Authors: Aaron Klein,Brenda J. Elliott
General Electric's influence in the “green” marketplace of ideasâor in the Obama White Houseâcannot be understated. In January 2011, President Obama chose GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt to replace former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker as head of the Economic Advisory Panel. The “move,” a
writer observed, was the “latest salvo
in the White House's continued aggressive and very public outreach to corporate America.”
BP, Caterpillar Inc., Conoco-Phillips, Ford Motor Company, and GM have all dropped out. The most recent withdrawal was Ford, which left in January 2012 following pressure from the National Center for Public Policy Research.
The Free Enterprise Education Institute (FEEI) issued a press release challenging USCAP membersâdescribed as a “lobbying group supporting global warming regulation and cap-and-trade schemes”âto report their involvement with USCAP to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Of the twenty-one members, only five had “disclosed in their annual SEC filings that limits on greenhouse gas emissions pose[d] a business risk.”
NCPPR's national chairman, Amy Ridenour explained further: “The U.S. Climate Action Partnership was invented by environmentalists to try to get big businesses to come in [and] give them money to lobby for things like cap and trade and other limitations on greenhouse gases â¦ And what the liberals do is they promise the corporations that they can maybe mitigate some of the damage to their own businesses.
At the same time USCAP was formulating its blueprint, in June 2007, the Business Roundtable's CEOs came up with a
Blueprint for the U.S. Energy Future
(Members of the Business Roundtable include former and current USCAP members Caterpiller, Conoco-Phillips, Duke Energy, GE, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Johnson and Johnson, Xerox, and more.
Recommendations included: expanded use of bio-fuels “such as biobutanol and cellulosic ethanol as warranted by technology advances in the vehicles and fuels sectors”; developing and deploying energy efficient vehicle technologies to the maximum extent feasible”; “reducing energy intensity outside the transportation sector by at least 25 percent above the anticipated business-as-usual rate of improvement, which would mean an overall reduction in energy intensity of 40 percent by 2025 (energy intensity is energy consumed per unit of economic output)”; “expanded
access to oil and natural gas supplies in the Rocky Mountains, along the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico regions, and in Alaska”; “maintaining a viable and growing nuclear power sector”; and “increased use of coal-to-liquids and coal gasification processes to produce transportation fuels, and syngas for electricity production use in manufacturing feedstock.”
A few months later, a reality check must have awakened some members, as the Roundtable walked back its “wish list” somewhat. The Roundtable explained that, although it supported actions to address global warming, not all members were in agreement. For example, it stated, there was a “range of views and preferences about the policy tools that will best achieve that objective.” While some companies supported “mandatory approaches,” others did not. Therefore, the Business Roundtable revised its position somewhat, now stating that it “supports an open and constructive dialogue about the principles that should shape climate policy and the pros and cons of various options.”
In May 2009, the Union of Concerned Scientists released its 239-page
National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy
, which included many of the same requests in great detail, all predicated upon the perceived threat of global warming.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, according to
Discover the Networks
, other than expressing environmental concerns, consistently “denounces American military campaigns” and “opposes U.S. development of [a] missile defense system.” UCS “circulated a petition that drew the signatures of some 1,600 scientific experts demanding that the United States ratify the Kyoto Protocol.” In a declaration entitled “Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policy Making,” USC charged that the Bush administration “[had] continued to distort and suppress science in pursuit of its political goalsâdespite a plea from top U.S. scientists to restore scientific integrity to the policy-making process.” However, as DTN exposes, while the petition's signers “portrayed themselves as objective scientists with no political agenda,” in reality “over half of them were financial contributors to the Democratic Party, Democratic candidates, or a variety of leftist causes.”
A Friday the 13
of April executive order signed by President Obamaâ“Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources”âstates:
“While natural gas production is carried out by private firms, and States are the primary regulators of onshore oil and gas activities, the Federal Government has an important role to play by regulating oil and gas activities on public and Indian trust lands, encouraging greater use of natural gas in transportation, supporting research and development aimed at improving the safety of natural gas development and transportation activities, and setting sensible, cost-effective public health and environmental standards to implement Federal law and augment State safeguards.”
In short, in 2011, natural gas produced 25 percent of our energy. The federal government “must control this source of energy in order to deliver on the promise of making gasoline prices rise to $10 per gallon, bankrupt the coal industry, and cause energy prices to skyrocket,” Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, a freelance writer at the
Canada Free Press
, commented on April 14.
This is not at all surprising. At the end of March 2011, Obama's newly-released energy blueprint pushed natural gas to forefront.
By July, conservative websites reported that Texas hedge-fund operator and natural gasmagnate T. Boone Pickens, and George Soros, stood to gain from legislation that “would create very generous tax credits to manufacturers who retrofit existing work vehicles to run on natural gas rather than on that terrifying global menace known as oil.”
Also, Soros had been observed making “some intriguing investments into alternative fuel companies of late, specifically those at the forefront of natural gas.” Soros has a track record of “accurately predict[ing] both economic bubbles and quickly growing industries. As a result, Soros's funds have turned out a 30% return on investments since their inception.”
