Under considerable pressure to do something to lower gasoline prices, President Obama called a surprise news conference today to announce a change of direction in our national energy policy. With Secretary of Energy Dr. Stephen Chu standing at his side, Mr. Obama announced a major new renewable resource energy initiative. Following is a transcript of the conference,
Mr Obama: "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I've called you all here today to announce an update to our national energy policy. I apologize for the short notice, and hope I've not inconvenienced you too much.
Our nation's citizens are feeling real pain at the pump. Those who commute to work in a car are being forced to choose between gasoline and that extra bunch of broccoli for the kids, or maybe that black negligee for the wife. We all agree something has to be done to take us out of the clutches of Big Oil, and the one-percenters who, without any apparent conscience, profit from the 99% of us who live paycheck to paycheck.
Today, I am announcing a new energy initiative that, I believe, will benefit our nation's citizens individually and collectively. In fact, it may not be an exaggeration to say that our leadership on this initiative, in the face of Big Oil corporate adversaries, might some day be equated with the boldness of our founding fathers courage to take on Great Britain. But before I reveal that initiative, I want to restate some basic ground rules of my energy policy from which we must not and will not waiver.
First, our energy efforts will remain focused only on renewable resources. This is critical, for as I've said many times, we just can't go on drilling for oil just to burn it up. Anyone with a brain knows that is a losing proposition. Secretary Chu here assures me that only green sources of power are viable, and that all our eggs must go into that basket. This is why I have been out there talking to the folks about the benefits of pond scum as an energy resource. There is nothing greener than pond scum. (laughter). Despite today's announcement, you can rest assured that we will not lower the significant amount of funding we are offering to pond scum start-up companies, like the one being led by my good friend Richard Lobo.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, we need to give control of new and emerging technologies to the people. It must be removed from the clenched fists of selfish Big Oil executives who insist on passing along the cost of their business expenses to their customers through the products they buy. And to add insult to injury, they have the temerity to also demand a profit. This is the kind of old-fashioned business model that has proven to be a failure and that has to go. We can no longer have one person benefiting at the expense of another. We must not only prevent this kind of exploitation in energy, but we must continue to intervene in businesses of all kinds where-ever it is taking place.
With those rules in mind, I am excited to tell you about our shift in focus to a different energy source. And to be quite honest, I am a bit embarrassed, because frankly, I was unaware of the resource I am about to tell you about until just two hours ago when Malia came home from school. She has been learning about the Plymouth colony pilgrims at school, and you know, how those earliest settlers set up sort of a commune to make sure everybody had the same stuff. I remember how deeply that story affected me as a young student when my childhood mentor Frank Marshal Davis explained its importance.
In any case, Malia told me she just learned that back then they got oil for their lamps from whales! I was taken aback at this- I had no idea. How could one get oil without drilling a hole in the ground? I must have tuned out when they talked about oil when I was a child in school. But yes, I've confirmed that it is true. Whales do give up oil. Large amounts of it. In fact, I've also learned that the Inuit people up there in Canada somewhere still use whale oil for all sorts of purposes, all the while living in great harmony with our planet, and without benefit to selfish profiteers.
So this is my plan. I call it catch, squeeze, and release. We will establish a large fleet of government operated whaling vessels staffed only by the most highly trained government biologists and bureaucrats. Most of the vessels will be converted from Navy ships that are no longer necessary for our defense. The crews will catch a whale, squeeze the oil out of it, and then release it back to the environment so that it can generate more oil (by the way, they do that by eating pond scum). Step two - repeat step one. Eventually, I expect we will be able to genetically engineer a breed of whales that are so efficient at oil production that there will be a glut of whale oil. Who, knows, we might even get into paying subsidies to whale oil harvesters for not harvesting whale oil.
My staff experts on this matter tell me that whale oil will be easier to refine, cleaner to burn, and result in less carbon dioxide release than dino oil, so a whale oil economy will be a win-win for all.
In case you're wondering, I also learned that phrase "dino oil" from Malia. It is used as a reference for petroleum taken from the ground. Dino, as in dinosaur. I like the term, because it says how really old-fashioned that kind of energy source really is. Maybe we should call whale oil "Jetsons Oil". After all, it is the oil of the future (laughter).
Yes , that's it. Whale Oil - the oil of the future!
I've got just enough time for a couple of questions before I have to get back to my lesson with Malia. That private school sure is paying off."
Angria Mitchell: Mr. President, this sounds just marvelous. We are so lucky to have a such a genius for our dear leader. But being a serious investigative reporter sir, I have to ask (and please forgive me if I am out of line). Why did our ancestors stop using whale oil in favor of dino oil in the first place?
BO: Oh, that's okay Angria. It's a good question, and I really can't expect you or the folks out there to know the answer, because it is kind of technical.
The reason the American people stopped using whale oil is because we grew lazy, just like the Jews when Moses was leading them through the desert. Once our ancestors learned that they could just poke a hole in the ground and oil would bubble up, they began to take the easy way out. Of course, the Bush family ancestors were among the first to advocate for the use of dino oil, and make no mistake - they have profited greatly from it through the years. It's sad, because so many special whale processing skills were abandoned for expediency and profit of their petroleum dynasty. But look. I want to reassure the American people today that I will lead them out of our own type of energy desert and into the promised land of a sustainable, renewable energy source. And like Moses, all I will only as for is their trust and loyalty, and maybe a few tax dollars to get this movement kicked off.
AM: I was about to ask about funding Sir. How will that work?
BO: We will be imposing a new 38% Value Added Tax on all dino oil products. I expect that this new cost to the American consumer will be more than offset by the future savings they will realize as we move toward a whale oil economy. We can be certain that the Republicans will try to block this new tax in order to deny me credit for this effort, so I might have to impose the tax unilaterally. Make no mistake - this will be done.
AM: Is there a already plan in place to convert our country the to a whale oil economy sir?
BO: Yes Angria. I expect the transportation sector will take the lead, and in fact, I talked to executives at my car companies in Detroit earlier today. They are excited about this initiative and as we speak are instructing their engineers to modify engine fuel systems as may be needed to run on whale oil. It is not clear yet when, or if, that technology will be licensed to Ford and other non-government auto companies, as I fear they may try to profit from it. (applause)
One more question. Christina?
Christina Bellantoni of PBS: Thank you Mr. President. As the newbie here, I am so grateful to have this chance to serve you, I mean, to question you Sir. Mr. President, have you consulted with PETC about this policy?
BO: No need to bow in this chamber Christina. I'm sorry but I did not understand your question.
CB: PETC sir - the organization People for Ethical Treatment of Cetacea.
BO: Did you say See-ta-see-ya ?
CB: Yes sir. Oh I am so sorry Mr. President. That's the fancy scientific name for whales.
BO: Oh yes, I knew that, I think you must be putting emphasis on a different syllable than I might. Let me ask Dr. Chu to answer that question, Christina.
Dr. Chu: We have spoken with PETC's spokesman Robert Kennedy Jr., and he assures me that PETC is 100% behind our whale oil initiative. He told us the only demand PETC will make is that whale catching / squeezing not be performed within a 30 miles radius of Martha's Vineyard, Of course, we all know how sensitive that area is to any kind of disturbance, so that exemption was already a given.
BO: Thank you all once again for coming today. This is an exciting time to be an American. Now let's all go out and have a whale of a good time. Bless Allah you.