The Great Divider

Once again, The Great Divider shows that he cares not to wait and see where the evidence leads but instead rushes quickly to find confirmations of what he already believes.

From VDH:

But a larger lesson should be the president’s, because a disturbing pattern has developed in his editorializing, which is aimed exclusively at those whose policies and language he implies lead to horrific acts like the shooting of African-American teenagers, the smearing of young feminists, the shooting of Democratic congresswomen, or the jailing of African-American professors. Yet in every case, further evidence, more information, and subsequent events suggested that the president had offered either incomplete or misleading commentary to the nation, predicated not on a desire for healing or truth, but on a wish to gain partisan advantage.

With the world in recession, facing energy shortages, and on the brink of war, it is politically unwise for the president of the United States to offer commentary on contentious issues, especially before the facts of such disputes are fully known. To do so at worst can interfere with ongoing investigations, and at best pits the office of the presidency against private individuals. In every case, Barack Obama cannot conclude that his commentary created greater unity rather than further polarization.

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Matthew Cecchi

This happened back in November, but I feel compelled to mention that the monster who murdered Matthew Cecchi is no more. May he be forever forgotten.

Matthew Louis Cecchi (August 12, 1989 - November 14, 1998)

A Fairness Quiz for President Algae

From Stephen Moore:

President Obama has frequently justified his policies—and judged their outcomes—in terms of equity, justice and fairness. That raises an obvious question: How does our existing system—and his own policy record—stack up according to those criteria?

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country’s income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?

Is it fair that American corporations pay the highest statutory corporate tax rate of all other industrialized nations but Japan, which cuts its rate on April 1?

Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.—but millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?

Is it fair that Americans who build a family business, hire workers, reinvest and save their money—paying a lifetime of federal, state and local taxes often climbing into the millions of dollars—must then pay an additional estate tax of 35% (and as much as 55% when the law changes next year) when they die, rather than passing that money onto their loved ones?

Is it fair that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel and other leading Democrats who preach tax fairness underpaid their own taxes?

Is it fair that after the first three years of Obamanomics, the poor are poorer, the poverty rate is rising, the middle class is losing income, and some 5.5 million fewer Americans have jobs today than in 2007?

Is it fair that roughly 88% of political contributions from supposedly impartial network television reporters, producers and other employees in 2008 went to Democrats?

Is it fair that the three counties with America’s highest median family income just happen to be located in the Washington, D.C., metro area?

Is it fair that wind, solar and ethanol producers get billions of dollars of subsidies each year and pay virtually no taxes, while the oil and gas industry—which provides at least 10 times as much energy—pays tens of billions of dollars of taxes while the president complains that it is “subsidized”?

Is it fair that those who work full-time jobs (and sometimes more) to make ends meet have to pay taxes to support up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who don’t work?

Is it fair that those who took out responsible mortgages and pay them each month have to see their tax dollars used to subsidize those who acted recklessly, greedily and sometimes deceitfully in taking out mortgages they now can’t afford to repay?

Is it fair that thousands of workers won’t have jobs because the president sided with environmentalists and blocked the shovel-ready Keystone XL oil pipeline?

Is it fair that some of Mr. Obama’s largest campaign contributors received federal loan guarantees on their investments in renewable energy projects that went bust?

Is it fair that federal employees receive benefits that are nearly 50% higher than those of private-sector workers whose taxes pay their salaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office?

Is it fair that soon almost half the federal budget will take income from young working people and redistribute it to old non-working people, even though those over age 65 are already among the wealthiest Americans?

Is it fair that in 27 states workers can be compelled to join a union in order to keep their jobs?

Is it fair that nearly four out of 10 American households now pay no federal income tax at all—a number that has risen every year under Mr. Obama?

Is it fair that Boeing, a private company, was threatened by a federal agency when it sought to add jobs in a right-to-work state rather than in a forced-union state?

Is it fair that our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids—who never voted for Mr. Obama—will have to pay off the $5 trillion of debt accumulated over the past four years, without any benefits to them?

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Energy Independence

From Investors Business Daily:

When he was running for the Oval Office four years ago amid $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, then-Sen. Barack Obama dismissed the idea of expanded oil production as a way to relieve the pain at the pump.

“Even if you opened up every square inch of our land and our coasts to drilling,” he said. “America still has only 3% of the world’s oil reserves.” Which meant, he said, that the U.S. couldn’t affect global oil prices.

It’s the same rhetoric President Obama is using now, as gas prices hit $4 again, except now he puts the figure at 2%.

“With only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” he said. “Not when we consume 20% of the world’s oil.”

The claim makes it appear as though the U.S. is an oil-barren nation, perpetually dependent on foreign oil and high prices unless we can cut our own use and develop alternative energy sources like algae.

U.S. Awash In Oil

But the figure Obama uses — proved oil reserves — vastly undercounts how much oil the U.S. actually contains. In fact, far from being oil-poor, the country is awash in vast quantities — enough to meet all the country’s oil needs for hundreds of years.

The U.S. has 22.3 billion barrels of proved reserves, a little less than 2% of the entire world’s proved reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration. But as the EIA explains, proved reserves “are a small subset of recoverable resources,” because they only count oil that companies are currently drilling for in existing fields.

When you look at the whole picture, it turns out that there are vast supplies of oil in the U.S., according to various government reports. Among them:

At least 86 billion barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf yet to be discovered, according to the government’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

About 24 billion barrels in shale deposits in the lower 48 states, according to EIA.

