My experiences in Iraq convinced me that the greatest threat to our security is our over-reliance on oil and that Americans must immediately take steps to cut our petro-addiction before it’s too late.
– Steven M. Anderson, retired Army Brigadier General, and senior mentor with the Army’s Battle Command Training Program
Before you read my
nearly incoherent take on the issue of gas prices, I need you to watch a video clip. Media Matters has put together one of the most illuminating and striking examples of how the right-wing spin machine works. Please pay careful attention to the 2008 and then the 2012 versions of Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Sustern, and the rest of the FAUX NEWS cartoon characters as they discuss rising gas prices and who is or is not to blame for them. Really, this is so good…just watch:
LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT.
BACK IN 2008, O’REILLY AND THE REST OF THE FAUX NEWS LACKEYS WERE ADVOCATING FOR CONSERVATION MEASURES BY THE PUBLIC… GETTING RID OF GAS GUZZLERS…USING LESS…RIDING DAMN BIKES?
THEY ALL SAID THERE IS NOTHING…NOTHING, YOU CONSERVATIVE DOLTS…NOT A FRIK-KEN THING A PRESIDENT CAN DO ABOUT GAS PRICES?
ONE WOMAN WHO WAS A GUEST ON THE GOP NETWORK SAID THAT DRILLING IN ANWAR WOULD BE A “DROP IN THE BUCKET” AS FAR AS AMERICAN OIL CONSUMPTION WAS CONCERNED?
THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING!
I’M MELTING…I’M MELTING!
There are a few things in life I know for sure. I know that the Mets will break my heart by Memorial Day, the Republicans will always be the party for the business interests and the rich, and most Americans are basically good, decent people. I also know that most Americans haven’t got a damned clue about why gas prices rise and fall… politicians know this…and exploit this fact for their own gain.
Folks, there is a reason why the Teapublicans like Sarah Palin have a war on the intellectual “elites” and Rick Santorum hates college. It is for moments like this where they can seize upon an issue adversely affecting Americans, blame the opposite party for it, and not worry that the idiotic lies they are spewing will ever be questioned by their sheep. Both parties have done this with gas prices over the years. When Bush was president and gas prices hit their highest point in American history, the democrats were out in full force blaming him. They were wrong.
Right now, it is the desperate Teapublicans who have taken that ball and they are running like a mutha with it so you’d better get the hell outta their way. They’ve got their talking points and they know how to use them. They understand that nothing gets Americans riled up quite as much as paying 60 dollars to fill up their tank. They also know that someone has got to get the blame for this because that’s the other thing I know–Americans love to find scapegoats for their problems.
As of this writing, gas prices are rising and there are pundits who are predicting $5/gallon prices by summer. Okay, that’s very scary. But why? Why is this happening? Well, if you listen to the GOP or those talking head panels assembled on FAUX NEWS, composed of some of the scariest, vile, and most moronic people ever assembled on the boob tube since Jersey Shore came on air, the problem lies directly at the feet of President Obama. Of course, so does every single problem facing the country today including, but not limited to:
Peyton Manning’s neck injury
All traffic tie-ups on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway since 2008
There’s lots more, but I have an important engagement to get to today so I need to finish this blog quickly.
John Boehner, licking his chops in a meeting of GOP lawmakers a couple of weeks ago, delighted at the prospect of higher gas prices. High gas prices=bad news for President Obama. Of course, one would hope Mr. Weepy, who blubbers like a baby when the wind blows, and downright breaks down in a ball of mush when he talks about his own rise to fame and fortune, would be able to summon up a few tears for Americans who are struggling to put gas in our tanks. Alas, no. The GOP is hoping and praying that gas prices hit all-time highs so that it may do two things. Stop the very steady economic improvement that has been helping Obama’s approval ratings rise, and create an issue that the right can pin directly on the President.
The problem is– and Weepy and his crew know this full well– presidents have practically nothing to do with gas prices precipitously rising or falling. However, the GOP also knows that an awful lot of voters don’t necessarily know that. They know that if they get their Obama-hating spin machine revved up, engines full-throttle, they can blast their message throughout “bubble-head” land. Remember, the only thing that gets through the bubble that Teapublicans live in is right-wing spin–no facts allowed.
That video clip by Media Matters is exhibit A for the prosecution. People have very short attention spans. Personally, I blame the invention of remote controls and microwave popcorn for that.
People also don’t bother to investigate issues to find out for themselves where the truth lies. This is so apparent when you listen to average people, from anywhere USA, talk about gas prices during a time period when they are rising. For years, I’ve tried to find out the reasons myself, and they are extremely varied, sometimes complicated but most of the time very easy to understand. Here are some factors:
- Simple supply and demand–gas prices tend to rise in the summer as Americans hit the road more often (you’ll see this around Thanksgiving and Christmas also) and fall during February when people are more homebound. Don’t forget, world consumption of oil also plays into supply/demand. We Americans are only part of this equation.
