FRACKING AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Liberals openly hate the electoral college (and the Senate, but one thing at a time) because it is counter-majoritarian. To which the answer is: Yes, precisely. That’s one of its strongest points. It means a winning presidential candidate has to take in a broader range of local interests if he is to win a constitutional majority, which is superior to a mere numerical majority that may be lopsided in just a few regions (like the two coasts today).

This comes to mind given the promise of leading Democrats to ban fracking for oil and gas if they are elected president. I assume this plays very well in San Francisco and Manhattan, but it does mean giving the middle finger to the middle of Pennsylvania, among other locations.

What do the locals think about fracking? We’re told endless by environmental propagandists that it is poisoning the local water and air, though a thorough EPA study done during the Obama Administration found little evidence to support this.

new study of voting results on an anti-fracking ballot initiative in Colorado in 2018 (which was defeated) in Energy Research & Social Science gives us a more fine-grained look at the matter. The key author of the study, Daniel Raimi of Resources for the Future, offers a plain English summary of the study on Twitter. His first finding is the most useful:

Key findings: (1) Strong opposition to #fracking is mostly found in places where there is little to no drilling activityStrong support for drilling is mostly found in the places that have the largest density of wells. . . most people who live in the “patch” do want #fracking in their back yard.

The study also finds a sharp partisan divide, with Republicans favoring fracking and Democrats opposing it. To which we say: Duh. (For this we need social science?) Anyway, for more about the study, see here.

But you can see that if we left the matter up to the larger number of voters in San Francisco (or just the Denver metro area), fracking would be killed in opposition to the local opinion of people who live with it. Ironic, since those rural rubes provide the fuel for all those fancy Wolf and Viking gas ranges in those fancy professional-grade, two-sink kitchens in the Bay Area.

And this, boys and girls, is why we have the electoral college. (Also property rights, but that’s also a topic for another day.)

Crisis mode’: Coronavirus disrupts the heart of electronics manufacturing in China

The point being that the economic effects – world wide – will probably be worse than the medical effects of the bug.

  • Factories in China, the center of the electronics industry’s supply chain, are expected to reopen on Monday after being closed for an extended Lunar New Year holiday.
  • The date is being closely watched because Chinese manufacturing is critical to the electronics industry.
  • Given travel restrictions and potential supply-chain problems, products scheduled for the holiday season months away are at risk of being delayed as well, experts said

Factories in China, the center of the electronics industry’s supply chain, have been closed for an extended Lunar New Year holiday and the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. Most are expected to reopen on Monday, a week later than scheduled.

But quarantines and other measures put in place to stop the spread of the disease in China could continue to disrupt electronics manufacturing well into the 2020 holiday season, even if factories quickly return to full production, manufacturing experts said.

Andre Neumann-Loreck, founder of On-Tap Consulting, a Silicon Valley firm that specializes in advising hardware companies and start-ups building products in Asia, said his clients have been asking a lot of questions about how to deal with the epidemic and have actively made contingency plans.

“Companies that are building hardware or physical products are in crisis mode now, and that’s true whether they’re getting finished goods built in China or relying on China for components and sub-assemblies,” Neumann-Loreck said.

For example, Facebook warned on Friday that it was expecting the coronavirus to impact the production of its Oculus Quest virtual reality headsets.

How delays could cascade

The supply chain has already been disrupted with the week-long delay to factories reopening, said Sherina Kamal, risk analyst at Resillience 360, a logistics risk-management company backed by DHL.

“The ripple effect coming from one region in China is completely unprecedented,” Kamal said. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”………..

Global recession fears as China quarantines MILLIONS over coronavirus.

As I posted earlier, this is the more troublesome problem. Not that the bug is not dangerous in itself if it gets loose on this continent

Currently around 400 million Chinese citizens live under some level of quarantine which has been imposed over some of the country’s biggest cities. Economically crucial metropolises such as Tianjin, Guangzhou and parts of the greater Shanghai region are under restrictions in a bid to stop the virus spreading……..

Flows of capital out of China have increased since the crisis began and there are reports of supply chains disrupted across Asia.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Freya Beamish, from Pantheon Macroeconomics, warned of significant economic growth.

She commented: “We’re expecting a serious contraction in the first quarter.

