Russia’s energy sense 28

From the Investor’s Business Daily:

Oil prices jumped to nearly $58 a barrel Thursday in Singapore in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Benchmark crude for June delivery was up $1.31 at $57.68 on expectations for a global economic recovery by year’s end and rising demand for the fossil fuel.

As oil prices rise again, the Guardian reports that Russia is planning a fleet of floating and submersible nuclear reactors to provide power for drilling and exploration for oil and natural gas in Arctic areas that Moscow claims as its own

A prototype floating nuclear power station being constructed at the SevMash shipyard in Severodvinsk is due to be completed next year. Four more 70-megawatt plants, each of which would consist of two reactors aboard giant steel platforms, are planned.

The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years. Russia’s stimulus program for energy includes planned submersible nuclear-powered drilling rigs that could allow eight wells to be drilled at a time.

The U.S. Geological Survey believes the Arctic holds up to 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves, leading some experts to call the region the next Saudi Arabia. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin underscored that point at an April 14 Interior Department field hearing in Anchorage chaired by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Palin testified: “The world-class potential of Arctic Alaska was verified in the recently released Circum-Arctic Oil and Gas Assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey, which highlighted that Arctic Alaska was second only to the West Siberian Basin in total Arctic petroleum potential and the highest Arctic potential for oil.”

The Russians fully intend to develop the West Siberian Basin and any other Arctic areas their technology can reach. We may someday find ourselves importing Russian oil extracted off the Alaskan coast by Gazprom instead of Exxon or Shell.

As Palin pointed out to Salazar, the USGS assessment “estimates that Arctic Alaska has mean technically recoverable resources of approximately 30 billion barrels of oil, 6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids and 221 trillion cubic feet of conventional natural gas.”

Continued Arctic exploration is also necessary for the continued viability of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Production at Prudhoe Bay is in decline. North Slope production is one-third of its peak, and unless we are allowed to produce oil and gas from ANWR and in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Palin said, reduced flow will cause the pipeline to close.

The [US] administration’s game plan is to force energy prices to “skyrocket” to make alternative sources of energy more competitive. We don’t see the Russians dotting Siberia with wind turbines and solar panels. They recognize the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.

Alaska’s environmentally friendly natural gas, according to the Energy Information Agency in its 2009 Energy Outlook, would lower the cost to consumers by 63 cents per thousand cubic feet in 2002.

The only way we might be able to get at these resources may be to sell Alaska back to the Russians.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 8, 2009

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Ridicule for radicals 35

 The degree to which Democrats ridicule and revile Sarah Palin is the measure of how much they fear her. (Why some Republicans are spreading lies about her to bring her into contempt I have no idea – its seems a foolish thing to do, she being important to their future.)

Austin Hill, radio talk-show host, writes today about an obviously organized campaign to mock critics of Obama’s leftist policies with accusations of racism. He concludes:

Conservative Americans in particular need to understand that in this new era, the rules have changed. And to understand this change, conservatives need to begin by reading “Rules For Radicals,” a book published in 1971 by noted “community organizer” (and a man who is said to have influenced Mr. Obama) Saul Alinsky.

Column space is limited here, so you’ll have to get a copy of the book for yourself. But consider this notion from Alinksy’s rule #5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

And consider this language from rule #11, wherein Alinsky suggests that the main job of a “community organizer” is to bait his opponent into reacting in a certain way: “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”

Welcome to the new era.

Fortunately, ridicule is a two-edged sword. Mock back, my hearties, mock right back! It’s only fair.

And take note: now that the ‘long march’ of the left has achieved the capture of the most powerful institution in the world, expect Saul Alinsky’s book to be consulted by your radical ruler much more than the Constitution of the United States, despite the oath he will swear at his inauguration. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 9, 2008

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Russia balked by Governor Palin 123

From Investor’s Business Daily:

It’s as if "Saturday Night Live" satires of Sarah Palin are better cues for gauging media coverage than a possible vice president whose Alaskan leadership is drawing attention from powerful international players.

