Thursday, May 29, 2008

Republicans complain about Bush visit

Republicans are outraged that taxpayer money is being used for a fund raising event. Rep. Kizner is planning legislation to limit use of state property for fundraising events. House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, called the event "unacceptable," and state GOP Chairman Kris Kobach, declared it "disgraceful." Oh wait, that's what they said about an event held by the Democratic governor Kathleen Sebelius in the governor's mansion.

In fact the Republicans have no problem when taxpayer funds have to be used for Bush's fundraising event for Nick Jordan. Hundreds of police are being stationed throughout the town to protect President Bush from seeing any uprising of free speech.

The Republicans are in a bind having lost three seats to Democrats in heavily Republican districts. They believe Kansas, once a solidly Republican state, is going to lose more seats to Democrats. As a result there have been a rash of fundraisers. Karl Rove came out before his latest call to testify before Congress about his crimes, Senator Bob Dole came over because he probably left something in Kansas and came by to pick it up before leaving to North Carolina, and now Bush plans on using the power of his 28% approval rating to get support for Jordan.

Jordan needs all the money from rich people he can get, otherwise he might have to run on his record. He supports unending war in Iraq (as long as he doesn't have to serve), no health care for children, no money for public education, higher gas taxes and pulling the red carpet out for oil and coal companies.

Judging by Jordan's FEC filings a lot of his contributors have maxed out their contribution limit. If he doesn't find more supporters he'll have to go the McCain route and pretend to have supporters, even if they are wearing pro-Obama shirts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Was Tiahrt right to vote against the farm bill?

Tiahrt advertises himself as a fiscal conservative and a champion of the American people, not just corporate executives but farmers as well. For the sake of the American farmer Tiahrt said he was justified in voting against the farm bill of 2008.

Tiahrt would like to claim a past voting record where he has aided farmers. For instance, he brags about getting funding for an ethanol plant (he uses this as a sign he's pro-environment), and he says how great it is that crops are turned into ethanol and we should develop more ethanol to get off of foreign oil. However, he had voted against a measure to develop more ethanol. Tiahrt's career is often like this, he'll claim to support something for the people then vote against those interests, like when he voted to outsource tanker jobs from Wichita to France.

So what did this farm bill do that Tiahrt objected to? He claims the bill cuts crop insurance by $6 billion, and cuts $300 million in subsidies to farmers. The bill was $18 billion larger than the last one and it included earmarks for the salmon industry in California.

Okay, that's the reason Tiahrt gave. So let's see if he is justified and let's look at the real reasons he voted against the farm bill.

First, the salmon program. The salmon industry in California and up the river in Oregon and Washington is suffering. The salmon is nearly extinct in that region and the fish provide thousands of jobs. People in that region harvest fish like people harvest wheat in Kansas. It's essentially a farming job as it produces food for the people. Tiahrt, being such a champion of farmers should support that. In fact, the reason the salmon industry is suffering is because of a Republican decision to divert water from the salmon streams to agriculture. Unlike a bad year for apples should the salmon go bad one year there may not be any left the next year, that's why it's called extinction. The reason to kill off the salmon was chartered by Karl Rove, merely for political reasons to get votes for a Republican candidate, the earmark is needed to correct the mistakes made by the Republicans. So Tiahrt's party is to blame for the cost, not Pelosi.

Did you notice Tiahrt didn't complain about the earmark that gives tax breaks to breeders of thoroughbred horses? It's probably because Senate Minority Leader and Republican Mitch McConnell asked for it. I eat salmon, not horses. Makes you wonder what Burger King is serving in Kentucky.

Tiahrt's criticism of the crop insurance plan is odd since it is a slight improvement over the previous version. Mark Bohner from the Iowa Farm Bureau praises the new standard, "I think our biggest safety net that our farmers have is the federal crop insurance and I think that's probably one thing that we wanted to make sure that got kept in the farm bill."

