Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why are oil prices high?

There are, of course, a lot of ideas out there. I read this morning it was the fault of the Republican takeover of the House. Of course, the House hasn't been able to do anything that is actually constructive, because of the Senate and the White House.

Another group to blame are speculators. I'm sure they have something to do with it, but I don't think the blame is all theirs alone. Then there's the Middle East. Actually, most of the oil is still flowing, so that can't be it all by itself. And when hasn't there been turmoil in the Middle East?

Oil companies. Must be them. Let's investigate. Of course, this has been tried before. Or let's take away some of their tax breaks. That $4 billion would reduce the deficit. Oh wait. Obama wants to "invest" that money in green energy projects. The hell with the deficit. (Deficit under Bush was bad; deficit under Obama is good, right? Or at least that's what Krugman says.)

Or is it the policies of the Obama administration that is driving up the price? I don't think anything Obama or his minions have done has helped. Actually, I believe he wants higher prices to force us to adopt his "green" ideology. He has said so himself.

Most likely, it is a combination of all these factors. Here's some actual figures. You can come up with your own conclusion.
According to projections made by the Energy Information Administration in April 2010, the Gulf of Mexico should have produced 1.84 million barrels of oil a day in the fourth quarter of 2010. Instead, according to the most recent EIA estimate, due to the Obama permitorium, the Gulf only produced 1.59 million barrels. That is 250,000 barrels a day in lost production. Overall, since Obama instituted his drilling moratorium, oil production from the Gulf is down more than 10%.

But while Gulf oil production is down from pre-moratorium estimate, total oil consumption is actually higher than EIA predicted last year. Total crude oil input to refineries is up from an estimated 13.85 million barrels a day to an actual 14.25 million barrels. But if domestic production is down and consumption is up, where is the extra oil coming from?

Foreign oil.

While oil production in the Gulf is down more than 10% from April 2010 estimates, net crude oil imports are up 5%. At $83 dollars a barrel (the approximate average price of oil in the fourth quarter of 2010) that means Obama’s oil drilling permatorium increased American dependence on foreign oil by about $1.8 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of last year alone. The numbers only get worse as Obama’s permitorium further cuts into production. A Wood Mackenzie study predicts that for all of 2011 the permitorium will result in the loss this year of about 375,000 barrels of oil a day.

More imported oil also means higher prices at the pumps. The EIA explains: “Retail gasoline prices tend to be higher the farther it is sold from the source of supply.” It costs more money to transport oil to your gas station from the Persian Gulf than from the Gulf of Mexico.
And another factor not mentioned: Our huge deficits, and the falling value of the dollar. Oil is traded with dollars and when the dollar goes down in value, it takes more dollars to pay for oil.

Isn't it time we adopt an energy policy based on reality? Or just maybe a policy at all?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Are gas prices high enough yet?

What's happening to the oil market is exactly what Obama and his fellow socialists want.

By Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner:

President Obama says there's not much the federal government can do to bring down gas prices any time soon. Michael Bromwich, Obama's chief bureaucrat in charge of issuing permits for oil and gas companies to drill off-shore, said the same thing yesterday:

“‘Even if we permitted the hell out of everything tomorrow -- every pending permit, some permits that haven't even been filed yet -- it would not have a material effect on gas prices. That's the simple, clear reality,” said the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).

Both Obama and Bromwich either are purposely lying or they simply don't know what they are talking about. Check out the chart that accompanies this post. Notice what happened on July 14, 2008? Oil prices suddenly plummeted from their historic high of $145 a barrel. Why?

Because that was the day President George W. Bush signed an executive order lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling in the eastern half of the Gulf of Mexico and off the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Overnight, the price per barrel of oil plunged, and that plunge was reflected at the pump soon thereafter.

In other words, Obama could with the stroke of a pen sign an executive order telling his appointees at EPA, the Department of Interior and the Department of Energy to stop throwing up obstacles to increased U.S. oil and natural gas production and instead work with the energy industry on a crash program to "drill here, drill now."

