Monday, October 17, 2011

The Chevron Maneuver

If I was an anarchist smash-the-state type, I'd be pretty uncomfortable knowing that the president was on my side:

“Dr King would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonising those who work there.” Mr Obama had previously said the protests “express the frustration” of ordinary Americans with the financial sector.

As a black man, I suppose Obama knows what Dr King would want. Not being a King scholar myself, and being white, I must confess ignorance as to Dr King's stance on white middle-class college kids crapping on cop cars.

What the president seems to be doing here is what I call the Chevron maneuver. I first noticed the move years ago: an ad appears implying "yes, these fossil fuels are very troubling and that's why we're so concerned, and that's why we're dedicating an entire twentieth of a percent of our operating budget to polishing butterflies in the Amazon." So it sort of comes out "we're the good polluters."

Richard Branson is a master of the Chevron. He's happy to tell you about the extraordinary steps he's taking to lighten his airplanes and cut back on deadly CO2. What he doesn't mention is that every airline does the same; and CO2 has got nothing to do with it. Fuel savings is the real driver. (the math goes like this: save 5 pounds on a seat X the number of seats on the plane X the number of flights per day = a buttload of fuel savings) So Branson does what everyone in the industry does, but non critical thinkers give him a pass on producing megatons of CO2, and actually swear they see the beginnings of a halo over his head.

So Obama, the biggest crony capitalist we've seen in the White House, says in effect: "Yes, these guys are bad, but we must be careful not to demonize the donors, er, I mean individuals." Not mentioning that it was Democrats that steered Fanny and Freddy into the rocky waters, and it was Obama that administered TARP.

"No more bailouts! Except this next one!" ("you know, and except as needed!")

And it's a good move. Do you expect any Wall Street crappers to notice the irony in the Bail-outer-in-Chief joining their chants of No More Bailouts?

Oh speaking of chants and cheers: Wall Street workers need to throw out the occasional "What do we want? - When do we want it?" as they go in to work. The what-do-we-want is an old standby in the protest biz, but this crew is probably the least qualified to answer that question ever. What do we want? Debt Forgiveness! Free Bicycles! Organic Corn! Inter Species Marriage! A Deodorant that Prevents Tooth Decay! Unicorns!