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David Sirota:
President Bush is expected to trumpet his "long-term" energy "solutions" at a press conference tonight. He is talking about nuclear power, and he's talking about drilling, and he's talking about every other cockamamie idea except the one that could make a difference to middle class people - cracking down on oil companies who are literally price gouging the American people:

  • USA Today reports "Exxon Mobil said Thursday that first-quarter earnings soared 44% from last year, due mainly to strong crude and natural gas prices...The company's net income surged to $7.86 billion."

  • Reuters reports "Royal Dutch/Shell comfortably beat analysts' forecasts to report a 28 percent rise in first-quarter profits, helped by surging oil prices and strong refining margins...The company's earnings rose to $5.548 billion."

  • The Houston Chronicle reports "ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest oil and gas company, said today that first-quarter earnings soared year-over-year on high oil prices, though they were partially offset by unplanned downtime in the company's exploration and production unit. The company's net income jumped to $2.91 billion."
  • Call it profiteering, call it price gouging, it's all the same thing. And what's doubly sad, is that the GOP's energy bill includes huge tax breaks for these very same energy companies reaping record profits.

    Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:31 AM PDT.

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    Comment Preferences

    •  Very Important (none)
      Why are is the Oil Special interest getting all the breaks when they are doing so well.  Why not support the working class family while they suffer from such high oil prices patially because of big oils profits.
      •  Cutting Out The Middle Man (none)
        Why give tax breaks to the consumers to help them afford the high gas prices when it's easier just to give the money straight to the oil and gas companies? Then they haven't got to mess around administering paperwork for millions of people, and can just cut checks for the four or five companies that Cheney owns stock in.
        •  Maybe Just Maybe (none)
          The Middle man would then be able to afford a hybrid car and that wouldn't help the oil industry.
          •  But you see (none)
            that is why hybrids are so expensive AND years out in orders.  If it were easy to get them, then we would all be interested.  Cheney and dickhole would both not get as big of a profit(eering) check from those companies.
            Not going to happen in this country any time soon.  Big oil owns our corrupt government from the Saudi's gay little hand-holding incident through today's report of such HIGH Profits.  

            I still don't understand what is so wrong with the term "liberal".

            by Ring Freedom on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 11:22:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Its the Economy... (none)
        And the fool Administration doesn't comprehend that as the middle class suffers, so does the American economy.
      •  How many... (none)
        gay whores are going to be there to ask him softball questions tonight?
      •  Bush will blame the "tree huggers" (none)
        ...with that kind of "anxious because I know I'm telling a lie" kind of nervous smirk.

        He will say that the major problems are no drilling in the artic and the environmentalists preventing refineries being built.

        so he is going to convert army bases into refineries and drill the caribou and any tree huggers who get in the way....some real great lines pandering to the rednecks, you watch. He will say the drilling is on only 800 acres or some made up number.

        so predictable.

        oh yes and until we get nuclear, diesel is the other piece of the answer.

    •  Now the Hummer tax credit is making sense (none)
      See, it's the government's way of giving something back to the consumer.... yeah...

      I think I need to take a shower for saying that.

      (My dKos Public Email is altered. Swap "ve-riz-on" and "ace-pumpk-in", then remove dashes to email me.)

      by Ace Pumpkin on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:35:25 AM PDT

    •  And (none)
      they are talking about putting refineries on old military sites as if Exxon Mobil would want to see new refineries produce more gasoline to bring prices down.

      Damn it feels good to be a Gangsta

      by EMKennedyLucio on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:36:23 AM PDT

    •  Eggsellent! (none)
      I'm betting on lots of loopy, daft one-liners from our head-in-the-sand ostrich-in-chief. People are PISSED about gas prices, and that leaves Bush with no comfort zone. Now he has to do another tap-dance to please his puppet masters, having shucked and jived nicely when Mr. DeLay came a'courting ("I want a helicopter, I want the POTUS, I want cameras, I want 'em now!!").

      He is headed for a buzzsaw. I also heard he's going to take on the filibuster issue. If nobody asks him about "uniter not a divider" I'm gonna cry. 'Course the real buzz will be over who will be the new "Jeff Gannon."

      •  Priorities (none)
        Kids are coming home dead or mutilated from a war based on lies....No problem for the fecocephalic majority. High prices at the pump? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! WE WON'T TOLERATE IT!!!!!
        •  Perspective appreciated (none)
          The direct cost of the increased gas prices will cost the typical American a couple hundred dollars a year, and I'll guess perhaps a thousand more in increased prices of products they buy.  That is on par with the cost of the war in Iraq and a fraction of what piratizing Social Security will cost.

          Contrast this with the money spent on research into real solutions to increase energy supplies and the real priority becomes clear.

          fecocephalic ... hehe

          •  wait... (none)
            fecocephalic?

            ......straining to think of what it looks like...aaahh now I see! I should have headed to the toilet to divine your meaning...

            You're calling them S*ITHEADS!

            Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us. -- P. J. O'Rourke

            by floundericiousMI on Mon May 02, 2005 at 01:25:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Not Gonna Happen (none)
        Bush and Rove are holding this "talk to the people" because their ship is sinking.  This is all about a hope that after Bush talks directly to the people, they will regain confidence in him (even if they don't like his policies) and his poll numbers will crawl out of the gutter.

        I don't believe it's gonna work this time.  That snarky talk and look is just gonna piss people off more, even if they can stand to listen to all the garbage.

        Anyway, that's my take on this, but, then again, I was SHOCKED, yes SHOCKED, when people actually still supported the idiot after last year's debates.

