Sunday, April 27, 2008


This post is related to my previous post about Exxon's last years historical profit.
Now that gas is almost four dollars a gallon, people can't believe their eyes when they fill up their tanks.
I was one of those who had his jaw hit the floor when i saw how much my Toyota took to fill it up, 50 freaking dollars! I felt like someone punched me in my stomach.
On a bit brighter side, House Democrats are urging regulators to look in the matter of the continuous gas price increase.
Meanwhile Exxon Mobil Corp. is expected to report a huge quarterly profit. According Wall Street analysts, who are projecting that the company will report net income of more than $11 billion for the first quarter.
I guess I will be moving to Venezuela.

Monday, April 21, 2008

We Will Never Forget or Forgive!

The fact about the Armenian Genocide is recorded in history and even recognized by Hitler and yet Armenians in the USA and all over the world every year on April 24, try to bring this fact out to the open so the American and the Turkish governments will recognize the atrocities that were committed by the Othman Empire at the turn of the 20 century. Labeled as casualties of war, both governments have been consistent in the past three decades or so, in refusing to label what had happened as genocide.
The fact that about 1.5 million killed and many Armenian intellectuals and prominent figures that used to serve in the Othman Government of that time where gathered and executed, babies were killed in their mother’s womb, girls raped and killed and young man marched to the desert never to be seen again are called casualty of war is absurd. The fact that the Turkish government to this day denies that those atrocities every happened is a slap in the face of the Armenian people. The fact that the U.S government refuses to accept and label what had happened as “Genocide” just to protect its interest with the Turkish government is hypocritical, being the super power that it has labeled itself and the protector of Democracy and humanity.
Our effort, our fight and our struggle will continue and never stop until Our Genocide is recognized by all, and the souls of all those who perished will be put to rest.
The following quote is by William Saroyan and almost every Armenian has this quote hanging on a plaque in his/her house.
“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose history is ended, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, whose literature is unread, whose music is unheard, whose prayers are no longer uttered. Go ahead, destroy this race. Let us say that it is again 1915. There is war in the world. Destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them from their homes into the desert. Let them have neither bread nor water. Burn their houses and their churches. See if they will not live again. See if they will not laugh again. See if the race will not live again when two of them meet in a beer parlor, twenty years after, and laugh, and speak in their tongue. Go ahead, see if you can do anything about it. See if you can stop them from mocking the big ideas of the world, you sons of bitches, a couple of Armenians talking in the world, go ahead and try to destroy them.”

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Uh that felt good, let me explain my frustration. Today for extra credit I went to a forum at Cal State Fullerton. The drive down there took me about 45-50 minutes the traffic on the 5 FWY was flowing very smoothly except at couple of interchanges of the 5 to the 605 and 710, all in all it was ok. After the forum I meet up with some friend in Long beach at 4 PM I made my way back home. Being Saturday I thought the traffic would be ok and I decided to take the 405, which turned out to be a very bad idea.
Although I’m not new to the traffic on the 405, which is considered the worst freeway in the nation and is always jam-packed no matter what time or day it is. When I used to work in LAX that forsaken freeway was my daily route and it took me at least two hours on a good day to get back home.
At first the drive was going relatively ok nothing major, after about 10 minutes the traffic stated to slow down and it turned to a nightmare. Stop and go stop and go I most probably cover about 1 mile in 30 minutes. As the traffic lingered on my frustration started to mount up. Why is the problem with this traffic? Why is it not moving?
Has anyone realized when you are stuck in traffic, and it starts to move for a little bit and then stop, has anyone come up with an explanation for this mysterious phenomena? Why does this happen? Or better yet here is another scenario, traffic is moving very slow and at some point everything starts moving fast and you look around trying to figure out what the hell is going on! Is there an invisible force field on the freeway where all the cars are facing and that’s why they can’t go any faster?
Here is another stupid thing that many drivers can’t seem to stop doing, slowing down to see an accident that has happened on the side of the road.
I don’t know but has anyone noticed how the traffic on the freeway has the mentality of a herd? Let me elaborate, a herd moves together and stops together and all this happens when a couple of the herd members start running for some reason, the whole herd gets in a frenzy and starts moving and then all of a sudden those in the front come to a decision to stop and the whole herd stops.
The traffic problem in Los Angeles doesn’t seem to have any solution, and it’s turning uglier by the year as more drivers join the herd, and the freeways aren’t getting bigger.
The frustration of being stuck in traffic for hours is by far the worst agonizing and nerve racking type of torture a person can go through, yet people but themselves through it every single day why? Because they have no other chose, public transportation is undependable and sucks.
So basically we are screwed, don’t you love it! The pleasure of living in LA

