Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘oil’ Category

President Obama has vetoed Congress’s bill that tried to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline! But the president still has to make his final decision on whether KXL is in our national interest. Let’s face it. It isn’t.

Read More Here From the Sierra Club

Estimates are that building the pipeline will bring a few hundred to a few thousand permanent jobs to the United States, but the potential environmental impact is massive. On the other hand, the battle over the pipeline is a battle between heavyweight billionaires.

In one corner are the Koch Brothers. Warren Buffett is in the other corner. The Koch Brothers have a sizable investment in the pipeline and the tar sands. Buffett owns the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, which is the largest transporter of crude oil in the United States.

If Obama approves of the pipeline, Buffett loses and the Koch’s win. If Obama disapproves of the pipeline, the Koch Brothers lose and Buffett wins.

The Koch Brothers are big investors in the Republican Party. Buffett is a big investor in the Democratic Party. Obama will make his decision based on the priorities of the Democratic Party, just like a Republican president would make this decision based on the priorities of the Republican Party.

Expect Buffett to win.

Read Full Post »

The Democrats in congress are mostly against the Keystone Pipeline, which will transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, if approved by congress and not vetoed by President Obama. The Republican senators and representatives are, by and large, for this potential environmental disaster.

If the pipeline doesn’t make it past a veto the Republicans will blame environmentalists that supposedly influence the Democratic members of congress and President Obama. However, one can rightly suspect that there is something more to this than meets the eye.

Perhaps the Democratic position has something to do with billionaire investor Warren Buffett doling out $15 billion to purchase the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad earlier this year, the largest railroad shipper of crude oil in the nation, according to its website. Buffett is a big financial supporter of the Democrats, but he financially dabbles a little bit with some Republicans.

Buffett heads Berkshire Hathaway, one the largest hedge funds in the world. Its stock price is currently over $200,000 per share. A hedge fund is nothing more than an unregulated investment firm that buys and sells stocks and bonds, sort of like a Goldman Sachs without any rules.

The Keystone Pipeline will transport oil from Canada and the United States to the Gulf of Mexico for export elsewhere. If completed, the pipeline may take a lot of business from Burlington Northern Santa Fe. In which case, the share price of Burlington Northern Santa Fe will likely drop as its profits decline. The profits from Burlington that Berkshire Hathaway receives will also fall, which could put downward pressure on its stock price. The result would be less money for all of those Democratic politicians who count on that money.

The billionaire Koch Brothers are a major financial player behind the building of the Keystone Pipeline. They invest billions in the Republican party and its candidates. They stand to make billions from building the pipeline, and the pipeline will service one of their Texas oil refineries.

Quite naturally, the pipeline represents a conduit of future cash for Republican Party candidates, whereas Burlington and Berkshire Hathaway represent a stream of cash for Democratic Party candidates.

There are other perks candidates of both parties receive from big contributors, such as vacations in Scotland and cushy jobs that make them rich after they leave office.

Notice none of the major corporate news media is mentioning issues such as these. That’s because the job of reporters and editors of the corporate news media is to keep you ignorant, and biased against the political party you don’t like.

In government, in legislation, in negotiating trade treaties, the Democrats represent a fraction of the 0.01 percent richest Americans, the Republicans represent another fraction of the 0.01 percent wealthiest Americans, and a third fraction of the richest Americans play both sides, such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, both of which are corporations whose primary interests are to increase the amount of income and wealth of the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent.

When the president vetoes the legislation approving the Keystone Pipeline, and the Republicans won’t have sufficient votes to override that veto, the press will dutifully quote Republican Party leaders about the alleged jobs lost due to not building the pipeline. They will, conveniently, not mention the jobs that might have been lost because of a decline in Burlington Northern Santa Fe profits had the pipeline been approved.

They will blame the environmentalists, and turn that word into an epithet. Naturally, the environmentalists will have played no role in the failure of government to approve of the pipeline because it’s all about who gets the money. Follow the money folks!

Republican and Democratic Party leaders don’t want the 99 percent to know that the real political battles in Washington D.C., and in state capitals across the nation, are being fought between a small group of billionaires at the expense of everyone else. And the corporate news media will continue to ensure that the debate over this issue is vigorous, but limited enough to deceive the American public. In other words, the corporate media intends to keep us in the dark over this issue, and then lie to us and point their fingers at the environmentalists for the failure of government to approve the Keystone Pipeline.

