Archive for November, 2007

The invisible hand has…uh…spoken?

Nov 05, 2007 in Energy, Foreign Policy

More bad news from happy-motoring nation; state-controlled PetroChina* closed at double the value of it’s closest rival; ExxonMobil.

The New York Times, typically AWOL when it comes to common sense energy journalism, pointed out a frequently overlooked fact in a Times Magazine article this past weekend; that 77 percent of the world’s oil reserves are held by national oil companies with no private equity, and there are 13 state-owned oil companies with more reserves than ExxonMobil, the largest multinational oil company.  (Until today that is.)

We are faced with a dire predicament.  Nations that we’ve typically relied upon for our energy needs are using more of their own oil and producing less.  In the near future, selling oil to favored customers will be an extremely potent instrument of geopolitics that will most likely turn even more ugly and violent than it already is.

-mg

*that’s gotta fry the brains of the “free market” zombies…a company that is both state operated and publicly traded.

A People’s History of the United States – Vietnam

Nov 04, 2007 in Uncategorized

Here’s an excerpt from the audio book by Howard Zinn regarding Vietnam.  The selection is read by Matt Damon.

[audio:http://iowaliberal.com/Vietnam.mp3]

-mg

Now let’s talk about chickenshit rightwingers.

Nov 03, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives

They keep running away from us, because they know they’re outmatched. They depend on the hope that you are uninformed and will be seduced by their illogic.

Look, folks, it’s very simple. My weekend job is to sell home remodeling to people. The message from the boss is clear cut: if they’re not buying what you’re selling within two minutes, move on. That’s a sensible approach to selling home remodeling, but it’s not a method of approaching truth. The fact is, when my job is to sell something to you, the last thing I’m supposed to care about are methods of discourse that will lead me to say, “You know what, you’re right…you don’t need our windows/exterior coating, and furthermore, our business practices some shady voodoo on people to harass them into buying. Good day to you!”

The problem is when this model is transferred to democracy, the lifeblood of which is honest debate and the ability of people to recognize the errors of their ways and embrace the arguments of their opponents. Rightwingers come to this site fishing for positive feedback, and when they find a real fight on their hands, they decide to look for more hospitable waters. On the other hand, if we find ourselves in a serious fight that questions our basic premises in ways we cannot easily answer, we understand that the only honest response is to find a better argument or finally relent and start making concessions. We could theoretically block people and delete comments, but we ever find our opponent to be our own consciences. You can erase somebody’s words, but do those words depart as easily from your memory? Do you remember, “There was somebody that challenged me, and I ran away,”?

Or do you approach this like some cynic’s game, as our rightwing companions so easily do, as authoritarians in pursuit of Dear Leader’s directives, irreverent towards truth and accountability, eager only for results? Do you rightwingers out there nourish the wounds you received here at Iowa Liberal, or do we merely get written off as non-buyers?

Folks cannot be deceived by these times. At least 40% of our nation would gladly sign on for authoritarianism and the end of the rule of law under one of the Republican nominees. 52% would approve bombing Iran without any understanding of the issue. The danger of leaving your neighbors behind is precisely that you don’t know where they will go afterwards. One day you will wake up and you will have none behind you at all. That’s why we here at IL like to finish our arguments, and make our message clear: if you can’t whup us, how can you then also tell yourself that we ain’t worth shit? If we’re not, how did we beat you? And if we weren’t playing fair and square, how come you can’t tell us why? If I can’t sell somebody windows, I figure they might actually have some good reasons not to buy windows at this point. Telling myself that they’re just losers and idiots is heading down a road of self-deception. The rightwingers out there that come here merely looking for a venue to rant and scramble for the hills when they face a serious challenge commit the same folly.

-jb

UPDATE: Mr. X has returned to continue the Southern Strategy thread, arguing…well, I can’t tell what the hell he’s saying, really. Anybody want to take a crack at interpreting him?

More Funny!

Nov 03, 2007 in Music

I left the liberal enclave of Iowa City last night and drove to catch The Mountain Goats play at Grinnell College. It was a terrific show. I especially enjoyed the addition of a drummer to the line-up. I also learned a few things while I was there. Did you know that Stella Artois is the preferred beer of English football hooligans? It’s true! I also learned that Carlos Santana is a guitar shredding GOD:

[youtube fNoZg9kl-zE]

You can check out more StSander’s videos here.

-mg

“Like trying to herd cats” vs. “A bunch of goddamn pussies.”

