Natural Gas exhonerates Speculators! 1

Ok, I have conversed with many via twitter that think speculators are the devil.  While I agree, as a speculator, that they are a part of the problem, I disagree that they drive price.  Instead, speculators only carry the momentum that is already pushed upon it by outside factors.  I am excited to point out the latest example of speculators being neutral when it comes to price.  Natural Gas is a commodity that is played just like oil.  There are a hundred different ways to play this commodity, but the most important point is that it is at multi-year lows.  Has demand gone down? No, but supply has gone up.  Due to fracking (no comment on the legitimacy of this process here) they are finding it under every rock in the U.S.  I exaggerate this on purpose.  Because the notion that it is everywhere is speculation.  Speculators are getting out of the trade because of an assumed over-supply.  They are correct!  This lowers the price to unheard of levels.  It is almost a 1/3 the price is was in 2010.  Where are the Senators now?  Why aren’t they out congratulating us?..  Hypocrites!

The major difference between Natural Gas and Gas at the pumps is that there are more factors for gas at the pump.  When it comes to gas, we are far more subject to feuding countries that supply it, and profit lines of major refiners here in the U.S.  Remember that it is Oil that is speculated, not the price of gas at the pump.  Big oil companies are profiting huge on the difference between the price of oil per barrel and what they can get at the pump.  Here is what I mean: Last April price of light sweet crude was $125 per barrel and oil companies were still able to make a good profit at $3.25 per gallon.  Now that oil is only $103 per barrel, they are able to charge over $4.10 at the pumps.  This isn’t speculation, but profit.

The GOP Conspiracy 1

Before I begin, I must be very clear that I am not a conspiracy theorist kind of guy nor an anti-Republican!  Therefore, it is an internal struggle to put this out there, but after several months of introspection I feel it is time.  The Republican Party seems to have conspired to keep Buddy Roemer out of the race for president.  He would never come out and say it because it opens him up for an all out attack from the party.  He would then have an even smaller chance to win an election.

What are the facts?

Buddy Roemer has all the experience you would want for a commander-in-chief.  At Harvard, he earned a BS in Economics and later an MBA in Finance.  From 1981 to 1988 he served as a Congressman.  From 1988 to 1992 he served as Louisiana’s Governor.  While there he cut the unemployment rate in half, reformed their campaign finance laws, and balanced the state’s budget.  I don’t mention this to get readers to vote for him, but to show how qualified he is to have been a candidate.  The problem isn’t what he has done, it is what he hasn’t: He has never accepted Super PAC, or special interest money.  Matter of fact, this has been his platform to get elected.  The fact that he doesn’t accept this money makes him an enemy of the state, if you will.

Imagine running Buddy out there when his platform of campaign finance reform and getting SuperPAC’s out of politics could make your party look bad, as a whole.  Fox News network, a GOP slanted news network, hasn’t even hinted that Buddy Roemer exists.  He was left out of all debates.  Why you might ask?  At first they told him he wouldn’t be allowed in the debates until he officially signed on as a candidate.  That makes perfect sense until you realize that several others hadn’t that they allowed in debates.  So, Buddy officially announces his running.  Then they told him that he had to have at least 2% of the votes of a given state to qualify.  Again, you might think that this is a fair request.  We cannot have everybody and their brother in a debate, but you have to know that when they required this from Buddy, John Huntsman, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Perry didn’t have 2% yet they were invited into these debates.  Despite the hypocrisy of the situation, Buddy attained the 2%.  Then they said he had to have 5% of the votes.  At this time only Perry and Bachmann didn’t have the 4% but they were allowed in the debates.  Matter of fact, Buddy was ahead of both of them in the polls.  You still saw no mention of his existence on Fox News and he wasn’t allowed into the debates.  Buddy Roemer was working hard to get the 4%, and then they dropped the bomb.  They told him that he had to have a minimum amount of money raised for his campaign to get in the debates that was far beyond what he had raised to that point.  This, they knew, went directly against his platform.  He will not accept more than $100 per campaign donation.

As a result, Buddy Roemer has dropped out of the GOP race and decided to run as an Independent via the American’s Elect process.  Although I’m voting for Governor Roemer and love his platform of Campaign Finance Reform, this is not my point.  I hate the fact that politics has come to this.  Republicans snubbed one of their own because he was a threat to their pocket-book.  Democrats would have done the same thing if the situation was reversed.  It is a bi-partisan problem.  They will do anything they can to “keep the money in.”  This is why we, as a Republic, have to fight our own apathy and do something about it.  We have to support someone like Buddy.  Even if you don’t plan on voting for him, you should want a man like him in upcoming presidential debates.  His take on money in government shouldn’t be silenced or big corporations will continue to own our democracy.  We have to get the money out, and supporting people like Buddy is a way of going about it.

 

 

 

Apathy vs. misdirection: Winner kills the Republic 1

Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another.  Apathy is a lack of enthusiasm or energy, lack of interest in anything, or the absence of any wish to do anything.

You have political ADD, prove me wrong and read the entire article.

I was watching a GOP debate in Florida a few months back.  Newt Gingrich had been taking heat from Mitt Romney because of his payments from Freddie Mac for his “historian” expertise.  Mitt was calling him out as an unregistered lobbyist without using the words.  Being that they were in Florida made it extremely poignant because of their high foreclosure rate.  Many people in the audience and in the state are/were profoundly affected by the economic crisis and inclined to hate big banks such as Freddie Mac.  Newt, came prepared, so he thought.  He attacked back.  Gingrich said Romney had personal holdings in “a part of Goldman Sachs that was explicitly foreclosing on Floridians.” He did; it’s called a blind trust. A blind trust is  a trust managed by third-party: a legal arrangement in which a trustee manages funds for the benefit of somebody who has no knowledge of the specific management actions taken by the trustee.  Assuming Newt had done his homework, he already knew this.

Why do I even point this out? It is a game of misdirection.  Government officials of all types are pointing out flaws on the other side to distract us from the big picture.  Democrats are turning the Treyvon Martin shooting into a political debate.  It shouldn’t be a debate of Republican versus Democrat.  It should simply be about convicting a murderer.  Republicans are doing everything in their power to bring down “Obama Care.”  They have turned it into a life-style choice.  Instead of the benefits of this program, they are looking at the fact that traditional medicare generally covers some sort of birth control.  “Why should I have to pay for this person’s sex-life?”  It shouldn’t be a question about paying for a sex-life, but instead about the logistics of paying for a nationwide health plan.  Debate that to death instead of trying to distract us from real issues like the fact that millions are without.  They have a very good argument when it comes to funding it, why not stick to that?  It’s not sexy enough!  They have to have multiple bullets in their distraction roulette game in the hope that one of them will hit their mark.  Democrats have, in turn, turned the Republican raised issue about paying for someone elses birth control with tax money into a “war on women.”  It is a beautiful spin making Republicans look rather sexist.  No matter how you look at it, it is a spin game.  Everything is to distract us from issues they don’t want in the headlines.

The issue that neither Republicans or Democrats want to focus on is campaign finance reform.  What?  You might say that is a huge leap.  You’re right, but hear me out for a moment.  Nothing in government is left untouched by the almighty dollar.  It is campaign dollars that push, manipulate, stall, and even write legislation.  The amount of money it takes to win an election these days is crazy, and it is getting crazier!  To keep their jobs, and their standing within their respective political parties is pushing politicians to continually fundraise.  Literally, they spend 30-60% of their time trying to put money in the war chest.  If you think that campaign donors expect nothing for their money, you are sadly mistaken.  Just looking at earmarks, there are hundreds of examples where donors are getting earmarks.  Matter of fact, I find it hard to find where an earmark didn’t benefit a campaign donor, or someone who spent millions lobbying and the lobbyist contributed to an earmarks sponsor.

If you think it is just earmarks just look at Greg Walden, Republican Congressman, who just introduced the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012.  This act would significantly reduce the FCC’s ability to govern big media companies.  He receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from the very media companies that would benefit from this legislation.

Here is where the apathy comes in.  Your eyes have probably rolled back into your head and I’ve lost your attention.  I was talking to a buddy of mine about this stuff the other day and he said, “that’s just business as usual.”  It killed me! It is only business as usual because we allow it to happen.  We allow them to distract us with topics unrelated to their pay for play government.  We didn’t do this, but it is our job to collectively stand up and say no.  It isn’t ok to sell legislation to your biggest campaign donors.  We need to take our ADD medicine and stay on point.  We need campaign finance reform more importantly than any thing else.  Once real reform is done, we can focus on other important issues.  That way they are not tainted with corporate dollars.

 

94% chance that Barack Obama will win election. Reply

94% of the time, the winner of presidential, congressional, or senate elections are won by the runner who has raised the most money for their respective election bids.  This is not a piece that discusses the merit of Obama being a two-term president.  This article is to discuss the absurdity of this fact.  Do we as a nation accept this?  Is it ok that the fate of our nation’s elected officials depends on their ability to raise campaign funding?  Also, are we ok with the fact that the money being raised has become so utterly ridiculous?  Barack is pushing $140million dollars in funds raised by his campaign as of the last reporting date.  Mitt Romney looks like he is on his way to securing the GOP nomination and is coming in second in fund-raising.  Weird how that works.  The leading candidate for the GOP has raised the most within that competition?   He is pushing $64million and starting to feel comfortable with his lead.  Now, it is obvious that as GOP candidates start dropping out of the running much of the money that has yet to be raised will funnel to that candidate or candidates still remaining.  They will push higher up the ladder, but if you look at combined totals for the entire GOP race, they still don’t come close to Obama’s totals.

As a nation we are becoming more and more frustrated with the fact that corporations are controlling legislation.  Companies are now considered people.  Super PAC’s allow for unlimited fund donations.  If there is only a 6% chance that your favorite candidate has if he is not the leading fundraiser, what would compel you to vote?  Consider a guy like Buddy Roemer for a second.  Those of you who do not know who he is, you are in the majority.  He has taken the road less traveled.  He only accepts donations of $100… no more.  He will not accept Super PAC’s in his name.  He is a former Governor of Louisiana and Congressman.  His qualifications are impressive yet he got absolutely no love from the GOP.  He was running as a Republican but couldn’t get in a single debate.  I’ll let you decide if it was a “conspiracy,” or not but you should know that he was beating both Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry while they were still in the running and they were allowed in the debates.  Are we really saying that a guy who stands against Big Money contributions isn’t even allowed in the game?

It just further alienates the voting public.  The vast majority of America does not contribute to campaigns and they, sure as hell, are not going to donate the amount of money that makes a real difference in a $140 million campaign.   If you are a supporter of Obama, this should infuriate you just as much as the guy who supports a GOP candidate.  Why?  Obama ran in 2008 campaign on the platform that he would end Lobbyist influence in government.  To date, he is the leading beneficiary of Lobbyist bundling.  This means a lobbyist comes to him with a pile of donation checks in “bundles.” You may believe in his ability to change for what you want, but you cannot agree with the idea that this is good for our country.  In no way is it helpful that lobbyists gain more control of our politicians by encouraging this type of campaign funding.

Bottom line: If you are not voting for Obama, you have less than 6% chance of being happy.  Worse yet, if several of the GOP candidates hold on to the very end, you have less of a chance that the money will be funneled into your favorite’s campaign, ie. less chance of catching Obama in funds raised.  I am NOT anti Obama, Newt, Mitt, Rick, or Paul, but I am very against the idea of vast amounts of money deciding the election.  There is no other way to look at it, our country is very much for sale.  Good luck Republic.

Buck McKeon, an example of what is wrong w/ D.C. 1

Howard P. (Buck) Mckeon, Republican Congressman of California, is a prime example of we hate about politics.  If you follow me, you know that Quid Pro Quo is illegal.  In this case it would mean that if a company gave him donations expecting they would get something in return, and he then gave them something because of the donations.  This would be highly unethical, not to mention illegal.

Northrop Grumman was Buck’s 2nd largest campaign contributor in 2008.  Individuals from Northrop donated well over $40k to his campaign and an additional $10k through PAC’s.  Northrop hired lobbyists to gain favor with him and many others in congress.  These are murky waters here because Buck sponsored an earmark of $9.6million dollars for Northrop’s  B-2 Advanced Tactical Data Link research and design.  Now, I’m sure that this is an essential defense development and that it was superior to Rockwell Collins’ Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) link.  I’m sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Lockheed Martin was his biggest campaign contributor and they would be supplying all related hardware and software required for this project upgrade.  If I say that they only donated to his campaign to get this earmark, I could be liable for slander.  But, I can say that it doesn’t pass the smell test.

General Atomics: Same thing: Donated to his campaign and gets a $1.2mil earmark.  Aerojet Corp receives 5.52mil in defense earmarks.  Weird how their parent company, GenCorp Inc., was one of Buck’s largest campaign contributors.  We are not saying that Buck is corrupt! (Please don’t sue us.)  He is just playing the game like every other Rep./Senator out there.  Heck, only 30+% of his earmarks even went to his campaign donors.  There are members with a much higher percentage.

I will simply pose this question to readers:  Do YOU think Nortrop Grumman would have gotten a $9.2 million earmark had they and Lockheed Martin NOT donated to his campaign?

Do we need campaign finance reform? Reply

Today’s government has become incredibly dependent upon money.  It is as simple as that.  Forget, for a moment, the idea of corruption, and move onto the fact that politicians didn’t become politicians to raise money.  Despite this fact, members of the House and Senate spend between 30-70% of their time fund-raising.  This is not an exaggeration.  There is constant pressure to raise money.  If not for their own election, they are expected to do so on behalf of their respective party.  It is outrageous the time spent, and the money they are continually asked to conjure up.

Now, knowing that politicians are constantly raising money, we have to wonder what effect this has on their work.  Corporations and Lobbyists are always looking for an in.  What do I mean by this?  They are looking to survive financially, and who could blame them.  If a House Representative is looking for campaign money and they call you, you have to answer.  You WILL find the money they are asking and you WILL show up to the fundraiser they ask you to attend.  It is in your best interests to do so.  That Representative will eventually vote on something that you want their ear on.  You might even have an earmark in mind, you will need them to sponsor.  It is not Quid Pro Quo, necessarily, but you have to remain in good graces in order to get your idea looked at.  If you have developed that relationship and always backed them financially, you have a much better chance of them working in your favor.

What is wrong with this?  Quite simply, you get a system where a Representative or Senator is working for lobbyists and Corporate dollars instead of the voters that put them in office.  Who is going to get their Senator on the phone first: a lobbyist that has continually been at fundraisers with a bundle of checks from donors, or a voter in their district with a question about campaign finance reform.  The answer is obvious, but not acceptable.  This is not the system intended by our forefathers.