Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Guest Blog -- Oil Price Gouging and Republican Responsibility

Most American consumers understand that the energy policies of the Republican Party simply stink of oil money. The ties between the Bush White House and oil interests are well understood. The policies pursued by the Bush Republicans in terms of energy, environmental regulations, monopolies, taxation and foreign policy are those of the largest oil companies instead of the American consumer.

Recently on MSNBC, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn attempted to blame high oil prices on liberals and environmentalists. The attempt was pathetic and a classical Blackburn tactic. Blackburn often goes into a standard speech mode attacking liberals, environmentalists and/or Democrats or repeating some standard Republican talking points when she has no logical response to politically uncomfortable facts.

While visiting her office with a delegation of Tennessee auto workers, I saw her filibuster the members of the delegation. She quickly excused herself for a pressing meeting with a business lobby as soon as the auto workers started discussing policy issues of importance to working Americans. She refused to let these auto workers even state their concerns. Blackburn votes with the largest corporations on every importance piece of legislation and routinely against her largely middle class Congressional District.

Blackburn is a typical example of a Republican member of Congress. Her campaign coffers are stuffed with Corporate money. She always votes in the interest of the wealthiest of the wealthy. Her political story shows how Big Oil has been able to rape the American consumer with the active assistance of a Republican dominated federal government.

The largest oil companies have used their huge cash reserves to buy up other competing oil companies without the government halting these anti-competitive, monopolistic acquisitions. These huge cash reserves were not used to expand refinery expansion or to expand other forms of renewable energy sources in significant ways.

Some internal oil company documents and emails made public seem to indicate that supplies were deliberately tightened by oil industry actions in order to drive up prices and oil industry profits. The oil industry made scapegoats out of environmentalists, and Republican political allies picked-up this theme, in order to cover their apparent manipulation of markets. This market manipulation should have been illegal. Congress needs to investigate the oil industry at the highest levels. This investigation should be focused largely on refinery operations and the anti-competitive situation created by oil company consolidations.

In her MSNBC appearance, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn urged an investigation of individual gas stations. I believe Blackburn was trying to derail an investigation of Big Oil by misdirection of a Congressional investigation.

This writer believes that Democrats should push for the break-up of the largest oil companies. We need more competition in the energy sector. If criminal price-gouging can be proved, oil industry executive responsible should serve long jail terms. Excessive oil industry profits should be taxed. Blackburn publicly announced her opposition to this taxation policy. Her position is shared by almost all Republican members of Congress and the Bush White House.

Our government should stop creating foreign policy crises with major oil producing nations like Iran and Venezuela. The Bush Republican foreign policy seems to be designed to drive up international oil prices by creating crisis after crisis and constantly threatening war with oil producing nations. Greg Palast has a new book coming out soon that explores the possibility that the Bush White House pushed the United States into a war with Iraq to keep Iraqi oil off the international market. This interesting idea makes sense in that tight oil supplies permitted Bush’s friends in the oil industry to make billions and billions in excess profits. These oil industry people have funded Bush Republican politicians all over the nation.

The only defense American consumers have to fight back is their votes. Every Republican Senator and Congressperson should be voted out of office in 2006 and 2008. We need to enact laws to promote competition, peace, energy conservation and renewable energy. This cannot be done with the Bush Republicans in control of our federal government.

Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: midsouthcm@aol.com . Phone: 443-907-2367.

Friday, April 21, 2006

SAVE THE INTERNET

I received the following email this morning. I received a different one from moveon.org yesterday. This isn't a liberal issue and it isn't a conservative issue -- It's a freedom issue.

It's not just my blog that will be slowed down because I'm not paying Internet providers to allow their customers to view my blog -- it'll be all of our little blogs that rant about politics or exchange receipes or even post pictures of our grandchildren.

I, for one, do not want Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner to decide what websites I can and cannot see. I don't want to hand over my Internet reins to someone else.

Do you? Read the below letter and take action -- now, not later and stand on top of you representative to do the right thing.

God Bless.

Dear media reformer,

Congress is about to sell out the Internet by letting big phone and cable companies set up toll booths along the information superhighway.

Companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are spending tens of millions in Washington to kill "network neutrality" -- a principle that keeps the Internet open to all.

A bill moving quickly through Congress would let these companies become Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow -- and which won't load at all -- based on who pays them more. The rest of us will be detoured to the "slow lane," clicking furiously and waiting for our favorite sites to download.

Don't let Congress ruin the Internet:

Tell Congress to Save Net Neutrality Now

Our elected representatives are trading favors for campaign donations from phone and cable companies. They're being wooed by people like AT&T's CEO, who says "the Internet can't be free" and wants to decide what you do, where you go and what you watch online.

