Monke: Obama's silly oil tax just another ego trip

When you ask three members of Congress the same question about a proposed policy and every one of them laughs about it, you know it can’t be good.

That was the case when I interviewed members of the North Dakota Congressional delegation about President Barack Obama’s proposed $10.25 per barrel oil production tax in his 2016 spending budget.

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer called the tax “dead on arrival.” Sen. John Hoeven, also a Republican, believes it would go so far as to threaten national security. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, said trying to impose this kind of tax on the oil industry right now was like kicking someone when they’re down.

All three of them agree it would mean thousands of lost jobs across the country.

And for what? More “environmental progress” as the president himself put it last week?

Look, I’m all for green energy and agree that we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy in this country. We know wind farms can work and earlier this year, I visited Yuma, Ariz., a city where solar panels are a common sight to see on rooftops.

Green energy is good energy. But there’s only so much we can do with it right now as a country.

Cars don’t run on hopes and dreams, and plastic isn’t created by fairy dust. Oil does that. Not wind. Not sunshine. Oil.

Obama said during a Feb. 5 press conference that Americans need to wean ourselves off “dirty fuels.” And that by doing this, and implementing this tax, it’s going to make for a stronger economy. “A wise decision for us to make,” he said.

I’m not sure our president understands — or for that matter, cares — about how much the oil industry matters to the American economy. Heck, I didn’t understand it until the industry planted itself in western North Dakota.

At that Feb. 5 press conference, Obama touted more fake job numbers handed to him by some lackey at a government agency being paid to create them for him out of thin air. But, you never heard one peep about the job boom created earlier in his presidency by shale oil production in North Dakota and Texas. Because he wanted nothing to do with it.

Now, with the oil industry on the downslide, Obama is doing what all good environmentalists do — he’s going for a killing blow and he’s trying to do it through government policy. Even though he’s highly likely to swing and miss on this one.

This pipe dream of a tax isn’t aimed at building roads and creating self-driving cars, as the president claims. It’s an ego trip wrapped around his radical agenda that the majority of Americans don’t even agree with.

Let’s hope Congress has some sense and tells Obama to kick this can down the road and straight into his recycling bin.

Stockert a posterboy for US mental health reform

Mental health is an issue seldom talked about in our country in the wake of violence.

However, we had a mental health situation close to home make national headlines last week when Scott Stockert, a Dickinson man with a history of mental health issues, drove his pickup to Washington, D.C. with the alleged intention of kidnapping President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo.

He claimed to arresting officers that he was Jesus Christ and was planning to run for president.

The story went viral not only on The Press website, but on countless others throughout the world.

Millions got a good laugh out of it.

The comments section on our Facebook page were mostly humorous in nature. Yet only a handful of people brought up possible mental health concerns.

The situation wasn’t really something to laugh about.

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Editorial: The long rejection for Keystone XL  

Why did it take President Barack Obama seven years to reject the Keystone XL pipeline?

We’ll never know the answer to that question.

What we do know is that the president seemed pretty happy with himself Friday when he finally took a knee holding the political football he’d seemingly been playing keep-away with since his first term began.

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Spills in the state and a ‘State’ of laughter

Sometimes, you just have to rant. Every once in a while, as Peter Griffin once so eloquently said, there are aspects of life that tend to “grind my gears.” Here are a few of them that popped up last week:

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Obama visit nice, short of what was needed

President Barack Obama visits with young Native American dancers on Friday during the Cannon Ball Flag Day Celebration in Cannon Ball.

President Barack Obama’s visit to North Dakota and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Friday may have been historic, but it was also everything we imagined it would be. It was short, sweet and about as basic as it could have been.

When Obama speaks, he tends to go one of two ways. Either he’s bold, authoritative and makes memorable statements, or he plays it safe and speaks to his political base. He went the latter route in his visit to the reservation, which wasn’t surprising. Obama didn’t take much of a risk coming to Standing Rock.

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