The Preamble; Fix it or Nix It?



Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

At present, oil saturates the Gulf Stream.  An official six-month cessation of permits for new drilling did not actually affect the industry or government decisions.  Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead.  To explain such an authorization and waiver, the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Services Division which regulates drilling, pointed to public statements by Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.  He did not intend to forbid all first cuts in the Earth’s crust.  Absolutely not.  The Federal Government approved wells off the coast of Louisiana in June. Regardless of the day, or realities that are anathema to our citizenry, little has truly changed.  Today, just as in yesteryear, we, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union, polish policies to appear as though our civilization would wish to protect and defend all beings, equally.  

In an earlier era, and now, the electorate embraces practices that establish justice, while we unreasonably raze the planet.  As a devoted citizenry, we insure domestic tranquility through appeasement. Furthermore, for the sake of homeland harmony, we adopt practices that encourage petroleum production, excessive oil and coal profits, whilst we also rob crops of their inherent dignity.  We, the countrymen, commit to the promise that we will provide for the common defense. In accordance with the demands of the public, policymakers further endorse perilous practices.  

These pursuits are realized in the form of perpetual war.  Blood for oil, minerals, or any resource that makes more money for the few, is what we, believe brings security to the native soil.   Our energy plans, or was it the profound Preamble to the United States Constitution, afforded us world prominence.  Globally, America is seen as powerful, so much so other countries chose to emulate us.  

Our governance and Preamble now belong to many a proud nation.  Collectively, in this country and the next, people clamor, “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Over the years, there have been many opportunities to consider our constitution, our commitment to country, and our love of power.  Before this country was born, we could have seized on the chance to harness energy in a way that did not cause harm.  In 1766, British Scientist Henry Cavendish identified the energetic element, hydrogen.  By 1838, Swiss Chemist Christian Friedrich Schoenbein stumbled upon the “fuel cell.”  Only seven years later, Sir William Grove, an English Scientist and Judge, demonstrated the practicality of the discovery.  Mister Grove created a “gas battery.”  For this feat, he acquired the title “Father of the Fuel Cell.”

Most recall the Franklin kite experiment, which, while not the first appearance of an electrical consciousness certainly was one that gave us a jolt.  That event occurred in 1752.  Then, people began to realize that electricity, not produced from coal or dependent on fossil fuels, could make a meaningful difference in the society.  Initially, there were struggles.  Some people were afraid of an incomprehensible current.  A few did not wish to succumb to a change in lifestyle.  Convenience at a nominal cost convinced the citizenry to change their conventional ways, and of course, modify the meaning of the Constitution.

By 1769, with the advent of the first automobile, people began to ponder inexpensive means for mobility.  The invention of engines and the Industrial Revolution completed the conversion. Steamships and steam-powered railroads became the foremost forms of transportation.  These vessels used coal to fuel their boilers. Still, it was not until the 1880s that “coal was first used to generate electricity for homes and factories.”  Since then, there seemed no desire to turn back.  Way back when, our constitution, or at least the Preamble as practiced today, was set in stone.  

Give it to us cheap and dirty is the American credo.  We guzzle gas, burn through barrels of oil, and belch out endorsements for big businesses that earn billions on our backs.  Americans strip the countryside in search of more and more coal.  We savage the seas and shores whilst we annihilate all the creatures dependent on these.  Indeed, we ignore that we too are reliant on the chain of life to survive.  We disregard what science teaches us; each species and specimen plays a part in the planet’s endurance.  Instead, we loudly state, “We the people commit to cheap fossil fuels and biomass consumption that we have become accustomed to.”  Damn the damage to the planet, and ultimately to humans and all other populations.  We travel on, full speed ahead!

As the Gulf Bay puncture wound bleeds, present and former Governors, Jurists, and citizens clamor, Drill Baby Drill!  In June 2020, be it in Alaska, in the Gulf, anywhere, almost anywhere, regardless of known risks, we are ready!  We want our fix.  Fossil fuels and biomass flow through our blood.  Petroleum, or the reliance on this and other hazardous forms of energy, run our boats, cars, trains, planes, and our lives.  Even if a pipe, mineshaft, or the food chain are broken, the people say, Let it be!”

“Fix It or Nix It” defines the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity campaign. This statement is not an endorsement for renewable energy policies. Nor does it address the altered Preamble, No. This group does advocate for further advancements in fossil fuel usage.“ACCCE.cannot support the Kerry-Lieberman draft bill.”  This all-“powerful” organization considers these two Senators dissenters, or their proposed legislation a threat to the American way.  Reflective of past policies and practices, those who rebel are often forced into submission.  Popular opinion can suppress opposition.

Peers, polls, any pressure, can sway the people.  Promotional pieces are abundantly persuasive.  Ample advertisements feed the public and influence actions. Perhaps this explains why millions of people are easily fooled, or more likely just want to believe as we all do, that what we do now is wise.  

Factoids from associations such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity offer us food for thought.  Statements that support what we yearn for speak to our heart, head, and soul. These satisfy the American appetite for energy and satiate the anthem.  “We the people commit to inexpensive energy and welcome any reassurance that all is well, just as it is.”  

  • Coal costs less than any other major fossil fuel source.
  • According to an electric power industry journal, 23 of the 25 power plants in the U.S. that have the lowest operating costs (and therefore provide power to their consumers at the lowest prices) are powered by coal.
  • Thanks, in part, to $90 billion invested in new technologies, the environmental footprint of coal-based electricity generation has been significantly reduced.
  • Since 1970, the use of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. has nearly tripled in response to growing electricity demand.
  • Using coal to generate electricity is less than a 1/3 of the cost of other fuels.

Corporations that profit from the use of coal, petroleum, and biomass fuels flood the airwaves with anti alternative and renewable energy oratory.  Lobbyists and Legislators who like the status quo are also hard at work.

Commentaries, commercials, Congressional concessions, and common clichés do not negate the reality that whenever we invest in naturally replenished resources, environmentally friendly green energy, we ultimately provide jobs, as well as preserve the planet.  Research abounds.  studies confirm.  Pew Charitable Trusts asserts Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth.

Nonetheless, the well-established Preamble persists.  We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”  Nations that did not accept our programs, sooner or later, were “willingly” brought into the fold. Money and might can move mountains, petroleum fields, and large quantities of botanical mass. Indeed, the production and use of any fossil fuel is encouraged.  Promised earnings offer a profound argument to dissenters.  

Some followers of the more modern Preamble, an altered petroleum policy, were brought onboard reluctantly. The bid for biofuels proved profitable.  Influential Advisors and Advertisers offered a rationalization. Plants can be grown.  Vegetation is renewable.  This thought removed a sense of guilt.  The public purchased the argument.  For most ethanol is envisioned as euphoria.

Some were less relieved by this opportune “reality.”  However, in time, they too do as the devotees do.  They drive hither and yon.  Petroleum and plants fill their gas tanks.  These persons call themselves environmentalists.  Yet, they know that they too, myself among them, consume gargantuan quantities of fossil fuels and biomass energy. To participate in present day life, we, the people, must pump petro and pledge allegiance to the American way, or else . . . For the sake of convenience, expediency, pragmatism and the Preamble, in a Twenty-First century culture, even conservationists surrender.  

Perchance, as gas and oil fill the Gulf Stream, and travel North, South, East and West, as microbes, mammals, and all other creatures in its path perish, we, the people, will think it is time to reflect.  Let us ponder our proud past.  Perhaps, through the plumes, we will unearth what the petroleum, coal, and biofuels Preamble has hidden, the history of hydrogen and how we abandoned this truly renewable and reliable source of energy.  

1920s German engineer, Rudolf Erren, converted the internal combustion engines of trucks, buses, and submarines to use hydrogen or hydrogen mixtures. British scientist and Marxist writer, J.B.S. Haldane, introduced the concept of renewable hydrogen in his paper Science and the Future by proposing that “there will be great power stations where during windy weather the surplus power will be used for the electrolytic decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen.”

1937 After ten successful trans-Atlantic flights from Germany to the United States, the Hindenburg, a dirigible inflated with hydrogen gas, crashed upon landing in Lake- wood, New Jersey. The mystery of the crash was solved in 1997. A study concluded that the explosion was not due to the hydrogen gas, but rather to a weather-related static electric discharge which ignited the airships’ silver-colored, canvas exterior covering…

1958 The United States formed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s space program currently uses the most liquid hydrogen worldwide, primarily for rocket propulsion and as a fuel for fuel cells.

It would seem that we, the people, could have endowed and empowered the energy that was first recognized before our forefathers penned what was the United States Constitution.  We might realize that great strides have been made in endlessly renewable hydrogen energy.  However, we, the people, never stopped to consider what we accepted as our manifest destiny.   What we defined as divine intervention or intervention by design was our chosen well-deserved deliverance.  As independent Americans, free spirits, mavericks, we would not be bound by physical boundaries.  Petroleum, coal, and biofuels, we decided, would set us free.  We would drive as if we were driven, deliberately.  

We did. Whilst barrels of oil flood from the ocean floor, we still do.  Nary a person proclaims; it is time to stop the madness, completely.  Hardly an American truly thinks he or she will reinstate the Preamble in its original form.  No, the “better life” has been fashioned. Yet, in Louisiana and elsewhere in the South there is reason to question what had been our truth. “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Possibly, now we will acknowledge belatedly, the better question would have been why did we rely on reports released by the International Oil Spill Conference.,  This organization offers studies sponsored by those who are the worst offenders, who are most dependent on petroleum, and who gain greater power and prowess when oil flows. After the fact, will we abandon the Advisors who brought us our present burdens, our blunders, and our oddly converted Preamble?

Will humans resume operations and disregard reality?  Will we proceed on a false premise that biomass is the better source for fuel? Will we look beyond the boundaries of our desires or will humans, not BP, Exxon, the company of your choice, nay the Governments of, the United States, Britain, Nigeria, or . . . rape the land, place food in the mouths of machines rather than man?  Might we finally admit, that we need not concede to consumption, crave petroleum products, and biofuels?  Will we choose to see that people, and the planet, will not survive if we rely on what has been our folly, our friend, and our funeral march, our converted constitution, and a corrupted Preamble?   Only we can decide.  Fix it or Nix it?  Perhaps, we must do both.

