In this Issue: Exxon only has to pay a half-day's earnings for the biggest oil spill in history! Also, a heartfelt (and scathing) letter to Big Oil from John Conley, 100% Disabled Marine Combat Vet — who sent me his Purple Heart for speaking out against Ann Coulter's "extermination speak."
Music can change your life... Before we get into the crimes of the oil giants, I'd like to express love and adoration for COLDPLAY!! Chris Martin: 'Obama As President Would Change America's Image'
He tells Rolling Stone magazine, "If Obama was to be president; it would immediately change the whole outside world's opinion of America overnight. America's public image at the moment is really bad... but over half of Americans are the coolest people on the planet. But they've been so misrepresented."
Here's a sliver lining to Obama's unpopular and I must say, quite un-Progressive acceptance of Bush's beloved FISA bill, which includes offering Telecom companies immunity for illegal spying on Americans (even prior to 9/11!) — not to mention rolling over our Constitutional rights and civil liberties. Maybe he's thinking ahead: he needs the phone companies in his back pocket when he becomes president -- and needs to catch the REAL crooks like Rove, Cheney and other neos.
HAS COLDPLAY TOPPLED U2?
Yes, I know, I went through a phase where my youngest son played Clocks too much on the piano — and I wasn't into them that much, but after watching all their hits on YouTube, my passion has been reignited. To all the haters out there, you have to go back and listen. “That’s the great thing about people who hate us,” he said. “We can suck out the energy and make it into something positive. It’s like in ‘Back to the Future,’ where you have this device that can turn garbage into a time traveler.”
Chris Martin, whose generosity is so inspiring, said they are 'giving it away for free!' They just gave free concerts at Madison Square Garden and on The Today Show this morning, playing Viva La Vida and hits like Speed of Sound, The Scientist, Clocks, Death and all his Friends.
My son and I are obsessed with their music (ever since "Yellow" for me, but he's a newcomer.) I love The Scientist and Talk. We sat down and watched Chris Martin on Charlie Rose and he spoke of how his music comes from a higher source and it's always better when he just waits for it to come through him, rather than forcing it or over-intellectualizing it.
Listen to Talk:
Speed of Sound:
BIG OIL IS PRETTY OILY... AND SLIMY!
Oil: Exxon Chairman's $400 Million Parachute - ABC News
Soaring gas prices are squeezing most Americans at the pump, but at least one man isn't complaining. Last year, Exxon made the biggest profit of any company ever, $36 billion, and its retiring chairman appears to be reaping the benefits. Exxon is giving Lee Raymond one of the most generous retirement packages in history, nearly $400 million, including pension, stock options and other perks, such as a $1 million consulting deal, two years of home security, personal security, a car and driver, and use of a corporate jet for professional purposes.
Last November, when he was still chairman of Exxon, Raymond told Congress that gas prices were high because of global supply and demand.
"We're all in this together, everywhere in the world," he testified.
Raymond, however, was confronted with caustic complaints about his compensation.
"In 2004, Mr. Raymond, your bonus was over $3.6 million," Sen. Barbara Boxer said.
That was before new corporate documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that revealed Raymond's retirement deal and his $51.1 million paycheck in 2005. That's equivalent to $141,000 a day, nearly $6,000 an hour. It's almost more than five times what the CEO of Chevron made.
"I think it will spark a lot of outrage," said Sarah Anderson, a fellow in the global economy program at the Institute for Policy Studies, an independent think tank. "Clearly much of his high-level pay is due to the high price of gas."
Also below: Charlie Black's honest but horrific statements and the ugly news about BIG OIL.
Letter to the Editor by John Conley - New York Times
April 9, 2008
It’s tragic that Americans still don’t seem to understand what’s going on in Iraq and why the criminals in the White House consistently refuse to draw down our troops in that meat-grinder.
People need to realize that, at least under this Administration, the troops will never be brought home until Exxon-Mobile, Halliburton, and the other fascist-minded oil companies feel secure enough to begin moving the equipment they’ve staged in Kuwait across the border into Iraq to begin stealing Iraqi oil.
That’s the only reason we invaded Iraq, folks: oil. Anyone who thinks differently is fooling themselves. I remember neoconservatives absolutely ecstatic the day they staged their bogus ‘Mission Accomplished’ in 2003. In fact, some were so beside themselves with delusion they revealed their true intentions with: “Now, on to Iran and Syria!” Huh? Iran and Syria? Osama Bin Laden’s not in either of these countries, either.
Of course, that was hundreds of thousands of American and Iraqi lives ago, but no matter. Our delusional vice president is still trying to concoct a way to attack Iran with the nuclear bunker-buster bombs he’s been so excited about using, ignoring the fact that our military is already stretched to the breaking point, even with Bush’s recruiting waivers that now accept men and women with extensive rap sheets into our military. All we need is another unprovoked, preemptive war started by these psychopaths using Alice-in-Wonderland intelligence.
There’s little doubt in my mind that directing a war from a safe distance is probably the only thing these invertebrates have to make them feel manly and it’s a crime that America’s real men and women have to die as a result of the unbounded greed and insatiable lust for power these chicken hawks and their corporate sponsors are famous for.
If there is any justice in this world at all, then Bush, Cheney, and their criminal lackeys will eventually be tried, convicted, and spend the remainder of their lives in a federal prison pondering their bloody hands.
John M. Conley, US Marine veteran, recipient of two Purple Hearts
Here is the article that sparked Conley's outrage:
New York Times: A Peculiar Deal for Some of Iraq’s Oil
BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.
Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.
The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.
The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.
There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.
Sensitive to the appearance that they were profiting from the war and already under pressure because of record high oil prices, senior officials of two of the companies, speaking only on the condition that they not be identified, said they were helping Iraq rebuild its decrepit oil industry.
For an industry being frozen out of new ventures in the world’s dominant oil-producing countries, from Russia to Venezuela, Iraq offers a rare and prized opportunity.
While enriched by $140 per barrel oil, the oil majors are also struggling to replace their reserves as ever more of the world’s oil patch becomes off limits. Governments in countries like Bolivia and Venezuela are nationalizing their oil industries or seeking a larger share of the record profits for their national budgets. Russia and Kazakhstan have forced the major companies to renegotiate contracts.
The Iraqi government’s stated goal in inviting back the major companies is to increase oil production by half a million barrels per day by attracting modern technology and expertise to oil fields now desperately short of both. The revenue would be used for reconstruction, although the Iraqi government has had trouble spending the oil revenues it now has, in part because of bureaucratic inefficiency.
For the American government, increasing output in Iraq, as elsewhere, serves the foreign policy goal of increasing oil production globally to alleviate the exceptionally tight supply that is a cause of soaring prices.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry, through a spokesman, said the no-bid contracts were a stop-gap measure to bring modern skills into the fields while the oil law was pending in Parliament.
It said the companies had been chosen because they had been advising the ministry without charge for two years before being awarded the contracts, and because these companies had the needed technology.
A Shell spokeswoman hinted at the kind of work the companies might be engaged in. “We can confirm that we have submitted a conceptual proposal to the Iraqi authorities to minimize current and future gas flaring in the south through gas gathering and utilization,” said the spokeswoman, Marnie Funk. “The contents of the proposal are confidential.”
While small, the deals hold great promise for the companies.
“The bigger prize everybody is waiting for is development of the giant new fields,” Leila Benali, an authority on Middle East oil at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said in a telephone interview from the firm’s Paris office. The current contracts, she said, are a “foothold” in Iraq for companies striving for these longer-term deals.
James Glanz and Jad Mouawad contributed reporting from New York. Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/world/middleeast/19iraq.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
Arianna Huffington: FearWatch '08: Keeping an Eye Out for GOP Fear-Mongering
After McCain's chief campaign advisor said that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil "certainly would be a big advantage" for his candidate, McCain claimed: "I cannot imagine why he would say it." Really, Senator, you cannot imagine why your top advisor would follow in the footsteps of Karl Rove, who made scaring the bejesus out of the American people the centerpiece of GOP strategy for the last six years? Let me break it down for you: fear is a frighteningly effective sales pitch -- one that has worked like a charm for Republicans since 9/11. But things are always less scary when the lights are on, so throughout the campaign HuffPost will be conducting a FearWatch, keeping our eyes peeled for attempts to scare the public into voting their fears. And we'd like your help....