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Marcellus Shale Protestors = Lobbyists For Middle East Oil Barons

And there they were, in all their glory, basking in the attention gained from protesting Marcellus Shale drilling.

Sure, those who were angrily denouncing the gas industry during the Marcellus Shale Coalition Conference in Philadelphia got the attention of the local media. But by far, their biggest cheering section, the folks who were happily paying the closest attention, weren’t even in Pennsylvania.

They’re in the Middle East.

The leaders of those oil nations could not be more thrilled to have such a passionate cadre of protestors, who do everything in their power to ensure the United States remains bent over the foreign oil barrel.  And as an added bonus, American petro dollars are used to fund extremist anti-American programs in those very same Middle Eastern nations, resulting in a new generation of well-funded terrorists.

About the only thing missing is the Middle Eastern oil barons not paying the protestors to be their registered lobbyists, because that’s exactly what they are.

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We are witnessing the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind as America needlessly sends trillions to China and the Middle East.  The standard of living in those countries continues to rise, as does their global power, while the United States slowly devolves into a second-world nation with — at least for now — a first-world military.

And here’s the part no one wants to admit but is unequivocally true: it will never again be the way it was, and the American way of life simply cannot improve until the people remove their heads from their derrieres and demand that we utilize our own domestic energy resources.

Absent that, the demise is unstoppable.

A look at any port tells the story: tankers and freighters come to America fully laden, but leave U.S. shores virtually empty. And the reason is simple. We make nothing.  No nation can survive, let alone prosper, if it abandons its manufacturing base. But that is exactly what we did.

Of course, we will never be able to compete with the lowest labor costs in the world. So the only way to offset that is to have the lowest energy costs in the world.  And more than any nation on Earth, America can do that.  How? By utilizing the greatest concentration of energy resources on the planet — a level which dwarfs that of any other nation.

There are vast — almost immeasurable — yet untapped oil reserves off both coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico, in Alaska (especially in the ANWR), under the Rocky Mountains, and in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota.

And that’s just for starters.

America has also been blessed with an overabundance of natural gas, including the Marcellus Shale, which just happens to be the second largest gas deposit in the world. Ironically, many of the gas protestors who describe themselves as “environmentalists” (whatever that means) are opposing the cleanest fuel available.

Natural gas produces virtually no emissions, which not only is good for the environment, but its low price and limitless supply are lessening use of more emission–producing fossil fuels.  It’s a no-brainer.

And since it is less than half the price of gasoline, the wider utilization of natural gas can power the economy in an unprecedented way.  As companies like UPS have realized, lower fuel costs give them a competitive edge, and that means greater commerce and more jobs.

And speaking of jobs, take a look at just one glowing example right here in Pennsylvania of how natural gas can get the economy moving again.  Proctor and Gamble has a substantial manufacturing plant in the state, and as with any such facility, energy costs are always one of the priciest budget items.

Upon discovering natural gas under the plant, the company invested in several gas wells on the property — money that was quickly recouped since their energy bill is now dramatically less.  Businesses in that situation can now take the millions in savings and expand operations, hire more workers at good salaries, and keep its manufacturing doors open in America.

But that’s just the beginning.  It’s all the ancillary effects that result from gas that can jumpstart the economy: homes are built and bought (driving down foreclosures), restaurants thrive, many small businesses no longer face closure, and untold new businesses spring to life.  Estimates are that 100,000 jobs have already been created because of Pennsylvania’s (fledgling) gas industry, and billions in tax revenue have filled municipal and state coffers.

And that is but a mere preview of what’s to come.

Yet the protestors would rather kill all that off, content to keep the status quo of $4 gasoline, rising inflation, and a stagnant economy. Oh, and one more thing: their actions jeopardize the safety of every American by keeping the nation in a state of begging, totally reliant on foreign oil. To say our national security is weakened would be a gross understatement.

Here’s the bottom line. Two plus two always equals four, whether or not one chooses to believe that.  Likewise, black gold and natural gas are the lifeblood of every economy, and that unequivocally will not change for scores of decades, if ever.  Those countries with petroleum resources thrive, while those reliant on rival nations for their energy needs are always at a substantial disadvantage.  It is survival of the fittest, and no amount of fairy-tale fluff will change that fact.

The most ignorant aspect of Shale protestors is that they only harp on the “horrors” of natural gas and oil (most of which are easily debunked myths, but that’s another column), yet offer no alternatives — at least none grounded in the real world.  If they ever do, they will be taken seriously.  But until then, they will be laughed off as extremists trying to achieve a relevance that is simply unattainable.

Solar? Wind? Hydro? Love them all.  And we should continue to utilize them so long as they are cost efficient.  But they do not make even the smallest dent in meeting America’s energy needs. Attempts to argue the contrary are folly.

Nuclear is a different ballgame, and we should be doubling our plants, but in the wake of Japan’s (avoidable) crisis, combined with zero political leadership from either Party in Washington, that’s a pipe dream.

Which brings us back to gas. If not gas and oil, then what?  More reliance from hostile foreign nations while out global competitors gain yet another foothold on America? That’s not a solution. It’s a death sentence.

Natural gas, and the industry itself, are not perfect, but they are most certainly the best option we have to keep our communities safe and prosperous, and our people’s dignity intact.  Criticism for the sake of criticism — with no viable solutions — is simply irresponsible.

Of course, so is cooking one’s meal with propane stoves while protesting a natural gas conference — as some hypocritical protestors actually did.  And that says it all.

It’s high-time the United States of America stops using Chinese as its official language and asking permission from Middle Eastern oil barons.

