Shameful pandering: Consumers didn’t get much of the savings when Illinois tried suspending the gas taxes!

It has been done before: Illinois and Indiana have previously suspended the gas tax in the summer of 2000 and for every 4cts/gallon for the motorists, gasoline suppliers reaped 3,5cts in Illinois and 3cts in Indiana.

Small wonder Shell oil lobbyist Steve Helmendorf helps out, as Hillary Clinton tries to sell McCain’s idea of a gas tax holiday again and again:

Thomas Friedman said:

It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away.


“It’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time, from an economic point of view. We’re trying to discourage people from driving and we’re trying to end our energy dependence … and we’re trying to have more money to build infrastructure.”

Clinton is shamefully misleading voters and tries to buy Indiana’s and North Carolina’s votes for $28 a piece! I am shocked, that polls suggest her plan is working.

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Longshoreman follow-up

As you should know by now, the ILWU staged an anti-war protest on May 1, effectively shutting down the west coast ports for the day. The blog BlueOregon featured good coverage of the event, and inspired some trolls, including one determined concern troll, to complain about the unnatural power of unions and the danger of shutting off the flow of war materiel to Iraq and Afghanistan — which didn’t happen at all.

A follow-up post at BlueOregon by the president of the union local is well worth reading (he even mentions the trolls!).

In case you missed it, my 850 Portland-area union brothers and sisters in the ILWU honored our troops by refusing to work for 8 hours on May 1 and instead called for an end to the war in Iraq. We were among the 25,000 longshore workers in 29 ports from Washington to California who stood together to call an end to the war and demand that the troops be able to come home to their families.

We keep getting phone calls from people who are thanking us for taking this stand. I knew that this would get the media’s attention, but I had no idea that this would mean so much to so many people. Even the Iraqi dock workers shut down their ports for two hours to say thanks for what we were doing. I would like to share all of these thanks from across the country and across the globe with everyone in Portland and Vancouver and surrounding towns who joined us and supported us in events throughout the day.

A BlueOregon piece Thursday had some mean-spirited posts about our members’ decision to make this statement to end the war and bring the troops home. I understand this is a place where people have different opinions, and I understand you have people you call “trolls” who just like to come here and cause trouble. Those people are everywhere, on the playground and on the Internet, and I try not to get caught up in it. I feel that it was time to do the right thing, and we did it.

We stood together as workers, but we also had our personal reasons to call for an end to this war.

The event actually managed to make the newspapers, unlike a lot of anti-war coverage.

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Double standards

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Common Dreams:

Two op-ed pieces on CommonDreams this morning are noting the outrageous double standard in the media, and in everyday people’s mind-set, that Rev Jeremiah Wright (and by proxy Barack Obama) is being held up to much harsher scrutiny for controversial statements he’s made from the pulpit than white preachers who have made even more outrageous statements.

First, Frank Rich with The All-White Elephant in the Room

BORED by those endless replays of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? If so, go directly to YouTube, search for “John Hagee Roman Church Hitler,” and be recharged by a fresh jolt of clerical jive.

What you’ll find is a white televangelist, the Rev. John Hagee, lecturing in front of an enormous diorama. Wielding a pointer, he pokes at the image of a woman with Pamela Anderson-sized breasts, her hand raising a golden chalice. The woman is “the Great Whore,” Mr. Hagee explains, and she is drinking “the blood of the Jewish people.” That’s because the Great Whore represents “the Roman Church,” which, in his view, has thirsted for Jewish blood throughout history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust.

Mr. Hagee is not a fringe kook but the pastor of a Texas megachurch. On Feb. 27, he stood with John McCain and endorsed him over the religious conservatives’ favorite, Mike Huckabee, who was then still in the race.

