The Community Development Block Grant program is a perfect example of the blurring of responsibility between the federal government and the states. The program’s roots go back to the Great Society and the wishful belief that the problems of urban Americans could be solved with handouts from Washington. Instead, the program “has degenerated into a federal slush fund for pet projects of local politicians and politically connected businesses.”
That quote comes from Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) who introduced an amendment this week to terminate CDBGs. As McClintock explained to his House colleagues, it is not the federal government’s responsibility to fund purely parochial activities:
Even in the best of circumstances, these are all projects that exclusively benefit local communities or private interests and ought to be paid for exclusively by those local communities or private interests. They are of such questionable merit that no city council is willing to face its constituents and say, this is how we’ve spent your local taxes. But they are more than happy to spend somebody else’s federal taxes.
Unfortunately, McClintock’s words fell upon deaf ears as his amendment was voted down 80 to 342. Not a single Democrat supported the amendment. But it was the 156 Republicans who voted against the amendment that doomed it. Among those Republicans voting “no” was House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Worse, only 33 percent of the GOP “Tea Party Freshmen” voted to terminate a program that is completely at odds with the principles of limited government.
As I noted back in May, many of the GOP freshmen have switched from tea to Beltway Kool-Aid. Take, for example, tea party favorite Allen West of Florida. On West’s congressional website, he states that “As your Congressman, I will curb out of control Government spending.” He also says that “we need to challenge the status quo in Washington and stop the floodgates of government spending” and that he will “carry the torch of conservative, small government principles with me to Washington.” West, however, voted to save the CDBG program and he also voted back in May to save the Economic Development Administration, which is another parochial slush fund. In April, he accused Democrats of being communists. That’s pretty rich given that he proceeded to vote to protect programs that engage in central planning.
- Freshman Republicans Switch from Tea to Kool-Aid (cato-at-liberty.org)
- Republicans Join Democrats to Save Corporate Welfare (Again) (cato-at-liberty.org)
Cartoon by “Chip” Bok
May 6th 2012
A section of the draft of contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder is dedicated to explaining how Fast & Furious branches off into different departments within the Department of Justice (DOJ).
While most know about the operation being based in Phoenix, the strategy was actually developed in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) in Washington, DC. The ODAG decided it would be brilliant to concentrate on identifying the members of the trafficking network instead of seizing the firearms right away.
The goal was to capture the big fish of the cartels. The ATF Phoenix Field Office decided to use this strategy in Fast & Furious. But that wasn’t good enough for them and in late January 2010 the office “applied for Fast and Furious to become an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case.” In order to do that the agents had to tell all about their investigative strategy, i.e. gunwalking. It was approved and was given new funding. Also, since it became a prosecutor-led OCDETF Strike Force case, other departments would come in. Those include FBI, DEA, IRS, and ICE under the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. Fast & Furious came to the attention of ATF headquarters on December 8, 2009. The ATF’s Office of Strategic Information and Intelligence (OSII) told senior personnel about the operation, especially about recoveries of weapons in Mexico. But the more statistics they received, the more concerned they became about the operation.
Deputy ATF Director Billy Hoover called for an exit strategy in March 2010. He received one in May, but we all know it didn’t happen. The office continued to delay the indictments and ATF headquarters never demanded them to arrest the straw purchasers. Operation Wide Receiver, a gun tracking operation during the George W. Bush administration, is often brought up to deflect from Fast & Furious. Most people on the other side want to prosecute that case instead. Well, as it turns out, the DOJ’s Criminal Division sent prosecutors to Arizona to help the US Attorney to prosecute cases, including Wide Receiver. Indeed, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer was very interested in the operation. James Trusty, senior official in the Criminal Division’s gang Unit, said Mr. Breuer was very interested in the case and wanted to be briefed on it. A briefing on March 5, 2010, “highlighted the large number of weapons the gun trafficking ring had purchased and discussed recoveries of those weapons in Mexicio.” Steve Martin, Deputy Assistant Director in ATF’s Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information, said everyone knew the guns were being linked to the cartels. However it’s the wiretaps that prove how deeply involved the Criminal Division was with Fast & Furious. It shouldn’t come to anyone’s shock that the DOJ hasn’t handed over the applications to the Committee. After all, the top dogs signed them: Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals Jason Weinstein, Kenneth Blanco, and John Keeney. It’s more than obvious the DOJ can say this was just a local issue. There’s more than enough evidence to prevent them from continuing to brush it off as a rogue field office mistake.