“It looks like quite nasty numbers.”

Pantheon predicted Chinese economic growth could fall to minus 2.5 percent if the crisis continues.

There are fears this could push the global economy towards recession.

Currently around a third of global economic growth takes place in China according to ratings agency Standard & Poor.

According to Capital Economics around £25billion left China during January, with the rate speeding up towards the end of the month.

This was around double what was experienced the month before.

Coronavirus tests U.S. medical system’s unhealthy reliance on China for drugs, supplies.
The basic building blocks of U.S. health care are now under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

It’s not just the “building blocks of U.S. health care”, it’s all the stuff imported from China and how much of that stuff we depend on that’s not being manufactured because of so many people being in quarantine.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently warned of the “grave” situation posed by the “accelerating spread” of the coronavirus in China. Xi’s frank warnings were unusual for the seniormost official of the Chinese Communist Party and reveal the depth of the concern at the highest levels of the country’s leadership.

Already, nearly 500 people have died and tens of thousands more have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. It has been found in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Europe and the United States. Tens of millions have been put under travel restrictions and even quarantine by the Chinese government.

While many are rightfully concerned about stopping the virus, few are focused on the fact that the more it spreads, the more the U.S. ability to treat any Americans who are stricken is vulnerable to the tender mercies of the Chinese Communist Party because of a strategic shift in health care that occurred without debate or decision in Washington.

Everything from antibiotics to chemotherapy drugs, from antidepressants to Alzheimer’s medications to treatments for HIV/AIDS, are frequently produced by Chinese manufacturers. What’s more, the most effective breathing masks and the bulk of other personal protective equipment — key to containing the spread of coronavirus and protecting health care workers — and even the basic syringe are largely made in China. The basic building blocks of U.S. health care are now under Xi’s control.

As Rosemary Gibson, author and health care expert noted, the United States does not produce its own penicillin anymore — the last U.S. based penicillin production facility closed in 2004. Of course, antibiotics may not do any good against the coronavirus, but they may be needed to deal with a related sickness, just as flu often leads to respiratory infections.

This makes the U.S. acutely vulnerable for several reasons. First, China has a record of faulty products and poor oversight that have resulted in recalls, production delays and other problems Americans certainly don’t want to encounter when trying to obtain lifesaving drugs. As Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross stated recently, it is time for the U.S. to “consider the ramifications of doing business with a country that has a long history of covering up real risks to its own people and the rest of the world.”

 

A Thousand Ways to Get Sold Out.

Although Russia and the Ukraine are the focus of U.S. media coverage, the most important recent events have occurred in China. It remains in the grip of an ever-expanding coronavirus epidemic that the WHO seems reluctant to wall off, saying Beijing would help those foreign countries that got infected.

In the wake of numerous airlines cancelling flights to China and businesses including Starbucks and McDonald’s temporarily closing hundreds of shops, Tedros said WHO was not recommending limiting travel or trade to China.

“There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade,” he said. He added that Chinese President Xi Jinping had committed to help stop the spread of the virus beyond its borders.

“During my discussion with the president and other officials, they’re willing to support countries with weaker health systems with whatever is possible,” Tedros said.

The 2019-nCoV outbreak is proving to be not only an epidemiological event but a geopolitical development. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross pointed out the obvious. China will be diminished as a result, the only question being by how much.

“Well, first of all, every American’s heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus. So, I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,” Ross told Fox Business Network on Thursday. “But the fact is, it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain.”

“On top of all the other things, you had SARS, you had the African swine virus there, now you have this,” Ross continued. “It’s another risk factor that people need to take into account. So, I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America. Some to U.S., probably some to Mexico, as well.”

Perhaps not just China but the whole uncritical notion of a globalized world has taken a hit. In an eerie parallel development, the chairman of Harvard’s chemistry department was arrested on charges of secretly receiving money from Beijing in exchange for American biotechnology.

In 2013 Charles Lieber, a pioneer of nanoscience who is now the chairman of Harvard University’s chemistry department, visited the Wuhan University of Technology (wut), in China, to celebrate the founding of a lab he was credited by that university with helping to establish and oversee: the wut-Harvard Joint Nano Key Laboratory.
It was a remarkable coup. wut is an institution of little renown. Harvard is generally regarded as the top of the academic tree. And Dr Lieber, whose research has since become part of Elon Musk’s ambitious scheme to supercharge the human brain with nanotechnology, has been seen as a potential Nobel laureate.

