Tag: Energy policy

Klein Pushes for A Dirtier Planet

Naomi Klein has a new book out. Having failed to rally the forces of socialism with No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, she’s now saying that capitalism needs to go because it’s destroying the environment.

Yes, she is writing these words in 2014 as if this were a brand new thought. But the greens have been pushing this anti-capitalism line for fifty years. The anti-capitalist sentiment got so putrid that Patrick Moore left the organization he’d founded — Greenpeace — in 1986. But Klein feels like she’s onto something. And that something, as far as I can tell, is to make the state of the environment a hell of a lot worse:

She wants to ban fracking, nuclear power, genetically modified crops, geoengineering, carbon sequestration, and carbon markets, thus turning her back on some of the climate-friendliest solutions currently on offer. She wants to block the Keystone pipeline, which would transport petroleum from Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries; she would pressure pension funds and endowments to divest from fossil fuel companies; and she thinks we should transfer trillions of dollars to poor countries to pay off the rich countries’ debt for dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Klein is a socialist of the first order and she see massive crushing socialism as the solution for everything — inequality, the recession, the environment, or the collapse of the Braves in the NL East. But those of us with memories longer than an episode of Family Feud will remember the environmental record of the Communist block. It was horrifying; far worse than anything that was ever seen in the West. In his book All the Trouble in the World, P.J. O’Rourke describes the nightmare that confronted the Czech Republic after the Cold War was over. Soviet-era “innovations” made the Aral Sea disappear while capitalism was bringing the Great Lakes back to life. Communist projects clearcut massive swathes of Eurasia while North American forest were booming.

Hell, you don’t even need a memory; you just need eyes. China — still nominally communist — is one of the worst polluters in the world and has soaring greenhouse gas emissions. In the meantime, the evil capitalist United States has seen its carbon intensity drop thanks to innovation, fracking and market forces.

She wants a “Marshall Plan for the Earth” as a lot of environmentalists do. I’ll let Ronald Bailey give you the grim math on that:

Well, if the world were to begin deploying these renewable energy technologies next year that would mean erecting approximately 250,000 wind turbines each year for the next 15 years. As of the end of 2012, there were a total of 225,000 wind turbines operating around the world.

Similarly, the world would have to install 113 million rooftop solar panel systems per year in order to meet the 2030 goal of 1.7 billion. In 2013, the U.S. installed a record 4,751 megawatts of solar panels, which would be roughly equivalent to 1.6 million 3-kilowatt rooftop solar panels. As of 2013, the entire world had installed 100 gigawatts (100 million kilowatts) of solar photovoltaic panels. Combining the rooftop and solar panel proposals, this hyper-solarization would mean deploying more than 10 times the current installed capacity of photovoltaic panels, not just once but every year for the next 15 years. And never mind that there are virtually no commercial wave or tidal energy production systems currently operating.

This would entail, by their conservative estimates, turning 10% of global GDP to alternative energy construction. Good luck getting China to go in on that. And that’s even assuming the materials and rare earth metals exist in sufficient quantities. Or that such a massive endeavor could be done without causing further environmental damage. And it still wouldn’t work because we have no way of storing and transporting energy to account for cloudy and/or windless days around the globe. The enviros made a big deal because Germany recently provided half their power from alternative energy. Buuuuut:

It got half its power from solar on a single, very sunny day that also happened to be a national holiday, so consumers were at the beach and most of its commercial and heavy industrial plants were shut down. That’s very exciting, but you cannot save all of your electricity consumption for very sunny bank holidays.

This isn’t “economics”. This is science fiction.

And thankfully, Klein is on the fringe. There is a growing push toward market forces being aligned toward improving energy efficiency and making alternative energies viable. There’s even been some movement on nuclear power. Bailey again:

In 2013, climate researchers James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira, and Tom Wigley—people not known for soft-pedaling the threat of global warming—issued an open letter challenging the broad environmental movement to stop fighting nuclear power and embrace it as a crucial technology for averting the possibility of a climate catastrophe through its supply of zero-carbon energy. The letter states that “continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.” They add, “While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.”

Look, I think most environmentalists are genuinely concerned about the planet. But there is a faction that are what the conservatives have long described as “watermelons” — green on the outside; red on the inside. These people really don’t care about the environment. When cold fusion was briefly a thing, they reacted with fury not hope. They care about crushing capitalism and private property.

Take that idea of the evil west sending trillions of dollars to the poor benighted third world to compensate them for global warming. That’s something the radical left has been flogging for decades. And it would do nothing, nothing to save the planet. It would arguably make things worse, given the environmental record of developing countries.

There are two possibilities here (not mutually exclusive). One, Klein is a moron. And two, she’s just your garden-variety watermelon, someone who sees environmentalism as a way to push her beloved anti-capitalist agenda.

The only remaining questions are why now? Why is she suddenly pushing this capitalism vs. the environment line like it’s an original thought? And why are she and her books so popular (it’s already selling well, has five-star ratings and is getting rave reviews from the likes of RFK, Jr.)?

As always, Lee had the the answer:

I actually read Klein’s No Logo about six years ago. It astounds me that a third-rate intellect like hers could be so wildly popular with the radical left. Then again, maybe it shouldn’t.

This isn’t a serious proposal. It’s not serious commentary. And it’s certainly not economics or science. It’s something for progressive to whack to. It’s something they can read and say, “Yeah! That’s what we should do!” so they can feel a little better about not being the kind of scientists and engineers who could actually do something about climate change.

Meanwhile, those of us living in the real world can go about actually saving the planet, one fracking well at a time.

A Real Earth Day

Ah, Earth Day. Usually, I use this space to mock the do-nothing feel-goodism that constitutes the bulk of the environmentalist movement. I’ll point out how they do things like “Earth Hour” where they turn out the lights and light up candles and actually do more damage to the environment in the process.

But this year, I want to do something different. I want to recognize the things that are benefiting the environment and truly making the Earth a better and cleaner place.

  • Hydrofracking and the natural gas boom have resulted in the United States being one of the only countries to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, despite not signing the Kyoto Protocol, the United States easily met its standards … without wrecking the economy (or at least, not wrecking it through environmental policy). By replacing more carbon-intense fuels, natural gas is buying years, possibly decades, to address the problem of global warming. And concerns over contamination of groundwater have turned out to be overblown.
  • Nuclear Power is the only alternative energy that functions on a large scale. It uses 10-100 times less land per kilowatt hour than comparable alternative energy and makes far less of a mess, even accounting for the meltdowns at Fukushima and Three Mile Island. New technology, such as pebble-bed reactors, promise to make this energy source even safer and more efficient. And nuclear fusion continues to make slow progress.
  • Mass transportation and free trade allow food to be grown in environments that are ideal and then shipped all over the world. Because transportation uses far less energy than raising and maintaining crops or animals in imperfect environments, the result, contra the “food miles” idiots, is less energy consumption, less resource consumption and lower food prices.
  • While we’re on the subject, Genetically Modified Organisms are increasing crop yields while using less land, less fertilizer and less dangerous pesticides. And they have yet to produce a single attack of killer tomatoes.
  • Capitalism has made a clean environment a consumer good. Consumer pressure has done more to improve the environment than every United Nations treaty combined. Capitalist countries are much cleaner, much more efficient and much more environmentally conscious than command-and-control economies. If you think top-down economies are better for the environment, I invite you to go to random city in China and a take a deep searing breath.
  • If people really want to do some good for the planet, they can go to school and learn about it. They can learn the laws of physics, biology and chemistry. They can study engineering and develop the technology to produce food and energy at an ever smaller cost to the environment. If they don’t have the ability to do science, they can build businesses to exploit those technologies and bring them to market. And failing that, they can at least align their politics with markets, freedom and technological innovation — the things that have really cleaned up the environment, the forces that have every environmental indicator, apart from greenhouse gases, moving in the right direction.

    Anything else is intellectual masturbation. Turning out your lights for an hour and using recycled toothpaste may make you feel like you’re helping the planet. But the people who are really saving the world are too busy working in labs, classrooms and boardrooms to be bothered with this nonsense.

    Frack The Planet

    Now this is interesting:

    A new report discussed in the FT claims that American shale gas production has actually reduced carbon emissions by 450 million tons over the past five years, during which fracking came into widespread use. As the report mentions, gas—mostly obtained via fracking—has grown in usage by 38 percent over the past year alone, while much dirtier coal has fallen by nearly 20 percent over the same time period. The correlation between the rise of fracking and a fall in carbon output is not a coincidence. While greens have spent years chasing a global green unicorn, America has been moving towards reducing its carbon footprint on its own, and fracking has been the centerpiece of this change.

