Friday, August 19, 2011

Double Standard

A report at debkafile on NATO plans to ship arms to Syrian resistance forces contained an interesting detail:
Debkafile's military sources affirm that contrary to earlier reports, the Syrian missile ships cruising offshore took no part in the attack on Latakia. Their function is to blockade the port against arms smuggling. Nevertheless the weapons used by Palestinians fighting in Latakia Sunday came from Lebanon aboard smugglers' boats. There are almost daily incidents of Syrian ships firing on suspect vessels.
In other words, Syria is maintaining a naval blockade designed to prevent arms from reaching Palestinian fighters in Syria and firing on boats that try to run the blockade. Where's the moral outrage at this atrocity that we witnessed from the Left when the Israelis did essentially the same thing except without the gunfire? Where are the flotillas of European peace-workers organizing to run this blockade?

Perhaps for the Left it's only heinous to blockade the Palestinians when Israelis do it. When Syrians do it, well, they probably have good reasons.

Compressing the Spring

An article in the Washington Times talks about the decision the State Department has to make regarding whether to go ahead with construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to pump oil from Canada to Houston. It begins with this:
Here’s what [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] should say: Even if the U.S. government adopts stringent policies to cut oil use, the United States will be dependent on crude for decades. Oil demand across the world, meanwhile, is rising, which applies upward pressure on prices — and makes it economical to extract oil from Canada’s tar sands. Canada will produce its oil.

We will burn a lot of it, no matter what, because there’s still spare capacity in existing U.S./Canada pipelines. But when Canada produces more oil than it can send south, the Canadians won’t just leave it in the ground; they will ship it elsewhere. And America won’t be kept from importing and refining more low-grade crude oil; the United States will just get it from the Middle East, the Energy Department has concluded.

[W]e asked John Baird — Canada’s new foreign minister, who was in Washington recently to speak with Ms. Clinton — which nations would buy oil that America decided not to take. His answer was quick and unequivocal: the Chinese. New pipeline infrastructure will transport oil between the tar sands and Canada’s west coast from which tankers can ship it across the Pacific Ocean.
Building the pipeline would not only create thousands of jobs, it would help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our balance of payments just as drilling offshore would do. Indeed, unleashing our energy industry would have an enormous impact on job creation and economic growth, yet the Obama administration, despite assurances that they really do want to create jobs and enable the U.S. to become energy independent, continues to drag its feet on doing what we could do to accomplish this. It's a head scratcher.

Here's another puzzler:

In a column by Steve Milloy in the same paper we learn that the EPA is going to impose draconian ozone emission standards on American industry that would cost as much as $1 trillion annually and the loss of more than 7 million jobs by 2020.

Milloy talks about the rationale for this regulation and argues convincingly that it's based on very dubious science, but the EPA plans to go ahead with the new standards anyway. Why? Why impose standards that are going to depress jobs even more when there's no compelling health reason to do so?

Switching the metaphor, the economy is like a coiled spring upon which Mr. Obama is placing the weight of the entire government. The burden has compressed the spring flat, and it'll stay flat until the President eases up on the downward pressure. He thinks that all that's needed to make the spring expand is a little stimulus lubricant sprayed onto the coils, but no amount of lubricant will make the spring uncoil until the crushing weight of taxes and regulations is removed.

For reasons Mr. Obama is unwilling to forthrightly explain, he won't do that, and that mystifies me.