8 06 2008

This month’s truth in strange places award goes to Lamar Alexander. Here’s what he wrote:

Dear Fellow Tennessean:
All of us know that Tennessee families are being hit hard by sky-high gasoline and diesel prices.
That’s why I fought to prevent a 53-cent gas tax hike that had been included in climate change legislation being debated in the U.S. Senate.  It is why I support legislation to explore now for more American oil and natural gas in a way that preserves the environment for future generations.  And it is why I proposed a new Manhattan Project that will put us on a path towards clean energy independence.
Yet day after day, gasoline prices get higher and higher without Congress taking any serious action.
So I am asking for your help.  I’d like to share your stories about the impact high gas prices are having on your lives, so my colleagues in the Senate can better understand how real people in Tennessee are coping with these escalating costs. Tennessee families cannot ignore rising gasoline prices, and your stories could help convince Washington lawmakers to stop ignoring this crisis.
If you’d be willing to share your story, please take a few minutes to send me an e-mail at with a paragraph or two about how your family is affected by gas prices.  Please include your name, address, and a phone number where my office can reach you if I have any questions.  I’ll share some of these stories on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
This year alone, the average American family will spend more than $200 a month on gasoline.  That’s about $50 more each month than last year, and for all the driving we do in Tennessee, everyone is feeling the pinch.
Congress should not be sitting on the sidelines while Tennesseans are paying the price at the pump, and I hope together we can spur some real action on this issue.
Thanks for your help.
Lamar Alexander
United States Senator
Now where, you might ask, is the truth in this hunk of spin?
The truth is, he truly asked for his constituents’ feedback. As far as I can tell, his riff about a 53-cent gas tax hike was total  baloney, and in any case cutting taxes that will fund research on alternatives to gasoline so we can afford more gasoline is about at the same level as selling the aluminum off the sides of your trailer so you can buy more crack, but he asked for feedback.  And I gave him some.  Here’s my reply:
you probably won’t get many letters like this one, but…

i think it’s really lame to cut gas taxes and push nuclear power…worse than lame, it’s “not in touch with reality”–which is how a lot of people in this country have been and still are, wanting gas prices to go down.  There are a lot of spoiled crybabies in this country who are starting to get what they paid for at this point in time.  it ain’t pretty and i wish it could be gentler, but this is how it is.

we have had some of the cheapest gas outside OPEC for a long time because we have not taxed it heavily as other countries did, that used the tax on gas to build public  transportation infrastructure (railroads) and pay for universal health care

now gas is getting as expensive as it should have been all along, and because we were indulgent when we should have been prudent, we are stuck with no public transportation (bye-bye, airlines!), no health care, a transportation system that we can no longer afford and will never be able to afford again, and a lot of very obsolete infrastructure–highways, airports, unwalkable suburbs, centralized shopping malls and schools, the list goes on…

the money that should have gone to improve this country was squandered in a stupid war in iraq that has made a few very rich people very richer and vastly impoverished the rest of us

and you want to act like you’re “our friend” for trying to  take a lousy fifty cents off the gas tax when we wouldn’t be in this mess if you had showed an inch of spine or an ounce of integrity earlier on

lame-ar, indeed.  i pity you, for all your wealth and privilege.

thanks for asking–i wouldn’t a told you if you hadn’t asked

martin holsinger
nashville, tennessee

Usually, when I write my Senators and Congressman, I am very polite.  I am, after all, asking them to do something.  But in this case, the roles were reversed, and the gloves could come off.  Not totally off, because I would have said “May God have mercy on your soul,” but I thought that  might scare the poor fascist, because that’s what they say to people before they execute them, sometimes, anyway, and those sicko paranoids in the US government might think I was threatening them.  I wish to state unequivocally that I mean no harm to Lamar Alexander or any of the other delusional types running the country.  I hope they soon realize the folly of their ways and live long, productive lives making up for the wrong they have done. Meanwhile, the Repugs have killed the Lieberman Warner climate bill–a mixed curse, considering how half-assed it was, but in the long run–hell, even in the short run–the longer we do nothing, the harder it will be to do anything.
So thanks again, Lamar, for asking me what I think.  It was a real pleasure to tell you.  Ask again any time.


31 01 2008

Greg Palast points out that the steep rise in gas prices is essentially a form of taxation.

Since taking office, Bush has doubled the federal debt to more than $5 trillion. And, according to US Treasury figures, on net, foreign investors have purchased close to 100% of that debt. That’s $3 trillion borrowed from the Saudis, the Chinese, the Japanese and others.

Now, Bush, our Debt Junkie-in-Chief, needs another fix. The US Treasury, Citibank, Merrill-Lynch and other financial desperadoes need another handout from Abdullah’s stash. Abdullah, in turn, gets this financial juice by pumping it out of our pockets at nearly $100 a barrel for his crude.

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