Third Party & Independents Archives

Sarah Palin and Towing the Line

Sarah Palin seems more and more like Jason Voorhees every day. She rears her head, attacks something without any direction or obvious reasoning, and then disappears. You look at your friends and say “I think we’re in the clear.” You timidly step out of hiding and she’s right behind you.

Well apparently Palin was worried that everyone had forgotten about her, so she started opening her mouth again. This time, as always, she's blaming Barack Obama for the downfall of America. Todays issue: Oil Prices. And, like any real Maverick, she put it all out there on a ranting Facebook post.

In the post, she outlined what she sees as the "evidence" for Obamas culpability for high gas prices. Everything in the post is so blatantly false, ridiculous, and misleading it makes me wonder if the ghost of George Carlin possessed her staff writer to write one last satire on American politics from the grave. Apparently, the same people that regard Obama as a blatant fool and idiot simultaneously think he's the puppet master of global commodities markets. Point for point:

Exhibit A: Obamas "moratorium" on drilling has forced a poor oil company out of business, "hobbled" the economy of a region, and no less than 7 rigs have moved out of the gulf area because of Obamas policies. She even goes on to state that it's "no wonder" that oil production in the Gulf alone is expected to fall by 240,000 bbl/d. That's roughly 87,600,000 bbl/yr in case you were wondering.

The Facts: The largest oil spill in the history of the United States is what has "hobbled" the economy of the gulf. National stigma supplied by CNN and images of pelicans covered in oil and beaches awash with industrial chemicals has had a significant impact on tourism. The effects on fish communities have not only hampered the yield of some of the most historically successful commercial fisheries in the United States, but have also significantly impacted the 3 billion dollar a year sport fishing industry that exists in Louisiana alone. On the Gulf coast, the economy is built largely on fishing and tourism: two things that aren't exactly helped by a catastrophic industrial disaster. Also, the website she cites as the source of her "240,000 bbl/d" estimate also stated an overall loss in production of 110,000 bbl/d in 2011 for the entire US. Given that oil production in the US (especially in the Gulf) has been declining steadily since the late 70's, this is less of a revelation and more par for the course. It's called peak oil. It's not a new concept, and she completely ignores it.

Exhibit B: Obamas budget. By eliminating various tax incentives to fossil fuel companies, Obama is encouraging them to not go through with exploratory projects that could save us money in the short term.

The Facts: Well, she's got me and she doesn't. To be honest, will these tax incentives have an impact on these exploratory projects? Yes of course. There are, however, other things to consider. Moving these incentives to support renewable energy options for the future is the major one. This might make energy more expensive in the short term but much more affordable in the long. The truth is that sooner or later we will no longer be using fossil fuels to power our way of life. The question is: when it happens, do we want it to be a smooth transition on our terms, or an impending disaster we sort of just have to deal with? This is the difference between a rational long term goal and an emotional political statement. One seeks to progress our society, the other seeks to capitalize on the shortsightedness that plagues all of us when we have bills to pay and families to feed.

Exhibit C: His anti-drilling regulatory policies. She devolves into a rant about all this money that we'd get from drilling in northern Alaskan waters, etc etc. The same argument as ever.

The Facts: If they were to have started drilling operations in the northern Alaskan areas that Palin mentions in her post back when Bush was in office, we still wouldn't have seen any of that oil in terms of gas. It takes years from brainchild to gas pump for offshore oil to see usefulness and is no solution to our "current" problem . Mentioning this topic seems more like piggybacking a personal talking point onto the issue of high gas prices than presenting a solution. Palin also seems to not take into account the fact that the BLM is going to be issuing 2200 more gas/oil drilling permits in 2011 than it did in 2010 (from 5k to 7.2k). The term "anti-drilling" isn't exactly what I'd apply to an administration allowing more drilling this year than it did last year. But that's just me.

Nowhere in her post does she mention anything about the correlation between international events in countries we get a lot of our oil from and high gas prices. She does not mention that the rises in oil prices were based on market speculation and not so much on the real availability of oil. She also does not mention the fact that the price of oil has been steadily dropping and is now below $100/bbl.

The final leg of her post quotes Steven Chu when he stated in 2008 that it would be a good thing if US gas prices were to match those found in the UK. What she doesn't mention is the context he said it in. He was talking about the social effects the high gas prices have had in the UK, which have led to people walking more, using public transportation, and living closer to work. He was referring to a populace reigning in its rampant fuel usage and demanding better forms of energy from its government. If I were to take her post at face value, I'd be left with a total "understanding" that Chu meant this as a tax and that big goverment loves throwing money at foreign companies while squeezing the life out of you and me.

In my final estimation, when I see the higher prices at the pump, one word goes through my head: good. I'm glad it's getting higher and I hope someday soon we see ten dollars a gallon at the pump. Maybe this is the only thing that will get Americans to actually give a damn about renewable energy and they will finally demand better from their government. Palin is the modern political equivalent of a snake oil salesman. She is one of the many politicians out there that doesn't give a shit about you, and who only presents "solutions" to problems that are the "reason" we have these problems to begin with. Repackaging lack of innovation and laziness as a desire to "save John Q. Taxpayer from the evil hand of the gubmint" is not a new card to be played, but it's one I seriously hope to see called out more often. Do gas prices hurt the price of my food, my recreation, and everything else in my life too? Yes. Do I care? Yes. Do I think that sometimes you have to cut the root to make the tree survive? Yes. Of the many things that Obama can be legitimately called into fault on, the rise of crude is not one of them. His policies on energy have thus far shown a great amount of vision, their only fault being the really bad point in American economic history they happen to have been founded in. I don't blame Obama for high crude prices. I blame morons like Sarah Palin that fight tooth and nail every step of the way toward the real, perpetual energy independence of the United States.

