The “this”? Keystone XL pipeline. Why is the president at all involved in this decision? Why is he threatening a veto if the Republican Congress passes a bill authorizing it?
The nation’s pipelines are a transportation system. Pipelines enable the safe movement of extraordinary quantities of energy products to industry and consumers, literally fueling our economy and way of life. The arteries of the Nation’s energy infrastructure, as well as one of the safest and least costly ways to transport energy products, our oil and gas pipelines provide the resources needed for national defense, heat and cool our homes, generate power for business and fuel an unparalleled transportation system.
The nation’s more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year. They are essential: the volumes of energy products they move are well beyond the capacity of other forms of transportation. It would take a constant line of tanker trucks, about 750 per day, loading up and moving out every two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move the volume of even a modest pipeline. The railroad-equivalent of this single pipeline would be a train of 75 2,000-barrel tank rail cars everyday.
Pipeline systems are the safest means to move these products.
The source? The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation. Yes, that’s right, the US government. Executive branch.
Note the facts – 2.6 million miles of pipeline safely moving petroleum products 24/7. Look at would be required without them.
Oh, wait, look what’s required without Keystone – trucking and railcars, of course. And who has a major stake in those operations continuing? You know how this works … follow the money.
Can you say “cronyism”?
Sure you can.
The most “transparent administration”, ever!
Btw, GOP … make his veto it or forever be held as the cowards most think you are (after all, you didn’t even have the courage to dump Boehner).
As you’ve probably surmised, I’m taking a bit of a break the last two weeks of the year. Decompress, catch up on other things and generally relax. That said, I was happy to see that Erb and the anti-Erb have managed to provide the best in entertainment for the QandO faithful.
Looks like the anti-police riots and ambushes are reaching their natural end. That’s what happens when you overreach. I’m not at all implying that some protest isn’t necessary or warranted. But when it goes beyond that to murder, well, then you’re likely to lose any sympathetic audience you might of had prior to that. And that’s pretty much what has happened.
I’m also finding if pretty interesting to watch de Blassio sink in his own man-made rhetorical swamp. Great choice, NYC. Now live with it.
Of course we’re having to live with the choice of enough of America’s voters that we’re into year 6 of the 8 year nightmare presidency. And what do we have on the horizon? More of the same. A Bush/Clinton run? If so, we’re worse off than I think. No more of either family … please!
As for Elizabeth Warren? Yeah, let’s again go for a junior Senator who has never run anything or done anything except claim minority status to get a good paying gig in academia that certainly didn’t tax her “work ethic”. Let’s again let some smooth talking “populist” promise us the moon and deliver Ecuador. And, yes, I’m talking to the press.
The GOP? Name someone with a chance for a nomination and you’ll likely name someone I wouldn’t want anywhere near the Oval Office.
Then there is the GOP Congress. It appears Obama is saying he will have a new use for his pen these last two year – the veto pen. I say that’s good news. Here’s a chance for the GOP and Congress to use an opportunity to drop the onus for being obstructionist on the President. If they have the plums to do that. By the way the “obstructionists” in the past wasn’t the GOP but Harry Reid who wouldn’t bring passed House legislation to a vote in the Senate (not that the press ever caught on) – that problem, theoretically, no longer exists). Do I have any faith the Congressional GOP will inundate the President with legislation he will have to sign or veto? No. None. Recent history gives me no warm and fuzzy about that – especially while McCain and Graham are still in the Senate. Look for McCain and his lapdog Graham to again resurrect the “Maverick” brand and spend as much time as Reid screwing up any plans the Senatorial GOP might have to push legislation to Obama’s desk.
