Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Windfall Tax on Oil Profits

Some time ago I was in my car listening to John Williams on WGN, something I don't do regularly, but no matter. On that particular day, JW interviewed Sen. Dick Durbin on dicussing Politics, Sudoku, and his proposal to create a Windfall Tax on Oil companies. Mr. Williams is neither conservative nor liberal, a fairly level headed guy, and he was gracious to Senator Durbin's proposal but made good opposing points. Despite being regarded by TIME as one of the 10 Best Senators in America, Senator Dick Durbin did a lousy job of making his case justifying the Windfall Tax Profit bill. Keep in mind this is more than 6 months ago, before $3.00 a gallon.

What Durbin should have brought to make his case is discuss the fact that we give somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion in tax incentives to oil companies, and our beloved Congress not all that long ago gave Big Oil additional tax breaks. And even with these arguments I still have reservations about his proposal.

While I'm a liberal, it has always rankled me when someone on my side of the political spectrum decides to tax something that people do a lot of in order to generate revenue. A good example of such foolishness is Initiative 77, the law that would tax coffee in Seattle (fyi - the law was shot down). I'm in favor of more funds for education, but getting those streams of revenue by arbitrarily selecting an activity that has no relationship with the beneficiaries of those funds is horrible way to decide government policy.

Well, leave it to Daniel Gross of Slate to make the case better than anyone else in this brilliant artcile right here. The cost to pull oil out of the ground has not increased dramatically. Oil companies record profits have little to do with increased cost but rather decreased supply and increased demand. The war in Iraq has a direct relationship with the rise in oil prices. We are also running a deficit to conduct this war. Some people have been hurt by the financial effects of the war, such as the American Consumer. Some people have benefited from the war such as the oil companies.

"Ordinarily, we shouldn't want the government to decide when profits become "excess." But the case of huge profits from the run-up in oil prices is different for two reasons. First, it is unusually clear that these profits have nothing to do with productivity. Diverting them to the U.S. Treasury would have no effect on the incentive to extract more oil from American ground. Second, some or all of these profits are directly related to a situation that is imposing huge sacrifices—financial and otherwise—from others; that is, the Iraq war.
[snip]
"Because of the war, the government is adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the burden of debt that all taxpayers, including other businesses, will have to pay off. Because of the war, American soldiers by the hundreds, and Iraqis by the thousands, are paying the ultimate tax of death by government policy. And because of the war, American oil companies are raking in extra billions of dollars of profits."


Support the Windwall Tax on Oil Companies. It's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Maybe We Don't Deserve Democracy

It's been forever since I last posted. Forever.... Not that I haven't been thinking and ranting and doing, but this is the first time I've actually decided to log in and write something. A question to the very few who still actually read this blog

Some bulletpoints for us to review the items of the past week or two;


  • Tom Delay resigns with all the investigations swirling around him.

  • Scooter Libby testifies that both Cheney and Bush authorized him to leak Joseph Wilson's wife's name in order to retaliate for his editorial in the New York Times

  • Seymour Hersh writes an article in the New Yorker regarding plans of invading ANOTHER FUCKING COUNTRY when the last pre-emptive war we're in is going so well that we still have no idea when it will be over.

  • In order to keep another nation from obtaining nuclear weapons (Iran) we have compiled a list of options how we can stop them, and the amazing thing is that at the top of the list of options is USING NUCLEAR WEAPONS against them. Please stop laughing... this isn't funny... okay it is a little funny, but still it's very disturbing.


All this is happening and what are we doing? Well, I'm blogging which in the grand scheme of things does not do much. But a thought keeps pestering me in light of all this news. Do we really deserve Democracy?

How many people vote in elections in this country. At best it comes in somewhere around 50% give or take a few percentage points depending on the news of the day. The elected (insert sarcastic tone here) leadership of this nation has their hands on the controls of enough weaponry to annihilate every living thing on the planet 10 times over, and yet they casually wave their dicks around like it's a goddamn supersoaker. And what is the rest of the citizens of this nation doing? Sitting on it's ass saying "what can you do?" and "all politicians are corrupt". Throwing it's collective hands in the air and thinking we're powerless to do anything.

