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October 3, 2001
1:20 PM   Subscribe

Representative Ron Paul: 'It is clear that protecting certain oil interests and our presence in the Persian Gulf help drive the holy war.' This is his speech to the House of Representatives after 9.11 blaming(in part) U.S. foreign policy for the tragedy. Does anyone have any insight into members of the body politic who are pushing for research into environmentally sound alternatives to oil? The U.S. takes pride in being the best at everything, why not be the best at saving our planet and eliminating our blood-ties with OPEC?
posted by donkeysuck (27 comments total)

 
I have also noticed Douglas Rushkoff is desperately trying to launch a "this is a war for oil" meme. It's hard for me to imagine a situation in which such a meme is less likely to resonate well with the American public. But it is interesting to see a situation that makes the left want to turn isolationist.
posted by aaron at 1:29 PM on October 3, 2001


God forbid anyone should offer ideas that don't "resonate well with the American public" at this time. And questioning US government motives for specific acts of foreign intervention (especially from an administration stocked with oil guys) is not at all the same as being isolationist.
posted by liam at 1:44 PM on October 3, 2001


I agree with the sentiment of the Congressman in regards to energy.
Others say this is why we need to open ANWR.
Why not bypass that need with good old American ingenuity? I can't understand why money isn't flocking to invest in these sorts of clean energy companies. The money that can be made by proliferating clean energy technologies has the potential to be thousands of times what computer technologies made. This will be the next gold rush. First it was real gold, then computers, now energy.
posted by themikeb at 1:45 PM on October 3, 2001


If the US was not reliant on oil, Bin Laden would not have the financial strength to wage his war. Research on alternative fuels should be a critical part of our war against terrorism.
posted by thekorruptor at 1:58 PM on October 3, 2001


Money isn't flocking to researchers for clean fuel alternatives because big-oil has historically had congress in its pocket. Want to get elected - you need money - get money from ExonMobil - are you really going to turn around and bite the hand that feeds you? This is true now more than ever with the current administration. Do you really think a Texas oilman cum President is going to something, which will ultimately hurt his families' bottom line?
posted by wfrgms at 2:03 PM on October 3, 2001


It is hardly news that oil is part of US foreign policy. What isn't mention is that if the US did not participate actively in the Middle East, it would now be under Russian control. 75% of the world oil sat in the hands of the USSR in the 70's and 80's would have been a disaster.
posted by Wet Friday at 2:05 PM on October 3, 2001


There is a fundamental disconnect between what people say they are interested in, and what they really do when push comes to shove.

People say that we are interested in reducing our dependence on OPEC, but what they really want is cheap gasoline and low electric bills. Think about it - if we put a $10 tariff on each barrel of oil imported from an OPEC state we'd reduce our dependency on them pretty damn quickly.

Can you imagine the response of the American public to someone who suggested doing this?
posted by jaek at 2:07 PM on October 3, 2001


Money isn't flocking to researchers for clean fuel alternatives because big-oil has historically had congress in its pocket. Want to get elected - you need money - get money from ExonMobil - are you really going to turn around and bite the hand that feeds you? This is true now more than ever with the current administration. Do you really think a Texas oilman cum President is going to something, which will ultimately hurt his families' bottom line?
posted by wfrgms at 2:16 PM on October 3, 2001


I have also noticed Douglas Rushkoff is desperately trying to launch a "this is a war for oil" meme.

Perhaps that's because petrochemical exploration and extraction rights in Central Asia aren't quite locked up yet. (The reserves that Wet Friday's talking about.) In which case, Ron Paul's looking in the wrong direction: there are a handful of former Communist leaders in the surrounding -stans, who reinvented themselves as nationalist autocrats, and are licking their lips at the chance of squashing the "terrorist" Islamic insurgency within their own one-party states.
posted by holgate at 2:32 PM on October 3, 2001


