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House Passes Bill Authorizing Suing OPEC.--

I watched some of the recent Congressional grilling of oil industry executives and was struck by how gracious they were. I would have been so indiscreet as to respond by suggesting that Congress was far more to blame for high oil prices than Big Oil.

Mark Steyn also seems to have had negative thoughts about the Congressional hearings:

I was watching the Big Oil execs testifying before Congress. That was my first mistake. If memory serves, there was lesbian mud wrestling over on Channel 137, and on the whole that's less rigged. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz knew the routine: "I can't say that there is evidence that you are manipulating the price, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not."

Had I been in the hapless oil man's expensive shoes, I'd have answered, "Hey, you first. I can't say that there is evidence that you're sleeping with barnyard animals, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence and prima facie evidence, lady? Do I have to file a U.N. complaint in Geneva that the House of Representatives is in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?"

But that's why I don't get asked to testify before Congress. So instead the Big Oil guy oozed as oleaginous as his product before the grand panjandrums of the House Sub-Committee on Televised Posturing, and then they went off and passed by 324 to 82 votes the so-called NOPEC bill. The NOPEC bill is, in effect, a suit against OPEC, which, if I recall correctly, stands for the Oil Price-Exploiting Club. . . .

"It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act," declared the House of Representatives, "to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product… or to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil, natural gas, or other petroleum product in the United States."

Er, okay. But, before we start suing distant sheikhs in exotic lands for violating the NOPEC act, why don't we start by suing Congress? After all, who "limits the production or distribution of oil" right here in the United States by declaring that there'll be no drilling in the Gulf of Florida or the Arctic National Mosquito Refuge? . . .

[I]f the House of Representatives has now declared it "illegal" for the government of Saudi Arabia to restrict oil production, why is it still legal for the Government of the United States to restrict oil production? In fact, the government of the United States restricts pretty much every form of energy production other than the bizarre fetish du jour of federally mandated ethanol production.

I view the oil crisis as mainly resulting from two forces, Supply and Demand: (1) supply restrictions — substantial government restrictions on mining coal and drilling for oil, and (2) huge increases in demand from newly emerging economies (eg, China, India, Brazil).

When is Congress going to let capitalism reduce our energy problems?

As for restrictions on coal, this one is the most galling:

A large part of America's energy dependence on foreign sources can be traced to Sept. 18, 1996, when President Bill Clinton stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon on the Arizona side and signed an executive proclamation making 1.7 million acres of Utah a new national monument.

Why would he dedicate a Utah monument while standing in Arizona? Well, this federal land grab was done without any consultation with the governor of Utah or any member of the Utah congressional delegation or any elected official in the state. The unfriendly Utah natives might have spoiled his photo-op.

The state already had six national monuments, two national recreation areas and all or part of five national forests. Three-quarters of Utah already was in federal hands. Still, the land grab was sold as a move to protect the environment. . . .

In fact, the declaration of 1.7 million Utah acres as a national monument, thereby depriving an energy-starved U.S. up to 62 billion tons of environmentally safe low-sulfur coal worth $1.2 trillion and minable with minimal surface impact, was a political payoff to the family of James Riady.

He's the son of Lippo Group owner Mochtar Riady. James was found guilty of — and paid a multimillion dollar fine for — funneling more than $1 million in illegal political contributions through Lippo Bank into various American political campaigns, including Bill Clinton's presidential run in 1992.

Clinton took off the world market the largest known deposit of clean-burning coal. And who owned and controlled the second-largest deposit in the world of this clean coal? The Indonesian Lippo Group of James Riady. It is found and strip-mined on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan.

The Utah reserve contains a kind of low-sulfur, low-ash and therefore low-polluting coal that can be found in only a couple of places in the world. It burns so cleanly that it meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act without additional technology.

"The mother of all land grabs," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said at the time. He has called what was designated as the Grande Staircase of the Escalante National Monument the "Saudi Arabia of coal." . . .

Rep. James Hansen, R-Utah, pointed out that a large portion of the coal-rich Kaiparowits Plateau within the monument belonged to the children of Utah. When Utah became a state in 1896, about 220,000 acres were set aside for development, and a trust fund was created to collect and hold all the revenues directly for the benefit of schools.

Margaret Bird, trust officer for the fund, said that because the land will not be developed, the schools stand to lose as much as $1 billion over the next 50 years.

sbron:
This pattern of government restrictions on oil development and threats to nationalize (from Maxine Waters, friend of the Crips and Bloods no less) is right out of Atlas Shrugged. Wyatt's Torch anyone?
5.26.2008 11:06pm
EH (mail):
To be sure, the Escalante Grand Staircase is a beautiful place worth preserving.
5.26.2008 11:16pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

was struck by how gracious they were. I would have been so indiscreet as to respond by suggesting that Congress was far more to blame for high oil prices than Big Oil.


I'd have leaned over that table and dared that moronic hack to nationalize the industry.
5.26.2008 11:17pm
James Lindgren (mail):
EH:

Fine. But if it is "minable with minimal surface impact," as the article from Investors Business Daily claims, wouldn't that be a good thing?
5.26.2008 11:20pm
spudbeach (mail):
Hmm -- so according to this writer, saving anything for later is an unpardonable sin? So what's he going to do after ANWR and Utah are mined out? Scream at the government for not saving it?

Oh, and I really wish that before people complain about OPEC, they mention the model: the Texas Railroad Commission, a government agency that acted to limit supply and increase prices.

And finally, when people blame Congress for the energy crisis, why don't they put the blame where it deserves to be? Without Congressional malfeasance, we wouldn't have a nation that relies on a gigantic flow of oil to keep moving.
5.26.2008 11:35pm
MarkField (mail):

But if it is "minable with minimal surface impact," as the article from Investors Business Daily claims, wouldn't that be a good thing?


That's a pretty dubious source for such an assumption, but for the sake of argument I'll make it. That still wouldn't make exploitation of those deposits a "good thing" unless we account for other environmental externalities.

It's not clear, to me anyway, what this has to do with the oil issue. But if it does have some connection -- say, the limits on extraction -- then I think you ought to include information on the relative costs and benefits of exploitation for both coal and, say, ANWR oil. Otherwise readers just put this issue into their pre-conceived matrix of views.


Margaret Bird, trust officer for the fund, said that because the land will not be developed, the schools stand to lose as much as $1 billion over the next 50 years.


$20 million per year? I suspect that's a drop in the bucket even in Utah. Again, though, context seems essential in order to judge the real impact.
5.26.2008 11:37pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

so according to this writer, saving anything for later is an unpardonable sin?


Later might be... now.
5.26.2008 11:38pm
MarkField (mail):
Forgot to add: personally, I think suing OPEC is a stupid idea. That's not to say OPEC is "good" or behaves properly; in fact, it's the worst form of governmental interference with the market. But suing sovereign entities in such cases is of dubious economic value and seems likely to complicate diplomacy in an area which, well, doesn't seem to need much complication.
5.26.2008 11:40pm
Commenterlein (mail):
Let me point out that whenever IBD writes an editorial about a topic I know something about, and since I am an economist they often do, the editorial is almost every single time full of lies and distortions. IBD is an unbelievable bad and biased publication, essentially for folks who don't know anything and think the WSJ editorial page is too liberal.

I don't know enough about the coal in the Escalante Grand Staircase to make a judgment here, but without an even somewhat credible source for the claims made I am pretty sure we are getting at the very best only a partial picture of the situation.
5.26.2008 11:48pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
I am not a fan of grillings before congress, it always goes something like this... you have two minutes to question the witness... Congressman talks for 1:45 witness stalls for 15 seconds. Nothing ever happens aside from some nice stock footage years later of people blatantly lying to congress (Hello Tobacco Execs)

On the other hand you really can't blame Congress for the oil prices, that's just dumb, drilling all over the US would have a negligible effect on oil prices. The problem is we let oil become too dominate. If you want to be made at congress be made that they didn't push harder for CAFE standards, or push to diversity our energy policy, that they didn't allow enough drilling isn't even on the first page of our problems
5.27.2008 12:05am
Javert:
Apropos bumper sticker: Let's stop drilling for oil. Then stand naked in the dark and freeze to death.
5.27.2008 12:08am
Rochesterian (mail):
Well, lets' cut to the chase.