    In fact, America’s drop in carbon emissions is greater than that of any other country in the survey. Greens have often praised Europe and Australia for their foresight in adopting forward-thinking carbon-trading schemes, while chastising America for its reluctance to do the same. Yet the numbers are out, and America has actually performed better than its carbon-trading peers. From an empirical standpoint, fracking has a much better track record at reducing emissions than the current green dream.

    Cutting CO2 emissions was not the intent of fracking and shale gas, but that has been a pleasant side effect. It is a simple fact that natural gas gets you much more energy bang for the CO2 buck than coal. In fact, I would not be surprised if it does better than many of the “green” fuels we are being force-fed. Moving to natural gas isn’t a permanent solution. But 450 million tons is a massive reduction: more than the reductions produced by food miles and cap and trade combined. That’s progress — the sort of progress that can buy time while more long-term solutions like fusion are worked out.

    I’m not going to pretend that fracking does not come with its own basket of environmental concerns. I live in central Pennsylvania, where a lot of fracking is going on (uh, that wasn’t supposed to sound that dirty). While the concerns are a bit overblown, they are not zero. But even then, fracking may still be better than coal, which can involve such things as mountaintop removal. Moving to natural gas is a positive in almost every way.

    The Green’s reluctance to acknowledge this does, I think, undercut their claims to be pure-hearted environmentalists. Anyone who really cares about global warming would say that, while switching to gas isn’t a perfect solution, it’s a massive improvement. But the environmentalists have set a currently impossible goal of no CO2 emissions (the politicians, by contrast, have set goals of reducing CO2 emissions fifty years from now when they will all be dead).

    What’s astonishing is that the Americas are rapidly becoming the world’s energy epicenter. Fracking, shale and deep water are quickly sidelining the Middle East as an increasingly minor player in the global energy market. I predicted this … Lee predicted this … years ago when oil prices first began to spike. That was a signal that we needed more energy and industry has responded. If we had imposed price controls like many Democrats wanted to, we’d not only be out of oil, but not exploiting these newer greener energy sources.

    Here’s a quote from Lee. Expand it to fossil fuels in general and you’ll see, as in all things, that he was a fucking prophet:

    The difficult argument is to explain to people, calmly and rationally, the situation with oil. The easy thing to do is terrify people into thinking that, just like sucking on a milkshake, one day we’re just going to run out. As I’ve said before, technological advances will make oil obsolete long before we ever actually run out of it. If oil were actually in any danger of running out any time soon it would be $500,000 a barrel instead of $100. (That’s freshman economics, folks. Everyone should understand that.)

    Oil will never run out. Ever. There is too much money to be made in the technology industry for the world to keep relying solely on oil. We don’t need nightmares, we don’t need screaming histrionics, we don’t need end of the world scenarios. What we need are smart people taking the problem seriously, and finding workable, reasonable solutions to transition the world from a petroleum economy into the next generation.

    Fracking and shale are the technology that is bridging us to the future. They are what will keep our economy going while we develop ever more efficient and less fossil-dependent energy sources. And by exploiting them, we are reducing our carbon footprint, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing our environmental impact. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine — not by a long shot — but it’s certainly a lot more rainbowy than the alternative.

    So the question to fracking opponents becomes this: why do you guys not care about the environment?

    (PS – In finding that Lee quote, I dug up a lot of old posts. Here is another good one. I miss that guy.)

    Update: Spain’s heralded green energy industry is collapsing without massive subsidies. I don’t want to play this up too much since the fossil fuel industry gets subsidies too — although at a far lower rate per Gigawatt of energy produced. But no one doubts the fossil fuel industry could survive without subsidies.

    Raising the Roof

    Here is the latest example of why people in politics need to be kept away from sharp objects and environmental policy. Bill Clinton has joined the chorus of people calling for rooftops to be painted white. This would reflect sunlight and make the buildings cooler in the summer, potentially saving about $700 million in cooling costs (which sounds like a lot more than it actually is).

    There’s a problem. And if you aren’t someone starry-eyed over the wisdom of our greens, you should already see it. There is a reason that roofs are painted black. And it’s not because the industry is controlled by goths. (Help an out-of-touch scientist out here — goths are still a thing, right?)

    Sure, having a white roof in the summer is great because it cools when we all want some cooling. But what about the winter, when we actually want the heat from the sun? Is it really better to lose the winter heat in order to lose the summer heat?

    Keith Oleson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and colleagues attempted to answer that very question.


