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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
No Relation Between Policy and Reality

Bush Passes the Buck on Soaring Gas Prices

by BILL PAHNELES

The other day during a brief press opportunity, President Bush expressed his concern about rising gasoline prices, assuring Americans that his administration feels the public’s pain, while laying out three reasons for rocketing prices of the past two months.

First, it’s those damned Chinese and Indians, trying to be more like us.

Second, it’s you and me, driving more because the weather’s nice..

Finally, high prices result from the (otherwise) routine change from winter- to summer-blend gasoline.

The standoff with Iran over its nuclear program didn’t even merit mention, as if Bush’s recent threats are directed a Martians.

Today, however, the AP spun the story thusly: "Crude-oil prices broke through $75 a barrel to hit a new record Friday, fueled by concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and tight U.S. gasoline supplies."

It isn’t as though people don’t recognize the difference between what Bush says, and reality on the other side. We’re just resigned to this administration making up its own narrative to keep things bobbling along–at least until the next disaster.

What’s odd is the AP’s own construction of a narrative that–if not in total agreement with the administration’s–makes Washington out as a passive, rather than active, player in the story.

Whose concern over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, after all, is driving this "crisis," anyway?

So far, Iranian nuclear "threat" is premised on a fanciful scenario where the mullahs or President Ahmadinejad acquire a nuclear weapon, and promptly, without heed to consequences use it to annihilate the state of Israel.

On the other hand, the Bush administration’s neo-con cadre is fully prepared to conduct a "preventive" strike against Iran–perhaps using nuclear weapons–to promote world peace and non-proliferation–and just incidentally remove a regime that has been in their sights at least as long as Saddam.

The oil markets are, understandably, jittery at the latter prospect–far more than the former. They, of course, understand the downside of an attack on Iran–in a way the Bush administration is hoping the American public will not.

One can only hope that the American public is at least self-interested enough to comprehend what, in the past couple of months, has propelled those rising gas prices.

Otherwise, as the old Greek saying goes, he who doesn’t have sense has feet.

BILL PAHNELAS can be reached at: wpahnelas@gmail.com.