Tag Archives: Smart Power

Obama administration giving away the store in nuclear deal with Iran

Map of Iran Nuclear Facilities
Map of Iran Nuclear Facilities

(Source: BBC)

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress this week that no one should pre-judge a nuclear deal with Iran because only the negotiators know what’s in it. But the truth is that the framework of an accord has been emerging thanks to Administration leaks to friendly journalists. The leaks suggest the U.S. has already given away so much that any deal on current terms will put Iran on the cusp of nuclear-power status.

The latest startling detail is Monday’s leak that the U.S. has conceded to Iran’s demand that an agreement would last as little as a decade, perhaps with an additional five-year phase-out. After that Iran would be allowed to build its uranium enrichment capabilities to whatever size it wants. In theory it would be forbidden from building nuclear weapons, but by then all sanctions would have long ago been lifted and Iran would have the capability to enrich on an industrial scale.

Is Iran our friend? Not really:

That is some gamble on a regime that continues to sponsor terrorist groups around the world, prop up the Assad regime in Syria, use proxies to overthrow the Yemen government, jail U.S. reporter Jason Rezaian on trumped-up espionage charges, and this week blew up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz.

Charles Krauthammer comments:

News leaked Monday of the “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.

Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would re-enter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview last December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.

The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.

Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.

Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.

[…]The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping barrel bombs on civilians.

Based on past deals, we shouldn’t be surprised by this news.

This Heritage Foundation article re-caps our negotiating blunders.

What makes these deals even worse is that they are all about constraining us, not the other guy. New START didn’t require Russia to destroy a single nuclear missile: it only reduced the size of the U.S. stockpile. The Arms Trade Treaty won’t stop the lawless and incompetent nations of the world from selling arms irresponsibly, but our lawyers will guarantee that it restrains us.

The essence of the Syrian deal was that it saved the U.S. from having to carry out Secretary of State John Kerry’s “unbelievably small” retaliatory strike on the Assad regime, which gets to remain in power. The Iran carve-up removes the lingering threat of any U.S. military action and makes Israeli action all but unthinkable, while the Iranians keep on enriching uranium and can zoom up to weapons-grade levels far faster than we can reimpose sanctions.

The administration is more afraid of having to respond to an Iranian nuclear breakout than it is of a breakout itself. The deal has bought only a six-month delay in the Iranian program, at the cost of easing UN sanctions the U.S. had carefully built up since 2006.

At the core of the accords is the belief that the U.S. is the nation that needs to be restrained. That is why they involve big concessions from us in exchange for far less from the other side. Since we are the problem, we are the ones who need to give things up to get a deal.

And what about the global warming deal with China?

We got fleeced there, too:

When the United States and China announced a surprise carbon-emissions deal, the environmental Left squealed in delight. Al Gore declared it “groundbreaking progress from the world’s largest polluter” (i.e., China), while John Kerry patted himself on the back in the New York Times, gushing about how “the world’s most consequential relationship has just produced something of great consequence in the fight against climate change.” Despite the extraordinary fanfare, there’s abundant reason for skepticism.

Though the announcement is politically expedient for both Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, China almost certainly won’t take significant steps to reduce carbon emissions.

[…]Beijing hasn’t actually agreed to much: It will try to “stop increasing” carbon emissions by 2030 — which is a slanted way of saying its emissions will continue to grow for another 16 years — and derive 20 percent of its energy from renewables by then, up from about 10 percent now. Though these goals may be codified into Chinese law, the CCP does not have a reputation for respecting the rule of law. And the United States and the international community won’t have any way of enforcing these goals. No wonder Reuters called it a “largely symbolic plan.”

[…]Critics of the president’s environmental policies have noted that even the most stringent emissions reductions from the First World won’t have much of an impact unless the developing world also cuts back. The environmental Left is marketing the new U.S.–China deal as a way to eliminate that objection and plow forward with the president’s hardline proposals for carbon regulations. “Now there is no longer an excuse for Congress to block action on climate change,” Senator Barbara Boxer said in today’s New York Times. “The biggest carbon polluter on our planet, China, has agreed to cut back on dangerous emissions, and now we should make sure all countries do their part because this is a threat to the people that we all represent.”

