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Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

August 30, 2010

Whether you drink tea or read Karl Marx, you should read this discussion.

I read the news today oh boy; about America not making the grade. The headlines ran:

• “10 NATO Soldiers, 7 U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan Fighting, 42 Americans killed in August (NYT),”
• “Petroleum Imports Hold Back GDP (WSJ)
• “U.S., Rebuilding in Iraq Wasted over $5 Billion (AP).”

First and Foremost, there should be no question of my love for America. The U.S. is our home and has provided a safe haven for so many fleeing from tyranny. At one time America, through hard work and being part of the social landscape,  one was almost guaranteed the ability to improve their quality of living, some level of hope for future generations, security, and the ability to realize the “American Dream.

What made America was us, the people, and our ability to make real economic, political, technological, and manufacturing contributions that benefited the entire society. Though we may never have been one, and dissentions go back to the creation of “Declarations of Independence, we always seem to join forces  and do what is right. It seems this individualistic collectivism has disappeared from our language.

America fought for freedom and for the most part when it hit our shores from an identifiable common enemy. This was the case with WWI and WWII. Yes, 9/11 was a deliberate, horrific and childish attack on our land, “a date which will live in infamy.” The sights of Arabs parading with pride in the streets was sickening. almost to the point that nuclear made sense. How people can be proud of killing innocent people, escapes my thought process. At the time a surgical strike was necessary, but against who. As opposed to the bombing of Pearl Harbor where a single nation could be singled out, this was not so much the case with 9/11. With the exception of Israel, sights of cheering Abrams could be seem in most if not all Mid-Eastern nations, many of which supply our oil.

Since WWII, America has lost its way in securing our borders. Living and dead, our soldiers served their country, were dedicated and fought hard because they were told to do so. The outcome of Korea and Vietnam are all too clear to raise the glass and make a toast. Our soldiers are too precious to lose in a war with no definition. To the families that have, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters overseas to protect America, I feel for you. Our hearts  bleed and our eyes tear while our mind questions why. Unpinning our efforts, as it did today, by reading the news and the grieving families, friends and loved ones.

If anyone has a doable explanation of why we should continue to sacrifice any of soldiers over there, please stand up and be heard. The real “achievable” objectives of this war seem rather elusive. President Obama and General Petraeus need to tell us, the American people,  how they intend to win this war and what do they mean “WIN.” Let them make it  clear and concise  with language free of political rhetoric and saber rattling. If Einstein could reduce one of the most complicated concepts in the 20th Century to E=MC2 , it should be possible for our leaders to clue us in to the formidable secret.

We are county with one last technological strength, IT.  We should just walk away from these unsecured territories that have an unrecognizable enemy and lack of a true central government. Why not rely on our domestic and foreign “intelligence” to be a few steps ahead of the world. Would be far cheaper and save more lives than force, which is both draining our  troops and budget. The ability to kill all that are determined to hurt America is an exercise in futility. Sure we can hunker them down, but when the bombs stop dropping the so called enemy comes out once again. Visions of Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima unmercifully fighting from caves after a pre-invasion bombardment, which was the longest, most intensive shelling of any Pacific island during the war, is one very vivid example. No question, America’s military might can maintain a tight lid on the insurgents, but seems likely they will rise again, or at lease new ones will come out the woodwork, once the campaign end. Their determination exceeds our will and might.

Wise use or technology should enable us to keep our friends close, our enemies closers and our land secure. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. America could gain  or gain some political capital along the way

Concurrently, not only is America losing lives but also draining valuable resources;  American dollars, American goods and material, and the American Dream.  Pouring dollars into IT technologies geared to outsmart those who want to get us, is without exception. far cheaper, a life saver and most likely more effective in the long-term. . It’s time to turn on the light and use what we have and not waste that which is so precious to us – Our people, our land and our hope.

As far as foreign oil is concerned, the talk against it is so old that the pages are tattered and brown. Let’s get real and finally do something about it.  Time and time again, American policy makers tell the public that is of utmost importance to improve our balance of trade, become independent of foreign oil and keep our dollars at home. Long-term our reliance on foreign oil is more detrimental than anti-American factions in the Mid-East, who more than likely are supported by American dollars flowing into their hands from our purchase of OPEC oil. By the way, economically viable renewable and clean sources of energy exist today. Much of the price imbalance between oil and alternative energy is the accounting system use to price oil.  If accounted for on an apples-to-apples basis by removing federal subsidies for oil and accounting for many of oil’s real intangible costs, renewable energy would be competitive. As long as our policy makers allows the price of oil to be kept artificially low, we have little or no chance to get out of the red,  balance our books and make the environment capable to support future generations.

