Tag Archives: oil

Obama’s America

Barack Obama continued his tirade against America on Friday before “carbon-footing” across the Pacific to Hawaii for a short vacation. A new poll indicates that about 70% of Americans are getting tired of Obama‘s constant presence in the media. After a year of 24/7 praise from the media coupled with a year of 24/7 condemnation of America by Obama the message is beginning to wear a little thin.

In his speech, Obama continued his most recent theme, bemoaning America’s addiction to oil and promising to break that addiction by giving us a substitute: an energy “methadone cocktail”, consisting of wind, sun, ethanol and electricity. What strikes me most about Obama’s campaign as I look over the transcripts of his various speeches are the similarities of the America Obama sees in 2008 and the America his predecessor, Saul Alinsky saw forty years ago.

In his Friday speech in Elkhart, Indiana Obama started with,

“We meet at a moment when this country is facing a set of challenges unlike any we’ve ever known. Right now, our brave men and women in uniform are fighting two different wars while terrorists plot their next attack. Our changing climate is putting our planet in peril and our security at risk. And our economy is in turmoil, with more and more of our families struggling with rising costs, falling incomes, and lost jobs.”

Shortly before his death in 1972, Saul Alinsky granted an extensive interview to a writer from Playboy Magazine. In discussing his upcoming plans for organizing America’s middle class Alinsky had this to say:

“They’re oppressed by taxation and inflation, poisoned by pollution, terrorized by urban crime, frightened by the new youth culture, baffled by the computerized world around them. They’ve worked all their lives to get their own little house in the suburbs, their color TV, their two cars, and now the good life seems to have turned to ashes in their mouths. Their personal lives are generally unfulfilling, their jobs unsatisfying, they’ve succumbed to tranquilizers and pep pills, they drown their anxieties in alcohol, they feel trapped in long-term endurance marriages or escape into guilt-ridden divorces. They’re losing their kids and they’re losing their dreams. They’re alienated, depersonalized, without any feeling of participation in the political process, and they feel rejected and hopeless. Their utopia of status and security has become a tacky-tacky suburb, their split-levels have sprouted prison bars and their disillusionment is becoming terminal.”

Obama’s descriptions of America are not as elaborate or detailed as Alinsky’s, but the premise has not changed. Obama’s evaluation has been updated to accommodate the intervening forty years of agitation by environmentalists but the idea is still the same. “America stinks, and it’s up to us to set it right”.

“The despair is there; now it’s up to us to go in and rub raw the sores of discontent, galvanize them for radical social change. We’ll give them a way to participate in the democratic process, a way to exercise their rights as citizens and strike back at the establishment that oppresses them, instead of giving in to apathy. We’ll start with specific issues — taxes, jobs, consumer problems, pollution — and from there move on to the larger issues: pollution in the Pentagon and the Congress and the boardrooms of the megacorporations. Once you organize people, they’ll keep advancing from issue to issue toward the ultimate objective: people power.” —Alinsky

The entire Presidential campaign of Obama seems to be a twenty-first century continuation of the organizing work of Saul Alinsky on a national scale. The tactics are the same; trash the dominant institutions and agitate his followers to demand change. To both Alinsky and Obama the great American experiment in self-government is a failure. Instead of seeing a nation of unlimited opportunity and freedom, they see an America of despair and oppression.

They would have us believe that their solutions would result in a nation of equality, justice, security and prosperity for all. Instead, the closer they come to success in implementing their remedies the closer we come to becoming the nation of despair and oppression they seek to change.

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A Pelosi-Obama Preview of Socialist Rule for America

As the American electorate debates the issue of transforming our Constitutional Republic into a Democratic Socialist state, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi are giving us a preview of what we can expect after a socialist takeover. Words alone do not seem to be enough. Mainstream Conservative commentators and talk show hosts appear to have a blind spot similar to their left wing counterparts, only for a different subject.

For years, the left in America has tried to ignore the threat of Islamic terrorism. Osama Bin Laden sends taped messages on a regular basis informing the world of their intentions and the left continues to ignore them. Barack Obama, the ultimate denier, continues to cling to his belief that they can be pacified through cooperation and dialogue, even expressing a willingness to meet personally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, if he is elected President. Above all else, the left resists admitting to the obvious identity of the enemy, radical Islamic Terrorism.

Too many conservatives have the same blind spot toward socialism. Barack Obama delivers speech after speech espousing one socialist objective after another, yet conservative writers and commentators continue to speak of him as if he were just another liberal Democrat. In fact, many of them would be among the first to defend Obama if he should be referred to publicly as a socialist, contending that it was divisive hate speech and any attempt to label him a socialist would be “crossing the line“.

In predicting what life in America would be like under a socialist administration, Obama supplies the words and Pelosi supplies the actions. Together they present a clear picture to all but the most determined self-deceivers. Obama has spent the past year going from one end of the country to the other promising change and specifying distinctively what those changes would be, and yet, conservatives are still complaining that he never tells us what he intends to change.

How much clearer could he be? The first thing he has promised to change is our entire economic system. Market driven, free enterprise will be a thing of the past. As he has said on more than one occasion, our economy needs to be geared toward the needs of the people not the profits of big business. What they consider to be excess profits will be taken by taxation and redirected into “investments” for the public good. No clearer example of this could be given than his proposal to take so-called excess profits from oil companies and use them to subsidize competing products.

