Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

This morning I heard on C-SPAN radio about 10 minutes of an Anne Korin speech (Co-Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, and Chair of Set America Free), delivered live to the National Conservative Student Conference in DC.  In the space of a few minutes, filled with a fast-paced presentation of data on global oil production and US oil consumption, I learned that she favors quick adoption by the US of plug-in hybrids, combined with flex-fuels combustion engines, as the most immediate path to extricating ourselves from our current national security pickle.

She sure made sense to me -- but then, I'm a sucker for arguments set up with a marshaling of seemingly relevant facts (that why I'm a Biden supporter, by the way - but that's another topic).  She made so much sense that I'm about to sit down and watch the video on C-SPAN's site (Korin appears about one hour in on the morning session).  

I did a quick search online looking for any critiques of her analysis -- nothing so far.  I'm curious what the progressive blogosphere thinks of her work.  Anyone?  I did learn she teamed up with James Woolsey on a National Review article last September: "Turning Oil Into Salt," and that apparently Woolsey is now advising McCain.  I also found a KCRW radio show she appeared on last November (in a segment titled, "Is America's Thirst for Expensive Oil Fueling Dictators?")

Thanks for any comments.

~ Rob

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McCain Favors Oil Rigs off Florida Coast

With the naive belief that producing oil in America reduces gas prices (tell that to the Canadians - $5.00+/gallon), John McCain has decided to throw away the Florida vote by recommending lining the Gulf of Mexico with oil rigs.

Here is a current WaPo story of McCain's support for losing Florida's vote and destroying our ecosystem.

There is not a single thing that McCain can do to lose the Florida vote that approaches supporting oil rigs along the Florida coast.

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The Saudis see the writing on the wall

As gasoline has topped 4 dollars per gallon, there has been increasing talk about how to change America's behavior in the daily commute.  But only just recently have we seen real statistical changes in the average American's driving (and car buying) habits.  For example, SUV sales are down significantly, high MPG car sales are up, carpooling is WAY up (, and holiday trips have been cancelled or cut short.  All of these probably started several months ago, but have only been showing up in the numbers recently.  

In addition, the political climate has changed such that BOTH parties' presidential candidates are talking about energy independence and moving away from oil.  It is my belief that all this new information and rhetoric has frightened the Saudis enough that they will make an effort to reduce oil prices.  

But is this a good thing?  I'm not so sure.  I think at least the rhetoric is moving us in the right direction, and I think it's a very positive thing that Americans are shifting their behavior.  I don't want that to stop just because gas might get down to $3.50 or $3.00 in the next few months.  I think it's very, very important that we (with our limited voices) keep the pressure up to move towards an oil free economy, whether it's by electric cars, hydrogen fuel cells, or some as-of-yet undiscovered technology (as an aside, I think the next-generation plug-in hybrid is an EXTREMELY positive and promising development, with the capability of possibly reducing commuter oil use by 50% or more without any real needed changes in infrastructure).  I look forward to hearing the candidates get into some hard-core details about the steps to be taken to get us to the oil-free promised land.

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Beyond Petroleum

There are many reasons why I support Sen. Clinton's gas tax holiday proposal.  Some of them are logical, and some are not.  In this diary, I will outline an intensely irrational reason for supporting the gas tax:

I do not like oil companies

I wish I did.. I could have made a lot of money these past 5 years if only I could buy oil company stocks.  But I cannot.  I do not like oil companies... in fact, you could even say that I hate oil companies... or at least, I dislike them enough that I cannot buy into their stocks, or wish them well.

This may constitute an irrational reason for supporting the gas tax holiday (and shifting the burden onto them), but the dislike for oil companies is entirely rational.  It is rooted in history.

A history that is best illustrated with the history of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which is now knows as BP... Beyond Petroleum.

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The coming era of populism on gasoline

I am pissed off.

I understand economic theories, and the laws of supply and demand.... or at least I understand it as well as any non-economist can hope to.  I understand that when supplies are tight, and demand is not easily reduced, market forces dictate that prices will skyrocket.  I also understand that there is nothing any politician can do about it.

Or is there ?

Wait... there is.  History suggests that in a situation like this the prudent course of action is to suspend the market forces altogether.  The alternative to supply and demand is a system of rationing.

I am pissed off that economists do not understand where economic theories end, and where populism begins.

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