Kerry & Obama: Hammering Out The Ukraine Problem

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PaperCoversRock2WebCR-3_25_14

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Putin Painting Peril Per Pulchritude Poultry

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PutinImpressionist2WebCR-3_20_14He might as well cook Obama’s goose AND his turkey … He’s got our eagle down pat, er fat.

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It’s About Time And It’s About Crime

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Some of America’s citizens will say it is very much past time to tie Obama’s errant ways in knots before he has time to completely ruin this county through illegal means. You can follow most of what he has done in the way of shady evasions of custom and laws by perusing the article below.

Fair Use Notice

GOP Begins To Fight Back Against Obama’s Broad Executive Overreach

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Has President Obama’s impunity come to an end?

After five years of his flouting the letter and spirit of the law in an increasingly brazen fashion, congressional Republicans have been starting to ramp up their rhetoric about Obama’s lawlessness, their most concerted effort on the issue to date.

Several new reports from top Republicans underscore the breadth of Obama’s executive overreach. Viewed comprehensively, it involves laws ranging from healthcare to immigration to privacy to technology to social issues to national security matters and more. Scandals like Benghazi, Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, NSA spying, CIA spying on Congress, the Delphi pensions scandal, the auto bailout and others have many unresolved questions – and unmet document and information demands.

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor re-released his 33-page October 2012 report detailing 40 separate examples of “the break-down in the rule of law under the Obama Administration.” This time, Cantor added a nine-page addendum with scores more examples of lawlessness of the administration.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has also issued a three-part series of reports on the matter called “The Legal Limit,” which totals 26 pages of examples of Obama’s lawlessness, legal analysis and details of how courts have rejected the Department of Justice (DOJ) explanations from Attorney General Eric Holder for the Obama power grabs. In his first report, for instance, Cruz details nine cases the DOJ lost in which the Obama administration was seeking—but ultimately failed to achieve—more power.

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the President’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation,” Cruz wrote about them.

A major focus of Cantor’s report is on the administration’s rewriting of Obamacare. With regard to the president’s signature legislation, Cantor writes that the administration “has engaged in a series of ad-hoc announcements that ignore statutory deadlines, waive unwaivable provisions of the law, and even create benefits not authorized in law.”

In 2013 and 2014 alone, Cantor’s report addendum lists 18 examples in which the administration has violated Obamacare as written and passed by Congress.

Obamacare is hardly the only law, however, with which the Obama administration is testing its executive powers. Another area of public policy the administration has heavily leaned on executive authority is with regard to immigration policy.

In Cantor’s original 2012 report, he cited one of the clearest examples of Obama’s executive power grab on immigration: when the president in summer 2012, in a Rose Garden speech alongside then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, used executive authority to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which granted executive amnesty to illegal aliens who say they were minors when they entered the country. Cantor also cited the so-called “Morton memos,” that were written in 2011 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton and established the administration’s use of “prosecutorial discretion” to allow illegal aliens to remain in the United States.

“While the use of prosecutorial discretion is not new, there is a significant difference between its previous narrow application and the establishment of a formal process to systematically, on an ongoing basis, block illegal aliens from being placed into removal proceedings, stop already-initiated removal proceedings, and end deportations for potentially large numbers of criminal aliens,” Cantor wrote about the Morton memos.

Read the rest of the story by following this link:

REST OF THE STORY

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Marita Noon: Obama’s Nonsense SOTU 2014

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Marita pulls truth from Obama’s nonsense.

Link to: Obama’s SOTU: Where are the opportunities?

Greetings!

Last night we saw Denver’s disappointing performance. Last week President Obama had much the same experience. Even his fans have been critical. In my column this week, Obama’s SOTU: Where are the opportunities? (attached and pasted-in-below), I dissect the SOTU looking at the energy implications and add in relevant data and observations. As I am fond of doing, I used the SOTU to connect some dots and introduce some information of which most people are unaware. I think it is a good piece—though it’s response on Townhall has been dismal. For those of you who post my work, I hope it does better for you.

Thanks for posting, passing on and/or personally enjoying Obama’s SOTU: Where are the opportunities?

Marita Noon, Executive Director

Energy Makes America Great, Inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

For immediate release: February 3, 2014

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1246

Obama’s SOTU: Where are the opportunities?

