Exxonmobil Is Tacky

I was just on a conference call with Ken Cohen, VP of public policy of ExxonMobil, who has apparently been reaching out to bloggers.  The company is having trouble with PR, surprise surprise, and are reaching out to progressive and environmental bloggers to explain their new stance on climate change.  They think it's happening and that we need to address it.  That's good, I suppose.  

I have a hard time taking ExxonMobil in good faith considering that company's legacy of funding junk science and Republicans who don't believe in global warming.  I asked Ken whether ExxonMobil would try to convince Republicans they support that global warming is real, and he said yes, ExxonMobil sends them materials.  I also asked if ExxonMobil would fund a PR campaign to redress the harms of junk science, and he basically wouldn't concede they had ever funded junk science.  It's all just a 'PR problem'.  Cohen also pointed out that Exxon funds lots of science on sustainable energy.  Ok, fine.  It's amazing how in the tank these corporate stooges are.  Cohen at one point called AEI a think tank, and said that it isn't a lobbying shop.  That would be adorable if New York wasn't going to be underwater in fifty years.

The politics of ExxonMobil are interesting, though expected.  Cohen is not only the VP of Public Affairs, but the head of ExxonMobil's PAC, and the head of the ExxonMobil Foundation that distributes charitable grants.  That's a lot of hats for a PR guy.  I basically let him have it.  I told him that I think the only reason he's reaching out to progressive bloggers is because the Democrats control Congress and he's trying to ward off an excess profits tax.  Until Exxon acknowledges error and funds a PR campaign that suggests that gravity of the global climate situation, I told him I would strongly support such a tax because ExxonMobil clearly just won't engage in ethical corporate behavior.  I actually own some ExxonMobil stock, which makes me an idiot I suppose.

Cohen explained at one point in the discussion that ExxonMobil supports Republicans because ExxonMobil is a business and he can't find pro-business Democrats.  I frankly don't care and am glad Democrats don't get oil money; it would be better if he actually convinced Republicans to take global warming seriously.  Anyway, I don't think it's weird that the PAC director is the foundation director is the PR director of a company that makes $40 billion a year.  It is tacky, though, especially when he tried to tell me about how ExxonMobil believes in traditional Jeffersonian principles.  Tacky.

UPDATE: I like this comment, from The Cunctator (who knows what he's talking about): "Exxon Mobil gave up on pursuing alternative energy development about 10-15 years ago. They are directly responsible for so much misinformation and political intransigence on global warming that their executives should be strapped onto an iceberg with a starving polar bear."

I should also mention that Cohen was shocked when I confronted him, and said 'It's like you think this is a moral issue'. What is wrong with these people?

UPDATE II: I'm told it's bad form not to list the other bloggers on the call. Robert Farley from Lawyers, Guns, and Money, Mark Nickolas from Bluegrass Report, Julie Marsh from The Parental is Political and Erik Loomis from Alterdestiny. Erik's write-up is here.

Tags: Exxonmobil (all tags)

Comments

39 Comments

"Jeffersonian principles"

That's a George Allen talking point.  

by Jeffrey Feldman 2007-02-12 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

ExxonMobilPAC handed out about $700K for the 2006 cycle, 93% of it to Republicans.

by Adam B 2007-02-12 12:38PM | 0 recs
you are my hero, Matt.

how can we incentivize corporate good behavior until we punish the bad? well done.

by azizhp 2007-02-12 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

Would have loved to been on the call.

Speaking of global warming:

2/13 Tuesday10 AM: House Committee on Science and Technology
National Imperatives for Earth and Climate Science (National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey)
2318 Rayburn

My brief summary: global warming means we need to be pumping money into basic earth science, but Bush has been starving the budgets and crippling the programs such that the near future for our research satellites are fucked and other programs are on the brink of disarray.