Harvard’s officials had not, however, approved the laboratory and did not know about it until early 2015, according to the us Department of Justice. Nor did they know that while conducting his research with grants from the Department of Defence and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr Lieber was, according to federal authorities, also being paid up to $50,000 a month by wut, plus at least $150,000 in “living expenses”, as a prized recruit in China’s Thousand Talents programme to bring foreign scientists, and return Chinese expatriates, to that country’s research laboratories.

Lieber’s bail has been set at a $1 million cash, the surrender of his passport, and a ban of large cash withdrawals without court approval. Even without conspiracy theory, the “Thousand Talents” program and the question of international conflict of interest will be in the dock with Dr. Lieber.

What, then, is the Thousand Talents program? This was established by the Chinese government in 2008, and it has several divisions for both Chinese researchers and foreign experts. The general idea is to recruit scientific talent and expertise to China – encouraging Chinese nationals to come back to Chinese institutions after studying overseas, funding research collaborations between Chinese groups and institutions and foreign researchers, and so on. …

There have also been concerns about outright espionage. Here’s a recent Senate report calling the Thousand Talents effort (and the many other Chinese-sponsored recruitment programs) a direct threat to US security. There have been cases of awardees taking proprietary information with them, of nondisclosure of Chinese funding (as with Prof. Lieber), and so on. In recent years, the Chinese government has reacted to this scrutiny by removing the names of awardees from public web sites in an effort to keep them from becoming targets of investigation by the FBI and other agencies (in the US and other countries).

The virus outbreak and the Thousand Talents affair will add fuel to arguments that naive globalization has been all about the elites making a killing at the expense of ordinary citizens. The amorality went both ways. If China had a Thousand Talents scheme in the U.S., the financial industry had “Sons and Daughters” program in 2016.

Regulators slapped JPMorgan with $264 million in fines and said the bank “corruptly influenced government officials” with its hiring and internship tactics in China.

The settlement follows a three-year investigation into JPMorgan and marks one of the first major crackdowns on a big U.S. bank for running afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Known as the FCPA, the law prohibits companies from making payments or giving “anything of value” to win business from foreign officials.

“JPMorgan engaged in a systemic bribery scheme by hiring children of government officials … who were typically unqualified for the position on their own merit,” Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in a statement.

The practice of giving the children of China’s ruling class plum jobs and internships was so common at JPMorgan that the bank even had a formal program known as “Sons and Daughters.” The program included spreadsheets that tracked how often the hires turned into business deals.

Whatever the legal relevance of excluding Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma Holdings from Donald Trump’s impeachment may be, the saga of a political scion getting a cushy foreign job on the strength of his name plays to the populist narrative of elite betrayal almost as if it had been written by a Hollywood scriptwriter.

The 2019-nCoV outbreak poses a potential political threat not just to the Chinese Communist Party but the entire One World project.

If virus spreads unchecked, the public will be looking for someone to blame and it won’t just be the Chinese apparatchiks.

China Outbreak Forces Hyundai To Suspend Flagship SUV Production

Supply chains using the ‘just-in-time’ logistics model are only as strong as their weakest link.
And we’re going to be seeing much more of this until either China gets their act together or other companies figure out how to supply manufacturers.

Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s largest automaker, suspended the domestic production of its flagship sport utility vehicle this weekend as a result of a supply disruption caused by the deadly virus outbreak in China.

The deadly virus that first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has resulted in 259 deaths and spread to more than two dozen other countries.

Hyundai’s decision was made following factory closures in China that have led to shortages of supplies, including the complete electrical wiring system of a vehicle, the Korean automaker said.

“We have cancelled overtime factory hours that had been scheduled for Saturday and Sunday to produce our Palisade vehicle,” Jin Cha, a Hyundai spokesperson, told AFP on Saturday………..

Markets have struggled in recent days as the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the virus, with analysts concerned about its impact on world economic growth.

Delta suspends all flights to China, as coronavirus reaches 9,600+ cases and growing fast

How about the flights from China?

