SHOCKING NEWS: Existence of Parallel Universes Explain Support of Petroleum Oil Fuels
An Explosive Review and Commentary of Meghan O'Sullivan's "WINDFALL"
By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher
THE AUTO CHANNEL
The theory of parallel universes, that is to say that the idea our universe is just one of many similar universes existing on a simultaneous time line, took a giant step forward towards ubiquitous acceptance with the publication of a book written by Meghan L. O'Sullivan titled "WINDFALL."
In parallel universes (sometimes called "alternate universes") things are very similar to our universe, but there are some differences. For example, if you're financially poor in this universe you could be rich in one of the alternate universes, or instead of marrying your high school sweetheart, you married his or her sister.
I'm not suggesting that Ms. O'Sullivan's book "WINDFALL" has anything to do with parallel universe theories; it doesn't - it deals with petroleum oil fuels and what she refers to as the "new energy abundance;" an abundance of petroleum oil and related refined fuels that she believes "strengthens America's power." I'll explain the connection to parallel universes in a moment.
I learned about this book from an interview with Ms. O'Sullivan on Dennis Prager's radio show. Although I don't agree with everything that Dennis says, despite the fact that he's a fellow Brooklynite of my generation, his show is my morning program-of-choice when I happen to be in the car during his broadcast hours.
I missed a portion of the interview, but I heard a fair portion. I did hear Dennis talk about her credentials, which includes her position as Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, as well as several high level political/government stints. In short, Ms. O'Sullivan appears to be considered an expert in "energy, energy R&D, energy security, energy innovation policy, oil and energy prices, oil, renewable energy, and U.S. energy policy." Whew, I'm exhausted just thinking about all that. I better go get another cup of coffee.
Okay, I'm back.
Suffice it to say, I didn't agree with Ms. Sullivan's comments on Dennis Prager's show, notwithstanding her considerable credentials. However, since I didn't hear all of the interview I thought that I should read her book before cementing my position on her position(s) and publishing my comments. So I hightailed it over to my local Barnes & Noble store to pickup a copy.
Incidentally, just prior to leaving to go to the book store I did send Ms. O'Sullivan an email in which I inquired if she received or is receiving any remuneration from the oil industry for writing the book. While I did receive back a return-receipt email indicating that she received and (may have) read my email, she has yet to respond to the question. Just so you know, I only ever consider the answer important if the information proffered by a recipient of remuneration is wrong and/or misleading.
Circling Back To Parallel Universes
Okay, so here's why I've attached the theory of parallel universes to Ms. O'Sullivan's book and appearance on Dennis Prager's radio show: "WINDFALL" reads as if there are no other sources of energy (or fuels) other than petroleum oil related fuels and electricity. Clearly, her book was written for a different, yet similar universe.
In the universe that the book deals with there are no alternative fuels. Throughout the 300+ pages she never uses the words/terms "alternative energy" or "alternative fuels," nor their diminutive versions "alt-energy" and "alt-fuels." She also makes no reference to "biofuels." The words "ethanol," "methanol," and "algae" are not to be found anywhere. Ms. O'Sullivan omits any reference to "propane," too.
In Ms. O'Sullivan's universe her only substitutes for petroleum oil fuels are natural gas, electricity and solar. She does frequently write about "renewable energy" in the book, but the sources for natural gas and most electricity are not renewable(1). Additionally, most natural gas is a by-product of the oil refining process (or obtained via oil exploration) thereby leaving solar as the only renewable source. As Ms. O'Sullivan states, electric energy is not cheap...in some cases very expensive. Solar electricity is much more expensive. Electricity is not yet ready to replace liquid or gaseous fuels to power personal passenger vehicles, and it may not be ready for another century.