Witnesses:
Richard A. Anthes, Co-Chair,"Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond"- President, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Berrien Moore III, Co-Chair,"Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond"- Director, Institute for the Study of Earth,
Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire

The Honorable Jim Geringer, Governor of Wyoming (1995-2003), Director, Policy Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)

From the preliminary report, the key earth science questions:

  • Will there be catastrophic collapse of the major ice sheets, including Greenland and West Antarctic and, if so, how rapidly will this occur? What will be the time patterns of sea level rise as a result?

  • Will droughts become more widespread in the western U.S., Australia, and Sub Saharan Africa? How will this affect the patterns of wildfires? How will reduced amounts of snowfall change the needs for water storage?

  • How will continuing economic development affect the production of air pollutants, and how will these pollutants be transported across oceans and continents? How are these pollutants transformed during the transport process?

  • How will coastal and ocean ecosystems respond to changes in physical forcing, particularly those subject to intense human harvesting? How will the boreal forest shift as temperature and precipitation change at high latitudes? What will be the impacts on animal migration patterns and invasive species?

  • Will previously-rare diseases become common? How will mosquito-borne viruses spread with changes in rainfall and drought? Can we better predict the outbreak of avian flu? What are the health impacts of an expanded "Ozone Hole" that could result from a cooling of the stratosphere, which would be associated with climate change?

  • Will tropical cyclones and heat waves become more frequent and more intense? Are major fault systems nearing release of stress via strong earthquakes?

  • And yet: "As documented in this report, the United States' extraordinary foundation of global observations is at great risk."

    All full committee and subcommittee hearings and markups are WEBCAST live on the Committee website.

    Also tomorrow in DC:
    Tuesday, February 13, 12 PM.
    Cooling Earth:  What We Can Do Now.
    at Josephine Butler Parks Center 2437 15th Street, NW

    Environmental scientist Pascale Maslin of Global Environmental Systems to help us all learn how we can each make an immediate difference in reversing the climate damage that the US is doing to the world.

    by The Cunctator 2007-02-12 12:40PM | 0 recs
    Bald liars

    Exxon Mobil gave up on pursuing alternative energy development about 10-15 years ago. They are directly responsible for so much misinformation and political intransigence on global warming that their executives should be strapped onto an iceberg with a starving polar bear.

    by The Cunctator 2007-02-12 12:47PM | 0 recs
    Re: Bald liars

    There's an excellent comment at the bottom of this thread about the differences between entreprenurial biz, and corporatations like ExxonMobil.

    Two topics in this post made me indignant beyond belief:

    *  1. Climate change 'is not a moral issue.'  To rephrase:  apparently, acres  of dead oceans and massive die-off at the bottom of the food chain upon which we all depend is no big deal..? Hey, like... WHATever, dudes.  

    * 2. Big Oil can't find 'proBiz' Dems to support for public office.

    Big Oil, like Big Telecomm, wants to control markets.  They've excelled at using the political system to externalize the full, true costs to everyone but themselves.    Because everyone else has paid the costs of their errors, their mistakes, and their environmental depradations, they've been insulated from the full, true costs of their activities.  But at the molecular level, processes have been accelerating that make their political shenanigans less and less BIOLOGICALLY feasible.  

    This is not because the Dems are jerks, or anti-Biz. It's because carbon has a peculiar molecular structure, capable of bonding in odd ways.  And every single day, more of those bonds are forming in ways that are biologically untenable.  

    At this point,  Big Oil would be smarter to blame Einstein, or Heidegger, or even Linus Pauling than they are to blame the Dems.  It was scientists, after all, who discerned the molecular structures and the bonding characteristics of atoms and molecules -- not the Democratic failure to give more tax cuts to Big Oil.  

    Unless Big Oil can somehow figure out how to 'spin' every single bizarre weather report, every single storm warning, every single insurance risk assessment, and every copy of every single high school chemistry text, they'll diminish their own credibility by continuing to whinge on about regulatory issues.    
    ----------------------

    Although it's pathetic that these affluent noobs are so appallingly late to the  Climate Crisis party, better late than never.  

