Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, National Security | Tags: Embarrassing!, Obama's Iran Deal, The Saban Forum at Brookings
President Obama appeared at the Brooking’s Institution’s Saban Forum in Washington D.C. He responded to questions put to him by Haim Saban, the forum chairman. The discussion focused on the “interim deal” with Iran, although it covered the Israel-AP peace talks and the agreement with Syria to destroy its chemical weapons as well.
The Washington Times covered Obama’s appearance here, and Politico here, if watching the video is beyond your tolerance level. If Mr. Obama believes that he is actually getting anything in exchange for the relaxation of sanctions, he is far more ill-informed about foreign policy than I thought.
In spite of our current economic problems, the United States has the power to impose crippling sanctions on Iran and to enforce them. Iranian chants of “Death to America” are not children’s playground taunts. We were told, before Geneva, that Iran was just a month from a bomb. Iran is well supplied with oil and gas, and does not need nuclear power to keep the lights on. Their sole interest is nuclear weapons and the ability to strike Israel and America at will. They have in mind the return of the Mahdi and the reestablishment of the Caliphate. When they keep telling us so, sooner or later, we possibly should start believing that they mean it.
We don’t require Iran’s agreement to accept crippling economic sanctions. We just impose them.
Iran, Obama said, will always retain some nuclear enrichment capability simply because it is no longer a terribly difficult process.
“Theoretically, they will always have some capability because technology here is available to any good physics student at pretty much any university around the world,” he said. “And they have already gone through the cycle to the point where the knowledge we are not going to be able to eliminate. But what we can do is eliminate the incentive for them to want to do this.”
As he has before, Obama defended the six-month deal to relax some economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for some weapons inspections as not ideal, but better than the alternative of doing nothing.
When I hear people criticize the Geneva deal say it’s got to be all or nothing, I would just remind them that if it’s nothing, if we did not even try for this next six months to do this, all the breakout capacity we are concerned about would accelerate in the next six months,” Obama said. “They’d be that much closer to breakout capacity six months from now. And that’s why I think it’s important for us to test this proposition.”
“Not ideal but better than doing nothing?” “You see we can’t expect Iran to relinquish its nuclear program because it won’t!”
If one thought that preventing Iran’s development of nuclear weapons was the object of the exercise, then the Geneva deal is incomprehensible. The only real explanation of the deal is that we seek to protect Iran’s nuclear program and accept their development of nuclear weapons.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Foreign Policy, History, Military, National Security, The United States | Tags: Pearl Harbor 1941, Remembrance and Preparedness, The Battleship Arizona
(Republished from Last year)
Every year on December 7, we say “Remember Pearl Harbor” but fail to point out why we should be remembering. John Steele Gordon in his essential history An Empire of Wealth: the Epic History of American Economic Power, outlines the state of the world:
In a fireside chat on December 29, 1940, Franklin Roosevelt first used a phrase that would prove enduring when he called upon the United States to become “the great arsenal of democracy.”
…..War had broken out in Europe on September 1, 1939, after German troops invaded Poland, and France and Great Britain stood by their pledges to come to Poland’s aid. Few Americans thought the Nazis anything but despicable, but public opinion in the United States was overwhelmingly to stay out of the conflict. Many newspapers…were strongly isolationist. In 1934 Senator Hiram Johnson of California had pushed through a bill forbidding the Treasury to make loans to any country that had failed to pay back earlier loans. That, of course included Britain and France. On November 4, 1939, Congress had passed the Neutrality Act, which allowed purchases of war materiel only on a “cash and carry” basis.
…..Seven months later France fell to the Nazi onslaught, and Britain stood alone. In the summer of 1940 Germany proved unable to defeat the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain and thus gain the air superiority necessary to mount an invasion across the English Channel. It tried instead to bludgeon Britain into submission with the blitz and to force Britain into submission by cutting off its trade lifelines across the Atlantic. It nearly worked. …
…..At the time American military forces were puny. The army had about three hundred thousand soldiers—fewer than Yugoslavia—and was so short of weapons that new recruits often had to drill with broomsticks instead of rifles. The equipment it did have was often so antiquated that the chief of staff, General George C. Marshall, thought the army no better than “that of a third-rate power.” The navy, while equal to Britain’s in size, lacked ammunition to sustain action, and much of its equipment was old or unreliable.
