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Biden KILLS pipelines at home but promotes them for Taliban terrorists

This tells you everything about the ongoing coup against America from within.

Biden kills pipelines at home but promotes them for the Taliban

By Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner | February 08, 2021:

On his first day in office, President Biden canceled permits for the Keystone XL pipeline. Environmentalists and anti-fossil fuel activists should not have applauded his move.

After all, Canada will not stop extracting oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta. Instead, it will simply export oil over existing pipelines or to the Pacific Ocean, where the damage from a potential spill would be harder to address. Biden’s cancellation cost jobs and pushes Canada toward greater economic cooperation with China. It also shakes confidence in U.S. business. Who would invest in the country if any future administration can simply renege on deals with the stroke of a pen? Especially, that is, when the investments involved here reach into the billions of dollars?

Biden’s move was both political theater and an indulgence of his liberal base. But his hypocrisy was stunning even for a politician who has spent a half-century in Washington. Consider that while the Biden administration is killing a pipeline from which the public could benefit, Biden is promoting a pipeline to enrich both one of the world’s worst dictatorships and a group responsible for thousands of U.S. deaths.

The government has apparently brokered a meeting between the Turkmenistan government and the Taliban for a trans-Afghanistan pipeline to bring Turkmen gas across Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. If this scheme sounds familiar, it should: It was the same deal that now-Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad sought to make with the Taliban in the years before the Sept. 11 terror attacks when he was a consultant for the Unocal Corporation.

Khalilzad’s scheme was bad policy two decades ago, and it is even worse now.

Put aside environmental arguments and consider profit. Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report ranks Turkmenistan as among the world’s worst offenders, below even North Korea in terms of freedom and civil liberties. To promote the export of Turkmen gas is to entrench its regime even further. Part of the deal is then paying the Taliban protection money or transit fees for the pipeline transiting Afghan territory. Not only would this undermine the elected Afghanistan government even further, but it would also reward the Taliban for insurgency to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each month. Who needs Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers when the State Department has crafted a scheme to reward the Taliban beyond their wildest dreams?

One issue here is Khalilzad’s penchant for using diplomacy as a stepping stone to cut side deals. But the other issue is U.S. strategic interests. Perhaps a misunderstanding of the Taliban agenda was an excuse 20 years ago. It should not be one now. If the Biden administration says no to pipeline jobs in the Midwest, it should not then turn around and help enrich the Taliban to ship Turkmen gas to the Indian Ocean. It is time for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to call his envoy, end this hypocrisy, and to stop coddling some of the world’s most anti-American movements.

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“Creating Jobs” Will Hurt the Economy by T. Norman Van Cott

How many jobs would the Keystone Pipeline project create? Political reporter Tom Murse points out that the answer is a matter of dispute. “Supporters argue that the Keystone XL pipeline would create tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of new jobs.” But critics “claim those numbers are wildly inflated,” Murse writes.

Both sides assume a higher number would make the project better for the economy. Both sides have it backwards.

Home Economics

The value of work is easy to grasp at the most domestic level: your own home.

Being a homeowner isn’t easy. Among other things, you always seem to have more chores to do than time to do them. The chores are not ends in themselves. Rather, they are means to an end — in this case, making a home and yard more livable or aesthetically pleasing.

Opting to do a chore yourself — “insourcing” in current parlance — isn’t costless. You lose the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your other labors. For example, you could tackle different chores, spend more time with your family, or work extra hours in the marketplace, increasing your income. Hiring someone else to do the chore — that is, “outsourcing” — isn’t costless, either. It means you can’t buy other things. Costs represent sacrificed alternatives.

The rule when it comes to home ownership isn’t rocket science. Tackle those chores whose ends you value more than their cost. If your water softener breaks, and you value having softened water more than what it would cost either you or the plumber to repair it, then hire the plumber if his cost is less than what it costs you to fix it yourself. (Don’t forget to count the work time you’ll be giving up to act as your own plumber.)

By outsourcing the repair work, you will have “lost a job,” but your standard of living will be higher. By how much? The difference between your cost and the plumber’s cost.

