Jane Chastain : Politically Direct

Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Cleaning out the Rats in Government

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This week my husband smelled a foul odor in the area around his vintage sports car which he keeps under raps in our garage.  He removed the cover and lifted the hood to discover a big fat rat with a nest full of babies.  There is no telling how much damage could have been done if he had not made that discovery and quickly dealt with the problem.

However, this was nothing like the rat we discovered in the California state legislature when it was revealed that Republican Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres provided the margin of victory needed by Democrats to pass a $5.2 billion dollar tax increase, ostensibly to repair the states road and bridges.  This included a gasoline tax hike of 12 cents a gallon which hurts poor and middle class working commuters.   It will give California the 2nd highest gas tax in the nation and likely the highest price at the pump due to California’s distance from the major refineries and a requirement by state air regulators that further increases the cost of gasoline for our state.

For his vote, Cannella, the rat, received a half billion payoff for projects in his district that have nothing to do with fixing potholes.  They were designed to give him something to crow about to voters when he seeks higher office in a state heavily dominated by Democrats. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jane Chastain

April 12th, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Report Card on President Trump’s First 12 Days

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Hate him or love him, you must admit that President Trump has been working overtime to do the things he believes will make this country great again.   In his first 11 days,  he has signed more executive actions that any other president in modern history.  In addition, he rounded out his cabinet, held meetings with business and union leaders, spent hours in person or on the phone with world leaders and gave us a Supreme Court nominee.

President’s can’t make law.  Therefore, Trump will have to depend on Congress to see that his major policy proposals become reality.  However, presidents have wide discretion how our laws are implemented and many of his moves have already changed the status quo.

Some initial actions are perfunctory and done by every president.   Therefore, for this report card I am focusing only on those that have a direct bearing on policy.

Cabinet Picks —  Tells us a lot about how serious a president is about keeping his campaign promises.  Trump’s picks, unlike Obama’s policy wonks, have real world experience.  They have achieved tremendous success and are willing to give the agencies they run the benefit of that experience.  Others such as Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos have spent years working to advance the policies on which Trump campaigned.

Grade A+

Executive Order 13765  —   Minimizes the economic effects of Obamacare by directing federal agencies to give states, insurance companies and consumers the maximum amount of flexibility in complying with the law.  Trump is laying down a marker that he intends to see Obamacare repealed and replaced.

Grade A

Presidential Memorandum:  Withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership — Trump is making good on his promise to negotiate trade deals to make sure they are both fair and profitable.

Grade A

Presidential Memorandum:  Mexico City Policy — Trump not only reimplemented the policy put in place by President Reagan that prevents our tax money from going to overseas family planning agencies that perform abortions, he expanded it.

Grade A+

Presidential Memorandums on the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines — Ordered agencies involved to expedite these projects.  Also ordered the Department of Commerce to review ways to mandate the use of American-made steel in all pipeline projects in the U.S.

Grade A+

Executive Order 13766  — Expedited Environmental Reviews for Infrastructure Projects.  Remember all those “shovel-ready” jobs that Obama promised?  By the time they saw the light of day they were loaded down with millions of dollars of bureaucratic waste.

Grade A

Presidential Memorandum:  Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing — The first step to bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.

Grade A+

Executive Order 13767:  Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements —

Build the wall and hire more border security officers.

Grade A+

Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior — Cuts off federal funds to Sanctuary Cities and gives immigrations officers the authority to deport any noncitizen judged to be a threat to pubic safety.

Grade A+

Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States  —  Immediate travel ban for the seven countries judged to be most dangerous for 90 days until we can reform the vetting process. Despite what you may have heard, the threat from refugees is real.  Since September 11, 2001, at least 40 people admitted to the U.S. as refugees have been implicated in terrorism. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/08/10/jeff-sessions-highlights-20-vetted-terrorist-refugees-obama-ramps-admissions-terror-hot-spots/ Trump was criticized for not giving our security agencies time to thoroughly brief all those involved with implementing this order.  However, this would have leaked and given those intent on doing us harm an opportunity to sneak in before the ban.  There was no perfect way to do this without inconveniencing the people affected by the ban.

Grade B

National Security Presidential Memorandum 1: Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces —Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget are to come up with a plan to bolster the military, examine our nuclear arsenal and missile-defense capabilities.

Grade A

National Security Presidential Memorandum 3 — Plan to Defeat ISIS to be delivered in 30 days

Grade A

Executive Order:  Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs —  Requires agencies to rescind two regulations for every new one.  Total cost of all new regulations for 2017, including those repealed, to be 0.

Grade A+

The Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court —  Another campaign promise delivered.  He picked this nominee from the list he presented to the voters which he compiled with the help of the Federalist Society.  Indications are that Judge Gorsuch is a strict constructionist in the mold of Antonin Scalia but only time will tell.

Grade Incomplete

Written by Jane Chastain

February 1st, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Obama Declares War! (On Alaska)

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Finally, Obama has declared war, not on tyrants like Iran’s Ali Khamenei  or bullies like Russia’s Vladimer Putin, or even the Islamic militants who are dedicated to our destruction.  No, Obama has declared war on Alaska!

On Sunday, just days after Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, released a bill that would permit drilling in a small area in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the president launched a cruise missile in her direction, aimed at locking up the vast oil reserves in the area forever.

Through his minions, the president announced plans to set aside another 12 million acres in ANWR as “wilderness” which would effectively eliminate any chance of utilizing this valuable resource.

If there is any issue that unites Democrats, Republicans and Independents in the state, it is opening a small — teeny is more like it — area of ANWR’s costal plain for drilling.   Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jane Chastain

January 28th, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Who is Raining on Your Memorial Day Parade?

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The Memorial Day weekend traditionally has been the first getaway weekend of the summer.  A chance to kick back, take a road trip or hop or plane and to visit relatives.  Not this year.

It 2008, when the price of gasoline began to approach $4 a gallon, the Smiths complained that they had to take out a second mortgage on the old homestead just to fill up the family car.  In 2011, as gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon, the Smiths are upside down on their mortgage(s).  Dad is working two part-time jobs and still doesn’t make what he did at the full-time job he lost when his company was downsized.  There is no more wiggle room.  The Smiths, like millions of other Americans, will be staying home this Memorial Day weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jane Chastain

May 26th, 2011 at 12:00 am

End Oil — No — All Subsidies

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The president has renewed his call to end the billions of dollars in oil subsidies so that he can “invest” the savings into alternative energy vehicles.   House Speaker John Boehner got caught up in the rhetoric and put his foot firmly in his mouth.  The speaker indicated that he might be interested in eliminating the subsidies for all but “small independent oil and gas companies.”

It is no secret that the Obama Administration wanted $5 a gallon gasoline.  Now that the president has achieved this goal,  he is looking to deflect public outrage by beating up on the oil and gas companies, again.  But is Boehner pilling on?  And what about eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for “big oil” but not “little oil”?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jane Chastain

April 28th, 2011 at 12:00 am


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