“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation” -James Madison

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Code talk

I saw a flick this weekend -- da Vinci something-or-other.....

When I read the book a couple of years ago, I pronounced it to be "interesting pulp nonsense" -- a set of intersecting conspiracy theories mixed with theological controversy, historical innacuracy/speculation, and absolutely silly characters and worse dialogue. The puzzles and connections were fun, but having to slog through the inane actions and speechifying of the wooden characters took some of the zing out of it.

In a word, it is hoohah....

Since then I've watched the world wake up to this little tale. The controversy absolutely baffles me, since (as usual) the people on each side appear to be mutually and equally insane/ignorant/obtuse. I speak of the Believers and the Bashers.

The Believers drive me crazy because they're conspiracy nuts who apprarently do not comprehend historical truth. If one is going to delve headlong into believing Dan Brown's ramblings as thinly-disguised journalism of reality, perhaps it would behoove one to learn something about Roman history, Medieval history, the development of the Catholic church through both, political and economic structures of medieval and Renaissance-era Europe, and have a general understanding of the fact that the viability of a secret is inversely proportional to the number of secret-holders.

The Bashers drive me crazy because they take this whole thing as seriously as the Believers do, and they view the book and movie as a threat to their belief system. The fear that a popular movement based in ignorance and supposition might bring down whatever flagging interest in organized religion exists, especially in the face of more serious problems that directly threaten that structure, is nothing new and shows a disconcerting lack of faith as well as a blindness to logical and realistic issues.

Basically, everybody on both sides tends to take this whole thing FAR too seriously -- it's a story, for Christ's Pete's sake!

The reviews of the movie have been horrendous -- "wooden characters", "too talky", "contrived plot points", "improbable escapes", "convenient arrangement of elements", and "no chemistry between" the leads) are some of the common complaints.

They're right -- but that is because these are weaknesses of the original book. The entire thing is a series of riddles and conspiracy theories told by people who would never exist, would never talk that way, and get too much easy information in accordance with ridiculous setup/escape bits. Never mind that this is a good explanation of MOST "thriller" films these days -- why is Da Vince Code held to the higher standard?

By the way, there should not be "chemistry" between the leads -- it's not a romantic setup; they are partners in solving a mystery and in the book are even hinted at being long-lost brother and sister. The book is terrible, and any attempt to be faithful to it will by necessity result in a terrible movie.

Except it's NOT a terrible movie. That is what astounded me. I went in prepared to hate it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was simply a matter of unscrewing the Logic circuit and enjoying the story on its own merits. Filming in the Louvre, sweeping shots of beautiful locations, and interesting visual effects made this (for me) a must-see-in-theater film. That's big, since I rarely see movies in the theater, preferring to rent and enjoy at home.

Bottom line -- I don't buy the premise at all, pretty much despised the book, and dreaded going to see it (I was dragged against my will). But I enjoyed the film and definitely recommend it to be seen if one is capable of allowing the story to be told without prejudice. The Believers and the Bashers have a great deal to learn in this regard.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Senate Repubs blow it again

Senator Isakson proposed an amendment to the immigration bill that would prohibit the granting of legal status to any illegal immigrant UNTIL the border security measures addressed in Section 233 are fully completed and fully operational. m?congress=109&session=2&vote=00121#top

It failed.

Here's why:


  1. Bennett (R-UT)
  2. Brownback (R-KS) -- wants to run for president?
  3. Chafee (R-RI)
  4. Coleman (R-MN)
  5. Collins (R-ME)
  6. Craig (R-ID)
  7. Graham (R-SC)
  8. Hagel (R-NE)
  9. Lugar (R-IN)
  10. Martinez (R-FL)
  11. Murkowski (R-AK)
  12. Shelby (R-AL)
  13. Snowe (R-ME)
  14. Specter (R-PA)
  15. Stevens (R-AK)
  16. Voinovich (R-OH)
  17. Warner (R-VA)


  1. Cochran (R-MS)
  2. Gregg (R-NH)
  3. Lott (R-MS)
  4. McCain (R-AZ) -- also wants to be president?

This vote was a travesty -- a completely sensible requirement to enforce
our border measures before any amnesty or guest worker provisions happen

Here are some Dems who for once looked at the United States' interest first
and voted for the amendment:

  1. Byrd (D-WV)
  2. Conrad (D-ND)
  3. Dorgan (D-ND)
  4. Landrieu (D-LA)
  5. Nelson (D-NE)
  6. Stabenow (D-MI)
  7. Wyden (D-OR)

Congratulations and thanks to these Dems for crossing over and doing the right thing when even the Republicans couldn't support their own.

