The NEW Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the 21st Century.
Posted on | February 16, 2009 | No Comments
Ever see one of those movies where the bad guys have the good guys in a hostage situation? The bad guys always say, “Behave yourselves and nothing will happen.” Then either the hostages try to get loose or the cops do something stupid and someone gets killed and the bad guys say, “It wasn’t MY fault. We told you to behave. You only have yourselves to blame.” Bad guys have a warped set of ethics. The fact that they are robbing a bank or hijacking an airplane or something similarly illegal doesn’t really count. It’s YOUR fault for not letting them get away with it.
We’ve, of course, had the last 8 years with a bunch of hoodlums in charge, the chief of whom, one George Bush, was never responsible for anything. Someone else always gave him bad information, or no one could have foreseen the consequences of our actions or inactions. Or something else that would inevitably gain the offending party the Medal of Freedom. With the banking crisis, it’s different. George was NOT the only person responsible. Everyone in government from Ronald Reagan on has been giving banks a free ride, letting them go on a merry deregulated spree until finally, whoopsiedaisy, we’ve got to bail them out. Or else, we’re the ones who’re going to get screwed. Never mind that bailing them out of their greed, rapacity and, worst of all, incompetence is getting screwed enough. If we don’t bail them out, we’ll get doubly screwed.
But during all this, the markets crashing, stock analysts trying to fake suicides, a giant Ponzi scheme to the tune of 50 billion dollars being exposed, whose balance sheets show record profits? The OIL companies. As the economy was going into the ashcan during the summer, they screwed every last cent they could out of anyone who wanted a tank of gas. Why? Because they expected an oil shortage. Well, the oil shortage never arrived. People stopped driving. Did the price go down? Yes, in time for the election in the hope that another laissez-faire Republican, the so-called Maverick McCain, might get to be in charge. But now gas prices are rising again and there is a surplus of crude. What gives? Oh, they shut down refining capacity to match the lowered demand of the summer.
Feel like a hostage? Well, just remember. It isn’t THEIR fault…
By the way, yes, I know Lee Patrick is no longer CEO of Exxon, they have some new, less Jabba-the-Huttish person who nevertheless has just as much appetite–he only LOOKS less gluttonish. But Lee was such a perfect caricature of the oil executive that I had to use him here.