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Archive for the 'Politics & Policy' Category

July 8th 2009

Greenpeace Dishonors America’s Greatest

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hree of America’s greatest presidents – no way am I counting Teddy Roosevelt in that group [thanks, Coop!] – were dishonored by Greenpeace today when the group defaced Mt. Rushmore with a banner portraying FDR wannabe Barack Obama.  The message is ludicrous:  “America Honors Leaders, Not Politicians. Stop Global Warming.”

The banner seems to imply that Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln were not leaders.  The Greenpeace idiots should be very, very glad we have First Amendment rights in this country.  I won’t dispute that Obama’s a leader; it’s just a disagreement with Greenpeace over the way he’s leading us.  I don’t believe “honor” should be ascribed to a person who is leading America towards socialism and economic ruin.

And as for stopping global warming, pshaw.  All Obama’s policies will do is make everything more expensive; they will do nothing to significantly alter the atmosphere or the globe’s climate.  His “leadership” on cap and tax is better described as “ruinship.”

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July 8th 2009

Let Government Do It – That’s The Answer

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ox News Radio on Sirius doesn’t get many paying advertisers at night when I frequently listen to it while driving home from meetings, so I get to hear a lot of public service announcements from the federal government.  Oh, joy.

One that’s running a lot nowadays features a little girl who’s afraid to go to sleep.  It turns out she’s afraid because of what happened during Hurricane Katrina, but don’t worry, the soothing voice of the announcer tells us, just bring the little girl to us, the government, where there are caring people ready to make everything all better.

What?! Isn’t that the family’s job? The pastor’s job? When did America become so trusting of the government that a parent would hand a frightened child over to a bureaucracy?  Surely they know that this is the sort of thing you should expect from government:

A multi-million pound initiative to reduce teenage pregnancies more than doubled the number of girls conceiving.

The Government-backed scheme tried to persuade teenage girls not to get pregnant by handing out condoms and teaching them about sex.

But research funded by the Department of Health shows that young women who attended the programme, at a cost of £2,500 each, were ‘significantly’ more likely to become pregnant than those on other youth programmes who were not given contraception and sex advice.

A total of 16 per cent of those on the Young People’s Development Programme conceived compared with just 6 per cent in other programmes. (Daily Mail)

That’s what that mom with the frightened child should consider – if the rate of little girls going crazy in the general population is six percent, it’ll be 16 percent for those given over to the U.S. Department of Love & Caring.

Now let’s see … the Prez tells us we’ll be healthier if we just let government take care of our health care ….  Sure – that sounds like a great idea!

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July 7th 2009

The Left Uneasily Re-Confronts The Bush Doctrine

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ix very long paragraphs into a seven-paragraph column in Slate, Christopher Hitchens finally gets around to the big question, as if it was an intellectual breakthrough of such import it needed a hefty introduction:

Which brings me to a question that I think deserves to be asked: Did the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, and the subsequent holding of competitive elections in which many rival Iraqi Shiite parties took part, have any germinal influence on the astonishing events in Iran?

Oh, you mean like the Bush Doctrine?  Show them a little Democracy and stand back? Hitchens hedges his bets, saying “one swallow does not make the summer,” and subheading the article (possibly by editors, not Hitchens), “Given the connections between Iraq and Iran, it’s not as unlikely as it sounds).

Unlikely? One swallow? Iraq has a Shi’ite majority and Iran is a Shi’ite country.  Iranians know what the condition of Iraqi Shi’ites was before the war, and they know their condition now.  They see elections that are fair and open being held just across the border, and they know of candidates now holding office in Iraq that would never be approved by the Mullahs to even run in Iran.

The Bush Doctrine meme has been remarkably thin in all the coverage, blogging, punditry and tweeting over the Iran elections, but it stands in the middle of the story like an 800-pound gorilla no one wants to write about. Bush’s war in Iraq so obviously led to the deep yearning for freedom in Iran that the leftist readers of Salon are howling in defensive, unsustainable protest:

Trace192 lays out the familiar diatribe:

Hundreds of thousands of American injured.. millions of innocent Iraqi civilians displaced or killed.. billions of taxpayer’s money wasted..

And there’s Hitch, still desperately grasping at straws in an attempt to justify it.

