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Waiting for Good Oil

Democrat plan fails to energize. Obama's slimeballs.. Bridge to election defeat. Not so fast in Missouri. Plus more.

9.19.08

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WEAK POWER BILL
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Democrats' Sham Energy Bill:

The bill passed by the House does absolutely nothing to increase oil production -- in fact, it promises to lock up our most productive discoveries for many years to come.

Mr. Tyrrell states, "Ostensibly the bill will allow drilling as close to our shores as 50 miles in the Atlantic and the Pacific...." If that is indeed the case, then the bill is automatically unconstitutional. Congressional jurisdiction does not go beyond the 12-1/2 mile point off
our shores -- the same goes for state jurisdiction. All areas beyond that point are in international waters. All this caterwauling about the "50 mile restriction" is moot. Our oil exploration firms should give Congress (and states that are not team players) the "big middle one" and start drilling beyond the 12-1/2 mile point right now. The companies should just swoop right in and start anchoring their rigs and pipeline right now.

The bottom line is Congress doesn't have to do a damn thing in order for oil production to ramp up. Congress should just stay the hell out of the way. The oil companies can simply wait until the current unconstitutional ban expires on Sept 30. That will give us the freedom to do whatever we want beyond the 12-1/2 mile point. If I was Marathon, BP, or any other production company, I would have my new rigs floating in the high seas ready to be anchored with drill bits sharpened and ready to go when the clock strikes midnight in the new fiscal year.
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
Yorktown, Virginia

The oil drilling bill voted on by Pelosi and her Marxist cohorts is worse than a scam -- it is a treason, for the following reasons:

1) The bill will produce no oil -- there is none 50 or more miles offshore.

2) It does not include ANWR -- that small 2000 acres spot of utter polar desolation.

3) Democrat majorities in several states affected will not allow it;.

4) This energy crisis will be prolonged until there is widespread unemployment, collapse of private enterprise, increasing poverty, riots in the cities, etc. -- all of that the prerequisites of the permanent revolutionary Marxist takeover of the government. No such permanent murderous government has ever taken perpetual power in times of peace -- war, depression, poverty, riots are the necessary prerequisites.

As Mr. Tyrrell properly observes, the so-called environmentalists will engage our courts in the hands of those many Carter- and Clinton-appointed judges who will stop whatever drilling may result for many years to come. The United States is the only country in the civilized world where one can sue anybody with no cost attached to the loser. That is why we have some 1.1 million lawyers here where for example Japan gets by with 10,000, Germany with 15,000, and Great Britain with only 8,000 -- in those countries the loser automatically pays all the costs. These costs include not only those incurred by the defendant's legal team but also the costs of the courts, the costs of the defendant's lost production, the damages to its reputation, and a myriad of other direct and indirect losses such as a fall in the enterprise shares in the stock market.
-- Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada

Democratic obstructionists claim, "It would take ten years before any oil production would become available." However, they've been saying that for 25 years. The bogus energy bill that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats pushed through the House this week will make that a self-fulfilling prophecy. With this "legislation" Ms. Pelosi and her cohorts have put racing silks on a goat and renamed it "Seattle Slew."
-- Stan Welli
Aurora, Illinois

Mr. Tyrrell's argument for more oil drilling to reduce gas prices, or the "lift" on environmental challenges so oil drilling can take place, is precisely what's wrong with the country today. Oil companies and the politicians they support have a monopoly on the energy market. Everyone knows it. An, swipes at Pelosi are hollow when Tyrrell invokes that elusive poll claiming that 70% of Americans want offshore drilling. That poll is dead wrong. It's the opposite. Seventy percent of Americans do NOT support offshore drilling if it will not lower their gas prices.

We are simply tired of oil spills that no wants to clean up. And just because you're a Republican or an Oil man doesn't give you the right to trash out OUR PLANET.

Thank you
-- Grace

HATE MONGERING
Re: Matthew Vadum's Obama Camp Slimes David Freddoso:

C'mon. Your choice of verbs is bubble gummy, or like "holy slime-ball Obama" a new jocular locution that shimmies in right-wingia.

It's so "so" that you are a parody of yourself -- your own doppleganger. I'd call you high-minded, but it appears to be oozing out your ears... as deaf as you are to the sound of your own voice.

