This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 22, 2008 12:28 AM. The previous post in this blog was Pandora's Box. The next post in this blog is "What are we going to do with these guys when we get them?’". Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

I need a good cut man during the commercials

This morning from 9 to 11, I'll do my best once again to play the lefty foil for the tenacious conservative Rob Kremer on KXL Radio (750 AM in Portland). I fill in on a somewhat regular basis for Rob's usual counterpoint, Marc Abrams. After the show, I typically require medication, but it's all in good fun, and once in a while I get a zinger in.

Comments (64)

You sound good on radio, not anywhere near as shrill as I expected.

That must be a tough gig, with such a free-wheeling list of topics.

Jack, Your voice sounds cool on the radio, but I thought you were being way too polite. Rob Kremer made one of the classic statements of the entire last 7 years when he asked, "What does thinking critically mean anyway?" That should be the motto of the conservative movement. The beauty is that if the audience would only think critically right-wing talk radio would go broke in 10 minutes.

The key is framing the issue. When Kremer was saying how Portland wants to make cars obsolete and the main problem we face is that liberals won't drill off the coasts of America, I would have responded like this:

1. Rob, the biggest threat to driving a car in the history of America has been the conservative movement. You gave us the Bush administration whose reckless foreign policy has destabilized the Middle East driving up the price of oil. You continue to try and destroy our oil supply with threats against Venezuela and Iran. It is the conservative movement that threatens Americans' ability to drive cars - not some street closings in Portland.

2. Rob, when you mention that the biggest profit maker in this whole thing has been the government through taxes on gasoline, what you are really saying is that the conservative movement has caused a huge increase in the amount of taxes we pay. The blocked streets didn't do that. Bush and Cheney did that. Your people did that.

3. Of course, you go on talking about being against taxation, and that's why you don't want your conservative audience to do any critical thinking. Because they'd see right through your phony conservative movement, as they are beginning to do anyway. I repeat: Nobody has hurt driving in America more than the conservative movement, so don't try and make this a liberal thing.

Rob Kremer made me long for the brilliant mind of Lars Larson.

I like BoJack's healthy skepticism of local city and county government financial decisions. The growing public debt level in Portland makes me wary of continuing to live in the city. At some point it seems like the city will have to decide between raising taxes to meet its unfunded pension obligations or breaking those obligations. I fear a big tax fall out for city property owners.

Bill, Sam Adams has far more of an effect on my auto transportation than Bush ever has.

As far as driving goes, the price of gas hasn't affected me either. But I was thinking more of American citizens throughout the country.

...the biggest profit maker in this whole thing has been the government through taxes on gasoline...

Huh? If the tax per gallon is a fixed amount (18.3 cents federal, 24 cents state), and the total consumption has dropped, how would that increase revenue?

Jack -
One telling comment that you made was that Obama could have a different opinion (or was it that he could change his position) on two or three key items/ideas, that you would still vote for him. So for me the question arose, exactly what WOULD Obama have to do to lose your vote?

"what you are really saying is that the conservative movement has caused a huge increase in the amount of taxes we pay."

A fine example of "critical thinking," Bill Macdonald.

Your post makes us long for the clarity of Tenskawata.

exactly what WOULD Obama have to do to lose your vote?

Promise to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, and to stay in Iraq for 100 years if "necessary."

>how would that increase revenue

Income tax on oil company profits.

Bill McDonald:

Ironic, isn't it, that you didn't define "critical thinking," while criticizing my question asking what it is and how it differs from logical thinking.

Care to give it a whack? I'd truly be interested in what you and anybody else thinks critical thinking really is. And why do the liberals never talk about logic?

The aspect of critical thinking most absent from the conservative movement is the gap between the talk and reality. Right wing radio exists for the most part because the audience does not think. It reacts as our President does on a gut level. To me critical thinking involves a continuous exploration into whether or not what someone is telling you is true.

For example today you said that 10% of our gas bill is for taxes implying that it goes up as the price of gas goes up. I accepted that as the truth because I didn't apply critical thinking to it. I looked it up later and saw articles stating that since the 70s more money has been paid in taxes on gas than the oil companies made in profit. You turned that into an implication that tax revenue from gas is going up when in fact there are many articles about how it is going down. In this case, I didn't apply critical thinking to what you said, and bought it. That was a mistake.

Critical thinking also involves asking how we got here? How did oil go up so high so fast? Did the current administration have anything to do with that? If the answer is yes, then skip the lecture on how we need energy to make America work and that liberals stand against that by not wanting to drill off the beaches. Take some responsibility for what your team has done instead of the increasingly desperate search to find a way to blame it on others.

