Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Follow the Money
Why would oil companies donate millions to the past two election campaigns of a candidate whose family history is so connected to oil that their very veins run cold with Texas tea? Oh, I dunno, because they have money to throw away? Let's look at a couple of news items:

Here's the rundown on donations to Dubya back in 2000:

"Enron $1.8m
Exxon $1.2m
Koch Industries $970,000
Southern $900,000
BP Amoco $800,000
El Paso Energy $787,000
Chevron Oil Corp $780,000
Reliant Energy $642,000
Texas Utilities $635,000"

Hmmm....pretty oil heavy, might you say?

Now, how about last year's election::

"The energy sector contributed more than six times as much to Bush ($4.6 million) as to John Kerry ($698,000) for last year's presidential election."

Now, who are these higher gas prices lately benefiting?:

"Exxon Mobil ranked second once again with $270.772 billion in sales, up a stunning 27% from the year before as the price of oil rose above $50 a barrel and gasoline sold for more than $2 a gallon. The company also topped Fortune's profits charts for the second year in a row with $25.3 billion in earnings, breaking Ford Motor's record from 1998."

If any of you out there think that the ANWR drilling issue is about helping us out here domestically, think again. China is increasing it's appetite for oil at a remarkable pace, and so guess where the Alaska oil will be shipped off to? I'm guessing overseas. You see, you really do get what (or who) you pay for.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Can These Guys Get Any Crazier????
Senator Bill Frist is going to get this holy crusade going the "compassionate conservative" way by joining a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees. In-fucking-credible. I can't read the paper any more without doing one of Jon Stewart's patented "whaaaa??" John Cole sums this insanity up nicely:

"If you don't share our politics, you hate the baby Jesus.

If you don't share our politics, you hate religious people.

If you don't share our politics, you are evil.

Congrats, Republicans. Our leaders have now taken the traditional rhetorical demonization of our opposition and elevated it to heavenly heights. I assume my friends on the right are going to spend the week-end attacking me for being a 'religious bigot' because I rightly point out the inappropriateness of this behavior. The usual suspects are front and center:

Some of the nation's most influential evangelical Protestants are participating in the teleconference in Louisville, including Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson, the born-again Watergate figure and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

But why are you reading me? I hate religious people because I respect the role of religion in people's lives, but don't want religious texts or leaders dictating our domestic and foreign policy. And I really don't want them using God and religion as a weapon for petty partisan gain."

Amen, brother John. The Rapture can't get here soon enough to take these wingnuts outta here.....

Saturday, April 02, 2005

R.I.P., Pope John Paul II...
Many of you who know me also know that I survived my 12 years of Catholic school upbringing to emerge a healthy agnostic! Nuns built like NFL linebackers can do that to a guy......I can never see the penguin exhibits at Sea World without the memories of "The Habit" coming back like a bad movie flashback! Anyway, the passing of the Pope brings forth random thoughts....I was amazed by a man who could truly understand the power of forgiveness and peace enough to forgive the fellow who tried to assassinate him and be brave enough to take a stand against the Iraq war (funny how that anti-war factoid hardly ever came out in the 24-hour news channel "deathwatch" programming). Billmon has a great post on the Pope's passing:

"So what do I have to say about the life and times of the former Karol Jozef Wojtyla? Nothing sweeping or intemperate. He was less reactionary than most who have held the See of Peter in modern times, but less progressive than either his immediate predecessor -- who died way too soon to leave much of a legacy, or Pope John XXIII -- who left one for the ages.

John Paul II spoke, if not always loudly, for economic justice and the needs of the poor. He was a courageous champion of freedom for those suffering under Soviet tyranny in Eastern Europe; less bold in condemning death squads and covert aggression in Central America. He opposed the death penalty and the War in Iraq. And he made a good faith effort (pun intended) to advance the church's painful reconcilation with its anti-Semitic past, despite considerable internal opposition.

On the other hand, John Paul II was a cipher, or worse, on most of what we here in the States would call the "social issues." His refusal to budge on Human Vitae -- the low point of the post-Vatican II reaction -- was particularly discouraging, as was his equally adamantine position on clerical celibacy. And of his attitude towards the gay and lesbian members of his human flock, there's little to say and less that's good."

There's a whole lot more, one of Billmon's best posts. Go and give it a read. I'm glad he's back blogging.

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