Posted by Jared Skye at March 16, 2011 5:46 AM
Comment #320225

Let the price of gas double with much of the extra money going to corrupt and unfriendly middle east regimes and the country will shrug it off. Let the gas tax go up by one cent with the extra money going to employ construction workers to fix roads and bridges and all hell will break loose from conservative media. And people think the politicians are the problem.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 16, 2011 9:17 AM
Comment #320227

Palin’s one of the folks helping to lock us in to a fuel source that’s going to be obsolete before the end of the first half of this century. At best she thinks locking us into the status quo is the best way to keep us safe, economically. But were that true, we wouldn’t be feeling the oil shocks now. More Chinese folks and Indians are driving cars rather than riding bicycles, as I remember being common in my Childhood

Everybody’s trying to be like us, and we’re depending on a limited fuel source that the laws of economics tell us will only get more expensive as time goes on.

Now, if they’re smart, and they are, they’ll increasingly turn to alternatives. Of course, since our transnational corporations always look out for our interests, as the Republicans promised they would, they seem intent on locating all the important manufacturing and technology centers over there, rather than here, they’ll be making their own green technology, and we’ll be continuing our trade deficit by buying from them.

So, the real question is, why aren’t we the engine of this gravy train, rather than the caboose? I mean, I know globalization and everything, but do we have to be such weenies about protecting our own image? The increasing deference to the bottom line of our corporations hasn’t butched up our economy, hasn’t made it stronger, it’s made us absolute wimps about looking out for our best interests.

We need to man and woman up, and get going remaking our economy with some kind of ambition.

On a personal note, I haven’t seen you post or comment before, so welcome to Watchblog, Jared. Just one question, though:

How does one properly mount a Vulcan Cannon on a Hoverround?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2011 10:53 AM
Comment #320237

Jared writes; “…I hope someday soon we see ten dollars a gallon at the pump.”

And to think that some call Republicans and Conservatives heartless.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 3:05 PM
Comment #320238
Jared writes; “…I hope someday soon we see ten dollars a gallon at the pump.”

And to think that some call Republicans and Conservatives heartless.

And to think that some call Democrats and liberals opponents of the free market.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 16, 2011 3:25 PM
Comment #320239

At least Obama is moving ahead on alternative energy. His energy czar has announced that development of Obama’s eight new nuclear plants must not be halted or slowed down because of events in Japan.

Posted by: jlw at March 16, 2011 3:29 PM
Comment #320241

The Republican’s new House budget cut funds for the West Coast tsunami warning system and the NOAA. Nice.

That energy czar, Chu, needs to be canned immediately.

Ah, but given enough time… The Gulf Oil spill drove the “Drill, baby, drill” crowd under a rock. Now, they’re slowly crawling out of hiding. How long before the industry proponents of nuclear power re-assert themselves? Americans need to stop the licensing of nuclear power plants NOW, before they forget.

Interesting. A bunch of people at a store this morning were talking about buying iodine pills (I’m in Oregon). It seems no one trusts the government to tell the truth.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2011 3:53 PM
Comment #320242

@Schwamp: I think politicians are the problem in the same way that sugary foods cause diabetes. The way we’re raised in the US to simply consume the garbage they put out instead of thinking if it’s the smart thing to do. They have a nice packaging and can word simple information in such a way as to heavily distort the truth to regular Americans. In the end though, it’s our fault for letting them do it. I refer to Palin as just another cog in that machine, but there are many others in politics and the media. All the 24 hour news networks, etc. The way I see it, the average American spends their time working, feeding their families, and trying to enjoy life as they can. They don’t have a staff of researchers pouring over government documents to find easily skewed talking points. Politicians take advantage of the media, media takes advantage of us, but in the end we’re the ones that allow them to do it. Also I lived in Alaska when Palin was Governor. I met her. She is super hot in person but man she’s dumber than a bag of hammers.

@Stephen: thanks for the kind words and the interesting comment. One thing I always like to think of is comparing the auto industry with the computer industry. The computer industry has, in fifty years, taken the computer from something that needed to be housed in a warehouse and that only the wealthiest nations could afford, to something that fits in your lap with thousands of times the computational power that almost anyone can afford. The auto industry has been using the gasoline engine since 1888. There have been advances in that engine, true, but the input remains the same. On one hand you have a heavily consumer driven industry: computers. It advances heavily and like clockwork, becoming better and cheaper. On the other hand you have an industry that has capitalized off of consumer ignorance of the finite nature of the inputs for its product. When people say we shouldn’t impose fuel standards on these companies (big gubmint, etc), I think to myself “should we start ripping seat belts out of cars too?”. Those wouldn’t be there if the auto industry hadn’t been forced to put them in either. And I don’t know exactly how a person mounts a gattling gun on a jazzy, I’m just glad they did.

@Royal Flush: I’ve never called Republican Conservatives heartless. I call them idiots but not heartless. Your post seems to indicate that you think that I am not also negatively impacted by high gas prices. Like I am a millionaire who gets special pricing at the grocery store or something. I’m married and have two sons. We feel the pinch, trust me. What we do though, is hunt, fish, and buy into growers coops. These are things that everyone should do. We do it because we don’t think there’s any reason why things beyond our control should force us to go without good food. My point with high gas prices is that Americans are lazy. With every person I know who complains about the high prices of food, maybe one percent of them goes out and gets their own food. Americans would rather starve and whine about it than go out and hunt something for themselves. The reason I’m happy about the gas prices is because it seems like the only way you can get Americans to do anything positive in this day and age is by hitting their pocket book. So yeah I’m glad. Not because I like “suffering” but because people need to wake the hell up.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 16, 2011 3:54 PM
Comment #320244

Jared, the reason you can find something to hunt is because there aren’t 300 million Americans out there competing with you. If there were, we would be down to possums, skunks, and rats in no time at all.

Technology and yes, oil have allowed the human race to expand far beyond the earths ability to support the population without them. Sure we whine, because there is nothing that we can do. We are trapped, enslaved by our technology and the corporations that supply our needs. We may whine about the costs, but we love the convenience, and I can think of nothing we would trade for that convenience.

That energy czar, Chu, needs to be canned immediately.”

Why? Obama would replace him with another nuclear czar.

