Category Archives: Current Events

For Better or Worse

trumpwins110916

In late 2006, ten years ago, I started reading an abridged (317 pages) version of Democracy in America, the classic work by French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville.  It took several years to finish it, but I noted de Tocqueville’s observations and my reactions along the way.  Below are my comments at that time, along with my retrospective on the 2016 election and its implications so far.

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA – ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE – 1832

             Democracy in America, the much quoted tome by French aristocrat and dilettante Alexis de Tocqueville, was written after a nine-month tour of the United States in 1831-2.  This 317-paged abridged version was edited by Richard D. Heffner, who wrote the introduction.  It was published in 1956.

Even in 1831, apparently, de Tocqueville recognized attitudes that have led to today’s problems in America, such as the driving greed of all layers of society, and the work-driven ethic.  At that time, class distinctions weren’t so clear, but this is shifting, and the oligarchy today consists in large part of so-called “public servants” who have commandeered public property and cordon it off against the public.

De Tocqueville also astutely observes that a comfortable populace will not revolt.  He didn’t anticipate they would not work, either, if the government makes life too comfortable, as is presumably happening now.

It bugs me that he calls this “democracy,” but I suppose it’s the closest form anyone in recent history has known.

De Tocqueville is optimistic and extremely perceptive, recognizing trends that have become so pronounced now that they are almost pathological, as the preoccupation with material things, for instance.

He was struck even then with the American love for money.  He did not see then the gradual centralization of power, but we didn’t have a democracy, either.  Slaves, Native Americans, and women were irrelevant in the political paradigms.

De Tocqueville’s observations provide perspective on America’s early ideals.  They show to some extent where we went awry.

He distinguishes, for one thing, between centralized government and centralized administration.  He says we have the former but an absence of the latter.

No more, I claim.  De Tocqueville wondered about the wisdom of the arrangement.  He said centralized administration saps initiative from local communities.

THEN AND NOW

            Democracy in America points to US priorities in the 1830s, and they are becoming ever more obvious today.  The fixation on material wealth and status stand out.  The idea that we have centralized government, and now centralized administration, too, seem particularly relevant with the president-elect’s cabinet and administrative picks.

I was one of those who stood aside during this 2016 election year, a part of the process by default but as removed as I could get.  My general belief is it doesn’t matter who the president is.  The machinery of government grinds on as if leaderless and, according to me, has been cruising downhill throughout my life.  That the pace has picked up recently, since the tech explosion, perhaps, or since 9/11, has less to do with the presidency than with general mass awareness and passive collusion with hitherto unseen forces.

Blame social media, “fake news,” the widespread sense of betrayal, and the general—albeit semi-conscious—preoccupation with money and status at all levels of society.  Blame the dissolving faith that government has answers, the disillusionment with delegated power and authority.  Passive aggression and passive resistance make for a general sense of social malaise that leads to personal and social stagnation.  What is left?

I’d like to believe we are undergoing a revolution in consciousness, a period of confusion in which we re-assess what we have believed and whether it remains valid. We are all—all of humanity and other life and non-life–in this stew pot together, for better or worse.  The fortune tellers on the payroll are busy trying to predict what disasters a Trump administration can wreak.  Even his supporters seem disgruntled over his choices of advisors and cabinet heads.

I say we got what we deserved, for better or worse, and, in retrospect it seems we have been heading along this path at least since de Tocqueville visited in 1831.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fake News and George Orwell’s 1984

There’s a lot written lately about “fake news,” the widespread dissemination of misinformation.  This is nothing new.  Fake news has been around at least as long as gossip and probably longer.  No one can know more than her own perspective, and to presume otherwise leads to trouble.

Seven years ago, I re-read George Orwell’s classic dystopic novel, 1984, published in 1949.  In this book, history was deliberately re-written on a regular basis by the Party of the infamous Big Brother.

1984 opens with protagonist Winston Smith going home at lunch to write in the secret diary he bought on the black market.  He works at the Ministry of Truth falsifying old news accounts.

Author George Orwell gets right to the point and packs the desolation of the times into the first few pages, describing the old, worn apartment building Winston lives in, Victory Mansions, with elevator that rarely works, the smell of boiled cabbage, the leaky roof, suspicious, deadened people.  We hear about Hate Week and Two Minutes Hate being a part of the daily routine.