I have read lots of antitrust cases and possess a solid grasp for the topic because every 15 U.S.C. case repeats the same scams over and over.

I have never seen a defense to price-fixing that states:

"Plaintiff deliberately chooses to not produce the commodity that we produce to the fullest extent; thus, plaintiff deliberately set themselves up for our nifty/effective price-fixing scam and therefore, Plaintiff must DEAL WITH IT."

Proce fixing is price fixing. It is not relevant whether we choose to keep our syudd in the ground for ecological reasons or even matters of national security.

I am against this suit b/c I think it will trigger WWIII, NOT because I think it will not legally "fly."

If the OPEC suit is filed, we may as well file ex-parte asset freeze orders on anything remotely OPEC the moment the suit is filed.

I think the best approach is to re-build our entire transportation infrastructure in a manner to NOT be completely dependent on petrol (railroads, subways, inter-urbans, roads dedicated to light electric passenger cars), and fund it by taxing America's top-earners Eisenhower-era rates of 91%.
5.27.2008 12:42am
Rochesterian (mail):
The preview option does not work on my end.

spell correct: "stuff in the ground",
5.27.2008 12:46am
Snarky:

I view the oil crisis as mainly resulting from two forces, Supply and Demand: (1) supply restrictions — substantial government restrictions on mining coal and drilling for oil, and


Speaking of supply and demand, I think I may have read in an economics textbook somewhere that cartels artificially restrict supply.

For some reason, you do not address this.

Further, I agree that Congress is at fault. For not doing more to slam OPEC countries earlier.
5.27.2008 12:48am
Rochesterian (mail):
Snarky, with all due respect, have you taken the antitrust course?
5.27.2008 12:52am
Snarky:
Rochesterian,

Yes.
5.27.2008 1:01am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Can someone please explain to me the pathology of the type of person who would go to his friend(s) in the government and seek to have competing sources of energy (i.e. coal) shut down by the government to lower the overall supply? What kind of mental disease or defect would cause someone to do such a thing? I refuse to believe all good capitalists would do such a thing. I would not. The thought wouldn't even cross my mind.
5.27.2008 1:04am
Rochesterian (mail):
snarky,
cool.
Do you think I'm off-base by stating its silly to take the posture OPEC should defend on grounds we deliberately choose to keep OUR oil in the ground?

Can you cite me to a case where such a defense been used before?
5.27.2008 1:07am
Dan Simon (mail) (www):
From 1986 through 1999, world oil prices were pretty much continuously below $20/barrel. Does anybody really believe that the regulatory environment in the US today is so radically different from that of, say, 1994 that it's responsible for the more-than-sixfold runup in oil prices since then?

Of course, back then the conventional wisdom was that an "oil glut" had been created by the sharp price rise of the 1970s, which had unlocked huge reserves of energy that weren't profitable to exploit at the previous lower prices. Can someone please explain to me why we shouldn't expect exactly the same outcome this time, regulatory details notwithstanding?
5.27.2008 1:10am
Rochesterian (mail):
Brucem SAID:
"Can someone please explain to me the pathology of the type of person who would go to his friend(s) in the government and seek to have competing sources of energy (i.e. coal) shut down by the government to lower the overall supply? What kind of mental disease or defect would cause someone to do such a thing?"

Bruce,
An appropriate response to your post is my version of "I'm Proud to Be an American"

Lunatics run the Asylum - - In the U.S.A.
They robbed us our freedom since they murdered J.F.K.
And when we stand up --
they profile us of threatening their way!
Cause' lunatics run the Asylum -- In the U.S.A

Lunatics run the Asylum -- In the U.S.A.
They want to cut the taxes so the rich don't have to pay
for us to stand up --
and earn a living wage from day-to-day
Cause' lunatics run the Asylum -- In the U.S.A.
5.27.2008 1:13am
llamasex (mail) (www):
Rochesterian.

Anti-Trust isn't about one independent countries decision to pump or not to pump oil, it is about colluding with others to monopolize an industry and maximize profits.
5.27.2008 1:13am
Rochesterian (mail):
llamasex,
I'm not sure I follow your take.
Is the comment on top not about the fact we (U.S.A.) are deliberately keeping our petrol in the ground, and as such, OPEC has a valid defense if/when a 15 U.S.C. Section 1 suit is brought?

Section 2 refers to monopolies.
I thought the new law was clearing the way for a Section 1 price-fixing suit against OPEC. Am I off base here?
5.27.2008 1:23am
Jmaie (mail):
From 1986 through 1999, world oil prices were pretty much continuously below $20/barrel. Does anybody really believe that the regulatory environment in the US today is so radically different from that of, say, 1994 that it's responsible for the more-than-sixfold runup in oil prices since then?

When world supply exceeds demand by a large amount, the quantity kept off the market due to U.S. regulations represents a small percentage of total unused supply. The influence on price is correspondingly small.

As available excess supply diminishes, those regulations have a much greater effect and the price rises accordingly.

This is not to say that regulations are the main culprit, but they are certainly a factor.
5.27.2008 1:50am
Smokey:
Commenterlein:
Let me point out that whenever IBD writes an editorial about a topic I know something about, and since I am an economist they often do, the editorial is almost every single time full of lies and distortions.
So, you're a self-described expert -- but you can't provide any specific details about what any of IBD's putative 'lies and distortions' are?

'Scuse me, while I assume that you're a troll. The Investor's Business Daily is a respected national publication, and they aren't going to print 'lies and distortions' to discredit their reputation. Much as you wish it might be so.

And there's little doubt that Rochestrian is in fact MKDP, or ruled by her. My guess is that Mary K herself is running a lame game, still overusing her fave word, 'lunatic', and posting her usual after the fact corrections -- and typically complaining that Preview doesn't seem to work on her computer. Preview doesn't work on Rochestrian's computer either, what are the chances of that?

Some things are obvious to even the most casual observer.
5.27.2008 2:03am
Rochesterian (mail):
Smokey, who was your antitrust prof? You can't seem to stay on topic here.
5.27.2008 2:12am
David Schwartz (mail):
Hmm -- so according to this writer, saving anything for later is an unpardonable sin?
If that were his thinking, then he would support the NOPEC bill, since it prohibits restricting production.
5.27.2008 2:14am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Not only has Congress prohibited drilling for oil and gas in promising areas, Federal agencies are prevented from doing rudimentary geological surveys in most areas. The last time the oil industry shot seismic imagery was in the 1970s with primitive technology compared to what we have today. It's obvious Congress doesn't want us to know how much oil might be available as that knowledge might create pressure to drill. This way the environmentals can say the amount of oil there is trivial.

Almost everyone will never go to ANWAR, so why should be worry about drilling in a place that might as well be on the dark side of the moon? What's the big deal? Drill.
5.27.2008 2:18am
Rochesterian (mail):
Schwartz,
As I stated in a couple posts above, i have never run across a 15 U.S.C., Section 1 or 2 case that defended on grounds the plaintiff deliberately under-produced the same product. Do you know of any such case that took the posture?
5.27.2008 2:21am
Rochesterian (mail):
Zarkov,
have you ever come across a 15 U.S.C section 1 case where the def. made an affirm/def the plaintiff deliberately underproduced the same product the defendant is accused of price fixing?
5.27.2008 2:27am
Rochesterian (mail):
think of it this way.
The writer in the above article seems to be posturing any price fixing suit can be defended by simply stating "hey, tell the plaintiff to produce his own damned widget!
5.27.2008 2:36am
Rochesterian (mail):
Smokey, I asked you if you ever took antitrust, NOT antirust!!!!!
5.27.2008 2:38am
Oren:
But if it is "minable with minimal surface impact," as the article from Investors Business Daily claims, wouldn't that be a good thing?
Jim, the promises of "minimal surface impact" (and every other wonderful environmental protection) are always made. Don't get me wrong, I would be thrilled to see that coal mined consistent with preserving the landscape but in the face of a history of unmet promises and vanished shell companies, skepticism is certainly warranted.