The insurance program does shift more cost for insurance from the taxpayer to the farmer but when it came to children's health care Tiahrt was in favor of kids paying for their own insurance, not the taxpayer. So I don't know where Tiahrt is going with this, is he now advocating socialized insurance? But perhaps Tiahrt is failing to notice that crop insurance coverage was expanded to cover commodities that hadn't previously been covered. So under the new rules farmers can actually get insurance where they previously had none. Also, billions is being set aside for full disaster relief so even uninsured farmers will get covered in the case of a federally declared disaster. Previously it a farmer lost his crop and his home only those commodities covered would get relief but the farmer would still be homeless, the new bill covers the entire farm. I'd call that taking care of the farmer as opposed to just the crop.

Now for the subsidies. True, subsidies were cut, but only to corporate farms and those making millions of dollars. Under the old policy if a farmer made $2.5 million or more they'd still receive a crop subsidy. Subsidies are intended to help out struggling farmers, not rich corporations. Here we see where Tiahrt's interests truly lie. Agribusiness is a huge donor to the Tiahrt campaign and he's working to protect those subsidies like he did for the oil companies. The new bill limits subsidies to single farmers who make less than $750,000, and cuts subsidies to corporations that hide ownership of farms help under shell corporations.

Now here's other things Tiahrt hates about the bill but doesn't want to mention because they are popular programs. Funding for organic research and education is increased to $78 million. Also, much of the funding goes towards aid for the poor in the form of food assistance. Tiahrt claims to be a champion of the family but turns a blind eye to those starving (and I thought he just didn't want poor children to have health care).

So we see the real reason why Tiahrt voted against the bill. As usual he was just protecting the interests of corporations and the rich while the poor and middle class in America are ignored when they have to cope with rising food prices.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tiahrt plans on a major flip-flop

Running away from his voting record faster than Senator McCain runs away from pastor Hagee's after it's revealed Hagee loves Hitler and the Holocaust, Tiahrt plans a new bill to renege on his pledge of competition.

It was previously revealed on this blog that Tiahrt initially voted to allow the Air Force tanker deal to be outsourced to France. Lacking any independent thought Tiahrt never figured that someone as self-righteous as himself would have jobs in his district outsourced to France. Since the proverbial sh*t has hit the fan Tiahrt figures he'll cover his arse with a lot of grandstanding and a new piece of legislation requiring 85% of the components for the new tankers to be built in America.

Hold on Tiahrt, this smacks of regulation. The same kind of regulation that you claim costs jobs and limits open competition which you have championed.

Back in Oct. 7th, 2004 Tiahrt complained about subsidies provided by the Bush regime to Airbus:
"Twelve years later it is clear that this aid particularly launch assistance, has done tremendous harm to fair and open competition in the large aircraft marketplace."

Never mind Tiahrt has always backed subsidies for the oil and defense companies, but now he wants legislation that provides specific aid to domestic airline companies, namely Boeing, that destroys the concept of fair and open competition which he claims to fight for.

With Tiahrt you'd think you never know what you'll get but here's a simple formula. If a company gives thousands of dollars in bribes, or as Tiahrt's friend Jack Abramoff likes to call them, lobbyist dollars, then he's in favor of socialism and regulation. If you don't donate money to Tiahrt he's in favor of the free market (no taxpayer money for you) and deregulation (no governmental protection for you). So when Tiahrt says he's fighting for you just follow the money and find out who 'you' really happens to be.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tiahrt loves France, hates veterans

Remember the days when an up and coming politician would speak before the people with tales of visions of the future? You know, the sort of politician with foresight? Was Tiahrt ever one of those people because he certainly has displayed a lack of foresight.

Tanker Todd is still harping about the failed tanker deal. I don't think I ever heard him pretending to work so hard for the people. Sure, he worked hard when he voted to deny education benefits to veterans, and for denying health insurance to poor children. He's surpassed those efforts trying to get the Air Force tanker deal back to Boeing that was outsourced to France thanks to McCain's lobbyist run campaign staff.

