What the hell is wrong with these people?

Pelosi blocks offshore drilling vote GOP wants

I honestly couldn’t imagine senior people in the ALP supporting such a ban.

Can the Dems think or do congressional Democratic primaries have rules that requires selection of the stupidest people available to go to Washington?

For weeks, pressure has been mounting in Congress to approve more domestic oil drilling, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held the line, using her power to block a vote on offshore drilling.

President Bush has made almost daily calls for Democratic leaders to take action. House GOP leaders, citing a new poll showing that a slim majority of Californians now favor offshore drilling, issued a release Thursday saying “even (Pelosi’s) own California neighbors oppose her efforts to block new drilling far off American coasts.” GOP lawmakers are so disgruntled they’re urging Bush to deny Congress its August break by calling a special session on energy.

The Dems then try to stop debate by closing things down through authoritarian means:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats adjourned the House, turned off the lights and killed the microphones, but Republicans are still on the floor talking gas prices.

Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi’s refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m., and they are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.

At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark. But as Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz..) was speaking, the lights went back on and the microphones were turned on shortly afterward.

The US is basically dependent on foreign oil imports. Ordinarily there’s nothing wrong with that except there are strategic issues relying on Mid East oil seeing it’s not the most peaceful neighborhood in town. Banning drilling around the US coastline prevents new supply entering the market that could help alleviate price pressure by potentially increasing supply.

At the margin isn’t US domestic oil production environmentally friendlier seeing it saves on transportation from other parts of the world? Additionally new supplies in the US market increasingly arrive from the growing Canadian oil sands industry which is a comparatively dirty business emission wise. Shouldn’t the right environmental response be to promote US domestic drilling and exploration on these factors alone? I really don’t get this from any rational/reasonable perspective.

It shouldn’t be understated that high oil prices is a real serious issue for the US economy and with the record weak US dollar US consumers have taken a huge hit at the pump and for heating oil. Attempts to get prices down through supply side reforms such as lifting the ban could dramatically help the economy/Americans.

Truth be told, I blame Bush for all this. Milton Friedman was right what he said just before he died. The shambles of Iraqi war has basically gutted the GOP to the point where the electorate simply doesn’t listen to them any more and simply want to see them punished. There’s only room for one big government party in the US and I hope the GOP learns a good hard lesson.

33 thoughts on “What the hell is wrong with these people?

  1. The US Government should just take over the Oil Companies (see Russia) and this will eliminate the big profits at Exxon and others. Sure, corruption will be prevailant, but its already prevailant now, so long as fuel prices come back down previous levels, who is really going to care. When fuel cost $1/gal Exxons profits were still about $2/billion each quarter and no one cared. So, PM Putin, can you tell the US how we do it? P.S. We must hurry as China (The Real Enemy of the State) already has a plan to take both of our Countrys out in about 10 years if their thirst for crude oil continues to grow.

  2. Re #1: Socialism and corruption are both OK as long as oil prices fall? This topic sure attracts some nutcases.

    JC, you might be missing some of the political context. There’s a general election in November at which the GOP is predicted to get a thumping (one reason being Iraq, as you mentioned.) Bush is doing his best to prevent that; Pelosi is doing her best to encourage it.

    Offshore drilling is a wedge issue. As our friend at Comment #1 makes clear, some people blame the oil companies for high prices. To them, allowing offshore drilling is seen as rewarding them.

    To others, not allowing them to drill can be seen as promoting reliance on the very people America is fighting in Iraq and elsewhere.

    So if you blame Iraq for all of America’s ills, as some on the left do, you probably also believe that withdrawal from Iraq will solve all its oil problems.

    If you suspect every second Arab is a terrorist, as some on the right do, you believe America should drill for oil wherever it can and convert all uneaten cellulose into ethanol.

    Ridiculous as it may be, when Americans vote for their President they’ll be essentially choosing between these two points of view.

  3. Sorry, but I don’t want the US to use Russia as a reason why we should nationalize the oil industry. It is a horrible idea to have the government run the economy. Right now gas may be expensive, but it is still plentiful. I would rather have something important plentiful yet expensive rather than cheap and inaccessible.

