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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Earth Hour 2008: Turn Off The Lights

No matter where you're traveling or living, you can participate in Earth Hour 2008. In association with the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour 2008 is a global effort to turn off lights and electricity for one hour, starting at 8PM, on March 29, 2008.

Please join me in this effort. Here's how:

See you then! Or, maybe not. Got a match?



Cross posted at GloboGeek.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F Buckley Dies

It seems like Buckley hovered in the background of my entire childhood. He started National Review in 1955. I was born in 1957. My mother became a US citizen in time to campaign and vote for Barry Goldwater in 1964. But she was interested in right-wing politics before I was born. I was the youngest of her six kids, and by the time I came along, she'd had it with what she called "dirt, diapers and degradation," and started steppin' out. My oldest sister was 10, so she could take care of the younger kids, and we also had the help of our amazing babysitter all through our childhood, Mrs. Schick.

My Mom wasn't steppin' out in the way you might imagine. She didn't have any suiters. Although she was definitely hot. No. She was always more interested in using her brain, and engaging in intellectual discourse, than fooling around with men. Fooling around with a man got her knee high in diapers and six rug rats. She could do without that. So she got involved in politics and worked at Goldwater headquarters in Ardmore, PA. She hooked up with Congressman Dick McClatchy and his wife Maryann, who became lifelong friends. They introduced her to the Ornsteins, who started Mail Call Vietnam, an incredibly successful letter-writing program for soldiers in Vietnam. I sorted mail there, and wrote hilarious letters to soldiers whom I wish I knew today.

All the while, William F. Buckley wrote books, and my mother read them all. He had a TV show, Firing Line, and we watched it every time it was on. I remember his crooked smile, his elevated nose, over which his piercing mischievous eyes looked down upon us all. I believe he skewered liberals, but he was ever so polite, ever so superior. A far cry, shall we say, from the crass and bombastic likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill Kristol.

William F. Buckley made me want to have a vocabulary. I wanted the same pleasure of watching those $10 words flow out of my own mouth.

According to the New York Times obituary, Buckley was referred to as the liberals’ favorite conservative, and he favored the decriminalization of marijuana. But he fiercely defended McCarthy, who was right about communists infiltrating our country, but chose a stupid and horrible way to deal with it. Buckley also supported segregation and when challenged on his belief that black people shouldn't vote, he amended it to black people and uneducated whites shouldn't vote.

This intellectual elitism, and racism, appealed to my mother.

Feeling superior is a temporary satisfaction to my ego. But, in the end, it doesn't solve any problems. The poor and unfortunate still linger, smelling bad, on the doorstep of the human race. It's why I chose not to be a conservative. I can't spend my life looking away, or up, or down my nose for that matter. Nor can I build a tall enough wall to keep out the riff-raff.

But I continue to hone my vocabulary.

Comedian Trashes Faux News While On Faux News

I don't know how I missed this guy, since I do stand-up. Well, ok, so I did stand-up twice in my life. (Listen to an mp3 of my first time on stage: Satellite Navigation.) But anyway, you would think that I would be jumpin' right on any liberal activist comedian. But maybe I missed him because he has appeared on Faux news, and I would walk off the edge of this flat earth to avoid watching that channel. Or maybe I missed this guy because I live in Paris.

Who knows. But I found him, somehow. His name is Lee Camp. I'll give you all his connection and community details after the video. (If you're reading this post in an email, click through to my blog to view the video.)



Here's more info on Lee Camp:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Deserving What You Get

There's been quite a bit of conversation back and forth about the mortgage crisis. I've been watching it, with many thoughts jumbled in my head, as well as some worry about my own situation.

As usual in a crisis, everybody has to point a finger. Somebody needs to be blamed. It's all George Bush's fault. Or Allen Greenspan. Or the lenders themselves. I agree with all three of those, but I still think that blame wastes time. I remember this blame habit when I was hiding out (unsuccessfully) in corporate America. When something went wrong, the very first thing people did was make sure that their own ass was covered and the second thing they did was to start looking for a scapegoat. There always had to be a sacrifice. Somebody ended up with their head (or balls) on the chopping block, waiting for the blade to descend.

