Third Party & Independents Archives

Variety is ...

….the way to get us off our dependence on foreign oil.

Having the vast Nation that we have is part of our solution.
Any given area has it's own natural resource.
Oil in Alaska and off the southern coast.
Coal in the east & west.
Natural gas & cropland in the midwest & west.
Sunshine along the west and southern coasts.
Wind in many places. (Including Kennedy's backyard)
Dams & waterfalls. (Not used as much as they can be.)

Working together & separately we can solve our problems.
Our vehicles can be powered without gasoline. Depending on which area you live you will need a certain type of vehicle. 'My next car!'
We already know electric can be produced in many ways other than oil and already has been. (Energy Information Administration) Many ways that are environmentally friendly.

Together we can improve our environment and say goodbye to the unstable nations who supply our oil.

New problems will emerge due to our oil independence.
The nations who we buy oil from basically rely solely on their oil exports to keep their economies functioning.
We may have to send more aid -- whoopee!! We may have to send more of our manufacturing jobs away -- yet another hot button issue.

New jobs in manufacturing should be created due to biotechnology.
'Coca-Cola Co. is using it to make soft-drink cups, McDonald's for salad containers and Pacific Coast Feather Co. to fill pillows and comforters. Cargill Dow executives said the corn-derived polymer will compete directly with petroleum-based plastics and polyesters on price and performance.
"It's all about sustainability," Gruber said. "Would you rather buy a product made from corn from the Midwest or petroleum from the Middle East?"' - from above link

Corn prices have already jumped and most of us have not seen an ethanol pump. (And me being in a state that claims it is a leader in this industry.)
We will have to be able to purchase corn from other nations without the huge tariff our government is placing on it.
The price of corn effects the price of many other products we purchase the same as the price of fuel does.
Keep or remove the tariffs? 'Corn growers unite to oppose lifting import tariff on ethanol'
Tariffs are already being removed under protest. 'Farmers clog Mexico City in corn tariff protest'

Prices need to come down. We cannot keep going in this manner. Prices up significantly while wages raise slowly.
We have to bring prices down while we sustain wages.
Wouldn't you rather have a wage that can buy more, than a minuscule 'feel good' raise that buys less?

Many programs & initiatives are already underway. 'Increasing Renewable and Traditional Energy
for American Families'

'The quality of American life depends on stable, inexpensive, and readily available supplies of energy. Energy heats and cools our homes. It fuels our ambulances, fire trucks, ships, and airplanes. It powers the companies that create jobs and the agricultural economy that feeds our Nation and the world.

Interior Department-managed land and water produce about 30 percent of our Nation's energy supply. Approximately, one-third of our natural gas, coal, and oil, one-half of geothermal, 17 percent of hydropower, and 8 percent of wind power are produced in areas managed by Interior.' - from above link

GM is working with the USPS to provide a fleet of hydrogen powered vehicles to save money on fuel costs. Beginning in the perfect place to sell this plan -- the West Coast.

This is an important issue to me along with border security & squashing radical Islam.

Going all out on this will solve many problems from saving the environment, to bringing prices down, to fixing foreign policy problems.
We need both parties to stop trying to claim they won these issues (to gain votes) and work for ALL of us.
Let's get together and get this done.


Posted by Dawn at February 5, 2008 12:20 PM
Comments
Comment #244684

Hey guys, make sure to check out the article “The Intoxication of Inspiration” on the new blog SavagePolitics.com (nothing to do with that crazy man Mike Savage). It is really insightful… EVERYONE should read it before heading to the polls!!!!!