The State of The Union Address (SOTU) reminded me of the idiom, “on one hand, on the other hand.”

On one hand, President Obama extoled efforts to increase fuel efficiency to “help America wean itself off foreign oil.” He touted the new reality of “more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world, the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years.” On the other hand, he promised to use his “authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations”—which is code for more national monuments and endangered species designations that will lock up federal lands from productive use.   

 

Electricity and extreme poverty

Concern was expressed for Americans who “are working more than ever just to get by.” He wants to help Africans “double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty.” But his policies are limiting access to electricity in America and raising the cost (20% in the past 6 years). Higher-cost energy is the most punitive to those struggling “just to get by.”

The “Energy Cost Impacts on American Families, 2001-2013” report found: “Lower-income families are more vulnerable to energy costs than higher-income families because energy represents a larger portion of their household budgets, reducing the amount of income that can be spent on food, housing, health care, and other necessities. Nearly one-third of U.S. households had gross annual incomes less than $30,000 in 2011. Energy costs accounted for an average of 27% of their family budgets, before taking into account any energy assistance.” The report shows the 27% is an 11% increase over the 2001 energy cost impact. For households with an after-tax income higher than $50,000, the 2001 percentage was 5 and the 2013: 9—a 4% increase. For low- and middle-income families, energy costs are now consuming a portion of after-tax household income comparable to that traditionally spent on major categories such as housing, food, and health care—with black, Hispanic and senior households being hit especially hard.

 

All of the above

President Obama took credit for his “‘all of the above’ energy strategy” which, he claims has “moved America closer to energy independence than we have been in decades.” And, regarding natural gas, he says that he’ll “cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work.” POTUS proclaimed: “I’ll act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.” The Department of Energy has dozens of permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities languishing on some bureaucrat’s desk. One of the few approved terminals: Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG Terminal Project in Cameron Parish Louisiana, created more than 2000 jobs in 2013 and looks to create another 2000 jobs in 2014. President Obama, please act on your own here. Cut the red tape and slash the bureaucracy. Let’s get those permits issued.

A January 16, 2013, letter sent to the White House from 18 environmental groups, whose opinions seem to be held in such high regard by the Obama administration, challenged the president’s approach—calling “all of the above” a “compromise that future generations can’t afford.” The letter states: “We believe that continued reliance on an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy would be fundamentally at odds with your goal of cutting carbon pollution and would undermine our nation’s capacity to respond to the threat of climate disruption.” They claim: “an ‘all of the above’ approach that places virtually no limits on whether, when, where or how fossil fuels are extracted ignores the impacts of carbon-intense fuels and is wrong for America’s future.” The groups see it as a threat to “our most sensitive lands.” Despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary, they posit: “clean energy and solutions that have already begun to replace fossil fuels” save Americans money. The letter concludes: “We believe that a climate impact lens should be applied to all decisions regarding new fossil fuel development, and urge that a ‘carbon-reducing clean energy’ strategy rather than an ‘all of the above’ strategy become the operative paradigm for your administration’s energy decisions.”

 

Climate Change

As if an executive decree could make it so, he announced: “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” True, climate change is a fact—the climate changes, always has, always will. But the debate as to what causes it or what should be done about it is far from “settled.” “We have to act with more urgency because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods,” he announced. However, droughts and floods have been going on throughout history when CO2 emissions (which he calls “carbon pollution”) were much lower than today. His solution? “The shift to a cleaner economy,” which gobbles up taxpayer dollars in crony corruption (more than 30 such projects have gone bust since the 2009 stimulus bill released nearly $100 billion for “clean energy”).

A story in the January 25, 2013, Economist titled “European climate policy: worse than useless” starts: “Since climate change was identified as a serious threat to the planet, Europe has been in the vanguard of the effort to mitigate it.” Europe has been the global leader in climate change policies that are, according to The Economist: “dysfunctional.” The “worse than useless” piece states: “Had Europe’s policies worked better, other countries might have been more inclined to emulate the leaders in the field.” It points out that Europe’s “largest source of renewable energy” is wood.