Oh …. guess what the NY Times has discovered? There may not be enough doctors to cover any expanded insurance rolls … especially Medicaid. Why? Well for one thing, there are a finite number of doctors that can see a finite number of patients and having insurance hasn’t changed that fact one bit. But, what is a determiner in who may or may not get to see a doctor is how much that doctor gets reimbursed for his/her work. And Medicaid is cutting that amount by about 43%. That means doctors will likely opt out of seeing Medicaid patients (or at least new ones). In essence then, not much changes in the real world despite the utopian plans of our betters. While more may have insurance, emergency rooms will be the “primary care” unit for most and “preventive care”, a supposed goal of this abomination we call ObamaCare, is still a fantasy without realization. Funny how ignoring immutable facts (number of doctors and how humans respond to incentive or lack thereof) always ends up with predictable results.
Bah … enough. I’m supposed to be taking a break.
See you next year. In the meantime, happy New Year!
First I’d like to say that my position on torture is well known and not what this post is about. It’s about intent and timing. The subject just happens to be torture, or enhanced interrogation techniques, if you prefer.
Secondly, I’d like to point out that we’ve been through this before – this is truly old news. This has been investigated. It’s been commented upon and debated. It is something that anyone who follows the news and politics has been aware of for years.
So why, then, in a lame duck session after which Senate Democrats lose their majority, does an idiot like Sen. Diane Feinstein decide that this is something that must be released now. What is the utility of this report? What is the intent of releasing it now? What positive does a biased report that only casts America in a bad light in the middle of a war bring to the table?
Biased, you say? How do you know that? Well here’s a clue:
The outgoing Democratic leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on C.I.A. rendition, detention and interrogation of terrorists in the years following the 9/11 attacks. But here’s a red flag: Not one person who managed or ran the interrogation program was interviewed.
Not one? So what sort of “report” was it then? What sort of “investigation” took place? Again, regardless of your views on “torture” this is pure politics. And bad politics at that. It is a smear dressed up as something to take seriously.
Why does it matter? Because the way this “report” was generated colors the notional facts it professes to share. Many of the “revelations” of C.I.A. techniques and black sites are old hat to most. Some approve; others don’t. Fair enough, and in a democracy, such a debate is worthy. The larger challenge comes in determining the efficacy of these techniques. Opponents insist (fueled less by fact and more by their sense of righteousness) that enhanced interrogation doesn’t work. So claims the outgoing chairman, of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein.
Here is the problem: Her claim is false. And taken in conjunction with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s unwillingness to interview the targets of their critique, one can only assume that much of the rest of the document is also tainted.
When you dig down to the very bottom of it, you realize its written to support a narrative. It is the same sort of garbage we have seen in the Rolling Stone story about the rape at U Va. As with this report, the “journalist” involved never interviewed anyone who might shed a different sort of light on the rape story. She never verified much of anything. It was all about supporting a narrative.
Rape is bad. Yes, it is. We all accept and understand that. But false and embellished accusations are bad too. That’s what no one ever seems to say on the “rape is bad” narrative side of the house. Additionally, there are two sides to every story – and if you want to report factually, you include both sides. If you’re interested in pushing a narrative, then you don’t.
Hiawatha Bray sums up today’s journalism rather nicely and it applies to this biased piece of garbage Feinstein’s committee produced as well.
What’s wrong with journalism? Lots of stuff. But this is one of the worst features of our industry. All too many of us approach stories with preconceived “narratives.” What matters is not what’s actually going on; it’s whether a particular event gives us the chance to tell some story we already want to tell. If the story is that frat boys are incorrigible rapists, that’s how the story gets spun. What actually happened is of secondary importance. And that’s how we can get a student journalist–contra an earlier draft, I’m not sure she’s actually a journalism major–who can say without embarrassment that the facts of a story are not all that important. This is scary stuff. The only thing we have to offer as journalists–the only thing that’s worth a twopenny damn–is accurate, trustworthy information. If the facts in our stories can’t be relied upon, then those stories are worthless, regardless of what “noble cause” they’re designed to advance. To me it seems horrifying that it’s necessary to explain this.
