Tell Harry Reid the Real Oil Story

Harry Reid has started a new website called "Giveemhellharry". He is talking pretty heavily about energy issues as a major issue for the Democrats for the mid-term elections next year. In typical fashion, he is barking up the wrong tree on blaming the oil companies for high prices instead of understanding peak oil. Please go over to his blog and let's start getting the conversation rolling on Peak Oil and building a sustainable society.

[editor's note, by ianqui] Just to make it crystal clear: By encouraging people to visit the Harry Reid website, we are in no way endorsing him as a politician or trying to shape Democratic policy per se. I think most people who contribute to this website would agree that peak oil is an issue that spans the political spectrum. That said, it would be nice if this issue were being correctly discussed by (all) political figures. If you know of similar websites by Republican/Green/Independent politicians, please let us know.

[editor's note, by Prof. Goose]:and if you do go there (or anywhere on the topic), be sure to fly the flag a little for TOD, eh? :)

Why even bother trying to spread the truth about oil?  Reid has his political agenda and he will continue to say the same things.  And it's not just liberals...I've been disgusted by what Bill O'Reilly has done.  On "The O'Reilly Factor" on FOX News, and on his "Radio Factor" program, he has constantly blamed the oil companies for price gouging.  He clearly shows a lack of understanding about free markets.  He acts as if there is "someone" who decides the price of gasoline every morning.  He blames Big Oil for colluding to keep the price high.  He has no clue how NYMEX trading works, and in reality there is actually fierce competition between retailers that usually keeps the price of gasoline as low as wholesale prices will allow.

Also, people try to blame OPEC.  In reality, OPEC has only kept prices up artifically when they got so low that OPEC members' economies were hurting.  Even when OPEC wants the price of oil to be higher, it has trouble enforcing discipline among member countries.  Cheating on quotas has occurred.  Now, of course, OPEC is producing as much as they can, and has no control over prices, but people still want to blame them.  The general public is ignorant.

We try because we care. We try because it is one of the few ways we can try to soften the blow, besides our own daily energy choices.
"Why even bother ...?

Here is why:
Voters read the Harry blog
Even if Harry/Hillary does not come around
from his corn-belt views,
potential voters may.

It is a platform..
It is a way to make more in the herd
Peak Oil Aware (POA).

Nothing is going to change until
we have massive numbers of Americans
in the POA camp

Right now, hardly anyone knows,
and if you try to convert them,
you become the sky-is-falling kook.

p.s. keep your comments
on the left-side
on Harry's site :-)

The link below is to an article, "A Primer on Price Gouging", that is good to show to the average uninformed person.  

A Primer on Price Gouging

Anyone like Reid who ignores our free market economy and starts to complain about gouging is an idiot.

I strongly agree with Step Back.  This is what is needed.  In management studies, the first step in bringing about successful change is education and awareness.

My sense is that we are on the verge of making the very important step of bringing the issue of peak oil into mainstream debate.

In political science, the most powerful approach to winning a debate is to ensure their is no debate -- keep it off the agenda.  Thus, it is important to put peak oil onto the agenda whenever possible.

The expanded debate is why I became aware of peak oil and it is why I used my influence to have it enter the curriculum of a major business school.  While my efforts are still modest, they are a beginning and collectively, we can make a difference.

To give example of keeping it off the agenda, try this link:

typhoon, i totally agree it's so hopeless.

still ya gots to try.  cause you just never know.

I'm new... so, 'hello all!' :)

I posted what's below... and completly forgot to use 'peak oil' in the text... doh!


Gas prices are not high because of Oil companys. Oil companys didn't say `lets not build any refinerys' or `lets only put about 2 trillion barrels of oil in the groud'. It's nature, regulations, and the free market. Unless your all communists, were experiencing captialism at it's finest. Personaly, I hope gas prices reach 5$ by 2007, maybe then we'll get real energy reform.

Most importantly, we are approaching a time when Oil production will no longer be able to grow yet demand for it will not stop when the oil does... were talking less than 10 years, possibly much sooner than that according to some, but the general concensus among scientiest and geologists is 10 years. THIS IS SERIOUS PEOPLE, were not talking 5-10$ gas, were talking shortages of gas where you cant even get it! 3rd world countrys starving, farming disappearing as the price of oil and gas skyrocket. heath care going though the roof (many more times than it is now)

Please speak with Roscoe Bartlett regarding energy, we need bipartisen support and he is an EXTREAMLY knowlegable man in this area and has very knowlegable contacts.

Thanks and don't worry, there are many ways of saying peak oil without using actual label we've given in. I think the way you described the situation is quite good and understandable. Personally I like "oil depletion".
I have been making a point of not using the phrase "Peak Oil" when talking to people about peak oil because the concept has (unfortunately) been looked upon by some as akin to conspiracy theories or other ideas that are promoted by the lunatic fringe.

I have been making the point, forcefully, that high and rising energy prices are most likely here to stay, so we should start figuring out how to adjust and anticipating what the likely consequences are. Giving people the correct information (and popping the illusions) and letting them reach their own conclusions is often more persuasive than just presenting the entire argument in one go, because the entire argument and its consequences are too big a leap for many people to take.

I am a diehard pessimist, yet humanity has made it through a lot. So yes I'm worried, but I'm more concerned about preparing as much as possible. After going through this hurricane Rita scare recently, I really had to think a lot about what matters. I guess I'm not very materialistic, but most stuff is expendable...

People made it through the Great Depression. We've made it through countless wars. We've endured fights against tyrants and the rise of tyranny here in the US. Life will go on. It may not be the sham that we call the American dream, but in the end humanity will be better. Sometimes you gotta learn things the hard way...
The only people who get to say "We"-made-it-through, are the survivors.

