Month: May 2012

WHAT CAUSES PETROL PRICES TO RISE AND WHAT MUST WE DO ABOUT IT?

Petrol prices have been rising steeply for many years now. US author Les Leopold of “The looting of America: How Wall Streets Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity and What We Can Do About It” wrote an article a few days ago titled How Wall Street Drives Up Gas Prices, in which he state that for every penny/cent increase at the pump, $1.4 billion per year leaves our collective pockets, creating a drag on the sluggish recovery. Where does it go and what caused the price explosion at the pump?

He further informs us that it is a common belief that oil prices are set on the world market by supply and demand; less supply and/or more demand causes prices to rise. There is a belief that oil is getting harder to find; OPEC is holding back supply; China and India are guzzling it up; Iran is threatening to blow it up. And regulations are getting in the way of drill etc.

Leopold continues, “but this fixation on blind market forces ignores the fact that Wall Street is financialising the commodities markets, especially oil ­ as it seeks new ways to pick our pockets. The same greedy swindlers who puffed up the housing bubble and then milked it dry are now hard at work doing the same with gasoline”.

REJOINDER TO HEIN MARAIS’ “MAKING SENSE OF THE INDEFENSIBLE”

In his article in the Mail and Guardian of 5 April 2012, published under the headline “Making sense of the indefensible”, Hein Marais used the word ‘denialist’ three times and ‘denialism’ ten times. He is attempting to show that former President Thabo Mbeki and his inner circle mishandled the Aids epidemic. He writes, “Together, they are said to have devised and enforced an irrational and deadly set of positions that, according to one study, led to about 330,000 avoidable deaths”. Let us examine how irrational and deadly is the position of the so-called “Aids denialists”.

I will begin by quoting from a study which stated that, “Over the years, Aids researchers have pointed to sub-Saharan Africa – Uganda, in particular – as the epicentre of the so-called Aids epidemic. It has been estimated that one in 40 Africans will die of Aids, and that Aids will account for 500,000 deaths a year by the year 2000. But in recent years, some Aids researchers have come forward to question not only the validity of those projections, but the very notion that Aids is pandemic in Africa”.

The makers of “Aids in Africa” one of the “Dispatches” series of documentaries, investigated Aids in sub-Saharan Africa and reached some startling conclusions. Dr. Harvey Bialy said that there was “absolutely no believable evidence of immunodeficiency disease in Africa”. Likewise, Professor Gordon Stewart, the only researcher to accurately predict Aids statistics in the United Kingdom, found no evidence of an Aids epidemic in Africa and believes that statements of doom should be avoided.

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