9 thoughts on “Big Oil profits from Iraq war

  1. FRIDAY: House Vote on Warrantless Wiretapping

    First, I want to thank everyone who called their Representative on Thursday to oppose $165B more for Iraq. We lost, but we gained 9 anti-war votes since May. (Scroll down for our next effort to bring our troops safely home.)

    Now I must ask you to pick up your phone again and call your Representative right now to demand a NO vote on warrantless wiretapping. The vote will be Friday around noon, but please call no matter what time you get this. (The Congressional switchboard is open 24x7x365 and each office has voicemail.)

    Steny Hoyer’s warrantless wiretapping bill is obscene because it gives complete immunity to the telcos that have spied on us illegally since 2001, as well as the Bush Administration officials who illegally asked them to break the law. And it lets them continue spying on us by creating Big Brother with a figleaf of meaningless “protections.”

    On May 14, Democrats defeated a similar immunity bill 213-197. There is absolutely no reason for any Democrat to change his or her vote now except corrupt greed for telco campaign cash.

    So call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your House Representative (not Senators) by name, or find your House Representative’s name and direct dial by entering your address on the right side:
    http://usalone.com

    After you call, share your Representative’s response with your neighbors by logging in to Democrats.com. (If you’ve never created a Democrats.com login, be sure to provide your voting address so we can find your Congressional District.) Then click:
    http://democrats.com/local
    Look in the “Congressional District” section for a post on “Warrantless Wiretapping Vote.” If you see that post title, click the link and add a comment about your call to your Representative. If you do not see that topic, please create a post with that title by clicking the [Post] link right next to “Congressional District.”

    While you’re visiting http://democrats.com/local, we hope you’ll get to know your progressive neighbors by clicking the [Neighbors] link. And if you’d like to keep up with posts by your neighbors, click the [RSS] link to subscribe through your favorite blog reader.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik

    ___________________

    Out of Iraq: Next Steps

    On Thursday, we lost the Iraq funding vote by 268-155 because 188 Republicans (all but 4) and 80 Democrats (including “leaders” Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyburn and Rahm Emanuel) voted YES. But your calls made a big difference because we got 9 more NO votes than we did on May 15.

    Now the battle moves to the Senate for another vote early next week. So please call both of your Senators and tell them to vote NO on the Iraq $165 billion. If you don’t have time to call, sign our petition:
    http://www.democrats.com/iraq-petition

    Calls and emails are very important, but what really scares Congress is fear of losing an election. So now that the House has voted, we must defeat as many of the 268 pro-occupation Representatives as we can – both in primaries against pro-war Bush Democrats this summer and in general election races against Republicans in November.

    Our first primary target is Bush Democrat John Barrow (GA12), who has voted with George Bush on every issue we track, including Iraq, Iran, habeas corpus, and wiretapping. His district is 45% black, yet he votes like a southern rightwing Republican. Barrow’s primary opponent is State Senator Regina Thomas, who has a long progressive record and is “adamantly opposed” to the occupation of Iraq. The primary is July 15, and Thomas has an excellent chance of winning in a district where 70% of Democratic primary voters are black and energized by Barack Obam a. I hope you’ll contribute to Regina Thomas (and other anti-BushDemocrats) using our new Bush Democrat Actblue page:
    http://www.actblue.com/page/bushdemocrats

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  2. U.S fighting forces get no break on fuel costs

    By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer
    WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumers at the gas pump aren’t the only ones suffering sticker shock. Military units in Iraq and elsewhere will see another hike in fuel costs next week, the second midyear increase because of soaring oil prices.

    On July 1, the cost for refined fuel used by troops will jump from $127.68 a barrel to $170.94 – an astounding 34 percent jump in just six months and more than double what the Pentagon was paying three years ago. It’s the second increase since prices were set at the beginning of the budget year, on Oct. 1.

    While prices charged to warfighting units have fluctuated in recent years, they have not faced such a steep spike in so few months. The cost of jet fuel, for example, jumped from $2.31 a gallon in October to $3.04 in December. As of next month, units will start paying $4.07 a gallon.

    Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Brian Maka said Friday that the price hike is needed to cover an anticipated $1.2 billion rise in fuel costs in the next three months. While a $400,000 a month increase in fuel costs won’t affect ongoing military operations, it will require a “reprioritization of daily support activities,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

    It also will impact a federal budget already stretched thin by the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan. The U.S. is spending nearly $10 billion a month in Iraq and more than $2 billion a month in Afghanistan.

    Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said the price increase makes the case that Iraq should start paying some of the military’s fuel costs because of its hefty oil reserves.

    Collins, R-Maine, and Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Evan Bayh of Indiana have proposed legislation that would require President Bush to negotiate with Baghdad on fuel subsidies for troops fighting in Iraq. The measure is included in a 2009 defense policy bill the Senate is expected to debate next month.

    “The Iraqis continue to subsidize the fuel for their own citizens, but our troops, which are fighting side by side them, continue to pay top dollar,” she said in a telephone interview on Friday.

    Iraq owns some of the largest oil reservoirs in the world, although Baghdad has been unable to exploit much of the resource since the 2003 invasion because of high levels of violence and sectarian feuds over how to divide the revenues.

    But because of a steady increase in output of crude oil in recent months and high market demand, U.S. officials estimate that Iraq revenues this year for oil will top some $70 billion – twice what was initially anticipated when Baghdad prepared its 2008 budget.

    If oil prices stay elevated as expected, the revenues would create a substantial surplus for Iraq at a time when Americans are facing an economic slump, aggravated by painfully high gas prices.

    The situation has lawmakers upset that Iraq isn’t covering more of the war’s costs. This week, Congress sent President Bush a war spending bill that would pay for combat operations through the end of the year but require that Iraq match dollar for dollar any money spent by the U.S. to rebuild towns or equip security forces in Iraq.

    While Bush is expected to sign the bill, administration officials have countered that Baghdad is already taking control. Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker declared in congressional testimony that “the era of U.S. major infrastructure projects is over.”

    Iraqi officials say if oil revenues do generate a surplus, they will revisit their 2008 budget to spend more of the money.

    The U.S. military, through the Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Energy Support Center, buys fuel on the open market, paying from $1.99 a gallon to as much as $5.30 a gallon under contracts with private and government-owned oil companies. The center then sets a fixed rate for troops at the beginning of each budget year.

    According to the center, every $1 increase in the market price per barrel translates into a $130 million rise in costs for the military because it relies so heavily on fuel. In Iraq alone, for example, the military consumes some 1.6 million gallons of fuel a day.

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