Category Archives: Energy

Does Obama Doom America?
By Quin Hillyer on 11.14.12 @ 6:10AM

Does Obama Doom America?
The question so many people are asking.

The refrain started many weeks, even months, before the election, but its frequency and intensity has increased nearly exponentially since Nov. 6.

“I don’t know if we can survive another four years of this,” people say. Or, “do you think we can survive four more years of this?” Even Bill Kristol, not prone to defeatism, speculated on what might happen “even if America can survive the next four years of Obama.” [Emphasis added.] The words aren’t coming from alarmists. They come in face-to-face conversations, or in emails, or on the phone. They come from Washington, from New York, from New Jersey, from Minnesota, from Alabama, from New Orleans — from all over. Serious, ordinary people, some of whom live and breathe politics and some of whom pay almost no attention to current affairs, aren’t panicking or exaggerating. They are really worried about what this man in the White House will do now. And they’re really worried about whether America as we know it can survive.

It is not an idle worry. Barack Obama and his minions play for keeps. And they are playing for a vastly different America than the one with which we have been accustomed for 224 years of this constitutional republic. Fight a war in Libya without even asking for a congressional resolution? No problem. Appoint executive officers without Senate approval, when the Senate is still in session? Sure. Issue executive orders directly contrary to law, on multiple occasions? Of course. Refuse to enforce duly constituted laws? Check. Repeatedly question the very legitimacy of the Supreme Court? Check. Refuse to honor congressional subpoenas and legitimate Freedom of Information requests? Ignore court orders (about offshore drilling) so flagrantly that you are found officially in contempt of court? Insult or even abandon allies? Whisper to foreign leaders of traditionally adversarial lands that you will have “more flexibility” after re-election? Deliberately cover up deadly mistakes on the Mexican border and in North Africa? Check, check, check, check, and check.

This man runs a vote-fraud-enabling, military-vote-suppressing, domestic-energy-destroying, debt-exploding, credit-limit-undermining, defense-gutting, abusive-regulation-promulgating, power-centralizing, religious-liberty-attacking, crony-corporatism-expanding, Constitution-trampling administration. He politicizes everything and demeans politics and the presidency simultaneously. His opponent (according to his closest political associates) was a “felon.” The opponent was proximately responsible for a woman’s cancer death, deliberately outsourced jobs, and led a “war on women.” Women, meanwhile, should look to government for sustenance from cradle to grave, should vote as if giving up their virginity, and should “vote like [their] lady parts depend on it.” Attack, attack, attack; demean, demean, demean; trivialize, trivialize, trivialize; and never once outline a second-term agenda other than demonizing the wealthy and confiscating their wealth. This is a man using the presidency to serve his own power, no matter what the cost, rather than honoring the power of the presidency by the restraint inherent in treating the office as greater than the man who holds it.

Obama discards promises with astonishing regularity, prevaricates about the past with impunity, uses race as a cudgel while claiming to unite us, taxes the middle class (e.g., on medical devices) while saying he would never do so, and guts welfare reform while claiming he’s strengthening it. His mentor was a Communist; his top aide’s in-laws and grandfather were major Communist activists; his chief political strategist worked for Communist-linked journalists; he started his political career with a fund-raiser at the house of domestic terrorists; he repeatedly and enthusiastically said the man who most deeply influenced his faith was a preacher in whose pews he sat for 20 years while the preacher spread racial hatred and anti-American venom (after which, according to the preacher himself, a close Obama associate offered to “buy” the preacher’s silence); he got a sweetheart deal on his mansion via a financial alliance with a crook named Rezko; and he himself wrote that he made a conscious decision while still a very young adult to embrace racial grievances and hang out with hard-left counter-culturists.

Is there the slightest thing in that background to suggest that he loves the same America most Americans love?

“Voting is the best revenge,” he said. How instructive. Revenge for what? Is it revenge against “bitter,” middle class Americans who “cling” to “guns and religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them”? Is that why we need to “spread the wealth”? Or why we must not reform America but “transform” it?

And that’s just Obama’s person. His policies are worse. This nation absolutely cannot survive much more of his deliberately created debt. Our economy is being stifled by 68 regulations per day — 6,125 regulations or regulatory notices in just the 90 days leading up to Nov. 12. Our medical system cannot survive Obamacare — with doctors retiring at record rates, or refusing to accept Medicare or Medicaid patients, with premiums rising through the roof, with medical-device companies already cutting back on research and development, and with increasing numbers of companies dropping insurance coverage of their employees.

And that’s not even to mention the horrifying dangers of a desperately weakened defense force, a refusal to call terrorism by its name or fight it accordingly, and a betrayal of allies combined with kowtowing to powers antagonistic to everything about the American nation.

