Friday, April 28, 2006


OK. I'm still snotty, but attempting to be cogent today due to an unusual infusion of caffeine. I don't usually do caffeine so the effect is often quite startling for me. Feels like a combination of excitement over the election of a Democratic President combined with a cotton candy high. :-)

So, did you notice that the Wars Against Terrorism (copyright 2002 by GWB) is going to cost us $320 Billion as of this year? That does not include the Department of Defense Budget. That does not include what it will cost next year. And the costs have increased exponentially each year, from $2.5 billion in 2002 to $101.8 billion this year. Here is a horrifying factoid from the WaPo article that brings these figures down to earth for me: "This year, the wars will consume nearly as much money as the departments of Education, Justice and Homeland Security combined, a total that is more than a quarter of this year's projected budget deficit."

Let's break that down a little bit, shall we? The 2007 budget is going to contain just $54.4 Billion for Education. And almost half of that ($24.4 Billion) is to enforce that weenie eliminate-creative-teaching-so-we-can-teach-to-the-test program , No Child Left Behind.

Homeland Security's budget is to be $42.7 billion. We're THAT worried about terrorism on our continent but spending so little on security? And please note that FEMA is still, at this time, part of this budget.

So, we're spending an almost unimaginable amount killing people to protect our oil interests. The American Prospect points out something almost equally unimaginable: that the Congressional Research Service report on which this is based isn't sure why the costs of war have increased so dramatically each year. Worse yet, WaPo says "Of the total war spending, the CRS analysis found $4 billion that could not be tracked."

Could not be tracked. We don't know where it went, is what that means. The government LOST $4 billion? Where is it? Lining Halliburton's pockets? Paying for gold-plated toilets? More likely, paying for Air Force One's gas use over Earth Day? The expenditures of our nation are a national disgrace, as is the "loss" of this money.

Meanwhile, at least we think we know where the oil companies are putting the billions they're making during this boom time for them: in their pockets. Fat wallets, those oil cats have. And we're so ticked off about it that, naturally, Congress is trying to cash in on our anger. Like that ridiculous Republican effort yesterday to give us a $100 rebate to help cover our ever-rising gas costs. And, oh yeah, let's quietly take on the Arctic oil drilling bill that hasn't been able to pass at any other time in the past few years. Because, as we all know, allowing drilling up in the pristine Arctic will surely resolve this cost crisis for us all.

Ahem. Not.

The oil supply gurus at The Oil Drum have a much more sophisticated response to oil prices rising. It's not too long and definitely worth a read if you'd like to be more informed about why prices are rising so much. They've also pointed out numerous times over there that worrying about gas prices rising is really short-sighted. The more crucial issues are reducing gas and oil usage and finding feasible alternative fuels. Because oil supplies are not unlimited. They are going bye bye. (Go read about Peak Oil.) And the sooner we face that reality, the faster we find ways to deal with it.

Over the next few weeks, Daily Kos will be exploring different alternatives to oil. I look forward to learning more.



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