Curses! Oiled Again! (Or: The Terrorist In The $1,895 Armani Suit)

Okay everyone. Gather round the old monitor and pay attention. You’re about to see two things happen. First, I’m going to put the blatantly unapologetic rape of the American consumer currently taking place in terms that even the most simple-minded, reality-television-watching bumpkin should be able to understand. And second, I’m not only going to take Barack Obama to task for failing to come up with a realistic solution to the problem, I’m going to fact check him on what he’s recently said – hard. (Yup. You read that right - It's time for some tough love Granny Clampett-style.)

"I'm gonna need a bigger switch..."

This is a status update posted this morning on President Obama’s Facebook page:

“I believe that we should expand oil production in America even as we increase safety and environmental standards.”

Well some people believe you can treat a burn to the skin by coating it with butter. That’s completely useless (and a waste of good resources), as is this knee-jerk suggestion for fixing what ails the oil industry and vexes consumers. (And, just like expanding oil production in the name of easing prices holds the potential to create other costly situations, the butter treatment can actually make the burn worse.)

Next, this is part of the weekly address the President delivered today, entitled “Expanding Responsible Oil Production In America.”

“We can save taxpayers money at the pump by increasing domestic oil production, rooting out fraud and manipulation in oil markets, and eliminating tax giveaways to oil companies.”

I mean this in the best possible way – really I do – but I cry “Bullshit!” on everything but "eliminating tax giveaways." "Increasing domestic oil production" is completely misguided and the result of applying false logic. It’s the kind of simplistic solution that shallow thinkers – and I’m probably giving too much credit by using that word here – like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and the wife abusing, know-it-all high school dropout sitting in his gun-rack-equipped Ford F350 and spitting tobacco into a tin can while hanging on Rush Limbaugh’s every word would suggest.

Come on Mr. Obama. You wouldn’t have accepted this kind of lackluster, lazy work from a student when you were teaching. I refuse to accept this stupidity from you because we both know you can do better. And here’s how…

“Respectfully Mr. President, there are a couple of things you have dead wrong here. First, we do NOT need to increase domestic oil production. There is, in fact, a glut of domestically produced oil. And in spite of that surplus, the current price for U.S. produced oil is between 30 and 40 dollars a barrel higher than it actually should be. And even if there weren't an oversupply, it wouldn't help at the gas pumps because the kind of oil needed for gasoline, light sweet crude, isn't widely found here anymore.

Second, the "fraud and manipulation" of the "oil markets" is, surprisingly, not the fault of oil companies as most people would assume. That is a (deliberate?) mischaracterization of the issue. The "fraud and manipulation" in this situation are being carried out by Wall Street - by financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and by market speculators. At the present time, nearly 70 percent of all oil futures are owned by financial firms, hedge funds, mutal fund management companies and just plain speculators. Only 30 percent of futures are owned by companies who actually intend to USE the oil instead of trading it as a commodity. This is a direct result of the deregulation that happened during the terms of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. The legal limit for ownership of the oil futures market by speculators used to be 30 percent. That began to change in 1991, when Goldman Sachs and other investment firms and financial institutions were given exemptions from that rule. This needs to be addressed by Congress - and by you personally - immediately. Because it's the real reason we're paying so much at the gas pump. And it's aggravating the current economic crisis by preying not only on the American consumer, but on the businesses that need oil products in some way to operate.

"But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!...
'There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side.
So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here.'"

On your third point, we agree - sort of. It is indeed deplorable that a company like Exxon Mobil not only doesn't pay taxes but actually gets a REFUND while generating record profits – like $19 billion last quarter. But what really needs to stop is the subsidies given to ALL energy companies except those developing new technologies like solar and wind. I find it laughable that Republicans and other critics of your administration (like the Tea Party) take issue with $240 million for PBS last year - yet have absolutely NO problem with oil companies being handed $42 BILLION in subsidies for "research and exploration." Especially because these are the very same people who scream bloody murder and “free market” when it's suggested that oil companies need to be more tightly regulated. It's "Let the market take care of itself" then, but when it comes to the handouts it's "Well if they didn't get that, gas prices would have to go up and they wouldn’t be able to find more oil sources."

Oh really? So why are the prices going up now? And if Exxon Mobile didn’t get billions in subsidies, they’d stop trying to find new sources of oil? How would they then compete with other energy companies who kept moving forward? I’ll tell you how, they wouldn’t. They’d go under. So I’m pretty sure that even if they weren’t handed taxpayer money to – listen closely here – do something that is part of their business, they’d still explore and do research to keep competitive.

Please don't hand me the "supply and demand" line. It's a hard, cold fact that Americans are consuming less gasoline. "Market unrest due to unstable conditions in the Mid-East" won't cut it either. Those conditions have been that way for three or four months now and supply lines have not actually been threatened AT ALL.

If you want to really fix the economy, and you really want to help get Americans back to work, and you really want this country to regain its place in the world as an economic power, then it's time to put the cuffs on the REAL culprits in all of this - the mortgage crisis, rampant unemployment, high fuel prices, high food prices, the recession - the robber barons of Wall Street. The evidence of their misdeeds - no, make that their crimes - is blatantly apparent to even people who don't normally connect the dots. This morning's issue of the "Fresno Bee" – not generally known for hard-hitting, incisive reporting - had a story on the front page spelling out for readers who’s really to blame for the $4.26 per gallon gas they're buying.

Two weeks ago, you proved to the world that you are indeed capable of taking a hard line - the hardest possible - when it's necessary. I congratulate you for first making it clear to your adminstration that finding Osama Bin Laden was imperative and then for ordering (and keeping secret) the operation that took out the man responsible for the deaths of 3000 Americans in New York City, the loss or injury of 60,000 of our brave men and women in the armed forces and the lives of countless other innocent people across the globe. Now please use those brass cojones of yours to take out the financial terrorists victimizing the American public.”

"Hand me your keys. I'm taking over."

Finally, for those “reality television” fans who might have had enough stamina to make it this far but are still unclear on the concept, think of the mess the country is in this way: If the United States was a restaurant and Gordon Ramsey was called upon to fix it, he’d projectile vomit following his initial inspection and then cuss himself into apoplexy. Or, if the U.S. was a hair salon, Tabitha Coffey would pull every last strand of her hair out, rip members of Obama’s administration new ones, clean house (literally and figuratively) and then disgustedly scold the President like a puppy who just took a big, steamy dump on a $10,000 Persian rug.

“Don't get on that ship! The rest of the book, ‘To Serve Man,’ it’s... it’s a cookbook!” – “The Twilight Zone”

Get educated, get wise, get angry and then get even – but always remember that you can’t see the stars from the gutter…



  1. Well, I about fell out of my chair ( no easy feat ) when I saw your post. OK, going back now to read it. :)

  2. Excellent post and, quite frankly, you connect dots that educates those of us who don't watch reality TV too. Opinion mixed with education. Love it.


Dissenting opinions are always welcome and even encouraged because they help keep the author honest and can be a source of enlightenment. However, be advised that openly hostile and completely off topic comments or ad hominem attacks will be summarily dispatched to the Forbidden Zone.