Friday, January 5, 2018

Trumpocalypse Now!

Trump is expanding drilling areas into ANWR and extending offshore drilling permits He's already approved the Keystone Pipeline project. This move will increase domestic oil supplies and make us less dependent on foreign oil leaving more for the rest of the world. I think that's a good thing. My progressive buddies think there will be massive disasters and the world will likely end with global warming, seas rising and only Mt. Everest sticking up out of the ocean.

Apparently, any softening of restrictions on drilling will cause the evil oil companies to ravage and pillage the environment, according to the environmentalist talking points that are flying back and forth across the Internet like cruise missiles. Oil guys, they say, are evil. Well, I used to run with oil guys. The so-called Big Oil companies are increasingly redefining themselves as "energy" companies. That includes alternative energy sources. What that means is they are looking for a way to transition to other forms of energy so that when oil supplies run low, there will be more energy to sell because that's what keeps them in business - having energy to sell. If they don't adapt to changing conditions they die as companies. So these guys are not averse to clean energy technologies. They just need to be profitable.

One of my progressive buddies mentioned oil spills as one of those horrors that will surely happen. Ironically, in a recent major spill, it wasn't evil oil companies responsible. In this case, the bearings cracked on a windmill generator and poured lots of oil out onto the ground. Given the number of train derailments that happen in the US, pipelines are actually safer. There was a recent pipeline spill near Keystone. It was a relatively minor spill and was quickly cleaned up without permanent damage. It wasn't the Keystone pipeline itself, which is part of one of the talking points. Keystone, though, hasn't been built yet.

Deepwater Horizon, which was another environmental disaster that happened, was a British Petroleum project, not an American one.  Trump is expanding drilling for American companies who have a pretty good track record. The Deepwater Horizon cleanup could have been done much more quickly before damage to Gulf beaches would have been serious. Instead, American unions demanded that only companies staffed by American union workers be allowed to clean up the spill. There was a Dutch ship close by that was designed to clean up spills and could have jumped on the spill almost immediately. Instead, the administration knuckled under and refused the Dutch help. The spill removal did not begin immediately as authorities waited the extra time needed to get American cleanup resources on the job. As a result, the damage wound up being much greater.

Another talking point is that oil companies hate alternative energies and that Trump is willing to aid them by allowing them to ravage the environment. But, the mean old oil companies don't care if you put a solar panel on your roof. That's the electric companies. Interesting note, my Dad worked for Brown & Root building the Alaska Pipeline. A bunch of electrical engineers built windchargers for their homes in Washington State. They hooked them into the power lines and discovered that, when the chargers were making more power than they used, it ran the meter backward. The electric company ordered the chargers removed claiming damage to the electrical system. The electric company sued when they balked. The non-union electrical engineers counter-sued and the judge ruled in their favor and forced the electric company to not only allow the wind chargers, but also to pay the engineers for "generating electricity". These were guys building that evil oil pipeline in Alaska. Hardly the evil environmental destroyers progressives portray them. These were non-union guys working with a contractor for the oil companies. Brown & Root is part of Halliburton if you can believe that. Hardly the sort of evil corporation to be part of this quite successful green energy initiative.

The trouble is that almost nobody wants to destroy the environment, not even corporations. Corporations don't want the bad publicity. Yes, some jerks will sacrifice the environment for profit, but just because a company makes money doesn't make it inevitably evil. Usually the evil comes when companies and politicians get in bed together. That's a big Democrat deal - increase regulation to protect the markets of your supporters. It's why the super rich hardly ever get hurt by major tax increases. The Dems always build in huge loopholes for their supporters. Eighteen out of the top 20 richest Americans pour money into Democrat candidates - guess why?).

Trump is only allowing drilling, not "removing all environmental restrictions" - another anti-drilling talking point. Trump just doesn't have the power or the interest in wiping out the environmental gains and protections we've gained over the years - gains Republicans supported.

It isn't that black and white my progressive friends. You can't extend progressive talking points to cover permission to explore for oil into areas liberals have staked out as places where the world will end if anyone drills for oil. The Progressive "Trump is super evil/Republicans are all bad" narrative is far too black and white. Let's stick to what's actually happening.

Trump is extending permissions to drill in areas sacred to environmentalists. They've staked their arguments on protecting these areas. If oil companies drill there and no massive environmental disaster ensues, it kind of kills the argument that the only way to save the world is through socialist style central planning.

Even though it's never worked before, progressives still believed that a strong central government can make our lives better and that THIS time, their leaders will be good and selfless people and not tyrannical despots. Yeah, like that'll work. It always goes wrong whenever you give that much power to government. Somebody always tries to grab it for himself.

This is not the cliche' about power inevitably corrupting people. I don't believe it does. What I am saying is that power corrupts. That's too easy. Power, in fact, attracts the corruptible. It's virtually the only thing that obeys the "Field of Dreams" principle - you know that Kevin Costner line from the movie, "If you build it they will come."  Tens of thousands of projects go belly up following that principle. Only socialism obeys that principle in its own twisted way. Instead, socialism follows this principle.

If you build it (power) they (the corruptible) will come! Sadly, there are socialism sycophants out there who are such true believers that they will pass along any bit of propaganda that supports the ideology and won't look too closely at whether or not it is true. The radical right does the same thing. Also the far left and radical right both support the legalization of pot. I think there's a connection there. It may be the only way these people can relax!

© 2017 by Tom King

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