Boxer ignores the myriad other valid objections to the Obama administration’s proposed regulations, which seek to cut carbon emissions 30 percent from their 2005 levels by 2030. In reality, it’s bad policy because, despite enormous economic cost, it would yield very few environmental benefits.

And of course we have the complete surrender to Russia in the Arctic.

We are cutting deals with every bad actor on the planet that will undermine our interests at home and abroad for years to come. And why? Well, it’s because Democrats think that United States is more of a threat to world peace than a force for good, and so they think the best way to save the planet is to strengthen countries like Russia, Iran and China. I think in one way this plan will work – Democrats will feel as if they are doing something, and they will congratulate themselves on their moral superiority. But as far as actually achieving good results? It’s not going to happen.

Yemen rebels eject pro-Western government, Russian troops seize Donetsk airport

Everything is fine! Obama said what a great job he was doing during his State of the Union speech, right?

Middle East Map
Middle East Map

Let’s start with Yemen and the Associated Press:

Yemen’s U.S.-backed president quit Thursday under pressure from rebels holding him captive in his home, severely complicating American efforts to combat al-Qaida’s powerful local franchise and raising fears that the Arab world’s poorest country will fracture into mini-states.

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi submitted his resignation to parliament rather than make further concessions to Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who control the capital and are widely believed to be backed by Iran.

The prime minister and his cabinet also stepped down, making a thinly veiled reference to the Houthis’ push at gunpoint for a greater share of power. Houthis deployed their fighters around parliament, which is due to discuss the situation on Sunday.

Yemeni law dictates that the parliament speaker – Yahia al-Rai, a close ally of former autocratic ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh – will now assume the presidency. Saleh still wields considerable power and is widely believed to be allied with the Houthis.

There were conflicting reports suggesting that authorities in Aden, the capital of southern region of Yemen, would no longer submit to the central government’s authority. Even before the Houthis’ recent ascendance, a powerful movement in southern Yemen was demanding autonomy or a return to the full independence the region enjoyed before 1990. Southerners outrightly reject rule by the Houthis, whose power base is in the north. The Houthis are Zaydis, a Shiite minority that makes up about a third of Yemen’s population.

This BBC article explains more about why this is bad news for the United States. Maybe they will try to blame this one on a Youtube video, again?

Oh, but there is more good news. Thanks to Obama’s fabulous leadership in foreign policy, the Russians have seized control of a Ukrainian airport.

Map of Ukraine
Map of Ukraine

The Wall Street Journal explains:

Shelling killed at least eight people at a bus stop in Donetsk on Thursday, hours after government forces withdrew from the ruins of the city’s airport following months of relentless bombardment.

With government forces in apparent retreat in several spots, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization offered indirect backing for the Ukrainian government’s claims of a fresh influx of Russian troops into eastern Ukraine.

A military spokesman in Kiev said 10 government troops also had been killed in the prior 24 hours—one of the highest single-day totals in weeks.

Separatist forces captured 16 wounded soldiers during the battle overnight at Donetsk airport—then brought the captives to the site of the bus-stop shelling, where they were forced to kneel before a crowd of outraged locals.

[…]Earlier this week, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said Russia had sent more than 1,000 troops across the border to fight alongside the separatists, putting the total on Ukrainian territory at 9,000.

[…]On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had reported “an increase in Russian equipment inside eastern Ukraine,” such as tanks, artillery, armored vehicles and advanced air-defense systems.

With fighting intensifying along the so-called line of contact, Gen. Breedlove said the Russia-backed forces have shown “a renewed capability now to bring pressure on the Ukrainian forces,” gaining ground “in several places.”

While the airport, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northwest of the city, is in ruins, the government’s withdrawal from the main terminal was a significant blow, at least to morale, after months of dogged resistance.

“Last night we took a decision to leave the terminal and pull back to new lines,” military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said. He said the terminal had been damaged to such an extent that it could no longer be defended, but that fighting around the airport was continuing.

Another spokesman, Col. Andriy Lysenko, said some buildings were still standing and being defended, such as the remnants of the airport tower and fire station.

Remember when Obama ridiculed Romney for thinking that Russia was a threat to world peace? Obama said to Romney “The 1980s Are Now Calling to Ask for Their Foreign Policy Back”. I think that was a mistake.