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Congressman "Death"

Dr. Jack Kevorkian , "Dr Death," who was released from prison last year, is now running for congress in the state of Michigan.
79-year-old Kevorkian announced his bid to run as an Independent.
"I have no ties, no fetters. I am free," Kevorkian told reporters, adding that he planned to run against the "tyranny" of the U.S. Supreme Court, which he said has robbed Americans of their rights.

Only in America!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Iraq

Yes folks, it’s been 5 years since we invaded Iraq to rid the world of the tyrant Saddam Hussein, who allegedly possessed weapons of Mass Destruction.
Last week the death toll of U.S forces reached 4 thousand. As for the Iraqi side, the death toll has exceeded the million and the end is not even near.The financial cost of this war keeps piling up on the average citizens.
In a recent interview with ABC Vice President Dick Cheney was asked about the recent polls that show the American people say the fight in Iraq is not worth it.The response from Dick was "SO."
According to Dick "You can't be blown off course by polls."
There you have it folks.Our elected officials don't care about our opinion, and regard our, "People's," opinion as, what is the word I'm looking for here...oh,

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Last week more than tens of thousands of California’s bright and talented teachers pink slips, courtesy of the Govenator. The state budget is in a dire state again with a deficit measuring in billions of dollars, and the governor’s proposed $4.4 billion dollar education budget cut announced in January is anticipated to shorten the school year by a month and increase class size by 35 percent.
The drama of the budget crunch comes in a worst time as the economy is in a downward spiral throughout the nation and recession according to some economist is already here.
While Democrats vow to stand by the teachers and reject any budget proposal that will compromise the public education sector; Republicans on the other hand vow to reject any new tax increases that will help cut the deficit.
As the tug of war continues in Sacramento between the Democrats and the Republicans the state public education sector will lose thousands of highly qualified teachers who must begin a search for a new career and even return to the university classroom for training into a new field, never to look back to teaching. There was a time that California had the reputation for having some of the best public schools in the nation; it is now ranked at number 47.
“When teachers are laid off due to budget cuts, sadly, it’s California’s students who suffer the consequences,” said David A. Sanchez, President of the California Teachers Association. “If we want talented teachers to remain in the classroom teaching our students, we cannot constantly be pulling the rug out from underneath them. Some of these teachers will never return to the profession,” he added.

Once again the most important profession in our society is undermined by political and bureaucratic decisions that disregard their impact on the most critical members of our society, the children. As it is, there are serious needs for improving education in our state’s urban school, which are the most underfunded and have the highest teacher erosion. Budget cuts that cause the elimination of teachers, those prepared to deliver content and instruction, create a domino effect that will also affect exemplary programs and initiatives that are contingent upon the skills and dedication of these individuals. In times of such high accountability as set by No Child Left Behind, loss of quality teachers and programs is bound to reverse all the efforts that have gone into school improvement and rising academic achievement. In trying to find a light in these challenging times, teachers who are fired will no longer have to worry about losing pay because of underperforming students. The most important question is, who will ultimately pay for this decision!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Black Gold Looks Greener as Exxon Drills Deeper into our Pockets

