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Will Our Political Ubermensch Ever Wake up & Sniff the Petroleum Distillate?

Obama as Messiah—Anointing Oil Included!

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 By Kelly OConnell  Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Obama, Frackin' Capitalists

Recent developments in the American petroleum sector have utterly exposed the rhetorical excesses of Obama, suggesting his speeches are designed towards supporting a certain ideology over known facts. During a period where Barack’s energy policy can be succinctly quoted as, “We can’t drill our way out,” huge advances are being made in stateside production, daily. In fact, America recently passed Saudi Arabia as the world’s #1 petroleum producer. Moreover, the EIA announced the US will be fully energy independent by the year 2035.

It seems as if Obama is against developing new sources of native oil, given his recurrent embargoing of the industry. There are said to be few direct statistical correlations in economics, but one certainly stands out. Charles C. Mann declares this in What If We Never Run Out of Oil?:

...a basic truth: economic growth and energy use have marched in lockstep for generations. Between 1900 and 2000, global energy consumption rose roughly 17-fold, the University of Manitoba environmental scientist Vaclav Smil has calculated, while economic output rose 16-fold—“as close a link as one may find in the unruly realm of economic affairs.” According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the United States has experienced 11 recessions since the end of the Second World War. All but one were associated with spikes in energy costs—specifically, abrupt jumps in the price of oil.

I. Obama’s Anti-Oil Drilling Energy Policy

Given the importance of oil for America’s economy, one would expect our leader to put first securing supplies of the stuff. Sadly, this has not been the case. In fact, not only has Obama seemingly done everything in his powers to limit growth in the US energy sector, he has also stated blankly that America cannot meet its own needs by increasing domestic production. He stated: “You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” (audio) This type of leadership is devastating for investors in American energy companies, not to mention private consumers!

A classic example has been Barack’s intransigent opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, which would have brought in almost a million barrels a day to the US, a significant part of our daily consumption. According to the WA Times, Obama has done the following to discourage development…

...barred drilling and exploration for oil on the vast majority of federal lands and waters, while camouflaging this policy by highlighting increased drilling on private lands that remain outside the scope of his anti-oil policies. Mr. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has created a blizzard of conflicting regulations on oil producers, fuel manufacturers and petrochemical plants that raise energy cots by billions of dollars, are sometimes impossible to comply with, and accomplish little or nothing for the environment. Almost daily he calls for discriminatory energy-tax increases that could further raise the costs of producing oil and manufacturing fuels. Mr. Obama has made it clear in the past that his chief energy goal is not to lower fuel prices, but to get Americans off fossil fuels as quickly as possible by forcing up the price of petroleum products and heavily subsidizing “alternatives.”

II. Recent Developments in US Petroleum—Boomtown

There has been an astonishing sea-change in America’s energy futures in just the last few years, after decades of diminishing output. The US Energy Information Agency states that American production is surging. Investor’s Business Daily reports:

The U.S. passed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest petroleum producer in November 2012, according to recently released data of the federal Energy Information Administration. Over the last 5 years, domestic oil output has risen 40% and continually outpaces projections. Last year, domestic output increased by 800,000 barrels per day, the largest increase in annual production since the first oil well was drilled in 1859 in Pennsylvania.

These facts are already shaking up the global order, according to NBC News:

Without fanfare, China passed the United States in December to become the world’s leading importer of oil—the first time in nearly 40 years that the U.S. didn’t own that dubious distinction. That same month, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania together produced 1.5 million barrels of oil a day—more than Iran exported.

This leap in production is caused by the new technology called “fracking”:

...hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”—a technique for shooting water mixed with sand and chemicals into rock, splitting it open, and releasing previously inaccessible oil, referred to as “tight oil”...fracking releases natural gas, which, when yielded from shale, is known as shale gas…it has unleashed so much petroleum in North America that the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based consortium of energy-consuming nations, predicted in November that by 2035, the United States will become “all but self-sufficient in net terms.”

In fact, America has so much oil in the ground that private citizens are actually procuring their own drills to drill on their own land, and hitting gushers like a real life Jed Clampett, as this article reveals: “‘Backyard Oil’ a real-life ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ as DIY drillers turn into millionaires overnight.

The facts on the ground are so different than the Obama administration has painted. He stated we should simply give up even trying to become energy independent for petroleum and simply accept the “Green Economy” without a fight. But why would a sitting president want his own people to give up and accept diminished economic circumstances? Simply as a result of ideology overriding facts on the way to trying to collect more power. Socialism is simply the aggrandizement of power by government, whereas they seek to become the major domo in every undertaking instituted by a society.

