Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Oil Prices

Budget Deadlock, Despite House Passage of Ryan Plan

Ron Paul's blimp

The budget plan of Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan passed the House on Thursday 228 to 191, mostly along party lines. In fact, not a single Democrat voted for it, signaling that it won’t see the light of day in the Democrat-controlled Senate as predicted here. The previous day, the House overwhelmingly rejected 382-38 the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction proposal, which incudes tax increases as well as spending cuts. Last week, the administration-supported budget bill was also voted down, 414-0, which leaves the legislative branch of the U.S. government in limbo.

Supporters of the Paul Ryan budget trumpet that his bill would simplify the tax code and modify Medicare, putting more control into the hands of the states. White House spokesman Jay Carney disagrees, saying the changes proposed to Medicare would “burden seniors and end the program as we know it,” while giving tax breaks to millionaires and cutting critical jobs programs.

Speaker of the House John Boehner lost 10 Republican votes, including several who said Ryan’s bill was too weak. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) declared, “I’m not going to vote for a budget that takes more than 20 years to be in balance.”

Each of the bills voted on, including Ryan’s, continues deficit spending for years into the future. Ryan’s plan spills red ink of $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years, while the White House budget projects deficits of $6 trillion, with the Bowles-Simpson proposal coming in at $4.5 trillion. But none of them addresses the real issue, according to Texas Congressman Ron Paul. In a statement issued after the vote on the Ryan plan, Paul said

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Gas Prices Up, Obama Poll Numbers Down

$4.06 Gas Prices, Lewiston, Maine, Cumberland ...

As gasoline prices approach (and in some places exceed) $4 a gallon nationally, the president appears to be taking much of the blame with two recent polls showing sharp declines in support for his handling of the issue.

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll now shows a record number of Americans giving the president “strongly” negative reviews on his handling of the economy. Nearly two-thirds of those polled say they disapprove of how he is handling gas prices compared to just 26 percent approving—his lowest rating by the poll. Specifically, 59 percent of those polled disapprove of his handling of the economy in general, a jump of 9 points in just one month and this despite the appearance of some signs of an improving economy. Most of the damage being done to Obama is among independents with 57 percent now disapproving, along with 66 percent of white non-college graduates disapproving as well.

The New York Times/CBS poll also showed the president losing 9 percentage points of approval during the past month, with 47 percent of those polled voicing their disapproval.

In a third poll by the Christian Science Monitor two-thirds of those polled say that the government should allow increased production from offshore wells and from shale deposits on federal lands as a way to increase supply to bring down prices. 54 percent favor drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, while 47 percent favor rolling back some environmental restrictions to help increase energy production. That poll also reflected expectations that the price of gas will exceed $4 a gallon nationally within the next three months and one-third of those polled are expecting $5 a gallon gas by summer.

The president’s response has been, as it has been since his election, to push for alternative energy resources such as renewables and wind. His recent decision to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline project reflects his commitment to raising prices on oil in order to make alternatives more attractive. His comment on Saturday’s weekly address that “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” reflects that ideology.

In North Dakota, however, that is precisely what is being done to increase oil production, with North Dakota on track to overtake

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Solyndra Just the Tip of the Alternative Energy Iceberg

Solar Panels

In late October White House Chief of Staff William Daley ordered a complete review of all loan guarantees the Department of Energy has made to various energy projects. The review “is a tacit acknowledgement that the loan program [that supported the now-bankrupt energy company Solyndra]…has raised enough internal concern that an outside assessment is necessary…”, according the Washington Post.

While the review is supposed to take 60 days and will no doubt be an attempt to whitewash failed efforts by the government to jumpstart the economy through its support of the green industry, a look at past efforts is more than sufficient to conclude that such “investments” are more properly labeled “boondoggles” and an enormous waste of taxpayer money.

The spin on the review is already in. When Daley named Herbert Allison, a former assistant Treasury secretary, to head it up, he said:

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American Oil Development Undermines Green Movement, OPEC

Oil Derrick

The September 15 report from the National Petroleum Council expressed surprise at how much has changed just since their “Hard Truths” report of 2007 that domestic energy development was falling behind escalating demand.

The “Hard Truths” report stated that although “the world is not running out of energy resources…there are accumulating risks to continuing expansion of oil and natural gas production…[which] create significant challenges to meeting projected total energy demand.” As a result, the concept of “Energy Independence” is “not realistic in the foreseeable future” and therefore “the United States must moderate the growing demand for energy.”

In NPC’s letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu introducing the latest study, chairman James Hackett said

Extraordinary events have affected energy markets in the years since the NPC reported on the “Hard Truths” about energy in 2007. That study concluded that the world would need increased energy efficiency and all economic forms of energy supply.

This is still true today, but since then,

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The Oil Map of the World Is Shifting to the West

Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline

Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power (which was adapted into a mini-series by PBS in 1992) explored the shift of oil’s epicenter from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere, expressing his surprise that “what appeared to be irreversible is being reversed.” He explains:

The new energy axis runs from Alberta, Canada, down through North Dakota and South Texas, past a major new discovery off the coast of French Guyana to huge offshore deposits found off Brazil.

