The case for higher gasoline prices

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For those of us who live in the United States, the prices at the gasoline pump haven’t been so low since 2009, about $2.50 per U.S. gallon as of January 5 in the New England area.  It sure comes as a relief, but of course, our good fortune won’t last very long and maybe it shouldn’t.  Here’s the thing: we, yes, you too, WE are way too dependent on fossil fuels.  As a nation, we drill and frack the earth with such ferocious greed and disrespect for our natural and finite resources that it’s a wonder there’s anything left. The irony here is that all this voracious plundering of the earth has produced a market in the U.S. where there is more supply than demand which has helped to drive OPEC prices down.  But rather than cutting back supplies, OPEC is all in with hopes that declining oil prices will stop the U.S. from continuing to explore alternatives.  The end game for OPEC is to restore its monopoly, so that it can hike the price of oil back up and make more profits.  The end game for the U.S. is to make the big oil companies even more profitable than they already are.  And we consumers are the pawns in the game.

As a person concerned about the environment and how we leave it to future generations, I advocate for a sound and responsible energy policy that does not include fracking and that ridiculous X-L pipeline. And unless the U.S. and other like minded nations ramp up investments into sustainable clean energy sources, we will forever be dependent on fossil fuels, our own or OPEC’s.  In some ways, a world with higher fuel prices is preferable because it encourages people to consume responsibly, to walk and bike more, take public transportation and carpool.  It encourages hybrid technology and the use of clean electric, solar and wind power.

As is, with prices at the pump on the decline, automakers are producing and selling more SUV’s and pickup trucks and other gas guzzling models.  Come on people.  Show some respect for mother nature. Consume less and appreciate nature more.  Do your part.

Making Sense of all this Madness

This is not exactly a rant, but I’m trying to make some sense out of the madness that defines U.S. politics.  I thought I’d start with some statements that I believe cut through the rhetoric and get right to the point or at least my point.

  • The only people who really care about the 8.2% unemployment rate are the unemployed.  The rest, DEMS and GOP alike use the statistic for political advantage.
  • The people who care most about the Affordable Care Act, A/K/A Obamacare are the uninsured.
  • The only people who support voter ID laws are desperate Republicans who hope to prevent the uninsured and unemployed from voting.
  • The word TAX is used to fear monger.  Ironically, it was the ability to tax that helped transform the country from a loose confederation to a united group of states.
  • The people who care most about income inequality are the very rich who have the most to lose and whose interests both parties have always protected.
  • Capitalism through “free” market enterprise means to get as rich as possible by any means necessary.  Bain Capital is the classic textbook example.  Profit over people.
  • Deficit reduction via spending cuts is code for privatization.
  • Politicians who deny climate change have been bought out by the energy industry who profit wildly from the drilling, fracking, mining and burning of fossil fuels that are significantly responsible for global warming which has brought about catastrophic weather extremes.  This world view is one of profit over the environment and ultimately over people when there’s no environment left.  How crazy is that?

 

What A Mess

I’d like to write about anything but politics.  I try reading and contemplating all the weird and zany stories out there that are both interesting, and newsworthy, but I’m drawn to politics.  I guess everything is political.  There’s no such thing as neutral – there is no such thing as fact really – to borrow an academic term from critical theory, all facts are interested – all news is processed through an ideological filter.  I know, I’m rambling.  But here’s the thing:

On Libya.  Let’s (the U.S.) just back off and pass the thing over to Sarkozy, and his French intellectual collaborator, Bernard Henri Levy.  Let the French re-colonize the place, not that that’s in Libya’s best interest necessarily, except that it’d rid them of Ghadaffi, and perhaps put them on the path to democracy, if that’s what they want.  It should be noted that democracy has yet to take root in Iraq, and may never in Afghanistan.  Beyond the initial humanitarian mission of establishing a no fly zone, the U.S. should let France and Britain take over.  Let this be Europe’s concern, because it is.  The U.S. has enough of a mess to deal with in the Middle East and should get the heck out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as “practicable”  to borrow Shelby Foote’s favorite word to quote.

The U.S. needs to put considerable attention to brokering a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Bill Clinton tried and damn near succeeded, but the Bush clan did next to nothing and didn’t seem to give a holy crap either.  To the Bush administrations, all politics was personal.  Here’s an idea, why not send Bill Clinton back in as a special peace envoy, to show Hillary how it’s done?  It may sound like a boneheaded idea, but I think we have to think outside the box a little bit.  Anyway, isn’t Bill Clinton the President of the World?

One last thing while I’m on a roll.  Oil.  Who needs it?  If we weren’t so blasted dependent on the stuff and our politicians not so beholden to the Big Oil overlords, and our foreign policy not so dictated by the finite resource, we’d be a lot better off.  Even the Republican leadership agrees with me, except their solution is to plunder our natural resources.  Ole Mitch McConnell was saying we got all the natural gas we need right cheer in our backyard.  I’d have to say that there’s enough gasholes in Congress to destroy all of our precious resources before the 2012 elections if we gave them the license to drill.

I’ve said it so many times before, but it’s worth noting again.  We, the car loving people of the United States, ought to get off our collective butts and peddle, walk, or carpool more, myself included. And for city dwellers and suburban commuters, why not give the mass transit system a try, at least when practicable, and I grant that it some cases, it is not.

Goodness, where there’s demand for stupid material things, there’s no shortage of goodwill to exploit our natural resources, including those rare earth metals.  But one day, it’ll all be gone and our children will be left scratching their heads saying “what the hell have they done to the planet, the bastages.”