Meanwhile, nobody spent much time thinking about how to redesign things so that the problem didn't happen again. Shit happens. And it's not always somebody's fault. When the CAE/CAD/CAM industry took a nose dive in the late 80s because of the advent of cheap, desk-top computers, everybody spent a lot of time trying to find a culprit, when the culprit was simply innovation. Somebody figured out how to make a desk top computer, for a great price, that had the speed of a mainframe. So...companies no longer had to pay $25,000 for an engineering workstation, plus another $50,000 for a printed circuit design software package. But, as I watched the industry begin to crumble, everybody started blaming the sales guys for not selling enough.

Meanwhile, the guy that owned the company where I was employed, saw the future, and started manufacturing his own low-cost engineering workstations. I didn't like the guy. But he was smart. And he's still in business.

But...back to the mortgage crisis. I bought a condo in 2001. I didn't have a downpayment. So I rolled it into my mortgage. A few years later, I think in 2003, I wanted to get out of credit card debt once and for all. So, I got a new mortgage, and rolled my debt into it. It was a great decision, because five years later, the market surged, the value of my equity surged with it, and I have nooooo credit card debt. I saved a fortune in rapacious credit card interest by doing this.

At the time I took out my first mortgage in 2001, I was considered high risk. But Countrywide gave me the loan. In less than a month, they sold my loan to some fly-by-night flea-bag mortgage company, and I hated Countrywide forever and ever for that. Then, when I refinanced, I went through my bank. Like many other people, I was enticed by the lower payments of an ARM, even if they carried the risk of fluctuating interest rates. There was a 2% annual cap, and a 12% cap over the entirety of the loan. So, I figured I was safe. So far, I am.

At the time, one of my friends said I should do an interest-only loan. That kind of thing was available. Something in my bones said...nah. I'm sooooo glad I didn't go in that direction.

In America, home ownership means something. It carries a certain amount of prestige. It means you made it. It means you're reliable, trustworthy, stable. You can be none of these things, but you look like you are, through home ownership. Yes, I had the gut feeling, backed up with no facts, that an interest-only loan could bury me in the future.

Maybe I could brag and say that I'm smart. And all those people that signed up for those easy loans, because the lender assured them that they qualified, are stupid hillbilly bastards. But this isn't necessarily true. In a country where home ownership is part of the "American dream," and where authority figures (i.e. bankers and other lenders) are God, I don't think you can call all of these unfortunate people stupid. They took the advice of their "betters." And now they're bankrupt, or trying to negotiate repayment (in the UK it's called an IVA), or they're out on the street.

It's the right-wing elite that look down upon all those risky mortgagees and sneer and say, "Buyer beware! If you were stupid enough to take out a risky loan, then you deserve what you get!"

And it's the right-wing elite that profited hugely from the bubble created by their banking and lender pals. If they got out before the bubble burst, they're still sitting pretty. If they were greedy and stayed in there to try and milk it to the end, then...they deserve what they get.



Friday, February 22, 2008

I Don't Care Who McCain Porks

As long as it isn't me. If he wants to have an affair, fine. Just don't tell me all about it. Don't make me imagine that perky little blond, 30 years his junior, actually touching that pasty crepe paper face of his.

LALALALALA! Can't hear you! LALALALA!

What IS important, is that McCain has lobbyists running his campaign. What IS important, is whether or not McCain was paid to effect legislation, or grease the rails, for the individuals or corporate entities who paid him.

I guess that's why McCain, and his blond lobbyist friend, both hired criminal attorneys. I would get all excited about the possibility of a criminal trial, but good luck getting a court date with all those right-wing judges and "Bushie" prosecutors.

Let the Christian right fall all over themselves trying to categorize McCain's sin. Because they are half wits who yell at the top of their lungs about killing babies while they pay big money and pull voting levers and back-room strings to get people elected who will kill babies. Iraqi babies. Irani babies. Louisiana babies. Uninsured American babies. Grown-up American babies, the ones in uniform, with crew cuts and tattoos, whose mothers still remember them as babies.