Written with thanks to By Larry Hartweg Zero Energy Design® for a visual presentation that inspires and investigates, Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

BP; Texas Tea or Gulf Coast Coffee



BP Spills Coffee

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

For more than a century, in unison, the planets’ population proclaimed, thankfully petroleum flows.  Oil powers our machines.  The refined product has helped us manufacture massive quantities of clothing, aluminum sheet, and photovoltaic (PV) solar cells.  “Plastics.”  As was professed in a popular film decades ago, “There’s a great future in plastics.” Presently, and in the past, BP understood this and much more.  The company’s Executives knew petroleum could and would provide endless profits, power, and a perpetual presence.

Mother Earth’s Coffee was BPs Cream


One need only consider the pretty penny made ($9 Billion) on the sale of Innovene, or the big bucks BPs SPORT Polymer Cracking technology is expected to yield.  Black Gold, Texas Teas, and Gulf Coast Coffee, arguably, have fostered the good life for Americans.  Nothing has changed that truth; yet, recent events  have tweaked perceptions.  

Talk began in April, on the 20th to be exact. On that fateful day people began to recognize a shift in the wind, or more correctly in the seas.   Waterways in the Gulf of Mexico filled with fuel.  The flow seemed endless. Months later, the stream of crude has barely subsided.  Many mused as the corporate slogan states, BP is “Beyond Petroleum.”

Today, millions, perchance billions, believe this company has operated beyond the reach of what were presumed to be regulations.  Documents reveal that on countless occasions the oil giant violated government set standards .  With “willful neglect of safety rules, and penalties for manipulating energy markets” British Petroleum moved forward with an unmistakable mission, profits at any price.  Human and environmental tragedies were thought the cost of doing business. “Accidents” happen. People perish. Either or each is as milk spilled.  A company, as conventional wisdom taught British Petroleum, cannot cry over spilled milk, coffee, or oil.

BP never has.  Throughout their more than century long existence cruelty has characterized the corporations policies and practices. BP is not only Beyond Petroleum.  This business is Beyond Belief.  

Cravings Cut to Mother Earth’s Core


In 2010, as America and the world watches and waits for the calamity of an oil well gone awry to end, most wonder why, how, when, and where did BP go wrong?  In actuality, the question is how, when, where, and why did people throughout the planet allow this to happen, over and over again until the scale of the calamity could not be controlled?  Perchance, people on this planet collectively decided not to cry over earlier “spills.”  For more than a century, we were satisfied with satiated gas tanks, and all the other products petroleum provides.

Try as we might to justify our shared gluttony, it is difficult to imagine that anyone could truly deny the human thirst for fossil fuels has led us down the path of destruction.  We wanted Texas Tea, and what we now have is Gulf Coast Coffee.  

People may wish to call what occurred a spill, and from what is read and heard in the Press, we do.  Yet, no object dropped.  No cup of oil can be turned upright.  Indeed, the only splash or spatter seen was blood.  We can safely say that life sustaining red fluid from human bodies was spilled.  However, the oil that rushes from the ocean’s ground is another sort of bleed.  The gusher from below is a hemorrhage.  It is an uncontrollable surge of fluid.  The oil that now fills the sea and covers the shores is the result of a puncture wound.  Pierce an artery and the effect is the same.

Humans have purposely, physically hurt their Mother Earth and ultimately, themselves.  We have done anything and everything to feed our addiction.  People in the “civilized” world might be compared with any individual who desperately craves food, drink, or drugs.  We will do what we must to satisfy our desires, regardless of the fact that our folly will injure another.

Thus, we drill hole after hole into our planet’s body.  Not long ago, actually days before the Deepwater Horizon rig was ablaze, citizens in this country chanted, in chorus with the Obama Administration, “Drill Baby Drill.”  

Even two months after the catastrophe, as a nation we advanced the theme, and happily arranged to act on “Drill Baby Drill.”  The difference is, today, we express a bit of concern for what might be, but only a bit.

To Clean, Wean, or Glean Greater Gulps of Coffee


Americans have begun to recognize the hazards of oil consumption.  Still, very few think to immediately turn away from fossil fuels.  Only some consider an authentic overall investment in renewable energy.  The mantra of most is this must be a slow transition.  President Obama speaks to the people’s preference.  Gulf drilling only if we can ensure no more spills.  Keep the coffee coming.  Texas tea is more than a temptation.  It is America’s source of elation.  “Spills” can be sopped up.  Well, sort of.

Conveniently, as addicts do, we rationalize.  Several say we have begun to wean ourselves. Besides, in the past, we controlled the Earth’s hemorrhages,  . . .or pretended to. Now we opportunely take no blame and call what has occurred a spill.  

For so long we, just as British Petroleum, immersed ourselves in the “bliss” of ignorance.  The “spilled milk” adage has been our aide.  Thus, at present, we proudly search for solutions.  BP too has embraced this tradition, although the company’s attempts to answer the call might be considered clumsy , comical., and call into question the term “sweet crude.”

Absolutely.  Something must be done.  We must find a way to stop the bleed.  Bandages have proven to be inadequate.  It has been confirmed; crafts and chemicals are calculated risks.  Numerous persons recall their childhood.  Mom’s tried and true traditional healing techniques were often the better cure to what ailed them.  Yes.  Scientists, Doctor Riki Ott among them, avow, there are natural common sense ways to clean and contain the flow that gushes from the Gulf floor.  However, as is often observed, BP has adopted not one of these.  In truth, the company dismissed all but four of the more than 35,000 ideas it received in the month of May.  These scant treasures were only “tested.”

Also in May, a frantic Public Offered Ideas to Stop Oil Flow to the Government.  These too were rejected.  At the time, an Official said the US cannot take over cleanup duty. Let the coffee flow as we klatch, offered company Executives..

Small communities adopted some natural alternatives.  The Obama Administration, which had relied solely on the vaunted wizardry of British Petroleum, has begun to be, ever so slightly, more engaged,  However, spokespersons say the government is reliant on the company’s tools, technology and expert talent.   Surely, it is evident; clean remediation is not BP’s standard.  The petroleum profiteer prefers the use of toxic chemical solutions, even those banned by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA].

People are frustrated, as  the oil comes ashore.  BPs Chief Executive Officer offers absurd analysis and silly statements.  The beleaguered boss admits his job is on the line; however, he assesses the oil gusher and the gallons released into the wild as, “relatively tiny” compared with the “very big ocean”.

Many have wondered why we do not use hay, hair, and other natural fibers to, at least, capture some of the oil as it spouts.  Limited supplies of one, fragility of  the other, does not negate the truth as stated by Myron Sullivan II, founder of Global Response Group (GRG), a well known industry expert on oil spill responses.  In an electronic mail message, he professed hay could be a good complement for other novel systems.  Indeed, the GRG prospectus emphasizes that many existing oil spill response solutions could be used in combination with its technology to contain and remove oil spills. Indeed, hay, hair, or other natural forms for cleanup could compliment and harmonize with any safe and sane system.

While Mister Sullivan and his organization could realize capital gains if his own technological triumph was embraced, at least, for now, the creator of the AEROS system understands that biology works to benefit an ecosystem.  Surely, any organic alternative would be better than the various poisonous, preposterous, BP funded fumbles and follies the public has seen.

At this moment in time, even a system such as AEROS is not an option.  No tested technique, hair and hay amongst these, has been incorporated into the cleanup and containment.   BP thinks it best to go it alone, to persuasively advertise, and advance only the message the company hopes will move the masses.

Dollars are not doled out to those whose lives have been destroyed. Almost none of the billions from profits have been spent to hasten the prospect of Gulf water purification.   Nor has this cash and crude ravenous company donated dollars to other more sound endeavors.  British Petroleum is too busy ravaging the environment and destroying economic stability.

Why?  The answer is perhaps as illogical as the attempts to cap the huge hole BP bored into Mother Earth’s flesh.  No matter what BP or other companies do, profits are the priority.  BP only wishes to capture and resell the crude. Critters, communities . . . These are as spilled coffee. . . only a concern to the degree they might create a problem for BP.

References for a refinement of natural resources . . .

Mother Earth to Millions, We Have a Problem



Oil Booms & Bird Habitat – NWF visits important bird rookery

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Americans acknowledge there is a problem.  Petroleum pours out from a broken pipe.  Thousands of barrels of fuel flow freely through the Gulf of Mexico, just as they have for more than a month.  Plants, animals, and people are affected.  People express distress.  Millions are dismayed. What can BP do. Indeed what can any company or citizens do? Most call upon the President. Mister Obama, the electorate pleads, please, protect us.  These same citizens ignore that the protection we need is from ourselves.  Our present circumstances are a reflection of our past.  Many Americans have forgotten an earlier time, when another of this country’s Chief Executives attempted to avoid the nightmare we experience today.

In 2010, people, plants and animals cry out in pain.  In 1977,  Americans laughed at Jimmy Carter when he appeared on television donned in a sweater.  President Carter had only been in Office for two weeks.  Decades ago, Mister Carter warned Americans.  The nation’s leader explained, if we continued to be as dependent on oil as we were, and are today, terrestrial doom would be our future.  Yet, few heeded the call.  Most did not take the President’s proclamation seriously.  Then, and now, citizens prefer to guzzle petroleum and plunge further into what we think of as the good life.  Our gluttonous ways have threatened the planet for a very long time.

As we gaze upon oil-soaked birds on our Gulf Stream beaches, or listen to the words of British Petroleum’s President, people ponder only the present.   However, our history haunts us.  Our choices in the last century have created what comes ashore in this millennium.  Tarballs.  Dead animals including dolphins, and pelicans,  have perished.  So many species affected, all unable to survive the sludge.

This is not a novel reality.  Americans, indeed, those in worldwide-civilized countries, have experienced similar catastrophes.  Nonetheless, humans persist.  People do as they desire to do.  Today, after the rig ruptured, man-“kind” engages in preventable hazardous activities, just as we have done before.  

E.O. Wilson, a noted Harvard Professor and Researcher observes, “(F)or every animal celebrity that vanishes, biologists can point to thousands of species of plants and smaller animals either recently extinct or on the brink.”  The numbers can only be estimated. However, Professor Wilson believes that those gone from an Earthly existence are in the many thousands.  Regardless of the exact calculation, scientists agree; Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve.  

