Work and Days

Summer Madness

“This is our ethanol”

So an exasperated Sen. Barbara Boxer screams that the farm-belt senators better support her regional selfishness in opposing California off-shore drilling against the national interest, in the same manner she went along with the ethanol boondoggle. Odd that she was so brazen in her confessional.

Jackson’s N-word

I give some credit to Barack Obama. His ‘hope and change’ mantra drives some to near madness and has proved a wrecking ball of liberal careers. First, in 90 days he destroyed the Clinton political machine, leaving Bill’s past 7-year effort at PC rehabilitation, after Monica and the pardons, in shambles. Now his success has enraged Jackson to the point of making a fool of himself and, once more, revealing himself as a hypocrite as well— and all but marks the end of that demagogue’s pernicious career of professional victimization as a shake-down artist.

Central California Haze

Some of the worst air experienced in my life (right up there with 1970s Athens and Cairo) lingers over the San Joaquin Valley this summer, all of it brought on by ocean winds that blew in coastal forest fire smoke from the central coast, along with a few nearby foothill and Sierra blazes. But for all the health alerts, there is oddly not a word about the ensuing carbon footprint, and the heat and soot destroying the environment.

I think we have more ash in the air than what a coal plant in Fresno would have produced in 20 years. And yet no one is talking about better forest management and the culling of trees and brush, or the need to store more water in new or heightened dams.

In the same manner that black-on-black violence does not earn the liberal outcry that the much rarer white-on-black violence garners, in the same manner that a “Men Working” sign is proof of pernicious sexism in a way that global female circumcision and honor killings are not, so too when nature proves a horrendous polluter, soot and ash are not soot and ash—but a logical byproduct of nature dealing with forest overgrowth, and a much needed refurbishing of floral ecosystems.

VP

McCain has certain requisites: the VP must be younger, more vigorous, have executive gubernatorial experience, know a great deal about the economy, be previously vetted and cross-examined, be more conservative and appeal to the base, be a proven campaigner without propensity to say silly things, have fundraising appeal and/or access to capital. If one were to collate all that with what’s on the shelf, then Romney seems the only likely choice.

Hillary snoozing but coiled

I think Hillary is still coiled. Given Obama’s sudden out-of-the-blue pronouncements, he is one “typical white person” slur or “clingers” rant away from jeopardizing the nomination. So she sits ready to strike, if he flubs up before the convention and terrifies his fund-raising base. One line can be lethal. Ford lost an election over his implication that communist Eastern Europe was free. Kerry’s “I was for it before I was against it” mish-mash doomed him. Carter’s loss of his inordinate fear of communism came back to haunt him in the 1980 election.

Hope and Change

To the degree Obama can call for “hope and change” in front of huge crowds in teleprompted set cadences, he will win; to the degree he at last must debate, do town halls, and do tough interviews, he will lose.

Who wouldn’t be for hope and change given the dismal news about the anemic dollar, the two wars, the huge trade deficits, the mortgage crisis, and so on?

But the problem with Obama’s relief package is that it seems to make things worse not better. Why pull out of Iraq now when a stable government is in sight and US casualties have nosedived? A trillion in new taxes to fund a trillion in new entitlements is not going to reduce the annual deficit, but it will stifle economic growth. In times of slow growth, the idea that we would raise simultaneously income, payroll, capital gains, and inheritance taxes makes no sense. More “oppression studies” and ethnic theme charter high schools are exactly what we don’t need for our undereducated youth—unless one thinks more therapy and less knowledge-based learning will save our students.

More competition and personal responsibility and initiative, not more centralized government control, is essential to reduce health care costs. As for NAFTA, FISA, gun control, campaign financing reform, capial punishment, late-term abortions, etc. you figure out what Sen. Obama wants, since I cannot. As far as bipartisanship, McCain has the record (ask his furious conservative base), Obama the rhetoric.

No blood for what?

