, “ Don’t Mess with Messiahs.  Whenever things go wrong, it’s the fault of those obstructionists in Congress.

The article describes the President’s latest whine:

In Obama’s most recent — and embarrassing — public whine, he lashed out at the once-obsequious press. In his now customary first-person I/me/my/mine lament (e.g., “They don’t do anything, except block me and call me names. . . . If they were more interested in growing the economy for you and the issues that you are talking about instead of trying to mess with me, we would be doing a lot better. . . . The critics, the cynics in Washington, they’ve written me off more times than I can count.”), he lambasted the partisan culture of Washington. He lashed out at the Tea Party, the House Republicans, his opponents in general, and all those who would unreasonably oppose his blanket amnesties, his climate-change taxes and regulations, the shutdown of the Keystone-pipeline project, Obamacare, and $9 trillion in new debt.

Mr. Hanson points out that President Obama acts as though he was not in charge when the VA scandal occurred, the IRS scandal occurred, Benghazi was overrun, and the Middle East imploded. Who, then, is running the show?

As it becomes more obvious that President Obama’s economic policies are not working, he seems inclined to continue them.

The article points out:

…Yet the administration’s reaction seems to be more deficit spending, more zero interest rates, more regulations, more restrictions on new energy development, and more class-warfare rhetoric.

Again, the message seems to be something like, “One way or another we are going to grow government, broaden the progressive base, increase the number of Americans on entitlements, raise taxes, cheapen the value of money, run up deficits, pile up regulations — and let you nitpickers worry about the high unemployment, sinking GDP, and declining household income.” The point is not to find the best way to help ordinary Americans, but to find a way to ram through a progressive economic agenda without much concern over whether it works or makes things worse.

Hang on to your hats–this President does not seem to learn from his mistakes.

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.

What World Is He Living In?

This is part of the transcript from the speech President Obama gave to the graduating cadets at West Point:

Four and a half years later, as you graduate, the landscape has changed. We have removed our troops from Iraq. We are winding down our war in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida’s leadership on the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been decimated, and Osama bin Laden is no more. (Cheers, applause.) And through it all, we’ve refocused our investments in what has always been a key source of American strength: a growing economy that can provide opportunity for everybody who’s willing to work hard and take responsibility here at home.

In fact, by most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise — who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away — are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.

Think about it. Our military has no peer. The odds of a direct threat against us by any nation are low, and do not come close to the dangers we faced during the Cold War. Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative. Each year, we grow more energy independent. From Europe to Asia, we are the hub of alliances unrivaled in the history of nations.

I will admit that I am very partisan, but that is not why I believe that America’s global leadership is slipping away. We have an American marine in prison in Mexico because he made a wrong turn. We have an American pastor in prison in Iraq because he is a Christian while his wife is in America. If America were stronger, both of these people would be at home in America.

American energy independence will be achieved despite the government, not because of it. The Obama Administration has blocked oil exploration on federal land. The Obama Administration has also blocked construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The administration has spent millions of dollars investing in technology that has not yet been proven to work. The Obama Administration is a roadblock to energy independence–not a facilitator.

This is the link to a transcript of the speech. Please read the whole speech and draw your own conclusions.

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The Latest On The Keystone Pipeline

Building the Keystone Pipeline would not only affect American energy at home, it would drastically change the energy picture overseas. On Thursday, the Washington Examiner posted an article showing the latest movement on the Pipeline. Building the Keystone Pipeline now would be the easiest and most painless way to stop Russian aggression into Europe–increased American energy at lower prices would collapse the Russian economy.

The article reports:

On Thursday morning, Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan and Jon Tester agreed to co-sponsor a bipartisan bill by Republican Sen. John Hoeven and Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu that would give pipeline company TransCanada the go-ahead to start work. Another Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner, signed on in the weeks after the State Department’s January determination that the pipeline would have minimal environmental impact. And seven other Democratic senators — Mark Pryor, Claire McCaskill, Mark Begich, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, and John Walsh — were already co-sponsors. In all, 11 Senate Democrats, some of them facing tough re-election campaigns this fall, have put their names on the pro-Keystone bill.

…Previous efforts to pass a Keystone bill have fallen short, and Hoeven cautions that a desperate White House lobbying effort might yet stop the new momentum with perhaps a vote or two to spare. But the tide has turned, and the pro-Keystone forces believe they are on the road to victory.

“If we don’t get this bill now,” says Hoeven, “I think we’re going to get it after November.”

Some of the movement on the part of Democrats has to do with the election in November. It will be interesting to see where these Democrats stand if they are still in office after the 2014 election.

