The Politics of Biofuels

In response to a recent query from an independent student newspaper in the UK, I wrote up an editorial piece on the politics of biofuels. I will post it over here in a few days, but for now it is hosted at their site:

The Politics of Renewable Energy: Unintended Consequences of Biofuel Policies

One of the intentions was to point out for European readers why the U.S. and the EU have begun to diverge on their biofuel policies. In the U.S. this is primarily a political issue, because our main biofuel is home grown. In the EU it is mostly imported, so they can take a more objective view.

61 thoughts on “The Politics of Biofuels”

  1. From Robert’s article:
    The consequences from these biofuel policies was foreseen by a number of scientists. However, their criticisms were often shouted down, and their motives were questioned by some proponents.

    Does sound a little like the treatment alarmists afford to those who dare question the One True Faith of anthropogenic global warming.

    Michael Crichton had an interesting idea about explicitly bringing some of the adversarial features of the legal system into discussion of science which is used to justify public policy. The more we see of the mess created by politics trumping science, the smarter that suggestion sounds.

  2. Kinuach said:
    Michael Crichton had an interesting idea about explicitly bringing some of the adversarial features of the legal system into discussion of science which is used to justify public policy. The more we see of the mess created by politics trumping science, the smarter that suggestion sounds.

    You think that would HELP? That’s WHY politics is trumping science–it’s the uneducated masses yelling louder about things they have no knowledge of, and desperate politicians using them.

    You take the suggestions of pulp novelists seriously, that’s what you get.

  3. Garsky wrote:
    That’s WHY politics is trumping science–it’s the uneducated masses yelling louder about things they have no knowledge of, and desperate politicians using them.

    Maybe. I have an open mind about how to solve the problem; but there is no doubt that, with the current “system”, we have serious problems with policies which are bad because they are based on poor science. Four obvious examples — alleged anthropogenic global warming, biofuels, subsidized wind power, stalled nuclear power.

    Even the Catholic Church uses a Devil’s Advocate when considering whether to beatify someone. Crichton’s suggestion was basically to give an explicit full hearing to the contrary side of any science on which public policy is to be based.

    Certainly, Crichton’s suggestion may not be the most effective way of resolving things like “The Politics of Biofuels” — but what we have been doing up till now has obviously not been working.

    So, Garsky, what is your constructive suggestion for a better way?

  4. The irony fairly drips when a political group rejects the science, and asks for a new “non political” one that suits their views.

    Of course, if they got that irony maybe they’d have gotten the science already?

  5. Crichton’s suggestion is a good one.

    We currently are at the mercy of Big Oil and Banks that own the Main Stream Media.

    For example: Were we to actually discuss ALL subsidies to Oil and Ethanol it becomes clear that Oil gets the lion’s share.

    I have yet to see any discussion of this issue in any large media publication.

    Gasoline is over ten dollars a gallon when National Defense is factored in to guarantee delivery of Crude and Finished Product to every port on the planet which the U.S. taxpayer gives as a gift to the Trans National Oil giants.

    You don’t pay it at the pump, it’s hidden in your income taxes.

    If one was to ask what a fuel costs us in total, We should be asking all the questions, not just some of them.

  6. Heh, except that is not the “alternate” view Crichton and Exxon want you to hear 😉

    Those two, at least, have participated in a political and politically funded campaign for a very specific line of bull.

  7. For example: Were we to actually discuss ALL subsidies to Oil and Ethanol it becomes clear that Oil gets the lion’s share.

    Oil get’s big subsidies, not ethanol. Wrong by 54 times!

    “Ethanol Today,” (8/’05) states “Five years ago, a US General Accounting Office report showed that ethanol had received $11.6 billion in tax incentives since 1968, while the oil industry had received over $150 billion in tax benefit over the same period.

    Probably true. But the oil industry produced 1068 times more energy so the subsidy rate per unit energy was 54 times higher for ethanol. That’s like ethanol gets 54¢ and oil gets 1¢. Now if we had oil subsidies, and we do, and ADM is making more profit than …

    http://zfacts.com/p/63.html

    Gasoline is over ten dollars a gallon when National Defense is factored in to guarantee delivery of Crude and Finished Product to every port on the planet which the U.S. taxpayer gives as a gift to the Trans National Oil giants.

    David Blume used to make a similar argument, until I showed him that the subsidy he was quoting was greater than the entire federal budget. But those subsidies aren’t for the benefit of oil companies. Oil companies are going to charge market price. If market price is higher because of instability, they are still going to make their money. No, oil supplies and shipping lanes are protected for consumers.

  8. Interesting that the US spent a higher proportion of GDP on the military when it was an oil exporter than today when it is an importer. Doesn’t really fit with the usual left-wing nonsense that the US would spend next-to-nothing on the military if it were not for oil. But why let facts come between us and a politically-convenient hypothesis.

    Still, this is an example of the kind of issue that is, in theory, resolvable. Not easy, for sure. Many complicated issues — such as why the US keeps military forces in oil-importers Japan, Korea, and Germany if the only reason we spend money on the military is to provide oil for the people? But in principle the question could be studied and resolved to everyone’s (perhaps grudging) satisfaction.