Can we survive all this? Well, as Ronald Reagan would say, we are, after all, Americans. We are a rather hearty people, and an inherently decent people too. But never, ever, not even under Jimmy Carter, were we led by a president who thinks the United States has been anything but an overwhelming force for good in the world. Until now. And that should frighten us.

In my first post-election column four years ago, I warned that Obama’s Alinskyites would first find a way to steal a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (check), eventually try to undermine the filibuster entirely (check), liberalize laws and practices against vote fraud (check), abuse the power of the Justice Department (check), tilt the playing field in favor of unions, use regulations like a cudgel, inspire radical “street demonstrations” (check-check-check), and incrementally but steadily erode our civil rights (HHS mandate, anyone?).

All of that is child’s play compared to what Obama can do now that he no longer faces re-election, now that he can appoint more and more judges to rubber-stamp his abuses, now that he can issue more executive orders and administrative fiats, now that he can use the full and awesome power of the federal behemoth he has so assiduously expanded in size, scope, and authority. Unless we watch out, one fears, columns such as this one will be described as seditious, and our speech rights will be as threatened as the religious liberties of Catholic charities and Baptist hospitals already are.

These things can happen, though, only if we don’t fight back. If this be sedition (which it isn’t), let the Obamites make the most of it. At some point the sleeping American public will rouse itself and insist that we are indeed Americans, and we are better and freer and stronger than the Eric Holders of the world think we are. The Obamites will not succeed. We will not let them.

About the Author
Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @QuinHillyer.

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Imbalances of Power

At the New York Times, op-ed columnist Thomas L. Friedman writes about the huge transfer of wealth and power that is shaping the future ( or lack thereof) of America:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/21/opinion/21friedman.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

"There has been much debate in this campaign about which of our enemies the next U.S. president should deign to talk to. The real story, the next president may discover, though, is how few countries are waiting around for us to call. It is hard to remember a time when more shifts in the global balance of power are happening at once — with so few in America’s favor.

Let’s start with the most profound one: More and more, I am convinced that the big foreign policy failure that will be pinned on this administration is not the failure to make Iraq work, as devastating as that has been. It will be one with much broader balance-of-power implications — the failure after 9/11 to put in place an effective energy policy.

It baffles me that President Bush would rather go to Saudi Arabia twice in four months and beg the Saudi king for an oil price break than ask the American people to drive 55 miles an hour, buy more fuel-efficient cars or accept a carbon tax or gasoline tax that might actually help free us from what he called our “addiction to oil.”

The failure of Mr. Bush to fully mobilize the most powerful innovation engine in the world — the U.S. economy — to produce a scalable alternative to oil has helped to fuel the rise of a collection of petro-authoritarian states — from Russia to Venezuela to Iran — that are reshaping global politics in their own image.

If this huge transfer of wealth to the petro-authoritarians continues, power will follow. According to Congressional testimony Wednesday by the energy expert Gal Luft, with oil at $200 a barrel, OPEC could “potentially buy Bank of America in one month worth of production, Apple computers in a week and General Motors in just three days.”

But that’s not all. Two compelling new books have just been published that describe two other big power shifts: “The Post-American World,” by Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International, and “Superclass” by David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment.

Mr. Zakaria’s central thesis is that while the U.S. still has many unique assets, “the rise of the rest” — the Chinas, the Indias, the Brazils and even smaller nonstate actors — is creating a world where many other countries are slowly moving up to America’s level of economic clout and self-assertion, in every realm. “Today, India has 18 all-news channels of its own,” notes Zakaria. “And the perspectives they provide are very different from those you will get in the Western media. The rest now has the confidence to present its own narrative, where it is at the center.”

For too long, argues Zakaria, America has taken its many natural assets — its research universities, free markets and diversity of human talent — and assumed that they will always compensate for our low savings rate or absence of a health care system or any strategic plan to improve our competitiveness.

“That was fine in a world when a lot of other countries were not performing,” argues Zakaria, but now the best of the rest are running fast, working hard, saving well and thinking long term. “They have adopted our lessons and are playing our game,” he said. If we don’t fix our political system and start thinking strategically about how to improve our competitiveness, he added, “the U.S. risks having its unique and advantageous position in the world erode as other countries rise.”

Mr. Rothkopf’s book argues that on many of the most critical issues of our time, the influence of all nation-states is waning, the system for addressing global issues among nation-states is more ineffective than ever, and therefore a power void is being created. This void is often being filled by a small group of players — “the superclass” — a new global elite, who are much better suited to operating on the global stage and influencing global outcomes than the vast majority of national political leaders.

Some of this new elite “are from business and finance,” says Rothkopf. “Some are members of a kind of shadow elite — criminals and terrorists. Some are masters of new or traditional media; some are religious leaders, and a few are top officials of those governments that do have the ability to project their influence globally.”

