Saturday, November 01, 2008

Political Talk: Oil Companies Are Doing Well

I noticed a few news stories this week with similar themes. Like this one:
NEW YORK ( -- Exxon Mobil Corp. set a quarterly profit record for a U.S. company Thursday, surging past analyst estimates.

Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), the leading U.S. oil company, said its third-quarter net profit was $14.83 billion, or $2.86 per share, up from $9.41 billion, or $1.70, a year earlier. That profit included $1.45 billion in special items.

The company's prior record was $11.68 billion in the second quarter of 2008. Exxon Mobil: Biggest profit in history

I don't think any of us are surprised by this news.
HOUSTON - Chevron on Friday reported the largest quarterly profit in its 129-year corporate history, joining other oil companies reporting stunning third-quarter earnings gains. Chevron reports record quarterly profit

Or here's one from a web site called Your Industry News
The oil giant British Petroleum (BP) has seen its latest quarterly profits more than double, buoyed by record high oil prices. Reporting its results for the three months from last July to September Tuesday, BPs profit totalled 10 billion dollars (6.4 billion pounds), up 148 percent from a year earlier. High oil prices lift British Petroleum profits

All these news stories manage to have the oil companies complaining about the recession, the hard economic times, blah blah. I feel sorry for them, don't you?

It probably doesn't have anything to do with THIS, do you think?

Then there's a story like this:
DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. auto sales are expected to plunge to the lowest levels of the year in October and possibly the slowest running rate in two decades, with no certainty of when consumer confidence will return.

The U.S. automakers, struggling to preserve their shrinking pools of cash as they fight for survival, are poised to post sales declines of up to 40 percent, with the overall market sagging potentially to levels not seen since the 1980s, when the United States had 60 million fewer residents. October auto sales may have hit two-decade low

So, who's gonna win that election?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Tinklenberg and Bachmann are neck and neck in Minnesota. I think that doesn't say much for the constituents there. Of course, the race was considered solid for Bachmann until she gave her McCartylike views. I have never heard of Tinkleberg- he wasn't one of the candidates I was asked to give to to help a promising and likely democratic candidate. However, after her remark, I gave him money without being asked.

November 01, 2008 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
McCarthy- like

November 01, 2008 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we like it when American companies make money, Jim

U.S. automakers are in trouble because of their own mistakes

November 01, 2008 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - the Hollywood "Terminator" star turned Governor gave the most memorable speech of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. With McCain behind beforehand, he rocketed past Obama afterwards.

Here are some memorable lines from the Governator:

On Obama's huge campaign spending advantage: There will be a backlash against all of this lopsided spending. I think Americans will choose and say, "Our Democracy Is Not For Sale".

Ladies and gentlemen, I only play an action hero in my movies, but John McCain is a real action hero.

America cannot afford the economic proposals of Senator Obama. I left Europe four decades ago because socialism has killed opportunities there. ... In recent years Europe has realized its mistakes and rolled back its "spread the wealth" policies.

Now Senator Obama says he wants to pursue the same "spread the wealth ideas" that Europe had decades ago. ... Senator Obama wants to raise the taxes because of ideology. ... He also wants to raise the social security taxes on some Americans.

Explain to me the advantage of raising all those taxes in the middle of a recession.

McCain has proven what kind of a man he is. We don't have to wonder if he's ready to lead. We don't have to wonder is he ready to be president of the United States. John McCain has served his country longer in a POW camp than his opponent has served in the United State Senate.

When John was a POW his Vietnamese captors did not think he would survive and live but he has proven them wrong, and on election day he will prove the media wrong.

November 02, 2008 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reality check time:


"Tim Dickinson, quotes John Dramesi, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned in Vietnam, as saying that McCain is undeserving of his reputation.

“McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi is quoted as saying. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

Unlike McCain, Dramesi never broke under torture, according to the article. McCain, though, gave more than his name, rank and serial number in return for medical treatment to save his broken arms.

“This business of my country before my life?" Dramesi continues. "Well, he had that opportunity and failed miserably. If it really were country first, John McCain would probably be walking around without one or two arms or legs — or he'd be dead.”

...In July 1967, McCain was almost killed in a devastating accident aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal that claimed 134 lives. Instead of fighting to save the ship and his fellow soldiers, McCain flew off the ship with Apple and other reporters to drink and chase women in Saigon, according to Dickinson.

“Ensconced in Apple's villa in Saigon, McCain and The Times reporter forged a relationship that would prove critical to the ambitious pilot's career in the years ahead,” Dickinson writes. “Apple effectively became the charter member of McCain's media ‘base,’ an elite corps of admiring reporters who helped create his reputation for ‘straight talk.’"

