Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Ending and an Open Door

"I see the poem or the novel ending with an open door." - Michael Ondaatje

Those who have followed this blog over the years knew that I had stopped it for a while. Of course, as one can tell from the posts in the last few months I’ve tried to start posting to it once again. However, I find that Life simply prevents me from continuing it.

I think it's important to note that just because I'm not writing this blog doesn't mean that it's the end of my activism for Economic Democracy. I will continue to work for Economic Democracy yet by other means.

In addition, it would be the height of hubris of me to think that the ongoing struggle for Economic Democracy will be adversely affected simply because I'm not writing a short bi-weekly blog that a few people read. As the character Victor Laszlo in the movie Casablanca said concerning if he and all of the other leaders the Resistance were killed, "… hundreds, thousands would rise up to take our places."

Others will take my place and the struggle will continue without this blog.

According Ondaatje an ending is an open door. I ask my readers to use this open door as a motivation to continue the struggle for a just society.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Big Oil Continues to Make Big Bucks

Big Oil continues to screw us and take in big profits while paying lower tax rates than most US taxpayers. According to Think Progress.Org in 2011 ExxonMobil saw a 35% jump in profits compared to 2010. This meant they raked in $41.1 billion in 2011. Oh, but this isn’t all. Rebecca Leber compiled an interesting list of facts ExxonMobil:

• Exxon’s $41.1 billion in 2011 profit translates into nearly $5 million in profit every hour, or more than $1,300 every second. The annual profit comes near the record revenues of $46.23 billion in 2008.

• Stock buybacks for Q4 were $5.4 billion, and $ 21.60 billion for the year, equivalent to 53 percent of total 2011 profit. This enriches executives, the board of directors, and largest shareholders.

• Exxon pays a lower tax rate than the average American. Between 2008-2010, Exxon Mobil registered an average 17.6 percent federal effective corporate tax rate, while the average American paid a higher rate of 20.4 percent. [In 2010, Mitt Romney paid an effective tax rate of 13.9%.]

• The company paid no taxes to the U.S. federal government in 2009, despite 45.2 billion record profits. It paid $15 billion in taxes, but none in federal income tax.

• The oil giant uses offshore subsidiaries in the Caribbean to avoid paying taxes in the United States.

• Exxon is sitting on $11 billion cash on hand as of September 30.

• Exxon spent nearly $13 million on lobbying expenditures in 2011. The company gave nearly another $900,000 in federal campaign contributions. 92 percent of contributions went to Republicans.

• Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson made $29 million in 2010 (according to the latest records): He made $2.2 million in salary, a $3.4 million bonus, and stock awards valued at $15.5 million.

• Exxon is drawing out a legal battle for damages on a spill from 22 years ago. Exxon hasn’t paid $92 million in cleanup for the devastating Valdez Alaskan oil spill. In its Sept. 30 court filing, Exxon argued the damages it agreed to pay only covers “restoration” and not additional “clean-up.”

• Far from a job creator, ExxonMobil — together with Chevron, Shell, and BP — reduced their U.S. workforce by 11,200 employees between 2005 and 2010.

How long will it be before Americans wake up and smell the gasoline? How long will it be before people realize how corporations are screwing us?