Notwithstanding all these popular sentiments in the United States and Europe against foreign domination, ironically Jack eventually ended up fighting the Vietcong guerillas and the Regular North Vietnamese Army, then attempting to free their country of U.S. occupation in what is now known as the long-drawn-out and bloody Vietnam War.
Jack believes that a person fighting and dying for freedom anywhere as the cliche goes -- from Vietnam to Iraq and now in Afghanistan -- is a genuine blue-blooded American. He believes, lives with it and ready to die for it. The freedom of choice that true Americans have is sacred to him. To him to have a choice is a providential gift from above, which is much larger than life itself. I do agree with Jack that the Bill of Rights is nothing without our individual freedom of choice. We both agree that this is the only cogent reason why patriots die in war and in peace as they struggle for liberty and freedom on this planet.
Thus buying a "premium" gasoline no matter how costly it is [although it reportedly makes car engines last longer and perform better] illustrates the strong-headedness of Jack's belief on his own freedom of choice to buy any kind of gasoline he wants. He sticks to this belief even though friends like me argue against the impracticality of his gasoline choice [he could run his car with cheaper gasoline and save a few dollars], and even survived ridicules with good grace when embarrassed because of his stubbornness when sometimes he has to defend the oddity of his choice.
But strange enough for me to know that people like Jack are resigned to this grim reality " that oil companies and their retailers commit this "economic murder" at the gas pump with impunity and nothing they could do to stop it. But yes, there is. With determination and sacrifice, millions of strong-willed people like Jack all over the country could break a powerful gasoline pricing monopoly and stop this economic murder at the gas pump. When Shell gas stations and their retail outlet-subsidiaries are singled out in a nationwide boycott, Shell suppliers and their retailers will be forced to lower their prices or else close down to avoid losses.
When under this pressure of nationwide boycott Shell choses to stop their loss of revenues and lower their prices at the gas pump, the other competing giant oil companies will scale down their gasoline prices even lower than that of Shell once consumers shift their gasoline purchases to Shell because of lower prices. We are talking of a free market system that is free of distortions.
However, for this consumer nationwide boycott in solidum to succeed, the Federal Government should step in to prevent any existing conspiracy of big oil companies to raise the prices of gasoline at the level they want in order to satiate what the general public believes as an organized mutual greed of oil and petroleum companies for profit. "The real cause of our problems is oil company Greed as illustrated by huge profits." [ Al Bender in Oil Company Profits Behind High Gas Prices]
There are of course natural causes of supply and demand that trigger the spiraling of prices out of control as what happened in the oil crisis of 1973 when OAPEC
[Organization of Arab Petroleum Producing Countries] declared an oil embargo following the Arab invasion of Israel. It disrupted oil supply worldwide. High demand in the wake of short supply pushed prices up and it exploded in the gas pumps so to speak, not only in the United States but all over the world.
But generally, jacked up gasoline prices are most often than not, "artificial". Sen. Dianne Feinsten [D-California] had called on the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers from "malicious trading schemes" of oil companies. The idea is for the Federal Government to use its power in seeing to it that our free market system is operating freely without any contrived distortions "without the use of the coercive power of the mighty oil industry in preventing and disrupting competition to protect their self-interest -- a free market system that is constantly monitored to prevent the temptation of fraudulent pricing or illegal price manipulation and malicious trade practices.
There are many ways to stop this "economic murder" at the pump. And this is just one of them.
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