Just yesterday it was reported Tiahrt actually wrote, or rather had one of his more eloquent staffers, write some letter about the tankers, blah, cheese eating, blah, whatever.

What's the big deal Todd? After all, you voted to permit outsourcing of the tankers in the first place. HR 1588 was approved by every Republican except Ron Paul. Back then you had no problem with those Boeing jobs going to Airbus. Your pals Brownback, Roberts and McCain had no problem either. Why didn't you have the vision to forsee that outsourcing American jobs would cost American jobs?

Thanks to you maybe some veterans returning home from their seventh tour in Iraq won't be able to get a job at Boeing. I suppose they could go to college and get a job in some other field but you are opposed to that too since you voted against increasing funding for the GI Bill so veterans can pay for the rising costs of college.

Maybe Todd does have vision. After all Todd did work in 2005 to send manufacturing jobs to France, and France does have extremely affordable college education, as well as universal health care, his way of governance is to make America so awful and France so appealing so we all want to move there. If only I had the taxpayer financed travel expenses like Todd has, perhaps I could.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The rich don't work weekdays

Yesterday a small group of billionaires greeted Karl Rove and decided to stay outside to mock the poor saps would couldn't afford the paltry $50 fee for entering to hear Rove bloviate, or rather Roviate, on how great the Republicans are. It was especially poignant that less than a block away was the Lord's Diner which serves food to the homeless.

To show their gratitude for Rove finding Wichita's money more important than responding to Congressional subpoenas many of the town's rich took time off from their weekday morning golf game to congratulate themselves on how they got a bunch of saps to sacrifice their lives in Iraq in order to open up new oil markets and fleece the taxpayers with huge military contracts.

No word on what was actually conducted inside the walls of the 20th Century Center as the press was not permitted to enter. Dion Lefler, of the Wichita Eagle, tried to gain entry by paying but he was denied. One can only surmise that the purpose was to prevent the public from knowing about their self-serving agenda of destroying the economy as a justification to cut social programs.

Recently Republicans have been using Rove's strategy in special elections in heavily Republican districts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Illinois. The end result was three straight Democratic victories. The Republican party realizes that it will have a tough race in the 4th District of Kansas given Tiahrt's continued failure on the tanker deal, his latest gaff of voting against Mother's Day, and his desire to piss off the 200 Airbus employees in Wichita. I could go on about Tiahrt's failures but I'll save that for another day. However, Rove's strategy of upsetting the local media isn't going to aid in the Republican efforts any.

It must tell you something that later that day I went to Senator Roberts office and Rep. Tiahrt's office (both in the same building). Robert's office was well staffed with a kindly lady greeting you at the front desk. Tiahrt's office had the lights turned off, nobody at the front desk and a sign informing you to ring the bell for assistance. I'm guessing they don't get many visitors.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

City officials draw up plans to screw taxpayers

Previously Wichita City Councilwoman Sue Schlapp was successful in giving a sweetheart deal to Todd Tiahrt's campaign manager's church. The selling of a piece of public land valued at $2.1 million was given away for a mere $400,000. Not content with one act of selling off the commons the Wichita City Council has moved forward with two other plans to rob the people.

The older plan is to destroy the wetlands in Maize in order to create a strip mall with a Lowe's department stores and expand the number of chain restaurants and cell phone stores in the area. In order to help the developers out the city will spend $1.7 million to create a new wetlands is a place that remains undisclosed.

The wetlands that is currently is place is a home for copious amounts of wildlife that will lose their habitat due to unnecessary urban sprawl. The land serves as a means of flood control and a natural means of water filtration. It's in the best interest of the developers to destroy the land because it's owned by the taxpayers (that means it's cheap) and if a flood isn't prevented then the developers get bailed out by the taxpayers and get brand new contracts to rebuild in an area that will be constantly threatened by floods. A new "wetlands" will probably be nothing more than a gravel pit on old farmland but I can't be sure because the city and developers have no plan for a new wetlands, just empty promises.