    Problem is that today there is no mechanism for doing so. And thus ignorance & misinformation reigns.

  9. ethanol had received $11.6 billion in tax incentives since 1968, while the oil industry had received over $150 billion in tax benefit over the same period

    Also, note the fine print. Ethanol received “tax incentives” — the government took money from Peter and gave it to ethanol-pimp Paul. Oil received “tax benefits” — the government took lots of taxes from oil-producing Paul and gave a little of his taxes back, with strings attached.

    Not quite the same!

  10. Kinauch said:
    So, Garsky, what is your constructive suggestion for a better way?

    The ONLY feasible solution is education. Unfortunately, its not in the interests of the entrenched powers to have a population that thinks for itself.

  11. Kinuachdrach:

    No, we would still have a military with or without oil politics. Like all federal bureauctracies, our military is adept at survival. Remember the Chinese threat? That was huge in the late 1990s, and the Bushies picked it up as their own mantle — then came 9/11, and China was dropped, and in went a pan-Islamic war on the West (in reality, a few punk terrorists).
    Terrorist? Millions cross US borders every year, illigally. No one checks their ID. Where are the terrorists? They don’t know how to walk?
    There was a time we faced a real and huge threat — a Soviet Union, with 2 million men in uniform, blue-water navy, supersonic bombers, ICBMs etc.
    Somehow we are supposed to believe that some punk terrorists make for an equal-sized threat (in least in terms of dollars we spend)?
    As for Iraq, I sense oil did play a role in uor decisiopn to get n there, and energy independence would make great sense, subsidized if necessary, given the thug regimes which control the world’s oil.
    Bring on solar and wind, I say.

  12. Roberto said:
    We currently are at the mercy of Big Oil and Banks that own the Main Stream Media.

    Then vote with your feet .. or in this case, your eyeballs. The promise of the internet was and is to open up the lines of communication to include less-compromised sources.

    Bashing the MSM but continuing to support them is counter-productive.

  13. Oil companies are going to charge market price. If market price is higher because of instability, they are still going to make their money. No, oil supplies and shipping lanes are protected for consumers.

    Isn’t that exactly the corn argument?

    It also is supposed to be for consumers, or national security, or etc.

    I don’t actually know what the appropriate number is for fossil fuel subsidies, but I know what the proper goal is: zero. Energy companies should be taxed uniformly with other large US corps, acknowledging of course the difficulty in “fair” international tax accounting (well-head price in SA vs market price in the US).

    In as large and rich a global energy economy as we have we can be assured that we will get energy at world prices. And, actually, we have to price up from there to implement our carbon tax. Subsidizing and then taxing would be … sadly typical, but still indefensible.

  14. BTW, remember of course that we are borrowing from your kids to subsidize and/or “incentivize(*)” good behavior today.

    If we had any kind of backbone we’d take the cost hit today for things that we think are important today.

    * – reduced to a weasel word in the last decade and a half of deficit spending.

  15. last decade and a half of deficit spending

    decade and a half? That would be since 1993? There were a few years of balance budget or budget surplus in the past decade and a half; the only few years of non-deficit spending since 1969, almost four decades ago.
    m-w.com says “incentivize” dates from 1970.

  16. I chose that “decade and a half” kind of arbitrarily. That’s true. It was my feeling of when things got really bad.

    But if you look at the graphs on this wikipedia page, that was when we really turned around and took off on gross debt.

  17. Hello Robert Rapier,

    > “Dave, I am a nice guy. I always give people the benefit of the doubt, and I probably give people too many chances. But you can only push me so far, and you chose to push me despite many warnings. Now you shall learn that my patience has limits, and I am not a nice guy with people who attempt to abuse me. Especially when you start to bring my family into it. And believe me, I intend to pursue this.”

    You are such a silly person, Robert Rapier. You cannot endure hearing any criticism, can you?

    You said that I have repeatedly lied about you … did I lie when I said that you spend 24/7 thinking about oil, that you are employed by a major oil corporation (ConocoPhillips), and that you are ready to trample upon the impoverished people of this world in order to seize control over their natural resources?

    The oil industry is hated by the impoverished people of this world for a reason. There is a reason why the oil industry is criticized for its behaviors.

    You know the reason. This is why you are so very sensitive to criticism. Such a thin skin.

    So what would you do to Venezuela, Robert?

    Would you have America depose Hugo Chavez in the same fashion as it deposed Saddam Hussein?

    Or would you have the CIA depose Hugo Chavez in the same fashion that Mossadegh was deposed?
    ( http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/biography/ )

    The oil industry can portray itself as innocent while someone else does its bloody work, can’t it?

    How much is ConocoPhillips profiting from Iraq’s oil, Robert?

    Does ConocoPhillips care about the suffering of the Iraqi people?

    And what does the oil industry do for the people of Nigeria except pollute their land, water and atmosphere?

    No wonder the oil industry is filled by such thin-skinned people. You would rather not think of all the crimes that are committed on your own behalf. You would also prefer to not think about your industry’s polluting the Earth like it was one really big sewer.

