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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Americans Are Stupid! Part 2

We wrote last year (November 17) about the San Francisco Bay Bridge and how it was being partly made in China.  That is just part of the story. These anti-American activities are spreading. In the following article, we read that "Chinese companies have contracted with New York City for a bridge, the subway system and a commuter train platform." Is this idiocy or what?

We are not at full employment and have a sick economy, while our public servants hand money over to Chinese firms and are congratulated for it. Why should we be sending money overseas when people here could use it?  

Americans must learn the lesson that they need to take care of themselves before helping others. That might sound cruel, but this is a dog eat dog world and if we are not going to do things for our own people, who will?  China? Iran? Russia?  Hardly!

My suggestion is that each person who reads this should check with their City, County, State governments and find out if there are any contracts being handed over to foreign entities or governments.  If so, let's get the word out. This has to stop!  We stopped the sale of west coast ports to Chinese companies. We can do it again.

If you find out any our your governmental entities have contracted with foreigners, let us know and we will get the world out.  Thanks for your help.

Maybe in this one small way, we can reverse the world wide discourse that says "Americans are stupid!"

Conservative Tom

California Turns To China For New Bay Bridge

Catwalks hang over a section of the newly constructed eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in Oakland, Calif.
EnlargeJustin Sullivan/Getty Images
Catwalks hang over a section of the newly constructed eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in Oakland, Calif.
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September 16, 2011
California is spending more than $7 billion building what it says will be an architectural marvel: the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. But the state saved a lot of money sending some of the construction work overseas.
The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge will have a distinctive design to rival its more famous cousin, the Golden Gate Bridge.
Bart Ney, a spokesman for the project, recently stood near the top of a gleaming white tower, more than 500 feet above the San Francisco Bay.
"What we're standing on will be the world's largest self-anchored suspension bridge," he says.
A typical suspension bridge is held up by cables strung between two towers like a hammock. This bridge features a single tower and a single mile-long cable that drapes up and over the tower and supports the deck like a sling.
The cable is made up of 137 strands of steel.
"We will pull those strands across the bay to make this cable," says Ney. "And we keep doing that until we have all of them in place, and then we can start hanging up the suspender wires that hold up the deck."
This assembly will be performed early next year by American labor. But the massive cable, key sections of the iconic tower and deck were all made in China, which is emerging as an infrastructure powerhouse in more places than San Francisco. For example, Chinese companies have contracted with New York City for a bridge, the subway system and a commuter train platform.
The decision to outsource the fabrication of key sections of the Bay Bridge was made about five years ago, when a contractor offered alternate bids on the project, says Tony Anziano, a manager at the California Department of Transportation.
"One proposing to do work domestically, one proposing to do the work internationally: There was a $400 million differential in that bid, and in that case it would have required the work to go international," he says.
California avoided legal requirements to use domestic steel by not using federal funds for the job.
The steel contract went to a state-owned Chinese company, Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, which had several advantages: modern production facilities, ships to deliver the steel and, of course, low-cost labor. A Chinese steel polisher makes about $12 a day.
When you have a project of that size here in California, it has a multiplier effect. It gives thousands of families those jobs, and then those paychecks and their subsequent spending ends up going back into our economy. And so now all that money has permanently disappeared from California.
Bob LaVenture, a district director for the United Steelworkers Union, has opposed outsourcing this job.
"There is no way that American workers will be able to ever compete with $12 a day," he says. "It's just not right, and it's not right for America."
It wasn't just the cost of labor that made Chinese steel more attractive, Anziano says. He says American steel fabricators don't have the capacity for a job like the Bay Bridge. When union and industry groups questioned the quality of the Chinese steel, Anziano says, the state and the contractor sent more than 200 people to China to watch over the fabrication process.
"In this particular case, we had full-time staff on site over in China — 24/7 — that monitored all aspects of fabrication work and performed their own quality-assurance testing," he says. "So we have a very high level of assurance about what we are getting."
California Assemblyman Luis Alejo says that even at a savings of hundreds of millions of dollars, the decision to outsource has done more damage to California than it was worth.
California's unemployment rate is 12 percent, well above the national average. Yet when the deal was made for the Chinese steel, unemployment ran at just under 5 percent. If it were still that low now, this debate would likely have less punch.

