Saturday, April 29, 2006

Looking Busy

The preferred illusion of this regime is that of looking busy rather than actually doing something. This stance comes in particularly handy when the American public is seriously upset about an issue, like the dramatic surge in gasoline prices. The Emperor is especially good at this routine as evidenced by his recent pronouncements. The act is, however, growing stale. An editorial in yesterday's Minneapolis Star Tribune called bullshit on the president's suggestions.

[T]he striking thing about President Bush's latest promises to ease Americans' pain at the pump is their utter irrelevance; you cannot find an industry analyst who will credit these moves with more than trivial impact. That and the weird irony of announcing them in a speech to the Renewable Fuels Association, whose members know better than most how thoroughly this president has squandered five years of opportunity to get real about energy policy.

Most Americans already understand that U.S. gasoline prices are high because world oil prices are high, reflecting such global factors as surging competition from buyers in China and India. What they may not know is that U.S. oil companies have plenty of crude on hand; gasoline stockpiles are low because of other factors, principally a temporary dip in refinery capacity. Halting government petroleum purchases will make a tiny difference at best in gas supplies, and none in pump prices.

...Perhaps the biggest single reason that gasoline prices are painfully high right now is that for a very long time they have been too low, encouraging Americans to drive longer distances at higher speeds in bigger, gas-hogging vehicles. It's a trend that oil companies, both foreign and domestic, have been only to happy to exploit, with the Bush administration's blessing.

This president has had five years to raise fuel economy standards, launch a Manhattan Project-style initiative for renewably fueled automobiles, construct a system of taxes and incentives to encourage conservation ... the list can go on and on. Instead he has pretended the long-term answer is to drill wells in the Arctic wilderness, and the short-term fix is to halt strategic stockpiling, because "every little bit helps." Can anyone take him seriously on this subject anymore?
[Emphasis added]

I doubt that the Emperor should be taken seriously on any subject, given his propensity for falsehood over the past five plus years. On this subject, however, he and the Vice Emperor have made it clear by their actions that their oil buddies were running the show right from the start. What is refreshing is that the media and their readers are finally getting the picture.


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