- Is Fast and Furious the Next Watergate? (mb50.wordpress.com)
Posted by Doug Tjaden
In 2011, Utah was the first state in over 80 years to pass a law making gold and silver coin legal tender. Its passage sparked articles in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and a host of major internet news sources. After decades of obscurity, Utah’s historic measure put sound money back on the map. Not satisfied to rest on their laurels, Utah passed a companion bill in the 2012 session, and it was signed by Governor Herbert.
The bill clarifies several tax measures and more importantly, expands the available specie to include gold and silver coin approved by the state.
Gold or silver coin or bullion, other than gold or silver coin that is issued by the United States, is considered to be specie legal tender and is legal tender in the state if:
(a) a court of competent jurisdiction issues a final, unappealable judgment or order determining that the state may recognize the gold or silver coin or bullion, other than gold or silver coin that is issued by the United States, as legal tender in the state; or
(b) congress enacts legislation that: (i) expressly provides that the gold or silver coin or bullion, other than gold or silver coin that is issued by the United States, is legal tender in the state; or (ii) expressly allows the state to recognize the gold or silver coin or bullion, other than gold or silver coin that is issued by the United States, as legal tender in the state.
By allowing additional specie to be used as legal tender, the Utah legislature has freed its citizens from potential supply constraints imposed by the use of only United States minted gold and silver coin. More importantly, the people of the state of Utah now define what specie is considered constitutional tender, further distancing themselves from potential control of their competing currency by Washington D.C.
Many who subscribe to Austrian economic theory applaud Utah’s leadership. They clearly see a sovereign debt crisis looming on the not-too-distant horizon and understand the importance of having in place a hard currency system to fall back on. Choice and competition in currency has never been more important in this nation. Well done Utah. Keep up the great work. The rest of the nation may soon thank you.
Doug Tjaden is in Strategic Business Development at SilverSaver.com by Mass Metal LLC. He is an avid proponent of helping states re-institute sound money through education and networking. Doug is also an author, pastor and father of five and is a speaker on economics, politics and religion. He is passionate about helping people understand history, and how it can help us identify trends in place which will soon affect our lives.
- Dr. Edwin Vieira, you should know better about what the U.S. Constitution says about legal tender (fauxcapitalist.com)
- The distinction between legal tender for payment of debts and payment for goods and services (fauxcapitalist.com)
- States To Use Gold and Silver as Legal Tender (activistpost.com)
- U.S. Mint to Produce Five-ounce Silver Bullion Coins (prweb.com)
- Sound Money Takes Hold in Utah, Missouri and South Carolina (wealthwire.com)
- House panel OKs gold, silver as legal tender – State & Regional – TheState.com (goldkingint.wordpress.com)
- Utah & South Carolina Legalizes Gold, Silver Coins As Currency (goldkingint.wordpress.com)
- Why is the cost of some silver more than others? (goldkingint.wordpress.com)
- South Carolina Approves Gold and Silver as Money (postamericana.wordpress.com)
If you can take your eyes off the primary election coverage, watch Geithner. The US is engaged in a love trapezoid. The four corners are Beijing, Tehran, Tokyo, and Washington. Treasury Secretary Geithner is the Obama Administration’s front person. Track the news for the names of the other agents.
This is a very serious time. The pieces are linked. Some bullets as you watch the news flow.
1. The US faces the pressure of follow-through on Iran sanctions. Iran is an exporter of oil to Asia. Japan is dependent on imported oil. China is not self-sufficient. One part of this trapezoidal geometry is about oil.
2. Iran is feeling the heat from sanctions. The US wants to tighten them. It cannot do so without help from Asian “friends.”
3. China and Japan are each buyers of US Treasury securities. They each help finance the American fiscal deficit and the ongoing current-account deficits. They each want to diversify their reserves. They are not sellers, but they are reluctant additional buyers. This is truer for China than for Japan, but it is true in both cases.
