Whiteboard Pig gets some use today

Happy consumerism day! I’ll be celebrating it differently than most people… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buy_Nothing_Day

Anyway, down to business. I’d just like to say: I called it. Yes, that’s right – as predicted, no supply cuts.

We will produce 30 million barrels a day for the next 6 months, and we will watch to see how the market behaves,” OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri told reporters in Vienna after the meeting. “We are not sending any signals to anybody, we just try to have a fair price.

Yes, “fair price.” That’s definitely what this is all about. OPEC, the cartel designed to ensure that small, oil-producing countries maintain a monopoly on oil, has always been interested in doing what’s fair for the world oil market. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. It’s located in the US so it’s structurally deficient and likely to collapse any day because Republicans are too busy giving rich people tax cuts to be bothered with spending money on infrastructure. Anywho… Brent January contracts are trading around $72.60 a barrel as I write this. That’s a $6/barrel crash from their price just before Thanksgiving.

OPEC’s policy will spur a crash in the U.S. shale industry, Leonid Fedun, a vice president and board member at OAO Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, said in an interview in London before the group’s decision.

“In 2016, when OPEC completes this objective of cleaning up the American marginal market, the oil price will start growing again,” said Fedun. “The shale boom is on a par with the dot-com boom. The strong players will remain, the weak ones will vanish.”

Yes, I know. I said that three weeks ago and I’m not even the VP of Lukoil like Fedun is.

That’s it. OPEC has thrown down the gauntlet. Your low gas prices are here to stay and will likely go much lower. Now all the clueless people claiming low gas prices were due to the elections can go into hiding. The slightly more intelligent people who claimed OPEC didn’t have the necessary influence to drive down oil prices can now start backpedaling.

 

Caught in the middle

I tend to find myself caught in the middle of many political and culture issues. I think it’s an inevitable outcome of always striving to understand all sides of an argument. The vast majority of Americans take pride in picking sides and blocking out all evidence, arguments, and reasons that run contrary to their chosen opinion set. I prefer to gather all information and attempt, to the extent possible, to look at things objectively and from a distance, outside of the prefabricated opinion sets constructed by the media. It’s long been my belief that, even after forming an opinion, it behoves me to fully understand opposing opinions – to the extent that I could argue an issue from another side if I wanted to. How can anyone successfully defend their opinions if they don’t know what the attacking side looks like? So I seek to understand what makes people select each of the prefabricated opinion sets they choose.  In most cases, this greater understanding of other points of view serves to reinforce my original opinions. In other cases it ends up with me caught in the middle, seeing equal merit in multiple points of view – so it is with Ferguson and the Mike Brown case.

I’m not going to get into the minutia of what did or didn’t happen the day Mike Brown was shot. The law has spoken and that debate is no longer a fruitful one. Regardless of how anyone feels about what occurred that day, I think nearly everyone can agree that if Darren Wilson had been an ordinary citizen with a gun, he would have been strung up immediately. He may or may not have been found guilty, but there would have been a trial – that much is certain. There’s clearly an issue there that needs to be addressed, but it’s one that other people are already beating to death. No need for me to weigh in. Instead, what I am interested in is examining the responses to and opinions on the actions of the rioters in Ferguson.

Per usual in America, we have controlled debate with predefined opinion sets. First, we have the anti-riot side. These people are typically (and unsurprsingly) GOP/Tea Party folk, so racist remarks in this group are common, some thinly veiled, others bold and proud of their bigotry. This side believes that the rioters are upholding negative stereotypes, partaking in senseless acts of violence, and really only out for themselves. Then there’s the pro-riot side. These people are mostly bleeding hearts with a lot of whiteman guilt or black community members that defend the rest of the black community no matter what it does. They see the riots as a noble protest by the people of Ferguson against the whiteman’s conspiracy to cover up the murder of an innocent black boy. Not all of these people support each specific act of violence, but they’re at least sympathetic to the reasoning behind them (reasoning which, let’s be clear, they have assigned to it).

There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on with these two opinion sets. First, let me address the bleeding heart camp. Let’s be clear on what these riots are and are not. These riots are not protests for justice.

JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON!!! I mean... MIKE BROWN!!!

JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON!!! I mean… MIKE BROWN!!!

