Are Low Oil Prices Good or Bad? Yes

0621_WTIC_Crude_Oil_Prices_Per_Barrel_HistoryIt seems that oil prices, like climate temperatures, are an all-purpose villain, when they go up they hurt the economy, and when they go down, they hurt the economy, and when they stay put, they are a drag on the economy. Steven Hayward had something to say about it yesterday.

There’s just no pleasing some people.

When oil and gasoline prices at the pump are high, liberals (and Bill O’Reilly) complain that the oil companies are gouging us, even though certified enlightened opinion among environmentalists is that cheap oil and fuel prices are bad because it encourages consumption and makes it harder for their (subsidized) renewable energy unicorns to compete in the marketplace. I still have somewhere the New York Times headline from 1991, the second-to-last time oil prices were this low, that read “Low Oil Prices Are Bad, Some U.S. Experts Say.”

“Experts” would say that. That’s why they’re experts. (Or “top men,” as they’re rightly called in Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

But there is a bit more to the story, that you likely haven’t heard.

Six Years Later, 93% of U.S. Counties Haven’t Recovered From Recession, Study Finds

More than six years after the economic expansion began, 93% of counties in the U.S. have failed to fully recover from the blow they suffered during the recession.

Nationwide, 214 counties, or 7% of 3,069, had recovered last year to prerecession levels on four indicators: total employment, the unemployment rate, size of the economy and home values, a study from the National Association of Counties released Tuesday found. . .

via Are Low Oil Prices Good or Bad? Yes | Power Line.

As Steve noted, it’s remarkable that Obama hasn’t told us about that, isn’t it?

Save the planet…from Barack Obama

w704 (4)Well, Obama is back from wasting, however much energy he could in his jaunt to Paris and back, to make an interminable, wasted, and wrong speech on something that no one in the world care about much, unless one is a crony-green-capitalist.

Have you noticed, as I have, that nearly every one of those bleating on (and on, and on) about global cooling global warming climate change. That’s right they stand to benefit, in money or power (and don’t kid yourself, money and power can easily be turned into each other) from the money that government steals from its citizens to fund these boondoggles.

And don’t kid yourself, they don’t give even a smidgen of a damn about anybody but themselves. Because who these policies will hurt more than anyone is the poor, in unaffordable energy, lack of jobs, lack of opportunity, and, yes, loss of liberty, as well.

If they have not taken it already, Obama’s actions and inactions portend an enormous human toll with adverse environmental consequences thrown in for good measure. Yet Obama is in Cloud Cuckooland (White House transcript here, video below) talking about imaginary catastrophes in a far-off future:

The reason is because [sic] this one trend — climate change — affects all trends. If we let the world keep warming as fast as it is, and sea levels rising as fast as they are, and weather patterns keep shifting in more unexpected ways — then before long, we are going to have to devote more and more and more of our economic and military resources not to growing opportunity for our people, but to adapting to the various consequences of a changing planet. This is an economic and security imperative that we have to tackle now. And great nations can handle a lot at once.

Obama takes his cue from Book 3 of Gulliver’s Travels, devoting himself to undoing what the scientists of Laputa sought to do. The scientist of Laputa sought to extract sunbeams from cucumbers. Obama would force sunbeams back into the cucumber — to mitigate the phenomenon formerly known as global warming. Swift! thou shouldst be living at this hour. But this might be beyond the powers of the greatest satirist ever to write in English:

You go down to Miami, and when it’s flooding at high tide on a sunny day fish are swimming through the middle of the streets.

Source: Save the planet…from Barack Obama | Power Line

Matt Ridley writing in The Spectator adds this:

The next generation is watching, Barack Obama told the Paris climate conference this week: ‘Our grandchildren, when they look back and see what we did in Paris, they can take pride in what we did.’ And that, surely, is the trouble with the entire climate-change agenda: putting the interests of rich people’s grandchildren ahead of those of poor people today.

