Thursday, November 1, 2012

A History of Oil Addiction - 2

Are you in good hands with Oil State?
In the first post of this series we skimmed over the big U.S. oil discovery in Texas which converged with the invention of and "improvements" to the internal combustion engine.

These late 19th and early 20th century events fused automotive industrialization technology with fossil fuel use at a time when little was known (only a very few scientists like Tyndall and Arrhenius concerned themselves with such questions) about where this convergence of fossil fuels and industrial technology would lead (The Peak of Sanity - 3).

The oil industry was quick to begin to influence U.S. government as that industry gained economic power:
Yes, the foreign policy that fundamentally supports oil barons has never been a big secret: "One of our greatest helpers has been the State Department" - John D. Rockefeller (1909).
(Oil's Well That Ends Well - 2). Let's note that John D. Rockefeller was able to use wealth to get his way with government:
John Davison Rockefeller (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American industrialist and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. In 1870, he founded the Standard Oil Company and aggressively ran it until he officially retired in 1897. Standard Oil began as an Ohio partnership formed by John D. Rockefeller, his brother William Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, Jabez Bostwick, chemist Samuel Andrews, and a silent partner, Stephen V. Harkness. As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller's wealth soared, and he became the world's richest man and the first American worth more than a billion dollars. Adjusting for inflation, he is often regarded as the richest person in history.
(Wikipedia, emphasis added). Another boost, "industrialization on steroids", came in the form of World War I, which accelerated and expanded upon the union of oil and internal combustion engine powered vehicles, to include mass production for use in war:
We began doing research on the subject of Cadillac's relationship with the military, and it turns out that Cadillacs were being used, and modified, by our military as early as 1904, some in the form of fully armored cars with Colt Machine guns mounted on top! General Black Jack Pershing had Cadillacs (Dodges also) in Texas in 1916, while fighting Pancho Villa in the border war with Mexico, prior to U.S. involvement in WWI. Cadillac's quality and superior design was the reason it was chosen for military service. I have spoken with civilian and military historians at museums across the country about this Cadillac. Many people have contributed in the quest for the historical facts. I have condensed much of the research into the following, describing what is known so far about how this Cadillac helped win The Great War!
(GM Heritage Center). After that war the oil and industrial manufacturing companies continued to exert political influence until finally the Pentagon became the greatest single user of fossil fuels (Pentagon, World's Biggest Fossil Fuel User).

In one relevant case, the oil barons / vehicle makers focused on the national infrastructure in a manner that was designed to help them - at the nation's expense:
The Great American streetcar scandal (also known as the General Motors streetcar conspiracy and the National City Lines conspiracy) refers to an largely unpublicized program led by General Motors to systematically replace streetcars and electric train in many cities across the United States with petroleum fuelled bus services.

Some believe that this program was directly responsible for the virtual elimination of effective public transport in American cities by the 1970s.

General Motors Corporation and others were subsequently convicted in 1949 of conspiring to monopolize the sale of buses and related products via a complex network of linked holding companies ...
(Corp Germ > Corp Seed > Corp Monster - 3, emphasis added). With the government in their pocket they paid a fine and went about their business of plutocratic domination, embedding themselves in war profiteering:
General Motors produced vast quantities of armaments, vehicles, and aircraft during World War II for both Allied and Axis customers ...

The General Motors UK division, Vauxhall Motors, manufactured the Churchill tank series for the Allies. The Vauxhall Churchill tanks were instrumental in the UK campaigns in North Africa (ironically often being used to attack German logistics units using Opel [GM made] trucks). Bedford Vehicles manufactured logistics vehicles for the UK military, all important in the UK's land campaigns. In addition, GM was the top manufacturer of U.S. Army 1½ ton 4x4 vehicles.

Nevertheless, while General Motors has claimed its German (Opel) operations were outside its control during World War II, this assertion appears to be contradicted by available evidence. General Motors was not just a car company that happened to have factories in Germany; GM management from the top down had extensive connections with the Nazi Party, both on a business and personal level. During war Opel's Brandenburg facilities produced bombers JU-88, trucks, land mines and torpedo detonators for Nazi Germany.
(ibid). You may have noticed that they had branches in other countries and often were suspected of not having national interests exclusively, but instead having primarily international interests.

That is, America was no longer their first priority, rather the international corporation was now their first priority.

Indeed, Dredd Blog has shown in another series, MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 4 , that these originally American companies have now become international companies.

By quoting an oil company (ExxonMobil) CEO saying "I am not an American company", we shared the fact that they don't mind not being American.

That series also points out that these originally American entities have grown into The Private Empire, a vast international entity composed of interlocking international corporations that "run the show" (see also Islamic Ruler of Dubai).

Nevertheless, under U.S. law those international entities are now considered to be "persons" who may inject any sum of money they want to into our U.S. elections (Foreign Citizens United v FEC).

A recent president pointed out to congress, in a state of the union speech, that we are now "addicted" to fossil fuels, which brings to mind the lack of foresight on the part of both industry and government on this issue:
A society that does not plan or prepare, that does not consider the consequences of the present and contingencies of the future, a society that lives only for today, the next quarter or the next election is doomed.

Events and a changing reality will, sooner or later, catch up with those that refuse to prepare. Available resources, time and most importantly, wisdom will simply not be at hand to allow us to adapt and recover from foreseeable negative developments – developments that reasonable people would have started to prepare for decades ago.
(Corp Germ > Corp Seed > Corp Monster - 3). We discussed that issue recently in the context of the catastrophes that fossil fuel use is generating (Groundhog Day & The Climate of Fear).

That is all for today's post, but more is to come in this series.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

What lack of planning ahead Dredd?


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