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Big Oil is under the big klieg lights in the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee headed up by Senator Depends: Pat ‘Leaky’ Leahy is grilling Big Oil, as they always do when these prices jump to points that have the public outraged, and of course what ought to happen here is that the Big Oil execs ought to have their own hearings and bring in senators and demand to know from these senators why you’re preventing us from doing our jobs. This is some energy policy that the Senate Democrats have put together. ‘Senators told oil executives today that high oil prices cannot be explained by supply and demand, and that the oil industry’s concentration — and OPEC price collusion — is contributing to the costs facing consumers. Executives of the five largest oil companies were appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. … But Shell Oil Co. Chairman John Hofmeister said the prices could be explained, saying, ‘The fundamental laws of supply and demand are at work.”

Now, to illustrate here that we’ve got too many lawyers and too many idiots in the House of Representatives: ‘The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members.’ This is like suing Bin Laden! To sue OPEC! This was an overwhelming vote. I mean, the Republicans chimed in on this one, too. To sue OPEC members for ‘for limiting oil supplies and working together to set crude prices, but the White House threatened to veto the measure. The bill would subject OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, to the same antitrust laws that US companies must follow. The measure passed in a 324-84 vote, a big enough margin to override a presidential veto.’ This is embarrassing. This is flat-out embarrassing. So our energy policy from the US government is sue OPEC and attack Big Oil execs. And all of this is not going to produce one drop of oil.

Here’s a question. Everybody wants more oil, correct? Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain need to be asked — and they should be forced to answer this question — why do you want the Saudis to pump more oil? Why do you want OPEC to pump more oil? Come on, now, you three are candidates for president of the United States. Tell us, if you want our votes, speak up, why do you want more oil in the market? Why? When all three of you are proposing various forms of legislation that would punish oil and try to get rid of oil and to raise taxes on everybody — I mean, Obama’s crazy statement last week that the world is no longer going to let us get away with keeping our homes at 72 degrees and driving our SUVs around and eating what we want. Scary. This is literally scary stuff. You’ve got the leading Democrat Party presidential candidate running around telling America just like Jimmy Carter, you have to learn to do with less. We are going to have to do with less. We are going to face a rollback of our lifestyle. This guy is a product of his environment, he’s traveling around in these elitist circles and he’s bought hook, line, and sinker the notion that we are despised and hated, and that’s why he keeps making stupid statements such as he’ll meet unilaterally without preconditions with anybody on the face of the earth, because he thinks we have to do that in order repair our image with all these people, and that evolves into the fact that the rest of the world hates us because we’re using so much of the world’s energy and we’re polluting the planet. It’s maddening.

This guy is an empty suit. I am telling you, there is so much PR, so much buzz, so much spin about this guy, and he can’t fill out his suit. This guy, I’m telling you, folks, he’s not at all what he’s cracked up to be. He may be a smooth talker, but when you get down to genuine intelligence, common sense, and knowledge, this guy is an order of fries short of a Happy Meal. So we want to know from all three of these candidates, ‘Why do you want more oil on the market?’ That question and the answer is so important, so crucial to our economy and our well-being it should also be asked to every candidate for Congress, the House and the Senate, asked and answered, ‘Why do you want more oil on the market?’ Let me add another group to this, too. Every journalist, every editorial writer, every TV anchor, every pundit should be asked and forced to answer, ‘Why should the Saudis pump more oil?’ The answer is obvious. Even a Harvard grad knows it. When more oil is pumped, the price goes down. The price of oil, of gasoline, of diesel, jet fuel, all go down.

