Bush Calls for Big Oil Investigation

The White House released a fact sheet today dealing with the recent rise in energy prices across the United States. Governor Bush discussed the contents — a four point plan to confront high gas prices — at a conference held by the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington D.C. on Tuesday morning.

Plan number one: Make sure Americans are treated fairly at the gas pump. According to the subtext, “The President is also directing the Department of Justice to work with the FTC and the Department of Energy to conduct inquiries into cheating or illegal manipulation related to current gasoline prices.”

Now, is it just me, or does that sound a whole lot like asking the fox to launch an investigation into why the hens keep disappearing?

Last year, ExxonMobil cleared THIRTY SIX BILLION DOLLARS in profit. That’s a greater profit than ANY company in the history of the United States has ever declared. Do we really need an investigation? What will an investigation yield? Of course the oil companies are gouging us. But as far as I know, the market decides these things. If gasoline goes up to six bucks a gallon, will we continue to pay it? Probably. What alternative do we have?

The real problem is that we have an administration that has an interest in keeping its buddies in the oil industry happy, and it’s sure doing that. Oil companies lobbied for a long time to determine this administration’s energy policy, and Dick Cheney make sure all his friends were in on it. And have we yet seen who was in those meetings? Nope. For some reason, Cheney is holding back the papers that the court ordered he turn over. He REALLY doesn’t want you to know who created this administration’s energy policy. America either put these guys in office, or let them stay there even though they weren’t legally elected. It’s our own fault. I mean, I’m as pissed as anyone each time I get the oil tank filled up or pull into the gas station, but I don’t drive a Prius either. We’re addicted to oil, and the only way we’re really going to do anything about high gas prices is to rid ourselves of the addiction. The only way we’re going to rid ourselves of the addiction is by electing officials who are going to make sure that the United States has an energy policy that pushes us toward energy independence.

Another of Bush’s key points is “Boosting supplies of Crude Oil and Gasoline.” A subtext to this point in the fact sheet is that we need to drill more, particularly in ANWR. We are never going to drill ourselves out of this addiction. The only way you stop an addiction is to stop using the drug. Just finding more ways to obtain it is not going to solve the actual problem. Not only that, but it seems that everyone I have talked to who is for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge doesn’t seem to understand that we won’t see one barrel of that oil in the United States. It’s too close to Asia. All that oil is going to be on a boat to China, not to the continental U.S. It simply won’t be cost effective to ship it down here.

Probably Bush’s biggest announcement, and one that’s been featured in sound bytes for two days now, is that he’s going to stop pulling oil from the market for use in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Any idea how many barrels a day we’ve been putting in that reserve? Well, reports vary from just over 57000 barrels a day, all the way down to 25000 barrels a day. The difference becomes rather insignificant when you see in that last article that we import about 10 MILLION barrels of oil a day.

Can I just divert from this story to bitch and moan just a little about how Bush complained up and down when Clinton dared touch the Strategic Petroeum Reserve? Remember back in the year 2000, when Al Gore proposed to the President that he release some oil from the SPR to ease home heating prices in preparation for what was expected to be an extremely cold winter that year? Bush, who was running for president at the time, said that the Clinton/Gore administration was to blame for “soaring gas prices,” and that any attempt to tap the SPR was an election-year ploy to gain favor with voters. Oil had risen from around $24 a gallon to $35 a gallon (ah, the good ol’ days), and Gore suggested releasing 5 million barrels from the stockpile of 600 million barrels to try to calm the market down a bit, but Bush was having none of it. At every campaign stop, he claimed that the Clinton administration would threaten national security by releasing that 5 million barrels, and said that “the White House is to blame for oil prices because of its lax energy policies,” and also noted that “We need to work with our friends and allies in OPEC as well as energy-producing countries in our own hemisphere to ensure greater stability in our oil markets.” And another interesting quote from the linked article at NewsMax (of all places): “We need to use a strong hand in the diplomatic circles to make it clear to our friends overseas that we don’t want them holding our nation and our consumers hostage. We expect them to increase the supply of crude oil so that the price of crude oil drops.”

Wow. Incredible, huh?

But we all know it’s not the price of crude oil alone that causes the high prices at the pumps. We’ve been hearing for years now that the oil companies are being hamstrung by the Democrats in Congress and the EPA who will not allow new refineries to be built to increase the gasoline supply. This line has been brought up again recently, and I’m getting a little tired of hearing that one. Um, guys, aren’t YOU in charge here? Don’t YOU control the ENTIRE government? I mean, you appoint the head of the EPA, you control the House and Senate, couldn’t you have done SOMETHING in the past three or four years other than point a finger at the Democrats who have been out of power now since 2002? Damn.

It just really makes me sick, you know? All the doublespeak. When the Democrats are in charge and when they try to do something about it, it’s all “bad bad bad,” but when the Republicans do the same thing, it’s just fine??

Just as a little right-wing refresher in hypocrisy, check out this page. It’s a page that details all the things that Republicans and right-wing pundits said about Clinton during Kosovo, and it must drive the right-wing hatemongers nuts knowing that their words are documented for all time. And as long as they keep talking with forked tongues, I’m going to keep pointing it out as much as I can, and I hope others do too. Here’s two particularly good quotes from that page…

“I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarifiedrules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today” — Tom Delay (R-TX)

“No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That’s why I’m against it.” — Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/5/99

And here’s another list from the Daily KOS with a bunch of Hannity clips from the time leading up to the war in Bosnia. Here’s two more quotes…

“My question to you is from all reports that I have been able to dig up, 2,000 killed in Kosovo in the last year. We keep hearing the president refer genocide, ethnic cleansing, comparisons to Adolf Hitler. Is the president purposefully using propaganda and hyperbole to garner the American public for support?” — Hannity, March 26, 1999

“Colonel Maginnis, I want to turn it over to you because we have to ask ourselves some question here. What is our stated goal, our mission, our objective? How do we get out of here? and I want to go back, and this is a point that I made — you know, even in “The New York Times” just two days ago — you know, what is phase 4, now that phase 1, 2 and 3 have failed? There isn’t a phase 4. The president with the Italian prime minister, when asked “What’s next?” if the bombing doesn’t work — he didn’t have an answer for this! So it’s a matter of — well, maybe we can debate being in there, or debate arming opposition, which hasn’t been discussed. But what are we doing there? And if we don’t know what’s next, we have no business being there!” — Hannity, April 2, 1999

They never change. Never will.

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