Alabama's Senator Sessions was on Bennett's morning show today discussing the amendment and vote. He pointed out how the failure of this amendment was going to be a fundamental problem when the bill goes to conference with the House, since the House's position IS border-control first.

All in all, this is a ridiculous position for the Nay-voters to take, and I urge all Redstaters to contact their senators who voted against this amendment. We must remove them at the primaries at the next available opportunity.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Grading the Immigration speech

It appears that many conservatives were just itching for GWB to give this speech so they could immediately start screaming "It's not enough!!!!"

Well, it's not enough. And it never was going to be.

But it IS a start, and the President showed with this speech that he has heard. He also showed that politics, especially on the national stage, is the art of not getting everything you want. Usually this is played in such a way that the other guy doesn't get what he wants either. It loosely applies here, but not as much as it would on, say, a budget bill.

Some quotes and commentary:
First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign Nation.
Bingo. Maybe it's just rhetoric, but it *IS* something that has not been stated forcefully enough by our leaders, especially our National Security President. A-minus

Some statements follow concerning funding additional Border Patrol agents, working out to doubling the total since he assumed office. Not bad -- I would like more, but this is a definite shot across Congress' bow. He is essentially saying, "Look, the unwashed masses want this, and I'm throwing them a bone -- do yourselves a favor and up the ante a little, okay?" B-plus

He then addresses one of the strengths of the US -- our technology. And he mentions The Fence! Again -- not enough out of the gate, but FAR more than we have heard. And it is another shot across Congress' bow. B-plus

Now we get the problematical part of the solution -- The National Guard. To begin with, most people don't understand the federal/state issues with military enforcement of civilian law.....mainly: THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED to do that job. People who are demanding we put active duty or national guard troops on the border don't realize that it is illegal to do so, unless the martial law has been declared and I missed it. Secondarily, the amount of Guard assigned is looked at as too low by those same people demanding troops on the border. So it is doubly misleading in that regard -- he needs to explain this better. The National Guard assignments are a HUGE improvement and will allow the Border Patrol to do border patrolling while the National Guard does what it does best -- handle logistics and Set Stuff Up. Finally, I am of the belief that we are stretching our National Guard too thin. Between the service in Iraq/Afghanistan and keeping various states reasonably safe and civil going into hurricane season, there just aren't a lot of Guard units available. I think in the short term it's a great idea, but they have to do their job and get out, which is going to drive the demanders CRAZY. B-minus to C-plus; I'm torn because the idea is fundamentally good but the reason and explanation are going to be unclear to most people.

Now for one of my pet causes:
...we will increase federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the Border Patrol on targeted enforcement missions. And we will give state and local authorities the specialized training they need to help federal officers apprehend and detain illegal immigrants.
Yep. THIS is a huge step in keeping the state/federal balance intact. Instead of bringing in troops from around the country to not-really defend the borders, it makes far more sense to throw some money at the people on the front line so THEY can hire and build the resources that will help them the most. Creative types, like the Mariposa County sheriff in Arizona, will be able to make miracles happen with respect to their hardest job. Again, this is sending a signal to Congress that it only takes some political courage and releasing a few bucks to make people happy and get some work done. I give this an A.

Another pet cause:
This practice, called “catch and release,” is unacceptable – and we will end it.
Like the phony drug war, the phony "immigration enforcement agency" practices have got to be addressed, and this is a great start. The raid at the pallet company last month that netted nearly 1,600 illegals resulted in less than 250 being deported. With assurances that caught illegals WILL be sent away immediately, the citizens of this country will feel better about giving resources to the government to use in this manner. A-plus!

