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The Expansionist
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
 
Dems and Cojones; "Slavery in America"; Punishing Gas Guzzlers.
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Ball-less Wonders. The Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives is caving in to Dumbya on all kinds of matters. People who thought a woman Speaker could stand up to the President have been proved sadly wrong. It seems that cojones really do matter. So I sent the following message to the Speaker today.
No Balls. When the Democrats elected you Speaker of the House, the people who unseated the Republicans hoped you would have the character to face down Dubya. But you just don't have the balls, literally, and balls do seem to matter. You have caved on the war, immigration, tax breaks for the rich, and free trade -- so far; and you've been in office less than a year. What other betrayals do the American people face from your ball-less leadership? Resign. Let a MAN take your place. This country needs a MAN as Speaker. You are unfit.
They will doubtless ignore that message, as they have more generally ignored the American people who pushed the Republicans out of power in Congress. We don't count. Everything inside the Beltway is arrogance. Those people live in a world of their own, where they compromise away the interests and imperatives of the people.
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The Democrats did not want a mandate strong enuf to override the President, because then they would be held accountable for actually doing what the people elected them to do. They wanted an excuse, so they could make noise but not enact any legislation that would actually accomplish what they claimed to want to accomplish. That's why they didn't mention personal debt or usury or undoing bankruptcy reform during the 2006 midterm election. Had they campaigned hard on the things that the people really care about, they would have won in a landslide that empowered them to override any veto. But then they would be held to account when they didn't deliver the goods.
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No, it's much better, in Washington, to make noise than to pass legislation the people want. If the problems are solved, then the Government doesn't have to be so big. We wouldn't need a huge Governmental establishment, and members of Congress couldn't posture as our champions. We wouldn't need them. They could go home most of the year instead of hanging around Washington. They don't want to go home. They want to be near the action, but not responsible for the fallout. Let the Republicans mismanage everything. Only the Presidency matters. So you wage a weak campaign midterm to keep your hand in the game, but you don't want to make people think it doesn't matter which party controls the Presidency because Congress can override him. If people thought a strong Congressional majority controlled by one party and a President controlled by the other could work, we might settle for such a balance. That would never do.
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No, Democrats want to be able to tell people in 2008 that they can't change anything unless they control the White House. The reality is starkly different. A strong majority in Congress can control a lot of things. Dems just don't want to do without the White House.
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Where does that leave us? With Republicans calling the shots and Democrats simply sitting on the sidelines, bitching. Bitching. Hm. Maybe it is appropriate that the Speaker of the House is a woman, after all.
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"Slavery in America". ABC News has mischaracterized criminal kidnapping of foreigners and holding them captive, as in brothels, in the United States as "slavery". No. In proper use, "slavery" refers to a legally permitted institution that empowers one person to own another. That is not what is at issue here. From beginning to end, everything involved in"human trafficking" is illegal. "Slavery in America" is an abuse of language that smacks of an indictment of American society. What is really at issue, however, is being fought by American society. We have no guilt in this and must rebuke ABC for outrageous mislabeling of its sexploitative reporting.
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Economic Equity in Gasoline Pricing. ABC News reports today that 54% of Americans making less than $35,000 a year find high gas prices a hardship; people making over $75,000 a year, however, find them no hardship at all. So the rich buy gas guzzlers. That raises consumption ("demand") more than if the rich bought economy cars. Combine higher demand with stagnant supply, and you get higher prices. So who is driving price increases (other than oil companies that shut down refineries maliciously, in order artificially to raise prices)? The rich.
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Since high prices for gas are not a problem for the rich, let's charge them more and the poor less on every gallon. That is a perfectly obvious solution that no one in government is considering.
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There should be a simple disparity in pricing so that anyone driving a gas guzzler, and thus disproportionately raising demand that raises prices for everybody, should have to pay more. It's no hardship for them, but they create hardship for others. That is starkly immoral, and wealth-disparity pricing is a very simple fix.
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The details can be worked out. There could be a central computer in each filling station's office that contains a list of all car models/types, and when a car pulls up to the pump, the person in the office (or at the pump, if such computers can be put in place at every pump) sets the price per gallon. People of modest means who must have a large car because they have a large family would get a waiver that could be shown as a sticker on the license plate or elsewhere on the vehicle, or in the form of a card they present on arriving at the pump. Any employee at the pump who corruptly sets a lower price than the law calls for (which would be set as a percentage of the base price given the poor, e.g., 110%, 160%, 340%, not a hard number), and any customer attempting to bribe their way to a lower price would be subject to arrest and imprisonment that they would have to pay for themselves. Simple.
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Gas guzzlers consume far more than their fair share of a finite resource. They should pay for that privilege. People who drive more efficient vehicles should be rewarded for consuming less of the planet's resources. We can do that thru differential pricing: higher prices for the rich, lower prices for the poor and middle class, as would go a very significant distance toward equalizing the now hugely disparate impact on people's lives that high gas prices make, and toward encouraging conservation.
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Why should the rich, for whom gas prices are no hardship, be allowed to create a hardship on the poor by being gas guzzling slobs?
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(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 3,422 — for Israel.)



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