Obama AWOL Again – On Energy Terrorism

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Four news stories in four days sum up the Obama presidency and help explain why the world and U.S. economy are in such a mess. President Obama just returned from his two-week beach and golf vacation at Martha’s Vineyard. It took him a month from the time special forces located journalist James Foley to approve a rescue mission – by which time Foley had been moved (and was subsequently beheaded.)

Mr. Obama may pursue a sweeping international climate change deal that bypasses Congress. But on dealing with ISIS terrorist butchers months after they swept through Iraq, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

President Obama has ordered limited air strikes to “contain” (but not defeat) Islamic State terrorists who have shot, crucified, and beheaded thousands of men, women, and children in Iraq and Syria. However, he still has no plans for protecting the United States from the energy terrorism that jihadists are planning.

The president’s failure to “connect the dots,” to see and prepare for potentially devastating attacks on U.S. and global citizens and energy supplies, is an inexcusable threat to our security. Preparations for massive energy terrorist attacks around the world are increasingly open and obvious. Now that Mr. Obama is back in the White House for a few days, hopefully to deal with real crises literally exploding around the world (from the Middle East to Afghanistan to Nigeria and beyond), let me connect some dots for him.

With Iraqi and other oil fields in jihadist hands, petroleum has become the mother’s milk of Islamic terrorism. Along with drug trafficking and bank robbery, it provides financing to arm, feed, train, and pay terrorists on a scale that makes Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond loot look like chump change.

Islamic State butchers are raking in an estimated $2 million or more every day by selling oil on the black market, from wells they have seized in Iraq and Syria.  “This could fetch them more than $730 million a year, enough to sustain operations far beyond Iraq,” Iraq Energy Institute Director Luay al-Khatteeb told CNN in late August. More captured Syrian oil fields could raise ISIS oil revenue to $1.2 billion a year, says Theodore Karasik, research director at the think tank INEGMA in Dubai. Or worse.

ISIS’ conquest of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Kirkuk area could boost the terrorists’ oil production from 30,000 barrels a day now to as much as 1 million barrels a day: $11 billion a year, if they can peddle their oil at (say) a way-below-market $30 per barrel to countries that are naïve, support terror, or ignore human rights.

That could buy unfathomable terrorism – on levels portended by a laptop computer that moderate Syrian forces found in an ISIS hideout. Amid some 34,000 files, it includes manuals on car theft, disguises, and bomb making; documents on how to develop biological weapons and “weaponize” bubonic plague; and a radical Muslim cleric’s fatwa justifying weapons of mass destruction, “even if it wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth.” Detonate the bio-bombs in malls, air conditioning intakes, and similar places, the manuals advise. With laboratories in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria now in ISIS hands, these neo-SS lunatics could well turn their caliphate dreams into Western World nightmares.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Executive Fiats In The Other Washington

Progressives believe in free speech, robust debate, sound science and economics, transparency, government by the people, and especially compassion for the poor – except when they don’t. These days, their commitment to these principles seems to be at low ebb … in both Washingtons.

A perfect example is the Oregon and Washington governors’ determined effort to enact Low Carbon Fuel Standards – via deceptive tax-funded campaigns, tilted legislative processes, and executive fiat.

The standards require that conventional vehicle fuels be blended with alternative manmade fuels said to have less carbon in their chemical makeup or across the life cycle of creating and using the fuels. They comport with political viewpoints that oppose hydrocarbon use, prefer mass transit, are enchanted by the idea of growing fuels instead of drilling and fracking for them, and/or are convinced that even slightly reduced carbon dioxide will help reduce or prevent “dangerous manmade climate change.”

LCFS fuels include ethanol, biodiesel, and still essentially nonexistent cellulosic biofuels; but the concept of lower carbon and CO2 naturally extends to boosting the number of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Putting aside the swirling controversies over natural versus manmade climate change, its dangers to humans and wildlife, the phony 97% consensus, and the failure of climate models – addressed in Climate Change Reconsidered and at the Heartland Institute’s Climate Conference – the LCFS agenda itself is highly contentious, for economic, technological, environmental, and especially political reasons.

California has long led the nation on climate and “green” energy initiatives, spending billions on subsidies while relying heavily on other states for its energy needs. The programs have sent the cost of energy steadily upward, driven thousands of families and businesses out of the state, and made it the fourth worst jobless state in America. Governors Jerry Brown, John Kitzhaber, and Jay Inslee (of California, Oregon, and Washington, respectively) recently joined British Columbia Premier Christy Clark in signing an agreement that had been developed, behind closed doors, to coordinate policies on climate change, low carbon fuel standards, and greenhouse gas emission limits throughout the region.