The loss of life in Iraq, while exponentially smaller than leftists predicted prior to the war, remains tragic and the Left refuses to let a single one of those deaths stand for something.

Candoxx has a disbelief of biblical proportions:

Well well well, not since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has the extrication of one man and his sons from the planet resulted in so much, eh?

On planet Hitchens.

Philadelphia Steve is so sure of his worldview that he doesn’t want to be bothered by being asked to think about any opposing view. He’ll just remain 100% sure of himself about everything, despite history, despite events:

Do the Neocons ever give up their attempts to justify Bush’s bungled, incompetent, wasteful invasoin and occupation of Iraq?

No.

And they never will.

The only question is why Slate, or anyone else, continues to waste space on people who have been 100% wrong on everything.

why?

Sir Real turns logic on its head, seeing a democracy (of sorts) ruled by Shi’ites as a threat to Iraq just like that big bad Sunni Saddam was:

On the one hand, it’s self-evident that people’s experiences (with, say, a brand spankin’ new neighboring government) color their perceptions.

On the other hand, are you effing kidding me?

You could, AT BEST, argue that the Iranian people are willing to demonstrate because they no longer have to fear Saddam on the border. (The Iran-Iraq war killed 188k+ Iranian men and boys- not the kind of thing you want to re-occur by, say, destabilizing your current government). But to imply that Iraq is some sort of democracy showroom, and that the events of June ’09 are the Iranians just itchin’ to buy is deeply self-serving, especially on the part of those who cheerleading led us there in the first place.

Geopolitics as dominoes- Stupid then (RIP McNamara), Stupid now.

And of course there’s always the leftist who can’t put together a thought without profanity, like the commenter blahblahblah, who’s so jaded, so cool to it all, so above it, so blithely unbothered that he/she actually comments as if thinking in poems; obscene poems to be sure, but poems nonetheless:

Every f****** Iranian you know
believed in the lie that was Moussavi’s lie
which he enunciated at a press conference before the g**d*** returns came in
when he declared that he was the winner of the election,
when in fact every lucid fact and number
before and after the election nationwide spoke otherwise.
So why the f*** should I care about your f***** friends,
when you’ve all become just a bunch of wishful thinking lying b******.

Give me change or a revolution based on the f****** truth
and not the hopeful lies with which you peddle so dearly hateful sir.
Good f****** grief.

I’ll leave out the obscenity, since it’s just not needed: Good grief.

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July 6th 2009

Those Bleeding-Heart, Weak-Kneed Mullahs

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eah, yeah, we sure tweeted about the #iranelections and blogged about how awful the Tehraniacs were, quashing political legitimate dissent over a fraudulent election.  But please, the Mullahs in Iran have nothing over the Commies in Beijing, who know how to quickly crush any expression in favor of political freedom.

AP reports from the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi, in the Uighurland west of China, that at least 140 have been killed and nearly 900 arrested after police a protest that up until than had been peaceful, demanding justice for two Uighurs killed last month during a fight with Han co-workers at a factory.  Soon thereafter, columns of paramilitary police were seen pouring into Urumqi, ready to open up a little Lhasa on the minority Uighers.

Sorry for not having a Tehran-like photo of suppression in action, but this is China, folks, and photos aren’t exactly flooding out of there.  In fact, Youku, China’s version of YouTube, and Fanfou, China’s Twitter, were both slammed shut in Xinjiang, and all Internet traffic slowed – a sure sign the government was heavily monitoring chatter.

Now that’s totalitarian suppression! The Mullahs should be moping, ashamed of themselves for their lily-livered response to pro-Democracy demonstrators.

Except not really.  Tehran was dealing pretty much with an all-Persian uprising; the Beijingoists are in the much more comfortable area of racial hatred and tribal supression, something they are very good at – the same thing that made the attacks on Tibet so pleasurable to the Han Chinese majority that runs China.

In Urumqui, as in Lhasa, the unrest is as much racial as it is political – if not more so.  With Chinese economic expansion, the majority Han ethnic group is spreading out throughout China, displacing Tibetans, Uighurs and others as they do.  The minorities complain to Beijing, but the Commies there see them as merely an inferior, backwards minority.

As for the Obama admin, as of 10:45 PST, there were no statements from the White House or State.

