Thursday, March 03, 2011

Libya situation really amusing -- unless you live there, of course, or unless you need to buy gas....

A rose by any other name would be equally as nuts....

From Wikipedia (footnotes omitted):
"Muammar Gaddafi" is the spelling used by TIME magazine, BBC News, the majority of the British press and by the English service of Al-Jazeera. The Associated Press, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News use "Moammar Gadhafi". The Library of Congress uses "Qaddafi, Muammar" as the primary name. The Edinburgh Middle East Report uses "Mu'ammar Qaddafi" and the U.S. Department of State uses "Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi", although the White House chooses to use "Muammar el-Qaddafi". The Xinhua News Agency uses "Muammar Khaddafi" in its English reports. The New York Times uses Muammar el-Qaddafi. The Los Angeles Times uses Moammar Kadafi.
Whatever we call the guy, he's still bats. And armed and dangerous.

It is widely reported, of course, that Gadhafi is shooting his own people, even bombing them from the air, because they've had the temerity to try and overthrow his 40-year tyranny. It is further reported that he's had to import mercenaries for these tasks since his own soldiers have shown an alarming tendency to go over to the demonstrators whenever possible.

And those bombing raids on the oil port of Brega, currently in the hands of anti-Gadhafi rebels? All just a "big misunderstanding," according to Saif al-Islam, one of Gadhafi's seemingly endless supply of sons. The bombs, he said, were just meant to "frighten" the rebels, not kill them, al-Islam told Sky News. The bombs, having detonated, were unavailable for confirmation of this assertion. But, according to this linked story in Britain's Telegraph, the big misunderstanding was continuing for a second day, since the rebels weren't 'frightened away' by the first day's assault. Indeed, according to the news report, the rebels were not only not "frightened," they seem to have repulsed the initial attack.

But the good news is that the world is uniting against Gadhafi: Why, just the other day, Libya's membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council was suspended because there is a sneaking suspicion on the part of several UN diplomats that importing mercenaries to murder your citizens, or bombing and strafing your citizens from the air, may not be in keeping with the highest traditions of protecting human rights. Oh, and Fox News reports that the "U.N. Human Rights Council has postponed consideration of a report that praises Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi’s government for its human rights record." The vote had been scheduled for March 18, but after "concerns were raised about the possibility of the council undermining its own actions by considering the report, the council decided Thursday to put off the vote." Presumably the vote can be rescheduled if Gadhafi survives. And, if not, another anti-Israel resolution can always be whipped up and voted upon.

Thrilling stuff, really.

But, do not worry that a spirit of liberal abandon has seized the world body: Stalwart champions of human rights like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba remain members in good standing of the UNHRC.

Meanwhile, it seems that every time someone picks up a rock in Benghazi or Tripoli, gasoline prices rise in the United States. So many rocks have been picked up by so many demonstrators, gasoline prices in Chicago are up to $4 a gallon.

The Washington Post reported last night that the price of oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed over $102 a barrel because traders are worried about the situation in Libya and whether "unrest" might spread to other oil-producing nations. Then, this morning, another great champion of democracy and human rights, Hugo Chavez, proposed a mediation between Gadhafi and his opponents. Gadhafi has reportedly agreed to the proposal and the Arab League is reportedly also interested, although, it says, it wants details before getting too giddy about things. And, lo and behold, just like magic, when this exciting news was released, oil prices fell below $102 a barrel.

Now, you might be able to understand how markets that exist to predict the future price of oil might fluctuate with each news report from Libya.

However, you might also think that any possible interruption in the flow of oil from Libya, even if it is not quickly made up by increased production from other sources, would not be felt at the gas pump for some time afterward. After all, the gooey stuff that is pumped out of the ground can not be pumped into your car without extensive refining. And that takes time. Just as it takes time for oil to get from the ground to the refinery to make gasoline, it also takes time to get that gasoline from the refinery to a gas station near you. Therefore, you might think, an immediate rise in the price of gasoline -- the end product -- should not be expected just because of the current troubles in Libya. The cost of producing the gasoline at the corner station was not increased by events in Libya; it was pumped out of the ground weeks or even months ago.

But if you think this way you must be some sort of dangerous malcontent. Do you seriously think that oil companies and other speculators would take advantage of people fighting and dying for their freedom to make obscene profits? Whatever you do, pay no attention to oil company profits. Just pump your $4 gas and shut up.


1 comment:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Over here, his first nasme isn't used....just 'Colonel'.