So come up with something better and get your fracking facts straight, or go pass gas somewhere else. 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 8, 2011 at 10:42 am Comment (1)

Libya Is All About Oil — Time To Drill

Recently on Good Morning America, Congresswoman and presidential contender Michele Bachmann was asked, “What is America’s number one vital interest in the Middle East.”

She answered, “…our safety and security of people in the United States is always number one.”

Not only was Bachmann’s response a non-descript talking-point, but it didn’t even answer the question.  Unfortunately, Bachmann missed a softball that she could have, and should have, knocked out of the park, one that would have separated herself from her colleagues.

Here’s the correct answer:

America’s vital interest in the Middle East can be summed up in three words: oil, oil and oil.  That’s it.  If that region wasn’t sitting on such huge reserves, America wouldn’t give it a second thought, with the exception of its security guarantee to Israel.

As a Republican and Tea Party leader, Bachmann should have instinctively talked of America’s unholy reliance on foreign oil, much of it from hostile nations in the Middle East, and aggressively pushed for energy-independence. 

She could have talked about how the largest natural gas deposits in the world remain virtually untapped (the Marcellus and Utica Shale); the vast oil reserves in Alaska that are closed to drilling; the Bakken Formation in North Dakota that holds over 4 billion barrels; the petroleum reserves under the Rockies that could well be the largest on the planet; the fact that we’re not drilling offshore , and that production has not yet resumed in the Gulf.

She could have then explained that, if we focused on these domestic sources, we wouldn’t be paying $4/gallon and watching inflation rise, nor would we be fretting about the Middle Eastern uprisings, and who we should be supporting. 

But she didn’t.  And that’s too bad, because otherwise, Bachmann’s voice on the national stage is an important one.

The fact is that if a leader doesn’t understand, or can’t articulate, solutions to the single-biggest problem facing America — being bent over a barrel because of our energy dependence — then their effectiveness is extremely limited.

And because neither Party, nor current and past Administrations, has done anything to achieve energy independence, America is now involved in yet another Middle Eastern conflict with no clear objectives.  The only things being accomplished are creating more uncertainty in world markets and placing American military personnel in danger. And for what?

Several points to consider:

1)      There is no question why the U.S. is involved.  It’s not about stopping a brutal dictator, nor is it about civilian deaths.  And it’s not about democracy and freedom for the Libyans.  It’s simply because Libya produces a lot of oil.  If it was really about any of the aforementioned reasons, we’d be forcefully engaged in most countries around the globe, since democracies are the exception.  Just look at the Rwandan conflict: 20 percent of the population was slaughtered, but it had no oil.  Result: no intervention.  A little truth for why we are in Libya would go a long way.

2)      So much for Obama’s campaign pledges of “no more wars of choice,” and “no blood for oil.”

3)      Gaddafi, while certainly no angel, has not been the thorn in America’s side he once was.  He admitted complicity in the Pan Am 103 bombing and paid reparations, dismantled his nuclear weapons program and, understanding the new world order after the 9/11 attacks, stopped harboring terrorists.  As a result, Libya was taken off the U.S. government’s State Sponsor of Terrorism list by the Bush Administration, with then- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stating Libya was being rewarded for its “renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the United States” in the war on terror. And the flow of Libyan oil has been unimpeded. So much for the brutal dictator theory.

4)      Who exactly are the rebels we are supporting by bombing the country and establishing the No Fly Zone?  Are they all James Madison-types looking to establish a democratic Republic? Or are they the Muslim Brotherhood— or worse?  Given many Middle Easterners’ track record of viewing the United States as the Great Satan, the odds probably aren’t favorable that we’ll be singing Kumbaya with them a few months from now — especially since reports now state that eastern Libya (home of the rebels) sent more fighters to engage the U.S. in Iraq than anywhere else.

5)      A No-Fly Zone does not make a democracy.  Okay, we are preventing Gaddafi from using his aircraft.  But what happens when he starts whipping the rebels anyway?  Do we bomb his troops and tanks?  Do we send in Special Forces?  What happens when a pilot is shot down— as just happened?  More important, what happens when a similar situation arises in Saudi Arabia, and civilians get mowed down — as they will, since the King isn’t going quietly.  Do we establish a No Fly Zone over The Kingdom?  Do we bomb them, too?  Not a chance in the world.

Despite all the questions, there are no answers, and the coalition, if you can call it that, has already begun splitting apart.

6)      We lose no matter how you slice it.  The majority of Libyan oil is sold to Italy and France, yet America has been roped in to do their heavy lifting.  Why?  And as more Libyans die from allied airstrikes, America will get blamed on the Arab Street.  Gaddafi’s claim of another “Crusade ” against a Muslim nation will hit home to millions of Muslims across the world, vastly undermining any goodwill that may have been generated over the last several years and bolstering terrorist recruitment.  And the support of the worthless Arab League, whose officials are already back-tracking, means nothing.  It’s not their planes doing the bombing, but ours.  We get all the negatives and none of the positives while the Arab League gets the best of both worlds.

The United States’ involvement in Libya, a nation that in no manner attacked America or caused it harm, sets an extremely dangerous precedent. Ironically, this effort, executed with no foresight and one that has absolutely no endgame, further endangers our national security.   Playing into the mentality of millions of Muslims that the U.S. seeks to dominate their countries will only enflame anti-American feelings.

George Washington could not have been more right when he advised against foreign entanglements and intervening in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. That wisdom is proof that modern advances will never be a substitute for old-fashioned common sense.

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in DicK Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

 Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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March 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm Comments (0)