Welcome to the New World

When the U.S. Government can prevent Boeing, a private company, from building a new plant in South Carolina because of union pressure, we are no longer free. Period.

When a local union with 9 employees in a workforce of 92 can shut down an operation, then we are no longer free.

Just two examples. There are so many more that I could write a book...

Remember in 2008 when oil prices peaked at $140? How it must have been Bush's fault because all his buddies were in the (big) oil business. So now what? Well, it certainly can't be Obama's fault. But he'll get to the bottom of it, for sure.

Investors Business Daily gets it right:

In his radio address last Saturday, President Obama bragged that his attorney general had just two days earlier "launched a task force with just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators.

"We're going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain."

Last month, the president promised that his administration was "taking various measures to deal with oil prices, and (is) watching out for price-gouging."

This is the sort of rhetoric that beleaguered consumers, aching from soaring fuel prices, are vulnerable to. Obama is giving them a straw man on which they can vent their frustrations. But their focus should be on the presidential candidate who said while campaigning in 2008 that under his environmentalist regime, "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

On the day Obama took office, gasoline was $1.83 a gallon. On Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the national average was $3.87. While electricity prices haven't yet necessarily skyrocketed, gasoline prices sure have.

Obama could have prevented this. But he's done nothing to push crude supplies up and thereby bring gasoline prices down. In fact, it appears that his goal is to reduce domestic supply. Among the energy roadblocks his administration has thrown up:

• An illegal moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

• The rescission of permits that had already been issued for drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska.

• The withholding of air permits for drilling, prompting Shell to walk away from an estimated 27 billion barrels of Arctic oil.

No, the oil in those reserves would not be in tomorrow's pipeline. But the promise of more oil in the future has an effect on prices today. The opposite — a future of artificial scarcity — is the reason oil is currently trading at elevated levels.

Despite its denials, the administration has also increased gasoline prices through its promotion of a weak dollar. Because oil is traded in U.S. dollars, those who sell it on the open market demand more dollars for the same amount of crude because those dollars are worth less.

This administration includes an energy secretary who has pined for European — meaning $8-a-gallon — gas prices. But the White House would rather the public remain ignorant of its role in driving prices higher. So it cynically kicks off probes of investors and oil industry executives that will turn up absolutely nothing.

And then when Bill Maher gets on Leno and says that "tea-baggers are corporate America's idiots" and Keith Olbermann thinks that S.E. Cupp should have been aborted, just because she disagrees with him, I'm about ready to scream.

It's gotten so ridiculous that it's hard to take. But we need to keep up the good fight against the left before they bury us all, as promised in 1961.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama: Another task force

Remember the "commission" on the deficit. What did Obama do with its recommendations?

Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

Now, we are going to have a "task force" over energy prices.

Man, you REALLY can't make this stupid stuff up!

The man doesn't have a clue how the real world works.

Gary Johnson to run for President. Who?

Finally, someone from the Republican side of things has made a decision. From the Atlantic Journal:
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has just announced his candidacy for president, and, finally, a Republican is actually running. Johnson didn't announce an exploratory committee, or that he's thinking about running. He announced that he's a candidate for president.

"I'm ready for a different America," Johnson said on the steps of the New Hampshire state house.

You may be asking: Who is Gary Johnson? Is he a serious candidate? Why have I never heard of him?

In a field of potential contenders who all talk about drastic spending cuts and echo a small-government message designed to resonate with tea partiers, Johnson is the only bona fide social and economic libertarian in the race. If Ron Paul doesn't run, then Johnson really will stand a chance to inherit the libertarian mantle in the 2012 Republican primary, though Paul formed an exploratory committee two weeks ago.

Johnson served two terms as governor of New Mexico, winning that job as an entrepreneur with no prior political experience. He earned a reputation for his vetoes, which he talks about a lot these days.

He stands for school vouchers, a balanced budget, the block-granting of Medicaid, and against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Johnson will sound to many like a one-issue candidate, because there's one issue that sticks out, above all else, in his platform: Johnson wants to legalize marijuana. And he's eager to tell you about it.
After reading his stance on issues (see GaryJohnson2012) I can't find anything I disagree with. So this will be interesting to follow.