4. China is glacially proceeding toward world reserve-currency status. It gradually allows its currency to strengthen against the dollar. It follows a policy that is fully rational for the Beijing oligarchs. It shrugs off political threats from Washington politicians (Schumer, Graham) who love to bash China while talking to their American constituents. China understands our political processes and our weaknesses. However, China also understands “realpolitik” and uses it. They learned US use of realpolitik from Nixon and Kissinger. Expect them to smile publicly but put some very intense private heat on Geithner.
5. Japan faces enormous economic pressure and sees the yen strength as now threatening. In order to weaken the yen, it must acquire other currency holdings in large quantity. (See the Cumberland website, www.cumber.com, for G4 central bank charts, and flip to those on the Bank of Japan. You will be able to observe how Japan expanded its balance sheet several years ago and subsequently contracted it. We expect them to expand it in 2012 as they seek to arrest yen strength.)
6. Japan is negotiating with China so that it may acquire reserve debt instruments denominated in Chinese currency. Beijing likes this because it is a step toward achieving world reserve-currency status. Geithner now worries, because the trend points toward a gradual and long-term weakening of the US position, as the world’s second (China) and third (Japan) largest economies maneuver their global positions.
7. Our Asian friends know that the US election cycle creates maximum vulnerability for the United States. That also makes circumstances more dangerous and raises risk profiles. Europe is of no help to us, given its internal crises.
We recall that a three-legged stool is a stable form. A four-legged stool is less stable. A four-legged stool with a trapezoidal top is least stable. Especially when one of the legs is Iran.
Watch Geithner in Asia and the news flow. Read between the lines, since the public statements will all be scripted and self-serving. Risk is high. Also, stay overweight energy. We are.
Read more: BI
- Forget The Election News: Keep Your Eye On Tim Geithner And The Love Trapezoid (businessinsider.com)
- The Chinese Yuan May Become A World Currency (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Tim Geithner Glitch In The Matrix Special: Will America Become Greece In Two Years – “No Risk Of That” (zerohedge.com)
- U.S. politics clash with reality over China currency (promoteliberty.wordpress.com)
- Wen calls for focus on common interests (upi.com)
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Institute for Energy Research released today a groundbreaking North American Energy Inventory exposing the decades-long myth that the U.S. is running out of coal, oil, and natural gas because of inadequate domestic supplies. As a part of IER’s year long “Energy for America” campaign, the report details the vast energy resources that could power the nation’s future, if not for government policy that stands in the way.
“The current administration and its green energy allies in business and in Washington appear willing to drive up the price of energy for American consumers by limiting access to our vast resources. For the past several years, taxpayer dollars have been spent to fund unproven green energy pipe dreams, while Americans have been denied the opportunity to utilize the coal, oil, and natural gas that is literally under our feet,” said IER President Tom Pyle about the report.
“This energy report should change the conversation in Washington and promote policies that reproduce nationwide the energy boom in places like North Dakota, where unemployment is at now at 3.5 percent (the lowest in the nation) and domestic production on private lands has more than tripled in the last five years. The Institute for Energy Research is proud to release this report, the culmination of months of research and analysis by IER experts. We have drawn from a broad array of government, industry, and university data to present hard facts — not myths — about our energy future. The report presents a clearer picture than the anti-fracking, anti-drilling, and anti-exploring ideologues in Washington want the American people to see.”
Among the report’s findings are:
- When combined with resources from Canada and Mexico, the total recoverable oil in North America exceeds 1.7 trillion barrels. That’s more than the entire world has used in 150 years, and sufficient to fuel the present needs in the United States for the next 250 years.
- In the last 30 years, the United States produced 77 billion barrels of oil, which was more than 150 percent of the estimated reserves in 1980.
- The total amount of recoverable natural gas in North America is approximately 4.2 quadrillion (4,244 trillion) cubic feet. That is enough natural gas in North America to last for the next 175 years at current rates of consumption.
- There is more recoverable natural gas in North America, Canada, and Mexico than the combined proved reserves in Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkmenistan.
- North America has more than 497 billion short tons of recoverable coal, or nearly three times as much as Russia, which has the world’s second largest reserves. In fact, North America’s recoverable coal resources are bigger than the five largest non-North American countries’ reserves combined (Russia, China, Australia, India, Ukraine.)
- A scarcity of good policies, not a scarcity of energy, is responsible for U.S. energy insecurity.
IER will preview the report during a weekly briefing at The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, December 6, 2011.
