While soaking in a steamy tub and reading the liberal rag of choice, Newsweek, the Angry Czeck stumbled upon an advertisiment even more compelling then those featuring the Mercury Mountaineer chick.
DO YOU OWN AN OIL COMPANY? thunders the headline. Nestled at the bottom like a stamp of quality is the logo of the party responsible for the ad’s placement: The People of America’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry. To further underscore the plebian message, the word “people” is written in a totally outrageous font, so that there is no mistaking that humans and not hamsters wrote the ad.
The ad features a lot of copy, but a pull-out makes sure that a key point is not missed: “Tens of millions of Americans own a piece of the U.S. oil and natural as industry.” A pie chart at the top illustrates the statement by suggesting that most profits from oil are funneled into the IRAs, pensions, and mutual funds of hard working people like you and I invest. The rest benefits “individual investors” (23%) and “other” investors (5%).
The lowest percentage? Why, it’s the oil industry’s corporate management! Magnanimously taking a mere 1.5% of the pie. These guys aren’t opportunistic white-collar thugs! They’re heroes!
According to the ad’s copy, there’s a “good chance” I own a portion of the fuel industry if I make under $70,000 and I have an IRA or personal retirement account. The People know this because of a study conducted by a company called SONECON (The Distribution of Ownership of U.S. Oil and Natural Gas, September 2007 – you can download the study and others from SONECON.com if you like).
Just in case we haven’t added it up yet, the advertisement identifies the “real winners” of the industry’s earnings, Middle America! However, the most salient point is made at the conclusion:
So when the political rhetoric gets hot about increasing energy taxes or taking “excess profits” from US oil companies, it is important to step back, look at the facts, and ask yourself, “who does that really hurt?”
One can imagine George Bailey delivering a similar speech to rioting customers of the old Bailey Savings & Loan.
“Whuh…whuh, you see? You’re acting like those $15 billion in profit are anchored in a yacht on a dock outside my Caribbean estate! But it’s really in your one bedroom apartment, Jorge! And it’s in your 1997 Dodge Eagle, Jennifer! Don’t you see? Don’t you see what these evil politicians are doing? They’re scaring you with the fact that we just earned more profit than at any point in our company’s history! Why, we can’t let the politicians win!”
I feel good knowing that an altruistic and impartial group like The People of America’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry is looking out for my interests. Look out, sinister Capitol Hill! The power is on my side now! We just placed a $100,000 ad in Newsweek!
Naturally, the Angry Czeck wanted to learn more about his brand new ally, and he was pleased to find the website at the bottom of the ad, EnergyTomorrow.org. Dot org! That seals the deal. This ad was straight-talk I could trust.
“Delivering America’s Energy Securely” is Energy Tomorrow’s mighty mandate. Fuck yeah! One glance at the homepage grants you all kinds of valuable education, like this:
The Department of Interior estimates there are 112 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil beneath U.S. federal lands and coastal waters. That’s enough oil to fuel 60 million cars for 60 years.
You mean we’re standing on our own energy independence? How shortsighted and careless of us. Why won’t the politicians just leave us alone and let us drill? Nobody is using federal lands anyway, and who gives a fuck about the coast? Obviously, congress has forgotten about a little concept the Founding Fathers liked to call “freedom.” Let us drill!
Clearly, only the sage and the brilliant are recruited to write for Energy Tomorrow. Who are funding these guys?, asked the Angry Czeck. I imagined a benevolent society tucked in the mountains of Switzerland, surrounded by towering shelves of books and guarded by silent monks armed with ninja stars.
“For more information and additional materials, please visit API.org.” API, eh? That kind of sounded Swiss to me! I pressed the link happily.
API (often called AOI) is the American Petroleum Institute, and “is the only national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Our 400 corporate members, from the largest major oil company to the smallest of independents, come from all segments of the industry.”
Not exactly philanthropic Swiss.
You might remember the former head of API’s Climate Team, Phillip Cooney. As chief of staff for the Bush White House Council on Environmental Quality, he was the guy who edited government global warming reports so that it diminished petroleum emission’s impact on the environment. When congress confronted him on this deception, Cooney bolted for a new job – at EXXON.
Mr. Cooney is a lawyer. He has no scientific training.
API is a lobby for the petroleum industry. Whenever congress reviews legislation that pertains to reducing fuel emissions or protecting fragile ecosystems from drilling, API is quick to send representatives to educate the lawmakers.
Part of the education comes in the form of Energy Tomorrow, who created The People of America’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry, who created the ad that asks Americans paying $4 a gallon for gas to drive to a minimum wage job if they own an oil company.
I’m not saying that the Oil Industry is comprised mostly of bastards and sonsofbitches. Rather, I’m shouting, “We’ll played, Oil Men. Well played!” You planted a piece of self-serving propaganda in a liberal news rag and positioned it as a public service message revealing that the true racketeers in this new oil grab are politicians and the American people.
Bravo, sirs. Bravo.
*Oops. As an anonymous commenter politely pointed out, the Angry Czeck had mistakenly used the photo of Phillip Anderton Cooney, son of former Bush Administration member and lobbyist for AOI, Phillip Cooney. AC concedes to Anonymous’ assertion that his research was sloppy, and he regrets the error. However, it is prudent to note than neither Cooney is a scientist.