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Bush, Mars, Peak Oil, and Manifest Destiny

Oil is not just about transportation, it is about virtually everything made in an industrial society (plastics for instance). It is about food supply - which covers planting and harvesting, fertilizer, processing, and transportation. It is about the energy that gets used to run electric power plants. The loss of oil is about the death of mass civilization (and the populations in it).
Bold vision or grand deception?

President Bush announced his plans for the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The starter steps are to create new launch vehicles, then get back to the Moon and establish a base, then mine the Moon and at the same time head for Mars where yet another "colony" might be started. This vision is supposed to ignite the imaginations of young "Americans." It is supposed to give us hope and purpose. There are some issues though.

The bold plan is placed clearly within a revised doctrine of manifest destiny. This is not a vision for the "human race," nor truly for "international cooperation" (though there was a belated "invitation" to join this herculean effort). In fact, in taking this "new step," the US is planning to abandon its support of the international space station, and existing tools, such as the Hubble telescope, also seem slated for the trash heap (NASA Cancels Trip to Supply Hubble, Sealing Early Doom, Overbye, NYT, 1/17/04).

This "bold vision" is also not about the friendly exploration of space. It is not about extending our knowledge in any general way. Indeed, it follows the same "vision" that the Bush administration has had since dreaming GW into the Whitehouse - empire and corporate profits. The "new" reach beyond the Earth occurs in the context of the clearly stated US plan to control space for military purposes, and thereby rule the Earth and its inhabitants. [For one write up on this see Mission to Mars for Military Benefit, not Just "Spirit of Discovery", Daily Mislead, 1/16/04).]

It is no surprise that many aspects of space control are on the same schedule. You might want to look at the following reports: The Air Forces 2025 Final Report, Executive summaries of Joint Vision documents, US Space Command Vision 2020 (This file is in adobe format. When you click the link wit will download the file and then you can open it.) The clear intent is US military domination of space.

Another aspect of the Bush vision is to get corporations involved. The current shuttle program seems to be on the auction block, with more active involvement to come. Note the following quote from Hearing on Space Launch Initiative: Testimony by Tom Rogers:


Our Country would finally begin to set aside the dependence upon the kind of old fashioned Cold War thinking that still undergirds the financing of our civil space program. In doing so we would create a novel new entitlement program to underwrite our astronauts striding across the solar system for the decades and centuries ahead. But, in a creative financing fashion that replicates the creative substance of this absolutely unique national program, it would expect the recipient of the entitlement payments, NASA, to lead in the creation the national wealth from which the entitlement payments were made! Our human Moon/Mars activities would thereby become economically focussed -- economically here on Earth!

It is no accident that part of the plan is the mining of both the Moon and Mars. The exploitation of resources here on Earth is getting to the bottom of the barrel (some pun intended). When resources are exhausted on our planet, then the plan is apparently to turn to the rest of the solar system to strip it bare as well. While the Moon may not be made of swiss cheese, in the not so distant future it may well look like it is.

There are immediate threats to planet Earth and to the "advanced" civilizations that reside here. In relationship to resources and their impacts we have a global petroleum based economy, global warming, and the loss of fresh water supplies. There are plenty of good resources to access about the oil crisis. Michael Ruppert at From the Wilderness has been writing extensively about this for years and has excellent resource links. A newer site is Life After the Oil Crash by Matt Savianar - also excellent.

The oil crisis is known as the "Peak Oil Crisis." In essence, oil is not a renewable resource. The use of that limited resource has been accelerating. We will run out (interestingly enough the optimistic estimates are ... 2020). Some say, "Oh, we'll find another energy source," but that is not too likely. The reason is that oil is not just about transportation, it is about virtually everything made in an industrial society (plastics for instance). It is about food supply - which covers planting and harvesting, fertilizer, processing, and transportation. It is about the energy that gets used to run electric power plants. The loss of oil is about the death of mass civilization (and the populations in it).

The structure of corporate globalization has dramatically increased the use (and dependence) on oil. The overwhelming majority of products (including food) shipped around the globe is carried on massive cargo ships - and I mean massive. Without that transport, there would be virtually no mass cargo movement. The development of high energy consumers is seen as "growth" and "progress" - witness the massive industrialization of China which will ultimately bring 1 billion plus Chinese to the mass oil consumption level of the US. [I really don't think the oil will last that long).

Of course with the massive consumption of oil comes environmental destruction in all kinds of forms from oil spills to toxic chemicals from processing to global warming emissions. While global warming is its own issue, it cannot be unlinked from the massive consumption of fossil fuels - particularly oil. Global warming will result in massive environmental transformation, the deaths of species, and the deaths of humans in mass numbers. One small example is the 10,000 plus people who died in France due to the heat last summer, and on a grander scale, hundreds of thousands are expected to die on a yearly basis.