Save Gas, Fight Terrorism is an excellent article on this exact point. If we (US) simply stop our annual growth in demand - 2% - all of the Mid East countries would be starved for cash. Only Israel and Iran have any economy outside of oil; the others would be too bust quelling the economic and demographic fires at home to enjoy the luxury of state sponsored terrorism. I cannot wait for the price of fuel cells and Capstone generators to come down to the point where it makes sense to have one in my basement.
posted by wpeyton at 2:43 PM on October 3, 2001


In other words, honor what Bin Laden wants; all western influence and presence out of the Gulf. Thus, if Iraq again decides to invade Kuwait, makes no matter cause we don't need Kuwat oil. And then Saudi. Makes no matter either.
What is so wrong-headed about this seemingly cogent arguement is that it assumes that all Arabs andarba states feel the way that the fundamentalists do.
If we must have two worlds, Their and Ours, why not ask all Arab/muslims to leave and go home, including the many students here?
Washington said to avoid foreign entaglements. Poor George did not need globalization because he too had slaves to keep costs down.
posted by Postroad at 3:00 PM on October 3, 2001


what they really want is cheap gasoline and low electric bills

jaek, i want a car that runs on saltwater and/or sunlight and spews out water vapor for exhaust.
OPEC countries can suck it and keep their oil.

my point is along the lines of what themikeb was getting at. the united states was founded on a spirit of ingenuity and we kick (most)everybody's ass when it comes to innovation and technological advances. wouldn't you prefer someone in office who wants to spend your tax dollar on making the world a better place? i swear i don't even own a pair of birkenstocks.
posted by donkeysuck at 3:00 PM on October 3, 2001


aaron: Since when was Ron Paul identified with the left, exactly, 'cept on drug legalization? And what, everyone, does Paul have to say about the environment here? Nothing. He's a libertarian (and former Libertarian Party presidential candidate) in an extremely conservative part of Texas. The only reference I see at all to the environment on his page is, "EPA Regulations threaten Texas." Hmm. Wonder why?
posted by raysmj at 3:16 PM on October 3, 2001


Oh. Checked again. He does praise some kids in his district for a recycling project, and refers - in an Earth Day piece mainly committed to slamming the EPA - to all the wonderful innovations that the private sector has produced for saving gas, etc., most of which have yet to be used and would never have been considered without government pressure. But then, in another press release, he blames rising gas prices on taxes. Just so's you'll know who you're dealing with.
posted by raysmj at 3:39 PM on October 3, 2001


In other words, honor what Bin Laden wants

Who's your employer, ChevronTexacoMobilBPExxon?
So by giving up our dependence on oil "allows the terrorists to win". That's such a weak argument, I can't stop laughing.

So in helping our planet, our economy, and saving lives we're playing into our enemy's hands? Please. That would in no way make it an us world/them world. That would benefit all parties involved.
posted by themikeb at 3:54 PM on October 3, 2001


fwiw, fritjof capra is also advocating less reliance on oil (through the hydrogen economy :) as a means to, "not only bring tremendous environmental and health benefits," but "an effective long-term measure against international terrorism." systemic thinking at work!

btw, salman rushdie has also spoken.
posted by kliuless at 4:11 PM on October 3, 2001


oh, and i just saw this today on clean technology, themikeb.
posted by kliuless at 4:20 PM on October 3, 2001


Can we turn this into an SUV thread?

Can we? Huh?
posted by websavvy at 7:02 PM on October 3, 2001


that whole "big oil is keeping us from clean alt fuel sources" argument is so very, very tired.

if there were a truly viable alternative to oil, all the "big oil" money in the world couldn't stop it. the fact is there is plenty of incentive to develop it as is -- you don't need government or big oil money to do make it happen, the profit motive is plenty enuff.
posted by nobody_knose at 10:37 PM on October 3, 2001


You're wrong nobody_knose. Jimmy Carter established a national energy independence policy that, if followed, would have by now had our country totally energy independent. Big oil helped elect Raygun and the first thing he did was shitcan the energy independence policy. Payback to big oil.

