Thursday, June 12, 2008

The End of Greenism

It's Drill Now, Senators!
These Colors Don't Run

The End of Greenism
The Fifth Column Raymond S. Kraft
June 11, 2008
It hasn't quite hit the radar of the Liberal Democrats, but as the price of gasoline soars above $4 a gallon, and here in California it's closing in on $5, they're going to be facing a hard choice with no good options. They will be forced to (a) throw the Greens under the bus, and embrace the idea of drilling for oil in America, in ANWR, off the coasts, wherever it may be found, or (b) throw the US economy under the bus, and lose the November election to a Republican landslide, no matter who their candidate is.

If, that is, John McCain can be persuaded to see the light, come to his senses, and make a prime time speech in which he apologizes for being wrong about Global Warming and Climate Change, has learned that CO2 is not the enemy, that humans have no identifiable effect on climate, which has always been changing, and humans cannot stop it; and that it is far more important to produce enough energy from all sources, nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind, oil, and coal, than to go tilting at the windmills of Greenism to stop the unstoppable Climate Change, which is entirely natural and organic.

If John McCain can learn that lesson, he can turn the issue of Global Warming and Climate Change on its head, and use it to take down Barack Obama, take down the Democrat Party, and take down the Greens and Greenism, in the next four months. But it has to be done as a frontal attack, a head-long cavalry charge straight up the hill into the face of the enemy, something neither Obama, nor the Dems, nor the Greens, are prepared for. It would throw them into total panic and disarray.

In yesterday's news, Saturday, June 7, oil prices spiked $10.75 in one day, a new record, closing Friday at $138.54. Unemployment rose 10% in one month, May, from 5% to 5.5%. The Dow dropped 394 points, the biggest drop in over a year. The average working stiff has seen his cost to commute to work and home again double in less than two years, even as the equity in his house plummeted. And airlines are cutting hundreds of flights, and thousands of jobs. The high cost of not drilling for oil in America is going to savage the economy at every level.

Cybercast News Service (CNS News) in a June 6 article, Lawmakers Split on Drilling for Vast Amounts of Oil in USA, reports that the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management estimates there are 139 billion barrels of untapped, recoverable oil onshore and offshore in the United States. This does not include the vast Bakken oil fields of Montana and the Dakotas, or the enormous shale oil deposits in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, or the oil sands of Oklahoma. CNS interviewed four members of congress, and found the Republicans supporting Jed Babbin's call to 'drill here, drill now,' and Democrats opposed.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said, 'You've got that right. We can't get it (the oil) because the environmental elitists are preventing that with moratoria saying it would take ten years to get it developed.' Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.) also said Congress should deregulate to allow more drilling. 'My sense is that the most direct route is for Congress to take direct action and give the American people more access to American oil.'

Representative Mike Honda (D-Calif.) replied, 'No,' adding that he would 'never say never,' but that circumstances would have to be 'pretty drastic' for him to agree to more drilling. 'I am more concerned about Global Warming and the impact of fossil fuel,' he said. House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) told CNS he needs to study the issue more, 'I haven't studied enough to make that decision.'

But, a lot of middle class, working class, and fixed-income Americans have studied the issue quite enough, and they're beginning to get angry, visibly angry, at the inexcusable inaction of Congress. As gas prices continue to rise through the summer, the anger will swell into fury. 'Earth to Mike Honda,' they'll be saying soon, 'For us, your constituents, five dollar gasoline is pretty drastic. Earth to Charlie Rangel, how many years do you have to study to learn what you can learn in a day? If it takes that long, Charlie, are you sure you're smart enough to be a member of Congress?'

Wasn't it Mark Twain who once quipped? - 'Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. Ah, but I repeat myself.'

Presently, we import 5.4 million barrels of oil a day from OPEC countries. At $138 a barrel, that's $745 million dollars a day we're 'exporting' to Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. At 40 jobs per million dollars (at $50,000 a year per job) that's 29,800 jobs for Americans we are 'outsourcing' to OPEC each day, rather than investing that money in American oil production and American jobs. At 29,800 jobs a day, that's 10,877,000 American jobs we are exporting to OPEC each year, and if the price of oil rises, so will the job loss. Democrats have threatened to punish corporations that outsource jobs to other countries, but the Democrats' own misbegotten Green policies are the No. 1 cause of outsourcing in in America.

At some point, something has to give, and it will either be the US economy, or Greenism, the obsessive-compulsive Environmentalist Personality Disorder that will sacrifice the jobs, fortunes, futures, and lives, of three hundred million Americans, in slavish homage to the myth that burning 'fossil fuels' is causing climate change, and that by reducing our 'carbon footprint' we can end climate change. Nothing is further from the truth. The climate has been changing as long as there has been a climate, long before we could have had anything to do with it.

How we ended up with a majority in Congress, and two presidential candidates, who are so appallingly ignorant of the basics of climatology, climate history, and the ubiquity of climate change, after this debate has already been raging for years, is a complete mystery to me. It is, in my opinion, Congressional malpractice, the wilful or negligent failure of most members of Congress to become well informed about the real science and history of climate change and what the effect, if any, of CO2 on the global climate really is, or isn't, before making legislative decisions that profoundly affect the lives of 300 million Americans. And I wonder, Can we sue Congress, for Congressional Malpractice?