Oil Issues

Iran is threatening to block the Straits of Hormuz and  we hear South American supplies of oil are starting to dry up while at the same time President Obama cancels the Keystone XL pipeline and limits off shore drilling. These are just some of the issues facing Americans when it comes to oil.

While we have talked about the Straits, the issue with other supplies drying up are troublesome. However, they would not have been as bad had the construction of the Keystone pipeline from Canada had been "postponed" for environmental reasons by Obama and had off shore drilling had been allowed to proceed.  We are looking at a potential economic disaster should the Straits be closed as a large part of our oil comes from that region.

We do not understand how our government can be so callous and politically charged that they would disregard a threat so clear that even a blind man could see it.  Oil is our life line not only for fuel for our cars and trucks but for the thousands if not millions of things that are made of oil products.  The computer which I am using is virtually all plastic--a byproduct of oil. Even the car you drive has a significant amount of plastic. Why would they be so blind?

It seems to me that those we have representing us in Washington and in the state capitals, have forgotten why we sent them there. They do not seem to be interested in what is best for the country but rather their narrow interests.  Oil is a major issue in this country. Without it, the economy stops. Why do they not see this?

Instead of cutting back on exploration here, we should be expanding on it. We should build 20 new refineries yet we are building none. We are setting ourselves up for another 1973 oil crisis.  Why cannot our leaders be cognizant of this?

It is very frustrating to sit here behind my computer and see these issues as clearly as day and have the pols disregard them for their own political reasons.  For example, Keystone was delayed for environmental concerns until after the 2012 elections, Obama did not want to upset the enviro wackos. Where would they have gone, to the Green Party? Some good that would have done them. They had no where to go. It made Obama feel that he did something for them.

Yet, he is endangering our fragile economy by his actions. We hope that the Straits are not blocked, that Keystone is started and that offshore drilling resumes and that we start building more refineries. Only this way can we provide ourselves with a reasonable priced, dependable source of energy. Otherwise, we are putting our future in the hands of people like Chavez and the Iranian government.

Agree or Disagree? We would like to know your opinion.

Conservative Tom

The Washington Times Online Edition

Latin oil supplies for U.S. start to dry up

Canadian pipeline can fill gap

Demonstrators outside the White House march in November with a replica of a pipeline during a protest of the planned Keystone XL pipeline that would bring tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. (Associated Press)Demonstrators outside the White House march in November with a replica of a pipeline during a protest of the planned Keystone XL pipeline that would bring tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. (Associated Press)
The political and environmental debates swirling around the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas miss a crucial point, energy analysts say: The Canadian oil is needed to replace fast-dwindling production from two other major suppliers of oil — Mexico and Venezuela.
The United States remains the largest consumer of oil in the world, requiring more than 8 million barrels a day of fuel imports to feed its appetite, with nearly half of that coming from oil-rich neighbors in Latin America as recently as 2005.
But oil production south of the border has fallen off dramatically, and Canadian crude in recent years quietly overtook imports from Mexico, Venezuela and even Saudi Arabia to become the most important outside source of oil for the U.S.
Because nearly all of Canada’s production will come from the Alberta tar sands served by the Keystone pipeline, energy analysts say, the pipeline extension will be needed to ensure that promising trend continues and that the U.S. does not go back to relying inordinately on unstable and hostile suppliers.
“As traditional supplies of heavy crude from countries such as Mexico and Venezuela decline, Canadian oil sands become more important,” said Lucian Pugliaresi, an analyst with the Energy Policy Research Foundation Inc. Canada ships about 2.5 million barrels a day of crude to the U.S., more than twice as much as Mexico and Venezuela combined.
Growing impatient
He said environmentalists have a false idea that killing the pipeline will ensure the Canadian oil stays in the ground while forcing increased U.S. reliance on alternative fuels and conservation. Canada, he said, would continue to develop its vast oil reserves, but would sell it to another customer — most likely China.
Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said it is little wonder that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper threatened to open routes to Asia after the Obama administration delayed a decision on approving the Keystone pipeline in November.

