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Pipe Dreams

July 28th, 2013 - 10:30 pm

Think Progress, quoting the New York Times relates how President Obama found the very idea of the Keystone Pipeline funny.

OBAMA: Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline — which might take a year or two — and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.

NYT: Yet there are a number of unions who want you to approve this.

MR. OBAMA: Well, look, they might like to see 2,000 jobs initially. But that is a blip relative to the need. So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.

Chuckles. In knowing superiority. In amused condescension. And why not? The ability to move energy around is totally ridiculous. Interconnecting energy sources, redundancy, who cares about these?  Well maybe China. They are building pipelines to bring oil from the Bay of Bengal to China. There is also another project in the works to pipe oil directly from the Middle East to the Middle Kingdom.  That’s quite a pipeline and nobody in China is reported to be chuckling.

SINGAPORE – China’s strategy to diversify supply routes for its rapidly rising energy imports has just taken a major step forward.

On July 15, natural gas from Myanmar (aka Burma) started to flow along a recently completed pipeline that stretches for 1,100 kilometers from the sea coast, through jungle and mountains, to Kunming in southwest China.

There it will feed into other gas lines supplying homes, industries and power plants generating electricity in the world’s biggest energy user. …

A parallel oil pipeline, due to open by the end of the year, will be able to carry 22 million tons of crude oil from the Middle East and Africa. This amounts to about one-twelfth of China’s oil use last year.

China’s great fear is blockade.

The official Xinhua news agency has described the pipelines as “China’s new strategic energy channels” because they offer an alternative supply route for vital oil and gas imports in case the congested and relatively narrow Strait of Malacca and Singapore are blocked by piracy, terrorism, a shipping accident or conflict.

Since 2010, over 80 percent of China’s growing crude oil imports have come in tankers through the straits — the shortest sea route between the Middle East/Africa and China’s east coast ports.

China’s ruling Communist Party and the armed forces fear that this energy artery, which includes increasing quantities of gas from the Persian Gulf, could be cut in several crisis contingencies.

The West has an outdated idea of itself. Europe still thinks it is the center of the universe and the Australian Greens may still conceive of themselves as defenders of the hottentots against the depradations of white imperialists.  When Australian Greens insist on the necessity of a cutback in “Greenhouse gases”, of which Oz produces about 1%, they actually think they matter. They don’t matter a damn.

CNN reports that the Beijing is the world’s largest consumer of oil. And it is growing fast. “Already guzzling more energy than the United States to feed its power-hungry manufacturing sector, China is expected to use twice as much energy as the United States by 2040.”

Compared to China’s scale and rate of growth, it is the Greens who are the hottentots. It is the Greens who by comparison live in provincial mental huts. Earth to Greens, earth to Greens: the hottentots are operating on a scale you can’t even imagine. Consequently the energy route from the Persian Gulf to China is now Beijing’s jugular.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 26 (UPI) – China’s plan to build a second aircraft carrier and the Indian navy’s recent test-firing of a submarine-launched cruise missile should be ringing alarm bells in the Persian Gulf.

Beijing and New Delhi are squaring off militarily in the Indian Ocean, the key energy artery from the Middle East and Africa to the Asian giants who need the oil and gas to fuel their expanding economies.

At the same time, both states — but China in particular — have sharply boosted investment in Middle Eastern and African energy resources.”

These days, more Persian Gulf oil exports goes east than west to Europe and the United States. China, for instance, imports 55 percent of its oil from the gulf.

But  the Chinese and Indians, no less than the Japanese, take a dim view of President Obama’s ability to do anything — even keep the Navy going.  They’re probably convinced, not without reason, that he’ll someday melt the ships down into Obamaphones. The article has these sad words to say about the United States.

The U.S. Navy provides the security along the Indian Ocean shipping routes but as the decades-old American domination in the Middle East erodes, and the prospect of a U.S.-Chinese stand-off in the Pacific grows, the strategic dynamics in the Indian Ocean are also changing as China and India seek to secure their access to energy supplies.

It will take a decade or two before the Chinese and Indian navies will be muscular enough to replace U.S. power. It will take years to build enough carrier task forces with powerful air arms and formulate operational war-fighting doctrines, and establish logistics and intelligence networks in the vast region.

One of the submarine fleets that patrols astride this very energy artery is Australia’s. Published sources describe its patrol areas as stretching from “Australia’s Top End through Melanesia, Indonesia and the South China Sea.” During the Cold War RAN subs lurked “off the coasts of Vietnam, Indonesia, China and India”. Which only means that one of China’s contingency plans to ensure its energy security involves some way to neutralize that.

The Chinese are disadvantaged by geography. But they are doing the best they can with what they have. On the other hand the United States has almost every God-given and human made edge you can imagine. But it also has a President who sees these boons as comical gewgaws the sort of which are found in a box of Crackerjack [chuckles], to be thrown out as soon as possible so he can mail the boxtop to enter the raffle.

