Department of Interior Renews the “Drill Baby Drill” Mantra Seeking Energy Dominance for United States

by Duane Nichols on May 5, 2017

Interior Secretary Signs Documents 2017

“Trump appointees offer muscular support for oil and gas”

From an Article by Chris Tomlinson, Houston Chronicle, May 4, 2017

The Trump administration is promising to slap a testosterone patch on the oil and gas industry to help it bend nature and the world to its will.

“How do we incentivize American energy dominance? And I choose my words carefully: dominance,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke declared. “There is a difference in energy independence, and there is a difference in energy dominance. We’re in a position to be dominant. And if we, as a country, want to have national security, and an economy that we all desperately need, then dominance is what America needs.”

Zinke is a convincing emissary for President Donald Trump’s macho approach to public policy. The former college football player spent nearly half of his address to the Offshore Technology Conference touting his background as a Navy SEAL commander. As a congressman, he voted consistently against applying new regulations to the oil and gas industry.

Let’s give credit where credit is due, though. Trump introduced this new buzzword into the oil patch lexicon. Zinke is merely implementing Trump’s policy, which begins with reviewing the Department of Interior’s five-year plan for leasing offshore blocks to oil and natural gas companies.

Trump signed an executive order last week instructing Zinke to review the current five-year plan issued by the Obama administration. In a signing ceremony at OTC on Monday, Zinke ordered his deputy/acting assistant secretary for land and minerals management, Katharine MacGregor, to begin the review.

On Wednesday, MacGregor repeated the call to dominate, which by definition, requires someone or something else to submit. “What is the task at hand? I think the secretary has been very clear, it’s energy dominance,” she said with a self-conscious chuckle. “It’s not energy independence. He’s focused on energy dominance. Both President Trump and Secretary Zinke have been clear on that goal.”

And, of course, that means drill, baby, drill.

“We cannot achieve energy dominance without a vibrant offshore energy economy,” she added. “We need to signal that new areas are open.” All areas are on the table for drilling, she suggested, including the Atlantic Seaboard and the West Coast, two areas that are currently off limits.

MacGregor also stressed clearing the way for collecting more seismic data, which reveals what natural resources may lie below the seafloor. Environmental groups have opposed new seismic testing off the East and West coasts, arguing that it is unnecessary in areas off limits. Some groups also argue that the sound waves produced by the equipment hurt wildlife.

Zinke and MacGregor insist that we need to know what’s out there before the government rules out drilling for it. The politics will be tricky since many people along those coasts, especially in California, oppose anything that could move the industry a step closer to drilling in those waters.

“Clearly, the coastal governors will have different views about where they want to see offshore development,” MacGregor admitted, though she indicated that Zinke maybe looking to pick a fight with Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown. “The secretary has had quite a few questions about California, and other areas that seem to come up every time you talk about a five-year plan.”

MacGregor asked offshore industry executives to do their part to support the review, since publishing a new five-year plan requires 255 days of public comment before it can take effect. “It is so critical that we seize this opportunity right now, because when it comes to leasing and access, you are putting us on a path now for a more diverse future,” she added.

Zinke and MacGregor received enthusiastic applause from the industry audience, most of whom left the presentations with Cheshire cat grins.

But the Interior Department will almost certainly face significant pushback elsewhere in the country, and more than likely a flood of lawsuits from landowners and conservationists who want to keep drilling limited to the Gulf of Mexico. That’s because many Americans will see this bid for energy dominance as an attempt to make them submit to the oil and gas industry. And they will not give up without a fight, even if a former Navy SEAL is on the other side.

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Mantra Speak May 5, 2017 at 8:11 am

The Meaning or Meaninglessness of Mantras

There is a long history of scholarly disagreement on the meaning of mantras and whether they are really instruments of mind, as implied by the etymological origin of the word mantra. One school suggests mantras are mostly meaningless sound constructs, while the other holds them to be mostly meaningful linguistic instruments of mind.[11]

Both schools agree that mantras have melody and a well designed mathematical precision in their construction, and that their influence on the reciter and listener is similar to that observed on people around the world listening to their beloved music that is devoid of words.[3][6]

Staal[6] presents a non-linguistic view of mantras. He suggests that verse mantras are metered and harmonized to mathematical precision (for example, in the viharanam technique), which resonate, but a lot of them are a hodgepodge of meaningless constructs such as are found in folk music around the world.

Staal cautions that there are many mantras that can be translated and do have spiritual meaning and philosophical themes central to Hinduism, but that does not mean all mantras have literal meaning. He further notes that even when mantras do not have literal meaning, they do set a tone and ambience in the ritual as they are recited, and thus have a straightforward and uncontroversial ritualistic meaning.[6]

The sounds may lack literal meaning, but they can have an effect. He compares mantras to bird songs, that have the power to communicate, yet do not have a literal meaning.[23] On that saman category of Hindu mantras, which Staal described as resembling the arias of Bach’s oratorios and other European classics, he notes that these mantras have musical structure, but they almost always are completely different from anything in the syntax of natural languages. Mantras are literally meaningless, yet musically meaningful to Staal.[24]

The saman chant mantras were transmitted, from one Hindu generation to next, verbally for over 1000 years, but never written, a feat suggests Staal that was made possible by the strict mathematical principles used in constructing the mantras. These saman chant mantras are also mostly meaningless, cannot be literally translated as Sanskrit or any Indian language, but nevertheless are beautiful in their resonant themes, variations, inversions and distribution.[6] They draw the devotee in.

Staal is not the first person to view Hindu mantras in this manner. The ancient Hindu Vedic ritualist Kautsa was one of the earliest scholars to note that mantras are meaningless; their function is phonetic and syntactic, not semantic.[25]


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