Up to 2 billion barrels of oil in shale deposits in Alaska’s North Slope, says the U.S. Geological Survey.

Up to 12 billion barrels in ANWR, according to the USGS.

As much as 19 billion barrels in the Utah tar sands, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Then, there’s the massive Green River Formation in Wyoming, which according to the USGS contains a stunning 1.4 trillion barrels of oil shale — a type of oil released from sedimentary rock after it’s heated.

A separate Rand Corp. study found that about 800 billion barrels of oil shale in Wyoming and neighboring states is “technically recoverable,” which means it could be extracted using existing technology. That’s more than triple the known reserves in Saudi Arabia.

All told, the U.S. has access to 400 billion barrels of crude that could be recovered using existing drilling technologies, according to a 2006 Energy Department report.

When you include oil shale, the U.S. has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil, according to the Institute for Energy Research, enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for about the next 200 years, without any imports.

And even this number could be low, since such estimates tend to go up over time.

Back in 1995, for example, the USGS figured there were 151 million barrels of oil in North Dakota’s Bakken formation. In 2008, it upped that estimate to 3 billion barrels to 4.3 billion barrels — a 25-fold increase. Now, some oil analysts say there could be as much as 20 billion barrels there.

And USGS in 2002 quadrupled its oil estimate in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.

To be sure, energy companies couldn’t profitably recover all this oil — even at today’s prices — and what they could wouldn’t make it to market for years. But from the industry’s perspective, the real problem with domestic oil is that the government has roped off most of these supplies.

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, for example, put a huge swatch of land off-limits to drilling. And in 1982, Congress blocked access to most of the oil in the Outer Continental Shelf. Much of the oil on federal lands is also off-limits.

Obama and others say the industry’s claim about lack of access isn’t true, since they aren’t even using many of the offshore leases they already have. The industry counters that this is misleading, since a company needs the lease before it can determine if any oil exists there — a potentially time-consuming process.

In any case, any attempt to get at these vast new oil supplies is sure to face fierce opposition from environmental groups worried about oil production’s direct impact on the environment, as well as global warming worries.

But given today’s prices, most of the public is willing to expand drilling offshore, in ANWR, and in shale oil reserves, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll.

“This is not a geological problem — it’s a political problem,” said Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research. “We’ve embargoed our own supplies.”

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Obamacare – Fundamentally Transforming the United States of America

“[G]overnmentalized health care fundamentally transforms the relationship between citizen and state in ways that make it all but impossible to have genuinely conservative government ever again.”
— Mark Steyn, 2012.01.25

From Daniel Henninger:

Few are going to forget Sen. Santorum in the early debates, stuck in the left-field bleachers, begging to be heard over such center-ring heavyweights as Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain. In August, no one thought this guy would be toe-to-toe with the Romney machine in March. What happened?

I went to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Monday to find out. Out of 1,189,530 votes cast the next day in bellwether Ohio, Mr. Santorum lost to Mitt Romney by only 10,288, at last count. He’s doing something right, and what one learned in Cuyahoga Falls, an Akron suburb, is that it doesn’t have much to do with the famous Santorum controversies over social issues. It’s about ObamaCare. And it’s about the idea of freedom.

What Mr. Santorum has discovered in this campaign is that for a large number of voters, a connection has surfaced between Barack Obama’s economic policies and the issue of personal freedom. The potency of the latter is what’s new, and a vulnerability for this presidency.

[…]

Rick Santorum has linked these concerns about the status of personal freedom directly to ObamaCare and beyond that to the broader policy legacy of Obama administration.

His 35-minute speech in Cuyahoga Falls touched an array of subjects that drew applause. But at the halfway point, when he tore into ObamaCare, his mostly working-class audience exploded into applause and cries of “Rick! Rick! Rick!”

Mr. Santorum didn’t get this response by discussing health-insurance exchanges and guaranteed issue. He told these people that ObamaCare “is usurping your rights. It is creating a culture of dependency. Every single American will be dependent on government, thanks to ObamaCare. There is no more important issue in this race. It magnifies all that is wrong with what this president is trying to do.” His call for repeal produced the explosion.

He followed with an tight description of how he understands the terms of the election: “This race is coming down to the economy, the deficit and control of your life, which is ObamaCare.” (There was no mention of contraception, gays or the role of women.)

In any other election, complaining about the size of government might be GOP boilerplate. Not now. Mr. Santorum put the current moment’s elevated concern about government in broader context. Of regulation, he said: “There’s been this huge explosion of the federal government. . . . I’ve talked to so many business people who say, ‘I could live with Clinton, Bush, it was a little better, but I’m spending all my time trying to figure out what this president is doing next to me.'”

People could live with big. It’s too big that’s getting to them. Under the Obama presidency, something outside the norm happened. Amid ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, the $800 billion stimulus injection and a federal spending boom, something snapped in the steady-state relationship between many citizens and Washington. A lot of people feel the government, finally, is really starting to crowd them. It has made them uneasy. For the Santorum audience, the call-and-response word to push back against the unease is “freedom.”

One can also describe this sense of dread in dry numbers. In the postwar period, spending as a percentage of GDP has been about 20%. The four-year Obama average is 24% of GDP, without ObamaCare’s costs. In a $15 trillion economy, this is a phenomenal increase in the government’s piece of American life.

[…]

Rick Santorum should stay in the race, repeating from now till summer the perverse link between the ObamaCare mandate and the American idea of freedom. It looks like the best argument the GOP nominee will have for a win in November.

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