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Works and Days

Where is the Wind and Solar?

June 7th, 2008 - 11:52 am

A Lost Opportunity

Gas in central California is right at $4.50 a gallon. Those who are hurt most are the poorer who don’t drive Priuses and Civics, but who pull into the rural service station not far away from my home with second- and third-hand SUVs, Crown Victorias, and F-150s. Most are either Hispanic or poor whites. None can afford solar panels, hybrids, or on-demand water heaters.

Somewhere, somehow the Republicans, inept as usual, have not been able to make the argument that they as a whole voted for ANWR, off-shore drilling, tar sands and shale, refineries, clean coal and coal to liquid—not to enrich oil companies or destroy the environment, but to provide accessible energy supplies to the citizenry, while Democrats stopped them all.

It really is a class issue. Democratic elite environmentalists road-blocked all these avenues, each of which might have added a million barrels here, a million there. We’re not talking going back to $2 a gallon, but that additional production might have allowed gas to stay at $2.50 a gallon for example. Few Americans realize that the current Democratic leadership (cf. the SF regional proximity of a Boxer, Feinstein, and Pelosi) pretty much reflects the ideology of an upper-class Bay area elite, with ample capital and income, access to mass transit, who really has very little concern in the world for a guy who lives in Parlier and hangs doors up and down the Valley in his 10-year-old Ford 250-truck and trailer.

And then there are the other issues: as oil climbs, we note that an extra 3-4 million barrels a day would translate into over a third of a billion dollars daily in national revenue, monies not given as well to our enemies, whether in Russia, Iran, the Gulf, or South America. Environmentalists should accept that a derrick off Santa Barbara means clean world extraction; one off Nigeria or in the Persian Gulf means a spill waiting to happen. So much for our shared “Planet Earth.”

Meanwhile we wait for solar and wind and Obama’s rhetoric about “alternative energy” and “thousands of new green jobs” to fill the tank.

A Modest Proposal

Will all the Greens, new-age environmentalists, Gorites, and Hunffinton Post Hollywood crowd, just make three simple pledges to match their deeds with their rhetoric? (1) I swear I will not fly on any gas-guzzling, carbon-footprinting private jet; (2) I swear I will not live in an energy-wasting house larger than 8,000 square feet; and (3) I swear that I will not drive a car that gets less than 25 mpg. That would be for most of us pretty easy to do; so will the prophets of the environment take the pledge and help the nation and planet?

Saddam’s Trillions

As the extreme left talks about Iraqi war-crimes, as violence subsides, as American troops start drawing down and as constitutional government increases its authority, we should stop and ponder a Saddamist 2008 Iraq. Given that oil prices are spiking on the soaring demand of the Chinese and Indians post 2003, we can imagine what Saddam’s Iraq would now look like today: billions in oil revenue available for more weapons; more French and Russian sweetheart deals; a $50 billion oil for food scandal now reaching into the hundred of billions; thousands of sorties in the no-fly zones, with international pressures for Americans to cease their provocative policing; even more bounties for suicide bombers as Iraqi oil coffers increased; the defenseless Gulf sheikdoms even more inviting targets, and so on.

The Bush Rules

1. Good economic news (2002-7) is due to natural cycles beyond Presidential control; bad news (2001, 2008) results from Bush ineptness.
2. Natural disasters like Katrina cause hundred of deaths due to Bush incompetence and are unprecedented. When tens of thousands die in Indonesia, Burma, or China, we are reminded of nature’s capricious fury.
3. Bush is unilateral and partisan, so legislation like No Child Left Behind or Prescription Drugs either is not bipartisan, or the sort of thing Sen. Obama would do even better.
4. All bad news in Iraq is Bush’s fault; the radical turn-around this year is either nonexistent or due to those who acted without Bush’s authority. When violence subsides in Iraq it is an accident; when it does the same in Afghanistan it is due to multilateral cooperation.
5. Bush is selfish and parochial, liberal Democrats magnanimous and international. Therefore protectionist trade policies, trashing Columbia and NAFTA, opposing the Dubai ports deal, voting for record farm subsidies and give-always, and blaming Turkey for its nineteenth-century predecessors are progressive.
6. Energy: see above. If I were a conspiracist, I would suggest that the Democrats wanted high gas and energy prices to favor radical environmental, no-growth causes, garner power into the hands of centrally-planned, union-run transit authorities, teach the US to be a better, more contrite citizen of the world (cf. Obama’s admonishment to put away our (not the Senators’) SUVs, and persuade the American people that the desired national profile and habitat are to be more Oregonian or Seattlean than Wyominian or Kentuckian.

McClatchy Rules

Recently McClatchy’s Michael Doyle contacted me about an article he was writing about a local Fresno-area person’s receipt of an award. Here are the first few paragraphs on the story with some comments in brackets.

Valley native gets $250k honor
Conservative foundation bestows award on Hanson.
By Michael Doyle / Bee Washington Bureau
06/04/08

WASHINGTON — A prominent conservative foundation is lavishing a $250,000 award on Victor Davis Hanson, the Fresno-area farmer and classics professor turned public intellectual.

[In the case of foundations, anything not the Ford, Guggenheim, or Rockefeller is “conservative.” One never reads “prominent liberal Gates Foundation” or “Left-leaning" Rockefeller Foundation]

The Bradley Prize becomes the latest and far-and-away most lucrative in a line of honors bestowed on Hanson, who holds emeritus status at California State University, Fresno. While the prize is novel, the dollars send a deliberate message.

[Note the ambiguous “deliberate message”—never specified, only ominously implied?]

Quite a shock,” Hanson said by e-mail Tuesday, shortly after arriving in Washington from Europe. “I’m very appreciative, and did not think someone from rural Selma would have his voice heard with other more distinguished authors and thinkers.”

Hanson considers home to be his 40-acre family farm in Fresno County, where he was raised by his mother, Pauline, and father, William.

[I don’t have a home, only a considered one]

Often, though, he’s in the San Francisco Bay Area or traveling. Most recently, he has globe-trotted as a presidential appointee to the American Battle Monuments Commission, which oversees 27 overseas military cemeteries.

[This is false. I was leading a private tour at my own expense. That becomes “globe-trotting" as a government functionary. The ABM commission oversees many of our nation’s war cemeteries abroad. It pays no salary; before my first meeting I tried to visit as many cemeteries as I could on my own time and expense. Doyle’s “Globe-trotting” means lecturing to a group in France and Belgium]

He is traveling in headier company than when he published his first book in 1983, titled “Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece.” He has since authored or edited another dozen books that address modern controversies, consulted with the likes of Vice President Dick Cheney and energetically championed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

[I wrote 17 books; the Bee mentions by name only my PhD thesis of some 35 years ago. I don’t know what “headier company” quite means; though I suggest that a Michael Doyle, like all of us, now associates with “headier company” than when he published his first newspaper article years ago. “Consulted” with the “likes” of Dick Cheney means being invited to a dinner with various scholars 6 years ago at the Vice President’s residence.

The rest of the article is a harangue about my support for the Iraq war before ending with:

The award was established in 2004 by the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which bills itself as "strengthening American democratic capitalism." The foundation generally funds free market and right-of-center entities.

The foundation, for instance, funded Connerly's American Civil Rights Institute, and it supports Stanford University's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, where Hanson is a senior fellow in residence.

[There is no conflict of interest between Hoover and Bradley. The Bradley Prize selection committee is independent of its other grant-giving committees and commissions and has nothing to do with the Hoover Institution]

All this is a world away from something simple like “Local resident Hanson received one of our four Bradley Foundation Prizes.”

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