A companion article in the same issue of The Economist, “Europe’s energy woes,” states: “Europeans are more concerned with the cost of climate-change policies than with their benefits. European industries pay three to four times more for gas, and over twice as much for electricity, as American ones.” Calling the EU “a lone front-runner without followers,” the article points out: “it is hard to sell the idea of higher energy prices, particularly when the rest of the world is doing too little to cut greenhouse gases.” Rather than learning from Europe, like a lemming, President Obama apparently wants to lead America off the same “useless” cliff.

 

Minimum wage

He believes that the minimum wage needs to be increased to $10.10 an hour. He wants to “Give America a raise.” Yet, in North Dakota’s boom economy, workers at Walmart and McDonalds are paid in the teens—without government meddling. The best wages are paid with a fully employed workforce. The Keystone XL pipeline would provide thousands of good paying (often union) jobs, but, it was never mentioned in the 2014 SOTU. (By the way, the long-awaited report on Keystone was released on Friday. It found that “the project would have a minimal impact on the environment.” Politico calls the report: “a major disappointment to climate activists.”)

President Obama, you are correct when you say, “opportunity is who we are,” but your policies hurt the poor and block job creation. My question for you echoes what you asked early in the SOTU address: “The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress.” Are you going to help Americans or hinder our opportunities? This question should run through every decision you make in 2014.

On one hand, you say you want to help. On the other hand, everything you do hinders.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Marita Noon: Is This Any Way To Treat The Job Creators

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Greetings!

Each week I work hard to produce a timely, thoughtful column. Every once in a while I run out of time and have to call good enough, good enough. Sometimes, due to my schedule, I do more opinion, less research. I have yet to find any kind of constancy in what gets a big response and what doesn’t.

This week’s column: Is this any way to treat the job creators? (attached and pasted-in-below) was a mix. I had plenty of time and started writing early on Friday. I finished it early on Saturday. I was pleased with it. It was an update on a story I know well—trigged by news. However, Is this any way to treat the job creators? has received one of the lowest quantity of responses of any of my columns! L However, it has garnered several very good and thoughtful comments. J

I hope the poor showing was due to the football games. I choose to believe people were distracted. With that in mind, I hope Is this any way to treat the job creators? will do well for you! Please post it, pass it on and/or personally enjoy Is this any way to treat the job creators?

Thanks! I am off to DC tomorrow.

Marita Noon, Executive Director

EnergyMakesAmericaGreat Inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

 For immediate release: January 20, 2013

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1554

Is this any way to treat the job creators?

It’s no wonder that, as the New York Times (NYT) headline declared: “Growth in jobs slows sharply to 3-year low.” Addressing the Labor Department’s disappointing December Jobs Report, CNNMoney’s headline states: “2013 ends with weakest job growth in years.” USA Today called it a “Big miss” and CNBC’s Jim Cramer sees the 74,000 gain in payrolls as “A disastrous unemployment number.”

USA Today surveyed 37 economists whose median forecast for the December jobs number was a gain of 205,000 jobs.

Not only did the report’s 74,000 jobs gain fall far short of the 205,000 jobs forecast, it is not the only number that portends a job market about which CNNMoney believes: “suddenly looks a lot weaker than economists had thought.” USA Today points out: “For the year, employers added 2.18 million jobs, slightly fewer than 2012’s total of 2.19 million.” It adds: “Payroll growth was weak across the board, with education and health services, a reliable source of job growth even through the recession, adding no jobs.”

The NYT coverage of the report opens: “Just when it seemed as if the economy was finally accelerating, the latest employment figures once again confounded expectation of better days ahead.” Nelson D. Schwartz states: “The one apparent bright spot in Friday’s report—a sharp drop in the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent from 7 percent—was tarnished because it largely resulted from people exiting the work force rather than because they landed jobs. The work force shrank by 347,000 in December, reversing a big gain from November, and returning the proportion of Americans in the labor force to its October level of 62.8 percent, the lowest in 35 years.” He points out: “Areas of the economy that had been healthy for most of 2013 reversed course as the year drew to a close, significantly cutting into overall job creation.” Schwartz concludes: “Employment is still about two million below where it was when the recession started.”