Related to oil, globalization and environment is the issue of fresh water supplies. Fresh water only makes up about 2% of the entire planet's water. It is being destroyed at a tremendous rate and is becoming a very corporately desired resource. Oil extraction is a part of the destruction as fresh water supplies are used to force oil from the ground. What remains is a highly mineralized discharge. Fresh water is also directly linked to global warming in (at least) two ways. One is that much of the fresh water is stored in the polar ice caps which are melting at a tremendous rate, and secondly the melting of other glacial and snow pack sources.

So with all of this bad news - shrinking resources, climate changes, environmental destruction - all intertwined with the same issues, there are directions for governments to go. One direction would be to focus efforts on alternative energy, environmental protection, and localization of food supplies. In other words, address the environmental issues and transition to a non-oil based global economy. This would be a monumental human endeavor. The other direction is to engage in processes to control the resources. The US has clearly decided that the way to go is to form an empire based on extreme military might and threat to gain sole control of oil resources. The reality is that while this vision draws on the perception of a "God given right" to all the US desires, it is not the US that will survive. Ultimately it will be an elite that is somewhat buffered from some of these problems. If there are viable colonies on the Moon and Mars, it will not be the "average" US citizen who will find a home there.

So Bush has presented us with a bold vision to inspire the imagination; to give a long term focus to the hopes of a people. That vision draws upon a deep seated ethnocentrism, and sense of imperial rights that runs deep in the US cultural system. It draws upon the worst in the culture while painting it as a vast adventure - another conquering from sea to shining sea. For those who grasp the militarism of this dream, the pull is that it is the US first and always. The US is the best and if anyone should have total control (even if it means the unfortunate death of billions of others), that is just a sad reality.

Bush has stated that this new step to the stars is a worthy goal for the country. He states that the developments needed will push our imaginations and engage our labors. Unstated, but implied, is that the "conquest" of the Moon and Mars is an appropriate goal for an empire - this empire. I think I could envision an equally engaging alternative that would serve us far better.

Let's focus our energies on creating a sustainable environment, eliminate the use of oil and fossil fuels as a basis for survival, pull together with the rest of the human race for the survival of the human race. This simple endeavor would challenge the human race in a way that no other vision can. It requires working in peace and cooperation. It requires the engagement of minds, technologies, and labor to redevelop a world that does not consume the planet on which we live. It requires all of us to think in totally new ways about our relationships to each other and the Earth. It requires going in a totally different direction than most of the species has been going for the last 10,000 years.

It is easy to present a plan to take us off the planet. In the US it builds on deeply held values and cultural stories. It follows the rutted path of conquest and colonization, exploitation and destruction. In fact, it doesn't even question the validity and viability of that world view. This is no bold vision - it is simply an elaboration of a vision that is destroying us and the entire planet. A truly bold vision would take us in a different direction. It would uplift us and call to the most honorable aspects of ourselves. Bush's vision does not do any of this, and it will not save "us." Most of us will die. Most of the species on the planet will die. The Earth will look like those amazing pictures from Mars - a vast desert which will not support anything beyond specialized microbes and bacteria. Follow "the dream" of conquering the Moon and Mars and Earth will look just like them. I would argue that we truly need a much different "dream" in order to survive - a dream that captures the HUMAN imagination and spirit, and is for the good of all of us who share this precious place we call Earth.

homepage: homepage: http://www.correspondences.org/archives/000535.html

Not all bad 13.Feb.2004 09:57

Mother

Peak oil is a turning point for Mankind
100 years of easy growth ends
Population peaks too for not unrelated reasons
The transition to decline is a period of great tension
Priorities shift to self-sufficiency and sustainability
It may end up a better world

petrochemical corporations own alternative energy/biotech 13.Feb.2004 10:56

moth

Petrochemical dynasty is shifting to control "alternative" energy corporations, similar to British Petroleum owning the largest solar photovoltiacs manufacturing corporation. Pacific Natural Gas consortium (PNGC) is a continuation of British Petroleum also, PNGC through WTO and US led puppet government gained access to reserves under Bolivia. In El Alto, indiginous campesinos protested natural gas being stolen from under their feet by PNGC and Bolivian government, for voicing their opinion they were attacked by the Bolivian police, 80 Bolivians died and BP/PNGC made millions from natural gas sold to USA (mostly California)..