To put it another way, if I were in a position of authority to allow such mining, I would not hesitate to do so if I was absolutely assured that someone would be held strictly accountable for failure to live up the promises made. Until the extractive industries can learn to make those kinds of promises (and make them stick), it stands to reason that environmentalists will be a bit wary.
5.27.2008 2:42am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"And there's little doubt that Rochestrian is in fact MKDP, or ruled by her. My guess is that Mary K herself is running a lame game, still overusing her fave word, 'lunatic', and posting her usual after the fact corrections -- and typically complaining that Preview doesn't seem to work on her computer. Preview doesn't work on Rochestrian's computer either, what are the chances of that?

Some things are obvious to even the most casual observer" ---->

Some cowards OBSESSED with other certain special others like to take a swing below the belt when she's not present, as I can see, having belatedly come upon this thread. GIVE IT UP Smoke!!

FYI, I can't make must use of "preview" due to vision access problems to the "preview" function, but I have never stated such publicly on this blog, so Smokey-pie ... where do you get your info. the "preview" function does not work on my computer since I simply *don't use it*?

By applying the process of elimination to the possibilities, it becomes "obvious even to the casual observer" that Rochesterian is not MKDP, since Rochesterian's writing is far more grammatically proper and concise than MKDP's due to MKDP's autism.

Next, Smokey (the fictitous blog ID who comes across to this posters as being of inherently male origin), accuses MKDP of "ruling" the Roch -- a macho male stereotype invoked by husbands reserved for the male tactical advantage in family law courts of the wife's superiority over a man. Sorry to bust your bubble, Smokey-Poo, but I am a Catholic, hence The Pope requires my belief in the Wife's submission to her Husband. I do not "rule" the Roch.

Moreover, my "fav" word is not "lunatic," but rather "nonboobular disorder" as in:

"QuietlyIrish
Member
Posts: 48
(5/12/04 5:56 pm)
Re: Re:

Blaackie, if you have a boob disability, what the hell do I have? Maybe a nonboobular disorder? ....

- Formerly Frankiedaman -
* * *
Towanda
Member
Posts: 1049
(5/12/04 6:02 pm)
Re: Oh God! Contentious topic #3....the ADA is back!

Damn! I just looked at the bottom of TTR and saw that there were like 20 more people logged on now than there were when the message was posted in its entirety. Like I said, you snooze, you lose. Sorry, guys. But I'm sure everyone here will vouch for the brilliance of the original message.
Here

"petitcheval
Member
Posts: 217
(5/13/04 1:08 pm)
Re: Re:

I can't get past QI"S 'nonboobular disorder'. I have that too...as well as the inability to do math. Does that qualify me for ADA?
* * *
You know? I am 42, I'm stiff and sore from having fucked up my back twice. I was never very athletic in some ways...that's life. Just because I don't have the stamina to climb Mt Everest, should they make special escalators to get me to the top? What if I were just obese like the 545 lb behomoth that was on ET the other night? She couldn't get out of her wheel chair she was so fat, but she is considered "disabled"...do we make special exceptions for HER to be able to walk to the base of El Capitan in a national park because she wants to see it?
* * *
...Gee , my horse can't canter because of some hindend issue...can I get some special thing to let me show first level dressage and skip the part we can't do because of my horse's disability?

Sorry to ramble--I jsut had all these random, bizarre thoughts running thru my head. You know? I smoked a lot of dope too, maybe the loss of braincells I have now (in addition to the nonboobular disorder) will help me qualify for something other than just being stupid now.
Bush/Cheney 2004-'Less CIA....more CYA'"
Here

Okay, so now that we have established that "lunatic" is not MY "fav" word, perhaps it is Rochesterians? Maybe you should ask him ...

Speaking of the problems inherent in traveling to the top of El capitan might present with gas pump prices at $4 per gallon absent an OPEC anti-trust suit, here's my 2 cents on this entire OPEC anti-trust lawsuit idea:

It is likely to get dismissed predicated on constituting a non-justiciable Political Question.
5.27.2008 2:51am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr:
"must use" = much use

(This is not an admission the "preview" function does not work on my computer).
5.27.2008 3:08am
Jack S. (mail) (www):
It's really a shame that Mark Steyn gets any play time here. It detracts significantly from the credibility of this site's writers.
5.27.2008 3:22am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"And there's little doubt that Rochestrian is in fact MKDP, or ruled by her. ... and posting her usual after the fact corrections -- and typically complaining that Preview doesn't seem to work on her computer. Preview doesn't work on Rochestrian's computer either, what are the chances of that?" ---->

Smokey, and I mean this in all sincerity, did you pass one of those A-B-C-D tests that qualified your thinking style? I just really have a hard time with the notion that people who are passing the MBEs these days make these types of invalid causal assessments, as follows:

1. MKDP makes corrections after the fact;
2. Rochesterian complains "preview" doesn't work on his computer;
3. Therefore, "MKDP IS Rochesterian."
4. And double therefore, "Rochesterian is 'ruled' by MKDP."

That's nutty. So, your wild run-a-way speculation of mere coincidence about two different people makes the incongruent leap that one IS the other? And, further, one is "rules" by the other? That's nuts, and logically fallacious thinking. Did you ever take a Logic class?

You can't handle the fact that two different, totally independent people might happen to agree on some political ideas, so you have to make some bogus totally phony nutty "solution" in your flawed thinking that one "rules" the other?

Rochesterian is much more liberal than I am, and we do not always agree on issues.
5.27.2008 4:12am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr: "rules" = ruled
5.27.2008 4:14am
luath (mail):
It makes me laugh to hear reclassification of public lands described as a "federal land grab." As for the children of Utah, the author was apparently unaware of the Utah Schools and Land Exchange Act of 1998, which allowed Utah to exchange all of its inholdings in national parks and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for other federal lands and mineral rights.
5.27.2008 7:46am
The Ace:
Drilling in ANWR would reduce oil prices by one penny per gallon. Not worth it.
5.27.2008 8:05am
Brett Bellmore:

As I stated in a couple posts above, i have never run across a 15 U.S.C., Section 1 or 2 case that defended on grounds the plaintiff deliberately under-produced the same product.


Don't imagine you run across many 15 U.S.C. cases where the defense is "Defendant is a sovereign state outside the jurisdiction of US laws.", either, simply because we're normally not stupid enough to bring such cases.
5.27.2008 8:22am
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
With nothing more than a gut-feel of what anti-trust law is all about, I have to say that it boggles my mind that we can accuse other sovereign nations of a violation of U.S. anti-trust law for choosing the "unionize" to better leverage their own natural resources.

Is this any different than a foreign nation sueing the U.S. for anti-trust activity for pushing nuclear non-proliferation? Or not digging our coal at a fast enough rate to drop world prices? Or not pumping the Great Lakes for drinking water to send to the Middle East? Or not cutting our forests quickly enough to lower world lumber prices? Or growing grain fast enough to lower world food prices?

This smacks of populist meddling in the internal affairs of foreign nations. And like the temper tantrum of a toddler who isn't being given what they want, just because they want it. Since when is the U.S. supposed to be exempted from supply and demand ... which includes market speculation, in my opinion. We need to face the fact that we are not the only big consumer on the block any more, and the whole world is well aware of our energy vulnerabilities.