    Oleson’s calculations indicate the former: overall, if white roofs became ubiquitous, the extra energy needed for heating in the winter would exceed the energy savings in the summer. And, assuming that most heating and cooling comes from burning fossil fuels, that would mean an overall increase in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Clearly not an ideal recipe for addressing global warming.

    Actually, roof color is climate-dependent. In warm climates, white roofs are a net positive. But in cold climates, you’re better with a black roof. I’ve heard these dimwits talking about putting white roofs in Chicago and Washington. On balance, that will be bad. The article goes on to talk about temperature-sensitive tiles, but those aren’t really a thing yet.

    This is just another illustration of why command-and-control politics guided by uninformed politicians sitting around saying, “Hey, what about this!” is the wrong way to run our economy. When energy prices rise, people will figure out how to save energy. And dollars to doughnuts, they will be better at it than a bunch of politicians trying to fool the public into white-washing roofs for their Aunt Polly.

    Renewable energy idealism and reality clash

    That’s not me, that’s a NYT Opinion piece by Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, titled The Gas Is Greener, and pointing out how fantasy eventually goes south when reality and real science come into play.

    IN April, Gov. Jerry Brown made headlines by signing into law an ambitious mandate that requires California to obtain one-third of its electricity from renewable energy sources like sunlight and wind by 2020. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have renewable electricity mandates. President Obama and several members of Congress have supported one at the federal level. Polls routinely show strong support among voters for renewable energy projects — as long as they don’t cost too much.

    But there’s the rub: while energy sources like sunlight and wind are free and naturally replenished, converting them into large quantities of electricity requires vast amounts of natural resources — most notably, land. Even a cursory look at these costs exposes the deep contradictions in the renewable energy movement.

    First a clarification: no, the reference to “mandates” isn’t about two guys dating, but in this case about a governor’s royal decree. Sorry to disappoint those of you into that sort of stuff. Anyway, here is the killer: renewable energy projects have both a cost and a foot print, and when they replace real and viable technologies that meet real world requirements, the problems become instantly evident. But let me not get ahead of the facts and, man are they fun ones:

    Consider California’s new mandate. The state’s peak electricity demand is about 52,000 megawatts. Meeting the one-third target will require (if you oversimplify a bit) about 17,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity. Let’s assume that California will get half of that capacity from solar and half from wind. Most of its large-scale solar electricity production will presumably come from projects like the $2 billion Ivanpah solar plant, which is now under construction in the Mojave Desert in southern California. When completed, Ivanpah, which aims to provide 370 megawatts of solar generation capacity, will cover 3,600 acres — about five and a half square miles.

    The math is simple: to have 8,500 megawatts of solar capacity, California would need at least 23 projects the size of Ivanpah, covering about 129 square miles, an area more than five times as large as Manhattan. While there’s plenty of land in the Mojave, projects as big as Ivanpah raise environmental concerns. In April, the federal Bureau of Land Management ordered a halt to construction on part of the facility out of concern for the desert tortoise, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

    Wind energy projects require even more land. The Roscoe wind farm in Texas, which has a capacity of 781.5 megawatts, covers about 154 square miles. Again, the math is straightforward: to have 8,500 megawatts of wind generation capacity, California would likely need to set aside an area equivalent to more than 70 Manhattans. Apart from the impact on the environment itself, few if any people could live on the land because of the noise (and the infrasound, which is inaudible to most humans but potentially harmful) produced by the turbines.

    That bolding is me. Where to begin? So a solar energy project that has the footprint of Manhattan Island will generate ½ of the 1/3 required by mandate (sorry don’t get excited again), at the cost of $46 billion – that’s the $2 billion cost multiplied by 23 to preempt CM’s demands for a dissertation to prove my point – and the environmental impacts be damned! To do it with wind we would need a tract of land 70 times that of Manhattan Island? Do the math to figure out what it would take to produce 100% of the 52K MW Cali is burning right now, then factor in the needed growth to keep up with the economic demands. Don’t bother looking at the cost. Obama already told us it will cost us a shitload more. But it’s for a good cause!

    So then I get to something that actually gave me some enjoyment: reality smacking stupid in the face. I got a huge kick form how these watermelons are eating each other up, the greenies are pitted against the animal lovers & eugenicists that think anyone but them should be made to live in caves if not exterminated to save the spotted owl or some other such nonsense. As if nature doesn’t already have a mechanism built into it to make sure that only those that can adapt survive. Anyway, here is the fun stuff.

