Speaker Hastert Attacks Oil Company Record Profits (Blog Network Attacks)

Welcome to my Blog,” by Dennis Hastert, Speaker’s Journal, 27 October 2005, http://www.speaker.gov/journal/051027_firstblog.shtml.

Speaker of the House Denny Hastert has a new blog. But that’s not the news: an attack in three paragraphs from his first post is.

The attack:

Speaking of the Hurricane season, renewed attention has been brought to the way we refine gasoline in this country. Today, energy companies started reporting their 3rd quarter earnings, and while Americans paying were record prices at the pump, energy companies were making record profits.

That’s odd… a Republican leader attacking oil companies for making too much money? What’s going on?

Visually:

hastert_0
The Republican Party (blue) attacks Oil Companies (red) — but why?

But this isn’t a legislative attack — which Hastert could launch, if he wanted to. He is using a blog, so it is an attempt to convert at least some members of the public. This just deepens the mystery — why launch a pseudo-attack to get people mad at oil companies?

hastert_1
The Republican Party (blue) rallies the People (Dark Grey) Against Oil Companies (Red) — the mystery deepens

Hmm… let’s take a look at the remaining two paragraphs that mention oil companies:

This is America. And Republicans don’t believe in punishing success. But what are these oil companies doing to bring down the cost of oil and natural gas? They haven’t built a refinery here in America since the 1970’s. They’ve built refineries overseas, but nothing here at home.

We want some answers and you folks out there in the blogosphere do too. When are new refineries going to be built here in America? When is the Alaska pipeline deal going to be signed so we can get natural gas to consumers quicker? Conoco Phillips has reached an agreement with the state of Alaska on the pipeline. Exxon Mobil and BP need to do the same. These companies need to invest in America’s energy infrastructure and resources. Until they do, we’re going to be asking some tough questions.

Ah ha! It becomes clear: Hastert is upset that new refinaries haven’t been built, and the force stopping this is the environmentalists. Clever of the Speaker not to mention them by name — learning is better remembered when the learner has to do some thinking himself. So like a teacher that makes his pupils think so they will remember the lesson better, Speaker Hastert is counting on the reader to figure out the enemy is the environmentalists:

hastert_2 The Republicans (Blue) launch a pseudo-attack on the Oil Companies (Red), while encouraging the People (Dark Grey) to be hostile to the Environmentalists (light grey)

Of course, the Republican-led attack on environmentalists is not unprovoked. The reason it is needed in the first place is that the Environmentalists have been hostile to the oil companies for years, preventing them from fully serving the people

Visually

hastert_3
The Republican-led attack on the oil companies forces the Environmentalists to fight a two-front war

This is very clever. The heart of war is reinforcing your strong points, not your weak points The oil companies already have little popularity, so instead of foolishly trying to bolster them directly, he transforms public hostility to oil companies into public hostility toward the enemy of the oil companies. Master strategists like Sun Tzu and John Boyd would be proud.

So what is the goal? What is the Republican/Oil Company “future worth creating” — their “happy ending”? Simple: the neutralization of the environmentalists so both the oil companies and the Republican Party can fully interact with the People without that interference. Visually:

hastert_4
A Harmonious Internet

I have written about net attacks and counterattacks before. And also real-world internets, also called seas of friction.

6 thoughts on “Speaker Hastert Attacks Oil Company Record Profits (Blog Network Attacks)”

  1. Dan,

    Excellent analysis. I think the argument is a good one for the Republicans. However, who is Hasert's audience? Probably loyal Republicans. They are generally onboard.

    Is Hasert using his blog as a method of disseminating to the party faithful so they will pick up on this logical sneak attack?

    It is also convient to use his blog because their is no ability, as on the House floor, to have debate on the topic. Not that the Republicans couldn't win this argument for the majority of Americans.

    Kind regards,

    Bill Rice

  2. Dan,

    Great way to illustrate an interesting argument – especially creatively bringing in Boyd and Tzu to add to your persective.