Added household chores — that is, “gaining jobs” — are anything but a blessing. Chores represent hurdles between you and that more livable, aesthetically pleasing home and yard. Each job represents something you’re going to have to give up before your house is the way you want it. “Gaining jobs” to achieve a given objective is synonymous with worsening your situation, not improving it.

The Rule Writ Large — The Case of the Keystone Pipeline

What is rocket science for many is the ability to recognize that the rule for individual households extends to the national household, as we can see in the case of the Keystone Pipeline controversy. The project, which has been a political football for several years, would transfer oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. The project’s desirability is associated with the number of jobs required for the pipeline’s construction and maintenance. The more jobs created, the more desirable the pipeline, it would seem.

All involved in the discussion fail to apply lessons for individual households to the national household. Pipeline jobs are part of the cost of getting oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. They are not part of the benefits. The fewer jobs created, the better. Indeed, in the best of all worlds, there would bezero jobs required to transfer oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. That way, we could get the oil transferred without having to give up anything!

Pipeline proponents who note a large number of required jobs are unwittingly arguing against the project, just as opponents who cite a small number of jobs are unwittingly arguing in its favor.

Beyond the Pipeline

This failure to apply the simple rules for individual households is not restricted to the Keystone Pipeline issue. It pervades economic, business, and political discussions. Government programs come packaged with estimates of the number of new jobs the programs will supposedly create. The more jobs, the merrier. That’s the political refrain. Likewise, state and local economic development bureaucrats tout the number of jobs associated with business relocations or expansions.

One has to wonder whether those who peddle this more-jobs nonsense apply it to their own households. I bet not. Fewer chores, not more, make their homes more enjoyable. National households are no different. Or as Adam Smith put it in his classic, The Wealth of Nations, that which “is prudence in the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.”

T. Norman Van CottT. Norman Van Cott

T. Norman Van Cott, professor of economics, received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1969. Before joining Ball State in 1977, he taught at University of New Mexico (1968-1972) and West Georgia College (1972-1977). He was the department chairperson from 1985 to 1999. His fields of interest include microeconomic theory, public finance, and international economics. Van Cott’s current research is the economics of constitutions.

Obama Administration Once Approved a Pipeline Just Like Keystone XL

Something to think about after the Senate failed to override President Obama’s Keystone XL veto is that not long ago, pipelines weren’t tied up in regulatory limbo and the focus of anti-energy advocates.

Ken Cohen, Exxon Mobile’s vice president of public and government affairs, looks at a pipeline approved by the Obama administration that does the same thing Keystone XL will do–move Canadian oil sands crude [emphasis mine]:

Consider that the original Keystone pipeline took 693 days to approve. The current Keystone XL application has languished for 2,356 days and counting.

Then there’s the Alberta Clipper pipeline, another cross-border pipeline whose comparison to Keystone XL should leave many people scratching their heads.

That pipeline took 829 days to approve.  That’s about one-third as long as the Keystone XL review.

The Alberta Clipper pipeline moves oil from Alberta to Wisconsin.

Alberta Clipper pipeline map.

Alberta Clipper pipeline map. Image credit: Enbridge.

Cohen quotes the State Department’s 2009 announcement of the Alberta Clipper’s approval [emphasis his]:

The addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States. .… Canada is a stable and reliable ally and trading partner of the United States, with which we have free trade agreements which augment the security of this energy supply.

Approval of the permit sends a positive economic signal, in a difficult economic period, about the future reliability and availability of a portion of United States’ energy imports, and in the immediate term, this shovel-ready project will provide construction jobs for workers in the United States.

“The same arguments that prevailed for Alberta Clipper in 2009 apply even more to Keystone XL today,” Cohen writes.

[In 2013, I broke down in more detail how the State Department’s rationale squared with arguments for the Keystone XL pipeline.]

Remember, this is President Obama’s State Department.

Its attitude toward Keystone XL is a mirror image of what it was toward the Alberta Clipper even though they have similar benefits.