    Industrial solar and wind projects also require long swaths of land for power lines. Last year, despite opposition from environmental groups, San Diego Gas & Electric started construction on the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink, which will carry electricity from solar, wind and geothermal projects located in Imperial County, Calif., to customers in and around San Diego. In January, environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the $1.9 billion line from cutting through a nearby national forest.

    Not all environmentalists ignore renewable energy’s land requirements. The Nature Conservancy has coined the term “energy sprawl” to describe it. Unfortunately, energy sprawl is only one of the ways that renewable energy makes heavy demands on natural resources.

    Consider the massive quantities of steel required for wind projects. The production and transportation of steel are both expensive and energy-intensive, and installing a single wind turbine requires about 200 tons of it. Many turbines have capacities of 3 or 4 megawatts, so you can assume that each megawatt of wind capacity requires roughly 50 tons of steel. By contrast, a typical natural gas turbine can produce nearly 43 megawatts while weighing only 9 tons. Thus, each megawatt of capacity requires less than a quarter of a ton of steel.

    WTF? This stuff isn’t going to magically save Gaia and actually might do just as much if not more harm? Who woulda thunk that? So what then?

    All energy and power systems exact a toll. If we are to take Schumacher’s phrase to heart while also reducing the rate of growth of greenhouse gas emissions, we must exploit the low-carbon energy sources — natural gas and, yes, nuclear — that have smaller footprints.

    Yeah, good luck with that. If this shit was for real we would already be furiously working with these technologies, especially nuclear, which is the only one that is completely CO2 free, but we all know how likely that is to ever really get a shot at anything. Instead what we get is taxation. And don’t worry California! At the rate you are going you probably go bankrupt long before the date Brown has mandated – there we go again – and then you won’t have to worry much about anything like this. That is if the enviromentalists don’t end up at war with each other over all this first.

    What is the energy policy of this administration?

    I have been wasting my time trying to have an argument with CM about the Obama administration’s energy policy on the “If you still think they are not hostile to modernity” post I made a few days ago. CM is avidly telling me that not only am I an evil liar for saying that the primary focus of the Obama Administration energy policy was the control of CO2 emissions – Cap and Trade/Tax wasn’t about getting more energy, but by controlling access to it through taxation and higher prices, and the only reason this disaster of a policy didn’t get passed was that the donkeys sunk all their energy into something much worse, Obamacare, and then didn’t have any juice left to push this disaster of a bill – which indubitably means higher energy prices, but that Obama and his people are engaged in “very sensible” energy policies. Well, I guess this is what “sensible policies” look like:

    Utility giant American Electric Power said Thursday that it will shut down five coal-fired power plants and spend billions of dollars to comply with a series of pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The company’s dramatic plan to comply with the regulations could give Republicans and moderate Democrats ammunition in their ongoing fight against EPA’s efforts to impose new regulations aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants including mercury and arsenic.

    Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) immediately pounced on AEP’s announcement. “This is a perfect example of the EPA implementing rules and regulations without considering the devastating impact they may have on local economies and jobs,” Capito said. Capito said she will write a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking whether the agency took into account the economic impact of its regulations. “Let me be clear, it’s decisions like the one made by AEP today that demonstrate the urgent need to rein in government agencies like the EPA, preventing them from overstepping their bounds and imposing regulations that not only cost us good American jobs, but hurt our economy,” said Manchin, an outspoken critic of the EPA.

    But EPA defended its regulations Thursday, noting that the agency has worked closely with industry to ensure that its regulations are “reasonable, common-sense and achievable.”

    Sounds like the EPA and CM are reading from the same script here. Of course, CM will accuse me of being emotional while dismissing the fact that the Obama Administration is hostile to energy production simply as my opinion. Examples like this, or even Obama’s own words, be damned. Anyway, why is the EPA claiming it’s doing this in what amounts to the worst economy since the great depression? Well:

    The agency also stressed that the regulations are essential for protecting public health. “These reasonable steps taken under the Clean Air Act will reduce harmful air pollution, including mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollution, and as a result protect our families, particularly children,” EPA said in a statement.

    Cool, they are looking after our health! And the fact that electricity they are now going to take offline is critical for a modern society where we have all these other things that can help our health? I am certain they have some plan to close that gap without costing us all some serious moolah?

    In a statement outlining its plan to comply with EPA’s regulations, AEP said it would need to retire 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired power generation in the coming years. The company, one of the country’s largest electric utilities, estimated that it will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion in capital investments over the next decade to comply with the regulations in their current form. The costs of complying with the regulations will result in an increase in electricity prices of 10 to 35 percent and cost 600 jobs, AEP said.

