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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 25, 2006 / 27 Nissan, 5766

An oil conspiracy so vast

By Rich Lowry


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The cackling oil executives have returned. They are the guys who sit around corporate boardrooms and decide how high the price of gas will be at the pump, rubbing their hands greedily and emitting squeals of Mephistophelean laughter all the while. These executives exist only in the imaginations of economic demagogues, but that doesn't make them seem any less real to Americans who are gripped by petroleum paranoia every time they don't like the price of gasoline.


How powerful and resourceful must be the cackling executives? Boundlessly. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might strike most observers as deeply irrational, unworried about possibly prompting a nuclear exchange one day in the Middle East. But this interpretation misses the true measure of the man. Oil executives apparently have his ear: Why else would he do them such a huge favor by driving up world crude prices with his nuclear crisis?


Once you're clued in to the alleged power of the cackling executives, their influence extends everywhere. With al-Qaida — its threat against Saudi Arabia keeps the world market good and jittery. With rebels in Nigeria — who maintain they are fighting for the rights of the Ijaw tribe in the Niger delta, but whose guerrilla war conveniently disrupts Nigerian oil production. With Chad — the corruptly governed African nation that is threatening to cut off its production in a dispute with the World Bank.


This is all on the supply side of the price equation, but world demand matters, too. Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping must have been just as concerned about Texaco's profits as the economic well-being of his country-men when he launched China's market revolution 30 years ago. The resulting economic growth means that the country is slurping up ever-more oil — and driving up world prices, in a benefit to you-know-who.


Surveying all the forces in world politics and economics that play into higher prices at the pump, it puts retiring Exxon-Mobil CEO Lee Raymond's otherwise outlandish $400 million retirement package in perspective. Isn't that only fair compensation for devious international chicanery that surely required deft management skills and occasionally working in the office on weekends?


Then there's the cackling executives' most inspired manipulation of all — the change of seasons. Without winter turning to summer, there would be no need to make the shift-over in seasonal blends of gasoline, with the inevitable pinch in supply that comes with it. Cato Institute energy analyst Jerry Taylor points out that there is a price-gouging debate every spring when refineries make this switch and prices bump up. This year the disruption has been compounded by refineries switching from using the environmentally suspect methyl tertiary-butyl ether as an additive in gasoline to using ethanol, which is hard to transport from the Midwest to the coasts. The story of how the cackling executives managed this one is too complicated to relate, let alone their secret alliance with environmentalists to limit domestic supply and thus prop up prices further.


Of course, there is a less seductively simple explanation of rising gas prices than that a handful of oil executives have planned it. In a world market, prices will go up and go down, and the forces that play into those trends are large, complicated and mostly uncontrollable. The foolish conceit of our politics is that the oil market works only when prices go down. When the prices go up, it's a scandal. So Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Bill Frist — showing either a dismaying attraction to the moronic or a desire to pretend to have such an attraction — have called on President Bush to investigate price gouging by the oil companies.


Maybe such an investigation will unravel a vast conspiracy of cackling executives, and the Federal Trade Commission will have to raid those corporate boardrooms to restore world crude-oil prices to their natural, low equilibrium. Such, at least, is the fevered dream of the petroleum paranoiacs.

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© 2006 King Features Syndicate

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