Wednesday, February 01, 2006

That "knowing" snicker

Have you ever been in a room full of (mostly) idiots and when something is said like "George Bush" or "war in Iraq" or "Exxon Mobile" you hear that "knowing" snicker from the lemmings. The snicker that says "we know that [fill in the blank] is the devil."

I am so tired of the snicker. I experienced it, yet again, tonight in a class that I am taking. Now I don't always wear my politics on my sleeve but I have chosen to be very outspoken in this class. (I am anxiously waiting for one of the tree huggers to ask me about animal cruelty so I can respond with "I'll club a baby seal to death if I can get a pair of slippers out of it.")

Anyway, one of the lemmings brought up a "news item" about the profits of Exxon Mobile. The snicker that followed was accompanied by cries of "disgusting" and "outrageous."

Actually it was the teacher who said "disgusting." (Keep in mind that this is a bussiness class)

When I interupted with "what's disugting about profits?" I got the snicker again. (That's two)

I then suggested that oil prices in America are subject to market forces just like everything else. No one company has the power to "screw" us. Got the snicker.

At this point it was claimed that the oil companies work together.

I suggested that this was called price fixing which is a crime and it's irresponsible to accuse people of crimes with no proof. The topic was changed before I could insist that anyone present with evidence of price fixing contact the attorney general.

My point? With absolutely no specific knowledge of the oil industry and with no general knowledge of markets, the lemmings must simply resort to the "knowing snicker" when faced with logic. They know that "big oil" is bad, they aren't quite sure why though.


Eric W said...

I know about big oil because I work for big oil. Big oil is regular folks trying to make a living. Big oil is putting back more money than ever before to try and produce more oil so the lemmings can ride between Starbucks and soccer practice in their suburbans. Big oil is people who work in the harshest conditions on the planet so people won't get so much as a chill in their home when it is 10 degrees outside.
Big oil never sleeps and didn't get a vacation last year with their families because of hurricanes, which by the way, Republicans didn't cause either. Big oil also suffered deeply for twenty years while everyone else profited.
I would beat a lemming to death every morning if I could get a pair of work gloves out of them :-)

Jeff said...

"I'll club a baby seal to death if I can get a pair of slippers out of it.")

Priceless! Best laugh I've had all week!

Anonymous said...

Actually those were Nickers, which are the Nitwits version of a snicker.

Dare!PDX said...

Big oil companies do conspire to make as much money as possible. They don't do it illegally though they are regulated where this happens (thank Theodore Roosevelt). In Oregon we are subject all our fuel coming from Washington or California. The majority comes by way of pipeline owned by one company or barge's owned by a limited number of companies (Foss Maritime being the main one). All oil companies wishing to move product into Oregon must consipire to do so, it's called scheduling to those of us in the real world.

As for conspiring to cause $75 dollar a barrel crude consider this. If you could sell a million barrels of oil (42 million gallons) and there was a $1 difference between deliver to Seattle and deliver to China, where would you send your tanker of Alaskan north slope crude?

Do you call that a consipiracy? I call it common sense.

Also, the shut-down comment for why we don't have 90mpg cars (you know the old conspiracy theory about the guy who invented a car that runs on water but GM and the feds took away his invention and other bull-shit like that). Ask them, "So you say the techonology is patended?" They answer "Yes". "Hmmmmm, that doesn't make sense, if it's patented China or Cuba would have stolen the technology because they've got no connection with big-oil and steal all our best patents." "Also, wouldn't the military use it to have tanks that get unlimited mileage in combat?"

That'll shut them up faster than a Urine Analysis test upon hire- f#$%N hippies.