See what American Airlines announced today? Fifteen dollars for the first bag you check. The way the airlines are going to get around rising fuel costs, they’re not going to raise fares, but they’re going to charge you 15 bucks and then another whatever charge for second and third bags that you check. There’s going to be all kinds of add-on fees, whatever they will be called. They’re going to try to keep the fares what they are for their advertising. (interruption) Snerdley, they’ve got no choice! The price of jet fuel is skyrocketing just as is the price of diesel and the price of gasoline. Oil is now at 130 bucks a barrel. American has also announced they’re going to reduce their capacity. They’re not going to have as many flights this summer. So the flights that American does launch are going to be jam-packed. If this keeps up, commercial airline travel will be a privilege only the rich will be able to afford. So why do we want more oil? Why do we want the Saudis to pump more oil? Obviously, we hope the price of all this stuff will go down because there will be more of it. And yet, knowing that simple fact, so many of these people demonize supply, they demonize the suppliers. They do everything in their power to prevent us from supplying our own oil, to reduce our own prices.

While demanding more oil on the market, guess who it is that’s facing an inquisition today by the Senate Judiciary Committee? The very people whose business it is to produce more oil are being asked about collusion and price fixing and all that from people who say the Saudis need to pump more oil. When a political hack — and I don’t care who it is, take the politician of your choice — stands in front of a gas pump with the meter clicking and demands lower prices or calls for a committee hearing and the latest gimmick, a lawsuit against OPEC, you can play back his or her own words, ‘more oil lowers prices.’ And when they rhapsodize about a frozen tundra they call an Arctic preserve that no one goes to visit, you can play back his or her own words, more oil lowers prices. When they play and replay the dream, the 30-year-old dream of alternate energy someday, somehow, somewhere, simply replay their words when they’re out there with these little photo-ops in front of the gas pumps, ‘more oil lowers prices.’ Very important. And, by the way, I don’t want anybody calling here. Well, you can call. But Snerdley is not going to put you through because I am issuing a dictum. I don’t want to hear from anybody who says, ‘Hey, Rush, even if we started drilling today and changed policy, it would be ten years.’ So? The first step is always required no matter where you end up, and if we had done this ten years ago, guess what? We would already be pumping it. We wouldn’t be having these problems. You gotta start sometime. It is embarrassing to sit around and demand the Saudis pump more or that Hugo Chavez pump more or we’re going to sue these people? Is it any wonder the congressional approval rating is 13%, ladies and gentlemen?

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: John in Topeka, Kansas, I’m glad you waited, sir. You’re up next on the EIB Network.

CALLER: Hey, dittos, Rush, good to have you back.

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: You’ve briefly talked about the gas price hearing up on the Hill, and I wanted to mention something that you did not. Leahy was trying to make some big point, and he said normal supply and demand says that oil should be 50 or 60 bucks and that it’s not a free and competitive market, so Hofmeister, president of Shell, comes back with, ‘Well, Senator, you’re absolutely right, this isn’t a free market. You guys won’t let us drill or you won’t let us build refineries.’

RUSH: Oh, he did say that. See, this has been going on while I have been busy hosting the program and I have not seen that.

CALLER: Yeah, I was hoping —

RUSH: Hofmeister actually came back and said, look, it’s not a free market, you won’t let us drill?

CALLER: Absolutely, yes. And I just think it’s so great when a hardworking American gets up on the Hill and just intellectually manhandles one of these lawyer politician elitists.

RUSH: Wow. That’s gold-star time.

CALLER: Yeah, exactly.

RUSH: It’s about time these guys fight back, and, you know, it does take courage because these guys can nail you. You’re supposed to go up there and treat them like royalty and you’re supposed to be deferential to the core and very rarely do you see somebody fire back. Hofmeister, by the way, is the CEO of Shell Oil. Look it, John, thanks for that, I appreciate it. We’ll dig deep and find that. I do have a couple of sound bites from Leahy, no retorts from the Big Oil executives, but two bites from Leahy, and here’s the first.

LEAHY: I’d like to know, I’m sure American families, American small businesses would like to know, why prices are so disconnected from what normal supply and demand would indicate. Why is the price of oil increased 400% since President Bush took office? Why has it nearly doubled in the last year alone? We’ve seen it go up six years in a row. First time that has ever happened. Prices should not skyrocket like this in a properly functioning, competitive market. Certainly the cost of oil to these companies has not doubled or quadrupled. Certainly our witnesses today would not contend that service station operators are gouging consumers for windfall profits.

