Drill baby drill!

1000 Days of Theory

Drill baby drill!

The Republican National Convention:

RUDOLPH GIULIANI: John McCain will lower taxes so our economy can grow. (Cheers, applause.) He’ll reduce government to strengthen our dollar. He’ll expand free trade so we can be more competitive. And he will lead us to energy independence so we can be free of foreign oil. (Cheers, applause.) And — and he’ll do it with an all-of-the-above approach, including nuclear power and, yes, offshore oil drilling. (Cheers, applause, chants of “Drill, baby, drill!”.) Drill, baby, drill? (Laughs, cheers, applause.) Drill, baby, drill! (Chants of “Drill, baby, drill!”.) This — this — this is the kind of change — (chants of “Drill, baby, drill!”.) Hey, you guys we’re ready to break out! Woo!

AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Drill, baby, drill! Drill, baby, drill! Drill, baby, drill! Drill, baby, drill! Drill, baby, drill! Drill, baby, drill! [1]

Dead Horse Alaska is boomtown on the north slope,
jagged derrick towers and modular steel shelters are foregrounded
against a perpetual gray of encroaching sea stratus,
it is company town to BP, Exxon, & ConocoPhillips,
it is a bleak fa├žade in a bone numbing wilderness,
its Arctic Circle solitude promises a ghost town destiny,
a rusting silhouette vanishing in methane fog of tundra

On the rigs at sea are men at work,
men used to working with titan pumping units
and patriot down hole sucker rod pumps to harvest ocean seabeds;
when a new crewman with no experience starts he is called a “worm”,
a roustabout doing odd jobs, carrying bags of drilling mud, painting,
doing those lowly “worm” jobs
while rough necks drill into Triassic sandstone nine thousand feet below,
to suck oil from alluvial fans nestling black reservoirs
in Sadlerchit formations;
in a rig’s control room sits a worker at a video monitor
clutching a joystick, guiding coiled metal tubing snaking sideways
into seabed, he is in search of peripherals, in search of lighter molecules,
in search of a final gaseous harvest in virgin continental shelf,
not yet violated or profaned by the penetrations
of diamond encrusted drill bit,
or left to bleed petroleum in death zone brine

John McCain will lower taxes so our economy can grow.
He’ll reduce government to strengthen our dollar.
He’ll expand free trade so we can be more competitive.
And he will lead us to energy independence so we can be
free of foreign oil.

Since ancient summers caribou have descended to calve near here,
to escape pestilent swarms of tundra mosquitoes incessantly
sucking blood at an extraction rate of five gallons per season,
when times are good for these vampire hordes
they enter migrations through expanding nostrils of Rangifer tarandus
that are optimized for survival in frozen wilderness,
that are built to filter ice crystals into warm lungs,
but, also serve as safe passages for tiny flying insects
who condense while passing through mucus membranes
to implant larva in a hatchery of reindeer plasma,
to feast on entrails, to scavenge internal organs,
boring their way out though dark sinew and shrinking venison,
exiting gaping flesh wound in porcupine hide

The north slope since 67′ suffers its own flesh eating destiny
more than twelve billion barrels of oil later,
more than sixty parts per million (ppm)
increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide later;
now past half-life, Prudhoe Bay is down seventy five percent
in production from peak oil in ’87,

he’ll do it with an all-of-the-above approach,
including nuclear power and, yes, offshore oil drilling

Folks come up here to work two week hauls working rigs
for twelve hours a day, it’s a grimy lot who leaves each shift,
and the shifts never stop because of the incessant pumping of crude,
cash’s not bad either for blue collar workers
sucking up oil beneath ocean,
but, not much to do after work because this boomtown’s not sellin’ liquor,
nothing to do at night but shoot pool, eat grilled meat,
and watch Fox breaking news stories;
the history of aboriginals in this area of semi-permanent darkness,
in this vast expanse of white, for which white liberals claim
are twenty seven words to describe its varying shades and hues,
is of the genocidal gulp of hard water that almost destroyed
the First Northern Nations,
these are the lessons learned by Big Oil’s human resources
who don’t want no one on the job site stoned and ground up
to shut production down

