Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Again, thanks to Ms. Klein for her courage. I wonder if she could do an exposé on oil-futures traders and why the bill didn't pass in Congress--I think it was S.3280? Why did they block cloture? Can we trace the oil that is being pumped for $13.60 a barrel and selling at $140? What is intercontinental exchange (ICE), and why isn't it being regulated? Why did we export Alaskan oil? Are the greens and T. Boone Pickens complicit in the oil trade prices? Is oil being stored offshore in shipping while prices surge to $200 per barrel? Is there any reason oil shouldn't be nationalized, since it isn't subject to competition? How much oil is burned in corporate jets per year? How much oil does the military use? Do they waste any unnecessarily? Are the poor bearing most of the so-called corporate and sycophantic green marriage?

James Pinette

Caribou, ME

Jul 28 2008 - 11:58am

Web Letter

An excellent article that exposes, once again, the dark side of globalization and the Bush Administration's politics of fear. "Do what we want, or disaster will be the result." It's another playing of the old story of Rome burning while Nero played his fiddle. "Let us run things, and everything will be fine"--for our bottom line. If the American people continue to fall for this, we're not very smart. Another confirmation of P. T. Barnum's opinion that a fool is born every minute, and is soon parted from his money.

George Polley

Sapporo, Japan

Jul 16 2008 - 9:46pm

Web Letter

Well, in my opinion Naomi Klein is a brilliant poltical journalist. All the letters regarding this article have brought salient points, both pro and con.

As for me the last nine lines of "We broke it,we bought it" say it all. We invaded Iraq, we should pay for its rebuilding. Instead, we are intent on inflicting one more humiliation on the Iraqi people by submerging them into poverty for the next 20 or 30 years.

This kind of PR will affirm to the world that America's middle name is "hypocrisy."

Joel P. Ritz

North Hollywood, CA

Jul 16 2008 - 2:46pm

Web Letter

Frankly, I do not understand why anyone gives any credence to what Naomi Klein says. She is an unabashed Marxist who knows nothing about history, fact-checking, freedom or capitalism. For those interested in a real book on capitalism, read How Capitalism Saved America, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo. Currently Amazon has it on sale for a few dollars.

How did Ms. Klein get so much smarter than the oil companies? To say that drilling will have little discernible impact on actual global oil supplies is outright lunacy and displays her ignorance of economics and her admiration of the Marxist philosophy. Oil prices are dictated by both supply and demand. No company is large enough to manipulate oil prices the way Klein implies. As a world commodity, it is a pure example of capitalism. If more countries were drilling, the price would come down.

The USA has an estimated 31 billion barrels of oil offshore of its coasts and 117 billion barrels of oil under land owned or managed by the government, plus 139 billion barrels beneath privately held land. According to the Department of the Interior, 62 percent of all onshore federal lands are off-limits to oil and gas developments, with restrictions applying to 92 percent of all federal land. If all this oil were available, it would amount to 287 billion barrels, or enough to supply current needs for more than thirty years.

Klein also lies when she talks about Canada oil shale, which our Democratic Congress made off-limits because of its high carbon content. Democrats have consistently blocked all efforts to allow energy exploration and extraction in ANWR, despite the fact that such activity already occurs in wildlife refuges across the country without destroying their ecosystems. (See "The Democrat Assault on American Energy.")

So again, how can adding 287 billion barrels of oil to the world supply not bring down prices?

Klein does not tell us why ANWR is so much more holy than anywhere else on earth that it should be exempt from drilling. The area is roughly equivalent to a postage stamp on a football field. It is also nothing but a mosquito-infested wasteland. There is nothing there and no tourist ever ventures there. In other words, it is the best place to put an oil well, for it will bother no one or nothing.

In fact, had not the enviro-Marxists locked up all of America's resources, the Middle East would not have gotten so much money, and the Islamofascists would not be as big a problem.

The way Klein writes, you would think 9/11 did not happen; you would think that worldwide terror by Islamic fascists did not exist; that bombing of planes, shopping malls, and dancehalls in places like Philippines and Indonesia never happened; and that more than thirty years of escalating violence and terror was just made up by Western governments. More people are killed by Islamists each year than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition combined (see "islam: the Religion of Peace").

When you read Ms. Klein's Marxist ranting, notice what she does not say and whom she does not mention. Only America is evil, Islam is not mentioned. Bush lied, yet European intelligence, the Clintons and Congress had the same information as President Bush. An almost unanimous Congress okayed the attack on Saddam Hussein and Iraq because Hussein supported terrorism. America had been attacked over sixty times over the years and Americans were fed up with it. So it is disingenuous for Ms. Klein to say that the war was "illegal" or "that oil was a major motivator." Lying about our motives is an insult to all that is decent and moral in America. She also shows her lack of compassion for the 250,000 Iraqis that were killed each year by Saddam Hussein; they were a major reason we went in to Iraq, and were mentioned by President Bush in his speech to both Congress and the UN.

She is nothing but an America-hating propagandist trying to rewrite history, like Stalin did. She thinks we are so stupid that we have no memory and will not understand her lies. What she is doing is trying to rewriting history so as to portray America as evil, when in reality she ignores the real evil of terrorism. She makes it seem as though we invaded the Vatican and took the Pope out of power. The woman is a disgrace to journalism, humanity and anyone with a thinking brain.

Robert Exton

San Francisco, CA

Jul 16 2008 - 1:56am

Web Letter

I must start out by saying I have not read Ms. Klein's most recent book (evidently during these "shock" periods the queue of books to read increases drastically, so I'm backed up).

