Tag Archives: BP

The Lingering Influence of Crony Capitalism and Big Oil in Alaskan Politics

In recent posts, I discussed how Governor Palin’s key legislative victory, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) , has been a transparent, constitutionally-based, pro-growth success. In 2007, Governor Palin signed into law ACES, an oil tax structure that includes incentives for development and investment in capital improvements and ensured that Alaska’s resources would be developed for the maximum benefit for the people of Alaska as per their state constitution. The Alaska constitution states that the state’s natural resources belong to the people of Alaska. In essence, revenue derived from oil development belongs in part to the people of Alaska who, as owners of the resources, are due their share of the profits as “shareholders”. Beyond this, ACES also replaced Governor Murkowski’s Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) which was tainted by crony capitalism and corruption and lead to the arrest and conviction of state legislators and Governor Murkowski’s chief-of-staff due to the ties between PPT negotiations and VECO Corp, a oil and gas pipeline company.

ACES has been a success for both the people of Alaska and the oil companies. In a recent Facebook post, Governor Palin highlighted how the revenues of ACES have benefited the people of the Alaska and have made the state financially sound, as it has helped provide a $12 billion state surplus, put billions is savings, pay down underfunded state pension plans, and forward fund education. ACES has proven to be a success for oil companies as well. ACES has contributed to oil job increases, high profits for industry, a record high numbers of oil companies drilling in Alaska, and increased capital development by oil companies spurred by $3 billion of tax incentives. Alaska now has the second best business tax climate in the country, moving up two spots since the passage of ACES.

In the previously referenced Facebook post, Governor Palin brushes off current criticisms of ACES and refers to desires by some to make changes to ACES as “political posturing”. A bill that would alter the ACES tax structure (HB 110) was passed by the House last week. However, this bill does not even remove the progressivity of ACES–the main criticism from detractors. It solely caps the progressivity. In fact, it changes the calculation period for the tax, and it does not account for volatility of oil prices. It is estimated that such a plan could cost the state $100 to $200 million a year. With a constitutionally sound oil taxation structure that has proven to benefit both the Alaskan people and the oil companies, why might Alaskan legislators and Governor Parnell seek to do away with ACES?Are oil companies and crony capitalist Alaskan politicians using the current political climate (and the anti-oil agenda by the current President) as a springboard for altering the oil structure?

A chorus of voices has risen in support of making changes to ACES, but where are these voices coming from? Are these merely echoes of the corruption of the past? Former Republican Alaskan House member, Ray Metcalfe, indicates that this is likely the case. Metcalfe was instrumental in exposing the impropriety between Alaskan legislators and VECO. He highlights that former VECO spokesman, Paul Jenkins, has been given free rein to write op-eds in the Anchorage Daily News (ADN) in support of making changes to ACES; his most recent ad hominem, snark ladden piece was published Saturday. Prior to the exposure of the VECO scandal, Jenkins wrote paid op-ed advertisements in support of VECO in the ADN before the scandal prompted the ADN to stop running the ads. Paul Laird, former BP spokesman, has also been involved. He was general manager of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance until last July. The Alliance has been pushing hard for changes to ACES as well, including pushing an ad campaign that shared the stories of those supposedly negatively affected by ACES. During the 2010 election cycle Laird donate money to three House members’ campaigns. All three of these legislators voted in favor of the new tax structure last week. Current Alliance General Manager, Rebecca Logan, also donated money to a legislator who supported the change to ACES and to Governor Parnell, who also has pushed for changes to the ACES.

Despite supporting ACES while serving as Lt. Governor, Parnell has pushed for changes to ACES since February of 2010. Governor Parnell (while governing conservatively on budgeting, earmarks, and Obamacare, advocating for the 10th amendment, and supporting Governor Palin’s gasline project, AGIA) has a revolving door career between politics and the oil industry. In the early and mid 1990s, Parnell served in the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate. Following his time in the Senate, Parnell became director of government relations for ConoccoPhillips. He then went to work for Governor Murkowski as the director state division of oil and gas from 2003 to 2005. During part of this period time, Governor Palin had served as an oil and gas commissioner until she encountered unethical behavior from another commissioner and Alaska GOP chair,Randy Ruedrich, and she resigned and lodged a complaint against Ruedrich. Prior to running for Lt. Governor in 2006, Parnell worked at Patton Boggs, a law firm that represented ConoccoPhillips and ExxonMobil in the Exxon Valdex oil spill case.

Additionally, Parnell’s 2010 election donations came from those with ties to special oil interests who may have a stake in any changes made to ACES. One of these donors was Kevin Jardell, who had a managerial role in Governor Murkowski’s administration and has worked as a lobbyist for ExxonMobil (as a side note, that linked article also notes that Governor Palin did not allow lobbyists in her office). Jardell, in addition to Camden Toohey, made the highest individual donations to Governor Parnell allowable by Alaska election laws. Camden Toohey has had a revolving door career as well–working as lobbyist, then in President Bush’s Interior Department, and now working as a legal adviser with Shell. With the EPA red tape tying up Shell’s drilling in the Arctic until 2012, would Shell have a particular interest in potential changes to ACES as federal restrictions are reducing their profits?

Governor Parnell is not the only one with donors who may have a vested interested in changes to ACES and have ties to the corrupt oil taxation processes of the past. Rep. Anna Fairclough’s, who headed up the HB 110 efforts, greatest percentage of 2010 election funding came from energy and natural resource industry including BP and ConoccoPhillips. BP and ConoccoPhillips spoke before the House Resource committee in February to advocate for the proposed changes to ACES. Another proponent of this bill is Rep. Mike Hawker ,who is no friend of Governor Palin and is one of the charter members of the Corrupt B*****s Club (CBC), the name corrupt and boastful legislators gave to themselves because of their embrace of their own corruption. Hawker, in addition to Rep.Chenault, were two legislators who voted for HB 110 and who received tens of thousands in campaign donations from VECO executives. Hawker and Chenault voted for Governor Murkowski’s corruption tainted PPT and against Governor Palin’s ACES. Suffice it to say, the CBC is still kickin’ in Alaska politics, perhaps now with some new inductees.

HB 110, touted by Governor Parnell and supported by a majority of Alaskan House members, does not appropriately address the criticism of ACES’s progressivity, does not deal with the volatility of oil prices, and is likely to reduce state revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars. Beyond that, the proponents of this bill have a history of engaging in crony capitalism, corruption, and unethical behavior. While it is unlikely that Senate version of the bill is unlikely to pass, Governor Parnell supports changes to ACES, and there is the potential for such a bill to be taken up again next year. These are the very things that Governor Palin has fought against her entire political career. Governor Palin has called out the unethical behavior of Alaska GOP chair Randy Ruedrich when she was an oil and gas commissioner. She implemented corruption free ACES project that was passed in a transparent manner without the outside influence of oil companies. She championed the AGIA pipeline project that was negotiated in a transparent manner. She has called out the Obama administration on their pervasive crony capitalism. Should she run for President in the future, there’s no doubt she would continue to strive to rid government of corruption; stop the revolving doors between the private sector, lobbying, and government; and end the behind-closed-doors negotiations that have been pervasive for years in Washington. For Governor Palin, phrases like “walking the walk, not just talking the talk” and ” no more politics as usual” are not platitudes, they’re the way she’s lived her political career.

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Sarah Palin: Barack Obama Has America On The Road To Insolvency. Also Talks Tax Policy, BP, Gulf Oil Spill, Cap And Trade

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By Gary P Jackson

If anyone wonders why we so strongly support Sarah Palin, in every way possible, one look at this powerful interview should answer that question for all time.

Appearing on Fox Business News’ Money Rocks, with Eric Bolling, Sarah gets right into the issues we are facing courtesy of the Obama regime.

Pointing out Obama’s total absence of business experience, and lack of enough wisdom to surround himself with people who have any, Sarah talks about the destructive effect Obama’s policies are having on our nation.

Not only are Americans about to be hit with the largest tax increase in world history, the almost certain resulting job losses will only make maters worse. One thing she points out is the fact business is at a standstill. Business requires stability, not uncertainty, and under Obama’s watch, uncertainty is all business knows. In this sort of climate, our economy will never recover. We are only looking at a very dismal future for the people of this nation if something isn’t done to stop Obama and reverse this dangerous trend.

As Sarah points out, America will be insolvent sooner, than later, if Obama is allowed to continue on this path of destruction.

From there Bolling gets into the oil spill in the Gulf. One thing Sarah mentions is the integrity commission she set up, as Governor of Alaska, to make sure disasters like this never happen. She also goes into the fact that BP has always been a problem. Always had difficulty following the rules.

Sarah has talked about this situation before, as you can see here.

Eric then asks her what a President Palin would have done differently about the spill. Here is where her experience and leadership abilities come into play. Without hesitation, she says that under her watch this disaster would have never happened, because BP, nor anyone else, would have ever been allowed to drill in that kind of deep water, where the risks are just too high.

Sarah then rips into Obama, and the environmental extremists who have blocked oil exploration on land, or in shallow water, where the chances of this sort of catastrophe are slim and none.

Though she doesn’t mention it, BP was not drilling in this location by choice. Originally, BP was permitted by the state of Louisiana to drill in shallow water. It was the geniuses in the Obama regime who overrode the state’s legal permit and forced BP out into water that was ten times deeper than the original site.

Sarah has spoken previously about the dangers of both deep water drilling and environmental extremists, as you can read here.

Moving on to cap and trade, Sarah lays out the implication for every single American, as energy prices “necessarily skyrocket.” Not only will this cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs, and hurt every single American’s purchasing power, it will guarantee that America’s economy will never recover. In fact, it will only worsen, until it collapses. See: Spain, and Greece, for examples.

Sarah has issued many warnings on cap and tax, like the one here.

If you want the real story behind cap and tax, and why Obama and his minions are really pushing hard to shove it down your throat, you can learn about all 10,000,000,000,000 reasons why, as well as learning why Obama REALLY wants to ban oil exploration in America, by reading here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

When pressed by Bolling if there was a solution to all of America’s problems, Sarah was quick to point out that yes there was, and it was coming in November!

You know …. it’s interviews like this, and videos like this, that have so many talking about a President Palin come 2013. This is a notion we heartily embrace. No better way to get America back on her feet.

Sarah Palin’s strength, wisdom, and infectious optimism is exactly what this country needs after four years of a Marxist-democrat controlled Congress, and what will be four years of the Obama regime’s misdeeds. We will fix the Congressional problem in November, and come 2012 we’ll take care of the Obama problem, once and for all.

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BP & Obama Both Pushing “Climate” Legislation

By Stacy Drake

President Obama met Wednesday for the first time since the oil rig explosion in the Gulf, with BP’s top executives. Reports show that the meeting only lasted for about twenty minutes. Long enough for my favorite member of the Obama Administration, Pete Souza, to do his job and make it look like Obama was doing executive things. For those of you who don’t know, Pete Souza is the White House photographer and I have a suspicion that he may be one of those famous GOP plants due to all those damning photos he takes of his boss. But that’s a topic for another blog.

From the meeting today, Politico reports:

Carol Browner, Obama’s energy adviser, suggested the White House had no legal authority to force BP to pay lost wages. “There’s a very significant legal question about their liability,” Browner told reporters.

But BP executives appeared to get something out of their first meeting with the president.

Obama expressed confidence that the company is in sound financial condition – a question raised by a drop in its stock amid tough rhetoric – and he made a rare appeal for BP critics to heed its financial interest, for the good of the people along the Gulf.

“I’m absolutely confident BP will be able to meet its obligations to the Gulf Coast and to the American people. BP is a strong and viable company and it is in all of our interests that it remain so,” Obama said. “So what this is about is accountability.”