    You just want to burn every last drop of oil and count your $billions. Who cares about the impoverished? Who cares about the planet? Who cares about the future? There’s money to be made destroying the Earth today!

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  18. One comment about the above discussion:

    > “Oil get’s big subsidies, not ethanol. Wrong by 54 times!”

    What the oil industry fails to mention is that should the Greenland icecap collapse and cities such as New York City, Miami and New Orleans become flooded by the ocean … not only would our nation lose many $trillions in real estate and infrastructure, but our civilization will collapse.

    The oil industry pollutes the Earth for free. The oil industry doesn’t care about the consequences of its pollution.

    The oil industry has spread numerous lies & propaganda about Global Warming, pollution and the environment. Considering the magnitude of the suffering which shall result these actions constitute a crime against humanity.

    While I agree with Robert about biofuels — a horrendous, even criminal, idea to feed automobiles rather than people — but those who want to evaluate the oil industry should count all of the corpses and blood spilled on oil’s behalf throughout the world.

    In Iraq, 150,000 civilians have died because of oil. But the oil industry simply doesn’t care about all of the barrels of blood spilled on behalf of the oil industry!

    How many more people have to die on oil’s behalf, Robert? How many more wars must America fight? How many nations must America occupy?

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  19. …should the Greenland icecap collapse and cities such as New York City, Miami and New Orleans become flooded by the ocean … not only would our nation lose many $trillions in real estate and infrastructure, but our civilization will collapse.”

    Not true. Civilization got along fine before there was a New York City, Miami, or New Orleans, and civilization could survive without them.

    It would be stressful, and we would have to adapt, but civilization wouldn’t “collapse.”

    Great cities have disappeared in the past and society continued. Humanity is more flexible than you think.

  20. Not true. Civilization got along fine before there was a New York City, Miami, or New Orleans, and civilization could survive without them.

    I actually agree with this part. It would happen slowly enough that some areas would be sea-walled and others would be abandoned. Sucks to be the LAST buyer of a beachfront home, but it’s up to you.

    I’m a little less sanguine about loss of biodiversity as our last islands of wilderness are put under a new stress.

    And perhaps closer to home, as America’s “bread basket” is possibly put under stress itself.

  21. Garsky wrote:
    The ONLY feasible solution is education.

    I agree that is the best solution — but it is a long term one. The educational system was doing OK (for the most part) until after WWII. Then the politically-active cadres insinuated themselves into the system, and now young people spend their time learning how to put a condom on a banana instead of doing math.

    It took at least 30 years to screw up education. It is probably going to take even longer to fix it. With expanding global population and finite fossil fuels, we don’t have 30 years to wait.

    Maybe some high profile adversarial proceedings about things like anthropogenic global warming and biofuels would be a good way to start prompting interest among a wider population, and to encourage people to educate themselves.

    Not a great plan, I know, but it might be more practical than waiting for a whole new properly-educated generation.

  22. You’ve had adversarial rounds in the AGW debate as well K, you don’t like them any better:

    In a sweeping 5-4 decision released Monday, the Supreme Court rejected that position, declaring that Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars.

    In case you think they left the door open for you:

    The Supreme Court majority decided US motor-vehicle emissions make a “meaningful contribution to greenhouse gas concentrations” and hence, to global warming.

    Give it up. You don’t want science , you don’t want debate, you just want permanent denial.

  23. Don’t worry about Dave. He is about to find out how serious I was. I have been on the phone today with the Florida Computer Crime Center as well as the sheriff’s office in Dave’s county. After reviewing the comments, the sheriff’s office put me in touch with the FBI. Dave is about to learn that cyberstalking is a crime.

    I also have his ISP investigating him (and he couldn’t have done himself any more damage than to post more trash today while they are monitoring him). I was also advised to consider a libel lawsuit against Dave. I am thinking about the satisfaction of dragging him into court to see if he wants to continue the defamation in person.

  24. Hello Hawkshaw & Odograph:

    Not true. Civilization got along fine before there was a New York City, Miami, or New Orleans, and civilization could survive without them.

    No. You are seriously deluded about the history of humankind. Over the last several thousands of years numerous civilizations have originated, enjoyed an apex of power, and collapsed into oblivion.

    Where is the Roman Empire today? Whatever happened to the Mayans and Incas? The British once dominated the planet like the Americans do today.

    Our civilization is not immortal by any means. Our global technological civilization will collapse into nothingness before New York City, Miami and New Orleans are swallowed by the oceans.

    When New York City, Miami and New Orleans have their Atlantis moment, Homo sapiens won’t have either the energy nor the inclination to save these cities. Survival itself will become a struggle as our species approaches its extinction event.

    Our civilization and our species are both mortal. Our world-destroying lifestyling leads inevitably to the end of humankind.

    But until that day comes, you oil industry people can count your $billions.

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  25. Hello Robert,

    Dave is about to learn that cyberstalking is a crime.

    In the United States, the Constitution protects the freedom of speech. This Freedom of Speech includes the right to criticize the oil industry and its advocates.

    In the Third World (such as Nigeria), the oil industry has been known to kill its critics:

    http://www.sierraclub.org/human-rights/nigeria/

    Does Mr. Rapier have any opinions regarding the human rights abuses committed by his industry in places such as Nigeria?