I am curious about the extent of the correlation between US action during these "crises," specifically the expansion of corporate and military tentacles, with the ongoing problem of executive supremacy. I would argue--and I don't know whether Ms. Klein would agree--that this is perhaps the single greatest source of the problem. If this new morph of globalization assumes a militaristic character, one should be primarily concerned with the self-appointed master of the largest and most deadly military force on the face of the earth--the Presidnt of the United States.

I am not quite ready to count out juridico-political entities, but I am completely done with the US Constitution, which is demonstrably vague enough to permit and encourage everything the Ms. Klein speaks against. What was broken here doesn't get fixed. I think there is no use acting through the defunct US Constitution. We should act to create a new system entirely.

Why is no one suggesting that?

Eric Gade

Washington, DC

Jul 11 2008 - 6:40am

Web Letter

Thank you, Naomi Klein, for pulling back the veil enough to allow a glimpse into the burning core of corporatist corruption that is eating us all.

Now we know who they are. Let's go get'em...

Grant Walpole

San Diego, CA

Jul 7 2008 - 12:32am

Web Letter

Beyond Naomi Klein's speculation--basing an article on what hasn't happened, or what we are "on the cusp of doing so"--she fails to address how "Big Oil" and neoconservative agendas for Iraqi oil were divergent. Oil companies lobbied against Iraqi sanctions and wanted to trade with Saddam (who, in turn, wanted to trade with US companies), while neoconservatives planned to use Iraqi oil as a weapon to weaken OPEC and Saudi Arabia. (See "Companies Used to Getting Their Way," New York Times, December 4, 1998; and "Iraq's oil: A neo-con dream gone bust,"Asia Times, May 17, 2006).

Steven J. Glain, "Iraq says it welcomes U.S. firms if sanctions end."--Wall Street Journal, November 24, 1999

Klein also needs to cover more appropriately the prima facie appearances of these short term no-bid contracts. ("Western Firms' Dreams Of Iraq Oil May Prove Fleeting," Energy Source blog on CNBC, July 1, 2008).

Retrospective assumption of conflated causal explanations for war motives like "war for oil" does little to serve the common good, and it serves to leave those who planned this war off the hook.

David Kessler

Springfield, MO

Jul 4 2008 - 12:33pm

Web Letter

Thank you, Naomi Klein. This really clears things up for me.

I've been wondering why the NY Times has been informing us about why we went to war and how the big four oil companies are taking root in Iraq. Given that the Times led us to war in the first place, I was very suspicious about these new "revelations." Especially since it is government officials who are are leaking these facts to the Times.

I've noticed that popular opinion hates high gas prices, but I've been left waiting for the real outrage and "shock" to hit when it becomes clear that in the aftermath more power will be handed to the government/corporations.

I've been watching this hold-up at a PR level, given the campaigns by the big four about how they're here to help guide us through the "energy crisis," and the claims of all (but Exxon) that they are going "green"--obvious greenwashing, but nevertheless an attempt to placate the masses by influencing them to believe that such corporations can be trusted to help "solve" the energy crisis.

Energy producers are trying to build a trusting relationship. Chevron is a good example--just look at their shiny new image. Here's what they're saying about themselves: "Finding newer, cleaner ways to power the world" (well, they're right about wanting world power...). "Corporate responsibility" is a link to their very own "corporate responsibility report." They claim, boldly, "Our values guide our work every day." Yikes--we know all about their values. Such as were displayed in 1998 when Chevron helicopters carried Nigerian police and soldiers who opened fire and killed two activists, and injured more.

Exxon Mobil, by the way, claims to be "Taking on the world's toughest energy challenges."

Gas prices have enraged folks, but where will the coming real outrage take them? The big four and our current government are managing a PR extravaganza to make sure that people are secure in feeling that our oil crisis is being handled... by the oil companies.

I'm concerned that popular opinion now, at a juncture when things could be turning toward peace and real energy independence, might get hijacked by the powerful, again. And, like Klein says, a shock in our economy, driven by oil prices and affecting food, packaging, delivery--practically everything--will be an "in" for corporate/government power.

The best image-creating powerhouses are still found in the corporate domain. We're still living in the twentieth century, in many ways: O Logo, the Logos that be. The only difference is that the corporations fully own the government now--it's all one.

Lisa Wells

OC Voice<br />Huntington Beach, CA

Jul 4 2008 - 1:40am

Web Letter

What Klein doesn't even point out about the GMO issue is that when the US withholds food aid money to nations who need it in order to force them to dismantle barriers to GMOs, and they do it to get the aid, they have to hand the money right back to US corporations like Monsanto for the use of the GM crops.

This is basically the US government giving food aid money to multinationals through a starving nation to make it look kosher. It's unbelievable that they can get away with this!

Dylan Barr

Iron Rail Book Collective<br>New Orleans, LA

Jul 3 2008 - 11:23pm

Web Letter

I read Naomi Klein's column with a great deal of satisfaction, both because it was timely and because it expressed exactly the content of a letter I had published this week in the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania. The state of fear engendered by corporations about oil and food has the public begging to be rescued, and of course the big guys are waiting in the wings.

My own investigations into the honeybee collapse led directly to those corporations who have coerced farmers into planting genetically modified seeds that have been treated with the same poisons banned just this spring in Germany after a catastrophic bee die-off at planting time.

The public should ponder the consequences of allowing the corporations that brought us Agent Orange becoming grocers to the world. And who can forget Nestlé's involvement some years ago in the infant formula scandal in Africa?

John McDonald

Spring Mills, PA

Jul 3 2008 - 10:26pm

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.