Failing Up


It would be nice to be an oil company; every time you utterly fail to do whatever it is you’re supposed to do when not busy buying politicians, your epic fuckup simply boosts your profits.  At the moment, gas prices are approaching $5 in California, due largely to the fact that the oil companies run refineries the way Cubans run Edsels, so Californians are handing out yet another bailout for incompetent thieves in expensive suits, every day at the pump.  One refinery, Chevron’s Richmond facility, a dystopian hellscape at the best of times, caught fire in August, not only blackening the skies of the Bay Area for days, but is still barely able to produce gas nearly two months later.  The punishment for such suckitude?  Higher profits.

Big Oil has always had an abusive, love/hate relationship with California; as a sprawling, car-dependent state, it is a fertile field from which to “harvest” profit, but it also has a tendency to get so uppity about oil spills, and worse, vote liberal, so it needs beatings all the time.  Although there can be no doubt that deferred maintenance and profit-mining has led to the point that Big Oil is unable to serve its own market, wouldn’t you know that any price spike can be blamed on those sun-kissed hippies, just in time for the elections, to boot?  These guys can’t lose for winning.

Coincidentally, I’m sure, the Koch brothers are rolling out a vote-buying scheme wherein they sell gas for $1.84 to the first hundred takers, which was, in reality, a rock-bottom price that reflected the global collapse brought on by Bush, but to these lying scumbags is an Obama/UN plot to take away every gun-racked pickup in America.    Such insultingly ridiculous folderol, from these supposed Galtian Heroes who seemingly can’t be bothered to extract and process their already harmful product without making complete asses of themselves on a global scale in the process, is mindlessly repeated even in the “liberal” media.

Those of us who actually work for a living could never get away with what the titans of Big Oil do every day.   Imagine what would happen if, say, you lost a multibillion dollar resource, killed a bunch of people, and exposed your company to years of litigation and bad press in so doing, would you expect to still have a job?   Me neither.  It’s pretty hard to listen to people who never felt the consequences of any action, no matter how boneheaded and ultimately catastrophic, lecture you about “makers” and “takers.”  (I’m also talking to you, Jamie Dimon…)

Daily, we are asked to identify with Wall Street scammers, sweatshop operators, polluters, war profiteers, and other overpaid nincompoops over regular, honest people who, in the end, finance their shenanigans.   I think that is the main reason Romney can’t and will probably never gain an edge over Obama, despite the fact that their economic programs differ so little;  Americans aren’t as stupid as Republicans think, and they smell something rotten in our unaccountable elite.  And it isn’t just gas.


  1. Austin says:

    Higher profits? Can’t earn profits if you can’t produce gasoline to sell. If refineries are such cash cows, why aren’t more being built? You don’t have to be an oil company to refine petroleum. I suspect that building a refinery is an extremely expensive proposition and that’s IF you could get a permit and pass EPA muster.

    • cocktailhag says:

      No, they’re just a cost, like all other costs, that they don’t have to pay. Like befouling the Gulf. Like befouling every other place they operate. Like the wars. Big Oil is the biggest, fattest Welfare Queen ever invented, and doesn’t mind flaunting it.

    • avelna says:

      Oh fer gawd sakes – the oil companies get tax subsidies to build their damned refineries. If they’re hurting so badly, why do their profits keep on obscenely rising year after year, while the wages of everyone but them and their buddies have fallen precipitously?

    • RUKidding says:

      Oh pull the other one, please. The only one you’re fooling with that specious tripe is you.

      BigOil no longer pays any taxes, in spite of the mega-profits they make annually. The fat-cats at the top of the BigOil pyramids pull down incredible wealth off the fat of our natural resources.

      YOU get the pleasure and privilege of subsidizing BigOil at least twice: both at the pump & with your precious hard-earned tax dollars to pay BigOil big subsidies to do their polluting “work” in this country.

      Don’t forget that the Oil refined by BigOil is a natural resource of the USA… what do YOU and I get in terms of any payback for the plundering of resources here in the USA?

      Most of the Oil drilled in the USA is actually sold overseas to further enrich the 1% owners, just in case you are unaware of that little factoid.

      Cry me a river…

  2. mikeinportc says:

    Austin , please return , for just a moment, from The United States of Amnesia , and recall the last California gouge …………..OK, now you can return to the land of honest, hard-working , God-fearing, pure, Ammmurrican energy executives and stock brokers, that would never dream of market manipulation and price fixing/gouging. Carry on. ;)

  3. Ché Pasa says:

    Californians knew in their bones what was coming once the Richmond refinery blew up in August.

    It was pointed out at the time that the loss of refining capacity at Richmond shouldn’t have much — or any — effect on the price and availability of gasoline in California because there was no shortage of already refined gas and Diesel, there was so much excess capacity at other refineries, and of course, as always, there was no shortage of oil to run through the refining process.

    Nevertheless, within hours the price of gasoline and Diesel went up twenty-thirty cents practically everywhere, and it went up even more in the Bay Area. It held at that price for a time, then fell a bit — like five cents a gallon — then, this past week or so, the retail price has been shooting up faster and faster; at one station nearby, the price went up 40 cents overnight. But some stations stayed at their lower “post-Richmond Fire” price as of yesterday.

    The excuse for the sudden price rise when there wasn’t supposed to be any was the Richmond Fire, electrical outages “due to the heat”, and refinery shut downs “for maintenance” by Unocal.

    Ah yes, here we go again. Prices in my area are at $4.70-$4.90 and predictions are for prices to go up another 50 cents within the next week or so and for them to stay there “for at least a month.” This would mean a higher price for gasoline in California than was the case in 2008, when prices at near $5.00 (and over $5.00 in some areas) signaled The Collapse.

    California’s economy is nowhere near recovery, so there is no economic justification for the price increase; we’ve heard all the oil company excuses again and again, and “refinery maintenance” is always a red flag (ie: proof of manipulation). There are all kinds of studies that demonstrate the retail price of gasoline is more tuned to speculation and what the Oiligarchy believes it can get away with (or wants to test) than any old fashioned notion of supply and demand.

    Given how impoverished more and more Californians already are, the inevitable cutbacks in travel and economic activity due to the extractions by Big Oil will represent yet another economic reversal. At least we know who’s to blame…

    • cocktailhag says:

      Wait a minute… I thought it was all the hippies’ fault.

      • Ché Pasa says:

        Well it is. Of course. “We haven’t built” a new refinery in nearly 50 years. It’s got to be the Hippies’ fault. Connect the dots. Birkenstocks> granola> patchouli> no war> no nukes> no new refineries> $5.00 a gallon gasoline. See?

        • cocktailhag says:

          It all makes sense; like a Fox chyron. The sad part is, we’re going to hear variations on that theme for the next month.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why thank you kindly for that helpful dot connecting. I always thought that when I wore patchulli it was merely to hide the scent of MaryJane from my mama. Now I see the light & realize that it is my DFH past & present that is to blame for BigOil ripping us off! Figures.

          Gas over $4.50 in San Diego today. Bogus rip off. Thank goodness I have a Prius.

    • avelna says:

      My god, how much more blatant can it be?? But, ya know, it’s all Obama’s fault, of course, and when (or if) the prices come down it will be due to the wonders of the Free Market. Right?

      • cocktailhag says:

        I also think they’re trying to pump up Republican voter turnout in the state, because there are some plutocrat-unfriendly measures on the ballot. So it’s a double game.