Give yourself a break, a long one...

Satire is rich, but when it comes from the voice of a cynic, it's self-referential babble-rousing.
-- Patrick Phillips

What I don't understand is why SOMEONE who has the authority to do something, stops Obama from censoring the facts about what Obama really stands for and his past years. I can't take this anymore. I thought this is America where these things could see the light of day. No man should have the power to censor anything he wants to. This country was founded on freedom to expose people like Obama. At least be able to give "we the people" the right to try to inform the others of the truth. I can't take this anymore. Is this really America or NOT? Is there anyone brave enough to do something about this? What are they afraid of? Do they not care? Is it too much trouble? Are they afraid of what people might "say"? Is that more important than truth? Has our country come to this? At least give the people the facts and let them make their own decision!

Have we lost the basic fundamentals this country was founded on?
-- Frankie Goodson

Matthew Vadum writes a compelling article. Unfortunately, it's one that completely leaves out the most important tie to the slime campaign. That is the Obama tie to Saul Alinsky. Alinsky is the name that apparently cannot be mentioned or written by those on the conservative side of the political spectrum. The Spectator has not had a single comprehensive article on this Marxist radical and his ties to Obama. Yet the Obama campaign is following, step by step, the game plan as laid out over three decades ago by Alinsky in his tome Rules for Radicals. In case after case this has been the plan. It is no trouble for a precocious 10 year old to predict the Obama campaign reaction to any part of the McCain/Palin campaign, if said 10 year old has read Alinsky's book. Who would better know the Alinsky method than Obama, when he taught classes on the subject in Chicago and its environs?

How about the Spectator lifting the ban on mention of Obama's slavish devotion to the Alinsky methods in its articles? Would the Spectator be as circumspect in bringing up the links between Hillary Clinton and Saul Alinsky? Hmm!
-- Ken Shreve

Editor's note:
Since June 1, 2008 alone, Mr. Shreve could have found TAS mentions of Saul Alinsky here, here, here, here, and here, not including Reading Mail.

EXPLANATION NEEDED
Re: Matthew Bishop's Bury the Damn Bridge:

I agree that broaching the "Bridge to Nowhere" as it was done by the McCain/Palin campaign, was not a good idea. But not necessarily for the same reasons as Mr. Bishop.

Sarah Palin's initial support for this project highlights one of the strengths that she brings to the campaign, as well as lending some credibility to her running mate in this regard. That is simply that she works FOR her constituency. When she was Governor of Alaska, her constituency was the people of Alaska, not the rest of the people of the United States. The funding for the bridge project would have brought several hundred million dollars into the state, most of which would have gone directly to the people of Alaska, rather than coming from them. It also would have replaced the ferry which connects the town of Ketchikan with Gravina island, the home of Ketchikan International Airport, providing a safer, more reliable connector. All of this would have benefited the people she was elected to serve, Alaskans.

Unfortunately, "earmarks" has become a buzz word. The average person has only a dim knowledge of exactly what earmarks are; they only know that they have been told that they are wrong. And this is where the McCain campaign fell down on the job. This whole bridge thing could have been short circuited by simply having Governor Palin say that when she was Governor of Alaska, her first responsibility was to the people of Alaska. And, if she could provide benefits to the people of Alaska without their paying for them, then that was part of her job. If she is elected Vice President, then her primary responsibility will be to the people of the United States and she will carry out that responsibility to the fullest.

The problem that exists here is not so much the McCain campaign bringing up the "Bridge to Nowhere" project [the Democrats would have brought it up sooner or later], but in not effectively communicating why this was one of Palin's positives, rather than allowing it to slide into the negative column. This is all about perception and communication is the key to guiding perception. Sarah Palin is not John McCain and that is precisely why this campaign has taken off. She is the Yang to his Yin. They compliment one another in the minds of many simply because they represent opposites. The campaign was slow to realize this. By attempting to cast Palin as being a female McCain, the campaign marginalizes what she brings to the team. McCain may very likely win with Palin on the ticket, if he allows her to be who and what she is. She is not running for the Presidency, he is. But he has a slim chance of winning without her.