drill baby drill

The suits down at the homes office are too busy to care for casualties
anyway, they’ve other fish to fry, long ago they shifted
attention to natural gas, a swapping out of petrochemicals,
because when the current resources are gone,
when these wells are tapped out,
other mineral dreams lay on the horizon,
next up are perhaps a few hundred trillion cubic ft
of natural gas reserves; streamed capitalism in its most elemental form,
streaming methane molecules,
to be sped along through chilled pressurized pipeline stretching
from the North Slope to old sweet home, port of Chicago,
and from there on to the suburbs,
this project has an expected thirty-five year life cycle,
it’s to be the largest ever privately funded project in history
when BP and CP signed the deal,
Governor Palin declared: ?It?s a good day,?

drill baby drill

They will have to make due with this project until the K street boys
build political bridges to ANWAR; building bridges to nowhere
of course, are easily finessed and funded up here
but ANWAR is hardly nowhere, or Erehwon,
it is not Utopia except for some birthing caribou,
whose ancient migrations do not fit neatly into
the ten thousand market calculations involved
in the crack spread and futures price of the oil hedging market;
migratory birds, caribou herds, wolf packs, and polar bears,
cannot provide surplus value equivalent
to ten or twenty billion barrels of crude

you guys we’re ready to break out!
drill baby drill

In fact, the suits are getting a bit nervous peering out from their
boardroom suites through the sunlight reflections of glass office towers
in Anchorage, Houston, London,
arctic foxes slyly pacing tiled marble floors,
chewing down on twenty buck cigars,
they are on the phone talking to the Saks skirt in the state capital,
who, shaking her finger at Earth, pronounces it under
domination of Genesis 1-26
Earth is in fact getting hotter, but they can’t blame us,
how about those darn sun spots, those natural cycles,
it’s not old Joe six-pack or those NASCAR dads,
who love to snort smoked rubber, inhale high octane leaded gasoline,
mainline hydrocarbons in tattooed veins, who should be repentant,
rather ye’ cities should repent for the holocaust of aborted fetuses,

Belief allows imagination to run wild but, whatever
the metaphysics of crude,
America mainlines well over seven billion barrels of it,
that is the exchange value of terrestrial pristine,
the last great American Wilderness reduced
to about a year and a half of consumption,
the North Slope is our final manifest destiny

This — this — this is a kind of change
drill baby drill

In summer the arctic oceans are navigable
and although history stretches back a ways
for the first time in recent memory the Northwest Passage
opens up to the Northern Sea Route,
if you can dodge the icebergs you can now
circumnavigate the North Pole,
what’s good news for sailing vessels is bad news for wildlife,
receding ice floes force polar bears to swim for days in search of food
not finding disappearing seal, these great totem beasts
have turned upon themselves; polar bears have turned cannibal,
at this rate they will be gone before 2099 rolls around,

drill baby drill

The rate of arctic sea ice vanishing
is over nine percent decade over decade,
the ice fields off Ellesmere Island are ten percent
of those when Peary explored in 1906,
its albedo reduced to oceanic opacity,
its ultraviolet reflector to heat sponge,
the Yukon permafrost line has already moved
one hundred kilometers northward,
as it crumbles the tundra vents carbon dioxide and methane,
these greenhouse gases will enter the atmosphere
at a rate of ten thousand coal fired factories coming on line,
additional melting, additional emissions, additional warming,
additional melting, that’s the tipping point,
that’s exponential acceleration,

this this is a kind of change
you ready to break out

But this is good news for those sly scavengers of the North
preparing press statements about the polar seabeds
“enormous reserve potential” citing scientific evidence of huge,
floating mats of azolla, floating prehistoric ferns
that covered much of the Arctic Ocean during the planetary hothouse era
fifty million years ago, that decomposed after the age of dinosaurs,
what that means is “vast hydrocarbon resources”
can be tapped now beneath the polar ice cap.

