Acquisquishin’ (Excerpt)

Excerpt from Gabriel versus Lucifer

At this juncture we should pause to again consider the “consent of the governed.” Did the governed ever consent to the influence big business exerts within government? When consumers buy products, should they consider how their suppliers use profits” When investors fund companies, should they take the company’s performance, with respect to social responsibility, into consideration? Should they take a company’s assertions at face value, or is some due-diligence in order?

At this period in its development, Earth is largely dependent on fossil fuels controlled by a powerful few. Consider the shell game that took place during the year of 2000. Oil prices suddenly rose, making it more difficult for people of modest means to obtain the fuel necessary to power the vehicles used to move to and from their places of employment. As one might expect in a realm of limited virtue, there was lots of finger pointing.

When the U.S. government pointed to decisions by a consortium of oil producing nations as the triggering event, it was then called to explain why the U.S. was no longer an oil-producing nation. When asked to explain how national security was served through a decades long de-emphasis of alternative energy and an increased dependency on foreign oil, elected representatives answered in their trademark gibberish.

When some people then asked why the government was effectively subsidizing the oil supply by picking up much of the tab for defense of the oil producing nations, the shell game should have come to a spectacular end. But it didn’t, due to the failure of the media with respect to its mission.

While the rest of the citizenry waited patiently for the traditional media to start asking the promised “tough questions,” ones that were to insure continued relevance of the press, the oil companies blamed the government for regulations mandating additives. The companies never had to account for the savings accrued by cutting the petroleum content of their product by as much as ten percent. Instead the government held that the additives used to make ethanol blends such as gasohol, though derived from renewable resources such as domestically produced corn and wheat, were too expensive. At any rate, for informed citizens the questions linger, were the additives used to cut the oil more expensive than the oil? And, which politicians are wholly owned and operated by big oil?

Government subsidies in the form of a blender’s tax credit for the production of Gasohol have been controversial from the time of their inception. Especially since among the main beneficiaries are a few large agribusiness conglomerates. However, the accounting authorities within the federal government have once again denied the voting public any basis for comparison.

The major portion of petroleum continues to flow from the least stable region on the planet. The defense of the foreign oil pipeline, with human lives and military budgets, represents not only a subsidy, but a huge and largely unaccounted for subsidy like no other. Those fuels long considered “not viable” alternatives look pretty good when the true cost of oil is taken into account. But it won’t be considered if the oil industry has anything to say about it. The federal government has demonstrated that it cannot be counted upon for an honest accounting that reflects the true cost for each component of the ethanol blends. Institutional self-perpetuation as a cardinal precept is not compatible with truth where the constituent profit motivations govern.

Since the oil embargoes of the early 1970’s the people of the United States have become more dependent on foreign oil not less. Since that time both major political parties have enjoyed extended terms in power with no coherent energy policy from either side. There is a paralysis due to the self-serving interests of politicians effectively bought and sold by big business.

In addition to Gospel Quash and the Shell Game there is another game with a similar objective. This one is called AcquiSquishin’. Here a company will target or acquire an innovative upstart or a promising new technology for the purpose of squishing it like a bug. It is not unlike the game played decades ago when bus manufacturers bought trolley companies to put the latter out of business. But in the more modern variation, these new technologies are usually disposed of before they gain the public’s attention.

For example, a major manufacturer’s co-generation system promised to produce electricity enough for a single family home from natural gas. Where did it go? Stirling engine powered generators and home freezers, hydrogen-power, anything that might help the consumer cut the public utility umbilical is deemed impractical. Not because of any insurmountable problem with technical viability but because of acquisquishin’ and an artificial barrier to market entry.

Let’s examine the barrier to hydrogen power. Do you remember when Ben Franklin flew a kite during a storm to learn about lightening? That famous experiment concerning the electric potential of an object in the sky was duplicated on the 6th of May in 1937. As mooring lines were dropped to ground a “high docking” dirigible, the giant electric charge collector burst into flames over Lakehurst, New York.

The silver airship Hindenburg was built with Third Reich funding. It was run by the Nazi Minister of Propaganda and displayed giant swastikas on the tail section as it crossed the Atlantic twenty one times. Loudspeakers made Nazi propaganda announcements over cities and thousands of small Nazi flags were dropped to float down like tiny parachutes, thrilling school children and others that watched the giant Zeppelin pass. On the evening it burned, the Hindenburg carried ninety-seven persons. Thirty-five people died that night.

The Airship featured an 813-foot long aluminum frame. It used a Goodyear-formula for its gelatin-latex membrane cemented between two layers of woven fabric that contained 7,200,000 cubic feet of hydrogen in 16 bags. Its commanding silver appearance was due to a surface varnish of powdered aluminum in a paint formula that resembles the chemistry of modern, solid, booster rocket fuel.

Hindenburg investigator and electrical engineer Otto Beyersdorff posted a handwritten letter in German on June 28, 1937. Translated from German the letter states “The actual cause of the fire was the extreme easy flammability of the covering material brought about by discharges of an electrostatic nature …” NASA investigator Dr. Addison Bain later verified this finding through scientific experiments that duplicated the vigorous ignition by static discharge to the aluminum powder filled covering material. Dr. Bain noted that the particular type of aluminum powder particles, which are flake like in shape, are particularly sensitive to electrical discharge.

Dr. Bain concluded that the Hindenburg would have burned and crashed even if helium would have been used as the lifting gas. And if the Hindenburg had carried the equivalent energy potential in the form of gasoline, the loss of life would have surely included many more of the crew, passengers, and the 200-member landing team.