If this all seem trite and hackneyed, time to get really concerned is now. Just read “Policy Options Dwindle as Economic Fears Grow,” by Peter S. Goodman. This op-ed piece published August 28, 2010 in The New York Times, stresses the worsening of our economy, see http://tinyurl.com/barry-stevens33.  Far more of a threat than Al-Qaeda to our home, posterity and future, Mr. Gordon cites:

“………. fears of a second recession are growing, along with worries that the country may face several more years of lean prospects.”
 
“………. a sense has taken hold that government policy makers cannot deliver meaningful intervention. That is because nearly any proposed curative could risk adding to the national debt — a political nonstarter”

“The patient (America’s economy) — who started in critical care — was showing signs of improvement in the convalescent ward earlier this year, but has since deteriorated. The doctors cannot agree on a diagnosis, let alone administer an antidote with confidence.”

“This is where the Great Recession has taken the world’s largest economy, to a Great Ambiguity over what lies ahead, and what can be done now.”

“The future is now so colored in red ink that running up the debt………. even in the name of creating jobs and generating economic growth. The result is that Democrats and Republicans have foresworn virtually any course that involves spending serious money.”

“……….. Nobel-laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, who has accused the Obama administration of underestimating the dangers weighing on the economy.”

“………. by deflation — falling prices — an affliction that assailed the United States during the Great Depression and may be gathering force again.”

“Less work and lower wages translates into less spending power, which reinforces a predilection against hiring and investing — a downward spiral.”

“………. spending power had dropped in the American economy, and how uneasy people were made by every snippet of data showing that houses were not selling, employers were not hiring, and stock prices were foundering.”

“The dramatic expansion of the national debt — which began in the Bush administration, via hefty tax cuts and two wars — has ratcheted up fears that, one day, creditors like China and Japan might demand sharply higher interest rates to finance American spending.”

 “ By default, muddling through has emerged as the prescription of the moment.”

In closing,  this is my viewpoint on the current state of affairs. If there is other information to refute this predication, please come forth. It’s nice to wake up to a nightmare, it’s another thing not being able to wake up.

What can we do, not sure? America can’t rely on our legislators anymore who will say and do whatever is necessary to get reelected this Fall. Good night, and good luck. God Bless America.

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28 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 9:54 AM

    Opponents of the controversial measure have demanded higher taxes on the companies. Good Domain

  2. August 30, 2010 11:22 AM

    In terms of foreign oil imports, I am baffled by this also, why have our foreign oil imports increased from OPEC over the last decade “in additional to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable foreign nations,”-T. Boone Pickens.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTIMXX1&f=M

    Looking back just over the last decade, our U.S. energy policy should have been better focused on investments in domestic energy conservation & efficiency, the expansion of domestic natural gas supplies and renewables.

  3. August 31, 2010 6:17 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Network Update
    Barry Stevens,
    Matt Cannon has just left a comment on your network update:

    “Really? You mean you wonder why we are hunting down the remnants of the tryanical government that gave refuge to Al Queda for years? “Un-winnable”? that’s a term like “can’t”, not in my vocabulary. Importing oil? Why yes, we are, unless the “environmental” left will let us drill WHERE we have oil and stop the moratorium on the places we currently have access to oil (ie the Gulf). We are dependent upon oil until such a time that the renewables sector can find an alternative that is as economically feasible, on its own (no subsidies please, the feds are and continue to spend more than enough of my money).”

  4. August 31, 2010 6:18 AM

    @ Matt,
    Then we should be fighting in Venezuela and North Korea? North Korea poses and infinitely greater threat. We should have learned from Vietnam, that we cannot force our values on others. Also, who is the enemy? These are lessons we should have learned from Vietnam.

    Yes we must secure and protect our borders. What we are doing is protecting the supply lines for oil.

    Please post your comment in my Blog, will help to get your voice heard.
    https://barryonenergy.wordpress.com

  5. August 31, 2010 6:19 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Clean Economy Network (formerly REBN)
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    In terms of foreign oil imports, I am baffled by this also, why have our foreign oil imports increased from OPEC over the last decade “in additional to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable foreign nations,”-T. Boone Pickens.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTIMXX1&f=M

    Looking back just over the last decade, our U.S. energy policy should have been better focused on investments in domestic energy conservation & efficiency, the expansion of domestic natural gas supplies and renewables.
    Posted by Brennan Jorgensen

  6. August 31, 2010 6:20 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: On Startups – The Community For Entrepreneurs
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    Barry, I don’t disagree with you.