Temporary worker program. Let's face it -- ya GOTTA throw a bone out there and give them a chance. Although I am of the camp that says it is possible to round up most of the illegals, I admit that in the meantime there should be a way for the hard workers, who want to be citizens, can get some breathing room while they work the red tape. Also, there is no way to get the liberals on both sides of the aisle to do the other things without this step. I don't particularly like it, but he addressed it well. B-plus

Probably my biggest cause in this fight:
...we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire.
This, more than any other step, will be the balance point in this mess. If the jobs dry up, the illegals stop jumping the border. The problem is that in order to make this happen, we have to set up yet ANOTHER massive bureaucracy. Hello, Homeland Security II. But it is incredibly important to have this step. Another shot across Congress' bow. A-minus

Adressing the Amnesty bit....he weaseled a little bit, but he did acknowledge that true amnesty is not an option, and neither is rounding 'em up....the middle ground is still amnesty to a degree. Sadly, he neglected to give details like how much penalty they pay, how to figure back taxes on someone who works for cash, and the mechanism for enforcing the English-learning requirement. This was particularly squishy and was the weakest part of the speech. I'll give it a D, and only because he acknowledged the middle path being better than outright amnesty.

Okay, so everyone "ought" to speak English. How about proposing some English-only legislation? Again, this was wormy and lacked the teeth of the earlier part of the speech. C-minus.

People are human beings and there are real consequences. Don't fight too hard and hurt each other. Grandma and Grandpa were immigrants, too. Like this war hero in the hospital (ech -- it's starting to look opportunistic to your supporters, George.....).

Overall, I think it was a good speech and went a LONG way toward addressing the problem. He laid a lot of things directly at Congress' feet and still showed the liberals that he wants to see some of their needs met as well. Some squishiness appeared at the end, but I'll give it a B overall.

Now....House Republicans:

UP THE ANTE. Take this ball and run -- pass the bill for MORE fence and money than the president requested. Force the Senate to say yea or nay on it, but make it a bold statement. The president came out and was as bold as he really can be. You don't have that problem.....the conservatives want more, and the liberals will hate anything you do anyway.

Senate: Get off your self-satisfied rear ends and wake up to what the average people are demanding. You have lost touch and are too in love with your own power, prestige, and political aspirations. You need to work with the House and put some teeth in this thing. The president WANTS to address the border and immigration (finally), so use this opportunity and your majority (while you still have one) and pass a good bill with some real enforcement.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Would you support this candidate?

Tom is a conservative. While he is not a registered Republican, he tends to vote with the Republicans since there is no other viable voice of power for him.

- He wants a border wall and strong immigration enforcement.
- He rates national security and the WoT as our nation's highest priority.
- He knows that energy policy is right behind the WoT and wants to drill in ANWR and our continental shelf, as well as expand and upgrade refining capacity.
- He sees the injustice of the confiscatory progressive income tax, inheritance tax, and sundry other governmental stickups.
- He thinks we spend far too much public money on initiatives that would be better suited to private ventures. Specifically he thinks most of the cabinet departments could be defunded or abolished with little or no harm to the nation.
- He believes the demise of personal responsibility is the single greatest contributor to societal issues.
- He does not see the Constitution as "living, breathing", and supports strict constructionism.
- He sees the United Nations as a parasite and a cancer. He would eventually like the United States to withdraw from the UN and tell them to find some other country to host their little Dictators' Club.
- He does not believe we should be providing foreign aid to most of the countries that we do. He believes this aid ends up in the pockets of dictators instead of providing relief to the people in those nations.
- He believes in the exceptionalism of America and its people. Tom knows that despite the imperfections in our ways, it is the highest and best standard of civilization that we have come up with, and that to be an American is truly the single best opportunity to create a happy life for yourself and your family.

Tom is not a lawyer, nor is he "connected" via family or political means to any power base. He is a solid American citizen who pays his taxes and follows the law. He has a good education and has built on that education through his own study of government, philosophy, and ethics. He does his job well, is working on a small business of his own, and wants to become successful through honest hard work and dedication.