    •  Why do Americans (4.00)
      insist that supply and demand not apply to petroleum? If the price of gas is too high for you, the obvious solution is to use less. I believe it was RFK Jr. I heard pointing out that improving the mileage of the average US vehicle by 1 mile per gallon would save more gasoline in a year than lies under the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. An 8mpg saving would totally remove our dependence on Middle-East oil.

      My dKos UID is lower than my /. UID.

      by Rupert on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:36:48 AM PDT

      •  and going 55 on the freeways (none)
        has proven to actually work in extending mileage per gallon

        "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - JFK

        by jillian on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:42:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  55 is not the answer (none)
          55 is a bogus speed limit, and any attempt to reinstate it will be very unpopular.  Too much fuel is wasted in traffic and city streets where you are not only wasting gas, you aren't getting anywhere.
          •  Bogus How? (none)
            Drive the speed limit. Two things here; First, wind resistance is not linearly related to speed. The increase in wind resistance between 55 and 65 mph is around 40 percent. The amount of time you might save is driving 65 vs. 55 is about 15 percent. Might is the operative word here. Okay it is 10 miles to the mall and you could save over a minute by speeding, if you could drive door to door at 65. The reality is that by doing 65 on the 5 mile stretch of highway, you got to the first of the series of stoplights going into the mall 30 seconds earlier, you got to the mall at the same time.
            •  Good point (none)
              I used to have a lot of road rage and try to drive fast, but I did similar calculations and decided weaving through traffic to gain a few seconds wasn't worth the risk.  Eventually accidents or tickets will swamp any time saved, not to mention any injuries.

              I just wanted to point out that wind resistance is not the whole story, friction and some other things affect gas mileage as well.
              Back in WWII they used to say 35 mph was the most efficient speed for cars.  The tradeoff between wind and various frictional losses made that the maximum fuel efficiency.  Now cars have changed a lot since then, so the speed may have changed ... I'd love to find out what the best speed is now.

      •  And if you want people to buy better cars (none)
        you have to give them a reason to get rid of the one they have.

        Not everybody has $20k (or more) to spend on a hybrid (provided you can even find one), and if you have a couple of kids older than 5, a tiny car isn't going to cut it. And if your old Chevy that gets 20 mpg is paid for, and you don't have money every month for a car payment, you keep it.

        Help the people with the old clunkers upgrade to better cars, and crush the clunkers. Subsidize the better mileage cars, penalize the low mileage ones.

        Of course, it's a little late NOW. They should have been doing this over the last 5+ yrs.

        •  excellent post (none)
          the ability to buy new cars is gonna be pretty limited. Those who do are just gonna pass their used enormous gas hogs down to somebody else. Not to say there shouldn't be legislation re mpg. But it won't have much effect for another 5 years.
    •  Let's not forget (none)
      That the house last week passed the energy bill that grants hundreds of millions of dollars of breaks to the oil industry, while also rejecting a measure to increase the average fleet MPG of US cars.

      That should say something about priorities in this goverment.

      Freedom isn't free. So why are you bitching about taxes?

      by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:36:49 AM PDT

    •  As price gouging scum myself... (4.00)
      That's right, my family is in the oil business.  I admit it, we're scum.  We crank up the prices and laugh allthe way to the bank.  No wait, I work a 9-5 job in another industry, so it must be my Mom whos a scummy price gouger.  No, wait, she lives on a comfortable but fixed income from risidual revenue from wells my geologist father drilled in his lifetime.  Why isn't my mom getting rich?  Because Big OIL squeezes at both ends.  They jack up prices at the refined end, and refuse to raise risidual income above the contractual ceiling.  That's right, my mom gets the same interest income no matter what the price per barrel is (within a certain range...if the price really tanked, she would get less than she gets now, but would never get more).  So whats the point of my rant?  I guess its that BIG OIL is EVEN SCUMMIER than you imagined.

      In addition to all this, they buy up patents for energy saving devices so they can HOLD THEM FOR 30 YEARS, so it doesn't cut into their short term profits.  

      Scumbags.

      Those willing to sacrifice their etenal freedom for temporary security are worthy of neither freedom nor security.

      by TheGryphon on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:37:14 AM PDT

      •  Links? (none)
        In addition to all this, they buy up patents for energy saving devices so they can HOLD THEM FOR 30 YEARS, so it doesn't cut into their short term profits.  

        Could you post links to some of these patents?  Looking at the US patent database isn't terribly helpful, mostly because the oil companies have so many patents.  Some search terms would even be nice.  

        I've been hearing this line for years, but I've never seen anyone refer to an actual patent that's been bought and held by an oil company.  I'd really like to see one, just so I know first-hand that it's true.

        •  That's a good research project. (none)
          I suspect it's true, given that CF lightbulbs weren't on the market for a good 50 years after they were developed.
          •  sure... (none)
            It's not that I doubt it, so much as I don't have any actual evidence to support it.  I'm sure that at least one of the people making these claims has some facts to back up what they say, and I'd just like to know what has really been patented.

            Reading through the patents from exxon alone, I couldn't tell you if what I'm reading is about an amazing new energy source or an industrial solvent.  I just don't have the chemical background to really understand what they're talking about in their claims.

    •  mouth-breathing reportage (none)
      What I can't understand is how in all the obseiant fawning over Dubya's "bold energy plan," not one of the bobbleheads has mentioned how great $3 a gallon gas is for the oil companies.  It maximizes profits, as the cost of production hasn't gone up, yet the price isn't so high that consumers conserve in any meaningful way.  Why in hell, even though they would be getting a fantastic gift of federal land, would an oil company want to build a new refinery?  Spend billions only to lower the profit margins on you product through increased supply?

