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High Time for Spine

Steve Ybarra: If Obama declared a national emergency based upon the oil prices and availability of fuel, we would immediately cut U.S. fuel use by 28%.

It is time for a little spine!

speed limit

Democracy is happening all over the Middle East. Mostly this is a good thing. However, I am old enough to remember Iran and the CIA debacle on that one; Chile with Allende also comes to mind. [Historically the USA does not do well with the concept of self-determination. If we did, Cuba would be a real partner with us rather than being treated endlessly like a pariah.]

So here is the question of the day - does the President have enough spine to declare a national emergency and order the speed limit down to 55 MPH (a refashioned victory speed)?

Here is the reason why this needs to be done today. Have you looked at the price of gasoline? We are on our way to six dollars a gallon. Even for people like me who get 44 mpg in my little Prius or 60 mpg on my motorcycle, this is not good news. [Victory speed during World War II was 35 mpg. Carter’s administration mandated a 55 mpg speed limit during the gas shortage in the 1970s. During those years, I can still remember my brother being in shock that a gas station was out of gas.]

What is the effect of 55 mph in the short term? If Obama declared a national emergency based upon the oil prices and availability of fuel, we would immediately cut U.S. fuel use by 28%. Then the demand side of the fiscal equation would better match our estimation of available fuel. Moreover, it would put the oil companies over a real barrel to explain why they are raising prices.

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I doubt that most of you get the concept that we are financing the war on terror on both sides of the war. If we cut the demand side the amount of U.S. money going to finance terrorism would also be cut. Cheney/Bush should have done this right after 9-11 but these are the same people who allowed the sale of semi-automatic weapons to drug dealers in Mexico.

Now the “Big O” can do the courageous thing and set the speed limit to 55 mpg. If he used his good communication skills to explain to all of us the reasons why this is necessary, America would accept the challenge to fight the war on terror from sea to sea which is ten years overdue. This strategy also makes it easier for U.S. acceptance of the concept of self-determination from each country, versus trying to push democracy down the throats of other countries at the end of a gun barrel. It is not necessary for America to force our government on others; all we really have to do is lead by example and be ready to accept the offers of friendship when this is offered. [Besides, if you really want democracy to spread all you have to do is open a McDonald’s and democracy will soon follow.]

So how about it America are you ready to help stop the killing by driving 55 mph? If you were willing, just perhaps, our kids, uncles, aunts, moms, and dads could come home and put their feet up on the couch again. And maybe, just maybe, some of them wouldn’t be so broken as to commit suicide.

Steve Ybarra

Come on America, call your Democratic office holder today and those Republicans who can still think and urge them to tell the President to declare the state of emergency.

Steve Ybarra

Steven J. Ybarra JD is a retired civil rights attorney who operates a consultant company in California. He is a member of the California Democratic State Party and is Chair of the Chicano Latino Caucus Voting Rights Committee and a long time political activist. Contact Steven at: This article is copyright by Steven J. Ybarra JD, originally published in WWW. but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this entire credit paragraph is attached.