Monday, July 14, 2014

Week of 07/14/2014

Isn’t It Strange…
I’m usually not prone to conspiracy theories.  Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, not in any foreign nation.  George W. Bush won the 2000 Fiasco and did not know about 9/11 before it happened.  I also don’t believe that 9/11 was an “inside job”.  I don’t buy the “magic bullet” theory behind John Kennedy’s assassination, but I do think that there’s stuff that we don’t know about that tragedy and we won’t know more about it until the full details of the Warren Commission get declassified – if ever.  I do believe the claim that Bush Junior once called the United States Constitution a “Goddamned piece of paper”.
But I also know patterns when I see them.  I see reports of us getting more and more prone to allergies here in the South, and of pollen counts getting higher and higher, and I can’t help but see a connection between those things and our over-development of the area.  Developers have a fetish for stripping the ground bare and putting in fresh landscape with their projects that may “look good” but may not be native to the area.  It’s not a conspiracy that we mess up our eco-system because we don’t think about the consequences of our actions.  It’s been proven time and time again.
I have been very successful in predicting when the economy would take a downturn.  I am so far three-for-three in that area, which is far better than the accuracy rate of the so-called “experts” who seem to predict the economy going one way, and it actually going another.  What do I know that they supposedly don’t?  I’ve seen the patterns that led up to those downturns.
But I also have to wonder… are they really that “wrong”?  Or are they saying that the economy does great when it isn’t because that is what “the script” tells them to say?  Are their false proclamations of economic good times part of a PR campaign to deceive the masses so they won’t take precautions while the elite cushion their own butts for the fall?  Who knows?
Patterns tell us things that the so-called “experts” and those in the media will not.  And the patterns are far more accurate than the experts.
I remember Desert Storm and Desert Shield and the funny thing that happened with gas prices during the build-up to the Gulf War.  Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and gas prices here skyrocketed.  They continued to go up and up as we entered Desert Shield, and again as we went into the air assault of Desert Storm.  But then, right after the ground assault of Desert Storm started, gas prices took a phenomenal drop.
Since then, I’ve seen patterns emerge when it comes to gas prices.  Excuses are cobbled together to explain raising the price at the pump during the summer months.  These reasons, such as “unexpected shutdowns”, may be enough to justify a price increase one time.  But when they happen over and over and over again, year after year after year, almost like clockwork, then you either have perpetual gross incompetence in management, or you have blatantly orchestrated price-fixing.
So here we are in the summer months of 2014, and not too long ago, gas prices took another spike because of the news concerning Iraq.  Sunni insurgents, don’t-cha-know?  They want an Islamic caliphate.  Dangerous thing.  Gotta stop them.  Sound the bugle; send the soldiers back there.  Their instability is causing gas prices to go up, don’t-cha-know?
Or… are they?
You see, this past week we saw gas prices actually fall!  The Sunni extremists haven’t stopped their little self-appointed jihad.  We haven’t sent over the thousands-and-thousands of troops like some of our neo-conservative chickenhawks demand.  So… why?
According to (a damn good place to look for cheap gas), the speculation is because of a lack of hurricanes, the Iraqi insurgents aren’t harming the oil refineries like some have feared, and also because we’re not as dependent on foreign oil like we used to be.
Now that’s a scary thought if you’re a fat and rich Big Oil executive!  Once upon a time, gas prices used to take a ten-cent-per-gallon spike the minute some Saudi sheik stubs his toe.  Now, the word that Sunni insurgents throwing a temper tantrum in Iraq is no longer enough to justify filching hard-working Americans.  What is this country coming to, huh?
So… funny thing… almost overnight the media changes its focus.  It’s no longer about ISIL (what the media wrongly calls “ISIS”) in Iraq.  It’s about Israel-versus-Hamas… again.  Missiles are launching!  People are getting bombed!  Lives are on the line!  We need to “do something” about this!
Here’s the thing… this is actually an ongoing pissing contest.  It did not just manifest itself overnight.
So… why is the media focusing on this now?
Is it because people really don’t care about Muslim-versus-Muslim as much as they do Palestinians-versus-Israelis?
Or is this simply “Plan B” for the media?
As in “Whoops!  The Iraq thing didn’t get us enough traction to cause a price spike at the pumps.  Let’s go to Plan B and see if chaos in Israel will do it!”
It certainly seems like that, doesn’t it?
Makes you wonder if North Korea’s panda bear leader, Kim Jung-un, is warming up for his turn in the “crisis” spotlight; keeping the tradition left by his predecessor of throwing tantrums just to get attention.  Or maybe there’s another “Al Qaeda” message in the wings.  Or perhaps the mullahs in Iran will throw a tantrum next.
Because let’s get brutally honest here… when your corporate business plan calls for fear and panic to justify seasonal price hikes, this world has plenty of that to go around.
The real question is… why should the rest of us accept that as business-as-usual?
Big Oil and their acolytes in both politics and the media all swear up and down that gas prices have always been determined by the rule of Supply-and-Demand.  Except when they’re not.  A little fear and panic does wonders to tip the scale of Supply-and-Demand in Big Oil’s favor.  And they really don’t have to be the ones to lift that finger to tip that scale… because the media eagerly does that already.
Of course we have our own ways of tipping that scale.  We can always cut back on our driving, not going on vacations, not taking planes, no road trips, limiting our driving to only the absolute essentials, carpooling when possible.  We’re already using services like and opting for hybrid vehicles when we can afford them.  All-electric vehicles are already on the market, and Harley Davidson is making an electric motorcycle!
Don’t get me wrong, the tragedies going on in Iraq and Syria and Israel are horrific in and of themselves.  But equally horrific is the idea that we should be coerced into taking action in these areas, or at least to take a side, while big corporations profit from the fear and panic generated by it.
Like I said, I’m not prone to conspiracy theories, but I do recognize patterns when they happen, especially when they go on for as long as this one has.  And when it does go on and on enough times for people to notice it as a pattern, then there’s a word for that kind of activity… racketeering.  And, if memory serves, that’s supposed to be a crime.

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