Unfair? Not really, when you look at the policies enacted in the name of mitigating climate change. We’ve diverted 40 per cent of America’s maize crop to feeding cars instead of people, thus driving up the price of food worldwide, a move which according to one study killed about 192,000 poor people in 2010 alone, and continues to affect nutrition worldwide. We’ve restricted aid funding for fossil-fuelled power stations in developing countries, leaving many people who would otherwise have had access to electricity mired in darkness and cooking over wood-fires — the biggest environmental cause of ill health, responsible for more than three million deaths every year.

Closer to home, by pushing up energy prices with climate policies, we’ve contributed to the loss of jobs of steelworkers in Redcar and Scunthorpe, and of aluminium workers in Northumberland (where I live and where coal from under my land has supplied the now-closed Lynemouth smelter — whose power station announced this week that it will reopen as a ‘biomass’ plant, that is to say burning wood from American forests, producing more carbon dioxide per unit of energy and at twice the price of coal). We’ve also worsened fuel poverty among the poor and elderly and we’ve damaged air quality in cities. These human costs are not imaginary or theoretical: they are real.

Source: The green blob: who will protect the victims of environmentalism?

The thing is, if we are worried about people going hungry, we could run American cars without burning forty percent of our corn crop in the fuel, gasoline would be cheaper as well, although I grant that Iowa farmers might get a bit less welfare.

On the other hand, Allen Brooks, writing on www.masterresource.org reminds us:

“The earth is greener. Terrestrial ecosystems’ productivity is up 14% since 1982. Even the IPCC has acknowledged that productivity is 5% greater than that experienced during pre-industrial times. What this has meant is a significant increase in human well-being.”

“Until the movement shifts away from its witch-hunting approach to debate, the climate change believers look increasingly like the mobs that over-ran the Bastille during the French Revolution. I’m sure some of the climate change believers would be happy to see the guillotine resurrected in the Place de la Concorde (formerly Place Louis XV and then Place de la Revolution) and used against deniers and doubters. Maybe it is fitting that COP21 is being held in Paris.”

In the face of the impending COP21 conference, a new report authored by Indur Goklany for the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), CARBON DIOXIDE The good news, was published. It reminds one and all that carbon dioxide (CO2), the major manmade greenhouse gas, is not a pollutant but a positive part of the biosphere.

After reading (a lot) about it, and applying my common sense, I have reached my conclusion

It’s a Scam; and nothing else.

Many people have (and will) get rich of off government largesse, and the people (the ones who have to work for a living) will, as always, be the losers.

Even Piers Corbyn (Jeremy’s brother) has figured that out.

God bless fracking! and Teaching our History

Look at this – Hard.

The environmentalists and the left and the Democrats1 would have us believe that fracking is evil, evil, evil! but I, as a working man, sure have seen the benefits. The chart shows what I had to pay for heating oil last winter, in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, compared with what I paid for a delivery on Wednesday.

The great increase in domestic oil production, coupled with OPEC’s decisions to not cut production, has driven the price of oil down, and that’s a real benefit to working families in the northeast.

Source: God bless fracking! | The First Street Journal.

Now tell me again why you oppose this safe method of obtaining oil, which is even environmentally friendly!


 

We talk a good bit here about education, and we try to do more than ‘scream and shout’ but look at things that don’t work, or might, or do. Well, you all know how much I love history, and how horribly it’s taught these days. Suzannah Lipscomb talks about it a fair amount as well, and with a far better grounding than I have. Here’s a bit of her latest.

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, in July 2003, Tony Blair told the US Congress: ‘There has never been a time when … a study of history provides so little instruction for our present day.’ The aftermath proved how wrong this hubristic judgment was and it is a sentiment that few in the public eye would dare to voice today.

[…]

Much of the concern about the curriculum hinged on a perceived choice: that versions of history must either tell a traditional story of the great and the good, a national narrative of Whiggish heroes, or, by incorporating the histories of women and racial, religious and ethnic diversity, they will tell a politically motivated history that fragments our treatment of the past. My colleague, Oliver Ayers, reminds me that much the same discussion was had in the US in the 1990s, resulting in an all-out cultural war.