With even the friendlies firing shots at the “disastrous unemployment number,” the White House tried to get out in front of the story by holding a Tuesday, January 14, meeting with the Cabinet, where President Obama aimed to pick up “the pace of his jobs message.” According to the Associated Press (AP), White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer sent out an email Tuesday morning to the White House list of supporters claiming: “The president will use every tool he can to create jobs and opportunities for the middle class.” The AP article highlights Obama’s “determination to use the power of executive orders and administrative actions… to help advance his agenda.”

While I oppose this administration’s fondness for skirting Congress through the use of executive orders, here’s a case where an “executive order or administrative action” could really help “pick up the pace of the jobs message.”

If President Obama truly wanted to “create jobs and opportunities for the middle class,” he could tell the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to work with—instead of against—people and companies who are ready to risk their capital in the development of our natural resources and create jobs.

While I am sure my readers could cite many similar stories, this one involves mining and mules. I have addressed this specific case three times before—first, July 2010, when the USFS approved the “Plan of Operation” for the Finley Basin Exploration Project in Montana.

My first column on this provides thorough details and I encourage you to read it, as you will be appalled by how the USFS works—and now, three and a half years later, it has only gotten worse.

Back in the ‘70s Union Carbide drilled several exploration holes on the site, “which is rated as having moderate to high mineral potential for the majority of the area.” It is believed that there is a minimum of $250 million in tungsten—which we currently import from China—and that the site also has potential copper, silver, molybdenum, and gold.

At the time I originally addressed this project, an Australian company wanted to invest in America, bring outside dollars in, and create jobs by exploring and developing the Finley Claims. But the USFS was so difficult to work with, after spending more that $500,000 over two years, the company finally packed up and went home.

The June 10, 2010, “Decision Memo” states that in order to explore the previously drilled sites, miners will have to “use a team of mules” and that “hand tools will be used to level the drilling pad and clear rocks, debris and any small shrubs.” Additionally, “all disturbances would be reclaimed using hand tools.”

Reading the Decision Memo, one gets the feeling that the USFS would rather not approve the mining proposal, but there were no real grounds not to. While explaining the “rationale” for the decision, the memo states that the company has the “legal right to conduct exploration activities” and that “The role of the Forest Service is to ensure that mining activities minimize adverse environmental effects. Congress has not given the Forest Service authority to unreasonably circumscribe or prohibit reasonably necessary activities under the 1872 General Mining Law that are otherwise lawful.”

After the Australians left, the 276 claims were purchased by experienced miners. Together, the partners in Finley Mining Inc. have more than 80 years experience in mining—with one having expertise in permitting and exploration and the other in project development and products. Because the whole mule idea was unfeasible for the size and weight of the required equipment, the new owners submitted a revised Plan of Operations that allowed for use of the existing road Union Carbide built in the ‘70s. Despite the “Inventoried Roadless Area” designation, the old road is regularly used by off-highway vehicles for recreation. The road is totally usable and doesn’t require any construction. Yet, the USFS is treating the road as “new construction” and therefore denied the plan. The experienced partners have, in the past two-and-a-half years, now submitted five different plans of operation. Each time, the USFS comes back with some new ridiculous questions, such as: “In what order do you plan to drill the holes?”

The frequent excuse revolves around the various regulations—complying with the National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Land Management and Policy Act, and other Environmental Protection Agency rules and regulations. The USFS Specialists claim they are underfunded and understaffed and are unable to do the processes required before granting a permit.

Meanwhile, to hold the claims, these potential job creators, have to pay $40,000 a year to the Bureau of Land Management. They have spent more than $200,000 for applications, preparing the Plan of Operations, and on consultants and are no further along than they were three-plus years ago.

Since the USFS doesn’t have the staff or the budget to comply with the law, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars they’ve already taken in on this one project, Finley Mining Inc. has offered to hire approved contractors who can do the needed surveys.

The Mining Act of 1872, as revised, lays out the rules and regulations in which exploration and production on federal lands can be conducted and does allow for mining activity within Inventoried Roadless Areas—as the original Decision Memo acknowledges. Access cannot be denied to someone who has a claim. Yet, access is denied.

This one project would employ 10 people in the initial exploration phase. Assuming the resource proves up, as the original drilling on these sites indicated, more drilling will take place and, in addition to the drill site workers, biologists, engineers, economists, and geologists will be needed for analysis. If all goes as expected, Finley Mining Inc. projects a minimum of 300 people would be hired for the construction and mining phases. The nearby Stillwater Mining has 1740 employees.