Palin's stance on the Gravina Island bridge would be a positive for voters, if it were explained to them clearly and in the proper context. Just as most of what Palin has done, both personally and professionally, would be. This campaign really needs someone who can communicate with people simply and honestly. They do not have to beat the Obama campaign, they simply have to tell the people why they are the better choice. Most people are plenty smart enough to get it.
-- Michael Tobias

The Bridge to Nowhere may not make a good talking point but is a heck of a good object lesson especially for Republicans who are easily snared into supporting boondoggles like convention centers, sports stadiums and anything else that has someone converting a dollar amount of government spending into a specific number of jobs. It is not easy to tell a good infrastructure project from a bad infrastructure project if the only criterion is how many jobs or votes will it yield.

Transportation value is complex but, it can be boiled down to performance parameters such as cost per person or user, cost per year compared and the resultant transportation benefits. No politician has the staff or the time to evaluate this so they go by how many votes the project is worth. The expertise to do these studies used to reside in state highway departments but has been declining in quality over the past few decades. Everybody thinks that they can be a traffic or highway engineer if they could only hold some kind of government office from councilman to Federal legislator.

There probably never has been a golden age of objective transportation project selection, but since the Clinton Administration, I think it can be proven statistically, the quality of the decision making has deteriorated in direct proportion to the increase in non-technical people engaged in the process. This includes NGO's and the people we never needed before in Rural and Metropolitan Planning Organizations which are required by federal law. Any project selection routine that alleges to provide objective input concerning human lives lost, property damage and the value of time lost would eventually move a state into ever increasing efficiency and even lower insurance rates, if it were valid. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics keeps such statistics and I see no indication that things are getting better except in the realm of a few improvements made by car companies to the vehicle.

The Bridge to Nowhere was a really big fat chocolate cake with plenty of economic development icing and a lot of little job nuts and cherries on the top. Since Alaska is and has been a net importer of transportation tax dollars, there probably was not any additional incentive to send a sample to some accountants to find out if eating it would have any long-term problems beyond the initial salivary impact and lick smacking so easily heard at the Chamber of Commerce.

Considering there are so many people who have wolfed down these infrastructure atrocities and come back again and again for more, Governor Palin's change of heart is a modern day Road to Damascus experience that most will never understand and rarely see.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

...ASK DAVE FREDDOSO
Re: Quin Hillyer's Who Is Barack Obama?:

Allow me to add to Mr. Hillyer's otherwise excellent article. Who is Barack Obama is an excellent question, and the McCain campaign seems to be hitting it hard with some very tough ads, finally. But what exactly is John McCain attempting to become is an ever more interesting question. In addition to the brilliant selection of the Washington outsider and reformer, Gov. Palin as the V.P. nominee, McCain is attempting to morph into the 21st century Teddy Roosevelt. All fine and good, but if McCain is serious, and wants to score real points with Americans, he needs to hit hard at the very institution he's functioned in for many years. Yesterday, McCain, in response to the recent market turmoil, blamed both Wall St. and Washington, without saying who exactly in Washington were responsible. McCain blinked at a real opportunity to reform, one that requires guts and a real shake up of the status quo.

McCain needs to acknowledge, in frank terms, that his fellow elected Congressional pols created the monsters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by allowing these specially chartered congressional quasi governmental corporations to operate without proper regulatory supervision. McCain needs to name names, like Democrats, Franklin Raines, (an Obama advisor) Jim Jones and the ubiquitous Jamie Gorelick, folks, who in addition to making tens of millions in bonuses, helped create the current Wall St. meltdown. In addition, McCain needs to call out Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank, who ran these institutions like wholly owned subsidiaries of the DNC, with thousands of dollars going to Dodd, Obama and Clinton for their campaigns.

