Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Protesting

With very little planning and a last-minute text to my parents, I hopped a flight from London City Airport to Washington D.C. The reason, of course…to save the planet! With no lounges open, and the risk of delayed takeoff, I thought I should at least grab a bottle of water, and so I did. Hello Boots… one Volvic please!  Only to be reminded that London had launched  something they are calling ‘Plastic Free City’.

They sold me the water alright, but it came with stares from all the really good people—each one of them making silent commentary, and staring at the offending bottle. You’d have thought I’d been going round the globe shoving plastic straws into the brains of dolphins.

Meanwhile, they kept flaunting their refillables like they were iced-out Rolexes. Oh knock it off! I wanted to scream. My entire life is dedicated to green pursuits but when it comes to placing the mouth of a bottle that I’m going to drink from, under the spigot of the community trough—I draw the line. Besides I can’t very well save the planet if I am sick.

Every litter bit helps!

The terminal was lined with bright blue water stations, and I walked to my gate with the gurgle-gurgle of people refilling all around me.  Luckily I had only thirty minutes before boarding and so I stuffed the contraband into my bag before choosing a spot in which to loiter. The airport was mobbed and every announcement was getting on my last nerve. Just then a text from my client…

‘Can we fix this?’ Followed by a picture of the detritus from the Glastonbury Climate Festival. It was disgusting—trash and abandoned tents everywhere. It looked worse than a San Francisco public park. 

‘What is it you WANT me to do?’ I texted back.  And before he could respond I texted: ‘Headed to DC…boarding now’.

I could see he was trying to text me something else but I powered down my phone before it came through. Having found my seat I tore off the plastic wrap from my quilt and put my headphones on. I placed the wrap within easy reach of the flight attendant but despite several passes she didn’t pick it up. Why is the whole world plastic-shaming me today?

When we arrived in D.C. our gate wasn’t ready and we had to be towed in. Another delay! I know that towing vs taxiing saves quite a bit of fuel but this delay defeats the purpose of flying from City Airport!

As soon as I powered on my phone the texts started rolling in. Apparently, if you sign up for even one protest they assume it’s your lifeblood and include you in every update. I only wanted the EPA protest. What a mess.

That's telling 'em!

My driver did his best to get me right where I needed to be but it was hopeless. Pride marches, GenX, and half a dozen abortion marches. Finally, I headed toward a group in green bandanas knowing this would be my group, but it was not. This was made readily clear by a “Viva la Vulva” sign. I stepped out of the throng and asked a woman why green for pro-abortion?

‘Marta tells us that the colour of nature was chosen because it signifies life’, she said.

Abortion means  life? I dared not ask. And who was Marta? Turns out Marta is the founder of Catholics for Choice, 'a nonprofit organization that lifts up the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom'. I squinted my eyes and walked away.  So far I had accomplished exactly nothing.

Then my phone rang. It was my father.  ‘OH HEY!’ I said, yelling into my iPhone.

‘Are you at a club?’ he asked.  

‘You bloody well know I am not at a club!’ I responded. I am in Washington, protesting the EPA ruling!'  

‘Well how’s that going?’ he asked.

‘I haven’t found them yet… this is all rather confusing. But I do have a question, I got a text about the Glastonbury Climate Festival… I see electric- car chargers in the middle of… nowhere. So how do they get powered?’ 

Diesel’, Daddy replied.  

Glastonbury '22: nobody tell Greta!

Diesel??’ I shrieked. ‘How does…?’ UGH! I knew he was stifling a laugh. 

‘Yes, as you said, all very confusing. Listen, sweetheart, do you really think protesting is a good use of your time…?'

‘How would I know?  ‘I haven’t even been able to even locate my protest'.’

‘Strange that, Marxists are generally so good at organisation’.

I didn’t have the strength to fight him. It was beginning to rain and I decided to keep quiet in case he had one more zinger in him.  FINALLY I could see my EPA group and I ran to catch up with them, only to ask myself why had I bothered? I was sweating under my trench, my shoes were soaked, we all looked stupid, I felt stupid—this was stupid.

‘You win, Daddy', I said into the phone. 'This was a dumb idea. I will schedule some meetings and ask my clients how I can be useful while I’m here’. 

‘Excellent', he said. 'And you might advocate for the continued operation of Line 5 up in Michigan —it's an essential  pipeline for Eastern Canada and the U.S.’ 

‘And they will listen to me because—why?’ I asked. 

‘Because you’re the voice of reason on this. It’s a win for everyone.  And you’re still advocating for the environment - just without the Marxist slant’.

‘And if it doesn’t work?’

‘Oh, just tell them they’re all going to freeze—they don’t even have enough energy to get through next year…’

‘I don’t think they want to hear that’. 

‘Oh I disagree, Jennifer. Fear-mongering is the only thing you green-niks understand'.

I hung up and looked around. The rain was pelting harder. Everybody looked miserable. And they wonder why I never bring anyone home!

Behold, the Biden Energy 'Brain Trust'

In an effort to redirect Americans' frustration about the price of gasoline and consumer prices that have hit a four-decade high, President Biden Wednesday sent a letter to seven oil refiners calling on them to produce more gasoline and diesel. It was an attempt by the administration to blame refiners for the economic conditions his energy policy has created. While absurd to suggest that refiners wouldn’t have already thought to increase production, the letter was more a publicity stunt than an earnest attempt to repair the damage his administration's policies have created.

President Biden began his effort to dismantle the oil and gas sector on his very first day in office with the now infamous cancellation of the XL pipeline, even though construction was already underway. By so doing, he single-handedly reduced future oil and gas supply. Had the pipeline been completed, it would have had the capacity to move nearly 830,000 barrels per day to refiners. That decision, so smugly made and celebrated by the administration back in January, 2021 was demonstrative of the cynical energy policy for which the American people are now paying.

