Trivia 1J

    Once again, we'll look at the stories and events that need to be reported but which, while important in and of themselves, they just don't rate an entire article.

    First up, our wee skuzz bucket of a House Majority Whip, one Tom DeLay, has "threatened" President Clinton with another shutdown of the federal government unless Clinton surrenders and signs whatever budget the Republican Congress sends him.  Completely forgetting whom the American public has blamed for such stupidity the last time the Republicans used this childish strategy, DeLay stated, "If he wants to shut down the government, that's his problem, not ours."

    Ignoring the actual details of the playground snit, which as a father I've learned is usually best, the actual result will be another historic event in the Republican's long list of absolutely insane public embarrassments.  Apparently, DeLay, who at his best isn't the brightest bulb on the old Christmas tree, can't figure out that the American people can see very clearly that any shutdown of the government has and will be just another monumental blunder by the Rabid Right.

    Frankly, if these imbeciles do go ahead and act on their threat, I predict that the 2002 election will see the complete take over of both houses of Congress by Democrats and Green Party candidates.  The Rabid Right can only survive in government by adding to their trivial numbers by tricking regular Americans into supporting them.  Another government shutdown will only expose the superficiality of their "causes" and they will be put back into Corporate America where all imbeciles seem to be drawn.  ( 1 )

    In another example of the government belonging completely to Corporate America, we now have the following as proof that you just don't matter.

    In the event that either you or I ever have the bad fortune to find ourselves or our property being used in the commission of a crime involving, in particular, drugs, whatever property was involved will be seized from you without any recourse to the courts and sold at auction with the proceeds being absorbed by whatever local/state/federal jurisdiction you have run afoul of.  

    We have already often spoke of the fishing boat that was seized in Oregon when a search instigated by an anonymous caller led to the discovery of a eighth of an inch long "marijuana roach" in a storage locker that was rusted shut.  We've spoken of the woman who lost her car and her job when her ex-husband was arrested for purchasing drugs while in the car.  We've spoken of the home in the Malibu Hills that was seized when marijuana plants were discovered growing just inside the property line after another anonymous call.  Obviously, I could go on and on with hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of just how badly the asset forfeiture laws have been abused by the zealots in law enforcement and your government.  When the government is allowed to take your property without due process of law either when it is taken nor when you try to regain it, then the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments to the Constitution become just background noise to the clamor for more power in the War On Americans Who Use The Wrong Drugs.

    Well, kiddies!  It's become very apparent that what is the best punishment for you and I when we run afoul of the law through the actions of our relatives or friends or tenants or employees isn't quite good enough for our good friends in Corporate America.  Having recently passed the so-called Foreign Drug Kingpin Designation Act (can't you just see those little pointy headed gnomes in Congress getting stinking drunk before thinking up such a Dick Tracy type of title for a law?), Corporate America is now aghast that their property in Congress would enact a law that would place their assets on the same level as the common rubble's assets.

    The basic gist of this law is that the US Treasury Department can freeze the U.S. assets of any foreign drug traffickers and penalize any company that does business with them.  This law even allows the Treasury Dept. to penalize companies that do business with the businesses that do business with designated "Drug Kingpins".  This is where Corporate America gets their panties all in an uproar.

    A five lawyer panel of lawyers (now that's not a pretty mental picture at all, is it?) have decided that these penalties are just too "harsh" and are recommending the law be changed, post haste.  As opposed to you and I, the panel says that Corporate America should have the right to appeal any penalties or seizures to an administrative appeals review system.  If Corporate America still doesn't like the decision at that level, they will be free to appeal that appeal through the federal court system.

    Now remember, boys and girls, if your property is seized there is absolutely no system through which you can appeal or even discuss that seizure let alone have any access to federal courts to regain your property.  But, hey!  That's fair, isn't it?  I mean, after all, how many Congressmen do you own, for crying out loud Pete's sake?

    What I find even odder about this situation, though, is that the ACLU supports these changes because, as Rachael King reports, "The main reason we opposed it from a civil liberties perspective was its eliminating judicial review."  Well, BOO HOO, Rachel!!!!!!  I'll be impressed when the ACLU finds a way to give me back my Constitutional rights, the ones taken from me slowly but surely, along with my access to a judicial review, in this insane War On Americans Who Use The Wrong Drugs!  Until then, maybe Corporate America needs to suffer right along with the rest of us who find it impossible to afford our very own Congressional lap dog! ( 2 )

    Finally we'll close with another little "Nyah!  Nyah!  I told you so!"  Gov. Gray Davis, California's answer to Clinton's "Run as a Democrat!  Rule as a Republican" system of government, has urged Californians to only turn their Xmas tree lights on after 7:30 pm when the peak power load drops off, and to keep their thermostats at 68 degrees and turn off computers and lights when not in use.  Why, you may ask, is this important?  Didn't deregulation follow through on its promise of more power at lower costs for all?  Ha Ha Hee Hee Ha Ha Hee Hee!!!!!!

    How about this little factoid?  To add insult to injury, Pacific Gas & Electric is estimating that their customers will pay an average of $77 for electricity this December as opposed to the $50 they paid just last year.  Gentle readers, that is a 65% increase in just one year!  Could someone, anyone, please explain to me just exactly what happened to all of those promised benefits that we consumers were supposed to be seeing in this "new era" of deregulation?

    To top it all off, hundreds of massive electricity using companies signed contracts for dirt cheap power in exchange for closing down whenever the system was close to maximum capacity, allowing residential customers to keep warm during these lean times.  Have you heard about the reality that they are outright refusing to comply with their own agreements?  I thought not!  That is exactly why the California Independent System Operator, the state agency that runs the electrical system for about 75% of the state, is now predicting rolling blackouts throughout the state should the weather get much colder this year.

    So, what we learned about deregulation in California?  We've learned that Corporate America picks and chooses which contracts it will deem to comply with, even if it means that real human beings have to suffer during the coldest part of the year.  We've also learned that deregulation means, as it always has, cheap power to Corporate America while you and I just have to find the money somewhere to pay the massive rate increases needed to cover that cheap power to Corporate America.  Finally, we've learned that Gray Davis is the best little Republican that the California Democratic Party had to offer.

    How very, very sick is all of that? ( 3 )

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