Lance K. Pugh




While enjoying a steaming cup of herb tea last Sunday I came across an article in the New York Times that simultaneously uplifted and depressed my spirits. It was about an Israeli/Renault-Nissan alliance that seeks to free Israel from the bulk of its dependence on oil by building an electric car network including battery replacement stations, making it possible for transportation to go green in the desert.




Elegant electric cars, powered by lithia-ion batteries and subsidized by the Israeli government will, within just a few years mostly replace current petroleum fueled vehicles allowing this small country to slip the coils of Middle-East oil.




This rapid development is the brainchild of Shai-Agassi, a 39 year old founder of Silicon-Valley based Project Better Place, which conceived the network and will supple the long-lasting and highly reliable batteries for the undertaking. Under the ground-breaking model, "purchasers get subsidized hardware &

the car &

and pay a monthly fee for expected mileage, like minutes on a cell phone plan, eliminating concerns about the fluctuating price of gasoline."




"Today is a new age with new dangers and the greatest danger is that of oil," said Israeli President Shimon Peres. "It is the greatest polluter of our age and oil is the greatest financial terror."




I was inspired by the size and scope of the project, while concomitantly in a funk that our federal administration, predominantly run by the Big Oil family, has carefully, shrewdly and deceitfully run our ship of state aground in the vast and life-consuming sands of Iraq, firmly grasping the past with $100 a barrel oil, the cost of which is passed on to a nation slowing realizing that it has been conned into war planned well before 9/11.




For those of you who might have missed the obvious, the Center for Public Integrity today released a comprehensive study stating that President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.




Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses. Also documented as assisting in this seeding of lies and falsehoods were Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.




The study did not include a guy I met who insisted that anywhere on earth where oil exists should become a democracy, however much military intervention that might be required by the United States. He also wants to keep out "all them foreigners (sic)," conveniently overlooking and forgiving that he and his wife are both the grand-children of immigrants who managed to arrive here before 1920, when no restrictions existed on who could enter the country. He also contends that we are "wining" in Iraq, that Saddam trained the 9/11 pilots, Katrina was a way for God to punish sinners, global warming is a myth, the earth is only 5,000 years old and that the economy is thriving, as anyone who wants a job can get one flipping burgers, though at minimum wage, which is already too high and not to be confused with High School, which he successfully avoided years ago.




I'll let you guess his party affiliation.




But, hey, everyone has a right to an opinion, even if they don't read and get all their information from Fox News.




It's time to get things right and the best place to start is the here and now. Ashland needs to show by example, starting with our municipal car fleet, then do what we can for the rest of the town. Our "free" market system, bolstered by legions of lobbyists in the nation's capitol and ad agencies galore have helped mold us to believe that bigger is better and conservation is for wimps.




It's time to strap on a green backbone.