Delta Airlines has suspended all flights to China amid reports of the worsening Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The airline announced it would suspend all flights between Feb. 6 and April 30, as a result of the coronavirus. In a statement Friday, Delta Airlines said it would continue to monitor the outbreak and make new adjustments to its flight suspensions as further details emerge.

Delta currently operates 42 flights to China weekly. The airline announced it would help customers reschedule their flights after April 30, or discuss refunds options.

VA started pushing crazy gun laws, so residents just bought 74,000 more firearms – in one month.

RICHMOND, VA- It’s not surprising to see that the residents within Virginia purchased nearly 74,000 firearms in December of 2019.

Gun control bills and measures have been a hot topic in the state of Virginia, and with good reason.

Democrats within Richmond have been adamant in bringing forth legislation that can be contorted to strip citizens of their second amendment rights. As a result, citizens of the state thought it a good idea to purchase their weapons while they still could.

According to the Associated Press, December of 2019 saw an increase of 47% over the number of firearm sales when compared to December of 2018.

The tallied number of guns sold totaled out to 73,849. The outlet reported that the increase in sales was likely “due to growing fears of increased firearms restrictions backed by Democrats who control the state government.”

In the past 30 years, there was only one month that toppled the sales from this past December, and that would be December of 2012. That holiday season saw an estimated 75,120 firearm sales, which might have had something to do with then-Governor McDonnell removing the restriction of only being allowed to buy one gun a month.

Several gun store owners made mention of the notable increases in both foot traffic and purchases within their shops. Some customers mentioned that they were first-time buyers, while others were looking to acquire firearm accessories they thought might be subject to banning later on.

One of the first-time gun purchasers was a 66-year-old grandmother of eight. Ida Wright expressed concerns that the impending legislation championed by Democrats within Virginia geared her toward purchasing a weapon:

“I didn’t think I would ever be buying a gun, but things are changing so drastically. If we don’t protect ourselves, who else is going to protect us?”

One of the managers from Bob Moates Sports Shop, Richard Hill, noted the increase in customers filing into the store in December:

“On the basis of what we would have been doing a year ago at this time, you’re looking at a 500 to 1000% increase depending on the day.”

Hill mentioned that with all the bills being pushed forward that aim to restrict lawful gun owner’s rights, it’s creating an increased demand overall. He was also critical of the fact that political pundits in Richmond haven’t addressed the fact that there are criminals already in violation of existing gun laws:

“I have yet to see a single law that addresses what we are going to do with the criminals we’ve already got that are violating untold numbers of laws.”

Gerald Stauffer Jr., who is the manager of Southern Gun World in Chesterfield County, also stated that in the wake of everything going in the state Senate and House, business is booming.

He pointed out that while the rally was going on in Capitol Square, there was a remarkable number of sales from attendees:

“About noon we saw a very steady amount of people coming in with their stickers on, most of them buying a new firearm. They were motivated.”

This outcome is hardly surprising, as there’s been previous studies that show when lawful gun owners think their rights are going to be infringed upon, gun sales experience an uptick.

Maurizio Porfiri, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Tandon School at New York University, found that whenever the media or legislators attack gun rights then there’s a near immediate bump in sales.

The study, which gathered data between January 1999 and December 2017, cross examined whether gun purchases increased following mass shootings or when media attacks and reporting of oncoming gun reform happened.

The study proved there to be zero fundamental link between an actual mass shooting and gun purchases – just gun sales increasing when people try to relieve lawful gun owners of their weapons. A testament that the “fear of loss” inevitably creates demand.

Virginia passes ‘red flag’ laws. Cops: Good luck finding someone to enforce them.

Even though 22,000 people gathered to protest unconstitutional gun laws, lawmakers went ahead and passed the bills anyway.

While Virginia was forced to strike down the extremely controversial SB 16, which was the assault weapons ban, that didn’t stop them from moving forward with the “red flag” law getting passed over to the House to consider.

Police across the Commonwealth have already begun raising their voices in opposition, essentially telling lawmakers “Good luck” in finding authorities who would enforce such unconstitutional measures.

The Virginia Senate approved legislation this past Wednesday that gives law enforcement the authority to confiscate guns and ammunition, devoid of any real due process. This unconstitutional legislation is rife with exploitable areas that can be used by vindictive people and entities and deprive law abiding citizens of their God-given rights.