So dedicated was the administration back then, to ushering America into the still-undefined "transition to a net-zero [carbon] future," that they neglected to have anyone on their team who had even a modicum of actual oil and gas experience. After all, if one is going to dismantle one system and construct a replacement, one needs the requisite understanding of how the first system functions in order to successfully design its replacement. The administration forgot to give a damn.

Understanding America’s energy sector, and its connection to the broader economy is essential for any administration's success, let alone an administration that exhibits so much hostility toward the oil and gas sector, and by extension toward the American people. Understanding the sector would have informed the leadership that following the environmental policy initiatives of old, white European Socialist bureaucrats was not going to work in America. America’s global dominance has been made possible because of the fossil fuel industry, not in spite of it.

By examining the team that President Biden chose to lead his 'energy transition' and related regulatory initiatives, the seemingly failed strategy begins to look quite different. Far from higher prices and inflation being proof of a failed energy policy, as many on Capitol Hill suggest, it turns out… this is the policy. The market reality with which Americans are living is precisely what the administration intended when President Biden entered office. He repeatedly and infamously described his intentions, promising he would “end” the oil and gas industry.

So fervent is the administration’s belief in the transition to a net zero future, one might mistake it for religious fanaticism. They have been willing to harm the economy and the economic lives of millions of Americans. Though gob-stopping in its darkness, this is the world they envision. This is what they intended all along.

Who are these people? Instead of being confused and frustrated, a review of the crew steering this ship actually brings clarity and understanding:

Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Energy Secretary
While presenting via video feed in May 2021 at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, only months after joining the administration, attendees were aghast at her stunning lack of knowledge about the sector she had been tasked to lead. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she had been the Attorney General of Michigan, and then governor until 2011, with a quick stint as a member of Barrack Obama’s transition team in 2009; she was unsurprisingly ill-suited for an industry-focused position. Between the cancellation of the XL pipeline 90 days prior to her speech, her incorrect use of industry vernacular and her disingenuous assurances that she was on a shared journey with the industry she would be working to dismantle, the audience was left deeply dissatisfied.

When asked Wednesday at what point do gas prices become unsustainable?" Granholm responded, "Yeah, I think the prices are unsustainable… there's not a quick fix. However, your point about also accelerating our progress toward clean energy is very, very important."

Lurching toward renewables with John Kerry.

John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
Perhaps best-known for his service in Vietnam, Kerry was also in the U.S. Senate for many years before serving as secretary of state under Barack Obama. Since then he has been jet-setting (via fossil-fuel powered jets) to Davos and other destinations in Europe speaking about the threat of fossil fuel to the planet.

Speaking at an event hosted by the University of Southern California's Center of Public Diplomacy last Friday, Kerry said that energy security concerns are  driving complaints that the U.S. needs to perform more domestic drilling and return to coal. Annoyed, he said that the U.S. "absolutely" does not need to drill for more oil and gas amid inflation and record-high gas prices.

Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor
Rounding off the energy triad is a former Obama-era EPA administrator.  Her role in the Biden administration was seen as a domestic counterpart to John Kerry's job on the international front. According to reports,  McCarthy was described as the chief architect of Obama's climate regulations, overseeing the drafting and passage of limits on what she referred to as, "planet-heating pollution" from power plants, vehicles and fossil fuel producers. Following a stint as a professor at Harvard University, she became the president and chief executive of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She recently defended censorship of news sites that deny "climate change" or other accepted orthodox pieties of the Left:

We have to get tighter, we have to get better at communicating, and frankly, the tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation. That’s what the fossil fuel companies pay for.

Like characters from a Mission Impossible movie, Biden’s energy sector leaders are true villains. They are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. energy sector and wish for a lower quality of life for us that they themselves have no intention of living. The question before the country now is simple: are we going to let them do it?

Biden's Bottomless Energy Foolishness

President Joe Biden followed up his War on Energy—which began the day he took office with his abrupt and malicious cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline— with a direct threat wrapped in the flag on Wednesday, demanding in a letter to oil industry CEOs that they increase production while complaining about their profit margins: “There is no question Vladimir Putin is principally responsible for the intense financial pain the American people and their families are bearing. But at a time of war, refinery profit margins well above normal being passed directly onto Americans are unacceptable.”

His verbally-challenged press spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre followed up with a vague threats that Biden might invoke the Defense Production Act or some other executive powers if the oil industry doesn’t “voluntarily” comply. The fate of President Harry Truman’s seizure of the steel industry in 1952 (declared unconstitutional by a pro-New Deal Supreme Court) must have fallen out of the Biden White House history books, along with any reference works on economic literacy. The facts are these:

It is impossible to exaggerate the ignorance and hubris—and greed—of the Biden leftists about energy. The Financial Times reported a startling detail a few days ago: “When the White House started calling around in a panic, they thought shale oil production could grow sharply in the near term — like in a matter of months or quarters,” said Bob McNally, head of consultancy Rapidan Energy. “They were shocked to learn that that’s like asking for blood from a stone. It’s almost impossible.”

But it's easy to be shocked when you’ve lost your grip on reality. A CEO of a major American transportation company who agreed to serve on Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness back in 2011 once privately told me that he asked Obama why we didn’t encourage more domestic production of oil and natural gas. Obama’s answer stunned him: “Stephen Chu [the Nobel Prize-winning Secretary of Energy] tells me we’ll be well on our way to a transition to renewable energy by 2016, so we don’t need more oil and gas.”

"I did that!"

President Biden seems even more self-deluded about oil and gas than Obama, peddling the same dreamy nonsense about energy. Last month Biden said that high gasoline prices were part of the “incredible transition” toward a world of “renewable” energy that won’t need fossil fuels. But the inexorable rise of gasoline prices has set off political alarms in the White House, prompting the administration to try to make nice with domestic oil and gas—and even with the Saudis, otherwise a pariah state for this administration—in hopes they will increase oil production and relieve Biden’s political gas pains.

