For months we've been inundated with propaganda from the Oil Companies and their worker bees in Congress and the White House that we've got to DRILL, DRILL, DRILL!!!!™ endlessly everywhere NOW, NOW, NOW!!!™ or WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!™ and so on and so forth, to the point where hardly anyone can sort through it anymore.
Since "we" -- as in We, the People -- have nothing to do with it at all, except as passive consumers, it's startling to hear all the clarion calls for what "WE" have to do, NOW, NOW, NOW!!!™.
As many have figured out, this is all -- absolutely all -- hysterical hype on behalf of endless expansion of Oil Company power and profits at the expense of the American People and ultimately the people of the Whole Wide World. Not to say there isn't already plenty of power and profit accruing to the Oil Companies as it is. They want more. Effectively, they want it all, and they are trying to get it by stampeding a panicked public into giving them what they want and then some.
They may get away with it.
There is very little and very ineffective push back, much as was the case with the Enron rape of California and the West over that phony Electricity Crisis in 2000/2001 that continues to lead to unending bullshit.
First things first, this hysteria has nothing to do with "us" except for what we can be fleeced of. You can know that by all the panic that is being induced without any clarity of purpose, and with all sorts of ridiculous claims about what and how much "we" are going to "save" by giving the Oil Companies whatever they want. NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!™
Well, no. "We" are not going to "save" anything. We are going to pay through the nose, whatever happens.
What do the Oil Companies really want? They want unlimited control over all known and suspected oil and natural gas reserves in the country and on the outer continental shelf. They will say that what they want is to DRILL!!!™ for oil in these places, but that isn't what really want. And we know that because they already have huge tracts of leased lands and underwater that they aren't drilling on, nor do they have any intention of drilling on them in the near future.
They want to control all known and suspected oil and natural gas reserves without restriction. Now why do you suppose they'd want that? Hmmm?
Surprisingly enough, if you control the supply, you control the price, and under the circumstances, you can create artificial shortages -- like for example the artificial shortage of electricity in California back in the day -- which will have the salubrious effect of driving up prices even more than they already are. Give the Oil Companies what they want, and expect to pay $10 or even $15 at the pump for gas whenever they want to charge that. Sweet.
We've already seen their tactics with regard to refineries. Domestic oil refining capacity is kept low enough to squeeze the market at any given time, and sometimes, it is deliberately reduced -- by "maintenance" outages and other factors -- to raise gasoline prices. We constantly hear about all the refineries "we" have not built in all these years, but the "we" is the Oil Companies, not the American People, and the reason is simple: fewer refineries=restricted supplies=higher prices. If, on the other hand, "we" had anything to do with refinery issues (apart from relatively modest environmental issues), "we" would have nationalized the Oil Companies long ago, and "we" probably would have shifted to alternative fuels. The price of gas might still be high, but it wouldn't make that much difference, because alternatives, particularly electricity, and conservation would have made the need for gasoline that much less.
But "we" are not in charge here. The Oil Companies are.
One of the most startling revelations came through Digby's post about Obama's apparent capitulation on "drilling." As was made clear earlier, "drilling" has nothing to do with the demands being made by the Oil Companies, it is all about control of natural resources. Until yesterday, Obama seemed clear, too, that "drilling" wasn't the answer. But now, apparently, he's changed his mind and believes it might be part of the answer. So he is willing to consider "drilling" in the outer continental shelf as "part of a package," yadda, yadda.
Of course, what he should say -- and won't say -- is that the Oil Companies are welcome to drill on the leases they already hold, and when they do so, and produce oil from their drilling, which they then provide and keep in the domestic market instead of selling abroad the way they do with Alaskan oil (most of which is sold to Japan), then maybe, the American People would be willing to talk about additional leases and drilling, but not until then.
Once it's put that way, what's going on is obvious.
But he won't do that.
So Newt will take charge of this issue because of Democratic and Obaman passivity.
"Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less."
This sort of thing should have been deconstructed a long time ago, but no. The majority of people -- and that includes most Democrats, and all Democratic Leaders -- are in shock over the price of oil and the shock shows. They have some half-formed ideas about what to do, but have so far been unable or unwilling to forcefully (and coherently) present an alternative to the Republican Oil Company mantra summed up in Newty's little lie.
"The need for higher production and lower prices."
In fact, gasoline prices have been declining in recent weeks along with the futures price for oil. Reason? They say it is primarily due to reduced domestic demand for oil and gasoline, a reduced demand caused by higher prices. Newt tries to make the connection between higher production and lower prices, but fails to acknowledge that reduced demand is the real reason prices are declining, and further, he doesn't acknowledge that domestic production can be increased by the Oil Companies if they would drill on leases they already hold. But they don't do it. Why not?
"Don't want any baloney..."
Indeed. Yet the whole DRILL, DRILL, DRILL!!!!™ mantra has been driven on nothing but Baloney. It's a lie from start to finish.
"Brazil has found two large oil fields in the Atlantic Ocean; you know that the Brazilians are now independent from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Russia..."
"Brazil" in this case is the state owned oil company -- that is the socialized, nationalized oil company, not a Good Private Oil Company -- Petrobras, which should be enough to cause Newt to have his aneurysm right there. Brazil is not "independent" of foreign oil, however, because neither of the new oceanic oil fields has been tapped, in part due to lack of equipment. The same lack of equipment dogs the American Quest for Oil Independence. But there is no such American Quest, in fact, because any increase in domestic oil production goes on the world market. One would expect that Brazilian oil finds would also go into the world market, if they are ever brought into production at all.
"If??!!!" Indeed, if. The high price of oil has been a spur to development of alternatives as well as reduced domestic consumption. Reduced demand is no spur to increased production. Ergo, all these exotic oil fields may never be tapped.
Newt simply lies, straight out. It's not "illegal" to look for oil, and he knows it. But a lie always serves his interests, always serves the interests of the Oil Companies, and always serves the interests of the Republican Party. So he lies.
Will The American People fall for it again? Well, if Obama and his people are willing to "consider drilling", and there is no effective counter to the Republican propaganda machine, The American People won't have much choice.