The decision has been made. we are going nuclear.

Exxon is going nuclear.
BP is going nuclear.
T. Boone Pickens is going nuclear.
The Republican party is going nuclear. The Republicans who hated the French just a few years ago are now in love with French nuclear power. Well, I guess they still hate the French.

The Democratic party wants to go nuclear. Perhaps not their constituents, but how much does the party follow the wishes of it’s constituency these days? They listen, THEY GIVE GOOD RHETORIC, but they primarily do the bidding of the money.

This country is going nuclear and nothing but the people can stop it. Will they?

Haven’t you heard? Those Japanese plants were flawed designs.

Yes, the people are buying iodine pills, the government is increasing it’s radiation detectors on the west coast and a Republican congressman is demanding that iodine tablets be given to residents within twenty miles of a nuclear plant rather than the current ten mile radius.

That did not deter Obama and his energy czar. The eight plants proposed by Obama is the tip of a huge iceberg. The bill authorizing 200 plants in lying in the Congress.

No doubt this is a major setback. When this dies down in a couple of years, the message that Americans are going to be bombarded with will be, no alternative energy sources other than nuclear can fulfill our future energy needs. The future of our nation and our way of life is dependent on nuclear energy. The price at the pump will be an asset for their cause.

There will be no major energy plan coming out of Congress for at least the next two years. In the mean time, I expect Obama to begin to drill baby drill.

Posted by: jlw at March 16, 2011 5:35 PM
Comment #320246

Jlw: in the end I don’t really have a whole lot of hope for us getting through this at the level we’re at. Two things, though. One, you do understand that the flawed designs in the Japanese reactors are shared by 23 reactors in the US correct? Number two: your hunting estimate is way off. I don’t just talk about “hunting” in that post. There are a number of small ranches all over the country that have feed plans with local growers. This helps them keep their costs down. We hunt yes, but we also get meat from a local ranch whose prices are actually not bad and I’m anticipating will be better than the supermarket price soon with transportation costs rising. Also, with the advances in rooftop and square-foot gardening techniques utilized easily even in compact city environments that most people live in (also with the rise in community gardens growing in most large cities), the option is there to at least shoulder some of your own food work. Do I present it as a “solution” to getting off of these businesses? No, not at all. But there’s no reason to rely completely on them. The point I’m making is that with a little work you can actually purchase less food than you do now, saving money for when prices skyrocket. These are not fantasies. They are real things that I and a lot of people I know do. It takes more work to get food but that’s the point I’m making. It’s cost effective and plausible to get at least some of your food this way, but it takes work. People don’t want to work for their food. We’re not trapped or enslaved by our technology. We’re just made lazy and ignorant in the blunt reliance on it. In the end it’s our fault for not demanding better of our government or ourselves as long as American Idol and Dancing with the Stars keeps going.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 16, 2011 6:09 PM
Comment #320247

Jared writes; “@Royal Flush: I’ve never called Republican Conservatives heartless. I call them idiots but not heartless. Your post seems to indicate that you think that I am not also negatively impacted by high gas prices.”

I would identify someone as an idiot who would hope for rising prices of a critical commodity to satisfy some magical belief that green energy is anywhere near ready as a substitute for oil, coal or natural gas.

I wonder if Jared has any idea of the nearly catastrophic affect that $10 per gallon gasoline would have on our nation.

Also, one need not be a brain trust to understand that 300+ million Americans can not satisfy their food requirements by hunting, or planting gardens.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 6:28 PM
Comment #320249

The Republican House bill three weeks ago stripped subsidies for wind and solar, and kept them for the nuclear industry.

How long does everyone think it will take oil to hit $10/gallon?

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2011 6:43 PM
Comment #320250

The metaphor is TOE the line. It comes from having to line up and refers to someone who follows very precisely the rules. What you write about Sarah Palin doesn’t follow this. In fact, your story shows Sarah not toeing the line.

If you want to use “tow the line” as a joke it is okay. But it is still necessary to use it in some kind of consistent manner. It is usually better to avoid ostensibly erudite turns of phrase unless you are indeed erudite.

Commenting on the substance of what you tried to say, I don’t blame Obama for higher gas prices, just as no intelligent person blamed Bush last time they were up.

It is just as moronic, BTW, to blame Sarah Palin for higher prices as it is to blame Obama or was to blame Bush. It shows a real failure of imagination.

And why is it that our liberal buddies cannot use a spell check to avoid using words like “gubmint”? Attempts to use southern or minority dialects in writing rarely work.

Posted by: C&J at March 16, 2011 6:50 PM
Comment #320251

How long does everyone think it will take oil to hit $10/gallon?

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2011

I’m not in the prediction game. World events move the price of oil. It’s called…supply and demand…with greed thrown in for good measure.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 6:52 PM
Comment #320252

Correction. I’m not in the prediction game. World events move the price of oil. It’s called…supply and demand…with greed, fear, and government folly thrown in for good measure.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 6:55 PM
Comment #320253

:( I wrote a long, well thought-provoking comment for comment #1, but before I could click ‘post,’ I lost all of my data b/c my stupid computer ‘shut off’ on me! Arhhgg!

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at March 16, 2011 7:01 PM
Comment #320254

C’mon royal…….it’s not IF gas hits $10, it’s WHEN. If you think differently, you are in for a bad shock, and soon. This will force us to deal with what we refuse to: obtaining energy where we can, in whatever increments. At $10 per gallon for gas, how attractive does solar hot water look? And maybe a nice wind farm…….? The handwriting is on the wall for this one.

Posted by: steve miller at March 16, 2011 7:06 PM
Comment #320255

LOL…blame the computer.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 7:06 PM
Comment #320256

Good grief Steve…at that price even the libs will be yelling…Drill Baby, Drill. How ignorant must anyone be to believe green energy could replace fossil fuel anytime in the next two decades?

Even the mentally disordered can understand that our nation, with plentiful untapped fossil fuel will not leave it in the ground and transfer huge amounts of our wealth to oil producing countries with the smarts to capitalize on our stupidity.

