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Commentary: Stop Reading the Tea Leaves and Just Drink the Coffee…Mark Kuppe

Acero Engineering

By Mark Kuppe – hard-working lover of fossil fuels, and my wife

I was going to call this write-up “Communists in Calgary” (or similar) and take some shots at the out-going mayor (Who takes a double pension ever? Who does that? Our out-going mayor does) but that would be insensitive and as well, I’ve been told not to make these editorials political.

By the way, I may have painted across the fine line of propriety with this article (but I think it’s necessary) and so, in the defense of those that I work with and in deference or respect of their beliefs, I must state that this article does not necessarily reflect the views of anyone but my own.  In fact, I suspect potential blowback for this.  So enjoy this or hate me for it… doesn’t really matter as it will likely be the last rant that I’m allowed to submit.

…but since we’re on the topic of politics, you might be wondering “why would the author want to be so political in an Oil and Gas magazine, and what’s any of this got to do with tea or coffee?”

Well since you’ve asked, I’ll present a brief response as that will segue nicely into the topic at hand anyhow:

No matter what your political stripe, it seems that populism is ruling the day.  We’ve got borderline rightwing fascists (at least according to the left) – think Donald Trump and what’s his nut in Brazil – and we’ve got leftwing communists (according to the people on the right) – think Sleepy Joe, Comrade Kamala ( & most Northern European Holier than thou Green Posers – and they are all pointing their puritan fingers at each other with moral outrage and sometimes flat out violence.  How did we get here?

But first, a message from your sponsor:

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My personal take is that a lot of these issues have come about from deep-seated transference of guilt.  In fact, the terminology is “wealth guilt” or even “middle class guilt” and versions of this have been around for a while.  Here’s a link to a great article about this malady. It’s a good read; it reveals why so many people are drinking the guilt Kool-aid and it dispels a lot of the misinformation as well:

Society is driven by the upper and the middle-class; our social benefits are unevenly paid for by the upper and middle classes.  So why do we keep attacking them (with even more newly introduced legislation specifically targeting them; both in the US and Canada)?  Because our historical missteps are somehow their fault? No, but the wealthy are an easy target and now somehow, this has caught on the middle class and in fact, to anyone with any sort of pro-business agenda.  … and somehow aspiring to be wealthy and pro-business has all sorts of other negative social connotations as well.  Let’s try to keep it real folks.   When did working hard to get ahead in life become such a sin?

The government has glommed on to the middle-class-guilt and they’ve been reaping the rewards.  We need to pay for this and that; we need to tax the abusers of that and this, etc. etc.

Normally I wouldn’t care about this noise but recently it has become not only very loud and annoying, it has somehow crept into everything we do in our daily lives.  I’m near the end of my career so why should I care?  I (and you) should care because what has been happening right now in the past couple years will have a long lasting impact on my (and your) children’s lives and the lives of their children.   So if I get barred from writing down any more of my politically incorrect thoughts or even get demoted, it will be worth it if this message resonates with at least one or two readers.

I’ve been “caught red-handed showing thoughts…. thoughts of an almost human nature.   This will not do. Someone call the schoolmaster…” – mostly borrowed from Pink Floyd (best rock band ever).

….and now, I finally get to the point of this spiel.

Before I unveil the golden nugget that you the reader can cherish for the rest of your life, I would like to just take this moment, while it lasts, to express my political, environmental and business views.

  • I believe in hard work and I believe that those who work hard and smartly, should have a platform to earn a decent living
  • I believe that the government has gotten way too big and has intruded way too far in our lives – side note on this (thanks to Pierre Poilievre & the World Bank) – Canada ranks 36th out of 37 nations for the time it takes to get a building permit!!!? Shameful.
  • I believe that businesses should be opened NOW – those that are still vulnerable to Corona Virus (can’t believe how badly Canada botched the roll-out of vaccines) should stay home until they get the shot
  • I believe that the federal government is the most destructive one Canada has ever seen and the fallout will be with us for decades
  • I believe that the public education system (to a large extent; and the unions controlling them), provincial NDP and our (Calgary’s) current city council (with the odd exception of a few councilors whose voices have been squashed under the constant rhetoric) have sold out to the destructive left movement; it’s easier to appease the loud voices of the current social agenda than to actually develop a backbone and do what you feel is right
  • I love coal, oil and gas (yeah, I included coal) and believe that fossil fuels can still play a massive part in correcting the recent spending missteps in Canada
  • I love and respect mother earth
  • I recognize that mankind has and will continue to have a negative impact on the environment and it behooves us to recognize that, so that from this frame of mind, we stop targeting utopia and embrace more realistic expectations

So now that I’ve whittled down my reading audience (Dave I hope you’re still with me here), I’m ready to share the golden nugget.