But Biden’s grasp of the oil and gas industry is as simplistic and confused as every other aspect of his doddering administration. Having demonized the oil and gas industry as required by environmentalist orthodoxy, Biden now thinks he can get the industry to bail him out of his self-induced political and economic crisis.

There are two primary reasons why domestic oil and gas can’t be turned on or off like a water faucet in your kitchen. The first is long-wave oil market cycles. The second is political and regulatory risk. The oil and gas industry has at length figured out how to adapt to the first problem. The second problem—political and regulatory risk—is out of their hands, and is the one thing Biden and his gang refuse to acknowledge or consider changing.

There’s an old adage that the solution to high oil prices is high oil prices (and vice versa), and ever since the first oil shocks of the 1970s we’ve seen several epicycles of world oil markets in which the price soars, slowly collapses, and then slowly soars again, drawing oil entrepreneurs into the market with some inevitable bankruptcies among the weaker firms later on. We saw this cycle with a vengeance over the last decade, as rising oil prices in the “oughts” (2000-2009 or so) combined with technology leaps to produce America’s wonderful domestic oil and gas boom.

Opening new or expanding existing resources requires considerable up-front capital investment. Both the industry and its investors have become more disciplined over the last decade to avoid the boom-and-bust cycle, and it is now largely oriented to developing oil and gas assets that can remain profitable at any reasonable price point in a typical epicycle, instead of chasing after large profits during price spikes.

A bigger problem for the industry is political risk. After years of open hostility to the industry from Democrats, why would the industry now put its neck on the line to rush new production when it is certain that Democrats will resume their old hostility to the industry once prices and profits start to come back down? In the 2020 campaign Biden said he’d halt further oil and gas production on public land, while encouraging Wall Street to cut off capital to the industry. He’s more than made good on that promise—until just the last few weeks—and the increasingly woke capitalists on Wall Street were happy to go along. (In a nod to reality, several of the big Wall Street banks have recently reversed their position and say they will now provide financing for fossil fuel companies.)

If Biden wanted to secure a robust and consistent supply of domestic hydrocarbons that his own Energy Department says we will need to use for decades to come, he’d call off the left’s political war on the sector. But fossil fuels are the primary Emmanuel Goldstein of the left, a main target of their daily two minutes of hate.

Beneath these endless confusions and contradictions is the cognitive dissonance of Biden’s variety of leftism. Over the years the left has considered high gasoline prices the acme of enlightenment, because it would force people to switch to “renewable” energy and electric cars. A whole volume of the Encyclopedia of Leftist Errors could be filled with statements of envy over Europe’s tax-driven high fuel prices, along with the open wish that we should follow their example. The aforementioned Stephen Chu said during the Obama years, “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

And yet when market conditions deliver price spikes, as happens on a regular basis, Democrats explode: Price gouging! Collusion! Greedy oil companies! We must investigate! Every government investigation of high gas prices since the 1970s has failed to find any evidence of price fixing or collusion in the oil industry, because there isn’t any. The lesson here is plain: for the left, high gasoline prices are only good when it comes about through a government tax rather than market forces. Actually the U.S. government already makes more on each gallon of gas than oil companies and refiners do, but you never hear that inconvenient fact reported, because apparently the government can never be “greedy.”

The dramatic revolution in domestic oil and gas production that began about 15 years ago falsified two of liberalism’s most persistent clichés—that we had reached “peak oil,” and that the U.S. couldn’t “drill our way” to energy independence. One politician who quietly figured this out a decade ago was Barack Obama. By degrees during his second term, Obama started endorsing an “all of the above” energy policy, which represented a de facto truce with domestic oil and gas. It is telling that Biden can’t even bring himself to say “all of the above,” and this silence is all the industry needs to know as it weighs the enduring problem of political risk so long as the left is in power.

THE COLUMN: 'They Only Eat Rat'

UPDATED

When we Baby Boomers entered first grade back in the early/middle 1950s, it was not unusual for us to encounter forty or fifty other children competing for classroom space while a single harried nun or teacher herded us little darlings into some semblance of alphabetical order, made us take our seats, and began instruction. Crammed into newly built classrooms to accommodate our unprecedented numbers, cheek to jowl with a bunch of strangers, and constantly skirmishing with others for the teacher's attention, a place at the drinking fountain, or just a spot in the lunchroom, we hated each other on sight—and, like too many rats trapped in too small an area with not enough food, we've been fighting with each other ever since.

Now here we are, in our seventies, and we're still strapped together in this ghastly generational pas des millions. Some of us have died off, of course, but the remnants of the legendary pig in a python generation are still wending our way through the snake's entrails, tussling with each other as we pass through the intestines of the body politic. And yet, to our surprise, we still find ourselves outranked by those born years, even decades before us: our country currently has a 79-year-old president, a 75-year-old principal GOP contender, an 82-year-old speaker of the House, an 80-year-old Senate minority leader, an 88-year-old senior senator from California, an 88-year-old senior senator from Iowa, and an 80-year old junior senator from Vermont who has his eye on the White House. Meanwhile, waiting in wings like a sodden, road-company Lady Macbeth, is 2016's loser, Hillary Clinton, 74, ready to step over the bodies if and when they ever drop.

Geezer eyes still on the prize

There's no love lost among them, but like the Struldbrugs of Luggnagg in Swift's Gulliver's Travels, they can neither quit nor, seemingly, die—only keep aging in perpetuity, at each other's throats forever. 

After this preface, he gave me a particular account of the STRULDBRUGS among them. He said, "they commonly acted like mortals till about thirty years old; after which, by degrees, they grew melancholy and dejected, increasing in both till they came to fourscore... When they came to fourscore years, which is reckoned the extremity of living in this country, they had not only all the follies and infirmities of other old men, but many more which arose from the dreadful prospect of never dying. They were not only opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain, talkative, but incapable of friendship, and dead to all natural affection... Envy and impotent desires are their prevailing passions."