    Or would our esteemed oil industry insider prefer to not think about such crimes?

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  26. Dave, freedom of speech doesn’t include the right to slander. And slander you have. You do understand the term, right?

    Keep digging buddy. Don’t be surprised if someone in uniform isn’t knocking on your door later, and you find that you have lost your Internet service provider. You have left quite a paper trail, and you finally just pushed a little too hard.

  27. Hello Robert,

    Don’t be surprised if someone in uniform isn’t knocking on your door later, and you find that you have lost your Internet service provider. You have left quite a paper trail, and you finally just pushed a little too hard.

    What is it with the oil industry, Robert?

    Do you think it is so easy to trample upon the civil rights of Americans … as easy as it is to trample upon the people of Iraq and Venezuela?

    I think it humorous that our friendly oil industry insider woould seek to silence criticism. Humourous in an ironic manner … the oil industry has gotten away with so many crimes in so many places that you people assume that you have a license to violate the First Amendment!

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment01/

    http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/index.html

    Now it is quite easy to trample upon the people of Venezuela and Iraq and Nigeria. It is a bit more difficult to overturn the Consitution of the United States.

    I’m prepared to talk to anyone who happens to knock on my door. As for my Internet Provider, I think that if push comes to shove they will respect the Constitution of the United States.

    The oil industry doesn’t much care about the Constitution nor about Human Rights nor does it place much value in Human Life, but from a legal standpoint I am very confident in the Constitution.

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  28. Hello Robert Rapier,

    By the way, Dave, if you have a Site Meter, check your visitors for today. You will know that I am not bluffing.

    Anyone who wishes to visit my website may do so. Is there any information on my website concerning Robert Rapier? No, of course not.

    Why would I devote space on my website about you, Robert? You may be a bit paranoid and you certainly do have an especially thin skin, but our argument has occurred in the open.

    What is it about the oil industry that renders its employees so paranoid? You must have a guilty conscience concerning all the crimes which your industry has committed, including those crimes which it has not yet committed but advocates.

    Robert, you would celebrate if Hugo Chavez was assassinated, wouldn’t you? You seem to hate the man although he hasn’t actually harmed you in the least.

    ConcoPhillips is earning a ton of money now, isn’t it? Oil at $90 a barrel has provided the oil industry with unprecedented all-time record profits.

    Your industry doesn’t need to start a war with Venezuela over pennies. The present exercise is merely a display of imperial overreach and a corporate license to violence the right of nations to control their own resources.

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  29. Robert, my advice is to let it go. If the authorities are looking into it, just let them do their jobs.

    Dave, you are seriously mistaken if you think the Constitution gives you the right to say some of the things you have said. You have demonstrated a pattern of behavior here that you are going to have a hard time justifying. It is against the law to carry out such a repetitious personal vendetta. Hiding behind the Constitution and claiming free speech. You seem to have forgetten that Robert has rights as well, rights that you have trampeled on.

  30. Hello Doug,

    It is against the law to carry out such a repetitious personal vendetta.

    There is no vendetta whatsoever, Doug. There is just two people who disagree, one of which has an thin skin and suffers a bit from paranoia.

    Robert Rapier cannot stand the idea of hearing criticism. Anyone who so publicly engages in controversy should expect to hear criticism.

    In other words: If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    Do you think that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain enjoy hearing criticism all day long from all sides?

    Of course not. But the Constitution does protect the rights of the citizens to criticize the government, corporations and everyone.

    Doesn’t Robert Rapier worry about how Hugo Chavez might feel when the oil industry implicitly threatens him with an assassination, a coup or some sort of Iraq-style military invasion?

    Don’t you know that Hugo Chavez already knows that the oil industry is his sworn enemy and willing to do anything — including criminal acts — to depose him from power in order to install an oil-friendly dictator in his place?

    The oil industry loves dictators that comply with its wishes. The oil industry hates democracies that oppose its wishes.

    The oil industry would trample on the Constitution if that would increase its power to do whatever it wishes all over the globe.

    Wouldn’t the oil industry love to silence its American critics like it silenced its Nigerian critics?

    The people of Venezuela know that Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips don’t care about them. These corporations don’t much care about Iraqis dying, do they? These corporations don’t care about Nigerians suffering, do they?

    So let’s dispense with all of this talk, “Hugo Chavez stole property from Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips.” Your industry stole lives from the people of Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and you would do the same in Venezuela if you could.

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  31. And with that, the thread is locked. I will let the law take its course. I get the impression that Dave still doesn’t understand that he has broken the law, repeatedly. So I will spell it out one more time, and then he is in the hands of law enforcement. Unless I decide to sue for slander.

    Read this carefully, Dave: Cyberstalking

    Now, I do recognize that you have some mental issues. In fact, one of the law enforcement officers I talked to today said the same thing. And I feel like I am contributing to your illness by even allowing you to have a voice here. (That’s once reason I stopped allowing it, but I needed to give you enough rope this time). But pay very close attention here:

    Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk someone.