Both in the US and the UK it is and was a false dichotomy. First, there need not be anything intrinsically wrong with telling a nation’s history as part of the curriculum. As Simon Schama pointed out in 2013, there is value in preserving a national memory of our ‘imagined community’, but the narrative cannot be uncritical. Second, it is ahistorical to suggest that these two stories can be extricated from each other. Any intellectually robust tour of British history requires consideration of the ongoing interactions between Britain and the world and must incorporate local histories that will bring those global communications home.

Source: An adult education

That’s important, I think. We need some kind of balance, both in how we present our history (especially to our kids), we aren’t, and never were, perfect, but you know, we were and are pretty damn good at that. And it’s inexcusable to me to leave out other things, or exclude whole groups of people.

Red Storm Rising II ?

Red_Storm_Rising_-_1990_-_MicroProse_Ltd.There is a lot of stuff going on isn’t there. Is it coordinated? I don’t know, but I don’t think it can be ruled out. Other than raising oil prices, it is kind of hard for me to see the commonality between Russia and Iran. But that I don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It was not intuitive that Germany and Italy (or Russia, for that matter) had much in common. It’s also true that the bad kids tend to stick together. In any case, foreign relations are in an incredible muddle, since the west seems to have no idea of what is going on, let alone what we want.

Not to mention that all this is happening as the US is cutting forces and missions and has the weakest leadership since the seventies, and like then, both civilian and military. The bureaucrats are back in charge, and so career enhancing now means making Rangerettes, not winning wars. The UK, the number four military, seems to be in a similar situation. It’s a perilous situation. The Committee on the Present Danger has some details:

China militarized islands in the South China Sea, claiming sovereignty over ocean territory of Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Taiwan. Free navigation of international waters and billions of dollars of sea-borne trade is menaced.

Aircraft, tanks and troops battle in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. Terror attacks increase in Asia, Europe and across the Middle East. North Korea builds more nuclear weapons, and some experts believe Iran’s weapons cache already includes nuclear warheads.The world teeters on the brink of Armageddon, and no nation is doing more to push it over the edge than Russia has already done by annexing Crimea, invading Ukraine, threatening Baltic and Eastern European nations, and by using major military assets to defend Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s aggressive challenges to the established order in Europe and the Middle East, together with a demonstrated willingness to change borders with force, are direct threats to the United States and its allies. And, as it was during the Cold War, the backbone of those threats is Russia’s arsenal of strategic and battlefield missiles.To insure that global perception of Russia’s missile power is crystal clear, Moscow routinely flies Tu-95 bombers, armed with cruise missiles, to the edge of American, Canadian, British and Scandinavian borders. New missiles are deployed and tested, and treaties are ignored. The most recent transgression was just last month, when the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was again violated by the Kremlin.

Source: GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Red Storm Rising II

Then there is this, which pretty much got lost in the noise, of everything else going wrong:

The internet is a crucial piece of infrastructure, but most international connections rely on a surprisingly small number of submarine cables. And Russia, being the insecure frat bro of all nations, is making yet another bid for attention by threatening them without saying they’re threatening them.

According to the New York Times, Russia has spy ships and submarines dangerously close to crucial undersea cables, and may be working out a plan to cut those cables, slowing critical communication in the West.

Cutting a cable is the cyberwar equivalent of dropping a nuke. The last time cables were cut, by accident, it caused problems across the globe. Replacing a cable is not an easy task, as you may have guessed, so cable-cutting is basically the prelude to all-out war.

Thanks to economic problems at home, Russia’s government has been getting adventurous abroad to have successes to point to. The problem, of course, is those “successes” tend to be situations like what’s still unfolding in the Ukraine, blowing airliners out of the sky and then stonewalling criminal charges, buzzing the U.S. Navy trying to provoke a response, and somehowmaking the Syrian civil wareven worse, and considering the U.S. is bombing hospitals, that says something.