    They apparently have no clue about the fact that LIFE happens at the molecular level, a place they've not traditionally thought to look.

    Next time, suggest that Mr PR Flack spend a couple hours looking into microscopes at some seawater samples, stream samples, and the innards of a cancerous fish or two before he proceeds to tell you that Climate Change is not a moral issue (!!).  If he'd seen the dearth of biota, the utter lack of biological activity in some of the samples that researchers have been collecting the past ten years, maybe Mr. PR Flack would have clued in sooner.  

    Maybe if some of these oil execs spend a few hours viewing the beauty of some living cells through a microscope or two, then perhaps they'll start to realize that LIFE is what happens at the molecular level, and is best viewed through a microscope.

    They can even start with a coloring book:  http://www.amazon.com/Biology-Coloring-B ook-Robert-Griffin/dp/0064603075

    by readerOfTeaLeaves 2007-02-13 09:18AM | 0 recs
    search corpwatch for Exxon

    EU: Exxon spends millions to cast doubt on warming

    by Andrew Buncombe and Stephen Castle, The Independent (UK)
    December 7th, 2006

    Go to
    http://www.corpwatch.org/
    search on exxon

    by realtime 2007-02-12 12:54PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    by realtime 2007-02-12 12:54PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

        ExxonMobil is anti-Jeffersonian because Jefferson was very interested in nature and a strong advocate of scientific study.

    by MarvToler 2007-02-12 12:59PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    Well done, sir. What did you say when he said  "'It's like you think this is a moral issue'."?

    by afertig 2007-02-12 01:09PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    That's when I lost it.  I told him I thought he was insane.

    by Matt Stoller 2007-02-12 01:17PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    No, he's just much more liberal than you, and you are more influenced by a sense of social responsibility.  I really hate liberals right now.

    by jallen 2007-02-12 01:31PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    Have you read (or seen the film of) THANK YOU FOR SMOKING?  It captures the mentality really well.

    by Adam B 2007-02-12 01:38PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    COHEN: It's like you think this is a moral issue or something.

    STOLLER: Of course it's a moral issue, we're talking about the future of the planet! You must be freakin' nuts!

    COHEN: Hold on a minute. (Covers the receiver and shouts down the hall) Hey Charlene! We got an ethicist on staff?

    CHARLENE: A what?

    COHEN: An ethicist. A morals guy, like Bill Bennett.

    CHARLENE: Checking... umm, no, the last one quit in 1989.

    COHEN: Well, then get one of our think tanks to whip up a GW ethics report. I gotta live one who need some hand-holding.

    COHEN: (Returns to the phone) Matt! Thanks for waiting. We've had a few personnel difficulties here, you know how it is. Anyhow, I'll get a detailed response to you tomorrow morning, 8 am sharp. I know this is important to you, and it's equally important to all of us here at ExxonMobil.

    by billybob 2007-02-12 01:50PM | 0 recs
    Pro-business?

    "...he can't find pro-business Democrats..."

    I guess it depends on how he defines the term "pro-business."  

    According to an election review by Business Week (that's a pro-business magazine, right?)

    Among the Democratic winners were a host of probusiness moderates, including Representatives-elect Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, a tough-talking sheriff; Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a businessman and former pro football player; Baron Hill of Indiana, a former moderate congressman who made a successful comeback; and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, a business executive with strong corporate support.

    For business, the election offers hope for bipartisan compromise on some top corporate priorities... Democratic control of the House means that it is much more likely that Congress will approve comprehensive immigration reform... Democrats also have pledged to rein in the federal deficit and adopt a pay-as-you-go budgeting system, both goals of company reps. And companies are looking forward to Democrats keeping their promise to restore the R&D tax credit, which expired this year amid partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill.

    Overall, pretty positive stuff.

    Until we get to that part of the article that shapes Cohen's definition of "pro-business."

