Friday, February 24, 2012

Obama electability and energy--neither look good for him

What’s new Today

Our #1 story talks about Obama’s chances for reelection.  I find he is toast.  As a student of history I know when there is an economic downturn, the party in the White House loses seats and the Presidency if it is still happening during a presidential election.  #2. Talks about Obama’s speech on energy and the falsehoods in it. #3 has a complementary story to that one with oil executives and what they have to say about Obama.  #4 has some shocking statistics of the cost of green jobs finance by the stimulus.  #5 tells you of what they are doing in green energy in Massachusetts.  And our final story #6 looks at the charge by the left that a law being considered in Virginia was the equivalent of rape to women wanting an abortion.  It appears there is more than a little exaggeration there. 

1.  Obama’s Actual Reelection Chance

Barack Obama is a lame-duck president already, but he probably doesn't realize it since he is surrounded by leftist zealots who insulate him from any contrary opinions and shielded by the partisan mainstream media. Obama's popularity began falling right after his election, and the percentage disapproving has exceeded those approving steadily since 2009. Each and every voting bloc that supported him in 2008 has eroded by at least 10 points -- even the African-American voters, with independents and young voters dropping by over 30 points. Approval on major issues (economy, budget, deficit, employment, etc.) has also eroded, with disapproval exceeding approval ratings across the board.

Despite approval ratings lower than any president's in recent history, the media push-polls are trying to sell us the idea that Obama is well liked and has a good chance to be re-elected, meanwhile ignoring any and all facts that do not support their partisan message. The good news is that there has been a mass awakening of the American people, who now realize that the mainstream media has a decided leftist tilt and that media polls can no longer be trusted…

The election will be a huge shock to the left.  I think they are beginning to believe the press. 

2.  The Five Biggest Whoppers in Obama’s Energy Speech

Energy: The White House billed President Obama's energy policy speech as a response to mounting criticism of record high gas prices. What he delivered was a grab bag of excuses and outright falsehoods.

Obama's main message to struggling motorists was: It's not my fault, so stop whining. The speech only got worse from there, recycling excuses and myths that Obama's peddled for years. But there were some standout whoppers that deserve debunking. The five biggest:

"We're focused on production."

Fact: While production is up under Obama, this has nothing to do with his policies, but is the result of permits and private industry efforts that began long before Obama occupied the White House….

"The U.S. consumes more than a fifth of the world's oil. But we only have 2% of the world's oil reserves."

Fact: Obama constantly refers to this statistic to buttress his claim that "we can't drill our way to lower gas prices." The argument goes that since the U.S. supply is limited, it won't ever make a difference to world prices.

It's bogus. New exploration and drilling technologies have uncovered vast amounts of recoverable oil…..

"Because of the investments we've made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled."

Fact: Production of renewable energy — biomass, wind, solar and the like — climbed just 12% between 2008 and 2011, according to the federal Energy Information Administration….

When Obama claimed to have nearly doubled the use of clean renewable energy you know his off in fantasyland.  Do we really want to have good money follow bad? 

3.  Oil Executives complain about the Obama Administration

…"These have been the most difficult three years from a policy standpoint that I've ever seen in my career," Bruce Vincent, president of Houston oil and natural gas producer Swift Energy, told the Houston Chronicle.

"They've done nothing but restrict access and delay permitting," he added. "The Obama administration, unfortunately, has threatened this industry at every turn."

Vincent led the voices exposing White House press secretary Jay Carney's phony assertion Wednesday when asked about gas prices soaring above $4 per gallon.

Carney said President Obama had "put in place policies that will dramatically expand the amount of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, will expand the amount of exploration in Alaska, will expand the amount of natural gas production here in the U.S."

Really? "The administration has done everything BUT support drilling," said NAPE attendee and former Shell executive John Hofmeister. "We are on the verge of slipping into an energy abyss."

Shell has fought the administration to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska….

The truth and the Obama Administration are not close friends.  But you really can’t blame Obama.  If he told the truth no one would vote for him again. 