I truly enjoy this site (watchblog) since it also has the views from true Independents!1 SavagePolitics.com does the same, but in a more violent manner…

peace,

E

here is the link: http://www.savagepolitics.com

Posted by: Elsy at February 5, 2008 4:37 PM
Comment #244687

Dawn:

Excellent! Especially the parts calling for us to get off our duffs and go to work to end dependence on foriegn oil. I’m not sure what it will take for the American people to realize that we are selling our future to every country that produces oil. The oil panic of the ‘70’s didn’t do a thing, except make us mad. If we had any sense at all, we would have started a Manhattan project then to find substitutes for petroleum. I can remember when gas went to 50 cents a gallon. Folks were hollering and screaming about the dirty Arabs, etc, etc, etc. But, they kept on driving. When gasoline broke the dollar a gallon ceiling, even more screaming, but we kept driving.
Now, gas is at 3 dollars plus a gallon and it has just been in the past couple of years that the market for pick-up trucks, SUV’s, and other gas guzzlers has gone down. But, we still see Hummers, Escalades, Expeditions, and Navigators on the road withone person aboard, none getting over 20 miles per gallon.

I don’t have any answers that make sense in the current situation. Every alternative suggested so far has it’s own drawbacks. But, one thing I do know: Government will have very litle to do in solving the problem. We have had a Department of Energy now for several years. To the best of my knowledge, it has yet to produce the first drop of energy. I have witnessed first hand what the DOE is very good at: wasting money! Details on request. If you think our Congress is going to repeal any tariffs, I have some waterfront property in New Orleans I’d like to talk to to you about. However, our government will mandate actions that hurt more than help, see corn produced ethanol. Food no, ethanol yes!! The best thing government could do to wean us off oil would be to provide incentives to develop alternative energy sources and let private enterprise do what it does best, innovate.

However, that will happen,IMHO, when pigs fly. That will be about the time the American people wake up to what is happening and do something about it.

Posted by: Old Grouch at February 5, 2008 4:44 PM
Comment #244706

Old Grouch,
Thank you.

‘Every alternative suggested so far has it’s own drawbacks.’

True. That is why I tried to point out that a variety of alternatives is the answer.
One wouldn’t promote hydrogen powered cars in a drought stricken area for example.

States like California & Florida could have already changed over many things to alternate sources like wind & solar. All of the signal lights could be setup to use solar. Are they? I know some places are doing this. Government buildings could have solar as the main source of energy.
Our government(s) collect ALOT of tax money off our gas & electric bills.
How will they charge me the 42 cents per gallon when I am using my garden hose to fill up? Will I have to show mileage & my water bill?
Will there be a meter on my house measuring what I use once I install my solar panels?


Posted by: Dawn at February 5, 2008 8:54 PM
Comment #244713

Dawn,
There was a great article on just such an area in this month’s Scientific American Magazine. We could be completely weaned from foreign oil in around 20 years. It would cost us less in subsidies than we now pay in a year for foreign oil (spread out over the first 20 years) and after that the “fuel” would be free.

There’s more to it than that, of course, but I’m all for getting rid of the spectre of fossil fuels and the political burdens (Middle East, Russia, etc.) they fund.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 5, 2008 11:01 PM
Comment #244723

Dawn,

The quality of American life depends on stable, inexpensive, and readily available supplies of energy. Energy heats and cools our homes. It fuels our ambulances, fire trucks, ships, and airplanes. It powers the companies that create jobs and the agricultural economy that feeds our Nation and the world.

Wake up to today’s world: the quality of human life all around the world depends on that, not only American one. Do you really believe only American needs energy to heats and cools their homes, fuels their ambulances, fire trucks, ships or airplanes, powers their companies and agricultural industry to feed their people!?
Do you really think these kind of needs are limited to only a few “wealthy” nations worldwide!?

Hello?

The standard of living everywhere is quickly reaching the level of American ones, at least the 50’s one. The issue is that it will take 5 or more earth resources to sustain it, when we, human, only have one and only that one to do it.

The wealthier nations today can’t say to emergent ones they should go back poor states in order wealthy ones keeps their way of life unchanged, can they!? While I embrace any move from Americans to drop from their oil addiction, we must not fool ourself, the middle term issue is not oil alone but all non renewable *resources* .

The whole world must learn to live with far less of those. Technologically, sustainable alternatives are not available each time, or when there is, it will never be as cheap as the former resource used and wasted since forever.

The whole world not only must learn to live using less, but it has no other choice.

