Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back on Track


I would like to get back on track here and in the campaign for President of the United States. I was going to opt for an image of a train heading down the track and that didn't seem quite fitting so then I downloaded one of a train going down one of four tracks winding through the hills. Still did not seem to fit.

It is a mess out there. It has been so long since we have stayed on track in a campaign that basically nobody really knows where the track is. Ergo my roller coaster image. I think this says it. Even Carl Rove admitted in an interview that while dirty politics work you can get to far off into lies and dirt that you lose the message (and hopefully the campaign) and he openly admitted McCain has gone into that no-man's land with his warm up act: Sarah Palin.

But there are some very important issues facing us these days (one major one of which is the economy) and if we don't address them it could spell the end for the United States of America as we know it. Alaska is not the only state where rumblings of separation from the US can be heard. The mountain west certainly feels often that it is short changed by Washington and only used an abused for nuclear waste disposal, toxic chemical dumps and exploitation of hydro-electric energy and mineral reserves.

I an not an economist. All I know about that is that my carefully laid aside retirement funds are gone. That what I was depending upon to augment my Social Security - Art - is going through a crash because people no longer have the money to spend anywhere but the pump or on groceries. So I am going to leave the economy for others and try to focus my next few blogs on issues important to my neck of the woods.

In the early days of this country there seemed more land then we knew what to do with. And when we wanted more we just moved on over the next ridge. And actually railroads and the robber barons that ran them was how we got effectively to the West Coast. Congress signed away huge right aways including 10 and 20 miles on either side of the track as incentive for the competing companies to keep clear cutting forests for ties, open pit mining of coal to fire the boilers, and damming streams to provide water for steam.

The robber barons today are the oil companies with their oil leases on "public lands" and the open seas off-shore. When people complained about the abuses of the railroads in their westward expansion they received the answer that it was good for our country. And now when we complain of oil exploration in our national parks or pristine sea coasts we are told it is good for America. Maybe, but an alternative source of energy would be better. And it is wise for the oil companies to realize that even the railroad barons realized the error of their ways and were behind the preservation of these pristine areas we now call the National Parks and which the oil companies want to decimate.

Why don't we reopen some of the thousands of capped off wells before we drill more? Yes, some of them were shut down because they were not economical to continue to pump when oil was below $50 a barrel. But guess what folks, it isn't anymore. Development of oil shale was explored and found not economical below $50 a barrel. But guess what? It is double that now.

Before we go off an authorize the raping of what we will never be able to replace let's take a reasoned view and explore the possibilities. This is the only planet we have that can sustain life as we know it at this moment. Even animals don't mess the nest they sleep in.

Let us pause and think before we get off on one of those side loops of track to nowhere but our own ruin.