    Hmmm. Less energy gets produced, to keep Gaia clean, and the energy that does get created is going to cost more? Wait a second. Isn’t that exactly what I said the Obama Administration’s policy is? Whether it is the intended one or not, the fact remains that the agenda of these people is costing us more, and is going to cost us all a lot more, while making the available energy pool smaller and harder to get at. Not my words, but Obama’s own:

    Get that?

    In total, AEP estimated it will have to close five coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014. Six additional plants would see major changes, including retiring some generating units, retrofitting equipment and switching to natural gas.

    “We support regulations that achieve long-term environmental benefits while protecting customers, the economy and the reliability of the electric grid, but the cumulative impacts of the EPA’s current regulatory path have been vastly underestimated, particularly in Midwest states dependent on coal to fuel their economies,” AEP CEO Michael Morris said in a statement.

    And this agencey, the EPA, is doing this without congressiona approval, since congress refused to pass these things the Obama Administartion asked for as low. Sensible policy indeed!

    UPDATE: Obama’s old hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, now pointing out that government’s current energy agenda will drastically raise electricity prices

    Consumers could see their electricity bills jump an estimated 40 to 60 percent in the next few years. The reason: Pending environmental regulations will make coal-fired generating plants, which produce about half the nation’s electricity, more expensive to operate. Many are expected to be shuttered.

    The increases are expected to begin to appear in 2014, and policymakers already are scrambling to find cheap and reliable alternative power sources. If they are unsuccessful, consumers can expect further increases as more expensive forms of generation take on a greater share of the electricity load.

    “Each generator will have to decide for itself whether the investment required to meet environmental requirements can be justified based on its projection of market prices and the cost of its capital. In any case, those costs will be passed through to consumers,” said Mark Pruitt, director of the Illinois Power Agency, which procures electricity for Illinois.

    This administration’s policies are hostile to energy generation. We are going to pay more for it and have less of it too. That’s the end game.

    Here comes a recession, UNEXPECTEDLY!

    Reading this CNBC article about the current plunge in economic data, you get the impression, yet again, that these “experts” in the MSM are constantly baffled by the continued negative economic news that keeps coming because they, after all the evidence to the contrary, still think that the destructive borrow-or-print & spend policies of the last 2 or 3 years from the anti-business Keynesian jackasses in charge, somehow should be working.

    The last month has been a horror show for the U.S. economy, with economic data falling off a cliff, according to Mike Riddell, a fund manager at M&G Investments in London. “It seems that almost every bit of data about the health of the US economy has disappointed expectations recently,” said Riddell, in a note sent to CNBC on Wednesday.

    “US house prices have fallen by more than 5 percent year on year, pending home sales have collapsed and existing home sales disappointed, the trend of improving jobless claims has arrested, first quarter GDP wasn’t revised upwards by the 0.4 percent forecast, durables goods orders shrank, manufacturing surveys from Philadelphia Fed, Richmond Fed and Chicago Fed were all very disappointing.”

    “And that’s just in the last week and a bit,” said Riddell. Pointing to the dramatic turnaround in the Citigroup “Economic Surprise Index” for the United States, Riddell said the tumble in a matter of months to negative from positive is almost as bad as the situation before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

    Heh! WTF are they talking about? Did they miss all the people pointing out that the tack the democrats took – to make the deficit spending of the Bush years suddenly look like the good years, while targeting all the bloat towards their operatives, lobbyists, union & corporate buddies, and in general, any front they could use that would then funnel the money into their campaign coffers, cushioning the impact of the Dodd & Franks lending/financial industry collapse for state and federal government employees at the expense of the private sector – was a recipe for disaster? At least they aren’t claiming the problem was that they didn’t do double the stupid anymore.

    Housing prices continue to fall because the fundamental underlying policy that caused the implosion remains untouched, Freddie & Fannie are still at it, while the new regulation that was passed to supposedly “protect” the American people from the “greed” of Wall Street, makes it virtually stupid for any lending institution to loan money to job creators. Job creators that even when doing fine BTW are not creating any jobs, because they simply can not predict the actions of this business-hostile government and the insane regulations it puts out. Regulation that instead of dealing with the problems are instead intended to make government responsible for picking the winners & losers, heavily favoring the idiotic industries and giant corporations the left feels will help it grow it’s political & financial power, at the tax payer’s expense. In the mean time the private sector hunkers down and hopes to whether the storm.

