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TRUMP’S ENERGY PLAN: ‘We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves’

January 22, 2017 Leave a comment

oil rig

 

 

Shortly after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the White House posted the administration’s “America First Energy Plan” on its website.

While the plan lacks specifics about implementation, it lays out a foundation for US energy policy for at least the next four years.

Key highlights from the plan include:

  • Eliminating “harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the US rule,” which would increase American wages by more than $30 billion over the next seven years, according to the administration.
  • Embracing US shale and gas and taking advantage of “the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves.” US shale has finally become cash flow neutral after years of living on debt.
  • Having a commitment to clean coal technology. States like West Virginia and Pennsylvania have been devastated by the collapse of the coal industry.
  • Eliminating US dependence on “the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests.” While the US has eliminated a good portion of its foreign dependence, it still imports 9.4 million barrels a day, according to 2015 data from the US Energy Information Administration.
  • Protecting our environment.

Here’s the whole plan:

“Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.

“For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the US rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

“Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

“The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.

“In addition to being good for our economy, boosting domestic energy production is in America’s national security interest. President Trump is committed to achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.

“Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.

“A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health. Under the Trump Administration’s energy policies, that future can become a reality.”

 

LOL: Trump orders a standing ovation for Hillary and Bill Clinton – and finally gets them to smile

January 22, 2017 Leave a comment

She and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, sat through that ceremony stone-faced

LOL: Trump orders a standing ovation for Hillary and Bill Clinton - and finally gets them to smile

Donald Trump extended an olive branch to Hillary Clinton on Friday afternoon in the form of a 30-second standing ovation for his political nemesis after a luncheon with members of Congress.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1396727.html

And at long last, she offered a broad smile.

Trump’s moment of generosity came after Clinton, the Democratic Party’s unsuccessful White House candidate, braved an inauguration ceremony that she had expected would mark the beginning of her own presidency.

She and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, sat through that ceremony stone-faced, betraying little of the regret and disappointment that comes along with losing the world’s most consequential election.

Adding insult to injury, a pocket of Trump supporters in the crowd chanted ‘Lock her up!’ when the Clintons were introduced.

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8 Most Unhinged Inaugural Media Meltdowns

January 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Press used historic moment to wish ill on Trump’s supporters, whine about Hillary and more

8 Most Unhinged Inaugural Media Meltdowns

Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States, having been sworn in by John Roberts, chief justice of the United States.

“There is a chance that Trump marks the beginning of the end of American democracy. And, yes, there is a good chance that Trump will corrupt the American republic in lasting ways.”

At least the hysterical denial and anger from his detractors and the media is over. Maybe.

But as the moment approached, many in the mainstream media could not help themselves and disgraced journalism and themselves with over-the-top pronouncements of alarm and bitterness.

They fretted. They sweated. They worried. And, of course, they made outrageous comments about Trump as the sand in the hourglass ran out.

‘I Wish You Pain, Trumpers’
Chauncey DeVega of Salon wrote of Trump supporters, “They made a decision that loyalty to whiteness took precedence to a shared sense of humanity and the Common Good.”

Therefore, they almost deserve to suffer, he wrote.

“The butcher’s bill has come due: President Donald Trump is about to victimize his own voters,” Salon titled his essay.

“Our new president’s supporters are likely to suffer from his regressive policies. My compassion is limited,” DeVega wrote. “This is my version of liberal Schadenfreude — with slightly more hostile intent.”

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The Clinton Foundation Is Dead — But The Case Against Hillary Isn’t

January 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton walks on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative. (AP)

While everyone’s been gearing up for President Trump’s inauguration, the Clinton Foundation made a major announcement this week that went by with almost no notice: For all intents and purposes, it’s closing its doors.

In a tax filing, the Clinton Global Initiative said it’s firing 22 staffers and closing its offices, a result of the gusher of foreign money that kept the foundation afloat suddenly drying up after Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.

It proves what we’ve said all along: The Clinton Foundation was little more than an influence-peddling scheme to enrich the Clintons, and had little if anything to do with “charity,” either overseas or in the U.S. That sound you heard starting in November was checkbooks being snapped shut in offices around the world by people who had hoped their donations would buy access to the next president of the United States.

And why not? There was a strong precedent for it in Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. While serving as the nation’s top diplomat, the Clinton Foundation took money from at least seven foreign governments — a clear breach of Clinton’s pledge on taking office that there would be total separation between her duties and the foundation.

Is there a smoking gun? Well, of the 154 private interests who either officially met or had scheduled phone talks with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, at least 85 were donors to the Clinton Foundation or one of its programs.

In November, we asked the question: “Is The Clinton Foundation Doomed?” The answer is yes.

All the way back in May, we outlined how the Clinton Foundation had taken in $100 million from a collection of Gulf sheikhs and billionaires, along with millions from private businesses, who expected — and received — special access to the State Department’s top official, Hillary.

