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Bush/McCain's gas price scam is an Enron re-run

Bush/McCain's gas price scam is an Enron re-run


by Harvey Wasserman
June 23, 2008

The Bush/McCain gas price escalation is an Enron Re-Run. It is Chapter 2 of the scam Bush crony "Kenny Boy" Lay used in 1999-2001 to steal $100 billion from California ratepayers.

Now this administration is replicating that crisis to funnel untold billions into the coffers of its oil baron backers…and to push the failed strategies of offshore drilling and nuke power.

There is no doubt that we are at the edge of the petro-abyss. Peak oil is upon us, as is the global-warmed finale of Earth's carrying capacity for burning more fossil fuels. It is the perfect storm that must end the age of fossil/nuke.

But the immediate situation is not so clear. Bush/McCain say soaring prices are due to a lack of supply, and there are those who agree.

The Saudis, and others with more credibility, argue the price rise is contrived by bankers and speculators. Their mega-theft comes not only at the gas pump, but in food prices and other essentials.

Whatever the case, remember that during the Enron con, there was no shortage of electric generating capacity. Enron's operatives laughed into their PCs as they selectively shut perfectly operable power stations and jacked up electric prices 700% and more. Enron, of course, later went bankrupt, wiping out countless thousands.

Contrived or otherwise, today's soaring gas prices are a tangible bonanza for Bush/McCain. Off-shore drilling would put billions in their cronies' pockets, but would not lower gas prices a single cent. Nuke power could mean billions more in radioactive lucre for reactor builders who may never deliver a single electron of electricity.

It's no accident that what Bush/McCain are NOT advocating is a massive shift to increased efficiency and renewable energy.

Prior to the Enron disaster, green power advocates proposed that some 600 megawatts of renewables and efficiency be installed in California. They said this "floor" was needed to protect the state from precisely the kind of gouging Enron then did.

But Southern California Edison's John Bryson helped kill the green power proposal. Bryson now likes to be photographed in front of photovoltaic arrays. But he used a deregulation package promising a "free market in energy" to help pay off failed reactors at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. Then he stepped back while Enron cashed in.

Today, despite years of grassroots advocacy, Bush has done everything in his power to squelch the conversion to a green-powered economy. Even as gas prices soar there is no meaningful commitment to reviving mass transit, increasing fuel efficiency, or promoting renewable energy.

Indeed, Bush/McCain's two-step obsession with fossil fuels and nuke power is perfectly suited to guarantee that the public's money does NOT go to renewables and efficiency. Those technologies could actually solve both the climate and the energy supply crisis. But they would strip the fossil/nuke cartels of their death grip on the global economy.

Ironically, soaring fossil fuel prices make building reactors even more expensive. Using high gas prices to push nukes that only produce electricity (and radioactive waste) is a complete disconnect.

Today's wind and solar technologies are far cheaper than atomic energy, not to mention quicker to build, safer, more reliable and ecologically sound. The one thing certain about reactor construction is that it will stretch out years longer than planned. Capital costs are certain to at least double or triple before the first reactor could ever come on line, taking atomic energy totally out of the price range of renewables.

New drilling is also absurd. The off-shore and other protected areas Bush/McCain would destroy have limited, expensive oil beneath them. The GOP "energy plan" is that of a desperate junkie, tearing apart the planet for a few last grains of white powder to snort up its nose. That there will then be no more does not seem to matter.

The US once had the world's greatest mass transit system, which was consciously destroyed by the auto and oil industries to sell more cars and gas.

It once had a virtual monopoly on the renewable and efficiency technologies that can solve global warming and give us energy independence, with local communities taking control of their energy supply.

Enron's hucksters staged that fake electricity crisis to gouge California while pushing back the transition to a green-powered economy.

Now Enron II, the gas price crisis, is about gouging the whole nation. And about yet again postponing a community-owned, green-powered future.

The Solartopian conversion to renewables and efficiency could put the Bush/McCain barons of fossil nuke out of business. The sooner the better.

*************

Harvey Wasserman's SOLARTOPIA! is at www.solartopia.org. His LAST ENERGY WAR, from http://sevenstories.com tells the history of deregulation and the US utility industry. He is senior editor of http://freepress.org , where this article first appeared.

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