Want another reason why I believe America is going downhill very, very quickly? In Westways, the official magazine for AAA, which bills itself as "Southern California's Lifestyle Magazine", a story regarding the high price of gas in California concluded that it was due nearly completely to environmentalists. How was that feat of mental magic arrived at? It's because the environmentalists are to blame for the legislation that required all gas stations to install double-lined storage tanks. Why, you ask, was that legislation passed? Because the old, rusty, single wall tanks were polluting the water supply of nearly every water system in the state, both public and private.
Why, then, were gas prices so much higher in California than in any other state in the nation, even states which were supplied by trucks carrying fuel from California ports? Wouldn't any business that desired to continue to supply gasoline to the public consider the upgrading of their storage facilities just a cost of doing business and absorb those costs rather than attempt to gouge their customers? In fact, there were many, many gas stations that had long ago installed those storage tanks and the price of their gas stayed well within the local norm. Why was the massive increase only seen just before the nation's schools closed for the summer? Could it be, I hesitate to suggest, that the oil monopolies were, once again, gouging the American people? Want to bet that, now with school back in session and driving miles decreasing dramatically, the prices will fall but only to about halfway between where they are now and where they were last May? (Don't take that bet. That is exactly what has happened in both of the last two years and, so far, oil's chattel in government have been able to keep anyone from actually looking into exactly why that is.)
Going back to the environmentalists, though, California has seen cleaner air for longer periods of time than in any summer period in decades. Does this magazine think that the oil companies and other air polluters decreased the amount of filth that they were pouring into our air just because they're such nice folks? Rhetorical question, that. (1)
In 1961, President Kennedy called a news conference to attack the big three American steel companies for raising the price of steel by $6 a ton. Stating that the move showed that they were in violation of the anti-monopoly laws of this nation in as much as all three had raised their prices the same day, he ordered the Justice Department to begin an immediate investigation which resulted in fines and public anger at the corporations and a reduction in that in the cost of steel to its former level.
In 1999, the price of gas in California rose nearly $.50 (fifty cents) within an two month period last spring. Gray Davis, called a news conference in which he promised to ask the legislature to investigate these huge increases and to ask for the Attorney General to indict any corporations found to have broken any laws.
Broken any laws? What more does he need? Has anyone heard another word about Davis' investigation? Has any legislative committee spent even one second investigating what can only be called the century's most obvious example of the complete monopoly of oil and the overt collusion of price fixing? Of course not. Instead, the state Legislature has simply refused to form any investigative committee, leaving the oil industry wealthier by billions of dollars and the rest of us poorer by that same amount. You'll notice, I hope, that not another word regarding either the billions defrauded from the state's citizens and visitors nor any word regarding any investigation has appeared anywhere but here. Welcome to Corporate America's version of Hell on Earth for the defenseless consumers of this nation.
Oh, for the good old days of courageous and not completely bought and sold politicians. (2)
Ever been curious about those "independent researchers" that companies use to bolster the company's claims about whatever topic they are currently emoting on? Ever been curious what might happen should one of those "independent researchers" discover something that the company wasn't all that happy about.
If you're David Kern, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University and you learn that the respiratory disorders that the employees of the textile mill who hired you are becoming ill due directly to the chemicals used in that company, you find yourself out of work at your university.
If you're Dr. Nancy Olivieri, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, and you learn that the drug you are studying causes major and dangerous side effects, you lose your funding and are threatened with a lawsuit if you reveal the information about those dangers to the patients using that drug.
These incidents signal the growing and truly alarming dangers that corporate sponsorship (read dollars donated) in our university system portends. Back before the Rabid Right cut billions of dollars in funding to our once great educational system, researchers were able to truthfully offer in-depth and factual information. Now that the Rabid Right has forced our educational system to kneel before Corporate America in hopes of some small pittance for research into only those areas that Corporate America finds acceptable, we will find ourselves gaining less and less true knowledge and more and more filthy lies that have been arrived at by "independent researchers" who know that the results of their research must match the desired conclusion of their sponsors or they will find themselves flipping burgers very, very quickly. The American people, again, lose while Corporate America pretends to care about knowledge and truth. (3)
The following quote just goes to show how far out of touch the entire Republican Party has become. Thomas Davis, GOP chairman of the committee whose responsible for getting more Republicans elected in 2000, "We're not the nerdy party anymore. We're the cool party". (4)
Okay, all of you. Quiet down! Laughter is appropriate but rolling around on the floor seems a bit much, don't you think?
Let's examine each statement separately, shall we?!? First, the Republican Party has never been considered the "nerdy party". The racist party, the exclusionary party, the party of doctor murderers, the party who loves guns and money far more than mere human lives, the party of David Duke and Pat Buchanon and Danny Quayle, the party who actually had a President who could claim that "Trees cause pollution", the party whose soul has been completely bought and sold by the wealthiest contributor, the party of the mean, spiteful, fat white scoundrels are all true! But nerdy? Never!
In so far as it being the "cool party", I think just the expression "cool" tells you more than you need to know. They're cool in the same way that Lawrence Russell Brewer, one of three men accused of murdering a black man in Wyoming by dragging him behind a pickup truck, leaving pieces of the victim spread out for two miles along the road, proclaimed himself "cool" when he bragged, "I'm the hero of the day!" The Republican Party is "cool" in the same way that the many web sites sprang up in support of the animals that beat Wyoming student Matthew Shepard to death for the crime of being gay in an overwhelmingly Rabid Right state was "cool". Finally, the Republican Party is as "cool" as the millions of children who have been thrown into even deeper poverty and hopelessness by the mean spirited and shameful "Welfare Reform".
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