Nov 03, 2007 in Disappointing Dems

The simile or the metaphor? Which one to pick, when looking at the latest news of many Democrats once again bending over for whatever Bush wants. Bush’s Attorney General nominee, Michael Mukasey, refusing to identify waterboarding as the illegal torture technique it is, is likely to get the thumbs up from 20 Democrats.

Oh, by the way, all Republicans will vote for him. I know, that’s very surprising, isn’t it? Lock-step conformity and subservience to a 24% president doesn’t seem like the smartest choice on the planet, but that’s authoritarianism for ya!

So while Republicans have been able to easily lump together 40 of their number to filibuster everything from Iraq withdrawal measures to lunch break requests, the Democrats seem as equally guaranteed to lose 10-20 members whenever Bush starts muttering, “You’re making me angry…you won’t like me when I’m angry!” Getting them to say, “Um, wait, you’re an incompetent misguided law-breaking president who’s violated his constitutional oath and is putting forward a nominee who apparently can’t tell Congress if jaywalking is illegal until he looks into it some more, just in case it might implicate you…we’d have to be insane to vote for you!” is simply beyond the realm of imagination, apparently.

Charles Schumer, who’s been lauding Mukasey from day one is the most prominent supporter, along with the vile coward Diane Feinstein:

Schumer’s announcement followed a private meeting Friday with Mukasey to discuss waterboarding.

“I deeply oppose it,” Schumer said of waterboarding. “Unfortunately, this nominee, indeed any proposed by President Bush, will not agree with this. I am, however, confident that this nominee would enforce a law that bans waterboarding.”

What on earth would breed such confidence, when Mukasey refuses to confirm that waterboarding is already illegal?

(Mukasey) also said he thought it would be irresponsible to discuss it since doing so could make interrogators and other government officials vulnerable to lawsuits.

Um, for violating the law? Golly-shucks, we wouldn’t want there to be legal implications for breaking the law, would we? And how would Mukasey stating waterboarding is illegal, when it is already illegal, change anything?

Fortunately it seems the majority of Democrats will fulfill their own Consitutional duties, so the headline must still read, “Democrats oppose torture-waffling AG nominee,” but there is the persistent problem of Democrat chickenshits who have allowed Bush to get away with anything he wants since 9/11, because they’re still scared of seeing an ad with their face next to Osama bin Laden. They keep voting to look tough, but they keep acting like damned yellowbellies. In the link I just noted, Cenk Uygur says:

Let me tell you a quick story told to me by a former staffer of one of the Democratic leaders. He said a consultant told this senator that the only way he could lose his senate seat was if he challenged the Republicans in any meaningful way. His advice was to give in to them on every occasion, and specifically at the time, on the Alito nomination.

This particular senator did not give in on the Alito nomination (nor did he put up any kind of effective fight, either). But the message from the “Democratic” consultant was clear – you will never be challenged from the left, so always give in to the right.

I’m not trying to force lockstep ideological conformity on Democrats. These people aren’t acting based on their ideology and long-held beliefs, but on craven political calculation. And that’s gotta go.

-jb

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan cites Scott Horton with something I overlooked:

The New York Times says the issue is one of legal culpability of those who have administered the program. In a speech I delivered in Ohio last October, “When Lawyers Are War Criminals,” I went over this analysis in some detail and concluded it was incorrect. The CIA personnel, military personnel and contractors all have immunity. But there is a class of persons who are probably not immunized in any effective way by the current statutes, namely the administration officials who authored this scheme: Dick Cheney, David Addington, Donald Rumsfeld, Jim Haynes and a handful of others. They are the figures “on the line” who are most adamant that Mukasey (or any substitute for Mukasey) provide them with the protection they feel they need.

Hillary did what?

Nov 02, 2007 in Clintonitis, Journamalism, Politics

I’m aware, as is about every organism on the planet, that it’s time for the wingers and the press to cuddle up and brew up more quasi-ethereal scandals against Hillary Clinton, but I honestly can’t figure out what the hell this article is about. It begins with a report of the Justice Department sniffing around donors, asking a Chinese woman if she was coerced to donate. Coerced? The woman said, “No,” and that was it.

Follow that up with several paragraphs about how Hillary Clinton has been playing it careful with donors, screening them and returning money to some citing “an abundance of caution.” Uh, okay.