The telescreen in his living room transmits both ways, and you can’t turn it off.  Smith lives in the world of the eternal present, in which the past is continually re-written  People disappear, and all record of them expunged.  There is perpetual war.  Smith lives in Oceania, which is currently at war with Eurasia and at peace with Eastasia, but despite obliterated history, Winston remembers only four years ago, Eastasia was the enemy and Eurasia the friend.

Posters, stamps, coins, cigarettes and myriad other things bear Big Brother’s face and the ominous “Big Brother is watching you.”  We have Thought Police.  We have the party’s slogans:  “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.”  News is so disconnected from what’s really happening that it is a farce, yet no one remembers clearly whether things have ever been different.

Language defines thought, and 1984 speaks to this more succinctly than anything I’ve ever read.  The point of Newspeak was to reduce the number of words, to constrict thought, render it homogeneous and controllable.

Midway through the novel, Smith is having an affair with Julia, a Party member who passed him a note saying “I love you,” when she fell in the hall and he helped her up.  She is 15 years his junior and content to live a double life of hating the Party while pretending to be a model member.  She is purely sensual, uninterested in politics except as it affects her life.  She believes war is frustrated sexual desire and that sexually satisfied people have no need or desire to fight.  This, she says, is why the Party outlaws it except between husband and wife, and only for the purpose of having children, and providing no one enjoys it.

Winston knows from the beginning he is doomed, just doesn’t know when his time will come.  Every move is watched, every facial expression, every sound transmitted over the telescreen.  Solitude is suspicious, as is unaccounted-for time.

Smith eventually takes Julia to meet with O’Brien, an inner party member he believes is a member of a subversive organization, the Brotherhood.  This organization is reputed to be headed by an Emanuel Goldstein, the demonized “Enemy of the People.”  O’Brian says he is indeed a member of the Brotherhood and enlists Winston’s participation, exacting promises to do whatever is necessary, on command, without asking questions, and expecting no rewards or acknowledgement.

 

Smith loses my allegiance when he says he is willing to abase himself to defeat Big Brother.  He dehumanizes himself with that commitment, and becomes no better than those he condemns.  He is willing to trade one overlord for another, perpetuating the cycle.

After meeting with O’Brien, Winston gets the forbidden Goldstein book and begins to read it, but he is then arrested in his hideaway just before reading the “Why?” of the party’s obsession.

The rest of the book is about Winston’s capture, imprisonment, torture, and re-education by O’Brien.  O’Brien says the party decides what reality is, and a lone individual like O’Brien cannot contest it.  The party is immortal.  He says the party did not make the mistake of previous dictatorships, (thereby admitting a past before the Party):  socialist governments that pretended to claim power merely long enough to establish justice and equality.  No.  The party wants power for its own sake, and it wants to use that power to crush all individuality and potential resistance. But even Winston Smith, during his interrogation, protests that such a brutal power structure as O’Brien describes could not sustain itself and would self-destruct.

In the end, of course, when O’Brien threatens to put a rat cage over Winston’s face, he commits the ultimate betrayal:  he begs to have them sick the rats on Julia, instead.

And, of course, the final two sentences—which I’ve remembered for 30 years, verbatim:  “He had won the victory over himself.  He loved Big Brother.”

Although George Orwell is uncannily prescient in some of his observations, like the muddying of language, the telescreen, and the homogenization of individuals into a mass mind where individuality is a crime, he cannot account for factors that make totalitarianism unsustainable.  We are now seeing the disintegration of the power structure that bleeds individuals to support itself.  It boils down to the simple fact that armed or violent resistance only reinforces the power structure, but non-participation and withdrawal deplete it.  Orwell is looking at an urban population dependent on infrastructure and easily controlled supply chains.

Also, while Orwell claims history is being wiped out by revisions in books, statues, streets, churches, and newspapers, he overlooks the fact that the dilapidated architecture itself bespeaks a more competent society, because those buildings were once new, with roofs and plumbing in good working order.

Orwell also deprives his characters of any curiosity outside politics or basic amenities.  In his first rendez-vous with Julia in the country, Winston is transfixed by the song of a thrush.  There is no other evidence of anyone doing anything useful, and the appreciation for the bird is an exception.

The characterization of perpetual war merely for the purpose of destroying excessive production, the three entities perpetually at odds with each other, the control of people by controlling their minds, is uncanny.  There’s a reference to 1914 as the turning point in history.

Doublethink, the ability to hold two mutually exclusive views at the same time and believe them both, is crucial.