Regarding natural gas, because the oil industry treated natural gas like an ugly step-child for so many years, they shot themselves in the foot: Lies invented and disseminated about natural gas, similar to the lies they tell about ethanol/methanol, have soured the public's perception of natural gas, despite the fact that much of the public relies on natural gas for home heating purposes. The oil industry's efforts to defeat natural gas were so pervasive that America no longer has any auto manufacturer mass producing natural gas passenger cars, and their anti compressed natural gas (CNG) lobbying efforts were so successful that the EPA has priced engine conversion kits for existing vehicles so far out of line that it's not sensible to do it. In California, our most populous state, it's not even legal to do a CNG conversion to nearly all passenger vehicles, even if you wanted to spend the money to do it. What's more, if you purchase a vehicle from another state that had an aftermarket conversion to CNG you can't register it in California. This paucity of new or converted CNG-powered vehicles means that the largest potential use of natural gas has been wiped out. To my knowledge no major automaker is mounting a renewed effort to mass produce CNG-powered passenger vehicles (Ford, GM, Chrysler and several other manufacturers did try mass producing CNG vehicles a decade or so ago). Ms. O'Sullivan spends considerable time extolling the new appreciation for natural gas, but - as I've just explained - this new appreciation is DOA (dead on arrival) for anything more than just a talking point.
Consequently, in her universe, Ms. O'Sullivan only offers vanilla ice cream - if I may use an analogy.
I, however, live in a universe that has vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, coffee, peach, mango, and spumoni ice creams. My universe also features additional varieties of energy fuels; some of which are better, safer, healthier, and cheaper than abiotic fuels (the so-called fossil fuels). This is not to say that there's no value to reading "WINDFALL," because it does provide some good historical information and explanations of oil price and supply cycles - which may have some relevance if you happen to exist in a vanilla universe.
By all rights, any examination of "new energy abundance" should include a copious review of all energy sources and fuels that we have available; just as any serious discussion of ice cream must include all flavors and applicable ice cream substitutes such as sorbets and ices. And if the new energy abundance translates to greater American strength, it should be because our re-discovery of domestically produced ethanol, for example, has allowed us to be free from dependence on any other country for our energy.
Historical cycles information aside, Ms. O'Sullivan undermines the veracity and perspicacity of her message right from the start. On just the second page of the preface (page X), she writes that petroleum oil fuels brought forth "...a surge of game-changing innovations, including the internal combustion engine and the tank..." This incorrect comment echoes a false statement that I have heard Dennis Prager (and other petroleum oil sycophants) make on several occasions when he proclaims "Thank God for fossil fuels" and then asserts that our high standard of living from modern inventions was made possible because of gasoline and petroleum diesel fuel. Perhaps this is why he was so generous with his appraisal of Ms. O'Sullivan's book.
Let's be clear, there have been no mechanical inventions that were brought about by the invention or availability of gasoline and petroleum diesel fuel, especially not the invention of internal combustion engines. Petroleum kerosene became the dominant liquid fuel due to exorbitant taxes placed on alcohol (ethanol) production beginning in the American Civil War. Gasoline and petroleum diesel fuel did not even exist at the time of the invention of the internal combustion engine. There was nothing about petroleum-based engine fuels that made them better fuels than the alternatives, except price. But even the lower price of gasoline and petroleum diesel fuels were not responsible for any life enhancing machines. And in those industrialized regions of the world that were not affected by the excessive taxation on alcohol, ethanol was the preferred high performance internal combustion engine fuel. If Ms. O'Sullivan can't get this basic fact correct - or worse yet, chooses to ignore it - then she has no business writing and lecturing about the subject.
Machines may have been later adapted to take advantage of petroleum-based fuels' lower price, but these adaptations actually resulted in significant health and societal problems that include everything from lunacy to severe chronic respiratory illnesses, to the increase in autism and Alzheimer's disease, to virtually all major wars over the past 103 years.
