Daily Archives: March 8, 2011
By Ed Lasky
“this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…this was the time we came together to remake this great nation.”
One of President Obama’s pet projects is the clean-green wonder called the electric car.
Obama burned through $2.4 billion in stimulus money on grants and tax breaks to boost its production, and pledged in January to get “a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”
That’s aiming high. At the rate they’re selling today, Obama should hit that benchmark in about 900 years.
GM managed to sell just 281 units of its electric Chevy Volt in February, while Nissan sold a meager 67 Leafs.
No wonder. Their batteries die so quickly — the Leaf has a 100-mile range — they’re about as reliable and cost-efficient as running a car on AAA batteries.
Conundrum! What should Obama do to get more electric cars on the road?
Maybe he should pass a law mandating citizens to buy electric cars.
High-speed rail would definitely be big. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has estimated the administration’s ultimate goal – bringing high-speed rail to 80 percent of the population – could cost $500 billion over 25 years. For this stupendous sum, there would be scant public benefits. Precisely the opposite. Rail subsidies would threaten funding for more pressing public needs: schools, police, defense.
How can we know this? History, for starters.Passenger rail service inspires wishful thinking. In 1970, when Congress created Amtrak to preserve intercity passenger trains, the idea was that the system would become profitable and self-sustaining after an initial infusion of federal money. This never happened. Amtrak has swallowed $35 billion in subsidies, and they’re increasing by more than $1 billion annually.
Despite the subsidies, Amtrak does not provide low-cost transportation. Longtime critic Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute recently planned a trip from Washington to New York. Noting that fares on Amtrak’s high-speed Acela start at $139 one-way, he decided to take a private bus service. The roundtrip fare: $21.50. Nor does Amtrak do much to relieve congestion, cut oil use, reduce pollution or eliminate greenhouse gases. Its traffic volumes are simply too small to matter….
The reasons passenger rail service doesn’t work in America are well-known: Interstate highways shorten many trip times; suburbanization has fragmented destination points; air travel is quicker and more flexible for long distances (if fewer people fly from Denver to Los Angeles and more go to Houston, flight schedules simply adjust). Against history and logic is the imagery of high-speed rail as “green” and a cutting-edge technology.
What’s disheartening about the Obama administration’s embrace of high-speed rail is that it ignores history, evidence and logic. The case against it is overwhelming. The case in favor rests on fashionable platitudes. High-speed rail is not an “investment in the future”; it’s mostly a waste of money.
In an October 2010 interview, LaHood denigrated the “traditional people in Congress who like the idea that we continue to build roads and bridges and things like that,” as opposed to the “big things” he and Obama support, including enormously expensive high-speed rail, unprofitable low-speed Amtrak, and other forms of government-subsidized mass transit.
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
( Original Article )
By Dr. Michael S. Coffman Ph. D.
March 8, 2011
Even as Mideast oil supplies are increasingly imperiled by civil unrest, President Obama is systematically blocking every effort to develop domestic supplies of oil. If the turmoil in the Mideast escalates, it could unnecessarily mean $5 or more a gallon gas and the collapse of the American economy.
Based on solely on his actions, it would seem President Obama hates America and most Americans. After all, a robust economy is dependent on a cheap supply of energy. Yet, the Obama administration has thrown roadblock after roadblock in the way of developing domestic coal, oil and natural gas supplies that would assure a stable, cheap supply of energy for America.
Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, Obama warned that his cap and trade plans would “bankrupt” the coal industry and necessarily cause energy prices to “skyrocket” during the 2008 campaign. But, the electorate didn’t pay any attention because he promised hope and change.
We should have paid more attention. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle during the 2008 campaign Obama casually dropped the bombshell that he would bankrupt the coal industry. “Sure, if somebody wants to build coal-fired power plants, they can,” said Obama as if he was discussing the weather, “it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are gonna be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Obama was breezily explaining the enormous penalties that will be incurred by the coal, oil and natural gas industries after he imposes his draconian cap and trade regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Obama then admitted to the Chronicle that “under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Obama and most progressives were disappointed when their cap and trade legislation failed even to reach the Senate floor because of heavy opposition. It failed because there is absolutely no empirical scientific evidence that man is causing the warming and the crippling cost of such a system. It would be a disaster to the U.S. economy, much like the European’s are now finding after five to twelve years of experience with wind and solar power.