Instead of appreciating how Canadian oil sands crude improves U.S. energy security, the president gets called out for misleading the public that oil through the Keystone XL pipeline will be exported from the U.S.

And instead of applauding the jobs what will be created by the pipeline, the president considers some construction jobs better than others.

What’s the difference between then and now? Politics.

Organizations are cynically using the Keystone XL pipeline as a symbol to gin up anger, expand membership rolls, and raise money to push a “not here or anywhere” anti-energy agenda.

Not that this opposition is stopping oil sands productionRecord volumes of oil sands crude are being refined in the U.S. while President Obama feeds the hopes of activists that he’ll reject a project that his State Department says will have few negative effects on the environment.

Going back to the Senate’s veto override attempt, Karen Harbert, President and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, released a statement:

In an era when Congress can’t agree on much, the Keystone XL pipeline has stood out because it has such strong, bipartisan support.  Unfortunately, pipeline supporters were a few votes short of the super-majority needed to overturn President Obama’s veto, but the President should not ignore this strong level of support when he makes his final decision on the pipeline.

Meet Sean Hackbarth @seanhackbarth Follow@uschamber

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of an oil terminal in Hardisty, Alberta. Photo credit: Brett Gundlock/Bloomberg.

Obama’s War on U.S. Energy

September 19th was an anniversary you did not read or hear about in the nation’s news media. It marked six years—2008—since the first permit application for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was submitted to the federal government. Can you imagine how many jobs its construction would have created during a period of recovery from the 2008 financial crisis? President Obama is universally credited with delaying it.

Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, pointed out that World War II, the construction of the Hoover Dam, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition all took place in less time. In a September Forbes article, he noted that “Earlier this year a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 65 percent of Americans support building the pipeline, while only 22 percent oppose it. In Washington three-to-one margins are usually referred to as mandates.”

In contrast, in March 2013 the then-Interior Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, boasted “In just over four years, we have advanced 17 wind, solar, and geothermal projects on our public lands.” It is not these projects that Americans depend upon for energy. The opposite is a stark explanation why coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy remain the heart blood of the economy.

AA - Keytone in Perspective

Infographic courtesy of UTA Consultants. For a larger view click on the image.

The Daily Caller reported in July that the “U.S. Bureau of Land Management is currently sitting on a backlog of 3,500 applications that need approval to move forward on drilling for oil and natural gas on federal land,” just part of Obama’s war on U.S. energy.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels met 82% of U.S. energy demand in 2013.

Petroleum, primarily used for transportation, supplied 36% of the energy demand in 2013. Natural gas represented 27%. Coal represented 20% and generated almost 40% of all electricity. In the six years since Obama took office that is a loss of 10%!

The much ballyhooed “renewable sources” of energy, justified by the false claim that carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming or climate change, are a very small part of the nation’s power providers. Wind power represented 1.6% and solar power represented three-tenths of 1%! Hydropower supplied 2.6% making it the largest source of so-called renewable energy.

Politically, it has been Democrats advocating renewable sources and siding with the President’s delay of the oil pipeline and the Environmental Protection Agency’s assault on coal-fired plants to produce electricity. By contrast, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has been busy putting forth legislation to fix aspects of our energy problems and needs.

Some of the bills that were introduced included H.R. 2728: The Protecting State’s Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act; H.R. 3: The Northern Route Approval Act (regarding the keystone XL Pipeline; H.R. 1900: The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act; H.R. 2201: The North American Energy Infrastructure Act; and H.R. 6: The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, intended to expedite the export of liquefied natural gas to our allies around the world. The global market is growing at a colossal pace.

These bills will likely all die in the U.S. Senate, controlled by the Democratic Party. The Nov 4 midterm elections can change that if enough Republicans are elected to gain control.

It’s not just natural gas that is helping the economy improve. The Financial Times reported in late September that “The U.S. is overtaking Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of liquid petroleum, in a sign of how its booming oil production has reshaped the energy sector.” Why? “The U.S. industry has been transformed by the shale revolution, with advances in the techniques of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling enabling the exploitation of oilfields, particularly in Texas and North Dakota.”