It is the same story with this report that Feinstein, et. al, have decided must be published now. Old news, repackaged, biased to come to a particular conclusion and intended, apparently, to embarrass the US. Not to mention it is something which will further endanger our military in a time of war. And, of course, provide wonderful propaganda and recruiting material for our enemies (who, per some reports, are already using it). And then there are the useful idiots who will revel in this diminishing of the country’s image.
How this helps the US is beyond my comprehension I guess. It is something we’ve confronted and dealt with years ago. The country is divided over the use of certain “techniques”. And, we’ve seen a Democratic majority in government for 6 years who had the ability to ensure that whatever they believed about such use of these techniques was curtailed or eliminated. What was the utility of this report except, as a friend of mine said, a willful “eff you” by the outgoing Senate majority?
Just when you think this sort of politics can’t get any worse … it does.
UPDATE: Well, of course. Feinstein’s “mission accomplished”:
A United Nations human rights official is calling for individuals who carried out, planned or authorized abusive practices against al-Qaeda detainees in the aftermath of 9/11 to be put on trial, saying the U.S. was obliged under international law “to bring those responsible to justice.”
He also warned Tuesday that perpetrators could be prosecuted anywhere in the world, noting that “torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction.”
Meanwhile the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of a declassified portion of a report on CIA interrogation and detention programs was insufficient, calling for the full 6,000 page report to be released, and for “accountability” for those who overstepped the mark.
Senator Jeff Sessions points out:
“Polling shows voters believe that Americans should get preference for available jobs by almost a 10–1 margin,” Sessions said. “Republicans should not be timid or apologetic, but mount a bold defense of struggling Americans.”
Remember what I said about framing the illegal alien amnesty as being about jobs? Remember I said they could own this politically. Remember I also said “of course we’re talking about the Republicans here”?
Yeah, well like I said:
Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) suggested that House Republicans are on the verge of breaking their campaign promise to fight President Obama’s administrative amnesty, judging by the legislative text currently being circulated.
Sessions said that the proposed language “fails to meet [the] test” established by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who promised earlier this year that the GOP would do everything possible to thwart Obama’s executive orders.
“The executive amnesty language is substantially weaker than the language the House adopted this summer, and does not reject the central tenets of the President’s plan: work permits, Social Security and Medicare to 5 million illegal immigrants — reducing wages, jobs and benefits for Americans,” Sessions said in the statement expressing his dissatisfaction with the results of a House Republican conference meeting today.
Yes, yes, the usual nonsense from the stupid party.
Look they’re getting ready to vote on a continuing resolution to fund government for next year – so this can’t wait till then. It’s time to do this now.
Sessions wants Congress to attach a rider to the government-funding bill that prohibits Obama from implementing the orders; his office released a list yesterday, compiled with the assistance the Congressional Research Service, of instances in which Congress did just that on a variety of issues last year.
“Congress must respond to the president’s unlawful action by funding the government but not funding illegal amnesty,” Sessions said. “This is a perfectly sound and routine application of Congressional authority. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reports that last year’s omnibus spending bill included 16 such funding restrictions on fee-based programs.”
To those inclined to worry that using the spending power would backfire on Republicans, Sessions suggested that economic populism would lead to a GOP victory.
Yes it would. But that’s if they had a collective spine and actually meant all the fire and brimstone rhetoric they spouted while they were trying to get elected/reelected.
But we’re talking the GOP here – always snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Or something. That’s what Charlie Cook covers in National Journal. Cook is a Democratic political expert of some repute and as honest as one can find in that genre. I’ve read him a lot over the years and have found him to certainly lean to the left but also display a level of honesty that is unusual for his ilk.
So, anyway he goes into a 3 or 4 paragraph analysis as to why the Dems are weak, but it is essentially summed up in the subheading of the article:
They have subordinated their traditional focus on helping working-class Americans move up the economic ladder in favor of other priorities.
That’s why I think Obama’s unilateral immigration amnesty is all set to bite them in the posterior. If the GOP frames it correctly it is tailor made to emphasize the very point made above. Down economy. Jobs at a premium. Working class Americans hurting. And what do the Democrats do? Applaud introducing 5 million illegal workers into an already tough labor market.