    It has been defined as the use of information and communications technology, particularly the Internet, by an individual or group of individuals, to harass another individual, group of individuals, or organization. The behavior includes false accusations, monitoring, the transmission of threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes, and any form of persistent offensive behaviour. The harassment must be such that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.

    Do we have that here? Yes. Again, a law enforcement officer today recognized that Dave has a fixation. The posts over at Kunstler’s blog – where I don’t even post – were especially damning. Continuing:

    Stalking is a continuous process, consisting of a series of actions, each of which may be entirely legal in itself. Lambèr Royakkers writes that:

    “Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere. Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect).”

    Once again, check. Moving on:

    When identifying cyberstalking “in the field,” and particularly when considering whether to report it to any kind of legal authority, the following features or combination of features can be considered to characterize a true stalking situation: malice, premeditation, repetition, distress, obsession, vendetta, no legitimate purpose, personally directed, disregarded warnings to stop, harassment, and threats.

    Repetition? Check. Obsession? Check. Vendetta? Check. Personally directed? Check. Disregarded warnings to stop? CHECK. Harassment. Check.

    False accusations. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites.

    Check. Dave has left a paper trail here that he can’t escape. That’s the only reason he has been allowed to post the past 2 days.

    Attempts to gather information about the victim.

    Check. This was when people at The Oil Drum started to raise alarms over Dave. He went scouring the Internet for anything I had written, and dragged it over to The Oil Drum. It seems that when he “discovered” that I worked for an oil company – something that was in my profile – it really set him off and he went on an investigative spree. Sadly for Dave, his comments are still there, archived. And they paint a disturbing picture of him.

    Now here is where it gets sticky for Dave:

    The first U.S. cyberstalking law went into effect in 1999 in California. Other states include prohibition against cyberstalking in their harassment or stalking legislation. In Florida, HB 479 was introduced in 2003 to ban cyberstalking. This was signed into law on October 2003.

    That’s especially problematic for Dave, as he lives in a state with one of the strictest cyberstalking laws.

    To be honest, I wish Dave would get some help. He has lost touch with reality, and has been fixated on me now for about a year. Dave sees the world through very distorted lenses in which he is a victim and I am his oppressor. He says he can’t help but being addicted to oil, but that is my fault, not his. He is a poor victim.

    That’s all from Dave. Others will now be the judge of whether his behavior is lawful. That isn’t his decision to make.

    RR

  32. Actually I am not going to close the thread. Others were having a discussion before Dave intruded. I am just going to delete his comments from here on. He has said enough to do himself in. He has no more voice here to make his false accusations.

  33. If you accused Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama of essentially condoning murder, then that’s far beyond criticism. That’s slander, and highly inappropriate. Your sense of right and wrong is really messed up. And if you think Robert condones murder because he works for an oil company, the wtf do you think you are doing for buying oil products? I just can’t comprehend your thinking. You, the buyer are an innocent, while he, the seller, is the devil? Idiocy.

    I can tell you this. People have said on this blog that they have been encouraged to reduce their energy usage as a result of things Robert has written. So he has actually had a positive impact. What have you done, other than subject us to your incessant blather? You just ramble on and on – “what about the children?” – and while you ramble, Robert is actually getting people to conserve. Jackass.

  34. Mr. Matthews, are you a U.S. citizen? If so, then it is you who have blood on your hands, because it is your government, not the oil industry, who has done the thinks you say. What you see as oil company crimes I see as government crimes and you as an accessory to the crime.

  35. Hello Doug,

    If you accused Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama of essentially condoning murder, then that’s far beyond criticism. That’s slander, and highly inappropriate.

    What of those who accuse George W. Bush of committing a war crime against the nation of Iraq?

    In the case of Robert Rapier and like-minded oil industry types, the threats of murder against Hugo Chavez are occasionally expressed explicitly.

    You are aware that the CIA has already attempted a coup against Hugo Chavez?

    The Textbook CIA Coup That Failed

    So it is easy to understand exactly what sort of harm the oil industry would love to inflict upon Hugo Chavez: “He stole our money so we’re going to steal his nation!”

    You know, sort of like the crime which the CIA committed against Iran, and the crime which George W. Bush has committed against Iraq.

    And if you think Robert condones murder because he works for an oil company, the wtf do you think you are doing for buying oil products?

    Robert has expressed his wishes regarding Venezuela numerous times, both implicitly and explicitly. Oil industry types have a habit of expressing their intentions too honestly when they talk among their own kind, even on the Internet where everyone else can hear their most evil wishes.

    Over the last several years these same oil-industry types were beating the drums as the sought to release the dogs of war against Iran. Such talk is easily verified simply by doing a google search.

    So don’t pretend that Robert Rapier is the innocent victim of a misinterpretation of his own intentions. The oil industry is well known for the bloodshed & suffering which it generates throughout the world.

    You, the buyer are an innocent, while he, the seller, is the devil?

    I make no claims about myself whatsoever. I can only oppose crimes committed now and in the future. I can do nothing whatsoever about crimes committed in the past except remind people that these have occurred and can occur again should our nation succumb to the most vile wishes of the warmongers and profiteers.