If you missed the breaking news about Exxon’s $40.6 billion profit, I don’t blame you! I guess you were hypnotized by the gas pump meter as it was drilling a hole your pocket. Here is the math for those who like numbers: if you break down $ 40.6 billion that’s $1287 each second nonstop 24/7. 2007 was Exxon’s best year ever, and the company is predicting even more profit for the 2008 fiscal year.
Now, I realize that companies need to make a profit, but this number is ridiculous, and it’s only going to get worse for the consumer. Imagine paying $5/per gallon at the pump… yes that is in the near future.
So how do big companies make huge profit? One word comes to mind MONOPOLY! The big oil companies own the refineries that control the output of the gas. 99 cent of each dollar spent on a gallon of gas goes to those refineries.
In 2005 Exxon Mobil was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission on allegations of price manipulation in the post-Katrina gasoline prices increase. The FTC found no evidence that Exxon was artificially manipulating the price of gas, and that the situation was part of the business cycle in the petroleum industry. According to the Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, “price gouging laws that have the effect of controlling prices likely will do consumers more harm than good.” “While no consumers like price increases, in fact, price increases lower demand and help make the shortage shorter-lived than it otherwise would have been," she added at the conclusion of her team’s investigation in 2005. How far from the truth is that?!? Especially as we see how gas prices have risen in the past couple of years.
Petroleum companies are very powerful entities, they have lobbyist working 24/7 to solicit politician to vote against any piece of legislature that will try to regulate their business. They even have the Vice President on their side.
So it all comes down then to “supply and demand” since the demand is so high and the refineries that are making the gas can’t keep up with this high demand end up raising the gas price. They own the refineries, the oil and the whole nine yards. In other words we are totally in deep shit and the government can’t do anything to help us out. And if things keep going this way I think I will be moving down south; way south all the way to Caracas, Venezuela where the gallon of gas is only 14 cents. Yup! You read it right! Only 14 God Damn Cents a Gallon!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Ok I had to post this because I saw this band last week, and I was blown away. As an avid Flamenco music listener “Son De La Frontera” is one of my favorites. I first heard them on KPFK and got hypnotized by their music. The band has a very distinctive sound, guitarist Raul Rodriguez plays a Cuban tres which is unusual in the field of Flamenco music, and in turn gives their music a very distinctive style and sound. They have released two albums, the first one is called “Son De La frontera” the second “Cal” both on world Village Records, I highly recommend that you pick of one those two.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The dilemma of defining a Public Intellectual

