Energy Independence

Note: I wrote the below before I heard that the President may speak on this topic tonight in his State of the Union Address. I can only hope that he does, and our elected representatives take heed.

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We all know that there is an energy crisis. All we have to do is look at our natural gas, electricity, and gasoline bills to know that we are not going to get any relief any time soon. More importantly, the United States must reduce its dependence on foreign energy sources, specifically petroleum, for our economic and social health.

One of the recommendations included in the May 2001 Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group is to increase the domestic energy supply by exploring & developing petroleum resources in protected areas. While the environmentalist groups will scream, this can be done with minimal impact given today’s improved technology and procedures. It is also necessary.

The oil producing region of the Middle East is under an uneasy peace at best. Suicide bombers and the conflict in Iraq are the most visible and most reported violent incidents from the area. Alliances change without warning as Iran did during the late 70’s. The Palestinians have elected a known terrorist group, Hamas, as their leaders. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is among those listed in Parade Magazine as being some of the most ruthless dictatorships known with multitudes of human right violations. Of course, there is Iran making noises about wanting to join the nuclear club even though the president of Iran is clearly advocating using any and all means to wage war on Israel to wipe it off the map. Lastly, Islamic terrorists such as al-Qaeda are constantly stirring up trouble for everyone in the region.

Whether we like it or not, the United States has a vested interest in the Middle East for national security reasons. Again, according to the May 2001 Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group, the United States relies on foreign oil for 52% of its needs. Should the flow of oil be interrupted, then the United States would have a severe impact dealt to its economy as all sectors (transportation, manufacturing, & energy generation) would be affected. Those groups that have accused the United States government with trading blood for oil are partially right as the Government has the duty to protect the economic welfare of the country. However, these same groups do not take the time to understand the reasons for the foreign policy sometimes enacted in the Middle East. For example: The first Gulf War was waged for a singular purpose, and that was to secure valuable oil resources in both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein’s control. If those resources were under the control of Hussein, then he would have been able to economically cripple the United States and the rest of the world. Those groups decried the loss of life in this conflict. One wonders what they would do or say if Hussein had control of the oil fields and turned off the oil, thus depriving them of the ability to drive to the supermarket only to find empty shelves since the food couldn’t be delivered…

There are billions of dollars being spent for the research into alternative energy sources. A renewed interest in nuclear power is underway, renewable energy sources such as ethanol & bio-diesel currently have limited use, hybrid & fuel cell vehicles are being tested, and wind power is starting to make an appearance. But all of these new technologies are years from being perfected and cost effective. Until these technologies are developed for widespread use, the consumption of petroleum in this country must be addressed. Thus, a domestic agenda for finding and developing petroleum resources within the borders of the United States must be enacted. So what is the hold up? To put it succinctly – Politics and Special Interest Groups.

The most powerful of these groups are the Environmentalists. Their stance is no drilling or exploration in protected areas. However, the proper use of the technology and procedures learned from various disasters and developments should reduce the risk to the environment. But there is the risk, and the Environmentalists do not trust the oil companies, and probably for good reason. With the Exxon Valdez disaster as well as other disasters in mind, they do have a powerful argument. While I’m in favor of a clean environment, some risk must be taken in order to secure these resources. Having the caribou running free is of little comfort if you are standing out in the cold because there is no heat in the house.

The other major factor in this equation are the politicians and the games they play. The mindset of politicians is usually short term, as in the next election. If their constituents do not directly benefit from a long-range policy or it is a political hot potato, they will vote against it or abstain. If the various special interest groups target key legislators with promises of campaign contributions, then the representatives will usually vote which ever way will contribute more to their campaign war chest while not getting them in trouble with their constituents. While I realize that this is a very cynical view of how our elected representatives behave, I would be extremely naive if I believed otherwise in light of numerous embarrassing political idiocies played out recently on national TV.

What is most disturbing is that while the political games are being played, our national economic security is at risk of a few nations. Worse, some of these nations may either covertly or inadvertently fund the terrorist activities which threaten our country. Think of it as the ultimate irony: We are funding our own destruction. Bin Laden’s family got rich by various oil construction projects, and he has tapped into that money to fund al-Qaeda terrorist activities against the United States & other countries. So the sooner we reduce or eliminate our dependence on the Middle East and other sources of foreign energy, the better.

So now it is up to us, the Citizens of the United States, to vote our conscience & let our duly elected representatives know that a long term solution is necessary to solve the coming crisis. We have an election coming up this year. Find out where your representatives stand on this issue and vote accordingly.

Superbowl Picks

In approximately 7 days and 15 minutes, Superbowl XL will begin. So the blog has temporarily been hijacked with the official Superbowl graphics. Who is your pick for this year?

Personally, I would like to see a game that is evenly matched and close, not one of these blowouts. That way, we have some entertainment besides the commercials.

Comment now, comment early on this topic.

News Bytes

News Bytes is a short, brief look at the events over the past week or so since I have been so busy.

Hamas Wins Election
Hamas was voted overwhelmingly by the Palestinian people as the leaders of their government. Since Isreal and the US recognise Hamas as a terrorist organization, it will be interesting to see how the two respective governments deal with this new government. It will be difficult at best, but all bets will be off if the Hamas-led government continues its policy of terrorism against Isreal.

Iran Nuclear Program
Iran has stated that they will continue on developing a nuclear program. With Iran’s radical leadership spewing out hatred and threats toward Israel, I’m predicting that Israel will do the same thing as they did to Iraq’s nuclear program in 1983. For those of you who do not remember, they raided Iraq’s nuclear facility & blew it up.

Oprah Duped!
The queen of daytime has been hoodwinked by an author telling a falsified tale of self-redemption. While honesty is supposedly the best policy, the author has made millions on the book, Oprah has shown that she is human too (endearing her further with her fans), and there is some proof that the book has inspired some people to clean up themselves. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

Judge Overruled
The judge who ruled that a man who sexually abused a girl for 4 years has had his 60-day sentence overruled. The sentence was extended up to 10 years. The movement to remove Judge Cashman is continuing, to which I say, the sooner, the better. We can only hope that the victim of this crime receives all the help she needs to live a happy life.

Filibuster
Senator John Kerry is promising to filibuster Judge Alito’s confirmation vote on Monday, even though there are enough votes to overrule Kerry’s promised tirade Politics as usual, the Dems continue to implode, and does nothing constructive for the country.

Liberals Beware!!

Canada had their elections yesterday. After 13 years of leading Canada down the path of Liberalism, the citizens of Canada voted the Liberal Party (LP) out of power. They lost 30 some seats in their parliament, according to my Canadian co-workers.

One of the reasons my friends gave me for this change was that they could not trust the LP because they constantly broke campaign promises and were generally arrogant in their attitudes. Does this sound familiar?

Liberals in this country have often looked to the socialistic agenda that the LP foisted on their country as a guide for what they should introduce in the United States. With the voters speaking with the ballot box, the Democratic Liberals should be very, very nervous.