Even on Easter Island, there were surivors. But they were not better off. Without boats or wood to build boats, they were castaways with no hope of escape from an abysmal life style.

I reply'd to a guy on there with this.


To Steve W who wrote:

"BTW please explain why if the Europeans are driving small cars that save gas how come their prices have been 2 to 3 times higher than America's for dozens of years?"

It's actually quite simple. Their governements don't give billions to the oil companys to subsidize prices for them, insted they have REAL public transit and real heathcare programs. Oil is a world commidity, we as Americans (by far the largest users) are driving up the worlds prices (kinda starting to make sense why most in the world hates us these days?).

I think its important to point out that they DO pay higher prices, yet their standard of living is the same as ours if not better in many regards.

I get so frustrated that people like me who ride a bike, car pool every single day, and take mass transit get our tax dollars spent making gas cheaper for the morons who think drilling anwar will do somthing insted of getting a bike lane on the side of a road or a completly seperate bike path that will actually LOWER DEMAND. We need `bike highways'. I know many people who would bike insted of drive everywhere, but in most citys it's simply not safe in all areas.

If we drill more, all it will do is make us MORE dependant on it. I don't understand why this is so hard to grasp. If anything, ANWAR should be used as a last resort for pharmaculture, sort of an SPR for that and that alone, no if's and's or buts. I'd like to think as people we'd rather have our life saving medicine than drive a car.

Mother nature trumps Adam Smith, I'd think that would be blatently obvious in light of recient events in the gulf. We've got most of the best scientific minds in the world telling us how serious some of these problems are, and economists telling us we need to make it cheaper and that will somehow magicly fix it. It just blows me away.


--- someone please tell me if I sound dumb or if that seems pretty accurate?

The guy on Reid's staff with some science background is Kai Anderson.  He's got a Ph.D in geology from Stanford and has been in DC about 7 or 8 years.  He was hired to help put the kaboosh on Yucca Mountain.
I see that Harry Reid is in the forefront of energy solution thinking.... Here's what I wrote --
Surely it's unfair to those who are not stakeholders that Big Oil Companies are making money hand over fist right now after the hurricanes and with our country at war, but don't you think the energy problems the US faces are a bit bigger than that petty concern? We are looking at Natural Gas shortages and eventually Oil shortages -- if not this winter, then in years to come. Your shortsighted views are doing us (the American people) no real good given the enormous tasks we face to stabilize our energy usage in the face of impending scarcity. We need a real energy policy to see us and our children through to a safe world this year, 5 years from now, 10 years from now and after that. Your typical politician's view that we can find a convenient scapegoat does not put the US on a sound energy basis -- and time's a' wasting.
Do you really think that accusing someone of being "shortsighted" and practicing "scapegoating" is a way to win them over to your position? I think that politicians are more likely to listen to a more diplomatic tone.
Honestly, SuperG, I can't decide whether I agree with your comment or not. People like Reid are leading us down the garden path and there is a lot at stake -- I also said "We need a real energy policy to see us and our children through to a safe world this year, 5 years from now, 10 years from now and after that" -- that's what's at stake. There's blunt talk and there's diplomacy. Sometimes one works, sometimes the other.

I assume you don't disagree with the fact that Reid is being shortsighted and is indeed practicing scapegoating. The problem is just that I said so.
Thanks to everyone for going over there. Please bring more sites like this to the Oil Drum community. I think flooding sites like that when they are addressing energy issues is a great way of spreading awareness. I loved that I saw 6 posts in a row that mentioned Peak Oil or the oil drum! Let's spread the awareness and take politicians to task for ignoring the real issues.
By the way, my text above was submitted feedback to the energy part of, not the blog. I'll blog something now (and mention TOD, peak oil).
Christ!  I hope DavidH is not one of our crowd!

He had a pretty good comment about Peak Oil but then absolutely blew it by mentioning that maybe martians might land!

Geeesh!  How to give PeakOilers a bad name!

Here is a post to the blog I made.  I wanted to sound supportive and ease them into the problem in hopes that Harry's thinking will evolve or at least others in government close to him will.

If price gouging is occuring, it is only one symptom of a growing underlying problem. In the face of relentless growth in demand, we can kiss the days of abundent cheap energy good-bye. Any disruptions in supply or refining capacity is going to hurt - prices are going to jump all over the place.

I have started looking at and think that it represents an interesting and realistic (sometimes technical) approach to the energy debate. It seems provides more of an introduction to the problems we may be facing.

Harry, I think it is good that the energy debate is being front and center. Hopefully it will evolve and mature into an effective approch to the problem and be the basis of a meaningful campaign

I recommend a STRATEGY (which is what I do) and that is to put Harry on a curve to come around to understanding the enormity of the energy problems coming down the road.  I would refrain from blasting him or labeling him an idiot - the point of the oil drum blog is to raise awareness and increase understanding - I think we should treat Harry's blog the same.

And maybe, just maybe, the contributors to this sight can collectively make a difference in the coming political campaigns.  I am from Canada, but I am rooting for you.

I'll be amazed if any message gets through the noise of that blog.  Some of my favorites:

"So, Dude,
Here is the solution for us all - push for legislation that allows people and farmers to grow industrial hemp.

"PLEASE let's boycott Exxon and buy only from CITGO!"

"The technology to greatly reduce our dependence on oil has existed for decades....
32 years ago Shell Oil Co demonstrated a 376-mpg automobile;....

Unlesss the site is moderated and some feedback provided, it wil be just a place to vent.

Probably the staff will add up the stats of how many people said what, and that may count for something (especially trends in it).