“Canada cannot be wholly dependent on the vagaries of U.S. politics,” he said. Rising tensions and instability around the world should “give new urgency to assuring that North America’s oil resources are developed to what is now their much greater potential,” and that will require construction of the XL pipeline, he said.
Expansion of the vast pipeline network between the U.S. and Canada is the most efficient way to funnel the tar sands oil to consumers — generating fewer environmental pollutants than an overseas route to Asia, analysts say. They add that it seems a natural fit, given the historically friendly and beneficial economic ties between the countries.
U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast, where Canadian oil would be sent in the Keystone plan, are geared up to turn the heavy tar sands crude into gasoline and other essential fuels because of their experience refining heavy crudes from Mexico and Venezuela. The processing of heavy crudes requires costly equipment upgrades not available at all refineries.
Because oil production from Mexico and Venezuela fell drastically in the past decade, the Gulf Coast refineries now have the capacity to process an additional 500,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude that would come through the pipeline. Refineries closer to Canada — in Chicago, for example — are operating at full production and do not have the capacity to handle more crude.
Jobs versus environment
Mr. Obama’s decision on the pipeline often has been portrayed as one pitting jobs versus the environment. Construction of the pipeline would create thousands of construction jobs, at least temporarily. Meanwhile, powerful environmental groups remain fiercely opposed to development of the tar sands because the extraction process releases more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than conventional drilling.
Patrick Moore, a former leader of Greenpeace who dropped out of the environmental movement because he disagreed with its almost single-minded focus on global warming, said Canada has one of the best records of any country on protecting the environment.
Environmental activists “live in a dream world,” he said, where they believe exotic, expensive and intermittent energy sources like wind and solar power will soon replace proven fuels like oil and coal — even though those conventional fuels provide an overwhelming share of the world’s energy and will continue to do so for decades.
“We need oil now and we’ll need it for the foreseeable future, so it matters greatly where the oil comes from,” he said. “Canadian producers must meet some of the toughest environmental and social standards on the planet” — far above the world’s other top oil producers.
Energy analysts say the decision goes far beyond the tension between jobs and the environment. The battle over the pipeline may determine whether the U.S. is able to cultivate reliable sources of oil in its own backyard or will continue to be whipsawed by the vagaries of politics and foreign suppliers.
Beyond the border
Oil production in Venezuela has been on the decline since President Hugo Chavez — who is openly hostile to the U.S. — nationalized the country’s resources in the past decade, making what was once a top source of imported fuel now among the most iffy for U.S. consumers.
Meanwhile, production in Mexico’s huge oil fields — the largest of which was once as prolific and extensive as Saudi Arabia’s — has peaked and is rapidly falling. Mexico lacks the technological expertise to maintain output in its aging wells, and its constitution prohibits teaming with Western oil companies to do so.
The question goes beyond replacing one source of foreign oil with another, energy specialists say. Enormous reserves of oil that are trapped in shale rock have been discovered in the U.S.
Technological advances such as “fracking,” which fractures the rock to release oil, have started to produce significant amounts of fuel.
The biggest shale oil producer, North Dakota, pumps more than 450,000 barrels a day. About 100,000 barrels of North Dakota’s output were slated to be funneled into the Keystone pipeline, a move that would have encouraged further development of such domestic oil reserves.
“The project is an essential piece of new petroleum infrastructure as the midcontinent region of the United States no longer has any water-borne imports,” Mr. Pugliaresi said.
He noted that Ohio may be the next to start producing oil from the shale rock underlying the state.
In Canada, leaders are patiently awaiting Mr. Obama’s decision and remain hopeful, but they have made clear they will continue to exploit their oil resources with or without the U.S. Ottawa has the option of building a pipeline to its west coast, where the oil could be loaded onto tankers and shipped to Asian markets.
China appears to be waiting eagerly. Three of its state-owned oil companies have established stakes and spent $10 billion developing the Canadian tar sands. One has shown interest in helping to build a west coast pipeline.
“It’s a bit naive to think the tar sands would not be developed if they don’t build that pipeline,” Austan Goolsbee, Mr. Obama’s former top economic adviser, told the Economic Club of Canada last month. “Eventually, it’s going to be built. It may go to the Pacific, it may go through Nebraska, but it’s going be built somewhere.