California and BC have already implemented LCFS and other rules. Oregon has LCFS, but its law terminates the program at the end of 2015 unless the legislature extends it. As that seems unlikely, Mr. Kitzhaber has promised that he will use an executive order to impose an extension and “fully implement” the state’s Clean Fuels Program. “We have the opportunity to spark a homegrown clean fuels industry,” the governor said; and he is determined to use “every tool at my disposal” to make that happen. He is convinced it will create jobs, though experience elsewhere suggests the opposite is much more likely.

Mr. Inslee is equally committed to implementing a climate agenda, LCFS, and “carbon market.” If the legislature won’t support his plans, he will use his executive authority, a state-wide ballot initiative, or campaigns against recalcitrant legislators – utilizing support from coal and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer. Indeed, Inslee attended a closed-door fundraiser in Steyer’s home the very day he signed the climate agreement. The governor says he won’t proceed until a “rigorous analysis” of LCFS costs and technologies has been conducted, but he plans to sole-source that task to a liberal California company.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Here’s How We Fix Obama’s Dictatorial EPA

Last year, Congress enacted 72 new laws; and federal agencies promulgated 3,659 new rules, imposing $1.86 trillion in annual regulatory compliance costs on American businesses and families. It’s hardly surprising that America’s economy shrank by 1% the first quarter of 2014, our labor participation rate is a miserable 63%, and real unemployment stands at 12-23% (and even worse for blacks and Hispanics).

It’s no wonder a recent Gallup poll found that 56% of respondents said the economy, unemployment, and dissatisfaction with government are the most serious problems facing our nation – whereas only 3% said it is environmental issues, with climate change only a small segment of that.

So naturally, the Environmental Protection Agency issued another round of draconian restrictions on coal-fired power plants, once again targeting carbon dioxide emissions. EPA rules now effectively prevent the construction of new plants and require the closure of hundreds of older facilities. By 2030, the regulations will cost 224,000 jobs, force US consumers to pay $289 billion more for electricity, and lower disposable incomes for American households by $586 billion, the US Chamber of Commerce calculates.

The House of Representatives holds hearings and investigations, and drafts corrective legislation that the Harry Reid Senate immediately squelches. When questions or challenges arise, the courts defer to “agency discretion,” even when agencies ignore or rewrite statutory provisions. Our three co-equal branches of government have become an “Executive Branch trumps all” system – epitomized by EPA.

Some legal philosophers refer to this as “post-modernism.” President Obama’s constitutional law professor called it “the curvature of constitutional space.” A better term might be neo-colonialism – under which an uncompromising American ruler and his agents control citizens by executive fiat to slash fossil fuel use; fundamentally transform our Constitution, economy, and social structure; and redistribute wealth and political power to cronies, campaign contributors, and voting blocs that keep them in power.

Even worse, in the case of climate change, this process is buttressed by secrecy, highly questionable research, contrived peer reviews, outright dishonesty, and an absence of accountability.

Fewer than half of Americans believe climate change is manmade or dangerous. Many know that China, Australia, Canada, India, and even European countries are revising policies that have pummeled families, jobs, economies, and industries with anti-hydrocarbon and renewable energy requirements. They understand that even eliminating coal and petroleum use in the United States will not lower atmospheric carbon dioxide levels or control a climate that has changed repeatedly throughout Earth’s history.

Mr. Obama and EPA chief Gina McCarthy are nevertheless determined to slash reliance on coal, even in 20 states that rely on this fuel for half to 95% of their electricity, potentially crippling their economies. The President has said electricity rates will “necessarily skyrocket”; coal companies will face bankruptcy; and if Congress does not act on climate change and cap-tax-and-trade, he will. Ms. McCarthy has similarly said she “didn’t go to Washington to sit around and wait for congressional action.”

However, they know “pollution” and “children’s health” resonate much better than “climate disruption” among voters. So now they mix their climate chaos rhetoric with assertions that shutting down coal-fired power plants will reduce asthma rates among children. It is a false, disingenuous argument.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Hollywood’s Hydrocarbon Hypocrisy

Several Hollywood elites were recently caught red-handed on videotape, agreeing to take money from a Middle Eastern oil sheikh for another anti-fracking movie. Their actions were shameful, but they felt no shame – only anger at the folks who caught them in the act. Indeed, the ironies are matched only by their hypocrisy and disdainful disregard for the consequences of their anti-fracking fervor.

The video records a conversation involving a producer, two actors – and someone they thought represented an oil oligarch. The Hollywood glitterati made it clear that they were willing to take Middle East oil cash for a film intended to help block drilling, hydraulic fracturing, energy production, job creation, revenue generation, and our nation’s economic rejuvenation.

The three are known for their environmental fervor – and their apparent belief that it’s okay to drill for oil in Arab countries, but against all reason to drill in the United States. It’s also okay for them to enjoy lavish lifestyles, as long as California imports its oil and electricity, to avoid drilling in the Golden State.