“Measuring the rate at which new species evolve is difficult, but there’s no question that the current extinction rates are faster  . . . I think it’s inevitable,” said Simon Stuart, Chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.  The organization which officially declares species threatened and extinct cautions, as other conservation experts have.  The world is in the grip of the “sixth great extinction” of species.

Humans have undone the natural balance.  People drive destruction.  Our craving for crude oil and coal kills natural habitats.  We hunt in ways that hurt the ecosystem, spread alien predators and promote disease.  The cruelty of climate change cannot be measured.

Even so, two-legged mortals carry on without care for their Mother, Nature.  

We allow what we cannot control or comprehend.  For a barrel full of petroleum, Mother Earth’s blood perhaps, or the baby she held safely in her womb. For centuries, man-“kind” drills deep into her skin, the Earth’s surface. Oh, of course scientists and the common folks surmise that man can do so without peril, regardless of “spills” or the effect of these on the environment.   People wish to profess; we understand the relationship between Mother Nature and Texas Tea, or Louisiana Sea crude.  Yet, might we consider what is evident?

Today’s Americans are as people in the past were.  We are good at believing what we want to think true.  We criticize and ridicule anyone or action that place our personal comfort in jeopardy.  We chuckle when someone says we need to change!  We worry only about our cash flow.  A crippled economy concerns us more than birds, fish, fowl, flora, and the coral reef.

A Governor’s decree in support of sustaining the oil industry while his wetlands and workers struggle to survive only serves to solidify what animals, mammals, and amphibian creatures already knew.  Mankind is crueler than any other critter; and yet, he or she calls him or herself humane.

Please may we acknowledge that we are part of the planet? We need not be the perpetual problem.  Let us act as the Mother Earth’s Shepherd would and be the solution.

References for a reality known long ago, realized, and ignored . . ..

My Hair; His Energy Policy



Bush Oil Dancing!

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

“Drill baby, drill,” is the now ever-present and popular battle-cry for many Americans.  From Presidential candidates to everyday people, those who wish to consume sweet light crude as they have for a more than a century remind me of my hair, and the current President’s energy policy.  I ponder the parallels and invite you to consider . . .

During a recent press conference, as I gazed upon the President of the United States, noticeably aged after years in the Oval Office, I thought of my hair and my history.  His wavy gray locks are not as the strands that fall from my head.  Nor did the diminutive curl that danced on his brow remind me of my own tresses.  The style the Chief Executive donned did not resemble the permanent waves, pompadours, or ponytails I once wore.  As George W. Bush spoke of his energy policy, I pondered.  His approach to petroleum and power were as the methodology I embraced when I colored my hair.  

For years, I addressed the truth of my tresses just as the President assesses the paradox of propulsion.  In speech after speech, George W. Bush proposes, as he did on this occasion; America needs to end its addiction to oil.  In the past, I proclaimed, I need to bring to a halt the habit of dying my hair.  I, as President Bush, postured and yet, I did next to nothing to truly take me closer to my stated objective.

My progression towards a chemical free treatment of my hair was, as it seems Mister Bush’s advancement is.  I avoided more authentic change than I approached.  My evolution was perhaps slowed by love.  The tale of transformation began oh, so long ago.

Decades ago, I met a man who felt like family.  Indeed, emotionally Eugene was part of my intimate circle.  Gene did much with my Mom, Dad, brother, and I.  As a pair, Eugene and I often ventured off together.  We chatted on the telephone, spent time in each other’s home.  We were close.  This fine fellow was influential in many aspects of my life.  I respected his opinion.  I valued his friendship.  His wisdom often wowed me.  

Thus, when my good friend Gene, who was also my hairdresser, told me the tint would brighten my face, I thought he must have reason to think this sage advice.  At first, I protested.  As insecure as I was about my appearance, I was confident that my natural hair color was perfect.  Still, I considered the source.  Therefore, I trusted the recommendation.

Possibly, George W. Bush could share a similar story.  A loved one might have said, “Your future will be bright if you dabble in petroleum.  extraction”  “Build an oil well, my boy, and become a billionaire, or at least a multi-millionaire with substantial influence.”  “Taste the Texas Tea, and your life will be wondrous,” could have been the claim Papa George Herbert or Momma Barbara uttered.

“Oil,” family or friends may have opined, will improve the quality of the your existence.  Perchance George felt as I did.  He had no cause to distrust those he was close to.  Indeed, relatives of the heir apparent could avow, with knowledge, to refine sweet crude would put money in a person’s pocket.  Black gold had helped to grow profits for the Bush brood for generations.  As evidence, any of those related to George W. might have offered the family history.

Oil:. The Bushes’ ties to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil go back 100 years, when Rockefeller made Buckeye Steel Castings wildly successful by convincing railroads that carried their oil to buy heavy equipment from Buckeye.  George H. Walker helped refurbish the Soviet oil industry in the 1920s, and Prescott Bush acquired experience in the international oil business as a 22-year director of Dresser Industries.  George H.W. Bush, in turn, worked for Dresser and ran his own offshore oil-drilling business, Zapata Offshore.

Frequently a boy child will follow a father’s path.  Fondness can fashion a future.  On land and in the seas sweet light crude secured the Bush family’s future.  Young George W. Bush looked at evidence.  His ancestral past, and his present circumstances even at an early age, helped establish a proven record.  Investments in petroleum equate to prosperity.  After a scant assessment, the youthful Bush likely decided, drill, drill, drill.  That would be the life for him.  Silver platters can be persuasive.  The opinions of friends and family can also be extremely influential.

Through our personal acquaintance, Gene taught me to trust him and to have faith in his beliefs.  Eugene had experience with hair dye.  He felt the practice was safe, sane, and offered a sensational opportunity to liven up a face and an existence.  Although initially hesitant, I concluded I would at least “try” what quickly became my habit.  However, what I did not realize was once you begin on a path, it is a challenge to change course.  Dark roots appeared in no time, as did my demand for more hair-dye.  

George too may have approached his novel exploration cautiously.  Many offspring resolve, they do not wish to be in the family business.  The son of the senior Bush might have thought to play at this prospect until he found something better.  However, George W. may have quickly discovered just as I did; it is easy to become hooked on a habit, newly acquired or tried and true.  

When a career choice yields great wealth and greater opportunity, it is difficult to resist the temptation to continue on a prosperous path.  Once the journey begins, an oilman such as George W. Bush realized, empty gas tanks require more fuel.  Electrical equipment must be charged.  The demand is endless.  The people, such as the Bush band, who earn income from the supply, are happy to serve.  Thus, the dissonance thrives.  

The provider of power or the person caught in a mad pursuit for peroxide journeys deeper into an endless downward spiral.  However, neither is aware of the consequences.  Gene might not have considered that his chosen career shaded his truth.  Nor did I ponder that a professional hair-styler has a singular perspective.

When first introduced to the idea of hair-dye,  I pondered; who was the person who presented the proposition.  However, I did not think of the veracity, or what later was so clear.  Eugene was trained to trust in toxic dyes.  When a person sees tinted hair all day, and into the evening, shades of stain on strands of hair seem sensible.  The individual that takes the time to apply the colors, surely must think the work wise.  

Perhaps, a young George W. Bush also concerned himself with the credibility of those who counseled him.  He too found reason to have faith.  The future President of the United States might not have pondered further.  He may not have investigated the possible hazards associated with oil production or petroleum use.  Often, when presented with a choice, we cannot imagine the infinite unknown possibilities, probabilities, or the perils.  

My friend not only shaded my hair; his beliefs tainted my own.  The hair on my head, and the thoughts in my gray matter were tinted.  The Bush family may have colored the consciousness of the youthful George and persuaded a future President to forget what he could have known.  Petroleum pollutes.  Refined crude contaminates the air and seas.  The fumes from Texas Tea in an engine cause temperatures on the terrain and in the troposphere to rise.

Granted, I understood how chemical treatments harmed my tresses and dulled the tint.  Aware of the damage done beneath the surface of a follicle, I persuaded myself it was slight and worth the sacrifice.  Possibly, the Bush family thought the same of their endeavors.  Certainly, George W. Bush still does.  He offers plans for renewable energy as he continues to pursue petroleum.  Ah, the dynamics of a decision are vast and deep.

Only now, as the globe warms, the climate changes, and the weather whips people and their property into oblivion, does Mister Bush face the true cost of his earlier decision.  Only recently did the  President recognize the harmful influence of fossil fuels on the environment.  Today, he finally acknowledges the immediate need for a commitment to cleaner energy.  Just as I slowly understood, the damage chemicals did to my hair, George W.  now touts his mindfulness.  There is a problem.  The planet is in peril.

As death and destruction beckon for attention, George sees as I did when I looked into the mirror.  Life, or the look, was out of balance.  The natural beauty was gone.  The breaks were bad.  Chemicals had stripped the surface . . . of the land or my locks.

However, while Mister Bush sees a need for transformation, it seems he is, as I was, reluctant to recognize the seriousness of the situation.  His does not act decisively to change what has become his [and our nations’] practice.  

President Bush advised Americans to ponder alterative renewable sources for power.  This country’s Commander touted; viable resolutions for our energy crisis are easily accessible.  “Biodiesel refineries can produce fuel from soybeans, and vegetable oils, and recycled cooking grease, from waste materials.”  The President proposed Americans could invest in clean energy.  Indeed, he exclaimed; we must go green.  However, for Mister Bush an emerald endeavor is black as oil or golden as bullion.  This oilman has reaped many a reward from America’s addiction, as have we all.  Convenience is but one benefit cheap energy bestows upon the United States public.  Profits have been more profound, more colorful for Chief Executive Bush.

Possibly, for the President charcoal is a fine hue.  “George,” if I might speak in the familiar, seems to think as I once did.  One shade can be substituted for another.  Only the more transparent tones cause George W. Bush much angst.  Who will or how might moguls who have invested lifetimes of worth, as this oil magnate has, harness, the sun, the wind, and water.  Mister Bush is unable to imagine a future so different from the life he and his family have long known.  Thus, he avoids the option he says he appreciates, just as I eschewed the thought of using no tint at all on my mane.  The untried did not ring true.

Attempts to transform what has been an American tradition are preferred by this President (and perhaps, the public.)  George W. Bush speaks of clean coal, as though there is such a substance.  Coal is a recognizable source of energy; yet, not a renewable or alternative choice.  Coal generates 54% of the electricity used in the United States. Whilst he ran for President, candidate Bush pledged that he would commit $2 billion over 10 years to advance clean coal technology.  Indeed, as promised, the National Energy Policy and budget requests to Congress demonstrated the President’s dedication to this cause.

