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It’s Long Past Time for America’s NATO “Allies” to Move out of the Damn House

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

More fireworks than the 4th of July.  – So, NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison has her work cut out for her today, as President Donald Trump (I never tire of typing those three words) meets with his counterparts at the fellow NATO member nations and follows that with a one-on-one settee with the execrable German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

The President already lit off the first volley of bottle rockets upon landing in Brussels, where the conference is being held, telling the assembled bunch of fake international journalists that…

“Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which he has previously criticised.

“Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.”

“These countries have to step it up — not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately,” Trump said.

“We’re protecting Germany, France and everybody… this has been going on for decades,” Trump said. “We’re not going to put up with it, we can’t put up with it and it’s inappropriate.”

Ok, well, there you go.  That’s the U.S. relationship with NATO in a nutshell.  It actually has been the U.S. relationship with NATO for decades, but Mr. Trump is just the first U.S. president who’s been willing to state the truth of the matter publicly.  His predecessors, on the rare occasions when they even raised the subject of the European nations’ failure to live up to their funding obligations, did so privately, and obviously without effect.  This way, they avoided embarrassing their laggard counterparts and preserved the “international order” they were all so focused on preserving.

But Trump’s a businessman, and could not give a damn about preserving the “international order” about which EU President Donald Tusk (can that really be his real name?) chastised Mr. Trump on Tuesday:

“Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many,” Tusk said, before reminding Trump that European troops had come to America’s aid following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

“Please remember this tomorrow when we meet at the NATO summit, but above all when you meet President Putin in Helsinki. It is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem,” he said.

But see, the thing is that President Trump correctly identifies NATO “allies” like Germany and Turkey as every bit the “strategic problems” for the United States of America that Russia represents.  The first obvious fact is the stark reality that Russia presents no serious military threat to the U.S., yet Germany and the other NATO countries expect the U.S. to continue funding the majority of NATO expenses and spending tens of billions of its dollars every year defending an increasingly hostile Europe from a Russian invasion, just as it has done for the past 73 years.

The European “allies” demand all of this ongoing U.S. largess while at the same time levying draconian tariffs on imports of American-made goods and importing their natural gas from the very country – Russia – from which they contend they must have ongoing U.S. military protection.

The U.S. relationship with its NATO “allies” is almost perfectly analogous to the couple in upstate New York who recently  had to sue their 30 year-old son to force him to move out of the damn house.  In the lawsuit, the son contended that his parents had an obligation to just keep funding his layabout lifestyle and allow him to keep living in their home for as long as he wanted to do so.

When World War II came to a final, blessed end in 1945, Germany and much of the rest of Western Europe was in a shambles.  Meanwhile, Eastern Europe had been sadly absorbed into the communist orbit of the Soviet Union, which was, along with the U.S., one of the world’s two major military powers.  Western Europe needed the protection and support of the United States, and we gave it to them.  This was a mutually-advantageous relationship, since it also served what were at the time the strategic interests of the U.S.

Today, the Soviet Union has been dead for 29 years.  Russia remains a military power, but is also a country that hardly possesses the financial resources to mount an invasion of Crimea, much less Western Europe.  It is long past time for our NATO “allies” to stop occupying a bedroom in America’s home, go out and get a job, and pay their own way.  “Paying their own way” means ponying up 2 percent of their GDP (the U.S. currently spends about 5 percent) to pay for real military establishments to protect their own borders.  Please note that this is not a U.S. demand – this is an obligation they all agreed to live up to when they became NATO members.  They are all delinquent in meeting this contractual obligation, and they need to stop acting like spoiled children and pony up.

That’s the clear message that Daddy Donald Trump will be delivering today to Tusk, Merkel, May and the boy princes who rule France and Canada, and it’s a message they all need to heed.  Because Daddy Trump isn’t going to be impeached, most likely has another six and a half years to serve in office, and he’s not fooling around.

Ambassador Hutchison is going to have a long and difficult day.  But she’s tough, and can take it.

Just another day Donald Trump isn’t fooling around America.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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On This Earth Day, Thank Mother Earth for the Gift of Fossil Fuels

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

Today is Earth Day, and it is the perfect time to celebrate the natural resources like oil, natural gas and coal, which are gifts to humanity from Mother Earth herself.  These indispensable drivers of modern society will no doubt be demonized today amid all the frightful doom and gloom predictions that will be launched by environmental activists and repeated by various media outlets.

