Anyone else damn near have a heart attack the last time they filled up the grocery-getter? I managed to fill up my car a few days ago for $3.53 a gallon and it was still over $40 to do it. We’ve heard all sorts of reasons that gas is so high, but one of the biggest things pushing it up is speculation.

Energy (including gas) is a tradeable commodity in the U.S. This means that it’s treated by Wall Street like corn, wheat, beef, and many other commodities. How it works is, with enough money and a broker, you can buy, say, wheat from a crop that hasn’t been harvested yet. PJ O’Rourke once said that the commodities market is a place where you can buy 1000 pork bellies and still starve to death because you lost all of your money playing in the commodities market.

Unfortunately, the jokers at Enron gave everyone a graduate level course in how to game the system. Let’s say that I’m a company that produces gasoline. I know that I can produce 100 billion gallons in the next 30 days. I have a smaller company under the same umbrella go and start making offers to buy gas futures for a higher price than the current one. Once this (and other companies under my control) do this, I then instruct them to keep it up. The high level of activity in an upward direction encourages others to do the same. Finally, by the time the gas goes from being a future commodity to a present one (i.e., in the tanks at a convenience store) the price is jacked up to Jesus and I laugh all the way to the bank. If I’m saddened by the plight of the American people that are hurt by this game, I go home and cry into a giant sack of money.

This is, of course, known as “price fixing” and the people who do it are known as “felons”, but as with any other crime, it isn’t a crime until you get caught and convicted. If you can do these transactions at lightspeed over a data network 100 million at a time, the only way you can get caught is if someone is monitoring the electronic transactions. Of course, if someone is monitoring, the jig would be up in no time. So if you are a big energy company wanting to game the system, what do you do? Get congress involved! The Commodities Futures Modernization Act had a loophole slipped in by Phil Gramm that would allow trading on Energy Commodities Markets to be free from government regulation.

So the next time you see the new Pat Roberts ad (I’m not linking to it or embedding it; I’ll be damned if that rat bastard gets hits from my blog), remember that gas taxes aren’t what have us in this merry mess, it’s Republicans like Roberts looking out for their corporate buddies to get rich off of our money that really got us where we are now.

And the next time you get that feeling that the news broadcasters like to refer to as “pain at the pump”, it hurts when you’re being screwed by an elephant.

Bread, peace and freedom.

I met Jim Slattery…

July 29, 2008

I went to Marty Keenan’s kick-off party. Didn’t make it until late, but got to speak (very briefly) with Jim Slattery. This guy is a straight-shooter. I got the chance to discuss energy policy with him, and he makes a very strong case for nuclear power. The best part of this case is that nuclear power would be best used to get us off of foreign oil and help to ease the transition to wind and solar power. He pointed out that there are nuclear power plants in France that use 1/10 of the fissable material and put out 1/10 of the waste. No CO2 emissions are also a plus.

The biggest thing is that Slattery has the sort of vision we need. He acknowleges current problems but also makes sure to realize that we need to be somewhere completely different in a decade and is willing to work to make that happen. I plan to cast my vote for Mr. Slattery in the primary next week with pride.

Bread, peace and freedom!

(props to SNL)

I should know by now, that when I’m reading opinion pieces on Yahoo News in the morning, I should just avoid anything written by Maggie Gallagher like I do the rantings of Ann Coulter and Brent Bozell III; pissed-off and eggs is a breakfast that I never enjoy.

So yesterday morning, I was having eggs and made the mistake of clicking an article titled Obama Faking It by the afore-mentioned Ms. Gallagher and immediately had pissed-off as well.

Obama has a problem: What do you do when you’re a lightly accomplished one-term senator, a former state legislator from Illinois, a Harvard law graduate who has no substantive record of accomplishments, and you are running against a war hero whom polls show that Americans overwhelmingly view as far more fit to be commander in chief?

Pose, of course.

First off, every news story for the last 2 months shows how bad Obama is beating the piss out of McCain on every issue that the mindless cretins who call themselves pollsters can think to throw at the public. I don’t know if this is based on a poll conducted by Maggie at a cocktail party hosted by Rush Limbaugh or what, but I digress.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell was the one journalist with the courage to name what she was actually seeing happen: Obama faking even being interviewed by the press.

“Let me say something about the message management. He didn’t have reporters with him, he didn’t have a press pool, he didn’t do a press conference,” either in Afghanistan or Iraq, noted Mitchell on the air. Instead Obama manufactured “what some would call ‘fake interviews,’ because they are not interviews from a journalist,” Mitchell went on.

Sorry, but when it comes to what happened I agree more with John Amato’s take on this:

Andrea Mitchell actually told MSNBC viewers that Barack Obama gave “fake interviews” because he didn’t cater to her and the traveling road show during his Iraq/Afghan visit.

Most reporters from the MSM now can be fit under one of two categories: Stenographers and Paparazzi. They cover Obama and McCain like they are Brittney and Paris; like they are competing for the next American Idol rather than the job of leader of the free world. I don’t blame Obama (or McCain for that matter) for treating this group of howling jackals like plague rats in a maternity ward. Who wants this group of yammering assholes following you around so they can sniff your pee and tell the world that you like asparagus.

The whole Obama campaign is something we’ve never seen before — at least not executed to this level of perfection with a media willing to go along because, well, so many of them want it to succeed.

This is the part where she falls off of the end of the earth. Really, Maggie? Really the media is going along with this? Last I checked, the media loves McCain. Journalistic bias is something that will be debated long after I die, but in this instance, Maggie Gallagher just sounds retarded.

Bread, peace and freedom.

