Oilbamas Endgame

One of my favorite bumper stickers from Ron Paul’s presidential bid in 2008 says “Because the Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil”, in response to the growing lament in America about choices between the major parties’ candidates.

Two recent examples of battles where it was tough to pick sides are the Church of Scientology vs. the IRS, and the federal government vs. Microsoft.

Whether the CoS is really a church or just a business disguised as one concerns me more for those who fall into that cult of bizarre teachings than how it handles its tax matters.

If you side against that organization because of its beliefs, you risk the slippery slope of legitimate churches being scrutinized for every perceived violation of the criminally massive tax code (code being the operative word) which the IRS itself routinely violates. If you’d rather Microsoft didn’t have a monopoly on personal computer operating systems and software, the preferable free market solutions involve corporate competition and consumer boycott, not government regulation and interference.

There are alternatives to Windows. Seldom does the (federally licensed and therefore government friendly) mainstream media show favoritism or mercy toward any entity who dares oppose the government, often plying outright hit pieces as public service journalism, the nauseatingly obvious purpose of which is to garner support for what the government eventually intends to do anyway.

An understanding of the Hegelian dialectic is essential here. By now you have surely surmised that the ulterior motive for the staged mishandling of the BP oil spill is for Obama’s seeming ineptitude to result in public outcry that BP be punished for its inexcusable destruction of the ecosystem in the gulf, and for its seeming apathy towards an acceptable solution.

The fact that even conservatives, who should (and maybe do) know better are demanding federal action should smell fishy to all but the most oblivious persons. Government intervention is a fairly easy sell for the media because of the public’s collective gullibility, and the general unpopularity of the big oil companies due to their incredible profits.

One of the major factors underlying the complete lack of advance in America declaring its independence from foreign oil (in addition to the EPA preventing more oil refineries from being built a few decades ago) is the threat such freedom would pose to the oil industry’s revenues.

How else do you explain why car makers are still boasting models getting no better (and in some cases, worse) gas mileage than cars from 1973? The Honda Civic got an EPA estimated 34.821 mpg according to a full-page ad Honda ran in the leading weekly news magazines that year, which I recall very vividly.

The sleek, but gas-guzzling Oldsmobile Toronado scored a horrendous 5 or 6 mpg rating.

I didn’t learn until years later that that so-called “energy crisis/shortage” was entirely orchestrated.) Defenders of automotive mediocrity cite the introduction of new heavier safety features whose added weight preclude fuel efficiency, but I don’t buy it. Cars ought to be getting at least 75-100 mpg by now.

If computer technology advanced at the same dismal pace, one or two of you might be reading this in a letter I might have sent you via mail (no need to use the “snail” qualification, as the revolutionary concept of email would have gone the way of the equally innovative Fish carburetor). Add to this the dredged up memory of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the influence of the nearly hallucinogenic environmental extremist movement, and it isn’t much of a stretch to paint any oil company as an evil, greedy, hyper-polluting, capitalist monster that must be stopped at all costs.

Who better to reel in this “unbridled corporate greed” (socialist mantra) than Mr. Smoke* & Chains, I mean, Hope & Change himself? The fact that he is even mentioned in the same breath as BP and the oil spill is a sad testimony to the public’s media-fed belief that the government is the answer to every problem, and that free market solutions aren’t even an option. My prediction – and you’ve probably reached the same conclusion yourself, maybe before I did – is that the players in this little game are going to continue to play Keystone Cops for a little while, with the media inciting public outrage daily (as is its custom) against both the administration for its inaction, and against BP for its negligence.

Then, at some point, when the people’s anger has reached a fever pitch, the federal government, led by either Obama, the Congress, or both, will at long last come to the rescue with some horribly conceived legislation regulating the oil companies with an eye toward ensuring “this can never happen again.”

(He actually used that phrase after and in reference to Hurricane Katrina, which was somehow completely Bush’s fault, by the way – and I’d bet money that Obama will again invoke the phrase for this “crisis”.) This whole scenario is a perfect example of what Rahm Emmanuel meant when he said to never let a crisis go to waste.

