Oil addiction and the American dream

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“Be the change you want to see in the world”  Mahatma Gandhi

Part one:

A win win situation

 

Oil exploration and drilling goes back to the early colonial era. Certainly we found a bit of black gold in Texas, California and other American soil, but very quickly it was obvious that it would be found in much larger quantity in the Middle East and places where property right would not interfere. English and American entrepreneurs bought huge concessions, in Iran (then Persia), Egypt, Libya, thousands of square miles leases from countries that were not democracies, but split among tribal and sectarian lords while overall under British, French, and Dutch rule. Colonialism was not about keeping peace between the indigenous sects and tribes, it was not about bringing modern commodities, such as electricity, sanitation and rail to underdeveloped nations, that was merely necessary to commerce, it was not about the Christianization of what was deemed a superstitious pagan lot, it was not even about expansion, it was entirely about money making. Colonialism was (is) the manipulation of executive, legislative, judicial branches and economic and political affairs to establish the systematic plundering of an overseas country and its resources.

The colonized countries slowly rose from poverty and ignorance and equipped with infrastructure and a system of government, newly armed with education and a burgeoning middle class fought, and in most cases, because the colony or commonwealth had indeed become more troublesome and costly to upkeep, was granted its independence with great hopes of new profitable, locked- in alliances.

Alibris

At that point we are still in total control of the natural resources of that country and we have merely shifted the cost of extracting and producing ourselves by handing over titles of ownership, while retaining the control of operations and all rights. We are now paying taxes and dues, for products and services to the new owners, but overall, as it always was, the rich, who now include a few indigenous princes and princesses, are getting very rich. Everybody is happily synchronizing their politics of oil dependency in all matters.

Over time, alliances are questioned and the profitable arrangements soured. By now the wealth of the world rests on 5% of selected individuals who are involved in government policies, whether English, French, Dutch or American, it is tied entirely to the resources extracted from the soil of these developing countries. Diamonds, Uranium, minerals Gold, and above all Crude Oil. For decades, the powers have made sure to lock oil as the primary energy source, have made sure that manufacture utilizes oil as the primary raw material, that from transport to utilities, from fiber to plastics our economy depends entirely on crude oil , while our currency is  still measured in Gold. Breaking the dependency on oil is not profitable. The only other highly business profitable is armament and the business of war with all its exclusive services and manufacturing contracts. So when we can’t have oil on out terms, we wage wars to get it.  For the most part, the same people own the rights. Any pretense of humanistic concern goes, with or without our elected officials’s permission because they are only interested in their own wealth and careers and easily quieted. It’s a win win situation. In today’s much depressed economy, the rich are getting richer by leaps and bond. OK, BP has paid a few billions dollars in cleaning and payouts, but that is much less than their earnings in a year and they count on the IRS to refund it all to them with billions of tax credits.

Part 2:

So we are addicted to oil.

 

After WWII when oil was abundant, cheap and securing influential Fortunes, the selected few decided in favor of the interstate over the railroad, shaping for ever a society of oil addiction. Cities expanded out to suburbs, broadening the service and utility geographic grid, forming the American dream of owning a house on a lot and a car to drive to and from it. No turning back then. Soon, women who had been involved in the previous war’s efforts and their daughters did not want to be home makers anymore and as prices rose and wish lists grew longer a second income was paired with a second vehicle. Everybody felt like somebody when taking a drive. Cars are the most photographed subject of Americana; it is a man’s pride and joy, a woman’s emancipation, a symbol of upper mobility, of a man and his family right to happiness.

The rich are becoming rich as kings and the poor have moved into the middle class and for the destitute ….. at least there is hope.

Powered by more fossil fuel, factories weave crude oil into carbon fibers and plastics, oil is present in very step of our lives, we wear it, we walk on it, we ride on it, we store our food in it. Every Thursday night, fifteen ladies put on their nylons and sashed polyester dress, drive their cars a few miles to meet for a Tupperware party where they will seat on squeaky vinyl chairs around a sparkling laminate kitchen table that stands on a chequered linoleum floor. In cities heating oil replaces coal and jet fuel gives us the moon. Oil is our birth right. Genius scientists have come to America working toward a bright dream of freedom, well earned money and a piece of the pie in the sky. African Americans win the Civil Rights Act. We are proud to be Americans.

A showcase of democracy and justice for all.

Now who would want to mess up such a good thing?

The rich are rich beyond our imagination; foreign oil is owned by Western corporations; it is theirs to extract, refine, distribute, sell, regulate. There is enough of it to make extraordinary fortunes, enough for the next 50 years, perhaps longer, perhaps not endless. But it is unthinkable that the host countries might not be compliant any longer, while they benefit from such a good arrangement, their sons are getting an Oxford, Harvard or Stanford education, they have indoor plumbing and a middle class ! Rebel? For ideological reasons of all things?! Besides they can always be threatened into behaving. Oil and Mineral corporations, and Western military, namely English, French and Americans have worked side by side for decades, effectively blurring the people’s perception of National Defense versus Corporate Interest. It is all about money. We use words like billions and trillions but we have no comprehension of how much money that really is. How much such phenomenal amounts of money could accomplish at home. And now Greed has made us some powerful enemies.

We can orbit space, dig up dirt on Mars, we can build new technology.

Our government has known for quite some time (years before we were told) that the utilization of fossil fuels is taking a hole out of the Ozone layer, that it is the main culprit in the causes and effects of Global warming…. so what! But mainly it has known that its supply is not endless.

There is an endless supply of sun, especially here in Florida and an endless supply of wind, especially in the Midwest and so long as we don’t keep pouring crude oil in the seas, we have an endless supply of salt water to desalinize for drinking water. We have the knowledge and technology to utilize all these clean renewable energy and we have had it for quite some time. Others countries are moving fast to break their national dependency on fossil fuels and ground resources. We have the technology to produce clean electricity from these renewable energy but we allow utility companies like Progress energy in Florida, to run coal burning facilities (and a nuclear plant in the works!) to produce dirty power, ever more costly to the users, to the national deficit, to the planet. For several decades, we have developed the technology to make cars run on electric batteries. Tesla has built the Roadster reaching 200 miles an hour and going 313 miles on one charge.

Why criticize people for driving their cars to work, to school, to play, to shop and to a Hand across America protest against oil drilling? Why blame people for bringing plastic bottled water and plenty of it which media, advertising and heath agencies alike have propagandized? Why expect them to make such a sacrifice when our government and law makers elected with corporate monies, do not make any, when the immensely rich legally evade taxes and buy up the foreclosed properties at 10 cents on the dollar, when corporate giants are not required to create American jobs, reinvest in the future of this beautiful land of and use clean renewable energy?

We have heard the drug pusher’s argument many times: As long as there is demand there is supply. It is only the argument of a criminal. The Oil Lords have ruled for over a century, they have courted favorable governments and helped shape corporate and fiscal laws to suit them, they have schemed in secret circles, they have scorned the environment, they have created ecological disasters here and abroad, profiteered globally and shamefully until we became entirely dependant on oil. It is time to hold them responsible for our addiction and it is time to demand clean renewable local energy.

Americans are not going to ride bicycles to the grocery store, they are not going to share inadequate public transportation to get to work, they are not going to give up that last bit of autonomy, of privacy, of self reliance, of American pride.

When electric cars will become available and affordable, Americans will line up to buy them. They could have been available 15 years ago, even 20 years ago and then my family could have bought an affordable used one last month, one made in America, with hemp cloth interior and organic rubber tires.

Brigitte Wallace

People for ethical living

Making ethical choices one person at a time.

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2 Responses to Oil addiction and the American dream

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