Earlier this week he announced that we must end the era of oil in our time. He has promised to replace our dirty oil based economy with a “green economy”. To do this he has promised to “invest” (subsidize with taxpayer money) alternative energy sources. Someday, if we survive, there may be sources of alternative energy, but not in this century. The best we can hope for in the foreseeable future are supplemental energy resources.

The only reliable, economically feasible energy sources we have now are oil, coal, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear. All of these, with the exception of hydroelectric, would be controlled by government under Obama‘s policies. Hydroelectric is self-restricting. Wind, solar, bio, and thermal can never be more than supplemental. Wind, solar and thermal are too intermittent in nature and bio is too costly in terms of the commodities it displaces to ever be more than supplemental sources.

The primary source of energy for transportation and commerce will continue to be oil for generations to come. We can supplement it with biofuels and electricity but we cannot replace it. Since, under Obama’s plan we will not be able to increase the availability of oil the only choice is to decrease its use. Proposed programs to conserve energy not only hinder economic expansion, it also limits personal liberty.

The recent rise in world oil supply resulting from lower oil consumption over the past few months is heralded by the left as a victory for their policies. It is a victory only insofar as their policies are designed to make oil too expensive to use. For years, the left has been calling for added taxes in order to raise the price of gasoline and discourage its use. The ban on new exploration and drilling, coupled with an increase in global consumption has accomplished that goal for them. The rise in world inventories only indicates less economic activity, fewer jobs, and less liberty for us all.

I read somewhere that Americans have driven three million miles less in the past year. That means they are taking shorter vacations and staying closer to home; they’re making less trips to the beach; they’re going on fewer family outings; and they are taking fewer “impulse” trips. In other words, they are experiencing less personal liberty to pursue the things they enjoy.

In overhauling our economy, changes that can’t be forced through “incentives”, prices, and taxes will be made through regulations. The ban on incandescent bulbs and tougher CAFE standards forcing us to drive smaller, less safe cars are only two examples of the changes we can expect to be mandatory in our lifestyles.

The second change Obama has promised is a change in the relationship between government and the people. The traditional idea that the purpose of government is to secure the natural rights of its citizens is to be replaced with the idea that the purpose of citizenship is to serve the needs of the state.

In his Denver speech, July 2, Obama announced, “I will ask for your service and your active citizenship when I am President of the United States”. He then goes on to describe plans for recruiting students, young people, seniors and people of all ages into voluntary “public service”.  Part of his plan to funnel efforts of the people into state approved projects involves the establishment of a new “Social Investment Fund Network”.

This new spending will be used in coordinating the “grass roots, the private sector, the foundations, the faith-based organizations, the private sector and the government” toward “our most pressing national challenges”. To help accomplish this goal he has promised to launch a new “Social Entrepreneur Agency”.

The third change promised is a change in our relationship to the world. In his Berlin speech, Obama declared himself to be a “citizen of the world”. World citizenship is another basic doctrine of socialism. Under this doctrine, people are encouraged to migrate from country to country without regard for national boundaries. National citizenship becomes more or less meaningless.

As a good citizen of the world community, our military would be increasingly under the direction of the United Nations and our citizens increasingly subject to a world court. Taxpayer money would be used to finance social programs in third world countries and developing nations.

A fourth area slated for change is the structure of the family. The traditional structure consisting of a father, a mother and two or three children will continue to give way to families made up of any combination of males, females, and children. Gay marriage, gay adoption, trans-gender and bi-sexual relationships will become even more commonplace.

Under the Obama plan, the primary care and training of children will become more and more the purview of the state. From early childhood through primary and secondary education, children would be under the direction of state approved day-care and pre-school before moving on to union dominated public schools. By the time a young person graduates from college they will have been exposed to a thousand hours of mandatory socialist indoctrination via “community service” in college and pre-college programs. These “community service” projects directed by the state will be little more than internships in the socialist lifestyle.

The urban public school systems will keep on turning out an underclass of citizens unqualified for success in the modern economy. This underclass will continue to be exploited by the state to expand its control over the general population in the name of public safety, humanitarian compassion, and social justice.

A fifth change Obama will attempt to implement is more stringent control over the media. The centerpiece of the plan for controlling political thought in American will be the reinstatement of the “fairness doctrine” in broadcasting which if possible will be expanded to include the internet much as it is in China today. The purpose will be to silence opposition and conservative thought.

The changes promised by Obama involve nothing less than a complete overhaul of the American way of life. Institutions of finance, manufacturing, transportation, education, family, religion, and communication, will all undergo cataclysmic changes.

I realize most of my readers believe these changes are impossible because the American people would never permit it. That’s where Ms. Pelosi comes in. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi have similar personalities. Both are natural-born despots. You only have to look at the tactics of Pelosi as Speaker of the House over the past two years to see a preview of the next decade should the socialist/democrats win a major victory in November.

The ultimate example of Pelosi tactics in suppressing opposition is her stance against increasing our supply of oil through domestic drilling. Rather than permitting debate on the issue, she closed Congress and returned to her socialist kingdom in “la-la” land.

The two positions with the most authority under the Constitution were the President and Vice-President, the President as chief executive, Commander in Chief over the armed forces, director of foreign relations and chief administrator of justice, the Vice-President as President of the Senate. Only John Adams, the first Vice-President, under George Washington, attempted to exercise his responsibility as Senate President. Vice-Presidents since then, starting with Thomas Jefferson, have been content to abdicate that responsibility to the Senate Majority Leader with the exception of ceremonial occasions and in the case of tie votes.

Since becoming Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has assumed authority eclipsing both the President, and Vice-President. A socialist triumvirate consisting of Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in the top three positions of power would result in an erosion of liberty and a level of tyranny unknown in our two-hundred and twenty year history.

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A Party of Deception: Part 4 – The Energy Game

The battle over lifting the ban on offshore and Alaskan oil drilling will have been an exercise in futility if Obama becomes President and the socialist/democrats take over both houses of Congress. Nothing is going to happen in Washington that is beneficial to the American people this year, as far as the current oil crisis is concerned. The socialist/democrats in Congress have made up their mind; they are not going to allow more domestic production of oil for as long as they can prevent it.

The Politico reported Tuesday that the House Democratic caucus has a carefully though out strategy for the next three months to get them through the November elections. That strategy involves Nancy Pelosi standing firm and not allowing a bill to come to the floor that would authorize a lifting of the ban on new drilling leases. She doesn’t have to worry about reelection because her position in Congress is secure, since she represents San Francisco socialists who are one hundred percent in agreement with her on the subject, and will give her overwhelming support in November.

The socialist/democrats fully expect to take over both houses of Congress by a big margin, as well as winning the White House. The only objective, in their mind, is to run out the clock. The only hurdle they have to overcome is one of timing. Oil prices went even higher than they expected, sooner than they expected, causing the American public to suddenly start paying attention and demanding action by Congress.

This development threatens the reelection of some of the congressional socialist/democrats from conservative districts. According to Politico, Pelosi has given permission for Congressmen whose reelection is uncertain to break from her position in their campaigns. For the benefit of their constituents they can demand a vote, demand more drilling, or whatever else is necessary to satisfy the folks back home. Nancy has promised to dig in and not allow a vote anyway, thereby making Congressmen who seem to be going contrary to party wishes appear to be heroes to voters in their districts.

If the congressional Republicans who are currently camped out in the House can persuade President Bush to exercise his constitutional authority and recall Congress to Washington before September 3, when they are scheduled to return, she may allow a vote anyway, if the conditions are right. For that to happen Republicans must agree to a plan that is acceptable to the socialist/democrats. It is not likely that Bush will reconvene Congress because he knows it will accomplish nothing. He may however, if he becomes convinced it will help the Republican cause in November.

Should Congress be reconvened, and the socialist/democrats become convinced holding out until November would be too much of a political risk they will allow a vote on a compromise plan similar to that offered by the Senate “Gang of 10”. Under the plan, a token amount of off shore drilling would be permitted in exchange for a continuation of the ban on most of the areas under debate. All new exploration and drilling in the Pacific would be off limits, as would the Atlantic north of Virginia. New exploration and drilling in Alaska and the continental U.S. would also be kept off limits.

To sweeten the deal even more for the socialist/democrats, there would also be an ample supply of taxpayer dollars to fund pet projects like alternative energy and new technology. The strategy here would be to get all they can before the elections, just in case things do not go the way Pelosi and other socialist/democrat leaders expect. If they win with the margins they expect in November, whatever agreements they reach in the meantime will be meaningless, because they can be canceled by the next Congress. If they lose, they will have at least gotten most of what they wanted from the bargaining.

It is difficult to believe that a political party in America could actually want to cripple our economy, and that disbelief on the part of the American people is the safety net that prevents the socialist/democrats from being thrown out of office. The fact is they do want to wreck the capitalist system because they view it as the personification of evil. Their long term objective is to replace it with socialism.

It’s not that they want to make things tough for you. In fact, you do not matter at all as an individual. You only matter as a citizen of the state. The problem is that the Democratic Party has totally bought into the socialist doctrines of the perfectibility of man held by secular humanists and the sacredness of the earth held by the environmentalists. They believe the use of petroleum as a fuel is damaging to the earth and it is their duty to end it. The concepts of individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness enshrined in our founding documents are foreign concepts to the socialists. The only thing that matters is the collective welfare of the people as expressed through the state. What is best for that collective welfare is best determined by the political elite, according to their thinking.

The best strategy for the conservative Republicans in Congress is to hold the line on renewing the drilling ban when it comes up for a vote on an appropriations bill at the end of September. They should refuse to allow the ban to be attached as an amendment to any “must pass” legislation at all costs even if it means shutting down the government for a while. Any compromise on this point is a victory for the socialist and a loss for the citizens of America.

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The Magical Thinking of Barack Obama

Barack Obama delivered another major speech today in Lansing, Michigan on the subject of energy. “For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, we must end the age of oil in our time”, he announced.