Has anyone seen Maxine Waters' little meltdown with I believe the CEO of Shell Oil. Where she threatened to "socialize" i.e. nationalize, the U.S. oil industry? Just amazing. Frankly, I think she should be imprisoned for extortion and criminal threatening. A more ignorant woman in a position of authority I can't imagine. (For those worrying if Hillary's electoral problems are due to sexism, they need look no further than this fine example. If Maxine can get elected, anyone can.)
5.27.2008 8:41am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mark Steyn dismissed with no reasons given.
Bill Clinton's sale of American resources to a foreign entity not otherwise remarked. Nobody even suggested it would have been a good idea for Riady's money to go into the Federal treasury.
Yup. This is VC.
5.27.2008 9:01am
ed o:
so, could the economic experts tell us how restricting access to supply has no impact upon prices or the market? that should be interesting.
5.27.2008 9:12am
A. Zarkov (mail):
The OPEC countries are conspiring to fix prices and that would seem to be covered by US anti-trust legislation. When we ultimately grab their US-based assets when they refuse to pay the fines, OPEC declares an embargo against the US. Then what? What good is law if you can't enforce it for practical reasons. Is no oil from OPEC better than expensive price-fixed oil from them? What if multi-national firms pick up leave the US? What if OPEC transfers all its assets out of the US?
5.27.2008 10:41am
Jiminy (mail):
Ummm, I'm not one to jump in on the MKDP vs Rochersterian being the same person debate, but Rochesterian's email is DPETRANO at gmail... Is this a husband/wife duo or just a single person with dual personality? I don't really care one way or the other, but I checked Rochest.'s email and that seems to be out of place...
5.27.2008 11:04am
GTT (mail):
BruceM: For a given commodity, restricting sources of supply that you don't control, so as to raise the price that purchasers are paying to you for the source(s) that you do control is a perfectly reasonable thing, from a business point of view. So taking this Lippo thing at face value, they're doing a reasonable thing in a business sense.

As far as the United States goes, it seems to me that there's a larger geopolitical game to play here. Let's accept for the moment that the bulk of energy-consuming manufacturing has been shifted to India &China. Restricting our sources of energy to push up the prices is a pretty smart move, from a nation-nation competitive standpoint. We'll see in the next year double-digit inflation in these countries, with one of the main drivers the cost of energy.

Now taking a pile of coal and a bunch of oil off the world market makes more sense, eh?

Remember what Patton said (in the movie), "Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." Think of oil &coal in this way. Let somebody else deplete their resources. Push the price up now, and strain your opponent. Then, when the resources you don't control dry up, charge whatever you want for the resources you do control, and push up the price AGAIN and strain your opponent AGAIN. Hmm...makes a little more sense now.

Take a look at the Coal article on Wikipedia, particularly the table of proved recoverable reserves.

China is the top coal consumer in the world right, but does not have the largest amount of proved reserves. Why, precisely, would you want to lower the price of coal right this second, and export lots of very clean coal?

Take the price hit now and hold. Your opponent will take a larger hit than you.
5.27.2008 11:36am
Be afraid:
Oh no, here we go again. MKDP and her alter/ego/spouse/whatever Roches... also managed to hijack the last Volokh Conspiracy thread on this topic, posted by Kopel on 5/22. It got terribly ugly and off-point. Clear MKDP/Ro had no interest in conducting a respectful, polite debate on this topic, but instead showed off her/their masterful troll skills.

Oren Kerr and a few other commentators on Volokh do police the comment threads following their posts to delete inappropriate content. I wish more would. But failing that, let me suggest we not feed the trolls, OK?
5.27.2008 11:43am
Cold Warrior:
The IBD article makes a valid point about coal supplies, but is way, way off on the loony fringe when it suggests that the creation of the Nat'l Monument was nothing more than a payoff to a political crony.

Protection of the Kaiparowits Plateau has been the Utah environmentalists' cause celebre for over three decades now (and certainly for two decades before Clinton took action). I lived in Utah when the debate began (during the 1970s energy crisis), and I remember it well. It is a complex issue; I would have preferred a compromise solution, but I certainly don't oppose the creation of a National Monument (with an eye toward creation of another national park) in what is a truly special part of our country.

One might also expect a bit of economic analysis here. If Riady was the prime beneficiary of the Nat'l Monument declaration, shouldn't that be reflected in the valuation of his holdings? Did the Lippo Group's fortunes skyrocket when Clinton made the declaration?

Ascribing Clinton's motivations to pure, raw payoff is on the order of saying that Iraq is "all about oil."
5.27.2008 12:22pm
zippypinhead:
If you're the CEO of a company that is in a committee's gunsights, you generally are well-advised to be as obsequious as possible: if Congressmen take a personal dislike to you and/or your company, you're not doing your shareholders any favors. That's standard advice from most corporate legislative counsel.

For several years the FTC has had primary jurisdiction for the oil industry under the DOJ/FTC antitrust dual-enforcement division of labor. Among other things, Congress ordered the agency to conduct a couple of very extensive empirical studies of the industry after the post-Katrina price spikes and allegations of industry collusion. Shockingly, the FTC exposed the real culprit: supply and demand. The report is here. The then-chair of the FTC, Debra Majoras, took incredible heat from the Hill for the conclusion, but all the high profile Congressional blustering didn't change anything. Earlier this month the FTC started a brand new Congressionally-mandated rulemaking to police price manipulation. Details here. I'm not going to try to predict how THAT attempt at crafting new industry regulations will finally end up.

I don't think we're going to see the United States suing OPEC imminently, even assuming the NOPEC bill gets through the Senate and then past the inevitable veto. Even though NOPEC directs DOJ, not FTC, to investigate the situation, I'm not sure the choice of agency matters (I'm assuming any case would be civil, not criminal: DOJ can do either while the FTC only has civil authority). Besides, the Feds would almost certainly consider the diplomatic issues involved with a NOPEC suit before filing anything (perhaps starting with the minor problem of needing the Marine Corps to serve process on the sheiks and other foreign leaders?).
5.27.2008 12:40pm
pete (mail) (www):
BE Afraid:

I long ago started skipping over any comment MKDP posts here since they are always long and usually offtopic/just plain strange. Now I'll know to skip over Rochesterian's too.

I second your motion for some more comment deleting.
5.27.2008 12:45pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
The MKDP posts show incoherence and disconnected thoughts. The excessively long and turgid posts are also indicative of the typical crank letter.
5.27.2008 1:22pm
Smokey:
Congress is owned lock, stock and barrel by the environmentalist lobby. That is the reason Americans are being denied the minimum 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil in that 3-square mile area known as ANWR. [Compare tiny ANWR to Prudhoe Bay, and note that the trans-Alaska pipeline has already been built.]

The folks quoting an ignorant congresscritter claiming that "Drilling in ANWR would reduce oil prices by one penny per gallon" do not understand how things work. Just the mere announcement that we are going to drill in ANWR would lop $30 off the price of a barrel of oil overnight.

Why? Because the current run-up in oil prices has nothing to do with supply and demand [which are in balance -- or we would have the Jimmy Carter-style situation of hours' long gas lines, fill-ups limited to 5 gallons, and rationing limited to alternate days of the week, depending on your car's license number].

The current run-up in gas prices is due to the huge influx of dollars chasing a relatively fixed number of barrels of oil. Over the past two years alone, the amount of money chasing commodities [primarily oil] has risen over 250%. See here.

That means that oil prices are in a speculative bubble. The financial industry has created new vehicles, such as commodity index funds, for investors wanting to speculate on the price of oil.

With a lot more speculative money bidding up the price of oil, the mere mention that the U.S. will drill in ANWR would cause the price of oil to go off a cliff. Speculators would fall all over themselves to cover their positions, thus causing the price decline to snowball.
5.27.2008 1:40pm
Piano_JAM (mail):
Hmm -- so according to this writer, saving anything for later is an unpardonable sin? So what's he going to do after ANWR and Utah are mined out? Scream at the government for not saving it?

Some estimates are of over 400 years worth of coal. I feel confident we can come up with some energy solutions before this runs out.
5.27.2008 1:41pm
Rochesterian (mail):
Zarkov SAID:
The OPEC countries are conspiring to fix prices and that would seem to be covered by US anti-trust legislation. When we ultimately grab their US-based assets when they refuse to pay the fines, OPEC declares an embargo against the US. Then what? What good is law if you can't enforce it for practical reasons. Is no oil from OPEC better than expensive price-fixed oil from them? What if multi-national firms pick up leave the US? What if OPEC transfers all its assets out of the US?