We have become complacent and removed from the power this nation wields. We don't even think about it, our responsibility as citizens. In the declaration of independence the writers put it best...


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

[snip]

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
(our rubber stamp GOP congress)


He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.(imprisoning individuals with total disregard for the constitution)

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; (protests regarding illegal immigrants circa 2006) refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone,(see justice Sunday, our new Supreme Court appointees, etc) for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices (record deficits and expansion of government circa 2001), and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States. (Jose Padilla)

[snip]

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us (The War on Terror).

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people (Bush environmental policy).

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.


He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:
New Hampshire - Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts - John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island - Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut - Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York - William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey - Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania - Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware - Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland - Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia - George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina - William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina - Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia - Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

The Declaration of Independence still resonates loudly. I can't say that the reference to "savage" (aka American Indians aka Native Americans) makes me proud, but nearly everything else does. How can't it?

History repeats itself. The forefathers of this nation went to great lengths to establish the principles of this nation. I know, we didn't, we still don't treat all people as created equal, but the sentiment is there. These people started a revolution that would be cited as the shot that was heard round the world.

The same shit is happening today. And what are we doing? Watching American Idol and stuffing our faces with Twinkies. And blogging... Maybe we don't deserve democracy.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Vital Information for compulsive MP3 collectors running out of memory on their hard drive

You Can't Be Too Thin - The skinny new audio format that will replace MP3s—and revolutionize Internet radio.
By Paul Boutin, Posted Friday, Jan. 21, 2005, at 4:44 PM PT

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Palmer is still alive

I guess I lost my passion for blogging for a while, along with the sense of hope for the future considering the election results. But BMA is not dead, not yet anyway.... stay tuned

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More Signs the End is Near for Dubya

This line actually came out of Dick Cheney's mouth during his speech at the GOP Convention;

"Our Nation has the best health care in the world, and President Bush is making it more affordable and more accessible to all Americans"


It has been my beleif that much of the administration has been in an alternate universe. I have held the idea that someone in the White House has confused the word optimism with delusion. You could not find more perfect example in this statement. Despite news stories, anecdotal evidence and that most sworn enemy of the Bush administration, FACTS, this administration wants to propagate complete bullshit.

There are issues that are debatable. The effectiveness this President has been in war on terror (terrorist recruitment is up) No Child Left Behind (not adequately funded) the environment (do we really need to discuss this one?). While there is a gap in perception of what is really happening, and a lack of a real examination debate about this subject, at least each side can make a case. I still think you're wrong if your conclusion is that W is the man to lead this nation, but at least we can discuss things.

And then there are issues that are undebatable. The fact that health care costs have gone way up is undebatable. Health Care costs have gone up 50% last time I checked. So how the hell can the VP say this, and how the hell can the press let the GOP get away with it? Please, tell me what the hell are they smoking at the RNC?

Cheney could have blamed the rising costs of Health Care on lawyers. While it is deceptive, at least it could have been debated. If you did the research you would know that you are wrong and that the current mess has more to do with the lack of insurance regulation. But for god sakes, the one thing you can't debate is the affordability of health insurance.

Nearly 45 million people lacked health insurance, or 15.6 percent of the population. That was up from 43.5 million in 2002, or 15.2 percent, but was a smaller increase than in the two previous years."

"Some employers are requiring workers to pay 10% to 30% more toward monthly premiums, raising deductibles and setting higher co-payments for office visits, hospital care and drugs. Hewitt Associates estimates that the amount employees will pay in premiums and other costs next year will rise by an average of $342, to $1,753."

"The number of Americans with employer-paid health coverage fell dramatically from 2001 to 2003, with about 9 million people losing coverage, according to a national study released Aug. 2."