How does that serve “working-class America” from which most of those jobs are likely to go? Or should have, anyway? How do you make the case you’re still the party of working-class America when you do everything in your power to put others in front of them?
Like I said, handled properly this is a winner. But then, we’re talking the GOP, so don’t hold your breath.
Desperate Mary Landrieu has an ad out saying:
“This is Congressman Cedric Richmond. Have you heard the crazy stuff Bill Cassidy, Bobby Jindal, and the Republicans are always saying about President Obama? They have shown our president so much disrespect. They said he wasn’t a U.S. citizen, they even sued him – and if Cassidy wins, they will impeach him.”
Uh, no. He’s not going to be impeached. With two years left, he really isn’t worth the effort even if he deserves it. That would be “raaacist”. And anyway, we all know who the VP is. Why trade an incompetent narcissist for an incompetent clown? Well the comic relief would be refreshing.
On second thought, maybe not a bad idea – Biden would then be able to run as the incumbent.
Hard to call last night anything but a rout for Democrats as in “it was worse than they expected”. Pre-election polls seemed to indicate any number of tight races that could have gone to Democrats. But the results were certainly not at all in line with those polls. Nate Silver now tells us that many of the polls were skewed toward Democrats. When the results started coming in, they were shocking to many on the left. Mitch McConnell wasn’t really in danger at all. Perdue stomped Nunn in GA. Tom Cotton blew incumbent Mark Pryor away in Arkansas. Kay Hagen, a sure fire winner, down in flames. Those that predicted +8 GOP senate seats were right, even as the left had said that sort of a prediction was extreme.
And there were even more surprises in store. A 78 year old incumbent Republican senator in Kansas defeated a pseudo-independent handily. Colorado went red. Charlie Crist has now lost as Republican, Democrat and Independent. IL dumped an incumbent Democratic governor for a Republican. MA and MD put Republicans in the Governor’s mansion as well.
There were some firsts – Joni Ernst became the first woman to represent Iowa in the Senate – as a Republican (as well as the first female combat vet in the Senate). The GOP’s first black female, Mia Love, won Utah’s 4 district and represent it in Congress. And the first black Senator since reconstruction was elected in the racist South (just ask Mary Landrieu, D- LA about that) as a Republican from SC. An openly gay Republican was elected to Congress, and finally, the youngest women elected to Congress won an open district in NY that has been traditionally Democratic for the Republicans.
Democrat Mary Landrieu of LA faces a runoff she’s likely to lose and in Alaska it appears that Sullivan may edge Begich.
Wow. So what does it all mean? Well, we’ll see, but you know me, despite all this “change” I really don’t expect much to really change in today’s highly partisan atmosphere.
Maybe though, we ought to consider some other interesting things this election may portend. For instance, 24 Senators who voted for ObamaCare, no longer are Senators:
On the Senate side, going into Tuesday’s elections, 24 senators who voted for Obamacare were already out or not going be part of the new Senate being sworn in on January.
To be sure, it isn’t fair to attribute all of the turnover in the chamber to Obamacare. Many senators voted for Obamacare and lost re-election battles in which they were hit hard for their support for the law, and other Democrats were forced to retire because they had no hope of getting re-elected given their support for the law. But in some cases — such as John Kerry leaving his seat to become secretary of state, or Robert Byrd passing away — Obamacare clearly had nothing to do with it.
Obviously … but that’s still a large toll and certainly part of the political butcher’s bill. And then there’s the Immigration Reform Bill which most people viewed as an amnesty bill, and those who supported it:
Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas voted for the Gang of 8 bill. He’s GONE.
Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE.
Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE
Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska voted for the Gang of 8 bill. Almost certainly GONE
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana voted for the Gang of 8 bill. She will probably be GONE after a January runoff.