      Then again, maybe I can understand...

      •  Re: Mouth Breathers (none)
        I'm sure the oil companies also realize that next year, there will be 2% less oil available to refine, and the year after that, 2% less oil available to refine. Nobody is building new refineries. Nobody is building new oil tankers. The oil companies are sitting on a goldmine of scarcity.

        Their sole 'exploration' activities are that they seek other oil companies to gobble up.

    •  Even Business Week Notes Bush's Energy Stupidity (4.00)
      President Bush made an impassioned plea for an energy plan that would wean the U.S. from imported fuels. "Our dependence on foreign energy is like a foreign tax on the American people," he declared in a speech to a gathering of small-business owners and entrepreneurs in Washington.

      What the country needs is "a national strategy," Bush said. "And the most important component of our strategy is to recognize the transformational power of technology. By harnessing the power of technology, we're going to be able to grow our economy, protect our environment, and achieve greater energy independence."

      Powerful sentiments, indeed. But the words are largely hollow. Sadly, the plan Bush proposed would do little to increase existing supplies of oil, gas, or electricity, or decrease domestic demand for energy -- the two steps that would really make a difference. Charges Frank O'Donnell, head of Clean Air Watch, a Washington-based environmental group: "The new Presidential energy plan seems mainly to be a public-relations stunt aimed at trying to reverse some of the latest polls, which show a growing public discontent with high gas prices -- and the President."

      Of course, environmentalists such as O'Donnell can usually be counted on to bash GOP policies. But in this case the criticism is deserved. Plenty of evidence indicates that the White House's sudden interest in energy policy is driven far more by politics than substantive policymaking.

      The President's failure to propose any meaningful solutions, while claiming to "do the right thing for America" makes it hard not to conclude that the Administration's main goal is not energy independence, but rather improving its standing the polls. Indeed, what's most striking about Bush's Apr. 27 speech is how closely it follows the script written by Luntz earlier this year. A few examples:

      • The pollster recommended emphasizing that the nation's energy problem "has been years in the making, and it will take years to solve." On Apr. 27, Bush said: "This problem did not develop overnight, and it's not going to be fixed overnight."

      • Luntz wrote that in advocating drilling in the ANWR, the Administration should say that "using modern techniques, only a very small area will actually be impacted by the development." In his speech, Bush echoed that, saying: "Because of the advances in technology, we can reach the oil deposits with almost no impact on land or local wildlife."

      • The pollster stressed that Republicans should have a positive message, appealing "to American ideals of invention and innovation" and tapping "into feelings of American exceptionalism and ingenuity to seal the deal with the swing voters." Any surprise, then, that Bush emphasized in his address that "technology has radically changed the way we live and work"? He added: "Our country is on the doorstep of incredible technological advances that will make energy more abundant and more affordable for our citizens."

      BusinessWeek Opinion by John Carey

      You know when BusinessWeek even notes the hypocrasy and stupidity of the President....it's gonna be "hard work" for W tonight.

      "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - JFK

      by jillian on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 09:40:59 AM PDT

    •  W is a tax on the world (none)
      Image hosted by Photobucket.com
      •  Umm... (none)
        Nuclear is the best option for complying with Kyoto. Zero greenhouse emissions. Where in the Kyoto agreement is nuclear power mentioned?

        "Nascar has become a covert ethnic-pride celebration for red-state whites of Northern European descent."

        by Swampfoot on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 10:10:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  BusinesWeek Sees Through the Smoke (none)
      I was waiting all morning to get up my latest energy diary, much of which cites this BusinessWeek Article.

      ...the words are largely hollow. Sadly, the plan Bush proposed would do little to increase existing supplies of oil, gas, or electricity, or decrease domestic demand for energy -- the two steps that would really make a difference.
    •  Kos, "Tax Breaks" = Corp. Welfare (none)
    •  Here is Bush's strategy: roller coaster prices (none)
      Bush recently warned his good friend, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, that consistently high oil prices "damage markets".

      Now, what does that mean?  Here's what it means:

      Keeping oil prices high for long periods of time drives energy consumers to begin conserving and to begin buying more fuel-efficient vehicles.  Demand for oil--especially oil from the Middle East--would fall dramatically as a result if oil prices are sustained at their current or higher levels over a period of at least 3 years.

      Now, we don't want that, do we?  Bush wants to keep America dependent on foreign oil (because he is part of a corporate faction in America who have invested trillions into tying America's economy into those foreign oil fields).

      Hence, the roller coaster strategy:  prices go UP and Bush's oil friends (including his own family) reap fat profits.  About the time that consumers begin thinking of trading in that Hummer for a Prius and insulating their attics, prices go DOWN and everybody relaxes.

      Simply put, Bush has placed the interests of the oil corporations, and of his Saudi friends, before the national interest of the United States. As Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (son of the late senator) has said, America could achieve energy independence in short order via alternative energy sources, conservation, and raising the fuel mileage requirements for cars.  It was the federally mandated mileage requirements for cars that caused the bottom to drop out of the oil markets in the mid-1980s...which is why they haven't been raised since then!

      Yes, American consumers, with their wasteful ways, are partly to blame for this--but the price of energy is being deliberately manipulated to create short-run tight supplies that yield huge profits, but which don't last long enough to encourage consumers to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles nor businesses to become more energy-efficient.

