Posted by: robinsonwarner | August 12, 2008

The Robinson Challenge

For those of you that know me I’ve recently moved down to New Orleans.  It is a three hour flight out of Boston to New Orleans, or a twenty eight hour drive in an automobile.  Having been forced to choose the latter of the two traveling options I have become well acquainted with gas prices and their exponential rise over the years.

 

For those of you who have been following politics in your lives and more specifically in the last four years and even more specifically in the last few weeks, the issue of energy has become a bit of a talking point.  Barack Obama and John McCain have been squaring off for the past two weeks about the flaws in the other candidate’s energy plan.  Now I don’t want to just give away the information about whose energy policy I believe makes the most sense, but the guy’s name rhymes with A Smock O’Drama.  Clever, I know.

 

But regardless who you feel is better suited to lead our country, whether it is a professor of constitutional law who speaks eloquently and passionately, or this old dude that thinks Iraq shares a border with Afghanistan and probably eats prunes for 66% of his meals, something has got to be done about rising gas prices.  It is a pressing matter that requires national attention, bipartisan cooperation and the best minds America has to offer to gradually solve this problem.  From the bleeding heart liberals who believe that shopping at Whole Foods will save the planet, to the die hard neo-conservatives who believe it is more likely that Jesus Christ will come back for the Last Judgment and annihilate our dependence on foreign oil, everyone must be a part of this solution.

 

Oil corporations are seeing record profits while gas prices are rising.  If you took Logic 101 in college or maybe you aren’t a glass of orange juice, it is fairly obvious that we, as Americans, are getting hosed.  Yes, Toby Keith, I’m afraid we’re not putting our boots in anyone’s ass ‘round these parts no more.  We are pumping gas with our thumbs up our asses and there is nothing being done about it. 

 

I would like to take a moment to talk about how much I hate Toby Keith.  I’m sure my dear friend Tom who is a partial contributor to this blog will be terribly disappointed with what I’m about to say.  I love you Tom, but you’re in Europe so I can sneak this in while you’re gone.  I understand this guy is all about having a good time and drinking beer but that won’t change the fact that Toby Keith is a jackass.  Toby Keith is the epitome of an ignorant American citizen who truly believes that “putting a boot in someone’s ass” is the American way and that is what makes this country great.

 

And in some regard, the military-industrial complex and kicking ass in the world theater has made us a tremendous economic powerhouse with the potential to do wonderful things in this world.  We may have been putting our boots in people’s asses for centuries, but based on what our constitution says and what our beliefs say we believe, we should not have been.  The thing that should make America great, Toby, you fucking troglodyte, is our commitment to justice.  Eleanor Roosevelt asked, “When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”  Because of the influence we do have, we should strive for better. 

 

I understand you were really freaked out after September 11th, 2001, but we all were.  People do indeed fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer (thank you Nas), and I realize you are infinitely perplexed that some people might not appreciate everything America has done for the world, but it happens. 

 

I would imagine you were the kid who held a frog in your hand when you were a child, were confused that it didn’t want to be around you because it was terribly different from you, plus you were playing too rough; so, in a violent, blind, prehistoric rage, you smashed it with a rock.  This is what you are advocating on a global scale. 

 

You might believe that an iron fist rules the strongest and maintains order, but the oppressors who are toppled are rarely forgiven for their transgressions by those they ruled over.  What you propose, my truly sad, pathetic excuse for a human being, is that conflict is a glorified, violent, endeavor that America succeeds in that is how we should solve the problems that were finally addressed in the global crescendo that September 11th, 2001 was.  Despite your inevitable enthusiasm for gun racks, war is not glorious Toby.  I recommend you stop feeding your beer to your horses, donate that money you would be using to poison your horses to the wonderful servicemen and women overseas, or join the military if you wish to do something constructive instead of stirring up easily impressionable individuals who share the same miserable vision of our role in human history that you do. 

 

The natural state of being, Toby, you war mongering fuck stick, is a state of peace.  I’m well aware the world isn’t peaceful all the time, countries do need soldiers and freedom sometimes is indeed not free; I’m not that young and naïve.  However, Toby, you rotten waste of a cerebral cortex, to use your terms, putting a boot in someone’s ass only yields more boots in more asses.  Eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, shithead.  I recommend reading some Martin Luther King then doing humanity a favor by drinking a glass of anti-freeze.  And I felt all this before I saw a trailer for a movie called, I couldn’t make this up, Beer For My Horses.  Here is the link http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/beerformyhorses/.  If God exists and She truly cared about us, she would wipe out all of existence before letting a single human being see this movie.

 

Now that I’ve lost twenty five percent of my readers, I would like to finally get to my personal proposal for solving rising gas prices.

 

The best way to fix gas prices is to corner and exploit the executives of these corporations.  We must use their greed against them.  I understand they “compete” against each other as all businesses do, but all of these corporations are making a killing nowadays so they have been removed from the true, cutthroat atmosphere of business.  We must make them truly compete against each other again.  What is the one thing that brings out the competitor in all human beings?  What turns otherwise lethargic, complacent human beings into an eye of the tiger?  Reality television. 

