The talk from oil companies about hybrid cars and hydrogen fuel cells is eerie and chilling. These are the guys who destroyed public transportation in the United States by buying up municipal streetcar lines and then tearing them up. If Americans really started getting pissed off, the Oil Boys would deep-six those alternative technologies quicker than you can say Slick. Everybody knows that alternative technologies are fully viable now, but they are being deliberately suppressed. Other countries, including huge ones, like Brazil, have switched to ethanol completely. That's alcohol, it burns clean, there is an endless supply, and your leaders don't have to hold hands with Saudi royals in public, and kiss their ass in private.
We could have had cars running on ethanol or other fuels since the first gas scare of the '70s. At that time, Americans were tougher: still scarred by the '60s, they weren't scared to make their feelings known. The OPEC cartel backed out fast when faced by real resolve. The prices dropped vertiginously and the revolt was quelled. We were puritanical for a while, turning down our heaters and air conditioners and buying smaller cars. Since then, we've become softer, pudgier, more hypnotized by endless consumption, more docile, and more afraid. What are we afraid of? Debt, for one thing. Everyone is up to their necks in debt and fearing for life. Secondly, news that impacts our pocketbooks is obscured by deliberate diversions, such as the war in Iraq. In real crises, like Hurricane Katrina, the government is as useless as the puppets that run it. My friend, Joe Cardarelli, a poet, used to say, "The government in Washington is a play that Texas puts on every four years." Boy, was he right. And we are just stupid spectators who don't even boo and hiss or throw things the way real spectators used to when they knew who they were. We don't even know that we are at a play and that we paid a lot for the tickets! So much so, in fact, our kids and grandkids will still be paying for them.