4.  Your Taxpayer Dollars at Work:  Crony Green-Job Edition

A new Wall Street Journal investigative report shows that once again there are discrepancies between the number of jobs claimed to have been created by the stimulus money and the actual number of jobs created. In this case, the Journal looks at the jobs created with $10 billion spent on renewable-energy companies for building wind farms, solar projects, and other alternatives to oil and natural gas under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

On paper the program claims to have created 102,883 jobs. That’s too few jobs considering the $10.7 billion paid to 5,098 businesses for 31,540 projects according to the Department of Treasury. That’s also $97,197 per job.

But it gets worse, because these jobs probably aren’t real. This reported number of jobs is a product of formulas, mathematics models, and reports by recipients of the money rather than actual counting of jobs. For instance, the Congressional Research Service last year alerted Congress that the recipient reports were full of errors and it recommended “that any job creation estimate be viewed with skepticism.” CRS also noted that the market response to these new facilities was mixed to say the least.

Now here is some of what we know for sure about the wind-farm jobs:

About 40 percent of the funding — roughly $4.3 billion — went to 36 wind farms. At the peak of employment, these firms employed 7,200 workers. But these were temporary jobs, as is almost always the case with stimulus money. Now these 36 farms employ 300 employees. If you do the math and calculate the cost per job, you may well fall off you chair.

I’ve done the math so you don’t have to.  Using the peak numbers (7200) that comes to almost $600,000 per job ($597,222).  Using the current employees (300) that comes to over $14 million per job. 

5.  Wind Power in Massachusetts

…A proposed merger between two local utilities, NStar and Northeast Utilities of Connecticut, gave Patrick the opportunity to put together a clever plan. His administration approved the $17.5-billion deal on two conditions: the new utility company must purchase 27.5% of the output of Cape Wind, the controversial offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Secondly, the utility must freeze its rates for the next four years, and distribute a one-time rebate of $21 million to customers.

George Bachrach, the president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, wrote in the Globe: "The Patrick administration deserves great credit for negotiating the recent merger agreement with NStar that will both protect ratepayers and make Cape Wind a reality." A Boston Globe editorial titled "NStar deal, rise of Cape Wind will boost state’s economy” had similar praise.

It would appear that the state gets green energy to satisfy the Renewable Portfolio Standard, while utility customers (aka voters) get relief from higher utility bills. Everyone wins!

Er, not exactly.

To begin with, that $21-million rebate works out to a one-time payment of around $13. I'll try to not spend it all in one place.

Secondly, we are in the midst of a natural gas boom that promises to revolutionize America's energy picture. Natural gas prices have plummeted from near $5 per MMbtu last summer to around $2.60 per MMbtu. According to the EIA, the energy equivalent of $3 natural gas is $18 oil.

The Globe editorial admits:

Cape Wind power will likely be costlier than that from fossil fuels, and it looks even worse next to today's historically low natural gas prices. But fossil fuel prices are notoriously volatile; the deal will lock in predictable wind power rates for years.

It's true that locking in prices will protect consumers from volatility, but if the volatility stems from collapsing prices, this will benefit only utilities, not consumers…

As these last two stories demonstrate, wind power is not ready for prime time. 

6.  Abortion and Ultrasound

Over the last few weeks, an intense controversy has raged in Virginia, where Republicans have introduced a bill that requires -- among other things -- that women undergo an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion. The pro-abortion lobby has hysterically opposed the legislation (does their opposition ever take any other form?), going so far as to compare it to forcible rape.. Their point, to be charitable, is based on the fact that one form of ultrasound involves a more invasive probe than the over-the-abdomen method many people associate with the practice. The usual crowd of media dupes have carried water for the extremists, parroting various iterations of the "mandatory ultrasounds = rape" talking point. The problem? It's thoroughly bogus. Commentary's Alana Goodman has emerged as a one-woman debunking machine:

The complaints are the ultrasounds are needlessly invasive, not medically necessary, and would be forced on women seeking abortions, even if they don’t want them. This criticism misses one crucial point: Planned Parenthood policy already requires ultrasounds before abortion procedures. “That’s just the medical standard,” said Adrienne Schreiber, an official at Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office. “To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.”

According to Schreiber, Planned Parenthood does require women to give signed consent for abortion procedures, including the ultrasound. But if the women won’t consent to the ultrasound, the abortion cannot take place, according to the group’s national standards. “...If she’s uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, then she’s not going to be comfortable with an equally invasive abortion procedure,” Schreiber told me.

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