The only places you won’t find oil drilling are on federally controlled lands. The same holds for coal and natural gas.

This is in keeping with a virtual war on U.S. energy waged from the White House. Consider what we have witnessed:

  • Obama has refused to let the Keystone XL pipeline be built.
  • Billions wasted on loans to renewable energy companies, many of which like Solyndra and Solar Trust of America went bankrupt.
  • Obama made electric cars like the Chevy Volt part of his energy policy, providing subsidies but their high cost and low mileage capacity has resulted in few sales.
  • Obama and the EPA advocated a cap-and-trade tax on greenhouse gas emissions when there has been no global warming for 19 years and carbon dioxide plays no role whatever in the Earth’s climate.
  • The Obama administration terminating the construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada despite nearly $15 billion already spent on this necessary repository.

These are just a few examples, but in the meantime, the U.S. still requires that a valuable food commodity, corn, be turned into ethanol, an automotive fuel additive, that (a) reduces the millage in every gallon and (b) increases its cost at the pump. As Seldon B. Graham, Jr., a longtime energy industry consultant and observer, notes that “Ethanol production peaked in 2011 at 6% of total oil demand.” Favoring replacing imported foreign oil with American oil, Graham says “Americans would have saved $64.7 billion on the oil price since 2009.”

Americans are afflicted by a President and his administration that for political and environmental reasons are costing them trillions in needless, senseless energy costs, loans and subsidies, and efforts to impose laws that have no basis whatever in science.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Obama administration chooses environmentalists over unions on Keystone XL and fracking

While some environmental groups applauded the latest delay of the Keystone XL pipeline, unions whose members would be building it ripped the administration. Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO, called it “a cold, hard slap in the face for hard working Americans who are literally waiting for President Obama’s approval and the tens of thousands of jobs it will generate.”

Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) general president Terry O’Sullivan was more colorful, saying, “It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

The Keystone XL pipeline isn’t the only energy issue dividing anti-energy environmental groups and unions who want jobs for their members. Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that development of shale energy using hydraulic fracturing had strong union support in Pennsylvania:

“The shale became a lifesaver and a lifeline for a lot of working families,” said Dennis Martire, the mid-Atlantic regional manager for the Laborers’ International Union, or LIUNA, which represents workers in numerous construction trades.

Martire said that as huge quantities of natural gas were extracted from the vast shale reserves over the last five years, union work on large pipeline jobs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia has increased significantly. In 2008, LIUNA members worked about 400,000 hours on such jobs; by 2012, that had risen to 5.7 million hours.

In contrast, environmental groups like the Natural Resource Defense Council who patted the administration on the back for the Keystone XL delay, strongly oppose hydraulic fracturing.

In his Keystone XL statement, McGarvey head of the building trades union asked a good question:

Why does President Obama continue to side with radicals instead of the middle class that, twice, put him office, and supports this project by a significant majority?

Out of work American union members would like to know.

[H/T Lachlan Markay at the Washington Free Beacon.]

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of a rig drilling for natural gas at a hydraulic fracturing site in Pennsylvania is courtesy of photographer Ty Wright/Bloomberg.

Keystone XL is Proof Obama Opposes U.S. Economic Growth

It’s taken nearly five years, but Americans are finally aware that President Obama is opposed to anything that contributes to the economic growth of the nation. Along with a Democratic controlled Senate and its opposition to anything generated by the Republican House, Obama has saddled the nation with the highest debt in its history and squandered billions on failed alternative energy firms.

The most dramatic example is Obama’s five-year delay of the implementation of the Keystone XL pipeline that would safely transport oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

There are approximately 55,000 miles of pipelines in the U.S. with another 30,000 to 40,000 smaller gathering pipelines that feed it to the major ones.

In a February 17 U.S. Chamber of Commerce advertisement in The Weekly Standard, its president and CEO, Thomas J. Donahue, wrote that “In the same time that the Keystone XL pipeline application has been under review by the Obama administration, the Hoover Dam, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Empire State Building were built—a clear indicator of how cumbersome and political today’s permitting process has become.”