The stance was made clear on Wednesday, showing how divided the Republicans and Democrats are on the issue of “red flag” laws. SB 240 only passed on a party line vote of 21 Democrats in favor with 19 Republicans opposing the measure.

Despite the fierce opposition posed by both Republicans and thousands of citizens who demonstrated at a rally contesting the unconstitutional law, the Democratic-led Senate used their clout to push the law through over to the House.

GOP Senator Amanda Chase described supporters of SB 240 as “traitors”, and that the law would only enable criminals and pose harm to law-abiding citizens.

Senator Chase’s stance was at odds with Democrats in the Senate, who claimed that a “red flag” law would inevitably deter mass shootings. Citations were made on how well these laws were performing in 17 other states, but there’s hardly any quantifiable data that proves these laws have ever stopped a mass shooting.

In fact, in one of the most cited pieces of “proof” that claims these laws save lives, even the authors of the study claim it can’t be proven.

“It is impossible to know whether violence would have occurred had [extreme risk protection orders] not been issued,” they claim.

At this point, the bill is making its way over to the House, which it’s likely that it will pass under the Democratic majority at the General Assembly. Democrats in Richmond have made it clear that they couldn’t care less about the 22,000 people that protested the “red flag” law.

In previous years, there were attempts to pass these kinds of laws, but the Republican-controlled committees struck down the bills before they could make any significant progress. Clearly, Democrats are showing that they intend to push everything on their agenda, without paying any mind to methods of bipartisan compromise…………

CCI Ammunition Launches 14 New Rimfire Loads

CCI Ammunition is pleased to announce a total of 14 individual product SKUs in more than 12 product lines during the 2020 SHOT Show (Booth No. 14551), January 21-24 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We have more than doubled the number of new products than what we did last year. We are excited to introduce these new products for rimfire shooters and hunters,” said CCI Product Director Rick Stoeckel. “New product highlights include a series of rimfire rounds chosen by MeatEater’s Steven Rinella, new additions to our popular Clean-22 lineup, and several loads now packaged in easy-to-pour, bulk-pack cartons. We know our customers will be pleased with all of the many new options.”

CCI has partnered with MeatEater’s Steven Rinella on this exclusive new series of ammunition. CCI’s rimfire products available in this series includes Copper-22 22 LR 21-grain HP, Mini-Mag 22 LR, 36-grain CPHP and Maxi-Mag 22 WMR, 40-grain JHP.

Clean-22’s exclusive polymer bullet coating greatly reduces copper and lead fouling
in the barrel—without leaving a residue. CCI has created a special-edition package promoting United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) Steel Challenge competitions. The Steel Challenge logo is prominently featured on every box.

The Clean-22 Segmented Hollow Point 22 WMR 46-grain bullet splits into three equal-size pieces on impact. Its polymer coating allows this separation at much lower velocities and longer distances.

Clean-22 Suppressor 22 LR utilizes its advanced polymer 45-grain bullet coating to reduce lead fouling inside a suppressor 50 percent for much easier suppressor cleaning and maintenance. These are available in 200-count, easy-to-pour bulk packs.

Special-edition “Stangers” are Stinger ammunition named for 22plinkster’s signature drawl who is popular on YouTube for his trick shots. Like the original, their 32-grain copper-plated hollow-point bullet leaves the muzzle at 1,640 fps.

For small game and varmint hunters, CCI has released three new, convenient cartons that hold 125 rounds of 22 WMR HP 40 grain Maxi-Mag, and 22 WMR 30 grain VNT or 17 HMR 17 grain VNT for fun in the field.

All these new rimfire products, plus new ammunition from Blazer, produced by CCI, will be on display at Booth No. 14551 for customers to view and learn full details.

Trump’s remarkable remarks at Davos.

President Donald John Trump’s address at Davos this morning was a lesson on governance by a man who entered politics less than 5 years ago.

Our president said, “America’s newfound prosperity is undeniable, unprecedented and unmatched anywhere in the world. America achieved this stunning turnaround not by making minor changes to a handful of policies, but by adopting a whole new approach centered entirely on the well-being of the American worker.”

That is incredible. A billionaire spoke to fellow billionaires, fellow world leaders, and academics not about the swell digs they were staying at or the lush cuisine they enjoyed.

