Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Climate Crisis

Reading through my latest copy of Rolling Stone Magazine, I came across a great article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., entitled What Must Be Done. This article chronicles the real cost of denying our interdependence on foreign oil and the major subsidies that go to the major oil and coal companies.

A little background to substantiate my point of view:

For the past 7 years W. and his party have been blaming everything that has gone wrong in this country on Bill Clinton and the Democratic party, or just flatly denied that there was a problem at all! I guess this administration is of the belief that if they say something long enough and loud enough that eventually people will begin to believe their drivel. It seems as if that strategy worked for a while, but most people are wising up to this fascist’s propaganda.

Now for an amazing revelation:

In the article, I was struck by a few, simple paragraphs that stood out as shining beacons of truth – (something that Robert Kennedy Jr. is able to do so well) placing blame for much of what has happened in the Middle East - and the Iraq war, solely at the feet of the master republican Ronald Reagan….

“Back in the 1970’s, President Jimmy Carter attempted to level the playing field by creating incentives and minimal subsidies to jump-start clean fuels in the marketplace. But then Ronald Reagan took office and ordered the solar panels that Carter had installed on the White House roof torn off. He rolled back fuel standards for automobiles, killed federal incentives that had given America a commanding lead in wind and solar power, and doubled our oil imports. Reagan’s efforts fueled the current oil addiction that has us acting like a crack- house junkie rolling old ladies for drug money. Our jones for petrodrugs has not only superheated the planet, it has embroiled us in the Mesopotamian quagmire and made America a pariah among civilized nations, damaging the cause of democracy across the globe.”

“During the oil crisis sparked by OPEC in the 1970’s, American business and government went into overdrive to promote conservation and develop alternatives to Middle Eastern oil. Between 1977 and 1985, Detroit boosted the fuel efficiency of its automobiles from 18 to 27.5 miles per gallon. Oil use shrank by 17%-while the economy grew by 27%...oil imports from the Persian Gulf plunged by 87%...had we stayed the course, we would have needed to import a single drop of oil from the Middle East after 1986- achieving true energy independence that…would have enabled us to avoid the devastating attacks of September 11th, as well as both Gulf wars.”
(Rolling Stone, June 28, 2007, Issue 1029)

One can argue, using Kennedy’s assertions, that Reagan was the “instigator” that began the devil’s dance in the Middle East, and most likely laid the foundation for the events that led up to and created Osama Bin Laden’s hatred for the United States.

The blame game works both ways, I guess. However, I only like to think of what things could be like today if Reagan would have remained faithful to the initiatives and subsidies of the Carter administration. Our lives as Americans, I feel, would be dramatically different and we would not be sacrificing the lives of our brave soldiers for a war that only benefits the few.

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