    One industry that Democrats plan to target is oil. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has pledged to roll back the tax incentives given to energy companies in the Bush-Cheney energy package. Democrats want to spend that money instead on alternative energy sources and green technology.

    As Matt described already, Cohen is pretty transparent.

    by sawgrass727 2007-02-12 01:11PM | 0 recs
    Re: history is a bitch

    Perhaps if ExxonMobile had taken any of the many opportunities to settle the outstanding Exxon Valdez lawsuits, they would have at least one leg to stand on. Unfortunately, similar to Bush, at this point EM's leopard spots could change and I wouldn't believe my own eyes. Credibility doesn't rely on words but on actions.

    by mainsailset 2007-02-12 01:15PM | 0 recs
    Exactly.

       Their actions in response to the Exxon Valdez disaster were grotesquely immoral.  They should never be forgiven for that.

    by cilerder86 2007-02-12 01:26PM | 0 recs
    ExxonMobil is evil.
        They are responsible for the Exxon Valdez environmental disaster.  Exxon refused to pay the damages for their negligence.  They spent MORE on legal fees defending themselves against Alaskans suing for cash to clean up their state, than the Alaskans actually asked for!  
        They are such incredible assholes.  They treat their homosexual employees poorly.  They release disinformation much like Big Tobacco used to and still does.  Finally, they donate almost exclusively to Republicans.  Fuck them.  They are the quintessential evil, irresponsible, and corrupt corporation.  Exxon makes Walmart look downright angelic.  The only way they could improve their PR, would be to announce their bankruptcy.  Needless to say, I boycott their gas stations.  I would suggest that you sell your Exxon stock.  Thanks for the opportunity to bash Exxon.
    by cilerder86 2007-02-12 01:21PM | 0 recs
    Wrong Business

    Cohen explained at one point in the discussion that ExxonMobil supports Republicans because ExxonMobil is a business and he can't find pro-business Democrats.

    From Open Secrets, Oil & Gas:


    Year ... Dem%  Gop%
    2006 ... 17%   83%
    2004 ... 20%   80%
    2002 ... 20%   80%
    2000 ... 21%   78%

    Alternative Energy:


    Year ... Dem%  Gop%
    2006 ... 41%   54%
    2004 ... 69%   31%
    2002 ... 69%   31%
    2000 ... 69%   31%

    Although, from the 2006 figures, it does look like the wind power folks do need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    Paging Congressman McNerney!

    by Paul Rosenberg 2007-02-12 01:37PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    Exxon also poisoned Norther Brooklyn with an oil spill they have refused to clear up for like 50 years. Its the largest oil spill in America. Bigger than Valdez. Now the area is a cancer cluster. The AG says he's going to go after them..

    by Our Gal in Brooklyn 2007-02-12 01:44PM | 0 recs
    Tackiness is common in large corporations

    It is more the rule, than the exception, that PR, Government Relations (PACS, lobbying), and charitable giving all report up to the same person.

    From the point of view of the corporation, it's all marketing in one guise or another, with a close eye kept on making sure all activities make a direct contribution to the bottom line.

    by Dr K 2007-02-12 01:45PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    The issue of morality really was key to the conversation and I thought was the most important point.

    Also, allow me to say that it is kind of bad form to not mention the other bloggers who were on the call with you.

    by Erik Loomis 2007-02-12 02:28PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    I didn't write down the other bloggers.

    by Matt Stoller 2007-02-12 03:44PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    Who were they?

    by Matt Stoller 2007-02-12 03:44PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky
    Robert Farley from Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Mark Nickolas from Bluegrass Report
    Julie Marsh from The Parental is Political
    and myself from Alterdestiny
    by Erik Loomis 2007-02-12 04:13PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    Thanks for adding our links!

    by Erik Loomis 2007-02-12 05:22PM | 0 recs
    A Moral Issue??!!

    I think that statement says it all.  The powers that be in many - or most - but not ALL - major companies do not see any of these issues in terms of morals.  If we, as the Progressive Movement, try to argue "morals" we will get nowhere.