If the USFS encouraged expansion, rather than simply interpreting and enforcing regulations, and managed the forest for the multiple use their mission mandates, the 300 construction workers could now be receiving a paycheck and paying taxes. Instead, we have policy-induced poverty.

If President Obama is serious about using “every tool he can to create jobs and opportunities for the middle class,” instead of appointing a new commission or doing a study, he’d issue an administrative action telling the USFS to comply with the law, to process permits within the 30 days required, and sign off on the Plan of Operations when it meets the existing requirements.

 On Wednesday, January 15, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) spoke at a forum on U.S. energy policy. He addressed the Keystone pipeline, saying that the president’s “delay in deciding the pipelines fate” is making it “harder for a Democrat to defend some of the Washington Democrat’s agenda.” According to the Real Clear Politics report, He also “criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for failing to call a vote on EPA regulation reforms” and is trying to “get Harry to look at the hard-rock mining.”

Yes, if Obama wants to use “every tool he can to create jobs and opportunities for the middle class,” he has plenty of them. The Finley Basin is an easy one. So is approving the Keystone pipeline.

Unfortunately for America’s un—and under—employed, reality tells us that the January 14 promise is just more hyperbole, more campaign-style platitudes. Is this any way to treat the job creators?

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Cobras & “Mongeese”

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Mongooses is the plural of mongoose, but I’ve often wondered why it isn’t mongeese.  according to authoritative books and manuals there are thirty-three species:

Visit: TerrellAfterMath for more political cartoons.

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Tingle Matthews: Obama’s Rating Could Fall To 20s

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The twitching, tingling Chris Matthews has looked up from his Obama reverie … finally found some “sense,” in his change purse of awe for the emperor with no clothes and zero credibility.

“If you can hit Obama on character,” he said, “you can take that 40 percent, which is already eroding, down to about 20.” Obama’s approval numbers are closely tracking those of his wildly unpopular predecessor, George W. Bush. Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro. Related articles

Navigators Wreck ObamaCare On The Putrid Shoals Of Fraud

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Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The image above shows Obama as he signs a packet of lies

ObamaCare and its many components continue to crash and burn due to dishonest Navigators acting as employees supposedly helping folks sign up for ObamaCare.

We tweeted a link to James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Navigator fraud scenarios earlier.  But this time we have posted the latest video showing encouragement from Navigators telling investigator applicants not to report side income and other information that would serve to increase their ObaamaCare premiums.

The video can be found just below:

Wake up and smell the stench Americans!

Conspiracy Brews 10/19/13

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If you like your coffee and your politics flavorful, served with a heaping dose of civility by a diverse group of interesting people from all parts of the political spectrum then you should be joining us every Saturday.  Started in 2007 over coffee and lively conversation by a group of concerned friends and neighbors, ‘Conspiracy Brews’ is committed to finding solutions to some of our State’s toughest problems. Our zest for constructive political discourse is only equaled by our belief that the only way forward is to exchange our views in a relaxed and friendly setting.   For additional information or to be added to our e-mail list contact:  ConspiracyBrews@aol.com.

Conspiracy Brews  

 

Not your average political discussion group!

October 19, 2013

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
at
Southwest Secondary Learning Center

10301 Candelaria Rd NE
(northwest corner of Candelaria and Morris)

We think that government should be open and honest at all times.
People from all political parties are welcome.

 ***Quotes of the Week***

 

“I have a right to my anger, and I don’t want anybody telling me I shouldn’t be, that it’s not nice to be, and that something’s wrong with me because I get angry.’”

Maxine Waters

 

(In honor of our Congress Wednesday)

“It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race.”

Mark Twain

 

Suggested Topics

 

– How important are School Board Elections?

 

 – What do you see as the aftermath of the Congressional Budget Action?

 

– Who do you see running for CD 1?

 

 

 (Light Quotes of the week)

“It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English – up to fifty words used in correct context – no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese.”

Carl Sagan

 

“Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes.  There’s just too much fraternizing with the enemy.”

Henry Kissinger


“The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrates allow the poor to be corrupt too.”

