Democracy Has Prevailed.

June 12, 2008

Now, This is Interesting

I've heard this more than a few times in the right-wing noise machine (Pintek on PCNC, Miller on KDKA and so on).

It's the story that while the Congress refuses to open up ANWR to exploitation drilling, the Communist Chinese are drilling not 60 miles away from the Florida Coast - with the help of Castro's Cuba.

We got verification from the second highest office in the land:

Even Vice President Dick Cheney got into the mix Wednesday, telling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that ``oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast of Florida. We're not doing it. The Chinese are in cooperation with the Cuban government.

''Even the communists have figured out that a good answer to high prices is more supply,'' he added. ``Yet Congress has said . . . no to drilling off Florida.''

The dirty bastards!

Only, it looks like the story isn't true.

Today a Republican Senator from Florida, Mel Martinez had this to say on the floor of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body:
''Reports to the contrary are simply false,'' Martinez said, his remarks delivered just before Cheney spoke. ``They are akin to urban legends. China drilling off the coast of Cuba only 60 miles from the Keys, that is not taking place. . . Any talk of using some fabricated Cuba-China connection as an argument to change U.S. policy has no merit.''
Of course the GOP had a handy retort:

House Minority Leader John Boehner's office defended the GOP drilling claims, pointing to a 2006 New York Times story that noted Cuba had ``negotiated lease agreements with China and other energy-hungry countries to extract resources.''

''The fact is China can drill off the coast of the United States and Americans can't,'' said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. ``At a time when the nationwide average price for a gallon of gas is over $4, that policy just doesn't make sense.''

Here's the Times article (I think).

But notice something. What did Boehner's spokesman say? "The fact is China can drill off the coast..." And what did Dick say? "...oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast ..."

My friends, there's huge difference between "can" and "is" isn't there? The latter asserts the thing actually happening but the former asserts merely the possibility of it happening. Huge difference.

In any event, we learn from The Politico:
Democrats today pointed to a February 29, 2008 Congressional Research Service that found “[w]hile there has been some concern about China’s potential involvement in offshore deepwater oil projects, to date its involvement in Cuba’s oil sector has been focused on onshore oil extraction in Pinar del Rio province through its state-run China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec).”
And then there's this from McClatchy:

China's Sinopec oil company does have an agreement with the Cuban government, but it's to develop onshore resources west of Havana, Pinon said. The Chinese have done some seismic testing, he said, but no drilling, and nothing offshore.

Western diplomats in Havana tell McClatchy that to the best of their knowledge, there is no Chinese drilling in or around Cuba.

"I've never heard anything about this," said one diplomat from a country in the hemisphere.

And even if there was drilling (and it looks like there ain't) that wouldn't be doing much for the Cubans or the Chinese anyway:

Cuba's state oil company, Cupet, has issued exploration contracts to companies from India, Canada, Spain, Malaysia and Norway, according to diplomats.

But many oil companies from those countries have expressed reservations about how to turn potential crude oil into product. Cuba doesn't have the refinery capacity, and the Cuban embargo prohibits the oil from coming to U.S. refineries, [Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow with the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami] said.

So that just about kills that.


Anonymous said...

So, Who is the biggest lier. We are not very smart to believe that China will not be our biggest enemy.
While we worry about fish, trees, owls, whales and seals,carbon emissions and the price of gas, China is taking over the world. Did anyone notice the very small mention, following 911, what China was doing ? Look it up.

"we are doomed to choose,and every choice may entail an irreparable loss." (Isiah Berlin)

Do we elect a leader ready to make a change and really can recognize a crisis? Who is that? I'm not sure who that might be. THINK!

Anonymous said...

China will not become an enemy...I'm sorry to disappoint people, but China owes a lot of our debt.

It's kind of funny, but it probably would be better if China had remained a fairly Communist nation instead of experimenting with free markets as it has been since it re-absorbed Hong Kong.

It's unfortunate but the material wealth of the West is largely maintained because of gross inequalities with developing and Third World countries. As those economies develop and consumerism spreads, as Americans we have to face the reality of living in a world with 3 billion more consumers(India/China).

That's one of the factors with oil and why it behooves us to get off the stuff as soon as possible; to at least use it as sparingly as possible.

We have some tough choices to make, but we need to make them because otherwise we'll be in a real world of shit.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: This blog clearly proves why we on the right think you lefties are clearly nuts. And I mean nuts. The point is no one is drilling off the coast, and we should be, because if no one is drilling in a proven oil field then, and this is tough for left wing socialists to grasp, no oil is added to the supply. Get that, no oil is being added to the supply. But this blog clearly shows that left wing kooks think that pointing out 'T's' not crossed and "I's' not dotted lowers the price of oil. Gee I can't wait for Maxine Waters and Harry Reid to run our oil companies. LMAO how idiotic can it get. Based on this blog, a lot more. LMAO

Anonymous said...

Again, John K proves that he can not read.

The point of the blog posting seems to be that AGAIN the republicans are presenting something as true that simply isn't. Remember all the talk about how Saddam has WMD? (Cheney and Rumsfeld even said they knew where it was.) We all know now that they knew that wasn't the case and yet continued to lie about it anyway.

On a much smaller level this is the same thing. There's NO EVIDENCE that the Chinese are drilling off the coast of Cuba and yet the Republican talking point is that they ARE. NOW - not that there are plans to, not that they might at some point in the future but that they ARE DRILLING NOW.

The next time we hear it we'll know they're lying.


EdHeath said...

Regardless of whether the Chinese are drilling off Cuba or aren't, they certainly could be in the future. We have the Cubans locked up so that they can’t sell us oil and the Chinese want oil. If they aren’t doing it now, they may well be drilling there soon. I think tthey are already making contracts with Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil.