    We’ve near to bankrupted ourselves with two wars which are questionable at best. We can no longer afford, if we ever really could, the ’empire’ which some of our past leaders have been bent on building.

    This is more than an energy question. It devolves to what we’re willing to do as a nation, and how much of our blood and treasure we’re willing to spend for it.
    Posted by Will Noble

  7. August 31, 2010 6:20 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: On Startups – The Community For Entrepreneurs
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    We had an oil man and border governor in the White House for 8 years and I am sure you were as concerned 5 years ago as you are now.Does moving soldiers out of Iraq qualify as a good move or is it appeasement?
    Posted by Bob Barlow

  8. August 31, 2010 6:21 AM

    Neither, its a wise decision. Our soldiers are dying, its costing a huge amount, we are creating a lot of wear and tear on our equipment, Lets ensure safe borders and no more 9/11. Its just not going to happen by fighting there. Recent history taught us that. Also, experienced by the Roman empire some 1600 years ago.

  9. August 31, 2010 6:21 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Network Update
    Barry Stevens,
    Leigh Haugen has just left a comment on your network update:

    “They key to this entire article is one sentence: “…if accounted for on an apples-to-apples basis by removing federal subsidies for oil and accounting for many of oil’s real INTANGIBLE costs, renewable energy would be competitive…”. The truth is that the only reason current renewable energy even SEEMS to be viable is because of massive subsidies. The only thing environmentalists can do is to artificially inflate these false “intangible costs”. People aren’t even aware that the environmentalists try to list the ENTIRE cost of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars as a subsidy to oil along with billions in healthcare costs and a host of other costs they invent to make their argument sound plausible.”

  10. August 31, 2010 6:22 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Network Update
    Barry Stevens,
    Matt Cannon has just left a comment on your network update:

    “Huh? Neither Chavez in Venezuela nor Kim Jong Il in North Korea has attacked nor harbored those who have attacked us. I do not see the link. Are they threats? Potentially, but a lot of hot air. We are not forcing our values on the Taliban, we are forcing a worldwide resolve agains those who harbor, aide, and abet those who commit acts of terror. The last time I checked, Venezuela exports much more oil than Afghanistan and we are not involved in a military confilict in Venezuela, so how is an armed conflict in Afghanistan protection of oil supply lines? All of the countries in th

  11. August 31, 2010 6:23 AM

    Simple, if there is no money, there will be no start-ups. Not sure how long your been in the game, but market for money is dried up, except for risk free investments, and by default, most start-ups are risky, the more risk, the original management team will have a short life span in there so called startup. Stop being myopic, and look at the big picture which does and will effect startups.

  12. August 31, 2010 6:23 AM

    It’s not disagreement that is the issue, it’s about the appropriateness of this discussion in the Start-up Form that concerned me.

    Almost by default, renewable energy technologies equate to start-up, at least a fare share of them. Renewable energy is one such way to get us out of the bind. Continued use of petroleum is a detriment.
    At a price of about 73.00 per barrel of crude oil, U.S. export of dollar for foreign oil translates to:
    $8 thousand per second
    $500 thousand per minute
    $29 million per hour
    $21 billion per month
    $256 billion per year.

    This is not helping our bottom-line and is hurting start-ups that are in their early stages.

    I wrote this out of my frustration working with 9 start-up companies to secure investment for what is doable technologies. Other than finding a private investor looking to take some risk, the market for startup capital is scarce at best.

    This is what motivated me to write this piece and place it in the Start-Up form. I would be happy to delete it, but putting our heads in the sand, has shown not to be effective.

  13. August 31, 2010 6:24 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Network Update
    Barry Stevens,
    Matt Cannon has just left a comment on your network update:

    “I’m kind of afraid that the “…depending on the cost of the biomass fuel” part is kind of the crux of the issue. How much does it take to make the biomass fuel, and in many cases, fossil fuels are used to make the biomass fuel (ie ethanol)”

  14. August 31, 2010 6:25 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Network Update
    Barry Stevens,
    Leigh Haugen has just left a comment on your network update:

    “That is impressive Neal, I would like to read more, can you suggest any good links to information? I must confess to complete ignorance on biomass fuel (although I am a big proponent of natural gas), I was primarily referring to the two poster children of the alternative energy movement – wind and solar. I will make a point to be more specific in future comments.”

