“[Business columnist] Chris Tomlinson fails to mention fascist governance as another possibility whereby the means of production are ostensibly in private hands, but serve actively to implement government policy. Crony capitalism comes close to that model as larger corporations do a mating dance melding government funding with government policy, and shut out the less well funded and connected smaller commercial entities, while the hapless public gets taxed to fund the charade.”
Chris Tomlinson‘s columns in the Business section of the Houston Chronicle opine on broadly defined energy issues, especially those with a perceived impact on Houston. He is dismissive of the central role of mineral energies for today’s standard of living and refuses to question climate alarmism (the Dessler effect?). He sees government correction as automatic, as if there were not “government failure” in the quest to address “market failure.”
Some of us miss the more open-minded Loren Steffy, the former business columnist at the Chronicle (see here for examples).
In Tomlinson’s January 28, 2018 column, “More need to know the joy of tar balls,” he stitched together his childhood recollections of off-shore drilling rigs, tar balls on Galveston beaches, and President Trump’s opening up of off-shore oil exploration to other areas of the country. The implication being that yet pristine beaches would be despoiled by the expanded hunt for petroleum, as had those of Galveston. Also mentioned was drilling off California.
Mr. Tomlinson fails to mention what Louisiana marine biologist Jerald Horst reported: “… black goo has spilled naturally into the Gulf for millenniums – at the rate of two Exxon Valdez spills annually.”
Tomlinson’s childhood memories are undoubtedly correct, but the tar ball origins may have been nature’s own doing. The same referenced article mentions the natural oil seepage off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, where 20 to 25 tons of oil have leaked from the seafloor each day for the last several hundred thousand years. In fact, off-shore drilling there would help alleviate the pressure of seabed crude oil to reduce, not increase, seepage.
Tomlinson also includes this prediction:
… buying these offshore leases, conducting seismic testing and drilling the first exploratory rigs will likely take oil companies a decade and cost billions. As I’ve written before, by 2025, electric and autonomous vehicles will be in full production, and many energy companies question whether demand for crude will remain at current levels, thus making such investment worthwhile.
Back to Reality
Little over a year later (February 27, 2019), the same Houston Chronicle had a front-page article, “While focus is on Permian, Gulf making own comeback” by Jordan Blum (staff writer). Contra-Tomlinson, Blum states:
The energy research firm Wood Mackenzie projects Gulf drilling activity to jump 30 percent this year after four consecutive years of declines. The federal government forecasts production to grow another 15 percent next year to 2.3 million barrels a day as oil companies, particularly the biggest players, find advantage in deepwater wells that deplete far more slowly than shale reservoirs.
In fact, Fuel Fix is full of articles on the great growth of oil and gas in everyday action. It is a fossil-fuel world for as far as the eye can see, despite the Chronicle’s editorialists insisting that fossil fuels are not good but bad for the planet (a Malthusian refrain now in its sixth decade).
Tilting Towards Socialism
Mr. Tomlinson’s Chronicle column of February 24, 2019, “Demanding a system that puts people over profit is not socialism,” informs the reader “The human brain operates by naming things and then creating stories to put them in context.” This is in addition to neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and Shakespeare’s “What’s in a name.” Now we have branding, media optics, and selfies to guide us.
The article then attempts to sanitize the term “socialism,” perhaps a nod to the progressive brain-washed youths of today and their readership, assuming that they read beyond their clueless cohorts’ social cliques. “Younger Americans” are stated to be attracted to socialist candidates, which is not surprising since the government education system has been taken over by progressives who have had this as their goal since the Marxist “Frankfurt School” found the welcome mat at Columbia University in New York City decades ago, and has since metastasized throughout public and private education.
In reference to government ownership, Tomlinson claims that “When correctly applied, the services or products benefit everyone, not just a few rich people.” Just who gets to decide what is the “correct application”? What is the cutoff income level for “rich”? Just check with a few million dead Russians, Chinese, or Cubans for help on defining that happy balance point.
He points to the Nordic countries as socialist success stories, claiming that: “But they are far from socialist because the government does not own ‘the means of production and distribution of goods.’” In the 1920’s, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was exalted by the American media, Hollywood, and numerous politicians as the perfect governing model … he made the trains run on time!
His governing style was termed fascism. Chris Tomlinson fails to mention fascist governance as another possibility whereby the means of production are ostensibly in private hands, but serve actively to implement government policy. Crony capitalism comes close to that model as larger corporations do a mating dance melding government funding with government policy, and shut out the less well funded and connected smaller commercial entities, while the hapless public gets taxed to fund the charade.
I married a native-born Swede decades ago; have made many trips to the Nordic countries; and have insights from multiple conversations with friends there.
They live in a mostly homogeneous social environment (before recent immigration turmoil upset the picture-perfect outside view), and do what the governing class and social pressure tell them they should do and think. They refrain from open criticism of government policy.
The media are complicit with and obeisant to government socialist policies, even as the Swedish natives’ state pensions are reduced to fund the housing, nutritional, and educational needs of immigrants. Medical care suffers from chronic physician and nurse shortages.
Hospitals have a shortage of beds with patients lying on gurneys in the hallways. You rarely get to see the same physician, or more likely, the area clinic nurse again. Avoid getting sick during the national vacation period, as hospitals are even more understaffed and physicians are out of town. The railroad system is largely state run, and has large lapses of running on time or at all.
Last summer the country had to call in firefighting resources from other counties to fight forest wild fires.
Mr. Tomlinson might like it there. Climate change is a mandated government priority and green virtue signaling (known as setting an example for the rest of the world) is social/political dogma. Norway has issued an edict outlawing the sale of fossil fueled cars by 2025. From a Swedish web site:
The rest of the world is not going to take more Swedish climate policy, the next 25 years than they have done the last 25. Sweden’s current emission level of about 40 Mton CO2 / year is of no significance for the possible global impact on the climate. Global emissions in 2017 were about 35,000 Mton CO2.
The fiscal purpose of the 1950s is probably fixed. The connection to the climate has developed into a gold calf for our finance ministers.
Wind turbines have despoiled the natural beauty of many scenic vistas and habitats that Sweden used to tout as pristine nature. Efficient atomic power plants are scheduled for closure.
Mr. Tomlinson should directly experience these Nordic charms. It might give rise to second thoughts.
If the Houston Chronicle hired Dr. Batting as a columnist, I would start reading it again. It’s left-leaning columnists write nothing of interest to me.
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Chris, you have been very adamant about getting rid of oil or fossils fuels. You also have shown the advantages of an EV. Will you please tell me and the buyers of that vehicle what will happen when you drive that car into the water flooded street of Houston.