Alison Grimes supported the Gang of 8 bill in Kentucky. DEFEATED
Michelle Nunn supported the Gang of 8 bill in Georgia. DEFEATED
Greg Orman supported the Gangof 8 bill in Kansas. DEFEATED
Bruce Braley supoorted the Gang of 8 bill in Iowa. DEFEATED
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia voted for the Gang of 8 bill and BARELY SURVIVED against longshot challengers.
Remember, this supposedly is Obama’s next priority. Does he really want to muddy Democratic 2016 election waters this early in the game?
Hillary Clinton put her political clout and even her political future on the line in this election — from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and in races clear across the country — and as the dust settles this morning we’ll see how it paid off.
The news that Republicans took control of the Senate despite Clinton’s best efforts doesn’t bode well for her desire to become the next president of the United States.
Because if you think Hillary Clinton spent all that time and money crisscrossing the country trying to get fellow Democrats elected or help them keep their seats out of the kindness of her heart — you are sadly mistaken. The goal was to have as many of them beholden to her as possible — and to show that she is someone who can get it done. “It” being to raise massive amounts of money and win votes.
The GOP claimed control of the Senate yesterday by picking off Democratic incumbents in Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina and holding control of key seats in Kansas, Georgia and Kentucky, while picking up a vacant seat in Iowa. Hillary or Bill Clinton stumped in most of those states, and they wanted winning Democrats there who would owe them favors. She came out of the evening with at least one key win.
Not impressive. In fact, the Clinton’s couldn’t even stave off a loss in their “home state” of Arkansas. Perhaps the “inevitable” coronation of Queen Hillary isn’t quite as inevitable as she and the left might think.
So, certainly, lots to think about and lots to discuss. We’ve again seen a wave election. Past wave elections haven’t produced much in the way of positive change. Is there any reason to believe this one will?
Question of the day.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, this was indeed a repudiation of Obama.
Funny stuff from the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department. Retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA):
“In this Senate race, I’ve been watching some of these ads,” Harkin said at the Story County Democrats’ annual fall barbecue last week honoring the retiring senator. “And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Joni Ernst. She is really attractive, and she sounds nice.’”
“Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa.”
“I believe if my name had been John Ernst attached to my resume, Sen. Harkin would not have said those things.”
I believe she’s right. It is kind of like if Nikki Haley’s name had been Nick Haley, she likely wouldn’t have been called a “whore” by her Democratic opponent, huh?
Harkin’s comments were met with loud applause from the audience.
A Democratic audience, it can be reliably reported.
So if we grade Harkin’s remarks as the left would had they been pinned on someone from the right, at a minimum you’d have seen him tagged as arrogant, patronizing, sexist and a soldier in the “war on women”, no? Ernst is getting the Sarah Palin treatment from Harkin, something perfected by the left in 2008.
Just for fun and to check on the acceptability of what Harkin said (before the left tries to tell us what he said isn’t offensive), let’s reword that slightly and make it say something no one ever said, but makes an instructive point:
“In this Presidential race, I’ve been watching some of these ads,” Harkin said at the Story County Democrats’ annual fall barbecue last week honoring the retiring senator. “And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Barack Obama. He is really attractive, and he sounds nice.’”
“Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if he’s as good looking as Sidney Poitier or as nice as Oprah Winfrey, but if he votes like Nancy Pelosi, he’s wrong for the United States.”
Any question about how that would be treated by the left?
Lord I get tired of the mealy mouthed politicians who try to explain away their political demise be claiming the backwardness of the region, people or the culture is why they’re losing.
Republicans are slamming Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) for comments they say suggested Louisiana voters dislike President Obama because of his race.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and Landrieu’s GOP opponent in her tough reelection race, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), both pounced on comments she made to NBC’s Chuck Todd that the South “has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.”
“It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader,” she said, before adding that the South has not always been friendly to women either.
Apparently Mary Landrieu felt differently when she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and was re-elected by increasing margins in competitive races in 2002 and 2008. That’s right, the largely red state has elected a woman and a Democrat to terms totaling 18 years in the US Senate.
But now … sexism.