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July 4th 2009

Green Litigation Halts The Great White North

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he Arctic holds about a tenth of the world’s known oil and natural gas reserves – and it’s not clear what nation owns which offshore reserves because ownership is based on where the edge of the continental shelf is, and we don’t have a clear picture of undersea topography there.

As a result, the US, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, China and even South Korea, Singapore and Japanare all making forays into the region to establish drilling rights – rights that are becoming more valuable as ice-free navigation becomes possible in some parts of the Arctic.  So it would make good sense, wouldn’t it, for the US to establish operations wherever it can as quickly as it can, give a reasonable regulatory regimen?

And we would be doing just that, were it not for the Center for Biological Depravity Diversity.  The Washington Times reports today that the Center’s endless and aggressive litigation has brought much of the exploration by US companies to a halt:

Richard Ranger, senior policy adviser at the American Petroleum Institute, an industry lobbying group, said direct legal challenges are also slowing exploration and production off Alaska’s coast.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group, is the principal party behind Arctic litigation, Mr. Ranger said. The group has filed lawsuits with the federal Minerals Management Service to halt the issuing of air quality permits to Royal Dutch Shell, asserting, according to the center’s Web site, that the oil giant has not adequately assessed how exploratory drilling would affect wildlife and native populations.

Shell announced earlier this week that it was withdrawing its 2007-2009 drilling plan in the Beaufort Sea and would submit a new plan for 2010. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco blocked the company from oil drilling in July 2007.

The new lawsuits come on the heels of the Center’s central effort in getting the polar bear listed, a ridiculous, political contortion of the Endangered Species Act that should have been stopped in its tracks by the Bush Administration, but wasn’t, in one of Bush’s most signficiant domestic failures.  Building on that success, the Center is actively pursuing listings of numerous ice-dependent seals,  – the ribbon, bearded, spotted, and ringed seals – making similar arguments that worked well with its polar bear litigation strategy:

In addition to loss of its sea-ice habitat from global warming, the ribbon seal faces threats from oil and gas development in its habitat, and the growth of shipping in the increasingly ice-free Arctic. Last month, important summer feeding areas for the ribbon seal in the Chukchi Sea were leased for oil development, while seismic surveys are planned for the area this summer.

And what is the answer to these seals’ plight?  Hint: It’s not to just let them survive, as they have survived previous warming spells that melted the Arctic ice. No, we have to attack industry, the economy and the American way of life to save the seals:

“With rapid action to reduce carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon emissions, combined with a moratorium on new oil-and-gas development and shipping routes in the Arctic, we can still save the ribbon seal, the polar bear, and the entire Arctic ecosystem,” said Brendan Cummings, oceans program director for the Center. “But the window of opportunity to act is closing rapidly. Endangered Species Act protection for the ribbon seal and other Arctic species will provide important tools to protect these species and their fragile habitat in the Arctic.”

Going after multiple seal listings at the same time is the same strategy that has worked so well for the Center in Central California, where its Delta smelt listing, which has slashed water deliveries and spiked unemployment in some areas to 40 percent, has been followed by similarly disruptive listings of the long-finned smelt and Delta-dependent salmon species.

The new litigation’s focus on air quality shows how opportunistically the Center bends environmental laws and regulations to their favor. Air quality is an area of easy pickings since the baseline arctic air is unusually clean. Regulations written for the Lower 50 are easy to exploit there, and exploit they have.

The Center takes no prisoners. It doesn’t believe in compromise. It certainly does not believe in an economically robust, expansive America. Its founder has made it clear he sees his purpose as the depopulaiton of the West. The Center’s mission obviously has grown, and its actions in the Arctic not only could lead to greater dependence on foreign oil, but also, tragically, could lead to foreign ownership of drilling sites that are rightfully ours.

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July 2nd 2009

Unequal Justice For All

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ostile, America-hating jihadists captured in battles in Afghanistan were shown U.S. hospitality in Guantanamo – given Qur’ans and a proper Muslim diet, offered exercise and prayer time.  Each individual’s case was carefully researched and heard, a lawyer by the jihadist’s side to represent his interests.  Many were simply freed after this process, others ascertained judiciously to be too dangerous and returned to their cells.

And for this process, Leftists in America and anti-Americans around the world howled and spat and said vile things about our country and our president.  Even our new president joined in the condemning chorus, staking out the most left-wing of all candidates’ position on the matter.