    I've often thought we'd get farther by arguing financial benefits of doing the right thing.  Granted, when dealing with an ExxonMobil that is receiving lots of cash from the US Treasury, this is a challenge.  On the other hand, one example of what I'm saying is the recent announcement that Wal-Mart is joining with a union (I forget which one) to support a National Health Insurance plan.  Wal-Mart is not doing this because it's the right thing to do - they're doing it because they see a financial incentive.

    by dannynyc 2007-02-12 02:33PM | 0 recs
    Exxon deserves to lose Alaskan Support

    Exxon might not have Democrats, but oil in general should lose favor with Alaskan Republicans.

    The main reason Alaska goes Republican is two fold: guns, and independent (man) business- mostly fishermen. Fishing is one of the largest employers in the state.

    Exxon Valdez
    "Last month a federal appeals court cut the punitive damages award of the Exxon Valdez lawsuit from $4.5 billion to $2.5 billion."

    ..."Exxon issued a statement soon after, saying the plaintiffs have already been compensated for damages, the punitive award is too high. The company also signaled its intention to appeal to the Supreme Court."

    So, not only were damages reduced, Exxon is trying to weasel its way out of paying.

    During the clean up -contracted out to the corrupt VECO subcontractor- Exxon allegedly threw nearly $2 billion at the oil clean up project. Largely a tax right off, Exxon tried to pitch itself as a responsible company. 18 years later and finally a verdict, and Exxon is going to cover itself in oil and try and slide out of paying off Alaskan fisherman.

    Lost jobs. Lost prices. Environmental damage. Everything was covered in oil. And all the lower 48 people ran up for big oil clean up a fat paycheck. Too many jobs went to out of state workers before all the local labors were employed. Money went out of state. Total rip off.

    Alaskan politics needs serious change.

    by Rob Price 2007-02-12 02:39PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    Keep the pressure on, Matt.  

    I think the focus should be more and more on the fact that this is a moral issue.  From a religious perspective, stewarding the earth is most definitely a moral issue.  From a humanitarian issue, forestalling global flooding and the death/displacement of hundreds of millions of people is also a moral issue.

    The time has long past when coporate America must realize that the economic and ecological impact of their behaviors are moral issues.  The bottom line approach is devoid of morality.

    As for AEI, yes it is biased in its position, but it still qualifies as a think tank.  But your point is well taken.  AEI promotes a conservative agenda and that betrays the ideal notion of a think tank.  That said, I think we would be hard pressed to find a think tank that doesn't have an ideological bent.

    In general, I find ideology to be the arch enemy of good science and research.  Those should be guided by empirical evidence and the investigators should be willing to accept conclusions that contradict their predispositions if the evidence leads them that way.

    In an ideal world, that is what a think tank should be.

    But we all know the world is far from ideal.

    by DrDigiPol 2007-02-12 02:40PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    I havent bought there fuel in years.they worship money and are ignoble.

    by idahojim 2007-02-12 04:27PM | 0 recs
    "It's like you think this is a moral issue

    Does he not understand that climate change means that lots and lots of people are going to die, and lots and lots of species are going to go extinct, and the natural wealth of the earth will be dramatically reduced, so that the ones who do live into the future will have to live on much less than we enjoy now?  

    How can he claim to "get" climate change if he doesn't get this?  Just show him a picture of people starving in the Sahel -- hell, Darfur will work -- and tell him that this is what climate change looks like, and dare him to understand that it's a moral issue.