The next president will have to manage these new rising states and these new rising individuals and networks, while wearing the straightjacket left in the Oval Office by Mr. Bush.

“Call it the triple deficit,” said Mr. Rothkopf. “A fiscal deficit that will soon have us choosing between rationed health care, sufficient education, adequate infrastructure and traditional levels of defense spending, a trade deficit that has us borrowing from our rivals to the point of real vulnerability, and a geopolitical deficit that is a legacy of Iraq, which may result in hesitancy to take strong stands where we must.”

The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging. When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels. "

What Oil Shortage ?

Gotta love this:
WhatOilShortage

Bring on Gas Rationing

Nobody in Congress has the balls to place a significant use tax on gasoline – one that would cause people to demand and embrace alternatives. So instead, let’s institute rationing. Can’t get to work with your ration ?  Time for a new job, more efficient car or maybe mass transit.

Basically we’ve done nothing to wean ourselves off of the oil teat – even with a 50 year warning from the Admiral and the oil embargo wake-up call in the 70’s. We’re paying the price now – literally. The greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world is happening right now as dollars stream to China for crap and Saudi Arabia for oil. The USA is exporting nothing comparable. Of course the joke may soon be on them (and ourselves) as the dollar becomes worthless.

Hope is dimming for any chance of survival through a period of runaway inflation and drastic decline in the standard of living. Colonies on the moon ? Trip to Mars ?  Forget about it. Watch as the USA becomes a third world nation when all of our grandiose infrastructure comes crashing down due to the end of low-cost energy.

Bring back the Trains…

And I don’t mean diesel engines either – bring back the steam powered locomotives that burn coal.

The airlines are dying, and the price is rapidly becoming unaffordable. At least the trains ran on time (or so I’ve been told) and we have plenty of coal.

Maybe if everybody can see the tons of pollution being spewed by their travel activities they might take an interest in researching alternatives…

The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production

Read it and weep – too bad our elected officials can’t read:

The Hirsch Report on Peak Oil

The Coming War with Iran: It’s About the Oil, Stupid

Over on the Huffington Post, Joe Lauria writes about WW-III:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-lauria/the-coming-war-with-iran_b_96428.html

"World civilization is based on oil. The world is running out of oil. The oil companies and governments are not telling the truth about how close we are to the end. Dick Cheney knew about peak oil back in 1999 when he spoke to the London Petroleum Institute as Halliburton CEO. He predicted it would come in 2010. After that it’s just a matter of years before it runs out. Whoever controls the remaining oil determines who lives and who dies.

Sixty percent of this oil is under a triangular area of the Middle East the size of Kansas. In that speech Cheney said: "The Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies."

This small Middle East triangle encompasses the northeast of Saudi Arabia, all of Iraq and the southwestern part of Iran, along with Kuwait, Qatar and the Emirates. The US controls Iraq. It has friendly governments in the other states.

Iran is the exception. The US now surrounds Iran.

Controlling an area the size of Kansas shouldn’t be a problem for the U.S. military, except that it is heavily populated and many people in the triangle don’t want the Americans there and are willing to fight.

It’s been known for at least thirty years that America needs alternative energy sources. But instead of an alternative energy plan we got the invasion of Iraq by oilmen wedded to a dying business, willing to kill hundreds of thousands to cling to the last drop. The US is never leaving the region or withdrawing from Iraq. McCain is right about staying, but 100 years is too long. The oil won’t last that long.

Iran is next. Lieberman set up Petraeus to testify last week that Iranian-backed groups are murdering hundreds of American servicemen in Iraq. On Friday Gates called Iran’s influence in Iraq "malign" and Bush said if Iran keeps meddling in Iraq "then we’ll deal with them." They are building their case for war with resolutions in the Senate and at the UN. It’s only western Iran, from the Iraq border to 150 miles inside the country that the U.S. will have to occupy. That’s where Iran’s oil is. But the U.S. will have a nasty battle on their hands in Iran even if they restore a Shah-like puppet in Tehran 30 years after the revolution.
The Saudis would not mind seeing the Iranian regime go. But the Saudis may also be on the list. The US may have to destabilize and control Saudi Arabia some day too. The Wall Street Journal a few years ago revealed that in the 1970s under Nixon, Kissinger had plans drawn up for the US invasion and occupation of the Saudi oil fields. Those plans can be dusted off.

The American oil wars are being launched out of weakness, not strength. The American economy is teetering and without control of the remaining oil it will collapse. There will be massive chaos in any case, when only enough oil remains for the American elite and whomever they choose to share it with.

That will leave an oil-starved China and India, both with nuclear weapons, with no alternative but to bow to America or go to war.