    And let’s not forget that we have not had a budget for over 2 years now. The democrats call any attempt to roll back the most massive expansion of the welfare state since the days of FDR “draconian”, and infer the people that are calling for fiscal sanity want to kill granny, kids, pets, and the planet. All so they can avoid actually having to admit their fiscal policies are insane and unsustainable. They refuse to propose any changes to address the looming and massive entitlement spending problem and the out of control deficit spending that is tacking trillions to our debt each year, and demagogue those that dare propose any changes that don’t involve fleecing the productive sector even harder than they already do. They rammed through a government takeover of healthcare bill that will drastically impact not just healthcare, but puts us on a quicker path to financial implosion. They have virtually had no energy policy, other than to drive up the prices of the types of cheap energy sources that stand in the way of them gauging people, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, while pushing both inefficient and marginal “green” technologies nobody would go for otherwise. Their job policy has consisted of funneling billions of tax payer dollars to temporarily prop up government/public jobs over tax payer/private sector jobs, and it shows. The list of other such economic transgressions is long and replete of idiocy. It’s why we are seeing soaring inflation and a dramatic deflation in the value of the dollar. Heck, despite falsely blaming military spending for our predicament, they up and started another war in the Middle East, this time to steal oil for real, which I remind you should be ironic considering how that’s what they falsely accused their predecessor of, and completely ignoring all the politically motivated grandstanding they did back when, proving yet again that the only thing important to them is power at all costs. Think all of that isn’t going to come back home to roost?

    “The correlation between the economic surprise index and Treasury yields is very close, so the lesson is that whatever your long term macro views are regarding hyper inflation vs. deflation or the risk of the US defaulting, the reality is that if you want to have a view about government bond prices, the best thing you can do is look at the economic data to see what’s actually going on,” said Riddell.

    “And right now, the economic data is suggesting that however measly you may think a 3 percent yield is on a 10-year Treasury, the yield should probably be a fair bit lower given what’s going on in the US economy,” said Riddell. “You’ve also got to wonder at what point the markets for risky assets start noticing, too.”

    The markets noticed. And while they may claim to be baffled, they are now seeing the obvious end game. The economic path the left has us on right now is unsustainable. The deficit spending to grow government was wrong during the Bush years, it affected the 2008 elections, and it is magnitudes of orders more wrong now that the left is doing orders of magnitude more insane spending. Gird your loins people. The ride is about to get even more bumpy, and the morons refuse to accept the fact that the gravy train is about to run off the proverbial blown up bridge.

    What’s really behind all of Obama’s problems?

    Well, Jim Clyburn doesn’t believe that the Keynesian “save government jobs” project they sold as the must economic salvation of a lifetime, the stimuluspatronage bill, tapping the tax payers for $1 trillion plus by the time all is set and done, and basically doing nothing more than saving countless federal and state government jobs in democrat friendly country was a disaster. Nor is it government’s heavy handed approach to TARP, which allowed them to takeover a “too big to fail” business like GM for their union buddies, or loan money to their friends on Wall Street, all while demonizing them with a wink and a nod, that affected this. Hey, they even managed to let the architects of the greatest economic collapse of this century, Mr. Dodd and Mr. Franks, write new regulations that strangely do nothing to address the fundamental problems behind our economic implosion – the idiotic belief government should force lending to bad risks, use Freddie & Fannie to then cover up the disastrous undertaking, encourage speculation on those repackaged piles of shit, and then back these lenders up with tax payer money – but are horribly anti-private sector, but that’s not it either. It also certainly isn’t the fact that, while controlling all three branches of government, team blue jacked up government spending at a record pace, has run annual deficits at or close to $ 2 trillion, tacking over $5 trillion to the national debt in the last 4 or so years that they have controlled the purse, and has designs to keep doing so for the foreseeable future, to the tune of over $10 trillion in just the next decade, regardless of the inevitable conclusion that this kind of fiscal policy leads to. And what about the federal government’s move to take over healthcare, controlling the trillions of dollars in this segment of our private sector as well, as the precursor for a single payer system, with a plan that is so transparently idiotic – tax us for a decade then provide 5 or 6 years of service and claim it saves a few measly billions over that decade while ignoring that the plan will add a minimum of a trillion, and likely triple or more of that based on past experience with these social projects government puts together – that it baffles me anyone pretends it will do anything but hasted our economic demise. Or the energy policy, or should we say the lack of energy policy, that this WH is pursuing after it failed to pass the “Cap & Tax” scheme and push billions of dollars, in the name of the green economy, to democrat friendly (that means big donors) corporations. Let’s not forget the Obama DOJ and its selective enforcement of laws that threatens to make us all lose confidence in the legal system. Clyburn doesn’t even believe Obama adding another war and ignoring congress or the UN are bad, because Obama said it was a “kinetic engagement” or some such nonsense. Not even the constant narcissism is to blame.

