Cross posted from The Progressive Pulse

Just so we're clear on this, I hope everybody understands that the current debate on off shore drilling is nothing more than exploitation of fears by the Republicans and the right wing market fundamentalists. They are using the fear and pain of high gas prices to ram their agenda down your throat. How do I know this? Because they did the same thing in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. As outlined by author Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine p. 410:

Even neocon stalwarts like Jonah Goldberg were begging "big government" to ride to the rescue: "When a city is sinking into the sea and rioting runs rampant, government should saddle-up"

No such soul-searching was in evidence at the Heritage Foundation, where the true disciples of Friedmanism can always be found. Katrina was a tragedy, but, as Milton Friedman wrote in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, it was "also an opportunity."

An opportunity to help the besieged residents of New Orleans, you ask? Well, not exactly…

On September 13, 2005–fourteen days after the levees were breached–the Heritage Foundation hosted a meeting of like-minded ideologues and Republican lawmakers. They came up with a list of "Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices"–thirty two policies in all, each one straight out of the Chicago School playbook, and all of them packaged as "hurricane relief." The first three items were "automatically suspend Davis-Bacon prevailing wage laws in disaster areas," a reference to the law that required federal contractors to pay a living wage; "make the entire area a flat-tax free-enterprise zone"; and "make the entire region an economic competitiveness zone (comprehensive tax incentives and waiving of regulations)." Another demand called for giving parents vouchers to use at charter schools. All these measures were announced by President Bush within the week.

Here is the link to the e-mail memo "Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices" from the meeting at the Heritage Foundation. Number 24 is "Allow More Off Shore Drilling" while Number 26 is "Allow Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)." Neither seems a likely "hurricane relief" remedy to get Gulf Coast residents back on their feet and in their homes. ANWR and OCS were eventually junked in committee for other rollbacks in the so-called Clean Air Act. Aaah…democracy at work.

My absolute favorite, though, has nothing to do with drilling for oil. It is Number 8: "Waive the death tax for any deaths in the affected area from August 20, 2005 to December 31, 2005." Now, how many of the bodies floating belly up in the Lower 9th Ward in the aftermath of Katrina do you think had estates valued at greater than 1.5 million dollars (the threshold at which the inheritance tax would be applicable)? I'm guessing none.

The point here is to not be blinded by a crisis, so the right wingers can trot out their laundry list of industry wishes. It is absurd to consider, urgently, off shore drilling as an election year issue because of high gas prices. Debate off shore drilling as part of a comprehensive energy bill? Sure. Next year.

Finally, here is what I would do with the 32 point essay of "Pro-Free-Market Ideas" if I were Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. Like Martin Luther in 1517 nailing his 95 theses to the Castle Church door, I would nail the Republicans 32 theses to the Capitol Building door. Know that whenever America is threatened, whether perceived or real, the Republicans "relief package" will undoubtedly require "urgent action" from their corporate grab bag. Pre-empt their attempt to exploit a "crisis"…and then propose legitimate policy solutions.

Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation by showing that the Catholic Church was corrupted by the sale of indulgences. Maybe it is time for a Democratic Reformation by showing how our democracy has been corrupted by the Republican Party's indulgence of their corporate benefactors. Americans are ready for change and this could be the start of it.


I think America is almost ready

Not quite, but getting there. And the FMEs will resort to increasingly desperate measures to maintain growth and margins. BushCo is in the final throes of decimating the corps of career civil service professionals. We are in a deep hole that will be hard to climb out of.


Jesus Swept, this December

Great post

Offshore drilling is just a political ploy, certainly not a long term solution that will end our dependence on foreign oil.

Even though Obama has said he'd be willing to compromise to include some offshore drilling if that meant putting through a comprehensive bill, he's not peddling the lies that it will actually really help lower gas prices, as are the Republicans. Nor is it the end all solution, as McCain puts off.

In his Energy policy speech today in Michigan, Obama discussed this and hit McCain on his failed policies.

Obama: McCain Failed for Decades to End our Dependence on Oil

NCDem Amy on YouTube


Right on the substance. Eloquently and succinctly explained.

The more that Americans hear this man, as opposed to the sleazy ads that the national Republican attack machine launches at him, the stronger his candidacy will become.

He's not unique in that regard. What's unusual is his combination of those positive factors with the resources to get his message out to voters who don't spend their time listening to CNN or haunting political websites.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

(No subject)

Google is your friend TMD

Larry has said repeatedly he does not support new leases for offshore drilling. He thinks the oil companies should drill on lands already leased and that includes leases already held for offshore sites. That's the Associated Press and you can't expect them to get the facts straight at all. Technically, it is incorrect for Robin Hayes to claim that Larry Kissell doesn't support offshore drilling. He does....just not on land they don't already lease.

Unfortunately, the AP's lack of depth on this particular topic will probably create more confusion on this. I'm not sure who the AP spoke with, but he should probably get in the practice of making statements like that in ways that can't be misinterpreted.

Q: Does Larry Kissell support offshore drilling?

A: Larry Kissell supports increased efforts to extract oil on lands already leased by oil companies which includes offshore sites.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

asking for a retraction?

I did google and the sources that came up were a Republican site slamming Larry for his stands and a series of sites refering to the orginal AP story, that is why I asked the question.

Is Larry asking for a retraction or clarification?

Have you ever heard of a liberal shooting up a church?

Also your friend....


That's the number to Kissell Campaign Headquarters.

I was confused by the AP reporting as well, so I just called up HQ and asked what Larry's position on offshore drilling is. They said just what Betsy did....he's all for oil companies drilling on the tens of millions of untouched acres where they already have leases (a large % of which are offshore) but he does not support new leases.

Even if new off shore leases are made available

There won't be any increased production. Aren't refineries maxed out already?

When it comes to real dialogue about energy don't expect anything beyond adolescent mockery from the right. Re: Tire Pressure Gauges with "Obama Energy Policy" stenciled on them handed out yesterday to the press at an Obama event.

Want lower fuel prices? Use less fuel.


The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves.

Plato (427-347 BC)

If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more.

Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913)