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Wake Up, America!

Aug 25, 2008
Let's get real. Forget all the Gobbledegook about foreign oil fields peaking and the rapid increase in worldwide consumption...

1. Oil production in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, HAS either peaked, or it has NOT peaked. (Consider that each of those countries have poor records in the benevolent treatment of their own people -- so why should their attitude toward anyone else be different? I'm saying that you are not going to get the truth about how much oil any or them have left in the ground, or how much oil they are capable of producing over any given period of time. Nor do these producing countries give a hoot about your creature comforts or the harmful effects to your pocketbook)

2. Indonesian oil has undoubtedly peaked. OPEC has just kicked them out of its organization as a "producer." They are now a net importer -- a once stellar producer, reduced to beggaring for their oil...a bit like you and me.

3. Brazil, in addition to refining ethanol from sugar-cane, has a major off-shore discovery called Tupi. It's huge (50 billion barrels of crude). It's deep, 2 miles down and locked in rock. With oil at $138 a barrel, the 100 billion dollar financing to extract it will be forthcoming. It won't come cheap.

4. Russian Oil and gas, plenty of it at the moment, but they don't love us any more than the Arabs do. And the Russian record for loyalty, truth, and fair play is about as dim as anyone's. Forget them as a dependable supply source.

5. It's a given that India and China import nearly all their oil needs and currently have an increasing demand spurred on by a 2 billion+ citizenry.

6. Bakken, on U.S. soil in South Dakota, is 2 miles deep and locked in thin layers of dolomite. At 413 billion barrels, it is potentially larger than the Saudi Ghawar field. Horizontal fracking of the complex layers of rock to release the petroleum will definitely make it expensive. Soaring oil prices are pushing this field toward a development consideration. Again, this oil won't be cheap.

7. How much faith do you have in U.S. oil companies giving you the honest truth about anything, yet oil production and consumption statistics? If you are anything like men -- ZILCH!

Now let's turn over, in our numbed minds, a few simple thoughts regarding oil and our daily lives here in these great United States of America.

1. Why are pump prices, state to state, pump to pump, varying only a penny or so -- one from the other? (Can you remember a time when there was a free market in gasoline...when there were gas wars and bargains to behold, gas station to gas station? Believe it or not, when I was a kid, that was a fact.)

The U.S. Congress will solve the problem.

2. Did you watch the recent Congressional charade, wherein oil company execs were interrogated, presumedly, by their own loyal subjects? (You will be pardoned for the suspicion that nearly every Congressman profits from gifts dispensed by oil industry lobbyists and/or contributions to their PACs.)

3. Did you hear Congress raise a hue and cry about SUING SAUDI ARABIA for withholding oil production? Yes? And last week, Congress was going to get to the bottom of Oil Speculation...those horrid "speculators" who have been driving oil prices higher...

Isn't it wonderful that oil prices promptly dropped -- dignifying Congress. I retired to my bed, pleased and eased. At last, lower oil prices! Hmm...just give the oil boys a day or two....

Okay, while we are individually suffering a collapse of housing prices, along with our family budgets, the big oil companies are making BILLIONS and BILLIONS in obscene (reportable) profits. How much more are they hiding?


1. Where is Congress on that one? Why are we accumulating horrendous personal and national debts, while big oil companies are allowed to pile up unconscionable profits?

(Oh, yes... Now I recall -- it's the NIMBY tree huggers. They've stopped all the new refineries from being built, all the offshore drilling from going ahead.)

How about a national energy policy?

1. Hunnh?... We have one -- ethanol. It's a dandy...costing more in fuel to cook up a gallon of ethanol than it saves by burning in your car's engine. It throws carbon into the atmosphere during its manufacture and provides less mileage per gallon than a gallon of diesel or gasoline. Worst of all, it has thrown many square miles of Midwest ag. land out of soybean and grain production (in favor of corn for ethanol production) thus creating a monumental shortage of corn for animal feed, raising chicken and beef prices. And the lost acreage shrinks grain production, raising bread and cereal prices in the grocery store.