  15. August 31, 2010 6:25 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Network Update
    Barry Stevens,
    Neal Van Milligen has just left a comment on your network update:

    “Leigh, depending on the cost of the biomass fuel, we can produce electricity for about $.06 kW and heat for less than the pipeline cost of natural gas on a BTU basis. No subsidy required. Neal Van Milligen New Range Power Corp cavm@aol.com

  16. August 31, 2010 6:26 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: On Startups – The Community For Entrepreneurs
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    So the problem is that you are looking for public funds to back your company, rather than most stat-ups who rely on private investment and – God forbid – customers? I’m not happy with money going overseas to pay for our oil addiction.. One big reason I’ve driven hybrids for more than 10 year and use solar at home. But a bigger problem for me is that banks are lending to no one because of uncertainty in what grand scheme the government will come up with to tax and regulate them out of business. In the name of ‘consumer protection’, our cost of money has skyrocketed; our health insurance premiums are going to follow suit soon. I’m not sure we can afford much more change or that’s all we’ll have left.
    Posted by Miles Kehoe

  17. August 31, 2010 6:27 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Energy & Utilities Network
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    Very good questions.
    As a good Republican I have been asking why we are fighting the Taliban….
    yes kill Al Quaeda…..but if the Afghans do nto wish to fight for their freedom who are we to nation build.
    and yes…I have heard all the arguments about Al Queda coming back
    but heard smae argumentin Vietnam about china taking over if the commies won
    dont buy it anymore..as I dont “we’ dont ahve any money to buy it anymore.
    Posted by Michael Baker

  18. August 31, 2010 6:27 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.
    LinkedIn Groups

    • Group: Think Green
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    The oil thing has been going on since the 70’s, the fact will remain that the US is spending that much on its arms industry and military developement that those industries are extremely powerful; and guide policy through donoations and lobbying etc etc etc. Big business does not see a big advantage in change for the oil sector. Import oil from an unstable region, that wobbles, invade secure the oil and the circle continues, the link appears to be miliatry spending…….. and the security of additional oil reserves which secure our markets which secure our jobs and lives and so forth we go…….
    Posted by Charlie McCarthy

  19. August 31, 2010 6:36 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Sustainability Professionals
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    You want to explore potential to go into another severe crises? I do not consider the USA recovered, or being out of any dip in any significant way. Too many factors are predicting not much hope.
    The old measure of preaching hope and trying to fake people into being bigger consumers isnt going to be a big enough impulse to turn things around for the economy. Let alone it being a sustainable solutions to problems…
    BUT, i do not think you need to hear how pple agree with you. On all points you mention.
    Change is required, and wouldnt it not be more interessting to think about how this could be done. There are enough people preaching doom, fear as a motivator is not sustainable nor beneficial on short term. There are always things to be done, people that need to talk to people to get a new mindset.
    Posted by Mirjam Zevenhuizen

  20. August 31, 2010 6:37 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Renewable Energy Network
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    The problem is that we are many years away from the time that renewable energy can make a dent in our energy needs. There is no alternative to oil at this point. We we need to do to get out of this hole is to open up every place for drilling for oil and gas. That means all of the outer continential shelf, withou regards to state boundaries. We need to open up all areas in Alaska, including ANWR for drilling. There have been major discoveries made recently that have the possiblity for really making the US independent of Arab oil. These new discoveries have more oil that all of Saudi Arabia and Iran. We need to start taking all of the restrictions off of creating nuclear plants and start buidling several per year. We need to start developing the tar sands and the oil shales in the west U.S.If we did this, we would be oil independent, and we would have the time that it would take to then develop some renewable energy. If we did this, we could pay off this huge debt that we have created in the last 1.5 years. This is the only way that we will be able to pay it down.
    Posted by Norm Froman

  21. August 31, 2010 6:38 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    Barry Stevens • MIles,
    You made a grave assumption and picked something out of thin air. Where in my comment did I say public funds. I think you should read more carefully, and stop jumping to conclusions.
    Barry

  22. August 31, 2010 6:38 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: On Startups – The Community For Entrepreneurs
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    Ah I must have misread your line where you said “Other than finding a private investor looking to take some risk, the market for startup capital is scarce at best.” VC’s out here in the valley are funding engery projects like crazy. (Your profile does look like you work with alternative energy companies). When you said ‘other than private funding..’ it sounded like the alternative was public. I’m confused, but you are correct – I misunderstood somehow. Still, I guess I hadn’t expected a thread like this in a start-up group.. another misunderstanding on my part, no doubt… Sorry..
    Posted by Miles Kehoe

