January 16, 2021

High gas prices: Bad for America, good for an election?

Posted on 06. Mar, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Energy/Environment

I don’t need to use a lot of space telling you why high gas prices are bad for America, but I contend that they are good for an election. Until the current precipitous price increases, energy seemed absent from the overall debate. Now the GOP candidates are all talking about how they would maximize American resources to bring down the price of gas and, rightly so, putting President Obama on the defense.

Press Secretary Jay Carney has recently repeated that there is nothing the White House can do. President Obama uses the high prices as an excuse to keep throwing good money after bad to develop “alternatives” like the now fabled Solyndra and this week’s Abound Solar announced lay-offs and delays—even though solar energy, if it ever became viable, has virtually nothing to do with transportation.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is now having to defend his comment in response to a question regarding whether or not the Administration’s goal is to lower gasoline prices: “No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil.” While it might appear that the White House was broadsided by the energy conversation, President Obama is very well aware of the importance of energy in the 2012 election cycle.

Back in November when President Obama announced he’d delay the decision on the Keystone XL pipeline for more than a year, until after the elections, Republicans were outraged. The pipeline represents up to 20,000 direct jobs and untold thousands of follow-on jobs in hotels, restaurants, retail, and more. In an attempt to force the issue, Republicans inserted a Keystone decision into December’s payroll tax-cut extension bill.

Weeks before an end-of-February answer was needed, President Obama handed the Republicans the makings of a campaign commercial. He claims to support job creation, yet here, with no government funds involved, were thousands of jobs—and he killed the project! Does he really care about out-of-work Americans and the economic boost those jobs would provide?

The answer lies in the location of those thousands of jobs: red states (those that typically vote Republican). The Keystone XL pipeline travels exclusively through red states; states the President is not likely to win no matter how many jobs his policies could create in the region. Supporting the pipeline and the 6,000-20,000 jobs it represents (pipeline opponents claim the 20,000 number is inflated, saying 6,000 jobs is more realistic) would not help his re-election efforts. He could kill Keystone, make his environmental base happy, and not lose an electoral vote.

Then, days later, January 24, in the State of the Union address (SOTU), President Obama angered that very same green base by ignoring their key cause—global warming and its supposed solution: green energy—and touted the benefits of natural gas. America’s natural gas abundance is a result of high-pressure extraction—a practice known as “fracking” (short for hydraulic-fracturing).

Two states rich in this shale gas have turned poor farmers into overnight millionaires: Pennsylvania and Ohio—both are blue states (typically voting Democrat). Go against natural gas extraction in these two important states and President Obama could lose the entire election. Here, alienating the environmental base is worth the gamble.

Additionally, these two blue states have been trending red. The last gubernatorial election saw a Republican win in each state—replacing a Democrat. Both Pennsylvania and Ohio have one Democrat and one Republican Senator. The 2010 election brought in new Republican Senators in each state. In 2012, each state has a Democrat Senator up for reelection. Republican red already controls the House of Representatives. Taking control of the Senate would virtually neuter the White House.

President Obama’s SOTU support for natural gas contradicts his energy policies and practices. He has thrown money into green project after green project. His EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is threatening America’s newfound riches with a proposed ban on fracking. Such actions would bring an abrupt halt to the growing economies in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He’d anger the electorate and ensure a Republican vote. In the SOTU, President Obama had to quell concerns to try to keep those Democrat Senators.

His first campaign ad of the 2012 election cycle was designed to make the average viewer think that he is the champion of fossil fuels. His claim that the US oil imports are now below 50% is true—although no thanks to his policies.

President Obama knows energy is key to the 2012 election and has set policy based on votes rather than what is best for all of America. We can hope that the need to win Ohio will cause him to keep a lid on Lisa Jackson’s overzealous regulatory aims for fracking—but then, Steven Chu offered Republicans more campaign ad fodder when he went rogue and admitted that the Administration didn’t care about high gas prices.

Instead of beating up on each other, the Republican candidates need to grab the ball and run with it: attack President Obama for his abysmal record on energy, maximize the Keystone debacle, point out the damage to the Gulf economy his drilling ban inflicted, keep the EPA’s barrage of cost-increasing regulations front and center, and quote Chu.

When energy costs go up, everyone gets hurt—but the poor are more severely impacted. Trapped into dependence, hope of personal prosperity is dashed. James Fallows, in his Atlantic cover story, says Obama’s opponents will argue that he’s been “Too weak in defending the nation’s interests, and all too skillful in advancing his socialist agenda.”

America needs a President who will put “defending the nation’s interests” ahead of “advancing his socialist agenda.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.



Climate change advocates behaving like cornered rats?

