In this week's print edition of the Weekly Standard, Adam White writes that delays in the Keystone XL pipeline and the Cape Wind offshore wind project are examples of a "worrisome trend" -- that a "convoluted" regulatory process is "killing energy development" in America.
The Weekly Standard identifies White as "a lawyer in Washington, D.C.", without disclosing the fact that his law firm -- Boyden Gray & Associates -- represents Exelon, FirstEnergy, and possibly other energy companies that stand to benefit from dismantling federal regulations. According to his website, White works on "energy regulation" and "environmental regulation" at the firm.
The pipeline's economic benefit to the United States is impressive: The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline would increase our gross domestic product by more than $200 billion between 2010 and 2035, and support close to 85,000 U.S. jobs in 2020.
The Canadian Energy Research Institute is sponsored by oil companies such as Imperial Oil Limited, which is represented on CERI's Board of Directors and would directly benefit from the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline.
CERI's claim that the pipeline could support 85,000 U.S. jobs is far higher than even TransCanada's figures. TransCanada estimated that Keystone XL would create 13,000 direct construction jobs, stressing that those are temporary jobs. And even that is a stretch according to the State Department's analysis, which puts that number closer to 5,000.
Furthermore, a Cornell University report points out that the pipeline's jobs impact "could be completely outweighed by the project's potential to destroy jobs through rising fuel costs, spill damage and clean up operations, air pollution and increased GHG emissions."
Right-wing media have expressed outrage over President Obama hugging Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G-20 summit, claiming that Obama is "hugging enemies [and] abandoning allies." In fact, Turkey is an ally of the United States via its membership in NATO; moreover, this is just the latest example of the right-wing media's obsession with how Obama greets leaders.
Right-wing media have hyped a study published by conservative groups American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation that claims "public-school teachers are not underpaid in wages by private-sector standards, and they may even be overpaid." But many other studies have shown that public school teachers are paid relatively less than comparable workers, that their wages have been declining for decades, that U.S. teachers are paid less than their counterparts in most other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, and that low teacher pay hurts recruitment and retention.
During an interview with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo whitewashed Boeing's alleged discrimination against union workers and suggested that the National Labor Relations Board should not intervene when companies violate the law to intimidate union workers. Right-wing media have repeatedly distorted the facts about NLRB's complaint against Boeing, including wrongly asserting that the NLRB brought suit against Boeing "because the jobs are non-union."
CLAIM: The Weekly Standard wrote that in the final days of the Bush administration, "OMB [Office of Management and Budget] 'remanded' the application back to DOE for further review and modification. As when the Supreme Court remands a case to lower courts for reconsideration, this step is usually tantamount to killing the application."
FACTS: The Department of Energy's loan guarantee credit committee, not the OMB, remanded the application, saying that that although the Solyndra project "appears to have merit," the committee needed more information. The loan programs staff -- still under the Bush administration -- subsequently developed a schedule to complete Solyndra's due diligence that would approve the conditional commitment in early March 2009 and close it by April 2009. Even FoxNews.com reported that "the Bush officials were still weighing the decision on a loan right up until the handover to the Obama administration." In March the credit committee, staffed with the same career officials that previously remanded the application, recommended approval.
The conservative media today attacked the Obama administration by attempting to link them to the Food and Drug Administration's decision to phase out "over-the-counter asthma inhalers containing chloroflouorocarbons (CFCs)." The Weekly Standard published a piece by Mark Hemingway headlined "Obama Administration Set to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns," which claimed that the "Obama administration would rather make people with Asthma cough up money than let them make a surely inconsequential contribution to depleting the ozone layer."
But it turns out that the FDA was simply following through with plans put in place when George W. Bush was president.
Remember how Obama recently waived new ozone regulations at the EPA because they were too costly? Well, it seems that the Obama administration would rather make people with Asthma cough up money than let them make a surely inconsequential contribution to depleting the ozone layer
Hemingway went on to cite an Associated Press article that explains some details of the inhaler ban, but Hemingway must not have read the AP article too closely. That's because the AP reported that "[t]he FDA finalized plans to phase out the products in 2008" when Bush was president, not Obama. From the AP article:
The FDA finalized plans to phase out the products in 2008 and currently only Armstrong Pharmaceutical's Primatene mist is available in the U.S. Other manufacturers have switched to an environmentally-friendly propellant called hydrofluoroalkane. Both types of inhalers offer quick-relief to symptoms like shortness of breath and chest tightness, but the environmentally-friendly inhalers are only available via prescription.
