Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In defense of 'Big Oil'

With gas prices topping four dollars a gallon in some regions of the country, now may not be the best time to say something positive about "big oil," but here goes anyway. Where is it written that the cost for a product or service should be frozen in place and in time, never to rise again, or to rise at a pace commensurate with our incomes? People who think this way know little to nothing about supply and demand and less than nothing about the profit motive. That's because at least three generations have been raised on the notion of entitlement, and when one feels entitled to something, one believes someone else should pay.

Senate Democrats last week sought to ingratiate themselves with voters, while doing nothing to produce more energy, with a familiar attack on "big oil." They want to repeal $17 billion in tax breaks for the oil companies over 10 years and on top of that impose a windfall profit tax on companies that don't invest in new energy sources. This is political expediency at its worst.

Peter Robertson, vice chairman of Chevron, told me it's a myth that oil companies are not investing in new energy sources. He says last year alone, Chevron spent $20 billion exploring new sources of energy.

Robertson said President Bush's trip this week to Saudi Arabia is "highly embarrassing" because he is "calling on the Saudis to produce more oil when we are not doing it ourselves." The last refinery built in America was in 1976. Tighter government regulations are the main reason. That's how unserious we are about our energy "crisis." Robertson said there would be plenty of oil available to the United States if the oil companies were allowed to get it: "Eighty-five percent of offshore oil is off-limits." Responding to objections to offshore drilling by environmentalists and their allies in Congress, Robertson noted that some of the strongest pro-environment nations in Europe -- he mentions Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom -- lease offshore locations for oil exploration. The technology has become so good, he said, that during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, "one thousand offshore wells were destroyed (in the Gulf of Mexico), but not one leaked." Australia, he said, has allowed offshore drilling for 40 years without any environmental damage.

More here



Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass says: "The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate's politics were born in Chicago. Yet [Barack Obama] is presented to the nation as not truly being of this place, as if he floats just above the political corruption here, uninfected, untouched by the stain of it or by any sin of commission or omission.... My argument is not with him -- but with the national political media pack that refuses to look closely at what Chicago is.... Why is Obama allowed to campaign as a reformer, virtually unchallenged by the media, though he's a product of Chicago politics and has never condemned the wholesale political corruption in his home town the way he condemns those darn Washington lobbyists"

Air Combat by Remote Control: "The sniper never knew what hit him. The Marines patrolling the street below were taking fire, but did not have a clear shot at the third-story window that the sniper was shooting from. They were pinned down and called for reinforcements. Help came from a Predator drone circling the skies 20 miles away. As the unmanned plane closed in, the infrared camera underneath its nose picked up the muzzle flashes from the window. The sniper was still firing when the Predator's 100-pound Hellfire missile came through the window and eliminated the threat. The airman who fired that missile was 8,000 miles away, here at Creech Air Force Base, home of the 432nd air wing. The 432nd officially "stood up," in the jargon of the Air Force, on May 1, 2007. One year later, two dozen of its drones patrol the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan every hour of every day."

Socialists decide not to destroy Britain's finance industry after all: "The Treasury has succumbed to sustained pressure from big business and agreed to water down controversial proposals to change the UK corporate tax regime. Several big multinational British companies had said that they were prepared to move their headquarters from the UK amid concerns that the Treasury was preparing to tax the profits they derived overseas. A Treasury spokesman confirmed yesterday that the department had drawn up a new set of tax plans after extensive consulation with UK companies. The move will be seen as another embarrassing government climbdown. The spokesman said that new proposals would be put out to consultation in mid-June, with a view to introducing legislative changes next year. Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, threatened to move the advertising giant offshore, following a lead set by Shire, the pharmaceuticals business, and United Business Media, the publishing group. Other companies looking at moving their headquarters outside the UK for tax reasons include Aberdeen Asset Management, the fund manager, and Brit Insurance and Chaucer, the Lloyd's of London insurers. Smith & Nephew, the medical equipment firm, and Old Mutual, the insurance and fund management group, have both refused to rule out a departure.... Treasury sources said that the Government would move ahead with legislation only if it had secured the broad agreement of business and would not rule out abandoning the proposals."

NYT grudgingly notes improvements in Iraq: "Three hundred miles south of Baghdad, the oil-saturated city of Basra has been transformed by its own surge, now seven weeks old. In a rare success, forces loyal to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki have largely quieted the city, to the initial surprise and growing delight of many inhabitants who only a month ago shuddered under deadly clashes between Iraqi troops and Shiite militias. Just as in Baghdad, Iraqi and Western officials emphasize that the gains here are "fragile," like the newly planted roadside saplings that fail to conceal mounds of garbage and pools of foul-smelling water in the historic port city's slums. ... Among the many uncertainties are whether the government, criticized for incompetence at the start of the operation, can maintain the high level of troops here. But in interviews across Basra, residents overwhelmingly reported a substantial improvement in their everyday lives. "The circle of fear is broken," said Shaker, owner of a floating restaurant on Basra's famed Corniche promenade, who, although optimistic, was still afraid to give his full name, as were many of those interviewed."

If only these guys had been government clerks: "A highly sensitive internal report into the state of the British Army has revealed that many soldiers are living in poverty. Some are so poor that they are unable to eat and are forced to rely on emergency food voucher schemes set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Some of Britain's most senior military figures reacted angrily yesterday to the revelations in the report, criticising the Government's treatment of its fighting forces. The disturbing findings outlined in the briefing team report written for Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, include an admission that many junior officers are being forced to leave the Army because they simply cannot afford to stay on. Pressure from an undermanned army is "having a serious impact on retention in infantry battalions", with nearly half of all soldiers unable to take all their annual leave as they try to cover the gaps". [But there's always plenty of money for more clerks and bureaucrats]

Obama Once Again Wearing Flag Pin, Star Count Unclear: "Well, that didn't take long. Just 24 hours after the Obama-edition 57-star flag pins went on sale, the candidate himself is found sporting a patriotic lapel pin voluntarily for the first time in months. It's hard to tell from the resolution of the photo, but I think it's safe to assume it's one of ours."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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