Posted on 05. Mar, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

Public confidence in scientific “consensus” regarding the theory of man-made climate change is threatening the believing scientists’ confidence. While polls show that taking action to fight climate change is off the radar of most Americans, the behavior of the theory’s advocates is even more telling. They are behaving like cornered rats—taking extreme actions to protect their turf.

On February 23, European Union officials are expected to vote on a draft law would assign a higher carbon-emissions value to bitumen-derived fuels, compared to more conventional crudes.

The European Commission has proposed a Fuel Quality Directive that, if passed, will exclude fuel derived from Canada’s oil sands from European use. The premise is that the production of the oil in question produces more carbon emissions than conventional oil.

While virtually none of the bitumen-derived fuels are currently shipped to Europe, supporters of the manmade climate change viewpoint have been using the pending vote in attempt to get the issue back on the public’s horizon.

On February 21, two days before the scheduled vote, a half-page ad was placed in the Financial Times. The ad’s large print states: “Eight Nobel Peace Laureates—including Archbishop Desmond Tutu—want to keep dirty oil out of Europe. Support the European Commission’s Fuel Quality Directive.”

The expensive ad then features a letter that the Nobel Laureates sent to “European Heads of State” in which they say, among other things: “Tar sands development is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and threatens the health of the planet.

As the tar sands have contributed to rising emissions, Canada recently stepped away from the Kyoto Protocol. Europe must not follow in Canada’s footsteps.” Therein lies the true purpose of the ad.

The original letter is on stationary from the “Nobel Women’s Initiative” whose olive-branch logo includes this statement: “advocating for peace, justice, and equality.” The letterhead lists Laureates from many developing and/or under-developed countries.

As I have previously posited, the Europeans’ support for the wealth-transferring Kyoto Protocol is that it would “equalize” energy costs between resource-rich North America and dependent Europe. The Kyoto Protocol would penalize the “wealthy” countries and financially reward the under-developed.

The expensive ad seems to have been purchased out of fear that the “equalizing” Kyoto Protocol may be dropped by Europe—as it has been by Canada.

It is, additionally, interesting to note that the Laureates mentioned in the ad are not Laureates in physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, or even economic sciences—who might have some unique insight toward climate issues. They are Nobel “Peace” Laureates.

The same day the Financial Times carried the “keep dirty oil out of Europe” ad, a story broke citing water scientist and climate analyst Peter Gleick’s admission that his “judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts—often anonymous, well-funded and coordinated—to attack climate science.”

He apologized for his hoax that “tricked” The Heartland Institute into releasing confidential documents. Gleick, who has been active in defending the manmade climate change view, used a false name in his ruse. He acknowledges that his actions were the result of “a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics.”

A UK Guardian news report about Gleick’s admission stated that his behavior “was seen by some as crossing a new line in the increasingly vitriolic debate.” In the New York Times, journalist Andrew Revkin describes what Gleick did as “an act that leaves his reputation in ruins.”

What would cause these two well-reputed sources to go to such extremes—expensive advertising and reputation-ruining acts—to defend their manmade climate change positions? The rat is cornered.

Anyone who follows the climate change debate knows that the Heartland Institute gives voice to scientists who do not ascribe to the theory of human-caused climate change. Their purpose is well known, and their strategies should not be a surprise.

True scientists would welcome the debate—not seek to squash it. Gleick’s actions in tricking the Heartland Institute were aimed at discrediting it. If the science on the warmer’s side were solid, they wouldn’t need to resort to underhanded actions.

But as more evidence, that began with the “Climategate” e-mails, comes out that shows that dissenters were silenced and that the predictions are being proven false, the scared promoters are taking extreme actions to protect their turf.

While Gleick’s ruse supposedly exposed Heartland’s “skeptic” funding, their budget is a drop in the bucket compared to the massive amounts of money spent in support of the manmade climate change position.

Years of steady funding in support of manmade climate change is being threatened. The cornered rats are taking extreme actions to protect their investment.

This article was submitted by Marita Noon, the author of Energy Freedom. Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.


2012 New Mexico Home Sales Off To a Good Start

Posted on 05. Mar, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy

791 New Mexico sales were reported during January 2012 to the REALTORS Association of New Mexico.  This number is higher than January sales reported for both 2010 and 2011 and continues the gradual upward trend of home sale transactions.

“Buyers are responding to very favorable market conditions,” according to RANM President Debbie Rogers of Silver City.  “The uptrend of home sales, both in New Mexico and nationwide, is in line with the underlying fundamentals of a strong housing market – pent-up household formation, record-low mortgage interest rates, bargain home prices, sustained job creation, and rising rents.”

Home prices continue to be a bargain, and reflect the number of foreclosures and short sales that represent just over one third of the market.  Nationally, distressed sales accounted for 35 percent of January sales, up from December 2011 (32% of total sales), but less than January 2011 (37% of total sales).

