Saturday, July 5, 2008

Socially revolutionizing our Life on Willapa Bay

Lietta and I have allocated enormous amounts of our spare time to a serious examination and plan of our response to the implications of Peak Oil, gas guzzling transportation and what to do about potential shortages of commodities, services and medical expertise that stare us in the face as we move into our 60's.

All this business causes us to miss some of the prime entertainment and diversion available via the media and often the question arises, do we need to prepare and participate in social revolution or should we continue mindlessly on distracted by corporate bread and circuses? (Well, not all. We've recently discovered Eddie Izzard who is sufficiently entertaining to get me to turn the TV on at night and stay subscribed to Netflix.)

This excerpt from Lietta's post July 2, about U.S. Rep. Brian Baird's Town Hall meeting in South Bend:

Gas Prices; Astonishingly - well to us anyway - when the question of gas prices came up, as we knew it would, and someone asked about off shore oil drilling and leased land not being used for oil drilling, Brian Baird started to discuss it and then asked the audience for a show of hands as to who was in favor of off-shore oil drilling. And almost all the hands went up. Then Brian Baird asked who was not in favor, with my husband, mine and probably 3-4 other hands going up.

I was stunned. And in somewhat confused language pointed out peak oil and global warming and then gave up, saying never mind. I could not believe what I had just witnesssed. An expectation that enough information is out there now about the growing oil crisis, that I had thought more would be appreciative of our need to change our lifestyle to become less oil dependent and the urgency in finding alternative energy lifestyles

The majority of hand-raisers were approving of off-shore drilling. When asked by Baird whether or not this community - whose economy is heavily reliant on the ocean - is willing to risk oil spills and damage to marine life (economic or otherwise), the hands stayed up. In fact one of the attendee's who had "done her homework" justified her vote based on the preserved integrity of off-shore wells in Louisiana during and after Katrina.

So why not?
Peak Oil is here. Demand now outpaces supply and the number of global competitors for a diminishing supply is rising.

Regarding Peak Oil, all we need to understand is that an SUV getting less than 20-30 mpg needs to be jettisoned in favor of something smaller and now more expensive that reaches for 50 mpg. (BTW, I ran the trade-in value of a 2002 Ford Explorer Thursday. Where it normally hovered in double digit thousands, Kelly BB indicates $1850.)

My thoughts on Peak Oil

Peak Oil explanations have for the most part not told it all.

Surprising observation from Certified right-winger and advocate of the Corporate American Core Values, Charles Krauthammer:
"Forbidding drilling [in the Arctic refuge] does not prevent despoliation. It merely exports it. The crude oil we're not getting from the Arctic we import instead from places like the Niger Delta, where millions live and where the resulting pollution and oil spillages poison the lives of many of the world's most abysmally poor"
So should the amount of energy input required to get the oil include the 'cost' of basic human life?

Economic statisticians love to estimate the value of things and enterprises in terms of man-hours, labor units and whatnot. This from the point of view of valuing how much we First-Worlders must pay to get our oil from Third-Worlders who probably have very little say in whether or not we move in and take out there resources.

When a talking head expounds "knowledgeably" about the high costs of finding disappearing pockets of new oil, our wallets wiggle, self-focus increases and we begin to think of our 4-cylinder 1985 diesel pickup in the back yard with weeds peeking out from behind all the wheels.

But beyond our comprehension and more than likely not even considered by the authoritative Think Tank Energy Know-It-All is what reality is to our neighbors on other continents. Do they have a right to the stuff (as Carlin put it) in their own back yard?

You know, them folks who live in a society older than ours that already possesses a physical infrastructure older than ours. Theirs was built by how many millions of man-hours, labor-units, blood, sweat and tears?

I agree with the asker of the following question (all quotes in this article come from the reference link posted at the end of the article.)
" Do all the billions of hours of materialized human labor that have historically been destroyed by Westerners in the Middle East enter the equations telling us how many energy units are needed, under the current market conditions, to produce the equivalent of one BTU (British Thermal Unit) of energy? "
At the Baird Town Hall questions about immigration came up (see Lietta's article) and Baird gave excellent responses to an audience that included many who have some vague resentment of all foreign poor people that is driven by broadcast rhetoric regarding the status of aliens in our midst.