President Trump talked about actually serving the people who entrusted them with power.

California’s AB5 Leaves Women Business Owners Reeling

Sometimes I wonder if I should have a ‘?’ after Unintended Consequences, because my cynical side makes me think that this is not a bug, but a feature.

Aimee Benavides has built a thriving career as a translator and interpreter while homeschooling her nine-year-old daughter, who has autism, and 11-year-old son, who is heavily involved in STEM enrichment classes. What makes it all possible is the home-based business she started in 2010, after leaving a full-time job in the court system.

It isn’t easy to juggle it all. Sometimes she starts work at 5:30 am to get her work done—or brings her son to the school board meetings where she takes on evening projects. “The times I don’t take my son with me, they ask, ‘How is your son?’” she says.

Still, Benavides would not trade the flexibility of self-employment for a traditional job. Benavides’ business allows her and her husband, an IT professional, to afford the cost of living in Fresno, Calif., while still permitting them to manage their family responsibilities.

Benavides is one of a number of self-employed women in California who are speaking out in opposition to AB5, a union-backed law aimed at preventing misclassification of gig workers that took effect on January 1. The law presumes that every worker in the state—except those on a list of exempted industries, such as physicians, accountants, architects and engineers—is an employee.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the bill’s sponsor, tweeted yesterday that under the law “if you are a true independent proprietor, you can still operate as one.”

She pointed to a test that allows sole proprietors, partnerships, LLCs, LLPs and corporations to operate legally in California if they meet 12 criteria—such as being free from the direction and control of the client, providing services directly to the client and not the client’s customers and being customarily engaged in the same type of work they are doing for the client—and pass another multi-point test, known as Borello.

However, many independent workers in California say AB5’s complexity has scared away their clients, who are afraid of getting hit with fines by the state if they misinterpret it. Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2020 budget includes about $20 million for enforcement.

Why Unlocking More Oil and Gas is Good for Every American – And the Environment

What if gasoline prices doubled?  In other words, if you had to pay $5.00 per gallon, how much would that hurt your life?

That’s what happened during the 1970s oil crisis. The Middle East-led Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) weaponized oil by embargoing the United States twice. At that time, America lacked the capacity to make up for the lost oil. In 1978, the average price per gallon was around 60 cents.  By 1981, it reached $1.35.  The economy went into severe recession and millions lost their jobs.

But more recently, major unrest in the Middle East has not affected Americans as strongly as it used to.

On September 14, 2019, Iranian-backed militias attacked the world’s largest oil refinery, in Saudi Arabia. The attack cut the refinery’s capacity in half.

But despite some expert predictions, oil prices barely flinched. Americans saw no price spike at the pump.

Iran escalated the violence. Its proxies assaulted the American embassy in Baghdad just before New Year’s Day. This attack could have sent fuel prices through the roof, hurting our economy. But even after the United States responded by killing the Iranian terrorist general who orchestrated the attacks, fuel prices rose a little and then dropped back to where they were before the hostilities. If you blinked, you missed it.

The likelihood that Iran or any other bad actor can use violence or weaponize oil to hurt the global economy has dramatically receded. Why?

American energy leadership is why. As the chief regulator of oil and gas production in Texas, I am on the front lines of American energy production. And I am seeing a revolution that helps all Americans.

Our modern economy needs energy. From the smart phone in your hand to the lights in your home to the electric cars more Americans drive, we depend on affordable and reliable energy. We have vast proven oil reserves, we have the technology to extract it, and under the Trump administration we have the freedom to produce it and get it to market. Americans produce oil and gas more affordably and reliably than anyone else.

This affects everything for the better, including the environment. When I was building my business, I visited about half the world’s refineries. No one produces energy more cleanly than Americans do. Some point to flaring natural gas as an issue. Natural gas is a by-product of oil production. No one likes flaring, but producers are flaring just one to three percent of the total natural gas produced in Texas.

The solution to flaring is not to slow down oil production, or ban fossil fuels as some suggest, but to speed development of pipelines and other capacity to get natural gas to market. America has actually reduced emissions faster than any other industrialized country, thanks to the market-driven switch to natural gas. We just need to get more of it to market here and around the world.

