Whether we're watching television news, reading newspaper accounts of what's happening in our nation's capital, or just reading the letters to the editor section of our local paper, it's often all the same . . . political gamesmanship.
Gone is respect for our Constitution. Gone is respect for the rule of law. Gone is respect for our nation's sovereignty. Gone is respect for the opinion of others. Gone is the willingness to "selflessly" contribute to our political process. Gone is the free press impartiality. Gone is the strength to be accountable. All these things and more, seem to have been erased from our national character. Political and/or personal gain has taken precedent over what is the right thing to do.
The Constitution is ignored as the president takes actions beyond his prescribed authority. The courts point out he is violating the Constitution, and he petulantly seeks ways to circumvent their rulings. When the House of Representatives, the "people's" house, withholds funding from the budget process for those things the courts have said are not Constitutionally allowed, partisan politics intervene. The president's party filibusters the budget because they want those illegal functions to be funded. A game of politics is played, all designed to make the Republicans look responsible for a mythical government shutdown. The sycophantic press does its best to support the Democrat's strategy.
Somewhat lost in that on-going game of politics is that the president's action not only violates the Constitution, it removes the sovereignty of our nation by allowing non-citizens to freely enter our country. While the president and his party defend their position, little notice is taken by the press to show the strictness of Mexico's immigration policy and how that country treats illegal immigrants to that country as "felons".
It has become evident that too many of those in politics seek both power to control and "purse" enrichment. For example:
In spite of over six years of study by the State Department, which found that the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would not harm the environment, the president vetoed the legislation that would have allowed the project to proceed. Could it be that the reason for the president doing so is to give a payback to influential donors?
— Tom Steyer, became a billionaire by starting his own "hedge fund", Farallon. According to an article in the 8-7-14 issue of Forbes magazine, as of that date, Steyer had already contributed over $20 million to Democrats for the 2014 off year elections, but that was only a start. The L.A. Times cited Steyer's enthusiasm for going green as evidenced by his incredible total 2014 political donations to the Democrats . . . $74 million dollars.
— Steyer built his fortune by investing in coal, particularly in Asia. It has been estimated that his former investments in coal contributed to a growth of 87.5 percent in coal production by those companies. Steyer claims to be divesting himself of those investments in favor of green energy. And, he vehemently protests the Keystone pipeline project. It is reasonable to assume that his desire to kill Keystone is to enhance his investments in green energy.
Another person of note, Warren Buffett, became the second richest person in this country by making exceedingly wise investments. In just about every case, he invests in companies he deems to have a solid market for their goods or services, are well focused, and have solid, in place management. One such investment has been in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF). He purchased the company for $36 billion dollars in 2009, and has invested billions more in upgrading the track beds, and is currently investing billions more to upgrade the rail tank cars.
An article in the NY Times indicated that the cost to transport oil via railroad is two to three times more expensive than by pipeline. The estimate shown by the NYT is that pipeline transport per barrel is $5, while the railroad transport per barrel is between $10 and $15. Other estimates have shown the cost per barrel difference to be between $10 for pipeline and upwards of $30 for railroad. What ever the cost, it is subsequently passed on the the consumer
One significant point that needs to be made concerning the volume of barrels each transportation medium can deliver. In an article in the Christian Science Monitor, the Association of American Railroads claimed than in a four month period, railroads transported a total of 97,135 carloads of oil, or roughly 24,284 carloads per month. Each carload carries about 700 barrels of oil so that would equate to 17 million barrels per month. On the other hand, the Keystone pipeline has the capability of transporting 830,000 barrels of oil per day, or roughly 24.9 million barrels per month. Further, countless studies have shown that transport by pipeline is far safer to both the community and the environment than is rail transport. According to a report in McClatchy newspapers, in an analysis of federal data, more crude oil was spilled in 2013 in railroad incidents than in the previous four decades.
Keystone has been studied for over six years and found to be a benefit environmentally. It is a proven less costly and safer method of transport. The project would be a boon to a labor market that currently has the lowest employment rate since 1978. Its completion would ensure our energy independence . . . a goal set for the Department of Energy when it was first established in 1977.
Are the investments of Tom Steyer and Warren Buffet more important than the benefits of Keystone to our economy and our country?
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
- Category: Columns
- Hits: 886