Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our Economy? It's a Gas!

There is a common disconnect among the people of America when it comes to personal economy and the world as we know it.
First of all everyone has to admit that with the advent of the internet and the proliferation of smart phones and other hand held devices you can be in touch with anyone anywhere and at any time of the day or night no matter where they are in the world. And in some cases astronauts orbiting the earth are as easy to reach as grandma down the street, more so at times if her hearing aid is off.
Television ads touting one company’s financial services boast of their ability to relate the flapping of butterfly wings in Arizona with the price of tea in China (sic.)
And with the idea that anything that happens anywhere in the world can and will affect you in some way it would behoove us to understand what’s going on.
Let’s look at oil prices and on a more personal level the price of a gallon of gas.
For many years we have been railing about gas prices and the rise thereof without being able to stop them.
The government tells us that ‘supply and demand’ dictates the fluctuation in price but that is incredibly far from the truth or at least the whole story.
When a corporation tries to steel itself against a future downturn or upturn in the economy it hedges its bets by buying so called oil futures.
The price they pay for the ‘future’ oil affects the current price and even though the actual supply of oil in the, sorry for this, pipeline does not change the price at the gas pump does.
If a corporation sees a chance to raise the price of its product without actually paying more for it, well you can guess what they’ll do.
But when the price of the crude oil comes back down do the crude people of those corporations lower the prices back to where they were or should be?
Without making fun of anyone who thinks there are two answers to the above question let me merely say not if their mother’s lives depended on it!
The above simplified fact is but one of many reasons oil companies have been raping the consumer and getting away with it.
Without a government complicit in the fraud it would not be feasible.
Dead ducks courtesy of Exxon Valdez
And all one must do is look at the incredibly obscene profits posted by companies such as Exxon, proud owner of the Valdez, or BP of Deep Water Ocean murdering platform fame to see how firmly entrenched their tentacles are around the testicles of those in our government.
With all the profit these giants are making getting favorable legislation or tax breaks with subsidies to boot is as easy as flicking a flea off fur.
And all the while these humongous multi-national behemoths are controlling the world’s energy they have their puppets in Congress and on the campaign trail circulate anger at the Arab world and the purveyors foreign oil!
So what if foreign oil had real competition?
What if someone could come up with a way to produce energy without having to beg the Arab sheiks not to turn off the spigot?
What if we weren’t seduced into believing that every time someone in Iran farts the price for a gallon of gas goes up a dime?
What if we could harness the renewable energy of the sun or the ocean or the wind or even the volcanic heat within the bowels of Mother Earth without spewing harmful death laden pollutants into the atmosphere?
Well we can, and we have been able to do so for decades.
The problem however is the same one we have had to contend with for that long and longer, who will actually control the power?
Who will make the obscene profits of that new clean energy venture?
In America until the leaders can come up with the backbone needed to legislate in favor of alternative energy the scenario of a country free from the oppressive thumb of foreign oil will never come to fruition.
And of course it is not foreign oil at all that creates the impasse for the needed change but rather our own quiet behind the scenes American monsters known as Big Oil.
So why are they so anti-American?
Does the sound, Ka-Ching ring a bell?
If we would just promise to give EXXON and friends all the profits made by harnessing the power of the sun we would finally be able to have solar power, probably within a year!!!
How about if we change the name of that heavenly body and lasso it for them?
One of the big oil companies is already primed for the transition as their name implies, the SUN Oil Company.  They'll just drop the word 'oil.'
We could divvy up the rest of the natural resources of the earth to the other huge corporations and finally rid ourselves of Arab oil!
For example Exxon could get the wind franchise.
And speaking of that the windbags of Congress could take bids on the others such as Ocean tides, although BP probably should be given a leg up on that one since they already have some former company men on the ocean floor.  Of course merely giving these bastards the profits the new industry would create might not be enough since they are used to mega-billion dollar profit quarters so we might have to kick in some subsidies as well but hey, at least we'll save the planet.
The point of this sarcastic yet true post is not that we cannot find a way out of foreign oil or even that we as consumers use too much or that President Obama is at fault for the rising prices at the pump but that Big Oil controls the conversation and owns Congress.