III. Sowell’s Conflict of Visions

The current fissure in American society is well-explained by Thomas Sowell in The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. This work examines how the elite class, aka the “anointed”, sells crises and their antidotes as a way of taking increasing control over the masses. These self-anointed elites have a vision of life which Sowell opposes with the “tragic vision.” The tragic vision is the basis for the Conservative, or Classical Liberal, movement which accepts life can never be perfected, only its opportunities maximized. The anointed vision is essentially progressive, and therefore utopian—and claims that the costs of perfecting the world are worth the outcome. Sowell says the tragic vision is realistic and can create a good world, whereas the vision of the anointed is essentially so unrealistic it is cruel and unhinged.

A question which must be asked is, Why would a politician pretend there is a problem and then propose a very painful and expensive solution? The answer to this is disappointing to state. First, the more crises a politician successfully presides over, the more essential the person is seen as being. Second, certain political ideologies are based upon the notion that they are only a few elites in any society, and these have a noblesse oblige, a sacred duty, to care for others not fit for leadership. Third, another some politicians simply crave power over others, which is why they entered politics to begin with. And increasing their own power maximizes their enjoyment.

Sowell describes how the crises are presented that the elites use to promote their ideas. These are promoted as having the following characteristics:

  1. Assertions of a great danger to the whole society, a danger to which the masses of people are oblivious.
  2. An urgent need for action to avert impending catastrophe.
  3. A need for government to drastically curtail the dangerous behavior of the many, in response to the prescient conclusions of the few.
  4. A disdainful dismissal of arguments to the contrary as either.

Sowell maps out how the essentially contrived crises and their failed responses play out:

A very distinct pattern has emerged repeatedly when policies favored by the anointed turn out to fail. This pattern typically has four stages:

STAGE 1. THE “CRISIS”: Some situation exists, whose negative aspects the anointed propose to eliminate. Such a situation is routinely characterized as a “crisis,” even though all human situations have negative aspects, and even though evidence is seldom asked or given to show how the situation at hand is either uniquely bad or threatening to get worse. Sometimes the situation described as a “crisis” has in fact already been getting better for years.

STAGE 2. THE “SOLUTION”: Policies to end the “crisis” are advocated by the anointed, who say that these policies will lead to beneficial result A. Critics say that these policies will lead to detrimental result Z. The anointed dismiss these latter claims as absurd and “simplistic,” if not dishonest.

STAGE 3. THE RESULTS: The policies are instituted and lead to detrimental result Z.

STAGE 4. THE RESPONSE: Those who attribute detrimental result Z to the policies instituted are dismissed as “simplistic” for ignoring the “complexities” involved, as “many factors” went into determining the outcome. The burden of proof is put on the critics to demonstrate to a certainty that these policies alone were the only possible cause of the worsening that occurred. No burden of proof whatever is put on those who had so confidently predicted improvement. Indeed, it is often asserted that things would have been even worse, were it not for the wonderful programs that mitigated the inevitable damage from other factors.

Conclusion

In a shocking number of scenarios, the elite class—whether in the form of the media, the academics, or in entertainment—presents a crisis to the society, and the “only way” the crisis can be solved. Invariably, the solution is worse than the often non-existent “crisis.”

One such example is currently Obamacare, and how this threatens to undermine the very best medical system in the world. And so it is with energy, where the petroleum sector has been attacked relentlessly as greedy, polluting, and focusing on rapidly diminishing supplies. Now one can only hope that Obama will stop pretending the “green economy” is more important than real oil for real Americans. Our horribly battered economy sure could use some good news after five years of ineffective DC fixes.

Author
Kelly OConnell  Bio

Kelly OConnell Most recent columns

Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. He was born on the West Coast, raised in Las Vegas, and matriculated from the University of Oregon. After laboring for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland, he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia, where he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government. He spent a stint working as a researcher and writer of academic articles at a Miami law school, focusing on ancient law and society. He has also been employed as a university Speech & Debate professor. He then returned West and worked as an assistant district attorney. Kelly is now is a private practitioner with a small law practice in New Mexico. Kelly is now host of a daily, Monday to Friday talk show at AM KOBE called AM Las Cruces w/Kelly O’Connell

Kelly can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)