Saturday, May 12, 2012

White House Lied, Jobs Died

While the White House and its media water-carriers try to distract the American public with gay-marriage talk and half-century-old tales of Mitt Romney's prep school pranks, the inconvenient truth remains: President Obama is responsible for perpetrating jaw-dropping, job-killing scientific fraud. And his minions are still trying to cover it up.

New internal e-mails disclosed by the House Natural Resources Committee this week show that a supposedly exculpatory report on the administration's doctored drilling moratorium analysis -- issued by the Department of Interior's Inspector General's office -- was itself incomplete, misleading and unsubstantiated. Even more damning, the documents reveal that the White House actively blocked investigators and refuses to comply with subpoenas.

Now, as one senior IG agent warned his bosses, "the chickens may be coming home to roost."

A quick refresher: After the BP oil spill in 2010, the White House imposed a radical six-month moratorium on America's entire deepwater drilling industry. The overbroad ban -- inserted into a technical safety document in the middle of the night by Obama's green extremists -- cost an estimated 19,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in lost wages.

The anti-drilling administration based its draconian order on recommendations from an expert oil spill panel. But that panel's own members (along with the federal judiciary) called out then-eco czar Carol Browner for misleading the public about the scientific evidence and "contributing to the perception that the government's findings were more exact than they actually were." Browner and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar oversaw the false rewriting of the drilling ban report to completely misrepresent the Obama-appointed panel's own overwhelming scientific objections to the job-killing edict.

Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana blasted the Obama Interior Department for defying his May 2010 order to lift its fraudulent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. He called out the administration's culture of contempt and "determined disregard" for the law.

Ever since, GOP watchdogs have attempted to hold administration officials accountable for the drilling ban fraud. In November 2010, the DOI Inspector General issued a report cited by Salazar to argue that any editing of the drilling ban report was unintentional and mistaken. But e-mails from IG senior agent Richard Larrabee released by the House Natural Resources Committee flatly contradict Salazar.

"I truly believe the editing WAS intentional -- by an overzealous staffer at the White House. And, if asked, I, as the case agent, would be happy to state that opinion to anyone interested," Larrabee wrote.

He noted that the IG report failed to mention that investigators were unable to independently validate e-mails supplied by Salazar's office -- and that the report was "simply silent" about how the White House blocked investigators' attempts to interview one of Browner's chief henchmen, Joe Aldy. "Well, it will be interesting to see if anyone picks up on these things, or cares about them," Larrabee wrote.

Well, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., cares. In a letter to the DOI Inspector General's office, Hastings blasted the stonewallers who have hid in the dark for more than a year. "The IG report is being used by the Obama Administration and others as a defense that this matter has already been investigated and resolved. These emails contradict that claim and raise new questions on whether the IG's investigation was as thorough and complete as it should have been," Hastings wrote.

The actual drafts of the drilling moratorium report and the communications between senior Interior Department officials and White House political appointees remain out of public view. "To date, the Interior Department has never had to disclose documents to the IG or to Congress," Hastings noted. "Despite the President's pledge of transparency, this Administration has not answered questions by anyone on how this decision was made that forced thousands of Americans out of work and cost millions of dollars in lost economic activity."

This election isn't just about jobs, jobs, jobs. It's about the lies, lies, lies that have led to massive job destruction -- and the ruthless corruptocrats using our tax dollars to whitewash their radical green agenda.


Biodiesel maker throws in the towel

New data show that its products cost more than $30 a gallon to make

Amyris, a company that uses synthetic biology to make alternatives to conventional petroleum products, recently decided to wind down its biofuels business and focus on selling higher-value products such as cosmetics. Now it's clear why.

Details about Amyris were disclosed during the company's earnings call last night. They show just how far the company is from making biofuel profitably, and illustrate why the company is getting out of the biofuels business—for now.

Shortly after it was founded, Amyris had set out to make biofuel using genetically modified organisms and simple chemistry to turn sugar into a type of oil that's similar to diesel. It had some success making biodiesel for buses in Brazil. But the chemicals produced by the company's micro├Ârganisms can be used for other things as well, such as moisturizers and fragrances, that sell for higher prices.