The other plan to screw the taxpayers is to increase the sales tax. Wichita just got their sales tax reduced after having it increased by 1% in order to build an unneeded arena in downtown Wichita. Naturally there were many promises made that the new arena would create jobs, increase tourism, bring in additional revenue, blah, blah, blah. Who is going to drive from Oklahoma City or Kansas City to see events in Wichita when those other cities are much bigger draws? Sure, the RV shows in Wichita are simply amazing. Arena jobs are low paying and part-time and fully dependent on those who want to shell out $30 to see Elmo on Ice. As for bringing in more tax revenue that's hogwash. People are on a budget. If they have $30 to spend when they go out they'll go to the arena and nowhere else. Previously they would have gone somewhere else but they won't suddenly start doubling their budget just because an arena is around unless the plan was for money to magically appear.

Anyway, that tax is over so the City Council thinks we are conditioned to accept a tax to replace it. The guise is that it is intended to prevent an increase in property tax. This is bollocks. Property taxes won't increase because property values are declining in this Bush economy. The sales tax is needed to replace lost revenues, it's just an extra tax, not a substitute tax. It is also a means to shift more tax burden upon the poor who are less likely to own property. Those with huge McMansions are seeing their mortgages increase and want tax relief so they can fill up their Hummers. So let's stick the poor saps that don't have political influence and live in apartments. The cost of living in a house will go down but the cost of living in apartments will go up because we won't see any decrease in rent.

No surprise the majority of people on the City Council are Republican. They work extra hard to find anyway to increase the amount of corporate welfare for the few (subsidies for AirTran and Gander Mountain) and pay for it with taxes on the many. It's corporatism folks, and that's how Mussolini defined fascism.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tiahrt takes a stand, against his mom

Not content to just piss on children by voting against the SCHIP bill Tiahrt stood before the mic and demanded a recorded vote on a resolution supporting Mother's Day. He wanted people on the record on who supported mom's and who didn't. Tiahrt voted with fellow Republicans in denouncing mothers and Mother's Day.

The resolution which, prior to the counted vote, was passed unanimously. It simply said that the bill was, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day."

The vote comes just after revelations were made involving Republican family values Representative Vito Fossella loves families so much he has a second one that he keeps hidden. Fossella, who was arrested for drunk driving after breaking tables in a D.C. bar called his mistress to help bail him out. The mistress is also the mother of his three year old daughter. Fossella's wife didn't know about the affair and the child and she wasn't very pleased when she refused to be near him during a press conference. Needless to say Fossella wasn't able to vote against Mother's Day.

So why does Tiahrt hate his mom? Nobody may ever know, but he sure does sound angry.

Tiahrt commented on his website that he fully supports Mother's Day and was proud to vote in favor of it.

"Earlier this week I had the privilege of voting for the Mother’s Day resolution, H.Res.1113, that passed the House by a vote of 412-0. I was pleased to show my support for the estimated 82 million moms in the United States who make contributions toward building strong families, thriving communities, and ultimately a strong Nation."

Tiahrt clearly can't keep his flip-flops organized.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Expelled has been expelled

Ben Stein's mockumentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, about a make believe conspiracy by Nazis pretending to be evolutionary scientists controlling a cabal of universities failed to make the top 12 in weekend movie sales.

The movie, condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for it's historical revisionism, condemned by scientists for it's bad science, condemned by people who prefer good movies, and even condemned by Yoko Ono because the movie had to take time to insult her late husband, has appeared to shriveled up into another failure of religious propaganda.

It's first weekend saw sales on nearly $3 million after a huge nationwide publicity tour. The film was publicized by the same folks who brought us the Jesus snuff film by Mel Gibson. The show toured churches and towns with free showings in an effort to spread some word of mouth. The film showed in PZ Myers town but, despite PZ being in the movie, refused to allow him entry (but failed to notice Dr. Dawkins who got to realize how not to waste two hours of your life). Sales dropped in half the following weekend and are now down to practically nothing. All this despite the Expelled blog having a quote by PZ about how popular this movie is going to be,

"It's (EXPELLED) going to appeal strongly to the religious, the paranoid, the conspiracy theorists, and the ignorant –– which means they're going to draw in about 90% of the American market."