RUSH: You know, Senator Leahy, this is probably where Hofmeister came in and said, ‘Hey, there is no free market. You won’t let us drill in this country, nor can we build any refineries. What free market?’ I hope that’s true. I hope the report from our caller from Topeka, Kansas, is true, but here is Leahy once again referring to price gouging. There have been countless investigations into this, government investigations into price gouging. They’ve never found any evidence of it anywhere, particularly at the top at Big Oil. ‘I’d like to know, I’m sure American families, American small business would like to know why prices are so disconnected from what normal supply and demand would indicate.’ Here again you have another politician who really wants more oil. They all want more oil. All three presidential candidates want more oil. The problem is they want it from somewhere else. They want the Saudis to pump more; they want OPEC to pump more; they want Mexico to pump more. It’s just absurdly embarrassing. Here’s the second Leahy bite.

LEAHY: I’d like to know what these oil executives think about applying principles of competition from our anti-trust laws, to the commercial activity of the oil-producing states. The members of OPEC meet regularly to agree on limits on the amount of oil they’ll produce. I think that’s wrong. I think it hurts Americans. If such a meeting took place in almost any other context, participants would likely be charged and arrested for an illegal conspiracy and the restraint of trade. So do our witnesses agree we need to crack down speculation and manipulation in the oil commodities market?

RUSH: Oh, man. You better get with your presidential candidate, Senator Leahy, because you have a conflicting message here. You think that the OPEC countries, by limiting the amount of oil they produce, are hurting Americans? Well, your presidential candidate says we deserve to be hurt, that we are only 3% of the population of the world, and we’re using 25% of the world’s energy resources. We deserve to be hurt. The rest of the world ought to be mad at us, Senator Leahy, and so OPEC, according to your presidential nominee, Barack Obama, is doing exactly what he would expect countries around the world to do, cause us pain, ’cause we deserve it, ’cause we’ve been bad, we have been a bad country. But here again, Senator Leahy wants more oil. What a policy. You bring the oil execs up for the umpteenth time, and you point fingers at them, and you accuse them of all kinds of things, when they’re the only ones in the room who have done anything to produce a drop of energy. None of these senators would know the first thing of what to do if it were up to them, and yet here they are as spectators demanding that these oil execs explain themselves. In the second phase of this, we’re going to sue OPEC. We gonna arrest ’em? We going to sue ’em? Who’s going to serve ’em litigation papers? In what court is a lawsuit going to be tried? Do you think these people at OPEC, Senator, are just going to sit there and not retaliate? Do you know who you’re dealing with? There’s a simple solution to all this. It’s called: our own oil. It’s very simple.

RUSH: Donnie in Phenix City, Alabama, you’re next on the EIB Network. Hello, sir.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. It’s an honor and a pleasure to talk to you. First-time caller.

RUSH: Glad you got through, sir.

CALLER: You were talking earlier in the program when it first started about gas prices, things going on and how environmentalists are stopping us from drilling in the United States.

RUSH: That’s right.

CALLER: My question, as a thinking human being would be, the environment is a world problem. Is that not correct?

RUSH: The environment is indeed a world problem.

CALLER: Okay. Who would be better able to drill in a proper way or greener way, a less intrusive way to the environment than the United States?

RUSH: I couldn’t give you an answer, but I think that wherever the US oil companies go to drill, they’re going to drill just as well and just as cleanly anywhere they go.

CALLER: Well, that’s true, but they’re blocking —

RUSH: I don’t know that that’s the question.

CALLER: Well, the question is, right now we get the majority I assume from the Middle East.

RUSH: No. No, the majority comes from Canada.

CALLER: Okay. All right.

RUSH: Middle East is second.