Obama administration blocks oil production in Ohio: 200,000 jobs lost

Cost of renewable wind and solar energy
Cost of renewable wind and solar energy

The Heritage Foundation explains Obama’s latest effort to appease the environmentalist cult.

Excerpt:

First, it was 20,000 jobs the Obama Administration delayed by punting a decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada into the United States. Multiply that number by 10 and you have the amount of jobs the President is putting on hold by delaying a mineral lease sale in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest for oil and gas drilling. This decision kills jobs and denies Americans access to affordable energy.

The Washington Examiner reports that Wayne National Forest already has 1,300 oil and gas wells in operation, but access to Utica’s shale gas reserves would require hydraulic fracturing. The United States Department of Agriculture announced a six-month delay in the leasing of 3,000 acres in the forest to study the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing. This decision not only delays access to the jobs and energy that Americans need now, but it blocks an important revenue source for federal and state governments. The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program estimated that:

Natural gas and crude oil industry could help create and support more than 200,000 Ohio-based jobs from the leasing, royalties, exploration, drilling, production and pipeline construction activities for the Utica shale reserve. The state could experience an overall wage and personal-income boost of $12 billion by 2015 from industry spending.

The study also projects royalty payments to landowners, schools, businesses and communities could increase to as much as $1.6 billion by 2015—a number that exceeds the total amount of royalties distributed by Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry in the last decade. Total tax revenue from oil and gas exploration and development in the Utica shale formation from 2011 until 2015, including severance, commercial activity, ad valorem (property), federal, state and local taxes, is projected to be approximately $479 billion. Industry expenditures related to Utica shale development could generate approximately $12.3 billion in gross state product and result in a statewide output or sales of more than $23 billion.

Hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking,” is a long-proven process by which producers inject a fluid (composed of 99 percent water) and sand into wells to free oil and gas trapped in rock formations. Used in over 1 million wells in the United States over more than six decades, fracking has been successfully used to retrieve over 7 billion barrels of oil and over 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Spencer Hunt of the Columbus Dispatch reports that “Tom Stewart, vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said shale well drilling would be less harmful to the forest than conventional drilling because as many as six shale wells can be drilled on a single pad.”

Fracking is subject to both federal and state regulations, and there have been no instances of contamination to drinking water. Groundwater aquifers sit thousands of feet above where fracking takes place, and studies by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ground Water Protection Council, and other agencies have found no evidence of groundwater contamination. Where there have been unwanted environmental outcomes—such as gas migration—they were the result of poor well construction or problems with the concrete and steel casings around the well bore. Those instances have been rare, and they were not a result of the fracking process itself.

Hydraulic fracturing will be a critical process in developing energy supplies in the future. The National Petroleum Council estimates that fracking will allow 60–80 percent of all domestically drilled wells in the next 10 years to remain viable.

You can study the effects of hydraulic fracturing for six more months, but the facts are going to remain the same. Fracking is a long-proven process that can help access our nation’s abundant oil and gas reserves. Delaying lease sales is delaying the creation of much-needed jobs.

So let me get this straight. If Obama isn’t handing out $535 million of taxpayer dollars to Solyndra and $1.4 billion of taxpayer dollars to BruightSource, then he’s busy blocking oil drilling in the Gulf and blocking oil drilling in Ohio and blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s no wonder we have a 9% unemployment rate – this man doesn’t want to create jobs. He wants to reward the people who got him elected by handing out millions and billions of taxpayer dollars to millionaires and billionaires – in effect, transferring wealth from the middle class to rich Democrat fundraisers. I find it very surprising that labor unions back this man in elections. What sense does that make?

Global warming alarmism is nothing but a religion. Why do we have to have so much religion in politics? I understand if environmentalists want to practice their religion in their own homes and in the churches, but why do we have to give them taxpayer money for their environmentalist devotions? And why to we have to put our economy on hold just so that we are compliant with their religious beliefs? Why did we elect a President for believes in forcing a religious ideology onto the rest of us? Why do we have to have our freedom and prosperity – our right to produce goods and our right to purchase goods – limited by a religious ideology?

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Obama administration gives Democrat-connected BrightSource Energy $1.4 billion loan

Obama Economic Record November 2011
Obama Economic Record November 2011

Big Government explains the latest example of the Obama administration handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to their cronies in the green energy racket.