Media coverage wasn’t entirely absent, but the visit Monday of a delegation from Gazprom in Moscow to Palin’s energy aide didn’t draw attention the way a shouter at a Palin rally or speculation about Palin’s shoes did. But in the Kremlin, Alaska’s on the radar and the media is missing it.

Gazprom is a $107 billion Russian gas giant that controls 17% of the world’s natural gas reserves. It’s controlled by Vladimir Putin’s government, and some of its KGB-trained corporate leaders switch jobs in and out of Russia’s government like musical chairs.

"They made no bones about wanting to be the most highly capitalized company in the world, and their business is gas," said Marty Rutherford, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, one of the Alaskans asked by Gazprom officials for the visit.

"Gazprom wants to have as much power and monopoly leverage as possible," explained Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. "You can’t produce gas without Gazprom visiting you."

According to Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin, the Russians’ interest was piqued by Palin’s move to develop state energy resources, after decades of inaction. The Russians were "very professional," showing what what they could do for Alaska as gas producers. They didn’t bring up Palin or the election.

"But what’s significant," Irwin said, "is what the governor has done. Under her leadership, the state has made a major decision that the best use of our resources is in a natural gas pipeline through Canada."

Rutherford explained that they’ve seen an upswing in international interest ever since Palin signed off on a plan to build a 1,715-mile pipeline across Canada to the Lower 48 and then got it passed in Alaska’s legislature in August.

Irwin and Rutherford said they thought the Russians seemed most interested in new projects for liquefied natural gas terminals, which could eventually make natural gas part of a global market and less attached to long-term contracts and fixed pipelines.

The risk is that it could also make gas supplies more vulnerable to global petro-tyrants who control gas supplies and prices based on politics — as has happened with oil.

Gazprom is the main tool used by Russia to control its neighbors through energy.

Last year, for instance, Russia cut off gas to western Europe to intimidate it. And last summer, Russia unleashed war on Georgia to gain control of Europe’s only energy pipeline independent of Russia. It’s now sending naval ships to patrol the Caribbean’s narrow sea lanes through which 64% of the U.S.’s imported energy must pass.

Gazprom is also at the heart of Russia’s plan to form a global gas cartel, like OPEC for oil. But so far, Gazprom has a habit of gaining control of resources but not boosting output: "Production has not increased," noted Aslund, "and they are not developing their own gas resources."

The Alaskan officials politely told the Russians America’s energy needs would come first. "We think our nation needs our gas and we think (the Alaska TransCanada pipeline) is the most appropriate thing to do," said Irwin.

Could Gazprom eventually get a foothold on Alaska’s energy through the Alaska TransCanada pipeline? Not likely. The pipeline license requires the operator to produce gas. And, Irwin explained, the state would keep firm control over the mission to deliver the 4 trillion cubic feet to the U.S. each day through the Canadian pipeline route.

"We set the pipeline up with open access so that there would be no monopoly," said Irwin. "It’s critical for Alaska to maintain open access (to producers) to keep prices down. We’ll make money off volume, and sending gas to the U.S. market that badly needs gas brings the volume."

So even if Gazprom produced natural gas, it wouldn’t be able to get control of energy supplies to exert political control, the officials said.

"There’s worldwide interest," Irwin said. "But our country can’t keep being subservient to foreign suppliers. Look at the history of Gazprom: They say ‘if you don’t do this, we will raise your prices’ " — or cut supplies, Irwin said.

Alaska’s re-emergence as a major world energy player tells us a lot about how a Palin vice presidency could shape up. Alaskans in the energy sector say Palin has been a far-sighted leader in developing the state’s energy resources.

"I wish other people in other states would get to see her as we get to see her," Irwin said. "The bottom line is we will get the gas line in operation and there will be bidders, and we have the strong will of the governor who has made this happen."