    For the longest time we have been a glass cannon economy. Our big weakness is not that we need imported oil, but that we need extraordinarily cheap oil. At $1 per gallon (25 cents per liter) people drive around in cars that get 11 miles to the gallon (5km per liter, if I did my conversion correctly). And would give themselves 100km daily commutes. People driving their cars with lead feet with absolutely no regard for fuel. What has been the big weekend activity? Boating, where people burn through hundreds of dollars worth of fuel in a weekend, now that activity has lessened up.

    Electicity goes up, now we have people using efficient appliances, not keeping their AC as well as a dozen light bulbs on and windows open.

    I upset a lot of people when I say this, but expensive gas has been one of the best things to happen to Americans. It has been the only thing to convince we Americans to live more efficient life styles, the extra large SUVs are now bring replaced by efficient hybrid cars, the very long commutes are now being replaced with shorter commutes. Our California traffic is getting better with less cars on the road. I even see people regularly ride their bikes around now for short distances. Yeah, all the big changes that people have been wanting to see are now actually happening. The expensive food prices have actually been causing Americans to loose weight since while eating is still affordable people have had to cut back the excessive eating. Companies now have a huge incentive to deliver very efficient cars to the market. At $1 per gallon we will never see a viable electric car, at $5 per gallon we will see a viable electric car rather soon, and $8 per gallon we will see a viable electric car in a year and a half. Expensive gasoline, not good intention, will cause us to kick the habit.

    I have come to the conclusion that telling people that they need to cut back the oil consumption has been like telling a morbidly obese person that they need to loose weight. “Oh its not my fault, its a glandular problem”, “I feel fine at 220kg”. “I need to make very long commutes”, “I like feeling powerful in my road king SUV”, “If gas is cheap then I don’t have to change my behavior”. Or my favorite “I can’t afford to drive to work” well if work is that far away for such low pay you should definitely quit.

    Offshore drilling may offer some relief but I feel there will be some unintended consequences. Like any other product, who do you sell it to? You sell it to who ever will pay the most. We are now living in a world where people in Asia will gladly pay $1.50 per liter of gasoline. If we were going to start drilling it up why sell it to Americans for $0.25 per liter when we have people in Asia who will pay 6 times as much?

    The real savings are going to come from efficiency that high prices are causing people to adopt.

  4. Obama has apparently noticed that voters are responding to McCains new position on drilling Sen. Barack Obama said Saturday he is simply acting pragmatically in softening his opposition to additional oil drilling along the nation’s coastline, a shift Republicans say shows he is calculating and out of touch with voters.

    “softening his opposition”means he is still against it but will make sounds that give the appearance that there is some hope.

  5. We are now living in a world where people in Asia will gladly pay $1.50 per liter of gasoline.

    Riley, you are seriously out of touch. It costs $1.50 in Australia and three times that in Europe.

    If you have any oil that you think is too expensive for Americans, can we have first go at it?

  6. David:
    I was all for getting rid of Saddam, however I don’t support an occupation costing the American taxpayer $90 billion a year and still counting. No friggen occupation of this size should end up costing $1 trillion when it’s all said and done.

    What’s more Bush has been a terrible proponent of the war as he’s unable to even string a couple of sentences together without screwing it up. We’ll leave aside the fact that there hasn’t been a spending bill he hasn’t liked. He’s been a shockingly bad prez, possibly in some ways, worse than Carter.

    That said, I find the Dems even worse. We have the majority party refusing to allow drilling along the coast. These people are worse than crazy.

    Riley, do you support US offshore drilling or don’t you? It’s not as though we don’t know why some people like the idea of choking off oil supplies. We know every single quack excuse there is.

  7. gasbfree4me:

    The US Government should just take over the Oil Companies (see Russia) and this will eliminate the big profits at Exxon and others.

    Terrific idea. commercial enterprise in the hands of the government has always worked. NOT! That’s why oil production in Russia, Venezuela and Iran is dropping precipitously. Investment to improve the wells or find new ones has been falling while the government spends the money on other things.

    Take a look at Exxon’s investment in exploration and you will see the difference.

    Sure, corruption will be prevailant, but its already prevailant now, so long as fuel prices come back down previous levels, who is really going to care.

    Yea, and why do you think the price will fall, genius. You think the price will fall by eliminating profit differential? For that to happen the nationalized firms would than have to sell oil below market rates which is unlikely or shortages will develop.

