Call Me Un-American

From Andrew Schenkel at mother nature network:

Thursday morning in Washington began with what has become a yearly ritual. The executives from the big five oil companies got to answer questions about their government subsidies in the wake of huge quarterly profits.

Senate Finance Committee Chariman Max Baucus wanted to know exactly why the “Big Five” felt they should continue to get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies while enjoying profits of $31 billion during the first quarter of 2011 alone.


While many reports will make note of the hearing’s circus atmosphere that included Sen. Orrin Hatch’s unveiling of a picture of a dog sitting on a pony after saying he didn’t want the hearing to be about cheap political stunts, there was some actual tension in the room that didn’t require any stunts to feel.

thekingofqueensOriginal DVD cover

Chuck Schumer put James Mulva, the CEO of ConocoPhillips, in a tough spot when he asked the CEO if he thought pell grants were more important than oil subsidies. Mulva, who just a day earlier said anyone for repealing oil subsidies is “un-American” didn’t directly answer the question. Then Schumer replied, “Do you think people who advocate cutting student aid — are they un-American too? Do you think anyone who advocates cutting these types of subsidies are un-American, yes or no? That one we deserve a yes or no answer on.” The question was answered with neither a yes or a no.


While Chuck Schmuer certainly fired the first shots of the hearing, it was Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who hit hardest. Menendez, like Schumer, directed his questioning to Mulva. Picking right up where Schumer left off, Menendez first demanded that Mulva apologize. When he didn’t get an apology Menendez said, “The bottom line is you’re unwilling to apologize for your company’s statement so I will continue to take offense to it.” Menendez also was quick to point out that Republicans like former President George W. Bush and current Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) had said that they would support rolling back the government subsidies of oil companies as well.


[Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.)] continuously told the executives that he thought they were “out of touch with everyday Americans.” […] ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson struck back saying, “I am not out of touch.” He then said that ExxonMobil didn’t get subsidies, but instead got “legitimate tax incentives.”


Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) should get some credit for bringing in some digital video production to the hearing, though I suppose the oil executives aren’t as keen on the idea. Wyden played a video of the 2005 version of the Big Five who all answered “yes” when asked if they agreed with then-President George W. Bush’s comments that “with oil prices at $55 a barrel oil companies don’t need ‘incentives’ to drill.” After playing the video Wyden said, “You all said you didn’t need them in 2005. You seem to be telling a different story today.” Since the Big Five executives appearance in 2005, the price of oil has essentially doubled.


You got to hand it to Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who doesn’t let a good lobbying visit get in the way of a congressional hearing. Crapo showed up to Thursday’s hearing about an hour late after spending his morning at a fundraiser with none other than BP executive Lamar McKay. One of the event hosts was Aleix Jarvis, a lobbyist for D.C. powerhouse Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. Jarvis represents BP for the firm, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. So far this year, BP has paid the firm $60,000.


Sen. Robert Menendez is expected to introduce a bill in the coming weeks that calls for repealing the oil subsidies, once and for all. Menendez’s bill is not expected to get the necessary 60 votes to make it out of the Senate. But, for the first time in decades, the oil subsidies appear to be very vulnerable to getting rolled back.

Not only did senators vow to bring back Menendez’s bill if it fails to pass, but a recent poll shows that 74 percent of Americans favor eliminating the subsidies.

(Video at mother nature network link)

So, kids, when you heard the name, James Mulva, did you mind immediately go to the episode of Seinfeld when Jerry couldn’t remember his date’s name?


Filed under Charles Schumer, Chimpy, Congress, George W. Bush, humor, Jay Rockefeller, John Boehner, Mike Crapo, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate Finance Committee, snark, television, Wordpress Political Blogs

27 responses to “Call Me Un-American

  1. This kind of thing is what prompts the building of guillotines.

    Rich, powerful people explaining why they shouldn’t have to pay taxes, and calling us un-American for suggesting that the most profitable corporation in world history should pay at least a little something.

    The question about student loans and the like is sheer brilliance.

    For my own part, I just watched the Meals on Wheels budget for Strafford County, NH cut by $75,000 this year. That’s ONE COUNTY cutting $75k. Lots of people had to be cut from the program. They had to drop some clients, and hope that “attrition” (which means, when clients die) would bring the rest of the year in balance.

    I’m not just saying this because I lost my job as a MoW driver, but I guess I see those clients as more deserving of some help than Exxon.

    I guess that makes me un-American, too, huh?