Oscar Levant

Solar: Obama’s Proxy War In The Desert

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Marita is here again with her usual intelligent analysis and pointed stick for poking silly people and ignorant ideas coming from those sillies.  I could post her article by itself, but I believe the reader benefits a great deal in reading her introduction.

Here’s Marita!

Link  to: Solar: Obama’s proxy war in the desert

Greetings!

I’d planned to write on Australia’s election and what it means for the global warming agenda. Then, I looked at this week’s schedule and realized that there was a hearing that I need to rally folks for in New Mexico on September 10—tomorrow. That realization shifted my topic to net metering—which is a big battle in Arizona, and a smaller one in New Mexico. While the New Mexico hearing is tomorrow, the Arizona fight has national implications. Please read Solar: Obama’s proxy war in the desert (attached and pasted-in-below) to get the full picture.

I’ve done something unique with Solar: Obama’s proxy war in the desert. I’ve added a link to a petition in the text. I created a petition over the weekend and had it ready to go live in time for the publication of Solar: Obama’s proxy war in the desert on Townhall.com. It has been fun to watch the petition numbers climb and read the accompanying comments. It is at 65 signers so far. This will be part of a larger campaign. Hopefully, together, we can get the public involvement up.

I always appreciate your help in spreading the word. Please post, pass on, and/or personally enjoy Solar: Obama’s proxy war in the desert.

Next week: Australia!

Marita Noon, Executive Director

EnergyMakesAmericaGreat Inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1489

Solar: Obama’s proxy war in the desert

Syria isn’t the only battle into which President Obama is injecting himself where he doesn’t belong. True, on a global scale, Arizona’s fight over net metering seems insignificant. However, on a personal scale, what is taking place in Arizona’s sunny desert has the potential to directly impact far more Americans than the shots being fired in Syria’s desert.

Syria’s conflict is often called a proxy war in that it is an indirect confrontation between superpowers via substitute actors. According to the definition of a proxy war found on the Intro to global security blog, “Modern non-state actors do not necessarily want to take over territory or a government; most use the expanding global communication network to levy resources (human or otherwise) and generate wealth and political/ideological power.” By that definition, Arizona’s net metering debate is Obama’s proxy war in the desert.

To understand Obama’s proxy war in the desert, you have to understand the intentionally confusing term: net metering.

Simply, net metering is the process through which homeowners with rooftop solar panels are paid by the local utility company for the excess power they produce. In its report on net metering, the Institute for Energy Research defines it this way: Net metering “allows people who generate electricity on their homes and businesses to sell electricity back to the grid when their generation exceeds their usage.” Sales pitches for rooftop solar often explain net metering as the electric meter running backwards.

Net metering has been around since the early 80s when solar panels were expensive and few people had them. But the dynamics changed drastically when states began passing renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that required predetermined percentages of electricity be generated from renewable sources—some even specified which sources are part the mix and how much of the resource was required. For example, in my home state of New Mexico, the Diversification Rule requires that 1.5 percent of the RPS must be met by “distributed generation” (read: rooftop solar). Arizona requires 30 percent of the RPS be derived from “distributed energy technologies” (once again, rooftop solar).

To meet the mandates, utility companies agreed to pay, what essentially amounts to, full retail rates for the excess electricity being generated by the solar panels. Often the combination of the electricity the homeowner buys from the utility (at night) and what they sell back (during the day) gives them a utility bill of nearly zero. Yet they are still using power from the electric company; they are still plugged into the grid. Grid maintenance, transmission lines and transformers, customer service, and other costs that are part of providing consistent, steady electricity to homes and businesses have historically been borne by everyone using it. Most people don’t think about it; it is just part of the bill.

Anyone who has ever owned a business, knows that you won’t survive for long when you are buying your product at retail and selling it for retail, as there are many additional costs between wholesale and retail. Yet, this is what utility companies are being forced to do through the net metering agreements that were made back when solar was in its infancy and customers needed to be incentivized to install solar panels so that the utility could purchase the power to meet the mandates. When there were only a few solar installations, the loss to the utility had a very small impact. But now, with the numbers increasing, the loss is larger. That loss is being carried by the entire rate base and taking money from family budgets.

