Saturday, April 22, 2006

Republicans Cannot Lead Through Any Crisis.

After years of Republican rule in Illinois, one would think a reasonable, easy-to-understand law on gasoline price gouging would exist.


So why would anyone with an ounce of sense be content to hear Denny "J. Dennis" Hastert and President 33% talking tough about dealing "firmly" with the problem?

Don't buy it. Republicans have a history that dates back to Nixonian America of doing nothing about what you and I might call criminal activity. And the effect of the only thing a Republican president ever did about an oil crisis was when Nixon and Ford fucked it up even more by imposing price controls, which caused a wider panic.

The only Nixon to ever do anything about the problem is a Democratic Attorney General in Missouri. And he's going to town.

So how do we deal with the problem today with our Do-Nothing Leaders? How about lining some of these sons-of-bitches up in front of a fruit stand and letting the public take aim with some rotten apples and tomatoes? I mean the dealers themselves, not necessarily Do-Nothing Republicans.

Two years ago, I spotted an interesting trend. The difference on many days between the price of gasoline in Sandwich, Plano, Yorkville and Oswego was as much as 25 cents. There was no reason for it. None. So I started asking around after I noticed this happening over several weeks.

One station attendant said they would receive a fax that indicated the price change was required. This would often happen after the morning rush hour. Commuters would see as much as a 20 cent increase on the way home.

Other attendants would tell me that their price was simply reactive to the guy across the street.

And in Sandwich or Plano, where the prices were often 20 cents lower for days at a time, the dealers (sometimes the owners) would respond that the other guys were acting out of line. Keep in mind, however strong the hint, it was always short of saying the other guy was breaking the law.

Still, there were periods of several days at a time when prices in Kendall were higher than in Cook County, where there are considerably higher local taxes tacked on to each gallon.

But the really big trick occurred afterward, when after 1-4 days of seemingly maximizing their profits, dealers would -- almost in unison -- lower the price by 75-85 percent, leaving an increase of maybe 3-5 cents by the end of the week.

While interesting, this does not meet the standard for price gouging in Illinois. Why not?

Until this Executive Order was issued in 2004 by Gov. Blagojevich, there was quite literally nothing on the books to cause the Illinois Attorney General to act on suspicious price increases, unless prices were way out of line with a community- or area-wide, standard.

Remember that when you're casting your vote in November. Because Blagojevich, a Democrat, is the first governor of Illinois to do more than acknowledge the problem and give you lip service.

Look at what the AG in AZ says, for instance, where the AC is on all the time. Sorry for the alliteration.

So here's what you can do about it in Illinois.
• Keep your eyes peeled on 3 or 4 stations every time you drive past. You probably drive past these places twice or more a day if you drive to work. They're probably stations you don't buy from anyway, because their price is maybe higher than where you buy.

• Leave yourself voice notes on your phone each time, noting the location (the date and time is on your phone). When you get to your destination, transcribe the information and keep good records.

• When you see an unusual spike, then drop, like the ones I described, report it here.

This is bound to happen again this year, as it has the past two years, but don't count on anyone else to do something about it. It's your wallet: protect it the best you can.

And here's what Democrats can do elsewhere, where you have local Democratic representation that will actually act.
• Call or write your Democratic Governor, State Rep. or Senator, State Attorney General. Demand that they act at the state level, because it's clear the federal government will not.

• Demand that they subpoena Big Oil executives and hold hearings in every state capital where there's a Democrat in charge, and force those executives to explain every aspect of their business and the process of getting oil through the refinery and into your gas tank, and why billions in profits are acceptable in your state while people are beginning to pawn precious belongings to buy gasoline.

• Ask that oil executives bring experts to describe in great detail the "expensive" chemical mixture so mysterious and costly for drivers in ethanol-friendly states. (If you didn't know, this is utter bullshit: The tanker simply fills 80% under one terminal, then pulls up to another spigot to top off. That's your "expensive" 80-20 blending process.)

Chances are that this crisis will be with us for a long, long time as China begins to overshadow us in the world market. But having Democratic leaders act in unison -- at your request -- is something that can be pounded over the heads of the Republicans we'll be throwing out in the Fall. And hopefully for the next generation, who will surely bear the cost of this useless, reckless, all-Republican federal machine.


Anonymous said...

The key to beating Denny is not to attack him personally and not to allow him to be the franchise of the republican machine here in the 14th. The key is simple Democrats stand for thie party platform and republicans stand for thst. Instead what John Leasch and the progressive movement has given the republicans the moral high ground with there off the wall persona. Democrats have got have a better message. Living in Kendall County and following the primary as a democrat I only saw one campagin piece in the Newspaper that made any sense and that was the one paid for by the Central Committee advocating and encouraging people to please vote. I saw a campagin add for John Leasch was a nice full page add but it did not tell me why I should vote for him over Denny Hasert. I know John ran a primary but it seemed like he was ignoring is oppoment and he was already ready for November. There was no true debate and I as a democratic voter heard nothing and read nothing other that Dennis Hasert is Bad. In particular there was a letter to the editor where they called the congressmen a crook and in the next week Denny campagin came back at the author of the letter told The congressmen side and there was no reply from the democrats. During the primary there were no signs out promoting Democratic candiates. I saw nothing along the major road ways saw republican not Democratic. I went to one candiate meet and greet in Oswego it was like a high school pep rally where all these people were talking about how much change there was going to be. I was excited being new to the county I fiqured great finally some action. Then on election day and seeing the returns I thought wow allot of talk and not allot of action. I supported and voted for John because he promised change and sold me a bill of goods. I have every right to voice my opinion and to the new leadership I will be willing to particpate and will give the new officers and the committeemen the benefit of the doubt. However we had better pick it up change our tatics or in Novemebr the Democrats here will take a beating. So instead of telling everyone to get with the programn tell me what your plans are and the message of the party are so we do not repeat March. After all aren't democrats supposed to win or is it just a social club.

The Evil Reverend said...

The last election the democatic canidate with a real platform basically got his ass handed to him. The current canidate has no known platfrom, so perhaps he will do better?

The cold hard fact of the matter is that the only way to unseat a speaker of the house is to poor millions of dollars into a campaign supported by party insiders. If you don't belive me then just check your history.

Heavy D has millions in his defense fund. If this was a majority Democrat county then he would need to spend much of it. However he is in a vast majority Republican district and keeps getting re-elected by huge margins without spending more than chump-change.

If the local party and it's new ruling junta would just take a realistic look at where they are at, what is winnable and who they need to work with (NOT DALLAS OR HIS SON'S OPPONENTS!!!!) they would tell Mr Leasch to have a great campaign, try to raise some good issues, and then work their asses off to get Democrats elected locally. With so many races available it would be a shame to concentrate on only the unwinable races. Heavy D will reamin in office until he decides to retire, then Tom Cross will take over. That much is not open to change in the next 10 years. But since there is so many more opportunities for this Democratic Party there could still be hope.

I can only pray that the regressive council overthrows their innept leadership and actually works to getting something done.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of money in campaign war chests, have you seen Johnny's total? Pretty pathetic.