I have no doubt that if he becomes President he will attempt to do just that. To be honest with you, that scares the hell out me. Thinking back on the unforeseen and unintended consequences that always seem to follow massive government actions, that statement should strike fear in the heart of every American.

Ending poverty in our lifetime seemed like a pretty good idea to many when Lynden Johnson first proposed it in the sixties. Fifty years later, we have very little positive and many negatives to show for our efforts. Instead of ending poverty, it has destroyed millions of lives and substantially undermined the most important building block of any society, the family unit. The number of people living in poverty today is about the same as it was when the efforts to eliminate it began. The number of fatherless children raised by single moms, and children born out of wedlock has increased astronomically, however.

An all out attempt on the part of government to end our dependence on oil as a source of energy could have a similar devastating effect on our economy. Obama repeated in his speech a cliché we have heard over and over again for decades. “We are addicted to oil”. Furthermore, Obama says our addiction to oil is the most serious problem we face in America today.

Indeed, we are addicted to oil, in the same way we are addicted to food, air and water. Oil is the lifeblood of our economy. Without it our economy would die. Before we rush headlong into schemes for eliminating oil from our energy supply, we need to first consider the cost and the consequences.

An example of Obama’s magical thinking on the subject is his promise to have a million plug-in hybrid cars on the road within six years while, at the same time, calling for a 15% decrease in our use of electricity within the next decade. This indicates to me that he is not only unwilling to allow us the ability to increase our domestic oil supply, but he is also unwilling to permit a meaningful increase in our electricity supply. Our capacity to generate electricity with the power plants we now have is about maxed out. Major cities throughout the country experience “brown-outs” routinely during the peak air-conditioning season, as it is.

Owning a hybrid car does little good if there is no facility available to plug into. Neither is there much use in having a plug-in car if there is no electricity in the plug. To change over our entire fleet of automobiles from petroleum-based fuel to a combination of gasoline and electricity would require an increase in our electricity output to a degree not even thought about by our utopian planners.

To complicate the problem even more, the environmentalist lobby and their allies in the government also have a ban on new sources of nuclear power similar to the ban on drilling for oil. Nuclear energy is the most promising source for generating the volume of electricity necessary to run the number of “plug-ins” necessary to end our dependency on oil for transportation; that is, if it could be done.

If we are not allowed to build more oil-fired power plants, and we can’t build more nuclear or coal-fired power plants, where are we going to get the electricity to run our transportation system when we stop using oil? There is not even enough wind coming out of Washington to do the job. Obama did mention Boon Pickens and his plan for wind power, however.

I have been an admirer of T. Boon most of my life. Nevertheless, I have a nagging doubt about his plan to blanket Texas with windmills. Boon is no slouch when it comes to making money. The question in my mind is, would he be nearly so enthusiastic about wind power if he was not anticipating millions of dollars in federal subsidies? In his speech, Obama promised $15 billion per year toward building a new energy economy in which he expects wind power to play a major role.

It has been estimated that to supply enough wind power to meet the needs of New York City would require blanketing an area the size of Connecticut with windmills. How much space would it take for enough windmills to supply the whole country? Pickens is starting out with 400,000 acres for his Texas project. That should give us some idea.

In addition to the $15 billion toward a new energy economy, Obama is also promising $7,000 each, in tax credits to consumers purchasing his new plug-in cars and another $4 billion in tax credits and loans to automakers for building them.

He is also calling for 2 billion gallons of affordable biofuels, overlooking the fact that biofuels are only affordable when government heavily subsidizes their production. Even then, the savings we might realize from using subsidized biofuels is offset for the consumer by higher food prices and taxes. I know Obama went to Harvard and all that, but honestly, his energy plan makes me wonder if he slept through all his classes in logic and critical thinking.
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A Party of Deception: Part 3 – The Democratic Agenda and Energy Prices

As I write this, some fifty Republicans are in the House chamber demanding the Democrats engage in a debate and vote on legislation lifting the ban on new exploration and drilling for domestic oil resources. Meanwhile, the Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi have adjourned, turned out the lights, turned off the C-Span cameras, turned off the microphones and gone home for a five-week vacation.

Many political observers are scratching their heads over this action by the Democratic controlled house. Seventy five percent of the American people have indicated in polls that they want Congress to lift the ban and allow oil companies to drill for oil wherever they can find it. With oil prices hovering around the four dollar mark for the foreseeable future, placing a strain on the nation’s economy and the pocketbooks of voters, it seem to make good political sense for Congress to do what ever it can to encourage more oil production to relieve the pressure on prices.

For Congress to defy so blatantly the obvious will of the American people would ordinarily be equivalent to political suicide. The fact that all but fifteen of the Democrat Congressmen are willing to take that risk indicates they are following an agenda different from that of the American people. In the vote tally, only two Republicans, Jones of North Carolina and Rep. Gilchrest, joined the 211 Democrats in voting to adjourn. The final vote was 213 to 197 with fifteen Democrats voting with the Republicans. Nine Democrats and fifteen Republicans did not vote.

This action by the Democrats in Congress is the strongest indication to date that the belief of many, including myself, that the socialist movement dominates the Democrat Party, is a valid conclusion. There are two major reasons why the socialist/democrats are against drilling for more oil. According to socialist’s websites, the environmental movement is an important component of the coalition making up the socialist movement in America. The need to protect the environment is a fundamental principle of socialist ideology, and has been since the administration of Theodore Roosevelt at the beginning of the twentieth century.

In spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, they have convinced themselves as well as millions of non-socialists around the world that we are making the planet uninhabitable by continuing to use petroleum as a source of energy. The widespread popularity of this view makes environmentalism the ideal vehicle for accomplishing the socialists’ primary goal of dismantling capitalism and replacing it with socialism.

Oil is the lifeblood of capitalism. Without the energy provided by oil, our economy would come to a halt. Petroleum is destined to be the primary source of our energy for generations to come, until alternatives are perfected and in general use.

With the growth of the Chinese, Indian and several third world economies there is an unprecedented demand for oil that has caused the price to rise to record heights. The high price of oil, coupled with the ill-advised attempts to supplement gasoline with biofuels like ethanol, has pushed the price of food and other consumer goods to unsustainable levels. As average citizens see their standard of living falling, because so much of their disposable income has to go for their energy needs they are demanding Washington to do something to bring down prices.

The socialist/democrats have made a conscious decision to stand firm against any more drilling in order to keep the price of oil and gasoline at high levels. They are relying on the gullibility of the American people in blaming the oil companies for the falling economy. If they become angry enough, the socialist believe, there will be a willingness, if not a demand, for the government to take more control of the oil industry.

Further evidence of this strategy and the media’s complicity in it can be found in today’s news. Headlines in almost all major newspapers and most newscasts play up the fact that Exxon-Mobil just posted their highest profits in history for the second quarter. Few if any of the stories go into details. Many stories use Exxon’s report to publicize the Democrat’s call for taxing oil companies’ “windfall profits”. The Obama campaign is using the news to bolster his plan to tax “big oil” to pay for another socialist type “stimulus package” consisting of checks up to $1,000 for families to cover their increased energy costs.

What the news is not reporting is that Exxon also established a new record for tax payments in the second quarter. According to Exxon’s earnings statement, their revenue from sales was $138 billion. Their pre-tax profits were $22.2 billion for a gross margin of 16%. They paid $10.5 billion in taxes or 47.3% of profits leaving a net of $11.7 billion. In addition they paid $9.5 billion in sales based taxes and $12.3 billion in excise taxes. Their total tax bill for the quarter was $32.3 billion which is the largest single quarter tax payment by one company in history.

Exxon’s record $138 billion in revenue is due to increased demand and higher prices. For that reason Democrats are referring to them as “windfall profits” and calling for an additional tax on those profits to finance their proposed “stimulus package”. No one in the MSM is bothering to point out that the record $32.3 billions in taxes comes from the same $138 billion as Exxon‘s profits, therefore, to be consistent, they have to be called “windfall taxes”. Consequently, it is not unreasonable to ask the government to return a part of these windfall taxes to the people who paid them.

That $32.3 billion tax comes out of the purses of little old ladies depending on their stock dividends for income, the 401K investments of American workers and the pocketbooks of consumers at the gas pump. To blame the high price of gasoline on the greedy profits of oil companies conveniently overlooks the fact that the government took $3 in taxes for every $1 in profits taken by Exxon.

There is ample evidence for any reasonable observer to conclude that the socialist/democrats in Congress are willing to risk their political future in order to keep gasoline prices at their record levels for the purpose of damaging the economy. It is not much of a risk for Pelosi because she represents the most socialist enclave in America, San Francisco, California. Many of the other democrats do not have that safety net. They must depend on a major Democratic win in November. If that happens, they are safe; otherwise, they are in big trouble.

Congress is set to reconvene on September 3. The Congressional ban, which has been passed as an amendment to appropriation bills every year since 1981, expires September 30. If Pelosi can stall a vote until then, while making it appear to the public that it is the Republicans who are standing in the way, she can either let the ban expire quietly without a vote or attempt to extend it on another bill. There is no way she can sneak an amendment through this time, but she will at least be covered with the environmentalist and other socialists voters.

With the ban expired, the need for a Congressional vote is removed and they only have to wait another thirty days until Election Day. The oil companies are not going to do anything before the start of the new administration and the seating of the 111th Congress in January. If the Democrats take over the White House and increase their lead in Congress, they can do about anything they want, at the expense of the American people.

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Bush One, Dems Zero

President Bush announced Monday that he was rescinding the Executive Order banning new off shore oil drilling that his father, George H. W. Bush implemented during his term in office. That does not mean however, that oil companies can begin exploration and drilling operations immediately. Congress passed a similar ban in 1981 and has renewed it every September 30, since then. Until the Congressional ban is either lifted or allowed to expire, there will be no change in the status quo.

This move by President Bush puts the socialist/democrats in Congress in an untenable position politically. They will have to either lift the Congressional ban immediately or face a showdown with the White House only a month before election. Congress cannot renew the ban this September without a Bush signature or an override of a Bush veto. According to Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution,

“Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.”

