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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

April 15, 2008


George Bush's Perfect Storm

President Bush is right when he says that the US is competing in a global marketplace. It's just too bad that we aren't competing on even terms.

As the whole world attempts at keeping their monetary systems stable, we continue to see our dollar fall and our economy to fall along with it.

Yesterday, crude oil prices rose to a new record - a staggering one, if you will - of more than $112 per barrel. Much of the reason why oil and gas prices have risen here, in particular, can be related directly to our US dollar being worth less and less as compared to all of the other world currencies we are competing against.

Think of it in these terms: Back when George Bush took over from Bill Clinton, it cost Europeans extra Euros to purchase American dollars. Coincidentally (or not) crude oil prices have risen as that gap has closed and, finally, reversed.

The average price (adjusted for inflation) of crude oil - the stuff that all of the other stuff is made of - in 2000 was less than $28.00 per barrel and, believe it or not, it was even less in 2001 and 2002 ($23.00 and $22.81, respectively). It didn't begin to rise until 2003 and has shot up faster than most of us could afford ever since.

Notice that crude oil didn't rise in the aftermath of 911, a favorite excuse for just about everything which has gone wrong during the Bush administration. Those prices did, however, shoot up after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The price jump from 2002 to 2003 was an incredible $9.72 per barrel, an increase of over 35 percent!

Now I don't know about you, but my 2003 salary didn't increase anywhere near 35 percent.

And while all of this was happening our jobs were being lost overseas and our dollar was getting into its free-fall.

The average price of crude oil in 2007 was a mere $64.20 per barrel. 2008 began with that number at a staggering $84.70, and yesterday's new record in excess of $112 makes it appear that new records are going to continue to be broken.

Just to show how crude oil affects the other aspects of our economy, the AP reported the following:

"Monday's news from Wachovia supported oil prices by making the U.S. dollar less attractive, said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.
"Wachovia, the fourth largest bank in the U.S., reported a hefty first-quarter loss and cut its dividend, and said it was forced to seek a $7 billion cash injection to make up for a poorly timed expansion of its mortgage business.
"'This news highlights the strains in the banking sector and credit markets and that has led to more dollar selling, and so that tends to drive investors into oil and other commodities,' Shum said."
-The Associate Press

Like our ecosystems, the US and world economies are a form of "eco" (as in "eco-nomic") -system of their own and the slightest change can affect us all. The mortgage industry having a negative impact on crude oil prices; Bush's Iraq war having an adverse affect on crude oil; and all of the factors making our dollar worth less and less are all victims of a government run without care.

And that government belongs to George W. Bush, his small inner circle and his "base of haves and have mores".

It's as if a new Perfect Storm has struck our shores, and it was born of privilege and ineptitude. And as it gets worse, we all have to wait and hope that its damage will be reversed by a new administration. But like Hurricane Katrina before, the feeling is that it has to get worse before it gets better.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "In 2000, voters perceived Al Gore as too aloof. In 2004, voters perceived John Kerry as both aloof and arrogant. Both were viewed as elitist candidates, not populists. Both lost," Dorothy Schwarz writes:

As Obama has pointed out on a CNN "debate", Gore actually won the popular vote. So I guess voters did not perceive him as aloof and arrogant. He actually won the electoral vote, except that the Supreme Court changed the vote to its liking. And as far as Obama not being able to connect with poor and working class folks: he did brilliantly in his early work with inner city communities in Chicago. He was working with individuals, groups, communities, and communicated well with all.

And Robert Scardapane points out:

The Clinton supporters say that she has a "broader appreciation of the issues". I just don't see it. If so, why did she vote this way:

1) Gave Bush authorization to go to war with Iraq.

2) Voted for the odious bankruptcy bill that does not let individuals use Chapter 11.

3) Voted for Kyl-Lieberman that classifies a part of the Iranian military as a "terrorist group".

Actually, I think her appreciation of issues has been mediocre. Obama is clearly the more progressive choice. This is also the conclusion of The Nation magazine; the publication I respect the most as they are critical of both parties.

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-Noah Greenberg