Now, with the capture of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, we have a sad and tragic opportunity to measure the behavior of America against the behavior of those who fight us on the battlefield, betray us on our shores, and denigrate us from the comfort of their protected European easy chairs.

We certainly can’t expect anything approaching equal treatment and respect from those jihadist thugs who captured the soldier. Here’s what WaPo reports on them:

“Our leaders have not decided on the fate of this soldier.” the AFP quoted the Haqqani commander, identified only as Bahram, as saying. “They will decide on his fate and soon we will present video tapes of the coalition soldier and our demand to media.”

So Haqqani leaders, not a tribunal, will decide his fate.  And he will be videotaped and used as a propaganda tool, a violation of the Geneva accords.  And they will use the soldier to make demands of us, rather than treat him as a prisoner of war.  Anyone who has followed these sorts of cases has to fear for the life of this soldier; I hope that is not the case, but he has suffered the great misfortune of being captured by people who are not Americans.

Check out the several stories posted on Memeorandum about this breaking event, and you will find no Leftist outlets or blogs listed; you will not be able to link over to any stories or posts from the Left, calling for justice and demanding compliance with Geneva. They are uninterested, just as they are suddenly uninterested in civilian deaths in Iraq or military operations in Afghanistan.  Hypocrites.

Don’t count on this story even breaking through the Michael Jackson storm in the European press, obsessed as it is with deviant behaviors – especially by Americans.

Those who demanded full rights don’t even much care about this soldier’s right to life.  Guantanamo was all about serving a purpose other than protecting jihadists; it was about destroying a presidency and denigrating America, nothing more – and the Left’s disinterest in the fate of this soldier is all the proof we need.

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July 1st 2009

A Little Post-Waxman-Markey Clarity

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K, gang, let’s start prepping for the Senate showdown and, hopefully, the crashing and oh- so- carbon- emitting burning of the cap and tax lunacy.  Let’s start in a chilly place that by rights should be one of the leading proponents of global warming.  Lord knows, the weather certainly could stand to get a wee bit warmer in Scotland.

But for reasons unfathomable by rational minds, Scotland has decided its proper role as a nation is to lead the lemmings off the global warming cliff.  It hails itself, claiming it has the world’s most ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals – a 42 percent reduction by 2020 and a mind-numbingly stupid 80 percent slash by 2050. Just listen to Scotland’s Climate Minister (Climate Minister?! He should be filed on the spot! Have you seen Scotland’s climate? Disgusting!) says about it all:

Scotland can be proud of this bill, the most ambitious and comprehensive piece of climate change legislation anywhere in the world. As a country, we are leading global action and expect others to follow our lead as we look to the international summit in Copenhagen this December.

I bet it’s going to be bone-chillingly cold in Copenhagen this December – big global warming confab or not.

I bring all this up because in Scotland’s goals we see what’s ahead for a cap and tax America.

Get ready for hefty fines if your household doesn’t do its part. And heftier fines if your business doesn’t. That’s now the rule in Scotland.

Prepare yourself for the Greenshirts busting into your house in search of plastic bags, or forcing your corporation to drop its theft-resistant packaging for something more easy to steal. OK, they’re not yet breaking down doors in Scotland, but they are attacking plastic bags as heinous, anti-social tools of destruction, only slightly more acceptable than the dreaded product packaging.

To incentivize thrifty Scots to part with some of their cash to reduce their carbon footprints, the Scotish Parliament has approved a 50 pound reduction in a local tax.  That sounds exactly like Obama thinking.  Everyone who pitches in to save the planet gets a tax cut.  Never mind that you’ll spend a 500, or 1,000 or 10,000 pounds to insulate your quaint cottage or install solar – that 50-pound tax cut is exactly the sort of great incentive a big government control freak would come up with. And we have more than a few of those in DC.

Not all the Scots are buying it, of course.  Here’s university prof Dr. James Buckee attempting too late to interject some rationality into all this:

“As far as reducing emissions by 80 per cent, banning the internal combustion engine, and coal-fired power stations from Scotland would not get close to doing it. This is clearly unobtainable.

“More energy has been expended on finding ways to infringe on human activity than has gone into understanding the science.”