But John K's other point is interesting. He believes we should be drilling furiously. I assume this is because he wants the price of gas to come down, so we can continue to drive SUV’s in blissful ignorance. But three months ago oil refineries were operating at 80% and even last month they were operating at 85%, presumably in an effort to keep the price of gas high. The oil refinery industry does not want more crude oil.

And no matter who you blame, we don’t have that much in way of refining capacity. When Fox Chapel donates some riverfront property for a new refinery, I will accept the republican charge of democratic blocking. But even still, how long would it take for that refinery to be built?

Two things about oil; it is *not* a renewable resource and it does not go stale in the ground. So we can *always* drill for the oil off the coasts and in the ANWR in the future. If we wait some time, we may find we have more environmentally responsible methods of doing so. Meanwhile, if we switch our vehicular fleet from oil based to a mix of electric (preferably largely solar) and cellulose (preferably switch grass over corn) powered, we can use the oil for the things we can’t substitute for, like plastics. Although plastics can also be recycled. But let’s face it, oil will run out, even with the fields in Alaska and off the coasts. And long before it does, it will become more expensive in currently drilled areas to extract from the ground. We need to make some changes in the way we live. Better now, while oil is still relatively plentiful, so our grandchildren can still have a decent or even superior standard of living in a democratic country, rather than later, when our grandchildren might live divided into the very rich and the very poor in some dictatorship.

I don’t say the democrats have a master plan or some better solution. But they seem to have lucked into a better plan than the republicans “drill everywhere now and screw tomorrow”.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Liberals in this blog think that taxing the oil producers and pointing out that the VP misspoke is going to produce more oil. I would remind these same lefties that when Liberals took over congress, gas was much cheaper. Much cheaper! In 2006, as they ran for control of that congress, they promised to do something about the price of gas. And instead we have liberals acting like dictators worrying about who misspoke about what. And of course, LOL LOL LOL we have Maxine Waters. LMAO None of which added one barrel of oil to the supply.

cathcatz said...

why does it matter if the chinese ARE drilling off of cuba? (even though they aren't) cuba is a communist nation that our gov't does not want to deal with. why should our people reap the benefits of the cuban resources, when they aren't even trade partners? i don't get it. how can any good republican be upset about this?

as for alaska... where do you all think that the oil in that big ass pipeline is going to?? should we stop canada from allowing that oil to go in to asia because we need it more?

conserve now, stop making mega-suv's, find other fuels, regulate energy commodities market.

cathcatz said...


the price of gas was $1.35/gallon when clinton left office. it climbed steadily with the oil man administration. and the reason it's spiked since 2006 is because of the deregulation in the commodities market. look it up.

again, its the greed of your beloved free market that has us where we are today.

EdHeath said...

Well, I must be a conservative (the guy my picture certainly was), or at least a moderate, but I think taxing the oil companies more will promote conservation the hard and painful way, not produce more oil. I hope some part of any money raised would go into an increase in the EITC, but I have no doubt the middle and lower classes would get hammered. Everything would become more expensive as the oil companies pass the tax increase straight on to the consumer. Especially if the tax was phased in. But retailers would adjust, I expect, using things like rail transport (more) to bring goods in. Consumers would buy smaller cars and drive less (vacation locally). More conventions would become teleconferences. It would be hard on everyone; then only thing harder if we didn't try to manage our transition. But a transition is coming.

As for the price of gas since 2006, the democrats have not been able to fulfill that promise of bringing the price of gas down. Let’s once again point out their margin in the Senate is one vote, and the often can’t bring measures to the floor for a vote because they can’t get 60 votes, often just 51. Meanwhile, I will say it was stupid promise. Congress can do very little to affect the price of gas. Sure, if Congress had allowed offshore drilling and gave tax breaks or subsidies to companies building refineries years ago, we might have cheaper gas right now. But we would, we will, still run out at some point, and before that point we will see gas get real expensive. Plus much, maybe most of the country would look like Pittsburgh did in the fifties and sixties, smoggy and sooty.

And I might point out that President Bush could talk to oil companies about reducing the price of gas, could have done so for eight years. In fact, he did try talking to Saudi Arabians reently, who said they would listen when their “important” clients talked to them. Maybe Bush is not talking to the oil companies to punish the American people for their votes in 2006 for democrats.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Greed of the free markets. LOL LOL LMAO Who said that? Cathcatz. So Maxine Waters and Chucky Schumer knows more about managing oil markets than Exxon, Shell, BP etc. LOL LOL LMAO man are you left wingers easy.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, John, I can't help you with that one -- no content. It barely parses.

cathcatz said...

i didn't quite get his meaning either. maybe he thinks that it's okay to have the inmates in charge of the asylum?

Anonymous said...

Cath, if you figure out what he means, tell him.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Let me rephrase it. "Its the greed of our beloved free markets.." Gee that makes me want to wake up and work harder and make more money so I can give it to you liberals. LOL LOL No wonder shitrock can't figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Oh, now that you explain it, it makes perfect sense. Thanks, John.

I haven't had this much fun since Uncle Vennah got drunk and tried to seduce an artichoke.

EdHeath said...

Free Markets? The oil market appears to be an oligopolistic market whose price is set by futures traders in the US and Europe whose behavior is influenced by statements made by and about Nigeria and Iran. The oil market is much closer to a case of market failure. So I would part company here with commenter’s who blame the price of oil on the free market, but I also would disagree that the price is influenced by things the democrats say. Just like they were unable to come through on their (rather silly) promise to lower the price of oil, they don’t cause the price to rise. The 57 million or more cars in China, driving with no more restraint than we do, have more to do with demand, and President Bush’s fantasy-world approach to Iraq has more to do with supply.