Major Scarlet said...

actually, big oil companies can conspire to drive up price. when you have an oligarchy system of something that is a commodity, the commodity can be manipulated in the futures market by creating sham bids or sells.

i followed the oil market from 1999 to present. previous to 2003, oil charts had a cyclical trend where they would rise from jan-jun and sell off from july to december. once the big oil companies started combining (exxon-mobile, chevron etc) the trend started to change. if you look at charts.. the trend was fairly predictable for over twenty years.

i know that we use more oil now because of the big SUV trend that happened during this time frame. i know china and india's economies are expanding. and i know that we haven't built a refinery in the states since 1976. all factors that influence this market.

i also know that there are no more "mom and pop" refineries any more. 90% of all refineries are owned by the top 10 oil corporations.

yes there is collusion in the oil markets. if you think it can't happen, then explain how enron did it but the big oil companies can't. enron used the same process of sham bids and sells as big oil is using to manipulate the market.

i'm a devote capitalist of the ayn rand variety. these dorks in your class are right but they don't know why.. they just assume that big corps are bad and sometimes they get it right.

Kristopher said...

The bottleneck right now is refinery capacity.

Just try getting a permit to open a small ( tea-kettle ) refinery. Costs associated with it will prevent you from even starting.

There are a bunch of perfectly good wells in CA that are permanently capped due to the cost of local and state regs ... one set of four on a property in CA is capped because of this ... those natural gas wells produce a mix of methane and gasolene vapor ... the product could be compressed and burned in a vehicle as is.

But in order to meet state regs, the two components must be seperated ... and no one is going to build a small refinery to just deal with this subset of wells under the current regs.

Add to that the wells in Santa Barbara that are capped because homeowners who moved in long after the wells were drilled noticed that pumping oil caused subsidence in their basements ... they suddenly discovered they were all green now, and passed laws to shut them down .... and now sidewalks in that town seep oil, and sometimes catch fire. And field immediately off-shore leak new oil and generate spontanious oil slicks .....

TheDuncan said...

As a former employee of the largest corporation in the world, General Motors, they are no longer the largest corporation. As a matter of fact they may need to get that 250 mile per gallon car back out of the closet they have been storing it in. Since they just lost billions of dollars. I would love to see the meeting where the big oil companies get together. My experience is that these corporate big wigs can''t find there $%@ with either hand. When a corporation gets that big it starts to operate like government. If they do get anything done , it's by accident. Daniel , the snicker you hear is a brain infarction that replaces real logical thought.

Dare!PDX said...

The oil companies of the west are not conspiring. It's the Oil Producing Nations that conspire to resrtict production in order to maximize their long term revenue stream to prop up the dictators that contribute to OPEC.

And to manipulate the Petroleum future's market it would take trillions per day. It would be easier to manipulate currency markets than Petroleum markets.

Fixing the market is not what is happening. It's Asia's willingness to pay any price for petroleum that is causing the issue as they build their infrastructure. I could give first hand examples we are seeing here in the NW which prove how flawed state-guided capatilism is and why this price run up is happening.

As soon as China completes this artificial growth spurt prices will decline back to their traditional $15 a barrel (at the most $25 a barrel). Oh yeah, TV's will start going back to their traditional non-price-dump price to so stock up on your consumer electronics over the next few years.

Major Scarlet said...

i'm not a futures trader but the process was explained to me by a former chicago exchange commodities broker. it can be done.. at least he is convinced that is what is happening.

yes, some nations are restricting the oil supply but it isn't necessarily for nefarious reasons. oil is priced in dollars. when the dollar is weak, like it is now, the oil producing countries lower outflows so they can maintain their profit levels. why we and the G7 still have a weak dollar policy after we have left the recession behind and have created of 4.5 million jobs here is beyond me. a strong dollar policy should be implemented and you would see an almost immediate affect on the price at the pump.

Dare!PDX said...

A strong dollar wreak's havoc with our Ag and Manufacturing sector. A weak dollar further puts the screw's to China's policy of dumping. I don't pay much attention to the Fed's policies these days but there are plenty of posative effects of a weak dollar against other currencies.

I also don't believe it's possible for any group beyond the size of a multi-billion dollar government capable of fixing oil. OPEC doesn't look at their revenue but in the world supply. It can be done but I doubt it would be because the comodity is less predictable than currency. Currency traders also don't explain a sustained barrel price over a year. They may be able to play on expectations for a few days but not months or years.

And if you wanted to become a future's trader you could become one in 15 minutes online. There are a few "fool-proof" systems too. These types are usually the ones bragging about their experience.

Major Scarlet said...

Enron did it.. so can big oil. it's the same process.

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