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 18, 2008

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Biden wrong about the constitution 24

 In addition to all his other mistakes or careless lies, Biden misrepresented facts about the constitution, which he seems not to know much about despite his decades in the Senate. 

This from Power Liine:

This isn’t what’s conventionally described as a gaffe, and it won’t swing any votes, but last night Joe Biden garbled the Constitutional role of the Vice President. I wanted to read the transcript before commenting; here was Gwen Ifill’s question:

Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

Here is Biden’s answer, in full:

Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history. The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he’s part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

 For a man of Biden’s experience, this is a surprising series of misstatements. First of all, he gets wrong one of the most basic facts about the Constitution: Article 1 establishes the legislative branch, not, as Biden said, the executive branch. This is not exactly an obscure fact… 

Second, it simply isn’t true that the Constitution treats the Vice President only as a member of the executive branch. The Vice President is mentioned in Article II as part of the executive branch, but he is also given legislative powers by Section 3 of Article 1, which establishes the Senate:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

Vice President Cheney’s "bizarre notion" is in keeping with the plain text of the Constitution.

Finally, Biden misstated the Vice President’s role in the Senate. It isn’t true that he "preside[s] over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote." The Constitution contemplates that the Vice President will be the full-time President of the Senate, replaced by a President pro tempore "in the absence of the Vice President." It’s true that the Vice President only gets to vote in case of a tie; but, of course, that’s the only time it matters.

If Joe Biden were a high school student taking a test on the Constitution in a government course, he would get a C or a D. Some would say his mistakes were minor, and, as I said, they certainly won’t swing any votes. But it is distinctly odd that a man who has been in the Senate for more than three decades doesn’t understand the Constitutional role of the Vice President with respect to that body.


Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 4, 2008

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Worse than a gaffe – Biden’s bilge 64

 From the National Review:  (It would be nice to know who the emailer to ‘the corner’ was who apparently carried out such an important military mission.)

Joe Biden threw out a lot of bunk on foreign policy tonight, too bad Gov Palin didn’t have the foreign policy wonkishness to call him on it.  Most ridiculous and downright strange was his contention that the Bush administration let Hezbollah into Lebanon, and then when “we threw them out” – whatever that means, he and Obama said NATO should go in but nobody took them up on it and now Hezbollah was all over Lebanon and that’s a problem.  What?

Well, Hezbollah’s been there since the early 1980’s of course, blossoming throughout the 1990’s to become now over a third of the population of Lebanon with 2 cabinet members, a host of parliamentarians, and schools, clinics, and basically an entirely separate governance infrastructure in all of southern Lebanon and elsewhere.  I suppose the throwing out of Hezbollah was the dismal and failed Israeli campaign of 2006 which dislodged nothing?  Or was it Israeli’s occupation of Southern Lebanon from 1982 – 1999?  Don’t remember an Obama position on NATO replacing Israeli occupation then.  As for NATO going in after the 2006 debacle, well, I’m the one who rounded up 8,000 French and Italians and a few thousand other Euros to go into Southern Lebanon along with an assortment of others in August 2006 and while working that issue for about 40 straight days I don’t remember a peep from Biden or Obama about NATO – which wouldn’t be budged despite our intense pressure in Mons.  So, we went straight to Rome and Paris.  Que sera, sera.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 3, 2008

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Another Biden gaffe 13

 From Little Green Footballs:

Another absurdly wrong statement from Joe “Foreign Policy Expert” Biden, who very obviously does not know the difference between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank:

Here’s what the president said when we said no. He insisted on elections on the West Bank, when I said, and others said, and Barack Obama said, “Big mistake. Hamas will win. You’ll legitimize them.” What happened? Hamas won.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 3, 2008

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Biden lies, Palin wins 26

The vice-presidential debate tonight was won triumphantly by Sarah Palin.  Even Biden’s lies couldn’t save him. 

 Through PajamasTV:

Fresh from the McCain people.