Back when the conservative movement was riding high, I worried that it could just be words. That was critical thinking. Now that the results are in, and you people have come up with the biggest disaster in American History,
I wish you would apply some critical thinking to what went wrong. Then skip the part where you blame everybody else and recognize that the vaunted conservative movement has blown this. Have a little humility. Take 5 minutes off from explaining how wise conservatives are and apologize for the horrendous job you've done.

Hey Bill:

I think Jack would appreciate it if we continued this discussion, involved as it might become, elsehwere. I'll copy some of the relevant stuff over at my blog and we can do it there.

I really think this is an interesting question: What is the definition of "critical thinking."

So far you've told us what it "involves," but I would really like to take it further, and into more specificity.

It's not fair to Jack to hijack his blog and do it here. So, meet me over at robkremer.blogspot.com and let's do it there!

Jack, LOVE hearing you on the air!!! You are bright, explain yourself and your views very well, and are pleasant to listen to. Often you are WRONG, but I love ya just the same.

Rob, keep trying....you'll turn Jack around eventually!

Thanks for the kind words. I need to have Bill McDonald e-mailing me during the show -- I could become quite dangerous.

Thanks for the invitation but one of your comments really hit home with me. Why do the liberals never talk about logic?
Oh, it's complete schtick of course - you didn't spring any logic when the caller this morning talked about tearing down the barricades because it was his constitutional right to drive down the closed streets. Why? That is your audience - the gut reaction crowd. There's no logic behind the doctrine of preemptive strikes either - what kind of world would it be if everybody felt they could attack based on their belief in a hypothetical threat out in the future?
So the liberal-no-logic thing is just another talking point devoid of any connection to reality. You people sell gut logic and it's not working.
So why did your comment get me?
I've been asking myself for weeks what the logic was in mixing it up with the right wing on blogs. It used to be fun but it just makes me mad anymore.
My working theory as to why has to do with the pointlessness of exchanging ideas with people who never own up to anything.
At least sports fans say, "My team really stunk up the joint and deserved to lose."
With the right wing, it never gets near reality and becomes like arguing about religion: It's pointless.
So no, I won't be joining you over on your blog and I apologize for my tone today. I am too pissed off at what you people have done to America to continue with this. And the fact that conservatives still talk like you just won the Super Bowl is intensely annoying.

Jack, I have done that before on the phone to that exact station. The fun part was watching Lars on Comcast reacting to it during the break.

Not as much fun as watching Bill Bennett reacting to one of my jokes on Meet the Press but close.

It is really, really odd that you would use as an example of your point the caller to our show today and my response to it.

You write:
"you didn't spring any logic when the caller this morning talked about tearing down the barricades because it was his constitutional right to drive down the closed streets. Why?"

As I recall what I said to this caller today (and I think Jack will back me up on this, if not, then transcript most certainly will) I challenged this caller and told him that the city almost certainly DID legally cordon off the streets in question for the day's festivities, and if he were to drive through the barricades he would be breaking the law.

So for you to say here that I said anything that resembled "it was his constitutional right to drive down the closed streets," is simply a fabrication.

Why, Bill McDonald, would you lie about something that is so easily disproven by the person who runs this very blog?

I can understand why you won't continue any discussion on my blog, given this.

"If the answer is yes, then skip the lecture on how we need energy to make America work and that liberals stand against that by not wanting to drill off the beaches."

Uh, fellows we've had 35 years to come up with a political solution from either liberals or conservatives and so far - bupkus. I am not hearing a lot from either McCain/Obama that is giving me a lot of hope either - bssides raising taxes which I am sure will produce a lot of energy.

So why don't we call a truce and just say politicians of either stripe really don't have a clue about anythign afffecting the average joe?

Bill pretty much nailed it: The Republicans had control of every branch of government, stuffed the judicial system with the REAL 'activist judges', and sold out every oversight post with industry goons... and the undiluted Republican vision for governance was shown to be the disaster it is.

Now every pundit and talking head is running away from the nearly lock-step agreement of Bush's dealings in his term. Critical thinking, or humility, would have saved these shameless hacks from further loss of integrity. Owning up, acknowledging the overwhelming evidence, and being man/woman enough to admit you were had and you won't make the same mistake again.