In his 2015 book “Clinton Cash,” author Peter Schweizer showed how during Hillary’s years in government “the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transactions (either as private citizens or government officials) with foreign governments, corporations and private financiers.” He called the sums going to the Clintons “staggering.”

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch in August obtained emails (that had been hidden from investigators) showing that Clinton’s top State Department aide, Huma Abedin, had given “special expedited access to the secretary of state” for those who gave $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Many of those were facilitated by a former executive of the foundation, Doug Band, who headed Teneo, a shell company that managed the Clintons’ affairs.

As part of this elaborate arrangement, Abedin was given special permission to work for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo — another very clear conflict of interest.

As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time, “These new emails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favors to Clinton Foundation donors.”

The seedy saga doesn’t end there. Indeed, there are so many facets to it, some may never be known. But there is still at least one and possibly four active federal investigations into the Clintons’ supposed charity.

Americans aren’t willing to forgive and forget. Earlier this month, the IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans whether they would like President Obama to pardon Hillary for any crimes she may have committed as secretary of state, including the illegal use of an unsecured homebrew email server. Of those queried, 57% said no. So if public sentiment is any guide, the Clintons’ problems may just be beginning.

Writing in the Washington Post in August of 2016, Charles Krauthammer pretty much summed up the whole tawdry tale: “The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc.,” he wrote. “Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons’ lifestyle (offices, travel accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration.”

Except, now there is no Clinton Restoration. So there’s no reason for any donors to give money to the foundation. It lays bare the fiction of a massive “charitable organization,” and shows it for what it was: a scam to sell for cash the waning influence of the Democrats’ pre-eminent power couple. As far as the charity landscape goes, the Clinton Global Initiative won’t be missed.

China’s first aircraft-carrier bares its teeth

January 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Source: The Economist

FOR Admiral Wu Shengli, the commander of China’s navy since 2006, it must have been a sweet swansong to mark his imminent retirement. In November China announced that its first and only aircraft-carrier, the Liaoning, was combat ready. On December 24th its navy duly dispatched an impressive-looking carrier battle-group with three escorting destroyers, a couple of frigates, a corvette and a refuelling ship. It sailed from the northern port of Qingdao down through the Miyako Strait, past Taiwan and into the South China Sea.

Three weeks later the Liaoning (pictured) was back in port having sailed home via the Taiwan Strait, thus completing a loop around the island. The point was not lost on the Taiwanese, who scrambled fighter jets and sent naval ships to monitor the group’s progress. The Chinese ships showed off their firepower, with Shenyang J-15 fighters staging a series of take-off and landing drills. That everything went smoothly was evidence of the navy’s transformation under Admiral Wu (his career perhaps destined by his forename, which means victory). He had meticulously prepared for this moment, which came just four years after the carrier, acquired as a partially built hulk from Ukraine in 1998, formally entered naval service.

China’s deployment of an aircraft-carrier is not a military game-changer. But it is a conspicuous symbol of the country’s ambitions as a maritime and global power. The Liaoning has been a crucial building block for the navy in its evolution from a coastal defence force into what is now a modern navy that China uses to assert its (contested) maritime claims in the East and South China Seas. Within the next 25 years China expects its navy to become a powerful blue-water fleet that can guard China’s sea lanes of communication against any aggressor, push the US Navy beyond the “second island chain” far out into the Pacific (see map) and protect the country’s far-flung commercial interests.

To that end, probably around 2004, China made up its mind that it must have aircraft-carriers. A second, indigenously designed one, based on the Liaoning but with the latest radar and space for more aircraft, is nearing completion at the northern port of Dalian. Many analysts believe that a third such vessel, larger and more complex, is under construction in Shanghai. Andrew Erickson of the US Naval War College says Admiral Wu adopted a “crawl, walk, run” approach to developing a carrier capability, recognising the difficulties involved. Carrier operations are inherently dangerous—America lost 8,500 aircrew in the 40 years to 1988 on its way to reaching what Mr Erickson calls its current “gold standard” of carrier expertise.

Commissioning the Liaoning was a good way to start. Much modified and fettled by the Chinese, the ship is based on the Soviet Kuznetsov-class design. It is big, with a displacement of about 60,000 tons, but nowhere near the size of America’s super-carriers such as the USS Ronald Reagan, which is based in Japan. That Nimitz-class ship displaces around 100,000 tons.

In other ways, too, the Liaoning pales in comparison with America’s 10 Nimitz-class carriers. They can carry more than 55 fixed-wing aircraft. The Liaoning can only handle 24 J-15s (based on the Russian Sukhoi SU-33) and a handful of helicopters. Unlike the American carriers, itlacks a catapult to propel aircraft from its deck. Instead it relies on a “ski-jump” prow to provide extra lift. As a result, the J-15s have to carry a lighter load of weapons and fuel. Heavier, slower airborne early-warning and anti-submarine aircraft cannot take off from the Liaoning at all. That limits the type of missions the ship can perform and makes the vessel vulnerable when operating beyond the range of shore-based aircraft. The Liaoning also depends on a notoriously unreliable Soviet-era design for its steam turbines, which cuts its range and speed compared with the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class carriers.