I have repeatedly stated OPEC asset freeze orders can be issued on day-1 of filing the 15 U.S.C Section 1 suit. There is no need to wait until after OPEC refuses to pay a fine to take their assets.

I have also stated such a thing would probably cause WWIII.

This whole sordid "lets' sue OPEC affair is a temper-tantrum ignoring the only way to get us out of this CHAOS rationally:

(1) re-build our transportation infrastructure to include rails, subways, inter-urbans and roads dedicated to exclusive use by light-weight electric vehicles.

(2) increase income taxes on America's wealthiest fat-cats to Eisenhower-era 91% rates to pay the above.

I'll be back.
5.27.2008 2:28pm
Rochesterian (mail):
Smokey said:
Congress is owned lock, stock and barrel by the environmentalist lobby.

Smokey, Smokey, Smokey.
You have never taken a course in antitrust have you? If so. who was your prof?
Perhaps you have taken antirust several times over with you meds.
5.27.2008 2:33pm
eddiehaskel (mail):
So in a period of the highest profitability for any oil producer, why is the market failing the consumer? More tax breaks needed?

When a market is broken, that is precisely the time for government to find solutions and not simply watch as the boat sinks.
5.27.2008 2:55pm
Rochesterian (mail):
Eddie Haskell,
when you and Wally were buddying around, Lumpy's rich dad was paying 91% income taxes.

President Eisenhower wanted us to have neat things like new highways, new hospitals, NASA and a whole lot of other good things.

Lumpy got so fat on the post-Reagan tax cuts, he can't even fit on the toilet seat of his new 45 foot motorhome! tisk tisk . . .

Lumpy wants more tax-breaks. He figures he can afford to fill the tank of his motorhome regardless of the price of gas. Lumpy also figures if you cant afford to fill the tank of your sub-compact, that's your damned problem.
5.27.2008 3:09pm
luath (mail):

Congress is owned lock, stock and barrel by the environmentalist lobby people of the United States, who generally oppose drilling in ANWR.


Fixed.
5.27.2008 3:31pm
Rochesterian (mail):
Somkey SAID:
Because the current run-up in oil prices has nothing to do with supply and demand [which are in balance -- or we would have the Jimmy Carter-style situation of hours' long gas lines, fill-ups limited to 5 gallons, and rationing limited to alternate days of the week, depending on your car's license number].

Smokey, on top of knowing SQUAT of antitrust jurisprudence, you are also lame in the American history department.

The 1973-1974 chaos at the pumps was in 73-74. Nixon was POTUS.

In 1979, President Carter was mocked by the Reagan tax-cut queers for stating America would HAVE TO BE independent from OPEC W/I 30 years. You Reagan tax-cut for fat-cat freaks have put this country into freggin' chaos.
5.27.2008 4:01pm
Smokey:
MK Day Petrano, AKA: Rochestrian:
"The 1973-1974 chaos at the pumps was in 73-74. Nixon was POTUS."


Wrong again Mary K/Rochestrian, et al. — for the umpteenth time.

Note the spike in oil prices. The year was 1979. I remember the situation well.

[Apologies to all for feeding the troll.]
5.27.2008 4:31pm
Smokey:
MK Day Petrano, AKA: Rochestrian:
"The 1973-1974 chaos at the pumps was in 73-74. Nixon was POTUS."
Wrong again Mary K/Rochestrian, et al. — for the umpteenth time.

Note the spike in oil prices. The year was 1979. I remember the situation well.
5.27.2008 4:32pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Has anyone seen Maxine Waters' little meltdown with I believe the CEO of Shell Oil. Where she threatened to "socialize" i.e. nationalize, the U.S. oil industry? Just amazing. Frankly, I think she should be imprisoned for extortion and criminal threatening. A more ignorant woman in a position of authority I can't imagine. (For those worrying if Hillary's electoral problems are due to sexism, they need look no further than this fine example. If Maxine can get elected, anyone can.)" ---->

Wow. What a torrid reaction to just ... an IDEA. What's wrong with Nationalizing the Amerian Oil Cos. -- or at least breaking them up like AT&T into BabyBells? Then REGULATING them like utility companies that have to get approval for their price hikes over a NECESSITY?

There are a LOT of snarky commenters here who have wild reactions to IDEAS they DISAGREE with, such as after I pointed out any such OPEC anti-trust suit would likely be dismissed as a Political Question (squarely on-topic), a number of Dissenters-To-My-IDEAS felt the need to post Mark Fuhrman-esque style flame-slurs in the nature of a disability equivalent to the "N-----" word:

("BeAfraid" "Oh no, here we go again. MKDP and her alter/ego/spouse/whatever Roches"; "pete" "BeAfraid"; Zarkov "The MKDP posts show incoherence and disconnected thoughts. The excessively long and turgid posts are also indicative of the typical crank letter.")

Zark, you don't have to like my autism or even exchanging IDEAS with an autistic. You don't have to like Rochesterian's IDEAS of a tax rate increase to 91%. You don't even have to like my IDEAS gas pump prices should be subsidized to $2 per gallon for protected classes, or my IDEAS Obama will be VOTED into the Presidency along with all those American citizens fed-up with your Rove-esque IDEAS turning out and VOTING a Democratic sweep into the house and Senate ...

but you and Smokoey at least need to get your FACTS straight!

Rochesterian is right: "The 1973-1974 chaos at the pumps was in 73-74. Nixon was POTUS." I KNOW, I sat in those gas lines at age 16, below zero weather, every other day, to be able to drive ... not just READ about it second and aattempted to regurgitate faulty defective memory recall as to wrong dates-wrong POTUSES. And I didn't send anyone any alleged "crank letter" either.

Maybe you two need to stay away from those mind-altering A-B-C-D tests you're addicted to. They're worse than your brand of Kool-Aide.
5.27.2008 4:49pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr:
"second and aattempted" = second hand and attempted

"MK Day Petrano, AKA: Rochestrian" ----> If thats what you think, maybe you are expressing your approval I should get to take a dual-test taker bar examination? Two heads are always better than one, and might lead to a First-Time-Pass! No?
5.27.2008 4:53pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
Feeding the trolls ...

Wow. What a torrid reaction to just ... an IDEA. What's wrong with Nationalizing the Amerian Oil Cos. -- or at least breaking them up like AT&T into BabyBells? Then REGULATING them like utility companies that have to get approval for their price hikes over a NECESSITY?


A better idea ... let's just nationalize your computer, and be done with you. Nothing wrong in stealing, er, excuse me, "nationalizing", after all.

BTW "torrid"
1. Parched with the heat of the sun; intensely hot.
2. Scorching; burning: the torrid noonday sun.
3. Passionate; ardent: a torrid love scene.
4. Hurried; rapid: set a torrid pace; torrid economic growth.

Yeah, I guess I am passionate about not having my government steal from me or the other shareholders. I'd rather pay high fuel prices in a competitive market.

Just an IDEA? Oh, right, ideas don't have consequences. Especially evil or stupid ones.
5.27.2008 5:29pm
Troll-Free Zone? (www):
Y'all had to feed the Trolls, and now look what happened: Another discussion thread ruined. The Trolls are incapable of carrying on a reasonable, respectful discussion. They don't understand that personal attacks don't give their arguments more credibility. Too bad they don't follow this blog's comment policy, including this reasonable suggestion:
Here's a tip: Reread your post, and think of what people would think if you said this over dinner. If you think people would view you as a crank, a blowhard, or as someone who vastly overdoes it on the hyperbole, rewrite your post before hitting enter.

And if you think this is the other people's fault -- you're one of the few who sees the world clearly, but fools wrongly view you as a crank, a blowhard, or as someone who overdoes it on the hyperbole -- then you should still rewrite your post before hitting enter.