The battle over the Keystone Pipeline is all about money, and keeping us ignorant of this fact. Because once you know this fact, then you’ll begin to understand how the political and economic games, and the games the corporate media plays with information, are all rigged against the 99 percent.

One last note, the second job of the corporate news media is to keep the 99 percent divided over social issues, such as abortion, gun rights, the war against Christmas, red vs. blue state, gay marriage, and immigration, among many others, while keeping our eyes off the things that really matter, and that is what’s in your wallet. The corporate news media has done a marvelous in this respect.

Read Full Post »

The rumors have been confirmed, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is reaching out to Wall Street Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) on a new version of Fast Track – an expired trade policy-making process that would allow harmful trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to be railroaded through Congress. President Obama and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have already begun working to pass Fast Track.

Ranking Republican Hatch is one of the original architects of the last Fast Track bill that was introduced in January and is primed to take over Senator Wyden’s key position as the Senate Finance Committee Chair, the committee that oversees international trade.

PLEASE ACT NOW: Senator Wyden opposed Hatch-Baucus-Camp Fast Track legislation in early 2014. Tell him to now say “NO” to a Fast Track deal with Sen. Hatch. The Fast Track process is outdated, undemocratic and needs to be completely eliminated.

Now that the Republicans have won the Senate, they are gungho to pass Fast Track and the TPP. If Senator Wyden teams up with them on Fast Track, this could be just the thing to undo the years of successful organizing Oregon Fair Trade and others have done to beat back Fast Track. It would grease the skids to a dangerous trade deal by giving Wall Street Democrats like Wyden the cover they need to support Fast Track.

The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership will grant investors of the 0.01 percent special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety local laws and regulations of the 99 percent; which will effectively eliminate your votes on local and state levels for and against such things (which most people call voter suppression, but in this case it should be called voter elimination), outsource millions of jobs, offer new monopolies for Big Pharma to raise medicine prices they charge you (which redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent), limit food safety standards (which redistributes and transforms your health into the profits of the 1 percent), and block financial regulations aimed at preventing the next financial crisis (which will make it easier for Wall Street to redistribute your income and wealth to the 1 percent). It will also kill the remainder of the US textile industry, destroy millions of jobs in Latin America, drive millions of undocumented immigrants into the United States, and depress wages in both North and South America, all to the benefit of the 1 percent, and all at the expense of the 99 percent. And we can’t forgot that it will increase the already massive US trade deficit with other nations, which is supposed to be a bad thing. In other words, this scam is the largest income redistribution treaty of all time from the 99 to the 1 percent. Wyden is not the stupid little boy he pretends he is in public forums, for knows all of this. McConnell knows it, too. Hatch knows it. Obama knows it. All we have to do to stop this mammoth income redistribution scam from moving forward is to stop Fast Track.

We can win! Just as we did fifteen years ago at the Battle in Seattle in 1999. But it’s going to take all of us sending the message to Senator Wyden, it’s time to box and bury Fast Track for good!

Call that traitorous dog Wyden and let him know what you think about this scam.

Office Locations

Washington D.C.
221 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C., 20510
tel (202) 224-5244
fax (202) 228-2717

Portland
911 NE 11th Ave., Suite 630
Portland, OR, 97232
tel (503) 326-7525

Read Full Post »

The Senate – which is still controlled by Democrats – voted to go behind President Obama’s back and vote on Keystone XL. At least for now, the Keystone pipeline lost on a 59-41 vote. In other words, there were 59 yes votes, and only 41 no votes. Luckily, the senate has been reconstructed to ensure that 60 percent of votes is needed to pass just about anything. That’s a convenient excuse to not get anything done that the 99 percent wants and needs.

The Keystone pipeline would have been an environmental boondoogle. It would have transported Canadian oil to US Gulf of Mexico ports and then exported them elsewhere, to the benefit almost exclusively of the most wealthy of people. In other words, Keystone was an income and environmental scam against the 99 percent.

Democratic Wall Street Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana was the sponsor of the bill. The $1.5 million she has received in her career from the oil industry is once again paying off.

Read Full Post »

Inflation redistributes income from the 99 percent and delivers said income to the 1 percent. This is a no-brainer, making inflation nothing more than an income redistribution scam that those on the right and those on the left lie about, although maybe they just don’t know, which is unlikely. Case in point is a Paul Krugman op-ed below.

Krugman claims there is little inflation nowadays, while his right wing opponents claim there is ton’s of inflation and its caused by the Federal Reserve. They’re both right and they’re both wrong, kind of, but not really.