 

You have all seen reality shows where money is up for grabs doing various physical challenges, eating gross things, alienating yourselves from others, resorting to cloak and dagger tactics, and ultimately screwing over as many people as possible to get your pay day.  Take a look at the last three.  That sounds a lot like oil companies.  Who would be better suited for reality television than oil company executives?  They are treacherous, immoral, greedy, pond scum individuals who will do anything to get ahead in their potential market.  Now what do oil executives at major corporations hate more than anything?  Taxes.  I mean they made all that money with all their hard work, why should they have to give it back to the government to help other people?  They didn’t earn it.  Oh wait, that’s how government functions properly.

 

Oil executives hate taxes so much that I’m willing to bet they would do anything to circumvent them entirely.  I mean this is besides the normal routes of hiding profits with shady book keeping, using offshore bank accounts, and the borderline criminal link between government and business.  But besides this, the desire to shave costs by ridding themselves of burdensome taxes would overrule all other rationality.  If there was a way to do this, they would have to take it.  It is in their nature to gamble this way.

 

My energy policy would be to pass a new law that would provide the option for all oil executives of the major oil corporations of the world to spend eight weeks a year in a Real World vs. Road Rules style competition to vie for complete tax exemption.

 

The flipside to this is that penalty for not winning complete tax exemption in the final round would be a 5% increase in overall taxes on the corporation as well as 1% of all offshore bank accounts being donated to a charity of their choice.  Finally, prices would have to be reduced by 10% for a year until the next Robinson Challenge came around.  The first time you lose the Robinson Challenge you must drop your prices by 10% and in subsequent years of losing, you must take an additional 1.5%.  If you figure there are around eight major oil companies in the world and if seven of them have to drop their prices by 10% in the first year and then another 1% after that.  The reason these companies can afford to do this is because of the record profits they are seeing in the past few years.  The only people that are seeing these profits at all are the higher ups in the corporation.  And these would be the people deciding whether or not they would participate in the Robinson Challenge.  They couldn’t resist this gamble.  The reward is too much to even think about the risk.  They would still make an unbelievable amount of money, but just not an astronomically preposterous amount.

 

Now this might seem harsh enough of a penalty for not winning that it might deter the executives from participating, but you have to understand how fucking greedy these bastards are.  I would imagine an executive board conversation would go something like this:

 

John:  Okay, I called everyone here today to discuss our participation in The Robinson Challenge this year.  As you know we took a pretty substantial hit last year after we lost in the final Gauntlet Challenge to that bastard Rick over at Shell.

 

Steve:  I really thought we had him at elimination, but he got the Life Shield which protected him the week before when we were going to compete in the Circle of Death.  You know that is our strength.

 

John:  I completely agree Steve.  I just hate that bastard Rick.  I really want to beat him this year.  He’s always got this look in his face like he just made you eat a shit sandwich against your will.

 

Tim:  God!  I hate Rick!  I really wanted that tax exemption.  I was looking at a house in Barbados for God’s sake.

 

John:  I know Tim.  I’m sorry.  I also heard your kid was only able to get twenty inch rims on his new BMW.  You got my card, right?

 

Tim:  Yeah…

 

Ken:  Fuck it!  I am not going to sit by and let Tim’s kid only have twenty inch rims on his car.  He’s so young!  He deserves better.  I vote we go for it.  I want that money!

 

Sally:  Guys, I really think we’re making a big mistake here.  We could be looking at a pretty substantial hit here.  I know the potential of tax exemption is really enticing, but we’ve lost three years in a row.  I’m not sure we can lose again.  We’ve had to drop our prices by 13%.  I mean we’re still making a ton of money, but just not nearly as much.

 

John:  Guys, did you hear something?  All I heard was, “Blah blah blah, I’m a woman!  I have periods!”  Shut up, Stacy.

 

Sally:  It’s Sally.

 

John:  Whatever.  Look, the only reason you’re on the board is because we like to take all your good ideas and peddle them off as our own.  Everyone knows women can’t run a business or…

 

Ken:  Vote!

 

Tim:  Haha, yeah!  Take that!  …. Women.

 

Sally:  Shut the fuck up Tim, you don’t even know how to read.  And Ken, I’ve talked with your wife at the Christmas party; apparently you’re hung like a four year old in an ice bath.

 

Ken:  It’s my cross to bear.

 

Sally:  The only reason any of you got these jobs is because your fathers went to good colleges, you went there because of their donations then they gave you a spot in their company they helped create.  All you do is lay people off and drink expensive whiskey.

 

John:  Yeah?  What are we supposed to do? Work?  Whatever, you’re just on your period. So do you guys want to get that bastard Rick or what?

 

Everyone but Sally:  Yeah.  Let it ride!  Let’s go celebrate by sexually harassing our secretaries!