Roosevelt realized what was at stake in terms of America’s own security, but he felt that Britain must survive long enough to hold the Nazis at bay while the U.S. rearmed and he was able to bring the American people around to see where their own true interests lay. This was easier said than done.
On September 16, 1940 Congress approved the first peacetime draft in American history and 16.4 million men between the ages of 20 and 35 registered. But it specified that none was to serve outside the Western Hemisphere and that their terms of service were not to exceed twelve months. In 1941 Roosevelt was able to get Lend Lease through Congress, and after Pearl Harbor, isolationism vanished from the American political landscape.
Japan ran loose over the Pacific for the next six months, taking Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, the Dutch East Indies, and Burma while threatening Australia and India.
The rearming of America was one of the most astonishing feats in all economic history. In the first six months of 1942, the government gave out 100 billion in military contracts— more than the entire GDP of 1940. In the war years, American industry turned out 6.500 naval vessels; 296,400 airplanes; 86,330 tanks; 64,546 landing craft; 3.5 million jeeps, trucks, and personnel carriers; 53 million deadweight tons of cargo vessels; 12 million rifles,carbines, and machine guns; and 47 million tons of artillery shells, together with millions of tons of uniforms, boots, medical supplies, tents and a thousand other items needed to fight a modern war.
We weren’t ready for Pearl Harbor, nor for Africa, nor the European front. We disarmed after World War II and we were once again not ready when North Korea invaded the South. We weren’t ready when Saddam Hussein marched into Kuwait and we weren’t ready for 9/11. America’s national character is perhaps always ready to assume that the war just finished was the last — ever.
Does anyone assume that now, we would have six months to a year to begin to produce the necessary equipment and round up and train the necessary troops? I seem to remember Donald Rumsfeld saying, to vast scorn from the American media—”you go to war with the army you have.”
It’s quite true, and the threats don’t always come from the direction you expected. When America is perceived as weak — as we are today, and indecisive — we are in greater danger. The “Arab Spring” has “unexpectedly” not turned out to be a people seeking for freedom and democracy. Instead the goal appears to be Sharia and dictatorship. Al Qaeda is again on the rise, and we seem to be rearming them. Syria’s Assad evidently is preparing to gas his own people. And we are cancelling missile protection for Eastern Europe because Obama wants a reset button with Russia, and now has more “flexibility.”
We must remember Pearl Harbor as a warning from the past. The troubled world keeps sending us reminders, and we fail to pay attention.
Filed under: Architecture, Environment, Freedom, Heartwarming, History | Tags: A Vision of a Hidden Gem., Persistence Pays Off., Ten Years of Hard Work.
A retired mathematician found a rotting cabin, dating from 1830, in sad shape, but he determined to restore it — proving once more that persistence pays. This is the original 1830 cabin, or what was left of it. Much was rotting, but he labeled and transferred as much of it as possible to the family’s land. See the amazing story below the fold.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Iran, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: "The Deal of the Century", A Nuclear Pact With Iran, The Lessons of History
Secretary of State John Kerry returned from
Munich Geneva waving a document and proclaiming peace in our time “we have a deal.” The Obama administration regards the deal as a great accomplishment for the U.S., UK, France, China, Russia and Germany. Journalist Claudia Rosett describes the negotiations:
The world powers have been itching to hand Iran what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accurately described as “the deal of the century — the ticket to the nuclear arsenal the Tehran regime covets, and for which the infrastructure would be left in place.” So eager are some of these world powers to produce a signed piece of paper that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, for the second time in a month, decided to race to Geneva, ready to close the deal. Evidently it is no deterrent to the Obama administration that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei chose to punctuate rounds two and three of these nuclear talks by delivering a speech to Basij militiamen (who greeted him with chants of “Death to America”) in which he compared Israel to a “rabid dog,” said its officials “cannot be called human,” and added,” the Israeli regime is doomed to failure and annihilation.”
History is not a strong point of the Obama administration, but we have many examples of pacts with enemies, when the West is desperately hoping for peace, and anxious to avoid confrontation.