      Bush is a traitour to the American people.  It's as simple as that.  Well, what can you expect of a man whose first priority after 9/11 was making sure that bin Laden's relatives got airlifted out of the country before the FBI could make enquiries?  His relatives are all, of course, Saudis...you know, the nation that supplied most of the 9/11 hijackers, but who also supply "the precious".

      There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

      by Shadowthief on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 10:01:38 AM PDT

    •  Bush Plan in Nutshell (none)
      Gas is too expensive.  Instead of charging people who use it, lets let the entire country pay oil companies so that those who use it get a cent off...five years later

      Increasing fuel efficiency would have an immediate effect.

      As far as I can see, why aren't other big companies pissed with the adminstration.  Especially the Airlines, where their measley profit margins are erased, all because people have to refuel suburbans.  The entire economy hinges on reducing gas prices by reducing demand.  Oil is going to get more expensive, and the "new refineries" that bush proposes will not even be neccessary because there won't be enough oil to refine.

    •  You Get What You Pay For With This Administration (none)
      There should be no surprise, and no defense in "the law of supply and demand."  This administration caters to those who pay them the big bucks.  What matters now is tying the graft to the corruption.  That should not be hard, if our media were actually doing their jobs.  
    •  This just pisses me off (none)
      the price of oil goes up and up and Bush shows no desire to research alternative energy. More 'nukular' power plants? What more places that Bush will leave open to terrorist attack? Dont we already have too many of those?

      it just pisses me off. And who pays the price?

    •  Check this out - Stock Charts. (4.00)
      2-yr Charts

      EXXON MOBIL

      SHELL TRANSPORT PLS

      CONOCO PHILLIPS


      UNOCAL

      •  thanks for the additional information (none)
        Here's a copy of the e-mail sent this morning to our congress-critters:

        "USA Today reports that ExxonMobil increased its profits by 44%; that Shell's profits increased by 28% (Reuters); and, ConocoPhillips' net profit increased by $2.91 billion dollars.  If this is the case, then why is the President calling for tax breaks for oil and gas exploration?  Why is he promoting giving away federal lands (unused military bases) to these corporations?  Why aren't these corporations opening their own refineries, without a government handout?

        For that matter: Why isn't the president emphasizing tax breaks for consumers who purchase hybrid vehicles? Why doesn't the president use the SOR to help stabilize prices? Has the president ever even mentioned developing bio-diesel technology?  The only technology the President's "vision" appears to extend to that using hydrogen (generated from natural gas). Nothing in this Administration's vision extends beyond the oil and energy corporations.

        Are the members of our Congress and Senate advocating:
        -increased research and development of bio-diesel techologies?
        -providing tax breaks for consumers who purchase hybrid vehicles?
        -providing research and development funds for fuel and energy sources other than fossil fuels?

        Thank you for your service, and for your attention to our national energy policy."

        One of them may listen. One has his head slanted towards Bushs' bottom, and one I'm not sure of.

    •  Red Herring (none)
      I cannot help but think the GOP is taking advantage of the high gasoline prices to set up a red herring which can only help Bush and the GOP in the 2006 elections.  Newsweek reported that GOP strategists were tying Bush's falling popularity ratings as inversely proportional to the price of gasoline - as gas prices rise, people get p.o.'d and Bush's popularity falls.  Look at the advantage of selling that point for the GOP - gas prices are cyclical.  They are high now, but if you have sold the American people on the idea that Bush's popularity depends on the price of gas, then you stand a chance in getting a boost in the polls when gas prices drop.  Remember the 2004 elections, and you can count on a drop in gas prices in the final days before Election 2006.

      We should start pounding the drum about the US oil company price gouging, and we should not let up.  Bush looks more like an idiot as that news gets out - he's holding hands, fer Cripesake, with a Saudi prince and Exxon is making record profits.

    •  on nuclear energy (none)
      I've always thought nuclear was a stupid idea and pretty much a proven failure - it's dangerous and expensive. Recently I got into a little debate with a friend of mine on the subject - he supports nuclear and believes current technology is safer and less expensive. I've done a little research and am starting to see his point, apparently pebble-bed reactors (PBRs) are significantly safer than previous designs, produce less waste byproducts, and can be used to produce hydrogen for hydrogen-powered cars and whatnot. China is really big behind deploying PBRs to off-set their oil dependence through electricity and hydrogen production. Here is the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor
      •  exactly (none)
        Democrats need to seize nuclear energy as their own and run with it as an alternative to fossil fuels.

        Modern reactors are safe and efficient.  Waste is well-contained and can be safely stored if the NIMBY folks would stop throwing hissyfits.  The worst of the waste decays quickly (years, not decades) anyway.

        It's clean, it's safe, it's efficient, and it can be done domestically.  Sign me up.

        •  You're wrong! (none)
          I saw Godzilla.  It is NOT safe.

          God IS NOT a special interest group, Dammit!

          by God loves goats on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 11:24:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  too late (none)
          we are not gonna own nuclear... the GOPpers already got a big head start on nuclear..... big nuclear is just "big oil, the sequel." or "big highways II".... Huge construction companies getting outrageously profitable contracts, big cost overruns, condemning property, steamrolling over community groups. It's perfect international corporate looting of our treasury. Therefore, the GOPpers are, by definition, way out in front on the issue.
      •  nuclear is all we've got really (none)
        Nuclear is pretty much our best form of energy right now. Hopefully one day fusion will come along and then we can say good bye, nice knowing ya to that peak oil problem. Actaully, there were some recent developments just today about fusion. One thing about nuclear fission (the type we use today), is that uranium isn't exactly pretty to mine or refine. It's not exactly sustainble, but will probably do us for a long while. One thing about making hydrogen from nuclear fission is that it'll probably require something rediculous like 3000 extra nuclear power plants being installed in order to make enough hydrogen for us all to be driving around in a hydrogen fuelled vehicle.

        theWatt.com daily energy news and discussion

        by theWatt on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 11:04:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (none)
        Glad to know I'm not hte only liberal that is startign to see this as well.

