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07/08/2008

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That's a mighty long post to completely ignore who is responsible for this disaster.

Democrats and the environmentalists have been pushing biofuels for years while blocking domestic drilling, which in turn has had the effect of driving up oil prices and food prices. But yet again we get a story about how Bush hates brown people.

How much was a gallon of gas when Democrats took control of congress again?

And what was the price of corn?

But yeah, you're probably right. It was all Bush and his country club friends. It had nothing to do with all those people who want to feel good about themselves because they drive flex fuel vehicles while ignoring the consequences of their actions.

Ah, yes: Cause and effect. Blaming whoever is in Congress for high oil prices is ridiculous. Oil is a world market, and demand is rising much faster than supply

As to that your oft-repeated belief that if somehow we could just drill in Alaska everything would be fine...scale, Frank. Scale. Alaska is a puddle and demand is outstripping even that.

All American politicians with Presidential aspirations are pro-biofuels, because it's popular in Iowa and Iowa holds the first Presidential caucus. President Bush has been all over biofuels not just because of Iowa but because it's a big business solution -- and whatever else you say about President Bush, he has not once in his career gone against the interests of big business. (Archer-Daniels-Midland, one of the primary industry backers of biofuels, is hardly an environmentalist.) Environmentalists, on the other hand, have not backed biofuels with any enthusiasm at all. Environmentalists are all about sustainable alternatives, and biofuels are not sustainable. Environmentalists want solar and wind and other renewables -- pie-in-the-sky, perhaps, but not cynical like biofuels.

Finally, I didn't say anything about President Bush hating brown people. In fact, I went out of my way to refer to rising food prices as an "unintended consequence." President Bush's culpability here is continuing the policy and, if in fact people in his employ were responsible for suppressing the report, covering up the damage the policy is doing.

Most of hte bad things we, as Americans, do are unintended. We seldom set out to do anything bad. Our problem is that when we do bad things, it takes a lot of time for it to sink in enough that we stop doing them.

Unintended consequences are something we're not real good at considering, when it comes to our consumption. We just want to keep consuming.

Now the part where you call me a hypocrite.

Not that the conservative argument is predictable or anything.

Biofuels, especially corn ethanol, was originally a liberal idea that, once those with connections realized what a gold mine it was, latched onto it for purely monetary reasons.

But back to the outrage, I think the problem Tom is that you latch onto this...

"Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush."

... without considering whether that is in fact in reality true. Anonymous 'senior development sources?' Global bureaucrats not wanting to embarrass every Bush, especially with him in lame duck status? You would think such folks would revel such potential embarrasement.

But, isn't blaming Bush a helluva convenient scapegoat for anonymous 'senior development sources' to pass the blame of a failed liberal policy on to, especially to such a publication as receptive to Bush-bashing as The Guardian, whose penchant for certain advocacies are well known?

That said, yes, corn-based ethanol was a well-intentioned idea that went horribly wrong. Which of course begs the question of what other well-intentioned environmental policies being pushed would also be just as disastrous?

Cap-and-trade, anyone?

You will note, Lee, that the first phrase of the posting was "If this is accurate." You will also note that the crux of the post -- that President Bush asked us to go shopping rather than developing an energy program that moved us toward independence -- remains valid even if report on food prices wasn't suppressed to protect him. Even if you believe, implausibly, that he is entirely forthcoming in his approach to public information, he's still a crappy President, and the worst aspect of his Presidency has been his inability to see beyond oil.

Tom,

You seem to have little or no understanding of the oil futures market, the amount of institutional investment money that has gone into this market over the past five years, or the dynamic of the psychology of shortage that is fueling this bubble now. Sure oil prices will settle at an equilibrium that is most likely higher than the old $25 per barrel that they were, but I'd caution you to not buy into the bull that the market doomsayers are currently promoting. These were the same folks that said Japan was going to eclipse America, Russia would never default on its debt, Asian currency was stable, tech prices in '99 could only go higher, and U.S. real estate was a great investment in '06. For starters check out supply/demand charts for oil and determine for yourself if demand growth or supply restriction (both generally overstated) justifies the run up that we've seen in oil.

As for biofuels starving the poor, to the extent this report is true, and I have my doubts, the market prices will encourage farmers to open long fallow field, and developers to chop down forests and create more farm land. Of course as soon as this begins to happen you lefties will start wringing your hands over the "destruction of the environment" and try to put a stop to the market adjustment, just as has happened with new drilling, new refineries, and new nuclear development.

Then gas prices will begin to rise again, and we'll have to read ill informed post blaming Bush.

The President's utter obliviousness to that huge, underlying reality is going to set future historians to muttering, "How could he we have been so stupid?"

Fixed yr typo. Someone voted for the fool in 2004, it can't all have been fraud.

The opportunity that was not just missed, but destroyed, is demonstrated by the imbecilic partisanship posted in reply to your eloquent and entertaining yet obvious statement of the facts about energy policy. Partly because the stupid oil big-money guys in the Bush administration didn't respond sensibly in that moment, being sensible and paying attention to reality became an act of treason against them.

On Sept. 14, 2001, I listened to the National Cathedral speech expecting the policy solutions to our most pressing political, security and economic crisis--and I got 'we're Crusaders' instead.

I was drunk for three solid weeks and didn't really recover until spring.

I don't believe, Pursuit, that I blame President Bush for high oil prices. I blame the market for high oil prices. I believe I blame President Bush for not recognizing the eventual change from the cheap oil economy and leaving us less prepared, as well as for keeping us dependent on our enemies.

For the most part, I liked your post. Regardless of the veracity of the unreleased report, your criticisms of W are spot-on.

However, I must take exception to, and take you to task for, your ugly, bigoted smear, to wit:

And here we are: we'd rather starve poor people than give up our big cars. Remind me again about what a good country the United States is.

How dare you trash our country like that! What you're saying is not true: the overwhelming majority of Americans would NOT knowingly abet policies that lead to starvation anywhere (wars possibly excepted). What's more, what you said is not intended to enlighten, but to belittle; not intended to correct, but to besmirch. It is definitely intended to make people feel bad about our country, even hate it. This is called bigotry, and anti-American bigotry is every bit as despicable as any other kind.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

I told you this several months ago, or thereabouts. You ignored it, utterly, then. Guess you were working out a good writerly way to blame Bush. Glad you finally noticed, though, even though you're completely effing wrong about everything else. As usual. At least now, though, you acknowledge that poor people in third-world nations are starving so you liberal morons can feel good about yourselves. Whoops, not that last part. It was a dirty mean Republican trick.

PS Why didn't you recognize the change from a cheap oil economy? I mean, you're so smart and all. You could have warned us. We read you. What about the sub-prime crisis? The hedge-funds crisis? The dot-com bust? The Hunts' cornering of the silver market? Here's a hint, Tom: it's not a centrally-planned economy. Get to work.

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