Thursday, May 26, 2011

Obama Calls for Drilling, Gas Prices Fall

President Obama said in his weekly Saturday address on May 14, that he is directing the Department of the Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico, to streamline permitting in these areas, and to "speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic." Speeding up evaluation is very vague and could just as easily be taken to mean that they will hurry up and say "no" to new leases and permits in the Atlantic.

However, on the face of it, this all sounds very friendly to oil development. It may not be true, and probably won't amount to anything, but it has had the effect of causing gasoline prices drop more than 10 cents in the last two weeks. Personally I think it's been 15 or 20 cents. The same thing happened when prices were high under George W. Bush. Just the mention of drilling HERE softens the market speculation and causes futures prices for oil to drop and soon after that retail gasoline follows. Seeing that the mere mention of making oil development easier in the U.S. can drop gasoline prices, Mr. Obama is probably using this fact to get gasoline prices down, making it easier for his re-election, while not actually having to do any actual new drilling and thereby keeping his environmental base happy.

The fact that he puts the old canard out there that oil companies aren't using or developing the leases they do have is straight from the liberal playbook. There are many reasons that oil companies may not use a lease that they hold to drill for oil somewhere. One is the Obama administration's bureaucratic processes and hurdles for getting permits to drill for oil. Another is the cost-effectiveness in drilling in a particular location. Finally, the location of the lease may not have enough, or any, oil.

According to AAA, gasoline prices were $2.77 one year ago. They are on average $3.81 per gallon now. From the consumer's point of view, any downward direction in the price of fuel is going to be appreciated, regardless of whether more drilling permits are given.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

No Official Bin Laden Death Photos - For Now

I agree wholeheartedly with the Obama administration's decision not to release pictures of Osama bin Laden's dead body. The fact that he is shark food at the bottom of the ocean and no longer a source of terrorist activity, murder, mayhem, and jihadist inspiration should be enough satisfaction for those of us in the U.S. and everywhere else in the civilized world who believe that the U.S. government wouldn't lie about THIS. In fact, they could not lie about it because the truth would leak out eventually. And for those that seriously want proof, I am sure they can approach the White House for the DNA evidence and other evidence, which some press outlets like 60 Minutes, The New York Times, or The National Enquirer will likely do. Besides, photographic evidence is almost worthless these days with the easy digital photo manipulation of photographs that goes on.

Already a horrible, fake, dead Osama is floating around on Facebook and probably scaring some kids whose newsfeed it shows up in because some friend or family member commented on it. The fake is really gruesome as I am sure the original is.

What would be the good reason to release the pictures? To assure our enemies the Islamic Jihadist terrorists, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbolla, and Ahmadinejad that we are not lying, Osama really is dead? Will that suddenly convert them to our side? No. We don't even need to think for a second about releasing it for their sakes. Should we release it for the sakes of the people of Afghanistan who may be on the fence about whether to support the U.S./Afghan government or the Taliban? Maybe, if it will convince the leaders and the citizens of Afghanistan that the main source of funds to the Taliban in the past is out of the picture and that they can side with the forces of good, then it may be a useful tool in ending the hostilities in that country.

As far as skeptical governments, the U.S. can work directly with any of these and show them directly all evidence it has, including the photographic evidence. But this is the problem.

Unfortunately, the way the world works today, information can't be kept secret for long if there is a desire for it. Think wikileaks. At some point the real photo will leak out, by someone within the government, or someone who the government shows the evidence to, then the U.S. government will feign anger at the leak, but then admit that the photo or photos are authentic.

It is just a matter of time before evidence or photos of Osama bin Laden's death leak from the sieve that is the U.S. government, so unfortunately, the arguments for or against releasing them are really a moot point.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hell Welcomes Its Newest Resident

Passport to Hell Stamped Approved

Almost ten years after planning, funding, and training fellow jihadists for the attacks of September 11, the founder and leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network, Osama bin Laden is dead, gone from this world thanks to the CIA, the Navy Seals, and other special ops forces, and a strong leadership hand from Barack Obama. You can see the president's statement here.

The U.S. special ops team raided bin Laden's mansion/compound in Islamabad, the CAPITAL of Pakistan, killed the world's leading terrorist, and dragged his body out of there with them, presumably in their Blackhawk helicopter. Later, after gathering the evidence needed for proof of his having been killed (whether DNA or photographic or both, we don't know at this moment) the terrorist's body was buried at sea so that a Muslim tradition of being buried within twenty-four hours of death could be adhered to.

I want to congratulate President Obama for staying strong in terms of wanting to find bin Laden and for not hesitating to go into Pakistan to do it. I remember candidate Obama stating that he would go into Pakistan if necessary to pursue al Qaeda, the Taliban, and bin Laden and he has shown willingness to do so. President Bush wanted very badly to find Osama bin Laden and had seven years to do it. We don't know if it was for lack of trying, or lack of political will, or lack of intelligence on the ground that he didn't find bin Laden. But thank God he has been finally found and brought to justice, and the families of the 9/11 victims and all U.S. citizens and residents, and all civilized peoples can for a moment feel that justice can be served in this world, and that evil people and evil acts can and will be punished at some point in time.

The world is clearly better off without its most notorious terrorist and Islamic radical jihadist, but the coming days could see a spike in terrorist bombings or bombing attempts as al Qaeda cells strive to prove that the fight will go on without their infamous and now deceased leader. It is also clear to all that the war against terror will and must go on until the radical, bloodthirsty wing of a religion that is practiced peacefully by most of its adherents, find nonlethal tools to express themselves. Unfortunately this doesn't seem likely to happen anytime too soon. For the moment at least, we have some good news in the war against civilization - General Osama bin Laden is dead!