And just to make sure none of that cheap Brazilian ($40/barrel) sugar-cane ethanol gets to our shores, Congress slapped a 54 cent/a/gallon tariff on it some time ago in a U.S. farm bill...note that the cast-off sugar cane stalks feed Brazilian electric power plants.

Dwell with me a bit longer on our (invisible) national energy policy. And forget about drilling up more oil. (Let's assume the oil industry is hastening its own demise.)

2. Nuclear fuel (Uranium) is cheap and mineable in the USA and Canada. Consider that 80% of French electric production is nuclear, and, so far, no accidents. Why haven't we moved ahead with more nuclear (no atmospheric pollution) electric production? It's tree huggers and Greenpeace, they tell us...

3. Why have we neglected public Bus, Trolley, and Train transportation?

.(See Japan for countrywide 200 mph trains.)

4. The other night on TV, I observed a $27,000 bug-like car that provably carried two people 300 miles on ONE gallon of gas, at speeds up to 90 miles an hour and had amazing acceleration from a standing start.

(Too busy building Hummers...)

5. Hats off to those busy Detroiters who, over the years, bought up patents that would advance more fuel-efficient carburation and develop super-storage batteries for electric cars -- then sat on those patents.

6. How about converting natural gas to fuel -- why is that industry invisible?

7. Coal gasification and coal-to-fuel? The Chinese are into it. The Germans fueled their WWII effort with petroleum extracted from coal.

On nightly TV, you can observe a major industry disappearing before your very eyes:


1. Loose regulation paves the way for chaotic conditions at understaffed flight control centers and airport control towers. Too many new carriers; too many scheduled flights; ramp accidents and mid-air near misses.

2. Free food is reduced to snacks; seating jammed to the max. Nonetheless, public rushes to book cheap flights -- bound for every spot on the globe.

3. Loose regulation of maintenance procedures raises few questions. Aircraft and airframe safety quietly, but steadily, nosedives.

4. Annual fuel costs jump to an industry-wide $65 billion, squeezing profits and tripling fares; passengers hesitate. Airlines fight back, cutting out snacks, charging for baggage, on-the-spot canceling of flights not filled. Passengers search web for last minute price cuts as lines try to fill seats 100%; arrive at airport to find seat and flight canceled -- line just declared bankruptcy. No one wants to hear about the wheel that fell off your baby stroller...customer rage. Sour counter people. Smoldering pilots and crews...

At the risk of running you off the far end of the runway -- a final blast... Have we, in America, been put totally to sleep by the hucksters of Madison Avenue?

In the 1950's, Madison Avenue was held in the kind of awe later directed toward Silicon Valley and our various bubbles -- technology, housing, and, most recently, commodities. Lusting for financial gain, we've ignored the transference of advertising industry wiles to corporations, Washington think tanks, lobbyist groups, Congress -- permeating even the inner circles of White House administrations... absorbed so beautifully that we've been totally rocked to sleep in comfortable cradles of SPIN.

Is it possible our leaders have blinded themselves with their own spin? Twin emergencies now upon us -- energy and credit. Busy coddling one industry after another, our leaders have blatantly ignored preparations to combat these crises.

"Industry will govern itself perfectly," has been the cry of the regulators, letting foxes guard the chicken house. And the results: Bear Stearns; the mess at the gas pump; the airline chaos; the sub-prime housing and credit collapse, with its ugly offshoot -- the yet-to-be felt trillion dollar, derivative phantasia.

Why don't we, ALL OF US, take TWO weeks off from work? Stop driving! Stop flying! Stop shopping! Live on what you have in the cupboard...take a walk around your community... shake hands with the neighbors... go to your church or temple and volunteer for three days of something that will benefit anyone but yourself. HOW BAD COULD THAT BE, IF WE ALL DECLARE ALLEGIANCE TO ONE ANOTHER, OUR FLAG, AND OUR COUNTRY? (Don't forget, we have boys and girls in Iraq doing that very thing...)
About the Author
Richard Ide is a writer of realistic, action-adventure and romantic-suspense fiction. On May 26th, 2008, Button Top Books released 3 ACES, his first published work. Now available on Amazon.com or by special order (ISBN: 978-0-615-15821-1) in bookstores. For more information on Richard and 3 Aces, visit: 3 Aces.
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