Tom is a good guy; he has no skeletons in his closet -- there are no "other women" (or "other men", or "children") issues, he's smoked pot in college (and inhaled) and can admit it, he has no legal or financial entaglements to anyone, and is by many accounts an Average Guy who is pursuing the American Dream the best he can. He is not a health nut, but is in good health. He likes a good steak. He does not drink much, doesn't smoke, doesn't gamble, and is honest to a fault. He loves his family and friends, and is trusted by all who know him. No one has a hold on him, and he does not keep hold over others. He did not serve in Vietnam, but it was not due to any strings being pulled -- he was ineligible to serve.

Tom has an idea that if the Republicans continue to support candidates that do not appear to share his views, than they should be replaced by people like himself.

Tom thinks that if there were less lawyers and "connected" people in the Beltway, then we could have a much more constructionist and conservative party, which would in turn be able to accomplish more of the agenda conservatives wish to see.

To believes that Rush is right -- Conservatism works when it's tried. Ronaldus Magnus proved this, and a generation later the lessons are forgotten as we view the antics of Frist, McCain, Specter, and President Bush.

Tom has fantasized about being president, as many other people do.

Tom would not hesitate to take the fight directly to the opposition, both in Congress and in the public arena.

He would put the Congress on notice at his inaugural that they have 100 days to send him legislation that authorizes:

- Funding for the wall, crackdowns on illegal aliens and their employers, and restructuring of the visa program to favor scientific and technical workers. This legislation would also severely curtail and restrict the student visa program. In addition, he would work directly with the border-state governors to find increased funding for their enforcement units and open discussion of using National Guard units to assist border control operations.
- Increased domestic energy production, including authorization and funding for increased drilling and refinery upgrading/construction. Secondarily, environmental restrictions must be re-assessed.
- Further support and funding for military operations regarding the WoT.

Tom would put teeth in this ultimatum by preparing Executive Orders for each of these issues. Tom knows that the President has access to the best legal minds and would work closely with them in order to have the Orders be unquestionably legal and legitimate. It is an opportunity for Congress to have the issue addressed as they would like to, or have it addressed for them.

Tom would continue his presidency by putting the Congress on notice that they are now on a shoestring budget -- no hidden funding, no earmarks, no pork, and SEVERE cutbacks in most governmental programs. Tom would make it plain to the American people through constant speeches that he intends to veto any funding legislation that does not meet those guidelines.

Tom would further make the reasons for vetoing budget bills plain by codifying and detailing each part that was objectionable, along with the name of the Senator or Representative that requested it.

Tom wants to throw the door open and let the American people see for themselves the activities of Congress. Not being one of the political elite, he has no reason to protect the legislators from the results of their shenanigans. If they won't clean themselves up, he will.

Tom will promise to serve only one term. He will also make constant appeals to the American people to replace their incumbents after a couple of terms -- it is not official term-limits, but something better: Constituent Control over the length of employment for their elected officials.

Tom would make voter education about the process of primaries/general elections and the unreasonable power of incumbency and districting a major priority. The ignorance and apathy of American voters is appalling to Tom.

Tom knows these ideas and actions will anger Congressional leaders of both parties, but it does not bother him. He believes that once the logjam is broken, then the people will begin clamoring for more of the same from their elected officials. It will not matter if he does not have a good relationship with Congress -- all he has to do is use the bully pulpit, and the Congress will respond to its constituents. Getting tax cuts and addressing SocSec concerns will follow. He would continue to use the threat of vetoes and Executive Orders to advance the agenda in a common-sense way.

It is a revolutionary idea, but Tom believes that he can do all these things. He does not care about being a lifetime elected official -- he just wants to get a few things done that must be done and then go home to his own life, leaving a more educated voting public and a more focused Republican party that stays true to conservative values.

So what do you think? Could you get behind Tom and work to get him on the ballot in every state as a Republican? Would you fight for him and get your friends to as well? Would you go out and vote in the primary for Tom?

Tom *IS* "of the people" and "by the people" and "for the people", MUCH more so than most of the denizens of the Beltway. He wants to serve and go home. Can you say that about ANY President, Senator or Representative currently in power?

Navel-gazing and beating the dead horse

Lately my thoughts have been of the Republicans' tenuous hold on the Senate, House, and White House. The debates over at Redstate and my posts here have focused my thoughts on the necessity of retaining this control at pretty much any cost, even if the only reason is "so the Dems don't get control".