Old Joke. If brains were gunpowder, some would not have enough to blow their nose.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 7:15 PM
Comment #320258

I’ll put it out there: $10 oil by 2017 as a virtual certainty, in today’s dollars.

The US hit peak oil production somewhere between 1965 and 1970. The Saudis and Kuwaitis are estimated to hit peak production between 2012 and 2015. If the US increases taxes in 2012 the way it did in 1993, it will begin real and substantial growth by 2015 (at the earliest, given the hangover from real estate). So, it could happen as early as 2015, and as a lock by 2017.

Peak oil doesn’t mean oil production no longer occurs. It means the oil left is harder and harder to find and drill.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2011 7:29 PM
Comment #320259

phx8 apparently believes that only oil constitutes fossil fuel. So sad. His peak oil estimates are unproven here and in the rest of the world. I suggest he doesn’t try to earn a living in sales. Who would believe him?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 7:36 PM
Comment #320260

“Jared writes; “…I hope someday soon we see ten dollars a gallon at the pump.”
And to think that some call Republicans and Conservatives heartless.

And to think that some call Democrats and liberals opponents of the free market.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 16, 2011 03:25 PM”

The way things are going, I predict $10 a gallon within 2 years, and at that point we won’t have to worry about a free market.

Posted by: The CPA at March 16, 2011 7:41 PM
Comment #320261

CPA, the way things are going we will be bankrupt in two years and we will resort to bartering…LOL

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 7:47 PM
Comment #320264

Royal Flush,
Peak Oil is a matter of history in the US. It was originally predicted in 1956, and did in fact occur in the late 1960’s. Don’t confuse extraction with depletion. They are not the same.

You’re suggestion about avoiding sales is slightly off the mark. I was in sales for 10 years, one of the top people in the country in my field.

Here is a link on Peak Oil.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2011 8:07 PM
Comment #320265

From the article phx8 linked to…

“Optimistic estimations of peak production forecast the global decline will begin by 2020 or later, and assume major investments in alternatives will occur before a crisis, without requiring major changes in the lifestyle of heavily oil-consuming nations. These models show the price of oil at first escalating and then retreating as other types of fuel and energy sources are used.[3] Pessimistic predictions of future oil production operate on the thesis that either the peak has already occurred,[4][5][6][7] that oil production is on the cusp of the peak, or that it will occur shortly.[8][9] The International Energy Agency (IEA) says production of conventional crude oil peaked in 2006.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 16, 2011 8:16 PM
Comment #320267

Yes, the optimistic forecast suggests 2020. However, major investments in some of the alternatives such as wind and solar are being opposed by the House GOP, while other major investments such as nuclear are being promoted, but now seem less likely, due to catastrophic risk.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2011 8:35 PM
Comment #320268

Royal: I love it when you post because all you do is keep proving the overall thesis of my post. You read just far enough into my posts until you find something you disagree with or think you can argue about, then completely disregard any other qualifying information from the post. If you were actually reading my posts you will see that I EXPLICITLY stated that hunting and growing some of your own food is by no means any solitary answer to anything but rather a way to save money during food crises. Also, you seem to ignore the fact that I state that I do understand the horrible effects of 10/gal, and that’s the specific reason I’m hoping that it hits that level. Only then will people start demanding better. It’s sad but true. Those are just two examples. But thank you for proving my point.

And I won’t call myself an expert or anything, but I’ll look for 10/gallon in five years. It might get there after five years, but I don’t see it happening before five years.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 16, 2011 8:40 PM
Comment #320269

Also, C&J thank you for correcting my incorrect spelling, etc. I do, however, stand by my rational that she is “TOE”ing the line. She’s pushing the same rhetoric that we’ve been following for years. The same energy rhetoric that has gotten us into this mess to begin with. I did not “blame” Sarah Palin, as you can plainly see in the text of my article, for anything. I blamed people like her. People with her mentality. Please try to keep up.

Finally, you’re right: the use of the word “gubmint” was a poor attempt at humor. You see, it’s been a while since I have interacted regularly on an internet based forum. As such, I seem to have forgotten how seriously people take themselves when they’re typing on a keypad to strangers they’ve never met. I forgive you for your feelings of inadequacy, so it’s ok. Let’s move on.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 16, 2011 8:49 PM
Comment #320270

Jared, people can, especially people living outside of major cities, contribute more to their own food sources, but buying locally produced goods are usually more expensive because of the competitive nature of the corporate agricultural business. Feed lots and farms on tops of skyscrapers are not going to feed the masses in the cities.

If we were to wake up tomorrow to find that electricity did not work anymore or that the oil had just disappeared, the people in those cities would be like locusts swarming across the countryside till they died off.

The dependence on technology is such that if the system were to collapse, for whatever reason, for any extended period of time (days,weeks) there would be a mass extinction event involving humans. Imagine a place like Haiti without international aid.

A totally electric economy is where civilization is headed, I can see no other options for the long run. A totally electric society could be vulnerable to such an event unless we take expensive measures to insure it doesn’t happen.

Phx8, I think your estimate is a little to optimistic. I would say between $8.499 and $9.499 by 2017.

It seems pretty obvious that having wasted three decades doing virtually nothing to meet the coming events and that the human dependence on and demand for oil will continue to increase, abated little by alternative sources between now and 2017, the only think that can possibly hold the price down is the Carter conservation method.

Right now we have the option of increasing or decreasing the supply. When we no longer have that option the price has no place to go but up.

When they can’t get it out of the ground as fast as we can burn it up, that is when the oil moguls and their corporations will achieve nirvana.

That is when Exxon and Bp will start selling nuclear electricity and electric cars will be the craze. Perhaps electric trolley cars for the masses because it isn’t going to be cheap.

