Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thomas L. Friedman to W: "Mr. Bush, Lead or Leave"

New York Times' columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote a sharp rebuke of President Bush's energy policy, if we are going to call it that. It's well worth reading.

"Two years ago, President Bush declared that America was 'addicted to oil,' and, by gosh, he was going to do something about it. Well, now he has. Now we have the new Bush energy plan: 'Get more addicted to oil.'”

The problem with Bush according to Friedman is that he is acting like a drug pusher struggling with his image, but always pushing his slimy slithery dark dope.

"It’s as if our addict-in-chief is saying to us: 'C’mon guys, you know you want a little more of the good stuff. One more hit, baby. Just one more toke on the ole oil pipe. I promise, next year, we’ll all go straight. I’ll even put a wind turbine on my presidential library. But for now, give me one more pop from that drill, please, baby. Just one more transfusion of that sweet offshore crude.'”

The occasion for Friedman's sarcasm is President Bush's recent attack on the Democratic Party for not allowing the oil companies to drill wherever they want, disregarding environmental concerns. Listen to Bush as quoted by Friedman:

“I know the Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past. Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions. If Congressional leaders leave for the Fourth of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act.”

Your President has spoken.

Which makes Friedman mad, and righteously so:

"This from a president who for six years resisted any pressure on Detroit to seriously improve mileage standards on its gas guzzlers; this from a president who’s done nothing to encourage conservation; this from a president who has so neutered the Environmental Protection Agency that the head of the E.P.A. today seems to be in a witness-protection program. I bet there aren’t 12 readers of this newspaper who could tell you his name or identify him in a police lineup.

But, most of all, this deadline is from a president who hasn’t lifted a finger to broker passage of legislation that has been stuck in Congress for a year, which could actually impact America’s energy profile right now — unlike offshore oil that would take years to flow — and create good tech jobs to boot."

But wait, it gets better...or worse, if that's possible:

Ever wondered why so little is done to promote alternative energy in the U.S.? There is a very sensible proposal (H.R. 6049, “The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008”) to extend for eight years the investment tax credit for solar energy installations, for one year a wind power production tax credit, as well as a three year extension of tax credits for geothermal, wave energy and other renewables. "These critical tax credits for renewables are set to expire at the end of this fiscal year and, if they do, it will mean thousands of jobs lost and billions of dollars of investments not made," Friedman writes and adds:
"People forget, wind and solar power are here, they work, they can go on your roof tomorrow. What they need now is a big U.S. market where lots of manufacturers have an incentive to install solar panels and wind turbines — because the more they do, the more these technologies would move down the learning curve, become cheaper and be able to compete directly with coal, oil and nuclear, without subsidies."

The only pump that President Bush wants to prime belongs to Big Oil. What else to expect from an oilman without a clue? We're counting the days... and hoping that he doesn't try to pull the trigger on Iran in another miscalculated attempt to "save the world," or at least save the upcoming election for John McCain

Hans Sandberg

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