    One thing though – and this is really just a point of minor difference – isnt Hastert really just using his blog to “feel out” this position? Rather then some sort of concerted or major tactical manuever? Blogs can act not as directly as a released press statement or say speaking on the floor.

    I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

  3. Bill,

    Good question on Hastert's intended audience. I'm not sure how popular Hastert's comments will be as talking points, but at least it is some politally attuned Republicans.

    It is a recognition that gas prices irk even the party faithful. Hence not reinforcing failure by defending the oil companies, but flexibly criticisizing oil companies in a way that advances the wider Conservative agenda.

    StrategyUnit,

    “isnt Hastert really just using his blog to “feel out” this position”… hmm… an attempt to evolve a popular position using open communications — sounds like Global Guerrillaism applied to politics? 😉

    Of course, it might be both. Reinforcing success requires probing for success. They work hand-in-glove.

    Dan

  4. I agree entirely with your take on things, not hard to figure that your politicians are after more oil profits. What I don't understand, is how Americans proportionately seem to be the most ignorant people in the world when it comes to this…

    Does the interest in your politician's manipulation of you as a people end in satisfaction that you think you have it figured? Or does it only end when you remove yourself from them and do something to negate their influence?

    I suppose I'm asking if you actually care that America is one of the largest global polluters we have, and that down here in NZ, we are massivly feeling your effects. I'm burnt to a crisp after two hours of sun in SPRING. This is an ozone hole created largely by America, and as a result, we have to care. But are you still at the stage of delighting over the powerplay in your government ranks? Is that still considered intelligence in America?

  5. Natalie,

    Your snarky sarcasm must have been great in creative writing class. I visited your blog and read your long, lengthly and extremely pretensious, know-it-all, self absorbed post (Nov 2, 2005 post).

    Instead of being all mad at the world and consumerism (funny that your blogging pursuit is a result of that same craze that brought us those overhyped iPods you bemoan) and whatever pet left issue is trumpted today, why don't you do something tangible about it.

    Here is an example, leave the mean comments aside and debate on the ideas. Tell me about the ozone levels and how American capitalism, which NZ is a benefitor of, is causing your local issues. Tell me about the solutions you propose that will discourage polution without wrecking the global economy.

    Without ideas, your comments are just carping a party line. Dan at least put forward an argument.

    Sincerely,

    Bill Rice

  6. Just because someone puts forward an argument doesn't mean alot.

    The problem with this mode of thinking is it leads to a complete lack of action. Constant debate is leading us into a never ending information war, what happens to people actually thinking for themselves, and instead of focusing on whats being broadcast from the 'centre of the political world', see for themselves whats obvious. Has whats obvious and plain to se become so impossible to realise? or does everyone have to master the art of succinct articulation before someone can make an informed decison'.

    If you care so much to take the time to write about how environemntalists are really at the base of our problems, then take the time to leave the US, and truely see the consequences of the thinking that seems to occupy your time. I've made the effort to take half a dozen trips around 13 states in the US to try and understand from the inside what the hell makes it and its people do what they do. Why? because behind all the rubbish that comes out of the place, i wanted to see reality, the real stuff that I dont know, but know is happening.

    Perhaps you might take a moment to think about how difficult it is to get what you would appear to term accurate information on something like the hole in the ozone layer, while the exposure of this truth would point a very clear finger at the base of much of the business and politics that 'drive our world'. How much is it worth to produce more and more junk science to confuse the truth, keep people like yourself away from reality.

    Theres a really simple solution. Jump on a plane and go somewhere like New Zealand and feel the burn for yourself. Thats the most conclusive evidence you need to know its happening. Is this not the most simple and obvious answer to eliminating confusion and getting to the base of what is a massively serious issue? If you care about it at all, and want to make the assertions you have in the article you have re: environmentalists, then how about leaving the US and going to a country that actually cares about the environment. What is holding you where you are? Why comment on something such as teh environemnt when you operate in one of the most un environmentally aware countries in the world.

