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The not-so-secret foreign energy source

By Walt Brasch - posted Thursday, 27 April 2006

President Bush, several years after most Americans, has decided the nation can’t be dependent upon foreign energy sources.

For much of his life, and especially when he was running what came to be a series of failed corporations, Bush worshipped the power of oil, while denouncing global warming as junk science. But now, as an enlightened president who is prevented by his own incompetence and inability to deal with the insurgency and unable to drill for oil in Iraq, Bush has decided that alternative energy is necessary.

He has a plan - ethanol. It’s cheap, he says. It’s available from American corn crops, he claims. It’s primarily provided by Archer Daniels Midland, which has consistently been a large donor to political campaigns, primarily Republican. But, just in case ethanol isn’t as reliable as Bush believes it could be, there’s still the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).


The oil-slicked president believes killing animals and disrupting the ecological balance in the ANWR to drill for oil beneath the frozen tundra is also part of the solution to the oil crisis. By 2025, according to government projections, and assuming a ten-year development during which no oil is pumped, oil produced in ANWR will represent only about one to two per cent of America’s daily needs: if all the oil in ANWR were successfully mined, it would represent less than a one-year supply.

But, while Bush says we shouldn’t depend upon foreign energy, he really means we should depend upon foreign energy, not in the form of natural resources but in a human form.

He has no objection to American corporations increasing their compensation to executives and stockholders, most of them Republicans, by laying off American workers, most of them Democrats, and outsourcing jobs to myriad other nations.

Call for customer service on everything from a credit card dispute to a computer and you’ll probably be talking to someone in India. Want an American-made car? If you don’t mind that most of the parts are probably made in Mexico and other countries, you can have your all-American gas guzzler. Clothes? Don’t even try looking for the union label. There isn’t one in any of two dozen countries that provide most clothes worn by Americans. Toys? Games? American flags? Try China.

Most American politicians treat Cuba, an island nation about the size and population of Pennsylvania but with a higher literacy rate, as a Third Rail. They punctuate every mention of Cuba with the venomous tag, “Communist”. The US doesn’t recognise Cuba, it doesn’t allow Americans to take vacations there, and it doesn’t allow trade with the people of Cuba.

But, every politician - it makes no difference if they’re left, right or mugwump (a person who has voted with the opposition), slobber all over the gluttonous probabilities of trade with the one billion population of Chinese Communists. Even Wal-Mart has moved into China. We don’t know how that will benefit the average American; we do know that it means the end of China’s downtown commerce.


In America, spurred by talk-show mouths, we complain about hordes of illegal immigrants infiltrating our businesses and gorging themselves on every medical, welfare and educational benefit available. We don’t want illegal immigrants - translate that into the language of “Latino” - but we willingly employ them.

And so millions of Latinos, trying to earn enough money to send home to their own families while possibly trying to become American citizens, shed their own knowledge and skills to become this nation’s unskilled and semi-skilled labourers, to become janitors and gardeners, maids, clerks and factory workers.

Of course, employers have a scripted, ready-to-wear excuse as to why they must hire illegal immigrants: they claim there’s a shortage of workers for low-paid, no-benefit, back-breaking jobs. Of course, they’re right: even those employers who pay illegal immigrants twice the minimum wage, still provide no benefits and pay them less than American citizens. One full-time worker making a minimum wage, with no vacations, will earn $10,712 a year. The Census Bureau has determined that the poverty line for one person is $10,160 - but, for a family of mother, father and two children, the poverty line is $19,806.

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About the Author

Walter Brasch is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. He is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and author of 16 books. Dr. Brasch's current books are Unacceptable: The Federal Government’s Response to Hurricane Katrina; Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture; and Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (Nov. 2007) You may contact him at

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