To read the full report and supplemental materials, click here.
To watch a video presentation of the report’s central findings, click here.
- Shale Gas Industry to Support 870,000 Jobs by 2015 (247wallst.com)
- $598 Billion: Oil companies plan record capital spending next year (mb50.wordpress.com)
WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 31
By Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor
Oil and natural gas producers have begun work on developing a third shale play in Louisiana, giving the state one proved and producing formation and two that are being watched closely, according to Scott Angelle, secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources.
The new area in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas is referred to as the “Brown Dense” or “Lower Smackover” and is believed to be a limestone layer at the base of the Smackover formation, a long-time source of traditionally producer oil and gas in northern Louisiana, Angelle said Aug. 31.
He said the Brown Dense joins the Tuscaloosa Marine shale as the second half of a Louisiana dense-rock play duo believed to have production potential similar to Louisiana’s Haynesville shale and the Barnett and Eagle Ford shales in Texas. The Tuscaloosa Marine shale is believed to underlie much of central Louisiana, with exploration under way in areas from Vernon Parish to East Feliciana Parish, Angelle said.
He said initial development of the Brown Dense—generally believed to underlie northern Claiborne, Union, and Morehouse parishes—has barely begun. Southwestern Energy Co., Houston, has begun to drill its first well in the Brown Dense in Arkansas, and has announced it will seek a permit to drill a second in Claiborne Paris by yearend 2011, Angelle said (OGJ Online, July 29, 2011).
In Southwestern’s second-quarter earnings teleconference on July 29, the company’s Pres. and Chief Exeuctive officer Steve Mueller said the company had, to date, invested $150 million, or $326/acre, on undeveloped Brown Dense acreage, with an 82% average net revenue interest. “We’ll begin by targeting the higher gravity oil window under our lease, which we believe could be 45-55° gravity range,” he said.
The right mix
Southwestern has reviewed the Brown Dense extensively across the region and has indications that it has the right mix of reservoir depth, thickness, porosity, matrix permeability, ceiling formations, thermal maturity, and oil characteristics, Mueller stated.
The area’s porosity is 3-10% and it has an anticipated 0.62 psi pressure gradient, making it overpressured, he said.
“We have assembled log data on 1,145 wells covering five states to evaluate the Brown Dense and acquired over 6,000 miles of 2D seismic and have gathered and analyzed rock data from cores and cuttings from 70 wells that penetrated the Brown Dense zone,” Mueller said. “At this point, we currently have more data about the Brown Dense than we had on the Fayetteville shale when it was announced.”
He said Southwestern hopes to spud its first Brown shale well in Arkansas during the third quarter and the second, in Louisiana’s Claiborne Parish with a planned vertical depth around 8,900 ft and a 3,500 ft planned horizontal lateral, later this year.
“We plan to drill up to 10 wells in 2012 as we continue to test this concept,” said Mueller. “This formation has sourced several large conventional oil and gas fields and our hope is to use horizontal drilling technology to unlock at least as much potential. Positive test results could significantly increase our activity in this play over the next several years.”
Angelle said Devon Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, also has acquired 40,000 acres in the Brown Dense and plans to drill a test well there. The independent has received a permit for a well targeting the deeper Smackover in Morehouse Parish, the Louisiana official said.
He said that Devon also is active in the Tuscaloosa Marine shale, with 250,000 acres leased, and plans to drill two wells. About a half dozen wells targeting the Tuscaloosa Marine—long thought to contain substantial reserves, but previously considered uneconomical—are currently in the process of being drilled or securing permits, Angelle said.
The increased activity will create more water demand for hydraulic fracturing, noted another Louisiana official, State Conservation Commissioner Jim Welsh. The decline in water use in the Haynesville shale play, however, may more than offset the increase in water use in the Tuscaloosa Marine and Brown Dense, at least in their early stages.
Producers drilling in the Brown Dense formation have informed the state’s conservation office that they intend to use surface and recycled water for their overall project needs, in conformance with guidelines issued for nearby areas experiencing stressed groundwater conditions, he said.
The anticipated Brown Dense development area underlies the Sparta Aquifer, where water levels have recently improved following combined state and local efforts to manage groundwater use, Welsh said. “We are still discouraging new high-volume users from using groundwater in that area, and are giving guidance for alternative sources for water,” he added.