Marty Keenan is holding the grand opening of his campaign headquarters in Great Bend this Friday from 4 to 5 P.M. at 2015 Forest Suite 105. Refreshments will be served and Jim Slattery will also be putting in an appearance. Unfortunatly, I have to work until 5 on Friday, but hopefully Mr. Slattery will stick around for a little bit after the event gets over, because I have a few questions I’d like to ask him face to face. Click here for Marty’s campaign website and here for Slattery’s.

Update: Just got an email back from Marty Keenan that Jim Slattery will be sticking around in GB until 5:30. I’m going to be there. So excited!!!

Woohoo!!! Slattery just hit a good one. Maybe not out of the park, but he sure as hell put it into the stands.

Vodpod videos no longer available.  

gas-pump-transcript

This is it! This is the pushback I’ve been waiting for! Roberts constantly bowing for the Bush/Cheney regime and going to his knees for the oil companies is something that is pertinent to Kansans, affects their lives right now and they need to know about. Keep this up!!! Hit him again, Jim! Talk about things that Kansans are having to do without because of Roberts supporting the illegal occupation of Iraq. Or maybe about the tax cuts that Roberts voted for that did nothing for most Kansans, but instead took their tax dollars and gave them away to people who already have more money than they could possibly ever use. Good on ya, Jim!

Bread, Peace and Freedom!

more about “Slattery Runs new ad — Gas Prices“, posted with vodpod

and says absolutely nothing about Roberts being a slander prone ass clown. Now I know he can’t use that exact language on a campaign ad, but still no pushback over the whiny “Slattery is a lobbyist” bullshit. As for the ad that is supposed to be capturing the “youth vote”, you have got to be shitting me. Just because it’s on YouTube doesn’t mean that it’s going to be appealling to young voters. Anyway, both ads are posted below along with transcripts from the Slattery campaign. Sound off in the comments.

Apollo Ad

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Apollo transcript

Young Ad

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young-transcript

I saw this yesterday. These guys are funny, and in politics, if you can’t take a joke, get the hell off of the stage.

Bread, peace and freedom.

Every time I turn on the television for more than 10 minutes, it seems like I see that useless, dishonest ad that Roberts is running attacking Slattery. I even saw it on CNN at the dentist yesterday (as if going to the dentist isn’t unpleasant enough).

Pat Roberts is a lying tool, I think that anyone who agrees with more than 6 consecutive words I’ve posted on this blog would agree with that. So where’s the push back??? Where are the ads where Slattery says,

“America is a mess and Kansas is too. Pat Roberts is responsible for the mess because of votes x,y and z (pick your favorites, Roberts never met a citizen he wouldn’t screw or a corporation he wouldn’t blow) Vote Slattery while you have a chance, or it will be 6 more years of Patty the Bush hand-puppet wrecking the state like an ADD kid in an art gallery. I am Jim Slattery and I approved this message.”

Put it on the radio if you can’t afford the TV machine. Just don’t forget those of us that aren’t in the Topeka/Lawrence/KC market because Roberts sure as shit hasn’t.

Topeka – Today, the Kansas Democratic Party filed an official complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Roberts for U.S. Senate. Roberts’ latest negative ad does not meet the “Stand By Your Ad” requirements set by the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

 “It appears as if Pat Robertswas attempting to dodge responsibility for making personal attacks against his opponent, something he pledged he would not do,” said Kansas Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Gaughan.

 Sen. Roberts is trying to have it both ways, but his attempt at pulling the wool over the eyes of Kansas voters puts him in direct violation of the very campaign laws designed to protect us from these deceptive political attacks.”

This is the kind of thing that Cenk Uyger of The Young Turks calls “weak sauce”. I really don’t understand this response. First, the FEC is toothless. McCain’s violation of campaign finance laws that he wrote is so much worse than this and nothing has been done about it. I don’t know what makes the KDP think that this will gain any traction.

Worse, this is what Al Franken described as the “bitch slap theory of electoral politics”. He was referencing the 2004 presidential campaign. He basically said that every time Bush attacked Kerry, he was sending the subtle message, “Kerry is my bitch”. Every time Kerry did nothing about it, he was sending the subtle message, “I am Bush’s bitch”. Slattery needs to do something about this. Here’s an idea. He could say something to the effect of, “When I was a lobbyist, I saw the corrupting effect of lobbyist cash in politics. Pat Roberts has accepted several million dollars in contributions from lobbyists. If elected, I will do my best to shut down the system of legalized bribery known as campaign finance and close all loopholes which allow lobbyists to have this level of influence on our democratic system of government. Pat Roberts, for all of his griping about my former job, has never seen a lobby dollar he didn’t like and has fought tooth and nail to keep this system the way it is; enriching himself mightily over the years.”

Slattery just got slapped in the face. Should we go whining to the principal that he got slapped, or should we hit Roberts in the sack? I know which one will work better in the end.

Bread, peace and freedom

P.S. Down with Tyranny has a great post on this subject that talks about Roberts’s ad here.

UPDATE!!

Jenny Davidson with the KDP just pointed out that the purpose of this FEC complaint is to hold Roberts accountable for the sleazy politics that he is playing after he said he wouldn’t, so I take back the part about not understanding what the KDP hopes to accomplish.

However, I still stand by my thinking that there still needs to be more of a push back than this. Just because you play fair doesn’t mean that you can’t fight like a badger in a corner when your opponent starts acting like an ass. It’s time to play ball or get off the field. Thump Roberts hard enough and even if he does win, he’ll go back to Washington so bloodied up that he won’t be taken seriously by anyone.

I have some Irish blood in me that I’m proud of and the first time I heard about this group, it made me even more proud. David Rovics sings about a bit of American History that doesn’t get any play in the history books.

I’m trying to get David Rovics to play in Great Bend during his whirlwind National Convention tour. If anyone has any ideas on promotion or fund raising for this, let me know in the comments section.