America's Exclusive, Math-Challenged Party

Math is apparently very hard for Democrats, judging from the apparatchiks’ comments on who can run for office on their party’s ticket or contribute to that effort. This week, men and billionaires are out:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's newly appointed executive director wants to cancel male political candidates. Lucinda Guinn, a former executive at pro-abortion fundraising giant EMILY's List, was named executive director of the embattled Democratic elections organization. The news comes as a blow to male Democrats, as Guinn has indicated on social media that she does not want men to run for office.

In a February tweet, Guinn appeared to agree with another user's proposal that "we shouldn't let boys run for office anymore." 

Even who is allowed to contribute to the DCCC is a cause for progressives to deny it funding. Apparently they want money to go to the DCCC only if poor people contribute to it: Richies get out!

Because billionaire donors contribute to the DCCC, progressives are also advised to stop giving to the DCCC:

Justice Democrats, the progressive group that backed Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), fundraised off the DCCC mayhem. Ocasio-Cortez has previously advised Democratic donors to stop giving money to the DCCC. Ocasio-Cortez's anti-DCCC sentiment was echoed by the freshman representative's senior counsel and policy adviser, Dan Riffle, who goes by "Every Billionaire Is A Policy Failure" on Twitter.

This week’s Dem follies were highlighted by what is laughingly called a “debate.” where in fact softball questions are tossed out by partisan moderators and the participants respond with well-rehearsed soundbites. This week on stage (three with boosters to appear taller) were those who made it through the DNC cull: Former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Kamala Harris of California; Cory Booker of New Jersey; Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, businessman Andrew Yang, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro.

I left it to others with more constitutional fortitude than I to watch this, but I can’t avoid believing that Beto's call to confiscate by force “assault weapons” will cost the party, which in the nomination process has avoided this like the plague:

"Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," O'Rourke said during Thursday's Democratic presidential debate. "We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore."

To accomplish this, O'Rourke has proposed a mandatory confiscation of these guns whereby individuals would be compensated for their firearms.

Beyond the thorny politics of this proposal, it raises clear legal and logistical questions, including whether a president has the authority to confiscate people's guns.

The notion of the federal government going door to door to confiscate something like 8.5 to 15 million weapons, especially since the definition of “assault weapon” is so fluid and unclear, is both unconstitutional and politically and practically preposterous.

Though I suppose it’s no more ridiculous than Bernie Sanders’s promise to criminally prosecute fossil-fuel executives for “the destruction they have knowingly caused.” Some destruction. Affordable energy that makes our high standard of living possible.  As we are now the world’s leading producer of essential fuel, we have minimized the power of Middle Eastern oil magnates to manipulate the West and bleed our economies dry. And the President in opening up the Arctic Reserve for drilling will see us in the catbird seat for a long, long time. 

The Washington Post, of course, sees this as a bad thing, emphasizing the “green” nonprofit groups’ opposition to this policy change. Of course, the “green” groups oppose this. They also claimed that the caribous would suffer when the first Arctic pipeline and drilling was proposed. (In fact, the caribou love the pipeline and have thrived alongside it.)

Reality: Thirty years later we can see the effects of the pipeline on the caribou. Walter Hickel, a former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and governor of Alaska, said that the caribou herd has not only survived, but flourished. In 1977, as the Prudhoe region started delivering oil to America's southern 48 states, the Central Arctic caribou herd numbered 6,000; it has since grown to 27,128. Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game Web site reports that in general, caribou have not been adversely affected by human activities in Alaska. Pipelines and other manmade objects have been built to accommodate caribou movements, and the animals have adapted to people and machines.  

If you’re looking for Russian collusion you might start with a closer look at who is funding those groups that use lawfare, lobbyists, and publicity releases to gullible reporters and solons to hamper our energy development at every turn:  

It’s no secret that America’s energy boom -- led by fracking and improved technologies such as horizontal drilling -- pose a direct threat to Russia’s energy dominance across Europe. What is less known is the extent to which their influence is being spread to organizations here at home who share their anti-U.S. energy agenda. This is a concern for consumers not just for the potential impact on our economy and the cost and availability of energy, but also for the danger of American policies being dictated by foreign interests. Former NATO General Secretary [Anders Fogh Rasmussen] and even Hillary Clinton have conceded Russia’s backing of environmental activists in Europe to disrupt energy policies there, it’s hardly a stretch to see these efforts spreading to the U.S.

Last June, in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) connected the dots between Russian energy interests and funding to environmental groups such as Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters and Center for American Progress. These groups all received millions in donations to support their efforts against fracking and pipeline projects from an organization called the Sea Change Foundation, a secretive group run by a hedge fund manager with extensive ties to a law firm infested with Russian energy interests and ties to the Russian government.

According to tax records a report from the Daily Caller News Foundation last year, Sea Change has assets of $168 million, a startling amount for a group only 12 years old that provides absolutely no information about their activities on their one page website. Sea Change itself is funded by a shell company set up and now sharing office space with a law firm representing 20 companies with ties to Russian oligarchs or the government itself. The shell company, Klein Ltd., gave Sea Change $23 million in donations which it then spread, according to reports, to named U.S. environmental groups.

The reports connect the dots very well: a law firm representing Russian energy interests and government officials sets up a shell company that funds millions to the secretive Sea Change Foundation. Sea Change then makes millions in donations to U.S. environmental groups, who then claim they have no ties to Russia. 

Why would Russia have an interest in hampering U.S. energy production, someone not too smart might ask.

The motivation for Russian interference here is clear. As the congressional letter notes, American ingenuity in the oil and gas industry has significant geopolitical ramifications. Thanks to innovative extraction technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. now has access to vast reserves of oil and gas previously held to be unrecoverable. The unexpected energy resource bonanza has dramatically shifted the dynamics of the economic and geopolitical landscape in America’s favor. 

The U.S. is the top producer of natural gas in the world. In 2016, U.S. natural gas imports set a record low even though consumption has increased. In 3 of the first 5 months of 2017, U.S. natural gas exports were greater than imports -- the growing trend points to the U.S. becoming a net exporter. This new commitment to natural gas means less expensive energy bills for consumers as well as economic, environmental, and national security benefits for the country as a whole. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the fracking boom has created 2.7 million jobs, with an estimated additional 3.5 million projected by 2035. 

From a foreign policy perspective, the U.S. can now export liquefied natural gas to parts of Europe that have been dependent on Putin’s government for their gas. This weakens Putin and puts the U.S. in a stronger position to exert influence. Up until now, periodic disputes with Russia have resulted in economic bullying tactics from Moscow that include wintertime threats to close pipelines supplying oil and natural gas. Those days may be over now that American natural gas development is poised to impact Russia and its Gazprom oil company. 

However, an international campaign known as “Keep It in the Ground” has been pushing an anti-fossil fuel agenda that advances Russia’s geopolitical interests at the expense of the U.S. and America’s allies. The campaign claims support from more than 400 organizations across the globe, with a sizable percentage operating inside the U.S. The campaign is opposed not just to the extraction of fossil fuels, but to any fossil fuel-related project including pipelines, rail transportation, refineries, and energy exploration.

While we’re discussing Russian interference with domestic energy production, is it too far to suggest that CNN in sponsoring these ridiculous “Democratic debates” is really a tool of the Russian effort to reelect the president?

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