    When fuel cost $1/gal Exxons profits were still about $2/billion each quarter and no one cared. So, PM Putin, can you tell the US how we do it? P.S. We must hurry as China (The Real Enemy of the State) already has a plan to take both of our Countrys out in about 10 years if their thirst for crude oil continues to grow.

    So China is now going to occupy Australia and the US? Bold prediction.

  8. Riley, do you support US offshore drilling or don’t you?

    I don’t support the Government doing the drilling. And I also don’t think it will be much of a solution to the oil situation. I live in California and there are already some oil drilling platforms and a few more would not be a major issue. I just don’t think its the solution.

  9. I don’t support the Government doing the drilling.

    Stop insulting people’s intelligence, Riley. You know no one has been suggesting the government do the drilling.

    And I also don’t think it will be much of a solution to the oil situation.

    Oh really? So you have all the geological surveys of the coastline?

    I live in California and there are already some oil drilling platforms and a few more would not be a major issue.

    So what’s the point? The fact there are some grandfathered platforms somehow makes repeal of the law redundant?

    I just don’t think its the solution.

    Why?

  10. Our fellow libertarians in Australia should know that Ms. Pelosi is a long-time Democrat elected from a very liberal–that is, democratic socialist–Congressional District in California, and now serves as the Speaker of the House, the third most powerful position in the American government. If she has decided that there will be no debate on any effort to increase offshore oil drilling in the coastal waters of the United States, then there will be no increase in offshore oil drilling…period.

    As for the commentator’s suggestion that we imitate Russian or Venezuelan energy production policies, I must be mistaken; I thought freedom-loving libertarians read and commented on this website, not autocrats.

  11. I don’t support the Government doing the drilling.

    Stop insulting people’s intelligence, Riley. You know no one has been suggesting the government do the drilling.

    I wasn’t insulting people’s intelligence. The idea of me politically supporting something would mean that such an issue is a government nature. The poster above also mentioned the concept of nationalizing oil companies so I guess I wanted to reiterate my stance against government action. My support is irrelevant to the situation. I am not going to be sitting out on the construction barges doing some cheer leading but I most likely won’t be protesting either. Do I support allowing oil companies to drill off shore, well that is a different story, the offshore area is not privately owned land and the government would be giving exclusive monopolies to already very wealthy companies that gives them a larger market share. I am willing to bet however that there will be some sort of deal set up where by allowing the oil companies to engage in this behavior they would also pay something else. I see the government giving the oil companies such a huge resource would just be a long line of government supporting the oil industry. It is not the government’s job to provide businesses with their resources which they turn around and sell.

    And I also don’t think it will be much of a solution to the oil situation.

    Oh really? So you have all the geological surveys of the coastline?

    The geological surveys are for the most part irrelavent. Our oil problem is not that we can’t drill and pump enough, our oil problem is that we use far too much and that a problem with supply is able to completely cripple the US economy. This is what is dangerous. There may be problems at some point in the future and we will still be as vulnerable as ever. Like I say, this is like a drug addict going through withdrawl and he has two options 1) I get more drug to satisfy my addiction 2) I quit doing drugs so I won’t go through withdrawl at some point in the future.

    I live in California and there are already some oil drilling platforms and a few more would not be a major issue.

    So what’s the point? The fact there are some grandfathered platforms somehow makes repeal of the law redundant?
    My point is that

    My point is that I don’t agree with both sides. I don’t feel that offshore drilling will be a viable solution, especially for the long term, and I don’t feel that offshore drilling will completely destroy the environment either. Oil Drilling isn’t doom or salvation.

    I just don’t think its the solution.

    Why?

    I have reiterated before in prior posts how I feel that we have an over consumption problem and not a shortage issue. If companies were to drill the oil who should they sell it to? There are many people around the world who would happily pay $100+ per barrel. Providing more oil, even at a cheaper cost would not solve our oil dependency issue. Eventually at some point in time we will have to get over this dependency and we are already up to our knees in the river and perhaps its not best that we turn back. At some point in the future there will be another ‘oil crises’ which will wreak utter havoc on the economy, they seem to happen every few decades, I would rather be in the position where an oil crises would not lead to shutdown rather than an instant bailout right now.

