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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

April 17, 2008


More Gas, More Money

62.5 cents. That's what our dollar is worth against the Euro - 62.5 cents... and it's still falling.

The weaker our dollar becomes, the more expensive everything we have to purchase becomes. From staples such as milk and eggs and juice to luxury items such as health insurance for each member of your family, the dollar is buying less and less of it all.

And, yes, for many, if not most of us, health insurance IS a luxury today.

The excuses from the Bush administration, Big Oil and their paid analysts (lobbyists) keep on coming. In response to the falling inventory of fuel in the United States, Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore said this:

"The market has focused on the substantial draw in gasoline in the U.S. and also the large crude oil draw. The report has provided a knee-jerk reaction for the market and has driven oil to a new high."

That ain't a "knee-jerk" reaction, Mr. Shum The way the prices keep on setting new records, it's a trick knee in need of a replacement.

However, US analysts have a different take on it. They feel that US gas consumers aren't using as much gasoline as they used to because of cars with better fuel mileage. And this may be true to some extent, but the real truth is that even those who couldn't afford the new hybrid, which gets better Miles Per Gallon, are taking steps to curtail their gasoline bills. Those who still need the big vehicle for work or family are simply not driving as much. And when Americans don't drive, they aren't driving to restaurants; they aren't driving off on a family vacation to places which rely on tourism; and they aren't spending that money which they used to spend on an economy - the Bush Economy - which desperately needs it.

"Gasoline and crude inventories dropped primarily because refiners are not really ordering crude oil and they are also holding back on operating rates because demand is weak. The concerns about gasoline supply in the summer may be overdone."
-Shum, again

Did an expert just say that US refineries weren't ordering crude oil for refining? Wasn't it just a short time ago that the Bush administration, and anyone who has a stake in Big Oil, were telling us all that the reason our gas prices were so high was because we didn't have enough refineries?

"It ought to be clear to everybody that this country needs to build more refining capacity to be able to deal with the issues of tight supply,"
-President Bush in October 2005

Just a month after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, President Bush not only suggested, but determined that the reason gas prices rose so high was because we didn't have enough refineries. Some of you might remember that just after Katrina struck, gas prices around the nation surged by over an extra dollar per gallon. And as the prices rose, cars recreated the gas line scenes of the OPEC embargo years of the 1970's.

As it turns out, refineries weren't the problem at all!

As gas prices rise and the dollar falls, so does the middle class. And the lack of foresight of the bush administration, coupled with the future promises of Republican nominee John McCain to "stay the course" on the Bush economy, will just allow things to keep getting worse.

-Noah Greenberg

Hillary Clinton: On the Record
A Response to a Critic of Barack Obama

Interesting that the Clinton supporters don't mention she has voted to fund the war all along. I learned last night at a talk with Jeremy Scahill who writes for The Nation that Clinton was never against Blackwater though it was within her power to do something about them. She now says that as President she would not hire Blackwater. That's real convenient given that they are now controversial.

By the way, Clinton has missed many votes. Here's a list compiled in the Washington Post:


And, by the way, I also found out from listening to Jeremy Scahill and Dahr Jamail that Clinton has taken more defense contractor money than any Democrat! The Clintons have always taken lots of bucks from defense contractors. Obama may not be perfect but he is far less of a corporatist than Hillary Clinton.

-Robert Scardapane

And Eddie Konczal writes in response to, "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.
"It's pretty hard to see Obama as a man of the people given the way he votes and talks. He says he was against the war but has voted FOR war funding all along."

As has your candidate, Hillary Clinton...

"He doesn't show up to vote for most of the difficult votes--a pattern he established in Illinois."

This is a highly disingenuous claim by a Clinton support. Hillary has missed a lot of votes, as listed here:


"He basically said Clinton's working class voters are ignorant rednecks."

A reference would be nice. I don't recall Obama ever saying anything of the sort.

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-Noah Greenberg