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Are these people stupid, nuts or both?

By Alan Caruba
web posted July 14, 2008

There are two states on opposite sides of the nation where, if something really stupid can be proposed, they represent the most fertile ground. I speak, of course, of New Jersey and California.

I happen to know a lot more about New Jersey since I am born, raised, and still residing here in my old age despite all the hype about retiring in Florida. I hold a degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, so I have fulfilled my Florida quota, but if you want a front row seat to idiocy, there is no better place than my home state or California.

In early July some of the Democrat heavy hitters who run New Jersey joined U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. in an event to lambaste the notion of actually permitting the exploration and extraction of oil way, way off the coast of New Jersey. On the podium was Governor Jon Corzine and both of New Jersey's Senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez. If mendacity has a particular odor to it, the stench of this event is probably still lingering over Belmar.

"We are really talking about something that is irrelevant to the overall dependency on oil," said Pallone. "What we need to do is (to) be moving to alternative energies and most importantly (to) conservation." Referring to the effort in Congress to permit the use of our own national oil and natural gas resources from the continental shelf and elsewhere, Pallone said, "I can't think of an idea whose time is less appropriate than this one."

Meanwhile, anyone filling up their automobile gas tank that day was paying out $4.00 per gallon for the privilege. In fact, there was a rumor going around that quite a few Americans were upset over the failure of Congress to permit some—any—degree of energy independence.

That might account for the historic single-digit disapproval rating for Congress that was announced shortly after Pallone and his pals got through bloviating about the evils of oil. How does one go about achieving "conservation" of oil if, at the same time, the entire nation depends on it to get anywhere?

By conservation, one must assume that Pallone and the rest of the Democrats mean leaving it untapped and thus requiring Americans to import it from other countries.

Pallone raised the tired bogyman of an offshore oil mishap that would harm the pristine beaches of New Jersey, but failed to mention the many offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico that withstood Hurricane Katrina without a single mishap. Indeed, they fared much better than the city of New Orleans. Meanwhile, Sen. Menendez raised the specter of California beaches—he's from Jersey City—allegedly destroyed by a spill long ago. I personally have been to the beach in Santa Monica and all I saw was a lot of people enjoying it.

Sen. Lautenberg, a man who, if reelected, will be 548 years old by the end of his next term complained that, "A plan to drill here is no plan at all. It's a handout, simply a handout to the oil companies. It's a terrible idea. And drilling will do nothing to cut today's gas prices." Apparently, like the entire Democrat Party, the Senator has never heard of the immutable law of supply and demand.

He's also wrong about cutting today's prices. If these morons had gathered to announce that leases had been granted to explore and extract oil from offshore New Jersey, the price of oil in the world's mercantile exchanges would definitely respond. Every time a new reserve of oil is found, the price of this global commodity reflects the potential of a new supply. The price per barrel drops.

The newspaper report of the event did not quote Gov. Corzine, but he is so in the tank for "alternative" energy that the prospect of offshore oil must keep the man up at night. Let's assume he thinks the idea of oil rigs offshore (most would be completely out of sight of land) is a very bad idea.

So why is Gov. Corzine a vocal proponent of vast fields of wind turbines whirling their blades around (but only when the wind is blowing) in full sight of beachgoers? Corzine is positively crazed for wind farms, particularly if they are located offshore.

One proposal in March of this year envisioned the construction of up to 118 wind turbines "rising hundreds of feet above the water." The project costs are estimated at more than $1 billion and, for the record, there are no offshore wind farms operating in the United States. One such proposal that would have spoiled the view from the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Massachusetts was opposed by that famous family and a coalition of local residents.

So the Democrat political equation is oil rigs, bad. Wind turbines, good. Only you can't run your car on wind power. In fact, wind and solar power combined provide less than 5% of all the electricity generated in America.

The issue facing Americans these days is oil, oil, oil. We have lots of it if Congress will just let the oil companies explore and drill for it in desolate places like ANWR or difficult places like the ocean deeps.

"Every time we try something to create energy independence," said Pallone, "We are fought tooth and nail by these oil guys."

If you combined all the oil resources owned by the investor-owned oil companies, it would constitute about 4% of the world's known oil reserves. These are the same companies that pay billions in taxes to the federal and state governments every year and, so far as the Democrats are concerned, they are the problem.

The citizens of New Jersey actually have it in their power to replace Sen. Lautenberg in the upcoming national elections. Do you think they will do it? Do you think they are going to vote for Sen. Obama? At least the Governor of Florida, like John McCain, has decided offshore oil rigs are not such a bad thing after all. Oh, wait, I forgot. Those guys are Republicans. ESR

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. He blogs at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. © Alan Caruba, July 2008


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