This is not a fight for justice. This is people using civil unrest as an excuse to loot and destroy. The fight for justice and righteous anger is something the bleeding heart camp has assigned to these actions. It is not the force driving these people to steal shoes and electronics. So obviously the bleeding heart side of the debate is bunk and the racist Tea Bagger types have the win, right? Not so fast. These Ferguson riots have been condemned with a wrath unseen in any other rioting situation. If these people are truly so against senseless acts of violence for the sake of being against senseless acts of violence, where were they for the Keene Pumpkin Fest riots just a short while ago, when college kids were destroying innocent people’s cars and local businesses in the name of.. partying? How about football related riots this year? Seattle – senseless violence because… your local sports team…won?? Where were all my local riot comdemners when UCONN students were destroying the campus over… a basketball game? Why no rage over all the other riots this year around the country that were attributed to.. literally nothing – rioting and destruction purely for its own sake. Surely this is the most senseless violence of them all, but yet I did not see a single person stepping up to so vehemently condemn it as they have the Ferguson riots. People keep passing around this meme about how white people didn’t riot after the O.J. Simpson verdict. That’s right; white people don’t ever riot over anything meaningful, but make no mistake, they do riot very frequently – over sports.

1000 bonus Internets to the person that can correctly identify which of these are from Ferguson:

Seattle riots

download (1) bp1 Riot Breaks Out After Game In Vancouver download (2) download (3) download image-2-for-riots-break-out-after-vancouver-canucks-lose-the-nhl-stanley-cup-playoffs-to-the-boston-bruins-gallery-111927664 images (2) images lakers-car-fire_1660746i riot42 uconn-students-riot

Surprise! I tricked you! NOT A SINGLE GODDAMN ONE IS. Where the fuck were all of you to complain about this senseless violence over SPORTS? I have seen an incredible amount of totally vial, hate filled vitriol directed towards Ferguson protesters, but yet sports seems to be an accepted thing to riot about. Dead black kids = not worth rioting. Team just won playoffs = burn the city to the ground. Is it really senseless violence you hate or are you just taking advantage of the opportunity to vent all that pent-up racism? Contemplate that one hard before answering.

What if there was no rioting? The American people have a five-minute memory and the media has a five-minute attention span. If it wasn’t for the rioting, this case would have disappeared from the public conscience the day it ran across TV screens as a tiny fragment in a cable news ticker. Peaceful protests don’t get 24/7 news coverage for days on end. Peaceful protests are not taken seriously by the government or by the public. The riots might be greedy idiots upholding stereotypes by looting and burning down their own communities, but as hard as I try, I can’t get it out of my mind that there are positive aspects to these otherwise selfish acts. People are finally doing something that is getting the nation’s attention. Even if it’s not something productive or intelligent; they’re still doing something. Taking place in the land of utter apathy, a small part of me can’t help but see that as a tiny victory. On the flip side, it is undeniable this behavior is reinforcing stereotypes, it does give the racists the ability to say “we told you so,” and it does lend support/credibility to the 1%’s war on the poor. This is why I’m once again thrown into the middle, stuck seeing the merits of being both for and against the protests, but not for the reasons the prefabricated opinion sets are. I’m against the riots because of the credibility it’s giving to the war on the poor. I’m for the riots because they’re keeping the incredibly important issue of above-the-law police violence in the public spotlight and because they’re people doing something, something. It might be the wrong targets catching the brunt of the riots (though I did see a few charred police cruisers), but at least everyone knows in the future that an unarmed kid can’t be shot in Ferguson without consequences – even if those consequences aren’t met out by the justice system.

 

You can’t have your cake and eat it too

Sweet Talk recently published a post on a proposed alternative solution to net neutrality that, we’re supposed to believe, would keep the internet free, create competition, and foster innovation. The underlying premise is the oft-cited (and repeatedly disproven) meme that a free market is always the solution. There are numerous flaws with the proposed idea. I’ll address a few major ones here.

If you’re too lazy to read his entire article (which you should), here’s his proposal:

Require that utility companies lease space on their poles to at least four ISPs, at cost.

(call it Pole Neutrality, or Open Leasing)

The idea is that the “at cost” part encourages more ISPs to set up shop and the “at least four” part creates competition. The part that’s presupposed (in line with the free market meme) is that this “competition” magically keeps all the ISPs in line and serving the best interests of their customers. Even the arguments popping up that are refuting the proposal do not question this last part, only the viability of the logistics involved with this pole leasing to multiple ISPs.