  12. Gabby – whatever your name is:

    Putin is a deranged egomaniac who kills journalists and dissenters. He is no better than Caucescau etc and deserves to be executed.

    You support this kind of blundering thug?

    Russia’s resources are in the hands of the ruling ex officer corps and oligarchs who were given unfair, Government backed advantages over rivals and the general public. You reckon this makes oil cheaper?

    I suggest you simply look at Federal, State and Local taxation and then look at crude oil prices, and the impact of idiotic regulations like bans on offshore drilling.

    That is why petrol/gasoline is expensive. Not because oil firms are “screwing you over”. They’re not. Stop being so bloody ignorant.

  13. As for the commentator’s suggestion that we imitate Russian or Venezuelan energy production policies, I must be mistaken; I thought freedom-loving libertarians read and commented on this website, not autocrats.

    Who is suggesting that, Duoist?

  14. Riley, I’m sure there isn’t enough oil off the coast of California to bring the price back to $12 a barrel. Might stop the price rising much more though. Also after we make the switch to hydrogen or whatever, which is inevitable now, that umpumped oil is going to be worth a lot less, so it makes sense to tap it now if you can.

  15. Riley – Britian has been “dependent” on foreign food for a century and they haven’t starved yet. If you want Americans to ween themselves off of oil then let the price stay high.

    Having said that I think your point about the offshore locations not being private land is a reasonable one. Perhaps the seabed should be privatised. Although the owners of all those international cables laying on the seabed might stake some right of way claim.

    In terms of this never being the sort of thing that would never happen in Australia we should not be too smug. Our system of freehold property rights does not even encompass minerals and oil.

    https://alsblog.wordpress.com/2007/01/02/mineral-rights/

  16. Having said that I think your point about the offshore locations not being private land is a reasonable one

    Reasonable? It’s reasonable so therefore there shouldn’t be any drilling? You really need to explain this one.

  17. TerjeP, Re Britain.
    Whilst they haven’t yet starved in Britain, the Germans did come close to starving them out in both World Wars, so they might believe in building up supplies on the ‘just in case’ principle.
    Pelosi’s idea seems to be that Oil should be left in the ground for future generations to leave in the ground so that future generations can leave it in the ground, etcetera, etc.

  18. JC – I did explain it. In the very next sentence in fact. Privatising the seabed is not the same as “there shouldn’t be any drilling”. Do you really want me to explain privatisation?

  19. How would you find anything reasonable about his comment?

    This is the comment , right?

    Do I support allowing oil companies to drill off shore, well that is a different story, the offshore area is not privately owned land and the government would be giving exclusive monopolies to already very wealthy companies that gives them a larger market share.

    There is nothing reasonable I see in the above comment. Even if it were privatized the guy would also be arguing about monopoly power been given “to already very wealthy companies that gives them a larger market share”.

    It’s a stupid comment unworthy or attaching the word “reasonable” to any part of it.

  20. What would I be arguing again for JC? That if oil was drilled on privately owned land the people becoming wealthy from it would somehow bug me? I never once claimed that. Infact I my entire point is that this is public property and not private property. I don’t care if some company obtains land through purchasing it on the open market and drills for oil. If the government were to parcel mining rights for the sea floor and sell timed contracts to the highest bidder that might be a reasonable solution.

    Right now the problem I see is that the seashore off the coast of California is NOT privately owned. It is publicly owned. There are businesses out there who want to extract minerals from this area. Why should they be given exclusive mineral rights on public property? (Note word choice of “given” rather than “sold”). Now selling mineral rights on an open market and giving away mineral rights to politically connected firms are two completely different ideas. At the going rate each barrel under ground is worth over $100, right now that untapped oil is owned by the state, what should they sell it for? Who should they sell it to? The highest bidder? The most politically connected?

    The government does have a history of giving public assistance in the form of cheap land grants and mineral rights to already well off and politically connected companies which ends up being a state sanctioned market distortion.

    The concept of supporting offshore drilling is rather ambiguous. Do I support the government selling this oil on the open market? Yes. Do I support the government drilling this oil themselves? No. Do I support giving this oil away? Absolutely not. Do I support the government giving a really cheap rate on a very long lease to some company who is politically connected? Absolutely not. Do I support a foreign company buying the lease and shipping the oil to their own country? Depends if they were the highest bidder. Likewise do I support a domestic company purchasing mineral rights and selling it at home, depends if they are the highest bidder. Likewise if they decide to NOT sell mineral rights that is also fine with me.