Krugman claimed in his op-ed that inflation is close to zero, and that’s true, kind of. In reality, inflation is currently closer to 8 percent if it was measured as it was back in 1980. Since then the government has switched the way it measures inflation twenty times, and all of these changes show less and less inflation. That is why inflation as measured today is less than 3 percent when it’s probably slightly above 8 percent. The purpose of doing this was to keep people from protesting and getting mad about their loss of real spending power, such as happened back in the 1970s.

Conservatives rightfully claim the inflation numbers are understated, which is remarkably true. However, Republicans claim this is caused by the Federal Reserve and its massive printing of money, which is perhaps a tad true, but mostly false.

Inflation mostly comes from corporate planning. Publicly traded limited liability corporations must always have rising share prices, which is largely a product of increasing profits and dividends. The best way to ensure these constantly increasing returns on investment is for corporate competitors to gather together and plan price increases. Thousands of corporations plan their prices rises in tandem, for the most part, and that’s why we have inflation.

When corporations raise their prices in tandem, it’s called a conspiracy in restraint of trade, a violation of the law, but the government almost always looks the other way, which is a function of corruption. This is not to suggest that to some degree competition doesn’t exist in the corporate world, because it does, but it’s a minor nuisance to our captains of industry which is quickly eliminated when the competition gets too hot, and saner minds quickly impose a truce on any hostilities since the primary enemy of the corporations are their unwitting customers.

Guess who pays the cost of this non-competition? You do. When the price of tuna, or lettuce, or gasoline, or cars, or airline tickets rise due to corporate planning, the difference between the old prices and the new higher prices goes from your pockets into those of rich shareholders.

That’s what the politicos and corporate fat cats don’t want you to know, so they keep the argument within unrealistic and narrow lines of debate.

See Krugman’s op-ed below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/07/opinion/paul-krugman-conservative-delusions-about-inflation.html?_r=0

Read Full Post »

The truth is that we pay more for services from private companies than we do from government. The Social Security Administration has a less than 1 percent overhead cost. Medicare is less than three percent. Virtually all the health insurance companies have overheads of 20-30 percent. For all of its so-called inefficiencies, such as $10,000 toilet seats, the US military is far more cost effective than Halliburton or any other corporation that provides mercenaries for the US government.

The politicians of the corrupt US government love using mercenaries because they’re called “contractors,” as if these rifle wielding private soldiers are building houses. The corrupt US propaganda machine, erroneously called the news media, go along with this scam. In this way, US military casualties are limited in their quest for oil and other profits on behalf of US based corporations, which sponsor and corrupt the politicians of the US government, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden.

In the meantime, Halliburton’s stock price rises with a steady stream of taxpayer money for massively overpriced employees and CEOs. That’s the game; redistributing income to keep stock prices higher.

The US stock and bond markets would have collapses to nothingness back in 2008 had it not been for these kinds of scams perpetrated on the US public.

Check out the link below for more on these income transfers and government and corporate corruption.

breakdown-of-the-26-trillion-the-federal-reserve-handed-out-to-save-rich-incompetent-investors-but-who-purchase-political-power–JohnHively.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

The average US household pays $6,000 a year in subsidies to big business, which is pretty much the same thing as saying the families of the 99 percent are paying $6,000 a year in subsidies to the families of the 1 percent. Pretty much, and not quite, but close enough.

$6,000 in subsidies? It’s also an understatement.

The Cato Institute estimates the US federal government spends $100 billion a year on corporate welfare. That’s an average of $870 for each one of America’s 115 million families.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports US oil subsidies of $502 billion. That’s almost $4,400 per US family by taking into account “the effects of energy consumption on global warming [and] on public health through the adverse effects on local pollution.”

Of course, the Cato Institute didn’t consider war, such as US military expenditures, as well as US mercenaries. Remember, at the height of the occupation of Iraq, when the fighting was the worst, the US employed more mercenaries than it had military personnel in that nation. Those guys were a ton more expensive than US GI’s. At the low end of the pay scale, they cost about $120,000 per. That shows how much money privatization costs, rather than saves the US government since the yearly cost of a GI hovers around $45,000 a year.

As for other subsidies, a New York Times investigation revealed that $696 per family went for business incentives at the state, county and city levels. There is also $722 per family for interest rate subsidies for banks, $350 for retirement fund bank fees, $1,268 for overpriced medications, $870 for corporate tax subsidies, and $1,231 for revenue losses from corporate tax havens, such as the Caymen Islands.