There is a certain amount of truth in the old saw that with age comes wisdom. And it's also true that our word "senate"—a body of elder statesmen—has the same root as "senility." But at this point in our nation's history, we have gone beyond mature age and into the realm of the Grim Reaper, with Washington, D.C., having replaced Florida as God's Waiting Room. A nation that was founded by young, vigorous men, most of them in their prime (in 1776, Washington was 44; Jefferson, 33; Hamilton, 21; James Monroe, 18) and with their lives on the line, has been co-opted by snarling, barely articulate, grudge-ridden rent-seekers desperately hanging onto their livelihoods, and to hell with everybody else.

Hence the cage match now being played out in the runups to the fall congressional elections. Thanks to the manifest malignancy that is the Biden administration, everyone is looking past this November and focusing on 2024, when our rancid political system could possibly stage a presidential election featuring an 81-year-old Joe Biden vs. a 77-year-old Donald Trump, both of them at that point beyond the average American male life expectancy. What do do? Take a moment and listen:

Could there possibly be a spectacle more unedifying than a (literally) terminally senile Biden scratching and clawing at a bitter, revanchist Trump, the pair of them wrestling over not the future of the country—why would they care? They won't live to see it—but over the 2016 and 2020 elections. Russian collusion! Dominion voting machines! Hunter's laptop from hell! January 6th! Get off my lawn! It would make us all remember what fun the past eight years were, and recall how little desire we should have to relive them.

Let's start with barely-there Biden, a continuing embarrassment to the country, with him the only one who's not in on the joke. He's always been a classless boor, the Fredo Corleone ("I'm smart! And I want respect!") of the Democrat Party, hitherto passed over until suddenly, two years ago, the criminal organization masquerading as a political party ran out of godfathers. By now, though, the sheer destructiveness of this man is apparent to everybody, so cue the New York Times to instruct the faithful that it's time for him to go:

To nearly all the Democrats interviewed, the president’s age — 79 now, 82 by the time the winner of the 2024 election is inaugurated — is a deep concern about his political viability. They have watched as a commander in chief who built a reputation for gaffes has repeatedly rattled global diplomacy with unexpected remarks that were later walked back by his White House staff, and as he has sat for fewer interviews than any of his recent predecessors.

“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” said David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s two winning presidential campaigns.

The kiss of death from Jake Lingle is no laughing member, and a signal to the Democrats to begin greasing the skids and start prepping somebody. Anybody. Bueller? Sanders has the same geriatric problem as Biden, as does Elizabeth Warren and of course Hillary. Meanwhile, their kiddie corps of Li'l Pete Buttigieg, Gavin Newsom, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not ready for prime time, and as for Kamala Harris:

Meanwhile, the New York Post last week came out with an editorial explicitly calling on Trump to step back from his increasingly hopeless 2024 nomination quest and for the Republicans to look to the future: 

Trump has become a prisoner of his own ego. He can’t admit his tweeting and narcissism turned off millions. He won’t stop insisting that 2020 was “stolen” even though he’s offered no proof that it’s true. Respected officials like former Attorney General Bill Barr call his rants “nonsense.” This isn’t just about Liz Cheney. Mitch McConnell, Betsy DeVos, Mark Meadows — they all knew Trump was delusional. His own daughter and son-in-law testified it was bull.

Trump’s response? He insults Barr, and dismisses Ivanka as “checked out.” He clings to more fantastical theories, such as Dinesh D’Souza’s debunked “2,000 Mules,” even as recounts in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin confirm Trump lost.

This is not to underplay the former president's very real contributions to the Republic, including most notably saving it from Hillary Clinton and her flying-monkey media squadrons and black ops practitioners. Trump was the only one who could beat her, and he was the only Republican candidate she could have lost to. And there's no question that the 2020 was "stolen" fair and square by the Democrats doing exactly the things I predicted they would  in my Sept. 7, 2020 column for the Epoch Times:

The pattern is clear: In close races, the Democrats follow the totals very closely, until they know exactly how many votes they have to fabricate or manufacture, et voila! Who needs cemeteries when [a friendly judge or two] can decree extra time to benefit the Democrats? In fact, at least since the middle of the 19th century, the Tammany Party has been rigging elections, intimidating voters at the polls, having their partisans vote multiple times, and conjuring marked ballots out of thin air. 

The reality is that the Republicans must be ready to combat levels of fraud that Plunkitt and the old Tammany sachems could only have dreamed of. For it’s clear, under the guise of “protecting our democracy” that the Democrats will instead abide by their real slogan—“by any means necessary”—to rid themselves of this meddlesome president.

Trump, in fact, lost in 2020 the same way he won in 2016: at the margins in a few key swing states, where this time they knew he was coming. Paradoxically, the more Trump continues to bark about the last election, the less likely he is to win the next one. This, however, doesn't seem to be going to stop him. According to Rolling Stone, Trump is mulling announcing his candidacy even before the midterms, and doing it in Florida, to boot:

Donald Trump in recent months has been telling confidants that he may launch his 2024 presidential campaign early — and that he’s considering launching it in Florida to stick it to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump has kicked around staging a large, flashy launch rally (with fireworks, of course) that would announce his White House bid before the 2022 midterm elections, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

People who’ve spoken to Trump say that one reason he’s eying the Sunshine State is to assert his dominance over an ascendant DeSantis, who — if they both run in 2024 — would likely be the former president’s most formidable competitor in a primary fight for the GOP nomination. One of the sources said Trump’s motivation is to show the governor “who the boss is” in the modern-day GOP.

Good Lord, what a terrible idea. Trump's last, greatest, and noblest service to his country would be to announce, shortly after the mid-terms, that he will not be a candidate in '24, but will crisscross the land to campaign for the party, starting at the top with DeSantis, 46, for president of the United States. He might even quote John F. Kennedy: "the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans." 

Otherwise, the Boomer cage match continues, the country slides further into the python's bowels, and all we have to eat is rat. 

