Photo credit: Haraz N. Ghanbari, AP
Excerpt from the 'Declaration of Independence'
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
Remember, Osama bin Laden? Remember that Bush was gonna get him 'dead or alive'? Well, of course you do. And, yet, bin Laden and Al Qaeda are alive and well. Seems the Bush administration is less interested in getting OBL than they are in getting OIL.
'Late last year, top Bush administration officials decided to take a step they had long resisted. They drafted a secret plan to make it easier for the Pentagon’s Special Operations forces to launch missions into the snow-capped mountains of Pakistan to capture or kill top leaders of Al Qaeda. Intelligence reports for more than a year had been streaming in about Osama bin Laden’s terrorism network rebuilding in the Pakistani tribal areas, a problem that had been exacerbated by years of missteps in Washington and the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, sharp policy disagreements, and turf battles between American counterterrorism agencies. ...
After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush committed the nation to a “war on terrorism” and made the destruction of Mr. bin Laden’s network the top priority of his presidency. But it is increasingly clear that the Bush administration will leave office with Al Qaeda having successfully relocated its base from Afghanistan to Pakistan’s tribal areas, where it has rebuilt much of its ability to attack from the region and broadcast its messages to militants across the world. ...
But while Mr. Bush vowed early on that Mr. bin Laden would be captured “dead or alive,” the moment in late 2001 when Mr. bin Laden and his followers escaped at Tora Bora was almost certainly the last time the Qaeda leader was in American sights, current and former intelligence officials say. Leading terrorism experts have warned that it is only a matter of time before a major terrorist attack planned in the mountains of Pakistan is carried out on American soil.'
Mark Mazetti and David Rohde, New York Times, June 30, 2008
Barack Obama is committed to bringing bin Laden and al Qaeda to justice.
'Obama will fight terrorism and protect America with a comprehensive strategy that finishes the fight in Afghanistan, cracks down on the al Qaeda safe-haven in Pakistan, develops new capabilities and international partnerships, engages the world to dry up support for extremism, and reaffirms American values.'
Barack Obama Website
To My Fellow Voters
The simple truth is that the oil companies want to extract every last drop of oil in the earth for short-term profit before alternative fuels make fossil fuels obsolete and unprofitable. In its final throes, the Bush administration is doing all it can to scare the public into backing this grab for energy resources by their corporate sponsors, before Democrats come to power and develop common-sense energy policies and effective initiatives for energy independence.
Here is what the President is demanding:
'First, we should expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS. Experts believe that the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil.
Second, we should expand oil production by tapping into the extraordinary potential of oil shale.
Third, we should expand American oil production by permitting exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR.
And finally, we need to expand and enhance our refining capacity ... So today I'm proposing measures to expedite the refinery permitting process.'
President George W. Bush, June 18, 2008
Hmm? Where have we heard this before? Can you say, oil executive?
'Amid increasing public outcry over record-shattering oil and gas prices, senators on Wednesday hauled industry executives in to testify about the recent runup.
The Senate Judiciary Committee called the hearing to explore the skyrocketing price of oil, which jumped over $4 a barrel to a new record of over $133. The committee grilled executives from Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips Co., Shell Oil Co., Chevron and BP as to how their companies can in good conscience make so much money, while American drivers pay so much at the pump ...
Lawmakers criticized the firms for not investing enough in finding new oil and developing renewable resources and told them, in thinly disguised terms, that they'd be forced to enact extra profit taxes if Big Oil continued to post such large earnings.
The oil men said they're making business decisions in the best interest of their shareholders. They repeated their often-stated position that the best way to lower prices and bring more oil to market is to open up wide swaths of the U.S. that are currently off-limits to drilling.'
Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com, May 21, 2008
This poor-mouthing by Big Oil, and the obvious attempt to grab up all the last reserves while they still can, comes as they make obscenely high record profits.
This is obviously an attempt at a massive give-away to ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, BP and others. Seems, under this plan we are switching our reliance on supplies from greedy foreign governments to dependance on greedy energy corporations. Where is the independence in that?
UPDATE: July 6, 2008:
The Republican National Committee has gotten in lockstep with the oil companies and the Bush administration, and is praising McCain for calling for more oil production in the U.S. They do it in a campaign ad attacking Obama's energy policy. This drumbeat for opening more lands and reducing restrictions for oil drilling will continue unabated. The Republicans owe their corporate benefactors and are dutifully doing what they are told by their sponsors.
Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times
I've noticed that throughout my lifetime, every time there is a regulation or initiative to improve something for the benefit of the environment - auto emissions, carbon reductions, water purity, fuel efficiency, etc. - the goal for completion is always set at a decade out. Seems, no one is ever willing or able to curtail the offending practice now, or soon. Of course, the planet doesn't wait. Some scientists are speculating that the North Pole will lose its ice for the first time in human history- this year.
'It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year... Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally ice-free North Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by huge swathes of thinner ice formed over a single year. This one-year ice is highly vulnerable to melting during the summer months and satellite data coming in over recent weeks shows that the rate of melting is faster than last year, when there was an all-time record loss of summer sea ice at the Arctic.'
Steve Connor, The Independent, June 27, 2008
One has to wonder, when hearing promises to do something about global environmental problems in ten years, whether there is really any desire to do anything at all.
Of course, the Bush administration is all about giving the oil companies free rein to drill every last drop of oil before there is any substantive progress in moving to alternative fuels. In his 2007 State of the Union address, he outlined his 'Twenty in Ten' initiative. The goals are to delay any real progress in cleaner, cheaper energy sources.
'It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power. (Applause.)
We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. (Applause.) We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- (applause) -- using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes. We made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies here in Washington and the strong response of the market. And now even more dramatic advances are within reach.
Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years.(Applause.) When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.
To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target. (Applause.)
At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017. Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but it's not going to eliminate it.
And so as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. (Applause.) And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (Applause.)'
President George W. Bush, January 23, 2007
In related news, The Sun reports that Mercedes-Benz plans to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2015. Again, with the delayed timetable. But, still, good news for the environment, and bad news for the oil companies.
'Mercedes are aiming to end the need for filling your fuel tank with petrol or diesel within just seven years. The German firm are determined to make their model range run on alternative fuels - to improve costs, become more eco-friendly and because the oil supply will eventually run out ... This includes making current engines even cleaner and more fuel-efficient while increasing the amount of hybrids, emission-free electric cars and clean-fuel gas engines and the further development of battery and hydrogen-powered vehicles.'
Phil Lanning, The Sun, June 20, 2008