Excerpt:

President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr., netted a $1.4 billion bailout for his company, BrightSource, through a loan guarantee issued by a former employee-turned Department of Energy official.

[…]The details of how BrightSource managed to land its ten-figure taxpayer bailout have yet to emerge fully. However, one clue might be found in the person of Sanjay Wagle.

Wagle was one of the principals in Kennedy’s firm who raised money for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. When Obama won the White House, Wagle was installed at the Department of Energy (DOE), advising on energy grants.

From an objective vantage point, investing taxpayer monies in BrightSource was a risky proposition at the time. In 2010, BrightSource, whose largest shareholder is Kennedy’s VantagePoint Partners, was up to its eyes in $1.8 billion of debt obligations and had lost $71.6 million on its paltry $13.5 million of revenue.

Even before BrightSource rattled its tin cup in front of Obama’s DOE, the company made it known publicly that its survival hinged on successfully completing the Ivanpah Solar Electrical System, which would become the largest solar plant in the world, on federal lands in California.

In its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, BrightSource further underscored the risky nature of the Ivanpah venture and, more broadly, the company’s viability:

Our future success depends on our ability to construct Ivanpah, our first utility-scale solar thermal power project, in a cost-effective and timely manner… Our ability to complete Ivanpah and the planning, development and construction of all three phases are subject to significant risk and uncertainty.

Ironically, in 2008, Kennedy wrote a CNN article praising Obama as reminiscent of his famous father and uncle.  The article, titled “Obama’s Energy Plan Would Create a Green Gold Rush,” proved prophetic. However, the “green gold rush” came in the form of $1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money flowing into the pet projects of rich venture capital investors like Kennedy, not average citizens.

What’s more, BrightSource touted the Ivanpah project as a green jobs creator.  Yet as its own website reveals, the thermal solar plant will only create 1,400 jobs at its peak construction and 650 jobs annually thereafter. Even using the peak estimate of 1,400 jobs, that works out to a cost to taxpayers of $1 million per job created.

These revelations and more are described in the forthcoming book “Throw Them All Out” by Peter Schweizer. This could be a game-breaker.

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Obama urged Solyndra to delay layoff announcements until after 2010 elections

Obama Economic Record November 2011
Obama Economic Record November 2011

From the left-wing Washington Post. (H/T PJ Media)

Excerpt:

The Obama administration urged officers of the struggling solar company Solyndra to postpone announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 midterm elections, newly released e-mails show.

Solyndra, the now-shuttered California company, had been a poster child of President Obama’s initiative to invest in clean energies and received the administration’s first energy loan of $535 million. But a year ago, in October 2010, the solar panel manufacturer was quickly running out of money and had warned the Energy Department it would need emergency cash to avoid having to shut down.

The new e-mails about the layoff announcement were released Tuesday morning as part of a House Energy and Commerce committee memo, provided in advance of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s scheduled testimony before the investigative committee Thursday.

Solyndra’s chief executive warned the Energy Department on Oct. 25, 2010, that he intended to announce worker layoffs Oct. 28. He said he was spurred by numerous calls from reporters and potential investors about rumors the firm was in financial trouble and was planning to lay off workers and close one of its two plants.

But in an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail, advisers to Solyndra’s primary investor, Argonaut Equity, explain that the Energy Department had strongly urged the company to put off the layoff announcement until Nov. 3. The midterm elections were held Nov. 2, and led to Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

PJ Media notes:

It’s worth waybacking a bit to see how things were going inside Solyndra. To many on the staff, the place never seemed like it was being run as a serious business. It had spectacular facilities, a lavish conference room, and inventory piled up with no plan to ever sell it. There was no market for its product. One worker says that after the DoE loan came in, the company just went on a “sloppy” spending spree. Around that same time, Solyndra was telling Congress that its financial future was bright, even while in the background it was desperately scrambling for more money to keep going.

And it’s against that backdrop that we find the Obama Dept. of Energy pressuring Solyndra, a company that seems to have gotten its massive federal loan chiefly because billionaire George Kaiser donates massively to Democrats and Obama, to politicize its layoffs. Half a billion taxpayer dollars, up in smoke. But you can rest assured that Kaiser’s personal fortune remains untouched and Obama’s campaign coffers are stuffed to bursting.

The only losers are the taxpayers – the ones Obama claims to be protecting from “millionaires and billionaires”.

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