The first issue I see with this idea is that it’s taken for granted that at least four ISPs will move into every market across the country. This is obviously not in line with reality, because ISPs aren’t exactly going to be beating down the doors to dive into rural markets. These markets will require laying plenty of wire yet will yield few subscribers. In fact, this is already an issue.

The more densely populated a place is, the more likely it is to have fast, affordable Internet. When people live far apart, service providers don’t profit enough to cover the costs of building and maintaining the physical infrastructure. If they do provide access, it’s often at higher prices and slower speeds than in urban areas. In the rural West, where 2 million people lack broadband access, topography is also a barrier. Mountains and narrow valleys can block signals from wireless towers and satellites and make it difficult to install fiber-optic cables.

Yet we’re supposed to believe that multiple ISPs are going to dive into these markets and compete for a tiny amount of business? Not a chance. So if this proposal only works for urban customers, it is already inferior to net neutrality and should be discarded. Everyone should have access to a free and open internet. Why would we want to implement something that furthers the information and resource gap between wealthy and poor?

Second, we have the “at least four” part of the proposal. Let’s assume a minimum of four ISPs actually do move into all markets (an assumption we already know to be wrong). Is four choices really competition? How well do the limited number of carrier choices work out for customers in the wireless world? The FCC published a 339 page report that discussed exactly that.

Has that limited competition improved prices for consumers? Improved prices are one of the primary tenants of the free market meme.

Nope.

FCC

With stiff competition keeping the providers in check, capital investment should be increasing year after year to keep an edge up on the competition… but it’s not.

CTIA: Total Annual Incremental Capital Investment (in billions)

Annual Capital Investment as a Percentage of Industry Revenue, 2006-2011

Data from CTIA likewise show that investment as a percentage of revenue increased from 13 percent in 2009 to 16 percent in 2010 and then declined to 15 percent in 2011, but Census Bureau data show that this metric remained flat at 14 percent from 2009 through 2010.

It’s declining because the providers are comfortable in their domination of the market. It’s not dog eat dog, it’s large corporations selling products with nearly inelastic demand dictating to customers how things are going to be whether they like it or not. Everyone with a cell phone knows that when your provider sucks, you’re free to switch to one of the other handful of providers with an identical plan that costs the same amount and includes customer service that sucks just as much. How’s your unlimited data plan doing? Shouldn’t consumer benefits be increasing under competition, not getting hack or throttled? The ISP industry is no different. It has high entry barriers and is dominated by only a handful of massive corporations – this is an oligopoly. Oligopoly is not competition. Allowing the handful of these firms to co-mingle in marketplaces does not make it any less of an oligopoly, as we can see in the wireless industry, oil industry, college textbook publishing industry, and (most closely related) the cable/satellite industry.

Finally, even if I’m wrong about the first two points, let’s talk about the part of the proposal that everyone is presupposing: the idea that competition will solve the issues net neutrality is intended to address. Let’s pretend we’ll have a bunch of things we likely won’t have under this plan: lots of ISPs, real competition, highly informed consumers, easy switching between ISPs, and low entry barriers for new ISP startups. Will that environment provide the same benefits as net neutrality? Nothing has changed as far as what’s in the interest of the ISPs. It’s still in Time Warner’s and Comcast’s interests to throttle Netflix into the dirt. “Oh, but they can’t because then people will switch to Google Fiber!” you say. Will they though? It’s in Google’s interest to throttle/block Yahoo!, Bing, and every other search engine that isn’t Google and every web mail that isn’t GMail. So what if I want to watch Netflix AND use Bing? I guess I’m out of luck. Or maybe I can hope that XYZ startup ISP also moves into town, manages to not get acquired by or merge with Time Warner, and doesn’t take issue with any of the other websites I enjoy visiting. Want to watch Netflix? You’ll have to use an ISP that doesn’t also have their own video streaming service. Want to use Hotmail? You’ll have to use an ISP that isn’t also a major web mail provider. Now this example is extreme, as are most net neutrality examples, but, just like most net neutrality examples, the point remains valid. This plan changes nothing because when your choices remain the least of four evils (if you’re lucky enough to not live in a rural area and actually have four ISPs to choose from) you still don’t have real choice and these corporations can still do as they please with your browsing experience. The bottom line is that there is no way around net neutrality if we want a free and open internet. The internet must be explicitly protected. We cannot rely on the mythical free market fairy to do something that is the job of the FCC.

