A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Further Adventures of Mrs. Claus

I quote verbatim from the note Mrs. Claus added to a recent petition drive by MoveOn.org which will be sent to ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond. It is one single shot in the Republican war against the poor:

As a 54 yr. old woman, permanently disabled and on SSDI/SSI since 1980, I have been harmed by your policies. I fully expect to have a miserable, cold winter as I'm unable to pay the higher natural gas costs expected this winter. Not to mention my inability to keep the gas tank filled in my beat-up, old, 1984 Toyota Tercel, which limits my ability to get to my many medical appointments, get groceries, or even get to the local library when I want to.

I do apply for [public heating assistance], but currently there is a minimum 3-4 hour line right out the front door of the agency handling the applications, and I'm currently too ill to manage that. The phone recording at the agency states that I can get an appointment, but only when I have a Disconnect Notice from my Natural Gas Supplier. How wonderful to have that hanging over my head with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming. There'll be no "holiday" celebrations here.

ExxonMobil made $9.2 billion pure profit in just 3 months off the gasoline price spike. Royal Dutch Shell made $9.03 billion pure profit. Mobil Oil made $770 million. That profit came completely and exclusively out of the pockets of every one who drives a car, and went into the pockets of the few thousand stockholders and the executives of the companies.

It is the largest, rawest, and most spectacular redistribution of wealth upward in the history of the world.

This country has been run only in the interests of stock speculators, with the implicit agenda of redistributing the maxmum amount of money to them from the pockets of everyone like Mrs. Claus, for a quarter century now. The last three months have been their crowning glory, and a tribute to the fact that the majority of America has been simply sleepwalking since the Carter Administration.

Gasoline prices are now hovering around $2.00 a gallon in my town. Just over a month and a half ago they were fully 50% higher than this. Nothing in the world economy or the oil business has materially changed in that interval. Whatever production or refining capacity the oil industry may have lost in the wake of our tough hurricane season has not miraculously reappeared.

This price spike was collusively manufactured. The American sleepwalk has turned into a coma.

And no one will be around to enact special laws when they take us off life support.


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