    Offshore drilling is not on the list of big issues of mine but I will use this subject to illustrate my point of view of publicly owned resources going into the hands of private firms. Of course oil companies would like the idea of receiving more oil, they are in the business of selling oil. Securing more supply

    Due to the fact that this is public land also opens up the problem that there are many other people who also being American have a claim to the property and don’t want to see it drilled for oil right now. This opinion is as every bit as valid as the idea that it should be drilled. People in both camps are both tax payers, voters, and Americans and being that this is public land both are allowed to express their points of view of what happens to already publicly owned property.

    Also, where does this money go? The state sells either the oil or the rights of the oil at some price to some company. Where does this money go? The real possibility is that this money would just end up in the black hole of government spending where residents will not be compensated equally via cash payment. It would definitely irritate me to see this money end up in the politicians hands to the point where I would probably vote against it. They already through more than enough money away and I don’t want any more government programs. This resource is very valuable and I would rather not want to see it wasted by the government.

    You see assuming this would be done by the State of California I would be 1/30,000,000th owner of California’s publicly owned property. For every $30mil of revenue that comes from this I should be entitled to $1, likewise for every $30billion I should be entitled to $1000. In Alaska every resident receives a check every year (generally a few thousand dollars I beleive) from oil revenues because their public land is being drilled and this is compensation for there share of the money obtained.

    Hope that stupid comment is a little bit clearer now and this topic is far more complex than more oil in market = cheaper gas prices.

  21. Riley

    Stop the nonsense.

    You know as well as i do … and everyone else… that US coastal areas out to sea are NOT going to be sold anytime soon.

    So the government sells leases in the area to the highest bidder. Nothing wrong with that as far as I can see. Why are you making up all these piddly excuses as to why this is wrong.

    You actually think the big bad oil companies would be frozen out if the areas were parcelled out and sold. Give me a break.

    And the lease monies collected could be dispursed in the same way as you suggested.

  22. Nonsense? There are plenty of reasons to object to both support and object to the idea and I have been outlining them. I never called the oil companies bad, they perform a valuable service. Likewise they sell oil and will always look to obtain the cheapest oil they can and may possibly go to state owned oil reserves for resources. We have been subjected to no bid contracts lately given to politically connected firms and its a trend that I don’t want to see continue.

    If the state were to lease the oil rights to the highest bidders and then take the revenue and give it back in the form of cash to the people who live here I would call that a best case scenario. There is NOTHING assuring that will be the nature of how offshore drilling will occur. I don’t receive a check from the offshore drilling going on right now and should this trend continue I doubt I will see money from future drilling. JC, you and I may agree on a practical way to parcel the mineral rights and distribute the revenue to the citizens who hold claim of the public property but that does not mean the government will actually implement such a scheme.

    Should these billions of dollars go to just massively increasing the size of the state you should easily be able to tell how I would oppose such a measure. I don’t want big government, I don’t want offshore drilling selling a valuable resource which I am technically part owner of to go and be used to increase the size of government.

    Assuming there will be drilling…
    Best case scenario : Oil rights leases go out to the highest bidders on an open market (possibly even on a per barrel basis), money is then distributed equally among citizens in the form of actual cash.

    Worse case scenario : Oil rights go out to politically connected firms at sub market prices. Oil revenue then goes into the hands of the government where it is either squandered or used in a manner to increase the size and scope of government, which I find highly deplorable.

    Based on past trends I am not ruling out the worst case scenario from occurring.

  23. I’m sorry, but you are saying US leases go out on a closed bid? My understanding is they were always on an open bid bid when first farmed out.

    However if what you say is true, it still doesn’t take away the fact that the Dems are against drilling for other reasons which has nothing to do with open bidding. That as far as I know has never been part of their objection.

  24. It’s a stupid comment unworthy or attaching the word “reasonable” to any part of it.

    JC – I suppose you’re entitled to your opinion. I stand by mine. Riley made a point that has merit and is worthy of discussion. I don’t think it was stupid.

  25. Good points, Riley. Perhaps Obama will ‘soften’ his opposition to the extent of allowing it with strict conditions along the lines of cash payments to the American public. He has suggested something similar for the money oil companies are making now (which I oppose, because there’s no such thing as ‘excessive’ profit) that could be a model for offshore drilling.