In 1916, twenty one years before this Nazi propaganda machine burst into flames, Louis Enricht sold his hydrogen formula for powering cars to the Maxim Munitions Corporation for a reported one million dollars. A spokesman for Maxim announced that “experiments up to this time prove conclusively that this invention, when fully perfected in some of its minor details, will be revolutionary in character.”

In 1965 Roger Billings modified a Model-A Ford to run on hydrogen. A 1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo operated on hydrogen stored in either cryogenic or metal hydride containers. That prototype was used during 1974 for demonstrations in California, Utah, and Washington, D.C. The cryogenic system was developed by Beech Aircraft Corporation. Laboratory tests simulated over 200,000 miles of driving. The iron-titanium hydride container was developed by Billings Energy Research Corporation and was located in the area of the car previously occupied by the gasoline tank. The two storage systems could be operated independently but, as they were configured for the demonstration, blow off from the cryogenic tank was transferred to the metal hydrides and saved for later use.

In 1977 Billings drove a hydrogen-powered Cadillac in President Carter’s Inauguration parade. Billings demonstrated the safety of the hydride container by firing into it from a high powered rifle. Salts ran out of the holes but nothing else happened. By passing the hydrogen gas into a tank of metallic hydrides, the free H was locked. When needed it could be released through an increase in temperature. There were some engine related problems with corrosion and compression but the Wankle with its aluminum block and variable compression would solve both. The next advances however, would necessarily take place in countries without a well entrenched, progress retarding, energy lobby.

During the next quarter of a century if you wanted tangible evidence of alternative energy progress you would have to look outside the United States. The metallic hydride system would be further developed by Mitsubishi resulting an a fifty times improvement in weight to power ratios. Mercedes used the same elemental principles to develop its WasserWagon. Ballard Power Corporation of Canada supplied Engines, based on its zero-emission proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, to Europe’s Fuel Cell Bus Project, to the public transport authorities in London and for the public transport system in Perth, Western Australia.

Speak of hydrogen power and the American media will revert to its film archives, and the only thing it can produce on a budget with any certainty, a flaming and fear invoking Hindenburg. During 2003, the same year that President George W. Bush announced a paltry 1.2 billion dollar set-aside for research into hydrogen powered cars, one could drive the USA from coast to coast and see fewer fuel efficient cars on the road than in the city of Dubai. And Dubai is located within the oil rich United Arab Emirates.

On June 12, 2003, the President of SmartCar Research, Marc-Henry Grau, posted a letter on the company’s web site. The banner headline read: “The Daimler Chrysler MCC Smart Car from Germany will not be coming to the USA despite all our efforts and research.” In his letter Grau asserts that agencies of the U. S. Government had ” already made the ultimate decision and evaluation that the Smart Car can not be modified for the US-Roadways and they will not let me prove it!”

Grau poses just one question in his public statement: “If the Car has not had crash tests; How you can say that it DOES NOT qualify for modification for the US-roads. We had a plan to show it does, exceeds your standards.” He continues: “Thanks for not permitting me to bring one in to prove it after you said I could bring one in for testing and certification.”

The SmartCar has impressive fuel efficiency of approximately 48 miles-per-gallon city and 67 for the highway. Contrast this to the consumption rate of popular sports utility vehicles and one can only conclude that the Government of the United States is not sincere in its calls for energy conservation.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) bases much of its planning on projections that it will have wealth for the next hundred years. And that is because it estimates its oil reserves will last for about one hundred years. One could argue the law of supply and demand. But, in the area of energy conservation and despite its rhetoric, the United States of America has demonstrated the self control of a heroin addict. That is why people in the Arab world and elsewhere cite the fossil fuels legacy of the US Administration as they doubt its sincerity and its justifications for invading Iraq.

One of the US Administrations great detractors has been President Jacques Chirac of France. History will likely record Chirac as a great enabler of Saddam Hussein. How did Iraq come to owe France so much money in the age of UN embargoes? Why wasn’t Saddam able to dig a better hole for himself with all of that great French tunneling equipment? Should countries that impeded efforts to liberate Iraq share in the rebuilding of Iraq?

These are the questions Americans ask. And they are good questions. But they should also be asking if post-war contracts to rebuild Iraq will inure to the benefit of American workers just because they are awarded to American companies? And if not, is there any justification for corporate welfare in America to continue? Should voting Americans continue to enable the kind of corporate behavior they’ve witnessed?

Some young Americans have begun to treat their forebears as if fossil fuel had been redefined to mean any combustible retirement aged person. Adolph Hitler was quoted as saying “The bigger the lie the more people will buy it.” And these people have bought the same lies about “energy independence” for well over three decades. While the US Government wants to restore faith in the integrity of American Corporations, post Enron. The people of the United States have no more confidence in their government’s numbers than they have in WorldCom’s.

Acquisquishin’ would dictate that the well entrenched elitists of legacy energy in the USA should reinforce the market entry barrier, slow the progression, diddle with the numbers, manipulate the market forces, starve or acquire the competitors and buy time for assuming control of any new technology.

The problem is that these hoarders are sinking the USA by having operated at the expense of an entire country’s competitiveness. The US Government’s long hiatus from alternative energy development was courtesy of politicians wholly owned and operated by big energy. And US competitiveness has been severely damaged by a rearview outlook that is a matter of national policy.

One can not understand world dynamics through an isomorphic view of the United States. This is a time when Americans will have to burst through their circumscribed world view. It is when they are being forced to make a choice between nationalism and internationalism, between geocracy and democracy. It is when they are agonizing over decisions about off-shoring, outsourcing, immigration and employment at home.

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