CALLER: Okay. Probably those guys aren’t very environmentally friendly over there from the pictures I’ve seen. If we could produce oil in our own countries and do it greener, why not do it?

RUSH: Well, this is a question that we have been debating for days, weeks, months, years, on this program, and the answer is the Democrat Party is aligned with the environmentalists who have as a policy objective the crippling of the US economy via an attack on capitalism. So that’s not the question. The question is not who can drill cleaner. The question is, if pollution and global warming, quote, unquote (the scam), is a world problem, why is only the United States being blamed? Why is only the largest free democracy, capitalist government and economy in the world, why are we the only ones being blamed when, you’re right, we clean up our messes better than anybody in the world cleans up their messes, why are we the only ones being blamed? Why aren’t the Japanese being blamed? Why aren’t the Chinese being blamed? Why isn’t the European Union being blamed? Why aren’t the Russians being blamed? Why is nobody being blamed but us? And in that answer you’ll find the express purpose of the global warming hoax.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, these oil hearings going on, the Senate Judiciary Committee, what in the world is the Judiciary Committee doing conducting hearings of Big Oil executives? If you haven’t heard they’re demanding, the House overwhelmingly, 300-plus votes today, to sue OPEC! Now Leahy and his cronies up there ripping into Big Oil executives. Why don’t they have a damn hearing with all the left-wing environmentalist wacko groups up there and have these groups defend themselves for all the litigation they bring, preventing oil companies from drilling and refining and transporting oil and gas? Why don’t we have any hearings on the decision to put the polar bear on the endangered species list? You know the sole reason for that? The sole reason for putting the polar bear on the endangered list is to create more obstacles to drilling for oil in the Arctic Circle. Why not drag Algore’s butt up there, have him defend all the efforts he’s made to drive up the cost of fuel with his idiot science. Look, the price of gasoline is skyrocketing; the price of food’s skyrocketing. A story on Drudge, people are not altering their driving habits yet, but they are altering what they eat.

Now, I would think the environmentalist wackos would be dancing in the street here. They’re getting everything they want, but I don’t see the dancing. Why not hold hearings on the individuals, the groups, and the forces that are limiting supply and driving up costs, rather than these for show trial hearings on Big Oil. The oil companies want to drill. It’s their business. They want to refine. They want to deliver their products to us. All the rest of the people that I’ve mentioned don’t want them to do it. The people who need to be interviewed and the people who need to be interrogated are those who are providing the obstacles to this. At some point if this keeps up, I am confident that enough people in this country are going to be outraged and demand that these obstacles be swept aside and that we start drilling for our own oil. When everybody is talking about needing more oil, when everybody is talking about the Saudis need to pump more, OPEC needs to pump more, at some point the American people are gonna say, ‘Why not our own?’ It’s going to happen if this keeps up. We do have two sound bites here from the Shell Oil CEO John Hofmeister. Here is response number one to Senator Leahy.

HOFMEISTER: In the United States, access to our own oil and gas resources has been limited for the last 30 years, prohibiting companies such as Shell from exploring and developing resources for the benefit of the American people. It is not a free market. According to the Department of the Interior, 62% of all on-shore federal lands are off limits to oil and gas developments, with restrictions applying to 92% of all federal lands. The Argonne National Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40 specific federal policy areas that halt, limit, delay, or restrict natural gas projects. The problem of access can be solved in this country by the same government that has prohibited it. Congress could have chose to lift some or all of the current restrictions on exploration and production of oil and gas. Congress could provide national policy to reverse the persistent decline of domestically secure natural resource development.