Heh.  Loved that.  And speaking of understanding the science, there was one heck of an article in Forbes the other day, Waxman-Markey Flunks the Math.  Math is the base of all science, so that’s bad news for the Warmies. Here we go with the basics:

In the U.S., electricity is produced from these sources. If you are reading this on a handheld and can’t read Wikipedia’s wonderful pie chart, here is the breakdown:

48.9% — Coal
20% — Natural Gas
19.3% — Nuclear
1.6% — Petroleum

Got that? A tick over 88% of U.S. electricity comes from three sources: coal, gas and nuclear. Petroleum brings the contribution of so-called “evil” energy–that is, energy that is carbon- or uranium-based–to almost 90%.

The remaining sources of U.S. electricity, the renewables, are, by comparison, tiny players:

7.1% — Hydroelectric
2.4% — Other Renewables
0.7% — Other

Hydroelectric accounts for 70% of renewable energy in America. But, of course, hydro is mostly tapped out. Almost every dam that could be built has been built. Ironically enough, political opposition to building more dams comes from the same crowd of tree huggers who oppose coal, gas and uranium.

Waxman-Markey is all about punitively taxing the energy sources that make up 90 percent of our electrical generation, in order to subsidize the 10 percent that’s renewable.  Well, really 3 percent if you don’t count hydroelectric generation, which isn’t targeted for big Waxman-Markey subsidies. The author then reveals what the bill is all about; not stopping global warming, but good ol’ politics as usual:

In other words, Waxman-Markey is betting the future of U.S. electricity production on sources that now contribute 3% or supply 10 million Americans with electricity. That’s enough juice for the people in Waxman’s Los Angeles County. Or, if you prefer, for Nancy Pelosi’s metro San Francisco plus Markey’s metro Boston.

Well, what about electricity for the other 295 million? You can’t get there from here with Waxman-Markey. At very best, solar, wind and cellulosic ethanol will make 20% contributions by 2025. The smart money would bet on 10%.

Besides, those nasty ol’ Devil fuels are doing very well on the technology front, advancing at a clip that rivals or surpasses gains made in alternative energy.  Engines are cleaner and more efficient, fuels burn hotter and cleaner, and extraction and processing technologies are greener than ever.

There simply is no reason for Waxman-Markey … except for power-grabbing and money-sucking.  But there is a great alternative, an absolutely brilliant alternative, promoted today by Doug Ross:

We start with the most useless government agencies we can find. The Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, The Department of Health and Human Services, The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the FCC and Amtrak. For the sake of argument, let’s say that together, they consume $250 billion a year.

Congress’ job? They would be required to cut spending for these ridiculous bureaucracies according to the following schedule (which I had a lot of fun creating — all numbers in billions).

2012 – $250
2013 – $210
2014 – $190
2015 – $160
2016  – $140
2017 – $120
2018 – $110
2019 – $100
2020 – $90
2021 – $75
2022 – $60
2023 – $50

Pay-cuts? Layoffs? Closing unnecessary facilities? Who gives a crap? That’s for them to figure out.

How do you like Cap-and-trade now, Democrats?

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June 27th 2009

The Ugly Eight

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ere they are, with an art hat-tip to Michelle Malkin, the Cap and Tax 8. Mary Bono Mack was a known commodity going in, apparently having suffered some transfer of her former husband’s fatal brain injury. Who are these other losers-to-be?

Mike Castle of Delaware doesn’t even have “energy” as in issue on his Web site, but the environment section makes it clear his green runs pretty deep and he’s a long supporter of cap and tax because he’s bought into the gloom and doom faction’s global warming myth.  He links to this story in the local rag:

Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., said several developments bode well for climate-change legislation: the arrival of a new president and new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the growing cooperation of businesses and the realization that such legislation will open up new market opportunities.

“I think all these things combined will give us the opportunity to see something happen in the course of this year,” said Castle, who supports a cap-and-trade program.

So his vote is really no surprise; just his party designation is.  He’s thinking about running for the Senate and this vote may have been calculated to shore up his green base for that statewide campaign.

Mark Kirk, who has signaled he’d like to run for gov, leads his web site with a video in which he promises to read every page of the bill before voting, saying he’s got a couple hours and a few hundred pages to go before the vote – how thorough a read was that?  Like Castle, he has no “energy” issue paper on his Web site. His environment paper notes that he has been ranked one of Congress’ top 13 environmental champions, for his work “saving” Lake Michigan – there’s that enviro-egomaniacal behavior again. He believes government must force America off it’s “addiction to oil,” was a co-sponsor of legislation for higher CAFE standards and is a big alternative energy funding proponent – including, of course since he’s from Illinois, ethanol – a fuel which makes no sense whatsoever, just like cap and trade.