And that’s exactly why it will succeed. Painfully, but still.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 6, 2008 2:35 AM
Comment #244726

Phillipe,

I think you are mistaken in some of your assumptions. You underestimate the ingenuity of the human race. We will survive this latest round of disaster predictions just as we have survived the ones in the past. It will take some changes in our thinking, and we will have to wake up to the fact that we are all in this together, but it is possible to survive and survive well.

The wonderful thing about humans is our ability to rise to the occasion. Remember the Carter years with his gloom and doom attitude. We are still here and our ability to to innovate and invent and solve problems has not gone away. Yes, we will have to make some changes, but we can do that.

The one question that needs to be ansered is: can we put aside our differences and work together? Me, I’m an optimist. I believe we can.

Posted by: Old Grouch at February 6, 2008 7:02 AM
Comment #244728

Phillipe,

That was a quote from the DOI.
Though the DOI may need to remind us that these improvements will not only help us … they will help people around the world.
Other nations need to take responsibility and do their part aswell. Even if it means saying no to a company that will provide jobs unless they meet strict pollution standards. Countries like ours should not re-import products made by American companies that do not meet any standards they would need to meet if they were here. (Including labor laws.)
France is one that is ahead of the curve with nuclear power BUT just try to build a nuclear power plant in the U.S.of A.!! Good Luck. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning.

Posted by: Dawn at February 6, 2008 7:48 AM
Comment #244730

Dawn,

Good reply. And, good thinking about the jobs matter. One of the problems we have in this country, and most of the western nations, is our well developed propensity to look only at the short term and not the long. Individuals have the idea that “what I want is mine by right and I want it now. No matter if I have to go in debt up to my eyeballs for the rest of my life, I want it now!” Companies, prodded by impatient stockholders, concenttate only on the next quarter’s profit, no matter what it takes. Layoffs, moving jobs to a cheaper labor market with fewer environmental laws or worker protections, so long as it gets me an extra nickel per item, to hell with everything else. One of the best illustrations of this is everyone’s favorite target, Wal-Mart. When Sam Walton was alive and running the company, it used to be a source of pride to post the number of American jobs that their suppliers provided. There used to be posters all over the stores touting their support of domestic jobs. After his death and the kids took over, that all changed. Now, you wou be hardpressed to find anything with the tag “made in the USA’. Why? Short term profits. Stupid.

Also stupid is our NIMBY philosophy regarding alternative energy. Prime example: the Kennedy family. Off the coast of Massachussets is a perfect location for wind farms. However, the effort has been blocked by the Kennedys and others because it will disturb their view of the ocean. Stupid. Until we wake up to the fact that oil is not a renewable resource and make an all out effort to develop several diferent kinds of alternative energy sources, wind, solar, nuclear, bio products, and some we haven’t even thought of yet, we will be at the mercy of the oil producing nations and the market driven by short term greed. Some experts say that the price of oil right now is driven by speculators and not markets forces. The last estimate I saw was that 15-30 dollars a barrel is reaction to speculation. Stupid!

Will we wake up in time? I hope so. I’m 67 years old, so it may not have a great effect on me. But, my children and grandchildren are going to have to live, or die, with the decisions we make in the next ten years.

Posted by: Old Grouch at February 6, 2008 9:27 AM
Comment #244734

Old Grouch,

I’ve no doubt we will survive, as a whole. But being optimist doesn’t forbid anyone to see that for most people changing their life behavior will need them to make extra effort, at first at least, and as with every change, the first steps are the hardest ones.