Progressive liberals trumpet that conversion to green energy will solve all our problems by creating jobs and providing reliable energy to replace fossil fuel energy. Spain has been doing this for eleven years and they have found that each new green job cost $750,000 and they lost 2.2 jobs in the regular economy. Maybe the U.S. can do better, but not enough to make it a positive addition. Not only is wind power 75 percent more expensive than coal generated electricity, solar power is 570 to 887 percent more expensive with current technology.
Change of Strategy to Plan B
Following the landslide victories in the 2010 Congressional elections, Obama and his progressive ideologues saw no chance of ever passing cap and trade legislation. So they immediately began to implement plan B. Plan B is a backdoor effort to implement cap and trade using the Clean Air Act and EPA regulations. Along with many other regulatory decrees issued by Obama’s Cabinet members and Czars on Tuesday, December 21, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced draconian new regulations that seriously impact U.S. energy production from coal and natural gas plants, and petroleum refinery facilities.
These regulations not only put the EPA directly in control of all electrical and gasoline production, they allow the EPA to control the U.S. economy. There is a one-to-one relationship between energy production and economic health. By controlling energy production, the federal government would control the U.S. economy; something progressives have drooled over for a hundred years.
The good news is that the EPA’s effort may be derailed by a Republican Congress finally showing some backbone. On February 16, Congressional Republicans released a budget plan that would impose $4.4 billion in deep cuts on energy efficiency and renewable energy, scientific research and environmental protection budget. That pales to the $26 billion newly elected Tea Party Republicans want to cut. However, $4.4 billion is a start. EPA’s share of this would be $1.6 billion to defund its greenhouse gas regulations.
Not only did the House budget defund the EPA’s climate agenda, it also defunded the U.S’ membership within the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The EPA regulations are entirely justified on the disproven man-caused global warming science provided by the IPCC. Despite several British governmental whitewash reports claiming the science was not compromised by the Climategate revelations, the exposed emails clearly show the science was discredited. The British Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee even condemned the whitewash reports.
The legislation to defund the EPA and IPCC will not likely make it through the Senate or be signed by the President. The IPCC funding will probably be reinstated, but the EPA regulations are so dangerous, most of the funding cuts may survive because of Democrat crossovers. It depends whether the progressives in the Senate and/or President Obama can make political hay by creating a gridlock in Congress over the budget. Unfortunately, every indication suggests that’s exactly what they will do.
Plan C – Derail Coal, Offshore Drilling and Shale Oil Development
Despite major setbacks, Obama and his progressive administration are continuing their war on fossil fuel. They blindsided the coal industry on January 16 when the EPA took the unprecedented action of revoking a mining permit issued years ago to Arch Coal’s Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, a progressive Democrat from West Virginia whose ox was gored by the action, warned “This action not only affects this specific permit, but needlessly throws other permits into a sea of uncertainty at a time of great economic distress.” Indeed, the action throws a cloud over dozens of other permits and puts teeth to Obama’s campaign statement that he would “bankrupt” the coal industry.
Former governor and newly elected Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) finally may be seeing the dangers of progressive ideology. “According to the EPA,” Manchin wrote, “it doesn’t matter if you did everything right, if you followed all of the rules. Why? They just change the rules.”
Therein lays the danger of the EPA and everything in the progressive’s agenda. A careful analysis of progressive strategies clearly show a pattern of constant chipping away at constitutional limitations of federal power through the systematic changing of regulations, just as Manchin wrote.
Using the Hegelian Dialectic, progressives create or amplify a problem (like man-caused global warming), then propose an outrageous solution (cap and trade). When they meet strong resistance, they settle for the intermediate solution they wanted in the first place (EPA regulation of power plants and refineries). It is like asking for a pony when what is really wanted all along is a bicycle.
Progressives are experts at the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent” strategy. If progressives don’t initially succeed, a progressive organization sues the government and a progressive judge creates a desired law where none existed before. Progressives have used this strategy to expand the eighteen enumerated powers given to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution into an endless list of powers.
Progressives always trumpet they are looking out for the ‘little guy.’ Yet, their actions show it is the ‘little guy’ who always gets hurt the most by their agenda. Obama’s ‘skyrocketing’ cost of energy would hurt the poor and elderly the most. Even provisions progressives include in their legislation to give the poor and elderly rebates, would not adequately compensate the poor for their increased energy, food and other costs.
Cap and trade is but one example of throwing citizens under the bus. During the height of the BP deep-water oil spill, the Obama administration put a moratorium on all offshore drilling in in May 2010. The moratorium was struck down by U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman the following month. The Obama administration lifted the moratorium on shallow well drilling (less than 500 feet deep), but kept the moratorium on deep water drilling.