Since being a dittohead/windbag on the radio is more lucrative, we can't get our hopes up. So now hear the Conservative Choir-echo chamber start the "Obama is Jimmy Carter" meme... in amazing unison no less. Or that our high gas prices are Clinton's fault... also a unanimous winning topic on nearly conservative outlet this week. This isn't critical thinking, it's a mailing list with marching orders.

Critical thinking allows me to ask why these same dittoheads, who dismissed talk of humanity reaching 'Peak Oil', can now scream "oil shortage!" in a desperate attempt to buttress McCain's limp appeal to voters. At this stage in the game, with astronomical profits at the oil companies that Bush/Cheney gave free rein to, we SHOULD be united at their steps chanting "the party's over"... with regulation and oversight that befits any other public utility.

But if your political affiliation is driven by a singular interest in the companies you hold stock in, by all means, throw logic to the wind...

You said it would be illegal and the guy said he would stop if a policeman came along. There was no disagreement there. By springing logic on him I meant asking him what the world would be like if everyone acted like this. How would the Rose Festival Parade go for example? You know, try and get the guy off his behavior and start thinking about his actions by springing logic on him. I thought you were clearly deferential to him - as this kind of bluster clearly drives right wing talk radio.
Saying I was lying about it is a weak attempt at framing the issue as usual. I'm aware we all heard it and I maintain you didn't spring any logic and he certainly didn't show any. It was the same arrogant, aggressive behavior that the right wing cherishes. It is one of the reasons we're in Iraq.
I love the moral outrage when you mistakenly felt I was lying. You have to remember, I'm not as dumb as President Bush, but while we're on the subject, were you as bothered by Cheney's lies or was that okay with you because he's on the home team?

"At this stage in the game, with astronomical profits at the oil companies that Bush/Cheney gave free rein to, we SHOULD be united at their steps chanting "the party's over"... with regulation and oversight that befits any other public utility."

OK fine, let's raise taxes 1000% to oil companies, how does that solve the current problem? RIght now, people don't want windmills in their backyards, solar power is a small supplement to the power grid, so we're left with atomic, coal or gas.

I understand Bush is an idiot and Cheney lied thru his teeth, how does this help the guy stuck paying $4+ a gallon now? I just don't hear any solutions otherwise.

Oh, OK, now I see what you mean by "logic."

By logic, you mean I should have responded to the caller like you would have. OK.

Funny you STILL haven't made any attempt at defining logical thinking and explaining how it differs from critical thinking.

But it IS clear you have anger issues. Oh - and you write jokes that were apparently told on Meet the Press. Congratulations.


Congratulations on getting in the last word!! :)

Rob and Jack are both friends of mine and I think they are great together on the radio. I've had the pleasure of having both of them do segments with me when I've filled in on KUIK. Healthy debate is good for the political process and I'd like to see more of it.

One solution would be to eliminate the saber-rattling and warmongering that's helping to drive the speculation about oil.
Another would be to return to a responsible fiscal policy - if it's not too late - and try and halt the fall of the dollar. That's part of what's making oil so expensive - the fall of the dollar.

Another is for the American Public to stop listening to conservatives babble on talk radio. I believe talk radio might have done in the conservative movement because it initiated the fundamental strategy of conservatives which is not to govern well, but to concentrate on spin to hold onto power.
Why do the right thing when you can just have an army of right-wing radio and TV morons tell the public you're doing the right thing instead?
The other day I watched Britt Hume on FOX and he was bragging about how well the economy had done despite some giant blows like Katrina. It struck me that it was a defining glimpse at the strategy. Rather than respond to something like Katrina well, you just have the Prez say, "Heck of a job" and screw it up. Then you use it to try and get something that you wanted anyway. With Katrina it was federal control over the state - with the oil problem, it's offshore drilling.

Then after it's been over a while you actually start using Katrina as an EXCUSE for why you screwed up other parts of the economy. "We would have done better with this other stuff, but we were so busy doing a heck of a job with Katrina that it was too tough."

That is right wing media in action. It's lowdown, disgraceful, and un-American. And by un-American I don't mean unpatriotic - I mean different from our traditional value of being competent. The conservative movement is a bunch of big mouth screw-ups and we are now currently paying a very hefty screw-up tax.

lol.....Bill feigning outrage at being called a 'liar'. When he lobs that same charge at others about seven times per day.....

Give it a rest, Bill. You obviously are just as biased and, use the same invective, as the farthest-right radio host.


