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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Excuses, Excuses

"'A barge broke down on the Mississippi River,'"
-Governor Charlie Christ (REPUBLICAN-FL), quoting the oil companies on one of their stated excuses for gas prices rising

Prior to Christ (pronounced CRIST) being elected Governor of the Sunshine State, he was Florida's Attorney General and he actually did call the gasoline companies on the carpet to explain why they are raising their prices while gaining astonishing profits. Some of the excuses, he said, were astonishing, including the above-mentioned Mississippi River barge excuse and "bad weather in Washington State."

Christ (I guess we should call him a moderate) is one of nearly half of our nation's governors who signed onto a letter to ask our US Representatives and Senators to investigate big oil right here at home. Christ wants to know why, for example, ExxonMobil "earned" about nine billion dollars in profits in just one quarter while explaining that rising prices aren't simply aren't their fault. They claim is that they have no control over the market.

Many have suggested that the government of the United States increase taxes on our fuel. You'll probably notice that those making that suggestion live in or near their place of work and price increases just won't affect them that much. I drive between 33,000 and 36,000 miles per year spread out across two cars. I have to - my job requires it. (By trade, I'm an on-site network engineer with clients that stretch from Long Island to Philadelphia and as far south as the New Jersey-Delaware border.)

With the cost of purchasing a house nearly out of site for many new buyers, and noting that the median American income hovers at about $45,000 per year for a family of four, those of us who want to own our own home are left with a choice: Look to move further away from cities where a great many of us in the "burbs" have to work or, as they say in my former hometown of Brooklyn, NY, "forgedabouddit!".

Today, not only do we in the middle class have to pay top dollar for gasoline, but we're paying more health care insurance, auto insurance and anything else big business can shove our way. And they all seem to use the same, tired excuse that begins, "The market dictates..."


It's high times that someone asks for an investigation. I certainly do understand that all issues have to take a number, deli-style, to be heard in the new Democratically controlled Congress. After six years of Republican control nothing more than creating a law to keep one person alive (Terri Shiavo) and signing a blank check for President Bush's "initiatives" had been accomplished. Today, our representatives have to play catch-up in order to begin to reign in an administration run amok.

And let's place the blame precisely where it belongs: On the GOP. Are they trying to tell us all that with oil people at the helm of our nation, no one could have anticipated this surge in gas prices? Let's remember that President Bush owned his own oil company; Vice President Dick Cheney was chairman of oil and related products giant Halliburton; and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on the board of Chevron, the head of political affairs. This trio claims that "no one could have anticipated terrorists hijacking jets and crashing them into the World Trade Center and The Pentagon," but surely, with all of their oil business related experience, they should have anticipated their Big-Oil brethren gauging gas prices.

It appears that they didn't want to.

Another school of thought that some are throwing around is lowering or removing taxes on gasoline. Here's my guaranty if that happens: Big-Oil will increase their prices to gain that difference and record even more profits. The difference will be that we lose valuable revenue that our nation, strangled with debt from Bush's bad trade policies and a never ending war, will have even less to operate with and an even bigger national debt.

As I said before, I believe that Enron was the test case for Big-Oil and they have perfected their ways.

During the 1970's, our leaders put into law a bill that would have required that all cars sold in the US attain the lofty standard of 40 miles per gallon as a minimum. The election of Ronald Reagan and the agenda of every man for himself, or "bootstraps", rescinded that law. Where would we be today if every car on our roads were traveling 800 miles on a tankful? We'd be a lot better off than we are today.

Make no mistake about it, we are paying terrorists to bomb us. It is our oil money which goes to those nations with oil under their feet and hate in their hearts for the US, and our western allies. Must we be reminded that 15 of the 19 September 11th terrorists were Saudi nationals? Must I also remind you that it was the presidency of Ronald Reagan who trained and equipped the Taliban in their fight against the former Soviet Union? Bet they'd like to have a Mulligan on that one, huh?

As this administration is want to do, they would have no problem increasing the tax on gasoline. The rich can afford it and the rest of us - well - too bad! We've been saddled with more and more of the economic burden under the Bushies than under any other president, including Ronald Reagan. Before any of us might even consider another middle class tax, they had better rescind the gift given to the wealthiest one percent of Americans in their enormous tax give back. The Bush "base" of "haves and have mores" have enough with their Big-Oil profits and huge tax breaks.

We have lost our disposable income. We are barely making ends meet, and that includes many of us who, on the surface, appear to be earning a pretty good income.

Maybe the rest of us could wet our beaks a little get a break.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "Democrats have finally conceded defeat in their effort to include mandatory surrender dates in a funding bill for the troops,"
by House Minority Leader John Boehner (REPUBLICAN-OH), Robert Scardapane writes:

My reaction to the latest supplemental bill ran the gamut of emotions from disgust to resignation that there is no bargaining with an insane President. The GOP uses the troops as pawns in the corrupt Iraq occupation. They hide behind a thinly veiled threat that if the Democrats cut the funds, the President will make the troops suffer rather than bringing them home. Unless the Democrats are willing to take a chance that this is a bluff, I don't see them cutting off the funding.

In response to Rudy Giuliani's appearance on David Letterman's show, Victoria Brownworth writes:

I saw and heard Giuliani say this on letterman and really thought I was hallucinating, kind of like when Ii heard half the Republican candidates say they didn't believe in evolution... If Bill and Hillary Clinton didn't exist, they would truly have had to invent them.

In response to John Lynn's comments which read, "Just wanted to say 'Brava Victoria A. Brownworth!' She so eloquently stated what so many of us feel about Jerry Falwell. Thank you," Victoria graciously responds:

You are very welcome. I wish I could have said Falwell died having devoted his life to uniting disparate people and preaching Jesus' gospel that we are all equal and loved by God. But that would have been a lie.

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-Noah Greenberg