It will be exploited for the further downfall of America by those whose goal it is to see that happen. This kind of thing is when the news anchors like Diane Sawyer (reporters’ answer to Mister Rogers) and the late Peter Jennings are (were) at the top of their slimy game; introducing, as Jennings did on more than one occasion, the next segment with the teaser “is the federal government doing enough about [you fill in the blank with something the federal government has no business being involved in, but the media is obviously pushing your buttons to get you to call Congress to change]?” Neither Hitler nor Hollywood could have scripted it any better.

It’s actually pretty slick, if it weren’t so un-American. People will be so relieved…until they wake up to the reality that, indirectly, another (6th) plank of the Communist Manifesto has been quietly nailed onto America’s coffin, through state control over energy and its means of production (affecting means of consumption).

Of course, the regulation won’t just affect BP, but all oil companies, who will do what any normal business would do, which is pass the increased cost of compliance with burdensome federal regulations to the consumer.

When gas prices get even more ridiculous than they are now (and car makers offer the Barney Fifesque assurance they’ll increase mileage by some pathetic amount by the year 20-who-cares), people will wrongly blame the oil companies, rather than the federal government. Oh, and don’t forget that the federal government, who collects a hefty percentage of the price of every gallon of gas in excise tax, has no incentive whatsoever to control, much less lower gas prices.

(That realization is probably what has kept the government from running the oil companies this long.) It was only a matter of time before I got ticked off (can you tell?) enough to express my opinion on this fiasco – I really hope you have been way ahead of me here, because I shouldn’t even have waited this long. As always, I’m open to input & correction. So what’s the answer? Simple, and yet not so much – but it’s better than what I’ve described above. Three things we can do, if for nothing more than pure principle;

  1. boycott BP stations & stores (I mean don’t even go buy coffee, soda or a bag of potato chips there)
  2. sell your BP stock, every last share, if you still own any (and urge everyone you know to do likewise)
  3. contact Congress, which can sometimes seem like a placebo measure these days, but tell them to stay out of the oil companies’ business – no legislation, no regulation, even if, and ESPECIALLY if, OilBama proposes it. It’s the consumers’ indifference and lack of self-discipline that needs to be rectified, not any inaction by government.

I’ve personally already been doing the first one pretty much since this happened, and it hasn’t been all that difficult, even though BP has, as often as not, had lower prices on gas than most other stations. If all the businesses who are adversely affected by the gulf oil spill followed those three steps, I believe it would have a significant positive impact. For those of you who doubt the power of economic boycott, recall that it was boycott, not federal intervention, which caused retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to backpedal after the racy, nearly obscene catalog they introduced years ago led to a 15% drop in sales and a similar decline in stock price.

Money talks.

Sometimes withholding it shouts. There is a fourth thing which I’ll advocate with some reservation – legal remedy.

I haven’t done the research, but there must be some law(s) (e.g. Clean Water Act) already on the books that BP can be sued for violating.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t endorse litigation, but there are times when it is appropriate, and this might be one of them – it brings about a financial consequence for the defendant and possible restitution for the plaintiff, taking advantage of existing legislation.

But the first three suggestions I gave would be far better, in my opinion. A potential upside to all of this is that perhaps it will be the impetus the alternative fuel industry needs to rise to the occasion and meet America’s incessant demand for cheap energy.

Furthermore, some sharp, entrepreneurial inventor/scientist will (if he hasn’t already) find and implement a solution to either prevent future leaks and/or clean up the huge mess this one has made. In any event, oil and Obama don’t mix. Mr. Obama, step away from the oil spill.

Leave well enough alone.

Free-enterprise minded Americans will take it from here. * Rope is the better rhyme, implying America at the end of her rope, or his rope, or the Statue of Liberty with a noose around her neck, however for concern that it might be misconstrued by a hypersensitive, offense-seeking liberal as a racist reference (completely unintended, though my political correctness triggered paranoia identified it), I’m not even going to mention it.

Except right here.

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