This has led to some degree of soul-searching, as well as dodging sticks and stones hurled at me for being a "liberal Republican" (and throwing a few back as well). It is interesting to look back on my past views, as an arrogant kid voting Libertarian for 10 years because both major parties were so phony, as a newly-focused conservative facing reality in 2000, a more stengthened and practical observer following 9/11 and the 2002/2004 elections, and more recently as a pragmatic observer and commentator of the body politic.

It is difficult to accept that one's ideals have to be so grossly set aside in favor of the larger picture. Perhaps it is part of the maturation process, one that I had already accepted in other areas of my life with respect to pursuing a musical career weighed against the practicalities of making a living to a standard above poverty. My political ideals have been sharpened and subsequently tempered, mostly by opening my eyes and imagining the alternative futures that result from application and abbrogation of those ideals.

For Dune fans, think of it as Muad'dib and his prescience versus the Golden Path.

The nest of vipers in Congress, especially the Senate, are a collective disgrace. Conservative voters have every reason to feel betrayed and ignored by our elected officials. The vehicle for conservative agenda-realization has historically been the Republican Party, and it continues to be today. The leadership of the Republicans, unfortunately, has proven to be weak, ineffective, unprepared/unwilling to govern, and ultimately more liberal in many ways than the opposition party of our fathers and grandfathers.

The dismay on the right has led many to consider sitting out the 2006 election, or to vote 3rd party, or to protest-vote for the Dems. This line of thought seeks to "punish" the Republicans by removing them from power and to give them a time-out to regroup for 2008 with a more conservative agenda push. Many proponents of this approach are perfectly fine with letting the Dems regain control; in their view the Republicans aren't doing our bidding, so we'll take away their toys for awhile.

Ye Gods.....

The fundamental problem with this attitude is that the Dems are currently not a valid opposition party that can be trusted to run things while we conservatives regroup and refocus. SOMEONE is going to win the election and take over the seat, possibly the legislative body. If we had a viable alternative, a party that we could trust not to steer us directly at the icebergs, then I can see this as a way to beat some sense into the Republicans. Sadly, the Dems are no better for our country than their Commie forebears would have been, and are thus not qualified to have the power that the hardcore conservatives would abrogate to them.

I have written exhaustively on this at The main thrust is that although the Republicans are currently an imperfect ally, they are far better suited to advancing the conservative worldview than the Dems are. The Dems are pretty much an outright enemy to my views and values, and my pragmatism has led me to agree that supporting the imperfect ally is FAR better than allowing the outright enemy to have legislative and executive control over any legal attachments to my life.

The appalling short-sightedness of giving control of the Senate/House/White House to the Dems, in order to make a point, to me is nothing short of lunacy. Once the Dems are back in power, the incumbent-protection program, strengthened by McCain-Feingold, will ensure that the Republicans will be back out in the wilderness for a very long time. The events rushing toward the American people over the next 10 years WILL REQUIRE careful and sober legislative attention.

* Judges. Lose the Senate, and you can forget about any more Alito or Roberts nominations. The 2008/2012 president will have 2 to possibly 6 (my guess is 4) seats to fill.
* Taxes. Forget any permanent cuts. Prepare for hikes and a more aggressive "progressive" system. Spend your money now because your kids won't get any of it.
* National Security/War. Do I really have to address this?
* Illegals. It'll be instant amnesty for everyone, very sweeping and practically limitless. At least the House currently wants a wall; it won't after the Speaker Pelosi runs the show.
* Oil/Gas. The baby steps we are getting now on ANWR and increased refining capacity will be reversed. And the always-favorite Windfall Profit tax will be paid. By You. At the Pump. $4-5/gallon by 2010.
* Economy. Capital Gains taxes will certainly be raised. Ready to see your dividends disappear down the maw? You can also assume that Wal-mart and other big corporations will be targeted.

* SocSec/Medicare/Healthcare. Your new Soviet masters will take care of you, cradle to grave.

I share the frustrations of fellow conservatives. We have some major issues in this conservative movement to address with the political vehicle of choice -- the Party. But as bad as our guys are now, they ARE NOT and WILL NOT be worse for this nation than the Dems will be once they get power back.