Seven-Dollar Gas Just Around the Corner

We've just passed Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, and most Americans have already begun to map out their vacation plans for this year. After two summers lost to the Wuhan coronavirus there seems to be a widespread desire to make up for lost time by packing the kids into the car and heading out for an adventure.

Unfortunately, the price of gasoline figures to take up a significantly larger chunk of the vacation budget this year. The Energy Information Administration's average gas price tracker has been helpfully demonstrating the fact that, with more-or-less every update, we set a new record for prices at the pump. That record for the week ending on May 30th is $4.727 per gallon, with prices in some places in California topping the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour according to CBS News. These are almost unimaginable sums considering the fact that the price was $2.464 when Joe Biden took office.

And it's going to get worse. Fuel price analyst Patrick De Haan predicts that the price of gas will hit $5 per gall by June 17th. JPMorgan analyst Natasha Kaneva predicts that we will be paying $6.20 nationally by August. Both of those projections came out before the announcement that the European Union would ban Russian oil and gas imports by the end of 2022, which led to a significant increase in the per-barrel price of oil. Which is to say, those might be underestimates. We could be close to $6 per gallon by the Fourth of July. Maybe by Labor Day we'll be nearing $7.

Speaking of Russia, Ed Morrisey deftly counters the ridiculous White House spin that this is a crisis of Putin's making, saying "Gas prices have escalated by 91% under Joe Biden … so far. They went up 43% before Vladimir Putin began positioning troops around Ukraine, in fact." Had Biden not declared war on the oil and gas industry right out of the gate, we would have been better able to absorb Putin's blow to oil markets. Indeed, we would have been well positioned to step into the role of Europe's preferred energy supplier, likely bringing about a Russian energy embargo much sooner and possibly preventing the war from dragging on as long as it has.

Luckily Biden's attempt to pass the buck doesn't seem to be fooling anyone--  a new poll by the Trafalgar Group found that 60 percent of Americans believe Biden's policies are primarily to blame for our current economic woes. That bodes well for the midterm elections and, if it holds, for the elections in 2024.

Maybe those will lead to the types of policy changes that will turn this crisis around. Unfortunately they won't happen soon enough to keep gas prices from ruining our summer.

The WHO's Pandemic Power Grab

Despite a temporary setback at the recent meeting of the World Health Organization in Geneva, the Biden administration wants to give the WHO unilateral authority to declare public health emergencies in the United States regardless of the wishes of the American public.

During his administration, president Donald Trump reduced U.S. funding of WHO and gave notice the U.S. would withdraw from the organization, but Joe Biden, who apparently is fine with gutting American sovereignty, is enamored of it. Biden wants to strengthen the WHO and increase its power in world affairs by changing the language of an international pandemic treaty to promote the so-called Great Reset, which would dissolve national borders and empower radical super-elitists like Klaus Schwab.

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The push to surrender America’s control over its own destiny to an unaccountable, Sinophilic U.N. agency that lied repeatedly about Covid-19 and its origin came as negotiators gathered last week to decide the fate of the world at two globalist conferences in Switzerland.

The first  was at the plutocratic World Economic Forum in Davos, and the second, more relevant to this story, was a few hours’ drive away at the U.N.’s 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva. Against this idyllic alpine backdrop, monkeypox has conveniently appeared on the media’s radar, providing fodder for endless fits of pandemic paranoia as the Wuhan flu fades away.

One-worlders will be disappointed to learn that Biden’s betrayal of American interests will have to wait because he experienced a setback when thirteen proposed amendments to the treaty were unexpectedly rejected. Despite support from Australia, the U.K., and the E.U., countries such as Brazil, Brunei, India, and Russia reportedly weren’t onboard with the amendments and that was enough for the process to grind to a halt. The meeting wrapped up May 28.

The package of amendments the U.S. pushed in Geneva would “give WHO the right to take important steps to collaborate with other nations and other organizations worldwide to deal with any nation’s alleged health crisis, even against its stated wishes,” according to Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist by training, a former U.S. Public Health Service officer, and former National Institute on Mental Health consultant. He writes:

The power to declare health emergencies is a potential tool to shame, intimidate, and dominate nations. It can be used to justify ostracism and economic or financial actions against the targeted nation by other nations aligned with WHO or who wish to harm and control the accused nation.

The WHO, for example, pushed the disastrous COVID-19 lockdowns, even managing to use them to promote "global warming" pseudoscience. “Countries must set ambitious national climate commitments if they are to sustain a healthy and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the organization claimed in October 2021, adding that “air pollution, primarily the result of burning fossil fuels, which also drives climate change, causes 13 deaths per minute worldwide.” There's more:

The IHR [International Health Regulations] would be a legally binding agreement among 196 countries –including the U.S.— that provides “a framework for coordinating the international response to events that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern.” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the treaty specifically requires countries to have the ability to: “make sure surveillance systems and laboratories can detect potential threats”; “work together with other countries to make decisions in public health emergencies”; “report specific diseases, plus any potential international public health emergencies, through participation in a network of National Focal Points”; and “respond to public health events.”

The CDC adds the treaty also “includes specific measures countries can take at ports, airports and ground crossings to limit the spread of health risks to neighboring countries, and to prevent unwarranted travel and trade restrictions.”

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Biden’s draft amendments to the treaty would bestow on newly re-elected highly radicalized WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the power to declare a public health emergency in any country on earth. Among the amendments, one would remove a current requirement that the WHO “consult with and seek to obtain verification” from officials in a country where a health crisis is suspected before issuing any public declarations. Another provision would require WHO to create “early warning criteria for assessing and progressively updating the national, regional, or global risk posed by an event of unknown causes or sources.”

Yet another would require the WHO, when faced with a country with a suspected problem, to take action if the country doesn’t cooperate with it within 48 hours. The WHO would be allowed “when justified by the magnitude of the public health risk, [to] immediately share with other [nations] the information available to it.”