Posted by: jlw at March 16, 2011 9:24 PM
Comment #320272

jlw: A very good post. However what I will do is reiterate the fact that I never said anything about anything feeding the masses. Solely to offset food prices, not replace trips to the grocery store. What you’re right about is the costs associated with small independent growers. This isn’t because of the “competitiveness” of the agriculture business though. It’s more of an extension of the foul business practices of Monsanto and a handful of other corporate entities. What I disagree with though is the seeming passiveness with people when approaching this issue. Since no one thing will entirely fix our problems, none of them are worth pursuing. While it is a complex issue, there is a very simple aspect to it that we need to recognize. We are unwilling to go through any small amount or period of distress even if it’s going to end up being better for us in the long run. As far as electric cars are concerned, watch the movie “Who killed the electric car?”. It’s entertaining and informative. Also, bear in mind that even these electric cars require a lot of oil. The majority of components that go into these cars (plastics, tires, etc0 require oil inputs.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 16, 2011 9:45 PM
Comment #320274

Jared Skye-
I feel that before gas reaches ten dollars a gallon, people will be screaming for alternatives, and the market will encourage them just by basic necessity. The usual collection of idiots who decided they had to insist on running things will get called upon by their fellow morons to make the hurting stop.

But me? I believe a stitch in time saves nine. I think when it comes to energy conservation, we already have a headstart because of what Obama did when he made the deals with the automakers. Republicans resent it, but they resent it because it’s presented as a threat to their freedom.

Me? I bought a 2010 Honda Insight recently. Why?

My family once had a station wagon. When we changed over to a Ford Focus that got 30 MPG, I was amazed at how far we got on a cross country trip. My family then, later, bought an SUV. When the bad time hit, I was reminded of what a burden that kind of mileage was.

So, I think in real terms, high mileage is real freedom. Energy efficiency, definitionally the ability to do work amplified, is what will really move our economy in the long run.

I’m not a big believer in movements that only follow the path of least resistance, that only come at a point of crisis. I think people are fully capable of acting at other times, it’s just at a time of crisis, you stop caring whether somebody else will also speak out, and you stop worrying that your voice means nothing.

I say, come to that conclusion before events force you to get past your fear. That way you can start doing some good now, as an individual, rather than wait until things have gotten worse later.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2011 10:15 PM
Comment #320275

Royal: We don’t have to replace oil, just put a rather large dent in demand by reducing the amount of oil we consume and augmenting w/solar and other alternatives. I’ve said before that the market will ease when the world starts to seriously develop alternative energy. But I’m certain it won’t happen ‘til AFTER prices skyrocket and much misery occurs as a result.

The point is……..stop with the black-and-white thinking! It’s not all oil OR all alternative energy. We must start sometime; why not before we choke and die on the huge bill we are handed to pay for the oil we need?

Posted by: steve miller at March 16, 2011 10:21 PM
Comment #320276

Stephen: I agree. Like I wrote in my original posting, it’s not a question whether we’re going to be shifting to renewable energy in the future. It’s inevitable. It’s really a question of whether we want that shift to be on our terms, or if we want to just have to scramble to change things once we don’t have a choice. When it comes to gas, we barely ever use our car. My wife walks or takes the bus to work, I do the same, we really only use the car to get groceries and go on trips on the weekends. The crazy thing to me is that when it comes to individual usage, people seem to just sort of abandon their responsibility for their own usage. Like they don’t have choices. There are certain realities to our infrastructure that necessitate unavoidable costs (food, etc). However most people just get mad at not being able to do things the same way now as they did when they were younger. Instead of directing that anger at pushing “better” options, they get mad and start yelling at politicians for spending money on innovation instead of sitting back in the stone age of energy infrastructures like the world isn’t moving forward.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 16, 2011 10:45 PM
Comment #320279

“This time, as always, she’s blaming Barack Obama for the downfall of America. Todays issue: Oil Prices. And, like any real Maverick, she put it all out there on a ranting Facebook post.”

The gas prices are kind of out of Obama’s hands. The rising gas prices are due to all of the uprisings in gas producing countries, as well as all of the natural disasters that seem to be occurring everywhere. It is wrong of her to blame him when there is only so much he can do about it.

Posted by: Bob Terrell at March 16, 2011 11:19 PM
Comment #320280

If oil prices instantaneously jumped up, and resulted in $10 at the gas pump, then yes, people would be screaming. However, it’s more likely the climb will be like we’ve seen over the past years: a spike, consolidation at a higher low, then another spike, and so on. The 2006 spike towards $4/gallon at the pump sent the economy over the edge. Now, we notice prices at $3.50 or $4, but barely react. We’re used to it. And once we’re used to it, we proceed about our business without making significant changes. Followers of Palin and others want to simply keep doing what we were doing, only more of it. This has been the pattern for literally decades. It’s not a viable, sustainable option.

So yes, the original comment about it taking $10/gallon was heartless in one sense, yet totally sensible in another. It will take a shock on the scale of the ones in the 70’s to force the issue.

It could be taken as an indictment of the market, or human behavior, or our collective capacity for folly.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2011 11:36 PM
Comment #320284

Jared Skye-
I do a lot of reading on cognitive issues, and the way I’d put it is that people tend to have just so much attention they want to be devoting to things at a given time. They don’t want to think about everything consciously. Or, to put it another way, conscious decision-making circuits in the brain are low bandwidth, but in many situations have a ton of information being forced into them.

That’s part of why people make many decisions on an emotional level- the subconscious has much greater bandwidth.

Not necessarily, though, better judgment. Marketing and politics involves a whole bag of tricks meant to get you to lower your guard, consume, and agree. Mastering those kinds of emotional arguments is as important as mastering the logical kind.

Anyway, people feel their way through a lot of issues, so the question’s going to be, how do we get people to feel that they ought to upgrade their green technology and vehicles

That’s why I bring up the trip with that new compact car. it really sold me on the notion of being able to go long distances without filling up the tank every other gas station.

I don’t think we have to wait for ten dollar gasoline for the tensions to rise enough to make people persuadable. Now’s the time to talk about it, to make the point, which has the advantage of being true, that our economic future depends on getting reliable alternative energy economically.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2011 1:05 AM
Comment #320287

87,600,000 bbl/y? My God, I didn’t think Obama was costing us that much oil. That’s a 4 day supply. What’s wrong with this guy.

