Oliver North
WASHINGTON -- One year ago this week, I wrote a column titled "Crude Cruelty," which covered a jump in the cost of motor fuel and a corresponding spike in prices for food and rising unemployment. Government "experts" attributed the bad news to "supply disruptions" and "uncertainty" caused by unrest in Libya. Today Moammar Gadhafi is gone, but the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $3.79 -- up 27 cents from a year ago. Unsurprisingly, mortgage defaults are up 22 percent, and orders for durable goods -- cars, appliances, machinery and aircraft -- are down. Our anemic economic recovery is being threatened. Gasoline prices are expected to top $4 per gallon by this summer.

None of this is good news for the incumbent in a presidential election year. So now, in an alternative version of college basketball's "March Madness," the Obama propaganda machine is on the hunt for someone to blame. It's not OPEC, the cartel that controls nearly 80 percent of the known oil on earth and is now headed by an Iranian. Nope, we are to blame. We're just not doing enough to reduce our need to get to work, feed our families, light our homes and cut consumption.

There can be no doubt about the inverse correlation between the availability/cost of petroleum and its effect on the U.S. economy -- and our national security. When global oil producers perceive increased risk, prices invariably go up, and our economy contracts as the cost of delivering food and consumer goods increases along with the cost of Americans getting to work. Though the Obama administration acknowledges this irrefutable connection, its actions don't match the rhetoric.

The O-Team -- infatuated with "Arab Spring" revolts in North Africa, Yemen and Syria and apparently blind to Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz -- can't seem to figure it out. At a campaign appearance this week, the president said, "The biggest thing that's causing the price of oil to rise right now is instability in the Middle East." But instead of explaining how increased jeopardy inevitably increases risk -- and therefore insurance and cost in the marketplace -- populist shills for the White House blamed "Wall Street speculators" for pushing the price of crude oil to $107 per barrel. On March 6, the president announced that he has tasked Attorney General Eric Holder to "pay attention to potential speculation in the oil markets." But the blame game doesn't stop there.

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.