    • let’s use lots of oil on the guillotine so that it doesn’t stick and, of course, for the irony.

      you would have thought that a corporation with money oozing out of its ass would have thought about hiring a p.r. company to come up with a somewhat decent answer when the inevitable question about mulva’s remark about unamericanism came up.

      • I assume it’s arrogance. They figure that they don’t need to care about what we think, because they buy and sell politicians, anyway.

        Why waste money on a PR firm to convince the little people when you could use it to buy another plane? It’s not like the little people matter.

        I swear, these people are going to make me an outright Communist some day …

        • i just don’t understand what the original remark was supposed to accomplish. those who won’t be offended are already on board with big oil. they won’t be winning any converts by calling people who disagree with them unamerican. instead, they’ll piss off people who might not have been paying attention. even if they have politicians in their pockets, if enough people get pissed off enough (and they’re already close when they see the prices at the gas pump), the politicians will have to pay attention to them no matter how well-lined their pockets may be.

  2. Great poster title! Love it!

  3. Tillerson said Exxon/Mobil didn’t get subsidies, but instead got “legitimate tax incentives.” Okay. He can spin it any way he wants. The end result is, money still going into their wallets.

  4. jean-philippe

    We mostly need to blame ourselves. We enabled them. They didn’t rob the bank to get these subsidies… We need to learn to say no to big corporations.

  5. jeb

    Gonna wrap up that corporate welfare in a red box with white stars and a pretty blue bow. Why would you have a problem with that? What’s the matter with you?

  6. i’m so ashamed. what was i thinking? 😳

  7. John Erickson

    “Legitimate tax subsidies”? Well, thank goodness, I wouldn’t want anybody getting “illegitimate tax subsidies”. Though wouldn’t that be a more proper term, since these guys are all greedy bastards? (“GASP! Watch the language, please! There are ladies present!” 😉 )
    Senator Crapo. Snicker! 😀 Sorry, had to get that out of the way.
    I’d “like” your post, Nonnie, but the little buggers won’t let me ’cause I don’t have a blog of my own! Maybe I gotta get one so’s I can stuff y’all’s ballots! Gotta keep that Chicago tradition alive down here in the middle of Nowhere, USA!

    • i know how it’s really pronounced, but when i see crapo’s name, i call him crap-o in my head.

      no worries about the like button. i was just teasing m’liss. i try to remember to click it in other people’s blogs, but i forget a lot of the time.

  8. Did you know the WELFARE QUEEN story was Saint Ronalds favorite story, repeated time and time again to gin up goper gatherings. And without having to be specific, you get the listener to visualize (1) how black is this woman (2) how big is the Caddilac car (and how new) (3) how fat is the now even blacker woman (4) and how many times has the big fat black woman had another kid when she need to buy more Heroin ™. Of course this queen person never existed but your talking to a crowd that thinks serving time in prison is going to ClubMed. Oh, and once somebody told Queen Nancy that food stamps had been traded for vodka. Shouldn’t that invalidate the whole program? Of course!

    • jeb

      And his acolytes picked up that theme for their campaigns. Back in the early 90s when I was a registered voter in Dick Armey’s district, he sent out letters warning us that there was a scam being perpetrated by impoverished teenage girls. They would get pregnant to get more and more welfare. Yep, just have another kid and rake those taxpayer dollars in. Fortunately for me, Dick Armey wasn’t fooled by their nefarious plans and he was going to personally put a stop to it.

      The sheer stupidity of the whole idea was breathtaking. And the fact he kept getting reelected meant a large number of voters in Texas 2nd District were buying that shit.

      • i swear they have stacks of madlib tablets. instead of teenage girls and welfare, substitute immigrants and terrorist babies. they haven’t had an original idea in decades.

      • Yes, my district too was in the Armey of Dicks. And as Molly Ivens pointed out in Shrub, the welfare benefit is 31 cents per child meal. Going to have to do a lot of fornicating to buy all that wine and dope.

    • that’s exactly what occurred to me before i looked for a dvd cover to use. these asswipes and their cheerleaders will diss someone who’s desperate and just needs a little help to make it to the next day, but they’ll bitch and moan if they don’t get a bigger yacht. they’re so fekkin’ greedy and selfish, and i can’t believe anyone would be so stupid as to publicly pat them on the back and tell them how wonderful they are.

  9. I find that interesting that Congress seems to hold the hearing about oil companies when gas prices are high. Hmmmm ….

  10. gees… I guess I am un-American…. and never even knew it. Hey, can I get a side order of subsidies with my burger? Just asking, is all.