Thursday, July 10, 2008

API's Gary Palmer demonstrates the blame game

The Alabama Policy Institute's Gary Palmer gets ink in the Montgomery Advertiser with ALABAMA VOICES: Self-inflicted pain where he goes after the "socialistic environmental agenda" of politicians who have "sold out to radical environmentalists and liberal social engineers" as he laments the plight of America, "especially lower-income families." Actually Gary I didn't think that side paid as well as Big Oil and other fat cat corporations. He closes with:
"Americans can cuss Congress while they pump their paychecks into their gas tanks, but as long as they keep sending these same liberal politicians back to Congress, they should direct some of the tirade toward themselves."
Where to begin? I was pleased to see pretty much every person dropping comments on the Advertiser's site call BS on Gary yet I expect he still gets paid handsomely and he obviously still gets ink. He's been a frequent target on this blog. There's here, here, here, here, here, here, and ... Clearly, Wingnut Welfare is alive and well in Alabama.

I'll first suggest true liberals are a very, very rare breed in Congress. Way too many Democratic politicians are DLC centrist weenie sorts that are pretty much on corporate retainers. Like many on the right Gary relishes the role of victim and frequently builds his efforts around opposition strategies.

Blaming the left for the current woes we face in energy is apparently a main strategy for the GOP this cycle (Alabama's own Mike Rogers used these talking points just recently) and I fear some DINOs will cave (yup, their timing is priceless) for the demands of their corporate benefactors as they tack toward the extreme right rather than standing courageously for what they might actually believe.

The right gets it when campaigning. They are often on offense. They'll take a weakness and try to turn into a positive. They can't govern worth a damn yet they sure can figure out how to get elected.

I might as well begin with Thomas Geoghegan yet I'll let David Sirota, after all I found these disturbing numbers via his book The Uprising, explain.
"Using Census figures, Geoghegan discovers that the 11 percent of Americans living in the least populated states have enough Senate votes — 41 — to sustain a filibuster. Yes, 89 percent of the population may support a policy, but 11 percent of the population has the senators to block that policy's enactment. When you go further than Geoghegan and consider the election-focused mindset of politicians, you see the situation is even more absurd."
Reckon Gary might agree that these small states, Alabama among them, often tend to elect Conservatives to not only the Senate but also the House? Would he also accept that Gerrymandering often makes House elections often lacking in competition? Would he also accept that small states often have conservative legislatures and governors that could draw some rather creative Congressional districts?

Let's wander through some of Gary's screeds.
"Since the 1970s, liberal politicians in Congress have passed laws that have locked up most of our oil reserves, stopped the construction of refineries and virtually banned the building of nuclear power plants."
Perhaps the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill should be recalled? This and other events motivated Nixon and others in the GOP to embrace, or at least tolerate, environmentalism. Daddy Bush signed an Executive Order in 1990 that placed a moratorium on offshore drilling. If Junior really wanted to press the matter I presume he could issue his own EO yet again I think he and his are more about creating some type of wedge issue, after all gay bashing can only do so much, in hopes to exploit the same this fall.

As to the claim that "liberal politicians ... stopped the construction of refineries and virtually banned the building of nuclear power plants", I'd think he might be familiar with NIMBY (Not in my backyard!") as a powerful barrier to either. Certainly environmentalists, organized or not, would also be concerned about refineries that might not be up to snuff. And nuclear reactors? Don't you watch The Simpsons Gary? And where will the spent fuel waste go? Regulations to attempt to protect the world in which we and our children live hardly seems like something to be ashamed of or attacked by the like of Gary Palmer.