The Epoch Times reported last month that the proposed amendments echo a White House fact sheet from February indicating the U.S. “will continue to advance health security and pandemic preparedness abroad, including through strengthening WHO, working with partners towards targeted IHR amendments.” The Biden administration supports “global threat detection innovations through a globally connected network of public health surveillance systems that optimizes disease prevention and health promotion as we strengthen surveillance initiatives to provide necessary actionable data before, during, and after a pandemic.”

Leftists are patient , however, and Biden will no doubt try again to promote his amendments or push his internationalist agenda in another way so it’s worth looking at what he tried to do. Biden still has plenty of time to bribe foreign leaders with foreign aid and other goodies to win their support. His WHO defeat is likely only temporary.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Davosing

Hello Davos at long last! It feels a little weird—being here in summer, and also like the prom date who's been stood up four times. but Davos is on, and there are 1,500 private planes here to prove it. I’d hired an assistant named Mila for the conference because I couldn’t very well be seen setting up my own meetings or trying to get myself into parties. I had several invites already but you never really do know which ones will be the hot ticket until you get here.  I’d also set her to the task of sorting out a driver.

A summer conference meant summer clothes, and I refused to be clomping around in wedge-sandals just because modern pavement hadn’t met old Europe. This is among the things Americans find particularly galling and I am starting to agree with them. Hotels never advertise the abysmal water pressure, the inability to use a hairdryer in bathroom, or the two children’s beds shoved together and presented as a king. 

I walked through the Partner’s Lounge after checking in with hospitality and could see there were very few women, in addition to a thousand fewer attendees than in previous years. It was hard to know if the drop-off in attendance was rising anti-elitist sentiment, or Putin's war in Ukraine, but many of the A-listers weren’t coming at all. Not Biden, or Boris, or Macron, or Prince Charles or even Greta. And not even Jamie Dimon, which was a double blow because Jamie’s always liked me, and it meant no JP Morgan Chase-hosted suite. Boo! In its geographic place this year is the Covid testing area, to which we all had to submit upon arrival.

Welcome to the World Environmental Forum.

Mila arrived on foot, and with a local bus map mumbling something about Line 4 (Flüelastrasse). Bus? This wasn’t going well. I was going to have to skip the second half of Xi Jinping to get ready for the India Today party.  It’s just as well, it was hard for me not to focus on the singular-plural mismatch by Xi’s translator. Also I wasn’t happy Klaus opened with Xi. I know we are the World Economic Forum but let’s be honest, the environment is our focus and I won’t give China any credit in that department. Detractors may find us duplicitous (we really should be called the World Environmental Forum) but they don’t grasp how important it is to do our fine work by any means necessary.

India Today went all out for the party, even if it wasn’t terribly exclusive. India itself had the biggest presence at the conference and they wanted to make sure everyone knew it. They had a hundred CEOs and a dozen government leaders. They insist its ‘India’s Century’, that they have the talent pool, and that they played a critical role in vaccinations. Did they? I seem to only remember Donald Trump saying he personally saved two million lives with his vaccine. But tonight I am to accept that India contributed the most. Maybe. But the planet is my passion and as for India… it was #2 on my environmental offender list, and I didn’t have a #3.  

Also missing from this year’s conference were every single one of my clients. It was just as well because the theme seemed to be bullseyes on the billionaires. And I was having a tough time squaring this because everyone that I work with is committed to zero carbon emissions and doing what they can to save our planet.

Day two came both bright and early. Perhaps one too many Mumbai Mules. The last I remembered was a back-and-forth between California’s Darrell Issa and England’s Nick Clegg.  I don’t know anything about Mr Issa but the most interesting thing about Nick is his wife and he turned up without her. Separate from that, I’ll never understand why he thought it smart to tell GQ he had bedded ‘not more than thirty women’ but I think he will always be remembered for his failed attempt to reform the House of Lords. All of this escaped Mr Issa, an American congressman who used to chair something called ‘The Oversight Committee’. That kept me laughing most of the night. 

Klaus Schwab

And the winner is...

Today I get my Schwab Foundation Award! I wanted to wear an asymmetrical Armani knit but I was afraid it wouldn’t photograph well so I opted for a sustainable label. No sooner had I stepped off the stage, I was rushed by a pre-pubescent prat sporting the dreaded orange (press) badge. UGH! He wasn’t here to congratulate me either. He launched into a rant against Barclays (the presenter of the awards). Seriously? How dare you! I’m the bug hostess, and my efforts may just make the difference between saving the planet and not! Plus I was kind of hoping I might parlay this into a stakeholder position with Barclays. ‘By the way, Barclays—you idiot—just set aside £17m for a sustainable impact programme’, I said, moving away from him. ‘…and they provide menopause support to retain their top talent!’

I think the last bit shocked him but he yelled back, ’Barclays' renewable energy banking chief has served on the board of the Sierra Club!’ 

‘Well yay Barclays!’ I retorted, really trying to lose him this time. Why is everybody so cranky post-Covid?

He wouldn't stop. ‘But the Sierra Club has been killing off nuclear plants around the U.S., while taking money from renewable energy companies. Turns out it’s a very lucrative business’. 

UGH! He had me and I knew it. Nuclear is by far the safest way to make reliable electricity and its particulate matter is insignificant compared to the particulate matter from fossil-and biomass-burning homes, cars, and power plants, which kill more than eight million people a year. I said nothing and left the room. It was day three and I was sure to let security know one of the orange tags had slipped through and harassed me. Orange Man Bad! as the saying goes.

I decided to interview a few folks myself, to discuss the things I wished to discuss and was heading straight for Henry Kissinger when Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of UNAIDS thrust herself into my mic. Oh Lord. Keep it light I thought, as she jumped right in. ‘Extreme inequality is out of control, it’s undermining our economies, and fueling crime’, she said. 