Can we sue Congress for acting on false assumptions, when, by the exercise of reasonable care and due diligence, they could, and should, have become fully and honestly informed on the global warming and climate change issues, before making bad decisions that adversely affect the US economy, and the lives of every one of their constituents? Don't they have that duty? And haven't they breached it? And aren't we paying for it?

There is only one way to rescue America from the rising cost of energy that threatens to overwhelm the US economy. And that is to produce more energy. As soon as possible. In America.

We don't have time to wait for pie-in-the-sky fantasies, such as cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass. A little arithmetic tells us that to replace oil with switchgrass, which according to National Geographic can produce 'up to' 1,000 gallons of ethanol per acre, per year, we'd have to produce a billion gallons a day, to replace the gasoline and diesel we consume. That's 365 billion gallons a year, plus another 15% to provide the energy to produce all that cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass, for a total of 420 billion gallons a year. This would require 420 cellulosic ethanol plants producing a billion gallons a year, each, and so far, we don't have one. Not, not one producer of cellulosic ethanol on a commercial scale. And it would require 420 million acres of switchgrass farms, which would be a 150% increase in American farmland. And would not the adverse environmental impact of converting 420 million acres of wildlife habitat to switchgrass farms be enormous? Where are the Greens now? Why isn't the Sierra Club demanding an Environmental Impact Report?

Congress needs to come to grips with the fact that there is no credible evidence that CO2 causes 'global warming.' It has been warmer in the past, when CO2 was lower than now, and the temperature dropped 0.7 degrees last year, while CO2 was rising. But CO2 is plant food, fertilizer, plants suck it up and grow, and more CO2 in the air means plants grow faster, and need less water. With a growing world population facing chronic food shortages, we need more CO2 in the air to produce more food, not less.

And this means the misguided, misbegotten, delusional era of Greenism has to end. Soon. Now. The delusions of the radical environmentalists have taken us down this dangerous road, and the chickens are coming home to roost. And the chickens are very expensive. Having quarantined 90% of Federal lands from energy exploration and development, and blocked construction of nuclear power, and fuel refineries, it is the environmentalist policies, the Green policies, the Greenism, of the last generation that has put American in the spot it's in, and America can only get out of the spot by rejecting the delusional Greenism of the past, and embracing a rational energy policy for the future.

I'm with Barack Obama. I want 'change.' But maybe not the same change Barack Obama wants.

Here's the change I want.

1) Legislation to immediately lift all moratoria on oil and natural gas exploration and development on Federal lands, except National Parks.

2) Legislation to grant a 100% tax credit for all new capital investment in energy production in the US and its territorial waters. If you spent $20,000 to put solar panels on your roof, you get a $20,000 tax credit. If Exxon puts $75 billion into developing new oil production in the US, Exxon gets a $75 billion tax credit. This would 'send a message' to OPEC that the party's just about over, and it would create millions of new jobs for working class Americans in America.

3) Legislation to fast-track NRC-approved nuclear power plant designs, and to require Green plaintiffs suing to block the construction of nuclear power plants, geothermal plants, oil refineries, or any other energy project, to prove by 'clear and convincing evidence' that the proposed project was unreasonably dangerous, or that the harm it would cause was greater than the benefit it would confer.

Barack Obama said recently that he will deliver '$150 billion over the next ten years' to develop alternative energy. That's way too little, way too late. America needs it now, not ten years from now. We don't need to pass it through the government skim machine. And Barry Boy is clueless. By granting a 100% tax credit for new capital investment in energy in the United States, we unleash the magnificent ingenuity of the American people, who will pump $150 billion into energy development in one year, not ten, and produce ten times, or a hundred times, as much new energy in ten years as any government-managed program ever could.

That's change.

And that's the end of Greenism.

Raymond S. Kraft is a retired attorney and writer from northern California.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Mullah Reality Check

There is so much smoke around the Iranian Mullahs’ bomb that it makes Tehran’s smog feel like a fresh ocean breeze, by comparison. Here is a partial list of misconceptions about the Mullahs, their capabilities and intentions about the bomb affair.

The Mullahs:

  • Will never dare to use the bomb, even if they had it. To do so would be suicidal.
  • Are years away from anything resembling a credible bomb, in any quantity.
  • They lack the technological skills needed to make a workable bomb.
  • Don’t have the means of hitting Israel with the bomb, their professed favorite target.
  • Want the bomb for defensive purposes only.
  • Would never hand the bomb over to proxy terrorists.
  • Are using this whole bomb thing as a ploy to rally the populace and survive.
  • Are visionary patriots planning for a future when the oil dries up.
  • Are environmentalists aiming to curb global warming caused by the use of fossil fuel.
  • Are striving to join the nuclear club for its prestige.

And on, and on, and on, goes the litany. I believe, based on facts rather than wishful thinking, that every one of the above assertions, as well as all other similar dismissive arguments, are both false and fraught with danger because all the above arguments are confounded by various amounts of denial.

