accused oil speculators of driving up the cost of a barrel of oil. U.S. officials are thinking
of changing the rules so you can't bid on a future barrel of oil unless you are actually
intending to take delivery (no hedge funds or other speculators would be able to play).
I have already argued that oil speculation was responsible for as much as 20% of the
current cost of a barrel of oil and maybe more. I made this argument at least five years
ago. However, they need to go further. The United States and the European Union need
to attack the "vertical integration" of the oil industry. Oil companies own the product
from the moment it leaves the ground until it's pumped into your car. We need new laws
breaking off pieces of this stricture. The easiest way would be prohibiting oil companies
from owning gas stations, and allow gas station owners to buy from anyone they wish.
The competition would force the price of gas to be more realistic to the real cost of a barrel
of oil. If speculation was curbed and vertical integration broken up, the price would drop
by as much as 30% and would not go wildly up and down due to natural disasters or
A government report based on FBI interrogations of Saddam Hussein concluded
that Saddam lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction and fought international inspectors,
not because he was hiding something (Bush/Cheney), but rather because he was afraid of
Iran and did not want them to know that he had no such weapons (Lion of the Left, 2003).
Anyone who cared to research it would have known that after the first Gulf War, weapons
inspectors destroyed or eliminated all his stocks of weapons. They wrote reports detailing
everything they destroyed. Scott Ritter catalogued all that had been destroyed; and with
economic sanctions in place, Saddam couldn't restock. This is why both Rice and Powell
decided in early 2002 that Saddam wasn't on their radar and proved no serious threat.
If I knew this, as many others did, how did the media let Bush/Cheney get away with their
fear mongering? (Think New York Times and Judith Miller...who by the way, is reporting
for Fox News now...journalistic integrity for $200 anyone?)
The politically regressive but influential political publication, the "Hotline" is
trumpeting President Obama's "fall from grace"..."end of the honeymoon"...and "wheels
coming off the train" (OK, you get the idea) event of his favorability rating dropping from
the low 60's to 56 to 58 percent. To them this shows that he is toast, the GOP is on the rise,
healthcare and energy reform are dead, and a consumer agency to regulate Wall Street is
a non-starter. It has been pointed out that all great progressive accomplishments (Medicare,
Social Security, Voting Rights Act, Marshall Plan) passed on very close votes after a lot
of noise and struggle. President Clinton's tax increase on the rich, which ushered in eight
years of unprecedented economic growth, passed without a single Republican vote, and
with Al Gore breaking the tie. If pressure continues on Democrats to oppose any GOP
filibuster (in other words, bring these issues to the floor for an up or down vote); healthcare
reform, energy policy, re-regulation of the financial industry, and the improvement in
the quality of life in this country will pass. The key is to pressure Democrats to stop any
filibuster, and then let them vote any way they wish to on the individual bills. Everyone of
Obama's initiatives will pass if the filibuster is eliminated. What will you do to make this
Sarah Palin was elected mayor, but quit to move to a state commissioner job,
which she quit to run for governor of Alaska, which she has now quit to run for president.
So the key question no one has asked here yet should be who her vice presidential pick
would be, don't you think?
Three things California could do to make the state easier to govern:
1. Re-do Proposition 13 so that commercial property is no longer covered, raising billions
of dollars in re-assessments.
2. Eliminate the 2/3 vote requirement to pass a budget.
3. Change the initiative process by prohibiting paid signature gathering and increasing
the number of signatures needed to qualify an initiative.
The first raises much needed revenue and is still true to the spirit of Proposition 13,
which was intended to protect homeowners. The second prevents obstructionism by a
political minority (in this case, the Republicans), similar to what the Republicans do with
the filibuster in the Senate. The third would prevent people or groups from "buying" their
way onto the ballot, and returning the initiative process to it's grassroots origins.
Does anyone remember California when Jerry Brown was governor? He wouldn't
live in the Governor's mansion, tried to prohibit people from driving cars, fought Prop 13,
instituted airborne pesticide spraying of California cities, and appointed some of the worst
department heads in state history. As Chair of the California Democratic Party, he was a
political disaster, and Bill Press was considered a considerable improvement; and would
anyone in Oakland vote for him again as Mayor? Yet he is the front runner to be governor
again: Who'd a thunk it?
Seventy-two percent of Americans say they are in favor of a government option
in healthcare coverage to compete against private health insurers. How can this be even
a question in the Democrat's minds if they wish to have continued political success?
The Regressive Corporate Media (RCM) has been beating Obama about the face
and head for not being tough enough about the dictatorship in Iran. He should encourage
democracy, support the protesters, attack the Iranian government, and refuse to talk to
them in any way. At the same time, Hannity/Limbaugh, et. al. castigated him for supporting
"leftist" Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, and demanding he be re-instated because he
is the democratically elected leader of the country; and Obama is opposed to military coups
whether he agrees with the person deposed or not. (The RCM doesn't like Zelaya because
he is a buddy of Hugo Chavez.) What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals.
Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org