To deliver control of the scheduling of votes and command of committees to the Marxists is simply not an option for me.

We have to change the leadership and membership at the primary level. Knock the RINOs off at that point, where it is easiest and least damaging. But we MUST continue to vote R in the general election, even if it puts a RINO back in his seat. The alternative is far, far worse.

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's not trolling is it?

I stirred up the pot over at Redstate. Check it out. It has become a pretty good debate.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ideals continued

I got into a dustup with an idealist today at Redstate. Basically, the original premise of the post was about this guy's attempted electoral blackmail if the the Republicans did not do a laundry list by mid-summer. Some examples:

Cut entire federal budget by 25% (NOT A TYPO)
Flatten tax to one rate for all
Take over Middle East (all of it), wipe out radical Islam, and re-educate people
Withdraw from/expel the UN, establish new global security system

Outlaw: affirmative action, abortion, gay marriage, judicial filibuster (nuclear option)


I responded to several posts before deciding I had been trolled. By the way, I suspect Deputy Mayor in another guise....

The summary of my main response was this:

Senate Majority Leader Reid (you want HIM to schedule floor votes?)
Judiciary - Chairman Leahy

Appropriations - Chairman Byrd
Armed Services - Chairman Levin
Foreign Relations - Chairman Biden (especially scary)
Small Business/Entrepreneurship - Chairman Kerry (scary and amusing)
Banking/Housing/Urban Affairs - Chairman Sarbanes
Veterans Affairs - Chairman Akaka
Intelligence - Chairman Rockefeller (absolutely shocking given his leaky past)
Health/Ed/Labor/Pensions - Chairman Kennedy (you want this guy running any of these?)
Rules - Chairman Dodd
Environment/Public Works - Chairman Jeffords (watch the "natural habitat" grabs grow)
UPDATE: A reader at Redstate informed that it would actually be Chairman Sanders, the out-and-out Socialist from Vermont....yipppeeee....

Ag/Nutrition/Forestry - Chairman Harkin

Read through the rest of the posts and responses if you wish -- basically I have learned that ideals are for philosophy classes; politics is about getting policies set in order to get things done, and that frequently involves tempering or suspending ideals.

My first election was 1988 -- I proudly voted Libertarian or "none of the above" for every election from 1988 through 1998. Living where I was at that time, I know that my 3rd-party votes did not cost the Republican candidate the Kansas electoral votes, but in a tipover state it might have. My older brother voted for Perot in 1992 and 1996. Again, being in Kansas it didn't really matter, but it was indicative of a larger problem:

Stay-at-homes and 3rd-party or protest voters gave us 8 years of Bill Clinton and the continuance of many Socialist congressional leaders.

Throwing a tantrum and voting out-of-party in the general election harms only your party, helps only the other party, and satisfies no one besides your own ego.

As I have repeatedly said in other posts, vote your conscience in the primary -- get the best originalist conservative in place at that time. When the primary is over, however, you must get behind the Republican (even John McCain) if that is the winner. To stay at home or vote 3rd-party is to vote for the Dem.

Even if a Republican president is in place, a Dem Senate controls which Supreme Court justices get out of committee and onto the floor. A Dem Senate controls spending for defense and the war on terror. A Dem Senate forces crushing environmental restrictions on businesses. A Dem Senate repeals tax breaks and begins raising taxes. A Dem Senate redistributes wealth in the manner of their intellectual mentors Lenin and Trotsky.

Regardless of your level of disgust with Frist and Specter, remember that it will be Reid and Leahy running things if we do not prevail.

It may be voting out of fear, but I don't care. My principles apply to my personal actions. When it comes to determing whether to be ruled by quasi-Socialists or outright Communists, I'll take the quasi-Socialists EVERY TIME.

Work at the primary level for your principles. After that, do your duty.

Please reference the above list for a refresher as necessary.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Who is "gouging" whom?

JB Williams has created an amazing essay breaking down the economics of oil and gas. Below is a germane example.

Where Does All the Money Go?