Psychological denial is a common quirk of the human mind. People use denial to distort, even refute reality, when accepting it is too threatening to them. Alcoholics are habitual users of denial, a major tranquilizer of the mind. The alcoholic will adamantly deny having any problem with alcohol and continue to drink, even in the face of irrefutable contrary evidence. Denial is resorted to by both individuals and groups, and can be just as deadly for both.

Perhaps the most compelling dismissive argument is that the Mullahs would never dare to use the bomb, since it would be suicidal to do so. This argument is just as flawed as the rest. The “mutual deterrence” argument may work in state-to-state confrontations. It apparently has worked in the past and the hope is that it will work in the future. However, the mutual deterrence argument fails when a non-state entity is the adversary. The Mullahs don’t have to lob a bomb at Israel or at anyone else to inflict huge damage. They can pursue their cause of death and destruction by simply providing their killers with dirty bombs in a suitcase. Given the Mullahs’ fanaticism and Machiavellian nature, they would come up with a myriad of clever schemes to achieve their objectives.

Consider dirty bombs. They are easy to make, are portable, can kill as well as make a city uninhabitable, without leaving a “finger print.” The Mullahs can go to work then turn “innocently” to the international community for help to find a group of rogue radicals, so they claim, who had penetrated their facilities and made off with a loot of radioactive stuff.

It is not as if events like this have never happened in the past. Deadly stolen radioactive materials have found their way to the black market on a number of occasions. The world would respond in panic, yet with its usual arthritic sluggishness search for the miscreants. Given how clumsy and disorganized the world’s intelligence community is, the prospect of acting expeditiously, much less apprehending the “thieves” is not very encouraging. This is particularly the case when the Mullahs themselves would have a short leash on the “thieves,” to hide them and deploy them only with the greatest of care.

Iran’s ruling Mullahs are clustered around major factions such as the conservatives, the moderates, and the so-called reformists. Yet, the differences among these factions are tactical rather than strategic. One and all share the same overarching goal of defeating the “Crusader-Zionists” by any and all methods possible; bringing about the “end of the world” Armageddon; and, thereby creating the requisite conditions for the appearance of the Hidden Imam, the Mahdi, to assume his rule of the world.

Therefore, it is "Carteresque" (foolish risk-taking a la Jimmy Carter’s throwing in the nation’s lot with the Mullahs during the 1979 Iranian Revolution) to overlook the fact that it is Islam, irrespective of any and all considerations, that poses a deadly threat to the world. Choosing one faction over another is no choice at all.

What is the likelihood that the ruling Mullahs will actually use the bomb? If they remain in power long enough to have it, they are very likely to use it, in one form or another. At the very least, they use the bomb for blackmail and intimidation in the region. Not even the all-out nuclear exchange can be ruled out. Islam is a religion centered on death with the eyes of the faithful fixed on the afterlife and its promised eternal pleasures. If the faithful kills, he goes to Allah’s paradise; if he gets killed, he goes to Allah’s paradise.

The Mullahs’ claim that they are pursuing the nuclear program to meet the country’s energy needs could only fool the most gullible denial type. Why is it that the Mullahs invest nothing at all in stopping the leak of more than six percent of the precious oil they pump out? For every 100 barrels, six barrels of Iran’s irreplaceable national treasure dissipates at the wellhead. Yet, they spend billions of dollars to harness nuclear energy. Just as troubling is the fact that Iran sits on one of the world’s most dangerous earthquake fault lines. Building nuclear plants on sites such as the one in Bushehr is absolute insanity.

Speaking of insanity, Ahmadinejad, the Monkey, comes to mind. He is dismissed as being a zany fanatic who shouldn’t be taken seriously for his bomb-rattling threats. But this type of dismissiveness can prove deadly. Recall that even a multi-billionaire former president of Iran Rafsanjani, a man seen by many as moderate and a shrewd live-and-let-live type, has publicly announced that a single bomb would finish off Israel while the Muslims would suffer a setback from which it can easily recover.

The Mullahs are proven vicious mass killers. They summarily executed tens of thousands of Iranian dissidents. They had no qualms about sending thousands of children to clear the minefields ahead of their tanks during the 80s war with Iraq and they have thousands of “martyrs” brainwashed and prepared to serve as bomb mules to be dispatched to any place in the world.

Sadly, once again it is the peak of “Me First” time with American politicians. Like sharks, they are circling the “bleeding” lame President, busily sniping at him and hoping to take his place. In the meantime, the real enemy, Islamofascism, is forging ahead toward its goal of dominating the world.

I have been warning that it is a deadly miscalculation to engage in infighting, and sit and wait out this emerging catastrophe. It is little more than an exercise in denial to believe that nothing bad will happen, and that the corrupt inept Mullahs will likely shoot themselves in the foot instead of wreaking havoc on the world. I also keep pleading that we should forthwith help the Iranian democratic oppositions send the death-bearer Mullahs back to their mosques. It is the free world’s best and most urgent option.

What sane person would want to take a chance to wait and see if the mad Mullahs, once they have the bomb, would use it or not?

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