Likewise not surprising.
The truth of the matter is that no one can be sure what the president intends.
Robert Bradley Jr. explained why a few days earlier at
President Obama just can't seem to make up his mind on Keystone XL. Earlier this year, he denied federal approval for the project, which would have unleashed construction of a 2,600-mile pipeline to transport crude oil from Canadian shales to refineries in the American south.
Yet just a few days ago, at a campaign stop in Cushing, Oklahoma, the Energy-Impresario-in-Chief said that he actually did support the pipelineâwell, part of it at least. He announced a plan to fast-track construction of Keystone's southern leg, a 484-mile track running from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, representing about 29 percent of the overall route.
Bradley continued: “A White House that high-handedly rejects a major energy project one day, then boldly demands fast-track approval for that same project the next day, hasn't exactly established a coherent energy policy.”
As Bradley pointed out, this is what Obama calls “an âall of the above' energy strategy.” His administration “will support any project that promises to ramp up overall supply, bring down prices, and reduce national dependence on foreign energy sourcesâincluding the oil and gas sector Democrats have been so hostile [to] in the past.”
The only problem is, Bradley concluded, Obama's “âall of the above' approach is heavily biased toward âgreen tech' and does not even include coal, which accounts for more domestic electricity generation than any other energy source.”
Another indication that Obama's energy plans are not carved in stone is the one-year progress report on his
Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future
. The heretofore all-important GHG (greenhouse gas) goal was no longer mentioned.
On March 12, 2012, Brad Johnson took the president to task at
, the Center for American Progress's online propaganda site.
“Few challenges facing America, and the world, are more urgent than combating climate change,” President-elect Barack Obama said on November 19, 2008. “My presidency will mark a new chapter in America's leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process,” he promised.
“Obama reiterated the pledge he made on the campaign trail and in his transition-team energy and environment agenda,” Johnson wrote. Obama said: “We will establish strong annual targets that set us on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80 percent by 2050.”
“The blueprint does make several mentions of programs that reduce greenhouse pollution in individual sectors, but the Environmental Protection Agency's work to regulate carbon pollution from power plants is not one of them,” Johnson continued. The “abandonment of the goal of cutting carbon pollution in line with international obligations and scientific reality is a sad reflection of the power of the fossil fuel industry over American politics.”
Speaking to Obama's possible political motivation, Johnson offered a caveat: “It may also reflect the mistaken political calculation that Americans won't support a leader who is willing to publicly fight the urgent challenge of climate change.”
One thing we do know for certain is that investors like T. Boone Pickens and George Soros will not lose one dimeânor will Big Energy.
URING HIS 2008
presidential campaign, Barack Obama pledged amnesty for over 13 million illegal immigrants. Having failed to fulfill that pledge in his first term, but running for reelection, the savvy politician responded to a challenge over his failure in a February 2012 interview with Hispanic market Univision Radio: “My presidency is not over. I've got another five years coming up. We're going to get this done,” Obama pledged yet again.
President Obama first described his plan for amnesty during a December 4, 2007, campaign debate with Hillary Clinton:
As president of the United States, I will make sure that the federal government does what it's supposed to do, which is to do a better job of closing our borders and preventing hundreds of thousands of people to pour in, have much tougher enforcement standards when it comes to employers, and create a pathway of citizenship for the 12 million people who are already here.
Later in that debate, Obama elaborated:
After illegal aliens pay their fine and get on his “pathway,” they can then stay here and they can have the ability to enforce a minimum
wage that they're paid, make sure the worker safety laws are available, make sure that they can join a union.
Since becoming president, Obama has made abundantly clear that amnesty for illegal immigrants (or undocumented workers, as progressives love to call them) is a main policy goal. For more than two years, he has waged a high-profile political war over this issue with the State of Arizona and its governor, Jan Brewer. But Obama also understands that a solid majority of Americans remains opposed to mass amnesty for illegals. Despite repeated pledges to oversee such “comprehensive” immigration reform, it would be difficult for Obama to get any amnesty bill passed in Congress, even if Democrats should retake the House during a second Obama term.
Instead, as we show here, Obama has already quietly begun to bypass the will of Congress and the American peopleâusing his power as the nation's chief executive through an incremental series of orders.
This antidemocratic game plan is bad enough. But in attempting to divine Obama's specific agenda for immigration amnesty, we have also uncovered shocking new elements of progressive plans for a second Obama term that would impede U.S. border security, flood the country with an untold number of new immigrants, and change the very nature of the American electorate. The political skill and duplicity of Obama and his progressive comrades should never be underestimated.
New orders weakening the deportation criteria for illegals were issued on June 17, 2011. The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, instructed ICE staff to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in weighing any future deportations. Among the factors newly to be consideredâan illegal's “contributions to the community, including family relationships; the person's age, with particular consideration given to minors and the elderly; whether the person or the person's spouse is pregnant or nursing.”
Leniency was also mandated for “individuals present in the United States since childhood; and individuals with serious health conditions,” among scores of other disqualifications.