The NY after John McHugh’s name is for upstate NY of course – it’s hard to elect a Republican anywhere else in the state – but he’s Obama’s designee for Sec. of the Army and this was payback time, pure and simple. His environment paper gives no hint that he’d vote for cap and tax, and his energy paper shows him to be pro-nuke and concerned about rising gas prices. So despite all that alligator-tear concern, he voted yes in return for a new gig.  Politics!

Now for the New Jersey trio, who could have turned the vote around if they’d all stayed with the GOP.  Let’s start with the man with the totally NJ name, Frank LoBiondo.  He with the head Sarah Palin could easily poke fun at … or mistake for a football and kick.  His Web site boldly leads off with a news release proclaiming his vote for cap and tax:

U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today voted in favor of H.R. 2454, the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009” – comprehensive legislation that seeks to make the United States energy independent by focusing the nation’s energy policy toward clean, renewable sources such as wind, solar and nuclear.

“For South Jersey residents who lived through the energy crisis of the 1970s, the nation witnessed the rationing of gas, stations sold-out of fuel, and our country’s absolute reliance on foreign nations to save us from our increasing consumption. Jobs were lost. The economy sank further into recession. And the nation did not take action.

“Then, in the 1990s, there was a bitter debate over increasing fuel efficiency standards in automobiles, yet minimal action was taken despite the technological capabilities to go further. I have long said that if Congress had passed higher standards in the 1990s – standards I supported – then our consumption and annual fuel costs now would be half. However, the oil corporations and automobile makers were against such standards and now lose billions of dollars to foreign competitors who were forward-thinking, developed fuel efficient technologies and sell hybrid vehicles that get 40 to 50 miles per gallon.

“The ‘American Clean Energy and Security Act’ is the opportunity to break the cycle of inaction and finally move our nation towards real energy independence.

The Rep would do well to remember the oil excess profits tax, which dropped US oil production by 8 percent and increased imports by 13 percent. He’s a loon if he thinks cap and tax will have a less negative impact. His pre-election platform was almost straight party line – except he opposed opening off-shore oil leases and the construction of new oil refineries. We could easily see this vote coming.

Leonard Lance, the former NJ GOP senate leader, is not held in high regard by this commenter at New Republic:

Most people know that New Jersey is only second to California for financial trouble. First term Congressman Leonard Lance who lives in one of the most affluent areas of New Jersey, Hunterdon County was an unsuccessful lawyer in Clinton New Jersey and practiced under the wing of his father, a useless State Senator.

Like LoBiondo, Lance has a news release on his site heralding his monstrous vote as “a vote for energy independence:”

I am voting for this bill because it is time America turned the corner and took bold action to clean the environment and develop alternative energy. We cannot allow countries whose opposition to democracy and support for terrorism grow with every barrel of oil they sell to continue to dominate energy politics.

Yeah, I’m with him on that; he just picked the wrong legislative vehicle to accomplish that end. The computer didn’t become dominant because Congress put a hefty tax on typewriters. Like LoBiondo, Lance is blitheringly ignorant of basic economy, which makes him de facto not a Republican.

Rounding out da three guys from Joisey is Chris Smith of Trenton, who unlike his gang brothers, isn’t discussing his vote on his Web site.  Smith co-authored a bill with cap and trade co-author Ed Markey that would spur global investment in alternative energy (a great alternative to cap and tax!) and writes on his environment paper:

As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I believe it is equally imperative that we address environmental issues—such as climate change—on a global scale. Global warming is a real threat and an increasing danger to our environment. All major greenhouse emitting countries need to cooperate in reducing and stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of these gases, and the United States must play a leadership role in bringing nations together for a global solution to climate change.