Few fear what they do not wish to accept.  The Chief Executive favors an element that is essentially filthy.  The President might muse clean coal is the change.  Yet, he ignores that the hard black sedimentary rock is a health hazard to all it serves.  This “plentiful” element pollutes when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned.  This combustible material destroys life throughout the global community.  Many species cannot survive as well as man believes he might when nature is out of balance.

Equilibrium is the gracious essence that helps us to thrive.  I too sought to sustain symmetry.  I pondered the many ways in which my mane might maintain its sheen and still be enhanced.  I hoped to find energy in color.  When confronted with the notion that a tint could damage my tresses, I also contemplated other options.  Clean dye; that was my criteria.

I assessed what I thought would be safe.  With a similar pious conviction, I concluded henna could perhaps be a practical possibility . . . that is if I wanted to enhance the natural hue of my hair.  At the time, this substitute seemed sensible to me.  I thought only of what I believed true, just as George W. Bush does today.  Plants are pure, plentiful, and will provide what I need . . . or want, perchance.

I had not authentically considered the possible predicament a product could cause.  At first blush, I was content with what seemed an ideal and equal opportunity.  Then, later, after I acknowledged my error, I was easily satisfied with what I trusted to be an indigenous replacement.

Now, cognizant of the connection between my hair and his history, I wonder; what concerns did George W. Bush weigh.  Did he study the consequences of his choices?  Did he hear or think to heed any of the cautions?  Might President Bush have ruminated on the probable ruin of the land and lives?  Could he have predicted what might happen if we raped the land to gratify our need for energy?  

One never knows what is in the heart or mind of another.  Nonetheless, as I reflect upon times gone by in my own life, I trust the President did not imagine, and perchance, still, he has no idea of what he reaped and sowed.  I surely did not.

For me, awareness arrived slowly.  As I processed my hair, I did not have the opportunity to notice the subtle changes.  I was too close to the situation.  I could not see what I did not wish to acknowledge.  I suspect George W. Bush [and Americans absorbed in what feels, oh, so fine] do not realize what harm unhealthy dependence causes.  

To dye or to die.  To drive vehicles powered with fossil fuels or to authentically preserve the planet, which is now in peril.  These might be the questions George and I avoided, or only addressed half-heartedly.

When I thought tinted hair was desirable, each alternative possibility required me to treat my hair with color.  Upon reflection, I realize I had not known to think of how the texture or tone of my mane might change if I ingested a more nutritious diet.  That is another story for another time.  Today, I wonder.  Was George open enough to evaluate horizons he had yet to explore?

As I gazed upon the President speaking of energy, I could not help but think of how Mister Bush said we must work to improve technology.  He confidently confirmed, we can wean ourselves away from fossil fuels.  In his own words the President espoused , “(A)t the same time” we must find “oil and gas here at home.”  The mantra is very familiar.  It was mine.  I believe this rationalization is reflected in the adage ‘You can have your cake and eat it too.’

Indeed, for a very long time, I indulged in similar silly logic.  As the blonde stain grew out, I said, I could refresh the look and limit my use of artificial satin all at the same time.  Oh, if only that was possible.  As long as dye is applied, the harmful effects of the treatment will not fade away.  The problem was, and is, whether we speak of fossil fuels or human hair, the more you invest in the unhealthy habits you claim to condemn the less likely it is that change will come.

Much to our detriment, individuals such as George and I are, and mankind is, comfortable with the familiar.  Humans are content to engage as they have for so long, regardless of whether a practice nourishes the body, soul, or the planet.

People may plan for or posit a change.  George W. Bush emphatically pronounced, “(N)ow is the time to get it done.”  He or I might suggest a slow move towards purity.  However, as my hair taught me, as long as I [or we] do as we have done, nothing will be different.  

As long as I stained my mane, there was more reason to stain my mane.  As long as America satisfies its addiction to oil, there is more reason to continue to gratify the love of gasoline.  When manufacturers build more machines reliant on petroleum, they encourage a greater dependence on fossil fuels.  An obsession for oil is as a mania for a colored mane.  Each, initially, captivates an individual and then controls the person.

Most of us learn to love what we later determine may be detrimental.  

George W. Bush, just as many Americans seem to be, is as I was.  The President is caught in a horrific, harmful, spiral, and yet comfortable with what he knows and does.  While the cost, to the environment, and to personal pocketbooks, may encourage a desire for change, convenience and expediency are enormously more persuasive.  Oh, how well, I know this to be true.  

I was once victim to a viability that made sense.  The President and the American people are caught up in the same conundrum.  If he, or we, fails to eliminate our physical and psychological, dependence on oil now there may not be a later.

To transform our reality we need to recognize the delicate dance for what it is.  Just as less dye was an unwise compromise for me, limited selective, additional drilling is a concession with consequences.  Partial progression will not alter our habituation.  It is time to stop!  To rethink, reinvent, to re-power our plants and public opinion is to truly care for our selves and for generations to come.

Resources or Reflections on Refinery . . .

Full of Gas

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

People may wish that the fuel tanks on the automobile they drive were full of gas.  Yet, recently, due to the rising price of petroleum, many crude containers are empty.  American citizens feel the crunch, the energy, and economic crunch.  They have cried.  They clamored.  The public craves attention for what they think is issue number one, the cost of Texas Tea, Alaskan oil, and fossil fuels from foreign sources.  John McCain hears the call.  His Vice Presidential pick, Sarah Palin feels the pain of the poor persons, of all Americans, who scream for relief at the pump.  Even Barack Obama has proposed a compromise on a previously held position.

Politicians, sensitive to the pleas hope to provide more petroleum to the people of the United States.  They offer plan after plan.  Nuclear power will ease the pain at the pump.  Offshore oil drilling will end a dependence on oil from overseas.  Each energy initiative is an attempt to appease an anxious electorate.

What is not said is that fission produces electricity.  It does not drive our cars.  Domestic resources for electrical power are abundant.  The supply Americans rely on could be cleaner; however, that topic will wait for another time and treatise.  

Today, while the evidence suggests, Americans will not reap an instantaneous reprieve from the crude crisis, or any real relief at all if the Outer Continental Shelf is probed for petroleum, the public, politicians, and the press continue to focus on what each hopes is the cherished find.  None seem to reflect upon the fragile balance of Mother Earth.

As the cost of oil climbs and affordable creature comforts fall from view, the environment has become less of a consideration.  Americans who grapple with what is of greater importance to them, economics, or the cash that helps create a cozy lifestyle conclude consumption is preferred to conservation.  

Perchance that is why the press is able to alter the conversation.

To care for the planet’s preservation seems beyond the scope of human nature.  Indeed, to think that a single human might affect the milieu seems silly to those who are besieged with the business of everyday survival.  People claim to have bigger problems.  

Can they pay for health care.  Might someone find a cure for a husband’s cancer.  Will employers ship jobs overseas?  Could a son or daughter be called off to war?  The mortgage payment is due and there is no money in the bank.  Foreclosure may be unavoidable.  In the United States, there is much angst.  The ecosystem  and its balance are the least of the average citizens’ worries.

Daily deeds are the priority.  Most activities involve an automobile.  In this industrialized nation, people are expected to drive to school, to work, to the mall, and to town hall.  Once of age, individuals steer to the store.  They visit those they adore.  Most every movement is made from within a vehicle.  The American people pride themselves on their mobility.  

For more than a century fuel was cheap and the possibility for travel endless.  Thus, today, people ask why did this change.  Most Americans are certain ethanol need not be so expensive.  They care not of the climate crisis.  They are convinced such a conjecture is but a hoax.

The press promotes the view politicians control the cost of petrol.  The public is persuaded.  Polls pass for “demonstrable facts.”  Then, the media draws an artificial analogy.  The message is massaged.

David Fiderer, a Huffington Post Journalist, and an Energy Banker, explains;, the media manages the gaseous discussion.  Correspondents carry the communication as calculated.  Science is not stressed in the search for solutions to the propulsion problem.  Minds are maneuvered to the advantage of a political Party.  The press is the source of a less than productive  discussion of the energy policy.  Might Americans inquire, who manipulates the media or owns the message.

In an American Public Radio broadcast of On the Media, aired August 29, 2008, this expert on the effect of energy economics helps to provide perspective.  

Please listen to David Fiderer as he opens a window into the world of fuel and finances.

Dear reader, you may also wish to read the article the author, David Fiderer, refers to . . .

Energy for Dummies: The GOP’s Secret Weapon Is A Clueless Media, By David Fiderer.  Huffington Post. August 25, 2008

Resources Refined . . .

We Can Solve The Climate Crisis



To Our Leaders: Give Us 100% Clean Electricity in 10 Years

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Americans, addicted to oil and quick fixes, embrace a man and a mantra; yet, most are unwilling to envelop themselves in a cause.  The public appreciates the need for clean energy.  Accolades are bestowed upon the former Vice President, author, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and environmentalist Albert Gore for the work he has done to inform us of an inconvenient truth.  Nonetheless, as knowledgeable as the public may be, nothing truly changes.  Intellectually, nearly everyone accepts what a myriad of experts emphasize.  The planet is in peril.  However, emotionally, few internalize the urgency of what must be a global priority.  There is a problem.  We cannot wait to employ solutions.

Nonetheless, for the most part, the masses delay.  We, the people, pour our bodies into gasoline guzzlers we call cars.  We cry out loudly when the price of fossil fuels climbs.  Millions moan and groan at the thought of being without a vehicle or petroleum based plastic bags, bottles, or other commodities that produce pollution.  We, revel at the possibility that we might own the latest or greatest gadget.  A new widget is welcomed into our homes.  While the populace complains that today, products have a built in obsolescence, people prefer to trash what is no longer new.  For the most part, we are a population of consumers content with what we have.  Countless have emotionally closed the door on doing what needs to be done to save the planet.

Land is filled with what was once shiny and sensational.  Previously prized possessions are stored in garages and lockers far from the owners who loved these trinkets long ago.  Backyards, boulevards, and beaches are strewn with what was valuable way back when.  Shores and seas are saturated with treasures now declared garbage.  The atmosphere is clogged with chemicals used to produce these favorite assets.  Everywhere we turn, there is evidence that mankind has hurt Mother Earth; although a few still claim, humans do not transform the habitat.  The devout have faith only the Almighty can alter what is.

