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O'Reilly Gets it. Do you?


Tony Cartmill

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"Getting Hosed" by Bill O'Reilly

Every time you gas up your vehicle and that hose locks into the tank, you, American person, are getting hosed. The energy scam we are presently experiencing is one smooth operation. This time the Arabs aren't raising prices on barrels of oil. This time it's not saber-rattling from Iran that is driving up the price of gas. No, this time the problems are in Whiting, Indiana and Norco, Louisiana.

There are oil refineries in both those towns, and they've had a few annoying problems. A little power outage here, a small fire there. And whenever the speculators hear of any problem in an American refinery, they bid the price of oil up. The oil companies see that and immediately tell your gas station guy to charge more.

There has not been a new oil refinery built in the United States since 1976. Conservatives say the environmental people are blocking construction. There is some truth to that, but the biggest problem in building more refineries is money. Big oil doesn't want to spend billions on a new facility because they are making record profits now, and alternative energies may be coming. The oil barons love the slow-downs in Whiting and Norco, especially when they occur at the start of the summer driving season. Let the profit party begin.

The free marketers hate me for telling you all this. They say it's a "supply and demand" issue. Sure. If you stifle the amount of gasoline refined when everybody wants to drive, yeah, that price is gonna go up. But is that a "free market?"

You, yourself, cannot get into the oil "bidness." It takes all kinds of government approvals every step of the way to market gas and oil. Believe me, "Lenny's One Stop Energy Emporium" is not going to happen. Subway is not going to be franchising oil refineries anytime soon.

It is beyond frightening that both Democratic and Republican administrations have not insisted more oil refineries be built. We, as a country, are totally dependent on gas and oil, and the economy will collapse if America doesn't have enough of these commodities. But the government has good reason not to impede oil prices: Taxes. The more you pay at the pump, the more money rolls into DC.

But, again, no refineries have been built in 31 years, while demand has increased about 31%, one percent a year.

Appeals for Americans to conserve energy are swell, but they won't work. We are an immediate gratification society. We want what we want, and if it's a Hummer, blank you if you don't like it.

The only way a catastrophe can be headed off is for Congress to get serious with the oil companies and demand they upgrade and expand refining capacity, and play fair on prices. If Congress does not do that, major pain is coming for America.

Besides terrorism, the energy squeeze is the story of our times. Remember, you read it here.

##

You'll never see MSNBC, Media Matters or some other left wing smear site quote anything from this column...

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You're right in the fact that we need more refineries. A point that Bill didn't make about the oil companies/gas stations. They are very quick to raise the prices up as fast and high as they can but you will never see them drop at the same speed. I've been on the inside of that industry before and can tell you that those are the times that those companies score their major gas profits... when their price starts dropping but they haven't passed it on to you yet. frown

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We need an energy policy for obvious reasons.

But... and I'm not an expert here... it seems to me O'Reilly (or someone)will have to prove collusion if his point is going to have any credibility.

On balance, a free market, with good competition, is the best "advocate" for consumer rights..

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Eric, did you jump an octave on 'brave'? Or should that be octane?

You could talk about anything with my dad, but you wouldn't want to get him going on the oil or insurance companies. He said they were running the country. And that was 35 years ago. I think he might have been on to something...Kirk.

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Let's see...gas prices have doubled and we've got a Texas oil man in the White House and the ex-CEO of the biggest oil services company in the world is his vice-president. Exxon and Chevron are reporting record breaking profits and summer's coming and gas prices are going up. Does this strike anyone else out there as odd? Bush, Cheney, Big OIl, Haliiburton, Huge profits, Exxon, Texas, Iraq. Oh, it's probably just a coincidence. ec mad

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Free market, supply and demand- these terms don't apply to the oil companies. A few weeks ago on the KTLA news, Hal Fishman did a commentary on oil pricing. He had just come back from Colorado, where gas was priced 50 cents a gallon CHEAPER than in California. This was in an area that was more than a thousand miles from the nearest refinery. Add in the costs to ship it up to the Rocky Mountains, and they are selling it for 50 cents cheaper than here. With big oil, the operational term is 'whatever the market will bear'. Kirk.

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Let's see...gas prices have doubled and we've got a Texas oil man in the White House and the ex-CEO of the biggest oil services company in the world is his vice-president. Exxon and Chevron are reporting record breaking profits and summer's coming and gas prices are going up. Does this strike anyone else out there as odd? Bush, Cheney, Big OIl, Haliiburton, Huge profits, Exxon, Texas, Iraq. Oh, it's probably just a coincidence. ec mad

Consider myself struck. Here here.
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We always sing "land of the free and the home of the braves" down at the Ted in Atlanta.

Need help w/ climbing octaves anyone. Patented crotch-vise only $19.95

But seriously, should there be any grants of additional licenses in Alaska ( ANWR or whatever ), it should be tied to that company building a new refinery. THAT should change

their TUNE --- octaves and all!!

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Thats the trouble, they have the public over a barrel. (sorry). Same with the utilities and health care system, they hold the country hostage. I totally agree, it's another example of where we do not have public policies that look after the welfare of our society as a whole. All These industries, along with credit card companies, need further controls than they have on them in my opinion. All these industries have the ability to perpetrate fraud essentially in the quest for greater profits.

In reality we mix many economic models in our country and this is the hypocrisy. We dont mind Socialism, for example, when it involves our professional sports franchises but we hate the notion if it applies to health care. Go figure. Japan and the EU have been hoping for years that America would end up paying the same amount for energy as they do since it's sure to effect our competetiveness medium to long term.