The transformation is happening not as part of some grand design or major policy effort, but almost accidentally. This shift was not planned—it is a product of

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Ending Ethanol Subsidies Won’t Reduce Food Costs After All

summer sweet corn

Image by Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr

The recent attempt to terminate both the ethanol subsidies of $.45 a gallon and the $.54-per-gallon import tariff on Brazilian sugar-based ethanol by the Senate failed because it was an amendment attached to a bill that was doomed to failure anyway. Both will cease on December 31 automatically, ending 33 years of subsidizing the ethanol industry; however, food prices are likely to stay high anyway. The main reason is neither the subsidy nor the tariff, but the mandate by the government requiring

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Good News: North Dakota’s Economy Doing Just Fine, Thank You

Artist's rendition of a shale oil extraction p...

Image via Wikipedia

Finally, some good news about the economy, from an unlikely place: North Dakota. CNNMoney reported that while the United States’ economy grew at less than 3 percent last year, North Dakota’s grew by more than 7 percent. And with national unemployment over 9 percent, in North Dakota it is just over 3 percent (and hasn’t touched 5 percent there in more than 20 years).

The prime driver is the discovery of

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The Food Crisis Explained (Away)

Logo of the Food and Agriculture Organization

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Hysterics and Manipulation

When the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced its latest round of increases in the cost of food, analysts were nearly breathless in their recommendations for solutions that involved—what else?—more international “cooperation,” under the tender ministrations and control of the UN.

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Tax Breaks, Subsidies, and Big Oil

Bombay high

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Echoing the Obama administration’s characterization of the tax breaks being enjoyed by the five major oil companies (Exxon, ConocoPhillips, BP America, Shell, and Chevron) as “subsidies,” the Senate tried to remove them on Tuesday, but failed.

The White House said,

The administration believes that, at a time when it is working with the Congress on proposals to reduce federal deficits, the nation cannot afford to maintain these wasteful subsidies.

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High Gas Prices Set to Cause Double Dip Recession

Fuel Guage

Image by smemon87 via Flickr

“I’m sure the rising cost of energy is bothering the market,” said Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at D. A. Davidson & Company last week. “I do think the uptick in gasoline prices will have an impact on consumer spending in the next few quarters.”

One could scarcely call it an “uptick,” with gasoline prices up by $.70 a gallon since the first of the year, and approaching $4 a gallon. The American Automobile Association said at that level consumers “will have to start cutting back to pay their fuel expenses. This could adversely affect restaurants, malls, and entertainment venues that count on people driving to get there.”

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Speculators and High Oil Prices Explained

Super Contrails as the 767 flies through cloud...

Super Contrails as the 767 flies through cloud… (Photo credit: AvgeekJoe)

Last Thursday, speaking in Reno, Nevada, President Obama announced that the Department of Justice was going to examine the role of “traders and speculators in the gasoline and oil markets,” and how they contribute to high gas prices.

The Attorney General [is] putting together a team whose job it is to root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, and that includes the role of traders and speculators. We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain.

What do speculators do? Here is a cogent explanation by Victor Niederhoffer, a well-known speculator and author of The Education of a Speculator:

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Donald Trump’s Ideology

Donald Trump

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

When potential Presidential candidate Donald Trump was asked by George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “Good Morning America”, what he would do, as President, about soaring gasoline prices, he replied:

Look at what’s going on with your gasoline prices. They’re going to go to $5, $6, $7 and we don’t have anybody in Washington that calls OPEC and says, “Fellas, it’s time. It’s over. You’re not going to do it anymore.”

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Gold at $1,500 an Ounce and Moving Higher

gold cast bar

Image by hto2008 via Flickr

The price of one ounce of gold exceeded $1,500 yesterday, and immediately the media was filled with explanations. Jan Harvey, writing for Reuters, said gold was benefiting from “the threat of a downgrade to the United States’ triple-A credit rating this week and fresh worries over euro zone debt [that] fueled fears over the outlook for both the dollar and the euro.”

The possible termination of the Federal Reserve’s program of buying U.S. Treasuries (called Quantitative Easing, or QE2) in June adds uncertainty to the markets, and “There is still going to be a lot of uncertainty over the strength of growth in the United States,” according to Macquarie analyst Hayden Atkins. Simon Weeks, head of precious metals at the Bank of Nova Scotia, added:

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Donald Trump the Populist and Pragmatist

Donald Trump & Melania enter the Oscar De LA R...

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The February 22nd Newsweek poll followed by the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showing billionaire Donald Trump eclipsing his nearest Republican rivals and even challenging incumbent President Obama has caused some commentators to look past his rhetoric to see where “The Donald” really stands on major issues. Jonathan Hoenig, writing for SmartMoney.com, says that “Trump’s primary appeal is undoubtedly his business experience.

Given the nation’s festering inflation, exploding deficit and still moribund economy, there’s obvious interest in leaders who promote fiscal conservatism, capitalism and growth. The problem is: Donald Trump isn’t one of them.”

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The Real Cost of the Wars

military cemetary

Image by Travlr via Flickr

When the book The $3 Trillion War debuted in 2008, it was roundly criticized by such notables as John Lott, Richard Zerbe and Edgar Browning, who held that estimates of the cost of the war in Iraq were overstated. But in a conference call earlier this week, authors Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Prize winner) and Linda Bilmes (Harvard University professor), said they underestimated those costs by at least one third.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.