 

But men have always thought in terms of violent revolutions that are manipulated simply to switch one power elite for another.  They do not recognize that these systems disintegrate from within because those in power can’t trust each other.  I believe the violence comes later, once people see how weak the structure has become.

I say you control by controlling the food and water supplies, and the product lines, a much more fundamental and practical method, if power is your aim.  Of course the power brokers know that, and all this talk about controlling minds is intellectual camouflage.  It’s hard to imagine Big Brother having much power in a rural area where people have more resources at their disposal.

George Orwell, pen name for Eric Arthur Blair, died a year after 1984 was published, at the age of 46.  He had lived through both world wars, the Depression, and had lived in poverty through much of his adult life.  He foresaw much of what is happening now, and he was discouraged about the future of mankind.  But in the final analysis, 1984 is a masterpiece of tight prose, excellent descriptions, good character development, and interesting plot, well worth reading.

Revive Passenger Rail

traintraincommi20896November 11, 2016

Now that we have a Republican president-elect, one who some say will support infrastructure re-building, I’d like to put in my bid for passenger rail.  This is not a new issue for me.  In fact, I wrote President George Bush a letter about it in December, 2005, posted it on my now-defunct website, and sent copies by snail-mail to multiple players on House and Senate committees.

As I see it, the primary reason passenger rail has given way to the private automobile is that the roads and highways are under the public domain and maintained by various Departments of Transportation, but the rail lines are owned by private corporations, like CSX, Norfolk-Southern, and Western Pacific.

President-elect Trump has indicated he wants to expand eminent domain, but no one has suggested eminent domain should be used to acquire corporate land, especially land that holds such a nationally valuable asset such as rail infrastructure.

For a little background on this particular subject, I’m posting below the un-edited letter I wrote to President Bush in 2005.  I have not followed Amtrak since but still believe the passenger rail system deserves careful consideration in light of the energy crisis, global warming, oil pipelines, fracking, automobile congestion, traffic fatalities and and other unhealthy and energy inefficient practices that we have inherited.

 

December, 2005

All Aboard for
DAVID GUNN
 former CEO of Amtrak

A Voter-Citizen-Taxpayer  Apology  For the way he was treated by
the United States Government

George W. Bush
Chief Executive Officer, USA Corporation
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear George:

The jig is up, Prez.  The plutocracy can no longer hide the garbage it has dumped in our laps, and the “oil crisis” is the pivot point. This latest ploy to churn public assets into private friends’ hands is the last straw.  Let’s compute taxpayer costs of the artificially created markets, fake wars, price supports, subsidies, duties, tariffs, and taxes, at every step of the exploration-to-drilling-to-gas pump vampirism.  Let’s add up the costs to voter-taxpayer-citizens of US government spending to assist US corporations engaged in domestic and foreign oil exploitation, and all the political “friends” who are selling war machines to every country with the money to pay for them . . . and then explain why you want to starve the US public transportation system.

Yes, I am talking about Amtrak. I last traveled Amtrak in May, 2004.  When was the last time you did?  Even though the House last week has tentatively approved $1.315 billion for Amtrak, your original budget provided no money for passenger rail service.  Meanwhile, Amtrak ridership has grown for three straight years, reaching 25,374,998 in FY 2005.

I learned a lot on my Amtrak trip.  Bureaucratic red tape delayed my Silver Star five hours.  I know, because I spent that time shooting the breeze with off-duty conductors and engineers.  They told me how much they respected David Gunn.  They said he’d made a monumental effort to locate un-catalogued warehouses full of parts, supplies, tools, and other equipment that had been lost for decades.  By indexing these supplies, he made it easier for Amtrak employees to find the items necessary to fix problems quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively.  They said Amtrak employees at all levels of the system respected and liked him.  Their attitudes showed it.

You might understand why I was horrified to learn the Amtrak Board Chairman David Laney, Esquire fired Mr. Gunn November 9.  It doesn’t make sense to this aging Boomer, who believes I’m more competent to provide for my future than you are. How, in this “oil crisis” can you justify disabling the most efficient and time-tested use of transportation energy ever devised?

