Consider this - advertisers in America will spend $233 billion to seduce you into buying stuff that you may or may not actually need. To put that particular pile of cash into perspective, it is equal to the combined Gross Domestic Products of Norway, Ireland and New Zealand. It is also equal to six times the federal budget for education, 90% of the Pentagon's budget and would build nine complete international space stations. And yet we are still the only industrialized nation without universal health care, the largest number of homeless, crumbling national infrastructure and on and on. Kind of sets you straight about our priorities, doesn't it? ( 1 )
Here is some very interesting information provided by Public Campaign that exposes many of the lies that have come out of the mouths of suits in the suites and which the conservative media would rather you not be aware of.
( 2 )
- Which direction California’s 1996 electricity deregulation law was supposed to make consumers’ costs go: down.
- Expected hike in residential electricity bills because of a temporary emergency rate increase approved by California’s Public Utilities Commission on January 4: 9%.1
- Number of times that the State of California has imposed rolling blackouts this month because electricity demand exceeded supply: 2.2
- After-tax profits since last May of California’s seven out-of-state power producers and marketers, which have hiked energy prices on the wholesale market: >$4.7 billion.3
- Amount Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and other California utilities have received since deregulation from California ratepayers to pay off their “stranded assets”-debts acquired from bad investments, largely in nuclear power plants: $20 billion.4
- Amount that Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s two largest utilities say they are in the red, because they can’t afford the high cost of wholesale energy: $12 billion.
- How much Southern California Edison and PG&E’s, parent and affiliated companies have spent on power plants, stock buybacks, and other purchases recently, despite complaints of near-bankruptcy: $22 billion.5
- Amount of campaign contributions distributed by PG&E and Southern California Edison in California races during the 2000 elections: $3.5 million.6
- Amount PG&E gave to Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks): $49,000.
- Amount that consumers would pay in surcharges to bail out the two utilities under a proposal by Hertzberg: up to $12 billion.7
- Hertzberg's position on campaign finance initiative, proposition 34, on the 2000 California ballot, criticized as a sham by campaign finance reform groups: support.
For just another instance of a loaded headline not quite explaining the reality in the rest of the article:
Under the headline "Research: Little Payoff From Spending on Energy", the truth is finally revealed sixteen pages later in a sidebar with pie charts that are titled "Return on Investment".
It shows that between 1949 and 1999, 59% of all R&D money spent by the federal government went to the nuclear industry with another 23% spent on fossil fuels. The chart shows that only 7% went towards energy efficiency and just 11% towards renewable resources.
The second pie chart shows that, in 1999, 80% of our power comes from fossil fuels and another 11% from nuclear. Clean power, hydro and renewable, accounts for a grand total of 9%.
So, by funding research into renewable energy to the tune of 9% and only 7% towards research looking into more efficient ways to save that power equals, in the writer's opinion, "little payoff". Perhaps, now that we see just how easily Corporate America can buy your government, we can also understand why so little interest the government has shown in creating a clean, renewable source of energy that doesn't entail drilling in the middle of a pristine wildlife reserve in Alaska or that produces waste that takes thousands and thousands of years to cease being fatal to everything it comes into contact with. If those research dollars were to be dedicated to creating and producing a form of energy that is cheap (if not outright free) and that does not harm our planet, then we would have it in just a matter of years. As I've recounted before, the Secretary of Energy under Carter stated that if he had been given the billions upon billions that was spent just preparing to murder Iraqis over oil, his department would have long ago made petroleum equal to a poor lubricant, at best.
Now, with President Chaney being the slave of the petroleum industry, want odds that there will be even a dime more for any industries save oil and nuclear? ( 3 )
Finally, speaking of energy, Congress is in the process of creating another pipeline from your pockets directly into the pockets of Corporate America and the suits in the suites.
By claiming that the funds will be used to assist the poor to pay their utility bills and calling it The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, they are simply taking funds from all taxpayers and handing them over to Corporate America in the form of Enron and SCE and PG&E ad every other greed inspired utility corporation.
Where are the cries of the whimpering Republicans who always cry "socialism" when taxpayer money is offered to the poorest among us and their children but without the strings tied to this money? Since this is simply a transfer of taxpayer money from the government to the utility corporations with a short but camouflaging stop over on the poor's utility bills, isn't this "socialism" as well?
Don't hold your breath for the Republicans to demand "reform" in this area, folks. This will keep the stock value up and the wealthy happy so Congress can pretend that they are being helpful when all they're doing is making the wealthy wealthier. ( 4 )
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