Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ExxonMobil doesn't care what you think

Ok, so you think that ExxonMobile posted huge profits this last quarter? Of course they did, how could they not? Do they care? How could they - they're too busy huffing and puffing from the effort of lugging those bags of loot to the bank.

We've said it before, and we'll say it again probably, corporations are organized crime, but for now, we'll just cut and paste a slice of Steve Lendmen's article from his blog, Steve Lendmen's Blog. It's a long read, but important, and you should bop over to his blog and read the whole piece.

Photo: Jose Gil

by Stephen Lendman


Except for two brief and mild recessions, corporations in the US have prospered since the 1980s in a very business-friendly environment under both Democrats and Republicans. The result has been rising profits to record levels, enhanced even more by generous corporate tax cuts (and personal ones as well mostly for the rich), especially after the election of George Bush. Under this president, one of their own in the White House, US corporations have never had it better. It's been so good that 82 of the largest 275 companies paid no federal income tax in at least one year from 2001-2003 or got a refund; 28 of them got tax rebates in all 3 of those years even though their combined profits totaled $44.9 billion; 46 of them, earning $42.6 billion in profits, paid no tax in 2003 and got $4.9 billion back in tax rebates. And the average CEO pay for these 46 companies in 2004 was $12.6 million.

Along with big tax cuts and generous rebates, big corporations are on the government dole big time in the form of subsidies, otherwise known as "corporate welfare." It's also known as socialism for the rich (and capitalism for the rest of us). In 1997 the Fortune 500 companies got $75 billion in "public aid" even though they earned record profits of $325 billion. They got it in many forms - grants, contracts, loans and loan guarantees and lots more. Today there are about 125 business subsidy programs in the federal budget benefitting all major areas of business.

Some examples of this government largesse include:

Selling the rights to billions of dollars of oil, gas, coal and other mineral reserves at a small fraction of their market value.

The giveaway of the entire broadcast spectrum to the corporate media, valued at $37 billion in 1989 dollars.

Charging mostly corporate ranchers (including big oil and insurance companies) dirt cheap grazing rates on over 20 million acres of public land.

Spending many billions of dollars on R & D and handing over the results to corporations free of charge. "Big Pharma" is notorious for letting government do their expensive research and then cashing in on the results by soaking us with sky-high prices and rigging the game with through WTO rules that get them exclusive patent rights for 20 years or longer when they're able to extend them through the courts.

Giving the nuclear industry over $100 billion in handouts since its inception and guaranteeing government protection to pick up the cost in case of any serious accidents that otherwise might cost the company affected billions and possibly bankrupt it.

Giving corporate agribusiness producers many billions in annual subsidies.

You and I, the individual taxpayers, pay the bill for this generosity. But we actually pay these corporations twice - first through our taxes and then for the cost of their products and services. And they don't even thank us.

[end quote] - Via Information

You can read the rest of the story at

Corporate Pig: Lee Raymond, ExxonMobile CEO

Never never never think that a guy who took home a half a billion dollars in pay last year gives even one teeny tiny shit about how much gasoline or heating fuel costs you, Mr and Mrs Burger Flipper.

Net neutrality in jeopardy

Curious about Net Neutrality, but are a little confused about what it all means?

So was I until I stumbled across this quick but effective explanation from Matt Stoller on AlterNet [dot] org.

Doc Searls discusses the issue on Linux Journal.

Meanwhile, a bill backed by Congressional Democrats guaranteeing neutrality has been shot down.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Plot thickens as Bush meets with Schultz

Partners in crime: Nixon and Schultz

Whatever you may think about the revolt of the generals, or the extremely low opinion poll ratings of the president, Bush is sailing blithely on, confident that his way is righteous. As for his plans to unilaterally attack Iran with these so-called bunker-buster bombs (an outright act of war, declared or not, and in violation of every law of civilized nations and our own Constitution), he has been reported returning to the knee of his real guru in international crime, George P. Schultz.

Think Progress [dot] org reveals the true motive of his very recent visit to Stanford University last Friday:

Bush Meets Privately With Think Tank Promoting Military Strike On Iran

This tidbit about President Bush’s schedule was buried in today’s Washington Post:

Bush traveled Friday night to Stanford University, where he met privately with members of the libertarian Hoover Institution to discuss the war. He concluded the day with a private dinner held by George P. Shultz, a Hoover fellow and former secretary of state.

Why is this significant? The Hoover Institution is a think tank that has been aggressively promoting the viability of a preemptive military strike in Iran. Here’s just a couple of recent examples —

Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at Hoover:

[Europe] will be able to think of all sorts of nicer alternatives to taking out Iran’s nuclear development sites. They will be able to come up with all sorts of abstract arguments and moral equivalence, such as: Other countries have nuclear weapons. Why not Iran? Debating abstract questions is much easier than confronting concrete and often brutal alternatives. The big question is whether we are serious or suicidal. [Creators Syndicate, 1/3/06]

Tod Lindberg, a research fellow at Hoover:

Whatever it is that Saddam was going to perpetrate in his remaining years in power, whatever he intended to bequeath to his sons and whatever in turn they would do to follow up on his legacy, this we have prevented… Which takes us back to Iran…I don’t think it would be a good idea to wait around in the hope that we never arrive at the moment when we realize we should have done something. [Washington Times, 4/18/06]

George P. Schultz, who hosted the event, was an “early defender of the use of pre-emptive force to deal with Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.”

[end quote]

Be afraid, be very afraid. Personally, there is no doubt in my mind that George W. is a sociopath of the first water, and has been in a fugue state since just a little after the State of the Union speech. His sinking polls (whether he cares to admit it or not) have driven him closer and closer to the brink of a psychotic episode, in which he will take us all over the edge.

If you doubt that, just recall to your mind's eye his recent appearances on TV, where he has been jerky to the point of spasticness, verbally inappropriate ("I am the decider."), and just generally giving all the appearances of a loose cannon about to go off.

This visit with Schultz has the hallmark of a wounded child seeking advice from his neighborhood bully, and Schultz is a monster capable of commiting crimes that make even crime family bosses cringe.

Any advice from this smooth-talking hitman is certain to bring no good results to the American people.