July 29, 2008

The Tattlesnake — The Pickens That Ain’t Slim Edition

Let’s Stop T. Boone’s Clever Greenmail Plan

“I’m doing it for America.”
– T. Boone Pickens on his plan to wean us off of oil, as quoted by David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2008.,0,7890733.column

“Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

“Patriotism, n. … In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.”
– Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary.”

Maybe you’ve seen the TV commercial by now: a reassuring Texas twang drones on in the background clicking off the environmental crises we face in the future as images of black clouds boiling out of smokestacks and abandoned oil derricks fill the screen. At the end of the ad, a homely man with the plain weathered face of a Steinbeck Okie tells us he’s T. Boone Pickens and admits he was an ‘oilman all his life,’ but now he’s seen the environmentally-green light and there’s no time to fiddle around – this is an ‘emergency we can’t drill our way out of’ and we have to start work today to solve our energy problems. He then informs the audience that in the next few weeks he’ll be unveiling his ‘Pickens Plan’ for sustainable energy.

The casual viewer might think: ‘Whoa, things are bad enough that a former Panhandle oilman has turned into Mr. Green Jeans, and isn’t it nice of him to come up with a plan to save us all and spend his money to promote it!’

Time to toss a big bucket of ice-cold reality on this slop: 1.) Pickens is a diehard Republican who co-funded the demented Swift Boat group that helped elect Bush in 2004, and he’s made carloads of money from the petroleum business. 2.) Rich oilmen don’t run $58 million dollar advertising campaigns unless there’s a huge profit for them at the end of the line. 3.) Pickens currently owns the largest wind farms in Texas and he’s aching to expand; he also holds leases on vast natural gas deposits, two major alternative-energy legs of his ‘Pickens Plan.’ 4.) Word is, this molasses-mouthed slickster will be trying to change Texas law – not difficult for a wealthy Republican — so that he’ll be the only wholesale dealer of wind and solar energy in the state, selling it to the various power companies there. And he plans to extend this model into other states; if successful, he’ll eventually become the largest dealer of green technology in the country. 5.) This means Pickens will be setting the price for environmentally-safe power in the future, at the expense of the rest of us.

If this sounds like the recipe for another Enron disaster, well – it is. The power may be green, but the results will be the same – screw the consumer blue.

We are going to have to convert to sustainable alternative technology if we expect to survive, but, for god’s sake, let’s keep the market from being cornered by the oily likes of known predators like T. Boone Pickens.

Powered by WordPress