        Thanks for the link! If we dont' get on the ball this will be more more industry we scede to asia and europe, leaving our economy behind when it comes to new energy.

      •  Yep... (none)
        I never really understood the haterd of nuclear power by some. Science and technology have made nuclear power pretty damn safe. I live and work very close to a nuclear power plant and I really don't worry about it at all.

        We have 50 years of reactor design, we have modern science and technology monitoring every single widget and every critical system in a modern nuclear plant has many levels of backups in case something actually does go wrong. The big safety concern with nuclear power today IMO isn't recators, its nuclear waste and security.

        "Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere"

        by Morbo on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 01:47:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A Prescott Bush Company? (none)

      "It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government." --Thomas Paine "And the world from this President"--BOHICA

      by BOHICA on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 10:17:58 AM PDT

    •  Whadya expect? (none)
      Put an oil man from an oil family in charge of coming up with an energy plan, and that's what you get.

      How many times to we have to scream "alternative energy" until these people get it?

      Do we need to wait until the Earth really goes to shit for it to happen?

    •  What else would you expect... (4.00)
      from an administration where the President and Vice-President are both wholly owned subsidiaries of the major energy companies??
    •  Don't forget higher demand (none)
      Higher prices are also partly a result of higher demand.  People buy more gas, the oil comapnies make more money.  I definately think giving them tax breaks is wrong, but there's more to their high profits then just higher prices.
    •  If you look at the rest of the companies (none)
      declaring their results today, you notice that oil company profits come at the expense, not just of American drivers, but also American corporations which are not doing well. But Big Chem and Big Pharma? they're fine thanks - but they've been gouging for years and not paying their way.
    •  Very frustrating - what the hell is wrong with (none)
      people that they cannot see this??  Bush = high oil prices = record profits for the corporate pirates.  

      As long as the middle classes fail to admit that Bush is for big corporations and NOT for them, we will not win.  How the hell do we do that when we have to spend all of our time and effort fighting obscenities such as the filibuster bust.

      I just got it - smoke and mirrors!  My husband has been saying this all along.  

      "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

      by adigal on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 10:31:51 AM PDT

    •  Cars! (none)
      Folks to me the biggest thing missing in this BS plan is a direct challenge to our wasteful auto industry.

      Forget drilling in Alaska. Why not get Detroit (and Tokyo and Frankfurt) to make a car that consumes less gas.

      When John F. Kennedy said we are getting to moon, we got there. When FDR said with the help of indutry we will win WWII, we did.

      Why won't someone say we are driving cars that get 50-75 miles per gallon by 2015. It would happen.

      Oh wait, what would ExxonMobil say.

      •  It's the consumers fault though (none)
        "Why not get Detroit (and Tokyo and Frankfurt) to make a car that consumes less gas."

        US consumers have lots of options but they're not using them, they'd prefer to drive big SUVs. Look at DaimlerChrystler. They're ditching their Smart car because nobody in the US was buying it.  

        theWatt.com daily energy news and discussion

        by theWatt on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 10:53:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I wish fuel efficient cars were the answer (none)
        But look at the cars our society has selected to purchase in the last 10 years. Frankly, you can't even call them cars. Every other vehicle on the road is an SUV, a truck, a Hummer or a jeep. And I am not talking about people who mighty actually need them; say farmers or construction workers; I'm talking about suburbanites who drive to and from work alone every day. A huge part of me wants to see gas go to $10.00 a gallon as a smack in the face with reality to all that is gluttony. (If of course, the whole economy wouldn't go down like the Titanic with it.)

        The Book of Revelation is NOT a foreign policy manual.

        by Dont Just Stand There on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 10:57:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  price of gasoline (none)
          I think all of these things could be solved by following strict economics 101. If you use oil, there's a negative externality which is the CO2 and pollution that it produces and so the price of oil (which would reflect on the price of gasoline) has to account for that negative externality....which it's not right now. Of course, in some way we're paying for it, maybe a bit from our wallets in the form of taxes and the rest probably from health problems.

          theWatt.com daily energy news and discussion

          by theWatt on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 11:14:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You can buy a 66 MPG Honda today (none)
        I don't understand your comment. Honda and Toyota already sell high MPG cars. If people don't choose to buy them, then what do you do?
        •  make em!! (none)
          driving on public roads is not a right. if you wanna drive on the roads, use a car that wont waste gas. it's that simple. you want an h2? drive it on your own land.

          Hell, they dont even have to regulate the auto makers like the current CAFE standards do. Rather, Congress can use the same tactic they used for lowering the BAC. If a State does not mandate higher MPG standards for cars that they register for use on public roads, they will not get federal highway funding. The market will then demand higher MPG cars and Detroit will have to follow suit. The one or two states that buck (AK, NH.. any others?) won't be large enough to make a difference.

          Granted, this would require that a majority of Congress has a clue.
    •  It's peak oil, not the oil companies (none)
      It's not the oil companies that "are literally price gouging the American people". It's the fact that supply of oil coming from the middle east is too close to the deamnd of oil. Oil prices will be getting more and more expensive and there's nothing anybody can do about it. A French bank last week said that oil could reach $380/bbl and the Guardian had a huge article (summarized here) just the other day about peak oil. Sure, the oil companies are making a killing, but they can't be blamed for the high prices in the oil markets.

