Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gadhfi Holding US Hostage

Gasoline prices are racing toward $4.00 per gallon.  Some experts say $5.00 per gallon is likely by summer’s end.  Americans grumble.  Home heating oil prices are skyrocketing.  Americans whine. Carpools are organized.  Bus schedules examined.  Vacations cancelled.
It serves us right.
Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi addressed his nation yesterday.  There he sat in a pickup truck, in the desert, wearing a fur hat reminiscent of an Alaskan Eskimo, while holding a white umbrella over his head.  His address lasted twenty seconds…yes, twenty seconds… and consisted of a defiant jumble of incoherent pronouncements.  The man is a crazy as crazy can be.  And the man is holding our economy hostage.
Gadhafi speaks from under his umbrella and the DOW tumbles.  Gadhafi rambles incoherently and gasoline prices rise.   American lives are altered.
Gadhafi of Libya, Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, Ahmadinejad of Iran, Mubarak of Egypt and other delusional Middle Eastern heads of state control our economy just as assuredly as does Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.   Last week it was Mubarak who was unable to maintain order in his country thus threatening the flow of crude through the Suez Canal.  This week it is Gadhafi who is poised to fall; placing in jeopardy his country’s oil producing capacity.  Gadhafi has done more damage to the United States and its economy in the last seventy two hours than he did in all his previous forty years of reign.
Americans grumble.  Americans whine.  It serves us right.
America continues its insatiable addiction to oil with no end in sight.  Even the fragile state of our Middle Eastern suppliers does not alter our course nor curb our addiction.  Can you imagine any sensible American business owner, who when faced with the interruption of key raw materials from its main supplier, would not seek alternative sources for those materials?  But that is what we Americans do.  We allow unstable Middle Eastern autocracies hold our economy and consequently our quality of life hostage but we inexplicably refuse to develop alternatives.
In 1977 President Jimmy Carter challenged the country to wean itself off of oil and undertake a responsible alternative energy plan.  Thirty four years later we find ourselves in the same place. 
Oh we talk about it.  We talk about electric cars.  Automobile industry analysts say that there is a demand for two million electric cars.  To date we have built thirty thousand.  We talk about solar energy.  Solar technology was developed in this country.  But of the top twenty five manufactures of solar panels worldwide not one is here in the US.
We have the means.  Our natural gas resources are limitless.  Coal, wind, solar and nuclear power are all viable options.  And we have the finest universities in the world to develop new sources of energy.  But we do virtually nothing.
The Chinese get it.  While we spend billions blowing up rocks in Afghanistan the Chinese are investing billions in alternative sources of energy and infrastructure.  They are leaving us in their wake.
We can do this.  We can reinvent ourselves.  We have done it before.  After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor this country re-tooled and turned itself into the greatest manufacturer of military equipment that the world has ever seen.  Certainly we can do it again.  Do we have a choice?
The price of crude oil rose to $100 a barrel yesterday.  Industry experts say the surge will continue.
Americans grumble.  Americans whine.   It serves us right.               

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