Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big Guns Shoot Nits

Charles Pena at Antiwar writes What $700 Billion?: In accepting the nomination as the Republican candidate for U.S. president, Sen. John McCain proclaimed that if elected, "We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much." One can't help but wonder what $700 billion the good senator is talking about. ... Apparently, the $700 billion is money we're spending for energy, presumably foreign oil."

---- Now, presumably Mr. Pena is an educated fellow from Cato and various and sundry other institutions, agencies, and programs to his credibility, and not to defend John McCodger's stump, but "energy" includes more than just "foreign oil." Maybe Pena used his Simple Sheople template?

I looked in at Factcheck to see their take on McCain's 700 billion. I read Factcheck with a grain or two of salt as they are funded by the Annenberg Foundation which Obama and Ayers served, and regardless how nonpartisan an organization claims to be they still have to look to the hand that feeds them. I don't give them a lot of credibility because there does not seem to be much fact checking on issues that mean anything - they appear to pick their nits from the leading icons of the political blogosphere. Besides, we all know stats and information can be juggled to suit the desired conclusion.

FC says: In fact, the U.S. doesn't pay nearly that much for oil from hostile nations. According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. imported 4.9 billion barrels of oil in 2007. At today’s prices, that works out to about $536 billion, still a hefty chunk of change, but considerably less than $700 billion. More important, that's what we pay to all exporting nations, not just those that “don’t like us very much.” We note that 32 percent of U.S. oil imports came from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Hmmm, I always have a problem with folks who begin their declarations with "In fact." It's usually a signal that bullshit is on the way.

McCain doesn't specifically state the 700 figure is for oil alone. And that was not my first impression, and it did not sound outrageously over stated to my ear. Nor did he claim that amount is sent to "hostile nations" but to countries which "don't like us very much" (the whole world doesn't like us if you believe "progressives").

Not only oil, but the US imports large reserves of natural gas from countries like Qatar, Iran, Russia, Angola, Yemen, Algeria, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago. EIA import volumes for gas by country. Multinationals have already rushed to build facilities to import more.

We also import small amounts of coal from Indonesia and Venezuela. (Last time I looked Hugo didn't like us very much.) The US imports fuel ethanol from Brazil, Costa Rica, and China. Nuclear fuel is also imported, mainly from the Netherlands and Russia. Russia not our best friend anymore either. In 2007, America spent $5.5 billion to buy nuclear fuels and related materials from other supplying countries – a 39% gain from last year and a 91.3% rise since 2003.

Due to that pesky thing called "global trade" and trade with countries that don't like us very much, the US also imports materials for extraction, delivery, storage, processing, and producing the above energy, i.e. metal alloys, titanium, zirconium, polymers, glass, plastics, ceramics, steel, rubber, etc. etc. and the costs of economic, military, and humanitarian aid to countries that don't like us very much but like the US$. (Plus the war to keep Iraqi oil safe for Royal Dutch.)

In fact, winkywink, there is a lot more to energy costs than just the price on a barrel of oil.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,

I came across this video of opinions in other parts of the world on Obama's possible presidency. I didn't know where to put it so i am putting it here. (This video doesn't have anything to do with your article).

Kate-A said...

Thanks anon.

Apparently the Europeans are as dim, dull, and dense as Americans when it comes to politics.

I see Ebonyjet is keeping up with the mainstream mentality of life being wholely about appearance and no substance.


Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to a face and personality change. After seeing Michelle Obama, I actually hope Obama does win. Before I heard her speech at the DNC I wasn't interested at all in him or the the election. Now, I will certainly take Obama over McCain. Though, Sarah Palin is dominating the news. I haven't been reading what she is saying, I just see her picture all over everything. And quite frankly, I am ready to turn the page on that.

Kate-A. said...

Michelle is the democrat's version of Condi Rice. Both intelligent, ambitious, and seem to be carrying a shoulder chip.

I have sworn off voting - it only encourages the ruling class.

Anonymous said...

"I have sworn off voting - it only encourages the ruling class."

How does it encourage them? Also, is the "ruling class" the same thing as "the powers that be"?

Come to think of it you have a point about the voting. Oh, well, I may vote just for the fun of it.

Kate-A said...

I suppose as long as we vote the ruling class is assured of our faith in their leadership.

I make a distinction between the "ruling class" and TPTB. Ruling class are the powerful home boys/girls while TPTB are a global consortium - but both groups are joined at the hip.

This will be the first election in decades I refuse to participate in - my form of protest against the D.C. carnival.

Anonymous said...


I know it would be excellent reading if you began writing novels. Power, politics, love, sex, adventure and intrigue - all with the intriguing "Powers that be" and the "ruling class". If you did, those would be books I would be hard pressed to put down once the reading had begun. Be sure and make some of the women lovable!

Anonymous said...

P.S. At the DNC speech of Michelle Obama, I found her to be very soft, feminine, sweet and totally likable.

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