Oh man, it’s media day in our year-end Three Martini Lunch awards and Jim and Greg are holding nothing back. Specifically, they look at the stories the mainstream media covered far too much, the ones they conveniently ignored because they didn’t fit their narrative, and what they saw as the best stories of 2019.
It’s finally Friday of a very busy week! Jim and Greg have plenty to say about a member of the House Democratic leadership admitting to CNN that the Democrats may never send the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate unless Mitch McConnell agrees to the demands of Democrats for how the trial of President Trump ought to be structured. They also hammer Joe Biden, who admitted that he’s willing to kill thousands – possibly hundreds of thousands of jobs in the energy sector – because he’s supremely confident the green economy will offer just as many opportunities for great jobs. And they are the glad the holidays are right around the corner as Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate descends into discussions of wine caves and selfies.
Starting Monday, Jim and Greg will begin their six-episode Three Martini Lunch Awards for 2019. They each hand out 18 awards in categories ranging from overrated and underrated political figures to rising and fading political figures to the best and worst political ideas of the year, eventually working up to their choices for person of the year. Enjoy these special episodes and let us know what you think of our choices and share who you would choose!
In the second half of our interview with Conservative Partnership Institute Chairman Jim DeMint, the former U.S. senator and co-author of “Conservative: What to Keep,” DeMint explains how conservatives want to help people who are struggling without making them dependent upon government.
He also walks us through a number of conservative policy ideas and innovations to improve our nation, including Education Savings Accounts and converting vehicles to run on natural gas.
Listen to the full podcast as DeMint also tells Greg Corombos why there isn’t much appetite for policy innovation in Congress these days and how people can come together around possible policy solutions in an era when the partisan divide seems wider than ever.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America oppose pretty much every big government plan being pushed by Bernie Sanders but they welcome his honesty that big tax hikes will be required to pay for his agenda. They also cringe as Department of Energy tarnishes a wonderful program to become a more prominent supplier of natural gas to other nations by referring to the gas as “molecules of freedom.” And Jim and Greg discuss Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to confirm a Supreme Court nominee if a vacancy opens up in 2020.
Regardless of the shifting contents of the Green New Deal, a former Texas lawmaker and energy policy expert says the agenda would greatly increase the cost of living for Americans and hides the fact that renewable technologies like wind and solar create large amounts of radioactive waste.
“It’s a massive grab for government. The plans keep changing . You see papers getting pulled off of websites that reference cow farts. I’ve said since last year that the next thing you know they’ll be coming after our food supply. That’s exactly what was published on a website by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and then later pulled down.
“This is really just about growing government, taking control from the people and really changing us from a representative republic to a socialist country,” said former Texas State Rep. Jason Isaac, who is now Senior Manager and Distinguished Fellow of Life: Powered at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Isaac also says this hardly the time for another New Deal, since the original version from President Franklin D. Roosevelt came at a time of economic peril.
“Now we’re in this economic force, this time frame where record-low unemployment, wages are going up. Great things are happening in our country so now the last thing we need is a New Deal and certainly not a green one,” said Isaac.
America recently became a net exporter of energy, which Isaac says is raising the standards of living around the world.
“What we’ve seen over the last ten years, as more people get access to energy, we’re seeing poverty decrease. We’re seeing life expectancy increase. We’re seeing illiteracy decrease. We’re seeing wonderful things because more people around the globe are getting access to our energy,” said Isaac.
He also warns that other nations have already traveled down the path towards a green economy. He cites Germany, where residents see their energy bills tripled and the nation dependent upon Russia for energy.
“Could you imagine paying three times what you’re currently paying for your electric bill. I couldn’t. I couldn’t stand for it. It wouldn’t fit in my budget. That would be a major impact on Americans, and it would impact the least among us more than anyone,” said Isaac.
While Ocasio-Cortez says a green economy is the wave of the future, Isaac cautions that renewables cannot begin to make up for the energy demand covered by oil, gas, and coal. In addition, mining for the rare earth elements needed for the renewable industry creates its own environmental problems.
“For every ton of rare earth elements that you get, you produce one ton of radioactive waste. You just don’t hear about that ever. So, every time we promote wind and solar, we’re actually promoting radioactive waste,” said Isaac.
American energy is booming at levels virtually unthinkable a decade ago, but will the good times continue or get derailed by the Green New Deal?
American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers explains how the U.S. grew from energy dependence to a net exporter of energy in recent years and who deserves the credit.