The United States was once desperately dependent on foreign oil. In 1973 we imported about 35% of our oil from the Middle East. In 2019, the United States became a net oil exporter. Now, we produce 12 million barrels per day (5 million in Texas alone) and import less than 10% of our oil from the Middle East.

We have diversified our other foreign sources. When we were dependent on Middle Eastern oil, American forces had to stand cop on the beat to keep the oil flowing through chokepoints such as the Straits of Hormuz. This made us more likely to get into wars. Now our energy sources are more stable and reliable than ever.

Energy is one cost that no one in our modern economy can avoid. Unlocking America’s energy makes us safer and richer. For the teacher or nurse making $60,000 per year, at current gas prices you’re paying about $2,600 per year for gas if you commute 25 minutes to and from work every day. A 1973-size gas price spike would raise your costs significantly, to around $4,000 per year – just to drive to work. The price of the electricity to power your home would also rise significantly. You’d feel that pinch right in the wallet. I’m working every day to make sure that doesn’t happen.

What do Americans really want from oil and gas producers? Affordable and reliable energy produced as cleanly and safely as possible. How do we get that?

Drill baby drill. Right here in America.

Ryan Sitton is the Texas Railroad Commissioner. 

Private payroll growth surges in December to end 2019 strong, ADP says

Private payroll growth ended 2019 on a strong note, with companies adding 202,000 positions in December in another sign of a healthy labor market, according to a report Wednesday from ADP and Moody’s Analytics.

The total was well above the 150,000 consensus estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and sets the stage for the government’s official count that will be released Friday. Economists expect the Labor Department’s tally to show a gain of 160,000.

In addition to the solid December growth, ADP revised the initial November count of 67,000 up to 124,000.

Despite the big beat in December, the jobs market continues to “moderate,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

“Manufacturers, energy producers and small companies have been shedding jobs. Unemployment is low, but will begin to rise if job growth slows much further,” Zandi said in a statement.

Job gains for the month were spread across sectors, with construction adding 37,000, the best monthly gain since April and a reversal of the initially reported 5,600 loss in November.

Dow Jones Starts ‘20 With a 330-Point Bang as Stock Market Rushes to New High

The stock market started 2020 with a bang as the Dow Jones Industrial Average knocked out a brand-new high with a 330-point gain. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 also made fresh highs.

The Nasdaq surged 1.3%, the Dow Jones industrials rallied 1.2%, and the S&P 500 advanced 0.8% in today’s trading. Small caps tracked by the Russell 2000 lagged, down 0.4% after paring sharp earlier losses. Preliminary data showed higher volume on both exchanges vs. Tuesday.

Virginia gun store says firearms, ammunition, and magazines flying off shelves with upswing in cash purchases

Gun-grabbers; The best gun salesmen in the U.S.

With Virginia Democrats taking over all branches of state government, a firearms store owner in the state says sales of guns, magazines, and ammunition are up 200%, and more of his customers are paying in cash.

“This is the largest Christmas and November, December that we’ve had, basically, since Trump has come on board. The only other person that was a better salesman right now is when we had President Obama,” said Jerry Rapp, owner of SpecDive Tactical, in Alexandria, comparing the administrations of President Trump and his White House predecessor, Barack Obama.

“Every time [Obama] turned around he was going to ban something or make something illegal. But even that isn’t even close to the amount of sales we’re selling right now of magazines, of guns, of every kind of gun from pistol, rifle, shotguns, to AR platforms” and ammunition, Rapp told the Washington Examiner. “We can’t keep it in stock.”

Since Democrats took the majorities of both chambers in Virginia’s state legislature after big wins in the November elections, gun control proposals that include bans on “assault-style” weapons, restrictions on magazine capacity, universal background checks, and restrictions to one gun a month purchases have all been brought forth.

Same at the federal level, with House Democrats entering their second year in the majority.

Virginia freshman Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who was previously a state senator, has proposed legislation in Congress to use credit card data to track gun purchases. The bill faces long odds on Capitol Hill. News about her idea has made it to Virginia firearms customers.

Rapp said his clients are increasingly concerned about privacy issues. Since the November elections, they’ve been purchasing with cash rather than credit cards.

Rapp, whose business includes gun safety training, says that some of the proposed legislation also affects his course instruction.