That sure isn’t what Waxman-Markey will accomplish.  By penalizing the US, it will only encourage cheaper, dirtier uses of energy elsewhere.  NJ conservative political blogger Chris Wysocki writes of Smith’s vote:

And Chris Smith? WTF? He’s usually a level-headed thinker. He fights the good fight for children and victims of the bureaucratic behemoth. So why in the world did he vote to escalate the power of that behemoth by a thousand fold? He just consigned hundreds, if not thousands, of his constituents to the unemployment line. Their employers won’t be able to afford to keep the lights on, never mind maintain their current staffing levels. Thanks Congressman, you screwed us, and we’ll work to screw you back.

That brings us to Dave Reichert of the Peoples Republic of Washington, whose “yes” vote was long suspected. In a news release on his Web site, he admits “this bill is not perfect.”  He should have ended it there, before the “but” that took us to the now-expected explanation that it’s all about energy independence – the standard RINO excuse for voting for this bill. He even goes so far to laud the progressive Teddy Roosevelt – you know, as in “Progressive” – for his conservation ethic, without noting that Teddy pushed America down the road to big, obtrusive government.

There was no decent excuse to be had from any of the eight.  Those that are seeking higher office obviously thought this an intelligent political play – but it’s unlikely now that any of them will survive the primaries in their states.  A couple appear to be dyed in the wool greens.  All of them certainly are going to be recipients of future earmarks – keep your eyes open for that!  And none of them deserve the honor of having an “R” after their names.

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June 26th 2009

Remember The BTU Tax?

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emember the BTU Tax?  I didn’t, which caused me to make a mistake in my post yesterday, when I made this comment in response to this, from Obama’s Rose Garden shill for the Waxman-Markey energy tax, “We have been talking about this issue for decades, now is the time to finally act.”  I said:

“We’ve been talking about carbon taxes for decades?!”  Where does he get this stuff? How dumb does he think we are?  If you stretch the timeline rather aggressively, pressure to tax carbon began within the last ten years, and even then it was promoted only by a small group of whackos.

I forgot one particular whacko, Al Gore, who in 1993 – decades ago – tried to move a tax on energy – British Thermal Units, or BTUs,  through Congress.  Mea culpa.

Matt Dempsey, a GOP staffer at the Senate Energy & Public Works Committee brought me back into the light:

As the House prepares to vote on the largest tax increase in American history, otherwise known as the Waxman-Markey bill, and as President Obama tries to persuade his House allies to vote for same, EPW Policy Beat took another trip down memory lane.  We landed in 1993 as the House was voting on the Al-Gore-backed BTU tax.  As we and others have stated before, the historical and political parallels between the BTU tax and Waxman-Markey are striking: members fearful that voting for an energy tax would have political repercussions at the ballot box; members fearful of voting for a bill that would then die in the Senate; members fearful that an energy tax would be regressive, harm consumers, destroy jobs and slow economic growth; members fearful of a man named Gore pushing an energy rationing scheme that harms the heartland; and Democratic congressional leaders and Administration officials (read: Gore) desperately searching for exemptions and last-minute deals to shore up support.  As the proverb goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

As you know, because “we have been talking about this issue for decades,” the BTU tax did fail, as Clinton dropped the bill in the Senate, when it became clear it didn’t have enough Democratic support there. Many of the Dems who voted for it in the House found themselves scrambling to defend their votes, and many could not, losing their seats. And America was spared having to commit forced economic suicide at the hand of a radical environmentalist politician.

We don’t have to go back to 1993 for lessons on how bad Waxman-Markey is; we need only visit Spain today. As George Will pointed out in his column yesterday:

[Gabriel] Calzada, 36, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, has produced a report that, if true, is inconvenient for the Obama administration’s green agenda, and for some budget assumptions that are dependent upon it.

Calzada says Spain’s torrential spending — no other nation has so aggressively supported production of electricity from renewable sources — on wind farms and other forms of alternative energy has indeed created jobs. But Calzada’s report concludes that they often are temporary and have received $752,000 to $800,000 each in subsidies — wind industry jobs cost even more, $1.4 million each. And each new job entails the loss of 2.2 other jobs that are either lost or not created in other industries because of the political allocation — sub-optimum in terms of economic efficiency — of capital. (European media regularly report “eco-corruption” leaving a “footprint of sleaze” — gaming the subsidy systems, profiteering from land sales for wind farms, etc.) Calzada says the creation of jobs in alternative energy has subtracted about 110,000 jobs elsewhere in Spain’s economy.

A GOP study found the same thing here in the U.S. – green jobs aren’t particularly high-paying, but require an average government subsidy of $100,000.

