Get Ready for Biden’s “Shock and Awe” Administration
Stand by for shock and awe!
Here’s what we know. Election Day has come and gone.
Across the country, votes are still being counted, recounted, audited, etc. Not a single state has yet “certified” its results. These things all happen in due course.
Still, the media have declared that former Vice President Joe Biden will be the next U.S. President.
Current President Donald Trump begs to differ, and his campaign is litigating in numerous states over alleged “vote fraud” and other irregularities. We’ll see how it all plays out in the courts.
Whatever one may think of the merits of the election, and/or Trump’s response, it’s time to begin envisioning a Biden administration as of Jan. 20, 2021.
There’s plenty to unpack here, so let’s dig in…
While Team Trump litigates the election, Biden – the man from Scranton – is already acting presidential. He’s assembling a transition team from his “Office of the President Elect.”
Office of the President Elect?
Of course, “Office of the President Elect” has no legal basis in anything. It’s just a made-up marketing gimmick, part of the modern propaganda of politics.
But there’s a method to such madness.
Every hour of every day is an opportunity to control the news cycle, and by extension to capture the attention span of Americans, if not the world.
Media love to flash images — like the one above — of Biden in front of a garish “President Elect” podium. Basically, it’s a shiny object that draws people’s attention and reinforces a certain message…
Behind the scenes, though, all sorts of other things are happening.
According to the Washington Post, “Biden plans (an) immediate flurry of executive orders to reverse Trump policies.”1
Biden will “quickly sign a series of executive orders after being sworn into office on Jan. 20, immediately forecasting that the country’s politics have shifted and that his presidency will be guided by radically different priorities.”
Stated another way, Biden will carpet bomb Trump’s policies…
This will include the U.S. rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO), which Trump exited amid accusations (backed by strong evidence) of its incompetency, graft and political bias towards China.
And Biden will surely lift travel bans on many countries, particularly Muslim nations that breed terrorists.
He’ll reinstate “Critical Race Training” within the federal government.
He’ll reverse the Trump administration’s approach to immigration and deportation. And much more.
These actions will all be highly visible, if not media spectacles. And again, it’s all designed to grab news cycles and dominate headlines.
Meanwhile, as the post-election drama plays out, the Biden transition team is staffing up with registered corporate lobbyists.2
Lobbyists work in Washington and earn a living by prowling the corridors of Congress and federal agencies. They meet with politicians, staff and other officials to pitch ideas that benefit their paying clients.
You’ve heard of those massive “bills” that Congress passes, in the range of many thousands of pages. Well, who do you think writes those bills?
Hint: It’s not Congressman Smith or Senator Jones, sitting at his/her desk, late at night, composing legislative language.
No, it’s lobbyists who generate much of the basic language that goes into acts of Congress.
In pre-Internet days, lobbyists used to swing by Congressional and other government offices with file folders filled with “sample language” for the staffers to insert into proposed legislation.
I saw this myself long ago, when I was on the staff of Chief of Naval Operations. Lobbyists would show up with proposed language for the Navy to pass along to Department of Defense, and then via the Office of Legislative Affairs to the staff of the House and Senate committees that drafted the defense-related bills and made appropriations.
Indeed, those lobbyists were good. They had the wording and documentation perfect, down to the commonly used type fonts.
Today, it’s the same thing; except it’s all electronic, with word processing copy/paste functions.
But the bottom line is that lobbyists write nearly every paragraph, sentence, term and phrase that comes from Congress, and more than a few “regulations” that come out of the agencies.
Seriously, if a government staffer (let alone a Congressman!) ever claims to have written something that’s embedded in a bill, it’s probably because they cribbed the primary wording from a lobbyist.
In this regard, Biden hiring lobbyists is typical of politics as usual in Washington. It’s emblematic of the big money and corporatism that infest the U.S. government.
Now, I’ll grant that many lobbyists are smart, professional people who understand how federal governance works. And often as not, they have mastered the details and nuances of positions they advocate on behalf of their clients.
But bringing in large numbers of lobbyists also symbolizes the victory of the Deep State and Washington Swamp over anything that Trump tried to do in his term as president.
It’s as if Trump was just a four-year period of political indigestion for the Deep State, which ate him up, made absolutely certain that he was voted out of office, and is now in the process of spitting him out.
And as Biden’s transition effort progresses, another major issue looms…
Control of the Senate is currently up in the air, pending the upcoming pair of runoff races in Georgia.
My colleague Jim Amrhein did a masterful job the other day of explaining what’s at stake, calling it “The GOP’s Alamo… and Maybe America’s.”
No doubt whatsoever… the outcome in Georgia will determine the political vector of the nation for the next two years, maybe for much longer.
Indeed, just imagine a Democrat-dominated House and “President Elect” Biden finally installed in the Oval Office.