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  36. Hello Jose,

    Mr. Matthews, are you a U.S. citizen? If so, then it is you who have blood on your hands, because it is your government, not the oil industry, who has done the thinks you say. What you see as oil company crimes I see as government crimes and you as an accessory to the crime.

    Of course, Jose, American citizens have blood on their own hands. I am well aware of all the crimes which the CIA and US Military and corporations have committed on my behalf … this is the reason why I must oppose all such crimes in the future.

    The oil industry — as represented by our esteemed Robert Rapier — has no moral obligation to the people of Venezuela whatsoever:

    Venezuela — Aló Presidente! :

    “Oil for the people — To put the oil resources to the service and well-being of the country; to build a new economic and social model, ending inequalities that have been present in Venezuelan Society over the last decades. PDVSA stimulates the endogenous development of communities, realizing a fair distribution of the Nation´s oil wealth.

    “And so forth. Similar statements do not appear on Chevron’s website , or that of Russia’s Rosneft. They are even hard to find at the Iranian National Oil Company’s website. It is a unique situation in the world today.”
    (emphasis added — dsm)

    As you can see, Dave Cohen expresses astonishment and some offense at the idea that an oil corporation would care about the well being of people, as opposed to the presumably more noble cause of increasing the shareholder value of American oil company stockholders and keeping the price of oil and gasoline down for American consumers.

    Certainly the oil corporations have thoroughly verified that they don’t care about the health & well-being of people in places such as Iraq and Nigeria and elsewhere.

    Does anyone really believe that Robert Rapier cares about the health & well-being of the Venezuelans? His complaint against Hugo Chavez: “You stole money from me!”

    Though it would seem that Robert Rapier is not especially in need of the money because these same oil corporations are making unprecedented all-time record profits right now. So if Robert Rapier has lost something he hasn’t lost much.

    These are the same oil corporations who have committed real crimes in Nigeria, and who have horrendously polluted the food and water supplies of desperately poor people.

    These are the same oil corporations who have thoroughly polluted the entire Earth with their Global Warming gasses although they have used lies and propaganda plus a compliant oil-friendly Republican administration to oppose all sorts of environmental regulations.

    Robert Rapier has himself engaged in the Global Warming Denialism game right here on this blog. So he is by no means an innocent bystander who has suffered from unjust slanderous accusations against his motives and honesty and character.

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  37. I don’t know if anyone is still reading, but check out this:

    SINGAPORE, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — China Agro-Technology
    Ltd., (OTC Bulletin Board: CAGTF) has acquired the planting and land use
    rights for 494,200 acres of land in Indonesia for the purpose of generating
    revenues from a plantation for Jatropha plants. The agreement was signed on
    February 5, 2008 with Boulevard Holdings Group Ltd for the acquisition
    rights in growing Jatropha, managing Jatropha plantations, and harvesting
    Jatropha seeds to be crushed for its production of non-edible vegetable oil
    for bio-diesel and its other bio-mass components. The strategic acquisition
    allows CAT to diversify its growth and reduce risk in the Jatropha
    industry. Management believes that the acquisition will be worth over $300
    million within five years based on projected global demand for Jatropha
    by-products. The Company noted that, according to an August 24, 2007 Wall
    Street Journal article (which was also cited on CNBC on September 14,
    2007), Goldman Sachs projected that Jatropha was one of the leading
    candidates for global biodiesel production.

    Jatropha trees produce seeds containing up to 40% oil. When the seeds
    are crushed and processed, the resulting oil can be used in a standard
    diesel engine, while the residue can be processed into biomass to power
    electricity plants. The by-products are often cited as a clean, green and
    prime source for global biodiesel supply. The price of Jatropha-based
    biodiesel has historically been highly profitable, ranging from US$650 to
    US$750 per ton, based on current negotiated market futures.

    The new acquisition was completed with 30% cash and 70% newly-issued
    shares at a premium conversion of US$2.10 via convertible bonds. The
    acquisition significantly expands CAT’s current portfolio of approximately
    50,000 acres of Jatropha plantations in Indonesia. CAT previously forecast
    a fair profit value of US$45 million for the remaining fiscal year 2008 and
    will continue to focus on Agro-Technological Research & Development for
    future growth based on its existing profitable operations.

    Dr. He continued, “This acquisition represents a major step forward in
    CAT’s strategy to build critical mass and economies-of-scale in production
    operations. The rights to this extensive tract of land provide us with
    security for our feedstock which — when combined with our leading-edge
    Jatropha cultivation, our Agro-Technology, and our trained work-force —
    allows us to accelerate our CJO production in order to meet our revenue
    targets. CAT’s super-hybrid Jatropha plants in our current plantations are
    able to achieve higher yields of CJO oil seed within a shorter growth
    period, while positioning the biodiesel market to meet the world’s
    fast-growing demand.”

    ——

    It looks like to me the Chinese are making serious strides in alternative fuels, while we futz around with corn ethanol.
    The Dunce in the White House is clueless. Sheesh, we have spent$1 trillion in Iraq, and the Chinese are building their infrastructure and energy sources.
    Guess who will run the world in 20years?