Every family below the 1 percent is paying about $6,000 a year to help corporations push their profits to record levels, year after year, during a time when the middle class can hardly afford these subsidies. This has raised stock prices to record levels, along with dividend payments to the 1 percent. This is called an income redistribution scam, or rather, a series of them. These scams only exist because of the massive corruption of government at all levels in the US, through massive infusions of cash.

Check out the link below for more on the story.

Average American Family Pays $6,000 A Year in Subsidies to Big Business-BIll Moyers.com

Read Full Post »

Did the US government set up a revolution in Syria to stop an IranianSyrianIraqi natural gas pipeline? Is that what US involvement is all about?

The US has a history of doing this, from Iran in 1953 to Guatemala in 1954 to Nicaraqua in the 1980s and many more. Supposedly, there are billions of dollars being invested in this pipeline, and US corporations have been shut out of the deal. This smells suspiciously like when US corporations were shut out of bids for a natural gas pipeline in Afghanistan in 2001 after much lobbying by the Bush regime. The Northern Front, which controlled 10 percent of Afganistan in 2001, offered the job to an Argentine firm. Just before 9-11, the leader of the Northern Front was assasinated. The Taliban, which controlled the other 90 percent, after much lobbying by the Bush regime, gave the job to a Spanish company. After the US army invaded Afganistan, the government the US set up gave the job to Unocal. It should be pointed out that the president the US installed in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is a former CIA informant. That’s an amazing coincidence, isn’t it?

I’m not saying this is the case in Syria, but you got to wonder, especially given US interference in other nations on behalf of US corporte parasetic elites, I also have a friend of sorts from Syria who says most of what we’re getting in the US press about Syria is a lie. I don’t know one way or the other, but the story below is worth a read.

The Geopolitics of Gas and the Syrian Crisis: Syrian “Opposition” Armed to Thwart Construction of Iran-Iraq-Syria Gas Pipeline

Read Full Post »

government liesThe destruction of middle class jobs and the rise of massive unemployment supposedly caused by the advance of technology is the latest in a long list of lies fed to us by the corporate press, and with the blessings of high officials of the two major political parties and Wall Street executives, among many other members of the 1 percent.

We’re supposed to believe that 250 years after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that technological advances are wiping out jobs in the USA to a degree greater than ever before. That’s a big whopper, pure and simple. But it’s also the propaganda the people behind this lie want you to believe. This same lie is also being used by the same people to hide the truth about job losses, historically high unemployment, government corruption, and the sad state of the US economy and how we got here.

Did anybody notice that nobody in China, Germany, Sweden or most other nations are insisting that technology has led to rising unemployment in those nations? Oh, that’s right. Those nations don’t have historically, persistent and high unemployment rates.

Let’s examine just one of those nations.

Despite technological advances, the number of jobs in China continues to increase. Why is it that technology is the cause of massive unemployment in the United States, but not in China? The answer is simple. Technology isn’t the culprit. It’s a lie.

Sure, jobs are always being wiped out by technology, but technology creates jobs, and typically more jobs than are destroyed in its advance. That’s been proven time and time again. Two centuries ago, the economist David Ricardo argued this, as did Karl Marx and thousands of others. In the long-run, this economic situation has never arrived, and it still hasn’t.

Take computers, for example. The rise of computers wiped out the typewriter industry, but created tens, and perhaps hundreds, of millions more jobs than the industry it replaced. It also created new industries, such as the Internet, and everything you can do with that. Computers also expanded old industries, such as surveillance and spying. Computer technologies have been applied to cell phones, the Kindle, the Nook, space technology, car technology and hundreds of other products.

Let’s take another example. Jobs have been eliminated in grocery stores by the rise of technology and its application to self-checking out. Sure this technology has eliminated some jobs, or at the least, allowed store management to not hire as many people as they might have in the absence of the new technology.

Despite of the relatively few jobs lost in retail stores, tens of thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands, or even more, people are manufacturing the new self-checkout machines, and tens of thousands of people have been hired and trained to maintain them. Those who are trained for maintenance live reasonably close to where the machines are used. Those who manufacture the machines, as well as the vast majority of parts, live in China and other low wage countries.

Fujitsu Corporation of Japan, for example, makes much of the self-checkout stands used in grocery stores here in the United States, but important component parts are made and assembled in China by Epsom and IBM, which are US corporations. Those are jobs that should be in the US.

The National Cash Register Corporation (NCR), whose stock is traded on Wall Street, has been a US company since 1888. The company used to manufacture cash registers in the United States.Those jobs are long gone.

