Ongoing Disaster in the Gulf

Ongoing Disaster in the Gulf

By George
Scaggs

 

While the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Obama administration’s
subsequent six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico are
common knowledge, the fact that the federal government has turned the tragic
accident into an ongoing economic calamity seems to be drawing scant attention.
Though the drilling moratorium was officially lifted three months ago, it
has been replaced with an ongoing de facto ban.  But the full scope and damaging
consequences of the federal government’s reactions to the gulf spill go well
beyond deep-water drilling.
While the moratorium was limited to deep-water rigs, the work stoppage in
the Gulf was not.  Due to new regulations and ever-evolving permit processes,
many shallow-water oil and gas drilling operations have been effectively shut
down as well.  Mind you, there is no evidence that the rigs being prevented from
operating are anything but safe.
During the six-month hiatus, though most companies decided to ride out the
situation (believing the work stoppage was for a fixed period of time), no fewer
than five of the 33 deep-water rigs in operation at the time of the spill moved
to foreign shores to fulfill their intended purpose.
Now rig owners, the contractors who lease them, and tens of thousands of
workers find themselves subject to an indefinite waiting game as the federal
bureaucracy mills about.  As rigs continue to sit idle, pressure is mounting for
contractors to void existing leases, and an increasing number of jobs are under
threat.
Indeed, just this month, Marathon Oil terminated its contract on the Noble
Corp’s Jim Day rig that arrived in the Gulf in September. Similarly, deep-water
rigs built by Pride International and the Maersk Group which were intended to
set up operations in the Gulf have been redirected elsewhere.
Less oil drilling in the Gulf means less oil production in the Gulf.  In
addition to drilling rigs sitting dormant, many of the hundreds of production
platforms operating in the Gulf have also been affected.  From there, the ripple
of economic death extends out to equipment, transportation, fuel and food
suppliers, and other businesses that support the region’s oil industry and its
workers.
The frustrations of Gulf Coast residents affected by the federal
government’s actions were on full display earlier this month (seen here
and here)
as Oil Spill Czar Feinberg held a series of town hall meetings in Mississippi
and Louisiana coastal communities.  Many local businesses harmed by the oil
spill are still suffering due to the government shutdown of the oil and gas
industry in the Gulf.
With no recovery in sight for our nation’s private-sector job market and
government revenues (at all levels) consequently stagnating, if not declining,
it is troubling to find the federal government in the business of killing
private-sector jobs, and many of them good middle-class jobs, in wholesale
fashion.
Though it has been estimated that some 20,000 jobs have been lost due to
the federal government’s actions, Lee Hunt, President of the International
Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), contends that job losses are only a
part of the overall economic impact resulting from the continued ban.
The massive deepwater rigs that operate in the Gulf generate about $500,000
per day in revenues, though numerous owners have reduced daily rates by as much
as $200,000 to keep companies in place while the shutdown continues.
Additionally, Hunt estimates that “companies spend approximately another half
million a day for consumables, transportation, maintenance operations and other
costs” per rig.
All told, Hunt conservatively estimates that there is a direct “$30 million
a day negative impact to the economy” due to the deep-water shutdown alone.
However, he said that considering factors including lower dividend payments,
stock prices, lost wages and investment dollars, “the total enterprise loss is
incalculable.”
Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, who is one among three
commissioners overseeing Texas energy policy, agrees, commenting that “[p]eople
should be up in arms[;] it’s not as though we [America] can afford this much
longer.”
So where are the Democratic Party and Big Media on this development?  The
self-proclaimed champions of the “little guy” have fallen strangely silent,
considering the dramatic impact on jobs and prosperity in the Gulf Coast region.
When thousands of jobs are lost due to corporate layoffs, it is the stuff
of headlines.  When the jobs of local and state bureaucrats are threatened
unless they receive federal “stimulus” funding, a hue and cry goes out across
the land.  But when the government kills private-sector jobs, the sufferings of
average Americans are suddenly of no import whatsoever.
Indeed, though local news outlets thoroughly covered Feinberg’s recent
visit to the region, one would be hard-pressed to find any national coverage of
the controversial meetings which took place.  This is a direct contrast to
media coverage when the ire of Gulf Coast residents was directed at
BP.
Official sources now project a 13% decrease is domestic oil production in
2011, and most industry executives now predict that it will take several
years
before production in the Gulf of Mexico returns to 2009 levels.
Hunt predicts that by the end of 2011, only four to ten deep-water rigs in the
gulf will have returned to full operation.  These are troubling developments,
considering America’s already overwhelming dependence on foreign oil.
The shutdown in the gulf will also have a direct impact on the size of the
federal government’s deficit.  Though leftist politicos inside the Beltway
routinely demonize the oil industry, in truth, Washington reaps huge windfalls
from the industry in the form of royalties and excise taxes.
In sum, there are two rather troubling realities which are completely at
odds with the present course being pursued by an overzealous federal government
and the intrusive “Green” movement that sets the tone for much of today’s
government policy.
First, energy produced from oil and gas is literally the fuel for the
world’s major economies.  As unpalatable as it must be for some, economic
prosperity throughout the world depends on oil and gas.
Secondly, much of government’s revenues come from the exploration,
production, and usage of these hydrocarbons.
Whether the continuing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is due to deliberate
government fiat or just gross bureaucratic incompetence, the results are the
same.  Congress should act immediately to end the Obama administration’s
overreach into this vital American industry.