‘Thank you’.  I said. I'd heard her speak earlier. She thought if anyone has any more than another, it qualified as inequality and someone was cheating. ‘We don't want countries to simply come to Davos, we want them to put the burden on companies and rich people'. She used the example that in 1970 the top  tax rates were around 62 percent and that today they've been 'negotiated down by rich people’. 

‘Do you know I work with poultry workers in the richest country  in the world?  The United States?  And the poultry worker I spoke to has to wear diapers because she is not allowed to go to the bathroom.  These companies pay their CEOs well and cheat workers down the line’. 

Of course I didn’t know any of this, nor did I believe it,  but she wouldn't shut up so I googled it on my phone to find that the average salary of a poultry worker is $29,000 a year or about $14.10 per hour. No mention if that included diapers. ‘Do you know that $170 billion of profits, every single year, does not  get taxed? Think about that, $170 billion a year that is not given to others to support themselves', she banged on.

No diapers and 14 bucks an hour too!

There was no point explaining to her that all profits were not owed to someone else, and that if every country that came to Davos was forced into 'the burden of high taxation' no one would come here. This she called inequality. And  she went on about how 'jobs were not enough… people need dignified jobs'.  Fascinating really. This woman from Uganda, now making a quarter of a million dollars a year, was telling me that American jobs were not dignified--enough. And failure to hand over profits was stealing.  'Not dignified enough',  she insisted.  

I wanted to ask if she knew there were nearly ten million slaves in Africa but I did not.  But more than that, I wanted her to shut up. Apparently she had checked with the IMF and they told her, companies could afford to pay more. And in her mind that translated to must. This she explained, would fight climate change because apparently with more money, the first thing people  do is become passionate about their carbon footprint.

I tried to interject, and eventually I said:  'As I haven’t the occupational garments of those poultry women… I really must excuse myself.’ Suddenly, I was thankful for Mila and her bus schedule. 

All Part of the Plan

It's almost as if President Biden has generously agreed to film opposition-research ads for the RNC in the lead-up to the midterm elections:

That was Biden's response when he was asked during a press conference in Japan earlier this week about the possibility of an American recession. The obvious implication of this statement is that high gas prices are not an unfortunate byproduct of events that are beyond the Biden Administration's control, but in fact are the intended outcome of the president's policies. Of course, this conflicts with Biden's defensiveness about gas prices in the same statement, as when he said,

And what I’ve been able to do to keep it from getting even worse — and it’s bad.... But we have released over two hundred and, I think, fifty-seven thousand — million barrels of oil, I should say. Us and the rest of the world we convinced to get involved. It’s helped, but it’s not been enough.

Well "helped" is a strong word, Mr. President, as those "two hundred and... fifty-seven thousand — million barrels of oil," had only the slightest impact on the price of petroleum products, just as we predicted when their release was announced:

Meanwhile, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which exists for a true national emergency -- not to arrest the president's tumbling poll numbers -- is now emptier than it has been in nearly 40 years and the federal government will have to purchase oil at a much higher rate per barrel to replenish it.

Still, this seems like a shift in approach from the administration, of a piece with their decision to cancel already scheduled oil and gas lease sales. Those leases were announced with an eye towards tamping down on exploding gas prices. Canceling a not-insignificant number of them after their sale had been announced was likely done to placate Biden's environmentalist supporters, but it also demonstrated the White House's growing realization that none of its proposed half-measures were going to get pump prices down to an acceptable level. Nothing short of a total about-face would move the needle in the right direction, and their attempts to spit on an intensifying conflagration were just making them look weak.

So what solution did they come up with? Lean into high prices. This is Putin's doing, yes, but it is also part of the glorious green energy transition which will leave us all better off! That is to say: Don't worry, this was all part of the plan. It's a desperate move and it isn't going to help them in November. But it will result in a rough economic summer just as American's were gearing up for a post-Covid party.

Start prepping for that recession.

America's Economic 'Bad Luck' Began with Keystone

President Joe Biden’s inauguration day decision to shut down and cancel construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada is even more shocking when it is recognized that environmentalism has moved on to an ominous new phase. For the last two generations at least, the political battle over energy in the U.S. has revolved around the left’s attempts to strangle the oil, gas, and coal energy that generates 80 percent of America’s total energy supply. The typical move was challenging every drilling permit application, and having Democratic presidents seal off more federal land from exploration and production through the executive fiat of designating more “wilderness areas.”

Environmentalists wrapped their intransigence against domestic oil and gas with the lie that America’s oil and gas supplies were so limited that we couldn’t “drill our way out” of our dependence on foreign supplies, mixed with happy talk about the fantastic “renewable energy revolution.” While windmills and solar panels are spreading like kudzu grass throughout the land (thanks to lavish subsidies), strangling oil and gas production hasn’t worked fully worked out.

A funny thing happened on our way to the new green utopia—we did drill our way out of foreign oil and gas dependence, much to the fury of the left. Dramatic improvements in technology, especially precise directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) unleashed a revolution in domestic oil and gas production. Much of this revolution occurred by stealth, and on private or state land, largely during the anti-oil Obama Administration. If the political class in Washington had known this revolution was under way, they would have moved aggressively to stop it.

By degrees environmentalists have become open and explicit about their goal, with the more honest slogan, “Leave it in the ground.” Environmentalists have long enjoyed considerable success in blocking or delaying oil and gas exploration and production even in the region of Alaska quaintly called the “National Petroleum Reserve,” let alone the oil-rich Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and many offshore areas. The offensive has broadened, with success in getting Wall Street and several federal bureaucracies such as the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and others to make life more difficult for domestic oil and gas production.

But while the environmental crusaders may hamper, they cannot entirely strangle, domestic oil and gas production. We can see this dynamic in action in real time right now. Between the typical epicycle of oil prices and the disruptions in the global market the Ukraine war has caused, suddenly we desperately need increased supply from our domestic producers. Credible predictions of $8 a gallon gasoline and rolling electricity blackouts this summer have had a sobering effect. While Wall Street may look down its nose at oil and gas companies in their public pronouncements, their capital allocation tells a different story. The oil and gas sector’s value has soared over the last year as capital seeks the best return, while the rest of the stock market is in bear territory.