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The Dangers Of Being Uninformed

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog has done a number of articles recently about Democrat mega-donor Tom Steyer. This is the link to one of those articles. Somehow the information in these articles has escaped the mainstream media, so if you don’t follow the alternative media, chances are this information is new to you.

Tom Steyer is an opponent of the Keystone Pipeline. He claims that his opposition is based on his principle of environmental concerns and that he is strongly opposed to any sort of fossil fuel. Okay. He is entitled to his opinion and principles. However, when you look a little closer, some questions crop up. Mr. Steyer is a major investor in Kinder Morgan, a company that is building a pipeline that will compete with the Keystone Pipeline. If you look even a little closer, you find out that Mr. Steyer made his fortune in coal.

Mr. Steyer has recently written a letter to the Middlebury College and Brown University Boards of Trustees stating that a coal free portfolio is a good investment strategy. That is very interesting considering that Mr. Steyer founded Farallon Capital Management L.L.C. (“Farallon”) in 1986.

The article at Power Line (linked above) reports:

In order to gain an appreciation of the extent of Farallon’s epic involvement in the coal sector under Mr. Steyer’s tenure one needs to spend time in Jakarta and Sydney, and in the regional financing centers in Hong Kong and Singapore, and speak to professionals (bankers, lawyers, mining consultants and principals) who were directly involved in these Farallon-sponsored coal transactions. With a modicum of effort one discovers that since 2003 Farallon has played the pivotal role in financing the tremendous restructuring and growth in thermal coal production in the region. All of this took place under Mr. Steyer’s tenure as founder and senior partner of Farallon.

YouTube posted a recent interview of John Hinderaker on the subject of Tom Steyer:

As usual, liberal principles don’t apply to liberals–they only apply to Republicans and conservatives.

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When The Science Doesn’t Agree With The Politics

Associated Press posted a story today about a recent government study about the use of biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants. The study showed that these biofuels release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with gasoline.

The article reports:

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

Note–the “cellulosic biofuels have received more than a billion dollars in federal support.” That is obscene. America would have a better chance of finding alternative fuels if we allowed private industries to develop them and make a profit from the research.

The article concludes:

Still, corn residue is likely to be a big source early on for cellulosic biofuels, which have struggled to reach commercial scale. Last year, for the fifth time, the EPA proposed reducing the amount required by law. It set a target of 17 million gallons for 2014. The law envisioned 1.75 billion gallons being produced this year.

“The study says it will be very hard to make a biofuel that has a better greenhouse gas impact than gasoline using corn residue,” which puts it in the same boat as corn-based ethanol, said David Tilman, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has done research on biofuels’ emissions from the farm to the tailpipe.

Tilman said it was the best study on the issue he has seen so far.

Alternate fuels are somewhere in our future, but they are not currently ready for prime time. It’s time to get the government out of the energy business, build the Keystone Pipeline and get on with it.

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A Scandal Under The Radar

John Hinderaker at Power Line has posted a number of articles about the use of the Washington Post by the Democrat party to attack the Koch brothers about the Keystone Pipeline. Never mind that the Koch brothers have no connection to the Pipeline or that building it would not help their business, the Washington Post still reported supposed connections as fact. I haven’t written about the scandal because it is complicated and hard to detail in a concise manner. However, John Hinderaker appeared on Fox News and explained it beautifully.

The video is posted on YouTube:

This is an example of why many Americans, including myself, do not trust the mainstream media.

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The Mainstream Media Continues Its Demonization Of The Koch Brothers

The Koch Brothers seem to be the target of the day for the mainstream media (and Senator Harry Reid). They have been singled out as the poster child for big money flowing into politics. Opensecrets.org, a website that tracks political donations shows the Koch Brothers as number 59 on their list of biggest political donors? When was the last time number 59 got any kind of publicity?

The latest attack on the Koch Brothers is an article in the Washington Post which lists them as a major lease holder in Canadian Oil Sands. John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday which shows that supposed fact to be a total lie.

The story at Power Line points out:

So the fundamental point of the Post story, which relied uncritically on a goofball far-left report, is dead wrong. Moreover, the Post story itself acknowledges that the tar sands encompass 35 million acres, so Koch’s 1.1 million comprise less than 3% of the total. The whole point of this exercise is to make the Keystone Pipeline all about Koch, and that premise is implausible from the start.

Somehow the story in the Washington Post neglects to mention who profits by the Keystone Pipeline NOT being built. On February 12, I posted that story (rightwinggranny.com).

As previously posted from another Power Line article:

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.

The article at rightwinggranny.com also lists some other interests connected to legislators that will profit if the Keystone Pipeline is not built.

As usual, follow the money–even when the mainstream media totally misreports whose money is involved.

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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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