Streetwise Professor

January 4, 2013

Al Gore. Green(back) Warrior. Qatar Hero.

Filed under: Commodities,Economics,Energy,Politics — The Professor @ 10:55 am

Proving again that Al will never let consistency of principle stand between him a a big payday, he is walking away from the sale of Current TV (surely you’re eyes are always glued to that, right?) to Al Jazeera with a reported $70 million.  Al Jazeera, of course, is largely funded by the Qatari government.  And Qatar is a major producer of the fossil fuels that Al dreads so much, particularly natural gas.  Indeed, Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of LNG, accounting in 2011 for 75.5 million tons out of a world total of 241.5 MT, far outdistancing number two exporter Malaysia which exports only a third of Qatar’s volumes. Quite impressive, given that Qatar only began LNG production in 1997.

But maybe there is some consistency here.  Al hates fracking.  Qatar hates fracking too.  Increases in output of gas in the US due to the fracking revolution, and the potential migration of that technology to other regions, represents a major threat to Qatari export volumes, and the price it can get from those exports.  Qatar is already cutting back spot volumes trying to lock Asian customers into long term contracts in anticipation of increased competition resulting from increased output of non-conventional gas, as well as gas offshore gas produced in Australia.

Qatar is no doubt looking for ways to crank up the propaganda war on fracking, and Current TV’s prog audience (to the extent it has an audience) is highly receptive to that message.  Need proof of that? New York governor Andrew Cuomo is allegedly spiking a state-commissioned report that demonstrates that fracking does not present a health risk. Why? Well let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth (and yeah, the other end too), the New York Times: “Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has long delayed making a decision, unnerved in part by strident opposition on his party’s left.”

So Current, which would not even enter into negotiations to sell to Glenn Beck because “they wanted to sell to someone they are ideologically in line with”, has apparently succeeded in that objective.  They found a fellow fracking foe to buy the network, therefore no doubt easing whatever qualms they have about selling to a network known for Jew hatred, which receives funding from a country that has become notorious of late for being the main arms trafficker for civil wars in Syria, Libya, and now Mali, with many of these weapons allegedly going to Al Qaeda affiliates.

Qatar bears watching.   It is difficult to figure out what its game is.  It is, as just noted, heavily involved in intramural Muslim conflicts in Africa and the Middle East.  Some of this is easy to understand: fighting Syria is a proxy war against arch-foe Iran.  The broader support for radical Islamic elements is far more difficult to understand, and quite troubling.   Is Qatar operating on its own?  Is it a Saudi cutout?  Qatar has also had tempestuous relations with Russia, culminating with a downgrading of relations following the battery of three Russian diplomats including the ambassador at the Doha airport: the fight erupted when Qatari securities and customs personnel attempted to wrest a diplomatic pouch from the ambassador.

But Al apparently doesn’t care about all this.  He has the green, and his green conscience is salved by a transaction with a fracking foe.  Even one whose gas exports account for 206,250,000 tons of CO2 every year, and whose oil production generates another 205,000,000 or so tons, volumes that commenter Green as Grass helpfully points out allow Qatar to claim the title of world’s largest CO2 producer per capita.  There’s an inconvenient truth for you, eh Al?

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  1. You might have added that Qatar has the highest per capita CO2 emissions in the world. This seems not to be an issue when Al is after Qatari money, for some reason.

    Comment by Green as Grass — January 4, 2013 @ 11:22 am

  2. I added that @Green, with the appropriate credit. Pretty telling fact.

    I’m sure Al is going to use the money to buy carbon offsets for that 510MT of CO2. I’m just sure. Oh. Wait. Even at depressed levels of 6 Euros/ton, that would cost Al about $4 billion. For one year.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 4, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

  3. I’ve tuned in to watch a couple of the Current TV shows and not a single word about Al Jazeera being the new owner.

    Comment by Charles — January 4, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

  4. @charles . . . thanks for taking one for the SWP team! If you put a gun to my head I might watch Current TV. Might. Hardly shocked that the subject of the new ownership was consigned to the memory hole. What the progs don’t know won’t hurt ’em. Have to minimize the likelihood they’ll discover they’re being fed Qatari propaganda.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 4, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

  5. Best of all, Mr Gore was insisting on a closing by 31 Dec to avoid the new capital gains taxes on 1 Jan, according to NYT front page article.

    Comment by The Pilot — January 4, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

  6. @The Pilot. Thanks for bringing that up. Such a target rich environment!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 4, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

  7. Dear Professor,

    Please read this article and tell us if you still think that Switzerland’s firearms situation, which you cite as an example of why America doesn’t need stringent gun laws, is actually comparable to the US.

    She summarized her results here:

    Comment by john — January 5, 2013 @ 8:04 am

  8. @john-I looked at your links and found them a complete waste of time. It would take so much time to parse down the BS and that would be a further waste of time. I do admit her statements about the effectiveness of clubs and bats for self defense are quite funny.

    Comment by pahoben — January 5, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  9. @John. Methinks Prof. Rosenbaum misses the point re Switzerland, at least my point. My point was-clearly-that Switzerland shows that access to weapons is not a sufficient condition for elevated murder rates. There are other things driving these rates, but the fetishization of weapons by those on the left leads them to focus obsessively on the availability of weapons as the major determinant of gun violence. This implies that making access to guns more difficult is not sufficient to reduce murder rates, especially since the proposed laws would typically reduce the access of law abiding citizens far more than they would reduce the access of criminals.

    A politically incorrect fact is that in the US black murder victimization rates are about 7x non-black murder victimization rates, and more than 7x white victimization rates. Legal access to guns is the same for all races in a given jurisdiction. Obviously, something other than access is going on here. I would also note that black murder victimization rates are particularly high in jurisdictions such as Chicago where legal access to guns is highly restricted.

