GW Bush

Bush is World"s #1 Terrorist

Friday, August 19, 2005

Gas prices hit record high thanks to Bush

Gas prices hit record high for tenth straight day

By John W. Schoen / MSNBC

With just a few weeks left in the summer driving season, consumers are wondering just what it will take to put the brake on gas prices. For the last ten days in a row, pump prices set new records. And with inventories of gas at a new five-year low, refiners are having trouble keeping up with demand.

Some drivers report they're beginning to look for other ways to get around. Michael Right, spokesman for the AAA in St. Louis, said a recent survey found that more than a third of its members have started looking for ways to cut back, including carpooling, bicycling or walking to work.

"We got comments back that said people were already taking some kind of action before we were even looking at $2.00 a gallon," Right said.

But those reported changes in driving habits haven’t cut overall demand. Americans have been burning through gasoline at a rate of 9.5 million barrels a day over the past month, up from 9.4 million this time last year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“We’ve been setting new record high gas prices since 2000, and consumption has continued to increase,” said AAA spokesman Geoff Sundstrom

Meanwhile, refiners have been coping with a series of unexpected outages, which has cut gasoline output. Last week, U.S. refineries operated at 93.5 percent of capacity, down from 95 percent the week before, according to Jacques Rousseau, an industry analyst at Friedman, Billings Ramsey in Houston.

With demand rising and supplies tight, prices continue to push higher. Pump prices soared to a record $2.586 per gallon nationwide Thursday, according to the AAA fuel gauge report, and some areas already are seeing prices at or above $3 a gallon.

"It's disgusting," said Kui Gonsalves, who paid $3.03 per gallon to fill his Toyota on Tuesday morning in Makawao, Hawaii.

But Hawaiian motorists, who pay the highest prices in the U.S., may get some relief as the state becomes the first in the nation to put a price cap on gasoline. The new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, allows the state Public Utilities Commission to set a maximum wholesale price for gasoline in Hawaii, based on the weekly average of spot prices in Los Angeles, New York and the U.S. Gulf Coast. The law would not put a cap on retail prices.

Relief in sight?
Analysts say they expect gasoline demand to begin its normal seasonal decline after Labor Day, when the summer driving season winds down.

“I think that barring some unforeseen geo-political catastrophe affecting oil supplies, then the stage ought to be set for prices to come down once we get to the fall winter period,” said Sundstrom.

Record pump prices don’t seem to be having much impact on new car buyers

In Southfield, Mich., Dave Pongratz picked up a new Hummer H3 on Wednesday as a surprise gift to his wife, Sandy, an avid camper and kayaker who wants a safe vehicle with good towing capacity. Pongratz said he'd rather go to fewer restaurants than buy a vehicle with higher fuel economy that the H3, which gets about 16 miles per gallon in the city.

"Everybody decides, 'What do I want to trade for what I want to do?'" said Pongratz, a plant foreman for General Motors Corp., which makes the Hummer.

Kevin McCormick, a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group, said the company isn't seeing a sales slowdown in any segment, including its popular pickup trucks. Toyota Motor Corp. also said gas prices don't seem to be affecting sales.

Though American drivers are feeling pinched, consumers in some parts of the world would consider U.S. gasoline cheap. Thanks to heavy taxes, European drivers pay much more. In Norway, prices recently toped $7 a gallon. Taxes can make up more than two-thirds of the pump price in some European countries.

But drivers in some Asian and Middle Eastern countries get off easier at the pump -- thanks to heavy government subsidies that keep gasoline below world market prices. In Iraq, where you’ll find the world's cheapest gasoline, you can top off for as little as 5 cents a gallon, according to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund. Last year, the Iraqi government spent some $3 billion on gasoline subsidies, an expenditure the IMF says threatens the country’s fragile Iraqi economy.

Other countries that subsidize gasoline have gradually begun lifting prices. China raised prices by 4.5 percent in June to $1.63 a gallon. India also raised retail gasoline and diesel prices in June, the first increase since last November.

In the U.S., higher gasoline prices have begun to weigh on the economy. On Thursday, a widely-watched gauge of future economic activity rose a just 0.1 percent in July, a sign that higher oil prices are beginning to hurt the economy's growth prospects. On Wednesday, the government reported that wholesale inflation in July took its biggest leap in nine months in July, due in part to the hit consumers are taking at the pumps.

Shoppers hit with high gas prices are apparently beginning to cut back elsewhere in their family budgets. Earlier this week, Wal-Mart its second-quarter revenues fell short of forecasts and the retail giant put part of the blame on higher gasoline prices cutting into its customers spending power. Wal-Mart also warned that earnings for the third quarter would be below analysts’ forecasts.