What is a public intellectual? How do you become one? Who decides who is or is not a public intellectual? These are some of the question that I have pondered on for the past couple of weeks. Trying to wrap my brain and come up with a simple explanation of a “Public Intellectual.”
In my quest for unveiling this mysterious title I came across various essays and articles, where the writes explain or try to explain in a various ways what a Public intellectual is. So is the case with John Lukacs who brought some historical fact about the word “intellectual” he writes “intellectuals have become recognizable not because of their schooling but because of their opinions.” Still with this simple explanation the matter should be put to rest, on the contrary this opens up new avenues of discussion why their opinions matter more than the other person. Confused already, my head still hurts from thinking about it.
Ok, let us try to make this as simple as possible we need to Jeffery R. Di Leo referred to the public intellectuals as “one sided argument.”
Di Leo comments “From the public point of view they are either Republican or Democrat; liberal or conservative; left-wing or right-wing… Public intellectuals signify or are reduced to nothing than a position, and usually an extreme one-on a topic of contemporary social and political concern.”
This explanation seems very simple enough, Di Leo also separates the concept of public intellectuals into two different spheres the academe and the public-private sector.
“Public intellectuals play crucial role in the circulation, production and identity of knowledge though to the two world they inhabit-academe and the private-public sector-both compete for their allegiances and affiliation. The interests of these two worlds are very different, academe privileges highly specialized modes of discourse, whereas the public-private world favors generalized one.” In a way Di Leo has separated the Public intellectuals into two different spheres the academia that are driven by their ideas whereas the public-private sphere that are driven by selling ideas, he is basically bringing the notion of quality in the academic sphere vs. quantity in the public-private sphere.
He also bring a key component in public intellectual that of public, the size of the public plays a very important role in the value of the public intellectual “ the greater the public the greater value that is ascribed to the public intellectual.”
In a way this separation makes a lot of sense to me. Think about, the academic intellectuals will be talking about thing that matter their field of knowledge and expertise, as for the public-private sphere well their discussions are generalized one to a level that is very simple to an ordinary citizen to understand and relate to.
Although Di Leo has shed some light on the Public intellectuals and separated them into two different spheres he still has not clearly defined what a public intellectual is.
The best example comes from Alan Lightman in his article “The role of public intellectuals”
Lightman bring the example of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his essay “The American Scholar” in this essay Emerson describes the meaning and the function of the intellectual.
In this essay Emerson describes the intellectual as “preserves great idea of the past communicates them and creates new ideas. The intellectual does all of these things not out of obligation to his society, but out of obligation to himself.”
The idea of the intellectual that is described by Emerson feels more of a noble idea, but a very true one, what Emerson describe as an intellectual is by far the most tangible idea ever.
To add to the above notion but with a more political character Edward Said describes “the intellectual’s mission in life is to advance human freedom and knowledge, this often means standing outside of society and its institutions and actively disturbing the status quo.”
With these two ideas combine together we draw a very distinct picture of what a public intellectual is, although some may disagree with this idea.
Lightman also bring a hierarchy of levels of public intellectuals
-level one: speaking and writing for the public exclusively about his/her discipline, example Brian Green’s book The Elegant Universe.
-level two: speaking and writing about his/her discipline and how it relates to the social, cultural, and political world around it, example James Watson’s the Double Helix.
-Level three: by invitation only. The intellectual has become elevated to a symbol, a person that stands for something far larger than the discipline from which he or she originated. According to Lightman these intellectuals is asked to write and speak about a large range of public issues. Example Einstein was asked to give public addresses on religion, education, ethics and world politics.
As we can see there is a trend in Lightman’s level’s and where these intellectuals stem from, they all come from the academic field with focused public and move on to more general and wider public. As an academic in the field of astronomy he later started to write essays about the human side of science.
The is another aspect of the public intellectuals that we did not cover is the religion side, in his essay “Wicked Paradox” Stephen Mack brings another component to the Public intellectual which is religion. He quotes Beinart “These men and woman have been intellectuals of a special kind-people whose religious training and experience shaped their vision of a just society and required them to work for it.”
Although public intellectuals with religions background in my view are the most beneficial intellectuals to our society but sooner or later their ideology seems to shift to more personal gain rather the greater good.
Those public intellectuals with religious background connect with the public on the levels of harmony, kindness to other and equality in society.

The process of defining public intellectuals may seems very simple, but the fact is that it is more complicated that a physics problem, but thing is with a physics problem there is only one right solution. In the problem of public intellectuals the matter is subjective. For me who I consider as a public intellectual may be a ranting person for someone else.
So before you decide who you think is a public intellectual think about his/her responsibility towards you and your fellow citizen.
As a last though I will leave you with a poll that the Prospect a British magazine did for the top 100 public intellectuals in the world and guess who is number one?
These are the top 10 only:
1-Noam Chomsky
2-Umberto Eco
3-Richard Dawkins
4-Vaclav Havel
5-Christopher Hitchens
6-Paul Krugman
7- Jurgen Habermas
8-Amartya Sen
9-Jared Diamond
10-Salman Rushdie

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Waterboarding is back! Where is my bucket?

The White House on Wednesday said that “the interrogation technique known as waterboarding is legal and the president could authorize the CIA to resume using this technique.”,1,3156438.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

This statement by this administration has surprised many … after all that they have done!
There is a tug-of-war between the president who thinks he is above the law and Congress that wants to restrain him from going postal. This is another page of this battle, even though Congress has passed two laws: the Detainee Treatment Act in 2005 and the Military Commissions Act in 2006, which ban the use of harsh interrogation methods and require all agencies to comply with the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Convention in their treatment of detainees. According to Tony Fratto, White House spokesperson, “the Justice Department had reviewed waterboarding and made a determination that its use UNDER SPECIFC CIRCUMSTANCES AND SAFEGUARDS WAS LAWFUL.” Of course we know that every situation and circumstance is of upmost important to the security of the nation - you can’t argue with that!
Spreading the notion that this nation is in imminent danger from terrorist attack at any time these measures have to be put in place to deter and prevent such attacks. The idea of scaring the American people may have worked once or maybe twice. Hell, it will always work. This administration has worked its magic in hypnotizing the people so well that every time it says “terrorist attack” the whole nation just follows like sheep to the slaughter house, looking away as they kill, torture or invade other nations.
Senator Dianne Feinstein put it so eloquently when she said, “ This is a black mark on the United States …it says to others that we are prepared to use the same kinds of tactics used by the most repressive regimes.”