These individuals and those who do not share such conviction offer excuses.  They may say man is but a speck in the universe and on this planet.  Humans have dominion.  A single layperson or scientist might suggest these seeming contrary statements concurrently.  A solitary sole, so certain that consumption is good, may not perceive the cognitive dissonance that commands him, or her.  Few authentically consider the principles of cause and effect.

Most of us just cruise through life.  Persons imagine that cannot change what is.

We have all heard the pretext for what might be labeled laissez-faire, a lack of belief in the ability of one little being, or laziness.  People profess; economic prosperity and personal freedoms need to be sustained.  “Free enterprise will take care of all ills.”  Supply-and-demand governs the market effectively.  If the public wanted renewable energy, certainly entrepreneurs would manufacture products to meet the exigency.  Those who prefer a profit-driven system say, man must be able to produce, and even a tree-hugger would agree.  A creative productive populace can solve any problem.

However, those whose heart resides with Mother Nature do not think it wise to fabricate what will mar the milieu.  Yet, these persons rarely accomplish much to encourage environmental practices.  Ecologists frequently bemoan, the people have no political power.  Common folks cannot make true change.  Big Businesses must provide the means.  Helpless and humbled conservationists howl, we cannot cure the climate crisis.  We have no clout.

Few, among the masses acknowledge that the people are the power.  We have the energy.  If the average Joe and Jane enthusiastically, with eager fervor, and a commitment to clean energy insist that our Representatives free us from the constraints of fossil fuels, they will.  Their livelihood and lives, just as ours, depends on renewable sources for propulsion and production.  When the masses are resolute, Congress, and corporations, respond.  

Purposeful people can move manufacturers.  If the whole of the people adamantly avow and act on a promise not to purchase merchandise manufactured in a manner that is perilous to the planet, much will be done.  A dedicated population has the power to solve an energy crisis and a climate catastrophe.  Together, we can overcome what has been a tremendous obstacle.  United, we need not be a culture critically void of dynamic concern.  We the people can free ourselves from the restraints that bind us.  We need not rely on a man or a mantra.  We can solve it all, if each of us begins with me.

Please sign petitions.  Write to Congresspersons and Chief Executive Officers.  Purchase no wares that pollute.  Participate not in political actions that advocate policies that add to the concern for climate crisis.  Speak out and act in accordance to your environmentally friendly beliefs.  I, we thank you.

We Can Solve the Climate Crisis Together . . .

Al Gore; We Can Solve The Climate Crisis



Remix: Al Gore’s Challenge to Repower America

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Former Vice President Albert Gore challenges Congress, corporations, citizens in this country, and people planet wide to consider crucial connections, and what might be done to correct what appears to be an eminent disaster.  Globally,  civilization depends on us, and our commitment to change.  Currently, the situation is critical.  Catastrophes exist around every corner.  The economy is shaky.  Employment opportunities are limited.  Weather is weird.  Most experts believe the “energy tsunami” seems to have effected the environment.  Forecasts for the future are not good.  We can no longer count the years until our demise.  The days are numbered.  Too many species are now extinct; more are threatened.  All people on this planet must acknowledge we are in peril.  There is a climate crisis.

Those who wish to believe humans have no effect on the environment need only turn on the television or tune in the radio.  Everyday there are reports that document extraordinary and dire weather conditions.  If this information does not convince cynics, perhaps a more personal tour will.  Travel to your local major metropolis, or better yet, journey to the Far East.  The conditions in China might make an impression.  With little care for contaminates, or regulations to reduce pollutants, poisons visibly linger in the air and scorch the lungs of those who live in this industrialized continent.  Sewage improperly disposed of has caused rivers to rot.  Noxious waste has destroyed waterways at home and abroad.  The land is also filled with toxin.

The air is no longer clean.  The seas are soiled.  The land is filled with impurities.  Soon there will be nowhere to hide from what humans wrought.  Thus, the challenge, as presented by Nobel Peace Prize awardee.  Please do more than peruse.  Take the initiative and repower the property Mother Nature bequeathed.

Ladies and gentlemen:

There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger.  In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes.  Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more – if more should be required – the future of human civilization is at stake.

I don’t remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly.

The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse – much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland’s largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world.

Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an “energy tsunami” that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.

And by the way, our weather sure is getting strange, isn’t it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods. Unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American West. Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.

Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that’s been worrying me.

I’m convinced that one reason we’ve seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately – without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective – they almost always make the other crises even worse.

Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges – the economic, environmental and national security crises.

We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.

But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we’re holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.

The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of “solutions summits” with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.

What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don’t cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?

We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world’s energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.

And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.

The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.

But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation’s problems, we need a new start.

That’s why I’m proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It’s not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.

Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.

This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans – in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.

A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here’s what’s changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power – coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal – have radically changed the economics of energy.

When I first went to Congress 32 years ago, I listened to experts testify that if oil ever got to $35 a barrel, then renewable sources of energy would become competitive. Well, today, the price of oil is over $135 per barrel. And sure enough, billions of dollars of new investment are flowing into the development of concentrated solar thermal, photovoltaics, windmills, geothermal plants, and a variety of ingenious new ways to improve our efficiency and conserve presently wasted energy.

And as the demand for renewable energy grows, the costs will continue to fall. Let me give you one revealing example: the price of the specialized silicon used to make solar cells was recently as high as $300 per kilogram. But the newest contracts have prices as low as $50 a kilogram.

You know, the same thing happened with computer chips – also made out of silicon. The price paid for the same performance came down by 50 percent every 18 months – year after year, and that’s what’s happened for 40 years in a row.

To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I’ve seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.

To those who say the costs are still too high: I ask them to consider whether the costs of oil and coal will ever stop increasing if we keep relying on quickly depleting energy sources to feed a rapidly growing demand all around the world. When demand for oil and coal increases, their price goes up. When demand for solar cells increases, the price often comes down.

When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.

Of course, there are those who will tell us this can’t be done. Some of the voices we hear are the defenders of the status quo – the ones with a vested interest in perpetuating the current system, no matter how high a price the rest of us will have to pay. But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, “The Stone Age didn’t end because of a shortage of stones.”

To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider what the world’s scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don’t act in 10 years. The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis. When the use of oil and coal goes up, pollution goes up. When the use of solar, wind and geothermal increases, pollution comes down.

To those who say the challenge is not politically viable: I suggest they go before the American people and try to defend the status quo. Then bear witness to the people’s appetite for change.

I for one do not believe our country can withstand 10 more years of the status quo. Our families cannot stand 10 more years of gas price increases. Our workers cannot stand 10 more years of job losses and outsourcing of factories. Our economy cannot stand 10 more years of sending $2 billion every 24 hours to foreign countries for oil. And our soldiers and their families cannot take another 10 years of repeated troop deployments to dangerous regions that just happen to have large oil supplies.

What could we do instead for the next 10 years? What should we do during the next 10 years? Some of our greatest accomplishments as a nation have resulted from commitments to reach a goal that fell well beyond the next election: the Marshall Plan, Social Security, the interstate highway system. But a political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that it’s meaningless. Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.

When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon.

To be sure, reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable and truly clean electricity within 10 years will require us to overcome many obstacles. At present, for example, we do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the East and the West that need the electricity. Our national electric grid is critical infrastructure, as vital to the health and security of our economy as our highways and telecommunication networks. Today, our grids are antiquated, fragile, and vulnerable to cascading failure. Power outages and defects in the current grid system cost US businesses more than $120 billion dollars a year. It has to be upgraded anyway.

We could further increase the value and efficiency of a Unified National Grid by helping our struggling auto giants switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars. An electric vehicle fleet would sharply reduce the cost of driving a car, reduce pollution, and increase the flexibility of our electricity grid.

At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That’s the best investment we can make.

America’s transition to renewable energy sources must also include adequate provisions to assist those Americans who would unfairly face hardship. For example, we must recognize those who have toiled in dangerous conditions to bring us our present energy supply. We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry. Every single one of them.

Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.

In order to foster international cooperation, it is also essential that the United States rejoin the global community and lead efforts to secure an international treaty at Copenhagen in December of next year that includes a cap on CO2 emissions and a global partnership that recognizes the necessity of addressing the threats of extreme poverty and disease as part of the world’s agenda for solving the climate crisis.

Of course the greatest obstacle to meeting the challenge of 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years may be the deep dysfunction of our politics and our self-governing system as it exists today. In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.

It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.

Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they’re going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it. If we keep going back to the same policies that have never ever worked in the past and have served only to produce the highest gasoline prices in history alongside the greatest oil company profits in history, nobody should be surprised if we get the same result over and over again. But the Congress may be poised to move in that direction anyway because some of them are being stampeded by lobbyists for special interests that know how to make the system work for them instead of the American people.

If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices, here it is: the exploding demand for oil, especially in places like China, is overwhelming the rate of new discoveries by so much that oil prices are almost certain to continue upward over time no matter what the oil companies promise. And politicians cannot bring gasoline prices down in the short term.

However, there actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years. The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.

Many Americans have begun to wonder whether or not we’ve simply lost our appetite for bold policy solutions. And folks who claim to know how our system works these days have told us we might as well forget about our political system doing anything bold, especially if it is contrary to the wishes of special interests. And I’ve got to admit, that sure seems to be the way things have been going. But I’ve begun to hear different voices in this country from people who are not only tired of baby steps and special interest politics, but are hungry for a new, different and bold approach.

We are on the eve of a presidential election. We are in the midst of an international climate treaty process that will conclude its work before the end of the first year of the new president’s term. It is a great error to say that the United States must wait for others to join us in this matter. In fact, we must move first, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because moving first is in our own national interest.

So I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge – for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It’s time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now.

This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate. I’m asking you – each of you – to join me and build this future. Please join the WE campaign at wecansolveit.org.

We need you. And we need you now. We’re committed to changing not just light bulbs, but laws. And laws will only change with leadership.

On July 16, 1969, the United States of America was finally ready to meet President Kennedy’s challenge of landing Americans on the moon. I will never forget standing beside my father a few miles from the launch site, waiting for the giant Saturn 5 rocket to lift Apollo 11 into the sky. I was a young man, 21 years old, who had graduated from college a month before and was enlisting in the United States Army three weeks later.

