The price of oil today has now been pumped up to $75 a barrel because of fear driven news and the greed of speculators. There is propaganda talk of oil reaching $100 a barrel, so the seeds are being planted for the future, that will feed the next panic buying spree.
Any oil-producing country, any oil company or any speculator can set up a commodity trading company with hard-to-find trails, to trade oil futures. When demand for oil gets tight or there is fear-laden, negative or bad weather news, they buy up many future months, sending prices rocketing more than normal trading.
Many other regular traders spot a trend and follow suit for they are in it to earn money. Also, high priced oil is in the interest of groups who want Congress to vote yes to drill for oil in conservation areas of Alaska. If oil prices stay high the chances of a "yes" vote is greater ...
When demand slackens, the speculators allow the price to come down a little. But they do not let it go much lower for more than a few days. The oil market makes higher lows every time there is a bout of profit taking. It then carries on to make higher highs.
Even though supplies are still plentiful ... Even though there is never any real shortage all the time oil futures are rising ... They still are able to brazenly manipulate the price to stay higher than it should be, in a genuine demand and supply market, waiting for the next world crisis to send the price even higher.
Many times the experts say technical factors are sending the price back up, which is jargon for the words ... Nobody knows why the price is rising other than blatant propaganda and lies about shortages.
Just as terrorists used American aircraft to blow up the World Trade Center, the capitalist system is being used and fabricated by a few people with extreme need for greed, to cause a major world recession if prices are allow to continue to spiral out of control.
Free market forces are no longer in effect on the oil commodity market. It is time for governments around the world to wise up and bring in tighter laws to restrict the shameless greedy speculators from profiting from ill-gotten, propaganda gains.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In the next federal elections, the persons I vote for must agree to work for the following:
1) Support legislation for a single payer universal health plan,
2) Dump the Medicare prescription act,
3) Dump the "No Child Left Behind" act,
4) Dump the PATRIOT Act,
5) Bring the armed forces home from Iraq NOW,
6) Establish lifetime complete health benefits and college tuition or job training for all veterans,
7) Raise the minimum wage to at least $8.50 an hour,
8) End the tax breaks for the rich and corporations,
9) Simplify the tax code so that average folks can pay income taxes without the help of paid tax preparers.
10) Impose excess profits taxes on energy companies and other companies which have excess profits gains due to the "war", or disasters, or even so-called shortages,
11) Abhor outsourcing and offshore U.S. corporation home bases,
12) Bring the energy policy up to date by recognizing global warming, adhering to the Kyoto protocols, requiring stiffer codes for factory and exhaust emissions and higher gas mileage requirements for ALL vehicles,
13) Support women's freedom to choose,
14) Support legislation to ban the manufacture, selling, shipping, or handling of any kind of land mine,
15) Support legislation to ban the manufacture, selling, shipping, or handling of assault and other automatic weapons,
16) Freeze congressional and Senate pay, put them on the same universal health plan as everyone, take away their generous retirement plan, and put them all on Social Security,
San Clemente, Calif.
I am amazed at the furor over schools and education. Teachers beset on all sides about student progress, new tests, ratings, No Child Left Behind reports, paperwork, etc. I strongly suspect much of it coming from people who have little understanding of the learning process e.g. here's an influential person with a child below the median (average) on the normal curve. That child will never, can never keep up with those of higher intelligence but this parent protests, blames the schools, blames the teachers and calls for the ratings, etc mentioned above. Any good teacher, and most teachers are good, is interested that no child is left behind as far as his or her ability is concerned. All she needs as a teacher are good classroom conditions, latest in teaching materials and devices, pay enough to improve by latest training and education, etc. The future of our nation depends on good schooling as much as good defense, good roads and other services. All of which depends upon us, adults willing to give of our means to aid the children -- even taxes. What other means are there? Let's get with it!
Everett L Williams
As gas prices escalate, many people hope the US might grow its own motor fuel. Although fuel can be distilled from corn and other grains, ethanol is not a sensible substitute for gasoline.
Mixing expensive ethanol with costly gasoline does not produce a bargain -- but merely a high-priced blend called "gasohol." It's so dear they don't post the true price at the pump. Gasohol is heavily subsidized by the US Treasury and, in the end, taxpayers get the bill.
The energy costs of ethanol are tremendous. If you grow crops (using tractor fuel and ag chemicals) and then convert the grain into fuel (another high-energy operation), you end up with fuel that contains a fraction of the energy that the fuel originally cost to produce. Does that make sense?
Here in the US, we need to face our energy predicament realistically. It's time to stop fooling around with schemes for converting nutritious food into motor fuel.
Right now, three sensible routes are open: (1) Launch an all-out campaign to reduce fuel use drastically. (2) Find ways to convert straw, sawdust and other low-value byproducts into motor fuel. (3) Redesign our cars, our cities, our industries and our way of life so we can end our unhealthy dependence on foreign oil.