He also tells us why the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico could help the energy sector even more and why he believes the Green New Deal is not grounded in reality.
Progressives like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are embracing a “Green New Deal,” aimed at saving the planet from the effects of climate change, but what does the plan really call for, is it realistic, and what would be the impact on the U.S. if we pursue it?
To begin, the Green New Deal calls for and to fossil fuels and cars that use them by 2030.
Power the Future Executive Director Daniel Turner says that’s where it starts but it gives the government power over many different areas of our lives.
“They call it the Green New Deal and it’s sort of under this guise of caring about the environment. But the Green New Deal also talks about things like a guaranteed living wage for all Americans, a guaranteed job for all Americans, free education, free health care.
“This is what the left does a lot. They take something like the earth and say everyone wants a clean earth. We want a clean earth. We want clean air and clean water, as do I. But then they sneak in all these other provisions that have nothing to do with green.
“It sounds like the New Deal of FDR. It is just an over-encroachment of government in the lives of Americans. That’s why they try to hide some of those other details,” said Turner.
Listen to the full podcast as Turner explains why it is literally impossible to abandon fossil fuels by 2030, what would happen to our country and our economy if we could, and what the cost of all this would be on taxpayers.
The Trump administration is advancing plans to open up the vast majority of the Outer Continental Shelf to energy exploration and development, a move that a leading national security voice in Congress says will be another major boost to our economy and protect American interests by end any dependence upon rogue states that sit on a lot of oil.
On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced he was moving forward with ambitious plans to increase America’s domestic energy supplies.
Zinke says the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program “proposes to make over 90 percent of the total OCS acreage and more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development.”
He says that is a dramatic shift from the policies of the Obama administration.
“By comparison, the current program puts 94 percent of the OCS off limits. In addition, the program proposes the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history,” he said.
Wittman says the Obama administration often pointed out that it allowed energy companies to locate deposits of oil and gas but companies refused because they knew the government would deny them leases to actually extract the energy, making the exploration costly and pointless.
Zinke notes that the 47 potential lease sales as part of the Draft Proposed Program, including “19 sales off the coast of Alaska, 7 in the Pacific Region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and 9 in the Atlantic Region.”
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Virginia, sits on the House Natural Resources Committee and is thrilled with this development.
“I think this is a giant move,” said Whitman who, unlike some other congressional Republicans, says he would be fine with productive, safe energy production off the coast of his state.
Wittman points out there is much more process to go through to get the production going. There are multiple public comment periods and other hurdles to clear, including putting together the infrastructure to determine where oil and gas can be tapped on the Outer Continental Shelf.
For his district in southeast Virginia, the impact of energy production on the operations of the U.S. Navy will be a key issue to address.
When it does come, he expects the first action to come in the Gulf of Mexico since the infrastructure is better built there.
While activists and lawmakers in both parties worry about the environmental impact, Wittman says the technology is getting better all the time.
“I believe we can put the proper controls into place to protect the environment but also develop our energy offshore. I think this is a significant step forward and certainly cements United States energy security well into the future,” said Wittman.
He says disasters like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion offered many lessons for energy producers.
“There’s been some criticism that the lessons learned in Deepwater Horizon haven’t been put in place in the regulatory realm. I think where that should be reflected is in the permitting realm. Make sure the permitting is there with the proper construction guidelines and protections. Those are absolutely critical,” said Wittman.
He says many critics forget that Deepwater Horizon was a result of human error, trying to stretch equipment beyond what it was capable of doing.
While critics of the plan, including many Democrats, believe our national energy policy ought to be focused on renewable forms of energy, Wittman says reality dictates that this type of exploration and production is essential to meet our needs.
“You’re going to have to have hydrocarbons as part of that future energy portfolio. If we don’t, then we put the United States at a distinct strategic and economic disadvantage. We do not want to do that,” said Wittman, who says efficient production and use of traditional energy sources will provide more time to develop more effective renewable options.
If the Zinke plan does come to fruition, Wittman expects it to be an economic windfall for Virginia and other states.
“For Virginia, it would mean thousands of jobs, not only in the construction but also the maintenance of these rigs. Remember, there are boats that go back and forth to tend these rigs. There are highly skilled technicians that operate these rigs. There’s a whole maritime industry that goes with it,” said Wittman.
Wittman also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and chairs its Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee. He says energy production brings national security by providing economic security.