I will never forget the inspiration of those minutes. The power and the vibration of the giant rocket’s engines shook my entire body. As I watched the rocket rise, slowly at first and then with great speed, the sound was deafening. We craned our necks to follow its path until we were looking straight up into the air. And then four days later, I watched along with hundreds of millions of others around the world as Neil Armstrong took one small step to the surface of the moon and changed the history of the human race.

We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.

Let us heed the call.  The crisis beckons us.  The time for change is now!  We can no longer wait.  The damage we have done must be repaired, and only humans can stop themselves from doing greater harm.  Please, cause no more destruction.  Consider daily deeds.  May we ponder the energy used and embrace the environment,  Mother Earth depends on us.

Al Gore, I, and all of nature thank you for all you do in the present to restore a healthy planet.  Let us not hesitate.  May we each do a bit more to ensure our Earth will be better.  Together we can repower and empower every entity if we work as one.  We Can Solve It, the climate crisis!  

A Cruel Shell, BP and ExxonMobil Game

The Natural Resources Defense Council asks those of us who care about our Mother Earth to contribute to a worthy cause, a plea to the people for a clean environment.  Perchance, we can help advance the message.

Help Expose Bush’s Big Lie and Save Our Coasts!

Please help run this powerful new ad in The Washington Post and turn the tide in Congress against legislation that would sacrifice our fragile coasts to Big Oil and the threat of catastrophic spills.


GBGsPrc

NRDCActionFund.org

With our economy sinking and oil prices soaring, George Bush is offering snake oil: a plan to sacrifice more of our coasts to oil drilling on the chance it will produce a few weeks’ worth of oil and reduce gas prices by a few pennies a gallon…in 2028. Imagine America forever tethered to Bush’s failed energy policy. It’s like giving him five more terms.

It’s a cruel Shell game.  And BP game.  And ExxonMobil game.

Over the past five years, the number of domestic drilling permits has nearly doubled. But because of rising worldwide demand, oil prices have skyrocketed. More drilling off our coasts is not the answer. Once destroyed they can never be replaced. The only winners will be the oil companies.

Want gas at $1 a gallon?

America needs a bold new approach to energy, from more fuel efficient vehicles to plug-in hybrids and electric cars. A cleaner electric grid powered by renewables.

Existing technologies could have us driving at the equivalent of a buck a gallon for gas!

Tell your Representative and Senators to stop the giveaway of our coasts. Tell them you won’t stand for billions more for oil companies-and snake oil for the rest of us.

[The Advertisement will be] Paid for by supporters of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund.

Thank you for your consideration and contribution.


Let Them Eat Oil



President Jimmy Carter – Address to the Nation on Energy

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

In a nation, where appeasement is condemned, Americans are anxious.  The people have been pacified for so long they can no longer recall what it means to be other than indulged.  On June 6, 2008, Congresspersons, uncomfortable with the notion that they might have to use the rod, concluded, for now, it is better to spoil the already pampered Americans.  Lawmakers said, as they have so often, “Let them eat oil!”  After all, the people love petroleum.

Rather than rescind policies that contribute to global warming, or the related scarcity of food and water Legislators declared defeat.  Hope for change was put off for the future, just as it was one score and ten years ago.  Now, nearly a decade into the twenty-first century, the United States Congress concluded a bipartisan  Bill, intended to control climate conditions must die.  The hope was postponed, again.  The dream differed until 2009.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, cautioned climate change is “the most important issue facing the world today.”  However, apparently, it is not imperative enough to counter the cries of despair heard from the American people.  Citizens in this country think cash in hand counts for more than the health of the planet.

The public is easily able to dismiss evidence; Mother Earth is in trouble.  Extinction threatens every species.  Even humans are at risk.  Pollutants fill the air that men, women, and children breath.  Poison is found in the rivers and stream.  Toxins travel through the ecosystem.  There are consequences to what we do.  Global warming is but a warning, one not heeded by Americans who prefer to remain sheltered from talk of environmental storms.

Co-authors of the measure designed to limit heat-trapping gases, California Democrat, Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut envision the demise of the Bill was a win.  The three expressed a shared joy.  Perchance lawmakers are closer to an agreement.  Might it be that Legislators are more unified in an attempt to appease Americans.  The Senate was just shy of consensus.

Conventional wisdom states, “There is time.”  The world can wait.  Evidence does not suggest a need to act immediately.  Next year will be better.  In actuality, politicians did just as the people prefer.  Government officials did not ask the people to forego creature comforts.  Regulations on industry were not increased.  

While the people insist someone must pay for the drastic rise in petroleum prices, most suspect, ultimately, the cost will be passed on to the common folk.

Perchance, that is why Congress was willing to probe profit margins.  The people wanted an explanation; why do they pay exorbitant prices at the pump.  It mattered not that the expectation proved to be the reality.  When tycoons who produce Texas tea were asked of the high cost of fuel, they sang the same old song. What was important is the sense the people had after the hearing.  They had tried to make the big bosses accountable.  The public demands little, insists on less.  Yet, as coddled children who covet a toy just out of reach, they protest loudly.  

Members of Congress, the President of the United States, and Oil Executives understand this.  Each has perfected the art of appeasement.  Give the people what they please.  Then positions and profits will remain secure.  Explanations and examinations reassure the masses and best of all for those comfortable and cozy in millions of cars nothing changes.  Certainly, circumstances dictate all must remain the same, and while few admit it, all are pleased.

The executives firmly insisted that global market forces beyond their control were to blame for high prices.  “As repetitive and uninteresting as it may sound, the fundamental laws of supply and demand are at work,” said John Hofmeister, the president of Shell Oil Company.

(Of course, it was repetitive and uninteresting: Mr. Hofmeister read the same line in his testimony the day before.)

The executives politely but just as firmly insisted that Congress should focus its efforts on allowing more drilling and exploration for domestic oil – in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, offshore in the Atlantic and Pacific, and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.  They insisted that they were investing heavily in search of new oil supplies.

And they strongly warned against other measures: any new tax on profits would put American companies at a disadvantage and only further decrease oil supply; a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax would increase demand and only raise prices more; lawsuits against foreign nations would do nothing to lower prices.

The public may not trust the moneyed moguls; nor do they respect the Representatives.  Nonetheless, the people are silently satisfied.  Few if any wish to give up the freedom they feel as they drive down the road alone, or with one special passenger.  Convenience is comfortable.  The people do not wish to pay the price for alternative energy.  The actual cost may not frighten Americans; the idea that they may need to forfeit a familiar lifestyle terrifies the average citizen.

Months ago, when gas was relatively cheap, cars barely crawled on clogged highways.  Yet, few did more than grumble.  People were essentially cozy cocooned in snug Sports Utility Vehicles, mini-vans, sedans, coupes, and cute convertibles.  Children were pleasantly preoccupied.  Digital Video Discs entertained the young and other occupants as they lounged in leather seats.  Drivers pounded out tunes on the dashboard or punched cellular telephone keyboards.  Travel was a pleasure.  

Some treasured the hours spent on the road.  Life was good not so long ago.  Few complained.  Less requested freedom from fossil fuels.  Progressives may have postured; it is time for a change.  However, few fled from their automobiles.  The price of petroleum may have transformed their habits temporarily.

On Friday, (May 23, 2008) the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported that Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles in March 2008 than in March 2007.  According to the FHWA, that’s the sharpest drop since the agency began keeping records in 1942.

Calculate Risk provides some context:

This is only the third time since 1970 that the year-over-year change in total U.S. miles driven has declined.  The previous two times were following the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979 — and led to the two most severe U.S. recessions since WWII.

Drivers, some now riders, rejoice.  History teaches us economic downturn do not last.  This too shall pass.  Most anticipate the shift is but a provisional switch.  Indeed, Americans work to receive assurance.  They rant and rage.

The President of the United States hears the cries.  He responds.  In April 2008, as Americans clamored for affordable fuel George W. Bush eloquently expressed elucidations to calm the citizenry.  As a Mom or Dad might soothe a baby who bawls incessantly disturbs the parent who only wishes to please his or her progeny, President Bush proposed we do as has long satisfied spoiled Americans.  George W. Bush proposes oil companies provide the people with what they want, more petroleum at prices the electorate likes.

As a self-proclaimed steward of the environment, the President said he would never wish to harm the land.  He assured Americans, if we were to drill for fuel in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] that would be responsible stewardship, regardless of what some scientist say.  Mister Bush declared if Americans simply increase the supply of fossil fuels, demand would be met.  After all, is that not the goal.  Give the baby a bottle of sweet crude and they will stop crying.

Studies show oil pumped from the Artic would have little impact on the cost or availability of petroleum; however, that information is less significant than immediate gratification might be.  John McCain understands this.  He is sensitive to the research and to the millions who intellectually reject the claims the Chief Executive makes.  Senator McCain has a reputation for being a maverick.  He relates to people who, in the twenty-first century, are more environmentally conscious.  The Grand Old Party nominee knows the citizens can no longer be cajoled to believe drills do no damage.  In the Information Age, the electorate is enlightened.  

John McCain is cognizant; the people will only be persuaded to do as they desire if a Presidential aspirant promises to reduce greenhouse gases.  Therefore, he proposes a cap and trade solution.  This policy would allow companies to buy and sell emission credits.  Those who wish to splurge and surge the grid can continue to do so.  Energy exploiters can garner greater credit from those who are prepared to scrimp.  The people who prefer to remain plugged in can.  Those who wish to leave a smaller carbon footprint may do so.  Everyone will be happy, and energy policies will not substantially change what is.

In remarks prepared for delivery Monday at a Portland, Ore., wind turbine manufacturer, the presidential contender says expanded nuclear power must be considered to reduce carbon-fuel emissions.  He also sets a goal that by 2050, the country will reduce carbon emissions to a level 60 percent below that emitted in 1990.

Americans are again gratified.  Change can be delayed.  There is no rush to an energy revolution.  Indeed, this proposal will furnish fission and not provide an authentic substantive solution.  McCain’s Nuclear Waste could possibly contaminate the ground water.  The senior Senator does not discuss the need to prevent nuclear proliferation, the problem with security at nuclear facilities.  Indeed, speculation is John McCain is a proponent of nuclear energy for political reasons.  Imagine that.  Assuage the people who have the power and finances to further a career and all will be well.