Okay, sorry if I got carried away. Incidentally, I am enjoying this on some level. I think it's watching the spin migrate. Now if you're upset about the Iraq War - the tens of thousands of wounded young American, for example - you've got "anger issues." There was a time when the comeback line would have been, "Your blind hatred of President Bush is not allowing you to see what a terrific job he's really doing." Those days are over. Conservatives don't bring up Bush as much anymore. Your candidate barely wants to be seen with him.
At this point you people are trying to distance yourselves from yourselves. And that is a joy to behold. Spin on. How do you bloggers say it? LOL.

I guess my point is, the way things come across is like:
Conservatives - Oil is expensive because of Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, Jimmy Carter, blah, blah
Liberals - Oil is expensive because of George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Cheney, blah, blah

It seems this is beyond a political fix (at least based on 30+ yrs of political indifference to energy independence from both sides.)

I am not getting where name-calling on either side is fixing things, yet I turn on the TV and keep seeing it.

Bill wrote:
"Rob Kremer made one of the classic statements of the entire last 7 years when he asked, "What does thinking critically mean anyway?" That should be the motto of the conservative movement."

I responded very politely, and simply asked him to define "critical thinking."

After all, if it is so obvious a concept that it is "classic" to ask what it means, then one would think a superior mind like Bill's (who, did I mention, writes jokes for Jay Leno) ought be able to easily define it and distinguish it from logical thinking.

So far, however, he's served up just a bunch of angry invective.

What a guy.

Although I should mention he writes jokes for Jay Leno.

You don't see anything funny about a right-wing talk radio host in 2008 asking, "What does thinking critically mean anyway?"
Lighten up, man. It's funny.
I thought Bush supporters had to have a sense of humor.

One man's thinking is another man's delusion.


Critical thinking is based on concepts and principles, not on hard and fast, or step-by-step, procedures. [2] Critical thinking does not assure that one will reach either the truth or correct conclusions. First, one may not have all the relevant information; indeed, important information may remain undiscovered, or the information may not even be knowable. Furthermore, one may make unjustified inferences, use inappropriate concepts, fail to notice important implications, use a narrow or unfair point of view. One may be a victim of self-delusion, egocentricity or sociocentricity, or closed-mindedness. One's thinking may be unclear, inaccurate, imprecise, irrelevant, narrow, shallow, illogical, or trivial. One may be intellectually arrogant, intellectually lazy, or intellectually hypocritical. These are some of the ways that human thinking can be flawed.

Human thinking left to itself often leads to various forms of self-deception, individually and socially; and at the left, right, and mainstream of economic, political, and religious issues. Further analysis and resources about this interaction may be found in Roderick Hindery (2001): Indoctrination and Self-deception or Free and Critical Thought.

Main Entry: critical thinking
Part of Speech: n
Definition: the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion

crit·i·cal –adjective
1. inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.
2. occupied with or skilled in criticism.
3. involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.; judicial: a critical analysis.
4. of or pertaining to critics or criticism: critical essays.
5. providing textual variants, proposed emendations, etc.: a critical edition of Chaucer.
6. pertaining to or of the nature of a crisis: a critical shortage of food.
7. of decisive importance with respect to the outcome; crucial: a critical moment.
8. of essential importance; indispensable: a critical ingredient.
9. Medicine/Medical. (of a patient's condition) having unstable and abnormal vital signs and other unfavorable indicators, as loss of appetite, poor mobility, or unconsciousness.
10. Physics.
a. pertaining to a state, value, or quantity at which one or more properties of a substance or system undergo a change.
b. (of fissionable material) having enough mass to sustain a chain reaction.

There it is. As opposed to...

logical thinking
thinking that is coherent and logical

log·i·cal –adjective
1. according to or agreeing with the principles of logic: a logical inference.
2. reasoning in accordance with the principles of logic, as a person or the mind: logical thinking.
3. reasonable; to be expected: War was the logical consequence of such threats.
4. of or pertaining to logic.

It seams that the two forms of reasoning are separated by the amount of "interpetation" you choose to apply to facts. Although any debate you have mentioned above could be described by numbers, time-lines, statistics and evidence (anything factual and logical) critical thinking leaves room for emotions and interpetations which are potentially dangerous. I prefer to rely on one man's logic than one man's crytical thinking.


Was it your critical thinking skills, or your sense of humor, that led you to the conclusion that 9-11 was an inside job perpetrated by President Bush?

Steve said (in response to my call to regulate Oil as a public utility): "OK fine, let's raise taxes 1000% to oil companies, how does that solve the current problem?"

