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Sector Snap: Ethanol Producers Slide
Houston Chronicle – United States
Sept. 25, 2006, 12:18PM
NEW YORK — Shares of ethanol producers tumbled in Monday afternoon trading, as crude oil prices continue to ease and Prudential cut its earnings estimate for …
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#17 of 17 rules to bring you up to speed on what you need to believe to be a Republican.
Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.
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#17 of the Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007
#17 Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
Harper’s in coordination with BBC Television Newsnight, October 24, 2005
Title: “OPEC and the economic conquest of Iraq”
Author: Greg Palast
The Guardian March 20, 2006
” Bush Didn’t Bungle Iraq, You Fools: The Mission Was Indeed Accomplished”
Author: Greg Palast
Faculty Evaluator: David McCuan
Student Researcher: Isaac Dolido
According to a report from journalist, Greg Palast, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was indeed about the oil. However, it wasn’t to destroy OPEC, as claimed by neoconservatives in the administration, but to take part in it.
The U.S. strategic occupation of Iraq has been an effective means of acquiring access to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). As long as the interim government adheres to the production caps set by the organization, the U.S. will ensure profits to the international oil companies (IOCs), the OPEC cartel, and Russia.
With the prolonged insurgency following the invasion, along with internal corruption and pipeline destruction, hard line neoconservative plans for a completely privatized Iraq were dashed. According to some administration insiders, the idea of a laissez-faire, free-market reconstruction of Iraq was never a serious consideration. One oil industry consultant to Iraq told Palast he was amused by “the obsession of neoconservative writers on ways to undermine OPEC.”
In December 2003, says Palast, the State Department drafted a 323-page plan entitled “Options for Developing a Long Term Sustainable Iraqi Oil Industry.” This plan directs the Iraqis to maintain an oil quota system that will enhance its relationship with OPEC. It describes several possible state-owned options that range from the Saudi Aramco model (in which the government owns the whole operation) to the Azerbaijan model (in which the system is almost entirely operated by the International Oil Companies).
Implementation of the plan was guided by a handful of oil industry consultants, promoting an OPEC-friendly policy but preferring the Azerbaijan model to the “self-financing” system of the Saudi Aramco, as it grants operation and control to the foreign oil companies (the 2003 report warns Iraqis against cutting into IOC profits). Once the contracts are granted, these companies then manage, fund, and equip crude extraction in exchange for a percentage of the sales. Given the way in which the interests of OPEC and those of the IOCs are so closely aligned, it is certainly understandable why smashing OPEC’s oil cartel might not appeal to certain elements of the Bush administration.
According to the drafters and promoters of the plan, dismantling OPEC would be a catastrophe. The last thing they want is the privatization of Iraq’s oil fields and the specter of competition maximizing production. Pumping more oil per day than the OPEC regulated quota of almost 4 million, would quickly bring down Iraq’s economy and compromise the U.S. position in the global market.
Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, profits have shot up for oil companies. In 2004, the major U.S. oil companies posted record or near record profits. In 2005 profits for the five largest oil companies increased to $113 billion. In February 2006, ConocoPhillips reported a doubling of its quarterly profits from the previous year, which itself had been a company record. Shell posted a record breaking $4.48 billion in fourth-quarter earnings—and in 2005, ExxonMobil reported the largest one-year operating profit of any corporation in U.S. history.
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NLRB Decision Affecting 8 Million Workers Could Happen Any Day
by James Parks, Sep 25, 2006
The definition of one word—”supervisor”—could determine for years to come whether the basic rights of America’s workers are protected.
As early as this week, the Bush-appointed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is set to decide a trio of cases known as “Kentucky River.” If the NLRB expands the definition of supervisor, that move could take away contract protections from hundreds of thousands of workers represented by unions and deny as many as 8 million workers their freedom to form unions. Federal labor law does not give supervisors the right to join unions or engage in collective bargaining.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) says the decisions could “very well change the basic rights of American workers.” Yet DeLauro points out that such a monumental decision could be made without the groundwork needed by the nation’s labor board.