Then again, Trolls don't take hints (and I'm sure they will directly flame this comment, too). I think I'll suggest to EV that some comment policy enforcement is going to be necessary. In the meantime PLEASE don't feed the Trolls. Unfettered debate is good. But rants and ad hominem attacks are pathetic.
5.27.2008 5:29pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Smokey
WROTE:
"... or we would have the Jimmy Carter-style situation of hours' long gas lines, fill-ups limited to 5 gallons, and rationing limited to alternate days of the week, depending on your car's license number"

I WROTE:
"The 1973-1974 chaos at the pumps was in 73-74. Nixon was POTUS." I KNOW, I sat in those gas lines at age 16, below zero weather, every other day, to be able to drive ... not just READ about it second hand and attempted to regurgitate faulty defective memory recall as to wrong dates-wrong POTUSES."

Smokey attempted to rehabilitate his WRONG FACTS by
WRITING:
"Note the spike in oil prices. The year was 1979. I remember the situation well."

READ YOUR FIRST POSRT, Smokey --
"we would have the Jimmy Carter-style situation of hours' long gas lines, fill-ups limited to 5 gallons, and rationing limited to alternate days of the week, depending on your car's license number" ---->

The "long gas lines," "fill-ups limited to 5 gallons," and "alternative day" "rationing" OCCURRED DURING THE REIGN OF NIXON POTUS:

"Richard Nixon (1969-74) The 1973 Arab oil embargo. Gas prices jumped from less than 40 cents a gallon to more than $1 ($1.77 and $4.42 in 2005 dollars), and gas shortages were widespread. Nixon backed price controls, rationing and lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph."

Smokey, you can verify for yourself, Washington Post lists the "long gas lines" and "rationing" you wrongly refer to in your first post as attributable to "Carter," as in fact occuring under NIXON.

You may also wish to take a look at the photo in the WaPo article of the chaotic scene of what one of those "long gas lines" I personally sat in looked like, the ones for which you so-obviously lack first hand personal knowledge.

You may likewise wish to read about the entire sordid U.S. Oil-price debacle Here, taking particular note that it was NIXON's 1971 Bretton Woods agreement that triggered the entire embargo and Oil price rise disaster due to the falling U.S. dollar.

Deja Vu ...

Some of you young legal-bucks need to grow up and take a lesson right out of History 101.
5.27.2008 5:32pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
I didn't own a car in the first oil embargo ('73) so don't particularly recall it being that bad.

But I did own one in 1979 while in the SF Bay area, and recall the even-odd rationing system, and driving cross country never quite sure where you'd be able to find gas. If you found an open station, you filled up, regardless of what the fuel gauge read.

So I suspect you're both right ... rationing and lines in '73-'74 and '79.
5.27.2008 5:38pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr:
PORST" = POST

"Y'all had to feed the Trolls, and now look what happened: Another discussion thread ruined. The Trolls are incapable of carrying on a reasonable, respectful discussion. They don't understand that personal attacks don't give their arguments more credibility. Too bad they don't follow this blog's comment policy" ----->

And, why don't you just ADMIT IT, TFZ ... YOUR VERSION of EV's "comment policy" includes PROTECTING the A-B-C-D test DISTORTION OF FACTS that led right wing conservatives like Smokey to ACTUALLY GROW UP BELIEVING A DEMOCRAT ("Carter") was responsible for the "long gas lines" and "rationing" triggering, ultimately, the entire Oil-price rise debacle now destroying the American economy, from a First Amendment comment pointing out the TRUE FACTS which are that IT WAS A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT'S (Nixon's) 1971 Bretton Woods agreement that triggered the entire embargo and Oil price rise disaster due to the falling U.S. dollar.

As I said, Deja Vu ...

I'm sure glad I didn't have to grow up playing in ome of you guys' sandbox at your McMansion, because from all appearances as indicative by your conduct on this blog, when someone else DISAGREES WITH YOUR BASIC PREMISE, you would start throwing sand everywhere while (like Rehnquist running around stating "The cIA is after me," "the walls are moving") yelling "Trolls," "ad hominem attacks," "the sky is falling."

Deja Vu.
5.27.2008 5:45pm
Rochesterian (mail):
Smokey, the date was early-December, 1973. HUGE lines at the gas pumps began on the U.S. East Coast. I remember Barbara Walters hosting the "Today" show, freaking-out and saying the OPEC embargo was going to be nation-wide in a matter of days. Babs was dead-balls, right-on.

By the 3rd week in December, 1973, we had pure CHAOS. You really could NOT get gas, absent spending 1/2 the day in line at a gas station.

As I recall, the lines of cars waiting all day for gas (and the even-odd days) went straight through about February, 1974.

IN 1974, NIXON WAS POTUS, NOT CARTER.

Yes, prices for fuel was up when Carter was POTUS, but I do not recall waiting in-line to buy gas when Carter was POTUS.

Carter repeatedly stated we had to be off the OPEC oil w/i 30 years. The Reagan tax-cut queers mocked JC for saying such a thing. Look at the CHAOS now, Holmes

Get it through your head, supply and demand economics do not work over essential commodities. It is a no-brainer the fat-cats can easily afford to run the Hummers at $100.00 per gallon while the rest of the working stiffs would not be able to get to work at such a price.

In sum, if pure supply/demand economics ruled the price of gas, there would be CHAOS to the extent price-controls and rationing would have to occur to avoid the unthinkable.

I know the Reagan tax-cut queers are scared of the specter of having to sed those hard-to-break habits of drinking that fine, single malt scotch. Tisk, tisk. A little Jim Beam would do you all some good.
5.27.2008 5:46pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr:
"The cIA is after me" = "The CIA is after me" (Rehnquist)

"I didn't own a car in the first oil embargo ('73) so don't particularly recall it being that bad." ---> No, I don't suppose it would be "that bad" to a PEDESTRIAN.

"So I suspect you're both right ... rationing and lines in '73-'74 and '79" ----> No, Wrong.

rural counsel, the "long gas lines" and "rationing" occurred in 1973 during the embargo, whereas the mere (less chaotic) "price spike" occurred in 1979.

The difference is, HAD NIXON FAILED TO RATION THE GAS, the "price spike" we would have experienced in 1973 would have been a much bigger bigger uptick on the Smokey graph-chart by far than that shown for 1979.NIXON HAD TO RATION THE GAS SO EVERY AMERICAN WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO THE AVAILABLE GAS.

Moreover, rural counsel, if you experienced "lines" in 1979, I can assure you from first hand personal experience they were market driven, not forcibly imposed on the AMerican people by mandatory RATIONING- ALA NIXON. I drove cross-country several times during 1979, and NOWHERE did I personally encounter any RATIONING or even have any difficulty finding a gas station anywhere with short lines and readily available gas. The only difference by 1979 was, gas was just MORE EXPENSIVE.

It is AMAZING the snow job/con job Rove-esqians have done on the young Republican base about the REAL FACTS of History.
5.27.2008 5:56pm
Rochesterian (mail):
spell correct, last para:
I know the Reagan tax-cut queers are scared of the specter of having to end those hard-to-break habits of drinking that fine, single malt scotch. Tisk, tisk. A little Jim Beam would do you all some good.
5.27.2008 5:59pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
"Reagan tax-cut queers"? Someone is trying to get himself banned.

For the record, 'ruralcounsel', who must be roughly my age, is right. There were certainly gas lines in 1979 as well as (I assume) 1973-74. I didn't have a car in 1973-74 either, but I sat in some very long gas-lines in 1979 and also had to worry about even and odd license plates and dates.
5.27.2008 6:02pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Wow. What a torrid reaction to just ... an IDEA. What's wrong with Nationalizing the Amerian Oil Cos. -- or at least breaking them up like AT&T into BabyBells? Then REGULATING them like utility companies that have to get approval for their price hikes over a NECESSITY?


saw this, did a spit-take, left.
5.27.2008 6:10pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
As it happens, Wikipedia's article on the 1979 oil crisis has a picture of a gas-line in Maryland, though I don't recognize the station. (I lived in Annapolis at the time.)
5.27.2008 6:12pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"By the 3rd week in December, 1973, we had pure CHAOS. You really could NOT get gas, absent spending 1/2 the day in line at a gas station."