“Sipping scotch and reflecting on the fire aboard the Forrestal, McCain sounded like the peaceniks he would pillory after his return from Hanoi. ‘Now that I've seen what the bombs and napalm did to the people on our ship,’ he told Apple, ‘I'm not so sure that I want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam.’ Here, it seemed, was a frank-talking warrior, one willing to speak out against the military establishment in the name of truth.”

Three months later, McCain was shot down over North Vietnam."


"Obama leads McCain by 6 points
Sun Nov 2, 2008 1:06am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama's lead over Republican rival John McCain firmed marginally to 6 points with support for both candidates steady before Tuesday's U.S. presidential election, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Sunday.

Obama leads McCain by 50 percent to 44 percent among likely voters in the three-day national tracking poll, up from a 5-point advantage on Saturday. The telephone poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

"There are two full days to go before Election Day and obviously anything can happen, but it is hard to see where McCain goes from here," pollster John Zogby said.

He said the polling data over the weekend showed that both candidates appeared to be consolidating support among their core supporters -- women and independents for Obama, older voters and conservatives for McCain.

National opinion polls all give the lead to Obama, who also appears to be outflanking McCain in a number of the battleground states that will end up deciding the election.

McCain spent Saturday campaigning in Virginia and Pennsylvania -- states that electoral strategists regard as crucial to his hopes for victory -- while Obama pushed for an advantage in three states that went for President George W. Bush in 2004: Nevada, Colorado and Missouri..."

November 02, 2008 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the big gamble on subprime mortgages that led to the current financial crisis, is there going to be an even bigger gamble, by putting the fate of a nation in the hands of a man whose only qualifications are ego and mouth?

Barack Obama has the kind of cocksure confidence that can only be achieved by not achieving anything else.

Anyone who has actually had to take responsibility for consequences by running any kind of enterprise-- whether economic or academic, or even just managing a sports team-- is likely at some point to be chastened by either the setbacks brought on by his own mistakes or by seeing his successes followed by negative consequences that he never anticipated.

The kind of self-righteous self-confidence that has become Obama's trademark is usually found in sophomores in Ivy League colleges-- very bright and articulate students, utterly untempered by experience in real world.

The signs of Barack Obama's self-centered immaturity are painfully obvious, though ignored by true believers who have poured their hopes into him, and by the media who just want the symbolism and the ideology that Obama represents.

The triumphal tour of world capitals and photo-op meetings with world leaders by someone who, after all, was still merely a candidate, is just one sign of this self-centered immaturity.

"This is our time!" he proclaimed. And "I will change the world." But ultimately this election is not about him, but about the fate of this nation, at a time of both domestic and international peril, with a major financial crisis still unresolved and a nuclear Iran looming on the horizon.

For someone who has actually accomplished nothing to blithely talk about taking away what has been earned by those who have accomplished something, and give it to whomever he chooses in the name of "spreading the wealth," is the kind of casual arrogance that has led to many economic catastrophes in many countries.

The equally casual ease with which Barack Obama has talked about appointing judges on the basis of their empathies with various segments of the population makes a mockery of the very concept of law.

After this man has wrecked the economy and destroyed constitutional law with his judicial appointments, what can he do for an encore? He can cripple the military and gamble America's future on his ability to sit down with enemy nations and talk them out of causing trouble.

Senator Obama's running mate, Senator Joe Biden, has for years shown the same easy-way-out mindset. Senator Biden has for decades opposed strengthening our military forces. In 1991, Biden urged relying on sanctions to get Saddam Hussein's troops out of Kuwait, instead of military force, despite the demonstrated futility of sanctions as a means of undoing an invasion.

People who think Governor Sarah Palin didn't handle some "gotcha" questions well in a couple of interviews show no interest in how she compares to the Democrats' Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Biden.

Joe Biden is much more of the kind of politician the mainstream media like. Not only is he a liberal's liberal, he answers questions far more glibly than Governor Palin-- grossly inaccurately in many cases, but glibly.

Moreover, this is a long-standing pattern with Biden. When he was running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination back in 1987, someone in the audience asked him what law school he attended and how well he did.

Flashing his special phony smile, Biden said, "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do." He added, "I went to law school on a full academic scholarship" and "ended up in the top half" of the class.

But Biden did not have a full academic scholarship. Newsweek reported: "He went on a half scholarship based on need. He didn't finish in the 'top half' of his class. He was 76th out of 85."