 1. TAX VOTE: Biden said McCain voted “the exact same way” as Obama to increase taxes on Americans earning just $42,000, but McCain DID NOT VOTE THAT WAY.

 2. AHMEDINIJAD MEETING: Joe Biden lied when he said that Barack Obama never said that he would sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmedinijad of Iran. Barack Obama did say specifically, and Joe Biden attacked him for it.

 3. OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING: Biden said, “Drill we must.” But Biden has opposed offshore drilling and even compared offshore drilling to “raping the Outer Continental Shelf.” 

4. TROOP FUNDING: Joe Biden lied when he indicated that John McCain and Barack Obama voted the same way against funding the troops in the field. John McCain opposed a bill that included a timeline, that the President of the United States had already said he would veto regardless of it’s passage. 

5. OPPOSING CLEAN COAL: Biden says he’s always been for clean coal, but he just told a voter that he is against clean coal and any new coal plants in America and has a record of voting against clean coal and coal in the U.S. Senate.

 6. ALERNATIVE ENERGY VOTES: According to, Biden is exaggerating and overstating John McCain’s record voting for alternative energy when he says he voted against it 23 times.

 7. HEALTH INSURANCE: Biden falsely said McCain will raise taxes on people’s health insurance coverage – they get a tax credit to offset any tax hike. Independent fact checkers have confirmed this attack is false

 8. OIL TAXES: Biden falsely said Palin supported a windfall profits tax in Alaska – she reformed the state tax and revenue system, it’s not a windfall profits tax.

 9. AFGHANISTAN / GEN. MCKIERNAN COMMENTS: Biden said that top military commander in Iraq said the principles of the surge could not be applied to Afghanistan, but the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Gen. David D. McKiernan said that there were principles of the surge strategy, including working with tribes, that could be applied in Afghanistan.

 10. REGULATION: Biden falsely said McCain weakened regulation – he actually called for more regulation on Fannie and Freddie.

 11. IRAQ: Joe Biden lied when he said that John McCain was “dead wrong on Iraq”, because Joe Biden shared the same vote to authorize the war and they differed on the surge strategy where John McCain has been proven right. 

12. TAX INCREASES: Biden said Americans earning less than $250,000 wouldn’t see higher taxes, but the Obama-Biden tax plan would raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 or more.

 13. BAILOUT: Biden said the economic rescue legislation matches the four principles that Obama laid out, but in reality it doesn’t meet two of the four principles that Obama outlined on Sept. 19, which were that it include an emergency economic stimulus package, and that it be part of “part of a globally coordinated effort with our partners in the G-20.”

 14. REAGAN TAX RATES: Biden is wrong in saying that under Obama, Americans won’t pay any more in taxes then they did under Reagan.

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 2, 2008

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Jewish Democrats get it shamefully wrong 40

 Power Line provides this extract from Caroline Glick’s brilliant article on the importance of Sarah Palin’s speech that she would have delivered Tuesday at the protest against Ahmadinejad had she not been ‘dis-invited’, and a link to the whole article.  It’s a must-read.

In the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick assesses the damage done by the Democrats’ refusal to allow Governor Sarah Palin to participate in what would have been a bipartisan condemnation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs’ regime in Iran. It’s a pretty long essay and should be read in its entirety; here are a few excerpts:

American Jews have good reason to be ashamed and angry today. As Iran moves into the final stages of its nuclear weapons development program – nuclear weapons which it will use to destroy the State of Israel, endanger Jews around the world and cow the United States of America – Democratic American Jewish leaders decided that putting Sen. Barack Obama in the White House is more important than protecting the lives of the Jewish people in Israel and around the world.

On Monday, the New York Sun published the speech that Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would have delivered at that day’s rally outside UN headquarters in New York against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and against Iran’s plan to destroy Israel. She would have delivered it, if she hadn’t been disinvited.