    Something that seems to have been missed in this discussion is the fact that the available oil being considered for drilling isn’t that much, and won’t make that much of a difference. And won’t come online for years.

  26. Something that seems to have been missed in this discussion is the fact that the available oil being considered for drilling isn’t that much, and won’t make that much of a difference. And won’t come online for years

    Nonsense. Any any amount of oil that is considered to be economically extractable by the oil companies will make a difference.

    How do you arrive at this conclusion exactly?

  27. “How do you arrive at this conclusion exactly?”

    The lag is normal, and it’s not really a problem since all new sources have one, though a lack of transport ships are an additional delaying factor in this case. Call it 10 years.

    The reserves in these off-limits areas are estimated at 18 billion barrels. For comparison, that’s 14 months of America’s current consumption. The Centre for Energy and Environmental Studies says in the best-case scenario, the US could only produce an additional 2 to 4 million barrels a day. That’s not going to impact much on the price of the 86 billion a day currently consumed worldwide.

    Then there is OPEC – what’s to stop them reducing their production by however much the US increases its own, to keep prices high? I don’t really think they would, but it shows how price reductions aren’t guaranteed.

  28. The reserves in these off-limits areas are estimated at 18 billion barrels. For comparison, that’s 14 months of America’s current consumption. The Centre for Energy and Environmental Studies says in the best-case scenario, the US could only produce an additional 2 to 4 million barrels a day. That’s not going to impact much on the price of the 86 billion a day currently consumed worldwide.

    You can’t look at additional supply and think of it this that context. It’s stupid and therefore the main reason why lefties use it.

    Lefties have used that for every single fucking potential discovery. They say that ANWAR shouldn’t be developed for the reason that in the context of total US demand the reserves are small.

    You don’t look at it that way. These discoveries add to reserves at the margin which is a good thing. The deciding factor in any of this ISN’T what it does in the context of supplying all the demand for US assuming current production was turned off. It’s what it does at the margin. More importantly the question is answered by firm decisions to extract the oil.

    Furthermore firms extract the oil with a view or maximizing their returns on a particular price point on the price curve so the idea of looking at these reserves in terms of total US annual demand is too stupid to even consider. These reserves would most probably last 30 years or so on current technology.

    Then there is OPEC – what’s to stop them reducing their production by however much the US increases its own, to keep prices high? I don’t really think they would, but it shows how price reductions aren’t guaranteed.

    Stop it with this shit will you. Additional supply sources have and always will have the effect of putting a downward pressure on price.

    The trouble is that you seem to go to sites like Slate etc.

  29. “The Centre for Energy and Environmental Studies says in the best-case scenario, the US could only produce an additional 2 to 4 million barrels a day. That’s not going to impact much on the price of the 86 billion a day currently consumed worldwide.”

    Yes it will Jarrah. Consider elasticities.

  30. “do congressional Democratic primaries have rules that requires selection of the stupidest people available to go to Washington?”

    Actually yes. The problem in the US is that politicians draw electoral boundaries (except in maybe one or two States), so all seats are safe, meaning that it’s winning the primary that matters.

    And who votes in primaries? The party activists who are much less centrist than the electorate. So to win a Democratic Party primary you need to be a bright pink, fairies at the bottom of the garden, socialist fruitcake, or at least pretend to be one.

    Same is true on the Republican side (except there you’ve got to be a gun loving, neo-con wing nut). Which is why politics here in the good old US of A is so much more bitter and divisive than back home with our political Tweedledum and Tweddledee…

  31. Yes Dan, that’s why I tend to vote independent or minor parties. The party machine politics has corrupted political proceses. It is one reason why the left and right keep yelling at each other, both have succumbed to the same processes that encourage the divisiveness. That’s why I find it laughable when people shout across the fence calling each other idiots and morons. That’s why Obama has attracted so much attention, people are vainly hoping he represents an escape from that madness. It won’t happen though, once he is consolidated in that environment the probabilities are he will fall prey to the same processes. Fortunately for me, with my behaviorists leanings, I can much more easily appreciate how the environment can so shape our thinking than people who think about behavior by reference to rationality and individual responsiblity.

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