It’s not about greed any more. It’s about survival. Because the leadership of this country was initially too greedy to switch from oil to solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable alternatives, it may now be too late. Had the hundreds of billions of dollars poured into the invasion and occupation of Iraq been put into alternative energy the world might have had a fighting chance. Now that is far from certain.

What is certain is that these wars are not about democracy. They are not about WMD. The coming one will not even be about Iran’s nuclear weapons project. It’s about the oil, stupid."

Rome is burning while the Congressional idiots are dancing…

Over on the Huffington Post, Raymond Learsy writes on the rapidly approaching death of America:

As Oil Touches All Time Highs, Our Deparment of Energy Takes Us For Fools

"Our oil whiz, Secretary Bodman of the Department of Energy, perhaps a distant cousin of "Great Job Brownie" of Katrina fame, wrote a letter to the New York Times 3.30.08 rebutting points in an editorial "Pain at the Pump and Beyond" 3.25.08, proceeding I would imagine on the assumption that everyone is as much out of the loop on oil issues as he is.

. . .

But it doesn’t stop there. Mr. Bodman and his Department of Energy, certainly at the behest of their (our?) President and Vice President, have sat idly on their hands as the price of oil escalated by some $85 a barrel (from around $25/bbl to over$110/bbl) during the last seven plus years. This nation consumes about 21 million barrels of oil a day and now the additional cascade of American wealth flowing into the pockets of oil interests both here and abroad is approximately $1.78 billion a day ($85/bbl x 21 million barrels) or $564 billion a year. Not to speak of the trillions that have already been transferred to oil patch interests over the last seven years due to escalating oil prices given the benign tolerance of the hacks at the Department of Energy and our Administration. Money that could have been used to expand our fleet of hybrid cars, pay for a major conversion to electric cars (please see "An Essential and Viable Energy Fix and the Renaissance of Detroit" 04.04.08), developing hydrogen powered vehicles , expand wind power and clean coal technology, seriously revisit nuclear power and on Where is the outrage, where is the push back when OPEC President Chakib Khelil pronounces as he did on Tuesdy, with oil prices at $109 a barrel, that "there is no need for OPEC to pump more oil"?

Well don’t despair. As referenced above, our Administration and its factotums at the Department of Energy have over the years set aside $12 billion to deal with this issue of existential importance to the nation’s future. Given their largesse we are asked no to look too closely at the extra trillions going to the oil industry. After all this administration knows who their friends are."

Nanoparticles could make hydrogen cheaper than gasoline

Over on Automotive Design Line:

http://www.automotivedesignline.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206801713

"PORTLAND, Ore. — The hydrogen economy is getting a shot in the arm from a start-up that says its nanoparticle coatings could make hydrogen easy to produce at home from distilled water, and ultimately bring the cost of hydrogen fuel cells in line with that of fossil fuels.

QuantumSphere Inc. says it has perfected the manufacture of highly reactive catalytic nanoparticle coatings that could up the efficiency of electrolysis, the technique that generates hydrogen from water. Moreover, the coatings could also eliminate the need for expensive metals like platinum in hydrogen fuel cells.

Boasting 1,000 times the surface area of traditional materials, the coatings can be used to retrofit existing electrolysers to increase their efficiency to 85 percent–exceeding the Department of Energy’s goal for 2010 by 10 percent. The scheme holds the promise of 96 percent efficiency by the time cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells hit automobile showrooms, according to the Santa Ana, Calif., company.

"Instead of switching 170,000 gas stations over to hydrogen, using our electrodes could enable consumers to make their own hydrogen, either in the garage or right on the vehicle," said Kevin Maloney, president, chief executive officer and co-founder of QuantumSphere. "Our nanoparticle-coated electrodes make electrolysers efficient enough to provide hydrogen on demand from a tank of distilled water in your car." "

. . .

The End of Oil is Upon Us. We Must Move On – Quickly

From Wired Blog: http://blog.wired.com/cars/2007/11/the-age-of-oil-.html

"If there are any lingering doubts as to whether the age of oil is nearing its end, the International Energy Agency has put them to rest and made it clear that only a massive and immediate investment in sustainable energy will prevent a global crisis.

The agency states in no uncertain terms in its annual World Energy Outlook that "alarming" growth in worldwide energy needs will within a generation threaten energy security, accelerate global climate change and possibly  bring worldwide shortages and conflicts.

It’s an unusually pessimistic view from an agency that has long said oil production, with trillions of dollars of investment, could meet rising energy needs. But the explosive growth of China and India has caused a seismic change in thinking at the IEA, which says we must move swiftly, boldly and decisively beyond fossil fuels if we are to avert a crisis." . . .