As we discuss our own and other nation's populations related problems - especially since we are an electorate which has approved by ballot an aggressive corporate imperialist rape of someone else's natural resource assets by the use of force, need we remember and understand that
"any proposed 'cost analysis' that excludes historically accumulated human social labor is not an a scientific explanation. Further, such a perspective is racist since the only human life worth its consideration, implicit in its tenets, is the ethnocentric, western self.

Just the amount spent on the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan is in the trillions of dollars. How many tens of trillions of dollars worth of human creation has this war actually destroyed? Do these destructions enter American environmentalists' calculations?"

Now this ought to remind baby boomers about sixties-era notions such as that book and movie entitled The Ugly American.

Problem is not so much the absence of lots of citizens who remember the Great Depression with intense feeling. No, our problem is the generation missing at the time of the Oil Embargo in the 1970's; today's primary consuming generation for whom all this is mere intellectual or conscious "information" buttressed by little if any real understanding or intuition as to what it all means.

"Now, we know that even in the worst locations on earth (except war zones) those fires, shootings, school fights due to hanging nooses, teachers and priests having sex with students/believers, and all the millions of miles of footage on this or that celebrity seen locally (or anywhere) were obviously not the only things happening within the local universe in the 24-hour interval between last night and tonight.

Some selection has clearly taken place, which is of course what 'news' organizations do to prepare their programs. This carefully produced selection, when repeated daily and over the decades, keeps the public on edge on two levels: envious of the rich and the famous and, more so and more importantly, scared and insecure about their own lives.

And that, not information sharing, is the rhetorical agenda of 'news organizations': Danger creeps around every corner! Put your trust in the authorities! State violence is your only security!

Peak Oil serves exactly the same rhetorical purpose in a more nuanced way, with regard to the 'energy crisis': it keeps people revved up and on edge about the coming doom regarding oil and 'our way of life'. And who to trust to solve the problem?

Since Peak Oilers don't say, the actually existing answer is provided happily by, who else, the western corporations, the global 'free market' and the first world governments.

Now I'm curious in a kind of conspiracy-nut way as to the reality of how short we Americans are on native oil under our control. If as claimed, 60 percent of the current price of oil is caused by the futures traders in this commodity has nothing to do with supply shortages, is there in fact "too much supply for the actually existing capacity of refineries to refine the available oil fast enough?"

Chief Seattle could have uttered these words:

"Since Peak Oilers work with capitalist vocabulary, their solutions will never have anything to do with a fundamental reconceptualization of property rights, and no form of socialization of natural resources will enter their platforms."
As we read this, what comes to mind in terms of what we really need to be thinking about?

What is suggested is "nothing short of a social revolution."

That's what drives the small plans being implemented in our own household and on our little plot of land where we're investing in new personal infrastructure such as raised bed gardens, vegetables hanging from plastic buckets and turning one of our basement rooms into a root cellar.

It seems that a social-economic revolution in our personal and societal lives would be the "politico-logical thing to do."

Let me then speak to Rep. Baird's position vis-a-vis my son-in-law existing in harm's way for Baird's political justifications (and all those who insist that the broken pottery barn will go to hell in a hand-basket if we leave now. )

Any who believe that the United States of America is the global Roy Rogers wearing a white hat and spreading peace, prosperity, truth, justice and the American way to an ignorant, needy world are stuck knee-deep in their own personal intellectual quagmire.

We are not and have not been Roy Rogers. We are now and have been Oil Can Henry.

" ... the U.S. is a world imperialist power that historically has as often projected power through 'civil' means (corporations and financial institutions) as through state violence (coups, bilateral security agreements previously, and now open military interventions). For this type of imperialism, local or regional powers willing to and capable of acting independently and wielding power are not desirable, unless (as with Israel) such a local power is in a fundamental fashion (existentially?) dependent on Washington's patronage."
Other than quoting Lietta's post, all other quotes are from Peak Scam by Reza Fiyouzat, Online Journal Contributing Writer, Jun 30, 2008, 00:18

Hm .... looks like an Arab name. According to American jingoists, that probably means that Reza has written nothing truthful and that it only looks like Oil Can Henry riding Trigger.

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