Senator McCain and the people, rich and poor, will retain the luxury that has long been essential.  The public and the official can portray themselves as environmentalists.  Yet, they need not abandon the way of life that has sustained them.  John McCain states as many Americans do.

As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy . . .

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] I believe is a pristine place.  I don’t want to drill in the Grand Canyon and I don’t want to drill in the Everglades . . .

I believe that climate change is real.  It’s not just a greenhouse gas issue.  It’s a national security issue.??

However, Senator McCain has a record.  He voted against tax credits to promote research.  The League of Conservation Voters granted Senator McCain a zero rating on environmental issues.  In 2007, the supposed ecological standard-bearer McCain missed all 15 critical environmental votes in the Senate.  In the course of his Senatorial lifetime, only twenty-four (24) percent of the time did John McCain vote in favor of conservation.

McCain Missed Opportunity To End Big Oil Tax Breaks to Invest in Clean Energy.  In 2007, McCain was the only senator who failed to vote on a motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Energy Independence and Security Act.  This vote was about whether to close $13 billion in tax breaks for major oil and gas companies to invest in new clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, and efficiency.  Sixty votes were required for passage.  The motion was rejected 59-40.  (CQ.com; HR 6, Vote #425, 12/13/07)

Actually, all Americans have a history that contradicts what they say is their truth.  We, the people consume and waste, we purchase and pollute.  We scrounge for energy-wise merchandise.  Then, we buy not the most environmentally efficient product, but the best bargain.  Many of us know what we did in the past, although we do not wish to speak of it.

Only years after citizens of this country waited in long lines for fuel, as a nation, Americans mused of the humorous hours they spent engrossed in an energy crisis.  Once more, the public concluded it was time for a change; yet, they proved that transformation was not what they really wanted.

In 1976, the people elected an Executive Officer who did not wish to appease the people.  On January 30, 1977, Jimmy Carter said what he reiterated days later on February 2, 1977; two weeks after the former farmer took office.  The President engaged the public in a fireside chat.  Donned in a casual cardigan sweater Mister Carter somberly said . . .

(T)he United States is the only major industrial country without a comprehensive, long-range energy policy . . . our failure to plan for the future or to take energy conservation seriously – started long before this winter, and it will take much longer to solve.

I realize that many of you have not believed that we really have an energy problem.  But this winter has made all of us realize that we have to act . . .

Our program will emphasize conservation.  The amount of energy being wasted which could be saved is greater than the total energy that we are importing from foreign countries.

The American people looked, listened, and laughed at a President who would suggest.  “All of us must learn to waste less energy.  Simply by keeping our thermostats, for instance, at 65 degrees in the daytime and 55 degrees at night we could save half the current shortage of natural gas.”  

Citizens in this, the wealthiest nation in the world thought there was no need to worry.  There never is.  Americans are encouraged to live in the moment.  This petroleum predicament would pass.  The people then, just as now, ignored the cautions.  Months later, President Jimmy Carter offered  . . .

(Energy, the supply and demand) is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.

We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.

Yet, in the past and in the present, the public, while intellectually eager to leave a lush legacy for the progeny, does not wish to think of  how what we do establishes the future.  Few Moms and Dads ponder the profundity of energy policies.  Prices are the only issue of import to the common folk.  Countless will contact their Representatives to complain; the cost of gas is too high.  Who will call and say, let the price of fuel rise?  Americans cannot continue to eat oil.

Certainly, it will not be the millions pacified or the few who cling to the words of a scientist or two who scoff, humans have little effect on the environment.  Will the people who read recent reports realize the need for immediate change.  Will the informed relent and say, “I will no longer be placated,” or will they respond to this energy crisis as they did in the last century when there was still time to correct the calamity that may now be out of our control?

Our countrymen may be content as spoiled children are.  Perhaps, Americans will again stomp their feet, hold their breath, pound on the table and buy a gas-guzzler regardless of the admonition.  The public may say, “Give me, give me, give me what I want, or else!”  Let me eat oil, or maybe, just maybe, the childish ways of Americans will be gone with the wind.  We can only hope that the people will no longer crave pacification and conciliation.

Our Resources and References . . .

The Elections and Ethics; Gas and Gratification



Will A Gas Tax Holiday Help?

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Americans speak of the divide within this country.  Most accept the labels.  We are a nation of Red states and Blue regions.  People define themselves as Conservatives or Liberals.  West Virginian primary election voters, who were asked, reinforced the notion in this nation we are not unified.  One fifth of those polled stated, skin color influenced their decision.  Former Senator John Edwards often expresses his distress for what he sees as “Two Americas.” The one time Presidential candidate reminds us of why the common folks clamor.  The rich get richer while the poor become more impoverished.  For some of those who fight to endure, a “gas tax holiday” is thought essential.  Others believe such a measure will negatively effect the infrastructure and the environment.  In Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 14, 2008 a Black man and a white man stood on a stage together united and equal.  Some, in this splintered nation of ours, thought this was a sign.  Perhaps, Americans would finally come together as one.

People applauded and expressed a sincere hope for the future.  However, what segregates us may not be easily transcended; nor is it obvious and observable.  Ethically, Americans are not united.  Often the person the public elects to govern does not share their values, although citizens believe the esteemed Representatives do.  Rarely do we imagine that there are a myriad of definitions for morality.  However, there are.  What one person or persuasion thinks rational and reasonable is heinous to another.  This is not obvious or observable, for we all feel certain there is but one truth.  Nonetheless, research illustrates what we might consider before we hire, the next President/

Holier Than Thou? Employees Who Believe They Are ‘Ethical’ Or ‘Moral’ Might Not Be

ScienceDaily

October 31, 2007

Bad behavior seems rampant in business [politics], and scholars are divided as to why people act ethically or unethically.  Many have argued that ethical behavior is the result of simple judgments between right and wrong.  Others suggest that the driving force behind ethical behavior is the individual’s moral identity, or whether the individual thinks of him/herself as an ethical person.

New research from the University of Washington suggests that both of these forces are at play.  In two separate studies, Scott Reynolds, an assistant professor in the Michael G. Foster School of Business, and Tara Ceranic, a doctoral student studying business, surveyed roughly 500 college students and managers about their ethical behaviors.

In the first study, researchers asked students if they would have cheated in college in order to score better on a test.  Those who explicitly considered themselves to be moral people and considered cheating to be morally wrong were the least likely to cheat.  In contrast, students who considered themselves to be moral but saw cheating as an ethically justifiable behavior were the worst cheaters.

“Our research suggests that a moral identity motivates behavior, but that accurate, ethical judgments are needed to set that behavior in the right direction,” Reynolds says.  “A person’s moral identity can interact with his or her judgments and actually push ethical behaviors to extreme levels, as we saw with the students who decided that cheating was justifiable and OK.”

According to the researchers, a moral identity specifically centers on a person’s moral aspects and acts as a self-regulatory mechanism that sets parameters for individual behavior and motivates specific actions that are moral.

Previous studies implied that moral identity is “good” when it is associated with and motivates individuals toward socially desirable outcomes such as volunteering and making charitable donations.

Reynolds and Ceranic found that this motivational force needs direction, and that without proper guidance a moral identity can conceivably push individuals toward socially undesirable behaviors.

“Moral identity seems to be more motivational in nature than ‘moral’ in nature,” Reynolds says.  “Managers and organizations should not just assume that a moral identity will necessarily translate into moral behaviors.”

Executives and the electorate must consider that a performance may not be as principled as it appears.  Adults are only children in older bodies.  Babies learn how to get what they want.  Boys and girls perfect the practice.  Men and women are masters.  As we age, Americans, become better actors, not more ethical, merely more expert entertainers, and obtainers.

In a prosperous nation such as the United States, when a baby cries, Mommy coddles her child with the candy he craves.  If she does not, mother risks the toddler will throw a tantrum.  Dad does not hesitate when his little princess screams, “I want it!”  Papa understands a young women’s scorn can be great.  Daddy has no desire to be part of a stressful situation.  

Parents have learned to pamper themselves.  Moms and Dads indulge themselves, just as their caregivers’ cosseted them in their youth.  In this nation, people expect to receive.  Here, we have more than we need, and the price is right, or it was until the cost of petroleum rose.  Granted, many struggled to survive before the bottom fell out of the oil barrel.  However, these impoverished individuals were and are virtually invisible to the mainstream.  Perhaps, those without never had the opportunity to grasp the notion that the ends justify the means.  Nor did these less than distinctive individuals fully comprehend in affluent America if you wish to be successful and fulfilled you must adopt a certain style, an ethical standard.

Give the people what they want and you will get what you need.  Presidential hopefuls, New York State Senators, Governors, and those who are groomed for political prominence are fully aware of this truism.  

Promise the public a holiday from gas taxes, and perchance they will award you with additional support or  a spectacular win.  If a political aspirant wishes to ensure greater success amongst the electorate, then pledge to punish those who the people envision as the enemy.  Large corporations, whose Chief Executive Officers profit off the petroleum people depend on, conglomerates such as ExxonMobil,  are always good targets.  It will matter not that experts define the plan as a quick fix. A person who seeks  the highest office in the land will not be concerned if members of Congress, friends or fellow colleagues, reject the proposal.  Words of woe from Economists will not deter a determined doctrinaire dilettante.  When a man or a woman thinks they are correct, experienced, and will be the “best” Commander, then a plan, a pander, are appreciated for the power they yield.  Hence, talk of what may be a terminal action. a holiday that might place our planet in peril, will not die.  

This truth is evident out on the stump.  A month after Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton were harshly criticized by fiscal and political policymakers for a proposed “gas tax holiday’ the scheme survives.  Indeed, the rhetoric thrives.  Americans are comfortable with cognitive dissonance.  They embody this demeanor.  Let us have our cake and eat it too.

McCain: I will not shirk, the mantle of leadership that the United States bears.  I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges.

Bash: McCain promised  . . . To reduce greenhouse gases, he proposes a cap and trade solution which caps gas emissions but allows companies to trade emission credits.

McCain: As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy.

Bash: Portraying himself as a rare species of green Republicans is a regular part of McCain’s stump speeches.

McCain: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] I believe is a pristine place.  I don’t want to drill in the Grand Canyon and I don’t want to drill in the Everglades.