Last night, the company said the average selling price for all its products is $7.70 per liter, or $29 per gallon, far higher than the price for petroleum-based diesel. (In Brazil, diesel costs about $1 per liter.)

The average price—which is propped up by the price it can charge for moisturizer—is higher than what Amyris sells biodiesel for. (It didn't disclose the exact price for the fuel.) But even $7.70 per liter isn't enough for the company to break even.

According to its earnings report, Amyris lost about $95 million in the first quarter of 2012, compared to a loss of $33 million for the same period last year. CEO John Melo said the company expects to lower costs to the break-even point by the end of the year. He's betting this can be done by focusing on improving the company's production process—tweaking fermentation conditions, for example—rather than improving the micro├Ârganisms themselves.

Melo said the need to focus on operations and end a "bias toward R&D" was the reason he reorganized the company last week, pushing out employees such as Neil Renninger, one of the company's cofounders and its chief technology officer. (Renninger is still a member of the board.)

Amyris is still producing biodiesel, but will stop by midyear, the company said last night. It is also still working on joint ventures that could allow it to build large plants for making fuels at some point in the future, but first it will try to make its moisturizer and fragrance business profitable. Meanwhile, it's looking to raise new money this year, mainly through partnerships and collaboration agreements, to keep itself afloat.


Newspaper admits to pollution deception

Where there's smoke, there's fire in the bellies of readers. Several times in past months the Herald has used photographs of steam rising from power station chimneys with captions or subheads intimating that the steam was a polluting pall.

The most recent example was on the cover of BusinessDay on April 17. The photo, taken at Bayswater power station in July last year, shows funnels of dark steam silhouetted against white clouds and a blue sky. It is an arresting image, so much so that several readers suggested it had been manipulated. A subhead was placed on it which said "Up in smoke". One picture, three words, dozens of complaints.

An example: "This is clearly a digitally enhanced photograph but, because it focuses on smoke, it has nothing whatever to do with the story below it, which is about government policy regarding global warming, which relates to greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, not smoke. Worse, there is no smoke in this photograph. If there was going to be smoke, it would come from the two narrow chimneys in the centre of the photograph. What is inferred to be smoke is actually steam, coming from the two cooling towers on either side of the chimneys."

Another reader suggested it had been shot at sunset "when everyone knows that objects become blacker and more two-dimensional". And another, who described the image and subhead as "an egregious deception", added: "An old trick, been done many times before, and hardly appropriate for a serious section of a serious newspaper."

First, the photographer did not manipulate the image in any way. He says he shot a series of four in the middle of the day using F22, which means a small aperture made the images razor sharp. And the reason he stopped to take the pics on the way to another job was because the scene looked so unusual. He presumes the darkness of the vapour was because it was heavy with moisture.

Second, and for me the most galling, is that the photographer had clearly written in his attached caption: "Please note that it is NOT smoke coming out of the stacks, it is steam."

Many readers feel the Herald and The Sun-Herald do not publish enough alternative opinions and stories on climate change and global warming, that they have formed an opinion and will stick with it. If you read the Herald's editorials, there appears little doubt that it has accepted the scientific consensus on the effects of carbon pollution on climate: there has been a gradual warming of the planet. The Sun-Herald leans that way, too. So when those who question the climate-change science see what they consider examples of the "old trick" referred to by the reader, they feel their concerns are justified.

The decision to use the image with such a misleading subhead was a poor one, and one which drew a message from the editor to ensure it did not recur. Although it was not the first time it has happened, hopefully it will be the last.


Another Obama favor for his solar cronies

Vice President Biden has never been one for understatement. Speaking to reporters in April, he declared that America's "energy policy is the best it's ever been."

Since taking office, Biden has been head cheerleader for Team Obama's energy policy, particularly its efforts to promote solar power. In 2010, he and Energy Secretary Steven Chu were hawking a report on the administration's efforts to make solar power cheaper.

Those were the days. Now the administration's solar policy seems to be centered on making solar more expensive. In March, the Commerce Department announced it would impose tariffs on imported Chinese solar panels. Those tariffs will be passed on to solar panel buyers in the form of higher prices.