    "It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."  Rephrased: people will deliberately short-circuit their own intellect in order to protect their social position.  I know, cause as an evangelical I did that very thing for about two years.

    by texas dem 2007-02-12 04:32PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    I know a recently retired ExxonMobil VP. Nice man personally, fabulously wealthy as u would expect. But a total Hard rt. wingnut politically. Loves "W", Billo and Faux news. Thinks, anyone to the left of McCain is a traitor and deserves to be put in a prison camp for the duration. LOL, I wonder if he could make one Big enough to put 60% of the pop? Sad, part is he's serious and so are his buddies.

    by Blutodog 2007-02-12 05:16PM | 0 recs
    You've gotta

    Be kidding me. ExxonMobil hasn't changed at all, they are still pouring tons of money to refute climate change. The extreme profits funneled to keep republicans in power, the millions spent on dozens of junk science organizations. Admitting that climate change is real isn't enough, they need to invest serious money in it, not PR.

    So while ExxonMobil is trying to say they are now promoting climate change they are offering $10,000 to any individual who will publically attack and refute the new IPCC report on climate change.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/ story/0,,2004230,00.html

    We need to put a huge tax on these guys and invest it in clean energy if they aren't willing too.

    by ScottWalters 2007-02-12 05:38PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    The company is having trouble with PR, surprise surprise, and are reaching out to progressive and environmental bloggers to explain their new stance on climate change.

    Really? Well, if they mean that, then I think the progressive/environmental bloggers are the wrong people to be talking to. I mean, I'm not really an expert on the subject or anything, but if Exxon/Mobil wants to convince the progressive/environmental bloggers they are in earnest about their new views on climate change, it seems to me they should be reach out to the libertarian/conservative bloggers, and try to convince the libertarian/conservative bloggers of how serious the climate change problem is.

    After all, who better to communicate the strength of the evidence for anthropogenic climate change to the right-leaning "skeptics" than Exxon/Mobil, who has a similar ideological background and who has apparently recently undergone exactly such a conversion themselves?

    I mean, look at Deltoid or any other of a dozen blogs with a focus on climate-change science. They've got a big task right now trying to communicate the importance of the recent IPCC report on climate change despite all the other distractions on America's mind lately. But when I look at those blogs over the last couple weeks, I find they're spending nearly all their time just trying to correct errors, lies, and half-truths about the IPCC report being put out by other bloggers and even mainstream op-ed columnists. And maybe it's just coincidence, but it seems like an awful lot of these other bloggers and op-ed columnists either have a right-wing ideological bent, or else are taking or have taken in the past money from energy companies. Gee, it seems like those are exactly the people Exxon-Mobil would be in a good position to reach! Wouldn't it be great if instead of the task of communicating to the public and correcting misconceptions about the IPCC report falling to some bloggers, some of the enormous resources of Exxon-Mobil were brought to bear on the subject?

    Whether Exxon-Mobil's just trying to buy PR, or whether they actually really are just trying to help!-- actions would speak a whole lot louder than words. Trying to go around getting bloggers to give them credit for cleaning up their act before they've actually done anything to clean up their act, on the other hand, sounds to me like a strategy with some problems.

    Just a thought...

    by Silent sound 2007-02-12 05:47PM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Still Funding Bogus Studies

    ExxonMobile is still up to its same tricks.  The American Enterprise Institute has offered $10,000 to scientist to write a report criticizing the recent Fourth Assessment Report on global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change.  The Fourth Assessment recently concluded that the earth is warming and it's being caused by humans emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.  The AEI has received $1.6 Million from ExxonMobile over the years and the former CEO and Chairman of the Board, Lee Raymond, is now the Vice Chairman of the AEI.  http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climat echange/story/0,,2004397,00.html

    By the way, articles are expected to be up to about 10,000 words, which is $1.00 a word.  I bet Chris Bowers wishes he was being paid at that rate. :)

    by gunnar 2007-02-12 06:22PM | 0 recs
    Union of Concerned Scientists Report on Exxon
    I haven't seen the Union of Concerned Scientists report on ExxonMobil's global warming disinformation campaign mentioned in the comments.  So let me recommend that people read it by visiting this link:
    Scientists' Report Documents ExxonMobil's Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science
    Oil Company Spent Nearly $16 Million to Fund Skeptic Groups, Create Confusion
    by davej 2007-02-12 07:43PM | 0 recs
    Pro-Business Progressives

    Matt,

    Don't let corporate PR flacks get away with constructions like "pro business." What they mean is "pro Big Business." These are very different things.

