Friday, December 16, 2005

Chavez of Venezuela and Our Coming Energy Crisis This Winter

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

It is interesting watching Americans spending $200+billion to hang onto oil rich Iraq while being told to basically shiver to death this winter at home because Bush as no money to fund home heating costs, meanwhile, the man villified by the NYT and WP and all the mainstream media, Chavez of Venezuela, rides to the rescue on his white horse, unlike the Scrooges with Bush, he can spare Tiny Tim some oil for Christmas.

From the US News and World Report:
Falling gasoline prices make it easy to believe the nation has seen the last of the energy woes that swept in behind this year's Gulf Coast hurricanes. But they don't fool an unemployed woman on the Crow Indian Reservation, using the electric oven to warm her house on increasingly crisp Montana nights because her natural-gas heat has been cut off. For brickyard workers in Mill Hall, Pa., unemployment looms after the holidays, because it will be too expensive to fire the clay kilns this winter. And one retiree in a mobile home in Millinocket plans to take her asthma medication once daily instead of three times as prescribed, to save money to pay the kerosene bills that will soar in Maine's bitter cold.
This is the same trip that California had to take when Bush and his Lay buddy at Enron decided to loot California and soften them up for Schwarzenegger. It didn't matter if it tipped America into a recession. They backtracked and cut taxes and began the most ferocious public spending spree ever witnessed in our history running up almost $3 trillion in red ink. In the middle of this spending spree, they continue to cut taxes, making things worse and simultaneously piously telling the poor to go hang.

Into this breach stepped the understandibly popular President of Venezuela, shaming America by personally funding susidized oil for communities that ask for it. So far, Massachusetts and the Bronx have signed up. It will be interesting to see how many upstate NYers will die this year before NY's Repub govenor asks for help? Then the NYT will have to say something nice about Chavez which will tick them off since he isn't a tool of either America or Israel.
"A frozen New Orleans." A winter failure (in NYC, for example) could prove catastrophic, because any extended loss of heat could cause water pipes to burst in residential and commercial buildings alike. Also, the thousands of "traps" where steam escapes (and billows from manhole covers) could freeze and fail, causing distribution pipes to crack or lose pressure. Former Central Intelligence Agency chief Jim Woolsey, now active on energy issues, argues that parts of the city "could resemble a frozen New Orleans." Also, repressurizing the system could prove laborious and hazardous, because of the power of steam escaping from cracks. "Nobody could simulate the kind of disaster that could happen," says Adam Victor, president of TransGas Energy, a company that has been trying to build a backup power plant in the city but has run into opposition from residents and city officials who prefer building parkland at the old industrial waterside location. Con Edison downplays concerns about the system. "You can't say never because something can always break," says Chris Olert, utility spokesman. "But we've upgraded the plant so it's in tip-top condition, and we've bought plenty of gas for the steam system." Power will be available for New Yorkers, he says, though at a cost up 30 to 35 percent over last year.
As a super in NYC in the past, when it went below zero and we didn't get an oil delivery in the middle of the oil crisis back in the seventies, I frantically tried to keep the pipes from freezing and failed. Once we got heat going again, we had to fix the entire building and it cost the landlord so dearly, he abandoned the property.

The cascade of problems when the heat fail are significant and very expensive. Not to mention, avoidable. Most buildings and most systems are designed to use energy to create the bubble of comfort rather than, like my house, exploit as much of nature as possible to run without energy. This refusal to be sensible is going to be our collective downfall. Houses that can't be converted like operate like mine will be abandoned over the years or turned into very low quality slums with no water since the pipes will burst. Copper thieves will tear them apart, seeking the metal in the pipes.

From Yahoo:
As oil and natural gas prices soar, public schools are having to make some tough decisions: turning down the thermostat, finding alternative sources of fuel, even cutting back on the school week.

At Menomonie High School in western Wisconsin, principal Tom Wiatr has dropped the temperature a few degrees. Students started wearing zip-up sweatshirts and fleeces to stay warm, raising questions about a school rule against wearing jackets indoors.
I remember the seventies and early eighties (imagine that!) I tried to get my daughter's school in NYC to let me cover the leaky windows with plastic so the kids wouldn't freeze in the classroom facing the Atlantic Ocean's winds. They refused.

The hike in taxes to keep schools running thanks to Bush and his windfall oil buddies reaping vast profits for themselves will wipe out what pitiful pennies remain of the famous Bush tax cuts. The President could demand his rich buddies start a "Leave No Child Frozen" fund and the oil companies could dedicate, say, 2% of their vast profits to fund it and heat for the elderly and poor but of course, this will never happen unless Americans notice the grim mirror image of Bush and Mr. Scrooge only Scrooge denied himself comforts unlike Bubble Boy who lives in a splendidly warm and pleasant enviroment.

From the BBC:
The leftist front-runner for Sunday's election in Bolivia, Evo Morales, has ended his campaign saying his movement is "a nightmare for the United States".
Mr Morales has vowed to end free-market policies and legalise the growing of coca, which has traditional uses but is also used in the production of cocaine.
Bush was nearly chased out of South America. His appearances in varioius countries had to be held far from the maddening crowds and forelorn and pathetic, not to mention stewed to the gills, he stumbled about, denouncing Chavez in quavering tones.

So what has he done for anyone? Got oil?

Chavez has oil and he is using it deftly as a tool to gain political power and he is determined to shoo us out of South America. Since popular sentiment is on his side, this isn't hard to do, is it? The "free trade" free booters who work for US corporations are desperately trying to keep control of various countries but one by one, the people are electing those that we don't want. Historically, the USA murders or corrupts those it doesn't want down in the south and Bush frets about this, desperate to unleash dictators upon the populations even as he bays about how America is for freedom and democracy.

Well, we will get democracy in spades, here at home, I pray, as well as abroad. The DeLay Texas mess whereby he gerrymandered and gerryrigged an electoral map that would keep right wing whites in power is now being torn up in court just as he and his ilk are now standing trial for rank corruption. And down there is all that oil. The oil the Texan elite refuse to share with fellow Americans.

This is going to be a very interesting winter.

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