“Chamberlain returned from Munich to England. At Heston where he landed, he waved the joint declaration which he had got Hitler to sign, and read it to the crowd of notables and others who welcomed him. From the windows at Downing Street he waved his piece of paper again and used these words, “This is the second time there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace in our time.”*
At the Nuremberg Trials, Colonel Eger, representing Czechoslovakia, asked Marshal Keitel: “Would the Reich have attacked Czechoslovakia in 1938 if the Western Powers had stood by Prague?”
Marshal Keitel answered: “Certainly not. We were not strong enough militarily. The object of Munich was to get Russia out of Europe, to gain time, and to complete the German armaments.”*
Claudia Rosett adds:
Then there is the also-obvious. Talks like these are a great boon to rogue regimes — just ask North Korea (which has parlayed two decades of nuclear freeze deals into time and resources for three nuclear tests, and appears to be preparing its underground nuclear test site for a fourth detonation). Iran’s regime is a terror-sponsoring government under sanctions for its rogue nuclear weapons program, and in theory its rulers are being shunned and “isolated” — or so we’ve been told. … Negotiations such as these, especially if they lead to a deal, serve as credentials, painting a veneer of legitimacy on regimes that deserve none.
The media, given to hyperbole, has declared this an historic deal that freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions. ($6 billion+)
The agreement, sealed at a 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade. Kerry said the goal of the talks was to “require Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its program and ensure that it cannot acquire a nuclear weapon.”
Iran keeps its enrichment program and reactor in Arak, and just halts work. There is no indication that their pursuit of a nuclear weapon is peaceful in intent. They have also announced plans for two more nuclear power plants. I think history has lessons for us, and we do well to pay attention.
*from The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, History, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: The Kennedy Assassination, The ObamaCare Debacle, The Republicans Fault?
ObamaCare’s failures can be partly blamed on the failure of Republicans to applaud it enthusiastically enough. The Washington Post writes:
President Obama on Tuesday sought to redirect some of the political blame for the botched rollout of the federal health insurance exchange to Republicans, characterizing GOP lawmakers as rooting for the law’s failure. …
Obama said that fixes to the HealthCare.gov Web portal are underway and that the exchange will function for a majority of people by the end of November. But the president said staunch opposition from congressional Republicans is inhibiting the law’s implementation.
How does that work? Republicans can do no more than speak out against the law and the fallout from its implementation. The problems are a direct result of the failed rollout, Obama’s continuing lies to the public, and public recognition that the law is for the most part disastrous for them. It really isn’t failing because the Republicans say it is junk insurance. It is junk insurance.
Well, yes. The Affordable Care Act passed with no input from Republicans and every Republican in the House and the Senate voted against it, because it is a fraudulent law and will do great damage to the country and the people. Management of the Act has been beyond incompetent. Millions of people have lost the insurance they preferred and are stuck with junk insurance with higher premiums and deductibles for coverage they did not choose. You expected a Republican cheering section for a bad law that you consistently lied about?
So naturally Obama is going to “pivot to the economy” again. Expect infrastructure talk. Unfortunately, the economy is not improving. Businesses are hiring for the wrong reasons. U.S. News notes:
Businesses have increased the hiring of compliance officers in recent years to help manage the growing number of complex federal rules and regulations. While increased hiring is generally welcome news in the current labor market, it’s important to realize that a regulatory system that prompts the private sector to bring on employees whose sole purpose is to evaluate conformity with laws and regulations reduces productivity, raises the cost of production and has a negative impact on the economy.
Unfortunately, proposed government regulations often ignore the economic cost of job loss in the regulated industry. For instance, if an agency adopts a regulation that increases the costs of energy production, energy companies have to either lower production, raise prices, hire fewer workers or consider some combination of the three.
With the 50 year retrospective of the Kennedy assassination this week, the New York Times and the Washington Post each published pieces by two different authors who attempt to implicitly blame “the right-wing extremist environment in Dallas in 1963 for the Kennedy assassination on that environment. The Washingtonian is more explicit, “The City of hate had, in fact, killed the President.” The Left has long refused to accept the idea that JFK was killed by a Communist, who was committed to the communist cause, who had defected to the Soviet Union, and would have gone to live in Cuba.
The blame game never ends. The ideology of the Left promises a glorious future. They cannot admit the failure of ideology, so they blame Republicans. Fifty years later and they still cannot admit that JFK was killed by a Communist.
Filed under: Capitalism, Education, Freedom, History, Law, Politics, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Philadelphia 1787, Separation of Powers, The U.S. Constitution.
From Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution:
“At the Philadelphia convention, with exquisite care and with delicate nuances, they devised a complex constitution that would generate the requisite power but would so distribute its flow and uses that no one body of men and no one institutional center would ever gain a monopoly of force or influence that would dominate the nation.”
In every generation, we need to remind the people of the care and wisdom that went into the making of the Constitution. It has worked for 286 years, and remains unique among nations in its establishment by “We the People,” and the limited powers that it grants to the government. And it is up to us to remind our representatives in government of its meaning, and to insure that our schools teach its history and its meaning .
See also: Catherine Drinker Bowen’s Miracle at Philadelphia
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, History, Military, The United States | Tags: Family History, The Civil War., Veterans Day 2013
Ron Radosh has a column today on a new album of the songs of the Civil War, It is called “Divided and United” as a tribute to those who lived through those terrible years of a divided nation. The artists are drawn from the best of Nashville’s talent, the traditional singers as they call themselves in opposition to “folk-singers” and try to capture the music as it was known then, from the sheet music they have.
If you click on the link just below the picture of the album, it will take you to Amazon where you can play a brief sampler of the songs. I’m going to have to get this one.
I lost two great uncles on each side of the Civil War, the Southern part of the family came from a small town in South Carolina near the Georgia border; the Northerners set out from South Carolina for Ohio Territory just after 1800. They were ardent abolitionists, and their Ohio church was a station on the underground railway.
Three brothers fought on the side of the Confederacy, one was killed in the battles around Richmond. My great grandfather and his brother-in-law took a wagon up across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia to Richmond to bring his body home. The other was the only Confederate killed at Snicker’s Gap.The youngest of the Southern brothers was in the cavalry, and survived the war.
On the other side, Nathan died some time after Chickamauga, possibly from wounds from that battle, or in some other skirmish. The other I know only as “Uncle Frank” from a small Daguerreotype photo and the notation “died in the Civil War.”
Take some time to read about the Civil War. “The American Union was created by the Revolution, the American nation was forged only upon the awful anvil of the Civil War,” as John Steele Gordon wrote. The American Civil War was the largest war fought in the Western world in the century between the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815 and the outbreak of World War one on August 1, 1915.
The carnage was without precedent. On the single day of September 17, 1862, at the Battle of Antietam, the Union Army had casualties of 2,108 killed and 9,549 wounded. More casualties on that one day than in the entire Mexican War. The total military losses in the war on both sides, officially 498,333 — were more than 3 percent of the American male population in 1860, four and a half times our percentage losses in World War II.
Always unprepared for war, the federal government had been operating at a deficit since 1857. In 1860, the national debt stood at $64,844,000 and the Treasury was nearly depleted. In December of that year, as the Southern states began to secede one by one, there was at one point not even enough money on hand to meet the payroll. Three months later, at the time of the first Battle of Bull Run, the War Department alone was spending a million dollars a day.
A young banker named Jay Cooke was made the agent of the federal government to sell a new issue of bonds. He bypassed the banks, arranged for the bonds to be issued in denominations as small as $50, and sold them directly to the people. In other words, he invented the bond drive, which has supported all our wars ever since.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Can Obama Be Trusted?, Geneva "Peace" Talks, Secretary of State Kerry
It’s a theme I’ve run into many times in novels, the idea that there is a certain point at which many people stop in their growth and openness to new ideas. They do fine for years, but at some point they have received all accepted knowledge, and are no longer open to revision of their worldview. I sort of accepted that as a little weird, but I knew a few people who did seem stuck in the past. The adult who remains the cheerleader she was in college, the man who can’t quite relinquish his football hero days.
Barack Obama was swept up in radical politics at Columbia, if not before. He said in his book that he went to every socialist meeting he could find, and somewhere in there or in his community organizer days he acquired fixed ideas about the country and about the world. Richard Epstein notes that once Obama believes something, it is set in concrete. He does not change his mind.
The president has been certain that the central problem in the Middle East is the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and if that is solved, there will be peace. He has continually been trying to “restart” the “peace process,” without the slightest notion that as long as Palestinians teach their little children that killing Jews is their noblest goal, there is no hope of any peace process.
