DEPT. OF SATIRE

Why Is Oil So Pricey? It's a Conspiracy!

By R. James Woolsey
Sunday, January 6, 2008

As oil prices hit a record $100 per barrel last week, I came into possession of a transcript of a recent conference call of a heretofore unknown organization called the Pedal to the Metal Coalition, or PedMet, which encourages Americans to stay addicted to oil. The participants seemed to be the head of the shadowy group's K Street office, an official at OPEC headquarters, a representative from each OPEC member state and some hangers-on. Their greatest fear is that the United States will become oil-independent -- and they're concerned that the crunchy types' campaign to feed cows grass rather than corn could mean not only a healthier America but one less dependent on OPEC.

I'm making the transcript available in the public interest.

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K Street: Good to hear from you guys. There seemed to be a hang-up with getting us those year-end bonus checks. What's up?

OPEC Headquarters: We've been deliberating, and we've decided that your armies of consultants, lobbyists and publicists will get their exorbitant fees . . . this time.

But we aren't pleased with recent developments on the Hill. We pay you big bucks to push Americans away from using renewable fuels, but those damned measures to encourage the use of renewable fuels passed in the December 2007 energy bill. You charged us a fortune for your efforts to convince Congress that the world will be driven to starvation if it substitutes any more corn-based ethanol for gasoline. That failed, too. We need to know what's gone wrong.

K Street: I thought you might call about that. That bill was just a temporary glitch; turns out those corn-state senators are really tough. We all know that corn-based ethanol is a reasonable fuel source with a few warts, but I think we did a great job this time around of making those few drawbacks look huge. And don't worry. Before this extremely dangerous idea of making ethanol, butanol or whateverol out of cellulosic biomass and waste catches on, we're going to redouble our efforts and . . .

OPEC: Let me interrupt. Our member in Tehran has some points that we want considered.

Tehran: Thanks. We've been examining the delicious degree of confusion caused by that recent National Intelligence Estimate on our nuclear ambitions, which conveniently excluded uranium enrichment from our nuclear weapons program -- the most central and crucial part of the program. That made us conclude that there's no limit to what you can do to manipulate American public opinion and politics, simply by redefining the issues in your own terms. Surely we can execute a similar ploy here.

K Street: Always open to good new ideas -- what do you have in mind?


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