The concept of the movie is that evolution is bad. Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection apparently led to the Holocaust because nobody hated Jews before Darwin. Hitler, who practiced genocide, a form of artificial selection, happened to have Darwin's books rounded up and burned. But somehow he was a big fan of Darwin despite not even mentioning him or his work in Mein Kampf and gave top billing to God.

Also mentioned in the movie is how creationists (the movie likes to call them intelligent design advocates) are being persecuted in universities. Creationists demand tenure and are denied. Clearly this is persecution because if a creationist wants something it's persecution to deny it to them. Never mind tenure is a rigorous process and the promotion is based upon your academic work but creationists expect special treatment in regards to their handicap towards reality. This too, is the fault of Darwin somehow.

Naturally no scientific evidence is given in favor of creationism. That would be expecting creationists to actually do science. Regardless of their lack of science we are expected to give them equal billing to read the Bible alongside tens of thousands of peer reviewed research establishing the fact of evolution.

I suppose next they'll demand as many theaters as Iron Man is getting. You know Iron Man, a scientist develops a suit of armor so he can go around battling creationists. That's what scientists do, don't they Stein?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

News Highlights

Bush visits a high school in Greensburg. Students sense longing for another tornado and Bush leaves quickly feeling uncomfortable in a place of learning.

Wichita GOP invites Karl Rove to town for a fundraiser. Rove to lecture on how to steal an election and avoid subpoenas.

Phill Kline unethically takes women's medical records home with him after he is ousted from the Attorney General seat. Kline is at a loss to explain strange stains that weren't on the records when they left the AG office.

Wagle complains about Republican policies, remains Republican

In a senseless rant in today's Wichita Eagle, state Senator Susan Wagle (R-rich side of Wichita) whined about Wichita losing the expensive, unnecessary corporate welfare contract for Boeing. Wagle repeats the typical, mindless GOP (God's Own Party?) talking points so feel free to use the rebuttals when another GOP (Grand Old Pedophiles?) person uses them.

"...the European company that was given the contract along with Northrop Grumman, does business with Iran, Venezuela and Russia."

Yes, international companies tend to do business with other countries. Take Halliburton for instance. When VP selected Dick Cheney was (actually still is) on the board of Halliburton that company did business with Iran when America had an embargo against the country. The company also did business with Venezuela and Russia but the Republicans didn't have a problem with that. Other companies that do business with these countries, Coca-Cola, GE, Conoco-Phillips, and many oil companies.

Never mind the fact that these countries are our allies. Iran aided us against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Cold War is over and Russia is our ally, and despite a U.S. back coup against the twice elected President Venezuela is still our ally and was willing to give cheap heating oil to America's poor while Bush was allowing our own people to freeze in the winter. Why shouldn't we do business with our allies? I don't know. Naturally China wasn't mentioned.

EADS contends that it is legal to sell to Iran because it is not an American company and does not have to follow the Iran weapons embargo. However, with Iran a leader of state-sponsored terrorism and a growing threat, this sort of association should make Americans uncomfortable.

Actually it shouldn't. Since EADS is a French company they don't need to abide by American embargos. Nor do they have to abide by Bush's declarations that the Iranian military is a terrorist group thereby making Iran a sponsor of terrorism. Iran hasn't invaded a country in over 200 years but we are supposed to fear them simply because our government tells us too? The same government, that, until 2007 was selling spare F-14 parts to the Iranian military? I suppose we shouldn't be doing business with the Pentagon if the Pentagon is one of those companies on your list doing business with Iran.

According to a commentary in National Review by David N. Bossie, EADS sold cargo and patrol planes to the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela. When the United States formally objected, EADS tried to circumvent our law by stripping the American-built components from the aircraft.