However, the lifting of the moratorium on shallow wells was an intentional misdirection. Despite an outstanding safety record for shallow drilling, the administration basically stonewalled issuing permits by forcing drillers to go through a maze of new safety regulations. This not only greatly lengthens the permitting process, but also adds about $90,000 in new costs. The net result is that the Obama administration has put thousands of people out of work at the same time the administration claims to be saving millions of jobs.
The moratorium was reinstated for deep-water drilling in July. Simple economics forced deep-water drilling companies to move their rigs to other places in the world. By doing so, it makes it very difficult and expensive to get the rigs back to resume any deep water drilling in the Gulf – even at depths which have an excellent safety record.
One of these deep-water rigs was moved to Brazil to drill a 14,000 foot well (the BP deep-water effort was 11,000 feet). The company that owned the oil rights was Petrobras, in which multibillionaire George Soros is the second largest investor. Soros, in turn is a big Obama supporter, contributor and advisor. Two months after Soros bought the second largest block of shares in Petrobras, Obama made a $2 billion taxpayer-backed loan guarantee to Petrobras. The point is Obama has no aversion to deep-water drilling – at least to his globalist friends.
This travesty was amplified on February 2, 2011 when Judge Feldman ruled that the Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deep-water-drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down. Judge Feldman said the Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling. “Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance,” Feldman said in the ruling.
Off shore drilling is not the only domestic oil production targeted for curtailment by the Obama administration. He has authorized the review of 200 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land for consideration as ‘Wild Lands.’ ‘Wild Lands’ is a category that does not have to have Congressional approval, as does wilderness designations.
Like the Gulf States, Obama’s actions will severely harm or even destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of residents and companies who depend on BLM land to earn a living. Destroying the lives of resource users apparently means nothing to progressive ideology. That, however, is not the worst of it. The effort offers the opportunity to lock up forever any chance at developing the mammoth shale oil deposits of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming by declaring them to be wild lands.
Colorado, Utah and Wyoming have enough oil and gas in shale oil formations to completely supply all U.S. needs for several hundred years with current technology and oil prices. The BLM estimates that “1.2–1.8 trillion barrels of oil is available in Wyoming’s Green River Formation alone. A moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of oil that would be recoverable from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia” That is over a 100 year supply of oil at present U.S. consumption rates – just from Wyoming. Yet, the progressives in Congress have stonewalled shale oil development for over a decade. They want a more permanent solution. Wild lands designations appear to be the progressive answer.
It appears, however, that Obama cannot wait for even these wild land designations. On February 14, 2011, the Obama administration announced it is going to take a “fresh look” at the oil shale leasing rules put in place by President George W. Bush in 2008. Bush’s rules allowed the development of the oil-rich shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming over nearly 2 million acres of BLM land in the Green River Formation alone.
The Obama Endgame
Although President Obama talks constantly about becoming less dependent on foreign oil, he has systematically stopped all new domestic oil production. Most analysts believe he is doing this to make energy prices “necessarily skyrocket” so that his very expensive alternative wind and solar energy can compete. If so, he is so blinded by his ideology that he is willing to sacrifice the American people to his incredibly destructive energy policies in order to advance what he believes must be done.
Wind and solar energy are much more expensive than oil, natural gas and coal produced energy. If the U.S. were to produce 20 percent of its electricity from wind and solar according to the goals of the new EPA regulations, then something has to be done to make the goal seem economically reasonable. Obama’s answer seems to be to raise the price of coal and natural gas produced energy to the level of wind and solar.
The problem is that wind and solar only produce about1 percent today for a very good reason. They have severe constraints that cannot be resolved with today’s technology, nor any technology planned for the future. Simply stated, the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine.
Physicist Howard Hayden at the University of Connecticut sums up the situation: “Imagine a one-mile swath of wind turbines extending from San Francisco to Los Angeles. That land area would be required to produce as much power around the clock as one large coal, natural gas, or nuclear power station that normally occupies about one square kilometer.” Solar power is so inefficient that its footprint is even worse than wind. Until battery storage technology is developed to allow massive amounts of energy to be stored for long periods, wind and solar are a pipe dream. That technology is not even on the horizon yet.
