Is "extortion" too strong a word for what’s being done to us?
Extortion is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation, trickery, or some other form of pressure or force. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way. Coercion may involve the actual infliction of physical pain/injury or psychological harm in order to enhance the credibility of a threat. The threat of further harm may lead to the cooperation or obedience of the person being coerced.
Perhaps there is not much we can do to stop the criminal cartel known as OPEC from withholding the supply of oil (they have cut production by 5M barrels a day globally in the past 18 months) or the US Energy cartel that has taken 32.4% of the US rigs off-line in the past 12 months - EVEN though oil prices are UP 100% over the same time period. I’m sure, if called to testify before Congress, T. Boone and company will do some song and dance to pretend the economics of $80 oil justify 32.4% less drilling than $40 oil did last December rather than the very obvious fact that, by cutting off 32% of our supply, they were able to EXTORT us, to force us to pay through trickery and the pressure of withholding a vital commodity - an extra $40 per barrel.
$40 a barrel is costing the US consumer $760M a day - and that’s without the refining mark-up. $760M a day is $277Bn a year stolen from US citizens alone and over $1Tn globally - that’s 20 Madoff scams a year! If the oil companies were withholding water or air from us and demanding more money for something they were able to readily produce more of, then we would KNOW it was torture, right? Why should oil be different? It’s not a choice - for good or ill, we need energy to survive in this modern world every bit as much as we need air and water, yet we allow both the blatant cartel of OPEC as well as the private cartel of US petroleum producers to manipulate the supply of energy and FORCE us to pay far more than the market rate could possibly be if the supply were not ARTIFICIALLY constrained.
Last week was a good case in point. Last week we had one of the greatest cons of the 21st century perpetrated on the American people with the full support of the mainstream media, who I like to call Criminal Narrators Boosting Crude as it’s not enough these days to just have television stations that are willing to whore themselves out to energy interests in exchange for advertising dollars, now we have companies with massive energy interests outright owning our broadcast stations. Yet another triumph of modern capitalism when the news you rely on to make investment decisions is delivered to you by a company that makes Billions of dollars selling energy infrastructure projects that depend on oil being over $60 a barrel.
Last week we were told there was a 4.8Mb draw in crude inventories with a 900,000 barrel draw in gasoline and a 3Mb draw in distillates and the "financial news" station told us over and over and over again how this "proved" that demand for oil was bouncing back and oil prices ran up from $72.50 that morning to $79.50 yesterday - a 10% gain in one week on this "demand" news.
My question is - is it FRAUD or merely CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE that they failed to mention that petroleum imports for the week were off 11,291,000 barrels from the week of 12/18/08? Not only was there an 11.3Mb decline in imports but there was also a 4.5% drop in refining output, meaning (at 19Mb/day) that the refiners supplied 6Mb LESS product per week than the year before. So we have an 11.3Mb decline in imports that leads to a 4.8Mb drawdown in our crude inventory for the week (net 6.5Mb LESS demand) and we have a 6Mb decline in production that leads to a 3.9Mb drawdown in refined products (net 2.1Mb less) AND THEY CALL THAT AN INCREASE IN DEMAND???
I guess the question would be: Is CNBC a totally incompetent news network or are they actively engaged in fraud?
Of course it takes a village full of idiots to commit a fraud of this scope. Not only does OPEC have to cut production but they have to make sure that "non-OPEC" nations don’t ramp up their own production. I don’t want to point any fingers but you can imagine that if 25% of XOM’s total company production comes from OPEC countries, then they probably won’t be rocking the boat. CVX is 2nd with 15% of their production dependent on OPEC nations and MRO is #3 in the US with about 13% of production based in the cartel. That, of course, is nothing compared to Europe’s TOT, who derive over 35% of their production from the cartel whose sole purpose is to keep charging Europeans as much as possible for crude oil.
XOM has $400Bn worth of annual sales, 25% of that is $100Bn, hopefully not even 1/10th of 1% of that money finds its way into the hands of terrorists or that would be $100,000,000,000 worth of underwear bombs! That’s OK, I’m sure they are very careful to only do business with the "nice" OPEC countries and I’m sure they screen people more carefully than Amsterdam airport security does. More profits for big oil companies means more profits for the people who fund terrorism and we not only pay at the pump to fund the terrorists but we also have to pay (close to $2Tn already) to fight the terrorists through war (which uses a lot of fuel) and various homeland security functions.
Terrorism is BIG BUSINESS, it drives up the price of fuel and fuels the military-industrial complex and it’s all made possible by our willingness to accept the fraud that is being perpetrated by the market manipulators in this country who put profits above patriotism, above America and above Americans.
Speaking of despicable commodity manipulators who are willing to sell out the American people to make a buck - Business Week ran an article Monday pointing out that there is now a 26 mile-long line of idled oil tankers full of crude that they have been storing for over 6 months. Traders booked a record number of ships for storage this year, seeking to profit from longer-dated energy futures trading at a premium to contracts for immediate delivery, according to SSY Consultancy & Research Ltd. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE:RDS.A), Europe’s biggest oil company; London-based BP Plc; JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM); and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) were among those that sought vessels for storage.
Buying oil and storing it in tankers is the best way to influence oil prices as it creates a false demand for product (you buy it) and then creates a false impression of demand (you do not deliver it) by causing drawdowns in crude DESPITE steady production numbers. Of course, this plan wouldn’t work if there were any actual investigative journalists who were going to point out what’s happening but that’s not something you need to worry about when you play golf with the guy who owns the network, or you are one of the guys that funds or is otherwise in bed with the very small selection of media outlets that might be willing to mention it.
JP Morgan, who got $25Bn of TARP money and Morgan Stanley, who got $10Bn have been using how much of that money to manipulate the price of oil higher in 2009? I’d like to know, wouldn’t you? BP and RDS.A, both of whom may or may not be partners in ICE (it’s hard to tell) but who certainly benefit directly from higher oil prices are part of the group that is storing hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in tankers. I’m NOT an investigative journalist with the resources to fly around and dig into this stuff but I am a concerned citizen and I sure would like my Congresspeople to check this stuff out - wouldn’t you?
Here is the Email address and Fax numbers for all of your Senators, Congresspeople and Governors. Send this article to them and let them know you’d like to see an investigation. Meanwhile, I’ve decided to take a different track - GET ME A LAWYER! I want to sue them. Let’s US, the American people, heck let’s have the people of the planet Earth, start a class-action suit against all of these crooks who are overcharging us by more than $1,000,000,000,000 a year for oil through threats, intimidation and trickery in order to obtain our money - it IS extortion and we’re NOT going to take it any more!
If we can prove even contributory damages on $1Tn a year, that’s a nice chunk of change for a class action law firm and if we can show it’s a conspiracy - well that’s TRIPLE DAMAGES! Surely there is a top-notch law firm that would be willing to take this seriously. I can pledge an army of bloggers - top notch diggers of information - to gather evidence for our Trillion dollar lawsuit.
We can’t appeal to their patriotism, we can’t appeal to their morality so let’s hit them in the only place they do care about - the bottom line!