Why do you assume any discussion of reform must come back to taxes? It's not about taxing oil companies into oblivion, it's about making their business more transparent and capping what profits they can make from consumers. We NEED oil, much like we need electricity or water. It's bad enough that Republican policies aided the likes of Enron in their bilking of America, we can't let Big Oil do the same. Publicly traded, public utility conglomerates shouldn't be holding us hostage in the name of profits at any cost.


You go on and on about conservative talk radio being this and that, blah blah blah.

What is the difference between (conservative) Rush Limbaugh and (liberal) Randi Rhoads?

It seems to me that for every conservative Swift-boat group out there, there is an equal liberal Moveon.org.

I would think that "critical thinking" would lead one to investigate ALL sides of the picture and come to the conclusion that extremes exist on both sides. And that you can't quote the horrible nature of one, without at least acknowledging the other. Unless, of course, ignoring the extreme on your side helps bolster your position.

An aside: do you HONESTLY believe that 9/11 was premeditated and planned by the Bush administration leaders?

I'm with you. When it comes to the far right and the far left I don't see much difference. Both are hateful and intolerant interested in placing blame but not pursuing solutions.

Watcher said:
"Both are hateful and intolerant interested in placing blame but not pursuing solutions."

This point isn't made enough.

In the eyes of most liberals though, Moveon.org and Randi Rhoads are middle-of-the-road moderates.

a new word everyone should know is "metacognition" it's meaning is to think about thinking. Look it up for a full explaination. It's what separates the smart and sucessful from those who don't seek improvement. It's how schools should be opperating. It's what makes people different from animals (although some lefty's would argue the difference.)

Any member of talk radio who helped market this war did something bad. Randi didn't do that.
That's the difference between Rush and her.
Incidentally, while the Sean Hannitys were doing that they were talking about how liberals were on the wrong side of history and that we would see a generation of republican rule. Now that there's trash talking coming back, oh, do they get sensitive. Oh, the invective!! "You're hurting our feelings!"
This from the same station that features Lars who once called anti-war protest marchers terrorists. I tell you what: I'll try to be more sensitive.

Since then the best defense the Bush administration can muster about Iraq is that they were wrong on the intelligence, and even that is not true. They lied us into war.
Now that the right wing talkers are faced with this, do they apologize? Are they mad about it, given their intense patriotism and love of the troops? Are they even mad about being used?
No, they just want to continue on as before telling everyone how magnificent conservatism is.
They're at the point where it sounds like a mental condition. Rob took to the microphone the other day to discuss how liberals are hurting our energy supply, completely ignoring what has just happened these last 7 years.

It's clear the real reason we went into Iraq was oil, but you can't extract oil from a country when the populations hates you. The oil industry is too vulnerable to attack. So even after all the phony excuses are dismissed, the real plan is idiotic. Reagan and the first Bush understood this about the oil business - this W. clown doesn't.

Therefore, the conservative movement has badly hurt the global oil supply by causing instability without getting any results. I'd like to see Kremer address that but he's too busy whining about Portland being anti-car. Rob, not being able to pay for gas is anti-car too.

Yes, there are pressures on the price of oil due to population growth etc...but most articles I read say that the wild speculation is due in large part to U.S. leadership - one article said it makes up as much as 50 dollars of the price.

Oil is our lifeblood and any President who doesn't protect it is not taking care of our national security. That includes protecting the dollar so we can buy the stuff. For decades I've heard conservative talk show hosts brag about fiscal responsibility.

Like so much of what they say, it was just talk.

It gets damn tiring hearing these conservative windbags pontificate on how liberals caused all this after the display of governing buffoonery we've just witnessed.

Rob's focus on offshore drilling and how the liberals are hurting our energy supply was intensely annoying. Every now and then one of these people gets to me. What Rush did is different from what Randi did. Maybe if Randi Rhoads had helped get tens of thousands of Americans badly wounded in this disaster, you would be mad too.

You'd think at some point right wing talkers would show a little class and apologize for what has happened to America. But no....

Right wing talk show hosts not only want to pay no price for cheerleading us through these years, but they cop an attitude when someone points out their failures. They want to continue right on telling us how great the conservative movement is. A logical thinker - a critical thinker - anybody thinking at all - should have a problem with that.

"capping what profits they can make from consumers."

What mechanism did suggest using to cap profits, if not a de facto tax. The only thing I've heard is a windfall profits tax, which I guess is OK, but in the end consumers will pay it.