In the rush to cover the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer that received a loan guarantee from the federal government, many news media outlets have misrepresented or omitted key facts.
Conservative pundits have attributed economic growth and job creation in Texas to the success of conservative policies like low taxes and small government. But government has played a significant role in Texas' recent economic record: Federal spending helped balance the state budget, and strict regulation helped shield it from the housing bubble.
Recently, Fox News' Steve Doocy has repeatedly recycled the right-wing attack that the stimulus cost taxpayers between $200,000 and $278,000 per job. In fact, PolitiFact Texas rated this claim "False," and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman called the math upon which this calculation is based "bogus."
The right-wing media are promoting a claim made by a Weekly Standard writer that the stimulus has "cost $278,000 per job." However, simply dividing the amount of money spent by the number of jobs created is, according to an Associated Press fact check, "highly misleading," and economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has called this math "bogus."
Discredited right-wing activist Lila Rose is promoting yet another video hoax, falsely claiming to have caught Planned Parenthood officials lying about the organization's work providing patients with access to cancer screenings, including mammograms. But the comments Rose highlights in no way contradict the undisputed fact that Planned Parenthood provides patients with access to these services.
The Urban Institute recently published a report contradicting the claim often pushed by Fox News that the health care reform law will "kill jobs." But Fox's Bill Hemmer nevertheless used the institute's report to attack health care reform and its "effect on jobs."
The right-wing media is grasping for coherence in its attempts to portray military action in Libya as "Obama's Iraq."
In honor of the one year anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Media Matters presents a timeline of one of the most disgraceful and pernicious myths about the law--death panels.
A news analysis in today's New York Times concluded with two benign paragraphs that ended up inciting right-wing blog squawk. From the Times, emphasis added:
"Striking a very balanced, and in many ways, neutral approach is recognized by many people in the region as not being with them, or on their side," said J. Scott Mastic, the head of Middle East and North Africa for the International Republican Institute. "It's very important that we be seen as supporting the demands of the people in the region."
How Mr. Obama manages to do that while also balancing American interests is a question that officials acknowledge will plague this historic president for months to come. Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, "No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao's words in Tahrir Square."
An all-star team of conservative voices has pounced on that sentence to make a series of outrageous criticisms and claims. Bill Kristol wrote on the Weekly Standard blog:
Mr. Obama is right.
If you're president of China, people around the world who are fighting for freedom don't really expect you to help. If you're president of China, you don't have to put up with annoying off-year congressional elections, and then negotiate your budget with a bunch of gun-and-religion-clinging congressmen and senators. If you're president of China, you can fund your national public radio to your heart's content.
Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft wrote in a post:
Of course it would.
Then he could just slaughter those disruptive Gadsden flag-waving tea partiers.
Is that what he's talking about?
Is it really that difficult for this man to tell the difference between the United States and China?... Really?
Every one of these criticisms takes a paraphrased, one-sentence attribution out of context and blows it out of proportion. The quote is included in the context of discussing the scrutiny Obama faces while trying to balance the demands of citizens in the Middle East with the United States' own interests. It precedes an official noting that "[n]o one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao's words in Tahrir Square."
The point is that foreign nationals are not scrutinizing the actions of other nations as they are those the United States. That's it. It is not a sign that Obama wishes he were a dictator, that he resents having to negotiate with Congress, or that Obama wants to "slaughter those disruptive Gadsden flag-waving tea partiers."
Further, when he was president-elect, George Bush made a much more overt mention of the ease of dictatorial rule. As CNN reported in December 2000:
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Frank, President- elect George W. Bush came to Capitol Hill today for the first time since the election intending to listen to congressional leaders, the bipartisan congressional leadership. But he also made it clear to them, in more than two and a half hours of meetings, that he intends to stand by his tax cut proposal and other planks in his campaign agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I told all four that there were going to be some times where we don't agree with each other. But that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.
To recap: There is no evidence that President Obama wishes he were a dictator.