      GWB is doing a fantastic job at keeping oil prices low for all Americans and ensuring that the economy can prosper as a result of those prices, but the fact that they are higher than usual can only be attributed to the lack of supply and maybe the lack of refining capacity.

      theWatt.com daily energy news and discussion

      by theWatt on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 10:50:04 AM PDT

      •  such as? (none)
        What, specifically, had GWB done to keep oil prices low?
        •  like these things (none)
          Like invading Iraq, getting buddy buddy with the Saudis (did you see the picture of GWB and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah walking "hand-in-hand"? Pretty much the entire foreign policy is aimed at securing oil.

          theWatt.com daily energy news and discussion

          by theWatt on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 10:57:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  but... (none)
            ...what has that done for oil prices short-term?  Has Iraq yeilded any oil?  Has the recent Saudi visit yielded any oil price relief?

            It's also worth pointing out that GWB's relationship with the Saudis makes it clear that oil interests trump "freedom is on the march" rhetoric.

      •  Well (none)
        Refineries are at capacity. As such, the demand to get more crude is lowered because there is nothing you can do except wait for an available refinery to process it. If oil companies built more refineries, there might be more incentive for OPEC and others to raise production limits and as a result, more oil would be on the market, theoretically lowering the price. The problem with this is that I read the other day somewhere (probably here) that OPEC (maybe just Saudi Arabia) has pretty much told their producers to go balls to the wall, meaning that more drilling/exploration would have to be done rather than simply increasing the throughput of existing wells...
    •  it's really so simple (none)
      1. The president needs to mandate conservation.  Unfortunately, the word conservation is not in his vocabulary.  Either that or he can't pronounce it.

      2. Raise CAFE standards.  Just a 1 - 5% increase in fuel efficiency standards could significantly decrease our dependence on foreign oil.  

      3. Stop giving welfare to oil companies - they already make too much money.  The Dems need to mount a campaign about the "Welfare Queens" - BP, Shell, Conoco, et al.    
    •  It's still funny (none)
      I still giggle when I hear Dipshit say Newkewler. I also think he's so full of shit that turds pop out of his mouth everytime he speaks. How the hell do you not notice the only people showing record profits are energy companies?
    •  Nuclear Power is FAR from a cockamamie idea, David (4.00)
      Now, I know that since The Chimperor brought this issue to the fore yesterday, many of you who do not have the time or inclination to research the particulars are simply going to assume that if it's good enough for 85, then it must be a looming disaster for the country. I am here to instead remind you that even a stopped clock is right by coincidence twice a day (once a day if you're in Europe and use a 24hr clock), and that the sole fact of Dubya's support of nuclear power is not a good enough reason to oppose it. George probably supports the wearing of pants, and while I oppose some of his policies I don't think that particular policy is unreasonable.

      The ignorance of nuclear power by many Kossacks is staggering and matched only by their hysteria. Sadly, nuclear power is perhaps the Left's most profound blind spot. There are too many people on our side who have their heads in the sand on this one. We have got to stop with the irrationality surrounding this issue, or our prideful ignorance is going to kill us.

      The willful ignorance surrounding this issue here strongly resembles fundie Republican attitudes on birth control, global warming, stem cell research, and abortion. It's informed almost entirely by anti-intellectualism, propaganda, emotion, and the utter, complete, and total inability to admit that they're wrong.

      There is a fine article by the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Richard Rhodes, which examines many of the common arguments against nuclear power, and comes out, surprisingly, in favor. You've simply got to do your homework on this before you dismiss it out of hand.

      One of the finest books on the entire issue was written by Bernard Cohen, who has no industry ties; if one is to have any informed opinion at all on the issue, you have to read it.

      Nuclear is the only source of energy which can put us in good shape right now and there are more than enough nuclear materials on Earth to provide power for our needs for centuries.

      With nuclear, you can kill at least four very ugly birds with one stone: weapons proliferation, high-level waste disposal, greenhouse emissions, and fresh water shortages.

      • Proliferation because modern breeder reactors can use the material from old weapons for fuel and make this material useless as a nuclear explosive. Literally swords into plowshares.

      • Waste disposal because we can use breeder reactors to burn down much of the waste we are storing today, using it for power and making the waste far less radioactive and dangerous.

      • Greenhouse emissions, because, well, an operating nuclear plant has essentially NONE.

      • The coming "fresh water crisis" can be averted by utilizing clean nuclear power to desalinate water from the oceans. No invasion of our Canadian friends will be required.

      And no, a nuclear power plant cannot explode like an atomic bomb. You'd be amazed how many people believe that it can. Not one person died as a result of the Three Mile Island accident.

      There's absolutely no comparison possible between the reactors and regulatory environment we have in the U.S. and the sloppy reactor and procedures which caused the hydrogen gas explosion at Chernobyl. Such an accident is literally impossible here. Sorry, Janeane Garofalo. I heard your ignorant statement on AAR last night in which you linked all nuclear power with Chernobyl and had to call you out on it. For one who has passionately pleaded for improvements to education, it surprises me that you need to educate yourself on this critical issue.

      If you worry about the mining of uranium and its release of toxicity into the environment, think about all the radon gas and other radioactive particulates released when you mine billions of tons of coal. It's a hell of a lot more toxicity and radioactivity, because of the simple fact that you have to mine so much more of it than you do uranium. 32,000 people die as a result of coal burning each year. We can stop that right now with technology that has been safe and mature for more than 40 years.