If you tell me they will use the windfall profits tax to get more oil, I really don't trust govt to be very effienct doing this.

"They lied us into war."

Bill, with that statement alone, you lose all credibility. You'd think someone who purports to be a critical/logical thinker would think twice before making such a ridiculous statement.

And if Iraq is the reason for the rise in oil prices, why is it happening now (now that things are better in Iraq) than two years ago (when it was much worse)?

I could easily use your own 'logic' and blame our new liberal congress on recent high oil prices. I mean heck, since they've been in power, prices have steadily risen. But, to blame one single entity for a complex problem isn't logical.

Maybe it's time to rethink your love of blaming Bush for all the world's evils.

But, to blame one single entity for a complex problem isn't logical.

hmmmm...please, please, please tell me that isn't exactly what righty talkers have been doing to inform their devoted audience over last 16 yrs.

"They lied us into war."

Bill, with that statement alone, you lose all credibility.

Really? That's the way it will be written up in all the history books. And what 90% of the world is saying even now. You might want to turn off your AM radio for a few hours a day and look around elsewhere.

Destabilizing Iraq and the rest of the region was Bush's big move. It was supremely counterproductive, and there is no serious doubt that it's contributing to the increase in oil prices.

The other insanity is the fixation on tax cuts at a time of a major military operation. No society has ever done that and gotten away with it. The death of the dollar and the impossible climb in oil prices are among the inevitable results, which John McCain is proud to say he'll perpetuate. Even Reagan would have realized the absurdity of it.

Dumb and mean -- that's Bush and Cheney. Enjoy your a*s-kickin' in November. I know I will.

I'm afraid that the reactionary "a*s-kickin" that's coming in November (and I agree with you that it will happen, barring no major Dem screw-ups .... a possibility that can't entirely be ruled out) may produce worse results than the current situation.

Change (any change) just for change's sake is not necessarily the answer. But the national mood says it's too late for that....

Just Speculating
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, June 23, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Energy: Democrats, in their never-ending search for scapegoats, have had a go at oil company CEOs, industry profits and now oil "speculators." They've looked everywhere but where they should — in the mirror.

The congressional hearings that kicked off Monday to look into speculative behavior in the markets produced all the usual finger-pointing about the doubling in oil prices over the past year to nearly $137 a barrel.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama, seeking to catch a political wave he can ride all the way to the presidency, has announced he'll "crack down" on oil speculation by imposing new limits and regulations on oil traders in the futures markets.

But as emotionally satisfying as going after speculators sounds, this will only make our current oil problem much worse.

It's true there's speculation in the oil market. But then again, there's speculation in virtually every exchange-traded good — from oil and gold to corn and pork bellies. This isn't just acceptable, it's healthy.

Speculators aren't evil. They ensure a liquid market for the commodities we need most. They make money by buying low, when the product is in low demand, and selling high, when demand has grown.

It has been pretty easy for them to make money recently, because speculation in oil has become a one-way bet.

Global oil demand has been growing by about a million barrels a day each year — thanks to surging use in fast-growing China, India, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe. Supply hasn't kept pace. In fact, it's falling at key suppliers including Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria and Russia. So the price rises.

The logical answer to any question about speculation in a market is: What are you doing to boost supply? In the case of Congress and the solution offered by Obama, the answer is nothing.

They would punish people who do economically useful work, but wouldn't add a drop to our oil supply. If they really wanted to break the back of speculation, they should signal that they intend to use every means at their disposal to bring energy markets back in line.

High prices already have curbed demand here in the U.S., the latest data show. What's left is to drill for the literally hundreds of billions of barrels of oil we have here in this country locked up offshore, in Alaska and in vast shale-oil reserves.

Instead, the Democrat-led Congress has pursued foolish energy policies that lead inevitably to higher prices, less supply and declining standards of living for all Americans.

As for speculation, one tell-tale sign of market manipulation is a buildup of inventories kept off the market to keep prices high. That is, as the price runs up, the speculators pull supply off the market.

Is that happening? No. Oil inventories, in the most recent data, are down year over year. No one's hoarding oil.

Claims of surging speculation likewise fall apart on closer examination. It's true that speculative positions in oil have jumped from 37% of all oil traded in 2000 to 70% now. But much of that trading involves commercial hedging and risk-management — not speculation by people out to make a killing.

As the Commodity Futures Trading Commission notes: "There are almost as many short speculative positions as there are long positions." In other words, speculators are betting as much that prices will drop as they will rise.