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Corprotocracy and Globalism two faces of the same coin

According to Wikipedia corprotocracy is defined as “A neologism coined by proponents of the Global Justice Movement to describe a government bowing to pressure from corporate entities.” In the case of the US government, this description is clearly visible in the pressure put on the politicians through corporate lobbyists and especially evident in their control of the government agencies which were specifically created to regulate these big corporations.
While the US government governs under the banner of democracy, in actuality, it is the big corporations with their inconceivable wealth that are pulling all the strings and calling all the shots on our foreign and domestic policies.
The history of corprotocracy in the US can be traced back to the Spanish American War of 1898, where the government, influenced by greedy corporations, blamed the explosion of the warship USS Maine on the Spaniards. Even though later the tragic event was attributed to an accident, this political and corporate tactic caused the invasion of Cuba, stripping it of its government and wealth. This is one of the many examples that are recorded in the pages of history, and one only needs to read between the lines to learn the reasons for the aggression of corporations as embodied in the actions of the US government against other countries.
In the process of defending democracy, protecting U. S. interests, and fulfilling our responsibilities as the world leader we see the influences of the corporate war machine in our government’s decision to invade and attack foreign lands. Corporations are driven by profit, and unfortunately, war is profitable for these entities.
The war in Iraq represents one of the most transparent events exemplifying the concept of corprotacracy. It was based on the false pretence of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, which was widely exposed to the American people by the President, who proclaimed the ties between Al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein, exploiting people’s fear and preoccupation with the tragic events of 911. Although purely humanitarian and patriotic on the surface, the invasion of Iraq by the US military translated into a lucrative opportunity for the American corporations; the same ones that contributed heavily to the Presidents campaign a few years earlier. Having been given card-blanche, employees of companies like Blackwater are exempt from being prosecuted and from being held accountable for murdering innocent civilians.
After approximately five years of occupation and loss of over four thousand American soldiers, the cost of the war continues to rise into the billions even after the facts are exposed.
One of the most controversial books about corprotocracy is “Confession of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins which provides an insider's account of the exploitation or neo-colonization of third world countries
by what Perkins portrays as a group of corporations, banks, and the United States government.
The book illustrates in detail how the big corporations go into third world countries like Panama, Indonesia, and even Saudi Arabia, where under the pretence of building the infrastructure of the country, they inflate economic prediction and in turn secure loans and funds through various international banks, which put the country in great debt that it will never be able to pay-off.
Perkins also casts some light on the relationship between the house of Saud of Saudi Arabian and the Bush family and their extensive financial collaborations.
Perkins also talks about the current President’s failed ventures in the field of energy and how through a merger with Spectrum 7, his own failing company, Arbusto, was rescued and later purchased by Harken Energy Corp; the same company where the president serves as a board member and a consultant with an annual salary of $120,000. (Perking, p194)
This book illustrates how corporate America has its influence in the policy making, not to mention their strong hold of the White House and how they influence the presidential elections.
The past several presidents have been chairmen and CEO of fortune 500 companies. Now wouldn’t that be considered a conflict of interest?
Where is the loyalty of our presidents – in the American people or in the corporations?
In this perspective, the campaign contributions that a presidential candidate accumulates while running for the White House are more of a bribe than a contribution. The special interest groups that give hundreds of thousands of dollars to the candidate are not supporters of a cause but are companies that are paving the road for pushing a bill or a policy that favors them.
(link)white house for sale web site posts: “This Web site allows you to follow the money trail of campaign bundlers
– or people who funnel money to campaigns – as they collect thousands, and sometimes even millions, of dollars from other people for the 2008 presidential candidates.”
so what is the solution?
the Corporate machine is working 24/7 ecumulating wealth and robing countries of their natural resoucres.
i think it is a time to have another tea party!