Incidentally, the purpose of the above wasn’t just to invoke your emotions in this reading, but to simply demonstrate that we all have unique beliefs and it isn’t only the aggressive left’s (nor the aggressive right’s) beliefs that have the monopoly on the right to present a dissenting opinion; nor is it the right of the left nor the right to monopolize social and political media because dissenting discourse is the cornerstone of democracy!

We now have an entire Western society that has been fed a consistent story line from institutions that whether well-meaning or not (and I personally think it is both), have tried to steer the narrative; and they are hardcore.  You are with them or not!  As a result, the “not” crowd has gone far the other way and the further the disparity between the two groups, the greater the anger and resentment.

‘Hey, you said you’d share the golden nugget two paragraphs ago.  What gives?’

Ok, getting, finally, to the point and leaving the politics behind:

The Golden Nugget, Part 1:

Don’t get muddled by the noise and associated emotions, horribly amplified by media and politicians, which is largely about shock, grabbing your attention and then steering you.  Look at the facts, formulate your own opinion about the facts, and then act accordingly.  The ‘bad’ about current media is that with any story, virtually any conclusion can be presented.  The ‘good’ however, is that with a bit of due diligence, you can eventually (usually) get the true facts about a situation.

‘So Mark, was that the golden nugget?  Talk about reader’s remorse.‘

Well, sorry, I cobbled this together to meet the print deadline and so you get what you get.

The above was part of the nugget, but here’s how it all comes together:

With the above political extreme and media control background in mind, and with part 1 of the golden nugget, comes part 2.

Before I release part 2 and for you to truly understand its implication, I’ll provide one final, relevant, side story:

If you read any contemporary publication or watch / listen to virtually any news channel today, you will be informed about the bzillion self-driving electric cars that are inundating the world. You will come to know that endless free energy is at our doorstep, in the form of wind, solar, hydrogen, biofuel and a myriad other “green” solutions so as to assuage our middle-class-guilt.  We are on the cusp of eternal clean living and it is all free!!!! I can hardly contain myself.

If however, you take the time to search how many vehicles are “electric” and how much subsidy (paid by you the taxpayer) goes into those vehicles and how much you the taxpayer have subsidized the latest solar farm in southern Alberta or the wind farms or….. you will be shocked and astonished.  You will also be somewhat disappointed to see that despite the tens of billions we’ve spent on this so far (just in Canada).

Kenneth Green, a Senior fellow at the Fraser Institute has risked his political and career neck by daring to point out that the phasing out of coal in Ontario, and the subsequent subsidization of so called “green” initiatives has done essentially nothing for the environment while at the same time, costing the province (and again, the tax payers and users of power), billions.  The price for power in Ontario has gone up over 1000% (yes, three zeros). For exact numbers and details, I suggest you read this very brief but informative article by Ken:

By the way, I wonder why the shuttering of coal plants hasn’t had a detectable effect on air quality (even locally)?  No I don’t wonder why because I already knew that Canada has some of the strictest environmental rules about power plant air quality and as such, coal plants had been retrofitted with world class back-end exhaust scrubbers. Oh well, I guess we didn’t need the cheap power anyway.  Right?

The Golden Nugget, Part 2:

Why the title and why is this a “must-read”?

Because if you, like me, are sick and tired of being guilt-trapped for being in the middle class or for having worked hard for your money (especially in the fossil fuel industry) and are having doubts about what the future holds, here is a nugget of gold:

Despite what the politicians or media tell you, there is an intrinsic reality that trumps it all.  That reality is that the world needs energy in the form of fossil fuels and will continue to need this for decades to come.  In 2021 (yes, this year), daily global consumption is expected to blow past the pre-Covid level of 100 million bpd.  Despite the hard push by the left to kill off this industry in Canada & the U.S. – and no I’m not exaggerating one bit by identifying this agenda (wrapped in nice words about “environment this” and “environment that”), fossil fuels will continue to do the heavy lifting to power the world forward!

Reflect on that and use it.  Knowing the above, if you work hard and smartly, in the right regime, you can earn a respectable living.  Even in hardcore left Canada, where tea leaf reading has all but ruled the day, the immutable fact that we need energy, will trump virtue signaling, misplaced guilt, and plain naiveté. Stop reading the tea leaves and drink a cup of coffee.  You’re going to need it for the work that lies ahead.  Especially in this difficult regime, we will need energy experts (mostly Oil and Gas in Western Canada) to help pay the doubling of the national debt that has just occurred right before our eyes.

People reading the tea leaves, believing the media hype will miss out on the fossil fuel revolution!  For the rest of us, grab a cup-o-joe and get to work!

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