Some see Texas wildfires as a joke, because it's Texas

(Update: Apri 21, 2011 at 2:41 PM CDT. A second firefighter has died today in Texas fighting these fires, and the number of homes or buildings lost nears 400.)

Some people hate Texas and Texans, for some idiotic reason I've never been able to understand. But I guess some people just have to find something or someone to hate, and since it isn't politically correct to hate another race or ethnic group, I guess Texas makes for a large target. But anyway you try to rationalize this, it's simple bigotry.

Well, bring it on. Though not a Texan (I'm from Michigan), I've lived in Texas for several years and can find no fault worthy of mentioning at this time of trouble.

But for some, like (I'll do a favor and keep him anonymous) from Colorado, the editor of his shallow but illustrative blog, FamGuyToday, who has repeatedly shown his disdain for anything Texas or Texan, thinks the historically destructive wildfires in Texas is a great opportunity to make fun.

Since Colorado also has problems with fires from time to time, you'd think he'd understand.

This is how I responded to his posting:

The only two things you can come up with is a joke and something about preachers (not main stream preachers, but the fanatics, which aren't all in Texas)?

In the meantime, a firefighter (volunteer) has died, another injured, 160 homes up in flames, more than 1 million acres burned (more than Rhode Island), not to mention livestock and wildlife burned alive.

In times of trouble, it is normal for Americans to come together and put aside our petty political differences to help each other.

But there are those who can't see past their bigoted hate.
As my dad  used to say, it takes all kinds...

Is Gore really green?

I find this interesting. Greenpeace has rated Apple as one of the least green companies in the world.

Al Gore Jr., former Vice President of the United States and Global Warming advocate, is on Apple's board of directors.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Random thoughts (from me and others)

From the Washington Examiner April 18:
If America's having a financial crisis, why are our leaders on recess?
Cancel all recesses and junkets, park Air Force One, get back to the capital and do your job. Does Harry Reid and 9 other Sens and Reps really need a vacation -- oops, I mean fact-finding-mission -- to China? Or John Boehner and his six fellow legislators to Iraq, Afganistan and Pakistan (which actually makes more sense, but the timing of both are awful considering the circumstances)?
Cal Thomas writes:  It's peculiar how the Left embraces choice when it comes to aborting children, but opposes it for children languishing in failing public schools. These substandard schools virtually guarantee their students a life of poverty, teen pregnancy, near illiteracy and welfare dependence.

But Cal, that's exactly what they want. A whole generation of voters dependent on government handouts.
Obama's budget speech last week was two things: a campaign speech and an attempt to ridicule his opponents. Obama learned during his community organizing days how to bully and ridicule people to put them on the defensive. He has done that since 2007 and has never quit. Instead of him taking on the responsibilities of being President, Obama is stuck in time as a community organizer using what he learned from Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Alinsky's Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage. According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.” People need to see Obama for what he is, not what he says he is.
Taxing the rich won't reduce deficits, by the way. If it makes you feel better, go ahead, but it won't improve anything. Anyone who has seriously studied (besides Paul Krugman) economics and tax issues should come to that conclusion. This tax the rich thing is leftist class warfare and not based on fact. It is based on feelings. Nothing else. What we need is a fairer tax code, without all the special stuff for special interests. Everyone should pay the same percentage.
I mention Paul Krugman because his latest column is like most: stupid leftist bs. And don't throw his Nobel prize around, because we know how those are given out. You don't have to accomplish anything to get one, as long as your politics are correct. Anyway, I digress. Krugman had this to say:
Last week, President Obama offered a spirited defense of his party’s values — in effect, of the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society.

But anyone with their head out of their keester knows that those two "programs" did not work. Might as well have taken those trillions of dollars and just thrown them down a black hole. In fact, with less government involvement, things might actually be better.

I think people are beginning to wake up to that, after years of liberal propaganda.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Democrats are still winning

Here's something interesting from the Washington Post: "Obama to take deficit plan on the road..."