“From a gun place, the biggest [proposed legislation] that affects me right now, because we’re a training company that sells guns, is if you are a trainer or if you train your son or daughter, that you could become a felon, but as a training place, we do safety,” Rapp said. “We do training both from a basic pistol, rifle, shotgun to advanced combat shootings and tactical shootings for the military, law enforcement, three-letter agencies.”

U.S. Stocks Climb Again in Santa Claus Rally as All Three Main Indexes Close at Records

U.S. stocks powered higher again Thursday, helped by reports of record year-end retail sales, though trading volumes were light and markets were closed in Europe, Hong Kong and Australia for another post-Christmas holiday.

Amazon led the market up, with the stock gaining more than 4% after the e-commerce giant said the holiday shopping season broke all records.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 105.94 points or 0.37% to 28,621.39 and has gained for 9 of the past 11 trading days to post a year-to-date rise of 22.69%.

The S&P 500 gained 16.53 points, or 0.51%, to 3,239.91 for a year-to-date return of 29.24%.

The Nasdaq Composite rose 69.51 points, or 0.78%, to a new record at 9,022.39 after posting a record close for a 10th straight day, the longest winning streak since July 1997. Year-to-date the Nasdaq has risen 35.98%

Trump saved the world

Paul Krugman — Nobel Prize-winning economist, retired Princeton professor, New York Times columnist, and village idiot — was not alone in predicting a worldwide recession upon the election of Donald John Trump as president.

3 days after we made Donald John Trump president, Business Insider reported, “One of Trump’s major economic policies could lead to a ‘global recession.'”

That one policy was the keystone to his economic plan: engaging the trade wars.

Business Insider said, “Trump made the free trade debate one of the central topics of his campaign after criticizing China, Mexico, and Japan. He suggested putting a 45% tariff on Chinese imports, said he would declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, proposed taxing imports from Mexico, argued in favor of ‘ripping up’ trade deals, and called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, ‘a rape of our country.’

“If Trump were to pursue these policies, Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citi, wrote in a note to clients that it might spark a global trade war, ‘which could easily trigger a global recession.'”

The story said researchers at Deutsche Bank warned, “The biggest threat to growth is a possible protectionist turn, which could depress global trade and even trigger trade wars.”…………

On August 12, 2019, NBC reported, “President Donald Trump’s trade war with China is increasing the odds that America will be thrown into a recession, according to investment bank Goldman Sachs.”

But once again, the experts were wrong.

President Trump did not kill the world economy. In fact, the opposite happened.

CNBC reported, “Global stock markets have been on a torrid run in 2019, adding more than $17 trillion in total value, according to Deutsche Bank calculations.

“The value of global equities began the year just under $70 trillion but has now surpassed $85 trillion, according to a chart from Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok.”

That is a 25% increase, which means 2019 was a pretty good year for investors and the global economy.

The story said, “The large climb for world markets has been largely dominated by the U.S. markets, however. The rally in the U.S. has been broad, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Russell 2000 all rising more than 20% this year.”

Enjoy because the good times will not last forever. They never do.

Thousands of lawful California gun owners are being denied ammunition purchases. Here’s why

It’s not a bug. This is a feature of the new law.

Christopher Lapiniski, operations manager at Last Stand Readiness & Tactical, describes the hurdles to buying ammunition in California on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, at the gun store on Florin Road in Sacramento.

Zachary Berg usually buys guns and ammunition with relative ease. After all, he’s a Sutter County sheriff’s deputy and needs them for his job. California’s stringent gun laws usually don’t apply to him.

But Berg couldn’t buy shotgun shells at his local hardware store in Yuba City prior to a duck hunting trip last month. He was rejected under California’s stringent ammunition background check program that took effect July 1, because his personal information didn’t match what state officials had in their database.

Berg was one of tens of thousands of Californians who have been turned away from buying ammunition at firearms and sporting goods stores, even though they appear to be lawfully able to do so, a Sacramento Bee review of state data shows. Between July 1 and November, nearly one in every five ammunition purchases was rejected by the California Department of Justice, the figures show.

Of the 345,547 ammunition background checks performed, only 101 stopped the buyer because he or she was a “prohibited person” who can’t legally possess ammunition, according to state Department of Justice data.