It has been a year now since we all awoke on Nov. 9, 2016, to the reality that, against all odds and all predictions by the polls and political “experts,” Donald J. Trump had somehow defeated Hillary Clinton in the race to become the 45th President of the United States. It was a stunning outcome to a seemingly endless campaign, one that had turned into the most vicious and personal presidential contest in modern times.
The oil and gas industry had not supported Trump’s candidacy during the Republican Party’s primary and nominating process, when most contributions from industry executives and company employee PACs flowed to more conventional politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida. The same held true in the general election, during which the vast majority of contributions from industry executives flowed to Clinton.
Despite that slight, Trump made the promotion of policies that support a healthy oil and gas industry a centerpiece of his campaign strategy from beginning to end. During his speeches, the primary and general election debates, and the hundreds of rallies he conducted before crowds of thousands of supporters, candidate Trump talked about issues all too familiar to those in and around the nation’s oil patches: the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, EPA’s Waters of the United States regulatory scheme, the Clean Power Plan and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule.
At a September 2016 rally in Pittsburgh, Trump made a speech that was very typical to what he said throughout his campaign: “I am going to lift the restrictions on American energy and allow this wealth to pour into our communities — including right here in Pennsylvania. The shale energy revolution will unleash massive wealth for American workers and families.”
It was an extraordinary thing. No candidate in modern times from any political party had worked so hard to make energy in general, and the oil and gas industry specifically, such a major part of his or her campaign’s messaging. When seeking support from the oil and gas industry and many others, though, Trump turned off many people with his rhetoric and antics on other matters. His unpredictability made millions of Americans simply uncomfortable with the idea of having this person occupying the highest office in the land. This factor remains true a full year after his election.
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In Episode 2 of Energy Week, David Blackmon and Ryan Ray discuss current dynamics with the domestic rig counts and prices, and the implications they pose for the rest of this year and into 2018. Other topics of discussion include:
- Why electric vehicles still aren’t making a dent in U.S. demand for gasoline-powered cars;
- The heinous abuse of the court system by a professional protester who caused a riot a year ago at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline; and
- Blackmon’s Forbes article advocating for an increase in the federal gasoline tax.
During his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump repeatedly promised he would save the nation’s struggling coal industry by rolling back regulations enacted during the Obama years, and he has made strong efforts to keep his word. But the extent to what the President would be able to do to keep this pledge was always severely limited, by the constitutional limits on presidential powers, the vagaries of the regulatory process, the ability by opponents of his priorities to tie anything he tries to do up in the court system for years, and by the realities of the marketplace.
So it was somewhat ironic and telling that the following two announcements came within a few days of one another:
- On October 6, Luminant announced it would be permanently closing its huge, 1800 mwh coal-fired Monticello power plant in Titus County, Texas by January 2018; and
- On October 9, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his agency would formally propose a new rule to replace the Obama era Clean Power Plan (CPP), following up on the executive order issued by President Trump on March 27.
Mr. Pruitt admitted his agency has no firm proposed substitute at this point, but rather will seek public comment and participation in developing a plan for reducing power plant emissions that would ultimately replace the CPP. Regardless of how that process of public input is conducted, the EPA’s action will be met by strong resistance, as evidenced by the typically inflammatory statement issued by Micheal Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, as cited by the Washington Post:
“With this news, Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt will go down in infamy for launching one of the most egregious attacks ever on public health, our climate, and the safety of every community in the United States. He’s proposing to throw out a plan that would prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of childhood asthma attacks every year.”
Mr. Pruitt can rest assured that his proposal to repeal and replace the CPP will be challenged in the federal courts at every conceivable opportunity not only by anti-development groups like Sierra Club, but also by the many Democratic state attorneys general who have already coordinated suits against several other Trump Administration energy and environment-related proposals.
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Today’s Campaign Update – Supplemental
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- It hadn’t occurred to me when I was compiling the daily Campaign Update in this morning’s wee hours, but in thinking through the week’s events and how Trump’s mind tends to work, it seems to me that yesterday’s replacement of Reince Priebus with DHS Secretary Gen. John Kelly could become a prelude to yet another Trumpian 4-D chess move. Bear with me here…
- There is no question that the President is both frustrated with and very fond of his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. President Trump was caught off-guard by Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Democrat/Media-generated Russia Collusion fantasy play, and has stewed about that decision ever since. At the same time, though, Sessions was and remains one of the President’s earliest and most loyal supporters, and the two obviously like one another.
- But the President definitely wants to move Sessions out of Justice, so that he can appoint a new A/G who can exert some semblance of control over the ever-expanding, obvious witch hunt that Special Counsel Bob Mueller is running. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, the lifetime swamp creature who appointed Mueller, has steadfastly refused to exercise any oversight whatsoever.