What plan? There's no plan. It's just generalities, and silly attacks on Republicans. But many, many people really do believe the Republicans are only about the rich and really want to starve granny. We libertarians call these people sheep. Yup, both sides have them.

But Obama and the dems are probably going to get their way. Higher energy prices, higher taxes, and even more spending. For a while anyway. Then we'll be in a recession that will make 2008 a mild correction.

When 50 percent are pulling the wagon, and the objective is to put more people on that wagon, it doesn't take long before the wagon starts to slow down for everyone.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why we should go with a fair tax

From a reader's post at American Thinker, in response to the article posted earlier.  I couldn't have said it any better:

The importance of the state of the economy is always ignored by the Left, and often by the Right. When things are booming, the money-hungry Congress get more of our money to waste, even at lower tax rates. Therefore, it makes more sense to boost the economy than to raise taxes. When things are booming, people are happy to pay reasonable taxes. When things are bust, they complain about every penny.

The tax code is just plain stupid and counter to what we as Americans stand for. All Americans are equal, so all Americans should pay precisely the same tax rate. I don't care if you're a 90 year old granny on a pension or Jeffery Immelt, or General Motors, your tax rate should be equal. Federal income taxes should have exactly zero exemptions, loopholes, and dodges.

When you go down the exemption road, it makes Americans unequal. When you overly burden business and the rich, they hide their money. When you excuse poor Americans from paying tax, it takes them out of the system, saps their ambition, and makes them part of an under class.

We must never, ever tolerate government defined classes. It's against everything America stands for. 10% tax is enough if everyone pays. It would make the economy so vibrant that there would be plenty of money left over to help the poor.

What's not to like about Ryan's tax proposals?

A very fine analysis:

Ryan's Sweeping Tax Reform and the Left's Inane Response

My response to the above article:

The left-liberal-progressive position on taxes is not about government revenue or economic growth, and when they say it, don't believe it. It's all about the ideology of wealth redistribution, of spreading the wealth around. They do not care about anything else. It's class warfare, right out of Marx and Lenin. They don't feel good about a person becoming rich and being able to keep the fruits of their labor when someone else might be poor and in need of help. It's all about what they think is fair. But only for the poor person, who probably is poor by personal choice or design. Those truly in need have always gotten help, but now -- thanks to progressive programs -- we have a huge number of people who have become dependent on the government. Anyway, I ramble a bit...

The bottom line here is a battle between capitalism and socialism. Those of us who still retain the ability to form our own opinions based on reality know that capitalism, for all its faults, works so much better than socialism, which has failed everytime it's been tried.

But that doesn't matter if you're "progressive," because it might not be "fair." Like the child who stomps his or her feet and yells "But that's not fair!"

What I'm reading today

We’re There to Help
And they’re there to kill us.

The liberal's plan: Cut defense and tax, tax, tax
Reader's comments to this oped are interesting. I'll repeat a few here:

At some point Americans will need to face the reality that the purpose of the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party is to create a dependent citizenry. Under the guise of helping the less fortunate, they will create an ever growing class dependent on government largesse, and this, they hope will be a voting class to keep them in office. Americans MUST stop thinking of government handouts as"entitlements". They are chains, if you really don't NEED "free lunch" for your kid don't take it. 42%of Americans receive "food stamps"? What percentage of that whole doesn't really need them but takes them because they are "entitled" to them? It is a mindset that needs changing. Based on our income my children were "entitled" to a free lunch in public school. Since I was capable of making their lunches myself I refused the offer.

I think it's great that the Leftists have finally been smoked out of their hole and we can see exactly what they REALLY stand for. Their budget is nothing less that full europeanization of the US; a headlong leap into the failed policies of 1970s era socialism. Funny how the so-called intellectuals on the Left haven't absorbed the fact that europe is moving away from the very models the Left is proposing for the US.  And oh yeah...can there be any doubt how utterly tone deaf these neo-marxists are? Naming it The People's Budget? Really? The slogan reeks of communism and is bound to turn off everyone to the Right of Dennis Kucinich.