The Institute for Energy Research explains:

The option to utilize solar is principally available for those people who own their own homes, rental properties or businesses. This means that most solar energy installations and all of the government benefits flow to Americans of some means. Despite the steep drop in solar panel prices over the last few years, PV is still a pricey option that is unattainable for most. Therefore, more affluent Americans tend to be the beneficiaries of federal, state and local subsidies, mandates, and utility reimbursement for excess power generation that solar systems may provide. The unintended outcome of the wealthier utility customers enjoying the benefits of net metering subsidies at the expense of their lower-income neighbors has been labeled the “reverse Robin Hood effect.”

Even the New York Times acknowledges that the economics of rooftop solar “depend on government incentives and mandates.” All Arizonians are paying for the few who can afford the up-front costs of solar panel installation—not just through the taxpayer-funded state and federal subsidies, but through their increasing utility rates that are unfairly punishing those who can least afford them.

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is currently considering revising the generous credits offered to customers with rooftop solar. The ACC has two plans before it aimed at making up for the lost revenues without the majority of the rate base having to subsidize their wealthier neighbors. One has residential solar customers selling electricity to the grid paying a monthly “convenience fee” for the use and maintenance of the grid and the related expenses. The second, would reduce the credit, which customers with new solar installations would receive, making it comparable to market rates the utility pays other power generators. Those who currently (installed up through mid-October) have rooftop systems would be “grandfathered” in.

“In a lot of ways, Arizona represents ground zero in the debate about how to create a sustainable system for compensating solar rooftop customers,” explains Lance Brown, Executive Director of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE). “We’re talking about a state that is rich in solar resources and that has a mature community of customers who have invested in residential solar. The problem is that the model for paying solar customers for their power generation is utterly unsustainable.

“States that are contemplating how to treat residential solar customers face the fundamental question of how to fairly compensate customers for generation without unfairly shifting the burden of fixed costs to non-solar customers,” adds Brown. “Paying solar customers three and four times the cost of retail generation clearly isn’t the answer. Rather, regulators are going to have to scale back net metering rates and ensure that everyone who is hooked to the grid pays for the fixed costs of maintaining it.”

Many states, including Arizona, are looking at policy adjustments as well. (The New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission has a public hearing regarding its revisions on September 10 in Santa Fe.)

Subsidy-loving President Obama has launched an Arizona-specific campaign lauding those who have made “the switch” to solar and demanding that the ACC protects “full credit for clean energy.” If solar users paid for the panels on their own and cut the cord to the utility, then they truly have made the switch—as the rules stand now, they are just milking the system.

Obama’s involvement shows how important Arizona is to his desired national energy policy—supporting the inefficient, ineffective, and uneconomical models that line the pockets of his friends, while punishing the energy that makes America great. He is using the “global communication network to levy resources (human or otherwise) and generate wealth and political/ideological power.” If the “reverse Robin Hood” policies are modified, the surging purchase and installation of solar panels will slow and more solar companies, funded through the nearly 100 billion of taxpayer dollars allotted to green energy through the 2009 stimulus bill, will go bankrupt. It is in Obama’s best interest to keep these policies that only exist because they “depend on government incentives and mandates” in place—but it is not in Arizona’s best interest, nor America’s. These policies “generate wealth” for Obama’s friends and “political/ideological power” for him.

It is not about whether or not you like rooftop-generated solar electricity, it is about whether or not the subsidized industry continues to make solar executives rich on the back of the average American. It is about continuing, or ending, the crony corruption that fills the solar industry. If you agree that it is time to end the solar subsidies and generous residential credits and that solar customers need to pay their share of grid maintenance and other non-generation costs, please sign the petition to tell the ACC that you support the proposed revisions.

Edward Fenster, chief executive of SunRun (which has received stimulus funds and is under a federal probe), believes “the next six-12 months are the watershed moment for distributed energy.” He, of course, supports continuing the subsidies for solar power and understands that if his side succeeds, it will “dissuade utilities with net metering programs elsewhere from undoing them.”

The saying is usually “as California goes, so goes the nation.” In the case of generous solar credits, as Arizona goes, so goes the nation—which is why Obama’s proxy war in the desert has the potential to directly impact far more Americans than the shots being fired in Syria’s desert.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.