- But Trump has been warned by squish GOP senators Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham that the senate would never confirm a new AG nominee if Sessions is fired. Both senators also made it clear they would never allow the President to make a recess appointment for the AG post.
- So what does any of that have to do with the “resignation” by Reince Priebus and his replacement with DHS Secretary Kelly? Well, consider the following possible steps available to the President now:
- Because Sessions has already been confirmed by the Senate for a cabinet post, those squish senators would have no ability whatsoever to interfere if Mr. Trump wanted to replace Kelly at DHS by moving Sessions into that job;
- Because EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has already been confirmed by the Senate for his position, those squish senators would have no ability whatsoever to interfere if Mr. Trump decided to move the former Attorney General of Oklahoma into the Attorney General slot;
- Because Rick Perry has already been confirmed by the Senate for his job as Energy Secretary, those squish senators would have no ability whatsoever to interfere if Mr. Trump decided to move the former Texas Governor into the EPA Administrator slot;
- That would leave a vacancy at the Department of Energy, but so what? Does anyone believe that those squish senators would fall on their swords opposing a new nominee for that job? Please.
- Now, I have no information that the President is in fact thinking along these lines, but given his often-unanticipated moves over the past few years that turned out to shock everyone, we should not be surprise if he has a scenario such as this in the back of his mind.
- Don’t be surprised if the Preibus-for-Kelly trade was just the first in a series of cabinet-level dominoes to fall.
That is all.
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Indications abound that the Russia collusion fantasy play is dead as a doorknob. Here are some examples:
- Writing in the Washington Post, fake columnist David Ignatius, a regular guest on “Morning Joe”, posted a column titled “Working With Russia Might Be The Best Path To Peace In Syria”. I kid you not, somehow a piece with that theme made it past the WaPo’s fake editors, despite the fact that the WaPo has for the last two years been brutally pounding Donald Trump for even thinking such a thing, and the fact that the fake newspaper has willingly participated in supporting a Democrat/fake media-invented fantasy that alleges that Trump is in Vladimir Putin’s pocket.
- Next up is this story in Politico, in which several leading Democrats are quoted moving the goal posts on how the fantasy play’s final scene may eventually play out. Here, instead of alleging that Trump or people associated with this campaign may have somehow coordinated efforts with Russia to “hack” the U.S. election system, the Democrats have now begun to speculate that some nebulous, unidentified “Americans” or “American insiders” – whatever the hell that means – might have been the culprits who held the Russians to….ummmm…to do….welllll….to hack into….ummmm….ok they have no idea what any of this even means.
- Then there is this unintentionally hilarious defense from The Hill of the fake news media’s having to retract a raft of fake stories and fire a bunch of people in recent weeks: “Together, the corrections and retractions amount to only a few stories out of the thousands published every day. But the high-profile nature of the errors hurts the media’s credibility at a time when the press is under more scrutiny than ever before, giving new political ammunition to critics of the mainstream press.” In other words, the fake journalists at The Hill aren’t at all concerned about the fakeness of the stories on the various Democrat fantasy plays, they’re worried that the retractions and firings are helping the public catch onto the truth. Typical.
- And the fakery is not limited to the Russia Collusion fantasy. The Associated Press had to retract a fake story late last week in which it alleged that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is unjustly tilting environmental policy in favor of chemical companies. The key foundation for the story was a meeting the AP said Mr. Pruitt had with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris. The problem is, an investigation by Breitbart revealed that no such meeting ever took place. The AP initially refused to retract or even correct its fake story after Breitbart had notified its fake editors that their mendacity had been discovered, and only relented after the story went viral on Twitter and other social media.
- And hey, occasionally one of these fake news outlets even files a fake story without even knowing it’s fake. Take the NYTimes, for instance, which filed a story on Tuesday about the Crazy Little Fat Guy who runs North Korea. In the story, the NYTimes’ fake writers quote a Twitter account named @DPRK_News, which it identifies as a North Korean state-run media outlet. Only problem is, that Twitter account is a well-known fake. Upon learning of this, the fake editors at the fake newspaper issued a meek “correction” to their fake story.
Seriously, you would think that at some point, these fake editors and reporters would get tired of having to issue all these retractions and corrections, and maybe start focusing on real news. But then, that would make them real editors and reporters, and none of them remember what that even feels like anymore, assuming they ever did.
Just another day in fake news media America.
That is all.