Based upon a $3.00 gallon of gasoline, the average break-down is as follows:

Gasoline Retailer--------------->$0.01 per gallon
Oil Company-------------------->$0.08 per gallon
Refining------------------------->$0.29 per gallon
Marketing/Distribution--------->$0.32 per gallon
Taxes---------------------------->$0.59 per gallon
Cost of crude------------------>$1.71 per gallon (delivered)

Who is gouging who?

So the manager of the local Quiktrip gets a PENNY off your 3 bucks.
The evil oil company gets 8 PENNIES off your 3 bucks.
Uncle Sam takes 59 cents -- this is just under SEVEN TIMES what the producers make.
Refining and Distribution get 61 cents -- so Uncle Sam gets the same amount as the cost of running refineries and dstribution trucks. For doing what, exactly?
And of course the crude....our Arab and Venezuelan friends get $1.71 -- nearly 3x what Uncle Same gets, and NINETEEN TIMES what the capitalists make.

The oil companies are not the problem. Let them have their profit -- They Have Earned It.

My state, Georgia, is reasonable about this stuff. Last year they cut the state gas tax for 30 days. This year they are considering waiving it for 60 days. It will take that sort of leadership to have government effectively combat prices in the immediate short term.

Long-term? Drill. Drill. Drill. Build more refineries. Congress has got to loosen the death grip the enviromarxists have around their throats and wallets. The central reasons for the cost of gas (which are demonstrated in the above-mentioned article to be not really that high) are due to poor decision-making and asinine policy on the part of domestic production management.

Congress: Waive or lower the taxes. Allow drilling in ANWR and our continental shelf. Waive the crushing environmental bulwark against building and upgrading refineries. Ditto the nuclear power plants.

Until these things happen, oil prices and gas prices will remain high and the demagogic congressional elite will point the blame at the only ones who can't do much more than they already are -- the oil companies.

As mentioned in my article yesterday, just imagine if one of these companies says, "I've got enough money. Store's closed. Good Luck....."

Monday, May 01, 2006

Why it's probably good

that I am not an oil company CEO:


1.) The cynical and hypocritical probings of professional politicians on both sides of the aisle purely for populist election-year soundbites and short-term political advantage,
2.) A profound ignorance of basic economics on the part of the American public and their leaders,
3.) A profound ignorance of basic constitutional concepts on the part of the same public and leaders,
4.) Successful implementation of class warfare on the part of the mass media,
5.) The free-market system will still be around for a short period of time, and
6.) An oil company CEO most likely has a comfortable cushion to weather a short-term lapse in employment.....

As an oil company CEO I would begin laying off workers, selling off equipment and assets (as scrap if necessary), and demonstrate to the world and Americans in particular what happens when Atlas Shrugs.

You think gas prices are high now? You think the occasional beginning-of-summer supply problems are bad now?

Just imagine what happens if a major oil company simply refuses to play anymore. What would they care? They already have more money than they can ever spend, and by simply getting out of the business of apparently unfairly gouging their customers and artificially inflating prices for their own devious ends, the consumer would in very short order be greeted with shortages, lines, higher-than-ever prices, and absolutely no relief. The remaining companies would profit even more, Congress would bloviate even more, and more regulations would ensue.

This would, no doubt, inspire other free-market-minded gentlemen to follow my lead. The cycle would become ever more vicious, and the system would collapse in on itself.

I'm not necessarily in favor of chaos, but my inner schadenfraude would be cackling with glee as I sip Mai Tais on a beach somewhere and check out the US news blogs on a laptop.

Gas prices are NOT terribly high, and they are entirely the result of over-environmentalizing, over-regulation, over-taxation, under-production domestically, under-refining domestically, short-term gaps due to hurricanes and old refineries not meeting new demand, and the entrance of China into the modern oil-using world.

If the people of this nation don't get a grip on this, we are going to see some very dark times indeed.

In 1990 I did not have email. I didn't miss it. But let my internet connection be down for a day, and I'm a raging fool. So too you, admit it.

It will be worse with oil -- not even about driving our cars; petroleum is in every aspect of our lives, and until this nation gets serious about increasing domestic production from our own sources and refineries (including building/upgrading), we are going to continue on the roller coaster, controlled by those who wish us dead and sold to us by those who want only what we want - to make a buck.