Wage, we don't have a trade embargo against Venezuela, neither does France. As a big advocate of "Free Trade" why are you insisting America not do business with other countries? America has had no problem doing business with Venezuela, in fact, the vast majority of their airlines are American made. I suppose you are saying we shouldn't sell them parts for those planes. That would cost America more manufacturing jobs, like those in Wichita. Isn't that what you are complaining that the Pentagon deal with EADS is doing?

EADS, the parent of French planemaker Airbus, receives billions in illegal subsidies from European governments. It makes no sense that the U.S. government is now doing business with the very entity it is challenging for violating WTO rules.

Funny that you'd mention WTO rules. WTO rules forbids subsidies on produce. Kansas receives a whole lot of farm subsidies and exports those subsidized products to places like Mexico. Mexico, in turn, has a lot of displaced farmers who can't compete with cheap American corn therefore immigrate to America looking for work. Republicans pretend whine about illegal immigrants who they like because they are a source of cheap labor and the meat packing industries in Kansas love to hire them.

It is counterproductive to send 35 billion precious American tax dollars to a company that has not been loyal to the American military or to the world cause of individual freedom and liberty.

This has to be the dumbest comment of them all. EADS is building planes for the military, that makes them as loyal as Boeing. Wagle was trying to hint at the fact that it's a French company and France is supposed to fall under the curtain of American empire and do whatever we say. France aides us in Afghanistan but opposed to illegal occupation of Iraq like the vast majority of Americans do as well as the rest of the world. This is the same France that liberated us from the British in the American Revolution, the same France that fought with us in two world wars, and the same France that recently elected a conservative Prime Minister whose anti-immigrant rhetoric is on par with the Republican party. But Wagle has a narrow view of things. It's probably due to a lack of education about current events and history. Wagle is just another mindless Republican drone that follows the play book and keeps getting put into office by fellow mindless drones. She ends with this:

All Americans should be outraged and should join our congressional delegation in protesting this decision.

Really Wagle, we should act the way our government tells us to act? How about get rid of the program all together? How about a lovely program paying Boeing to build giant windmills to put throughout Kansas so we can become an exporter of clean energy, rather than an exporter of military aircraft that reign death upon civilians throughout the world? Nah, that would take leadership and creative thinking. It's best you stay where you are at, in your comfortable chair of ignorance and self-delusion.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tiahrt's Tanker Spin

Tiahrt feels like he's on a roll. He finally thinks he's appealing to the working people of Kansas, fighting for their jobs by opposing a tanker deal that favors Senator McCain's lobbyists/campaign managers.

Embolden to the military industrial complex Tiahrt had been pushing for a multi-billion dollar deal to provide corporate welfare to Boeing to build refueling tankers for the Air Force. It's Tiahrt's way of saying thank-you for ditching Wichita and selling much of their manufacturing to Canadian company Spirit Aerosystems.

McCain, on the other hand, had joined with Republican senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts to pass legislation allowing foreign companies to be granted military construction contracts. McCain has no love affair for the Air Force but does have a love affair with Airbus and employs some of their lobbyists on his campaign staff. So it's no surprise McCain worked hard to secure a big contract for Airbus over Boeing.

Well Tiahrt is just plain outraged. Boeing donates a lot to the Tiahrt campaign and expects results. So now Tiahrt is playing to populist and claiming to fight for jobs in Wichita. But does he really feel that way?

Back in 2005 Tiahrt opposed trade tariffs which are in place to protect American jobs. By implementing a tariff on something, say like, aircraft, building an airplane in somewhere like France would be more expensive because of the tariff. Therefore American and foreign companies would be motivated to build the planes in America thereby avoiding the tariff. But Tiahrt had this to say about tariffs:

"As we reduce barriers, American small businesses will prosper and workers will benefit with higher-quality, higher-paying jobs."

Good job Tiahrt, always thinking ahead.