Had this been a sincere movie offer, it would have brought a sweet deal for an Arab oilman protecting his oil sales from US competition, by helping Hollywood stars make a film aligned with their disconnected-from-reality views on environmental balance. But it was a hoax perpetrated by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, which catches glamorous stars and other people just being themselves.

The meeting occurred in March at the Beverly Hills Hotel, recently made notorious for being owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who favors sharia laws that can often be brutal. The tape reveals how far some Hollywood environmentalists will go to push their narrow agenda and work against the nation’s interests. It also recalls Matt Damon’s anti-fracking film, Promised Land, funded by the United Arab Emirates, and Josh Fox’s fabrication-filled film that was eviscerated by McAleer and McElhinney’s FrackNation.

In discussing the movie proposal, Sundance-award-winning environmental film producer Josh Tickell tells “Muhammad” the fake sheik not to divulge that Middle Eastern oil loot is supporting the project, because that would make the movie “a nonstarter.” Academy Award-nominated actress Mariel Hemingway chimes in, saying the funding information should be shared “only at this table.”

Ed Begley Jr., who sits on the Oscar Board of Governors and is well-known for his staunch support for all things environmental, adds a big dose of cynicism. “Washington and Hollywood are a lot alike: all illusions, special effects, smoke and mirrors,” he says.

After the tape was made public, Tickell, Hemingway, and Begley tried to explain away their behavior and foist the blame on O’Keefe and Veritas. They had agreed to meet with Muhammad only to help a friend get a movie deal. They had been set up. She should have conducted better “due diligence” on “Muhammad,” Hemingway told Fox News. “I was made to look foolish and to seem in favor of additional dependence on foreign oil,” Begley lamented. Falsely claiming that O’Keefe had referred to environmentalists as “Nazis,” Tickell attempted to tar the messenger: Veritas had tried to “equate the extermination of European Jews with efforts to oppose fracking,” he dissembled.

In other words, “I didn’t do nuthin’ wrong. Duh cops entrapped me into doin’ it.”

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Just Assume We Have A Climate Crisis; Don’t Bother With Facts!

Climate modelers and disaster proponents remind me of the four guys who were marooned on an island, after their plane went down. The engineer began drawing plans for a boat; the lumberjack cut trees to build it; the pilot plotted a course to the nearest known civilization. But the economist just sat there. The exasperated workers asked him why he wasn’t helping.

“I don’t see the problem,” he replied. “Why can’t we just assume we have a boat, get on it and leave?”

In the case of climate change, those making the assumptions demand that we act immediately to avert planetary crises based solely on their computer model predictions. It’s like demanding that governments enact laws to safeguard us from velociraptors, after Jurassic Park scientists found that dinosaur DNA could be extracted from fossilized mosquitoes … and brought the carnivores back to special-effects life.

Climate models help improve our conceptual understandings of climate systems and the forces that drive climate change. However, they are terrible at predicting Earth’s temperature and other components of its climate. They should never be used to set or justify policies, laws, and regulations – such as what the Environmental Protection Agency is about to impose on CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Even our best climate scientists still have only a limited grasp of Earth’s highly complex and chaotic climate systems, and the many interrelated solar, cosmic, oceanic, atmospheric, terrestrial, and other forces that control climate and weather. Even the best models are only as good as that understanding.

Worse, the models and the science behind them have been horribly politicized. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was ostensibly organized in 1988 to examine possible human influences on Earth’s climate. In reality, Swedish meteorologist Bert Bolin and environmental activist groups wanted to use global warming to drive an anti-hydrocarbon, limited-growth agenda. That meant they somehow had to find a human influence on the climate – even if the best they could come up with was “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” [emphasis added]

“Discernible” (ie, detectable) soon metamorphosed into “dominant,” which quickly morphed into the absurd notion that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have now replaced natural forces and become the only factors influencing climate change. They are certainly the only factors that climate activists and alarmists want to talk about, while they attempt to silence debate, criticism, and skepticism. They use the models to generate scary “scenarios” that are presented as actual predictions of future calamities.

They predict, project, or forecast that heat waves will intensify, droughts and floods will be stronger and more frequent, hurricanes will be more frequent and violent, sea levels will rise four feet by 2100 [versus eight inches since 1880], forest fires will worsen, and countless animal species will disappear. Unlikely.

Natural forces obviously caused the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age, and the Pleistocene Ice Ages. (A slab of limestone that I dug up has numerous striations – scratches – left by the last mile-thick glacier that covered what is now my home town in Wisconsin.) After long denying it, the IPCC finally acknowledged that the LIA did occur, and that it was a worldwide agricultural and human disaster.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom