Saturday, April 30, 2011

message from the president

The White House, Washington

Good morning,
This week, as gas prices hit four dollars a gallon, oil companies like ExxonMobil announced skyrocketing profits -- while still receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies


A few weeks ago, I emailed you about rising gas prices, and I want to give you a quick update on three important steps:
    Watch the Video
  • Ending oil and gas subsidies. Oil companies are receiving $4 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies that don't make sense and that we can't afford. That's why President Obama has called on Democrats and Republicans in Congress to stop subsidizing the oil and gas industry so that we can afford to invest in the clean energy economy of tomorrow.
  • Stopping oil market fraud. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a working group focused on rooting out the cases of fraud in the oil markets that might affect gas prices (the President discussed this in his Weekly Address last Saturday).
  • Reducing our dependence on oil. Stepping back to look at the bigger picture, President Obama recently unveiled his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future that set a goal of reducing our imports of foreign oil by a third in a little over a decade. To do this we have to increase our domestic energy production, reduce our demand for oil by building cleaner, more efficient vehicles, and fully utilize alternatives to oil in the transportation sector like natural gas and advanced biofuels.
These are difficult issues to tackle, and it's going to take all of us working together to move forward. For years, politicians in Washington have kicked this problem down the road, but we simply cannot afford the price of inaction any longer.
David Plouffe
Senior Advisor to the President

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yes Men And GE


Yes Men Strike Again!

Nightly Business Report just covered the Yes Men and their hyjinks with GE refund return. Woo Hoo! This is participating in your government! Way To Go Andy!!

US Uncut + the Yes Lab: GE Returns Billions to Public... NOT

The following project was accomplished by US Uncut with some help from the Yes Lab. Press reaction has been good. Tonight: on CNN's situation room. Can someone record in high-def and send us the DVD?
April 13, 2011
Blair Fitzgibbon 202-503-6141
Duncan Meisel 512-657-9124
Carl Gibson 601-454-6443
The Yes Lab
GE Returns Billions to Public... NOT
USA Today, AP fall for US Uncut ploy; GE stock loses billions
Washington, DC - US Uncut, a burgeoning grassroots movement pressuring corporate tax cheats to pay their fair share, posted today a fake GE press release announcing that they would return their illegitimate (but legal) $3.2 billion tax refund, and that they would lobby to close the sort of corporate tax loopholes that had allowed them to skip taxes in the first place. Several major media outlets, including USA Today, ran the story as true. (Here is a link to the original USA Today story; here is the first article debunking the release.)
US Uncut quickly reacted with another release pretending to praise GE for this entirely unpredictable, unlikely, and in fact impossible act.
"At a time when working families are being asked to accept massive cuts nationwide, this action showed another way the world could work," said US Uncut spokesperson Carl Gibson. "For a brief moment people believed that the biggest corporate tax dodger had a change of heart and actually did the right thing. But the only way anything like this is really going to happen is if we change the laws that allow corporate tax avoidance in the first place."
In the period the hoax was believed, GE's stock plunged by .6% (far more than the value of the supposed return), then quickly recovered as soon as it became apparent the press had been duped. "Obviously, GE can't possibly be expected to do the right thing voluntarily; their stock would keep plunging," noted Gibson. "That's why we must change the law."
"GE's tax avoidance is unpatriotic, it's undemocratic, it's unfair," said Andrew Boyd, a US Uncut spokesperson. "It might be legal, but that's only because GE has used its money and lobbying influence to buy the loopholes they're now taking advantage of."
US Uncut developed the project with help from the Yes Lab (
US Uncut, a grassroots movement organized through social media, connects corporate tax cheating to cuts in valuable public services. The group has lead over 100 actions nationwide against corporations who do not pay their fair share in taxes, bringing protests directly to the front door of corporate retail stores. US Uncut will hold more than 80 such events over the course of the upcoming Tax Day weekend.
"Billionaire corporations profit from the system of public services set-up by the government. It only makes sense for them to pay their fair share, just like everyone else," said Gibson. "No corporation is an island, even if they hide all their profits in tropical tax havens."
"While we all pay our taxes this weekend, Congress just passed the largest spending cuts in US history, much of it to social programs and investments for our country's future," said US Uncut DC organizer George Taghi, "Instead of slashing public services like Head Start and Pell Grants, why not go after corporations who don't bother to pay any taxes at all?"
Composed of self-organized citizens through social media, including Facebook and Twitter, the magnetic message of US Uncut has spread like populist wildfire. Anger is rising as Americans are being forced to endure brutal cuts at both the federal and state-level, for a budget crisis they did not cause. Over $100 billion estimated annually could be gained, if corporations ended practices of tax avoidance.
"Billionaire corporations have already abandoned America for foreign tax havens," said US Uncut spokesperson Ryan Clayton, "They pay zero income taxes here, hold their profits in international banks, and ship millions of American jobs overseas. That is un-American."
For more information, please visit
For time & locations of all the upcoming actions:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Duke LAcrosse Story

....Okay, I see my process here. I am no neutral observer. For me it is a time machine. I remember being on the fringe of school and resenting those who were thriving, especially the male athletes who were almost uniformly giant A-holes [well, the golf team stoners were okay :) ]. Anyway, that is how I picture this event: a party thrown by and for a bunch of pampered A-hole athletes, who are about to get fast-tracked into a world I will never know. This party was a bad idea from the start, yet it is endorsed or at least tolerated by the parents and coaches.

So one of the bigger A-holes knows some hookers/strippers and calls them up. The girls get there and the energy levels climb. Over-sexed, under monitered, cash-heavy, male juveniles in a group trying to out-stupid each other. How could anything go wrong?

Somebody gets ugly, somebody gets hurt, somebody calls for help and the cops show up. The strippers have no representation and the guys have legal teams paratrooping in out of the sky. Even with that David and Goliath advantage, the girls get some press and some representation and make it to national news. At no time do the parents team leaders say, "...okay, we f'd up. Let's cut a big check and make this go away. Our guys f'd up and we need to do the right thing."

My problem is in two distinct parts:

1) I object to the labeling of these athletes as innocents. They were drinking, partying, hiring prostitutes and behaving like cave-men. Been there. Shit happens. I don't really care who was raped and how or how many. That was for the cops and the courts. As a teacher and a fervent promoter of the STUDENT-athlete, though, I just believe that this was a mistake from the start and it should be dealt with accordingly. Not like some hit and run: "...I swear, your honor! These black chicks just came out of nowhere and started telling stories about us! We didn't do nuthin'! I mean, fersher....!


2) I know next to nothing about the real story and have made my version up from tortured parts of my own twisted and lonely past.

MORE later...C19 out