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- Why are liberals openly advocating the assassination of a U.S. President?: New York City’s “Shakespeare In The Park” troupe had a very bad day on Monday, in the wake of the premier of its production of “Julius Caesar”, which portrays the assassination of a central figure who looks an awful lot like President Donald Trump. The inevitable controversy over the play has now resulted in several of the troupe’s major sponsors cancelling their support, including Delta Airlines, Bank of America, and later in the day, American Express. Naturally, Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, which has been dog-whistling in favor of assassinating the President since shortly after he announced his candidacy for the office, announced it sees no problem in continuing its own sponsorship of the troupe. CNN’s own fake journalist, noted plagiarist Fareed Zakaria, described the production on Twitter as “brilliantly interpreted”, and a “masterpiece.” He will no doubt get a raise.
- This “Julius Caesar” production is just the latest in a long line of media/liberal assassination endorsements, following close on the heels of Kathy Griffin’s posing with a mock-up of the President’s severed head, the Snoop Dogg video in which he simulates shooting the President, and the multiple ‘Trump is a monster and who wouldn’t want to kill a monster’ dog-whistles issued daily by the fake journalists and pro-assassination contributors on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and MSNBC.
- One would think that liberals/progressives/socialists/communists in America, most of whom pledge allegiance to the political party that was home to the last assassinated U.S. president, John F. Kennedy, might think twice before so openly advocating for the killing of another POTUS. After all, liberals in 1963 and since love to blame that assassination on the “climate of hate” around Mr. Kennedy as a result of all the negative rhetoric pointed in his direction from conservative and business interests of the time. Yet, these same people now go out of their way to justify the climate of hate they and their friends in the fake news media and entertainment industry have created around President Trump. But then, that would assume that liberals/progressives/socialists/communists actually do engage in some sort of logical, rational thought process, which is of course not the case.
- In the end, those on the political left and their media agents are creating a justification for violence against President Trump in the exact same way that radical Muslim clerics create a justification for violence among their followers. This is a very, very dangerous and un-American game they are playing.
- If this surprises you, you haven’t been paying attention, Part I.: Speaking of liberals playing dangerous games, remember when the liberals who infest the EPA turned an entire river in Colorado and New Mexico yellow, when they accidentally caused the collapse of a pile of tailings from a coal mine? Yeah… Anyway, the Associated Press reports that, according to the EPA’s Inspector General’s office, the agency actually had no rules whatsover governing the conduct of its own employees when they inspect such mines. If true, this would be literally the only aspect of our entire society over which the EPA had failed to develop rules. But then, liberals always – ALWAYS – look to exempt themselves from the rules they wish to impose on everyone else.
- If this surprises you, you haven’t been paying attention, Part II.: Hey, guess what Lifezette reported yesterday? If you guessed that Special Counsel and long-time James Comey crony Robert Mueller is stacking his staff with Hillary Clinton donors, you are the winner. What did you expect, an honest investigation? In Washington DC? Yeah, that was never in the cards.
- Rumors are flying all over Washington that the President is considering firing Mr. Mueller due to his obvious, massive conflicts of interests, and due to the plain and simple fact that he was appointed ostensibly to investigate the Democrat/media-created “Russia collusion” fantasy, which has been repeatedly demonstrated to have never happened. So why continue to farce? It’s a good point. But here’s a better idea: If Bob Mueller wants to demonstrate that he is the “honorable man” he has been portrayed as being by the Democrat/media complex, then how about resigning due to his obvious, massive conflicts of interest? Yeah…that’s not going to happen.
Just another day in Trump Witch Hunt America.
That is all.
Jonathan Swain and Amy Harder at Axios reported on Sunday morning that President Donald Trump has told “confidants” that he has made the decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accords, and will make an announcement soon, most likely this coming week. This report will certainly produce a major backlash from the anti-fossil fuel lobby in the U.S. and globally, which correctly views the commitments made by former President Barack Obama under this executive agreement as the main driving force for increasingly restrictive regulations of the U.S. fossil fuel industries.
But this report, if true, should surprise no one after the President was the only G7 leader who refrained from endorsing the Paris Accords on Saturday, a move that came after one of his advisers had told the media that Mr. Trump’s views related to Paris were “evolving.” This statement was taken by many Paris supporters as an indication that the President might be moving towards changing his mind and keeping the U.S. in the agreement after all.
Such hope by Paris supporters has always seemed like a pipe dream, though, since the Obama commitments within the Paris accord stand in direct opposition to the commitments made by candidate Trump during the 2016 campaign, as well as the energy policy-related actions taken by President Trump since assuming office.
During his campaign, Candidate Trump made pledges to pull the U.S. out of two Obama-era executive agreements – Paris and Iran – centerpieces of his daily stump speech. At every campaign stop, every fundraising event, every one of the campaign rallies before audiences of thousands of people, Donald Trump overtly promised to end U.S. involvement in both of those agreements, which he regularly referred to as “terrible deals” made by “stupid” people. Indeed, this was the overarching theme of his entire campaign – that he is a superior negotiator who would be able to negotiate better deals than these for the country.