The moral of this story is that this stuff is actually pretty complex and jumping to conspiracy theories about oil companies, while appealing, doesn't always lead you to the right answer.
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And in general, while US produced crude oil can't be exported, US refineries just turn it into gasoline and then export it because that is allowed (the law is strange). So gasoline prices wouldn't go up if the export law is changed, you'd still pay the same at the pump (gas is expensive in Europe for example because of very high taxes on gas). This really only affects US oil producers and refiners.
Anyway, calm down and read up on the oil markets.
Just read it. Fair points, I wouldn't contend that the people of Japan are all running around in poverty. It's not an across the board awful country or something.
That said, your article basically says, yeah, GDP isn't great but look at all these other good things! My point is that their GDP isn't growing. They are in ludicrous amounts of debt. Their companies are losing their competitiveness (have you seen how much money Sony has been losing lately?). They are facing serious long term demographic challenges related to their population aging. Hell, they can barely keep the lights on! (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/25/japan-power-minister-idUST9E8EM02G20120425). Heck, we can trade articles, I think this makes my point quite clearly: http://www.economist.com/node/21556596.
It has been bad for them lately, and things are only going to get worse if (when) interest rates on their debt rise.
As for the ad hominem, I double majored in Mathematics and Economics at a top 10 school in the US; I graduated with high honors. I wrote my thesis on sovereign bonds. I do, in fact, know what I'm talking about. Do you?
So, I was a little confused by your Japan example. I could be missing something, but it seems like you are saying they are a model China should try to imitate.
Japan is an economic joke! Their economy has been in recession or barely growing since the early nineties. They've basically stagnated for the last 20 years. Their government is so in debt (230% of GDP) that they make Greece (165%) and Spain (69%) look fiscally responsible! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt)
China should not aim to be like Japan.
And the frat/sorority system isn't quite typical either. Sure there are some douchy frat boys and tanorexic sorority girls, but there are also many people who you wouldn't suspect to be in frats. I know one guy graduated to become a NASA engineer. I know a sorority girl who is working at Google next year. There are so many more examples it would be ridiculous to name them all.
And the protests? Last November there were protests against state budget cuts where a huge number of people showed up. Like maybe 5000? Not to mention the tree sitters, the hunger strikers, the unions, the riots this semester, the protesters who took over Wheeler, the popularity of the new Global Poverty minor etc etc etc.
I guess you can talk about the funding we get from corporations. The BP deal is a bit sketchy, but it's 500 million dollars, we need that money. I hardly think this makes Berkeley overwhelmingly right wing. And the whole John Yoo thing is a bit weird, and I'm not sure what should be done about that, but damn dude, UC Berkeley is amazingly liberal.