Are we really to believe that neither Mr. McCain nor his camp knew anything then about Mr. Hagee’s views? This particular YouTube video – far from the only one – was posted on Jan. 1, nearly two months before the Hagee-McCain press conference. Mr. Hagee appears on multiple religious networks, including twice daily on the largest, Trinity Broadcasting, which reaches 75 million homes. Any 12-year-old with a laptop could have vetted this preacher in 30 seconds, tops.

Since then, Mr. McCain has been shocked to learn that his clerical ally has made many other outrageous statements. Mr. Hagee, it’s true, did not blame the American government for concocting AIDS. But he did say that God created Hurricane Katrina to punish New Orleans for its sins, particularly a scheduled “homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came.”

Mr. Hagee didn’t make that claim in obscure circumstances, either. He broadcast it on one of America’s most widely heard radio programs, “Fresh Air” on NPR, back in September 2006. He reaffirmed it in a radio interview less than two weeks ago. Only after a reporter asked Mr. McCain about this Katrina homily on April 24 did the candidate brand it as “nonsense” and the preacher retract it.

Mr. McCain says he does not endorse any of Mr. Hagee’s calumnies, any more than Barack Obama endorses Mr. Wright’s. But those who try to give Mr. McCain a pass for his embrace of a problematic preacher have a thin case. Keep reading→

Next, Bill Moyers with Beware the Simplifiers

I once asked a reporter back from Vietnam, “Who’s telling the truth over there?” “Everyone, he said. “Everyone sees what’s happening through the lens of their own experience.” That’s how people see Jeremiah Wright. In my conversation with him on this broadcast a week ago and in his dramatic public appearances since, he revealed himself to be far more complex than the sound bites that propelled him onto the public stage. Over 2000 of you have written me about him, and your opinions vary widely. Some sting: “Jeremiah Wright is nothing more than a race-hustling, American hating radical,” one viewer wrote. A “nut case,” said another. Others were far more were sympathetic to him.

Many of you have asked for some rational explanation for Wright’s transition from reasonable conversation to shocking anger at the National Press Club. A psychologist might pull back some of the layers and see this complicated man more clearly, but I’m not a psychologist. Many black preachers I’ve known – scholarly, smart, and gentle in person – uncorked fire and brimstone in the pulpit. Of course I’ve known many white preachers like that, too.

But where I grew up in the south, before the civil rights movement, the pulpit was a safe place for black men to express anger for which they would have been punished anywhere else; a safe place for the fierce thunder of dignity denied, justice delayed. I think I would have been angry if my ancestors had been transported thousands of miles in the hellish hole of a slave ship, then sold at auction, humiliated, whipped, and lynched. Or if my great-great grandfather had been but three-fifths of a person in a constitution that proclaimed, “We the people.” Or if my own parents had been subjected to the racial vitriol of Jim Crow, Strom Thurmond, Bull Connor, and Jesse Helms. Even so, the anger of black preachers I’ve known and heard about and reported on was, for them, very personal and cathartic.

That’s not how Jeremiah Wright came across in those sound bites or in his defiant performances this week. What white America is hearing in his most inflammatory words is an attack on the America they cherish and that many of their sons have died for in battle forgetting that black Americans have fought and bled beside them, and that Wright himself has a record of honored service in the Navy. Hardly anyone took the “chickens come home to roost” remark to convey the message that intervention in the political battles of other nations is sure to bring retaliation in some form, which is not to justify the particular savagery of 9/11 but to understand that actions have consequences. Keep reading→

Racism runs deep in this country. Anyone who denies that has been living in a vacuum.

We could blame the CM (Corporate Media), but do we really expect anything from them anymore? They’re just in the business to make money, not to keep the people informed — unless keeping us informed on the latest bimbo starlet’s sixth trip to rehab is keeping us informed — so it’s up to US, the people, to keep ourselves informed.

Think about this, if you’re not convinced there is a double standard going on in this country. What if Barack Obama had made this statement?

“Rich people, god bless us. We deserve all the opportunities to make sure our country and our blessings continue to the next generation.”