God has blessed America. As for “God Damn America” — ask Jeremiah Wright about that.  Perhaps never in the history of human enterprise has so little been achieved by individuals with so exalted a view of themselves.  The clowns don’t know they’re the show.

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Top Rated Comments   
For what it's worth, my best guess on why the president will not let Keystone go:

Sure, it creates jobs. Sure, it's an economic benefit. But the direct beneficiaries of that benefit is the oil sector, and working people in the heart of "Red" America. In other words, in Obama's eyes, The Enemy.

Obama is all about the use of government power to reward friends and punish enemies, and although other things do matter, they don't matter as much.

Obama probably visualizes mid-west construction workers as church going, country music listening white men with "Cat Diesel Power" caps, pickup trucks, and guns- his sworn enemies. He's thinking, "F**k'em, they're Republicans anyway."

And his friends at Think Progress and other Leftist hangouts would chuckle, chortle, and agree.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The president is off by a factor of 10. And that's just the beginning.
The math is easy. The projected cost is 5.2 billion. 50% of a typical construction project's cost is direct labor.
At $100,000 per man-year, that's 13,000 jobs over a 2 year project.
Not a bad gig for 13,000 people.
And the rest of the 5.2 billion? That gets spent on suppliers- who pay their own labor- overhead, administration, services... more jobs.

In the end, we rack up 20,000 jobs easily.

And unlike the president's "Stimulus" giveaway, all of this buys new infrastructure and "hard" assets, at no taxpayer cost.

Now, that's only the direct effect. There are suppliers of suppliers, the downstream industries, right down to the guy who changes lightbulbs at the factory that has to run a late shift to keep up Keystone's demand for new widgets. And THEY will all spend their income- Keystone salaries will be spent on new cars, new roofs, orthodontists and trips to Disneyworld, all of which will generate jobs.

We could be looking at 50-100,000 jobs here, long run.

Now, yes, some or even all of the oil might be exported. After being refined in the US. Reminder to the left: When we process raw materials into finished goods, that's called "Industry" and it's a source of good jobs. When those finished goods are sold overseas, it's called "Export" and that's also a good thing. If it's making more money sold overseas than it would have earned here, it's called "Profit" and drives down our trade deficit. And THAT is a good thing too.

So why would an American president want to throttle a profitable industrial export? After telling everyone countless times how important that is?

There are many possible answers, and most are stomach turning.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality."

He doesn't have a clue. [chuckles] He doesn't have a damn clue. [chortles]
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (42)
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"As for “God Damn America” — ask Jeremiah Wright about that."

Maybe we should; he seems to be the one whose prayers are getting answered.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think any President of the United States would be cautious about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

On the face of it, the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline looks like a matter of energy independence for North America. If only it were so simple. If one looks at the proposed route for the pipeline, it becomes immediately obvious that there may be a hidden agenda at work.

Canadian interests would be well served by expanding existing pipelines through Manitoba. Canadian interests would be well served by a “national unity” pipeline sending petroleum from Alberta through Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec to markets in New York and New England. Beyond the overt issues of environmentalism that led British Columbia to block the North Gateway project (that would have led to major exports of petroleum to California, Hawaii, Japan, and China), the feasibility of an independence movement for Alberta lurks in the shadows. A direct pipeline from Alberta to Texas would effectively mean that Alberta no longer needs Ottawa for anything.

So, the Obama administration not only faces a dilemma over making a decision that would anger rival factions of his coalition either way, but it also faces a dilemma over whether promoting Alberta independence would be a wise course for the United States to take. Any American decision that destabilizes Canada would promote a backlash from Canadian federalists against the United States – even if that decision is actively promoted by a Prime Minister who happens to come from Alberta.

It would be a rare American president who would agree to any project that would make independence for any Canadian province more likely. Instability on our northern border would not be looked upon kindly in America's halls of power. I distinctly remember a poll once taken about possible Quebec independence; 43% of Quebeckers wanted independence for Quebec and 44% of Albertans wanted independence for Quebec. A viable Alberta independence movement becomes a real possibility once Alberta gets a direct pipeline to Houston.

I doubt that any American president would do anything to make Alberta independence any more likely than it already is. It would be a rare American president who would touch that can of worms.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm just astounded that he doesn't get it. Oil produced in the United States is intrinsically cheaper than oil from other countries for the simple reason that it is already here. It doesn't have to be negotiated for, loaded into a tanker, shipped across the ocean and unloaded into storage tanks. In addition, all the foreign profit that would come from all that import activity stays inside the United States. When energy is cheaper, manufacturing becomes more profitable. Business becomes more profitable. People have more money left in their pockets when they leave the gas station. A cut in energy prices would be a universal economic stimulus going right to the poorest people and to energy-intensive manufacturing businesses that can create high-paying manufacturing jobs ... when economic conditions are right ... like when energy is cheap.

I just find it amazing that he doesn't understand this. Lots of people don't understand this, but he's the President! Are his advisors that bad or is he that thick?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Answer: ... Yes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“OBAMA: Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline — which might take a year or two — and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.”

Now Solyndra, on the other hand, for a measly half-billion dollars in loan guarantees will generate... ‘Hey Joe, how many jobs is that again?”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Forty-seven percent of Detroit citizens are illiterate thanks to a Progressive governmental education policy relying on ignorant political patronage hacks for teachers and administrators "teaching" students the glories of hip-hop, high self esteem, and the evils of being "too white." Following the obvious success of that policy, the present administration is doubling down on failure as a national goal. America needs to be brought to its knees so that the poor and downtrodden will be as well off as everyone else. The policy goal of universal misery is now within reach.

The stupid and incompetent leftist "intelligentsia" are dedicated to a policy yielding disaster and war that has followed in their wake since at least the French Revolution. And still they persist in their compulsion "to make the world a better place" even if it kills us all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Wall Street Journal has a useful article on the approaching potential of methane hydrates

The U.S. has huge reserves in both Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

As to creating jobs, I wonder if Obama realizes that the largest American pipeline design engineering firm is located in DuPage (not Cook) County, Illinois.

Somebody has to pay down the unfunded pension liabilities of the State of Illinois and Chicago/Cook County don't have the money.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We need to understand what President Obana means when he uses the word job. To him there are two kinds of jobs: good jobs and bad jobs. Good jobs have one or more of the following characteristics:

1. Union, closed shop, with mandatory dues collection,
2. Blue State, especially California,
3. Public Service, esp. regulatory or bureaucratic,
4. Green,
5. Federally funded or guaranteed,
6. Prevailing Wage (Think Davis-Bacon),
7. Privately funded only if properly connected:
d.Chicago Machine,
e.Relative of Dem.legislative leadership,
f.Favored minority.

Bad jobs have the following characteristics:

1. Non Union,
2. Red State, especially Texas or North Dakota,
3. Energy related, but not Green,
4. Privately funded,
5. Not diverse,
6, Profit driven,
7. Not paying Prevailing Wage,
8. Actually productive, not make-work.

And the very worst, (Really, really bad jobs):

9. A job that makes a rich capitalist richer. (You know, at some point you have enough money.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Power That Be don't want to lose their death grip on the geopolitical powerhouse on both the east and west coast.

No matter how wonderful or miraculous a project it could be, nor how it could actually solve some of our pressing problems. Hence, no Keystone. Period.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
On a micro-scale: it's fairly well known now that the good ol' Permian Basin is rockin' and rollin' again, along with the Eagle Ford formation in S Texas and elsewhere. People with skills from welding and pipefitting to truckers are getting work.

One example: a woman we know is married to a surveyor who, for the last two years, has been going from Austin to Houston in the wee hours every Monday AM, boarding a truck there, and driving to San Angelo where his company has a mountain of work surveying drill sites (bet most people don't think of that).

Every Friday he reverses the process. So he gets tired of it and plans to go back with a previous employer who's local, but at slightly lower pay--but now he'll be home every day.

Flash!! Present employer freaks at the thought of losing a seasoned surveyor and makes huge offer. Result: whole family moving to San Angelo at much higher pay. Tough relocating but there is work and they're willing to pay.

This little tale reminds me so much of American attitudes and all the trickle-down referred to in earlier posts.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Maine there are tens of thousands of people cobbling together low-wage livings from a variety of dirty jobs. A whole lot of them have the basic aptitudes, skills and work history that would make them perfectly good workers in the energy sector. Granted the energy sector is doing better than most industries in America now, but they could be doing even better with more off-shore leases and drilling on public lands. And laying down pipelines with the cascading effect that has of creating additional jobs? Hundreds of thousands of marginalized and impoverished Americans would find employment at good wages from aggressive energy sector growth.

That Obama would resort to outrageous lies to sabotage an industry is unconscionable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And sabotage the industry was exactly what he was doing by sabotaging BP's top kill effort in May 2010, while he had his weenies draft an overly expansive drilling moratorium.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama's ignorance about economic cause & effect is massive. The way he "articulated" his version of the economic effects of Keystone might as well have come from a middle-school kid. The man knows nothing.

Or, does he? Remember that Warren Buffet is Obama's favorite rich person, and Buffet owns scads of railroads that transport oil. Big pipelines like Keystone are competition for him. Obama is not only in the pocket of greenies, but also of a handful of the mega-rich. He either actually believes what he just said about Keystone, which makes him an incompetent idiot, or he's lying, which makes him thoroughly corrupt.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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