    Many of the other things mentioned in her articles are just a regurgitation of the usual anti-gun talking points.

    For instance, she mentions one use of a private weapon to halt a mass casualty shooting by a private security guard with military experience, but fails to mention other instances where private individuals intervened with their weapons (e.g, Appalachian State U, Pearl MS HS). And a very recent example: the OR shopping mall. This raises questions about her intellectual honesty.

    As another example, she mentions “minimal requirements for concealed carry permits.” This is, quite frankly, horseshit. Again, she is either completely ignorant or totally intellectually dishonest.

    A further example: her failure to acknowledge the federal background check mechanism in the US. Perhaps not as rigorous as CH’s but pretty damn rigorous. So rigorous that it has a huge rate of false positives. Thousands of people denied guns b/c of the checks. Hundreds referred to prosecution. Essentially zero prosecutions. That suggests that if anything, the background check mechanism is too rigorous. Again, Prof. Rosenbaum overlooks this.

    Yet another example: “statistical analysis shows that these ‘shall issue’ states have higher rates of homicide.” Except for the statistical analysis that shows the opposite. My posts were quite even handed, IMO, on the interpretation of this evidence. The same cannot be said for Prof. Rosenbaum.

    Sense a pattern? Sense that Prof. Rosenbaum’s intellectual honesty is highly contestable?

    I’ll save the best-and by best, I mean worst-for last. “Leave it to the pros.” Uh-huh. How long did it take for the pros to arrive in Newtown? Aurora?

    Here’s what the pros do: they arrive in time to draw chalk outlines around the bodies.

    I have a story for you. Yesterday, Sergio, the maintenance man at the UH business school where I work ran up after me: “Doctor Pirrong! Doctor Pirrong! I know you wrote about allowing people to carry guns on campus. Please write about it again. Please. I am in the building all the time, and if someone does decide to start shooting I may be one of the victims, and I know everyone else here would be helpless. I feel unsafe. I know if something happens by the time campus police arrive many people will be dead. If I had a gun, if you had a gun, maybe we could stop them. The bill for concealed carry on campus is coming up again. Please write about it.”

    If you want to be defenseless, John, that’s your choice. I’ll send flowers. Sergio and I would prefer to have a chance to defend ourselves, and others around us. Not to mention, to provide the public good of raising the likelihood that a would be mass shooter is deterred because he (and it’s almost always a he) is almost always a pussy who doesn’t want people shooting back at him.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 5, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

  10. @John. Another thing that raised suspicions in that Rosenbaum article was her statement about the correlation between access to firearms and firearms suicides in Switzerland. Go to the link and you’ll see that it reports a correlation between the proportion of suicides by firearms and the availability of firearms. You would think that the more meaningful issue would be the effect of firearms availability on the rate of suicide overall: if there are very close substitutes for firearms as a means of committing suicide, restricting the availability of firearms will have little or no impact on death by suicide. If the body count is the same, should we really care about the means by which the count is amassed? Dead is dead.

    It is that kind of slipperiness which makes me question Rosenbaum’s objectivity.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  11. I checked my neighborhood and didn’t find a single Israeli women with a battle rifle slung over her back to protect my children-darn it.

    Comment by pahoben — January 6, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

  12. This women’s scholarly work has actually undermined that old adage-Where’s a cop when you need one (though I guess semantically it still may be true because her research just seems to indicate that off duty and former cops are just darn near ubiquitous).

    Comment by pahoben — January 6, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

  13. @pahoben. Well, if you’re at a donut shop . . .

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

  14. Very funny

    Give Sergio props from me. He sounds like a good man.

    Comment by pahoben — January 6, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

  15. @pahoben. I have cop/donut story I’ll tell sometime.

    I will give Sergio props. You could have knocked me over with a feather. he is a good guy.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  16. @pahoben. You would be amazed to know the number of students who came to thank me after I wrote that oped in 2009. Faculty . . . not so much.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

  17. Let me see if I have this right-

    DOJ stats indicate 80% of the guns involved in gun crimes are obtained illegaly

    Gun crimes have very severe sentencing guidelines currently

    Gun control proposition
    If we make it harder to buy guns legally you law abiding citizens will be safer

    To understand this logic must require a lofty liberal arts diploma.

    Comment by pahoben — January 6, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

  18. @pahoben. That’s a great start. Add to that the fact that a very goodly fraction of the “victims” of gun violence are gangbangers, drug dealers, pimps, hookers, and various other varieties of ex-cons and should-be-cons. Not exactly a random sample selected from the US population. But we should impose restrictions that bear most heavily on the law abiding. I have a lofty liberal arts diploma 😛 but I must be a reprobate failure because I don’t get it.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

  19. Economics is well known as a science (I forget the common descriptor) and I do not consider your diplomas as liberal in any way 🙂

    Comment by pahoben — January 6, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

  20. @pahoben-Economics is sometimes called the Queen of the Social Sciences. It ain’t sociology, anthropology, critical theory, or other such lib arts bull, that’s for sure.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 6, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

  21. I am shocked that a man of principle such as Al Gore would accept carbon-tainted money in this way.

    It’s as though the USSR had signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1939.

    Oh, wait.

    Comment by Green as Grass — January 8, 2013 @ 6:46 am

  22. That’s right: environmentalism is green. So is money. So is Islam. Many politicians are turning green with envy for Al Gore’s newly-found wealth.

    So, where Al Gore’s the hypocrisy? He is consistently a one-color man.

    Comment by Vlad R — January 18, 2013 @ 11:37 pm

  23. @Vlad R. Very clever The Green Flush.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 19, 2013 @ 8:34 am

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