Moloney's World: Sense and nonsense on energy

Editor: Our columnist Bill Moloney is more influential than we dreamed. In this piece, written a week ago for Bob Beauprez's website, he took McCain to school on offshore drilling among other issues. Within days the GOP nominee had pivoted and was endorsing, that's right, offshore drilling. Here is the Moloney piece. ==============================

The 18th century lexicographer Samuel Johnson famously remarked that the prospect of being hanged in the morning “concentrates the mind wonderfully”. Gasoline at $4.00 a gallon should be a similar spur to clear thinking about U.S. energy policy.

This however is not anywhere the case. Listening to Obama vs. McCain on energy sounds eerily like Carter vs. Ford in 1976.

Similarly clueless is the Congress where “new ideas” consist of jacking up the insane ethanol subsidy or the equally deranged impulse to impose a “windfall profits” tax on these “greedy” oil corporations.

Meanwhile President Bush is begging our “great ally” Saudi Arabia for a little discount oil. The Saudis-contemptuously- didn’t even wait for Bush to get home before delivering a resounding “No” and giving him a patronizing lecture on market economics, to boot.

So what explains this world class obtuseness regarding energy?

The reason lies in a thoroughly bi-partisan “conspiracy” to impose on our people a “Myth Agreed Upon”, i.e. that certain energy options are so inherently wicked that they cannot even be seriously discussed much less done.

Senator Harry Reid recently gave a speech entitled “America Needs More Oil”. Despite this breath-taking insight he was unable to articulate the obvious solution to the problem he had so cleverly identified: Immediately authorize a rapid expansion of off-shore drilling and the building of new refineries to accommodate the resulting immense increase in new petroleum.

Do this and gas prices will plummet and the stock market will surge tow roping the entire U. S. economy in a dramatic upswing.

This, won’t happen because thirty years ago a nasty oil spill off Santa Barbara led to a chain reaction of environmental scare-mongering- images of little children swimming in black sludge and the imminent death of all the pretty little sea birds- that resulted in California banning all new offshore drilling anywhere within the 200 mile limit- a colossally dumb policy move that nonetheless was imitated by virtually every other state with a shoreline.

Politicians of both parties still slavishly defend the wisdom, and “environmental sensitivity” of these decisions which retrospectively constitute one of the greatest self-inflicted wounds in U.S. history. Mindlessly they do so while willfully ignoring the following facts:

A- 460 % increase in gas prices;

B- extraordinary advances in off-shore drilling technology ;

C- Norway and other nations routinely and safely extract large quantities of undersea oil;

D- Before long Florida boaters will be able to wave to Chinese technicians zealously sucking up “black gold” within Cuban territorial waters almost within sight of Miami; and

E -most astoundingly- despite gushers of political rhetoric damning the “tyranny of our dependence on foreign oil”, and rivers of crocodile tears shed on behalf of the “poor American consumer” we continue to do business with people who don’t like us, overcharge us, sponsor terrorism against us and cause us to utterly warp the economic and political landscape of our nation through periodic and hugely counterproductive military adventures in the Middle East.

The flipside of the great energy myth is the near unshakeable taboo against nuclear power. Here the unspeakable but unanswerable question is : How come France can get nearly 40% of their total energy needs from nuclear plants- the cleanest and cheapest power source in history- and nobody bats an eye, but even hint at such an option for the U.S. and you are accused of wanting everybody’s children to glow in the dark. Getting a constitutional amendment raising the voting age to thirty would be easy compared to getting a permit for a new nuclear power plant.

Having ruled out the only two intelligent options liberals promote inane discussions about wind, solar, hybrids, ethanol, tripling the gasoline tax, trading in our SUVs for bicycles, and other economically laughable schemes.

Simple-minded environmentalism has entered into an unholy alliance with the junk science called “global warming” and morphed into a new secular religion for liberals. The old Red Menace of hare-brained Marxism has been replaced by the new Green Menace of crack-brained planet worship. Anyone doubting this didn’t hear the most interesting line in Obama’s speech claiming the Democratic nomination: “and the oceans shall recede, and the Planet shall begin to heal”.

At last, really new thinking on energy policy from St. Barack, High Priest of the earth goddess GAIA!

Anyone still doubt there’s a lot at stake next November 4th?