  38. “In the case of Robert Rapier and like-minded oil industry types, the threats of murder against Hugo Chavez are occasionally expressed explicitly.”

    And that is exactly the kind of thing that Robert is complaining about. You are accusing him, both implicitly and here quite explicitly, of threats of murder. That is highly inappropriate. You have accused him of complicity in the war in Iraq, when I have seen him say on several occasions that he is opposed to the war, and was from before it started. I have never seen him discuss Nigeria, but again you have accused him of being complicit there. His blog is all about reducing energy usage, and you accuse him of wanting us to pollute the planet. You accuse him of Global Warming denialism, when he has explicitly stated (and which has not been a popular opinion) that he accepts that Global Warming is a manmade phenomenon.

    Yet when it is pointed out that you, an American citizen, are complicit in America’s actions in Iraq, you shirk responsibility and claim opposition. You seem to think you can lay all things oil-related at Robert’s feet because he works in the industry, but don’t seem willing to accept the same responsibility for the crimes of your country. It doesn’t matter whether you oppose the war or not. Robert has opposed it, and yet you harass and harangue him about it. But by the same standard, you don’t care about the deaths in Iraq, because you are part of the group – American – who is in there causing the deaths.

    You are employing a blatant double-standard, and in the process corroborating the charges that you have lied, distorted, and stalked. And that is in fact, illegal. That you don’t seem to understand that causes me to seriously wonder about your mental state.

  39. Hello Doug,

    You accuse him of Global Warming denialism, when he has explicitly stated (and which has not been a popular opinion) that he accepts that Global Warming is a manmade phenomenon.

    Thar’s quite a remarkable claim on your part, Doug.

    I’m going to need to hear Robert Rapier confirm the above.

    Well, Robert, do you affirm that Global Warming is occurring, that humans are responsible, and that the burning of fossil fuels threatens the survival of our civilization and our species?

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  40. I usually skip David’s posts, but that quote is pretty bad:


    In the case of Robert Rapier and like-minded oil industry types, the threats of murder against Hugo Chavez are occasionally expressed explicitly.

    Did he mean to say “essentially” rather than “occasionally”? The former is a better word to water down (and make defensible) a crazier statement.

    When we buy gas for our cars we “essentially” endorse X, Y, and Z.

    But that does not mean that we “occasionally” call for murder.

    Overall I’d say David’s problem is that he needs to take wide, muddy, and shared problems and put them on an individual. In this case it’s poor Robert. Is this a little of the sin-eater concept?

    We can (irrationally) absolve our guilt by laying it on a few. It happens in the debt crisis too, as people trot our their enemies to take the blame.

    Here’s the truth: We are responsible only as far as we have authority. If we are actually making bad decisions (hello Dick Cheney), they are our burden. But in nations, even in modern democracies the authority of the citizen and voter is not that clear.

    I like to describe myself as a lifetime conservative and Republican, and that’s pretty much true (by modern measure I might be more a moderate) but the current Republican administration did a lot to undermine my faith in not just the Party but democracy itself. It lied and manipulated, not merely for political gain, but in run-up to war.

    After that I have much less confidence in American democracy, my power as a citizen, and sadly my responsibility.

    Sometimes in history mere citizens are just swept along.

    If I pretend it’s all Robert’s fault will that make me feel any better?

  41. Hello Odograph,

    If I pretend it’s all Robert’s fault will that make me feel any better?

    If a member of the oil industry and the oil industry itself demands that the US Government undermine the political leadership of another country (such as Venezuela) for the sake of their own economic gain or as punishment for some real or imagined harm, those who advocate such actions are responsible for what results.

    What role did the oil industry have in the overthrow of Iran’s government?

    Will the oil industry deny any blame for all of its crimes committed throughout the world?

    Will the oil industry deny blame for the crimes committed on its behalf by the CIA and US military?

    Will the oil industry deny blame for propping up oil-friendly bloody dictatorships?

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  42. Well, Robert, do you affirm that Global Warming is occurring, that humans are responsible, and that the burning of fossil fuels threatens the survival of our civilization and our species?

    Here’s a thought, David. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that you have made the accusations, and therefore you should make some attempt at supporting them. If you accuse Robert of denying global warming, why not show where he has said or implied that he denies it? If you say he endorses the murder of Chavez or the war in Iraq, how about showing some actual quotes? That’s just the sort of thing I would do if I was accusing someone of something and they were denying it. And if you can’t find anything to actually back up your accusations, consider the possibility that you have been harassing someone nonstop who never did or condoned any of the things you harassed him over.

    Count yourself lucky if you don’t get sued. I mean you accused Robert of explicitly threatening Chavez with murder. That is definitely slander, and you come across as insane when you write things like that. I can only echo what Odograph said. Poor Robert.

  43. David, try this on for size.

    What role did America have in the overthrow of Iran’s government?

    Will America deny any blame for all of its crimes committed throughout the world?

    Will America deny blame for the crimes committed on its behalf by the CIA and US military?

    Will America deny blame for propping up oil-friendly bloody dictatorships?