I attempted to engage some green-tinted lefties in a meaningful conversation on the topic yesterday on a  New Mexico political blog (I got there via a Twitter link, if you’re curious). I response to a guest column plea for a yes vote on Waxman-Markey, I wrote:

Ask yourself, which is melting faster, the ice caps or the economy? Hint: It’s the latter by far, and spiking all energy costs in at least the short- to mid-term will only deepen and lengthen the recession.

As for all those new clean energy jobs, you cannot count the jobs Waxman-Markey supposedly will open up unless you also count the jobs it will destroy in oil, gas and related sectors of the economy, where several million are employed.

Out of work New Mexicans will suffer through higher costs long before they get the benefit of any new green jobs, I’m afraid. Call your representatives and ask them to vote NO on Waxman-Markey.

That spawned a raft of responses, mostly negative, including one saying I sounded like an oil industry propagandist. I challenged them to find anything wrong with anything I said, but they didn’t even try.  Instead, they waxed on about all the jobs Waxman-Markey, or ACES as they refer to it lovingly, will create.  As I understand their argument it goes like this:

We would feel really good if we could get jobs in the green industry because the world is like dying, you know, and we’re so excited about it, we’d like everyone to pay more money for everything in order for us to get those jobs.

That’s what we’re up against folks: Ignorant self-interest.  And ignorant self-interest is what they’re really talking about when they say “money,” as in “money makes the world go ’round.”

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June 24th 2009

A Couple Treehuggers Who Get It Right

M

ichael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus met while trying to save redwoods. Their Breakthrough Institute is funded by the leftist Nathan Cummings Foundation – but they understand who wrong Waxman-Markey is, and they’ve got a pretty good idea about how to encourage new energy technologies without destroying the good old economy.

In an NPR interview, they lay it out:

“When was the last time human beings modernized our energy sources by making older power sources more expensive?” [Shellenberger] asks …. “And, of course, by now you probably know that the answer is never.”

Personal computers didn’t take off because there was a tax on typewriters, he says. And the Internet didn’t sprout up because the government made telegraphs more expensive.

“So is there a better way to do this? Well, we think that there is. It’s very simple: It’s that we need to make clean energy cheap worldwide.”

Shellenberger and Nordhaus support government investments in alternative energy – a new Manhattan or moon project, which is hardly a new idea, but they articulate their well-researched points well.

Shellenberger tells the [Institute's] interns that environmental groups — like the ones he used to work for — are going about it all wrong. By urging Congress to cast carbon dioxide as a pollutant that needs to be controlled, he says, they will constantly swim against the tide of public opinion.

“We’re stuck in this kind of poor paradigm for dealing with climate change, this pollution paradigm,” he says, “not because environmentalists are failures, but actually because they were so successful. The Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the cap and trade on acid rain — these things worked really well.”

How refreshing to hear an environmentalist actually acknowledge that things are getting better, not worse – that existing levels of regulation have accomplished their goals.  I’m a free market guy, but even so, I have to acknowledge that government investment in technology works – it’s government control of the market and stomping on competition that I don’t like.  They explain the benefits of public investment:

“There’s this idea that the government shouldn’t be involved in technology, the government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers,” Shellenberger says. “Which is sort of a funny thing to say. It’s kind of like, well, why not? And when hasn’t the United States government been involved in picking technology winners and losers?”

He points to the computer industry as just one example of something that came into being because of deliberate federal investments.

And railroads. And rockets.

Of course, the hotheads are screaming that there’s not enough time, we have to act now, the world is melting and carbon dioxide is a terrible poison. These are largely the same people who condemned Bush’s “rush to war.”  Unfortunately, Waxman and Markey are staunchly set in the camp of the hysterics.  Shellenberger and Nordhaus have been in DC this week, trying to get more reasonable electeds to behave more reasonably.

I hope they succeed.  You can help.  Sign the petition.

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With Obama winning the presidency by seven percent, we can't blame the media. Their laudatory coverage and refusal to extensively probe into Obama's background and [lack of] experience was at best responsible for five percent of his vote, the pundits tell us. Here is a compilation of over 100 significant instances of pro-Obama/anti-McCain bias during the 2008 campaign.

For all 'Media Bias 2008' – Click Here

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