I remember that time, and I was living in New Jersey, and driving a SAAB. I had no trouble at all with gas. The light traffic resulting from the OPEC embargo was actually made my driving much easier. Of course I had a few tricks.
5.27.2008 6:19pm
zippypinhead:
Fact check (to the extent Wikipedia has any facts):

1979 Energy Crisis:
"...long lines appeared at gas stations, as they had six years earlier during the 1973 oil crisis. . . . During the period, many people believed the oil companies artificially created oil shortages to drive up prices, rather than simply high prices caused by natural factors beyond any human influence or control. Many politicians proposed gas rationing, such as the Governor of Maryland, Harry Hughes, who proposed odd-even rationing (only people with an odd-numbered license plate could purchase gas on an odd-numbered day), as was used during the 1973 crisis. Several states actually implemented odd-even gas rationing, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas... Coupons for gasoline rationing were printed but were never actually used during the 1979 crisis."

Ruralcounsel's recollection appears to be correct. What a waste of a perfectly good flame that was [/irony off]
5.27.2008 6:20pm
Rochesterian (mail):
JFK only dropped the rate to 70%.
Gimme a break.
If such were the rate today, we would be A.O.K.

Since you brought JFK into the equation, an appropriate response to your post is my version of "I'm Proud to Be an American"

Lunatics run the Asylum - - In the U.S.A.
They robbed us our freedom since they murdered J.F.K.
And when we stand up --
they profile us of threatening their way!
Cause' lunatics run the Asylum -- In the U.S.A

Lunatics run the Asylum -- In the U.S.A.
They want to cut the taxes so the rich don't have to pay
for us to stand up --
and earn a living wage from day-to-day
Cause' lunatics run the Asylum -- In the U.S.A.
5.27.2008 6:20pm
zippypinhead:
Ah, I should have hit refresh after looking up the Wikipedia article and typing the comment, but before hitting "post comment" -- I see Dr. Weevel covered this point.

Tho it does bring up an interesting point -- took me roughly 10 minutes to read some facts about both oil crises and type a comment. Wish a couple of others would do the same before hauling out the flamethrower. Dr. Weevil made a profound observation: "Someone is trying to get h[er]self banned."
5.27.2008 6:26pm
Rochesterian (mail):
I do not use the word "queer" in a context to insult a protected class of people.

The phrase "Reagan tax-cut queers" relates to my belief such a policy was/is/will always be, "queer". Look up the definition of the word.
5.27.2008 6:48pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
TO Weevil-RC-Smokey-Zip (especially you Zip-American-Marvel- Of-the-Exactitude-Of-The-English-Language):

Check your precise language and you will see the logical flaw in:

analogizing 1973 mandatory "gas rationing" compelling the "long gas lines" ALA Repub NIXON, to

1979 voluntary "high gas prices" (without mandatory rationing), inducing some fools to rather sit in a nutty gas line hoping to save a few cents a gallon while other Americans who know opportunity cost theory chose to go thru a very short gas line and pay more.

1973 ALA NIXON =/= 1979!!!!
5.27.2008 6:49pm
ReaderY:
Once again, this whole idea of using courts to manage international relations is simply ludicrous, and can terrible consequences for us internationally.

We're not nearly as powerful a country econmically as we were a decade ago, and we are increasingly dependent on other countries' goodwill. We just don't have the ability to say "no fair" and take our ball and go home, let alone to call the people who do things we don't like names.
5.27.2008 6:54pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
For those *gist* types I'll make it a little mroe clear:

"...long lines appeared ..." in 1973 &1979. Fact.

What the Weevil-RC-Smokey-Zip contingent leaves out is the CAUSE.

1973, cause was Repub POTUS NIXON's mandatory gas rationing. NO American had an option to opt-out of the "long gas line."

1979, was a totally different cause -- nutty A-B-C-D short-term self-gratification thinkers who voluntarily chose to sit around creating and waitig in a gas line to save a few cents a gallon. Any sensible rational American could and would exercise the option to opt-out of the nbutty "long gas line."
5.27.2008 6:55pm
Rochesterian (mail):
Zarkov, so you had a SABB, whippy-do. What a freggin' surprise. In '73, I had a new, red Caddy Eldo convertable.

Yes, We all had tricks for getting gas. I rented a full-sized chevy from AVIS at Tampa International Airport every morning at 6:30. It came with 1/2 tank of gas. I managed to keep the Caddy running when I felt like showing-off, which in those days, was constantly.
5.27.2008 6:56pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr:
"mroe" = more
"waitig" = waiting
"nbutty" = nutty

"Once again, this whole idea of using courts to manage international relations is simply ludicrous, and can terrible consequences for us internationally." ---->

That's right. It's ludicrous. Everyone knows we now have ...

a Unitary Executive. Like ALA NIXON.
5.27.2008 6:59pm
Rochesterian (mail):
Oh, I ain't no commie when I advocate a return to 91% income taxes.
The only thing "red" about me is the preferred color of my convertables.
5.27.2008 7:02pm
zippypinhead:
At the risk of feeding the trolls:
"...1979 voluntary "high gas prices" (without mandatory rationing), inducing some fools to rather sit in a nutty gas line hoping to save a few cents a gallon while other Americans who know opportunity cost theory chose to go thru a very short gas line and pay more."
Huh? Your forthcoming apology for your misinformed flame is accepted, as apparently either you didn't read or understand this sentence from the Wikipedia discussion of the 1979 oil crisis: "Several states actually implemented odd-even gas rationing, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas..."

I lived in central Pennsylvania at the time. The government-imposed rationing we had sure seemed pretty mandatory to me. Yeah, 1979 was quite a memorable year of energy events for us "fools" in Pennsylvania, between the mandatory gas rationing and Three Mile Island.

All this unwarranted flaming is going to cause global warming [\sarcasm off]
5.27.2008 7:22pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
GTT, I disagree that it's a "reasonable thing to do." Yes it is good for their business, but so is murdering their competitors. Asking the government to steal your competitors' product is not much different, and a completely unreasonable way to conduct business. There's nothing reasonable about it. Plus, it's anti-capitalistic.
5.27.2008 7:23pm
ginsocal (mail):
Couple of points:

One-No one has mentioned the fact that the gas shortages in the '70's were during a period when the government had price controls on gasoline. Basic economic fact: artificially keeping prices down will inevitably result in a drop in supply. That is exactly what happened. Once Reagan de-regulated gas prices, the supply "problem" never appeared again.

Two-We continue to hear that there is no point in drilling in (name location here), because it a. wouldn't be available for 20 years, b. there isn't enough there to last us for one year, c. it would only reduce the price by .01 cent, or whatever. First, if we had started drilling when it originally came up, we'd have that oil now. If you never drill, you'll never have access. Second, I have seen estimates that say there were 12-14 trillion barrels of oil in the earth. To date, humanity has used one trillion. I'd say that gives us a lot of time to look for alternatives. Last, what difference does the effect of additional supply on the price make? We need the supply; to make the decision based on how much it might reduce prices is ludicrous. Besides, additional supply will always have a reducing effect on prices, others factors being equal.
5.27.2008 7:29pm
Ohio Scrivner (mail):
"What's wrong with Nationalizing the Amerian Oil Cos. -- or at least breaking them up like AT&T into BabyBells? Then REGULATING them like utility companies that have to get approval for their price hikes over a NECESSITY?"

Every once in a while, I see a statement that makes me sad that we don't require students to take economics in high school or college. This statement qualifies.

