(10 am – promoted by ek hornbeck)

At times, we might forget that there are a good number of very bright, extremely dedicated, and fundamental people working in Congress. Elected officials and staff. Our funding system that seems to drive member after member to be begging, tin in cup, for funds can make the entire process look open to purchase.  The traditional media mania for ever lower quality reporting magnifies this, making foolish shallowness the norm.  Reality is far from this and it is worthwhile at times to take a moment to consider that reality.

An e-mail came into me today that reminded me of this, a letter with perhaps the best single word I’ve seen to summarize Republican truthiness when it comes to energy issues but a letter with substance.


Thank you Representative Earl Blumenauer.  

Americans deserve better …

What is the challenge?

After seven years of dangerous energy policies, Oregon families are reeling from the effects of rising gas prices. Americans deserve better than political posturing from an administration that continues to serve up a failed energy policy, and pushing for increased drilling on our public lands is their newest deceitful maneuver.

Drilling does not address our near term challenges in anyway when it comes to energy supply and it does next to nothing even in the longer term.  The Republican gamesmanship is getting to an extreme, with too many cooperative traditional media and the right-wing sound machine helping to whip up a storm.  It is past time to be angry.

This is not only a hoax, but pure “drillusion.”


Earl, I think you’ve nailed this one.

Just what is the substance behind the R mania?

Opening up new public lands to drilling can take anywhere from 10-20 years to produce oil, yet I know you need relief today.

Americans (“Oregon families”) require “relief” and assistance now, not decades from now.

What do the oil companies want out of this?

Oil companies already hold leases on 68 million acres of public lands but are NOT drilling. Instead of exercising the opportunities they have, they are trying to accrue additional drilling leases in the Arctic and along our coasts.  This is not a solution; this is only a continuation of the same disastrous policies that fail to address our growing crisis.

We face oil prices that are devastating our economy, a result from the failure to do anything to address Peak Oil. We face ever mounting threats of catastrophic climate change.  What do the Republicans wish to do?  Drillusion to drill the hole deeper.

When the hole is deep, what is the first thing to do? Stop digging.

We have an oil addiction.  It is time to think about ending the addiction rather than feeding it.

But, there are steps in the near term that can provide some breathing space of somewhat moderated energy prices while taking serious steps away from that addiction.

There are immediate steps we can take to alleviate the impact of rising gas prices. For instance, we can rein in speculators, which add $5 to $50 to the price of a barrel of oil.

Notice that uncertainty: “$5 to $50”.  It seems quite plausible that the massive speculation in the oil markets are fostering higher prices. Reality: we simply don’t know how much. Various elements of tension (such as warfare and military threats in the Persian Gulf region) are quite likely fostering a higher element of the cost level. Reality: the full true drivers of oil prices are unknown, though this author thinks that the main drivers are the realities of Peak Oil limiting supply in the face of ever mounting demand.

But, in the near term, amid the economic tensions, we can moderate prices even as taking the steps to move off oil.

We can also reduce the cost of gas by releasing some of the oil stored in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Currently at 97 percent capacity, the SPR is the largest emergency supply in the world. Three presidents have done this in the past, cutting the cost of oil by as much as a third.

With the resources from releases from the SPR, which would moderate prices, we can start to take action for change.

In addition to short term help, we need to make wise investments in our transportation system. This will not only address the energy crisis, but it will create thousands of new jobs and boost our sagging economy.


Thinking about how to help people tomorrow while setting the stage to help them (and their children) even more tomorrow.

Who would have ever thought that was what government was about?

Oh, right, Democratic Party members of Congress. (Or, perhaps, most of them?)

Recently I introduced a bill, the “Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act,” that would immediately reduce the impact of high gas prices.

What does the Oregonian have to say about Earl’s bill?

It’s a smart bill. More members of Congress should be seriously discussing such ideas instead of spinning their wheels in a politically motivated debate over more offshore oil drilling. While it’s a long-term debate worth having — more exploration and drilling might help the nation’s future strategic position — as a route to lower fuel prices it goes nowhere. The expanding global economy has ended the era of cheap fuel in America. Today, the cheapest gallon of gas is the gallon you don’t have to buy. Blumenauer’s farsighted bill would help more Americans avoid that painful purchase.

I’ve met Earl.

He is a thoughtful person, working hard to create a path forward toward a better present and future for Oregonians, Americans, and, as well, the larger world.  

While I don’t necessarily agree with every element and wish there were some additional items, compared to Drillusion, it is a fundamentally sound policy.   And, much of what he recommends are elements that are part of any sensible move forward, such as “help[ing] Americans cope with rising energy costs by providing transportation options, such as incentives for commuting by carpooling, public transit, and bicycling, as well as telecommuting.”

Although there is no silver bullet for solving the complex energy problem, we can take action now to make sure that Oregon’s families receive the assistance they need.  Ten to twenty years is far too long to wait for a solution that was needed decades ago, and I will continue working on common sense approaches that will prepare us for an oil-independent future.

“No silver bullet for solving the complex energy problem …” Yes. Earl. You are right.

And, not only “we can take action now,” we must.

Earl is right, we can not wait decades “for a solution that was needed decades ago.”

I, for one, am glad that Earl Blumenauer is representing Oregonians, and the rest of us (the rest of the US), in the US House of Representatives to “continue working on common sense approaches that will prepare us for an oil-independent future.”

Thank you Representative Earl Blumenauer.

Thank you for your service.


    • banger on August 8, 2008 at 17:19

    Available here. The title is “Know-Nothing Politics”. He talks about the politics of simple answers specifially the drilling issue.

    What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be “insignificant”? Presumably they’re just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats. And the Democrats, as Representative Michele Bachmann assures us, “want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs.”

    Let’s also not forget that for years President Bush was the center of a cult of personality that lionized him as a real-world Forrest Gump, a simple man who prevails through his gut instincts and moral superiority. “Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man,” declared Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2004. “He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world.”

    We know that the average voter is mentally challenged but he goes on….

    What’s more, the politics of stupidity didn’t just appeal to the poorly informed. Bear in mind that members of the political and media elites were more pro-war than the public at large in the fall of 2002, even though the flimsiness of the case for invading Iraq should have been even more obvious to those paying close attention to the issue than it was to the average voter.

    Finally he ends with …

    In any case, remember this the next time someone calls for an end to partisanship, for working together to solve the country’s problems. It’s not going to happen – not as long as one of America’s two great parties believes that when it comes to politics, stupidity is the best policy.

  1. Oregon is if nothing else environmentally aware. I still see huge SUV’s in the suburban rush home traffic, but in Portland I see more and more small and hybrid cars. My favorite thing is in the last few years bike commuting is rising to the point where at peak hours on the routes they use they often out number the cars.

    I also think that our transportation systems are over looked nationally. Amtrack is a nightmare and rail for both people and freight seems way saner then more highways and trucks. I too thank Earl.

    National electoral politics are depressing as it’s so money driven and media controlled. Earl worked his way up through the local Democratic system. He still goes to our county party functions and is assessable to his constituents. When despair sets in over the impossibility of getting decent representation, I turn to local as Howard Dean says precinct by precinct. Working locally we can slowly fill the halls with people power.          

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