I find it hysterical that the Dems spent a great amount of time not to trash Bush the whole time. Sharpton took them to task, Carter was not light, but overall most people were reserved and diplomatic. The past 3 days have been nothing but a Kerry bash fest. I don't know if the negativity will make Kerry more sympathetic and expose the fact that Bush is running on virtually no accomplishments, or the negativity will triumph once again. I guess the polls will determine that.

Either way, the fact that the current supporters live in a mental gated community, completely walled off from reality is the absolute truth. Welcome to Bush Country, better known as the United States of Delusion.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Thought for the day:

You can't spell PATRIOT without R-I-O-T
I've been a little behind in blogging, primarily because I've been so busy with a lot of things, among them doing my radio show at WZRD Chicago, volunteering for Kerry, planning for the future, playing with my new iPod, and waking up at an ungodly hour to enjoy my newest obssesion live, Morning Sedition.


I almost feel the same way about Morning Sedition as I do when I'm being an indie rock snot bragging to anyone who will listen that "I was into them when no one knew who they were, when they played a basement for nothing but free beer". If you can't catch it live on WLIB 1190 Air America Central or the Portland rebroadcast 3 hours later on KPOJ, you can download the whole show at the archives location for Air America Place. Riley and Maron have developed an amazing chemistry in a short amount of time. Riley is the experienced and knowledgable journalist. Maron is the guy who makes fun of things and speculates half baked but not completely ridiculous conspiracys. It's in my opinions the best and most consistent show on AAR. I love Al Franken's; he's more informative and political, and consistent, but Morning Sedition is the only show that I make it a point to hear the whole thing.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Deregulation Creates More Litigation



or why the GOP has no one but to blame but themselves for the rise of trial lawyers like John Edwards




Right now the best argument the GOP and Dem-haters have on the newly chosen VP Democratic Candidate John "People Magazine's 50 Sexiest" Edwards is that Edwards is the lowest of all professional trades; a trial lawyer. Ambulence Chaser, Vulture, scavenger, call him what you want and recite all those bad jokes about lawyers, whatever it takes to bring him down.

Personally I think this outpouring of negativity is more fear within the GOP finding a voice, rather than a genuine hatred of Edwards, or even trial lawyers in general. It was well noted throughout the election that the person Karl Rove was most worried having to face in an election was.

Of course I wouldn't put much stock in the Bush campaign's take in their sizing up their Democratic opponents. With the ineptitude, hubris, myopia and complete self delusional persona the Bushies exhibit on a daily basis in even the simplest of matters, one has to wonder if Team Dubya can accurately size up something as low a threat as a domestic political opponent, much less a foreign nation that requires a full scale invasion.

Face it, these idiots were handed the best military on the face of the earth top to bottom, from the intel to personel, leadership to technology. The Pentagon gets nearly every $ it wants. Even with top flight analysis from experts like General Shinseki, the fools that occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue couldn't seem to see straight. You have to take everything they say with a grain of salt with these bastards. As soon as one of their appointed and highly regarded cabinet members tells the truth, they're fired. Thank you Larry Linsey and Paul O'Neil.

Nonetheless it is hard to ignore the charm and radiant personality of John Edwards. It was my belief early on that Kerry was the man of substance, while Edwards was more style. Yeah, Kerry can be a little gurff, and when his speeches sound "canned". He does not always translate well. On the other hand I liked Edwards, but he didn't evoke a sense of experience with the mess we're in. Edwards might have been better suited post Clinton, but not now with the mess King George has made. The best line I've heard regarding the Democratic ticket is that Edwards will do a better job of selling the nation on Kerry than Kerry could.

However a thought occurred to me while listening to all the righties on the radio complain about the trial lawyer that I am nearly positive will be our future Vice President. The lawsuit happy state of our society didn't occur overnight. What has happened in the past 30 years that has caused this severe rise in lawsuits?