1. Nationalizing the oil industry, in and of itself, does nothing to increase the supply of oil.

2. The last time I checked, investors do not like to invest money in countries whose leaders think there is nothing wrong with the government seizing private assets. Once the government takes over, private capital and investment will flee to greener pastures in foreign markets. (and not just in the oil industry - afterall, who is going to believe that the government won't be inclined to seize businesses from other industries too)

3. Price Caps do not work. Or rather they work great if you like to stand in line waiting for something that too few people will supply in too small a quantity at an artificially constricted price. Are you familiar with the impact that price caps have on a market? Have you ever seen pictures of the gas lines in the 70s? Or how about pictures of the store shelves in Zimbabwe today? (link) Good luck with those price caps.

4. The comparison to utility companies is a poor one. The United States has not taken over and nationalized the utility industry. There are many private utility companies that are government regulated, but not owned. The government regulation of utilities has been historically justified by the natural monopolies some of these utility companies possess in their local market. That condition does not exist in the U.S. oil industry(and has not existed since Standard Oil was broken up after the turn of the 19th Century). U.S. oil companies control only a small fraction of the world's oil supply.

5. Finally, if government control offers a superior economic model, the history of the past century for planned economies suggests otherwise.
5.27.2008 7:55pm
Smokey:
Hey, I guess I forgot about the '73 gas spike, and didn't bother to do a search. Only recalled the '79 one because I was driving then.

They say that as you get older, three things start to go: First, your memory, then, um... I forget the others...
5.27.2008 8:01pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Huh? Your forthcoming apology for your misinformed flame is accepted, as apparently either you didn't read or understand this sentence from the Wikipedia discussion of the 1979 oil crisis: 'Several states actually implemented odd-even gas rationing, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas...'" ---->

Pending your verification of the reliability and trustworthiness "Fact check (to the extent Wikipedia has any facts)" issue you yourself raised, I would happily point out I was living in the Golden State of NO gas rationing in 1979, California. There was no rationing in Kentucky, either, and not one other State going across I-70 Westbound from Lexington. I really enjoyed myself driving the miles of that big State, California, from Yreka to Blythe, and SF to Tahoe and almost every point in between.

Suddenly, I am overcome with such sympathy for your plight living in a lesser State having to ration State gas supplies and making you poor suckers sit in a GAS LINE (teardrops), poor pinhead.

My apologies, as well (conditional, of course, upon your prerequisite verification Wikipedia facts are reliable and trustworthy).

I do agree with ginsocial on this point:

"We continue to hear that there is no point in drilling in (name location here), because it a. wouldn't be available for 20 years, b. there isn't enough there to last us for one year, c. it would only reduce the price by .01 cent, or whatever. First, if we had started drilling when it originally came up, we'd have that oil now. If you never drill, you'll never have access. Second, I have seen estimates that say there were 12-14 trillion barrels of oil in the earth. To date, humanity has used one trillion. I'd say that gives us a lot of time to look for alternatives. Last, what difference does the effect of additional supply on the price make? We need the supply; to make the decision based on how much it might reduce prices is ludicrous. Besides, additional supply will always have a reducing effect on prices, others factors being equal."

And I would add: Where to start drilling? Perhaps right on the U.S. side of that expedited DHS "Border Fence" might be a good place to dig.

As far as Reagan solving the World's oil problems, I don't know about that, but I will agree he looked Great in his blue suit waiving at AMerica in front of the Flag.
5.27.2008 8:06pm
Rochesterian (mail):
BACK ON POINT,
What we have here is the 15 U.S.C Section 1 case that will go to the Supremes over the several issues below:

(1) Can an OPEC asset freeze TRO be issued on the day the action is filed to include a COMPLETE freeze on all things OPEC?

(2) Can OPEC defend on grounds the suit is a non-justiciable political question?

(3) Can OPEC defend the 15 U.S.C Section 1 suit on grounds the U.S.A. has deliberately limited its own production of petrol?
5.27.2008 8:26pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
"We continue to hear that there is no point in drilling in (name location here), because it a. wouldn't be available for 20 years, b. there isn't enough there to last us for one year, c. it would only reduce the price by .01 cent, or whatever. First, if we had started drilling when it originally came up, we'd have that oil now. If you never drill, you'll never have access. Second, I have seen estimates that say there were 12-14 trillion barrels of oil in the earth. To date, humanity has used one trillion. I'd say that gives us a lot of time to look for alternatives. Last, what difference does the effect of additional supply on the price make? We need the supply; to make the decision based on how much it might reduce prices is ludicrous. Besides, additional supply will always have a reducing effect on prices, others factors being equal."

Mary: While I agree we should be drilling in those places, to be fair, you're twisting the argument around and making a straw man. The argument isn't "there's no point in drilling in ___" but rather "the benefits of drilling in ___ are greatly offset by the damage to the environment that will result." Anwar being the prime example of this. We shouldn't harm the pristine conditions and harm the caribou because even if there is oil there... blah blah blah (the things you list). I don't buy it, but that's the argument.

It's an appeal to the environment, not an appeal to laziness.
5.27.2008 8:56pm
zippypinhead:
A legit question was raised about freezing assets of OPEC defendants in a NOPEC at the outset of litigation.

Answer - No. That won't happen under a Sherman Act cause of action. Section 6 of the Sherman Act is not a modern asset forfeiture statute analogous to other ACE forfeiture tools that one might have available in, for example, a narcotics case. Among other failings, you simply can't track proceeds with section 6.

In fact, section 6 has been only used about two times in the last 20 years, and both of those were in civil consent decree contexts where the defendants agreed to give up money as part of a global settlement. In contested litigation even that would not have worked.

If you want the sheiks' racehorses, you'll have to try something else - but the foreign soverign immunity abrogation in the NOPEC bill doesn't seem to give that sort of non-Sherman Act option.
5.27.2008 9:28pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Rochesterian writes (5:48pm): "I do not use the word 'queer' in a context to insult a protected class of people." That is an obvious lie.

If I were to call someone's wife a 'slut' and then assert that I meant no insult, that I was using the archaic sense of the word to imply that her standards of housekeeping were not quite up to standard, would that make it OK?

There's no excuse for using "queer" (or "slut") as if they were not insults today, and I think even such a fool as Rochesterian knows that.
5.27.2008 9:38pm
Rochesterian (mail):
Are we not moving forward with a 15 U.S.C Section 1 as well? I admit I have not read into the USSCAN dialogue.

Regardless of asset freeze at the onset, I still think the entire idea of the OPEC suit is a prelude to WWIII.

Though we all know a new transportation infrastructure must be constructed to accommodate a petrol free mode of transportation, you all strongly object to higher income taxes on the wealthy to pay for such an endeavor by hinging your posture on the Reagan-era theory that higher taxes will reduce your incentive to hustle a higher tax-bracket buck.

You fail to look at the concept of "incentive" in terms of whose "incentive" is more needed to crew the deck of our present ship of state, given the storm we are heading towards (spiraling fuel and food prices, etc.).

The "Archie Bunker" American working stiff is at the brink of despair, homelessness and downright panic. Archie is an essential crew member that needs incentive to work the deck NOW; moreover, there are likely 1000 Archies to one of you or me.

We need Archie NOW to help rebuild U.S.A.'s critical transportation infrastructure not totally dependent on petrol.

We need Archie to have the incentive to pull through during the transitional phase we are all facing (transportation infrastructure at present is a failure and rebuilding will take years and LOTS OF MONEY).

Wanna give Archie incentive? tell him on Inauguration Day you and I will be taxed at a higher rate while he is taxed at a lower rate SO HE CAN SHARE THE AMERICAN DREAM WHILE HE HELPS TO REBUILD THE TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE WITH OUR TAX MONEY.

By the way, no one will miss you, me, or our J.D. friends if we choose to temper-tantrum and move out of the U.S.A. b/c of a higher tax rate.

PEACE
5.27.2008 9:44pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Rochesterian,

We could get more money out of the top earners by taxing them at 110% of earnings.

However, may I suggest lowering the rate on top earners to a rate below that of other civilized countries and attracting them to the USA?

I call my plan: Steal The Rich.
5.27.2008 10:43pm