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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

May 14, 2008


Bush's "Alternatives"

"High energy prices are going to cause countries like mine to accelerate our move to alternative energy,"
-President Bush to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah this past Friday

Now wait a minute here -- Aren't we already accelerating our efforts towards alternative fuels? I kind of remember this very same President Bush come out and tell us all how he's investing in our future with research into alternative fuels.

Or maybe it was just a dream.

"For the past two days, the President has been viewing demonstrations of Alternative and Flexible-Fuel Vehicles that have emerged from Department of Energy-funded technologies and programs."
-Andy Karsner, Assistant Energy Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, from Ask the White House, March 2007

And that was the last "Ask the White House" word on alternative fuel. The last time Samuel W. Bodman, the Secretary of Energy said anything about alternative fuels was in February 2007. And even though the White House's web site's Energy link points to a page which mentions "Alternative Fuels" a number of times, the truth of the matter is that it's all just talk. Other than throwing a few billion dollars around with no real or hopeful remedy in mind, just what has the Bush White House offered in respect to Alternative energy other than the same old, tired rhetoric?

As it turns out, not much.

"On March 5, 2008, President Bush spoke to the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference and discussed the importance of renewable and alternative energy technologies to increasing America's energy security and addressing the long-term challenge of global climate change."

It's now seven-and-a-half years into this current Bush (and hopefully the last Bush) Presidency. And so far all we have to show for it are gas prices which have increased hundreds of times over what they were when this Administration of Diminished Responsibility took the reigns of power. Mixed in with all of that "it's you money - you should decide what to do with it" was no thought of what a government by big business would actually do to that money. Our dollar is worth about half what it was worth some seven-and-a-half years ago; our gas and other energy prices have, at least, quadrupled; and our national surplus in the hundreds of billions of dollars is now a national debt in excess of some seven trillion dollars (ten year projection).

So when President Bush "warns" the Saudis that they have to do something to make American lives better, as it relates to crude oil, one has to wonder how hard they're laughing.

"It's wonderful. In about a year, everyone's going to hear about plug-in hybrids... We think the president could be bolder. He could call up the president of a car company and say, 'Make this happen now.'"
-Felix Kramer, a member of a California grass-roots group pushing for cars that can plug into a wall which use even less gas than the hybrids, March 2007

Kramer made this statement in response to Bush's "America is addicted to oil" comment.

"I know it came as a shock to some to hear a Texan stand up there in front of the country and say, 'We've got a real problem; America is addicted to oil,'"

The gall which this President has didn't make his statement come as a shock to me. And the "warning" made to the Saudis didn't either. it's like I noted before - this is President Photo-op. he's the guy who calls allowing more pollution the Clean Air Act and Clear Skies initiative, so it's no wonder that he speaks about taking steps to fix our gas crisis while actually doing nothing towards that end.

"Increasing conservation and energy efficiency and expanding the use of alternative fuels are cornerstones of the Presidentís National Energy Policy."
-Secretary Bodman, march 2005

That was three years ago, and the same rhetoric without anything backing it up is what we hear today.

"Today, we are seeing the consequences of going too long without an energy policy. Many Americans are struggling with the high cost of energy...
"Our objective should not only be to manage the current situation, but to avoid any crisis in the first instance. This requires a four-part strategy; first to make energy security a priority of our foreign policy, by restoring American credibility with overseas suppliers and building strong relationships with energy-producing nations in our hemisphere. Second, to encourage environmentally-friendly exploration and production of domestic energy sources, like oil, natural gas and coal. Third, to promote the production of electricity, to keep pace with America's growing demands. Fourth, to support the development of cost-effective alternative energy sources."
-Bush as he introduce this first Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, March 2001

That's right, March, 2001... That's when the rhetoric began, and it began in response to the Enron-instigated energy crisis in California which cost many an old person their lives because they couldn't afford heat, food and medicine. Just what has President Bush offered other than his normal rhetoric since then?

Imagine resident bush making those same exact remarks today, just rehashing his old speeches instead of reading new ones. Think of all the money we could save on speech-writers!

Does anyone take anything that President Bush says seriously anymore?

I hope not.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg