Archive for the ‘Corporations’Category

How About a Lobby for Citizens???

A small tidbit in the New York Times today, which has no chance of seeing the light of day on the televised news, covered the race by corporate lobbyists to gain last minute approval from the White House to essentially screw the people in some way, shape or form.  Predicting that Democrats might take the White House, Operation Fuck You is currently underway. 

Some of the policies backed by the pro-business lobby include:

  • Trucking Companies would like to increase the maximum number of hours truck drivers can work.  If you’ve ever been on the road with a truck driver who hasn’t slept in 14 hours, I suggest the Transportation Department distribute astronaut diapers for every motorist who will piss themselves when said trucker swerves in and out of his lane.  Driving on the road with a sleepy driver in a Honda Civic is one thing; multiply the wheels to 18, and the highways will start to feel like Interstate Grand Theft Auto
  • Coal Companies have been trying to change their image of late by using an 8 year old with Crayola Crayons explaining the benefits of cleaner coal technology.  However, the coal lobbies would like the Interior Department to allow them to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mines into nearby water sources.  It’s just too expensive to trap carbon dioxide, and it’s too expensive to haul waste, says the coal lobby.  Since problem solving begins when a situation’s dilemma ranges from disastrous to “OH FUCK!  OH FUCK!”, this looks like yet another conundrum to be inherited by our children and grandchildren.   And who really cares if Appalachia is affected by a little water contamination?  It’s not like the majority of Appalachian adults will be able to read this blog anyway …
  • The Enironmental Protection Agency, known under the Bush Administration as “People for the Ethical Treatment of the Utility Industry”, would like to regulate the use of pollution-control equipment by not mandating the utilization of pollution-control equipment.
  • Employers would like to change the rules for family and medical leave because 12 weeks with an infant is a bit too generous.  After all, as long as a woman spends nine months with the fetus, everything else will just work itself out.  This coincides with the neoconservatives’ outlook on the youth vote, composed 100% of fetuses. 
  • The National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association have answered the age old question, “What came first?  The chicken or the damaging ammonia fumes from chicken shit?”  The associations insist that ammonia released into the air is not a public or environmental health hazard “just cause”.  An anonymous spokesperson from the NCC said to me, “The only chicken shits that should be regulated are in the Democratic party”. 

I’m sure there is more, but my bleeding ulcer can’t take it.  Notice the pattern – corporations, which have the same rights as human beings, benefit monetarily when real human beings get screwed.  If there is one main problem facing our democracy, it is the political lobby.  A plague on both sides of the political aisle, the lobby movement – funded by special interest corporations – continue to set the agenda for policy. 

Can we get a lobby for citizens???  The popular vote just doesn’t seem to cut it …

The Energy Bill

When I heard Bush declare at last year’s State of the Union that America was addicted to oil, I visualized the heroin needle popping out of a junky’s vein, looking him in the eye and saying, “You are addicted to heroin.”  

But if you heard a deafening cry throughout the land today, it was the Big Oil companies wailing over what could be a big goodbye to $700 million dollars in tax breaks this year.  That’s right – the 110th Congress debated on the House Floor H.R. 6 – the Energy Bill which was part of the 100 Hours Agenda.  Going after the Big Oil??  The only thing to ask is:

WHO THE FUCK DO THE DEMOCRATS THINK THEY ARE???

I mean, ending certain subsidies to the oil industry and shifting those funds to the tune of $15 billion over the next 10 years to promote renewable energy, alternative fuels, efficiancy and conservation sounds like a load o’ crap to me. 

Actually … I was just seeing if you were paying attention; although, in the interest of full disclosure, I do not drive a fuel efficient car; rather, I drive a highway ready 747 jumbo jet.  My husband cut off the wings to enable it to fit comfortably within the lanes (comfortable to me, at least).  I find that as a short person, it is the essential ride I need to see over you fucking bastards who drive trucks in the city.  But I digress …

The revenue from the bill basically breaks down like this:

  • $10 billion would be recovered from funds lost in an accounting error from the sale of deep water drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.  Like all things that are wrong with the world including terrorism, traffic, Jesus not coming back, and halitosis, this did occur during Clinton’s term around 1998.  However, it should be noted that Interior Inspector General Earl Devany told the Senate in a hearing that the problem was detected early in 2000, and that the Mineral Management Service’s approach was “shockingly cavalier”.  Hmmm….. (let’s all do a collective chin rub)
  • $6 billion will come from a repeal of subsidies and tax breaks and conservation fees taken on oil and gas taken from the Gulf. 

All money will be funneled into a research and development fund – which Republican Congressmen refer to as a “slush fund”, though none would comment on the flavor of Slushie funded – for renewable fuels (i.e., solar, wind, ethanol, bio-diesal, and conservation incentives to the private sector). 

The tax breaks repealed comes from the 2004 tax breaks Congress passed aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers compete against imports.  This tax break was never intended for highly profitable large oil companies, but of course they took it because really, who the hell is going to argue with this:

Lee Raymond

I watched C-SPAN coverage of the House debate, and there were a few concerns brought up about the bill – some rational and others, well, you decide.

1.) Instead of taxing domestic producers (I think they used the word “punishment”  like the bill authorized a collective spanking of every CEO of Big Oil – a measure I would certainly support), why not tax foreign oil with a gasoline tax or import tax?

Technically, this is a good question to bring up, as long as you want an honest answer.  The main reason you don’t want to mess with OPEC is because legally, OPEC doesn’t have to play fair.  If they want to withhold barrells, hike the price, and make you sign over the soul of your first born, there’s nothing we can do to stop them.  We can stop trading with their countries, and they would give a shit. 

The Government can, however, regulate fair business practice.  Plus, oil companies have no incentive to fund alternative fuel sources when they make record profits off the market fluctuation. 

2.)  This bill singles out the oil industry unfairly. 

childrens orchestra

I have hired these children to play “My heart bleeds for you“. 

3.) The American Petroleum Institute argued that the funds do not favor a particular alternative fuel source.

Only the Big Oil lobby, maybe joined by Rupert Murdoch, would argue that diversity and competition isn’t good in a capitalist economy.

4.)  This bill helps Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, Satan, The Dark Lord Sauron, Darth Vadar, The Russian from Rocky IV, Cobra Commander, Cruella De Ville, and Jaws.

Well, that’s because Democrats hate our freedom …

Bumper Sticker Philosophy

I enjoy being enlightened while driving.  Some bumper stickers are so good, I feel the need to pull up beside the driver and give him/her a thumbs up … not like they had anything to do with the authorship of the sticker itself, they just had the forethought to pay a buck and stick it on their car. 

While my husband and I were driving this weekend, we saw a bumber stick that read:

“WAR SUCKS … BUT FREEDOM IS WORTH IT”

And the thing is, in its purest meaning, that is true.  I’m sure Revolutionary soldiers looked at each other at Saratoga, starving and standing in their own feces, and said, “But at least we’re not paying taxes on tea!”  So yes, war can be worth it – just not very often. 

The selling of the Iraq War as a freedom issue boggles the rational mind.  Aren’t we smarter than that?  What the Project for a New American Century knows that we’re afraid to admit is simple:  No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  Can you imagine the meetings with Karl Rove, William Kristol, and the PNAC people sitting around with 100 year old Scotch, laughing their crony asses off saying, “No wait … I got a good one … we’ll occupy a country and then call them free!  It’ll be a gas!  Speaking of gas, put the Halliburton pro-formas up again.  I just can’t get enough!”

In Civics class and also in Critical Thinking classes (neither taught in school today … hmmm), one of the most important evaluation questions goes like this:

FROM WHAT … TO WHAT?

Barbara Jordan, one of this country’s greatest politicians – as well as the patron saint of this blog, asked that question to the Democratic National Convention while Clinton ran against Bush I.  She asked about change – change from what to what.  That question is apropos today. 

FREEDOM FROM WHAT … TO WHAT KIND OF FREEDOM?

The troop surge will start soon.  Nothing has changed, except for the rising death toll – not only for young American soldiers, but for Iraqi civilians as well.  How many Iraqi children would you kill, albeit accidentally, to give them freedom?  Freedom with U.S. military posts always present.  Freedom with a vote, but a vote that the U.S. better like. 

Barbara Jordan also said something else when dealing with issues of policy:

“It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision.”

I’m sure the driver of that gas-guzzling H3 really thinks freedom is worth it.  He felt strongly about the Iraq war, and the issues of today.  Next to his “War Sucks” bumper sticker, Calvin was pissing on the word TERRORISM.  Now that’s a statement.

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, With Perfect Hypocrisy

I’m wondering if anyone has seen any of the refugees in Darfur, whether in Mornei Camp or Kalma Camp, drinking a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola? Me neither. However, Coke is doing great business in Khartoum, according to a recent New York Times article.

“In 2002, Sudanese investors opened a new Coca-Cola factory, with Coke syrup legally exported to Sudan under an exemption for food and medicine. The $140-million plant churns out 100,000 bottles of Coke, Sprite and Fanta per hour”. [1]

How interesting. Especially since the company has recently announced a land donation in Atlanta, Georgia worth $2 million for a museum that will exhibit the papers of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I wonder what Dr. King would say about the donation?

Representative John Lewis, D-GA said about the donation: “It helps to educate and sensitize [the business community]. When Coca-Cola speaks, the business community listens.” [2]

Maybe Coca-Cola needs to stop speaking, and start listening a little more. In their own words, Coke has this on their website:

“Our actions – the way we treat our people, produce our beverages, protect the environment and benefit communities – determine whether we will be invited [into people’s lives] again. We strive to listen and respond to the needs of people and the planet. For us, corporate responsibility is an ongoing journey, not a destination.”

Maybe the corporate heads of Coca-Cola need to journey to Kalma Camp. I’m sure they can afford the trip.

There’s a place on their site to talk back: http://www2.coca-cola.com/contactus/index.html

The address is:

The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301

[1] Gettleman, Jeffrey. “War in Sudan? Not Where the Oil Wealth Flows.” The New York Times. 24 October 2006

[2] Dewan, Shaila. “Coca-Cola Donates Land to Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta.” The New York Times 23 October 2006.

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10 2006