In short, there's no real evidence that speculators are driving energy prices up. But there's plenty of evidence that Congress' refusal to permit drilling is a big factor keeping supplies down.

"Really? That's the way it will be written up in all the history books."

Riiight. This coming from a guy who thinks the government imploded WTC building seven.

I'm sure you'll probably ban me for this Jack, but you're just as blinded by Bush hatred as Bill. I guess that's why you and he are such good buddies.

Do you have an answer as to why every investigation into Bush's supposed 'lies' have come up empty? Even the New Republic's editor thinks Bush didn't lie:


Bush has done many things to screw up this country, but this 'Bush lied' thing is so fatuous and tired.

Hey, who are you calling fatuous? Okay, I've put on a few pounds since I hurt my leg but...

Chris, if you did learn that the Bush administration lied us into war, would you call for W's impeachment? Would you demand charges be filed in the name of those who gave the full measure of devotion as a famous Republican president once said?

I'd like to think you would put country ahead of party but I'd be surprised if the right wing talk radio audience would ever turn on him. The whole phenomenon of listening to right wing radio is about an identity and part of that identity is arrogance and a refusal to admit mistakes.

That comes from the top down. Cheney passes it to Bush and so on.

Let's just start with Rumsfeld saying that not only did we know Saddam had WMDs, we knew where they were.

Or take Cheney on Meet the Press pretending to react to a story in the New York Times when his office planted it there.

I also see the carefully worded statements that prove they knew they were distorting the truth and wanted some wiggle room later.

But no amount of proof will be enough. Bush supporters are so invested in the guy, it's weird.

By the way, I talked to him a couple of times and even shook hands twice. I was quite pleasant but of course that was before he became President and started ruining America.

Are you enjoying what Scott McClellan has to say on all this?

you're just as blinded by Bush hatred as Bill.

Yes, I and most of the civilized world have had quite enough of the worst President ever. We hate him almost as much as he hates himself, with every drug (prescription and non) that he loads himself up with each day. If there's a hell, he's going there -- actually, it looks like his tenure there has already begun.

It's curious how carefully you monitor my beliefs about the implosion of the smaller WTC building. That really bothers you, doesn't it -- the fact that people actually see through that particular set of lies? That building was imploded. Just watch the tapes. The premature announcement of the collapse on worldwide television, the admission by the building's owner that the building was purposely demolished, and the obvious visual evidence of a professional demolition -- we're supposed to ignore all that and believe Dick Cheney. I'm not that stupid. Neither are you.

Building 7. That could be the perfect logical/critical thinking example. If you use logic there is no other conclusion that you can draw but that it was a controlled demolition. Who did it?

As for lying us into Iraq all you have to do is look at the aluminum tubes.

"Our intelligence sources tell us that he (Saddam) has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
State of the Union Address – 1/28/2003

"Not True---The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as dozens of leading scientists declared said tubes unsuitable for nuclear weapons production -- months before the war."

This was also established by the Knight Ridder news service in real time BEFORE the war.

Now comes the big question: Do the right wing commenters who have chimed in here - faced with proof that the Iraq War was based on lies - call for the Impeachment of President Bush?

Who did it?

The owner would certainly be a prime suspect. But obviously, given that day's events, there would have to be complicity at some level of government. I would not rule out the New York City police and other bureaucrats -- not known for being above taking a buck when offered.

"perfect logical/critical thinking" ?
that building 7 was a "controlled demolition"?


I guess all of the witnesses were killed?

Sorry Bill but stuff like that really leaves you hanging on the edge.

Look, why doesn't the right-wing man up and at least go out with their BS intact? It would be so much more dignified to behold. Just say, "See! We told you we were great at this stuff! We told you George W. Bush was our Winston Churchill, and by God, we were right. Look at the magnificent job he's done. And the price of oil going up 5 or 6 times while we destroy the dollar? Listen, anybody who complains about that is a terrorist-appeaser. It's simple. When you're at the gas station, you're not pumping gasoline - you're pumping freedom. You should be proud as an American patriot to pay more because freedom isn't free. Besides, if George Bush did it, Jesus must have told him to. So stop complaining, love America, and vote for 4 more years of conservative rule. The country can't afford to have weak leadership at a time like this."

Come on. Stick to the message, for God's sake. Show some dignity with this thing.

"And the price of oil going up 5 or 6 times while we destroy the dollar?"

Lest facts stand in your way - The dollar is down about 25% vs. Euro in the past year. Oil has gone up 100% in the same time.

