“Live” Blogging The Georgia Gang

I only do this just to see what planet Phil Kent is from this week. I think he honestly feels that people blame high gas prices on Democrats… for not allowing more domestic drilling. We could only wish any ‘ole Joe Blow who needs a tank of gas to get to work followed public policy to such a degree.

What Joe Blow gas-user DOES do though is watch, and swallow, those now-ubiquitous media ads that are part of the The American Petroleum Institutes’s expensive public relations campaign to convince TV viewers that in NO way could they (the natural gas & petroleum industry) ever be part of the high gas price problem, with prices now soaring upwards and out of the typical reach of the middle class. How comforting it is to see Phil Kent leading the masses in this latest PR industry-generated Kool-Aid swallowing contest. From the Washington Post:

WASHINGTON — Faced with a national outcry over the high price of gasoline and soaring profits for energy companies, the oil and gas industry is waging an unusually pricey campaign to burnish its image.

The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s main lobby, has embarked on a multiyear, multimedia, multimillion-dollar campaign, which includes advertising in the nation’s largest newspapers, news conferences in many state capitals and trips for bloggers out to drilling platforms at sea.

The intended audience is elected officials and the public, with an emphasis on the latter. The industry is trying to convince voters — who, in turn, will make the case to their members of Congress — that rising energy prices are not the producers’ fault and that government efforts to punish the industry, especially with higher taxes, would only make pricing problems worse.

“We decided that if we didn’t do something to help people understand the basics of our industry, we’d be on the losing end as far as the eye could see,” said Red Cavaney, the institute’s president.

Despite the efforts, Democratic congressional leaders this week again (earlier in May, 2008) proposed an energy plan that would strip oil companies of billions of dollars of tax breaks and impose a tax on windfall profits. Also, the Democratic presidential candidates routinely pronounce “big oil” as if it were a one-word epithet, said former Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles, an energy lobbyist.

Still, the oil lobby thinks that it has made significant progress with consumers and will make even more as it continues to spend heavily on public relations. Allied industry groups such as coal and natural gas are also increasing their efforts to curry favor with the public.

The campaign has stirred outrage among consumer groups. They complain that the industry is using its outlandish profits to make even more money and that its advertisements use statistics selectively.

“It’s basically deceptive advertising that dulls the natural and proper reaction of the public,” said Mark Cooper, research director of the Consumer Federation of America.

Full story here. Too bad that Scott McClellan just sucker-punched the wind out of the entire PR-industry, eh?!

Thank goodness GG is only a half-hour long. One more minute of Dick Williams’ ancient culture war rattling-about would cause seizure. Someone please tell these aging Reagan-era Republicans that culture is, now more than ever, a constantly shifting sea. And right now, anyone over fifty who’s seeking to divide political waters along “culture” lines nowadays is going to end-up marooned on the clueless (and ridiculed) shores of some God-forsaken island. Heck, even McCain knows this.
NOTE TO ERIC: If any PR flack for Big Oil calls you up offering trips for bloggers to Gulf Shore oil rigs, please send Rogue. Hurricane season is coming up!

22 comments

  1. Harry says:

    We need more oil in the supply chain. Only oil companies can find and drill it. Only then will the price come down. If the government gets in the mix it will only make things worse.

    And, oh yes, culture wars are good. They raise peoples’ awareness of right vs. wrong.

  2. Tea Party says:

    DeKalb County is Dick Williams culture war zone and the costly incorporation of Dunwoody will be its’ first casualty.

    No mistake, Spacey, the folks that want to incorporate could not possibly care less about $4 gas or the impact thereon, they just want out of DeKalbs’ culture.

    Perhaps we can drill at the Farmhouse and Dunwoody will have low cost fuel forever.

  3. SpaceyG says:

    Is there something so terribly awful about Dekalb “culture?” (I’ve always lived in Fulton.) Or is it just another one of those cultural segregation (along racial lines) things? So who’s the “elitist” then?

  4. Harry says:

    “They’re only “good” if they work.”

    You have the free will to choose whether you are affected or not.

  5. Clint Austin says:

    Oil company profit margins are less than Microsoft’s profit margins – they gross more profit because of the enormous daily volume of energy sales.

    Where is the outcry for “windfall profit taxes” against Microsoft and Bill Gates? Could it be that Gates’ left-leaning politics are the reason for this selective profit-bashing amnesia?

    The energy squeeze is a global phenomenon (I wonder why the left-leaning US media failed to note the truck driver riot in England under the left-leaning Labour government due to high fuel costs there? I guess Bush must be to blame for that too, right?)

    The fact is China and India are revolutionizing the world market due to their emergence from third-world poverty. Things will get much, much worse as they continue to grow if all the Dems offer is bashing oil companies and blathering about solar power rather than acknowledging the fundamental shift in global energy markets and responding with measures that address both the supply and demand side of the market.

    That ain’t good politics for Team Obama and Team Pelosi, but it’s the truth, and it’s the truth that’s making families pay more for gas. If the GOP sticks to the side of responsibility on this argument, they will prevail in the end.

  6. Max LeHighlands says:

    Do they wear bow-ties in Camelot? What are you going to do when this passes in 5 weeks? Move? I’m going to enjoy watching the show.

  7. Progressive Dem says:

    “We need more oil in the supply chain. Only oil companies can find and drill it. Only then will the price come down. If the government gets in the mix it will only make things worse.”

    Harry, have you seen what the Chinese and Indians are doing? Global demand has skyrocketed. A new Indian car maker has now brought a product to market that is affordable for the Indian middle class. There are 300 million of them! Bringing new oil into the supply chain will have little impact. Demand in the US is way down for gasoline, and it is having no impact on the cost of gasoline.

    The price will go down if the dollar goes up in value, but the Fed may have to raise interest rates to strengthen the dollar. That will also curb the inflation, which is about to jump all over us.

    US oil production is a tiny fraction of world production. ANWAR and more US refineries will have marginal if any impact on the price of gas at the pump. The US is joining the rest of the world in terms of prices paid. $6 per gallon is on the way.

  8. Clint Austin says:

    Progressive Dem – you are unhinged from the facts.

    Gas in Denmark right now is 8 dollar a gallon. The price of gas in the rest of the world is not sitting still while we “catch up.” It is going up the same for everyone, period, because of the fundamentals of supply and demand.

    “Experts” (usually anti-growth ones) have said for decades that “oil was about to run out,” usually pegging a date at which oil reserves actually proved to be larger at that date than at the time when the “end of oil” prediction was made. Doomsday talk (particularly talk designed to win an election) is not helpful in any way.

    And how you can cite India and China to defend a “no more supply” argument is, well, hard to defend…

  9. Max LeHighlands says:

    Clint above is right on target with his analysis. Tea Party, why not go back to reading Pravda? Your open contempt for a capitalist system is laughable. “It Costs Too Much” is a joke pal. Your county commission is about to raise your taxes and they can’t even account for $17 million in $49,000 no-bid contracts. And how do you like YOUR tax dollars going to fund Barnes and his law partner / daughter to the tune of a combined $800 and hour?

  10. Progressive Dem says:

    The price of oil in Europe includes heavy sales taxes. Those taxes are intended to curb demand so those countries do not become dependent on oil, and wreck their balance of trade. The revenues are used to pay for alternative transportation: trains, subways, light rail and shuttle buses, which in turn further reduce their reliance on oil.

  11. Clint Austin says:

    Progressive Dem – the former head of the World Bank transportation unit who also designed the Paris RER wrote a damning indictment of European mass transit earlier this decade. It was called “Transport in Europe” and its main conclusion was that modern rail transit had failed in Europe and that “only the road can relieve the road.” He was dispassionate, fact-based, and has impeccable credentials.

    Maybe the rather socialistic economic system of Europe (of which transportation is a perfect example) is why Europe has consistently lagged the US in all measures of economic health for a generation…

  12. Max LeHighlands says:

    35 hour work week in France, yet still huge unemployment. At that rate they should have 100% employment..The basic math I’m using here is that most normal people here that are successful work 60-70 hours a week. You could employ two folks for each position there. And that 8 weeks of vacation every summer….no wonder that in summer in Paris, the only folks you’ll find aren’t Parasites.

  13. Progressive Dem says:

    Clint, The fundamentals of supply and demand are these: Worldwide oil production is stable. Oil demand has increased by China, India, Brasil, Russia and some mid east countries. Domestic oil production is about 6% of world production. That isn’t much leverage to lower the worldwide prices. Moreover the current prices are unlike the 1970’s when OPEC raised prices for geo-political reasons and domestic oil might have been less expensive. In today’s market domestic oil won’t be any cheaper than foreign oil.

  14. John Konop says:

    This was an interesting article.

    Why Exxon won’t produce more oil

    By BusinessWeek

    Reports of slackening demand sent oil down another 2.5% on Thursday to $101.84 per barrel. Crude prices have declined 7.6% since the beginning of the week. Not long ago, that would have been an astonishing plunge that shook the trading establishment. These days? Nah, that’s just the ho-hum volatility in the oil market. But how is it that crude can still trade above $100 a barrel, three times what it sold for at the start of the decade, despite a very wobbly economy?

    If you want to understand that, it helps to listen in to ExxonMobil’s (XOM, news, msgs) presentation to analysts in New York City in early March. Halfway through the three-hour meeting, Exxon management flashed a chart that showed the company’s worldwide oil production staying flat through 2012.

    Ponder that for a minute. Exxon is the largest publicly traded company in the energy business. In fact, it’s the most profitable company in the history of capitalism, earning a record $40.6 billion last year on sales of $404 billion. Yet even with crude oil prices near all-time highs, Exxon isn’t planning on producing any more oil four years from now than it did last year.

    That means the company’s oil output won’t even keep pace with its own projections of worldwide oil demand growth of 1.3% a year.

    http://controlcongress.com/uncategorized/why-exxon-wont-produce-more-oil

  15. Progressive Dem says:

    Clint, you can’t be serious??? The solution is more cars??? Transportation differences explain the differences in economic standards??? That is all laughable and can’t be substantiated. If you’ve ever been to Europe, you would see the tremendous advantage they have with transportation. Their commutes are shorter, they don’t kill 40,000 citizens a year in crashes, there isn’t as much air pollution, they don’t throw away money on insurance, maintenance and financing. I’m not advocating everyone give up cars, but we need options to minimze our dependence on oil. And because of our dependence, our economy will be hurt worse than the countries less dependent on oil and autos.

  16. John Konop says:

    You are right Bill.

    Weak dollar adds to upward pressure on crude
    Cheaper valuation fuels speculation even as it threatens long-term oil supply

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The dollar’s tailspin since the Federal Reserve began to cut interest rates is giving an updraft to already bullish crude-oil futures, and analysts say that relationship will continue driving oil and the currency both in their current directions.

    “The much larger structural story [of the oil price rise] is demand from emerging markets — in particular, China — but in recent months, the dollar has depreciated sharply,” which has in turn pushed up crude to all-time highs, said David Powell, senior foreign exchange analyst at IDEAglobal.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/oils-surge-centers-sliding-value/story.aspx?guid=%7BC39476EA-069F-4921-9BED-4BB134D0E6B0%7D

  17. Tea Party says:

    Dick,

    In five weeks one of us is going to congratulate the other and move forward. Let’s see who will be the bigger man.

    Your subscription to the Roger Stone School of Political Skulldrdugery is almost up, make sure to renew. Roger needs the dough.

    As to Socialism, Pravda, and France, since you don’ t LIVE in what may become incorporated Dunwoody, you won’t really need to care much about the new Police and Code Enforcement powers so willingly GIVEN UP by folks.

    You are a clever guy, Dick. Roger would be proud.

    And since the Dunwoody budgets were based on 2003 energy costs, the excellent economic points made here, will allow VOTERS to choose if they want to PAY MORE for the luxury of replacing ‘erector set’ sign posts.

    Some folks are a bit more concerned about food on their table, Dick. Even in Dunwoody.

    Sorry folks, Dick ruined everything, guess he is sensitive to my fashion statements…

  18. Clint Austin says:

    Progressive Dem – as for Europe having “cleaner air,” have you ever been to Florence in the summer?

    And I daresay virtually ever major economic historian/demographer/economist will tell you failed transportation = a failed economy.

    The dogma for “mass transit” is so heavy and thick in this day and age that facts are hard to see, but I urge you to read the book (google “Christian Gerondeau Transport in Europe”) and tell me what you think after you read his book.

  19. Steve Barton says:

    Yo Clint, can I borrow your copy of that book? It is out-of-print and the cheapest copy a quick search revealed was $62.00. Sounds like good stuff.

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