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The GOOD news is that we only have another 7 months of these crooks in office.....the BAD news is that we have ANOTHER 7 MONTHS of these crooks in office!!!!!!! I'm just hoping we can survive until that happens!!!!! We'll probably be paying over $4 a gallon here in California...and I won't even get into the Irag War.....:-( Let's switch to music, okay?

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As high as gas prices are, they are lower in real dollars than they were 25 years ago. There have been no gasoline shortages in the last 25 years that I recall. Do the evil oil companies get any credit for providing a steady/low cost supply of oil over the last 25 years? Do they get any credit for using their technology and financial strength to help underdeveloped countries exploit their own resources they otherwise wouldn't have the ability to profit from?

Are oil prices increasing because Bush was a relatively small time oil man at one time? Oil prices increasing and Bush being a former oilman constitute justification to classify him as a crook who is somehow stealing from/gouging his constituents?

Jeez...

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Thanks for rehashing the same tired Republican talking points, dude. In 1981 we were coming to the end of an arab oil embargo. There is no comparable situation driving the current prices. Well, except for the fact that Republican politicians receive billions from big oil. Don't believe me? Google it. They are one of the biggest contributors to Republican candidates, lagging behind credit card, insurance & mortgage banks. See a trend there? Arbusto being a failed oil man isn't as important as the fact his family may as well be Saudi.Hey when the #1 Fox hatchet man does an op-ed, it must be starting to be a problem for future candidates.

Gas was $1 a gallon 8 years ago, what changed besides the party in power, and their failed policies? He has said himself his constituents are the top 1%, and they could give a crap about high oil prices. Hell, most of them are making money on the screwjob.

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I heard something recently about 1% of the Americans have about 1/3 of the wealth now --

a similiar scenario to the 1920's when Coolidge &

Hoover did a number on us.

If no one has any money to buy anything -- no

one buys any products. No one buys any products

-- businesses fail. Economic depression.

Hardcore math = hardcore lifes.

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Here's the thing....All we heard was Democrats saying Bush was letting gas prices skyrocket during last years campaingn..."We'll never let this happen if we're elected they said...we'll do something about it. Well...Dems took the house and senate...and what do we have??The highest prices for gas EVER and I have not heard one peep from those very same Democrats. I'm spending over 80 dollars a week on gas.That's a car payment on a Honda Civic!It does not matter which side it is they say what they think will get them elected.

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The economy is booming. The next time you drive down your local "restaurant row" highway on a Wednesday night, notice the full parking lots. The multitudes are using these places as family chow halls! Try to get some progress on getting a house built during deer season. These guys are all out in the woods with their guns and six-packs. They are gone a month! What an affluent society we must be living in for these things to be taking place. A friend of mine owns a couple of McDonalds and pays way over minimum wage. He bemoans the fact that he can't get his workers to show up half of the time. I suggested that he fire them. He laughed and told me that he thanks the Lord above for those days they do show up for work. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm being a right-winger. Let's just go ahead and redistribute more wealth. Let's curse those who have businesses that provide employment. For years the French did that and now they find themselves in a mess as their talented, productive citizens have either left or cut their own production because there was little reward for effort.

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Hey..You won't find a bigger capitalist on this board than me..I'm a business owner...my point was the chest beating and usual empty promises of the Dems over this gas price issue.Have you heard a word from them onit? How about last summer and fall? Big difference huh?

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I dont think anyone is begrudging businesses that are successful and provide employment or even capitalism as a whole. But I think many people have concerns , whether conservative or liberal, that we have a country that is beginnning to look alot more European from a cost perspective and also from a "wealth gap" perspective. If we have any compassion at all as Americans we should be concerned about that. I think the statistics clearly point to the fact that a small percentage of people are doing very well, the middle class is being stretched out of all proportion, and more and more people are entering the lower economic echelons.In reality , the economy is good for isolated sectors. That a bunch of restaurants appear full to the eye on a given night is not a meaningful measuring rod. The rise in the cost of college educations, energy, stagnant real wages, the availability of affordable housing, the number of jobs created annually at a liveable wage. the cost health care, etc. etc. are important measurements for understanding where our society is at -as a whole.

I think we are growing less interested as a culture in the problems of average people or the poor. We can look into many of the issues that have increased this attitude in the last 10 years.

A culture of greed and selfishness and superficiality has certainly affected this. Bottom line; if things ever do implode again as in the 1930's, it will be quasi- socialist programs, ala FDR, that get the country going again and stop some of the pain. It wont be Exxon-Mobil, Wallmart, General Motors, General Electric or Fidelity Investments that come to the rescue. Historically, America is not good at adopting needed change until the s--- has really hit the fan.

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Seems to me that Walmart has provided people who in the past, could afford very little, with unprecedented spending power. I bought a perfectly good string of Christmas lights there last year and paid $1.99. No joke! I actually felt I had done something wrong as I used pocket change to pay for them. Returning to gasoline prices, the problem is with refinery capacity and political instability in the middle east and South America - not some grand conspiracy. Maybe I'm wrong. Someone explain to us specifically how this conspiracy works.

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And let's not forget Lee Raymond's big $400 million retirement package last year when he left Exxon...

I still think this line from Letterman was hilarious:

Lee Raymond actually didn't receive $400 million. He only received $20 million. The other $380 million went towards research on how to drill the oil from his enormous neck.

I'm not convinced for one minute that greed is not a factor in the ridiculously high gas prices these days.

BMP

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