Larry Beinart [CommonDreams.org, 4/20/06] raises a very significant question: Is the invasion of Iraq a war crime? He emphasizes that there is no discussion of it in Congress or by the press. He adds that "Anyone who says that the invasion of Iraq was a war crime will probably be dismissed as a member of the loony left"
Rather than accepting the label of being a member of the loony left and keeping silent about it, why aren't others following Feingold, Harkin and Boxer and their short-lived call for censuring Bush, demanding a debate in the Senate about the legality of Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq. The key issue: Was his preemptive decision a war crime? The only legitimate reason for a preemptive war -- known as the Bush Doctrine -- was if there was significant proof of the presence of WMD, the proven intent to acquire them, or proof that they would give them to others. The last point about Saddam sharing WMDs with al Qaeda was far from realistic because of their known antagonism. None of these basic prerequisites existed -- in fact, each possibility was shot down -- by Hans Blix, the UN investigator of WMDs, who found no evidence of their presence; by the CIA, who also told Bush there was no proof of WMD presence, and they had no proven intent to get uranium; and by Joseph Wilson, who also said there was no proof of intent to seek nuclear material. In spite of the lack of factual information, which destroyed the belief of an imminent deadly nuclear attack or its possible intention, Bush, with the advice of the heavenly father, made his fateful decision to go to war in 2003. I suggest that his decision can be shown to be a war crime. and deserving of impeachment. This issue of the legality of the war with Iraq needs to be openly debated -- in the Senate and in the press if we are to protect the integrity of our democratic legal process that holds everyone, including the president, to abide by the law or suffer its consequences.
Elkins Park, Pa.
In 1952 the Republicans ran on a campaign slogan of, "Korea, Corruption and Communism." It was a neat summary of what they perceived as the problems the Democrats had created. The corruption was a reference to vicuna fur coats given to some officials in the Truman administration which led Richard Nixon to lavish praise on "Pat's simple cloth coat."
The Democrats need such an encapsulation of the problems of the Republican administration. and I propose that it be "Katrina, Corruption and Cronyism." Every problem is related to one or more of these.
The Democratic Party is totally irrelevant because they have no alternative agenda. The people need a vision, a plan that differs diametrically from the mendacious and bankrupt policies of the Bush gang. The capitalists that allowed the steel industry to flounder are now repeating their mistakes in the auto industry. Their solutions reveal the limitations of an anarchic industry without the planning nor foresight needed to take preventable actions in time to avoid catastrophe. The same malaise and/or stupidity in economic events as in natural disasters like Katrina and those about to happen. Capitalism is incapable of taking appropriate action except in its preemptive military interventions that turn into major financial errors or long-lasting effects -- the same conduct that ruined all previous imperialisms. Once the managers start their internecine squabbling, the end is just around the corner. All roads lead to bankruptcy!
Sun Prairie, Wis.
As a lifelong Democrat (of 76 years who has not always voted for Democrats) I am just amazed and dismayed at the timidity and/or indisposition of those Democrats who are turning their backs on the proposition of putting Bush to at least a minimum of discomfort for his assault on democratic constitutionalism. Would I expect a censure to be passed? Is the Pope a Buddhist? What with neo-conservatives holding ownership of Congress, that would be like asking a young Hugh Hefner to wear blinders at a photo session. Nevertheless, it would serve as a wonderful focus on the egregious maleficence of this so incredibly corrupt administration.
Bush is a nut! If you have ever wanted to look upon a certified sociopathic megalomaniac take a gander at his public persona, the vanity, the conceit, the arrogance, the intransigence, the inconcealable slyness in his eyes when he is lying, the barely subliminal scorn (that he always covers with a little coughing sort of laugh) he has for the necessity of even having to talk to the people. What do you think he would be like in private?
Pundits pooh-pooh any parallels drawn between him and Adolph Hitler. 0h yeah? What about the paranoiac insistence on total loyalty in those toady "yes" men he has drawn around him; what about the conviction that it is inconceivable he could be wrong. Hitler had his Goebbels, his Himmler, et al.; Dubya has his Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al.
At the very onset of this administration a concerted assault was launched upon the very idea of constitutional democracy. It is not even shy in letting you know that in its collective mind the notion that the public should have the freedom to govern itself is a ridiculous conceit.
For nearly fours years millions of our citizens have stood around credulous with their heads buried deep in the sand. Consider what position that puts you in -- bent over with your ass to the sky. What innate tyrant could ever overlook that opportunity?
I have a strong conviction that the November elections are going to he a critical watershed in the future of this nation.
Censure aside, eventual impeachment, in my mind, is not an option: It is an absolute necessity. Or else we just might as well erase it from the laws and surrender. What will it take for the government to declare outright martial law? Are we really so far from that? Keep your eye on Iran.
It's easy to be critical of Exxon's last quarter profits, but what the average wage earner doesn't realize is that that figure is 2.7% less than what the experts were predicting.
Imagine what it must be like, how disappointing it must be, to receive $226.8 million dollars less than you'd expected and to have to settle for just $8.4 billion dollars!
John A. Broussard