  23. August 31, 2010 6:39 AM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: Energy Professionals
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    I have said this many times to my friends. This is a deflationary repeat of the ’70’s. Guns and butter don’t mix and a double dip is a certainty.
    Posted by Gary Ellis

  24. August 31, 2010 12:19 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Groups
    • Group: On Startups – The Community For Entrepreneurs
    • Discussion: Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

    Barry, Admirable sentiment, but where is the link to start-ups? Well how about US having a devoted big oil man in the White House supporting wars. I suppose you could have taken that as a signal to enterpreneurs to go into military-supported or petroleum industry for that time. Designing a better bomb, grenade or oil drill bit that’s where we’d be by this logic. This thread does not have the authority or ambit to move soldiers in and out of war zones. Let’s get on with our lives. Best of luck in your humanitarian causes, nevertheless.
    Posted by Yen Chong

  25. September 1, 2010 2:02 PM

    I’m not sure what to add in response to your thoughts here. On specific issues, you may have noticed that I don’t hold back on sounding off on this or that group at LinkedIn.com. This blog, being focused on foreign affairs, is somewhat separate. I have just one thought, and will put it forth here, because no one else, anywhere I look, seems to ever say it: If we were to achieve true energy independence (and that’s a very tall order, but supposing we did focus our efforts on that as a central goal, and achieved it somehow), would that really make us safer? You tighten the screws on countries such as Saudi Arabia (or for matter, Nigeria, for instance), and you may make things there more unstable, and give rise to even larger numbers of would-be terrorists. I don’t think you can take the view that if you stop feeding this beast, it will just go away.

  26. September 6, 2010 2:50 PM

    Comment posted in LinkedIn on this discussion.

    LinkedIn Network Update
    Barry Stevens,
    Neal Van Milligen has just left a comment on your network update:

    “Biomass fuel is essentially any organic material, If it was ever alive or made from something which was alive it can be fuel, feed or perhaps fertilizer. In this case we are discussing fuel. Usually this is timber slash (left in the forest after harvest) sawmill scrap, broken pallets, crop residue, food waste, but can also be sorted municipal solid waste, biosolids, animal manure, etc. As a rule of thumb 2.5 lb per hour of 25% moisture content biomass will gasify sufficient syn gas to power a generator producing 1 kW of electrical power. 2500 lb per hour wll produce 1 MW of electrical power. In the USA the cost of biomass ranges from free to $100 per ton depending on a lot of issues.”
    Barry Stevens Simple Question: What the Heck Are We Doing Fighting a War in Afghanistan, Buying Foreign Oil, and Allowing America to Quickly Drift into Economic Chaos: Forget Being Concerned, It’s Time to be Downright Scared

  27. September 28, 2010 10:58 AM

    I was searching about this issue everywhere,I was really curious about this…Really big thanks.I will always looking for your new articles.

  28. February 2, 2011 8:48 AM

    Good article, Barry, and an entertaining discussion (lots of political rhetoric and testosterone overpowering the policy and practice of energy supply) that pretty much mirrors national and global energy discussions.

    Our first MidEast oil crisis was 1967 (as a high school kid, I wrote a short editorial about it published in a couple of TX newspapers) when Iran retaliated for our support of Israel in the 1967 war. Could have, should have done something about energy policy then. We made a lot of energy efficiency progress (some govt, some private) during the next crisis period – 1975-80 – forcing energy prices off the cliff in 1982 (remember, Texas?).

    But with 2 decades of really low oil prices and laissez faire policies (Repubs and Dems, let me point out), we let our chances to build a real energy alternative slip away. Then (for whatever reason – politics, supply/demand, nefarious Arabs/oil companies / politicians), crude prices jumped from about $20 in 1999 to $100 or $150 or whatever it will hit tomorrow.

    Seems to me we’re stuck with bad alternatives:
    1. Pretend everything will always be OK with petro economy and continue pretty much on the road we’re on. Besides, we’ve got plenty of coal if we can just dig it up – who needs West Virginia?
    2. Take a long view of our energy situation and adopt policies that point us toward a future where imported oil is a much smaller share of our energy budget. Subsidize development of alternative energy sources as an insurance policiy against a bad future.

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