Or, if you're Huckabee, you meddle enough that you can get a supposedly newly born-again Christian rapist out of jail so that he can rape, and then KILL two mothers' babies.

My anger is as deep and dark as the sea. As scalding as molten ore. Imagine how the mothers who have lost their children to this despicable war must feel.

Then shut up about who McCain may have porked, 9 years ago, or yesterday. And then vote for someone who will get us out of the war.

But What About The Children?

I don't know if I'm pleased to say that the whole world is suffering from financial difficulties, instead of just me and the rest of the United States. Maybe I need to be a bit more accurate...me and the rest of the United States except for friends of BushCo. But I digress.

I can say I was pleased when I read a recent article about parents in the UK who have decided to spend less on their children. Especially this part:

"...more than one in five parents are cutting back on clothes spending, while expenditure on toys is being minimised by 26 per cent and investment into savings vehicles for children limited by 22 per cent."
I mean, I'm sure that junior will suffer from his lack of designer gym shoes and the latest hand-held game into which he can dive so deeply that he forgets he even has parents, or that he was supposed to feed the dog three days ago.

My heart bleeds. Let me tell you. Maybe his parents can apply for a
Secured Loan. Just pile up all the crap the kid already owns, and it'll probably add up to enough collateral to secure the loan.

But when I heard that junior may also have to minimize his investment into his personal savings vehicle...well. I cried. I just sat down and cried.

At least we can be thankful junior is covered by the UK's universal health care. Unlike millions of children in the United States. But, you know, at least we aren't socialists. No. We definitely don't want to be socialists.

We could die from it, you know.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Feminists For Peace And Barack Obama

I found this petition online, signed by prominent (and not so prominent - like me) feminists, who are choosing to vote for Obama instead of Hillary. I could not have articulated my thoughts and feelings better than the words in this petition. I urge other women to sign it as well, if it resonates with you as much as it did with me.

Here's just a small taste:

In the coming elections, it is important to remember that war and peace are as much "women's issues" as are health, the environment, and the achievement of educational and occupational equality. Because we believe that all of these concerns are not only fundamental but closely intertwined, we will be casting our vote for Senator Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, we have watched with shock and sorrow as our country has become mired in war. The resulting tragedy for our own soldiers, their immediate families and for the people of Iraq has been incalculable.

Less obvious, but no less grave has been the impact on our domestic institutions and economy. With a defense budget of half a trillion dollars and expenditures now averaging $12 billion a month for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, resources that might have been used for health care, housing, education, repair of infrastructure, relief of poverty and community development have been drained away.

Obama Cleans Up In Expat Vote

I just received the results from the Democrats Abroad primary. It's interesting to note that the Republicans did nothing at all for their expat constituents. I give huge kudos to Democrats Abroad, and to the Paris Chapter, for organizing this process world-wide, and for making it possible to cast a vote online.

I had an appointment on February 5th, so I couldn't go to the polls at The American Church here in Paris. So, I voted online. But my girlfriend Marla decided to vote at the Church on February 12th, so me and That Guy accompanied her to see what it was like. This picture gives you a peek. It was pretty quiet there. I imagine that the February 5th event was much more exciting.

Here is the text from the email:

Worldwide almost 25,000 Americans took part--making our event bigger than many caucuses or primaries in the States, outnumbering, for example, Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota or Montana. Not bad for the diaspora of U.S. citizens around the world!

The results of the Democrats Abroad Global Primary are as follows:

Biden 0.1%
Clinton 32.7%
Edwards 0.7%
Kucinich 0.6%
Obama 65.6%
Richardson 0.1%
Uncommitted 0.2%

RESULTS for FRANCE:

OBAMA - 71.8% (1580 votes)
CLINTON - 26.7% (591 votes)
EDWARDS - 12 votes
KUCINICH - 17 votes
UNCOMMITTED - 5 votes

Bush And His Ho(e)

Will Ferrell as George Bush. For your viewing pleasure. These videos are at least a year old, and the sponsoring websites at the end of the clips aren't viable anymore. Maybe every single one of you has already seen them. Maybe I was hiding under my bed (a common activity) when they first came out. Maybe I was too worried about noo-kew-lur prolipification to watch TV.

Anyway...they are as true and funny now, as they were then. Have a little laugh on me.

(If you are reading this post in an email, please click through to my blog to watch the video.)



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hillary: "Outspent" in Wisconsin

Well, I'll be. Sixteen hundred gazillion billion dollars, plus "$5 million of her own money," wasn't enough for Hillary to beat Obama in Wisconsin. She needs all of us to pony up, according to a campaign email I just received.

I guess her losing streak so far has been all about money. It doesn't have a damn thing to do with the fact that she can't connect to the emotional needs of the American people. She can't offer them a reason to start giving a shit again. She can't come up with a viable salve for our hopelessness, for our disgust with this despicable war, with the lies of the current administration, or the obscene rise in oil prices, or the collapse of our financial stability, or the loss of our integrity overseas.

No. It's simply a matter of money. Oh...and "fairness." This one really gets to me:

We can't let the Obama campaign overwhelm us financially. Today, I am calling on you and other online supporters to act together, making sure we have the resources to create a fair, level playing field on March 4.
What in the living f*ck is unfair about Obama's funding? Nothing. He won, fair and square in Wisconsin, and all those other states. You're just whining.

Hillary, I'm disappointed in you. You must think we're as stupid as George Bush.......thought we were stupid. But, we're not.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Barack Obama: The Cult of Specifics

It may look like we're getting a break from the media's obsession with America's "readiness for a black president" or whether or not Barack Obama is "black enough." But, we're not. Rovian sycophants have simply moved on to new propaganda: “Obama as cult leader” and “Obama is like Kennedy. Aren't you skeert he'll be shot?”

Obama has all kinds of faults. He's too smart, too well educated, too effective an orator, too nice, too conciliatory. Oh, and he's got them fainting in the aisles. Which means, of course, that he's a “black Jim Jones.” Holy Toledo. Some people's kids.

Mixed up in this absurdity is an accusation that Obama is full of soaring rhetoric, but has no substance. He's lacking in specific solutions. I would submit that inspiring the youth of America to get off their butts, get politically active and vote is quite an amazing solution to our country's woes. I also hear, within all that supposedly empty rhetoric, that Obama uses “we will” more than “I will.” Getting Americans to join him in taking personal responsibility for the fate of our country is another powerful, tangible solution. But that's too “touchy feely” for the pundits.

For those that think Obama is all smoke and mirrors, I challenge them to read all of his solutions on his campaign website and in his 64-page Plan For America (PDF). It's full of specifics, many of which I question. Afterwards, come back and argue with me. And be specific, OK?

You'll find more amusement on the same subjects over at FireDogLake.

UPDATE (Wednesday 2/20): Evidently, Obama made the longest speech of any candidate so far in this campaign Tuesday night, and focused on specific issues. I haven't been able to find a video or transcript yet, but an article in Salon.com says that Obama, and the people behind him, looked a bit bored. Detailed specifics are, well, pretty dull. But I'm glad he made this speech. I also noticed that the Obama campaign published a post called "Specifics" that says the same thing my post does...go download his Plan...and read it. They have a simple little video that shows boxes and boxes of printed Plans.

America: No Longer The Good Guys

In a February 17 New York Times op-ed, Morris Davis (Air Force colonel, former chief prosecutor for military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from 2005 to 2007), took a huge career risk by going public with his thoughts about Guantanamo. I imagine he did it for the sake of integrity, and a love for his country, and the rule of law. His article begins:

TWENTY-SEVEN years ago, in the final days of the Iran hostage crisis, the C.I.A.’s Tehran station chief, Tom Ahern, faced his principal interrogator for the last time. The interrogator said the abuse Mr. Ahern had suffered was inconsistent with his own personal values and with the values of Islam and, as if to wipe the slate clean, he offered Mr. Ahern a chance to abuse him just as he had abused the hostages. Mr. Ahern looked the interrogator in the eyes and said, “We don’t do stuff like that.”

I am grateful that more and more military personnel, assumed (at least by me) to be conservatives, are resisting or exposing the disastrous policies of the Bush administration. George Bush continues to justify torture as something that protects us from terrorists, and from war. But in the long run, this is very far from the truth. Davis goes on to say that Iraqi troops surrendered in droves in the Persian Gulf war in 1991, because they knew they would not be mistreated by the United States. Because we were considered "the good guys." These surrenders saved American lives and time and money.

Unfortunately, at the end of Davis' article, he also said, "There are some bad men at Guantánamo Bay and a few deserve death, ..."

Nobody deserves to die. Not even people who caused the death, mutilation or displacement of thousands of innocent people, like Saddam Hussein, and the entire Bush administration. Death sentences are barbaric. Countries that still employ the death penalty are barbaric. Because the United States still employs the death penalty, we cannot fully earn the reputation as "the good guys."

To evolve as human beings, as a country, and a world leader, we Americans need to be able to say, about torture and punishment by death, “We don’t do stuff like that.”

Escape From Guantanamo

Coming soon to a theatre near you...

(If you are reading this post in an email, click through to my blog to watch the video.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Manliness of Neocons

I saw an interesting comment in yesterday's book salon over at Firedoglake, with Jacob Heilbrunn, the author of They Knew They Were Right - The Rise Of The Neocons. The following comment was made by Heilbrunn, the book's author:

"One thing that hasn’t been picked up in the media is the extent to which McCain’s emphasis on valor mirrors the neocon belief in manliness, the title of a recent book by Harvard Professor and neocon Harvey Manfield. In short, the neocons believe that the battlefield is the greatest test of manhood. So does McCain."

Diplomacy takes great skill, great intellect, great intuition, and time. It requires reaching out to the other. It requires listening, and synthesis of other ideas with your own. It requires creativity and openness to new solutions. But diplomacy, intellect, intuition, listening, openness, creativity, integration, synthesis and the skill of negotiation have the taint of femininity to them. The smell of woman. The audacity of Eve, biting into the forbidden apple of knowledge. Of compromise. Of acquiescence. Diplomacy is too soft, too quiet, too weak, too anticlimactic. There's no surge. There's no glory. There's just peace.

How dull.

It's interesting to me that the Neocons who have driven us into this unending battle in Iraq, who lust for a new battle in Iran, have never been on the battlefield (Cheney, Bush, Libby, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Podhoretz, John Bolton, Yoo, William Kristol). They become manly by pushing us into war, and by running the war, and maintaining the war. They become manly by pushing the button to drop or scatter the big bombs, or shooting off their big, fat rockets. They become manly by purchasing and deploying the fastest planes, the most planes, the biggest ships. They become manly by running multinational corporations, or by helping multinationals gains huge profits through the war machinery.

They become manly by befriending, and partnering financially with, misogynistic Saudi oilmen, kings and sheiks in dresses, and dictators who suppress and harm women.

They become manly by association, not by truly being tested on the battlefield. They are limp dicks, who can only get hard by whipping primarily young, poor, undereducated men and women soldiers into an ideological frenzy, or into a false sense of patriotic fervor against fabricated threats of terror or destruction to their family, their town, their country. These men and women soldiers are the only ones who actually get "tested" on the battlefield - by the reality of blood and gore and carnage and murder and destruction of property and unfairness and rape. They lose their friends, their limbs, themselves.

Meanwhile, the Neocons grow rich from conquest. And in their arrogance, these manly men, manly by association only, consider the troops as disposable, as well as the people of the nations we invade and occupy. It's manly to blow things up. To kill civilians. To destroy property and history and art and civilizations. It's manly to build new garish embassies and permanent military bases, monuments to their Viagra-propped-up penises, upon sacred ground.

I think I'd take diplomacy any day. But then again, I'm a woman. And even though I've been known to make a few dicks hard in my time, I'm certainly not manly.

Crunchy Con Manifesto

Great Article by Jennifer Nix (Literary Outpost blog) in the Huffington Post entitled Crunchy Cons, Obama and Election 2008, where she discussed her personal experience with friction between herself and her longtime friend and their respective husbands, caused by liberal versus conservative views.

I so much related to her story of becoming the "crazy liberal who tears curtains down." I had one friendships crumble, almost completely dissolve, with the conservative this time, screaming "Fuck You!!" over and over again. I've had a tearful argument on the patio of a posh Paris restaurant, that probably strained a great relationship, but thankfully didn't end it. Both of those conservative friends are now voting for Obama.

It's an interesting phenomena, and it had been puzzling Jennifer Nix for a while, until she saw a flag in front of a CNN camera that said "Crunchy Con." So, she Googled it, and found some very interesting stuff. "Old-time" conservatives, I don't know how else to describe them, haven't missed the lies of the Bush administration, nor the overreach of executive power, nor the crumbling of our constitutional rights. They haven't missed the incredible money spent on the war, and they're uncomfortable with the rise of the religious right. The solution? Crunchy Cons.

The Crunchy Con Manifesto

1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship--especially of the natural world--is not fundamentally conservative.

6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

9. We share Russell Kirk's conviction that "the institution most essential to conserve is the family."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Huge Pile Of Oil

I found a goldmine this morning when I got a MySpace friend request from the Project For The Old American Century (POAC), an antidote to the Project For The New American Century (PNAC), the bastion of Neocon insanity, about whom I regularly rant and rave, but it seems most people, including my girlfriend who was a Republican Senator (!!), go, "Huh?" Spittin' in the wind, I am.

Anyway - the POAC website sent me on an Internet surf that I still haven't finished, and one of the gems in the jewel box was Eric Blumrich, creator of BushFlash.com and one of the finalists in the MoveOn.org Bush in 30 Seconds video contest.

Here's one of Eric's succinct answers to a frequently asked question:

SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS A EVIL MAN WHO KILLED THOUSANDS- WHY ARE YOU OPPOSED TO THE UNITED STATES REMOVING HIM FROM POWER? Because of many reasons:

1: The world is full of evil dictators that have killed their own citizens. Heck- just look at the skyrocketing cancer rates in Texas that have come about as a result of the reckless environmental policies Bush signed into law, while governor of that beknighted state. We ignore the other dictators, and focused on this one, because he was sitting on top of a huge pile of oil.

2: Further, the United States government, under a number of administrations, sat idly by, and even SUPPORTED Hussein, while he was committing his crimes. We only decided to go after him, when an administration came to power that had two oilmen at the top. Why? Because he was sitting on top of a huge pile of oil.

3: Further, the "Liberation" of Iraq was not the reason that we, the US public, were given as the reason for this war. We were sold a load of lies about weapons of mass destruction, and links to al-qaeda. You can't change boats in mid-stream when it comes to weighty issues, such as war. Why were we told these lies? Because Hussein was sitting on top of a huge pile of oil.

Neocon Gold!

Fair and balanced. That's me. If I make you cry, then I must also make you laugh, if at all possible. So, without further ado, here's Neocon Gold!

(If you are viewing this post in an email and can't see the video, click through to my blog.)

This Made Me Cry

I may be grumpy, but at it's root is hopelessness. This made me hope, at least for a few lovely, lovely minutes.

(If you are viewing this post in an email and can't see the video, please click through to my blog. Oh hell, click through to my blog anyway. I need the traffic.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

MoveOn.org Members Vote Obama

I recently took part in a vote over at Moveon.org, that asked their membership to determine which Democratic candidate the organization should support. I found the results really interesting:

Obama: 197,444 - 70.4%
Clinton: 83,084 - 29.6%

Huge Profits For Oil Companies: I'm Glad Somebody's Happy

Too bad all those people who are losing their jobs and homes won't be able to afford to put $100-a-barrel oil in their cars.

Exxon Mobil said Friday:

  • Fourth-quarter earnings up to $11.66 billion, the highest ever operating profit by a U.S. company
  • Shares rose 1.7 percent
  • Net income rose nearly 14 percent from the year-earlier of $10.25 billion
  • Earnings per share rose to $2.13 from $1.76 last year
According to The Guardian:
  • Chevron Corp posted an enormous profit in the quarter...it's net income rose to $4.88 billion, or $2.32 a share, from $3.77 billion, or $1.74 a share. Sales in the quarter rose to $59.9 billion from $46.24 billion last year. Chevron's earnings for its exploration and production segment rose 66 percent to $4.84 billion
  • Royal Dutch Shell posted a $27.6 billion profit in 2007 -- the largest ever profit by a European company
At least Obama objected:

...But their swelling coffers have attracted unwanted attention from politicians, who have characterized the companies as opportunists and suggested taking back lucrative tax breaks.
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Exxon's profit was a sign that the U.S. economy is "out of balance."

"Exxon Mobil posted record profits at 11 billion dollars this quarter alone at a time when families are struggling ... to fill up their gas tanks," he told reporters in Los Angeles.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mukasey Is A Neocon Tool

I mentioned Glenn Greenwald's depressing article in my last post. His article was primarily about Mukasey's hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it's Mukasey's newfound (?) arrogance compared to Bush's signing statements, that were under Greenwald's microscope.

It's a festering disease all right, this rampant arrogance. And it's making me sick to my stomach. My country is circling the drain and I doubt that any of the candidates can dig us out of the effluvium's mire.

But what the heck...I'll make you sick too, ok?

Soooooo...since, according to Mukasey, the CIA "no longer practices water boarding," which brilliantly doesn't assert that they actually ever have, Mukasey doesn't think he needs to investigate the CIA's use of, well, water boarding. To this supposedly independent and upright former judge, the fact that water boarding is illegal, and the fact that the CIA used it in interrogating at least two people, doesn't mean that he should investigate the crime committed by the CIA when they used water boarding.

My Dad taught me the old "If A = B, and B = C, then A = C" logic construct so I think I'll use it now.

If water boarding (A) = illegal torture (B)
And if illegal torture (B) = an act that must be investigated and prosecuted (C)
Then water boarding (A) = an act that must be investigated and prosecuted (C)

Now, Mukasey is being very careful not to declare that water boarding is an illegal form of torture (B). Which shoots the middle right out of my logical argument. Even though we have prosecuted Americans and others for water boarding in the past, Mukasey just won't say that it's torture, or that it's illegal. Now you know why.

Nowhere, in the above construct, or in our legal system as a matter of fact, does it say that committing a crime yesterday means that you don't have to be investigated or prosecuted today. Unless of course, you have declared yourself above the law.

If POTUS or VPOTUS or the CIA (A) = people who are not above the law if they commit a crime (B)
And if people who are not above the law who actually do commit a crime (B) = must be investigated and prosecuted (C)
Then POTUS or VPOTUS or the CIA (A) = people who must be investigated and prosecuted if they commit a crime (C)

Ah, what the hell. Logic is so...old school, you know?

I hope Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer are happy now. Or turning in their graves. The cold, dark, unmarked graves awarded to traitors to the American way of life.

Say Hello To Permanent US Bases In Iraq

The useless Democrats have bent over and given so much to Bush that he doesn't even try to hide anything anymore. It was always the Bush/Cheney/PNAC/Neocon goal to control the Middle East, starting with Iraq. They don't give a shit about promoting Democracy or "saving" the Iraqi people from that bad guy Saddam, or "saving" the American people from the "terrorists." No, they just replaced Saddam with that bad guy Uncle Sam. Let's shove our form of Democracy up your collective butt, Iraq, oh and can you at least act like you like it?

Well, George Bush just added another signing statement this week that allows him unbridled authority to fund military construction and stops Congress from blocking that funding. As Glenn Greenwald put it, in a thoroughly depressing but true article, the statement is "contesting the right of Congress even to exercise its spending power to bar the use of funds for permanent bases in Iraq."

The traditional media? Out to lunch. Totally missed it. As did most of the American people. We're in Iraq for good, my friends. Isn't that just lovely?

And some more, from Greenwald's article:

The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin noted that not a single journalist other than The Boston Globe's indefatigable Charlie Savage even reported on this event. As Froomkin said:

The overall message to Congress was clear: I'm not bound by your laws. . . . But it's Bush's cavalier dismissal of the ban on funding for permanent military bases that really speaks volumes -- not just about his view of the role of the legislative branch, but also about his intentions for Iraq. . . . Looking for a news story about all this in your morning paper? You won't find one in The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times or the Wall Street Journal.