Nothing will change until and unless we the people demand it happen.  We can do that with our votes and our voices but we must not continue to allow Big Oil to rape us and reap the benefit of our complacency!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ads Don't Always Add Up

Is anyone naive enough to believe that there is or ever was "Truth in Advertising?"
Alice in Wonderland
was fiction you know.
I mean seriously, if ads told the truth about their products the companies that produce the stuff would go the way of the dodo.
(That's an extinct bird that was driven out of existence due to forces beyond the comprehension of any true Republican out there called evolution.)
But since advertisements do still exist we must therefore conclude that they mostly lie!
How many of you have bought cars expecting to get a nice fuel efficient high MPG only to find out the only way to get it would be to have your car towed everywhere!
I could probably have my longest post of all time if I decided to list every product whose attributes are shall we say exaggerated but for the sake of forced brevity I hereby list only a few for your edification and amusement.
Let's start wit an annoying product that you almost have to know will not be as easy to put together as you are told in the ads.
I am speaking of those Easy Closets.  Their ads show average everyday families, some old some young talking about how great and easy the closet installation was.
Why not show what
really happens?
What they don’t show is the part between the designing and the implementation.
On the internet you let your fingers do the walking.  Then you complete the 'easy' project in your home.
Of course you should make sure your health care premiums have been paid and your loved ones know where the nearest ER is located.
Your first few task are getting the HEAVY materials up the stairs, opening the crates, running down to the basement to get the necessary tools to complete the EZ installation and then going back down to get the ones you will REALLY need to complete the installation. Face it the closets are generally for bedrooms which are generally on the second floor of homes.
And once you’ve removed all the items from the boxes you take out the instructions praying they are in English. And I mean understandable English, not the slightly racist rendition known as Chinglish.
Because face it folks America hardly produces anything anymore except billionaires who ship what jobs they can overseas and get paid to do so.  Isn't that right Willard Mitt?  (OR will he admit?)
Oh and by the way, don’t forget the extension cord for your electric drill or screw driver since not too many closets have outlets.
Let’s face it, the product may be the best thing since chocolate but it is certainly not as easy as rolling off a log. They should at least be forced to have a disclaimer as to that fact just like the one drug companies are forced to add.
Uh oh, anyone seen
the toilet paper?
And speaking of drug companies I equate what they leave out of the easy closet promo in their television ads with what is left out of Ex-Lax commercials. You have stomach cramps and take the product and then don’t have stomach cramps. So what transpired in between?
Please no turbulence!
Then there’s that unbelievably annoying moron who floats down the aisle of an airplane touting some fiber concoction specially formulated to help you relieve your insides of nasty bloating stuff? Yeah lady, just what I want to do on an enclosed speeding bullet in the clouds, run and use the coffin-sized vertical tomb known politely as the lavatory, which is invariably occupied when I need it most!
I feel lust-less, anyone
have some testosterone?
And that brings me to the next new ad that can drive you nuts, a drug that can help men who have that brand new made up disease or ailment known, by the marketers and now everyone, as Low T. I first assumed it was the opposite of that delightful afternoon snack so popular in England.
Low T, as the fake concerned voice-over tells us can cause a guy to feel listless or lust less or whatever and make him drag his butt around not wanting to do anything. I always thought a cheap over the counter cure for that was a cup of coffee but I guess I was wrong.
One side thought, if we were to have a program dedicated just to the disclaimers at the end of all drug commercials it would probably have to be a mini-series. Some of the ad contents are 20% talking about the drug and 80% disclaimer warning of its use. And these disclaimers include such inconsequential side effects such as loss of vision; abdominal pain; and death! Yeah, I sure want to take a drug to cure my Low T and put me in a Low 6’ hole!
British P - The gift that
keeps on giving!
And speaking of a deep hole we come to my last, for now favorite ad series on television, the one touting how wonderful BP is for cleaning up the God damned mess they created when their poorly regulated and negligently run oil rig exploded killing many humans, animals and futures.
And he wants HIS life back?
Justice? No jail time but a
bonus and a cushy job.
It’s nice that we have wonderful music and sun filled views of the idyllic gulf coast gracing the screen while a voice over tells of BPs commitment to making the area safe for all.
Has even one corporate person been sent to jail over the murders? Has BP truly paid their debt to society? Does anyone really think they ever will?
Okay I get it, we the people do not have the clout to come after you in court and you will escape scot free to continue raping and pillaging the Earth but do you really have to rub our noses in your glory?
He never knew what hit him!
They say what goes around comes around. Well I’d like to lock the entire board of BP into a newly finished ‘Easy Closet’ then feed them a year’s supply of that Low T drug and some ex-lax while spilling in barrels of refinery oil to see how they enjoy themselves. I have a feeling they might react the same way the former fish and wildlife did.