President Bush offered, a couple of weeks ago, to lift the executive ban simultaneous with the lifting of the Congressional ban. Had the Democratic leadership taken him up on the offer neither side would have had a political advantage. Instead, the Democrats, under pressure from their environmentalist constituents decided to play “hard-ball” and refused to compromise. Monday Bush announced he would not wait any longer for Congress to accept his offer and instead would take the initiative by lifting the executive ban immediately, placing the next move in the hands of Congress.

In his announcement on lifting the ban, President Bush said:

“It’s been almost a month since I urged Congress to act, and they’ve done nothing, they’ve not moved any legislation. And as the Democratically-controlled Congress has sat idle, [gasoline] prices have continued to increase.”

“Failure to act is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to me and it’s unacceptable to the American people. So today, I’ve issued a memorandum to lift the executive prohibition on oil exploration in the OCS. With this action, the executive branch’s restrictions on this exploration have been cleared away. Now the ball is squarely in Congress’s court.”

Needless to say, the Congressional leadership on the Democratic side are not happy campers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was among the first to condemn the announcement.

“The Bush plan is a hoax. It will neither reduce [gasoline] prices nor increase energy independence. It just gives millions more acres to the same companies that are sitting on nearly 68 million acres of public lands and coastal acres,” she said.

The “68 million acres” talking point has become familiar over the last few weeks. This objection sounds plausible to many Americans because most do not know how oil leases work. The government makes leases on government controlled lands available to oil companies for exploration and possible drilling for a period of ten years. If the company does not develop the lease during that time, it reverts back to the government.

These leases are sold to the oil companies at auction with the price often running into the billions of dollars. While there is a geological probability there is oil underneath the lease, there is no guarantee by the government. In practice, only about 80% of the leases prove to be economically viable for commercial oil production. Most of the leases that Pelosi says the oil companies are “sitting on” have already been explored and found to be unviable either because the cost of extracting the oil would make it unprofitable or there is not enough recoverable oil to make it worthwhile.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that Bush’s move was “a false promise on which he can’t deliver. The fact is this: The president is deluding the public into believing that new offshore drilling is a quick fix to $4/gal gasoline. Nothing could be further from the truth. We cannot drill our way out of this problem.”

While Senator Feinstein’s assertion that “we cannot drill our way out of this problem” may prove to be true, it is certainly true that doing nothing will not solve the problem. However, even the Democrats believe that increasing the supply of oil available on the market will bring down the price of gasoline. This is indicated by the Democrat’s calling for President Bush to release oil from the strategic oil reserves.

Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus called President Bush’s action “a political stunt.”

“If the president wants to lower gas prices, he should stop hosting press conferences and start taking action,” Emanuel said. “Releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and forcing oil companies to drill on the 68 million acres they already control would be a good place to start.”

Many Democrats have echoed Emanuel and Pelosi’s call to release oil from the strategic oil reserves. None, however, has indicated what options we would have if we emptied the strategic reserves, failed to expand domestic production and OPEC decided to impose another embargo as they did in the 1970s. The Strategic Oil Reserves was established by law as a hedge against just such an interruption in our oil supply. With things as they are in the Middle East, it would be foolhardy to tap the reserves when we have an abundance of oil readily available if Congress would allow us to get it.

Another favorite excuse of the Democrats for not lifting the ban is the claim that it would take seven to ten years for the new wells to begin producing. On the same day Bush announced the rescinding of the Executive ban, BP announced it will spend $1.5B recovering oil from the Liberty oil field off the north coast of Alaska not covered by drilling bans. BP plans to be in production in early 2011, less than three years from now.

Perhaps the oil crisis is summed up best by Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.),

“Make no mistake: The price at the pump and sky-high natural gas prices are the result of 27 years of failed Washington policies. The politics of fear, implored by 14 consecutive Congresses and three presidents at the behest of radical environmental groups like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity are the reasons Americans are paying record prices for energy,” he declared.

There is more than enough blame to go around for our oil dilemma as it now stands. However, if we continue to do nothing about increasing our domestic production the fault has to fall squarely on the obstructionism of the Democratic Party and their socialist allies.

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Keeping Sane in a Crazy World

If you think the whole world has gone nuts, you may be right. According to some psychiatric theories, one symptom of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. That description sums up an amazing amount of the political and social activity swirling around us continuously as we scramble to ward off some impending catastrophe or other predicted by the doomsayer du jour.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break from all the political debates and the petty squabbles of the mental midgets involved, and consider the futility of it all. A good place to start is with the realization that living is hazardous to our health and breathing is bad for the environment. Life can kill you, and it always does. Have you ever known a healthy, happy “health nut”. I haven’t. I’m sure they are out there; I have just never known one. Many that I have met in my lifetime are long dead, if not forgotten. Furthermore, the health regimen you follow today may be the one that is credited with killing you tomorrow as new discoveries are made by the “scientific” community.

Admittedly, science is one of the most useful fields of knowledge known to man, but keep in mind that science consists of knowledge gained from discovery, not creation. Science has never created anything; it has only discovered new ways of using what has always been there. Quite often, the scientific fact of today becomes the scientific oddity of tomorrow. The “static universe” theory gives way to the “big bang” theory. The “flat earth” gives way to the “globe” and so on, as we advance in our techniques of studying what is around us.