RUSH: Amen. This is great, firing back at Congress, telling them they are the problem. That is John Hofmeister, who is the CEO of Shell Oil Company. ‘The Congress could have chosen to lift some or all of the current restrictions on exploration and production of oil and gas. Congress could provide national policy to reverse the persistent decline of domestically secure natural resources. We do not have a free market. Sixty-two percent of all onshore federal lands are off limits to oil and gas developments, with restrictions applying to 92% of all federal lands.’ You want to know why there’s an oil shortage in the United States, it’s not Big Oil. It is these groups, left-wing environmentalist wacko groups who have stood in the way, and federal agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior, which by fiat proclaim various animals to be endangered for the express purpose of limiting oil production. Now, there can be only one reason for this and it has nothing to do with beautification; has nothing to do with potential oil spills; has nothing to do with any of that. It has to do with attacking the largest capitalist economy on the face of the earth, make no mistake. Here’s the second sound bite from John Hofmeister.

HOFMEISTER: There is simply no way to keep up — let alone get ahead of demand — except by producing more oil and building more refining capacity. That’s because of the makeup of the barrel of crude. Only a third to a half of a barrel of crude oil can be used to make these products. We can’t use more than half of a barrel of oil to make diesel and aviation fuel. To meet this demand we need more capacity. So we need policies that enable both more crude supply and more refining. Higher taxes would only serve to diminish the expansion capacity of this critical capital investment. I urge you on behalf of American consumers to resist such punitive policies.

RUSH: He said that to Pat Leahy and other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, John Hofmeister, the president, CEO, of Shell Oil.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Gerald in Milton, Delaware, welcome to the program, sir. Nice to have you here.

CALLER: Thank you for taking my call, Rush. How are you, sir?

RUSH: Fine, sir. Thanks very much.

CALLER: This is more a comment, I guess an observation. It’s about the oil situation. I feel very strongly about this, and that’s simply this. This is a resilient country. I think the majority of the people in this country are pretty sane. We’ve always proven in the past that we will get behind an effort if we have to overcome an obstacle. We’re facing probably one of the greatest obstacles in the history of this country, and that’s the energy problem, and all we need is some leadership, stepping up to the plate and telling us that we’re in trouble, and we gotta deal with it.

RUSH: You know, I, like you, am confident in this area. I do think that in other policy areas, for example, there is a large and sizable moron vote that we are all subjected to, people that just don’t care, they’re not spending enough time, they vote on things that you and I would never think of voting on. You know, hair color, wife, wardrobe, you know this sort of thing, whether a guy can communicate, he sounds nice, looks like he cares and all that esoteric stuff, but everybody, even morons, know how expensive energy is getting.

CALLER: Yep.

RUSH: And even morons, who normally would be sucked into the usual liberal explanation, are going to someday get fit to be tied over this and demand to know why, and they’re going to want to go further than just Big Oil is gouging them.

CALLER: I don’t think that’s the case. I think the bottom line is —

RUSH: No, I don’t think Big Oil is — that’s what they’re being told now. They’re going to get past that, and they’re going to figure out — and they’re only morons because they’re not paying attention. They’re going to start paying attention, they’re going to figure out here that there’s all kinds of energy in this country that people aren’t letting us go get.

CALLER: Basic economics 101.

RUSH: Yep. So you think it’s an economic war. Who are the combatants in the war?

CALLER: OPEC. Who else? They got 80% of it. You know, like I told your screener, you know, maybe some people don’t want to hear this, but, as far as I’m concerned, we’re in World War IV. We’re in economic war for our lives, and I think people have to wake up and realize OPEC right now feels they don’t owe us nothing —

RUSH: You think — I want straight yes or no here, got 25 seconds.

CALLER: No. They don’t owe us anything.

RUSH: No, no. I have a question for you. Do you think OPEC, the Saudis, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, all these places, do you think they have singled us out for destruction via economics?

CALLER: Yes. There is no question in my mind, because they can’t do it any other way.

RUSH: Yeah, but what’s in it for them if they destroy us economically?

CALLER: Well, the ironic thing about it is that you drive us into the ground, cause bankruptcy, they come in with their petrodollars.

RUSH: You’re right. Even the morons in this country are not going to put up with that at some point. Your faith in the country is well placed.

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