Oil Mind-meld

March 2, 2013

vintage-gas-station-v3a-wingsdomain-art-and-photographyWet and foggy this Saturday morning on Caliornia’s north coast. The thick mist makes for a quiet, almost-surreal silence.
As if the world outside is at a standstill.

Well, it ain’t.
A scant few hours ago, President Obama signed the sequester order, thus, opening up a can of toxic worms, and this morning: “These cuts are not smart,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “They will hurt our economy and cost us jobs. And Congress can turn them off at any time – as soon as both sides are willing to compromise.”
The far-right-brained other side responded with a huff and a puff, via John ‘The Boner‘ Boehner: “The discussion about revenue, in my view, is over. It’s about taking on the spending problem.”

(Illustration found here).

Earlier yesterday at the White House, after Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi on the left, or near-sane side, met with The Boner and complete-morsel Mitch McConnell from the unglued corner  — apparently from all indications, a gathering just for “show” as no one had any hope going in — the president had this to say (Via NBC):

“I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington,” Obama told reporters after meeting with congressional leaders.
“Even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree that I am presenting a fair deal — the fact that [Republicans] don’t take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right,” he said.

A pretty awesome response, though, Obama got his science/StarTrekWars  wrong — it’s the Vulcan mind-meld. Them Jedi dudes have The Force. Against the tea-bagged GOP, however, Obama does need to use some terrible off-shoot of the mind-meld with a great deal of applied force to unhinge the unhinged.

Mainstay of these entrenched Republicans is money. These ass-hats will drag the entire US down the drain/tube to protect the money. A most-enlightening spotlight on just that comes from a hinged GOP source — Sheila Bair, George Jr.’s pick to run the FDIC.
In an op/ed in in the New York Times last week, Bair had this to say about the humongous income disparity between the protected 1 percent and us (h/t eclectablog):

The phenomenon is hardly new.
The yawning gap between rich and poor has been growing since the 1970s and reached a 90-year peak in 2007, just before the financial crisis.
The Great Recession narrowed the gap a bit, but now, once again, the richest Americans are vacuuming up what wealth is out there, a trend that Mr. Saez expects to continue.
I am a capitalist and a lifelong Republican.
I believe that, in a meritocracy, some level of income inequality is both inevitable and desirable, as encouragement to those who contribute most to our economic prosperity.
But I fear that government actions, not merit, have fueled these extremes in income distribution through taxpayer bailouts, central-bank-engineered financial asset bubbles and unjustified tax breaks that favor the rich.
This is not a situation that any freethinking Republican should accept.
Skewing income toward the upper, upper class hurts our economy because the rich tend to sit on their money — unlike lower and middle-income people, who spend a large share of their paychecks, and hence stimulate economic activity.
But more fundamentally, it cuts against everything our country and my party stand for.
Government’s role should not be to rig the game in favor of “the haves” but to make sure “the have-nots” are given a fair shot.

For instance, as part of renewed fiscal discussions over sequestration, Republicans should put fundamental tax reform on the table and make it our priority to end preferential treatment of investment income, which lets managers of hedge funds pay half the tax rate of managers of shoe stores.
Defenders of this giveaway make the unsubstantiated claim that it encourages job-creating investments. But what we have now is merely an immense pool of investment funds that has created far too few jobs.

In a nutshell, Republicans are destroying the country, as pointed out by a Republican.

Despite all that bullshit, indirectly these ass-hats in DC (yes, Obama, your ass, too) will help us poors at the gas pump, at least for right now as the fidgety oil market hangs on blow-back from the start of the automated $85 billion in budget cuts.

Oil dropped close to $90 a barrel Friday as the prospect of U.S. government spending cuts raised concerns about oil demand in the world’s leading economy.
In addition China’s manufacturing grew at its weakest rate in five months in February.

Benchmark crude fell $1.37 to close at $90.68 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 98 cents to finish at $110.40 a barrel  — all for April delivery.
And last Thursday, I put another $20 worth of gas in the old Jeep at the Shell station this time (usually Union 76) at $4.39 a gallon for regular — the same the last couple of weeks.
Statewide, the average is a dime less  — $4.29 a gallon — and the spike upward since January appears to be easing: “Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices and oil prices have taken a nose dive in the last week, along with gasoline futures, because fuel supplies have risen and refineries have increased production,” said Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring.
We’re still way-the-shit up there — the national average as of late last week was $3.78 a gallon for regular.

And another huge, and much-nasty note in the world of oil came this week with the ludicrous US State Department okay on the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the much-nastier pieces of climate-damage instruments to come along in awhile.
Climate Progress has the details, along with a response from the Sierra Club: “We’re mystified as to how the State Department can acknowledge the negative effects of the Earth’s dirtiest oil on our climate, but at the same time claim that the proposed pipeline will ‘not likely result in significant adverse environmental effects.’ Whether this failure was willful or accidental, this report is nothing short of malpractice.”
The whole project pulling that shit from the Alberta, Canada, countryside is a most-horrifying global-warming intensifier of unmatched proportions — Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation had this say about the ugliness of it all (via DeSmogBlog):

“We cannot stress our extreme disappointment with this report.
The fact that the Keystone XL pipeline is deemed as non-consequential and not connected to the unabated expansion of Tar Sands is simply not true.
Without adequate roadways to markets the tar sands would be locked in the ground.
Industry simply cannot expand without pipelines.
Expansion of the tar sands in my peoples homelands means a death sentence for our way for life, destruction of eco-systems vital to the continuation of our inherent treaty rights and massive contributions to catastrophic global climate change, a fate we all share.”

Unfortunately, us humans are apparently in the throes of a whimsical soul-meld.

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