The foreign policy experts who study Iran are worried about Iranian progress on nuclear weapons, but Obama is sure that his charisma will allow his Secretary of State to make peace with the mullahs in Iran. The collapse of the so-called “Arab Spring” made no dent in his convictions, he has denied the resurgence of al Qaeda, refused to give up on the Muslim Brotherhood, and slashed aid to the Egyptians who threw Morsi out. The Saudis have lost all faith in help or assistance from the Americans in controlling Iran, and are looking for nuclear technology., and turning for help to the Russians.
Obama’s signature accomplishment is turning sour. As James Taranto said “The exposure of Obamacare as a massive consumer fraud —and of Obama as the Bernie Madoff of politics— is well underway.” Obama wants a major triumph, and he wants it badly. Ordinary things like 20,000 jobs on the Keystone XL pipeline don’t measure up. He needs something big to match the presidential ego.
The only world leader who seems to understand what is happening is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is warning that a pact easing sanctions “would be a mistake of historic proportions.” The deal being hatched in Geneva, and apparently we are already easing the sanctions, is precisely an effort to short-circuit Israel’s own options. History is not kind to appeasers. The New York Sun is not kind to Secretary of State Kerry’s history, character, and role in the current negotiations.
The Times of Israel reports that “the Obama administration plans to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough at the beginning of 2014. The Americans want to move from coordinating between the two sides to a phase of active intervention.”
According to Gal-on, whose left-wing Meretz party is in the opposition, the plan is based on the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps and will cover all of the core issues. …
The scheme is spread out over a gradual timetable, calls for the investment of billions of dollars in the Palestinian economy, and will include a suggestion for a broader regional peace treaty based on the Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative, first proposed by the Arab League in 2002, calls for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians together with normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world. Central to the initiative was the complete withdrawal of Israel to its pre-1967 lines and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
The Obama Administration, eagerly seeking a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, is now signaling that it will ease the sanctions that finally forced Tehran to the negotiating table.
In fact, the White House has already chosen to lighten Iran’s sanctions burden by slowing the implementation of existing sanctions and delaying congressional legislation that would impose new sanctions. Eli Lake and Josh Rogin reported in today’s Daily Beast that the Administration began softening sanctions after the June election of Hassan Rouhani by slowing the pace of designating Iranian front companies, individuals, ships, and aircraft as sanctions violators.
The Administration has also lobbied Congress to postpone any new sanctions to avoid disrupting the current round of negotiations with Iran. But this is a gross misreading of the situation. The prospect of new sanctions would enhance American bargaining leverage with Iran and increase the chances that an acceptable agreement can be negotiated with the recalcitrant regime in Tehran.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is saying that only sanctions and the threat of the use of force on Israel’s part are the only things that brought Iran back to the negotiating table, it’s hard to understand why making it harder for Tehran to sell its oil and conduct business with those willing to risk the ire of the West would scare them away again. But many Democrats are not willing to ease sanctions.
Most of the articles suggest that this is Kerry’s initiative, but I suspect that Kerry has his marching orders from Obama, and knows what he has to try to bring back to his boss. Any assumption that Rouhani’s charm offensive is meaningful is based on wishful thinking of the West. The time is running short. Be very worried.
Here are some additional links:
— How Can We Possibly Trust Obama on Iran? PJ Media
— Iran Nuclear Deal Expected as Early As Friday Wall Street Journal
— More Pressure on Iran Can’t Wait Commentary
— Exclusive: Obama’s Secret Iran Détente The Daily Beast
— More Obama Problems: Kerry’s Peace Push Commentary
— Kerry meets Iran foreign minister to close gaps in nuclear talks Reuters
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Education, Energy, Freedom, History | Tags: The American Founding, The Experts Keep Getting it Wrong, Transforming a Nation
Particularly when there is vast discontent with the way things are, there are voices that assure us that it will always be this way. The nation is changed forever by these policies that you hate, and we can’t go back to the way it was.
Of course that’s what Barack Obama promised when he dazzled Americans with his mellow baritone voice and lofty promises — it was all about Hope and Change. In the thrill of the moment people forgot to ask just what it was he meant by ‘hope’ and ‘change’. His answer was that he wanted to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” We really should have asked for a straightforward definition of that as well.