    Big Business is fundamentally different from other business. The difference between a local restaurant and ExxonMobil isn't like that between a housecat and a tiger, it's like a housecat and an elephant. They're not just different in degree, they're different in kind.

    Here's the basic difference between them: Regular businesses want to compete effectively. Big Business wants to avoid competition.

    Big Business isn't Google. Big Business is what John Sperling wrote about in his book "The Great Divide:" huge corporations that make money sucking stuff out of the ground or out of the government.

    Oil companies are Big Business--they suck stuff out of the ground. Same with big mining, timber, and agribusiness companies. Of course, they also suck stuff (subsidies) out of the government, too.

    Defense contractors are Big Business--they suck stuff (our tax money) out of the government. Same with Big Pharma (most of their research is funded by tax money) and the Telcos (their infrastructure was financed with tax money, and uses public rights-of-way).

    Big Business is lazy and stupid. Huge "suck stuff" corporations aren't quick, and they aren't smart. Why would they be? It doesn't take quickness or smarts to sell commodities, or rig procurement contracts. It just takes lots of money. Since it's not good at competition, Big Business tries to use its strength--big money--to avoid or stifle it.

    Need more energy to sell? Don't explore new sources--that's too hard. Instead, get the politicians you bought to launch a war to take another country's existing sources.

    Need more drugs to sell? Don't create new ones--that's too hard. Instead, get the politicians you bought to rig your largest market so customers can't negotiate volume discounts on existing drugs.  

    Need more telecom products to sell? Don't develop new ones--that's too hard. Instead, get the politicians you bought to let you create network bottlenecks so you can jack up prices for your commodity product--bandwidth.

    Regular business is different from Big Business. But new business is the enemy of Big Business. Startup companies foster the innovative technologies, ideas, markets, and business models that threaten the ability of Big Business to make a lot of money without working too hard.

    The people who run startups are almost all progressive.

    So, when the GOP/Greed is Good crowd's "pro business" talking point gets used, turn it in our favor. Ask, "Are you talking about "pro Big Business, or pro New Business?"

    Big Business is a conservative thing. New Business is a progressive thing.

    They are the Thomas Nast cartoon guys with top hats, pocket watches, and "Sugar Trust" emblazoned on their bulging vests. We are the people in T-shirts creating eBay, Photoshop, cures for Alzheimer's, and electric cars:)

    by charuhas 2007-02-13 02:40AM | 0 recs
    Re: Exxonmobil Is Tacky

    This was my post in response to    

    UK noble to senators: Apologize to Exxon or resign at:

    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/UK_Nob le_to_senators_Apologize_to_1218.html

    In America it is called PEOPLES SOVEREIGNTY and not corporate anything. It upholds the supremacy of flesh and blood above and over divine rights or the rights of a dead corpse - the corporation. And just like we said fuck off to the British East Indian Tea Company We the Sovereign People are getting set to remove the articles of Exxon's Incorporation. They have become the enemy of the community and a subversion to science benefiting the needs of that community. You "noble" sir are of course referring to the false belief that corporations are a person under the Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific railroad Supreme Court decision (not signed by any judge by the way)and therefore deserving of so-called free speech rights. This is now recognized as a legal fiction. You may be referring to the Articles of Confederation but of course these failed thereupon the English Civil War concept of Peoples Sovereignty was adopted as the basis of the American Revolution. The concept of a corporation as a person will soon be destroyed. Stay tuned because ExxonMobil will be used as the first example of how this nation will reclaim our revolutionary rights.

    Lets get moving.

    I am Citizen Michael John Keenan

    by kidkeenan 2007-02-15 02:26PM | 0 recs
    by marine tt 2007-07-03 04:55AM | 0 recs

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