And we have an abomination of a President, one who has nothing to present in a “positive light”, who happens to be black, so … racism.
And don’t forget to throw in a stereotypical comment about the South … because she’s in danger of losing.
As usual, its everyone else that’s the problem, not the fact that Mary Landrieu has done things, such as vote for ObamaCare, that have caused the voters in the state to finally say “enough”. Nope, with Democrats, it’s never the message, policy or vote, it’s always something or someone else’s fault.
Racism. Sexism. Republican dirty tricks. Etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum.
When it comes to the mid-terms, I’m about in the same place psychologically as McQ. But we might as well have some fun with this election. So I sat down and thought about what I expected from it, and came up with the following list:
- The Republicans will do well. They will likely retake the Senate and add at least a dozen seats to their House majority.
- Lots fewer people will care about that outcome than in previous cycles such as 1994 and 2010. More people are now cynical that the GOP doesn’t really intend to do anything of consequence.
The default strategy of the establishment GOP right now seems to be to give the Democrats a turn, knowing they’ll screw things up even worse. Then the voters will give the establishment GOP another chance, because they screw things up more slowly. Thus, the establishment GOP believes they are assured of another round of favoring their particular crony capitalists rather then the crony capitalists favored by the Democrats. Plus, they get the nice corner offices for a while.
- At least one Senate race will be close, and will go into protracted recounts. The Democrats will eventually win that race with questionable votes. (Bonus points on entertainment value if it’s Al Franken again.)
- The media will not report the questionable votes and tactics used to secure the Democratic victory in #3.
- The media will be surprised at the depth of loathing for Obama shown by the election. After all, everyone *they* know likes him.
- The media will only show a flicker of that surprise before they get back to covering for and pimping for Obama.
- At least one major media figure will use the phrase “temper tantrum” or a close synonym to describe what the voters did to cause the GOP gains.
- At least one incident at a polling place will involve blacks supposedly being denied the right to vote because of new voter ID laws. The media might have to manufacture, or at least exaggerate, that incident, but they’ll find one no matter how hard they have to search.
- There will be incidents of the opposite kind, like this one in 2008. Those will not be reported by the media, no matter how many there are or how egregious the violation of laws happens to be.
- November and December will see dozens of media stories on how the “ground game” failed for the Democrats. Some of those stories will infer that the Democrats’ ground game was sabotaged. There will be no stories in major media of how the Democrats and their ground game failed because Obama has become a laughing-stock.
- Opinion columnists in the major media will begin to excuse Obama’s almost total disengagement by blaming it on the new GOP dual majority in Congress. They’ll say things such as “Why should he even try, when they won’t cooperate with him?” (i.e. “bend over and do what he wants”) Some will push for Obama to use even more executive power to bypass the democratically elected majorities in Congress. Some of those will be the same ones who screamed about Bush’s “illegal war”, even though he sought and received authorization from Congress.
- Someone will attempt to spread rumors about an Ebola outbreak in key places to depress voter turnout by making people unwilling to go out in public. Either side is capable of this – both sides might do it.
- Ted Cruz will give a rousing speech shortly after the election on what the Republicans should do. It will be ignored by the major media, though they might run an out-of-context soundbite of it to try and make him look bad.
- Very stupid social science academics will shake their heads and wonder how the voters could dislike Obama since he’s such a great president. Then they’ll talk about how things go “back and forth” or “move in cycles” or some such meaningless blather, as if the GOP victories simply resulted from an inevitable force of nature and have nothing to do with Obama’s screwups.
- Allies of the establishment GOP, such as the bloggers at Hot Air, will immediately begin justifying why the new majorities can’t possibly do anything of consequence. I’m guessing their catchphrase will become “Don’t expect too much.”
- Allies of the establishment GOP will claim that the election results show definitively that the GOP needs to nominate a moderate for president in 2016. I can’t predict what tortured logic they will use for that conclusion.
OK, that’s enough for me. How about our astute and intelligent commenters add their own?