Crabcake while seafood lasts. –Robert M. Shelby, 6-20-11. [1192 txt wds]

“There are souls that, crablike, crawl continually toward darkness, going backward in life rather than advancing, using their experience to increase their deformity, growing continually worse, and becoming steeped more and more thoroughly in the intensifying viciousness.”

–Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.

Yes, crabby people yearn toward the light in their heads which nowhere exists out there in the world. That light is doubly false. First falsehood is common to us all. Photic energy flowing between stars, sun to earth, lightbulb to eye, is not at all what we “see.” We see surrogate “light” our brains generate and what our perceiving makes of it; a matter, you may say, for neuro-physics, bio-epistemology and semantics.


Good natured people may also yearn toward light or heavy visions though less desperately and more cheerfully contented with circumstance. Among fundamentalist Christians, for instance, can be found every intensity or lassitude within the range of faith for attitutudes of acceptance or rejection of self and hope for salvation. Some live in acceptance of flawed selves, faithfully expecting God’s total understanding and final forgiveness. Some stay in good humor with life who have little expectation of heaven.


Others join those crabby people who cannot be satisfied short of bathing in their own light when it takes over the world completely. Dappled mixtures of sun and shade are not part of their vision for our future. For them, all shadiness is Socialism. For them, massive monetary crimes against Socialists are purely brilliant. Their idea of society reduces to a family of persons closely similar to their own “Luciferian” selves. Social resources are good for their set but must not extend to those Others of lower income, smaller property, cooler intensity, different light — or color. Even now, we experience the rapture which scripture merely symbolizes, namely, the lifting up of good (wealthy) folks above travail while the poor and common working folks (many unemployed and dis-housed) are left behind, subject to increasingly jungle-like, inhuman conditions which — according to our Luciferian reactionaries — they deserve.


An example of crabcake which we ingest at risk appeared on Benicia Herald’s Forum page, Thursday, June 9, 2011, in Michael Barone’s featured article, “Free market, not state policy, drives energy boom.” I had thought for a while to ignore his travesty of good sense, but it is too clear an example of dishonest report not to dissect and correct. The dishonesty appears in the way he mixes slanting innuendo with factual accuracy and refrains from telling whole stories. I quote paragraph-7 complete: “Hydraulic fracking has resulted in a boom in the Bakken oil shale formation under North Dakota and Montana. North Dakota is now the No. 4 state in oil production. And hydraulic fracking has made commercially viable huge volumes of natural gas previously imprisoned in shale rock in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.” Barone neglects to mention how commercial viability is no longer the sole value required for the  viability of life on earth. Perhaps ideology blinds him to premises relevant to other argument than his own, the main point of which is that government policies, programs and new laws do little to increase energy supply compared to the impact of technology revealing new sources available in the last four years, technology he attributes to “free market” forces, contrasted with governmental manipulations.


In paragraph-10 he puts it clearly: “While government’s ethanol subsidies [now facing possible elimination] and renewable requirements have made little difference, the private sector’s hydraulic fracking has increased our energy supply and reduces our dependence on dicey Middle Eastern oil.” This is quite true. But, in the next paragraph (#11) he slaps Obama’s administration for trying to “restrict energy supply” by shutting down much off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while urging Petrobras to expand in waters off Brazil. Barone also slaps at ANWR as “desolate tundra” as if tundra were anything but desolate, implying it’s uselessly unproductive and that we should work it for anything it can be worth to our oil companies because, if we don’t drill more wells, how can we keep that wonderful, Alaska pipeline pumping at full stream?


Mr. Barone then swings back to Canada, that bastion of green concerns, stating in paragraph-12: “The State Department has even been stalling on approving the Keystone pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas. Environmental groups object to drilling techniques Canada allows.” Notice how glibly he avoids distinction between conventional drilling and the extracting of hydrocarbons from sand and shale? Surface strip-mining permanently denatures vast tracts of land in Canada and Utah with hugely bad impact on ecology and atmosphere. He fails to mention the enormously wasteful inefficiency of that method or the risk of pipelining that nasty stuff all the way to our south-central states for final processing, for the benefit of big oil companies with active refineries, instead of refining the stuff in Canada.


Why do you suppose Canadians don’t want it done up there? Or, why U.S. companies would insist it be done down here, rather than buy finished products from Canadian sources? Barone continues with wimpy rationalization about friendly, competent Canada, not mentioning it’s already our biggest North American supplier except ourselves. We import about 20% of our crude from Canada, totalling nearly twice as much as we obtain from either Mexico or Saudi Arabia. These are closely followed by Venezuela and Nigeria, all five together vastly outweighing our next ten suppliers, Iraq, Colombia, Russia, Algeria, Angola, Kuwait, Brazil, Equador, Norway and the U.K., all of which combined deliver to us slightly less crude than Canada alone. These amounts are measured in barrels delivered per average day this year, up to May 27, 2011. (See <> )


It must be noted, tar-sand oil already amounts to half or more of the crude or crude-like oil Canada exports into the U.S., i.e., about 10% of our importation. And, pipelines are already delivering it from Edmonton and Hardisty in Alberta all the way to Oklahoma and the Texas gulf. What the administration has been holding back on is a spiderweb of newly projected pipelines into many other places including Southern California. Perhaps “progress” henceforth can only mean devastation and risk.


Michael Barone concludes by waving the perfectly respectable flag of Friedrich Hayek in his usual, expansive rant against socialism, ignoring the necessary dapple of our economic life. This new kind of radical conservative, the “ultra-rightist,” never approved the pragmatic mixture a stable society requires. All he needs is the power of police swat-teams to put down objection and control unhappiness. His notion of a good society has become one in which “everything belongs to me and my friends.” We grasp the relativities of subjective value and emotionality and can do to you whatever we please. We try to fool you into thinking we serve only what’s good for you. We are the other face of socialism which we hide as well as we may.  That face is called fascism. As do most abstract words, “socialism” can have many meanings. We must pry into what we hear to determine what phrases really mean, if anything.

One Comment

  • I’m sure you’re right Dennis. Mega-petroleum should have its way in all things, every time. Obviously, I
    haven’t thought anything through, in spite of the fact that I worked for Union Oil in storage & distribution
    over 60 years ago at the (then) Richmond Terminal, first as plantman, then loader, then storage-reader and
    pipeline operator. I know nothing about different types of crude from various parts of nation and world,
    nothing about products I worked with for several years, nothing about lube oils and compounding. Nothing
    about refining processes, distilling, cracking, blending to approximate specifications with various gasoline
    components. Nothing. You, on the other hand, have an engineering degree and know everything about anything.

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