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January 26, 2011 – 11:15:20 AM CST

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White House Plans to Push Global Warming Policy, GOP Vows Fight

White House Plans to Push Global Warming Policy, GOP Vows Fight

By Kimberly Schwandt

Published December 28, 2010 | FoxNews.com


HONOLULU, Hawaii — After failing to get climate-change legislation through Congress, the Obama administration plans on pushing through its environmental policies through other means, and Republicans are ready to put up a fight.

On Jan. 2, new carbon emissions limits will be put forward as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares regulations that would force companies to get permits to release greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Critics say the new rules are a backdoor effort to enact the president’s agenda on global warming without the support of Congress, and would hurt the economy and put jobs in jeopardy by forcing companies to pay for expensive new equipment.

“They are job killers. Regulations, period — any kind of regulation is a weight on economy. It requires people to comply with the law, which takes work hours and time, which reduces the profitability of firms. Therefore, they grow more slowly and you create less jobs,” said environmental scientist Ken Green of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Dan Howells of Greenpeace disagrees.

“I was looking at some advertisements from the 1970s where they were making the very same arguments about stopping acid rain. And that didn’t turn out to be a job-killer. In fact, it created jobs in some places,” said Howells, the environmental group’s deputy campaign director. “The more we keep making these decades-old arguments, the more we won’t be creating the jobs of the future and working towards the new energy economy.”

The administration says it has the power to issue the regulation under a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that directed the agency to make a determination on whether carbon dioxide, blamed for global warming, was a hazard to human health.

Rep Fred Upton, R-Mich., the incoming House Energy Committee Chairman, penned an op-ed in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal along with Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips, and charged that Congress should act.

“The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency’s endangerment finding and proposed rules,” the op-ed read in part.

With Republicans taking control in the House, the GOP will be in a better position to take on some of these policies, and members are promising a fight if the Obama White House moves forward with any carbon crackdown. There was bipartisan support for a bill proposed this year that would have stripped the EPA of the power to set carbon emissions limits. GOP lawmakers could bring the measure back.

The White House seems prepared for a fight.

The administration recently circulated a memo from the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren to the heads of all federal departments and agencies calling for “a clear prohibition on political interference in scientific processes and expanded assurances of transparency.”

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Barone: In Black and White terms, Obama’s in Terrible Shape

Barone: In Black and White terms, Obama’s in Terrible Shape

Clarice Feldman

Writing in the Washington Examiner, Michael Barone explains why the Dems are in even worse shape heading into the 2010 elections than it may at first appear from polling data:
Obama’s job rating among black voters is 91% positive. A lttle back of the envelope arithmetic suggests that Obama’s job rating among the 88% or 89% of non-black respondents is about 39% positive and 54% negative.
That’s pretty weak – a whole lot more negative than the numbers you usually see for all voters. This is hugely relevant to the 2010 elections. Most of the states with seriously contested Senate races or Democratic seats that seem almost certain to go Republican have below-national-average black percentages. Exceptions: Arkansas (where polls show Democrat Blanche Lincoln well behind), Florida, and Illinois.
Similarly, when you look at the list of target House seats very few have substantial black populations. This is partly the result of the prevailing interpretation of the Voting Rights Act – supported and encouraging by most black Democratic politicians -which requires maximization of the number of “majority-minority” districts. When you put lots of black voters in those districts, you don’t have many in adjacent districts.
All of which is to say that the state of opinion in the real political battlegrounds of 2010 is considerably more negative toward Barack Obama than top-line poll numbers suggest.

Dems Stonewall Obama Bribery Investigation

Dems Stonewall Obama Bribery Investigation

June 25th, 2010

By Michael Riley, Denver Post

Obama and Sestak

House Republicans failed in a push Wednesday to force the release of White House documents related to potential job offers made to two Democratic Senate primary challengers, Andrew Romanoff in Colorado and Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania.

The Resolution of Inquiry failed on a party-line vote in the House Judiciary Committee, 15-12, leaving Republicans with a diminishing set of options as they try to force a wider investigation into White House efforts to entice Democratic challengers out of two key Senate races.

In the debate before the vote, Democrats insisted administration officials have already addressed the issues sufficiently and pointed to more pressing problems of concern to voters, including the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Republicans insisted there are still unanswered questions in both cases.

Read More

The Runaway General

The Runaway General

Stanley McChrystal, Obama&apos;s top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, works on board a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft between Battlefield Circulation missions. 

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Mark O’Donald/NATO

By  Michael Hastings

Jun 22, 2010 10:00 AM EDT

This article appears in RS 1108/1109 from July 8-22, 2010, on newsstands Friday, June 25.
‘How’d I get screwed into going to this dinner?” demands Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It’s a Thursday night in mid-April, and the commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is sitting in a four-star suite at the Hôtel Westminster in Paris. He’s in France to sell his new war strategy to our NATO allies – to keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies. Since McChrystal took over a year ago, the Afghan war has become the exclusive property of the United States. Opposition to the war has already toppled the Dutch government, forced the resignation of Germany’s president and sparked both Canada and the Netherlands to announce the withdrawal of their 4,500 troops. McChrystal is in Paris to keep the French, who have lost more than 40 soldiers in Afghanistan, from going all wobbly on him. 

“The dinner comes with the position, sir,” says his chief of staff, Col. Charlie Flynn. 

McChrystal turns sharply in his chair.

“Hey, Charlie,” he asks, “does this come with the position?”

McChrystal gives him the middle finger.

More on General McChrystal

1 ⁄ 3

Hastings on Replacing McChrystal: Can Petraeus Win the War?

Photos: On the Ground with the Runaway General

Revolt of the Troops: Hastings Reports In From Afghanistan

The general stands and looks around the suite that his traveling staff of 10 has converted into a full-scale operations center. The tables are crowded with silver Panasonic Toughbooks, and blue cables crisscross the hotel’s thick carpet, hooked up to satellite dishes to provide encrypted phone and e-mail communications. Dressed in off-the-rack civilian casual – blue tie, button-down shirt, dress slacks – McChrystal is way out of his comfort zone. Paris, as one of his advisers says, is the “most anti-McChrystal city you can imagine.” The general hates fancy restaurants, rejecting any place with candles on the tables as too “Gucci.” He prefers Bud Light Lime (his favorite beer) to Bordeaux, Talladega Nights (his favorite movie) to Jean-Luc Godard. Besides, the public eye has never been a place where McChrystal felt comfortable: Before President Obama put him in charge of the war in Afghanistan, he spent five years running the Pentagon’s most secretive black ops.

 “What’s the update on the Kandahar bombing?” McChrystal asks Flynn. The city has been rocked by two massive car bombs in the past day alone, calling into question the general’s assurances that he can wrest it from the Taliban.

“We have two KIAs, but that hasn’t been confirmed,” Flynn says.

McChrystal takes a final look around the suite. At 55, he is gaunt and lean, not unlike an older version of Christian Bale in Rescue Dawn. His slate-blue eyes have the unsettling ability to drill down when they lock on you. If you’ve fucked up or disappointed him, they can destroy your soul without the need for him to raise his voice. 

“I’d rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,” McChrystal says.

He pauses a beat.

“Unfortunately,” he adds, “no one in this room could do it.”

With that, he’s out the door.

“Who’s he going to dinner with?” I ask one of his aides. 

“Some French minister,” the aide tells me. “It’s fucking gay.”

The next morning, McChrystal and his team gather to prepare for a speech he is giving at the École Militaire, a French military academy. The general prides himself on being sharper and ballsier than anyone else, but his brashness comes with a price: Although McChrystal has been in charge of the war for only a year, in that short time he has managed to piss off almost everyone with a stake in the conflict. Last fall, during the question-and-answer session following a speech he gave in London, McChrystal dismissed the counterterrorism strategy being advocated by Vice President Joe Biden as “shortsighted,” saying it would lead to a state of “Chaos-istan.” The remarks earned him a smackdown from the president himself, who summoned the general to a terse private meeting aboard Air Force One. The message to McChrystal seemed clear: Shut the fuck up, and keep a lower profile

Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris, McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. “I never know what’s going to pop out until I’m up there, that’s the problem,” he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner. 

“Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal says with a laugh. “Who’s that?”

“Biden?” suggests a top adviser. “Did you say: Bite Me?”

When Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, he immediately set out to deliver on his most important campaign promise on foreign policy: to refocus the war in Afghanistan on what led us to invade in the first place. “I want the American people to understand,” he announced in March 2009. “We have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” He ordered another 21,000 troops to Kabul, the largest increase since the war began in 2001. Taking the advice of both the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also fired Gen. David McKiernan – then the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan – and replaced him with a man he didn’t know and had met only briefly: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It was the first time a top general had been relieved from duty during wartime in more than 50 years, since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. “It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his fucking war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”

read full

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236

You can’t fool Mother Nature, Flies know where B__ S___ comes from

You can’t fool Mother Nature

Flies know where B__ S___ comes from

White House will appeal ruling on drilling

White House will appeal ruling on drilling

WASHINGTON
Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:57pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The government will immediately appeal a U.S. judge’s ruling on Tuesday against the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Barack Obama

“The president strongly believes… that continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened does not make any sense, and puts the safety of those involved…and the environment in the Gulf at a danger that the president does not believe we can afford right now,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Judge halts Obama’s oil-drilling ban

Judge halts Obama’s oil-drilling ban

** FILE ** Vessels operate near the Q4000 drilling rig at the site of the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, June 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

By Stephen Dinan

Bottom of Form

A federal judge in New Orleans halted President Obama’s deepwater drilling moratorium on Tuesday, saying the government never justified the ban and appeared to mislead the public in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Judge Martin L.C. Feldman issued an injunction, saying that the moratorium will hurt drilling-rig operators and suppliers and that the government has not proved an outright ban is needed, rather than a more limited moratorium.

He also said the Interior Department also misstated the opinion of the experts it consulted. Those experts from the National Academy of Engineering have said they don’t support the blanket ban.

“Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the summary also states that ‘the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.’ As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading,” Judge Feldman said in his 22-page ruling.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration will appeal the decision, and said Mr. Obama believes the government must figure out what went wrong with the Deepwater Horizon rig before deepwater drilling goes forward. Still, the ruling is another setback as Mr. Obama seeks to show he’s in control of the 2-month-old spill.

Democrats and Republicans from the Gulf states have called on the president to end the blanket moratorium, saying it is hurting the region.

Oil company executives told Congress last week they would have to move their rigs to other countries because they lose up to $1 million a day per idle rig, and said there are opportunities elsewhere.

© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Obama’s Broken Inauguration Day Promise to Gulf Coast: ‘Never Again Such Failures’

Obama’s Broken Inauguration Day Promise to Gulf Coast: ‘Never Again Such Failures’

by Kristinn Taylor

obamacleanup2

On his first day in office, January 20, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a statement on the White House Web site promising Gulf Coast residents that his administration would not fail them like he accused his predecessor President George W. Bush.

Eighteen months later, those arrogant words are coming back to haunt Obama as the Gulf Coast is facing the third month of failure by Obama to marshall sufficient resources to protect the region from the massive BP oil spill.

“President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.”

Politico reported the statement the day it was posted to a White House page titled “Additional Issues.”

Since then, the White House has edited the comment to remove the personal insult to President Bush so that it now reads:

“President Obama will keep the broken promises to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur. Within weeks of his inauguration, he made a renewed commitment to partner with the people of the Gulf Coast to rebuild now, stronger than ever.”

Based on the Politico report, the White House also edited out verbiage bragging about Obama’s post-Katrina trips to the region:

The site also points out that Obama “visited thousands of Hurricane survivors in the Houston Convention Center and later took three more trips to the region” and worked with the Congressional Black Caucus to help rebuild in the aftermath of Katrina.

The Obama administration has left a destructive trail of catastrophic failures in its wake over the BP oil spill, beginning with its failure to ensure that an adequate disaster plan was in place for BP’s Deepwater Horizon well to its failure to secure enough skimmers and booms to prevent the spill from reaching the shores of the Gulf states.

Obama had to be shamed into making his first overnight trip to the Gulf states last week. It took nearly two months for him to speak directly with BP executives. It wasn’t until last week that he acted like he was engaged, but even then he only spent half the week on the spill. The other half he spent on the golf course and at a ball game.

Obama’s response has been called “lackadaisical” by RNC Chairman Michael Steele who called on Obama to rein in his leisurely lifestyle until the leaking oil well is plugged.

Since the oil well blew on April 28, Obama has taken two vacations, played seven rounds of golf, entertained the pop star Bono and been entertained by Paul McCartney. He has also attended the theater several times, a Major League basball game, political fundraisers and has hosted several White House parties and barbeques.

Yet Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel ripped BP CEO Tony Hayward this weekend for taking one day off for a yacht race in Britain.

Team Obama is putting the word out to the media they think they’ve done enough on the oil spill with last week’s half-week effort and the resulting $20 billion shakedown of BP and are ready to move on. The Atlantic’s White House stenographer Marc Ambinder previewed the Obama administration’s attitude last night:

Is Obama’s BP Shakedown an Impeachable Offense?

Is Obama’s BP Shakedown an Impeachable Offense?

By Raymond Richman

As former counsel and trainer in political tactics for ACORN, President Obama used a well-known ACORN tactic, the shakedown, in getting BP to create the $20-billion escrow (slush!) fund without any law, legal controls, or binding rules to guide it on how and how much those injured materially by the oil spill (and whom among them) will be paid. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, well-respected and well-known for heading the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, was appointed by the president to administer the escrow fund. BP will pay $5 billion into the fund for four years, starting in 2010.
BP announced early after the spill that it would pay all justifiable claims resulting from the disastrous oil spill. It opened 25 claims offices. As of June 15, BP approved initial payments that amounted to $63 million, expected to rise to $85 million by the end of the week, to businesses claiming $5,000 or more in damages. Why did the president insist that his own personal organization take over the job of paying claims? After all, supervising reparations is a judicial function, not an executive function. BP created its own fund, appointed its administrator, and determined how it will be staffed with a view to ensuring only qualified persons, businesses, and governments would be reimbursed for its losses. Now those decisions will be made politically.  

It is obvious that BP’s CEO agreed to create this fund and allow the president to administer it to prevent President Obama from bankrupting their company. After all, the president was on record saying that he would “kick BP’s ass,” and a cabinet members declared he would “put his boot on BP’s neck.” The president, when announcing the creation of the fund, stated that the terms of the fund would keep BP viable. He cannot know this. BP’s liability is not affected by the fund except to the extent claims are voluntarily settled. Those refusing to settle and their lawyers are not bound by it, nor are juries that will hear their lawsuits.

The president has no legal authority to create the escrow fund and no authority to compel BP to contribute to the fund. Forcing BP to agree to the terms of the escrow is ultra vires (i.e., illegal), beyond the powers of his office. Rep. Barton (R-TX) accurately described the slush fund as a “shakedown” (i.e., blackmail), a felony. If so, Pres. Obama has committed an impeachable offense. Congress itself does not have the authority to create the escrow fund retroactively. Congress will have no voice at all except to vilify any Republican who raises questions about it. All the ACORN employees who lost their jobs when the banks stopped paying “blackmail” to ACORN may be getting better-paying new jobs processing claims.
No doubt the media, which show pictures of the spill and pelicans covered with oil 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will hail the president’s tough dealing with BP. But BP’s oil spill deserves the strongest action under the law, not above the law. A few miles away, there are pelicans flying “free as a bird” with no oil on them. Not a single photo of them. And more than 10,000 barrels of the spilled oil are being recovered by BP daily with no photos at all; vessels are skimming oil near the spill, and no photos. And the federal government has yet to grant exception to the Jones Act that is preventing foreign vessels ready to skim oil from getting closer to shore to prevent more serious damage which would, incidentally, help save a lot of pelicans. No wonder BP believed it had to surrender to the president.
You don’t have to be paranoid to suspect the president (and many in the media) of ulterior motives, a hidden agenda. If you can get enough people to hate the oil companies, you might get the cap-and-trade bill passed. By the time they regret such hasty action, it will be too late to undo the damage. Cap-and-trade was given no chance for passage before the spill. The president pacified the environmental extremists by banning drilling in the Gulf for six months, adding to the rolls of the unemployed and increasing our dependence on foreign oil. To make the hidden agenda more believable, the president overreached by getting BP to agree to pay the lost wages incurred by workers who lost their jobs as the result of the president’s six-month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf. The hidden agenda obviously includes getting cap-and-trade passed. It looks like “cap-and-trade, cap-and-trade, cap-and-trade” has displaced “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
The president employed a similar tactic when he nationalized GM, violating the bankruptcy laws by denying bondholders their rightful control of the future of those enterprises, and he gave the bondholders’ interest in GM to the unions instead, literally. He gave Chrysler to Fiat. The bondholders of both gave their consent, being afraid of having their asses kicked or having a boot on their necks.  
When an executive uses threats to secure the “cooperation” of private businesses, we have a name for it: fascism. It is the kind of act we expect from Venezuela’s Chávez, not from a president who swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution and its separation of powers. I believe the President’s behavior is ultra vires and that he has committed an impeachable offense.
Raymond L. Richman, J.D., Ph.D., is a member of the Illinois Bar and has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. He and his son and grandson maintain a blog at www.idealtaxes.com and co-authored the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future: How to Fix Our Government-Driven Trade Deficits and Faulty Tax System Before it’s Too Late, published by Ideal Taxes Association.
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