The infeasibility of wind and solar power has already been proven in Europe where governments are slashing the huge subsidies given to wind and solar power companies needed to keep them going. The entire European alternative energy industry is crashing. That apparently does not bother Obama’s progressive advisors. They apparently have a fairytale believe that because wind and solar is the green thing to do, it will magically work. They don’t have a clue about how the real world works. Making fossil fuel energy as expensive as solar and wind will bankrupt the U.S., just as the enormous wind and solar subsidies are doing in Europe.
The Real Danger
As dangerous as Obama’s ideology is, however, it pales in significance to what could happen if the cascading unrest in the Mideast oil producing governments expand to Saudi Arabia. Just the fear of Libyan oil production being cut off during the week of February 20th caused a 13 percent jump in oil prices worldwide to nearly $100 a barrel. A day of rage is planned in Saudi Arabia on March 11, 2011. As commentator Charles Krauthammer warned on the Bret Hume Show (Fox News) February 23rd, if the government of Saudi Arabia goes down, “all hell will break loose.”
If Saudi Arabia goes down, oil prices will shoot up to over $200 a barrel and gas prices would top $5 a gallon. Most analysts believe that if gas prices top $5 a gallon, the already struggling U.S. economy could not stand it and would go down in flames. It would make the 1929 depression look like a walk in the park. Nobody wants that, but the risk is real. Very real. Yet, Obama is doing everything he can to turn a bad situation into a living hell. Apparently, he could care less what happens to the American people. He is committed only to his disastrous ideology and by doing so he represents the greatest threat to national security in modern history. This ideologue must be voted out of office in 2012 – if our economy survives that long.
1, Scott Conroy. Palin Unleashes New Attack Against Obama on Coal. CBS News, November 2, 2008
3, James Heiser. “Cap and trade” Collapses in Senate. The New American, July 26, 2010
4, Michael Coffman. OOPS! Alarmists’ Predictions Wrong Again. Range Magazine. Spring 2009. Also: Kristie Pelletier. The Danger of Cap and trade and the Fallacy of Man-caused Global Warming. A dozen 4-5 minute YouTube videos. Fall, 2009
5, Jay Lehr. Cap-andTrade Disaster Averted, but More Mandates Loom. Environment and Climate News, February 2011. Terry Easton. Cap and trade: A New Disaster Waiting to Happen in 2009. Human Events, March 14, 2009
6, Lorrie Goldstein. Cap-and-Trade Will Be Disaster; Europe has already shown it does not work. Standard Freeholder, 2009.
7, Gabriel Calzada Álvarez, et. Al. Study of the Effects On Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources. University of Rey Jan Carlos, Madrid Spain. March 2009
8, James Taylor. The Cap & Trade Handbook. The Heartland Institute. February, 2010, p 4
9, Republicans Want to Ax Renewable Energy and Environment. Green Investing. February 16, 2011
10, Roy Spencer, Ph.D. On the House Vote to Defund the IPCC. Global Warming. February 19, 2011
11, John Ingham. MPS Slam ‘Secretive’ Climategate Probes. Express.co.uk. February 24, 2011
12, Doug McKelway. Obama Coal Crackdown Sends Message to Industry. January 17, 2011
14. Sen. James Inhofe. We Don’t Need a Climate Tax on the Poor. James M. Inhofe, U.S. Senator-Oklahoma. June 3, 2008
15. Editorial. Who Pays for Cap and Trade? Wall Street Journal. March 9, 2009
16. Offshore Oil Drilling in Shallow Water: Good Safety Record, Less Risky. Institute for Energy Research. October 21, 2010
17. Obama Is So Worried About Deep Water Drilling, Why’d He Give Brazil & Mexico 4 bil to Drill Deeper in the Gulf? Oil Rig Jobs, September 29, 2010. Also click here.
18. Laurel Brubaker Calkins. U.S. In Contempt Over Gulf Drill Ban, Judge Rules. Bloomberg. February 3, 2011
19. Amy Joi O’Donoghue. Salazar Directs BLM to Designate ‘Wild’ Lands. Deseret News, December, 24, 2010
20. Michael Coffman, Rescuing a Broken America, Why America is Deeply Divided and How to Heal it Constitutionally. (NY: Morgan Press) 2010. Pp 144
21. About Oil Shale. Oil Shale & Tar Sands Programmatic EIS. No date
22. John Myers. Clean Energy is Pure Fantasy. No Cap and trade, November 18, 2009
23. Ben Rooney. Oil Briefly Hits “$100 – Highest Since 2008. CNN Money, February 23, 2011
24. Joe Weisenthal. Business Insider. Charles Krauthammer: All Hell Could Break Loose in the Middle East After March 11. February 24, 2011
( Original Article )