Palin’s speech is an extraordinary document. In its opening paragraph she made clear that Iran presents a danger not just to Israel, but to the US. And not just to some Americans, but to all Americans. Her speech was a warning to Iran – and anyone else who was listening – that Americans are not indifferent to its behavior, its genocidal ideology and the barbarity of its regime. …

Palin’s speech was a message of national – rather than simply Republican – resolve against Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its active involvement in global and regional terrorism. She made this point by quoting statements that Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton has made against the Iranian regime. …

It was a remarkable speech, prepared by a remarkable woman. But it was not heard. It was not heard because the Democratic Party and Jewish Democrats believe that their partisan interest in demonizing Palin and making Americans generally and American Jews in particular hate and fear her to secure their votes for Obama and his running-mate Sen. Joseph Biden in the November election is more important than allowing Palin to elevate the necessity of preventing a second Holocaust to the top of the US’s national security agenda.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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Palin’s great undelivered speech 40

Part of the great speech Sarah Palin would have made at the protest rally against Ahmadinejad – who is addressing the corrupt and useless United Nations today – if the stupid lefty organizers had not ‘dis-invited’ her:

The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a “Final Solution” — the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a “stinking corpse” that is “on its way to annihilation.” Such talk cannot be dismissed as the ravings of a madman — not when Iran just this summer tested long-range Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, not when the Iranian nuclear program is nearing completion, and not when Iran sponsors terrorists that threaten and kill innocent people around the world.

The Iranian government wants nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is running at least 3,800 centrifuges and that its uranium enrichment capacity is rapidly improving. According to news reports, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Iranians may have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb within a year.

The world has condemned these activities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its illegal nuclear enrichment activities. It has levied three rounds of sanctions. How has Ahmadinejad responded? With the declaration that the “Iranian nation would not retreat one iota” from its nuclear program.

So, what should we do about this growing threat? First, we must succeed in Iraq. If we fail there, it will jeopardize the democracy the Iraqis have worked so hard to build, and empower the extremists in neighboring Iran. Iran has armed and trained terrorists who have killed our soldiers in Iraq, and it is Iran that would benefit from an American defeat in Iraq.

If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be bolstered. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons — they could share them tomorrow with the terrorists they finance, arm, and train today. Iranian nuclear weapons would set off a dangerous regional nuclear arms race that would make all of us less safe.

But Iran is not only a regional threat; it threatens the entire world. It is the no. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. It sponsors the world’s most vicious terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah. Together, Iran and its terrorists are responsible for the deaths of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s, in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, and in Iraq today. They have murdered Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, and other Muslims who have resisted Iran’s desire to dominate the region. They have persecuted countless people simply because they are Jewish.

Iran is responsible for attacks not only on Israelis, but on Jews living as far away as Argentina. Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are part of Iran’s official ideology and murder is part of its official policy. Not even Iranian citizens are safe from their government’s threat to those who want to live, work, and worship in peace. Politically-motivated abductions, torture, death by stoning, flogging, and amputations are just some of its state-sanctioned punishments.

Read it all here.

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

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The question of experience 27

 In foreign affairs, no presidential candidate since Thomas Jefferson has had experience. Fortunately, many have had good judgment. Not so Barack Obama, as Thomas Sowell says:

Out of the four presidential and vice-presidential candidates this year, only Governor Palin has had to make executive decisions and live with the consequences.

As for Senator Obama, his various pronouncements on foreign policy have been as immature as they have been presumptuous.

He talked publicly about taking military action against Pakistan, one of our few Islamic allies and a nation with nuclear weapons.

Barack Obama’s first response to the Russian invasion of Georgia was to urge "all sides" to negotiate a cease-fire and take their issues to the United Nations. That is standard liberal talk, which even Obama had second thoughts about, after Senator John McCain gave a more grown-up response.

We should all have second thoughts about what is, and is not, foreign policy "experience."

Read the whole article here.


Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, September 3, 2008

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