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Oil in politics...again 
22nd-Jun-2008 08:24 pm
It started this week when McCain said that he wants to drop the ban on offshore drilling. His reason? To cut our dependency on foreign oil and reduce gas prices. Unfortunately both of those reasons are a day late and a dollar short.

You see, I'm sick and tired of hearing this crap about our dependency on foreign oil and gas prices. Now, when I said "crap" I don't mean those arguments aren't valid. I just mean that they've been made for a long while. Remember, we've had problems with gas prices in the US. Hell, we had rationing. So, this is nothing new. For my generation, a bit. Still, I had my first car for a week before gas ever made its first jump over a dollar a gallon. I've seen it rise. I've saw what was coming. I refuse to believe others didn't. BUT, it's so much easier to sit back and bitch about foreign oil and prices rather than look at our own behaviors that have led us to this point.

If we had taken the time to focus our energies (be it nationally or in the technology field) and monies to plan ahead we wouldn't be here. Look at the brief history of the Synthetic Fuels Corporation. We had the opportunity then to keep working towards alternatives and to keep ourselves away from dependency on foreign oil. Instead, we abandoned it. I really don't care if it was due to the question if the research should have been done by a government agency vs business or if it wad due to the sudden drop in oil prices. All I can say is that if it was due to the drop in oil prices we squandered our opportunity. Now, we're reacting in an emergency mind frame and operating in such a mindset takes training and practice which our general population does not have, nor do our politicians (I know I don't have such training). We made our beds, but we sure has hell don't want to lie in them.

Back to McCain now.

As soon as I read his comments on offshore drilling I worried that he was setting himself up to go politically right where he had been trying NOT to go...closer to looking like he matched Bush's policies and fashion of operation. So, what happened? Exactly what I expected. Bush jumped at the opportunity to talk once again about offshore drilling and drilling in ANWR. The "best" part of Bush's assertion that we should look at offshore drilling? When he said, "There is no excuse for delay." There isn't? Are you sure about that?

So, let's forget the fact that offshore drilling sites aren't just constructed overnight. Because if we actually think about that then we have to realize that we're quite a long time (years...decades?) from getting the oil we need to affect gas prices. Oh, and if it's all done by oil companies then the US has no right to demand that they don't sell that oil to who they want (within considerations of national security factors). So, even then we can't be guaranteed that oil found by "American" oil companies will go to America and drive down the gas prices. It just doesn't work like that. Again, but lets forget that. I mean, without that there is nothing to concern ourselves with, right?

Well, maybe for you but the first thing I thought about was the fact that Mr. Bush is constantly talking about terrorists. Terrorists who want to hurt us, who want to kill us. Who we are fighting "over there" so we don't have to fight them "over here." My mind said (as soon as I read this article) that if we put up offshore drilling operations aren't we setting ourselves up a bit to have those sites attacked by those same people? I didn't see any comments about such things on the news. So, perhaps I was way off base (as happens a lot). Or was I.

Almost as if to validate my concern (to me...not to anyone else) a story popped up about one of Shell's offshore drilling operations in Nigeria was attacked. Gotta say I was both validated and concerned when I read the story (a small one at that). You see, I'm not even close to knowledgeable when it comes to understanding how such an operation works, or would work. However, I'm pretty certain that we don't have high security at all these places. Now, maybe my concerns aren't warranted as nothing like this has happened to us here that I can remember. Still, if we start throwing up more platforms are we showing or confidence in our history or are we setting ourselves up? Considering our track record of dealing with problems relating to oil and it's use, I'm afraid we'd end up more connected with the latter.

Still, I am concerned that this drive for offshore drilling by McCain, and opposition by Obama, may affect things more than we like. I would love lower gas prices, I really would. BUT, I'm willing to take it on the chin and in the pocket book if this takes us to a place (as a nation at least) where we can find something better for later generations. I've always held this idea (a gross generalization) that my family's earlier generations have made the choices necessary to give me a better life now (the opportunity for it anyway). I also believe this to be the case with others across the globe (some are kept from putting much energy into it though). I am truly hoping that those of us in the US today can make the choices necessary to make things better and maybe even easier to some degree on later generations. I can't say my ideas of what is "best" will take us there. But when I keep getting faced with more of the same old stuff...I figure my ideas (which I know others also share) can't be any worse.

Once again I will offer up a "selfish" idea though. Not for me, but for all. Unless you're keen on long boat trips as our ancestors used to HAVE to take I would suggest reducing oil use where possible so we can at least save it for air travel. While we did finally get a manned hydrogen plane up in the air a while back the current belief is that we're not close to using such technology for large passenger aircraft. We may be able to (at best) use it as a supportive fuel option.

Sometimes I think the "selfish" thoughts help people. If they can't, don't, or won't think about later generations or their own kids then perhaps some concern about their own asses (or the wallets near them) will get them to look at new ideas and options.
24th-Jun-2008 02:36 am (UTC)
I pretty much agree. We all should have seen this coming, but the fact is most of America is too dumb and happy distracted with reality tv, Budweiser and the latest fashions for summer. This country has typically not seen a looming crisis until it actually hits. The legislative bodies are slow and re-active instead of pro-active, while no one wants to sacrifice until you pretty much have no choice. I have little sympathy for us.

The oil fields in Nigeria have been under attack by local rebels for some time now by the way...its appalling what the oil companies and the local government is doing to the inhabitants of that region. Their homes, land and livelihood has been ruined in the pursuit of black gold, and we barely hear a thing about it here...but hey, it's just Africa, right?
24th-Jun-2008 03:24 am (UTC)
And this is the reason I went out and finally got Just How Stupid Are We? - Facing the TRUTH about the American voter by Rick Shenkman. I saw his interview on the Daily Show and had to get the book. Thought Barnes and Nobles was sold out, turns out it's in their US History section as opposed to Current Affairs...go fig.

I put the Scott McClellan book on hold (bought it right before).

I just finished the first chapter of Shenkman's book...great stuff. Mostly about how many of us thought (and still do think) Saddam was the one who organized, or was connected to, 9/11. I knew this stuff already, but it's nice to get some stats.
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