“I worry about the effect of higher oil prices,” said Wal-Mart chief executive Lee Scott.

Winter chill?
And while gasoline prices may ease up a bit when summer demand cools, many homeowners face sharply higher home heating bills this winter. Natural gas prices have nearly doubled -- wholesale prices jumped to $9.73 per million btus this week, up from $5.13 this time a year ago while heating oil prices jumped nearly 19 cents to $1.88 a gallon, up 69 cents from a year ago.

That big jump is making it tough for heating oil dealers to lock in winter contracts with their customers. Most dealers begin offering a fixed price through the winter, but the recent run-up has made it difficult to predict where prices will be six months from now. Customers who lock in now risk seeing prices pullback, and paying more than they should.

"It's a horrible year. It's ridiculous," said Ron Trinks, who with his wife, Dee, runs Trinks Brothers Oil in South Windsor, Conn.

A lot depends on how cold the weather is this winter. Heating oil inventories are in pretty good shape for this time of year, according to Energy Department figures. But a prolonged cold snap could stretch supplies, touching off further price rises this winter.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Bloglines | My Feeds

WE ARE INSULTED when people like Bush say that America has to 'stay the course' in Iraq to 'honor our children's sacrifices.'
Not one more drop of blood should be shed for the lies and deceptions."
- Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04

You owe her an explanation, Mr. President.

Our mission is to persuade President Bush to meet with Cindy Sheehan and answer her questions about why the war that took her son's life was started and why it is being continued.
Come to Crawford

We need your support. There is power in numbers. Join us in Crawford now!

Crawford Peace House

Directions to get here.
Help Others

If you can't come to Crawford, please contribute to a fund to cover the costs of assisting others with their travel and their stay in Crawford. For details, contact the Crawford Peace House.
Contact the Media

Ask the media to cover Cindy Sheehan's request to meet with the President, and to cover the contrast between pre-war claims for why war was needed and current knowledge of what the facts were known to be.
Call the White House

Call the White House and ask the staff there to contact the President on his ranch and ask him to meet with Cindy Sheehan.

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
Contact Congress

Sen. George Allen (Republican, Va.) has publicly encouraged the President to meet with Cindy Sheehan. Has your Congress Member and each of your Senators done so?
Ask them to!

A Nation Rocked to sleep

by Carly Sheehan
Sister Casey KIA 04/04/04
Sadr City Baghdad

Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done
They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?

Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies
The only grief he allows himself are long, deep sighs
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?

Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave
But I believe he died because they had oil to save
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?

Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be so deep
But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep

Bush gets first look at anti-war protest near ranch

Bloglines | My Feeds

August 12th, 2005 1:59 pm
Bush gets first look at anti-war protest near ranch

By Patricia Wilson / Reuters

CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush got his first look at an anti-war vigil near his ranch on Friday as his motorcade took him by the protest site lined with small white crosses representing fallen American soldiers in Iraq.

When Bush's black sport utility vehicle carried him past the site to a Republican fund-raiser, the protest leader, Cindy Sheehan, whose son was one of the nearly 1,850 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, held up a sign that said: "Why do you make time for donors and not for me?"

Other signs said: "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam" and "Bring Them Home Now." Some protesters held up white crosses as well.

The protest vigil began last Saturday and is being led by Sheehan, who has been demanding a meeting with Bush to discuss her opposition to the Iraq war.

Two rows of police officers faced the estimated 50 roadside protesters as Bush's 15-vehicle motorcade cruised by without slowing down.

He was headed to Stan and Kathy Hickey's Broken Spoke Ranch for a barbecue and ribs lunch to raise more than $2 million for the Republican National Committee. The 230 people attending were among the party's biggest donors.

Hundreds of small white crosses had been erected along the side of Prairie Chapel Road, each hand-painted with the name of a fallen soldier.

Sheehan's son, Casey, was killed in combat in Iraq in April 2004 and she met with Bush in June 2004, but she wants another meeting. The White House has refused.

With Americans increasingly questioning the U.S. involvement in Iraq, Bush tried to address Sheehan's concerns on Thursday.

"Listen, I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan," Bush told reporters. "She feels strongly about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America."

He said he has thought "long and hard" about her demand to "get out of Iraq now" and strongly disagreed, saying a premature withdrawal would betray the Iraqis just as they are being trained to defend themselves and allow for a U.S. pullout.

Sheehan's group, Gold Star Families for Peace, released a protest ad that the organization said would run on cable television channels near Bush's ranch during August.

"Mr. President, I want to tell you face to face how much this hurts. I love my country, but how many more of our loved ones need to die in this senseless war? How many more soldiers have to die before we say enough?" she said in the ad.

The total ad buy was put at $15,000