02 October 2008

Don't insult my intelligence

At some point in my life, I'm going to make the effort to walk up to a politician running for federal office and ask them to their face if they think I'm an idiot. When they they say "No" (because there's no way in hell that they'd tell a potential voter "yes, I assume all of you are mindless sheep"), I'm going to ask them why they insist on insulting my intelligence.

My point of issue today is an item of campaign literature I received from the Obama campaign. In short, it informed me that Mr. Obama has an energy plan which will help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It also informed me that the plan advocated by Mr. McCain is just out to help "big oil".

Clearly, the point of this little bit of propaganda is to link McCain to the oil industry which we're supposed to assume is evil and out to cause us (and our bank accounts) harm. What Obama and his cronies aren't telling you is where all that oil that gets imported goes. They want you to assume that all of it, every last drop, goes into energy products, be it gasoline, home heating oil, or something else. However, the truth is that it isn't the case. The proof exists in one little word.


Plastics are an integral part of American life. Your computer is made with plastics, so are your TV, your car, your microwave, your shoes, your coat, and your bed. Have you purchased a soft drink recently? Chances are it was sold in a plastic container. Bought a candy bar? Packaged in plastic. So are CDs and DVDs, which are, oddly enough, also made out of plastic. Your iPod is made with plastic as well as your cell phone and your digital camera. In fact, plastic is so ubiquitous that you would have to go significantly out of your way NOT to purchase things which make use of it in some way, shape, or form.

However, what too many people seem blissfully ignorant of is that the companies that make those products don't just harvest the fruits of the PVC tree or raise herds of polypropylenes, plastics are a petroleum product and you make them with oil. And the reason we make all these things out of plastic is simple: it costs less to manufacture things with plastic than metal, wood, or glass and those things last longer. Damn, there's that whole free-market economy getting in the way again.

Getting back to our villan, "big oil", the truth is that the oil industry has been pushing for ways to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil for years and that Obama's party has lead the effort to block attempts at opening potential new sources for various political reasons.

Look, I'm all for exploring our options in terms of non-fossil fuel-based energy sources. I'm waiting for the day when Home Depot and Lowes start selling photovoltaic cells that you can mount on your roof. However, I steadfastly refuse to blindly advocate this "Green Everything" agenda because it has distinct limitations. For starters, it seeks to have everything be powered by electricity. I'm sorry, but internal combustion engines just do somethings better than electric motors, such as work without wires. Not to mention that I like to cook over flame, not electrical coils.

Of course, since this is politics, I'm also curious to know who stands to benefit from Obama's energy policy?. For those who do not know, I don't buy this "global warming" crap for a minute. (More on that in another blog entry.) So, when I hear all of the comments about needing to adopt a more environmentally friendly energy approach, it really makes me want to ask "who's going to gain from all this?". The knee-jerk reaction is that it will help save the planet. Sorry, but in America, altruistic movements (like saving the planet) do not gain this much traction without there being a chance for financial gain somewhere.

The sad fact is that, if you do the research into a lot of alternative energies, you see that most of the technologies being proposed are being developed by large companies that are not part of the oil industry. Translation: big companies are still going to benefit from this governmental policy, just not the ones who have been benefiting from previous governmental policies. And I'm sure if you followed the money, you could trace those companies to the candidates espousing a green agenda. They're out for green alright, just the old-fashioned kind, not the new kind.

On the whole, I think I'd have a lot more respect for Obama's campaign had they merely sent me a little card that reads "shut up and believe everything we say, you mindless sheep". At least I'd know where I stood.


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