The US Office of Naval Intelligence has dismissed the Liaoning’s ability to project naval power over a long distance. But the ship does have military value. It can provide air-protection for China’s fleet, and would be a major asset in disaster-relief or evacuation missions. Peter Singer of the New America Foundation, a think-tank, says that a Liaoning-led battle group would also seem pretty formidable to neighbours, such as Vietnam or the Philippines, should China feel like bullying them.

But the main value of the Liaoning is the experience that it is giving the navy in the complex choreography of carrier operations. Those skills will help in the eventual deployment of indigenously designed carriers. The Chinese have been training with catapult-launch systems on land. This has fuelled speculation that the carrier thought to be under construction in Shanghai will be a genuine flat-top. It is possible that the ship will also be nuclear-powered, which could give it the range and speed of American carriers.

It is not clear how many carriers China plans to build. As a rule of thumb, you need three to be certain of having one at sea all the time. Mr Erickson says that some analysts in China have been suggesting a fleet as large as six. Mr Singer thinks it is possible that China’s carriers will one day match the capability of American ones. Mr Erickson says that while China can copy a lot, without combat experience and “tribal knowledge” passed from one crew to another, it will find it hard to attain that level.

China, ironically, has done more than any other country to sow doubts about whether carriers are worth all the effort and expense, by developing shore-based anti-ship ballistic missiles, such as the DF-21D and DF-26, known as “carrier killers”. Submarines are less vulnerable, but highly visible ships bristling with weaponry are still badges of pride for aspiring great powers like China. As in America, the view in China that carriers and status go together will be hard to change.

Trump to target Obama’s climate initiatives -White House website

January 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s administration is committed to eliminating Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan and other environmental initiatives to help boost the oil and gas industry, according to a statement posted on the White House website on Friday.

The announcement echoed pledges Trump frequently made during his campaign to become U.S. president, but their appearance on the White House website makes them his official policy. (http://bit.ly/2iK2JQp)

“President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years,” the website said.

All references to climate change appeared to have been removed from the White House website, a word search showed.

Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday.

Former President Obama’s climate plan proposed cuts to U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, in part by preserving forests and encouraging increased use of cleaner renewable fuels.

Trump has expressed skepticism about whether human activity drives climate change, and he has railed against Obama’s efforts to combat it by targeting carbon dioxide emissions.

Trump has also suggested he could pull the United States out of a climate pact agreed by nearly 200 nations.

The statement on the White House website said that Trump’s efforts to boost the U.S. oil and gas sector would help increase government revenues to “rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure,” and lower the price of energy.

The statement said Trump’s administration would free the nation from dependence on foreign oil, and was “committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.”

An overwhelming majority of scientists say the burning of coal, oil and gas is a driver of global climate change, causing sea level rise and more frequent violent storms.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Richard Valdmanis, Jeffrey Benkoe and Daniel Wallis)

Trump immediately revokes price break for mortgages

January 22, 2017 Leave a comment

MAGA comes at you fast—the rate cut was announced just 11 days ago.

Alan Pyke

As President Donald Trump sat signing paperwork with congressional leaders Friday afternoon, his administration sprang into a strangely specific action: They made it harder for Americans to afford their own homes. And the change specifically will impact lending to the poor.

Just 11 days after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had announced a cut in fee rates for mortgages, Trump’s team revoked the price cut. The small but significant reduction in mortgage insurance premiums had been set to go into effect January 27, but is now “suspended indefinitely,” per an administration letter.

Analysts heralded the fee cut, a policy championed by Democrats, as a significant savings—around $500 per year on a typical loan. It would affect millions of homeowners whose loans are insured through the Federal Housing Administration. It also would have helped prospective home buyers with lower credit scores borrow by bringing the federal version of mortgage insurance down to a more competitive price with private offerings.

Reuters reports that Trump’s team did not offer any explanation of its decision in the letter.

FHA’s premiums have been significantly higher than market rate for years now as the feds fought to clear up a messy balance sheet of loans acquired during the collapse that marked the last presidential transition. The early-January move to slice 25 basis points off the rate was a long time coming. Proponents of the move have argued it was overdue, both because consumers needed the help and because the government’s housing insurance portfolio is now healthy enough to justify lowering rates.

But the announcement had alarmed industry lobbyists and some members of Congress, according to National Mortgage News, prompting the incoming administration to suspend former HUD secretary Julian Castro’s decision.

Whether Trump is moving out of an abundance of caution or a deeper hostility to giving borrowers a break or a desire to restrict access to home loans, at the surface level the decision fits the ideological bent of conservative Republicans.

The GOP has been eager to blame the entire housing collapse on lending to sub-prime borrowers and government policies they believe encouraged irresponsible mortgage offerings. That narrative ignores heaps of evidence that Wall Street greed and massive collusion between lenders, insurers, and ratings agencies were the actual causes of the bubble — and that government housing policy was chasing private money, not leading it.

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