Source: Russia Is Threatening To Shut Down The Entire Internet

The source article suggests that it is war loser for Russia, they may be right, but so was going to war with Germany in 1914. Nobody I know of thinks the Russians are omniscient about much of anything. A bear in a china shop come to mind.

A note on those hospitals: They are run by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which supposedly has provided coordinates and such to coalition forces. but they refuse to identify their installations with the required (Geneva Convention) identifications: The Red Cross, The Red Crescent, and/or The Red Cristal. Seems to me it asking a lot to expect a pilot, likely doing evasive maneuvering, to remember that MSF logo is supposed to mean the same thing as the symbols he has known all his life, especially when reports say that MSF, has allowed organized and armed troops to congregate in their facilities, for whatever reason.

Exporting Oil, Again

Oil-derrickYesterday, I mentioned here that a bill again allowing oil exports had passed the House. Here from Marita Noon is a bit more about it, and some inside baseball about the sausage factory as well. I’m an unabashed ideologue, but I do recognize that if you are a member of Congress, you probably should pay attention to your constituents, even if they are foolish Greens or RINO squishes. That too is part of the job, and it’s actually a good thing, as anybody who remember 2009 can attest.

[…]

The house passed H.R. 702, the bill to lift the decades old oil export ban—with 26 Democrats joining the majority of Republicans and voting for it.

Republicans could have passed the bill without the Democrats—but there are strategic reasons why it was important to include Democrats. And, getting them on board didn’t happen naturally—especially since two days before the vote the White House issued a veto threat in the form of a “Statement of Administrative Policy.” It says: “Legislation to remove crude export restrictions is not needed at this time.… If the President were presented with H.R. 702, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Twenty-six Democrats went against the wishes of the president and voted with the Republicans—but the number should have been much higher. Getting the companion bill through the Senate will be a heavy lift as the Republicans hold a slim majority. Because of the threat, a veto-proof majority will be needed in the Senate. The Washington Postreported: “the measure still faces a Senate that doesn’t appear eager to take up the issue.” A strong number of Democrats supporting the bill in the House gets the attention of the Democrats in the Senate.

The current news about the potential replacement for House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) has brought a split in the Republican Party to the forefront. But there is an equal, perhaps even greater, divide within the Democratic Party. And the two sides do hold very different views—on display in the fight for votes in support of H.R. 702.

Democrats decried the bill saying it would put billions of dollars in the pockets of “Big Oil.” In contrast, understanding that successful businesses mean a strong economy and employment, the Republicans addressed the jobs that have been lost in the oil field—representing hundreds of thousands and real people who are struggling—and touted how H.R. 702 will help.

Source: Beyond the bickering, bill lifting oil-export ban wins bipartisan support « Sago

It’s a confusing, depressing, abstruse, and cumbersome way to run the country. It’s also nearly exactly what the Founder’s intended. Their point was to make it difficult to establish a tyranny, from any direction. It doesn’t help that this shouldn’t have anything at all to do with government, on either the oil or the maritime policy. But the thing is, that horse got out of the barn back when Lincoln hadn’t been thought of, that’s the weakness in a lot of libertarian thinking, they’re correct very often indeed; but they tend to posit a blank sheet of paper, and in many ways, getting that blank sheet, entails a price none of us want to pay.

Elliot reminds us always:

Sin is Behovely, but
All shall be well, and
All manner of thing shall be well.
If I think, again, of this place,
And of people, not wholly commendable,
Of no immediate kin or kindness,
But of some peculiar genius,
All touched by a common genius,
United in the strife which divided them;
If I think of a king at nightfall,
Of three men, and more, on the scaffold
And a few who died forgotten
In other places, here and abroad,
And of one who died blind and quiet
Why should we celebrate
These dead men more than the dying?
It is not to ring the bell backward
Nor is it an incantation
To summon the spectre of a Rose.
We cannot revive old factions
We cannot restore old policies
Or follow an antique drum.
These men, and those who opposed them
And those whom they opposed
Accept the constitution of silence
And are folded in a single party.
Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us—a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching.