Well Tiahrt goes further on his blog and argues that it's cheaper to build the planes in America. One thing he cites is that if the planes are built elsewhere then we lose corporate tax revenue. Well, that's true. As mentioned in Senator Byron Dorgan's book, Take This Job and Ship It, corporations pay a lower tax rate for profit made overseas. Tax breaks like these were supported by, you guessed it, Todd Tiahrt. The same Tiahrt who supported Bush's tax plan which lowered corporate income taxes (and I'm assuming he supports McCain's plan to lower them even further).

So it doesn't appear that losing corporate tax revenue is a big concern for Tiahrt. As mentioned in a previous story about removing tax breaks for oil companies, Tiahrt views corporate taxes as merely creating higher prices for the consumer. If it was up to Tiahrt corporations wouldn't be taxed.

Perhaps Tiahrt is admitting his conservative Republican fiscal policies are hurting us. Somehow I doubt he can put two and two together.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Todd Tiahrt, Oil Oligarch

If there's one thing Todd Tiahrt loves more than skyboxes provided by his pal Jack Abramoff it's oil, and oil loves him too. Tiahrt is the fifth largest recipient of oil lobbyist dollars in the House of Representatives. Not bad for someone who isn't from a large oil producing state.

Some would have thought this love affair would go on forever but there is a jealous third party, the American people. For some reason to tightwad elitist Americans, who don't share the down home values of "I have nine houses" John McCain, are upset that they are paying gas that, in Wichita, is currently at $3.44 a gallon.

So those nasty elitist Democrats are looking at the top five oil companies, that made a combined $123 billion last year, don't really need the government handout of $18 billion.

Tiahrt should agree. After all, Tiahrt's a Republican and we all know that Republicans are some "pull yourself up by your bootstraps, don't accept a welfare check" Republican. Exxon-Mobile should work hard for it's money just like "fly in my personal jet" McCain who had to work hard at sleeping with a rich beer heiress while his own wife was crippled from an accident. Alas, I digress. Tiahrt's all about independence and fiscal responsibility right?

Um, no.

During this latest attempt by Democrats to invest in it's nation's energy infrastructure by weening us off foreign oil Tiahrt said no, "Any tax increase that Congress imposes on the oil companies would only be paid for by consumers through boosted prices at the gas pump."

Perhaps he has a point. The oil companies are scrounging. If they lose the tax breaks then their $123 billion profit would have been only $105 billion. $18 billion, after all, is more than the NASA budget for 2008. NASA the folks that gave us kidney dialysis machines, CAT scanners, cordless power tools and freeze dried ice cream. Exxon sells a billion dollars of oil a day, but I guess we need that money to give a good paycheck to Exxon CEO Lee Raymond a $400 million a year salary. That's $6,000 an hour, he must work really hard personally pissing out that oil.

But would removing those tax breaks actually cause an increase in the price of gas (Tiahrt must not be aware that with them we still see gas prices go up 100% in a couple years)? The answer is no. Here's how the system works in a nutshell.

OPEC determines how much oil is going to be produced and sets a base price for the market. Irregardless of supply or demand they tell us what they want to sell at and you don't have a choice. They sell to market speculators, the commodity traders on Wall Street. Thanks to deregulation in the 90s there is no oversight and they can manipulate the price regardless of what the supply/demand is. The oil is bought by the companies who have to refine the oil into gasoline. In order to reduce supply they shut down refineries thereby increasing the price of gas. Then it's sent out to the gas stations who mark up the price for their own profit, but also have to jack up the price because these places take credit cards and they have to get their percentage whether or not you actually use a credit card.

So every bit of the way someone increases the price. The tax breaks are a way to guarantee the oil companies maintain a profit. They were implemented back when oil was $35 a barrel when Saddam Hussein was flooding the market with cheap oil to piss off American and OPEC. The Republicans dealt with the cheap oil problem by illegally invading Iraq, so don't expect them to solve the problem of expensive oil, it's what they wanted all along.