Meredith Willson's iconic con man, Harold Hill, is alive and well in the think-tanks and corridors of legislatures across the globe. His bald-faced scheming has been adopted and adapted to drive common sense from the conversation.
Want an amazing life? It's simple! Just imagine it!
Want to drive a car magically? Simple! Imagine it! No need to scour the surface for any type of understanding what technologies, what inputs of production are needed to create this magic. Instead, we are told, the technologies we're pouring our national treasure into--or down--will produce the miracle of sustainability. Just imagine it.
The things that actually work, like nuclear, coal and gas powered plants are bad. Nuclear because we'll end up with three-eyed fish. (Don't believe me? Just watch The Simpsons.) Coal because it's dirty. Gas, because, well, just because. And don't you know how much damage you'll be doing to the Earth? Mining. Ugh.
But electric cars? Just fine. (Just don't tell me how their made!) (La-la-la, I can't hear you.)
In my in-box today came this missive from Governor Kitzhaber's green-shirted thugs: "Oregon is being targeted for liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipelines, and our legislature is poised to make approval of these projects easier. Almost 600 miles of pipelines have been proposed through more than a dozen Oregon counties. Although the first version — the Palomar pipeline — has just been cancelled, NW Natural Gas Corporation has promised to bring it back next year. Another LNG pipeline, from Coos Bay to Ashland, would be dramatically sped up if HB 2700 passes as currently written.
"Tell your state senator to protect Oregon and either reject or amend HB 2700 to avoid fast-tracking LNG.
"Thousands of rural Oregon families could have their lives disrupted and their property damaged by HB 2700, a bill that would make it easier for LNG projects to move forward in Oregon. The bill would change Oregon laws to allow LNG projects to cross protected streams and wetlands on private lands, farms and forests without the owner’s permission." (The Team at Onward Oregon, presser, March 31.)(Their "scare" bold.)
Pretty scarey stuff. Crossing protected streams. Wetland. Private farms. Etc.
I live in Seaside, and use natural gas. Know how it gets here? Beats me.
Using the Think System, I think it gets here through the wires that come to my house. The same wires that will power the cars of the future.
Thirty years ago, Diamond Shamrock was running around the county, offering leases on your land in order to develop the natural gas fields in Clatsop county. My neighbor, Hank, talked to me, and we decided to wait until they found marketable deposits, since the price offered would be higher than for unproven gas fields. But folks out on the Walluski were abuzz with the idea that they would be wealthy, if D/S proved to be right. It was reminiscent of an Al Capp cartoon.
Around that same time, in 1984, Diamond Shamrock planned for development (.pdf) of a 32-acre site in Alaska. Object? To ship a billion tons of low sulfur coal. At $77.00 per short ton, that's a lot of wealth. How has that worked out?
Well, it hasn't, really. When it comes to electric cars, the fact that the amount of rare metals that need to be excavated from hillsides around the world is mind-boggling, it is because we rely upon the Think System, we are able to ignore the mining that must take place to build our Vision!™
But to retrieve from the earth usable commodities like coal, well, unthinkable. So, the project has, like the other projects that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil, not moved forward. When we talk about exploration of our own oil resources we are told that reliance upon oil is reliance upon a source of energy that "isn't sustainable" so, not worthwhile pursuing. Then we are told, that it would take ten years before that energy became available to the market. So, why bother.
Why bother, indeed, when we can instead rely upon the future deployment of unobtanium, that miracle energy source being produced by the Think System.
So, a coupla years ago, the guys behind the Cook Inlet field came up with a stunningly good idea; "CIRI proposes to use a process called underground coal gasification to turn a coal seam into synthetic gas."
"That bright yellow contraption bobbing in the saltwater offshore of Seattle is a small version of what may dot the oceans one day. The prototype is successfully generating clean, renewable power... though not very much."
The major difference between the two-sources of energy is one of funding. Who pays. Funny, that the stuff we're told is "unsustainable" is profitable, but the stuff we're told is "sustainable" is unprofitable? And all these plans are opposed by the same group of green-shirted thugs who oppose any resource utilization as injury to the planet. Fish, streams, grasslands, wetlands, forests, hillsides, valleys.
The adults in the room, those who don't rely upon the duplicity of the Left, are getting frustrated. Proven methods of providing cheap sources of power, for cars, for businesses, for manufacture are being denied and destroyed. (See Boardman power plant.) The Think System approach is also being denied, which lends a certain comic quality to the debate. Here's President Obama on gas and oil development:
"Right now, the industry holds tens of millions of acres of leases where they're not producing a — a single drop. They're just sitting on supplies of American energy that are ready to be tapped. And that's why part of our plan is to provide new and better incentives that promote rapid, responsible development of these resources. And we're also exploring and assessing new frontiers for oil and gas development, from Alaska to the Mid- and South Atlantic states, because producing more oil in America can help lower oil prices, can help create jobs, and can enhance our energy security. But we've got to do it in the right way."
"The report completely whitewashes the fact that in many cases, the reason these leases have no exploration plans is that (the federal agency that oversees oil and gas leases) is sitting on those plans.
"This is like leasing an apartment from the government for $20 million dollars – the government refusing to give you the keys to the apartment – and the government proceeding to complain because you are not occupying the premises.
"The disturbing reality is that 2011 could go down as the first year since 1957 that there has not been at least one offshore lease sale. Not one."
I watched with interest the interview of Washington Democrat Representative Jay Inslee, last night on the Kudlow Report. Why don't we drill, drill, drill? Because, according to Representative Inslee, there are only 65 years of oil in the continental United States, and we're better off using alternatives to gas, oil and coal. How did he arrive at this conclusion? The Think System.