    Suggested course of action from there? Take a look at what your government, media, corporations (all one big family nowadays ofcourse) are saying, and when you see that they are not stating the facts, and ask yourself – why are they lying? Look even further, try and open up a piece of information that would benefit the world (avoiding a hole in the ozone layer would be right?), I mean you wouldn't let it go so far that we could actually debate as to whether or not we actually need the ozone layer would you? Well maybe you would, as long as they weened you onto the idea… as you know they're good at that, the market focused commercial and political world knows only too well how to win you over and make you come to your own conclusion about 'the truth'.

    If you want to experience some enlightenment, and perhaps develop some true passion for life and meaning, the doors this will open for your mind will never stop opening. You might even realise that the US government, oil companies are solid examples of the down-side to an otherwise natuarlly progressive earth.

    A pharma company would rather there was a higher chance of skin cancer in parts of the world so they can have more secure revnue streams for the product line that 'helps' the accute outcome of something which could be avoided in the first place.

    Whats so hard to understand about that? Its not bagging anyone, its just recognition of the current structure of the world. You're not going to read it in the papers because the companies that advertise and pay for the messaging dont want that to be the story you go away seeing.

    They'd rather people like yourself spent hours out of your day wading through an endless pile of junk information that aims to do one thing promote confusion and remove you from reality.

    Lucky for the rest of us, there is a reality, hopefully you'll take some time to step into it for a while, say something that you really struggle to comprehend, something that most wont agree with, that the media wouldn't touch, not just for teh sake of it, but because if you do, you might have found something that actually needs to be said….

    Tim.

  7. Sorry Bill,
    I'm not much of a writer, but I try. I'm very sorry my comment got confused for snarky sarcasm, becase like you wish, I am really here to figure things out, not make mean comments. I have written a reply, but like you say, I tend to be a bit long winded, so I've made it a post on my blog. Feel free to read it at any point to continue this discussion, or bring it back here.
    Dan, I did not mean to cause offense, I was genuinely inetrested in what you think the next step is. I will rephrase my question: was that a post delighting in the celver manipulation of polititions, or was that a rant of disguist at what they do to us?

  8. All: thank you for the wonderful conversation! I apologize for being late in responding… I am drowning in work. Hopefully I can start getting back today.

    For now, I'll just make a short note than O-zone depletion and Greenhouse gases are two different things.

  9. Bill,

    Thank you for the kind comment. It seems to have been corrective.

    Tim,

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a broad-spectrum comment.

    Why would “this mode” of thinking lead to a lack of action? Of course we are in a never-ending information war, like we are in a never-ending moral war, a never-ending fund-raising war, etc. Information helps build an destroy orientation, which effect what actions we take.

    (Unless I am misreading what you are saying).

    We can never get truly accurate information, nor truly precise information, nor truly full information. (As an aside this shows how the Rational Decision Model of human behavior is bunk, but anyway…)

    None of us truly experience reality — we experience qualities between ourselves and reality (http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/05/23/zen_and_the_art_of_semantic_eurovision_networks.html). All quality is both objective and subjective. This creates friction, which causes both difficulty and change (http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/06/12/friction_and_other_things_in_politics.html).

    I am unclear of whether you are describing the effects of ozone depletion or greenhouse gases.

    Critical thinking is helpful for having a more accurate understanding of others, but socially it is a recipe for inaction. This is both a good and a bad things.

    The Ozone layer definitely seems beneficial.

    I'm unsure why you bring up pharmaceutical companies.

    Natalie,

    Very good question. Thank you. It is hard to convey tone in electronic conversations, so don't sweat it 😉

    This post was part of a series that analyzed politics from the perspective of networks (see also http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/04/24/4gps2_structural_network_attacks_and_antihomosexualism.html and http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/05/04/net-attacks_and_counter-attacks.html). It is relates to a more recent post on “barbarics” (http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/11/04/teaching-barbarism.html).

    Humans are creative, social, mostly non-violent problem-solvers. If anything, this post was a celebration of the fact.

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