Then again, perhaps those in the oil industry made a business decision on not building new refineries. Free markets work don't they Gary? The Christian Science Monitor's Mark Clayton reported back in 2005 the following:
"The current refinery squeeze has been building for years. For the past two decades, deregulation and low profits have combined to push the industry into consolidation. Partly because of environmental regulations, it was cheaper to expand existing refineries than to build new ones."
I'll mostly skip exploring Senator Schumer's suggestion that pressure be brought against Saudi Arabia to increase their oil production, such as by stopping selling weapons to the kingdom. Gary writes,
"Instead of sending hundreds of billions of dollars to other countries, most of whom hate America, why not put those hundreds of billions of dollars back into our own economy?"
I could ask why if Gary thinks "most hate America" would we be selling them arms. I could also wonder how he'd explain Halliburton relocating to Dubai. The Bu$h family connection with the House of Saud is also worthy of noting yet I'm not sure that fits into Gary's gravy train. Nor do I expect Gary would be wanting to pump those billions of dollars into job training, health care, ... for working families. Gary also I'm thinking wouldn't worry too much about subsidies those liberals in Congress have given to Big Oil.

Neither would Gary likely want to revisit some claims that the neo-conservatives were making at the start of the mis-adventure into Iraq. What a tangled web we weave ... And Gary is all too eager to continue the effort to deceive. That's what he's paid to do by those who have him on the dole.

Gary writes,
"Liberals in Congress have repeatedly rejected legislation that would allow drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where there is an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil. In 1995, the Republican-led Congress approved legislation to allow drilling in ANWR, but President Bill Clinton vetoed it."
Let's take a look at the history of this issue via NPR. It would appears that ANWR is off the table with perhaps another look at offshore oils for some states yet it might be too soon for certainty.

Gary claims,
"Liberals in Congress have also cut off access to 85 percent of the vast oil and natural gas reserves of the Outer Continental Shelf, which contains an estimated 86 billion barrels of oil."
Perhaps "liberals" have seized control of the Energy Information Administration? Their 2007 Impacts of Increased Access to Oil and Natural Gas Resources in the Lower 48 Federal Outer Continental Shelf reveals "[m]ean estimates ... indicate that technically recoverable resources currently off limits in the lower 48 OCS total 18 billion barrels of crude oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas" and that we'd see no effect until 2030, with that even having an insignificant consequence to wellhead prices.

Gary also wrote,
In addition, the Bureau of Land Management estimates that there are 53 billion barrels of oil on federal lands. But 60 percent of this land cannot be leased at all and another 23 percent can be leased, but oil and gas exploration and development is prohibited or limited in some cases to only a certain time of the year.
I wonder if Bu$hCo's BLM might be willing to manipulate figures? Yup! And its not like they Bu$h administration has been slow in granting drilling permits, with gas permits outstripping available rigs as per this WaPo reporting from 2005. From 2004, MSNBC reports most permits weren't even being used. Does putting the fox in charge of the henhouse come to mind to anyone else? Seriously, even if poor Shrub couldn't do much more than break insider trading laws and lose money with his first mis-adventure in oil, both he and Dead Eye Dick, plus others ranking high in their cabal, are oilmen.

Finally, the idea that "nationalizing our oil refineries" is on the table is a stretch, as I can find only a Faux News effort that openly admits N.Y. Representative Maurice Hinchey has "stepped off the idea". Gary writes while claiming the nationalization plan that "the failed economic philosophies of communism have not been totally discredited" but I expect he'll not include China in that equation since plenty of the fat cats he's looking out for are likely also cashing in via Red China's cheap/docile labor and lax environmental standards. In fact, if Gary's paymasters had their druthers ...

Gary can't help himself I suppose when he writes,
"We haven't built a new refinery in the United States since the global cooling hysteria days of the 1970s, specifically 1976."
The chance to engage in some global warming pushback is I guess too tempting for Gary. Maybe he's paid to shill by the theme? C'mon Gary, you must surely know that dog won't hunt. This wingnut claim of a global cooling scare in the 1970s is yet one more example of a right wing lie that doesn't stand up. As your own Reagan said, "Facts are stubborn things." I know y'all's message machine is powerful so maybe you don't even know the truth. Try the Google every so often Gary.

Gary is carrying on the foolishness like the likes of Richard Viguerie that I mentioned a few days ago. The Vig has made millions off the blame game. Gary's merely getting wingnut welfare. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Evening of July 29, 2008 - Jenny Dorgan, program coordinator of the Alabama Environmental Council, provides a sensible response to Gary Palmer's Blame Game.

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