 

Friday Catch-Up

w707The reason most often cited for the success of the nonpolitical candidates is the frustration with Washington; the sense that the system is broken. Voters feel that we have no control and that government has gone wild. Even people who don’t watch the news or closely follow politics are aware of the “overreach.” It seems that, perhaps, the messages the outsiders have been heralding on the trail has caught on.

Washington’s overreach has been rolled back—by courts and commissioners and, even, in response, the government itself. In little more than 30 days, there have been five distinct cases that you may have missed—each, a victory for responsible land use.

Source: Stemming the tide of over-regulation by big government « Sago

Overdue, but welcome.

And also …

Vladimir Putin is reshaping the Middle East to fit Russia’s interests by adhering to fundamentals of international affairs that America’s foreign policy establishment sets aside in favor of what they deem sophistication. Unlike our “realists,” who start out compromising our interests with those of local allies, Putin is bending theirs to Russia’s. Unlike our liberal internationalists, who try to lead by giving power to local allies, Putin directs them in operations of his choice. Unlike our neoconservatives, who endlessly deploy force piecemeal, Putin uses it decisively.

The Wall Street Journalrecently fretted that Putin’s tank, plane, and artillery expeditionary force is empowering Iran as well as Syria’s Assad: “Russian planes can target anyone Assad deems an enemy.” No. They are targeting anyone who stands in the way of Russia’s objectives. That’s a big, big difference. Neither Assad, nor Iran, nor Iran’s Shia allies in what used to be Iraq have any reason to delude themselves that Putin’s assistance will take them any farther toward their own objectives than is absolutely necessary for Putin to achieve his own.

Putin’s objectives are obvious: to secure Russia’s naval base at Tartus, surrounded by a substantial enclave of Alewis rendered reliably reliant on Moscow and who will serve as its pied a terre on the Mediterranean shore, and crush all challenges thereto; and, since ISIS is the apex of the Sunni militancy also infecting Russia through the Caucasus, crush ISIS. Unlike our geniuses, Putin knows that the Assad regime, the Shia militias, and the Iranians are the only people who will hazard their lives to save the Alewis and to crush ISIS. So he is arming and organizing them. But he has no intention of trying to re-unite Syria under Assad, or to try to re-unite Iraq under the Shia, much less of seconding Iran in its Islamic world war against the Sunni.

Use, Don’t Deny, People’s Strongest Motives

Source: The Putin School Of International Affairs.

Simply the best I’ve read

Jeb Bush recently observed that America is “creeping toward multiculturalism” and called it “the wrong approach.” This unleashed the usual synthetic furies of the organized Left, ever ready to crush dissent on things that matter. This will not be the last time you will hear about this issue in the year to come.

The debate between assimilation and multiculturalism could very well be not just the sleeper issue of the 2016 campaign, but the current great question of the West. Our fights over immigration may be a cover for a more protracted deliberation over national identity—not just here, but in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and so on.

America’s identity is rooted in a unique culture that includes an exceptional attachment to constitutional government, volunteerism, and deriving satisfaction from a hard day’s labor—virtues intricately linked to America’s inordinate freedom and prosperity. The American public, sensing this connection at the all-important gut level, again and again tells pollsters they support the assimilation of immigrants; i.e., they not want their country to change.

Source: How To Know The Difference Between Multiculturalism And Assimilation.

Yep. And this:

[…]

One of the main reasons why I oppose the continued mass immigration of low-skilled workers is that little or no effort is being made to assimilate them. During our previous wave of mass immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both immigrants and American officials understood that assimilation into American culture, most importantly learning to speak English, was required. Immigrant parents made great sacrifices so that their children would grow up speaking English, and thereby enjoy the opportunities available to those who can participate fully in America’s economy.

Source: Assimilation? Who Needs to Assimilate?

 

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