Need another example?
Look at pResident Cheney and Dubya. Show me one thing they even said (lie or not) that would indicate they may be in favor of energy policy which would be detrimental to their benefactors, big oil.

That money=free speech thing has negative consequences when it comes to the unaccounted-for costs associated with our reliance on fossil fuels. It's not about our consumption but about fossil fuels being among the three most heavily government subsidized industries ever in the world. The idea, as I understand it, is let fossil fuels pay their own way (total cost, including shitting on the environment) and move the subsidies toward more sensible paths for our future.
posted by nofundy at 6:38 AM on October 4, 2001


This idea is actually getting some more press.

It's just a shame that 7,000 people had to die before the mainstream media started to pick this idea up.
posted by themikeb at 8:08 AM on October 4, 2001


If there was no Oil Interest, we probably would have given the finger to Saudia Arabia et al long ago. We might also be screwing Israel less.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:27 AM on October 4, 2001


thanks kliuless -- Rushdie's words are among the most cogent i have read since 9.11.

yr rite websavvy, it's the freakin SUVs.

yr so very very wrong nobody_knose. not only do the petrochemical corps own this country's govt, but they buy up all the alt-energy patents to stifle their development. but i'm sure you've heard that tired argument too.
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:53 AM on October 4, 2001


Glancing at the headline, I thought this thread was talking about Representative RuPaul.

Thank God I was wrong.
posted by dogmatic at 9:00 AM on October 4, 2001


well, all those MAC cosmetics are petroleum derivatives ;)

Anyway, via Ethel, this nugget:

Among the global assets counted in the ChevronTexaco merger is a 45 percent interest in 9 billion barrels of reserves in the Tengiz oil field of Kazakhstan, not very far from Afghanistan. ExxonMobil owns a 25 percent interest in the Tengiz field, bringing total US shares to 70 percent of the recoverable reserves. The Center for Public Integrity reports the area has been of longstanding interest to Vice President Dick Cheney who once served on the Kazakhstan Oil Advisory Board, along with executives from Chevron and Texaco.

As the reflexes of US power flex toward Central Asia during this national emergency, I want to be clear about the interests that direct them. If this is an oil war, why don't they tell us?

posted by holgate at 4:51 PM on October 4, 2001


danOstuporStar: Oh yes, I admit it now. The big oil companies are buying up and sitting on all the perpetual energy machines that have been invented in the last 100 years just so they can continue to extract oil form war torn, lawless and Western democracy-hating countries on the other side of the world that have a bad habit of nationalizing their holdings on a whim. Yes, that’s a very effecient use of their shareholders capital. Buy a great world-changing technology, and sit on it. Not likely.

My point was not that that oil companies don't have an interest in finding and developing oil wherever it is, but that there is no secret plot to squash the super efficient energy machine of your deluded dreams. If such a thing existed, somebody, somewhere, somehow would have gotten the message out by now. You just can’t suppress good ideas that long. The fact is, there is no commercially viable alternative yet.

A few questions for all the other "Alt NRG Now!" folks out there:

- What kind of vehicle do YOU drive? When’s the last time you were on a bus?

- What are YOU doing to support these wonderful Alt NRG technologies you are so enamored of?

- Why aren't the more enlightened European countries using these technologies you want used here? Are they in on this scam too?

Put your money where your mouth is and please stop demanding that the rest of America to subsidize your pipe dreams.
posted by nobody_knose at 10:18 PM on October 4, 2001


Why aren't the more enlightened European countries using these technologies you want used here?

Well, if you travel to Europe, at least you'll see, um, small cars. Anyway, this link suggests the kind of innovation which comes out of a country "enlightened" by high fuel costs. But efficiency has always been regarded as faintly un-American, at least recently, where the capacity to consume has served as an index of national strength. ("Let's spend ourselves out of a recession -- and on borrowed money!")

Anyway, this is a side issue; what's more important right now is to crack the symbiotic relationship between Big Transnational Oil and its cadre of friendly autocrats.
posted by holgate at 9:52 PM on October 6, 2001


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