Remembering the happier times

Cycling season is over – at least my cycling season is over. It’s dark out before I even leave work and the daytime highs are struggling to hit the mid-50’s. While I did spend hundreds of dollars on cold weather gear last year, I simply do not have the desire to ride in uncomfortable temperatures. Cycling should be painful and uncomfortable due to the tremendous physical effort involved, not because my hands and feet have gone numb, my nose is gushing snots, my lungs and sinuses die a little more with each icy breath, and my eyes feel like sandpaper because I’m straining blink-less to see in the dark. I’m now welcoming the oncoming seasonal depression with open arms. At first I was a bit irked by the disappearance of rideable weather and how seemingly short the riding season was, but then I began to think back to the beginning of the year (which then suddenly seemed like such a long time ago) and it occurred to me just how much I’ve experienced on the bike this season.

Having only started riding in the spring of last year, I didn’t start this year with a ton of miles under my belt. I rode a hybrid primarily on bike paths and multi-use trails for the first half of 2013. The nagging desire for further and faster eventually lead to the cashing out of my unused forex account and the hasty, not-at-all-researched purchase of a road bike. Thankfully the bike shop sales guy didn’t totally suck, so it worked out. Turns out money does buy quality. Unfortunately the bulk of the season was over by the time the bike was properly equipped and ready to go. So for all intents and purposes, this was my first road season.

My Beautiful bike on the first ride this year

Going into this riding season I had a few goals in mind:

  • Do a century ride
  • Do at least one race
  • Ride some real mountains
  • Get faster

With the exception of the last one (which is debatable, but I’d lean towards accomplished for at least a portion of the season) I managed to tick all the boxes on my list. Here’s some Strava proof of effort:

IMG_20141110_134014

One thing I didn’t do, which now has me highly disappointed, is take lots of good pictures to really capture the events that occurred. Thus, here are some year-in-review shots (in very rough chronological order) from my undersized collection of poor-quality photos…

Started spending money before the tires even hit the virgin spring tarmac – new wheels for maximum placebo speed effect

Tour de Lyme

Tour de Lyme – First major group ride on the year. Far too many brutal hills (not pictured) for so early in the season. I learned I’d be spending my gran fondo style rides in no man’s land because I was too fast for the slow people (must be the wheels) and too slow for the fast people

 

wpid-20140518_105122.jpg

It was quite a beautiful route though

 

One of my favorite parts of being out riding is seeing interesting things and enjoying the beautiful scenery. This is why I’m not a fan of riding with roadies too hardcore to stop and smell the roses. Half the fun of road rides is the adventure. People too busy burying their heads in their powermeters or killing themselves to drop the guy next to them are missing out on all this great stuff…

like mailboxes

like mailboxes on hills steep enough to make your heart explode and your legs fall off

and cows

and baby cows

wpid-20140726_093445.jpg

and whatever these are

crossing signs that only exist in the middle of nowhere

animal crossing signs that only exist in the middle of nowhere

old blast furnaces that also only exist in the middle of nowhere

old blast furnaces that also only exist in the middle of nowhere

oh dear

oh dear

 

and these kind of post card farm pictures

and these kind of post card farm pictures

plus waterfalls!

plus waterfalls!

Imagine if I had been foresightful enough to take out the phone and actually take some pictures on more than 5% of my rides! I could have written a proper post that told a nice story of my bike season instead of just throwing out random captioned pictures. Anywho… per my second goal, not all rides were sight-seeing. However, I was no less absent-minded when it came to taking pictures at races. I did manage to take pictures before my first race though. Giving a massive middle finger to the Velominati, I fitted my road bike with some sweet clip-on aero bars and entered a time trial.

wpid-20140510_110001.jpg

dirty bar tapes mean I actually ride, don’t be a hater

My idealized finish for that race was one in which I survived, so judging on the basis of that standard my performance was a resounding success. Later in the year while browsing W4M casual connections on Craigslist I found a ridiculously good deal on a CX bike. The little beater that could (which was actually in mint condition) took me to my first (and many more) CX races.

said beater relaxing in the middle of a "training" ride

said beater relaxing in the middle of a “training” ride

Finding a bike that all but forced my hand into cyclocross racing was both a blessing and a curse. BikeSnobNYC described cyclocross as the opposite of sex: if you’re doing it right it hurts and it’s only enjoyable before and after. This is highly accurate. The “during” part is spent cursing yourself for signing up and hoping for a major mechanical failure that will end your race (and thus your misery) early. Nevertheless, it is addictive, the atmosphere is fun, and unlike races involving road bikes, people are friendly and even seem to be enjoying themselves.

now you can see why I curse cyclocross so much, I have such short legs!

now you can see why I curse cyclocross so much, I have such short legs!