Calpine is a continuation of the ENRON/Halliburton/EXXONmobil Texas (Tejas) dynasty controlled by the Bush/Rockefeller/Cheney cabal. This San Jose based corporation plans to drill sacred Medicine Lake 4 geothermal and open a natural gas terminal in Humboldt Bay, most likely importing natural gas from Bolivia via tankers. The move by the petrochemical corporations to control the alternative energy of the future is evidence of the upcoming petroleum collapse. If people want solar photovoltiac cells they will need to buy them from British Petroleum, since they have the money from all the excess Iraqi petroleum. Tony Blair is being paid handsomely for having helped GW Bush invade Iraq and fund Israel with nuclear weapons..

The faster the rate of petroleum consumption, the more money the petrochemical corporations take in, the easier for them to control the alternative energy of the future. Biotech corporations like Monsanto are attempting to control food production via genetic engineered crops that have specific resistance to Monsanto pesticides/herbicides like glyphosate (Round-up) sprayed over the Putomayo rainforest in preparation for the next Columbian oil extraction by Occidental Petroleum (Al Gore Democrat mafia owned)..

Sustainable energy from hemp could be locally controlled if Monsanto doesn't attempt to release genetically engineered hemp seed and thereby control the new "environmentally friendly hemp ennergy" market. If local people grow their own hemp, we would never have been put in position of dependency on petrochemical products in the first place..

Since Prescott Bush, Rockefeller (Standard Oil, ESSO, EXXONMOBIL, Calpine?) Ford and other wealthy corporate execs needed to maintain control over their assembly line auto factories/petroleum refineries, they funded fascist Hitler and the Nazis to prevent the labor unions in Germany and Detroit from organizing. Now people who defend the environment are labeled "eco-terrorists" and Arab/Muslim people who happen to reside above petroleum reserves in IRAQ, IRAN, SYRIA, etc. are labeled "Muslim fanatic terrorists"..

The Nazis power grew stronger after the 1933 Reichstag fire that was blamed on the German Communists (Kommunist Partei Deutschland) who were slowly gaining in popularity amongst the working class and corporate factory laborers. This was mirrored by labor unions in Ford's Detroit plant becoming a stronger voice for worker rights against the powerful Ford/Rockefeller dynasty. The petrochemical/auto corporations (IG FARBEN, Ford, Rockefeller/ESSO) combined their resources and funded the Nazi propaganda that eventually led Hitler/Nazis into power. Now Prescott's grandson GW Bush bombs Iraq and labels bike advocates "eco-terrorists" and Arab people Muslim terrorists"..

Mining the Planets? 13.Feb.2004 12:33

tom

what could we possibly mine on Mars that would be worth the cost of transport?

Much cheaper to simply recycle the minerals we have already mined on earth.

As for energy-- there is plenty here, with or without oil. Just needs to be used more efficiently and divided up better.

Mining the Moon 13.Feb.2004 13:45

adrian

"what could we possibly mine on Mars that would be worth the cost of transport? "

Helium 3 is what they would be mining in space.

This was in a posting from the other day:

"To Mine "Helium-3" In Hopes That It Can Be Used As Fuel:

Helium 3 is an element barely found on Earth, but found in abundance on the moon. Researchers see it as the perfect fuel source: extremely potent, nonpolluting, with virtually no radioactive by-product.

Helium 3 sounds great, until you find out that a nuclear fusion reactor is needed for it to be of any use. Even after 40 years of research and billions of dollars spent, nobody has been able to build such a reactor.

Additionally, the economics of extracting and transporting Helium 3 from the moon are particularly problematic. Even if scientists solved the physics of Helium 3 fusion, "it would be economically unfeasible . . you'd have to strip-mine large surfaces of the moon" according to Jim Benson, chairman of SpaceDev in Poway, California.

Furthermore, implementation of use of Helium 3 on Earth would require many technologies yet to be created. Foremost among them are super conducting magnets, plasma control and diagnostics, robotically controlled mining equipment, life support facilities, rocket launch vehicle, telecommunications, power electronics etc.

The fact that the Bush Administration is pursuing such an unviable source of fuel underscores how desperate the situation is getting. "

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/02/280341.shtml

To infinity and beyond 13.Feb.2004 20:36

Just a toy story

The proposal for a mission to Mars and the moon is a fraud. The Industrial Military Complex would love to charge us for this budget busters. No more 4oo dollar toilet seats and 600 dollar hammers. This is a proposal for a cash cow to the tune of endless billions and who knows if American taxpayers will benefit from this shakedown even indirectly with the technology developments. For all we know they never even intend on carrying out this boondoggle just endless transfer of our hard earned dollars for their parasitic pleasure.

Six of us, maybe 13.Feb.2004 21:37

Bill

"It is easy to present a plan to take us off the planet."

Not six billion, or so.