Take the ongoing controversy over creationism vs. evolution. The sacred theory of the evolutionist is, “In the beginning there was nothing, and the nothing exploded and became all the wondrous things that make up the universe today.” The sacred theory of the creationist is, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” One theory is just as provable as the other is, although, creationism is the only one that provides an adequate explanation for the simultaneous development of the sexes. Meanwhile, the earth keeps right on spinning in its orbit, oblivious to the entire controversy.

Another big controversy of today is the one concerning the burning of “fossil” fuel, and the religious environmentalists’ fears that in the burning, we are destroying the planet. Meanwhile, the earth keeps right on spinning in its orbit, heating and cooling, according to its own needs, oblivious to the entire controversy.

Of all the discoveries made by man, none has had a more profound effect on our lives than the discovery of petroleum. Less than a generation after the first successful oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania, Thomas Edison almost put the fledgling industry out of business with his invention of the electric light, and probably would have if someone had not invented the automobile. The panic surrounding the use of “fossil fuels” has two sources. One, that it is a finite source of energy that will soon be exhausted. The other is that we will destroy the planet through global warming before we actually do exhaust the supply.

Both concerns are more politically based than reality based and in the end only serve to remind us of the unlimited arrogance of man and the infinitesimal amount of true knowledge he actually possesses. An example of the deficiency in our knowledge can be found in the question: Where does oil come from? Ask the first person you see, and he will tell you it comes from the decayed remains of organisms that lived on the earth millions of years ago. “That’s why they call it ’fossil fuel’, dummy”. You may be surprised to learn that even this “scientific fact” is a matter of controversy. I know I was.

In 1950, the Soviet Union was one of the most “oil poor” nations on earth. In spite of the diligent exploration by its best geologists, its oil reserves were practically non-existent. Today, Russia is one of the leading petroleum exporting countries in the world. What happened? Did they discover a new dinosaur graveyard? Nope. Some of their scientist simply began to question the “scientific consensus” as to the origin of petroleum. In a non-scientific “nutshell”, they argued that the formation of oil deposits required pressures found only in the earth’s deep mantle, and the prevailing theories of “fossil fuels” did not adequately account for the massive deposits discovered in the supergiant oil fields of the world.

According to their hypothesis, Oil deposits are formed in the deep mantle of the earth from inorganic materials and leech their way upwards through cracks in the earth’s crust. Using this new hypothesis, they returned to places where it had previously been determined oil could not possibly exist due to the absence of the required rock formations. This time as the saying goes “they struck oil” and the rest is history.

This new theory of oil formation is known as the “abiotic” theory and, of course, is disputed by most western geologist, although “it’s hard to argue with success“. For those who may be interested in delving further into the theory of abiotic oil formation, a good place to start would be: www.enviroliteracy.org. My purpose here is not to dwell on the theory, but simply to point out that we do not always know that which we think we know, and those things we know for sure are often wrong.

That in itself is enough to help me not to get all worked up over the threats of trans-fats, second hand smoke, refined sugar, greenhouse gases, the changing climate, and all the other dire warnings we are bombarded with ad infinitum on a daily basis.

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A Deal You Can’t Refuse

Us po’ folk are suckers for a good deal. That’s probably why there are so many of us. Come to think of it, that’s probably why we are po’ in the first place. Take those good deals the banks were offering us a few years ago. Buy a house, just like the rich folks, with no money down and only 360 payments. Why, that outfit called CountryWide even allowed us to live in our new house for five years before we started paying interest. Boy, you can’t find a better deal than that.

That nice fella who sold us the house and set us up with the mortgage people told us the reason they could make us such a good deal was because of what he called his arm. Didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but he explained that that meant our house payment might go up or down a few dollars a month sometimes; not often, just now and then when the big bank in Washington D.C. changed their interest rates.

Well, it seemed no sooner than it was time for us to start making payments that the big bank started changing their rates and before we knew it our payments were twice what we though they would be. Now, I don’t make a lot of money, what with all the taxes and things I have to pay. Pretty soon my house payments was almost as big as my paycheck. We cut down on just about everything and was barely scraping by waiting for the house payments to go back down like the fella said.

Then I began to notice that when I went to the filling station for gas, instead of twenty dollars to fill up my tank, it was costing me thirty, and then thirty-five and then forty. I asked Billy—he’s the fella that runs the filling station—what was going on. He said them A’rabs and the big oil companies just kept raising the prices and there weren’t nothing he could do about it. Well, I thought, I’ll just have to cut down on my trips over to aint Sally’s house. Never did like her much anyhow.

That weren’t all, I noticed that when I went to the grocery store the prices there were going up just about as fast as they were at the filling station. We’ll just have to start eating more dumplings and less chicken I reckon. But, I had to admit, there’s something funny going on. I decided to have a talk with my neighbor. He’s pretty smart and all, went to one of them big city colleges up north. Besides he’s a dimacrat, and they know just about everything.

Sure enough, he knowed just what was going on. It was all because of George Bush and his buddies in the oil business. Them rich republicans was going right along with Bush because they was making all kinds of money off the high prices. I shouldn’t worry though, cause come the next election Barack Obama—funny name—was going to be President and he would fix everything. Said he had talked to his Congressman and everything was going to be all right, just be sure to vote dimacratic when I voted. I thought it best not to mention that I had voted for Bush in the last election.