The best ideas never come from those with the deepest pockets. If the phone and cable companies get their way, the free and open Internet could soon be fenced in by large corporations. If Congress turns the Internet over to giants like AT&T, everyone who uses the Internet will suffer:

* Google users -- Another search engine could pay AT&T to guarantee that it opens faster than Google on your computer.

* iPod listeners -- Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that paid for the privilege.

* Work-at-home parents -- Connecting to your office could take longer if you don't purchase your carrier's preferred applications. Sending family photos and videos could slow to a crawl.

* Retirees -- Web pages you always use for online banking, access to health care information, planning a trip or communicating with friends and family could fall victim to Verizon's pay-for-speed schemes.

* Bloggers -- Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips -- silencing citizen journalists and amplifying the mainstream media.

* Online activists -- Political organizing could be slowed by the handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay a fee to join the "fast lane."

* Small businesses -- When AT&T favors their own services, you won't be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, and Internet phone calls.

* Innovators with the "next big idea" -- Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay for a top spot on the Web.

We can't let Congress ruin the free and open Internet.

Let Congress Know that You Want Net Neutrality Now

We must act now or lose the Internet as we know it.

Onward,

Robert W. McChesney
President
Free Press
www.freepress.net

P.S. Visit www.SavetheInternet.com to contact your representative, learn more about this issue, and discuss this campaign with other activists.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Terra Naomi -- Something Good to Show You

I received an email from Terra Naomi today. She has written a song called Something Good to Show You. She asked me to post about it.

So, I checked out her MySpace page and I listened to the song. I like it -- both the song itself and the lyrics.

So, I highly recommend that all of you check it out.

God Bless

PS. Sorry about no posts the last few days. I'm researching one and should have it done by the weekend -- I hope.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Shame on Comedy Central

So it is okay for South Park, that godawful show I NEVER watch, to show Jesus Christ defecating on the American flag and our president -- which I personally take offense to -- BUT, don't show any picture of Mohammed.

For fear of sounding like a right-wing person -- what's the deal?!?

It's okay to knock Christianity and make fun of Christ and Bush and disgrace our flag, but it's not okay to show a picture of Mohammed?

Why not?

According to CNN.com, "William Donohue of the anti-defamation group Catholic League, called on Parker and Stone to resign out of principle for being censored." He said (again quoting from CNN),
"The ultimate hypocrite is not Comedy Central -- that's their decision not to show the image of Mohammed or not -- it's Parker and Stone," he said. "Like little whores, they'll sit there and grab the bucks. They'll sit there and they'll whine and they'll take their shot at Jesus. That's their stock in trade."
I disagree with Mr. Donohue. Parker and Stone have always pushed the envelope on South Park. The real issue here is that Comedy Central, who makes a lot of money off of the show, turns chicken when the religion is Muslim.

As a co-worker of mine would say, "What is up with that?"

That's what I would like to know.

God Bless

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Local Public Pay...

This is going to be really quick, as I'm backed up today, but since when does the state legislature get to have a say-so in how much money local county, city and town workers get paid? And, why is this such a hot amendment when we can't get the good things the state needs out of committee -- see my article on insurance companies discriminating against dog breeds from earlier this year?

Legislating raises is a bad idea -- having the legislature vote on it without a proper review is an even worst idea.

Representative Wood, go back to Chippewa Falls and just keep your bad ideas to yourself.

God Bless

Monday, April 10, 2006

If You Talk Like A Bigot...

Religious Wrongs are claiming that being required to attend diversity trainings or not being allowed to harass gay students is against their religion. They are claiming that they are being persecuted in this country.

Persecuted? They don't know the meaning of the word! Try being told on a daily basis that you're going to Hell. Of course, if you're one of those right wing so-called "Christians", you think somehow you have a right to judge someone else's life. Seems to me, that Jesus didn't approve of us judging each other. If you're going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk and these "Christians" can't take step one to follow Jesus.

Jon Davidson who is the legal director of Lambda Legal said, "What if a person felt their religious view was that African Americans shouldn't mingle with Caucasians, or that women shouldn't work?"

"Christian" activist Gregory S. Baylor "says he supports policies that protect people from discrimination based on race and gender. But he draws a distinction when he argues that sexual orientation is different — a lifestyle choice, not an inborn trait."

Baylor went on to say, "Think how marginalized racists are. If we don't address this now, it will only get worse."

What? You wish to speak against an entire group of people based on the fact that you don't like the way God made them and you're worried about "Christians" being marginalized?

But, ignoring the bigoted view that gays have made "lifestyle choice", how would Baylor feel if someone took offense to the way he drives his car?