Could it be DEREGULATION? Am I the first one to connect these 2 dots? Has anyone come up with this hypothesis yet? I'd have to reference studies and stats to prove it, something I don't have time for. I do know though that for organizations like the FERC, SEC and EPA, industry friendly appointees, poor oversight and inadequate funds (thank you GOP Congress!) the number of lawsuits filed by shareholders, and environmental groups respectively have jumped quite a bit, and have been on the rise ever since Reagan got into office.

Could it be that when the government doesn't keep corporations in check, those corporations violate other people's rights or take their money because there is no one to stop them?

Could it be that customers who were fleeced by the likes of Enron and Duke Energy were so vulnerable because new land of utility deregulation? The government wasn't looking after the utlities, who in turn screwed over an entire state because they could get away with it?

Could it be that, when the people who watched their 401K and retirements fund go down the toilet due to corporate malfeseance and corruption, they decided that they needed to fight back?

Could it be that when these people find their water contaminated and their property values are in decline due to pollution, that these same people figure out the government wasn't going to protect them?

Could it be that the only option these people have is to find a lawyer to get adequate justice?

The rise of lawsuits and lawyers are very much the result of government not doing it's job. Yeah, there are lawyers who have taken advantage of this trend, and there are ambulance chasers who try to bring large corporation to court in egregious and frivoulous cases. But there are always going to be those who will take advantage of the system. Funny, because the very same thing could be applied to the corporate world right now. Except I think the damage done by Corporations are far greater than any cabal of trial lawyers. Just ask this guy, Clark Judge, a Republican. Apparently while Americans have a low opinion of trial lawyers, they have an even lower opinion of big business.

But really, if you're a conservative you are getting exactly what you want. Lawsuits are a perfect example of citizens taking responsibility in prosecuting the law when and where the government does not. Face it, after 20+ years of Reagan-esque anti government deregulation policies, this legilative direction the country has taken has led to the rise of our class-action nation. The whining conservatives who point to trial lawyers have no one to blame this whole mess on but themselves.

DEREGULATION = MORE LITIGATION

Congratulations, you are getting what you deserve!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

More signs the end is near

Military personel is supposed to be the GOP bread and butter. I have a funny feeling that trend is about to end.

Army Recalling Thousands Who Left Service

And would anyone on the right care to explain how this doesn't conflict with the constant push from the GOP to make state labor laws conform with the "Right to Work" idealogy.

One more thing - this website is fucking hysterical - enter any website and it makes it porntastic.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Why does it take a Republican to hit the nail right on the head?

From this artcile in the New York Times;

When Tom Brokaw of NBC suggested to Bob Dole that Ronald Reagan had been an inspiring flag-bearer for the World War II generation, it was a bit too much for Mr. Dole, who was wounded in Italy. He replied dryly that Mr. Reagan, who spent the war making Army training films in Hollywood, had never heard a shot fired. "But he was a captain," Mr. Dole said. "And mighty proud of it."

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

More signs the end is near for W

Gotten from this article off of Capitol Hill Blue;

"It reminds me of the Nixon days,” says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That’s the mood over there.”

In interviews with a number of White House staffers who were willing to talk off the record, a picture of an administration under siege has emerged, led by a man who declares his decisions to be “God’s will” and then tells aides to “fuck over” anyone they consider to be an opponent of the administration.

“We’re at war, there’s no doubt about it. What I don’t know anymore is just who the enemy might be,” says one troubled White House aide. “We seem to spend more time trying to destroy John Kerry than al Qaeda and our enemies list just keeps growing and growing.”


And I found this one really fascinating;

WASHINGTON - A new book on the Bush political dynasty claims former President George H.W. Bush opposed last year's invasion of Iraq.

In "The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty," Peter and Rochelle Schweizer cite as evidence a summer 2002 interview in which the older Bush's sister said her brother had expressed his "anguish" about the administration's preparations for war.

"But do they have an exit strategy?" the former President is quoted as worrying.

"Although he never went public with them," the authors assert, "the President's own father shared many of [the] concerns" of Brent Scowcroft, his national security adviser and a leading war opponent.

Top Bush aide Jean Becker denied the allegations yesterday.