I felt a little better, but I still had a nagging feeling that something just weren’t right. His Congressman and mine were the same, so I figured I ought to talk to him myself, then I would understand for sure. It turned out he was is in town the next week and my neighbor arranged for me to talk with him. He turned out to be a right nice fella, shook my hand, slapped me on the back and invited me right into his office. He explained to me just why everything costs so much now. I didn’t understand a lot of what he said but I recollect pretty well how he explained it.

It seems it all started back when them judges appointed Bush President in 2000. His brother was Governor of Florida, you know, where they had all that trouble with Republicans stealing votes. It wasn’t long after Bush became President when them A’rabs flew those airplanes into them buildings in New York and killed a bunch of people. Well, that gave the President all the excuse he needed. He sent the army over there to Afghanistan where the A’rabs came from and wiped out the Taliban, cept’n they didn’t really come from there, they was all Arabians.

He couldn’t do nothing about that though, because them Arabians was friends of his daddy and his granddaddy and his family had made a lot of money dealing with them in the past. Besides it was really Sadaam Hussein George was mad at, cause they had tried to kill his daddy when he was President. So he sent the army over to Irack and took over that country too. Irack had a lot of oil and he figured that while he was at it, he could help his friends in the oil business make a lot of money by selling that oil.

I asked the Congressman why Congress didn’t stop him. He explained that George Bush lied to Congress and told them Hussein was really the one who sent the planes to New York and the American people wanted to get even with him. Bush not only fooled Congress but he fooled Britain, Canada, Australia, and just about the whole world as well. That Bush must be a pretty slick son-of-a-gun.

I didn’t understand what that had to do with the price of gas, though. Then he explained to me that the A’rabs was mad at Bush because he took over Irack and killed Sadaam. So, they cut back on the oil supply and raised the price. That was what caused the price of gas and everything else to go up. We could fix everything though, if we would just all vote for dimacrats in November.

He said when the dimacrats took over Washington they was going to “take care” of the oil companies. They was going to make them sell their gas for less by taking away their profits and raising their taxes. While they was at it they was going to take back all the money Bush gave to the rich folks by cutting their taxes. All that extra money they got from the rich folks and the oil companies they were going to use to help out us regular folks. He pointed out the dimacrats had already forced Bush to send us a check to cover the increase in our house payments and gas prices. That wasn’t really the way it worked out, but I got his point.

He said the first thing they was going to do was pay off my old mortgage and get me a new one with a 30% less monthly payment and at a fixed low interest rate guaranteed by the government. And if they couldn’t make the oil companies lower their prices by taking away their profits they just might take over the companies and run them themselves, like that fella Hugo down in South America did. Gas is real cheap there. While they was at it they was going to pay my doctor bills and buy me whatever medicines I needed. He said Obama was even going to help my kids get a college education by paying them up to $40 an hour working around town picking up litter, painting fences and the like. All I had to do was vote dimacratic. What a deal!

After I left I got to thinking, that congressman sure sounded a lot like the fella that sold me my house. As long as I was in town, I thought, I might as well stop by and talk to my cousin Alf. Alf was a little strange sometimes but he kept up with all that politics stuff and probably knew as much as that Congress fella. Well as it turned out, Alf knew a lot more than that congressman, or at least more than the congressman told me.

According to Alf, one of the big reasons gas prices are so high is because there is not enough for all the people around the world that need it. We could have a lot more ’cept a lot of weird people called environmentalist don’t want us to use gas to run our cars. They want us to use something called “biofuels” or electricity. These environmentalists persuaded Congress that if we kept using gas in our cars we was going to cause the north pole to melt and all those polar bears would fall into the ocean and drown. It’s a little hard for me to understand how my driving over to see aint Sally is going to drown a polar bear, but that’s what they believe.

Anyway, because of drowning polar bears, Congress won’t let the Oil Companies drill any more holes in the ground looking for oil. We can’t drill in the oceans either, because we might spill some and mess up the fish. There’s a place up in Alaska that has lots of oil, but we can’t drill there cause that might disturb Santa Clause’s reindeer. As to what the congressman said about all the profits made by oil companies, it turns out that the profit margins of oil companies are far less than other big companies, and the government takes almost half of the profits oil companies do make in taxes. It seems the real profits from the sale of gas goes to the government already.

I was beginning to feel discouraged, but then I though at least my house payments would be less. Alf, just shook his head. He said there was a bill going through Congress now called “FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008” being pushed by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd that might help. The bill was really written by Bank of America lobbyists to help them cover the losses by CountryWide who Bank of America had just agreed to buy. It might help some homeowners, but in the long run the people who would profit the most was the ones who lent the money to the homebuyers in the first place.

Not only that, but if I let the government take over my mortgage and if the value of my house went up over the next few years I would have to share some of the profits with the government. Furthermore, my kids was going to need a good college education so they could earn the money to pay back all the debt Congress’ plan would create. As Alf talked I began to think maybe the deal being offered wasn’t so great after all. As my daddy always told me, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Our guest writer today is Zedediah “Zed” Crabtree from over by Turkey Neck Junction.
You can contact Zed at