Add to Obama and Biden House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and you have all the ingredients for a historic meltdown.

November 02, 2008 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh brother, Anon. Now you're stealing from Tom Sowell, a libertarian?

For your and Mr. Sowell's information, our economy and reputation are currently in tatters. We are sitting in the detritus of the historic meltdown that has already occurred and this sorry situation was brought to us by the Bush/Cheney/Rove/ Administration who closed ranks around themselves and holed up in the White House to govern us all under their favorite philosophy, "my way or the highway." They pilfered the treasury for their pals, redistributed the wealth into the hands of their privileged cronies and told us to trust them that we'd enjoy the crumbs that might trickle down. Those days will soon be behind us, thank goodness!

We are about to make history and bring about a change that is long overdue. Obama told us, "I'm asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington...I'm asking you to believe in yours." Every citizen who has already or will vote for him Tuesday believes Obama is the change we need. Obama will restore our government so it will once again work the way it was designed to work -- of the people, by the people, and for the people, all of them.

November 02, 2008 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrat Barack Obama is poised to become the 44th President - and usher in a sea change in governance not seen since John F. Kennedy's New Frontier and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.

Democrats also are assured of padding their majorities in the House and Senate, making it easier to pass their ambitious domestic-policy agenda even if John McCain pulls off an upset.

"The stars are in the right configuration for a fundamental change in policy direction," said veteran President-watcher Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution.

November 02, 2008 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and usher in a sea change in governance not seen since John F. Kennedy's New Frontier"

Interesting comparison since John Kennedy belonged to a Democratic Party that no longer exists.

John Kennedy lowered capital gains tax. This ushered in an economic expansion. Obama wants to raise capital gains tax.

John Kennedy said we should "bear any burden, pay any price to secure the blessings of liberty" for the world. He defended the freedom of Berliners and blocked Soviet missiles from Cuba. Obama says we had no business taking Saddam Hussein out.

Obama is buddies with a guy who bombed the Capitol and who dedicated a book to Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of John Kennedy's brother.

Obama wants to raise taxes and raise barriers to free trade. The last president to do that during a recessionary environment like we have now was Herbert Hoover.

Mister, we can have a man like Herbert Hoover again!

Those were the days.

November 02, 2008 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama wants to raise capital gains tax.

Ah brother, Anon. There you go again, practicing the GOP art of the partial lie. Have you ever heard of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Under Obama's plan, families who make over $250,000 a year will pay the capital gains tax at the lowest rate they paid in the 1990s, back in the good old days when we had both a good economy AND a savings surplus put away for a rainy day (like a war or an economic meltdown, etc.). Under Obama's tax policy, families making over $250,000 a year will pay capital gains tax at a lower rate than they did under Reagan's tax policy. Everyone else, that is, families who earn less than $250,000 a year will see no increase in the capital gains tax.

Here is the whole truth right from

Capital Gains: Families with incomes below $250,000 will continue to pay the capital gains rates that they pay today. For those in the top two income tax brackets – likewise adjusted to affect only families over $250,000 – Obama will create a new top capital gains rate of 20 percent. Obama’s 20% rate is equal is the lowest rate that existed in the 1990s and the rate that President Bush proposed in 2001. It is almost a third lower than the rate that President Reagan signed into law in 1986.

November 03, 2008 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The rationale for lowering the capital gains rate is to allow the free flow of capital so that market mechanisms will control investment activity rather than tax considerations. People who make over 250K make the kind of moves that would make a difference to the efficiency of our economy. The income that increases the worth of investments is already taxed once by the government. There's no reason to tax it twice.

Most European governments who raised marginal and capital gains to fund social programs like Obama proposes found that it was counter-productive and lowered them again. Instead, the now have value-added taxes which are regressive. Hopefully, if Obama gets it, he'll be a one term President and this can all be fixed.

John Kennedy understood all this and was part of the responsible Democratic Party.

It no longer exists.

November 03, 2008 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"they paid in the 1990s, back in the good old days when we had both a good economy AND a savings surplus"

if you liked 1994-2000 so much, you should write-in Newt Gingrich tomorrow night

he was the one responsible

fortunately, Monica Lewinsky distracted Clinton so that the Republican Congress could get their way

Congress had a high approval rating back then

now, it's 9%

lower than the President everyone can't wait to get rid of

November 03, 2008 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

riiiiiiiiiight. technically newt was gone by 1998 (If i am not incorrect). something about a bad election

November 03, 2008 7:08 PM  

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