Nowadays, NCR manufactures its retail and restaurant self-checkout machines in China (which are officially called “Retail and Restaurant Point of Sale hardware and software,” on the company’s website). NCR is the largest manufacturer in the world of ATM machines, and almost all of them are made in China, and well, maybe they’re all still made there. Last year NCR announced that a tiny number of jobs manufacturing ATM’s might be brought back to the USA, but there is no evidence that I’ve been able to find to suggest this has come to pass. So it’s likely that all of NCR’s ATM machines are still made in China. NCR also manufactures Airport Self-Service Kiosks and a bunch of other items in China. In fact, everything it produces (with the possible exception of that small number of ATMs) are manufactured in China.

I’ll cite just a few of the many items the company manufactures in China straight off the company’s website: For gas stations and convenience stores the company manufactures; “POS Terminals, POS Software, POS Printers, Fuel Controller, Back Office Software, Self Checkout.” Under the travel category, “Common Use Self-Service, Airport Kiosk, Hotel Check-In, Car Rental Software, Bus Check-In.” If this was fifty years ago, before the World Trade Organization, before all the free trade treaties, all of the company’s jobs would be in the United States.

NCR has more employees now than ever in its history, and this is especially true when you count the use of contractors and their employees in China. The technology produced by NCR has created more jobs than the old cash register business thirty years ago. Thousands of jobs were wiped out, but hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions more jobs have been created with the new technology.

Technology did not put those jobs in China. Low wages did. The ability to produce massive amounts of pollution did. The ability to use an essential slave labor force six to seven days a week, and up to sixteen hours per day and without overtime pay, put those jobs in China. But something else paved the way to export those jobs.

China’s admission into the World Trade Organization and the push by the US government to make China a recipient of most favored nation trade status helped put those jobs there. In other words, corporate purchases of political favors in the US political markets created the opportunities to take American jobs and place them in China, or created the legal opportunities to establish jobs there, rather than here.

US companies have moved millions of production, call-service centers, computer programming, and a host of other US jobs to China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and Mexico. That’s one of the truths that the “technology has created higher unemployment by destroying jobs” lie is supposed to distract us from discussing. And this is true for the impact of free trade treaties, which account for tens of millions of lost US jobs. Check out the graph below. It shows the number of US jobs exported since 1990, but free trade treaties had already led to the exportation of millions of jobs before then.

The difference between the old higher wages in the US and the new, lower, wages overseas goes into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices. This shows that free trade is an income redistribution scam perpetrated and kept hidden by US government officials, the corporate press, various other corporate interests, and blundering Wall Street executives.

Wall Street investment firms push free trade treaties for a reason. Every publicly traded corporation must fairly consistently increase its profits every quarter. That way its stock price will rise, and this becomes the yardstick by which CEO performance is measured. The best way to keep profits rising is simply to cut wages. So Wall Street investment and corporate executives push this formula via free trade treaties. That’s another story the corporate press doesn’t want you to know.

The real reason for the historic lack of jobs and the lackluster economic recovery of the last five years is that free trade treaties and the exportation of jobs has redistributed massive amounts of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent.

Currently, the 99 percent receive about 68 percent of all income produced in the US compared to roughly 92 percent thirty-three years ago. That means 99 percent of us have significantly less cash with which to purchase goods and services than three decades ago. The result is less transactions now than then because we can’t afford to buy as much stuff. This means lower job and wage growth. That’s precisely why the economy sucks now compared to when Jimmy Carter was president. During Carter’s four years as president, with an economy with 40 percent of the today’s GNP and 2/3’s the population, the economy averaged 230,000 new net jobs per month, which is considerably higher than any period over the last twelve years.

It’s also why the federal government coordinated (and used the illegal spying on US citizens by National Security Agency to help) the attacks on the Occupy Wall Street encampments a few years back. This is why there was a coordinated campaign to slime the participants of Occupy Wall Street before the police state crackdown. President Obama and other high federal and corporate people didn’t want us thinking about the perverse income and wealth redistribution over the last thirty-three years, so Occupy Wall Street had to go.

The 1 percent invest their cash in things, like political favors, gold, the futures markets, stocks and bonds, all of which tend to be parasitic to the rest of us. Many of these are tools are used to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. In other words, this income redistribution scam continues today so that, in the long term, the economy will only get worse for the 99 percent. And that’s another thing the elite of the 1 percent don’t want you to know.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: