Of the Ignorant, By the Ignorant, For the Ignorant

President Obama’s State of the Union address was a sorry performance in many ways, but let’s note just one Big Lie that he tried to get away with. In the course of defending his administration’s disastrous record on energy, Obama said:

Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration…. But with only two percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough.

Obama has trotted out this canard before; we and many others have exploded it. In fact, the United States has more fossil fuel resources than any country in the world–more than Russia, more than Canada, more than Saudi Arabia. The problem is that terrible policies at the federal level prevent us from developing our own resources and employing many thousands of Americans in doing so.

Why does Obama think he can get away with this Big Lie? Because he knows that very few Americans are aware of the technical definition of oil “reserves” that is enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Under American law (other countries record as “reserves” whatever is in the ground), oil isn’t counted as part of our “reserves” unless it can legally be developed under current regulations, and it would be economic to develop at current prices. So when Obama says we only have two percent of the world’s oil “reserves,” he is documenting the extent to which the Democratic Party, by blocking energy development, is destroying jobs and making us all poorer.

Obama’s Big Lie on energy is supported by lots of little lies on the part of his minions in Congress. The Democrats believe that their voters are ignorant, and they do their best to keep them that way. A case in point: the Democrats know that their killing of the Keystone pipeline is unpopular and will hurt them in November. So they are desperately trying to change the subject. The House Energy and Power Subcommittee is holding hearings on Keystone, and the appalling Henry Waxman weighed in this morning to try to distract voters from the damage the Obama administration is doing to our economy:

House Democrats are using the billionaire Koch brothers to score political points in their fight against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) suggested at a hearing Wednesday that Koch Industries — the Kansas-based conglomerate helmed by David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch — could benefit financially from approval of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline. By linking the Keystone XL pipeline to the Koch brothers, who have supported a slew of conservative causes, Democrats are hoping to raise questions about Republicans’ motives in supporting the project. …

Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called Wednesday for a minority hearing on Keystone, with testimony from Koch Industry officials.

In a letter requesting the hearing sent Wednesday to committee Republicans, Waxman pointed to documents filed with the Canadian government by Flint Hills Resources Canada, a Koch subsidiary, that say the company has a “direct and substantial interest” in developer TransCanda Corp.’s pipeline application.

Waxman’s grandstanding is contemptible for at least two reasons. First, no doubt some companies–along with millions of Americans–would benefit from construction of the pipeline. So what? Other companies (like Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe) will benefit if the pipeline is not built. Since when does the issuance of a permit depend on which companies will benefit?

But, second, Waxman knows perfectly well that Koch Industries has nothing to do with the Keystone pipeline. We wrote about this here. Koch has taken no position on the pipeline. It would not ship oil on Keystone, and Keystone would not deliver oil to any Koch refinery. If anything, as we explained, Koch’s financial interests would be advanced if the pipeline were not built.

Further, the language quoted by Waxman about “direct and substantial interest” is the legal recitation that goes with intervening in the Canadian administrative proceeding concerning the pipeline, which Koch did in order to monitor the status of the proceeding before Canada’s National Energy Board. Being an intervenor in the administrative process does not mean that Koch has a financial interest in the pipeline; other intervenors include Sierra Club Canada and the Alberta Federation of Labour, along with many companies and individuals who, like Koch, have zero financial interest in the project. You can read Koch’s response to Waxman’s demagoguery here.

Like Barack Obama, Henry Waxman is lying. He knows he is lying. He is doing it to mislead voters in the desperate hope that the Democratic Party can hang on to power in Washington. The Democrats count on the belief that voters are ignorant–a condition they try to perpetuate. All too often, they are proven correct. But the shamelessness of the lies the Democrats are now telling, large and small, becomes more evident with each passing day.

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