Bash: But coming to Oregon to highlight his environmental proposals is all about the fight  . . . for independent voters.  It’s why McCain is using one of his most precious resources — campaign cash . . .

McCain: I believe that climate change is real.  It’s not just a greenhouse gas issue.  It’s a national security issue.?? End Video Clip) ??

Bash: (on-camera): Democrats and several left leaning environmental groups blasted McCain for what they call hypocrisy.  Putting out, for example, that he praised renewable energy here at this wind power plant, but voted against tax credits to promote research.  The McCain campaign insists that legislation and others like it collided with another priority, which is to cut excess spending.

Indeed, the dollar dictates decorum.  Mores and expediency are often found in monetary policy.  In an opulent region, some pray to the Almighty buck.  It is no wonder the words “In G-d We Trust” are inscribed on every bill and embossed on each coin.

In this, the most affluent nation on the planet, all, but the hidden few, know it is possible to get what you want and not spend much.  Hence the harangue; Americans desperately want to ensure life is comfortable just as it once was.  Until now, in this country, petroleum was cheap . . . and that is the way the people like it.  Actually, comparatively speaking, the price Americans pay for petrol is still relatively low.

Our countrymen are as spoiled children.  They stamp their feet, hold their breathe, pound on the table and say, “Give me, give me, give me what I want, or else!”  Just as parents respond to the pleas of their babies, so too do Presidential hopefuls.  Moms, Dads, and potential Commander-In-Chiefs may be labeled as leaders; however, often they follow.  Ethical standards are often silenced in a time of turmoil.  Consequences can often outweigh principled wisdom.  We see this logic in our children, and in ourselves.

Perhaps, Americans might take a moment and reflect; are we children being coddled, the parent whose priority is to please, or the individual who will patronize just to get what they want?

Might we ponder when a Commander-In-Chief or a Presidential aspirant presents a plan that benefits him or her more than it does the progeny and the people seven generations from now.  Please remember the research; “Employees Who Believe They Are ‘Ethical’ Or ‘Moral’ Might Not Be.”

Consider the scenario.  Senator Clinton offers a glorious summary of her experience.  She is abundantly able.  When her future employer, the electorate, pressed her on an important issue, such as the cost of gas, Hillary Clinton offered her plan to the people who might provide her with what she most wants.  Just prior to the primary elections in Indiana and North Carolina, the former first Lady Hillary Clinton called for gas tax holiday.

The Arizona and New York Senators were not the only government officials to suggest that Americans need some relief, even if only temporary.  Governors also thought to appease the masses.  One day after Economists everywhere pointed to the problems with such a plan, Governors from The Everglades expanse, in the Show Me State, in The Empire area and lawmakers in the Lone Star region signed on to the idea that citizens need a gas tax holiday.

States Get In on Calls for a Gas Tax Holiday

By Damien Cave

The New York Times

May 6, 2008

Slocomb, Ala. – Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida has been fighting to cut 10 cents from the state’s gasoline tax for two weeks in July.  Lawmakers in Missouri, New York and Texas have also proposed a summer break from state gas taxes, while candidates for governor in Indiana and North Carolina are sparring over relief ideas of their own.

If experience with such gas tax “holidays” is any guide, drivers would save less than politicians suggest. But that is not necessarily the point.

“It’s about trying to serve the people and trying to understand and have caring, compassionate hearts for what they’re dealing with at the kitchen table,” said Mr. Crist, a Republican.

He added, “I’m supposed to respond to the people and try to make them happy.”

As talk of the possibility increases, throughout the countryside individuals are thankful.  To many Americans it seems, finally, politicians are listening to them.  The common folk forget that those who compete for elected positions never overlook the fact that the populace has the power to appoint a President, a Governor, or any other policymaker.  In a republic, many individuals who wish to “represent” Jane and John Doe have one purpose.  They wish to please [placate] the public.  If the people are content, the life of a politician is good.  If the public is displeased, they will act out as an angry child might.

Actually, parents [politicians] have learned to pamper themselves just as they were indulged in their youth.  Mother gives herself a present, or two.  She shops ’til she drops.  Papa purchases plenty for himself.  In the wealthiest country in the world, “Waste not; want not” makes little sense.  Here, we have more than we need, and the price is right, or it was until the cost of petroleum rose.  Americans, comfy and cozy with convenience do not consider the cost of a gas tax holiday.  Ordinary citizens look upon experts as overly protective.  Authorities always offer a doomsday scenario when they do not wish to give gifts.

Economists Criticize Clinton, McCain Gas-Tax Plans (Update1)

By Brian Faler

Bloomberg

May 5, 2008

More than 200 economists, including four Nobel prize winners, signed a letter rejecting proposals by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain to offer a summertime gas-tax holiday.

Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz, former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin and 2007 Nobel winner Roger Myerson are among those who signed the letter calling proposals to temporarily lift the tax a bad idea. Another is Richard Schmalensee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was member of President George H.W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers.

The moratorium would mostly benefit oil companies while increasing the federal budget deficit and reducing funding for the government highway maintenance trust fund, the economists said.

“Suspending the federal tax on gasoline this summer is a bad idea, and we oppose it,” the letter says. Economist Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution is among those circulating the letter.  Aaron said that while he supports Obama, the list includes Republicans and Clinton supporters.

If Economists from each political party convincingly challenge a plan proposed by esteemed and ethical persons such as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, how might the people evaluate the dichotomy.?  Who might, we the people, the electorate, those who employ a President trust?

Certainly, these political contenders have long been admired.  Senators Clinton and  John McCain would not  have risen though the ranks were they not qualified, quality candidates.  Americans can have faith neither, a respected former prisoner of war, or a revered former First Lady, would recommend a policy that would intentionally harm the public.  Nor would these leader postulate a proposal that would place the planet in peril.  Yet, Economists, and yes, even Ecologists caution constituents that the gas tax holiday is unwise.  Hence, Americans are left to inquire, how might this variance be explained?  

The answer may not be as obvious as we would wish it to be.  We cannot condemn or condone a plan as Conservative or Progressive.  While the strategies differ, logistically, symbolically they are similar.  Each hopes to allow Americans to continue to consume as they had.  A satiated society can and will simply dismiss ethical questions, and ignore environmental issues.  A child content with candy does not consider how the sugar rots the teeth.  A Mom, who is comfortable with convenience foods, does not contemplate fresh fruits and vegetables might be much more nutritious.  A father fine with his fleet of vehicles does not ponder how he pollutes the air.  

Americans happy to have a gas tax holiday do not think beyond today.  Few recall what was foremost on the minds of the people in the 1970s.  As citizens in this country realized the reality of an energy crisis, laws were passed to improve fuel economy.  Memories are short.  The desire for self-satisfaction is deep.  In 2005, near three years ago, a New York Times editorial addressed what was and continues to be true.

There’s no serious disagreement that two major crises of our time are terrorism and global warming. And there’s no disputing that America’s oil consumption fosters both. Oil profits that flow to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries finance both terrorist acts and the spread of dangerously fanatical forms of Islam. The burning of fossil fuels creates greenhouse emissions that provoke climate change. All the while, oil dependency increases the likelihood of further military entanglements, and threatens the economy with inflation, high interest rates, and risky foreign indebtedness. Until now, the government has failed to connect our crises and our consumption in a coherent way.

That dereliction of duty has led to policies that are counterproductive, such as tax incentives to buy gas guzzlers and an overemphasis on increasing domestic oil supply, although even all-out drilling would not be enough to slake our oil thirst and would require a reversal of longstanding environmental protections.

Now, however, the energy risks so apparent  . . . have created both the urgency and the political opportunity for the nation’s leaders to respond appropriately. The government must capitalize on the end of the era of perpetually cheap gas, and it must do so in a way that makes America less vulnerable to all manner of threats – terrorist, environmental, and economic.

The best solution is to increase the federal gasoline tax . . .  That would put a dent in gas-guzzling behavior, as has already been seen in the dramatic drop in the sale of sport-utility vehicles. And it would help cure oil dependency in the long run, as automakers and other manufacturers responded to consumer demand for fuel-efficient products.

Still, raising the gas tax would be politically difficult – and for very good reasons. The gas tax, which has been at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993, is painfully regressive. It hits hardest at poor people for whom fuel costs consume a proportionally larger share of their budgets; rural dwellers for whom truck-driving over long distances is an everyday activity; and the gasoline-dependent middle class, particularly suburban commuters, who, on top of living far from their workplaces, have been encouraged by decades of cheap gas to own large, poor-mileage vehicles.

Fortunately, those drawbacks can be overcome.  A bolstered gas tax would raise huge amounts of revenue, roughly $1 billion for every penny of additional tax. Some of that money would have to be used to provide offsetting tax breaks to low-income households, such as an increase in the earned income tax credit . . . Eventually, the gas tax would pinch consumers less, as revenues from it are used to finance long-term structural changes to reduce oil dependency, including mass transit and research into alternative fuels and technologies.

Might Americans be ready to consider, a policy that protects a lifestyle of over-consumption is not as ethical as it would appear to be.  Those who vie for votes, wish to be employed by the electorate.  A candidate may benefit from a simple solution, but what of the Seventh Generation.  Will American adults continue to be as children concerned with nothing but immediate gratification?

There is a better way. Truly dealing with global warming . . .  The good news is that doing so is far more popular politically  . . . Voters overwhelmingly support this objective, and Gallup found last year that 65 percent of voters support spending at least $30 billion a year to do it.

If the environmental movement is to finally translate its rhetoric into reality, it will need to shift its focus from making dirty energy expensive to making clean energy cheap.

Truly, ethical parents who care for the lives of the children in the present, do not indulge, pamper, or pander to the whims of those who have yet learned the art of patience.  The best Moms and Dads teach the young, or juvenile at heart, to plan for the seventh generations, Might we all reflect upon the Chinese proverb . . .

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

As we consider which of the Presidential candidates we will hire, perchance we might ponder.  Are solid solutions and ten-point plans as fish in what we are led to believe is an abundant sea of aquatic vertebrae?  Might a mentor who inspires us to catch our own schools of trout, bass, and salmon better serve us, the people better?  Think of the species yet to be discovered.  

As employers, the electorate, we, future fishermen must assess, who truly has our best interest at heart.  Which individual shares our sense of ethics?  May we acknowledge and act on the imperceptible.  Morality is often in the eyes of the beholder.

References, Research, “Realities” Revealed . . .