Jared, I know, corporate welfare, the U.S.D.A., Monsanto, etc. Been talking about it for years.

Jimmy Carter asked us to sacrifice. We tossed doom and gloom and elected the ‘Great One’, Mr. don’t worry, be happy, go shopping.

Rottensus spoileidea, the scientific name for an American.

Posted by: jlw at March 17, 2011 1:31 AM
Comment #320288

‘I don’t think we have to wait for ten dollar gasoline for tensions to rise enough to make people persuadable.”

I don’t either.

Those who favor more nuclear energy 44% those opposed 47%.

Posted by: jlw at March 17, 2011 1:35 AM
Comment #320292

I really doubt the possibility of persuading people to demand better energy choices until they really start to feel it in their pocket books. But that’s just me. I work as an Ecologist and Research Biologist and have seen first hand that no animal consciously conserves its resources by default. Wolves will kill entire herds of caribou, etc. I really don’t think we’re any different. We regard resource conservation and the possibility of “depleting” a resource (at least as it relates to economic viability) in a cosmetic way but we rarely implement that understanding into our policies or way of life. Some people do. They are few and far in between. Like Stephen said, there are many people and groups working to influence the decisions of the average American. As I stated in a previous post, and Stephen reiterated, the average person does not have the time or will to wade through messes of documents and statistics after putting in a hard day of work and spending time with their families. These political and corporate entities have entire staffs dedicated to finding this information to be skewed by their talking points. In the end, I do believe it’ll take ridiculously high gas prices crippling us for a bit for people to start this push. I hope I’m wrong, I hope it comes much sooner, but I’m not holding my breath for it. And as far as Nuclear Energy is concerned, I think there are better options. People should work harder at getting off their grid as much as possible. In truth, energy companies will most likely want to champion nuclear energy not because it’s “cheap” but because it allows them to maintain control. The average homeowner (or anyone not renting in a huge apartment complex) can either build the components they need to achieve energy independence or have them installed TODAY. Initial costs are the most prohibitive aspect of it. If you have access to a year round stream with appropriate flow, you can build a generator for 2 grand that will generate more power than the average American uses. If you don’t want to build it, there are numerous companies that create these things. If not hydro, then a mixture of wind and solar can at least take a large fraction of your energy bill. You can’t, however, put a nuclear reactor in your basement or in a shed behind your house. The technology doesn’t exist to extend solar/wind/etc across our massive national grid, and maybe it never will. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t do what they can though. Even if we did go Nuclear though, that wouldn’t help fuel costs if everyone is still driving gas burning autos.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 17, 2011 2:58 AM
Comment #320293

Steve Miller said: “The point is……..stop with the black-and-white thinking! It’s not all oil OR all alternative energy. We must start sometime; why not before we choke and die on the huge bill we are handed to pay for the oil we need?”

Well, that would take some common sense which appears to be in short supply.

Posted by: Rich at March 17, 2011 5:55 AM
Comment #320301

Jared wrote: “Also, you seem to ignore the fact that I state that I do understand the horrible effects of 10/gal, and that’s the specific reason I’m hoping that it hits that level. Only then will people start demanding better. It’s sad but true.”

Well, if you actually believe what you wrote, your comment is about as unfeeling and uncaring as I could possibly imagine. Hoping for horrible effects for our nations citizens borders on the edge of evil. It’s the old idiotic quip…”The ends justify the means.”

Jared wrote, about oil consumption; “We are unwilling to go through any small amount or period of distress even if it’s going to end up being better for us in the long run.”

If only he would apply the same pain to balancing our national budget.

For the benefit of those who believe I am only a fossil fuel and nuclear guy, let me once again state that I am for all forms of energy, existing as well as that being researched and in its infancy.

When our nation went from horsepower, to steam, to oil it was done gradually and without huge government intervention. Free market capitalism was responsible for all those changes and will be again for emerging new energy. Political decisions directing the investment of scarce resources is pure folly.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2011 12:29 PM
Comment #320302

Political decisions directing investment of resources played important roles in the development of energy and transportation. Two examples come to mind: railroads and interstate highways. Exploitation of mineral resources also provide examples: the politics surrounding the discovery of gold in CA, and oil in AK. Since WWII, The nuclear energy program was directed almost start to finish by the government, with ree market capitalism playing little role. In most of examples mentioned above, the government provided private companies with access to public resources, loans, and funding.

I think the advantage of free market capitalism in the development of energy and resources is in its efficiency. The actual direction taken usually comes from government.

Posted by: phx8 at March 17, 2011 1:23 PM
Comment #320303

Royal Flush-
It would only be responsible to cut spending in this situation if equivalent private money and private jobs would make up the difference.

700,000 to 2 million jobs is a lot to ask in that case, in this economy.

As for this?

When our nation went from horsepower, to steam, to oil it was done gradually and without huge government intervention.

So you’re saying the government never helped infrastructure along.

Well, one of the first acts of Congress under George Washington was to create a road through his country’s territories. Then in the 1860s, with a nation still reeling in debt from the Civil War, the Government helped create the intercontinental railroad. Later, state governments and then the Federal government created our highway system, which seems to be your Tea Partier’s main go-to alternative to rail and mass transit.

I don’t even have to do a google search to understand how wrong you are. I can just remember the facts off the top of my head.

I also recall a hell of a lot of subsidization of oil companies and car companies, a lot of government dealings with the railroads (including a great deal of eminent domain claims.)

So, rhapsodize about the free market, but do so with the knowledge that your argument is pretty counterfactual to actual events.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2011 1:46 PM
Comment #320304

So, rhapsodize about the free market, but do so with the knowledge that your argument is pretty counterfactual to actual events.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2011

The only way both Mr. Daugherty and phx8 can refute my statement about the progression from horsepower to steam to oil is to throw transportation into the mix. Railroads and highways are about transportation using the new energies created by free market capitalism. Would we have needed railroads without the steam engine or the interstate highway without oil?