Sorry Steve,
Reality didn't start last year.

Oil prices at Bush's inauguration: $28.66 a barrel.

Deal with that.

Lest facts stand in your way.

"perfect logical/critical thinking" ?
that building 7 was a "controlled demolition"?


I guess all of the witnesses were killed?

Sorry Bill but stuff like that really leaves you hanging on the edge.

No response from Bill... hmmm.

So I am left to thinking that Bill was joking about WTC as an inside job?

Bill, were you joking or are your serious about insiders blowing up a WTC building?

If so (joking), not very funny of a joke.
If not (joking), very strange.

Harry, You're framing the issue wrong.
It's hard to respond to something this ridiculous.
All of the witnesses? The point is we all saw it. What were you watching that day? Matlock?

Maybe you ask a brilliant question after all: What happened to all of the witnesses?

Lousy spin job, Bill.

Really weak.

Harry said:
"Bill, were you joking or are your serious about insiders blowing up a WTC building?"

So, no 'framing' here.

There is only one question to answer.

Yes or No.

If you don't think a building could be purposely destroyed on the east coast, and those in the know about the true cause be kept quiet, you are pretty naive.

There were many falsehoods told that day. "Looting in the area was minimal." I can tell you for a fact that that was not true. And come on, it's New York City. It didn't lose its dangerous character all of a sudden because there was so much destruction already going on nearby.

"Reality didn't start last year. Oil prices at Bush's inauguration: $28.66 a barrel."

I am not denying oil has gone up, but tying it exclusively to the fall of the dollar is not accurate either. Places like India and China using more oil (out of our control) has played a large part in it also. In addition, not adding any other resources for oil production has not helped.

Bill and Jack, sorry but you can't 'look' at a video of a building collapsing and then conclude it was a controlled demolition -- unless you're an expert in structural/mechanical engineering and physics.

Popular Mechanics has done a great job on debunking the WTC 7 inside job myth:


Also Bill, I would call for Bush's impeachment if he did lie. But every investigator thrown at this case has concluded there's nothing in which to charge him. Even Kucinich gets laughed off the House floor every time he brings it up.

If anything, congressional Dems lied to get elected. What have they done to enact their promises of ending the war, healthcare for all and lowering energy costs?

Popular Mechanics has done a great job

Because you agree with it, it must be "great." That's the last seven years in a nutshell.

I'm sorry, that building did not come down because of fire, or from damage by being hit by parts of one of the towers. It was "pulled" -- imploded -- and the collapse was announced before it fell.

I don't recall tying the rise in the price of oil exclusively to the fall of the dollar.
I think the main culprit is uncertainty in the Middle East from the Iraq War and possible attack on Iran. The markets hate uncertainty and the Doctrine of Preemptive Strikes is not just a War Crime - it could be called the Uncertainty Doctrine.

The dollar was hurt by poor fiscal policy after decades of conservatives bragging about how responsible they were with financial matters.

By saying 5 or 6 times the $28.66 barrel price of oil, I'm projecting ahead to November. It's been to 140 and there's no top yet. Of course if we attack Iran that price could be low.

I think the list of impeachable offenses President Bush could be charged with is lengthy starting the moment he swore to uphold the Constitution. That was a lie right there.

The trouble with arguing on blogs is that there's a continuous moving target and standard diversions when someone doesn't want to address the real issue.

The Popular Mechanics piece has been debunked. Read what the first responders said. There are a lot of science people who don't see the energy source for what happened on 9/11 from the official story. One NIST guy even wrote the victims families and admitted they couldn't explain large parts of it. Look at it logically - not with what you've been led to believe.

Steve made a pompous point using terms like "Lest facts get in the way" and then simply moves to another point when I point out that yes, oil is 5 or 6 times what it was when Bush took over or will be by November if the market experts are right.

Does the right wing even stop to think about what an awful record that is? No, they go right onto the next point.

It's no fun when people don't own up to reality occasionally. This conservative president has been a disaster.

The more I hear you people try and defend him, the more I realize how he got
away with it. I've got to get back to the real world now.

Is there a number I can call if I need to go to blogging rehab?

"The more I hear you people try and defend him, the more I realize how he got
away with it."

Anything in particular I said to defend him (viz, Bush)? If it makes you feel better, he's an idiot and will be gone by EOY and the world will instantly be better.

By reality, I meant dealing with 35+ years of political inaction while we make no efforts for energy independence which was my main point. Who cares if it's BUsh, CLinton, Carter or god know who we a

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