Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Addicted to Oil

America’s oil addiction is doing more than wrecking the environment and sending gasoline prices through the roof. Our government’s entire policy — foreign and domestic — has been contaminated by this addiction.

Our national security has been jeopardized, most of the world hates us, and our economy and environment are threatened by energy shortages. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has coined the term Petrolism.

Friedman says “The biggest threat to America and its values today is not communism, authoritarianism or Islamism. It’s petrolism.”

Petrolism is “the politics of using oil income to buy off one’s citizens with subsidies and government jobs, using oil and gas exports to intimidate or buy off one’s enemies, and using oil profits to build up one’s internal security forces and army to keep oneself ensconced in power, without any transparency or checks and balances.”

In “petrolist” countries — Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, you know who they are — the government doesn’t need to use the energy and innovation of its people. All it has to do is tap an oil well. The government has no incentive to build a competitive society or educational system. They control the oil tap; that’s all they need. Most likely that’s all they have.

Imagine Paris Hilton if she had her inheritance yanked away and she had to go out on job interviews. That’s the position most petrolist governments would be in if the world suddenly didn’t need their oil.

Friedman ridicules the fact that “a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable of innovating its way to energy independence.” And the Islamic petrolist countries — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan — are strengthened and reinforced by our desperate, cowering need for their oil.

Dick Cheney scoffed at conservation and renewable energy sources as “a personal virtue” but not an energy policy. But according to Friedman, “being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation…is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and patriotic thing we can do…It’s a national security imperative.”

Regarding the Iraqi war, Friedman says “a democratization policy in the Middle East without a different energy policy at home is a waste of time, money and, most important, the lives of our young people.”

Friedman blasts our policy of “welfare-for-oil-companies” as “cowardly and un-American.” He sums it up with “real patriots, real advocates of spreading democracy around the world, live green. Green is the new red, white and blue.”

cross-posted at Bring It On!

3 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Oil addiction has been very much a part of US foreign policy since FDR initiated and Truman finalized the oil-for-protection deal of the century with Ibn Saud.

Since 1980, in particular, our leadership assumed other nations would simply produce more - classic supply-side thinking - while removing all serious funding from alternative sources of energy. Had we maintained a commitment to renewable energy research, this country could have been an export leader in this type of technology by now. Reagan actually removed the solar panels Carter had had installed on the White House. Reagan saw it as his mission to 'get government off the backs of industry' and CAFE-standard-skirting 'light-trucks' were the result. Allowing companies to build vehicles whose purpose was clearly to transport people, while classifying them in a way that skirted the fuel-efficiency-requirements of passenger cars helped to legitimate the American appetitie for SUVs.

The trouble then, and still today, is that wind, solar, biomass simply do not make money for the right people in the energy sector.

The most cynical part about the strategy that passed for an 'energy policy' until this day has been the deliberate disassociation of consumer behavior with the very expensive conduct of our foreign policy. The DoD budget has components within it that are 100% devoted to Middle East oil supply protection.

The presence of one of our Naval fleets in the Persian Gulf since 1990 is hardly free. Niether are the two wars we have fought there. The costs for these, however, are NOT in any way associated with- or derived from the commodity in question: oil.
We do NOT pay an 'Persian Gulf Oil Protection Tax' when we buy fuel, petrochemicals, plastics, etc.
In stead, we pay our Federal Income taxes, which fund the DoD.
Such a system does not encourage anyone to use less oil, whereas a direct tax on the commodity in need of such expensive protection would.

Were the oil companies that draw crude from the Gulf required to hire mercinaries to perform the duties currently performed by our military, I can assure you, those costs would show up in every petroleum product they sell, or sell the raw materials for.

February 1, 2006 at 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: CHAINED TO OIL (EDITORIAL)
The Daytona Beach News-Journal 12/11/06
In this Editorial you quote an "investment banker, and
energy-industryconsultant"
"Matthew Simmons".
And you apparently accept his (false) assertions that:
"We are now closing in on peak oil supply and peak natural gas supply". And "the world's major oil reserves---have reached the point of highest return".(?)
These assertions and the implication that we rely on
"fossil fuels"are either the result of stark ignorance,
of facts relating to the "energy-industry", or a serious
misstatement of truths regarding NATURAL OIL!
See this:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Published online before print August 12, 2002, 10.1073/pnas.172376899
PNAS | August 20, 2002 | vol. 99 | no. 17 | 10976-10981
The evolution of multicomponent systems at high pressures: VI. The thermodynamic stability of the hydrogen–carbon system:
The genesis of hydrocarbons and the origin of petroleum
J. F. Kenney , , Vladimir A. Kutcherov ¶, Nikolai A. Bendeliani || and Vladimir A. Alekseev ||
Dr. J. F. Kenney of Gas Resources Corp. in Houston and three Russian coauthors conclude:
"The H–C system does not spontaneously evolve heavy hydrocarbons at pressures less
than 30 kbar, even in the most favorable thermodynamic environment. The H–C
system evolves hydrocarbons under pressures found in the mantle of the Earth and at temperatures consistent with that environment."
Kenney said there is no real debate about petroleum origination.
"There has not been any 'debate' about the origin of hydrocarbons for over a century,"
He stated: "Competent physicists, chemists, chemical engineers and men knowledgeable of thermodynamics have known that natural petroleum does not evolve from biological material since the last quarter of the 19th century."
The list of proponents begins with Mendelev (who created the
periodic table of elements) and includes Dr. Thomas Gold
(founding director of Cornell University Center for
Radiophysics and Space Research)
------------------AND-------------- In his 1999 book, "The Deep Hot Biosphere," Dr. Gold presents compelling evidence for inorganic oil formation. He notes that geologic structures
where oil is found all correspond to "deep earth" formations, not the haphazard depositions we find with sedimentary rock, associated
fossils or even current surface life. "---the end of the world as we know it" scenario simply won't happen.
Think about it ... while not inexhaustible, deep Earth reserves of inorganic crude oil and commercially feasible extraction would provide the world with generations of low-cost fuel. Dr. Gold has been quoted saying that current worldwide reserves of crude oil could be off by a factor of over 100."
---------------------------------
There is absolutely no excuse for perpetuating the erroneous
deception that we are reliant upon the residue of deceased animals (fossil fuel) for crude oil!
---------------------------------
(It's all here!)
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/99/17/10976?maxtoshow=
&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=genesis+of+hydrocarbons+
and+the+origin+of+petroleum&searchid=1085470440708_510&stored_search=&FIRSTINDEX=0#B35

February 1, 2006 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Were oil companies required to pay mercinaries to perform the duties of petroleum-export-route protection that are currently performed by the DoD in the Persian Gulf, one can assume that these costs would show up in the price of every petrol-product on the market (fuel, petrochemicals, plastics). $2.50 for a gallon of fuel would be a distant memory.

Instead, every Federal Income Tax payer, regardless of their individual petroleum consumption pattern, has to fund the DoD.

In effect, this amounts not only to a massive subsidy, but also a massive distortion of the 'free market.' What is interesting to note is that those who yell the loudest about free markets and trade are quite silent about this aspect of the US economy.

February 1, 2006 at 4:22 PM  

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