New Mexico’s reported January median price was $163,500.  While this price is up slightly (0.4% from December 2011’s median of $162,922) it is nearly 4% lower than the January 2010 median.

Nationally, the inventory of homes for sale represents a 6.1 month supply at the current sales pace down over 20% from a year ago.  RANM Executive Vice President Steve Anaya speculates that the fall in inventory of homes for sale is helping create a balance in the market, not favoring buyers or sellers.  “In several markets home buyers and investors are competing for foreclosure properties.”

The trends and numbers reported are only a snapshot of market activity.  If you are interested in buying or selling, consult a REALTOR familiar with your market area; he/she can provide information on specific trends in your neighborhood.

Statistical information and trends are based on information furnished by New Mexico Member Boards and MLSs to U. S. House Stats. Current reporting participants are: Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS, Las Cruces Association of REALTORS MLIS, New Mexico Multi-Board MLS (Artesia, Carlsbad, Clovis/Portales, Deming, Gallup, Grants, Hobbs, Las Vegas, Sierra County areas), Otero County Board of REALTORS, Roswell Association of REALTORS, Ruidoso/Lincoln County Association of REALTORS, Santa Fe Association of REALTORS, San Juan County Board of REALTORS, Silver City Regional Association of REALTORS, and the Taos County Association of REALTORS. Reports represent single family residential data only.  Information does not necessarily represent all activity in any market/county.  Figures based on reports run 2/17/12.  Visit www.nmrealtor.com (housing trends) for county and board statistics.

This article was submitted by The REALTORS Association of New Mexico, one of the state’s largest trade associations, representing over 5,300 members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate market.  No report of January 2012 activity was received from the Taos County Association of REALTORS.


Exporting just got easier and more affordable!

Posted on 05. Mar, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy

The New Mexico Manufacturers Extension Partnership (MEP) is pleased to announce that a new (and affordable) export readiness program is now open to all New Mexico manufacturers (the first session starts April 24th). It’s called, ‘ExporTech’ and is designed to give companies the foundation they need to be successful in foreign markets in three short months.

ExporTech is a nationally recognized joint offering of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Export Assistance Centers of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce

● It helps companies select and enter new export markets

● It assists companies develop an international growth plan

● It provides experts who will assess the plan

● It helps companies move their products to overseas markets

ExporTech will lead you through a guided process that prepares you for profitable growth in global markets. It’s customized to your specific learning needs and includes workshops that are limited to eight companies. That way you get more individualized time and attention to your specific challenges.

You’ll meet for three one-day sessions over a three-month period, and, in between sessions, you’ll work on developing your own export plan with expert coaches who are knowledgeable in all aspects of exporting.

And the best part is: it’s affordable, costing only $1,000 for the entire three months which includes 20 hours of personal consultation, three full-day workshops and a complimentary Gold Key (personalized assistance from the American Embassy or Consulate in the foreign market of your choice), courtesy of ExporTech’s sponsor, Federal Express!

The first session is scheduled for April 24th, so sign up now for ExporTech, the absolute best way to maximize your export potential. For more information, please contact Karen Converse, Innovation Director, at 505 314-9127 or by email at: karenc@newmexicomep.org For registration, please contact Claudia Serrano at 505 314-9131 or by email at claudias@newmexicomep.org


Goodbye Andrew Breitbart – In memory of his life 1969-2012

Posted on 01. Mar, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

In these times of heightened cynicism, disingenuous political leaders and mercenary people of all stripes, Andrew Breitbart stood out like the Empire State Building in a desert. His search for the absolute and undeniable truth took him far from any normal person’s ‘comfort zone,’ and frequently made him persona non grata among the status quo and power brokers he so loved to confront.

At his best, he regaled his opponents with a turned up smile and sometimes a look of shock at hearing statements that were so off the wall that he couldn’t believe he was hearing them. At his worst, he was bored and indignant with the pompous pontification that replaced honest discourse in American politics, and he showed it.

He was passionate and lived life with an admirable zeal and zest. He inspired other people of passion (whether from left or right, friend or foe) to do more, accomplish more, go farther and not retreat from their principles but gain strength from each step of the journey. He encouraged action along with words because he knew that the search for truth is never a theoretical armchair pursuit.

To be loved and hated in life only proves that you’ve been courageous enough to stand up for your beliefs. To be respected by both your friends and enemies is a tribute to our immortal soul and proof enough that the struggle was worth the effort.

While Almighty God has called him home, he has left the rest of us better off for having had him here for these past 43 years. Our prayers go out to his wife and children who grieve for his loss. They should take heart in the fact that many of us share their pain today. Andrew Breitbart, rest in peace.

- Editor


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