In other words, there’s nothing new going on with Hillary whatsoever, but the Justice Department is bugging her donors asking them if they were coerced? Isn’t the thought that Bush’s “Justice” (slash Political Enforcement) Department is running around randomly investigating Clinton donors worth a “What the hell?” Wouldn’t a crack journalist trail that story further, instead of digging up anecdotes of people who weren’t citizens and didn’t get their checks returned and then titling the story, “Clinton’s Fundraiser Raises Questions”? We’re supposed to believe that IBP can’t keep track of who’s a citizen among their own workers, but Hillary Clinton is supposed to know from a check with a name on it?

Adam Goldman reported from New York and Jim Kuhnhenn reported from Washington.

Holy smokes, it took two monkeys to pull off this mess. They couldn’t have assigned a third one to cover the actual story here?

-jb

Best. Blog. Ever.

Nov 01, 2007 in Librulz

If you’ve got extended family and if those family members have internet access then the chances that you’ve received a forwarded email from one of them decrying librulz for:

  • raising your taxes
  • turning your kids gay
  • turning your kids into terrorists
  • turning your kids into gay married terrorists
  • turning your kids into gay married Mexican terrorists
  • allowing humans to marry lawn mowers
  • teaching Satanism in elementary school
  • allowing terrorists to teach classes at your local elementary school
  • paving the way for the Soros/Rothschild/Bilderburg/UN one world government
  • controlling the media
  • facilitating the Islamic take-over of blah blah blah
  • etc etc etc etc etc

…is extremely high.
In a stroke of genius, Mike D’Asto has created a blog chocked full of every idiotic and insane forwarded email that has made it’s way through the Internets. It is aptly titled My Right-Wing Dad and it’s the funniest blog I’ve read in a very long time. When you’re there, be sure to check out the classic “18 Ways To Be A Good Liberal”. Check out number thirteen; “You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.” Oh SNAP!

-mg

Time to make other arrangements.

Nov 01, 2007 in Energy, Middle East

The outlook is pretty bleak for Saudi oil according to those that used to work for Aramco:

Sadad I. Al-Husseini, an oil consultant and former executive at Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, gave a particularly chilling assessment of the world’s oil outlook. The major oil-producing nations, he said, are inflating their oil reserves by as much as 300 billion barrels. These amount to hypothetical reserves that are “not delineated, not accessible and not available for production.”

A lot of production in the Middle East is from mature reservoirs, and the giant fields of the Persian Gulf region, he said, are 41% depleted.

This is why Saudi Arabia peaked at around 9.4M barrels a day back in ’05 and they haven’t been able to get back to those levels since. I think right now they’ve dropped down to around 8.5M b/d. OPEC has been setting production quotas for it’s members based upon estimated reserves in the ground for many years and predictably, the Saudi princes began inflating their numbers so that they could buy Rolls Royce’s now and not have to wait until tomorrow. So who still thinks that their frequently stated reserves of 267 billion barrels is accurate?

No problem because when the oil runs out we’ll just run all of our cars on E85, right? Well, better start brainstorming because we’re going to need 330 million gallons of ethanol a day to meet demand. Right now we produce about 22 million and that’s with abundant fossil fuel inputs for diesel fuel, fertilizers, and processing.

-mg

Crooked appraisers.

Nov 01, 2007 in Housing Bubble

Any time you have a financial bubble burst it’s always followed by a slew of whistle-blower reports, investigations and subsequent arrests.  I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more of this:

Andrew Cuomo, New York attorney-general, filed a lawsuit against First American, the home appraisal group, saying its eAppraiseIT subsidiary gave in to pressure from Washington Mutual, the largest savings and loan group in the US, to use a preferred list of appraisers who provided inflated values for homes.

Cue the “personal responsibility” trolls crowing about how those affected homeowners are as much to blame because they should have done their own investigations into whether or not their appraiser was on the take.

-mg

Wink wink, nudge nudge…

Nov 01, 2007 in Culture

I couldn’t resist.

Troubled star Owen Wilson is seeking solace from his recent suicide bid in Jessica Simpson…

Oh, I’m sure he finding all sorts of solace in her. Let’s hope she enjoys having him in her…nothing more tragic than a woman unsatisfied after love because some guy’s bawling into the pillow.

-jb

The worst is behind us! *repeat ad infinitum

Nov 01, 2007 in Economy

I guess runaway oil prices and flim-flam lending practices do affect the economy after all.  Quick!  Somebody notify the online devoted that there’s a malady that hasn’t yet been blamed on Bill Clinton.  The Real Sporer came close in our comments section once but like most of our Republican readers he jetted when it came down to providing any evidence for his claims.

-mg