The unfriendly hand

Picture the United States of America. Now, picture America’s nuts. Yes, those nuts. Now, picture those nuts nestled comfortably in the upturned palm of a giant hand. Finally, picture that hand slowly and firmly squeezing those nuts—hard enough to make America feel some definite discomfort “down there.” And more than hard enough to make America whine.

That giant hand is, of course, the hand of the megalithic oil corporations. Every once in awhile, these oil giants love to hear America bitch and moan, so they squeeze America’s eggs just a tad harder, maybe roll ’em around a little, just to remind us who’s really the boss around here. Sometimes all of this squeezing really begins to hurt, though, and America starts to suspect (1) that the giant hand doesn’t know its own strength, or (2) maybe the giant hand is just meaner than we want to think.

“Please, Mr. Oil Giant,” we squeal, “won’t you kindly lighten your grip on our nuts?” Mr. Oil Giant’s reply is always the same. “Sorry, America,” he says, “but we’re not in business to make your nuts happy. We’re in business to make money. And we’ve found that when we squeeze just so, we can make some damned good money.”

“But gee,” replies America, “couldn’t you just ease up a little, so that instead of posting profits of $6 billion over the next three months, you posted a profit of, say, $2 billion over that same span? That’s still doing pretty good business. And I would really appreciate the relief it would bring. I mean, my nuts are killin’ me!”

“Sorry. No can do. Now please, pipe down and go away. And don’t come back until you have some good news about ANWR.”

The safe bet is that America’s nuts will continue to be squeezed for quite some time to come. So what are you gonna do about it? Ride the bus? Sell your Ford Armegeddon? Walk occasionally? Not a darn thing?

Hold on. Breaking news. Congressmen and women are receiving lavish lunches served by buxom/chiseled pec strippers, all paid for by megalithic telecommunications corporations on behalf of a dangerous new bill that will, if passed, seriously compromise the Internet. Check it out: “The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies—including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner—want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all. They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services and streaming video—while slowing down or blocking their competitors.” A butt-fugly piece of legislation, in the embarrassing tradition of a bankruptcy bill written by credit card companies and a health bill written by pharmaceutical companies.

Proceed directly to, and do what they say, before congresswhores can cast their dazed, liquored-up votes.