Thursday, July 31, 2008

We are fed up!

Alan Maki published this blog today. I don't think it can be said any better.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

By Alan Maki

Exxon/Mobil has biggest quarterly profit ever at $11.68 Billion... Are we fed up with the robbery at the pumps?

I hope this will be circulated far and wide… if you know any of the “Progressives for Obama” pass this on to them for their comment and consideration.

Can a movement be built around “We are fed up!”?

We are fed up! Stop the robbery at the pumps!

If progressives can’t build a grassroots movement around stopping the robbery at the pumps now taking place, I question whether or not “progressives” have the ability to build any kind of grassroots movements in this country anymore.

The outfit called “Progressives for Obama,” from Tom Hayden and Carl Davidson to Katrina vanden Heuvel and Emanuel Wallerstein to Bill Fletcher---and, well, look at this list…


Barbara Ehrenreich

BIll Fletcher, Jr.

Danny Glover

Tom Hayden


Sean Ahern
United Federation of Teachers

Jean Alonso
Dorchester-Roxbury Labor Committee

Fran Ansley
University of Tennessee

David E. Apter
Yale University

Barbara Aguirre

Rosalyn Baxandall
American Studies SUNY Old Westbury

Daniel Bourke
National Lawyer Guild

E. Richard Brown
Public Health, UCLA

Paul Buhle
Writer and Historian

Anna Burger
Secretary-Treasurer, SEIU

Paul Burke
Sacramento Progressive Alliance

Malcolm Burnstein
Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party

Duane Campbell
Sacramento Progressive Alliance

Jim Campbell
CC-DS, Nat'l Co-chair

Jeff Chang
Author, 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop'

Frank Christopher
Crosskeys Media

Steve Cobble
Progressive Democrats of America

Barry Cohen
NJ Institute of Technology

Carl Davidson

Laurie Davidson

John Delloro
Dolores Huerta Labor Institute

Ariel Dorfman
Chilean Playwright

Peter Dreier
Occidental College

Thorne Dreyer
MDS Austin, Texas

Terry DuBose

Andrea Dupree
Lighthouse Writers Workshop

Carolyn Eisenberg
Hofstra University

Eddie Eitches
President, AFGE Local 476

Daniel Ellsberg
Writer, Military Analyst

Jane English
Plymouth UCC Board of Social Action

Diane Fager
Public School Administrator

Margaret 'Julie' Finch
Progressive Democrats of America

Mickey Flacks
Housing Advocate

Richard Flacks
Santa Barbara County Action Network

Jane Fonda
Writer, Actor

Rev. John C. Forney
Progressive Christians Uniting

Aviva Futorian
Long Term Prisoner Policy Project

Christine George
Researcher and Unversity Teacher

António Geraldo Dias

The Rev. John-Mark Gilhousen
Progressive Democrats of Oregon

Todd Gitlin
Columbia University

Danny Goldberg
Gold Village Entertainment

Jorge Gonzalez
Cuba Journal

Thomas Good
Next Left Notes, Editor

Van Gosse
Franklin & Marshall College

Ellen Gurzinsky
Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues

Paul Haggis

Nancy Hall
City Life/ Vida Urban

David Hamilton
MDS, Austin Texas

Lionel Heredia
Freedom Media

Jim Hightower
Radio Commentator

Adam Hochschild
Author, 'Breaking the Chains'

Sharron Howard
Lafayette Area Peace Coalition

George Hunsinger
Princeton Theological Seminary

David Jacobs
Americans for Democratic Action

Steven Jacobs
Rabbi, Progressive Faith Foundation

Harold Jacobs
SUNY New Paltz

Michael James
Heartland Cafe, 49th Ward Democrats

Zenobia Johnson-Black
Nat'l Org of African-Americans in Housing

Earl Katz
Public Interest Pictures

Marilyn Katz
Founder, Chicagoans Against War on Iraq

Stephen R. Keister M.D.
Physicians for National Health Care

Georgia Kelly
Praxis Peace Institute

Robin D.G. Kelly

Anne Lowry Klonsky
Education Writer, Chicago

Fred Klonsky
President, Park Ridge Education Association, IEA, NEA

Susan Klonsky
Education Writer

Michael Larkin
South Kingstown Peace and Justice Action Group

William Mandel
Journalist and Activist

Amy Manuel
Denton for Barack

Eric Mar
SF Board of Education

Jay Mazur
Working Families Party

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Joe Moore
49th Ward Alderman, Chicago

Ruth Needleman
Labor Studies, University of Indiana

Max Palevsky

Robert Pardun
Writer & Producer

Patricia Paredes
Texas Campus Compact

Frances Fox Piven
Author, 'Poor Peoples Movements,' CUNY

Matilda Phillips
Progressive Democrats North Carolina

Brian Redondo
Asia-American Activist

Christine R Riddiough
Americans for Democratic Action

Constancia Dinky Romilly, RN
Civil Rights Activist

Mark Rudd
Writer, Organizer

Jay Schaffner
Local 802 American Federation of Musicians

Stanley & Betty Sheinbaum

Jennifer Amdur Spitz
Amdur Spitz & Associates

Don St.Clair

Andy Stern
President, SEIU

William Strickland
UMass, Amherst

Dan Swinney
Center for Labor and Community Research

Harry Targ
CC-DS, Purdue University

Jonathan Tasini
National Writers Union

John Trinkl
San Francsico for Democracy

Flo A Weber
Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles

Immanuel Wallerstein
Yale University

Paula Weinstein

Cornel West
Author, 'Race Matters'

Mildred Williamson

Betty Willhoite
Living Wage Advocate

John K Wilson

Tim Wise
Author, Anti-Racism Educator

All of these “Progressives for Obama” continue to say that what we need is “grassroots organizations” and “movement building” to influence and keep pressure on Obama to force him to do what is right by the American people. We know Obama understands and appreciates mass movements because his mentor was Frank Marshall Davis… the journalist, poet and member of the Communist Party USA. Check out this excellent video:

Two books by Frank Marshall Davis are well worth reading; I assume Barack Obama has read them both:

"Livin' the Blues"

"The Writings of Frank Marshall Davis"

Both books are available from your local socialist institution, more commonly known as the Public Library.

Plus, we know Barack Obama was a community organizer; so, we know Barack Obama will not only appreciate, but understand, the power of such a grassroots campaign with people marching and picketing across this country at Exxon/Mobil/Esso gas stations and convenience stores saying: We are fed up! Stop the robbery at the pumps! Tax oil company profits to pay for education, housing and health care! No more wars for oil company profits!

Now, look at this list of “Progressives for Obama.” These people have the resources and the influence to roll out such a grassroots movement for change… if they can’t spark this kind of movement, they sure can’t be believed they are going to influence Obama and the Wall Street coupon clippers backing him. Make no mistake, Barack Obama is the candidate of choice for state monopoly capitalism in this country… his handlers are the foremost proponents of neoliberalism. Progressives will not get such a candidate’s attention to act on our concerns by whispering in his ear.

These people have control over tremendous movement resources… there is no way anyone can tell me that if this most impressive group of writers, newspaper and magazine publishers, union officials, philosophers, historians, ideologists, university professors, radio commentators, and activists from a variety of movements and organizations can’t come together around organizing a nationwide boycott of Exxon/Mobil--- a boycott which would include an educational campaign about the nature of imperialism and exploitation; more important, a grassroots action campaign aimed at demonstrating to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party that we mean business by flexing our collective, united progressive muscle for change as we bring Exxon/Mobil to its knees… if we can’t do this then there is something drastically wrong with “progressivism” in the United States.

Here we have the biggest rip-off in world history taking place, combined with massive seething public anger and we have this body of progressives coming together in support of Barack Obama while acknowledging that Obama is neither progressive or liberal and it will take grassroots organization to convince an Obama Administration to do what is right by the American people instead of going along with his “handlers” and the big-business interests backing him to the hilt and we keep hearing from Carl Davidson and Katrina vanden Heuvel that they are all for “grassroots movement building.”

A war for oil is being fought in Iraq… Exxon/Mobil is poised to reap the spoils of this war… its profits should be taxed to the hilt to pay for socialized health care, or, at least single-payer universal health care.

I don’t think anyone would mind if on each and every sign carried in front of an Exxon/Mobil/Esso gas station convenience store saying, “We are fed up! Join our boycott of Exxon/Mobil/Esso” would be this: “We are fed up! A united grassroots campaign for change initiated by: Progressives for Obama.”

You see, I do not think Tom Hayden and some of these other “progressives” are sincere. I think they have ulterior motives. I think they are intentionally trying to stymie real grassroots campaigns for change even as they repeatedly claim “movement building” as their intent. It would be easy as heck for this impressive group of “Progressives for Obama” to initiate a campaign: We are fed up!

If this headline: Exxon Mobil has biggest profit ever at $11.68B isn’t enough to spark a grassroots movement--- “We are fed up!”--- I don’t know what it will take. Perhaps Carl Davidson or Tom Hayden or Robert Borosage could provide us with an articulate explanation as to why they aren’t rolling out such a campaign. This campaign could be kicked off around the country on Labor Day… it is not like it takes a great deal of thought to pick up some heavy black markers and poster boards and walk in front of Exxon/Mobil/Esso gas stations and convenience stores. It is not like it takes book after book being written to explain to people that there is a robbery at the pumps taking place. I think most Americans will get the drift of what is going on, and why.

Exxon Mobil has biggest profit ever at $11.68B

Jul 31, 8:28 AM (ET)


HOUSTON (AP) - Exxon Mobil reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results fell well short of Wall Street expectations and shares fell in premarket trading.

The world's largest publicly traded oil company said its net income for the April-June period came to $2.22 a share, up from $10.26 billion, or $1.83 a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 40 percent to $138.1 billion from $98.4 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding an aftertax charge of $290 million related to an Exxon Valdez court settlement, earnings amounted to $11.97 billion, or $2.27 per share.

Analyst on average expected Exxon Mobil to earn $2.52 a share on revenue of $144 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. The estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Exxon shares fell more than 2 percent, or $1.88, to $82.50 in premarket trading.

Big prices for oil, record 2Q profits at Shell

Jul 31, 7:37 AM (ET)

By TOBY STERLING AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) reported a 33 percent jump in second-quarter profits Thursday, its biggest quarter ever at $11.6 billion thanks to high oil prices and the weak dollar.

The company earned $8.67 billion in the same quarter last year.

Shell said its selling price per barrel of oil was around $112, up from $64 a year earlier. That pushed earnings at its main exploration and production arm up 90 percent to $5.88 billion, despite a 1.1 percent fall in production to 3.05 million barrels of oil and equivalents per day.

Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer dismissed calls in Britain for a windfall tax on oil companies.

Britain's BP PLC (BP) reported this week that its profits jumped 28 percent to $9.47 billion in the quarter.

"If we do less investment there will be less supply for consumers" which would drive prices higher, Van der Veer said.

"The world needs energy."

He said the company was reinvesting profits and now expects capital spending of between $35 billion and $36 billion this year, up from the last previous estimate of $24 billion to $25 billion. That figure includes the company's $5.8 billion bid for Canada's Duvernay Oil Corp., launched earlier this month.

He said Shell was benefited from a strong operating performance as well as high energy prices, but said refining margins had weakened.

Refining profits rose 16 percent to $4.54 billion, but Shell said at the current cost of supplies - which strips out the impact of oil prices - refining earnings would have fallen by 63 percent to $1.08 billion, mostly due to weaker margins in the United States.

The company's net sales were $131 billion in the quarter, up from $84.9 billion.

The strong quarterly results had been widely expected and shares rose 1.2 percent to 23.63 euros ($36.77).

Petercam analyst Alexandre Weinberg repeated his "buy" recommendation, saying the company has been undervalued since 2004 when it was forced to restate its proven oil reserves in a major accounting scandal.

"Though the sentiment toward the majors (major oil companies) has weakened in the past weeks due to the oil price decline, we believe that Royal Dutch Shell will continue to generate massive cash flows," he wrote in a note on the earnings.

"The following 18 months should see significant production capacity increase," he said, citing a large project on Sakhalin island in Russia expected to begin production at the end of the year.

"The company still trades at a discount to its peers and we deem this unjustified."

There are some problems ahead for Shell, however.

In Nigeria's oil-rich delta region, the company had nearly 200,000 barrels per day of oil shut down during the quarter due to attacks by armed militias. The militias seek a share of oil profits now controlled by the national government.

Shell has been investing in deep-sea oil platforms in Nigeria to minimize the risk, but in June, its Bonga platform 75 miles from the coast was shut down briefly after an attack there.

"We had always right or wrongly thought that being that far away, an attack would be relatively unlikely," Van der Veer said.

"We will think through how we can better protect our facilities, I don't think we should publicize what we (plan to) do."

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541


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