To run this point further home, can I go to work and preach to my co-workers about the evils of drinking? Drinking is a lifestyle choice, if I know that a co-worker drinks -- even if it doesn't interfere with his or her work -- can I continually tell them what a horrible habit it is and how they shouldn't drink?

What about smoking? If I know a co-worker smokes, can I bring pictures of lungs ravaged with cancer into work and hang them on their cubicles? Can I hang them in mine? Isn't that showing a lack of tolerance that is required for people to be able to work together to get a job done?

How is that different from hanging anti-gay signs in your cubicle?

Sitting next to a person who is gay and being tolerant is NOT being "anti-Christian", it is being Christian.

Let me remind the "Christian" fakers, Jesus wouldn't be sitting with you when breaking the bread, he would be sitting with those who are truly marginalized b society and ntrulyyy persecuted. That isn't going to be the ones who only think they're being marginalized and persecuted, he'll be with the ones who really are.

I'll bet my spot at Jesus' right hand for all eternity on it.

God Bless.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thomas Hose

Just a quick post -- have you been following this story. A young lady returned to her family ten years after she was missing. She claims she was held against her will for the last ten years. Thomas Hose -- the abductor -- claims that he "never forced Kach to live with him and that the woman had access to a cell phone during their time together."

She was fourteen years old when she disappeared! FOURTEEN YEARS OLD. She wasn't a responsible adult and how can that be a legal defense?!?

Sometimes, I wonder about things.

Tomorrow...

Tomorrow, April 8th, is my wife's 50th birthday. Now, Cheryl is fairly easy to buy for -- just pick up a shiny object at your nearest jewelry store and wrap it. Shopping complete.

But, I wanted to get her something special, something she'd never forget -- or quite possibly -- forgive me for. I got her a guest spot in a webcomic!

Yes, sir, you can head on over to PC Weenies and check her and the comic out! I highly recommend this as a gift for nearly everyone. This might even surpass the Christmas present I gave her, which I'll post about some other time.

So, just to recap, Check out PC Weenies and if you see Cheryl tomorrow, wish her a happy birthday!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

More lack of Background Checks

On the heels of Brian J. Doyle's arrest for being a child molester, I receive my usual weekly email from The Economist. The email contains this little blurb:
Two federal air marshals pleaded guilty of planning to smuggle cocaine on a flight from Houston to Las Vegas. The pair, arrested in a sting operation in February, were hired after the expansion in airline security following the September 11th attacks.
Okay, so NOBODY goes through background checks anymore?!?

What happened to In God We Trust, all others we run through NCIC?

Just how easy is it to get a Federal Air Marshall's job anyway AND are these the kind of people we want protecting our skies?!?

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that 95% of our Federal Air Marshalls are upstanding citizens who do the best job they can, but if I was one of them, I'd be really mad that the government let these two yahoo's slip by.

Just where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?

God Bless.

Stop Senators Santorum and Frist...

According to the Human Rights Organization, "After a request from notoriously anti-gay Senator Rick Santorum, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced his intention to force a vote on the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment during the week of June 5."

It's time we put a stop to this. Write your Senators and tell them that we don't need this vote and we don't need this Amendment. Even if you're against gay marriage, you should realize that this is just a ploy to bring out the extreme right in a mid-term election year, because these morons haven't done anything in the last six years to deserve re-election.

Further, if you live in Tennesse or Pennsylvania you need to vote these guys out. Stand up for what is right and just and eliminate these guys from politics. Personally, I'd like to see both of them shot, but that's not going to happen.

Oh, and a message to anyone in Pennsylvania, I've been doing some reading about the history of your great state. Pennsylvania is the home of the liberty bell -- how can you guys let a hatemonger like Santorum be your Senator?!? Who's your other Senator, Hitler?

These guys are too chicken to stand up with Feingold and censure Bush for his illegal actions, yet, they think that they are morally correct on the Anti-gay amendment?

May God have mercy on their souls, because if I ever get a chance to meet up with these two morons, I won't.

God Bless

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What happened to background checks?!?

Brian J. Doyle, who is the fourth-ranking official in the Homeland Security's department of public affairs, has been "charged with using a computer to seduce a child"1 after being caught in a sting operation.

Are you kidding me?

Just who is running the government? This is ridiculous! We have a child molester working as a deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security?!? And, no, I'm not using the word allegedly, as they caught the guy still sitting at his computer!

I'm really getting worried about this administration's judgement when it comes to hiring people. The sad fact is that by the time the average child molester has been caught, he has molested ten kids. Ten kids. Think about that. That's ten lives that have been ruined. That's ten kids that lose their childhoods. That's ten kids who never feel safe again.

And, this guy is speaking for Homeland Security?!?

God Bless us All, cause we're screwed.






1Chicago Tribune April 5