Not surprisingly, both of these writers often use the same tactic. Unable to refute a position, they create a new position and then answer that one.

Can either of you point to the subsidy or government program that lead to the development and use of horsepower, steam or oil?

Nuclear energy was developed by government as a direct offshoot of developing our nuclear weapons. And, since nuclear energy carried such great risk, it was necessary for government to play a huge role in its development.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2011 2:21 PM
Comment #320305

Additional comment about nuclear energy. Without steam technology using the heat from the nuclear reaction there would be no energy production.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2011 2:38 PM
Comment #320306

Correction…”no useful energy production.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2011 2:41 PM
Comment #320307

Horsepower came to the US when European governments funded missions of exploration and conquest. The governments, such as Spain, provided the horses. Beyond that, I’m not really sure where to go with that, one way or another.

Native American cultures developed horsepower in ways different from the East Coast of America, and gave American cavalries quite a shock when tribes such as the Comanches fought while still mounted. Even as late as Custer, the American cavalryment dismounted before fighting. I’m not sure where that falls in terms of a free market v tribal government.

Steam would be a better example of a free market developing technology with little government intervention. Aside from providing transportation systems, government provided regulatory oversight in the form of Patent Offices, which ensured inventors were rewarded for innovation. Much steam technology was developed before there was much of a US government in the first place.

Posted by: phx8 at March 17, 2011 2:54 PM
Comment #320309

Royal: “Well, if you actually believe what you wrote, your comment is about as unfeeling and uncaring as I could possibly imagine. Hoping for horrible effects for our nations citizens borders on the edge of evil.”

Ha ha, I like the evil comment it’s a good touch. However, like I said before, you seem to be under the assumption that I’m a millionaire that won’t have the exact same problems as everyone else with $10/gal. gas. I’ll have to deal with it too. I’m sorry I don’t share your wistful faith in the exact same “free market” that has gotten us into these energy problems to begin with, but hey: different strokes…

Something you seem to not be taking into consideration: when we shifted to steam power or oil, it wasn’t to avoid a catastrophe. We could allow the free market to push these advances because we weren’t in a “rush” to get off horses or steam. We could depend on the greed and selfishness of businessmen to push an industry that would provide a better system to their customers. The sad reality is that the free market is exactly what’s led us into the problems we have regarding our oil based infrastructure. And that’s not because of government control that’s because of the free market. Sooner or later people will see what this Reaganomics view of a magical Free Market has done to our economy and livelihoods. They will not be happy. And then when they deal with these problems they’ll be yelling about it like we haven’t been doing things mostly their way for the past 40ish years. You’ve invented a system that worked ok for a while, but is now defunct in its purest form. It’s ok, let’s move on. Oil will become catastrophically expensive, crippling our country. In a free market, why would a company consider moving us away from using something that can only get more expensive with time, and that everyone NEEDS? That doesn’t make sense. It’s not like choosing another shampoo. You don’t have a choice in your national grid for the electricity that runs everything in your home. Why would a company in the free market choose to lose money to help you? That’s ridiculous. Their product will only become more expensive with time and, at this time, you have no choice but to pay whatever they tell you to pay and shut up. Your entire way of life is based around fossil fuels. If you want to support giving a giant company THAT much absolute control over you and your life, then ok. If you believe that energy companies give a damn about you, your family, or anything about you other than the money they get from you, then ok. But keep in mind that where I mention the necessity of $10/gal to get Americans off their asses and demanding better, you look at it as something that is apparently good. Because that’s the free market pal.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 17, 2011 3:06 PM
Comment #320310

Jared writes; “We could depend on the greed and selfishness of businessmen to push an industry that would provide a better system to their customers.”

What you call “greed and selfishness” is in reality the profit motive derived from free market capitalism. Catering to customers is profitable. Competition rewards the consumer. Unless you work for government, and even then if one extends the logic, we are totally reliant upon business for everything we need and use in our daily lives.

Only liberal “magical thinking” could believe that we could survive as a nation and society without business.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2011 3:16 PM
Comment #320311

Royal Flush, What are you trying to prove?

Our early history is filled with government interventions on behalf of business and agriculture.

One example, early in our history, the government put stiff tariffs on manufactured goods from England to tempt capitalists into investing in American manufacturing.

The government built roads and provided large land grants to encourage the building of canals and railroads. All the manufacturing in the world is useless without transportation.

The inventions you talk about weren’t invented by capital, the were primarily created by individuals who were often starved for capital. It is often after the inventions that capital steps in. Capital doesn’t give a damn about steam engines, only the profit that can be achieved by investing in the steam engine.

How many inventors have had their ideas stolen by government? How many have had their ideas or inventions stolen by capital?

From the formation of our government till today the taxpayers have often been required to sweeten the deal or provide the infrastructure to get capital to invest. In our lifetimes government investments have created tremendous opportunities for capital to invest and make profit.

So the best way to look at the situation is that capital owes a tremendous debt to government and the taxpayers for without them this country would not be the super power of earth, able to project it’s military might around the world for the benefit of capital among others.

Without organization, society, and government the greatest invention of man would have been the club.

Imagine a world where the only people were wealthy capitalists.

Posted by: jlw at March 17, 2011 3:26 PM
Comment #320312

Royal said “catering to customers is profitable”. Ha! That is hilarious. Fossil fuel companies don’t have to cater to you to be profitable. They’ve got you by the balls. What are you going to do about it if they raise prices? Write a letter? You going to stop using fossil fuels out of protest? No, you’re not. You’re going to pay whatever they tell you to pay.