Simply put, gasoline and petroleum diesel fuel are deadly poisonous - literally, figuratively, and metaphorically...at least in the universe that I live in. With or without the addition of ingredients like tetraethyl-lead, MTBE, benzene, or toluene, petroleum-based fuels are hazardous to all animal life. A greater abundance of poison is not beneficial. Poison multiplied by more poison does not equal less poison.
"WINDFALL" argues for the status quo of petroleum oil as an internationally priced and fungible commodity, regardless of where the oil originates. Ms. O'Sullivan ridicules the idea of American energy independence on both a physical and philosophical level: That it's impossible to completely eliminate the need for foreign oil to meet consumer use of fuels, and that the attempt to regulate trade would create an economical disaster. She cites the current relatively low level of imported oil in an attempt to dismiss energy independence as being unnecessary. These arguments are similar to those posed by Robert Bryce in his overly quoted cesspool book "GUSHER OF LIES." I always use the word "cesspool" to describe Mr. Bryce's book, instead of the word "seminal" because everything in it stinks like a cesspool. It's sort of like choosing to use the word "infamous" instead of "famous." (My 60+ page review and commentary on "GUSHER OF LIES" can be found by CLICKING HERE.)
I suppose that in a universe that only has petroleum oil-based fuels that it would be prudent to retain international availability and pricing. But again, in my universe where it is possible to go without vanilla ice cream and not suffer from ice cream deprivation, I think Ms. O'Sullivan's vision is unfounded and far less delicious.
By standardizing U.S. engine fuel to a blend level around E30 (30% ethanol and 70% poison, er, I mean, gasoline), we would eliminate the need for imported petroleum oil. Coincidentally, tests have shown that E30 in any gasoline-powered passenger vehicle (flex fuel and non-flex fuel) provides MPG performance that is equal to or better than E10 or E0 fuel. An increase to E40 or E50 would produce about the same MPG performance, and then eliminate the need for new poison oil discovery and refining in America. This would benefit American ethanol producers, and America as a whole...by any measure. It would not be a benefit to the Saudis, the Russians, the Iranians, and the Venezuelans to name just a few. However, I do realize that Ms. O'Sullivan may not receive such generous welcomes in countries like Saudi Arabia (as she describes in her book) if she was to take a less capitulating, more America-first position. By the way, I expressed this same opinion to Robert Bryce regarding the magnanimous welcome he received in his visit to Saudi Arabia, which resulted in his near-miraculous rebirth as an opponent of American energy independence.
The bottom line to following the premise set forth in "WINDFALL" is that it's a blueprint for the continuation of wars, hostility between nations, and forced servitude in those countries relying on American oil. Presuming that America could become the dominant provider of petroleum oil and refined fuels to the world due to enhanced fracking and drilling techniques, why would we want it? The era of "colonization" is over. We shouldn't want to be, or need to be the police force and nurse maid to the world. And unless petroleum based fuels can be safely produced and rendered harmless to living animals, why would we want to defend against all the misery associated with the production and distribution of these deadly substances.
America's financial success should be built upon innovative products and technologies, and the exportation of those things to other countries. In some instances we would license entities in the other countries to build or employ local versions of the innovations/technologies. If our primary contribution to the world is controlling the fuels, we become a one trick pony, like Saudi Arabia. And then we either have to continuously fight to keep our fuel as the sole supply source - reminiscent of England's and France's wars with Asian countries to force them to continue to allow the selling of opiates to their respective publics - or we wither away when a cheaper or better fuel is introduced.
Fuel in America should be abundantly available at a fair price. It should be made in America by Americans and never be used to dictate personal taste or purchasing decisions for any type of vehicle. If someone wants and needs a large vehicle, it should be the price of the vehicle that determines a consumer's purchase, not the price of the fuel required to run it. Nor should they be bullied by the false impression that they are being wasteful of fuel. There's no reason to be rewarding Saudi Arabia or Russia or Venezuela or Iran by "stabilizing" the price of oil. We don't need them. We should be seeking ways to bankrupt them, or at the least to neutralize their impact on the world scene.