Donahue pointed out that “The Keystone XL pipeline would not only transport fuel safely, but it would boost economic activity along the way. Building the pipeline would create more than 42,000 new jobs while adding $3.4 billion to the economy. The pipeline would generate more than $5.2 billion in property taxes for communities on the route, pumping cash into state and city coffers for schools, law enforcement, and local projects.”

“Radical eco-zealots have chosen Keystone XL as the place to make their stand,” says Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) a free market think tank. “They claim this project is unsafe for the environment and the people it would pass near, and that it would greatly contribute to alleged ‘global warming.’”

The State Department is accepting public comment on the pipeline and CFACT has a petition for which it is seeking signatures to move forward on its acceptance. Take a moment to sign it.

Even Obama’s Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, has gone on record saying that the nation’s railroad infrastructure was not ready to handle the huge increase in all oil production coming out of places like North Dakota’s Bakken Shale formation, urging that pipelines are the best option. “Frankly, I think pipeline transport overall probably has overall a better record in terms of cost, in terms of emissions, and in terms of safety.”

Keystone XL has become the environmental movement’s front line in its attack on the nation’s economic growth and political pundits commonly say that Obama’s refusal to permit its construction is based on his intention to keep their vote, but I am inclined to believe that it is part of his effort to convert the economy and political structure of the nation from a vigorous capitalist entity to one in which millions of Americans, unable to find employment and experiencing a reduction in their personal wealth are forced onto government doles of one sort or another.

Paul Driessen, a CFACT senior policy advisor, points out that “Most Americans are no longer fooled by empty hope and change hype. In December only 74,000 jobs were created (many of them low-paying part-time seasonal positions), while 374,000 more people gave up looking for work. Not surprisingly, recent polls have found that three-quarters of Americans say the country still appears to be in a recession, two-thirds don’t trust the President to make the right decisions for the country, and barely 30% say the nation is ‘heading in the right direction.’”

One is reminded of Obama’s claim that his $787 billion dollar “stimulus” program would help fund “shovel ready” jobs waiting to be filled. It utterly failed to do that, instead directing the money to alternative energy firms that went bankrupt while their owners pocketed much of that funding. Obama later admitted that there were far fewer shovel ready jobs than he believed existed. Government regulations have so slowed and delayed construction projects of every description that until they are removed, the economy will continue to stagnate.

The environmental claim that the pipeline will contribute to “greenhouse gas emissions”, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), is utterly false because CO2 plays virtually no role whatever in affecting the Earth’s weather or climate. The claim is based on computer models, 95% or more of which have proved to be wrong.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal on February 20, Richard McNider and John Christie disputed Secretary of State John Kerry’s claims about “climate change”, pointing out that “When the failure of become clear, the modeling industry always comes back with new models that soften their previous warming forecasts…The models mostly miss warming in the deep atmosphere—from the Earth’s surface to 75,000 feet—which is supposed to be one of the real signals of warming caused by carbon dioxide. Here, the consensus ignores the reality of temperature observations of the deep atmosphere collected by satellites and balloons, which have consistently shown less than half of the warming shown in the average model forecasts.” McNider and Christie are professors of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and fellows of the American Meteorological Society.

Even Kerry’s Department of State’s own final environmental impact statement said that the Keystone XL pipeline would contribute little to global greenhouse gas emissions. Obama’s alleged climate policies ignore the science that disputes any connection between CO2 and the climate, but it is his primary instrument to delay and eliminate any economic growth.

Regrettably, on Feb 19, a Nebraska judge ruled that the law allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to be built across the State is unconstitutional, thus delaying the project still further.

The greenhouse emissions claims are a huge lie created to advance “global warming”, now called “climate change”, but the bottom line is that Obama is using them as a weapon against the nation’s capacity to grow the economy

We have a President who is doing everything he can to reduce jobs, reduce construction, eliminate coal-fired plants to produce electricity, and to wage an economic war on America.

© Alan Caruba, 2014