    Now, since you are an American, I lay all of the blame for these things at your feet. That is what you are doing. Because Robert is an oil company employee, and has been for only a few years, you feel like you can berate and blame him for things you believe are the result of oil companies. How would you feel if someone did the same to you, since you are an American, and America has been behind some of the things you mentioned? You wouldn’t like that much, would you? But you don’t think it’s the same, do you? It is.

  44. Hello Doug,

    Count yourself lucky if you don’t get sued. I mean you accused Robert of explicitly threatening Chavez with murder.

    What is it with you oil-industry types which makes you so dense, Doug?

    There is no propsect whatsoever for Robert Rapier to travel down to Venezuela to assassination Hugo Chavez. No one has ever accused Robert Rapier of working as a professional assassin.

    The oil industry has very powerful friends who perform such bloody work on their behalf: the CIA, the US Military, or local thugs (when necessary).

    There is a reason why I linked to CIA coups in this thread. These are the highly trained cold blooded professionals that get the dirty work done.

    The oil industry can then — innocently — take advantage of the situation as an oil-friendly regime replaces the uncooperative leader. See the country of Iran, for example, circa 1853. See the country of Iraq circa 2003. See Venezuela circa 2002.

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  45. Hello Doug,

    Because Robert is an oil company employee, and has been for only a few years, you feel like you can berate and blame him for things you believe are the result of oil companies. How would you feel if someone did the same to you, since you are an American, and America has been behind some of the things you mentioned? You wouldn’t like that much, would you? But you don’t think it’s the same, do you? It is.

    Oh my, am I teaching a class of elementary-school kids? Okay, class, here is the lesson:

    1. The United States of America has committed numerous crimes against the impoverished and easily-exploited nations of this world.

    2. American citizens are responsible for these crimes and that it why it is our duty to oppose any future crimes that our government may commit.

    3. In the case of Venezuela, the oil industry (including our esteemed Robert Rapier) have been explicitly and implicitly demanding that our government punish, remove or assassination Hugo Chavez.

    4. The reason why I am here is because I oppose this crime which the oil industry would like to commit against Hugo Chavez and the people of Venezuela.

    Any more questions?

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  46. “In the case of Venezuela, the oil industry (including our esteemed Robert Rapier) have been explicitly and implicitly demanding that our government punish, remove or assassination Hugo Chavez.”

    I challenge you to find a single instance in which Robert has advocated either of those things. Has he expressed annoyance at Chavez? Sure. Has he ridiculed him? Yes. But made demands to punish, remove, or assassinate him? Those fabrications are yours.

    But if you can’t find anything to substantiate your claims, I challenge you to man up and apologize.

    FYI, I don’t work for the oil industry as you suggested. I work for law enforcement.

  47. “The reason why I am here is because I oppose this crime which the oil industry would like to commit against Hugo Chavez and the people of Venezuela.

    Any more questions?”

    No, I think we got it. You are here to prevent Robert from assassinating, or ordering the assassination of Hugo Chavez.

    Just one question, David. Have you ever spent time in a mental facility?

  48. Hello Doug,

    The crimes of which I speak are well-known. Perhaps you should spend a little time investigating the history of the U.S.A. and its corporations:

    What’s good for Exxon …

    “The lifeline of Exxon is not its oil-drilling skills but rather the power of the U.S. government, particularly the military, which can be marshaled to intimidate those other nations who would dare challenge Exxon’s right to profit exorbitantly. Whether it is about pushing for a pipeline across Afghanistan or tying up Venezuela’s foreign assets in international courts, as Exxon managed to do last week, the U.S.-based oil giants strut with the full confidence that Uncle Sam will back them up.”

    Any more questions?

    And, Odograph:

    David, the United States has Federal laws about what oil companies can do in foreign lands (for example the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act). There are also laws limiting covert action.

    Of course, there are laws. There are laws which are routinely violated by corporations, the CIA, and the US Military.

    Remember, there was a time when waterboarding was a war crime …

    What role did the oil industry have in the Iraq war?

    It seems very much like the oil industry has benefited richly from the occupation of a country, the death of over 150,000 Iraqis, and the suffering of millions.

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  49. “The crimes of which I speak are well-known.”

    Given your failure to answer my request to show that Robert – whom you are accusing – advocated it as you claimed, I presume you will now man up and apologize? And you never have answered me why you support the killing of innocent children in Iraq.

  50. Hello Doug,

    Given your failure to answer my request to show that Robert – whom you are accusing – advocated it as you claimed, I presume you will now man up and apologize?

    Well … it does seem very much like you have run out of argument, Doug.

    Any more questions?

    David Mathews
    http://www.geocities.com/dmathew1

  51. Isn’t this the same David Mathews who cries about the crimes of humanity against the environment? I would think he would celebrate the deaths of 150,000 Iraqis. After all, hasn’t he gleefully said that man doesn’t deserve to live at all for despoiling the earth, and that God’s patience has worn out? What’s 150,000 Iraqis when he craves global genocide so the earth can heal?

  52. Well … it does seem very much like you have run out of argument, Doug.

    Yes, that happens when one makes accusations and then won’t defend them. Not much to argue about when you won’t defend your claims. I guess that kind of behavior is what I should expect from a convicted child molester.

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