drill baby drill

The Russians have already planted their titanium flag
on the arctic seabed, because as the pie is sliced on a Mercator
projection they own 8/18ths of the arctic shelf,
not to be out done Canada is staking claim to half of that
with a few billion loonies;
there will be a boom for those countries on shipping routes
opening up from Germany to Japan,
what it all means is that positive feedback loops will go into over drive,
oceans will become less soluble,
the Inuits of Kuujjuaq have just ordered air conditioners

drill baby drill
drill baby drill

Low-lying coastal areas of Florida and Louisiana
will be flooded by the sea before the century is out,
guess which populations will be ethnically cleansed?
New York City residents will head inland to Ohio to retire,
where those would be Florida residents,
will be added to the ranks of those using Diebold voting machines;
machines that decide elections for Big Oil,
machines that decide elections by disciplining earth
for ideologies of consumption,
machines that move sea levels hundreds of feet inland,
and mess up crop yields in the Midwest,
forty million metric tons of cereal grains wheat, barley, corn,
will no longer be harvested but,
will be left to the economic destiny of bio-engineering firms
genetically facilitating mutations in nutritional forms,
before sweetening them with corn syrups and s-glutamate
so we can fatten up for the roasting of flesh,
as it vanishes in carbon dusk

woo… this this is a kind of change
drill baby drill
drill baby drill

The trajectory of global temperatures since the Enlightenment
is a trajectory of the catastrophic,
in 1800 some ten million tons of coal were mined annually,
as steam engines raged in Yorkshire,
when Blake was born in 1757 the atmospheric concentration
of ?fixed air? was two hundred eighty ppm,
when he left his body in 1827 it had risen to two hundred eight five ppm,
in a life span of seventy years ending today CO2 would have increased
at a rate of more than fifteen times that,
that’s the tipping point, that’s exponential acceleration,

When Blake was born, before Marx,
when Christianity stood resistant to money changers and satanic mills,

when over the hills, the vales,
the cities, rage the red flames fierce;
the Heavens melted from north to south;
and Urizen who sat above all heavens
in thunders wrap’d, emerg’d his leprous head
when reason cast its net to the souls of men
[2]

when fire was subdued and Fuzon crucified,
when surplus labor consumed by silicosis was sacrificed
to the coal fired locomotive,
when manifest destiny first became technologically feasible,
when past, present, and future were compressed into
the eternity of an hour,
when the withering shadow of Dead Horse dissipates
in the slanted polar light with the birthing grounds of caribou,

i>when we are ready to break out
this is also a kind of change
drill baby drill
drill baby drill
drill baby drill

But it is Urizen, the demiurge now chanting with the delegates,
his single vision gazing out myopically from Newtonian sleep,
his massive hands unfurling an American flag,
it is streaming confetti in the Evangelical spectacle,
a false idol craving for salvation,
his expanding nostrils exhorting brimstone on calving glacier,
his white eye aperture flashing from red to blue,
his thundering voice rising up in unison
with the slogans of the party faithful,
while heaving a hundred year tempest toward the Mississippi shores,
the great god shapeshifting,
in the teenage fetishes of the Grand Old Party,
an avatar morphing in an Ionesco drama
is now a Rhinoceros charging through a theater of the absurd,
only he is savagely driving an SUV toward the Alaskan delegation,
as the pit bulls and hockey moms scatter chaotically for the exits.

Notes

[1] Rudolph Giuliani. The Los Angeles Times, 2008 http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/
la-na-giulianitranscript4-2008sep04,0,5260395.story

[2] Blake William. Blake’s “America: A Prophecy” and “Europe: A Prophecy”: Facsimile Reproductions of Two Illuminated Books, New York: Dover Press, 1984.

Richard Carlson is the founder/chairman of Pacific Weather Inc, a firm that monitors meteorological conditions at airports throughout the United States. His pursuits include all matters related to jazz, poetry, integral yoga, critical theory, and global climate change. He holds a Master of Arts degree from Antioch University and currently resides with family on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.