Enough of that hillbilly stuff, back to road riding. Farm animals, scenery, and images of me trying to race are great, but we must not forget what is important.

It is, absolutely, without question, unequivocally, about the bike. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously a twatwaffle.

evening pose

evening pose

sunset rock lean

sunset rock lean

 

action shot

action shot

Alas, we’ve gone grossly out of chronological order, but I don’t care anymore. This is an evolving post that’ll come out however it comes out. That brings us to… whatever I feel like posting next since this is not (and unfortunately never was) in order, which is another first on a long list of cycling firsts this year: my first cycling vacation (that’s a vacation for cycling, not a vacation from cycling) – in this case to Colorado. I secured a few more firsts while on vacation, one of which was that “ride some real mountains” goal on my list.

 

not a real mountain

not a real mountain

higher up the not a real mountain

higher up the not a real mountain

this is a real mountain

this is a real mountain

the realness of this mountain is undeniable due to the presence of snow in June

the realness of this mountain is undeniable due to the presence of snow in June

Mr. Garmin's altimeter confirming the realness of the mountain

Mr. Garmin’s altimeter confirming the realness of the mountain

Unfortunately the mountain was a little too real for me and the 40mph winds combined with the cold, the precipitous drop only feet away from me, and the uselessly thin air prevented an actual summit, but it did allow me to buy this awesome shirt.

at least I know that failure is common enough to make this shirt design financially viable

at least I know that failure is common enough to make this shirt design financially viable

When I wasn’t failing to make it to mountain summits, I was riding the nicest roads and bike trails I’ve ever ridden.

never have I seen a more flawless road

never have I seen a more flawless road

the only better than a freshly laid bike trail is a freshly laid bike trail devoid of people

the only thing better than a freshly laid bike trail is a freshly laid bike trail devoid of people

CAAD10 rental bike was outstanding - wood purchase

CAAD10 Ultegra rental bike was outstanding

notice all the cars that aren't there

notice all the cars that aren’t there

The trip also reinforced my disdain for FSA products. My (brand new) rental’s SL-K crank developed a horrendous tick/click/creak/snapping noise that sounded like one of the arms was ready to snap off every time I put some power down. I guess you can’t expect much from a $600 crank. In retrospect, it may have actually the been the BB30 bottom bracket, which are known, noise making junk. Standard BBs were never actually an issue, yet the bike industry has a newer, bigger, and shitter BB standard almost weekly. Bigger is obviously always better, except when it’s not, which in the case of bottom brackets is all the time. I will never buy a BB30 bike or an FSA crank. The junk crank and BB did not do the outstanding CAAD10 frame justice.

polished turd

polished carbon turd

On other hand, Ultegra 6800 is nothing short of perfection.

rental ballin'

rental ballin’

Then I came back from Colorado, because just like Seinfeld and having hosts that don’t suck on the Price Is Right, all good things must come to an end. After I got back I did more bike related stuff.

IMG_8749420580468

I stood next to a Penny-farthing

 

rode a gran fondo

rode a gran fondo

14095797598_9c2f7d6569_h

made an angry looking face while wearing an aero helmet

went on group rides

went on group rides

and took artsy looking sunset pictures from the handlebars

and took artsy looking sunset pictures from the handlebars

Then the days started getting shorter and the nights colder. My evolutionary instincts kicked in. I started eating more and conserving energy (by not riding) so I could fatten up for winter like a very large, mostly hairless squirrel. While I hibernate, I’ll be thinking about what I’d like to accomplish next season. So far, my lists look something like this…

  • More Rule 5
  • Quality over quantity on training rides
  • Try at least one crit race (and don’t wreck)
  • Make it to the summit of the real mountain
  • Do a 150 mile ride

I’m sure I’ll come up with more, but that’s the list for now. More important than any of those things is the need to keep my competitive side at bay and let riding remain fun. The day that race training and power output becomes more important than enjoying the ride is when cycling has gone from fun to work and it’s time for me to find a new hobby. I’d rather get faster slowly and be able to stop to take pictures of mailboxes and cows when I feel like it. At the end of next season, I’ll feel far more satisfied if I can look back and reflect on the adventures I’ve had rather than only be able to talk about how many FTP watts I’ve added.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick! Someone call Alex Jones!!

Facebook statuses used to be so awesome. They allowed people to spam the world with a paragraph of their stream-of-conscious as often as they wanted (many abused that privilege).

facebook funny

What a brilliant idea it was at the time. Then people got lazy with both reading and writing. They needed a new outlet that also worked with their ever-decreasing attention spans. That’s why Twatter is so popular now – same benefits with even less investment. I went the other direction. Most of my ramblings are too long for Facebook statuses. My Twatter account is used almost solely for talking shit to the morons on CNBC. So here I am…

Literally, that's me here typing this post.

Literally, that’s yours truly here typing this post.

As everyone is well aware of at this point, oil prices have taken a dive down the shitter. Most people are chalking it up to election time, but the remaining 0.05% of the population (the people with brains) know that’s laughable. As a disclaimer, I do not actually believe the scenario I’m about to suggest. Not because it isn’t possible or because it’s unreasonable, but because I am not convinced people had the necessary foresight to pull it off. So, please, don’t start refuting an argument I never actually made. It’s a thought experiment on something that popped into my head as I zoned out while stuck in traffic. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to think about and, even if we’ve arrived at this place by dumb luck, it isn’t too late for this plan to be acted on. Of course, if it does turn out to be the case, I called it first*!

*actually I just found out I’m three weeks and two days late to the party, as you’ll see later.

Anywho, back on topic. Oil prices are down, way down. They’re the lowest they’ve been since we had sub $2.00 gas for like ten minutes back in 2008.

Oil futures 6 month

You’d think the OPEC national leaders would be highly distraught and looking to slash supplies ASAP to bolster prices, but they aren’t. Why not? Let’s rewind to me sitting in traffic and pondering the world oil situation (yea I’m weird like that, but bike season is over so I have nothing to occupy my mind). OPEC is facing declining global market share as Russian and US oil production grow. Russian production has been steadily increasing for some time and US production has increased 50% since the start of the recession.

us oil russian oil

The skyrocketing oil prices of the past decade have made US and Russian oil fields previously viewed as too high-cost to suddenly be seen as viable. Companies dove in head first, assuming high oil prices were here to stay, invested massive loads of cash, and started drilling every field in sight. Then prices didn’t keep going up. Sound vaguely familiar? It should.

If OPEC drops production in an attempt to bring oil prices back up (which may or may not actually work), while it will boost their profits in the short-term, the high prices will make high-cost drill projects in the rest of the world worth continued pursuit, thus maintaining the decline in their market share. You don’t run a successful global oil cartel by focusing on short-term profits. Sole focus on short-term profits is reserved for US corporations slowly running themselves into the ground and libertarians. Rather than act to help high-cost foreign oil production continue, OPEC is letting oil prices collapse.  The OPEC countries have easily accessible oil reserves out the ass that are being drilled/pumped at a fraction of the cost of US and Russian wells – they still control 81% of the world’s oil reserves. OPEC nations remain profitable at low oil prices, US and Russian drilling operations do not. OPEC is sitting on a sea of cheap supply. The US and Russia are spending top-dollar to extract limited supplies. The solution to OPEC’s declining market share is obvious: LET oil prices go down the toilet, facilitate them doing so if necessary. Be the Wal-Mart of the oil world and use your low operating costs to put everyone else out of business. Declining profit margins and eventual losses will force increasing numbers of expensive-to-run US and Russian operations to shut down… and OPEC swoops right in to pick up the slack. When competition is sufficiently destroyed, oil prices can be picked up to the point just under where those foreign operations are financially viable, OPEC continues its monopoly, and everyone is as happy as this guy.

As far as I can tell it’s a perfectly reasonable strategy. The OPEC folks being smart enough (never mind actually influential enough) to sucker foreign drilling out into the open with high prices, then crush it with low prices is highly dubious. Still, it was an interesting thought. I think it’s even more interesting after having written this, because while writing I happened to stumble upon a Motley Fool article from someone who happens to agree with me. He also uses a lot more concrete facts and figures, probably because, unlike me, he actually knows what he’s talking about and isn’t just rambling to fill time on a lunch break. Still, that means I might not be a crazy conspiracy theorist after all.