Our domestic hydrocarbons are not going to stay in the ground in these circumstances. But there is another way for environmentalists to achieve their objective of strangling it—one that is a lot simpler and more effective than opposing every drilling permit application. In a variation of the old gangster approach to a protection racket, environmentalists have settled upon a new tactic: “Nice little oil well you have there; good luck getting any of it to a refinery.”

This is preface for understanding the deeper meaning of Biden’s decision to cancel Keystone. The decision made no sense on the merits, and seemed heedless of basic politics. The Obama Administration had concluded that Keystone would have no effect on "climate change" (because that Canadian oil is going to go somewhere regardless), and canceling it angered our largest trading partner and leading foreign oil supplier—this from a person who said he’d repair relations with foreign nations that President Trump supposedly trashed. It was also an unprecedented abuse of presidential power: no president has ever shut down a private-sector construction project—unionized, no less—already under way absent clear malfeasance or illegality.

Keystone should be seen therefore as a capstone to the strategy environmentalists have embraced by degrees in recent years of seeking to block pipelines and other infrastructure necessary for a flourishing hydrocarbon sector. The Dakota Access Pipeline, proposed in 2014 and under construction in 2016 after clearing the usual concerns from state governments and native American groups, suddenly faced a late vigorous protest movement that went national, supplementing spurious environmental claims with a heady mix of identity politics. The Obama administration intervened late to halt Dakota Access, but Trump swiftly gave it the green light upon taking office in 2017.

Meanwhile, the successive governors of New York (David Paterson, Andrew Cuomo, and now Kathy Hochul) have not only refused to allow production of ample supplies of natural gas in economically sluggish upstate, but refuse permission for a pipeline to send natural gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio to northeastern states that otherwise now have to import it from, among other places, Russia. (Massachusetts generates two-thirds of its electricity with natural gas.) Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to tear up an existing pipeline from Canada, and while the effort is temporarily in abeyance, no doubt the idea will come back if Whitmer is re-elected.

The point should now be obvious: Biden’s Keystone decision was a political rather than a serious policy decision. Message: Don’t even think about proposing any new pipelines in the U.S. Keystone isn’t just one pipeline; it is all pipelines. And even if a future Republican administration approves construction of a new pipeline, we’ll tear up the permit and expropriate your project the next time we’re back in office. Who is going to risk billions on new pipelines with this kind of political uncertainty? (Little noticed in the media is that international rating firms now place the United States as one of the highest risk countries for oil and gas investment.)

They hate you. They really hate you.

Blocking hydrocarbon infrastructure is only one part of the strangulation strategy of environmentalists. We haven’t built a new major oil refinery (with capacity over 100,000 barrels a day) in the U.S. since 1977. Modernization and expansion of existing refineries have been able to keep up with market needs, but the strain is starting to show and the limits of this patchwork adaptation are being reached. Refining constraints explain a lot of the reason gasoline in California now costs $2 more than the national average, but good luck proposing to build a new or expand an existing refinery in California.

The point is clear: blocking the infrastructure to transport and process hydrocarbon energy reduces the need to block production at the well. It’s like saying automakers can make all the cars they want, but taking away the roads. (Actually environmentalists want to do that, too.) The long-running argument about whether to drill more at home has become a classic misdirection. It represents a revival of the mid-20th century socialist strategy that sought to control the “commanding heights” of the economy (steel, autos, rail, etc.) so as to control everything else, and it is fitting that the pipeline that makes this keystone strategy vivid is called Keystone.

This problem won’t get fixed until there is fundamental reform of basic laws and regulations that allow this kind of obstruction to gain traction. GOP 2024 candidates take note.

Welcome Back, Carter. Nixon, Too

It's almost a cliché at this point to mention this similarities between Joe Biden and Jimmy Carter. Not that that's stopped us, nor will it when the observation is accurate. But it is worth pointing out that the president isn't the only elected official who seems hell bent on recreating America's most disastrous decade since the close of the Second World War, that is, the 1970s.

The House's Democratic majority overcame some internal opposition to pass legislation on [May 19] addressing high gas prices by cracking down on possible price gouging from oil companies. The bill was approved along party lines in a vote of 217-207. Four Democrats -- Texas' Lizzie Fletcher, Jared Golden of Maine, Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Kathleen Rice of New York -- joined all Republicans in the chamber in voting against the legislation.

The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act, introduced by Reps. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., and Katie Porter, D-Calif., would give the president the authority to issue an energy emergency proclamation that would make it unlawful for companies to increase fuel prices to "unconscionably excessive" levels.

"The problem is Big Oil is keeping supply artificially low so prices and profits stay high. Now I think that when the market is broken, that's when Congress has to step in to protect American consumers," Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a hearing on Monday. "And that's what this bill does: It empowers the FTC to go after the gougers and empowers the agency to effectively monitor and report on market manipulation."

If you're old enough to have watched Rhoda or owned a record by Bread, this move might sound familiar to you. That's because the Nixon administration introduced price controls on gasoline and other consumer goods in the early '70s, while regulations grew up to strangle the expansion of the oil and gas industry throughout the decade. It was a spectacular failure, as anyone with any grasp on basic economics could have predicted. That's why one of the most recognizable images of the decade -- right up there with with the Bee Gees and John Travolta on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack -- is motorists lined up for miles waiting for gasoline.

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The president of the United States is nearly 80 years old, the speaker of the House is 82, as is the House majority leader, while the Senate majority leader is a comparatively sprightly 71. They were all adults in the 1970s. Indeed, they were all working in politics at the time. You'd think they would remember what a disaster it all was. Isn't the purported advantage of a gerontocracy that the agèd rulers would be able to recall the mistakes of the past and, more importantly, how to avoid repeating them? Perhaps President Biden isn't the only powerful person in a state of cognitive decline.