Now, add in a Democrat-controlled Senate.
This scenario will be an open door for every kooky bromide under the sun, including the “Green New Deal,” which is actually a looming “Green New Disaster.”
A couple of weeks ago, I discussed the unrealistic assumptions underlying the Biden idea of going big — massively big, as in big-big-big — for solar and wind power.
Start with the geological and industrial fact that the U.S. cannot currently supply the rare earth elements (REE), and many other components, that will be required for the basic equipment.
Absent a significant new U.S. effort to build a domestic REE industry and related supply chain, the “best” scenario is that we’d end up being dependent on China for what we need.
But there’s far more to the Biden plan for U.S. energy than just solar and windmills.
And all of it is disruptive, to say the least.
As the industry trade magazine World Oil editorialized a few weeks ago, “Yes, Joe Biden really does want to end the oil and gas industry in America.”3
It goes on to warn:
“A wholesale makeover of the U.S. energy industry, directed from Washington, will lead to much higher energy costs for both consumers and industry. Every American will pay much more to heat and power their homes. Commuters will pay much more to drive to work. The competitive advantage enjoyed by American industry will disappear.”
Not to be outdone, the Wall Street Journal has run an article giving last rites to two major oil pipeline projects, the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP).4
Per the WSJ, “Mr. Biden’s campaign has said he would revoke a presidential permit that Keystone XL needs to cross the U.S.-Canadian border. The move is likely to doom the $8 billion initiative to bring crude from the Canadian oil sands to the American Midwest.”
Losing Keystone XL and DAP will be a major hit to jobs in America’s energy patch, from drill sites in North Dakota to refineries in Texas.
You might think Texas refineries already have enough oil to keep their burner tips lit and cracking towers up and running. But it isn’t really that straightforward.
Crude oil’s chemical characteristics vary widely from oilfield to oilfield, so pretty much every barrel of oil is different, depending on where it was produced.
So it’s important that refinery operators have flexibility to blend different kinds of crude to obtain the best array of products. It’s a mixture of chemical engineering and economics.
One way to improve blending flexibility is to have access to a wide variety of oil with different base chemistries. Cancelling pipelines will definitely hurt the refining sector – and impact the price of gasoline, diesel, etc. – by interrupting the movement of oil from where it’s produced to where it is refined.
It’s also worth adding that cancelling Keystone XL, which crosses the northern U.S. border, is a significant blow to Canada’s long-term effort to keep its oil sands industry solvent.
Overall, it’s more than fair to say that blocking oil pipelines detracts from America’s “energy security,” which I discussed back in October.
And this is just one short-term effect of Biden’s looming presidency…
Beyond pipelines, the Washington Post reports that, “Climate activists are already lobbying Biden with Cabinet picks and policy checklists.”5
According to the Post, citing a “legislative and advocacy manager” from the environmentalist side of the arena (aka, a lobbyist; see above), no one in Biden’s inner circle should have any “ties to fossil fuel companies.”
In essence, the fossil fuel industry is effectively being purged from the White House and federal policymaking under a Biden administration.
Also from the Post, “a group made up of former staffers to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), released a list of 46 steps Biden can take alone. The itinerary, which includes convening a world summit on climate change and tightening pollution rules on cars and power plants, was mostly derived from Biden’s existing climate plan.”
That “world summit” idea sets the stage for a U.S. return to the so-called “Paris Accords.”
Proposed at a United Nations meeting in 2015 and signed by the Obama administration the following year, the accords bind the U.S. to certain draconian policies in the energy space.
The Paris Accords were not presented to the nation as a treaty and were never ratified by the Senate. But to the American economy, they may as well be the punitive provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.
That is, under the Paris Accords the U.S. agreed to place severe restrictions on fossil fuel energy output and use. It’s a roadmap to decarbonization and loss of energy security.
In essence, per Paris Accords the U.S. is undermining the foundation of its energy economy, and everything that comes out of it… Which is pretty much everything.
Meanwhile, the accords grant long waivers to many other nations — particularly China — regarding lower use of fossil fuels, let alone decarbonization.
One of Trump’s early acts as president was to exit the Paris Accords. “I was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he said.
Well, I suppose it’s time we all begin to brush up on our French.
And all of this — the government by lobbyists, the executive orders, the “extreme-measures” approach to energy and environment policies — is but a foretaste of how things are about to change under a new president.
No doubt, under a President Biden, we will be shocked and awed…
And that’s before we get to the impending, inevitable drama of the elderly Biden stepping down for “reasons of health,” and Vice President Kamala Harris taking over.
On that note, I rest my case.
That’s all for now… Thank you for subscribing and reading.
Managing Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder
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5 The Energy 202: Climate Activists Are Already Lobbying Biden With Cabinet Picks and Policy Checklists, Washington Post