What makes Obama so confident that BP (Beyond Petroleum) will remain “strong” and “viable” enough to fulfill their obligations to the folks on the coast that are suffering?

Perhaps his number one priority since this crisis happened, passing climate legislation, has something to do with it. Like my friend Gary pointed out earlier, all of the actions of the administration lately smack of Kabuki theater. There is always more to the story and it usually makes my skin crawl.

Insert “more to the story” here….

An article from June 9th in the Washington Examiner has some rather interesting information about BP’s ties to the very legislation Obama has given priority over actually plugging “the damn hole” at this time (emphasis mine):

BP was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobby dedicated to passing a cap-and-trade bill. As the nation’s largest producer of natural gas, BP saw many ways to profit from climate legislation, notably by persuading Congress to provide subsidies to coal-fired power plants that switched to gas.

In February, BP quit USCAP without giving much of a reason beyond saying the company could lobby more effectively on its own than in a coalition that is increasingly dominated by power companies. They made out particularly well in the House’s climate bill, while natural gas producers suffered.

But two months later, BP signed off on Kerry’s Senate climate bill, which was hardly a capitalist concoction. One provision BP explicitly backed, according to Congressional Quarterly and other media reports: a higher gas tax. The money would be earmarked for building more highways, thus inducing more driving and more gasoline consumption.

Elsewhere in the green arena, BP has lobbied for and profited from subsidies for biofuels and solar energy, two products that cannot break even without government support. Lobbying records show the company backing solar subsidies including federal funding for solar research. The U.S. Export-Import Bank, a federal agency, is currently financing a BP solar energy project in Argentina.

[…]

BP has more Democratic lobbyists than Republicans. It employs the Podesta Group, co-founded by John Podesta, Obama’s transition director and confidant. Other BP troops on K Street include Michael Berman, a former top aide to Vice President Walter Mondale; Steven Champlin, former executive director of the House Democratic Caucus; and Matthew LaRocco, who worked in Bill Clinton’s Interior Department and whose father was a Democratic congressman. Former Republican staffers, such as Reagan alumnus Ken Duberstein, also lobby for BP, but there’s no truth to Democratic portrayals of the oil company as
an arm of the GOP.

Something else I found out today of interest is that “well connected” Democrat Jamie Gorelick, who served as a Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton, and on the 9-11 Commission (with obvious conflicts of interest) is now ‘serving‘ BP as their attorney. It should also be noted that Gorelick was appointed Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae in 1997 and stayed in that role until 2003. My, what a small world we live in…

The Examiner piece ends with this:

Two patterns have emerged during Obama’s presidency: 1) Big business increasingly seeks profits through more government, and 2) Obama nonetheless paints opponents of his intervention as industry shills. BP is just the latest example of this tawdry sleight of hand.

Yes they are because all day I couldn’t help but think about Goldmann Sachs and what we witnessed a couple of weeks ago on Capitol Hill, in more Kabuki Theater.

There is a reason Glenn Beck did a show not too long ago called “Crime Inc.” on the topic of the Chicago Climate Exchange. The set-up from the powers that be with their organizations, funded by legislation is nothing short of criminal behavior. The Energy Bill, or whatever name they are calling it these days is still the same. It’s still a bill to “cap” energy consumption through regulation, increasing federal tentacles, and then tax the citizens and businesses in this nation to fund their corrupt carbon trading mechanism.

Once again I ask… Outside of Glenn Beck, FOX News, the internet, and Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, where is the media? We currently have the biggest environmental disaster this nation has ever seen unfolding, and with the President’s speech Tuesday night, he made clear what his priories are. Passing a bill that will enrich BP, not to mention Shell, and a whole host of oil companies (see USCAP) and break Americans backs financially, if not rob us of more of our freedoms. All in the name of the environment, while the Gulf of Mexico sits in ruin. You think there might be a story there, “Lamestream” press?

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