I understand that that “greed and selfishness” is the motivation of a capitalist society, but there’s no need to dress it up all pretty. Let’s call a spade a spade. Greed and selfishness gave us many wonderful aspects of our modern life. I’m not “against” the free market as you may seem to think. What I’m “against” is the idea that one political, economic, or industrial methodology works when applied to all situations. That is just not how the world works. You tell most people that in regards to ANYTHING in the world, and they will likely agree. Until you mention the Free Market! That can solve everything. What a crock.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 17, 2011 3:34 PM
Comment #320313

Also, this is the second time you called me a “liberal”. I get that anyone who disagrees with you on anything is a “liberal” in your eyes, but just keep in mind that whenever I hear someone use the term “liberal” or “conservative” it makes me automatically take them less seriously. Is your argument so weak that you resort to some blanket ideological statement that doesn’t even apply to me? And who said anything about the world existing without business? Government regulation of large businesses doesn’t mean “no business”. It just means that companies have means of manipulating and taking advantage of the consumer now that they didn’t back in the “horse and buggy days”. I care about me and my family more than I care about the profits of Shell. Sue me.

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 17, 2011 3:40 PM
Comment #320316

Royal Flush-
Well, if by Horsepower, you mean beasts of burden, that’s way in the past, but it used to be that owning livestock, especially horses, was the mark of a prosperous man or an authority figure. In Rome, for example, we talk about the Equestrian class. In the Middle Ages, we talk of an age of Chivalry, of horse-riding vassals of noblemen. Because it took a lot of land to feed such animals, heavy horsepower was strongly dependent on the Fuedal system of the middle ages.

The Knights of Europe weren’t the only horsemen. Samurai are thought of as swordsmen, but they were mostly marked by two things in the beginning: their status as horsemen, and their use of bows. The Mongols and the Huns are examples of other horse-riding cultures of that kind.

As for steam power? Ask Robert Fulton about the monopoly on Steam Travel he was granted by the New York Legislature.

Robert Fulton’s experiments began while he was in Paris, and may have been stimulated by his acquaintance with Chancellor Livingston, who held the monopoly, offered by the legislature of the State of New York, for the navigation of the Hudson River, to be accorded to the beneficiary when he should make a successful voyage by steam. Livingston was now ambassador of the United States to the Court of France, and had become interested in the young artist-engineer, meeting him, presumably, at the house of his friend Barlow. It was determined to try the experiment at once, and on the Seine.
The giving of monopolies in the form here alluded to was, in those days, before the introduction of the modern systems of patent law, a very common method of securing to inventors their full reward. John Fitch had been given a monopoly of this kind by the United States government for a period of fourteen years from March 19, 1787; which monopoly was later (1798) repealed by Congress; this repeal being, in turn, denied by the courts, March 13, 1798, and subsequently continued to June 1, 1819, meantime being transferred to Nicholas J. Roosevelt. The State Act in favor of Livingston was passed to take effect April 5, 1803, and was repealed as unconstitutional, and conflicting with the jurisdiction of the United States, June 17, 1817. The whole system went out of use at the latter date, as it was found to be dangerous and troublesome, and on the whole far inferior to that admirable patent system which succeeded it, and which has done so much to promote the marvelous prosperity of the country since the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

I know, transportation again, but that was one of the Steam engine’s killer apps, which was to run transportation faster and more consistently than winds, human power, or horsepower could run it.

In the not so globalized economies of the 1800s and early 1900s, it was not uncommon to see governments throw up protectionist policies, especially tariffs, in order to support their industrialization. That how we started things off in our country, for better or for worse. In fact, some of the biggest controversies of the pre-civil war era between the industrial North and Agricultural South dealt with these government actions. Abraham Lincoln himself levied heavy tariffs to help pay for the transcontinental railroad.

Steam power (in short Industrialization) contrary to your assertion, grew up under heavy protectionism in this country. Other countries built their industries under such layers of protectionism as well.

As for oil?

Let’s try the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 for starters.

Let’s quit sprinkling all the markets and everything with magic pixie dust, as if the behavior of businesses is solely self-regulating. Government can help and hinder different kinds of energy production, as it chooses. The Markets won’t exactly behavior like they are intended to every time, but that wouldn’t be my point. My point would be that at no time in human, much less American history has the development of the markets been only the product of an invisible hand. So if you’re looking for justification for not pushing for greener technology, on the premise that government had nothing to do with previous development of technology, then you’re wrong.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2011 3:52 PM
Comment #320319

Jared wrote; “Also, this is the second time you called me a “liberal”.

I described liberal thinking. If the hat fits, wear it proudly.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2011 4:10 PM
Comment #320320

Royal: I’m sure that my support to fight renewal of the assault weapons ban would anger the liberals you seem to think I identify with. Also I’m sure they’d be mad about my support of legislation that repeals a number of gun control laws in my state. They probably also wouldn’t be too happy with me over my stances on public welfare. Or most of my stances on just about anything. Please don’t tell them, I don’t know what I’d do without my liberal friends…

Posted by: Jared Skye at March 17, 2011 4:30 PM
Comment #320323

Jared, that is the whole case in a nut shell. The majority of Americans are not liberals or Conservatives. They are both liberal and conservative depending on the issue.

With conservatives, it is either you are with us or against us. Even libertarians are more accommodating than conservatives.

Royal, when I was about 8 years old, I read my first book about free traders and I was hooked on the dream and remain so today. Since then I have read at least 100 and probably many more books in which free traders were a part of the mix.

I know quite a lot about free traders and that is why I would never equate the market with free trade.

The market investors and their conglomerates, the government and it’s navy, and pirates are the bane of free traders throughout the galaxy.

Posted by: jlw at March 17, 2011 5:08 PM
Comment #320324

Thanks for an idea for an article jlw. It will focus on free trade versus fair trade. That ought to rankle some hides.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 17, 2011 5:48 PM
Comment #320339

RF, probably so, even your own. Isn’t that what we are here for to get our hides rankled? It is hard to find consensus in a atmosphere of demand.

Posted by: jlw at March 18, 2011 6:00 AM
Comment #320351

LOL…thanks jlw for the humor. I don’t mind getting my hide rankled now and then, it keeps my brain oiled. It’s going to take some research to get the article done, but I want it to be done well.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 18, 2011 3:05 PM
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