Dawn,

Sorry, I though it was your claim, which I found a little bit too US centric.
Anyway, I agree that goodies environment standards is one solution, but you needs consumers to play their role here, a play they often reduce to price tag checking, in particular during economic slowdown.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 6, 2008 10:40 AM
Comment #244741

It is getting increasingly difficult to ignore the environment. Perhaps even dangerous if the consequences are irreversible for a very long time?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2008 11:50 AM
Comment #244744

I don’t believe that anything we do is gonna destroy the world or us. But we sure can do some serious damage to it and make it harder to live in. That’s why we need to be better stewards of our environment. And why we need to be developing alternative forms of energy.
I’m not convinced that corn is going to be the major source for ethanol. Right now it’s the easiest source but there are a whole heap of other sources out there. We need to be developing these sources also. That way we can be independent of foreign corn as well as oil. And be able to afford to eat.
I think that in the future we’ll be seeing a whole heap more folks producing their own electricity with wind generators, solar generators (also good for heating), or if they have a water supply hydro generators.
We’ve just replaced our old solar water heater with a new more efficient one. And is there ever a difference. The old one was installed in 1991 and I wasn’t all that happy with it. We were thinking of just ripping it out and using an electric heater but my daughter and son-in-law convinced us to try one like they just installed. They have enough hot water for them and their 5 youngins to shower one right after another and still not run out.
This one not only gives more hot water but it’s smaller than the old one. We can use it to heat the house if we want (and might) but we’d have to add a few panels. We could’ve heated the house with the old system but with it’s size we’d have run completely out of roof space and still not have enough panels. A back up water heater is still a very good idea though.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 6, 2008 1:36 PM
Comment #244746

Everytime this discussion comes up I link John McCarthy’s page on Human Progress and Sustainability. You don’t have to agree with his “extreme optimism” to take advantage of his research.

Posted by: George in SC at February 6, 2008 2:31 PM
Comment #244751

Old Grouch,

I am a Walmart hater from way back! I was beginning to think I was the only one who remembered their ‘Made in the USA’ campaign.

I do have to brag tho —- even though I have to admit I went there last night. (One thing for my kids that no one else sells in our town.)

I purchased 14 items.
ELEVEN of which were MADE IN THE USA!
One made in China.
Two - the food item I went there for - had no point of origin.

I didn’t realize that cookware is made here anymore. I didn’t pay much more for the two pans BUT they were hard to find because they were surrounded by an aisle full of foreign made items.

Was patting myself on the back all the way out of the store!!! LOL

Posted by: Dawn at February 6, 2008 4:09 PM
Comment #244753

Dawn
Congrats!! Yes, it is still possible to find “made in USA” products at Wal-Mart, but you really have to look for them. Maybe, if Wal-Mart shoppers would look for, and buy, domestically produced products, they might get the idea and stock more. But, I’m still watching for the flying pigs.

Posted by: Old Grouch at February 6, 2008 4:51 PM
Comment #244774

Old Grouch
If Sam Walton could see the way his heirs are running his company he’d come back and give the whole heap of them a swift kick in the butt.
I have a sister in NW Arkansas. She worked for Wal-Mart back while Sam Walton was running it. She left about two years after he died because of his kids. They started mistreating employees, refused to keep pay up with the cost of living, and buying cheap foreign made products. And pretty much told everyone that didn’t like the way they were doing things they could hit the door, they could always find cheaper help.

Dawn
The very few quality made in the US products that ya can find in Wal-Mart doesn’t make it worth the stop for us.
I don’t know if ya have a son or not. But if ya do ya know that an active boy can tear up a $50 pair of jeans just as fast as he can a $20 pair. This is why a whole heap of folks go to Wal-Mart. But then there’s a place in Valdosta where we can get better quality clothes for the youngins at about the same price we’d pay at Wal-Mart. Don’t really know how the folks stay in business.

BTW, Girls can also tear up a $50 pair of jeans just as fast as they can a $20 pair. Specially a couple of the one’s I raised.

Old Grouch
But, I’m still watching for the flying pigs.

Saw one just the other day. One of the neighbors pigs got out on the road and a truck knocked it about 60 feet through the air and it landed right in front of me.
Anyone know where I can get a new bumper for a 96 F350 real cheap? :)

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 7, 2008 12:32 AM
Comment #244783

Ron Brown,

I think that in the future we’ll be seeing a whole heap more folks producing their own electricity with wind generators, solar generators (also good for heating), or if they have a water supply hydro generators.

Agreed. I agree because that what I already watch happening around me. And soon I’ll do it myself, as I’m buying my first house.