    Anyway, Clyburn basically believes that it’s not that Obama’s policies are dumb, no siree, its that those that the racist are behind these things in the first place!

    WASHINGTON — House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, on Wednesday blamed most of President Barack Obama’s political problems on racism.

    Clyburn, who’s from South Carolina and is a close ally of the president, offered his views in response to a question about Obama’s re-election prospects next year. “I think they’re improving every day,” Clyburn said. “I think the president has been a good president, a great commander in chief.”

    Clyburn, who met his wife at a 1960 court hearing after spending a night in jail for having engaged in a civil rights protest in Orangeburg, S.C., then brought up Obama’s race as the first black president.

    “You know, I’m 70 years old,” he said. “And I can tell you; people don’t like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president’s problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin.”

    Ah yeah. The guy isn’t an incompetent campaign organizer with delusions of grandeur and whatever the opposite of the Midas touch is, well on his way to replacing Carter as the worst president of the last 50 years, no way, he is accosted by racists that undermine everything great he does.

    Hey Clyburn, about the only thing I think that could be worse for America about Obama is that somehow we get President Biden, a honkey in the parlance of race hucksters like you, and yes, I think Biden would be far more disastrous than even 4 more years of that inept tool Obama. Besides, the only color I see when I see Obama is red. The guy is a communist that’s hell bent on destroying the greatest nation on the planet. That or he is an inept, unqualified fool in a job he won because the media helped him pull an American Idol on too many people. Bite me you racist bastard Clyburn.

    High energy prices are “the” policy?

    Well, so says this NR post, which makes the case that the Obama WH has purposefully engaged in an agenda to cause higher energy prices when it failed to get “Cap & Tax” forced through congress to push its “green” energy agenda:

    A new report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform details a disturbing “pattern of evidence” indicating that not only are the Obama administration’s energy policies responsible for higher oil and gas prices, but that the administration’s energy policy, in fact, is higher gas prices.

    The report’s findings are the result of an extensive committee review of public records, policy analysis, statements and e-mails from administration officials, and reveal “a pattern of actions [that] shows the Administration is, in fact, pursuing an agenda to raise the price Americans pay for energy,” according to a copy of the report obtained by National Review Online.

    “What President Obama failed to accomplish through the so-called ‘cap and trade’ program, his administration is attempting to accomplish through regulatory roadblocks, energy tax increases, and other targeted efforts to prohibit development of domestic energy resources,” the report concludes.

    Energy prices are currently artificially high, despite the fact that we are still in a recession that the Obama administrations seems to be doing its best to drag on as long as possible, and while the WH and the democrats have made a concerted effort to blame everyone but themselves, this House committee points out that the WH itself has obviously been creating the artificial shortage to drive up prices. Pretty ugly stuff:

    According to the report, the administration’s “concerted campaign” to keep energy prices high extends “across government agencies” and constitutes a complete disregard for governmental transparency, much less the pocketbooks of all of those affected by the increased cost of energy. “An effort to intentionally raise the costs of traditional energy sources is a dangerous strategy that will harm economic recovery and job growth,” the report asserts. “If past statements of key administration officials are indeed reflections of the policies they are pursuing, this strategy is playing a quiet but significant role in the higher energy prices Americans are currently paying.”

    Its obvious that as long as our energy policy is to make it as hard as possible to get real energy of any kind to push this green mendacity the left hopes will make so many of them rich, that the prices of energy will stay high. The next time you hear one of the scumbags tell you how the oil companies or the traders are screwing us, remember that it is the policy to prevent us from getting our own resources that’s doing the most to push prices up. At this point I think the WH even feels their aids in the MSM will deflect the blame with enough effect to avoid hurting them at the polls in the next election, which in terms of new energy generation is very close, because they seem unwilling to really do more than talk.

    The next time you pay an arm and a leg at the pump, or when you sign a new heating oil contract that makes you feel like you are yanking out a kidney with a butter knife, remember why this stuff is really so expensive.