Exxon Posts Record Profits (UPDATED)

They’ve done it again:

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest profit from operations ever by any U.S. corporation

[Emphasis added]

This is why John McCain and George W. Bush are wrong when they say we just need to drill more–the problem isn’t that there isn’t enough oil to go around, the problem is the companies themselves.

Oil companies are charging record prices and turning record profits, and we’re the ones paying for it. Exxon’s record-shattering profits is coming right out of the pockets of the American people. It’s time for us to stop padding their profit margins once and for all.

As I’ve said before, the solution to high gas prices is to end our addiction to oil–continuing to throw money at oil companies won’t solve our energy crisis. It’s time for us to stop giving our money to big oil and to start investing it in alternative energy, plain and simple. Until then, we’re going to stay under the thumb of the oil industry–right were George Bush and John McCain want us.

UPDATE: This is what Exxon does with it’s profits, and this is why John McCain wants more drilling:

Report: McCain Received $881,450 From Big Oil Since He Announced Support For Offshore Drilling

Celebrity (UPDATED)

In the wake of John McCain’s latest attack on Barack Obama, ABC’s Jake Tapper brings us The Elitist Celebrity Quiz:

Which presidential candidate hosted Saturday Night Live (hint — the musical guests were The White Stripes)?

Which one had cameos on “24” and “Wedding Crashers“?

Whose wife secretly got her pilot’s license and owns a jet?

Who is pals with Warren Beatty?

Whose daughter is friends with Heidi from MTV’s The Hills?

Whose wife once told Vogue, explaining the purchase of a 7th or 8th house, this one a beach house, “When I bought the first one, my husband, who is not a beach person, said, ‘Oh this is such a waste of money; the kids will never go. Then it got to the point where they used it so much I couldn’t get in the place. So I bought another one.”

Whose family credit cards have been known to ring up more than $500,000 in charges in one month?

That would be John McCain, who has the audacity to compare Barack Obama to Paris Hilton from the comfort of his eight houses, all bought with his wife’s $100 million inheritance.

It’s almost like he’s trying to lose.

UPDATE: Did I mention McCain’s $520 Italian leather loafers?

Presumptuous? Hardly (UPDATED)

[Bumped]

Republicans have a major messaging problem–no sooner do they come up with a new talking point then it gets shot down and they have to come up with another one all over again.

Conservatives’ latest attack on Barack Obama just doesn’t make sense–according to them, Obama is too popular and showing too much leadership; he’s acting too Presidential, and that makes him presumptuous.

What is this all based on? A series of stupid, easily-refutable arguments:

1.  Obama went to a foreign country and gave a speech, and he isn’t even President yet!

Presidential candidates–including John McCain–often go abroad during their campaigns.  In fact, McCain recently  made some high-profile junkets to Canada, the Middle East and Latin America,  (where he spent Indepdendence Day).

The fact that Obama is so well-received in foreign countries shows how successful of a President he would be in restoring America to it’s rightful place as a respected world leader.

2.  Obama met with foreign leaders just like Presidents do!

Again, Presidential candidates–including McCain–do that often, as well.  In fact, McCain has met with Mexico’s Felipe Calderon, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, The United Kingdom’s Gordon Brown, and others.

Diplomacy is important, now more than ever.  America’s next President will have to work with a variety of international allies, and Obama’s success in meeting with foreign heads of states shows how successful he will be in bringing the world together to fight terrorism and provide international security.

3.  Barack Obama is putting together a transition team more than three months before the election! That proves he’s presumptuous!

Actually, that’s standard for Presidential campaigns, too:

Obama has plenty of historical precedent to draw upon. On the Republican side of the aisle, Ronald Reagan began his 1980 planning effort in early spring under a senior confidant. The planning produced the fastest transition to governing in modern history, which translated directly into Reagan’s victories on budget and tax cuts only six months into the term.

George W. Bush also began his planning early, which produced a remarkably disciplined transition that laid set the stage for another round of tax cuts. It is hard to imagine how the transition could have succeeded without it. Given the Florida impasse, it is hard to imagine how the Bush transition could have succeeded without the pre-election planning.

On the Democratic side, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton also began their planning early.

[Emphasis added]

Early planning is the key to a successful transition, and all campaigns of both parties do it. And in our modern world, with terrorism and insecurity and economic instability, it would be irresponsible for a Presidential campaign to not prepare for the massive challenges our 44th President will face.

It’s clear that McCain and his supporters are getting desperate–you know you’re trouble when you say your opponent is too popular, too talented, too successful.

It’s basically an admission of failure.

UPDATE: Then there’s this:

In his new ad about his Bush-style no care health care “plan”, John McCain identifies himself on screen as “President McCain”

Kicking The Habit


The problem

The solution

America is addicted to oil.  No matter how high prices climb, we keep coming back for more.

What’s John McCain’s solution?

He says we don’t need to end our addiction–we just need to find cheaper dope.

But the American people know better than that.  We know we need to kick our habit, and we know that it can be done if we  invest in alternative energy–in geothermal, biodiesel, solar, wind and hydroelectric energy.

McCain and the Republicans say it can’t be done.  They say we need to drill more, to rely on coal and oil and gas, to use nuclear power.  They say we can’t develop new technologies, so we should rely on the technologies of the past–finite technologies, flawed technologies, band-aids to our energy crisis.

Years ago, America used to be the world leader in science and technology.  We’ve since lost that status, but the energy crisis has given us an opportunity to change that.  By investing in alternative energy sources, we can both create new jobs and put America back in it’s rightful place as the world’s technological  superpower.

John McCain and the Republicans say no we can’t.  Barack Obama and the American people say yes we can, and working together we will end America’s addiction to oil once and for all.