The Clinton era dream of risky sub-prime mortgages, to those who could not afford them, all in the name of housing for all, has, as Rev. Wright would say, come home to roost. And now, we the taxpayers are stuck with the tab. If McCain truly wants to be Teddy Roosevelt, he needs to shake up Washington like it hasn't been in decades. He can start with a demand for a criminal investigation of members of congress and the former hacks that ran these entities. But if McCain really wants to make America take notice, he can call Congress the hopelessly broken institution it has become and call for real reform. A serious debate on term limits would get America's attention, big time.
-- A. DiPentima

Quin Hillyer is my hero. What a great article. McCain needs to listen to him. With the media trying to hurt McCain with the Democrat-caused economic problems it is the time to go after Obama's ability to mismanage the economy as badly as he represents Illinois in the Senate. Attack, attack, attack -- strip the media's messiah bare and bury him and "Hair plug" Joe.
-- Michael Tomlinson

TOWN AND COUNTRY
Re: Garry Greenwood's letter (under "Merging at 80 MPH") in Reader Mail's Should've Listened and Eric Peters's Is 16 Too Young to Drive?:

I find it amusing that Mr. Garry Greenwood claims that unless you have driven over forty mph in moderate to heavy traffic, you have no experience. He said this to denigrate my claim that most farm kids start driving trucks, tractors, etc at ten or eleven.

Apparently one must drive on a freeway. Gosh, here's a flash for you Gary, we have freeways here in MO, who woulda thunk it! Gollee, shazaam! Oh, and Gary those farm kids drive on them tool!

Excuse me now I have to go pick the "hayseed" out of my teeth.
-- Jim Karr
Blue Springs, Missouri

My problem with the driving age of sixteen has nothing to do with the experience of the driver. With all respect to Mr. Greenwood, farm boys do a lot more than drive the old family tractor on the side of a country road. The reality of farm life as it is, both young boys and girls do serious work. This often means driving a pickup truck into town for supplies. The sheriff knows farm life and looks the other way when 12-year-old Sam drives home with feed and salt blocks. Truth be known, quite a few underage farm boys and girls can drive circles around most steel-eyed adults.

My issue is one of cognitive development. It is simply a fact that teenagers are still developing mental capacities. In the main, judgment is not of adult caliber. (Yes, there are adults who don't have "adult" judgment. But we are talking "in the main.) There are just times when adolescents don't know to back off when the red flags go up. More seriously, adolescents have difficulty accepting responsibility for their actions when the consequences go bad.

Many years ago, I served as an orderly at a fair sized hospital in the Midwest. One young patient I got to know had already spent a year in the hospital. One Friday night, he drank way too much. He got behind the wheel while his girlfriend and two other couples packed themselves into his car. When he woke up from his coma, his girlfriend and the four others had been buried six months ago. At one point he himself had been given up for dead. All four of his limbs were in casts from multiple fractures. His injuries were such that he couldn't even leave the bed to simply sit up in a chair. And no one ever came to visit him.

"Joe" was not a bad guy. In fact, once you got to know him, he was quite likable. We often talking to just shoot the breeze when had to clean him up or during my afternoon breaks. I only heard him talk about his accident once. He explained the details of the story matter-of-factly without a trace of emotion or regret. He never expressed loneliness in losing his girlfriend; but he was hurt that the rest of his friends had abandoned him.

His friends just didn't understand, Joe explained. "What happened to me could have happened to anybody. This time it just happened to be me. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Five graves. Mountains of grief, pain and loss. And "it" happened to him. The fact he was drunk behind the wheel seemed insignificant. One would have thought that by the way he talked a random tornado have picked up the car and slammed it against the tree. Perhaps the six months of unconsciousness acted as a buffer between the horror of what he had done and any recognition of quilt. But I doubt that, if similar circumstances came along and he was drunk and a carload of his friends were waiting to go, he would have acted any differently.

As much as I liked him, I hoped Joe never got to drive again for ten years. Bad judgment. Inability to link future consequences to one's present actions. And an avoidance of personal accountability for one's mistakes. Developmentally, these are parts of the package for anyone at that stage of life. Most of us grow out of it. But for now that doesn't inspire any confidence in the adolescent Joe or Jane driving on the road.
-- Mike Dooley

I agree that young men and women should be able to drive at 16 if properly trained, but the key word of course, is "trained."

I live in the DC area and by witnessing the actions of the motorists in this town, it's tough to tell how Maryland, the District and Virginia distribute driver's licenses -- in Crackerjack Boxes or in boxes of Captain Crunch?

My solution is Public Service Announcements (PSAs), on television, to teach people how to drive. It's clear that the states have completely given up on training and on enforcing anything beyond speeding.

How about reaching bad drivers where they live? On television?