All the vitriol directed at these fossil fuels by the environmental community notwithstanding, it is a simple fact that our prosperous, modern, energy-hungry society was made possible by the existence of these fuels.  Without the discovery of and ability to produce fossil fuels, it is likely that mankind would still be mired in a primitive form of existence, reliant on burning wood for heat, horses for transportation, and still living largely in the dark after nightfall.

Without the miracle of the petroleum-fueled internal combustion engine, there would be no automobiles – or primitive ones at best – dirigibles would probably still be our main mode of air transportation, there would have been no space program to drive all the technological advancement of the second half of the 20th century.  Without those things, there would be no high tech industry to speak of, no Internet, and thus no ability to read what I’m writing here.

But what about wind, solar and nuclear?  The production of modern wind turbines, solar panels and nuclear power plants is extremely energy-intensive enterprises, and is by and large powered by the burning of fossil fuels.  In other words, without the massive energy levels generated by the fossil fuel chicken, the “green” energy eggs would not have been possible.  Few of those gigantic wind turbines you see dotting landscapes across America will, in their entire useful lifetime, generate as much power as was required to fabricate them, transport them to their locations, and erect them.

And on this particular day we should all be doubly thankful for the recent discovery of the means – hydraulic fracturing, combined with horizontal drilling – of producing oil and natural gas from shale rock formations.  Because while Europe continues to struggle with failing “cap and trade” carbon trading schemes that haven’t reduced that continent’s greenhouse gas emissions, those same emissions have been reduced in the US to pre-1994 levels through increased use of natural gas in the power generation sector.  Thus, while radicals in the “green” community have done everything they can to turn “fracking” into their cause du jour for limiting or banning, the product of their boogeyman has done more to clean the air through the free market than any of the myriad command and control regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

So on this 49th celebration of Earth Day, let’s all try to remember that one of the greatest gifts Mother Earth has ever given us is the fossil fuels that make such worldwide celebrations possible.

Meanwhile, as you will no doubt be assaulted all day today with all manner of frightful scenarios about our future environmental challenges, you might find it edifying to review similar pronouncements made by the environmental luminaries of the day at the inaugural Earth Day celebration:

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, PakistanChina and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” – Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”  – Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

And my very favorite of them all:

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” – Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Have a great Earth Day today.

Just another day in fossil-fueled America.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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The Eagle Ford Shale Finally Gets A Little Media Love

For most of the past year, the ongoing boom in the Permian Basin has sucked all the oxygen out of the room in terms of media reporting on the oil and gas industry in Texas.  The mergers and acquisitions frenzy of 2016 raised per-acre acquisition costs to $40,000, and that in turn led a rapid rise in the Permian’s rig count and subsequent drilling boom to take advantage of the higher oil prices that came about at the end of the year.  That story, which has resulted in the Permian’s becoming not only the nation’s largest oil producing basin, but also it’s second largest natural gas producing basin (more on that next week), is very compelling and needed to be told.

But the last year has seen another compelling growth story come about in the state’s other major oil play, the Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas.  It’s a story in which the region’s rig count has more than tripled in a year, from less than 30 to more than 90, in which new-well productivity has more than doubled in less than two years, and in which the economic driver that turned this historically poor region into the nation’s hottest economic development area from 2011 thru mid-2014 has begun to rise again.

Read The Full Piece

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Is The Constantly Changing Natural Gas Market About To Change Again?

The growing glut of natural gas on the global market – spurred in part by increased exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by U.S. producers over the last year – reminds us of the dynamic nature of the domestic natural gas market, and the role shifting public policies have played into that over the years.

My own frame of reference here begins during the summers of 1977 and 1978, when I earned college tuition money by taking summer jobs on pipeline crews in deep South Texas.  In 1978, the Congress and the Carter Administration had become convinced by some really bad science that the U.S. would actually run out of natural gas in a few decades, and thus needed to conserve what little remaining reserves it had on-hand for home heating usage.  Acting on this belief, then-President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA) and the Fuel Use Act (FUA), both of which had major impacts on natural gas markets, and both of which inhibited investment in new natural gas-buring infrastructure.

The NGPA discouraged investment in drilling for new natural gas reserves by allowing the federal government to establish ceiling prices producers could receive for various categories of natural gas that were established under the law.  The FUA was even more prohibitive on the demand side of the natural gas ledger, prohibiting utility companies from building new gas-fired power plants.  The result?  A Democratic Administration ironically actively encouraged the building of dozens of new coal-fired and nuclear power plants all over the United States, many of which are still operating, much to the chagrin of today’s climate alarm lobby.

 

Read The Full Piece Here

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