What is it that ‘fundamentally transforms’ a nation? The two big inventions that brought the European medieval world to an end by the beginning of the sixteenth century and made the settlement of the New World possible were the printing press and the full-rigged ship. In the mid-fifteenth century there were only around fifty thousand books in all of Europe, most of them controlled by the church. By the end of the century, there were more than ten million. That is an explosion of knowledge, many books were technical and agricultural and in the hands of the growing merchant class. The full-rigged ship pushed out the boundaries of the world as it was known to Europeans.
The colony at Jamestown was founded, not by the English state, but by a profit-seeking corporation. Two intellectual inventions were vital to the development of the United States — the corporation and double-entry bookkeeping. Because of double-entry bookkeeping, it became possible for people to invest in distant enterprises and still keep track of how the investment was doing. Ferdinand and Isabella sent an accountant along with Columbus on his first voyage to ensure they got their share of the profits.
Partnerships had long been around, but in a partnership each partner is liable for the debts of the entire enterprise, a large risk. The joint-stock company solved that problem by limiting each investor’s liability to the amount that he had invested. This was completely different from the Spanish and French who sought to control all aspects of their subjects’ activities and to convert Indians to the Catholic religion.
The profit-seeking Virginia Company’s investment in America desperately needed something to sell profitably in England to defray the costs of maintaining a settlement. In 1612, a man named John Rolfe obtained some tobacco seeds in the West Indies, and brought them back to try in Virginia soil. In 1618 twenty-thousand pounds of tobacco were grown in Virginia and shipped to England. In 1629 it was one and a half million pounds.
In New England, both Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay were founded by joint stock companies.The members of the corporations who came to New England were called planters. Those who remained in England and invested money were called adventurers — which gave rise to today’s term venture capitalist.
There were already fishermen in villages like Marblehead and Gloucester in Massachusetts, and the banks off New England were a perfect habitat for cod that grew to 200 pounds. Cod exports soon became a mainstay of the economy, but the cod waste — the bones, skin and guts — went to fertilizing New England fields — which made a big difference in the thin rocky soil.
The Puritans believed firmly in reading the Bible, and had the highest literacy rate in the Western world, and as soon as they built a church they were apt to build a school. Harvard College was founded just six years after the Puritans landed.
New England exported lumber, ships masts, soap, butter, cheese and the produce of the farms. By the end of the seventeenth century New England had become one of the great shipbuilding centers of the world, and a truly diverse economy. The innovations came from ordinary people in an extraordinary land, creating what was needed to improve their lives. Far distant from an interfering government, people were free to follow their ideas and dreams. A heritage that is as natural to Americans as breathing.
Which brings me to an article in the Wall Street Journal about “The Outsiders Who Saw Our Economic Future.” “In both America’s energy transformation and the financial crisis, it took a group of amateurs to see what was coming.”
Part of Barack Obama’s transformation of America for the 21st century was reaching back to our most ancient sources of energy to save us from global warming. His election was “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal.” Obama was cutting the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters. These two quotes are not from the same speech, but capture the drift.
We’re offering a better path, a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy.
And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future.trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy.
Around the same time a few little-known wildcatters began pumping meaningful amounts of oil and gas from U.S. shale formations. A country that was once running out of energy is now on track to become the world’s leading producer.
The resurgence in U.S. energy came from a group of brash wildcatters who discovered techniques to hydraulically fracture—or frack—and horizontally drill shale and other rock. Many of these men operated on the fringes of the oil industry, some without college degrees or much background in drilling, geology or engineering.
Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke failed to foresee the financial meltdown. Top banking executives were stunned, and leading investors such as Bill Gross, Jim Chanos and George Soros didn’t fully anticipate the downturn.
John Paulson began researching housing and scored a record $20 billion for his hedge fund by betting against subprime mortgages. as did Jeffrey Greene a Los Angeles playboy, and an out-of-work 35 year-old, and a doctor turned stock investor who did not subscribe to the common wisdom that the Fed would not let housing crumble and the real estate boom would continue. A fabulously successful bet against common wisdom.
The “experts” don’t always have the answers. Progress does not only not move in a straight line, it doesn’t move along party lines. It does not come from wise all-knowing experts in government who know just what to do. They don’t. Americans are free people in an extraordinary land, and they do pretty well without excessive regulation and regimentation. There is a point at which the ‘experts’ overreach. We’re almost there.