One of the strangest things about the antiwar opposition is the charge that the Iraq war caused the oil price explosion. I say strange, since heretofore the Left had argued that we went into Iraq to guarantee cheap oil!

But more to the point, the supply of oil has not decreased since 2003, but grown by about 5 million per day. Even Iraqi oil is now in greater supply than before the war. The most likely culprit is instead increased demand—fueled by the growing appetites of India and China over the last five years, the global economic expansion and its need for energy, and traders’ perceptions that US demand would always increase while our production would continue to decrease. From time to time, incidents in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, or Iran can spike prices, but the rise was due to more fundamental problems.

Note as Iraq quiets down and its government stabilizes, there will not be a corresponding decline in oil prices on the theory the region is stable.

ANWR

There are a number of reasons to drill in ANWR:

1) The logic of “it only might provide a million barrels a day” is flawed when we beg the Saudis to pump another 300,000 to calm markets that are jittery and deal often in symbolism. The US willingness to drill there and add another million to the global pot would reverse the present psychology that we will always use more and ask the world to provide us with the increase.

2) “It will take ten years.” Such a reductionist answer could be applied to every liberal nostrum from global warming to solar and wind. The point is that should we start now on solar, wind, ANWR, coastal and shelf drilling, tar sands, shale, coal, nuclear, so that very soon each year, each new asset will kick in and soon we won’t have a nearly trillion dollar foreign energy bill. At some point do we have any national pride–giving away $140 a barrel to those who hate us and who pump it at $5 a barrel and who did not find or develop it?

3) We need to cease our hypocrisy in which we won’t drill for environmental reasons that only puts increased pressures on those who will for money and with absolute no concern about the global environment. And we should drill as much as possible both to collapse the world price and help the poor here, as well in Africa and Latin America, and to ensure that as much oil as possible is extracted under American environmentally sound practices.

4) At $140 a barrel, a million barrels per day will add, at a time of reoccurring economic difficulty, well over $50 billion to the nation’s economy each year.

Anonymous nonsense

I have often been the target of Michael Scheuer, the former CIA analyst, and author of Imperial Hubris. In his latest blast, he includes me with a list of those who he claims have “dual loyalties” to the United States, and suggests that writing for National Review and the Wall Street Journal is typical of a “fifth column” who in traitorous fashion have essentially sold out the interest of the United States on behalf of Israel. I didn’t know that I had become an Israeli stooge out in the country, 20 miles south of Fresno, not exactly known as a hotbed of Zionist activity.

Those are serious charges, and Scheuer, of course, can adduce no proof to substantiate them other than my past support, along with tens of millions of other Americans, for existing U.S. policy to support the democratic state of Israel, since it is in our political, ethical, and historical self-interest (and, remember, simultaneously we give about the same number of billions in aggregrate to Jordan, Egypt and until recently the Palestinians.) But then I have been for years confused by Scheuer’s creepiness. I could not fathom how an active CIA analyst was allowed to write a tell-all book, while on the job, damning his own government, with sometimes anonymous sources, and, in Joe-Klein-fashion, under the pseudonym “Anonymous.” I have some regrets in this life, but not signing my own name to my own work is not one of them.

But even more confusing are Scheuer’s amazing statements over the years that Al Qaeda is not a terrorist organization, that its grievances are understandable and center on Israel, that “Iraq is finished” (as in failed), and, most reprehensibly, that “the Holocaust Museum here in our country is another great ability (sic) to somehow make people feel guilty about being the people who did the most to try to end the Holocaust.”

He was once delegated to find and take care of bin Laden; and then wrote books blaming almost everyone else for the subsequent failure. Al Qaeda and Iraq were once linked, we were told, and then after the invasion, of course not. And on and on and on with the same old, same old tired trope since 9/11 that everyone is a fool except Scheuer. He ended up hating his doppelgänger Richard Clark— which made perfect sense given that their “they did it, not me” modus operandi, inability to stop or hunt down terrorists, and subsequent celebrity careers dovetailed.