Sunday, June 22, 2008

Got Gas?

Why We're Suddenly Paying Through the Nose for Gas

As the pain induced by higher oil prices spreads to an ever growing share of the American (and world) population, pundits and politicians have been quick to blame assorted villains -- greedy oil companies, heartless commodity speculators and OPEC. It's true that each of these parties has contributed to and benefited from the steep run-up. But the sharp growth in petroleum costs is due far more to a combination of soaring international demand and slackening supply -- compounded by the ruinous policies of the Bush Administration -- than to the behavior of those other actors.

Most, if not all, the damage was avoidable. Shortly after taking office, George W. Bush undertook a sweeping review of US energy policy aimed at expanding the nation's supply of vital fuels. The "reality is the nation has got a real problem when it comes to energy," he declared on March 14, 2001. "We need more sources of energy." At that time many of the problems evident today were already visible. Energy demand in mature industrial nations was continuing to grow as the rising economic dynamos of Asia, especially China, were beginning to make an impact. By 2002 the Energy Department was predicting that China would soon overtake Japan, becoming the world's second-largest petroleum consumer, and that developing Asia as a whole would account for about one-fourth of global consumption by 2020. Also evident was an unmistakable slowdown in the growth of world production, the telltale sign of an imminent "peaking" in global output [see Klare, "Beyond the Age of Petroleum," November 12, 2007].

With these trends in mind, many energy experts urged the White House to minimize future reliance on oil, emphasize conservation and rapidly develop climate-friendly alternatives, especially renewables like wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels. But Dick Cheney, who was overseeing the energy review, would have none of this. "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue," the Vice President famously declared in April 2001, "but it is not a sufficient basis…for sound, comprehensive energy policy." After three months of huddling in secret with top executives of leading US energy companies, he released a plan on May 17 that, in effect, called for preserving the existing energy system, with its heavy reliance on oil, coal and natural gas.

@ Alternet


Keeping his pals in business as promised at the expense of the American people too wimpy to protest is the Perfect Storm.

Like the war criminals they are,I would expect no less.

Fascism, often tried, never succeeded, but they still keep trying. What is that phrase about trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result being the definition of insanity?

I wish they would quit trying so we could all catch a break.



David B. Benson said...

Den --- Local gasoline prices didn't go up this week. :-)

Saladin --- Here is the link to a readable informative explanation of climete:

The Discovery of Global Warming

Here is a review of the book:

Review of above

David B. Benson said...

U.S. Gloom: Is Everything Spinning Out of Control?

This ship has no captain?

Carey said...

You're a love, David. You know that?


The FISA capitulation is a shared, albeit distressing strategy to beat the odds of the general election. I don't like it either.

The odds are mighty. These assholes will be punished eventually. We can't run our government properly until it's cleaned up a little. Getting the bad guys will happen.

As Rachel Maddow would say, the odds are bad enough as it is.

David B. Benson said...

Carey --- Well, now I do.

But a love?

Maybe means something else in southern California...

Carey said...

It just means you have a nice, gentle way about you. It's a pleasure to read.

Okay, I'll break down and whine. I'm hot, sweaty and drained and I've hardly lifted a finger today.

ยบ¿carol said...

That was a good article, Dr. B. Plenty of the doom and gloom. That is about all I see anymore.

All that could have been added to the piece was that Obama has turned out to be a cardinal disappointment, and at a time the country, the world can't afford such a disappoitnment. Oh, well.

micki said...

It is a veritable paradise up here in B'ham today. A perfect PNW summer day.

Carey -- One of my main concerns about the FISA fiasco is that most likely it is a barometer of things to come for the forseeable future. The Democratic Party is sliding inexorably to the right -- the so-called "leadership" on the FISA bill is the most current example of the party's rightward tilt.

The DNC, in its quest to pick up seats in the House and Senate, sought candidates who appeal to more conservative voters. The seats they picked up haven't really helped strengthen progressive or civil-liberties' causes. In fact, the battleground is often within the Dem party now.

Obama cast himself as an agent for change, but has already shown that he lacks the cajones (and the will I'm afraid) to lead on matters of importance to progessive values. (Remember he's still in the Senate, he's not just a presidential candidate, plus as the presumptive nominee, he's also the de facto leader of the Democratic Party -- so he has three forums in which to prove his leadership bona fides. IMO, he's failed in all three forums so far to show the kind of leadership that will be necessary to lead the country.) Obama's capitulation on FISA, IMO, is prima facie evidence that his "cooperation and working together" theme means giving the conservatives what they want.

Those "swing" seats that are touted by the DNC as so important for winning a veto-proof majority won't amount to a hill of beans (or a bucket of warm spit), because we're going to have a bunch of Blue Dogs siding with the Repubs, essentially eviscerating the Dem Party even more.

No. I know you look forward to an Obama presidency, but I think it's time to take a longer view and start working from Day One (now) to build a true opposition against our government's slither to the right. Even if Obama wins the presidency, and the Dems nail big gains in Congress, the slide to the right will continue unless there is a powerful opposition.

I don't see that opposition starting with Obama.

micki said...


Maybe. And maybe this is what the 21st century will be about — a great unraveling of some things long taken for granted.

Lots of things!

micki said...

I think I'll go have a glass of wine and go sit outside and watch the birds.

DEN said...

Smoky day here, lightning fires going in the hills, couple 100 fires going.

90's all week ahead, summer is here.

BIG O pissed me off too.