“We have seen in the past when we are at the mercy of nations that don’t like us and are aggressively going after us by trying to kill our men and women around the world that serve this nation in uniform and then we rely on them for our energy. That’s a not a good strategic situation to be in,” said Wittman.
“And it gives us the ability to create better situations around the world because we’re not held hostage to relying on those nations for our energy,” he added.
Congress does not need to authorize the program. However, liberal interest groups are likely to slow it down in court. Wittman denounces lawsuits designed solely to grind policy to a halt. He says the bottom line is that the executive branch has the power to do this regardless of whether all Americans support the plan.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke for taking steps towards allowing energy exploration and development on more than 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf. They also fume at President Trump for taking a week when he could be highlighting his support of Iranian protesters, the Dow crossing 25,000 and expanding American energy production and instead ranting about nuclear button sizes and trying to order a book publisher not to release a book critical of his presidency. And they laugh at the liberals in the media and beyond who believed an online parody – about Trump being obsessed with the “Gorilla Channel” up to 17 hours at a time – was actually in that new book.
An Obama-era plan to drastically reduce carbon emissions is on its way to the regulatory scrap heap after the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced a repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
For Americans already struggling with much higher energy costs, this news will be welcome in many households trying to make ends meet.
“This was designed to cause electricity rates, according to [Obama] to necessarily skyrocket. So that won’t happen. The seniors, the poor on low and fixed income who had to choose between heating and eating will now, we hope, not have to,” said Horner.
The Trump administration projects this move will result in $33 billion in avoided costs due to the proposed policy. Horner suspects the actual number is much higher.
Even though the plan was never implemented, Horner says it still exacted a heavy toll on blue collar America.
“He put a lot of people out of work. A lot of communities were devastated. There’s an inescapable connection between the opioid epidemic in that region and the devastation that was wrought by what was clearly a political and not an environmental agenda,” said Horner.
“He thought he was punishing corporations. He harmed badly many communities and the people in them,” added Horner.
Horner says the outlook is getting brighter and will be helped by Tuesday’s EPA action. But he says a lot of the damage is permanent.
“Employment in that industry is rebounding. I don’t know that it will ever get to where it was before it faces the awesome power of the federal government,” said Horner.
What makes the toll even more tragic, according to Horner, is that the Obama administration freely admitted the crackdown on carbon emissions wouldn’t actually accomplish anything.
“The former EPA administrator under President Obama (Gina McCarthy), who is decrying the climate impact of this decision, testified that there was no detectable climate impact from this rule. There is actually a consensus on this,” said Horner.
So what was the point of the tougher emissions standards if they weren’t going to improve our climate? Horner says Obama was very clear about it.
“He said in four speeches, in the exact same deliberate phrase, ‘This to finally make renewable energy profitable in America. That’s what this was about. It was never about the climate,” said Horner.
But while Horner and his allies celebrate Tuesday’s decision, he says the fight is far from over.
“We will start a rule making process. Today begins the repeal, a 60-day comment period to be followed by another request for comments about what to replace it with if anything,” said Horner, who is urging Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to scrap another Obama-era finding.
“They also made a declaration that carbon dioxide, a marginal greenhouse gas produced at the margins by man – not just through exhaling but by combusting hydrocarbon energy, the stuff that works, the reliable, affordable, abundant stuff. The administration now has to determine whether that really does endanger human health and welfare,” said Horner.
In urging the EPA to go further, Horner also applauds Trump and Pruitt for a move on Tuesday that he believes many other Republicans would be reluctant to take.
“We say pull it out root and branch. This is a very good start. I have to say most establishment Republicans would have shied from it and hoped for the best from the courts. We’re asking, now that these people have shown that they’re serious, fix the problem and undo the endangerment finding,” said Horner.
He says that explicit step is critical since domestic activists and even the United Nations are asking the courts in the U.S. to effectively make policy instead of the executive branch.
“You will have to replace it because this doesn’t have to go through Congress anymore. There’s enough on the books that the courts will take this over. The UN is issuing reports calling on attorneys general and private parties to ask the courts to take over this policy now, including the United States, to impose the Paris Treaty on us and so forth,” said Horner.
He says defenders of freedom need to stand in the gap against that unconstitutional effort and any future efforts to repeat Obama’s moves.
“It was a cruel gesture. It was virtue signaling. Thank God the EPA has said, ‘We’re going to formally repeal this rule.’ Let’s fix the problem and make it more difficult for someone like a President Warren to just come in and do this again,” he said.