Nel's New Day

October 28, 2014

Cats Not Republicans; Fox Bemoans Cheap Gas

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 6:41 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

If you’re ready for a little political humor, Messaging Matters has 12 reasons why cats are not Republicans.

  1. catCats are curious about what you do in your bedroom, but they don’t try to legislate away your freedom to do it.
  2. Cats may take away your cushion, but they’ll give it back to you with a gentle push.
  3. Cats give you attention and sympathy when you’re sick.
  4. Females are treated with importance in the cat world.
  5. Cats make use of solar power, often all day long.
  6. Cats lick their own problems and take care of other cats too.
  7. Cats don’t blame black and brown cats for their troubles.
  8. Cats know how to ration their resources.
  9. Fat cats are not at the top of the cat hierarchy, are not cat role models, and have more trouble surviving and thriving, not less.
  10. While Republicans blindly follow authority, it is said that getting Democrats to act in unison is like herding cats.
  11. Cats don’t foul their own nest.
  12. Cats are popular and well-liked on the Internet and elsewhere.

And one more: cats believe in diversity.









More photos here. Photos: top right by Crazy Ivory; above with dog by Szilvia Pap-Kutasi; above with mouse by Frank Hinsberger.

My favorite Fox network story this week:

During President Obama’s two terms, he has been blamed for high gas prices despite the shifts in these being caused by global market conditions, demand of seasonal changes, and other factors under the president’s control. The Associated Press, which tends to lean right in its reporting, has a study of 36 years that compares monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and domestic oil production. The result: “No statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.” Over two years ago, 92 percent of economists surveyed by the Chicago Booth School of Business agreed that “changes in U.S. gasoline prices over the past 10 years have predominantly been due to market factors rather than U.S. federal economic or energy policies.” More experts here. Even Fox’s far-right John Stossel admitted that U.S. energy policy “doesn’t make that much of a difference” in gas prices.

In the first two months of 2012, Fox network blamed high gas prices on the president more than three times than the other major news outlets combined, as well as distorting charts and claiming that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to move oil across the United States for export would lower gas prices. One of the network’s “experts” was Eric Bolling, former minor league baseball player and major Wall Street oil and energy futures trader.

Gas prices went up the next summer, as they always do, and Fox gleefully reported on how Mitt Romney’s energy plan was the solution. They used former Shell Oil executive John Hofmeister as an expert to explain why gas prices are high although he didn’t point out that it was because his own company jacked up the prices to make more money and elect Republicans. Bill O’Reilly told the Romney campaign to use these prices for an attack on Barack Obama, a reversal from his position in the last year of the Bush administration that if “you hear a politicians say he or she will bring down oil prices, understand it’s complete BS.”

Fox now warns that cheap gas is bad–maybe “a sign of a weakening economy” (that didn’t happen) or “a sign of a looming global economic crisis.”

cheap gas

May 20, 2012

Greed to Blame for High Gas Prices

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:26 PM
Tags: , ,

The media reports that gasoline prices are falling, but they’re still almost at their five-year high. Every penny increase at the pump takes away $1.4 billion a year, making the recovery worse. Here on the West Coast, prices are going up, not down, increasing almost $.30 in the past few weeks. Refinery problems, they say. Maintenance.

Why have the gas prices climbed over 400 percent during the past 12 years? Conservatives like to blame Democratic presidents for not encouraging drilling everywhere, destroying more and more of the environment. The fact that China and India are taking more, according to conservatives, costs the people in this country more.

The conservatives, however, want to hide the real problem behind the gas prices: it’s the way that Wall Street sets prices. Not able to swindle the people in the nation through the housing bubble, they are “financializing” the commodities markets, especially oil.

Economist Thomas I. Palley explains the way this works: “Financialization is a process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and financial elites gain greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes…. Its principal impacts are to (1) elevate the significance of the financial sector relative to the real sector, (2) transfer income from the real sector to the financial sector, and (3) increase income inequality and contribute to wage stagnation.”

Financialization is gambling, betting on the prices of goods without owning the goods. Oil markets lock in prices for a specified length of time. The gamblers take profits out of the economy without producing anything for the economy. They get richer while the rest of the people pay higher prices and then pay taxes to bail them out when the gambling crashes.

This system has been operating for a long time, but the rules of the game have changed. For other a century, speculators comprised 30 percent of the markets, and real producers, distributors, and users were the other 70 percent. Now the proportions have flipped so that only 30 percent of the people actually participate in the production. With far more speculators, the prices need to rise.

This idea isn’t a fantasy on the part of progressives. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, 15 percent of the rise in gasoline prices is due to Wall Street speculation. Other investigators estimate higher percentages: 30 percent (House Committee on Government Oversight); 40 percent (Goldman Sachs); and $40 per barrel (Saudi Arabia in 2008).

Wall Street is not totally to blame, however. Exxon’s first quarter profits were $9.45 billion, almost $104 million per day. Yet their tax rate last year was 13 percent, lower than the average family in the United States. They used over $1 million for contributions to candidates, 91 percent of this money to Republicans. During the first three years of President Obama’s administration, Exxon spent $52,000,000 on lobbying, 50 percent more than in the eight years of the W. Bush administration. CEO Rex Tillerson used $52,300 of his $34.9 million salary for political contributions.

How do we compare to other countries in the cost of gasoline? Germans pay less than the United States does, $2.64 a gallon (excluding taxes) compared to this country’s $2.69. Yet this country produces 5.4 million barrels of oil each day while Germany produces only 28,000. Their population is one-fourth that of the United States, they produce 0.0005 percent of the oil that this country does, and they pay less for their gas. Producing more oil in this nation isn’t going to help.

Conservatives blame President Obama for rising gasoline prices. Yet the cost of a barrel increased from $22 in 2002 to just under $100 in 2008. George W. Bush was president for that entire time. The cost of domestic crude oil is also tied to the far more expensive Brent crude produced in the North Sea. Although U.S. crude oil production has increased for the first time since 1971, this oil just makes more profits for oil companies and Wall Street instead of permitting lower gasoline prices at the pump. President Obama has increased the amount of oil produced daily, and the price goes up.

Adjusting for inflation, gas prices show an interesting picture. In 2012 U.S. dollars, these were the prices over the past century: $3.35/gallon in 1919, $3.20/gallon in 1934, $3.44 in 1980, $2.49/gallon in 2009, $2.90/gallon in 2010, and $3.57/gallon in 2011.

In the meantime, people need to remember that gamblers on Wall Street are taking $10 to $15 from money paid for each tank. The only answer to the greed from financiers is regulation. And conservatives won’t every allow that to happen.

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