Includes thoughts and comments about energy needs, resources, conservation and their relationship to politics at home and around the world.

Monday, August 25, 2008

While every election is important, the one on November 4, 2008 exceeds all that have come before it. Ever since Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" of the 1930s, we have moved ever closer to becoming a collectivist society. We're now at the tipping point. If we elect one more liberal (same as progressive, collectivist, communist) President, we will pass through the point of no return. Our last chance to prevent that from happening is to elect the McCain-Palin ticket.

Consider these facts: FDR got Congress to pass the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933. Issuing from that act was the NRA to consist of manufacturers and retail businesses binding together to fix prices, set maximum working hours and minimum wages. Consumers were coerced into doing business only with NRA members and any business that refused to join incurred the full wrath and threats of NRA members. In 1935 a sensible U.S. Supreme Court ruled the NIRA unconstitutional. That action so incensed FDR that he moved heaven and Earth to pact the Supreme Court with liberal appointees. He got Congress to pass the Wagner Act which carried forward the power to set maximum work hours, thus the 40-hour workweek, and the minimum hourly wage that business and industry have had to deal with ever since. The Roosevelt administration continued headlong down the socialist road through a variety of welfare schemes and make-work projects. Still, the nation faced double digit unemployment until we entered WWII.

Also in 1935, Congress passed the Social Security Act, the first beneficiaries of which began drawing money from it even though they didn't put a dime onto it. Ostensibly, Social Security was sold to the country to help retirees, but it was never intended to provide for anyone's total retirement financial needs. Over time, liberals in Congress added benefits for dependent children and the disabled, then came Medicare. As a result today's FICA taxes are well up into the double digit range and apply to ever higher wage and salary limits. To make matters worse, Congress has been allowed to "borrow" from the Social Security fund to cover deficits in the general tax fund. As a result the Social Security fund consists of many IOUs and no cash. And that's just the beginning.

The signs and costs of socialism and collectivism are all around us. The Democrat Party has succeeded in growing a huge population that is dependent on government by catering to people supposedly unable to fend for themselves. The trouble is that their numbers include many (if not most) who are unwilling to fend for themselves and all of them represent Democrat votes come election time. Our immigration laws are being broken every day with as many as 20 million illegals now in our country partaking of our patience, free health care in our emergency rooms, free education and a whole lot more. All of it coming out of the pockets of productive taxpaying citizens.

The recent hurricane Gustav that struck the U.S. Gulf Coast once more displayed how far we've come toward a socialist, collectivist society. Supposedly learning from Katrina in 2004, the feds were in Louisiana in droves before the storm struck. Evacuation was ordered in New Orleans but instead of using the several hundred public school buses in Orleans and Jefferson parishes to haul Ninth Ward residents out of town, they hired luxurious air conditioned tour buses to do the job. Having lived in that area (Metarie) and worked for over 3 years in New Orleans in the early '60s, I can safely say that the vast majority of folks in the Ninth Ward are virtual wards of local, state and federal government and they've been such for several generations. And Mayor Nagin and his cronies like it that way because it keeps the money rolling in from us taxpayers.

But, there just might be a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the McCain-Palin ticket. Both want to clean up Washington. They want to do away with "earmarks" in future legislation and they want to work toward changing public attitiudes toward socialism. They will face a tough fight and will need the support of rational thinking people on both sides of the aisle.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Alternative Energy

On a recent tour of WWI and WWII battlfields, memorials and museums in France, Belgium, Luxemberg and Germany, I couldn't help noting the stark contrast between the past and the present. Where once great battles were fought now stand numerous wind power generators and nuclear power plants. Nearly 70% of all electricity generated in France, for example, is nuclear. Along side the nuclear plants wind power generators are beginning to appear.

T. Boone Pickens, a very wealthy oilman, has proposed that we go on an all out program to install wind power generators across a wide area starting at the Texas-Mexico border runnung north up to Canada. Adjacent to that path, Pickens proposes we install solar energy panels throughout the southwest starting in Texas and taking in parts or all of New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California, Nevada and Utah. Technology must be developed to transfer the electricity to where it's needed. While the Pickens proposals are pursued we must also continue developing new sources of crude oil to allow continued interim use of existing ground transportation and to manufacture all of the many petroleum products the world has come to rely on. We hear very little about the many non-fuel products that are made from petroleum when politicians and environmental activists talk about oil, so let's review the list:

  • Cosmetics. Made from white oils and petrolatum.Hydraulic Oils. Hydraulic systems abound in industry, heavy equipment, aircraft, and ships.
  • Lubricants. Industrial machinery, aircraft, automobiles, and ships couldn't run without them.Metalworking Oils. Sheetmetals would be difficult to make without them.
  • Paraffin Wax. No more candles without it.
  • Pharmaceuticals. Many lifesaving drugs and other medicines depend on white oils.
  • Plastics. Essential in modern-day packaging and other convenience applications.
  • Solvents. Critical in many cleaning and thinning applications.
  • Transformer Oils. Needed in electricity transmission.
  • Turbine Oils. Essential in jet engines and steam turbines.
  • Synthetic Rubber. Not enough natural rubber for the world's tires
Considering the foregoing list and the many other materials that are made from petroleum it's obvious that we must continue the search for and produce oil for years to come. Those politicians who preach alternatives to the total exclusion of more crude production simply don't know what they are talking about.