Among the cheapest green devices, the solar water heater has become a very effective one these days. If each house owner were to install one on their roof, the national energy needs drop won’t be invisible, for instance.

I’m also considering wind generator. My future house’s backyard is huge (we’ve horses), part of is well exposed to winds, it will make sense.
I’ll have to build a batteries network though, as french government now forbid private people to sell their wind generated electricity back to the power grid provider (twice the usual price), which is stupid as each people must now have their own batteries for storage, while power grid providers always looks for extra electricity instant source to level nukes under and overrun issues.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 7, 2008 9:55 AM
Comment #244791

Philippe
From what I’ve read wind generators require category 2 winds to work efficiently. We only have category 1 winds for the most part around here so wind generators aren’t the best choice for us. But solar generators would work pretty good. I have 2 springs on my place and both have enough flow to operate turbo generators. We installed one at the spring closest to the house.
While the turbo generator will produce enough electricity to run an all electric house we have a solar water heater. We’re considering expanding it to help heat the house.
Here in the US the power companies have to buy our surplus electricity. And they’re happy to get it. The more they can get from folks produce their own the less they have to invest in power plants. Maybe someday France will allow this. It just might help the environment.

BTW, congratulation on your new house.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 7, 2008 12:28 PM
Comment #244811

This is a sincerely written article. But I disagree with it. Prices for energy and for food do not need to come down. If anything, they should continue to rise. Energy and food are commodities that have long been undervalued and wasted in the US. Higher prices stimulate conservation and better use of resources. Gasoline has been underpriced in the U.S. for decades. It is a very valuable, nonrenewable resource. The oil exporting nations - even though they are often hostile to us - deserve a fair price for their resources.

I also want to point out that technology is not going to solve most of these problems. For many years technology has just brought on more consumption, more people, and increased the problems we have. Some people use the term “technocratic” to describe the idea that technology will solve future problems. China and India have long been run by technocrats. They are the two largest counrties in the world. They can’t control their growth rates, most of their people live in extreme poverty, and their environments are polluted. Technology has only increased their populations and their problems.

Posted by: Lyn at February 7, 2008 3:38 PM
Comment #245027

Lyn,
Technology has done a huge amount for us already. In spite of the fact that our cars are using much more fuel than we used in the year 2000 the total energy consumption in the U.S. has declined by more than 7%! That, by the way, is more than the reduction in energy use in the nations bound by the Kyoto Protocols. I think it’s more than any one of those nations, as well.

Furthermore, the economics of price is reflective of a number of things, one of which is the consumer’s distance in the supply chain from the producer, and another is the sheer number of people involved in production and supply. These may sound like two expressions of the same thing but, because of the nature of commodity markets, they are not. Our distance from foreign sources of fuel supply means that we buy fuel in an international market in which the dollar has recently declined in value. Our participation, and dependence on that market means even the oil we produce at home is priced according to its value as an international commodity.

The second point has more to do with why we wind up paying those prices. So far, it takes more people to produce the energy equivalent of a barrel of oil in other products like solar and wind energy than it takes to produce that barrel of oil even at our reduced-dollar-value high prices. If we want to circumvent that economic equation we simply must make a conscious decision to say the market is not serving us well as it is.

If you want to operate a submarine underwater for a long time it is economically much cheaper to use a snorkel to get the air than it is to use CO2 scrubbers and electrolysis. For survival’s sake, though, the point of a submarine is to be undiscovered under water. A snorkel would reveal its position. Our navy, therefore, uses the more expensive process a purely market-driven solution would forbid.

If the point of the world is survival and more expensive technologies will do a better job of providing survival a purely market-driven approach is likely not the best way to go.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 10, 2008 6:39 PM
Comment #247411

Dawn, have you not heard of conservation. Put on a sweater in the winter; use CFLs. Cheap free energy is not so available as you might think. Let the price of energy go up or even tax it. Then you’ll some of your suggestions take root. And yes some might lose their ocean views (Sorry, Teddy) for the greater good.

Posted by: Dr. Tom at March 8, 2008 9:29 PM
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