As it’s Memorial Day, let’s try to remember what our troops are fighting and dying for – Oil. But, not oil itself, they are fighting and dying for oil profits and that is not the same thing at all!
The first Gulf War was clearly about oil, Saddam invaded Kuwait because he wanted their oil and we went to war and pushed him back. Even though Saddam’s troops lit Kuwait’s oil fields on fire, and even though there was a tremendous disruption in global supply, oil prices only briefly went from $20 to $30 (inflation adjusted dollars) before falling all the way back to $12 between 1990 and 1998. There has been no major supply disruption during the Bush II War. What is the difference? Manipulation!
This chart [currently not available] only runs through August of last year, when a barrel of oil could still be had for $75, not far from HALF of last week’s peak at $135.09. Did demand double since last August? No, it actually declined over 2%. Did global stockpiles decrease? No they are flat. In that case, the real question is – What kind of idiots do the MSM and our very own government (yes you Sam Bodman!) take us for when they say there is no speculation in the energy markets???
The consumer group, Public Citizen, put out reports warning us in 2001, and 2004, and then testified before Congress in May 2004 that the mergers of US oil companies were, in and of themselves, driving up prices by forming a de facto US cartel. These findings were backed up the findings in a 240-page report to a still-Republican Congress. The Q1 profits of the 5 companies that now control close to 70% of all US gasoline – BP, COP, CVX, MRO and XOM – has gone up from $8.7Bn in Q1 2000 to $26.4Bn in Q1 2008, a 203% increase, outpacing the S&P 500 by 140%.
You will hear a lie repeated over and over and over again in the media and parroted by oil apologists all the way up to Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and Vice President Dick Cheney (and I’ll have more to say about him later this week!) that there is no manipulation in the energy markets. It is an absolute lie!