Given the stakes, the NLRB needs to be as thorough as possible in hearing testimony. The fact that the NLRB has not held hearings shows that the board is not taking this case as seriously as it should. At the heart of the issue is the right of workers to organize, to bargain collectively and to share in decisions.
DeLauro spoke at a Sept. 22 conference sponsored by the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund on the possible impact of the Kentucky River cases.
If the NLRB expands the legal definition of supervisor, DeLauro says she expects congressional Democrats would give “some kind of thought to what legislative remedies are available,” but would not specify any except possibly limiting funds to the NLRB to enforce the ruling.
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More Employers Reduce, Drop Retiree Health Benefits as Costs Increase
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U.S. employers “are increasingly targeting health benefits as a way to save money,” a trend that has left many retirees with “thousands of dollars” in additional health care costs, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the Times, employers began to reduce retiree health benefits in the 1990s because of changes in accounting standards that required more cost disclosure, and in recent years “the benefits are falling victim to rising health care expenses and corporate cost cutting.” Retirees on average account for 29% of health care costs for large employers that offered such benefits, according to Hewitt Associates. In addition, retiree health care costs for large employers that offered such benefits increased by as much as 10.3% from 2004 to 2005, according to a recent survey conducted by Hewitt and the Kaiser Family Foundation. As a result, many large employers, such as General Motors and AT&T/Lucent Technologies, have “scaled back” health benefits for retirees and have considered additional reductions to benefits for future retirees, the Times reports. Twelve-percent of large employers between 2004 and 2005 said that they will not offer health benefits to future retirees, according to the survey conducted by Hewitt and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Currently, one in three large employers offers retiree health benefits, compared with two in three in the late 1980s, according to survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.
Conservative Mag: Voting machines can be hacked on Election Day, votes stolen
Fox News president Ailes accused Pres. Clinton of “assault on all journalists,” overlooking his, Fox’s history of attacking media
During an Associated Press interview, discussing the President Clinton-Chris Wallace Fox News Sunday interview, Fox News chief Roger Ailes accused Clinton of an “assault on Wallace” and an “assault on all journalists,” when Clinton forcefully responded to Wallace’s question about why he did not “do more to put Al Qaeda and bin Laden out of business” when he was president.
Borowitz Report – Saddam Judge Shocker
Legal Experts Question Selection of Kangaroo as Saddam’s New Judge
Import From Sydney Zoo Draws Mixed Reviews
Two weeks after the judge in Saddam Hussein’s trial for crimes against humanity was dismissed for displaying leniency towards the former Iraqi dictator, the proceedings became embroiled in controversy once again as legal experts questioned the selection of a kangaroo as the judge’s replacement.
While the dismissal of the previous judge, Abdullah al-Amiri, raised eyebrows in legal circles because it suggested to some that the Iraqi government was trying to predetermine the results of the trial, the selection of a kangaroo from the Sydney Zoo in Australia did little to allay those concerns.
“The new Iraqi government is already facing an uphill struggle to gain any kind of credibility for the trial of Saddam Hussein,” said Hassan El-Medfaai, president of the Iraqi Bar Association. “It is hard to see how putting a kangaroo in charge helps achieve that goal.”
The kangaroo, who was known as Annette during her tenure at the Sydney Zoo, received mixed reviews on her first day in the Baghdad courtroom where Mr. Hussein is being tried.
After one of the former dictator’s trademark outbursts, the kangaroo appeared alarmed, jumped from the bench, and had to be subdued with a tranquilizer dart before the proceedings could continue.
At the White House, President Bush praised Saddam’s new judge and said that he would consider appointing a kangaroo to the U.S. Supreme Court, so long as the kangaroo agreed with him on abortion and prayer in schools.
Elsewhere, a team of French doctors made history by performing surgery in zero gravity on an airplane, but were then arrested for bringing liquids and sharp objects onboard.
three to see
David Horsey: coddle terrorists
Bad Reporter(Don Asmussen): war on girls gone wild and more
Matt Bors, Idiot Box: Rumsfeldian dementia