 

Okay, so that was a little bit outlandish.  Everyone knows there’s no way a woman would ever be allowed in that meeting.  But the Robinson Challenge would be a situation where everyone wins.  We would be able to watch old, out of shape men who normally spend their entire day sitting in posh offices plotting the demise of third world economies, out doing physical activity and really caring about it.  They would be sneaking behind each other’s backs instead of ours.  The loss of tax revenue we would take by giving tax exemption to one corporation would dwarfed by the revenue taken in from the tax increase the companies would agree too.  In addition, countless schools and organizations would be bankrolled by checks from the offshore bank accounts used by oil companies.  This would be completely fool proof because the people that run these companies are businessmen when it comes down to it, but they all have hubris that they will give into every single time.  We will use their greed to fuel our benefits.

 

Every time you fill up your car this summer when gas prices seem to be rising to heights we never even thought possible, consider my offer.  If you feel your wallet getting lighter because these fat cat oil executives need two private jets, starting writing your representatives to start drafting the Robinson Challenge.

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. “If you took Logic 101 in college or maybe you aren’t a glass of orange juice, it is fairly obvious that we, as Americans, are getting hosed.”

    Something I think nearly everyone overlooks – you never hear this talked about. All these oil companies are publicly traded companies. I don’t know any numbers, nor do I know where to find them, but I know that in the corporate world higher profits yield higher dividend payouts to the shareholders. So, the Americans aren’t getting hosed, I bet 90% of the profit is re-entering the American economy in some way, shape or form. (No, I am not going to look for numbers to substantiate this, because the Yankees are in extra innings).

    I think the Obama camp is fully aware this and don’t mention it because they’re banking on the blind public to pin their economic woes on the “oil fat cats.” Talk about scapegoating.

    Anyway, Rob, kudos on making a blog. I went on AIM for the first time this entire summer and this is what I come back to: you babbling about some liberal bullshit; I guess I should have expected it. It looks like we’re in for a rough few months of campaigning, I only pray there’s no hanging chads this time around.

    Love,
    Dallas

  2. “So, the Americans aren’t getting hosed, I bet 90% of the profit is re-entering the American economy in some way, shape or form.”

    I’m quite aware that these are publicly traded companies and that shareholders are rewarded for a successful fiscal year, but you have to think about who holds the majority of these shares in these corporations. Do you really think the average middle class American holds a monetarily relevant share in Exxon? I think not. Most of the shares are held by a small contingent of individuals who are reaping tremendous benefits from the high prices. I hardly think that the $10 million dollars John Q Significant Oil Share Holder made this year is going to be flushed back into the American economy, or even spent wisely by him. Considering that the middle class consumerism is one of the backbones of America’s economy, I think they aren’t see much more than a dime from the dividends being reaped by these corporations.

    In addition, a lot of this, like most arguments, come down to ideology. It seems that my “liberal bullshit”, the stuff that talks about crazy “global warming” and “evolution” and “not torturing people” or “not lying about wars” and ” not squandering funds that should be allocated for adequate military gear” or “reading” or “the world not being created in seven days” or “diplomacy” or “not misplacing billions of dollars” truly believes that these corporations are acting in a very sinister way. I can’t imagine what would have derailed my faith in the “publicly traded companies”. Everyone knows they give out lollipops on Christmas. But not to Muslims.

    I would imagine that the enlightened, conservative truth monster believes that trickle down economics work. We’ve seen how the 80’s went and the last eight years. Just stop.

    I will give you credit however, I did some research, and there is a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that gouging is taking place at the local and distributive level as opposed to price gouging. I recommend you do some research on the matter. It helps.

    However next time, perhaps before you talk about babbling liberal bullshit as you so succinctly put it, I strongly encourage a more realistic look at how “publicly traded companies” truly behave and not just how Reaganomics 101 says they will behave… in theory. I would bet that “90%” of that money might be put back into the American economy, but it will be spent over the next 100 years by the families of these majority shareholders. It still won’t do anything about right NOW. What do you do when you get a paycheck? Do you instantly go and spend it all? Of course not. You save it. What makes you think oil shareholders who just received a massive payday are any different?

    I wonder how many schools are being built in communities who are truly saved by record profits being made my oil companies. I know we could really use some money down here in New Orleans. I read something about these levees still not being up to snuff.

    The Yankees aren’t making the playoffs this year so you can stop watching if you’d like.

  3. I agree 100% with rob. Somebody has to do something about these oil companies and their ridiculous profits. Toby keith is a dumbass and sticking boots up peoples asses only gets everyone pist off. It’s sad that this kind of ignorant thinking is the one leading this nation.

  4. Something about Toby Keith always made me feel more violent…

    But hanging chads? Every time someone mentions those, I immediately visualize the newspaper photo of sn old bald man lowering his neck and peering through his glasses at some semi hanging flap of perforated paper. To hang or not to hang…


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