Mr. York's assumption is wrong. President Obama can claim he's playing the independent card by rejecting both budgets and pushing for something in the middle. When doing so, he will claim the GOP's budget is radical and extreme all while claim he is taking the middle road. He will do this because he has no fear of losing his base as York suggests. The fact is those commie drones will vote for him regardless because they do not know how to vote for anyone other than a Democrat. Maybe if the entitlement class actually got some education from all the government programs they participate in they could cast an intelligent vote but the reality is most of the entitlement class has been indoctrinated into thinking all republicans long for the days of slavery and make their money by stealing from the poor.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Obama: We've met the Republicans half-way

When I heard Obama say that "we have met the Republicans half-way" after his meeting with House Republicans, I thought what a really great guy he must be to actually talk to a Republican face-to-face.

Big whoop. So you've met the Republicans half-way. They proposed $61 billion in cuts and you only want $33 billion. Neither proposal is adequate.

Political cartoonist Michael Rameriz from IBD puts it in perspective with this pie chart:

More stupid liberal responses to Ryan's budget plan

At FireDogLake (and what else would you expect), someone who calls him/her/itself BlueTexan has a plan to balance the budget.

Withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cut all defense spending by 50%.
Restore all tax rates to 1981 levels — across the board.
Double the Estate Tax.
Pass a millionaire’s tax.
Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction > $500,000.
Eliminate mortgage interest deduction on vacation homes.
Eliminate corporate tax loopholes.
Eliminate tax breaks for Big Oil.
Eliminate Big Farm subsidies.
Pass a carbon tax.
Pass a bank tax.
Problem solved
What's even more amazing are the number of people who see this as a viable answer.
You didn’t solve health care spending — neither did Ryan, and he just put debt on people’s backs rather than the government — so just throw in some single-payer scheme, or British NHS system and we’re good.
He (Ryan) put debt on people's back rather than the government? And just who pays for this debt? What a friggen' idiot.

I could put more stupid left-wing comments here, but let's just let it be that one. But the majority of the moonbats at FireDogLake wanted more taxes! Higher taxes on gas! More taxes on the banks! Taxes on overseas investments! Taxes on unearned income!  Higher Social Security and Medicare taxes! And make sure those evil "rich" pay their fair share.

I'll bet none of these loons pay taxes.
But higher taxes for those who produce, work and earn in this country are the answer to our prosperity, dont' you know, so that the other half can live off the government teat? Come on. Where's your empathy?

Gag me.

Where's the Democrat plan? Nada, zilch, no where to be seen

Now that the Republicans, via Paul Ryan, have released a plan to restore fiscal sanity in Washington, where is the counter-plan from the Democrats? Well, doesn't seem that they have one.

Their plan is to continue with the status quo, regardless of the outcome, because it's the "nice" thing to do. Pelosi's response to Ryan's plan is typical, and stupid, even for witch Nancy:

While Ryan was announcing his plan at a press conference, she tweeted:
The #GOP Ryan budget is a path to poverty for America's seniors & children and a road to riches for big oil #GOPvalues

#GOP Path to Poverty budget eliminates guaranteed benefits for seniors under Medicare #GOPvalues
These are nothing but scare tactics. I guess she'd rather spend us into oblivion. Then everyone would be poor. But we'd all feel good on the way down.

E.J. Dionne, I assume, takes the position of most liberals. He writes about how radical the conservatives in Washington are, how Ryan's plan would "reportedly" do this and that, taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and that overall, the GOP wants to take us all back to 1956. Reportedly, he writes. Which means he hasn't read the document that he criticizes; instead he relies on others to do his investigation for him. Typical lazy liberal bullshit.

And I'll bet that Nancy hasn't read it either. Remember "we have to vote on the bill so we can read it" Nancy? She couldn't get the House to pass a budget last year. With a supermajority. The democrats controlled Congress for four years. Our deficit nearly doubled during those four years. They should be ashamed of what they've done, not proud.

But what else can you expect from twisted minds?