      France and Japan have got the right idea on this, folks.

      And before you go off on the waste storage "problem," keep in mind that a nuke plant (under super-strict regulations) puts far less radioactive waste into the environment than your average coal plant. Yep, you read that right:

      Among sources for electric power generation, coal is the worst environmental offender. Recent studies at the Harvard School of Public Health indicate that particulates from coal burning are responsible for about 15,000 premature deaths annually in the U.S. alone. [Wilson and Spengler (1996), p. 212.] To generate about a quarter of world primary energy, coal burning  liberates a burden of toxic wastes too immense to bury in secure repositories. Such waste is either dispersed directly into the air or solidified and dumped or even mixed into construction materials. Besides noxious particulates, sulfur  and nitrogen oxides (components of acid rain and smog), arsenic, mercury, cadmium, selenium, lead, boron, chromium, copper, fluorine, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium, zinc [Swaine (1990).], carbon monoxide and dioxide and other greenhouse gases, coal-fired power plants are also the major world source of radioactive releases to the environment. Uranium and thorium, mildly radioactive elements ubiquitous in the crust of the earth, are both released when coal is burned. Radioactive radon gas, a decay product of crustal uranium normally confined underground, is also released when coal is mined. A 1,000 megawatt-electric (MWe) coal-fired power plant releases into the environment about one hundred times as much radioactivity as a comparable nuclear plant.

      New reactor designs, like Canada's CANDU reactor, and the pebble-bed reactor (which literally cannot melt down) are making it awfully hard to rationalize any other form of mass power generation as a replacement for petroleum.

      A terrorist attack on a nuclear plant would result in very little bang for the terrorist buck. First off, in the wake of 9/11, no hijacked airplane in north america is going to get anywhere near its target before it is shot down by fighters, either Canadian CF-18s, or U.S. F-15s.

      And even if they managed to get to the target, as a terrorist operation, this has no chance of doing any significant damage to a reactor vessel.

      Any terrorist who would try such a thing will have bought into a lot of ignorant hype about the vulnerability of these plants. If they did a little research, and saw the Sandia Labs test of an F-4 Phantom accelerated to 500mph on a rocket sled and slammed into a test concrete containment building wall, they would conclude that they were wasting their time in a very big way. While this wall was mounted on air bearings and was moved several feet, all this did was put a small divot into the test wall, with no penetration.

      And this does not even consider the 8-inch thick steel wall of the reactor vessel itself, inside the concrete building.

      The most they could hope for is to damage the turbine complex on site, which would not release any radiation, but would knock the plant out of commission for several months at the least.

      As for the objections to nuclear power by those who have run out of reasonable scientific grounds, on the sole grounds that it will "allow us to go on using as much as we want and go on being as wasteful as we want," well, that's a philosophical objection that seems based on sacrifice for sacrifice's sake, and starts to get onto the grounds of loopy, pointless religious debates. Such an argument would still be raised by these stoics if we found a way to generate power from such inexhaustible sources such as Limbaugh's hot air or O'reilly's vibrator.

      Even the Green party guru and Climatologist James Lovelock has come out in favor of responsible nuclear power generation:

      Opposition to nuclear energy is based on irrational fear fed by Hollywood-style fiction, the Green lobbies and the media. These fears are unjustified, and nuclear energy from its start in 1952 has proved to be the safest of all energy sources. We must stop fretting over the minute statistical risks of cancer from chemicals or radiation. Nearly one third of us will die of cancer anyway, mainly because we breathe air laden with that all pervasive carcinogen, oxygen. If we fail to concentrate our minds on the real danger, which is global warming, we may die even sooner, as did more than 20,000 unfortunates from overheating in Europe last summer.

      I find it sad and ironic that the UK, which leads the world in the quality of its Earth and climate scientists, rejects their warnings and advice, and prefers to listen to the Greens. But I am a Green and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy.

      Even if they were right about its dangers, and they are not, its worldwide use as our main source of energy would pose an insignificant threat compared with the dangers of intolerable and lethal heat waves and sea levels rising to drown every coastal city of the world. We have no time to experiment with visionary energy sources; civilisation is in imminent danger and has to use nuclear - the one safe, available, energy source - now or suffer the pain soon to be inflicted by our outraged planet.

      Honestly, read up on it, embrace it, and rejoice! Nuclear can save our asses in so many ways. It can give us a cleaner atmosphere, give us nearly limitless fresh water, reduce the risk of a nuclear 9/11, and make it possible for all of us to keep using our cars, so long as they're electric, which is fine by me.

      "People who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

      by Swampfoot on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 12:10:05 PM PDT

      •  Thanks for the insightful commentary above (none)
        as I've always felt I needed to apologize to others for my support of MODERN nuclear power sources.  Our need for electricity will not go away any time soon, and of the viable modern-day alternatives, nuclear is clearly the most cost-effective solution when all factors are plugged into the equasion.
      •  You weaken your credibility (none)
        by overstating your case and making points which will generally test the reader's trust.

        I don't disagree with you basic point, particularly that newer methods and designs are relatively safe.  Nuclear probably will hold an increasingly important part in the American energy picture, and I agree it is likely to be much cleaner and safer than coal over the reasonably future.

