Friday, July 25, 2008


I was intrigued by the ad I've seen on TV lately (see it here), oil man T. Boone Pickens describing the horrible situation our dependence on foreign oil has put America in. Of course, the numbers vary according to who you listen to, but this oil man marks these as the main points:
  • America has gone from importing 24% of our oil in 1970, to almost 70% today (and rising).
  • $700 BILLION per year we're paying to foreign nations for oil (four times the cost of the Iraqi war, so far)
  • He multiplies that out 10 years to get $7 TRILLION, and that doesn't account for growth or price raises at all. (He doesn't say it, but just think about the mostly awful people that money goes to, and how the money gets used then)
The largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. Add in all the money we're borrowing from China, Japan, and other people we have even less reason to trust, and surely you can see what a mess we're buying for ourselves.

It's really hard to believe that my party (Republican, supposedly the party that understands finance) has done so little to mitigate this problem - in fact, has done so much to encourage it and block progress toward getting our addiction under control. The very same people who clamp all sorts of restrictions on our American freedoms, and carve away our rights to privacy and due process of law in the name of Patriotism and Security, are more than happy to keep sending gigabucks to the very nations that funded the terrorist attacks against us (I'm looking at YOU, Dick Cheney). In fact, our government is cutting funding for alternative energy research by about 25% this year. (There's some finger-pointing about who caused the cut, but the bottom line is still a cut) Why the continued reluctance to curb our money flow to troublesome nations? Is it that we can't live without the oil, or is it that so many American businessmen get a fat slice of the outgoing money, which they put into campaign contributions for the politicians who keep this process in place?

So what is his plan? Really, he tells it better than me, see the video. Is his plan workable, will we get as much benefit as he promises? I don't know, but I know it has 0% chance if we don't try, and at the very least it will be steps in the right direction. His plan seems to address more supply, without doing much on the other side of the equation, reducing demand. (Many of us have yet to do our duty on this; I still have friends who haven't even replaced their old tungsten light bulbs with modern CFLs yet. And did you know, the CFL itself was invented in response to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973?) Anyway, Pickens at least has a plan. It's a grandiose plan, just like going to the moon was. We have only general ideas how to do it, but far more than we had when we committed to the space program. We can do this, or at least something like it. We must.
I've been an oil man my whole life, but this is one emergency we can't drill our way out of. - T. Boone Pickens
(This opinion differs from the one you hear from our President. I suggest you remember that, unlike our President, Pickens was a very successful businessman who knows what he's talking about.)

I urge you to watch the short video above, then go to and see the slightly longer one that gets into the specifics. You might be one of the few humans left who has an attention span; if so, you'll find more videos there, including Pickens' congressional testimony, and a former CIA director talking about how important alternative energy is to our national security. If you're not one of those who just sits back and complains, then go ahead and join the group, and let's make things happen. I joined, and will be doing what I can.

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