Show some idiot doing the speed limit in the left lane of a busy interstate and how that causes accidents. Make these drivers objects of ridicule, much like the PSAs attacked smokers for years.

Bad drivers kill other people every single day, yet the government continues to waste money on anti-smoking PSAs.

How about putting that money towards PSAs that could actually save innocent lives?
-- Brian Schafer
Arlington, Virginia

VOTE ZIERAK OUT
Re: Stephen Zierak's letter (under "Time Not to Choose") in Reader Mail's Us and Them:

There is no denying that when we vote (or, as in Mr. Zierak's case, withhold our vote) we are all taking our best "shot/guess." Indeed, Mr. Zierak offers a long term plan in which Conservatives and Libertarians refuse to support Senator McCain in the voting booth now in order to get a more suitable candidate down the road -- perhaps as early as the next election cycle. This brings to mind a comparison with professional, "no limit" poker where one is allowed to sit out from the action until one decides the cards puts one in serious play. (By the way, putting the most generous construction on Mr. Zierak's own account, since 1968 he has "not voted" four times and voted six times. Perhaps I could be argued into "not voting" once. But four times out of ten?) My problem with the "win by losing" strategy Mr. Zierak advocates is twofold:

The first objection is that it anticipates (as attorneys are apt to say) facts not in evidence. Mr. Zierak points to a few historical instances and then points out what would have happened or not happened had 1.) Nixon not got a second term as President 2.) Ford won in 1976 and 3.) Bush I won re-election in 1992. But this isn't historical analysis. It's nothing more than a parlor game of playing "what would have been if..." One could just as easily make the argument that if the self-righteous scalp hunters truly would have thought for what was best for the country they would have dropped their chase to "get" Nixon. That would have changed the whole chain of what was to come and I say the world would have been a lot better for it -- my money says that at the very least the term "boat people" would never have become common parlance. Proof? None.

Looking forward, Mr. Zierak predicts that upon election McCain would become the modern version of Herbert Hoover and Hoover's economic interventionism. Except for consulting with the witch of Endor, how are we supposed to understand where this prediction comes from? Why is Mr. Zierak so certain McCain is Hoover under the flesh? I will say McCain isn't my idea of a free-market Conservative. But is has to be pointed out that the future is not "McCain or nothing." There is this creature out there named Obama and we can be fairly confident about what he wants to do. What is certain is that none of us know what is coming down the road for this economy. What is clear to me is that I'd rather put my chips on McCain rather than on Obama.

The second objection is that, in spite of our expectations, nothing is inevitable. The defeat of President Ford by Carter and then the debacle that followed did not make Reagan President much less bring him out from the shadows. Reagan's quest began in the 1960's. He worked hard long before Ford or Carter themselves were even a speck on the attention of the American public. Yet most counted him out during the 1980 primaries. Then they didn't believe Republicans would in the end give Reagan nomination -- especially with such swell guys like John Anderson. Then they were sure Carter would be renewing his magazine subscriptions for the White House come December 1980. The fact was that Reagan was not a shoe-in. The tides were against him -- even among fellow Republicans. No laws of history carried Reagan into office. He had to fight for it. At several points, Reagan's political career came close to being over with the obituaries already written.

In the same way, there is no law of history that means a Conservative champion will emerge during an Obama administration nor that such a champion will necessarily win the election. Nothing is inevitable. If anything, the "future" is against us. Like or not (and I don't), we have to play the cards we got. We can't hope for better cards to play someday -- they may never come. Indeed, the entire game may change.
-- Mike Dooley

A generation ago Ronald Reagan ended the "Cold War" with Russia after 40 years. Now we are in the middle of the culture wars started in the '60s led by the secular humanist against the "God-fearing" citizens who have taken a beating up until now. But a new Shock and Awe strategy has been unleashed by the Conservatives. It is led by a new general riding out of the west toting a gun like Annie Oakley and looking like Miss America and has thrown the left right off of the bus. The possible destruction of liberalism is the reason for the vial uproar from Hollywood and the news media at the moment. The real face of the anything goes agenda is showing and it is really ugly. Maybe they will give up and leave for France but don't hold your breath, hold your pocketbooks and Bible.
-- Jared Harold
Naples, Florida

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