        But I return to the subject.
        "And no, a nuclear power plant cannot explode like an atomic bomb. You'd be amazed how many people believe that it can. Not one person died as a result of the Three Mile Island accident."
        Perhaps a new plant design is safe, but by bringing up TMI in the context of relative safety, you test credibility.  The documentaries I've seen indicate TMI was very, very close to melting down and releasing a lot of very nasty things into the environment which would have been a terrible catastrophy for those in the area.  Stressing the safety of new designs sells your point, referring to near disasters to like TMI to get people comfortable with nuclear plants is counterproductive.  Point out the differences in technology, not the old nearly failed safety record of the old technology.

        I won't press the point that a commercial aircraft's ability to penatrate a nuclear core may differ greatly from an F-4's ability to penetrate a test slab, so perhaps the following point is moot.  However, saying "in the wake of 9/11, no hijacked airplane in north america is going to get anywhere near its target before it is shot down by fighters, either Canadian CF-18s, or U.S. F-15s." raised an eyebrow for me.  There have been several stories of small aircraft entering banned areas around nuclear plants, meeting NO response in terms of radio contact, let alone fighter response.  I personally am far from convinced a well-planned hijacking of a commercial jet (or chartered jet) could be caught in time to scramble jets to stop an attack.  Again, you have a valid perspective, but questionable arguments on your part test the reader's ability to accept your valid points.

        Thanks for the good info, and please take my response in the constructive spirit intended.

    •  Toxic Sludge (none)
      There is a little bit of slight of hand going on with putting refineries on military bases. One of the big problems the DOD has with shutting down bases is that they are required by law to clean up the toxic waste on the base. Many DOD bases are heavily contaminated and the clean up bills are in the billions. Some bases will not be shut down because the clean up is too expensive. Here is an easy out for the DOD and for the Oil Industry. Now the DOD can give the base to the Oil Companies who now don't have to do an environmental impact study. Neat arrangement, provided you don't live close by and don't mind the Dioxin, Used Mil-Std-23699 oil, and tri-chlor in your water.
    •  So, ummm. (none)
      You'd reject conservation, higher mileage standards, marginal additional energy from alternative energies in favor of creating a lethal byproduct with a half life in many thousands of years.

      Let me try that again, you'd foist off on your 40th generation descendants a desperate gamble that you can keep increased amounts of nuclear waste safe just so you can live in your current high luxury status?

      On the other hand, barring electric cars, the nuclear industry can not do a damn thing about meeting the american demand for private vehicles. Where do nukes get off with that?

      I like to think of the Republican Party as an Iceberg--large, white, cold-hearted, not too swift, and can't change direction.

      by DyspepTex on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 02:00:33 PM PDT

      •  Sorry this was supposed to be (none)
        in reply to a couple of comments up in favor ofnukular energy.

        I like to think of the Republican Party as an Iceberg--large, white, cold-hearted, not too swift, and can't change direction.

        by DyspepTex on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 02:01:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Alternative energy mix (none)
      I believe that we will probably need a mix of energy sources to meet the amount of energy required to power our country. Nuclear will no doubt be in the mix ( it is now ) and an expansion of the use of this energy source will no doubt be needed. We should also look though to some alternative energy sources such as solar and wind. Great strides have be made recently in regard to photovoltaic cells ( solar energy ).

      However, a particularly dicey problem is the car problem. Thus far, electric automobiles have been a disappointment compared to their oil-guzzling breathren in terms of performance and mileage. Given also the fact that (for better or worse ) we Americans tend to drive a lot, electric cars aren't probably going to be the solution to our problems in the near future. However, as other posters have pointed out, there are a wide variety of things that can be done.

      First, we can raise the CAFE standards and give the car companies a reasonable but accelerated timeframe for the new cars to meet them. This could happen through a wider embrace of hybrid technology or just more efficient engines. Second, we could look to pushing / regulating the car makers to embrace dual fuel diesel engines i.e. engines that can burn diesel fuel or biodiesel fuels generated from biomass or biowaste ( used animal fats, vegetable oils, etc.). For the future, we could just totally switch to biodiesel. Additionally, we could use biotech to help engineer plants that generate lots of oils that could be burned, would not need oil-based fertilizers, and be resistant to pests.
      The payoffs to the U.S. economy by embracing the "End of Oil" eventuality ( which is just the point where it becomes uneconomical to continue to use in vast quantities) could be great. Innovation is something we still do here in the U.S. ( though not as much as in the past) and this could generate whole new industries and theoretically reinvigorate a couple of older ones ( U.S. car-making and farming ). Additionally, it would substantially reduce or end our dependence on foreign oil, help our trade deficit, and de-fund some of the wacky stuff going on in the Middle East.My two long-winded cents.

    •  I knew this was going to happen... (none)
      Did anyone notice that prior to the election the price of a barrel o' crude was close to $60 and the price of gas at that time was not even close to what it is now? When I saw that happen I surmized that big oil was surpressing the price to make sure that Boy George didn't have to explain rocketing energy prices to the public. I also said at that time that as soon as the election was over, no matter who won, the oil companies were going to fuck us but good.

      Well, here we are a scant 126 days (approx) post election and the price of regular just hit $2.29/gallon and its still not even the summer driving season.

      The greatest threat to personal freedom comes from ones own government.

      by Mark701 on Thu Apr 28, 2005 at 02:53:52 PM PDT

    •  It's too bad we don't have (none)
      RESPONSIBLE REPRESENTATION in Congress, where they could take a look at all this energy profiteering and devise a bill that would either tax the hell out of their profits or reward them for sheltering the profits in R & D for renewable energies.  I am partial to the benefits of a switch to hydrogen for our energy needs, and only Shell is dropping a few pennies into that arena.

      Time and again, history has shown that only when the Federal government makes it worth their while, will corporations do what is best for ALL concerned.

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