Why this assault on Americans who buy solar panels made in China? Because Chinese solar panel makers receive government subsidies. The tariff is meant to tip the playing field back toward American producers.

There's nothing admirable about government subsidies for energy. We should break that habit ourselves. But in this case, Americans benefit without paying. If another country wants to subsidize the production of solar panels and sell them at a loss to consumers in the United States, why not let them do so? We Americans should be happy to let another government foot part of our bill for cleaner energy. Think of it as a gift from China to the American solar consumer.

The Obama administration, though, doesn't think of it that way. Instead, the administration wants to energize the business of its cronies, some of whom manufacture solar panels. So we have here protectionism mixed with cronyism. The benefits flow to Obama's friends at the expense not only of politically convenient villains, such as the oil and gas industry, but also -- and more importantly -- of American consumers.

Even renewable-crazed Europeans are realizing the folly of subsidizing solar. Recently both Spain and Germany have sharply reduced solar subsidies.

Though the Obama administration hates to admit it, oil and natural gas are here to stay. According to the government's own data, 77 percent of the nation's energy demands will be met by fossil fuels in 2035. Oil and natural gas are among the only energy sources that are economically viable without government handouts.

This isn't the first time the administration has played favorites with politically connected energy firms. The biggest investor in Solyndra -- whose bankruptcy cost taxpayers half a billion dollars -- was also a major Obama campaign donor, and his company's loan guarantee was approved despite the government's knowledge that the project was "not ready for prime time." According to Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution, 80 percent of the Energy Department's taxpayer-backed sweetheart loans were "run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers." The Commerce Department's decision to slap tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports just represents more of the same cronyism at work.

Appearing at an Ohio solar plant in 2009, Biden declared that the Obama administration was ready to help America's solar energy manufacturers prepare to "compete with anybody in the world." These new tariffs indicate that the administration recognizes its favored manufacturers can't be competitive on their own.


Interior Looks to Expand Permits for Killing Bald Eagles to Accommodate Wind Energy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the Interior Department, is considering loosening regulations on the killing of bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, to accommodate the development of wind energy sources.

A draft regulation first filed in April would allow businesses to apply for 30-year permits allowing them to kill bald eagles in the course of other legal activities. The length of those permits would be a six-fold increase over the five-year window allowed under current law.

The USFWS explains at

"We have reviewed applications from proponents of renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar power facilities, for programmatic permits to authorize eagle take that may result from both the construction and ongoing operations of renewable energy projects. During our review, it became evident that the 5-year term limit imposed by the 2009 regulations (see 50 CFR 22.26(h)) needed to be extended to better correspond to the timeframe of renewable energy projects."

Current law allows permitting for “programmatic” killing of bald eagles, which “is recurring, is not caused solely by indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term or in a location or locations that cannot be specifically identified.”

The USFWS notes that permits “may authorize lethal take that is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity, such as mortalities caused by collisions with rotating wind turbines.”

According to the regulation, measures will be taken to attempt to minimize bald eagle mortalities, and additional actions may be authorized if mortalities exceed “anticipated” levels. USFWS began investigating numerous bald eagle deaths associated with wind turbines in early 2012.

Without the proper permit, the killing of a bald eagle is a federal crime.


Defense Secretary Proclaims Global Warming Farce to Be a National Security Threat

With an adolescent moonbat in change of the Executive Branch, it should come as no surprise that the international situation is spinning out of control. Fortunately communist-affiliated lifelong leftist hack and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has identified a crisis sure to take everyone’s mind off the Chen Guangcheng fiasco in China and Russia’s threat to blow up NATO missile defenses.

Being an imaginary problem, it can be cured with the imaginary solutions that are all our government has. On Wednesday Panetta declared to the Environmental Defense Fund:
“The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security. Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”

Back on earth, CO2 levels steadily rise, yet the National Weather Service Forecast Office reports:
This has been an extreme winter for sea ice in the Bering Sea and now we have broken the records for most number of days with ice at both Saint Paul Island and Saint George Island.

Like the global warming farce, our rulers have become a tired joke.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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