- Natural disasters, such as when Hurricane Katrina hit, will cause prices to rise
- Events overseas have a huge bearing on prices. Recently, Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz and Israel’s saber-rattling are spooking the markets
- Speaking of markets, speculators have a hand in causing prices to rise which have nothing to do with the price of getting gasoline from the ground into your tank
- Periodic refinery capacity reductions cause prices to rise, such as during times of maintenance or actual closings
- OPEC, the organization of 13 countries who supply 40 percent of the world’s oil and most of the world’s reserves still have the most to say about the cost of a barrel of oil
So where does the “Anointed One”– as Sean “I’ll-never-pass-up-an-opportunity-to-gin-up-a-fake-controversy-to-pin-on-the-disturbingly-wrong-color-president” Hannity calls President Obama– fit into the issue of rising gasoline prices at this moment in time? Let’s take a look.
When you understand all the factors that go into gas prices, and you look at what is happening right now, you cannot come to a conclusion that today’s 3-something a gallon gas prices have an anything to do with Obama…unless you are a Republican and you have talking points to fabricate make :
- When President Obama came into office the Republican’s scream, gas prices averaged $1.89/gallon and prices have risen to the mid-three’s! Obama’s fault!
Yes. Gasoline prices dropped tremendously after the recession hit because demand dropped tremendously (both here and world-wide). As the economy has improved, so has demand for oil. Demand has increased worldwide as well, adding to the rise of prices. Also, add to price the factor of Wall Street speculation which was demonstrably responsible for a huge rise in prices both under Bush and Obama.
- President Obama has put massive restrictions on drilling and that is why we have these rising prices, cry the righties!
Wrong. Just wrong.
The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quadrupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world. As a matter of fact, The United States is on target to produce more oil today than any other year since 1998.
- Obama’s rejection (still to be completely settled) of the Keystone XL Pipeline is one the single-most detrimental actions of his administration. If he would have approved it, we would have lower gas prices today!
This one is such a doosey, even by Republican standards, that I cannot believe that anyone with an IQ higher than a potted plant believes this clap-trap. What part of the fact that any oil transported from Canada to the Gulf will be directly sent overseas don’t Teapublicans understand? Putting aside the ridiculously conflated numbers of job creation and the stone-cold lies emanating from the right about every aspect of the pipeline, including lies of omission such as the issue of eminent domain and how people are being pressured to give up their lands without their consent, listen to what the approval of Keystone XL means according to retired Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson (the US Army’s senior logistician in Iraq from 2006-2007),
the pipeline “would set back our renewable energy efforts for at least two decades, much to our enemies’ delight. It would ensure we maintain our oil addiction and delay making the tough decisions regarding energy production, management and conservation that we need to start making today.” And as Anderson makes clear, “Canadian oil won’t replace imports from hostile countries because Texas refiners are serving global demand rather than domestic need.”
What you never hear from the right is how Wall Street speculation is a factor which by some accounts can raise the price of a barrel of oil anywhere from 10-30 dollars a barrel. Just remember that these hedge fund managers and Wall Street wizards have no capacity to hold or move this commodity. They just contribute to higher prices as they remove millions of barrels of oil from supply. You can once again thank deregulation for this little fly in the ointment.
Ain’t free markets just grand?
Let’s be real. Until and unless we get serious about alternative energy, we will be subject to the whims of the global markets, OPEC, big oil, and catastrophic events when it comes to oil prices. We can’t drill our way out of it. It is not an easy fix nor an overnight one. Oil will be gone someday, and the countries that have figured out a way to wean themselves off of it will be in much better shape than those who stupidly and stubbornly cling to it.
Yes, perhaps our way of life will be a little different. Maybe we have to sacrifice a little now to gain independence and security for our children’s future. Would that be so bad?
I liken the resistance of conservatives to getting weaned off of oil to reasoning with a child that eating vegetables is the right thing to do.
A child only knows that right this second, he doesn’t like the taste of vegetables. He shouldn’t have to suffer by eating those vegetables. He doesn’t care or understand that eating those disgusting vegetables is the right thing to do…but his parents understand that if their child does not eat any vegetables, he will suffer for it. Maybe not today, maybe not even in a year, but eventually he will pay the price.
So Americans, until we find a way to come together and figure out how to balance our present need for oil and our obvious need to invest in alternative energy, you can keep blaming this President for gas prices. We all know it’s what you will do whatever facts are thrown your way.
But for now, stay in the bubble. It’s safe, warm, and cozy in there. All the big lifting is done for you. Just grab the microwave popcorn and the remote and leave the spinning thinking to the GOP. They’ve got it all worked out for ya. You don’t have to eat those yucky veggies if you don’t want to. That’s the American way.
- Fox News On Why Presidents Can’t Control Gas Prices (themoderatevoice.com)
- Obama calls for investment in clean energy (alternet.org)