Ted Stevens’ Dirty Money (UPDATED)

North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole (R) just wrote a $10,000 check to charity.

Why?

Because $10,000 is how much money her campaign accepted from Ted Stevens’ PAC. Today, Stevens was slapped with seven federal indictments on corruption-related charges.

Stevens’ Northern Lights PAC has donated money to every single Republican Senator seeking re-election, including:

In addition, John McCain 2008 Inc. received a $5,000 contribution from Stevens’ PAC.

You think that, after 2006, the Republicans would have ended their culture of corruption once and for all. But–as the indictment of Ted Stevens shows–old habits are hard to break.

The question is, will the Republicans who benefited from Stevens’ corruption give back his dirty money, or will they prove that the GOP is just too far gone to save? Will those 9 faces above be the new look of the Republican Culture of Corruption?

Only time will tell.

UPDATE: Oregon Senate Candidate Jeff Merkley (D) has called on Gordon Smith to return Ted Stevens’ dirty money.

And it turns out that Smith’s relation to Ted Stevens runs deep–not only did Smith take money from Northern Lights PAC, but Smith’s PAC donated $10,000 to Ted Stevens.

BREAKING: Ted Stevens Indicted (UPDATED)

The face of corruption

Breaking news–Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (R) has been indicted on 7 criminal charges relating to political corruption.

Stevens is up for re-election this fall against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D).

UPDATE: You can donate to Begich’s Senate campaign here.

UPDATE II: Though Stevens is up for re-election this year, there will be a primary on August 26th to determine who the Republican candidate will be.

As it stands, Stevens’ most credible opponent is former state legislator Dave Cuddy, who mounted a failed primary challenge against Stevens in 1996.

UPDATE III: All seven indictments are for giving false answers to federal investigators.

UPDATE IV: The DOJ is giving a presser right now. Here are the main points:

The indictments concern false statements made on Stevens’ financial disclosure forms from 1999-2006. As a Senator, he’s required to file those forms with the Senate in order to disclose potential conflicts of interest and to maintain public confidence.

Stevens failed to disclose that he received gifts from Veco, an oil company and one of the largest employers in Alaska. Veco paid for extensive renovations to Stevens’ home, including an entire new story and a furnished basement. Stevens’ undisclosed gifts are estimated to be worth upwards of $250,000.

UPDATE V: RNC Chair Mike Duncan calls the allegations serious, but says he wants to hear from Stevens before making any judgments. When asked whether or not he thinks this will impact the Presidential race, Duncan says that this election is not about the senior Senator from Alaska.

UPDATE VI: According to the rules of the Republican Senate caucus, if a member is indicted, he/she can no longer be the chairman or ranking member of a committee.

Stevens is presently the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, a position he’ll likely lose due to these indictments. Interestingly enough, the next Republican in line for that position is John McCain.

Per Republican Senate caucus rules, if a member is indicted, he or she can no longer serve as chairman or ranking member of a committee.

Stevens is a ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

UPDATE VII: Both Pollster and FiveThirtyEight show Begich currently ahead; barring Stevens’ defeat in the GOP primary, this could very well seal the deal for the Alaska Senate race.

UPDATE VIII: A credible Stevens challenger has emerged in the form of  dark horse Vic Vickers, a wealthy self-funder who just bought $400,000 worth of airtime to attack Stevens’ corruption.

UPDATE IX: Stevens is, of course, denying the charges:

“My public service began when I served in World War II. It saddens me to learn that these charges have been brought against me. … I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that,” Stevens said in a statement released by his office.

Then again, that’s what Mark Foley said:

Jason Kello, a spokesman for Foley’s campaign, portrayed the controversy as a political attack.

“There have not been any allegations made by ANYONE except by Tim Mahoney and the Democrats who are attempting to misrepresent a series of innocent communications to prop up a failing political campaign,” Kello said in a statement.

“This is nothing more than a political attack and an attempt at the worst kind of character assassination.”

And Dennis Hastert:

HASTERT: [U]ltimately, any time that a person has to, as a leader, be on the hot seat and he is a detriment to the party, you know, there ought to be a change. I became speaker in a situation like that. I don’t think that’s the case. I said I haven’t done anything wrong, obviously.

And even Tom DeLay himself:

“I have done nothing wrong. … I am innocent,” DeLay told a Capitol Hill news conference during which he criticized the Texas prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, repeatedly. DeLay said the charges amounted to “one of the weakest and most baseless indictments in American history.”

Stevens is innocent until proven guilty, of course, but things are not looking up for the longest-serving Republican Senator in history.

UPDATE X: Stevens has stepped down as ranking member of two Senate committees.

It’s The Economy, Stupid!

There it goes

George Bush’s parting gift to the nation:

President Bush’s budget chief blamed the faltering economy and the bipartisan stimulus package for the record $482 billion deficit the White House predicted for the 2009 budget year.

[…]

President Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion when he took office in 2001 but has since posted a budget deficit every year

  • At the beginning of the Bush presidency, we had a $128 billion surplus.
  • At the end of the Bush presidency, we have a $482 billion deficit.
  • At the beginning of the Bush presidency, gasoline was $1.45 a gallon.
  • At the end of the Bush presidency, gasoline is $4.00 a gallon.

And make no mistake about it, John McCain wants to continue the exact same policies George Bush started. After 8 years of complete economic mismanagement, John McCain thinks our economy is doing just fine. I mean, when your own economic advisers are abandoning you, you know you’re in trouble:

“I used to say that Barack Obama raises taxes and John McCain cuts them, and I was convinced. I stand corrected.”

— Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s chief economic policy adviser

[Emphasis added]