Are you crazy?  I must be crazy to subsidize this incompetence.  So I work and spend as little as possible, to reduce my taxes legally.  The best things in life really are free, so far. Meanwhile, this is how I vote my tax dollars:

DEFENSE – 0%
AMTRAK- 100% of my tax dollars for the rest of your term
(except for 2005, which I’ve already promised to West Central Psychiatric Hospital in Columbus, GA)

One citizen = one vote

Here’s what we need to do.  Eminent domain all the intercity train tracks back.  Passengers have priority over freight, because the passengers pay the taxes and buy the freight.  If the United States Supreme Court can take Susette Kelo’s neighborhood for Pfizer Corporation, the US government can nationalize the rail lines and maintain them as part of the transportation grid.  Link them to the interstate highway system under the Department of Transportation’s maintenance budget, and voila, Amtrak begins to look a lot more attractive.

This cost-saving move will liberate Amtrak to run a user-friendly railroad passenger and freight service. First, we fire the idiots who are quibbling about food cars.  Can’t the US government make a profit on a food monopoly in a hungry, captive, market, with money to spend, on a long distance trip?  Lease me a franchise food car on any Amtrak train, and I’ll show you how.

Better still, lease me a franchise cyber café car with a liquor license.  Think you could pull some strings and get me one of those?  Solar panels on the roof, and an outdoor smoking patio at the back of the car?  Did you know the government gets $3.50 for every legal fifth of liquor sold?  And the tax on cigarettes was 76 cents a pack, last time I checked.  It stimulates the economy to encourage these vices.  Why fight it?  If you want to privatize government, let’s do it in style.

As for Express Trak Freight . . . Do UPS and FedEx pay you to lose money?  They’re getting good value for their shareholders.  I wish the CEO of the USA Corporation could claim as much.

I believe the USA has the worst public transportation system in the world, but I haven’t been everywhere you’ve been.  Tell me, does anybody have worse public transportation than us? Not counting Iraq?  I’d love to see some pictures.  Remember, I pay your travel expenses, but you don’t pay mine.  I stay home, monitor the domestic front, and write letters.  Lots of them, as you probably know.

So George, ask DOT Secretary Mineta to look into that fancy Japanese railroad technology, but make sure he understands we don’t want the equipment unless they teach us how to install and service it.  The technology is worthless if you don’t have local skilled labor to keep it running right.  Besides, if China blows Japan out of the water, we lose if we can’t maintain our own stuff.

This way, we could bring soldiers home and put them to work on the transportation infrastructure. Same salary and benefits.  Help local communities upgrade local systems, so people who can’t afford cars can still work.  I’d support that taxpayer expense.  Help them help themselves, and all that.  Teach a man to fish.

Speaking of the Department of Transportation, what is that $1.1 billion federal grant to Georgia’s DOT for?  Our local legislators plead ignorance.  Is it to promote this Interstate 3 idea between Savannah, Augusta, and Knoxville, Tennessee?   I hear you want to cut a wide swath with barricades at eye level along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.   I can understand why you’ve kept this funding bonanza quiet.  It appears you don’t want Americans to know how you’re spending our money here.  We live here, George.  We have a right to know.

Now, if you want to allocate that $1.1 billion to reviving the Nancy Hanks passenger train between Savannah, Macon, and Atlanta, I’ll be happy to help, if you’ll  re-hire David Gunn.  I would eagerly support that taxpayer expense.  Mention it to Governor Sonny Perdue, if you think it’s a good idea.  I write letters to him, too.

You and I begin to speak the same language if you talk about an environmentally friendly passenger trains through our lovely country.  Train travel takes us beyond media hype, to the America that exists in three dimensions.

Next question.  I’ve been doing research on the National Rail Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) Board of Directors.  Let’s see if I have this straight.  The board is supposed to have seven members, but it only has four.  As a member of your Cabinet, DOT Secretary Norman Y. Mineta holds one seat.  Of the three remaining members, all are Bush appointees, but only one of them has been confirmed by the Senate.  This gentleman is David M. Laney, Esq., Chairman of the National Rail Passenger Corporation Board of Directors and the man who fired Amtrak CEO David Gunn on November 9, 2005. The other two members, Enrique Sosa (announced April, 2004), and Floyd Hall (announced August, 2004), were recess appointments and were never confirmed by the Senate.  Not only that, but their terms are due to expire this month.

Of course everyone questions whether Mr. Gunn’s firing was legal, a point raised by Transportation & Infrastructure RR Subcommittee Chair Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and echoed by others.  What, exactly do the NRPC’s by-laws say about this?  We need to clarify them so this doesn’t happen again.  In fact, I believe the NRPC should be scrapped, and the Department of Transportation should embrace Amtrak under its protective funding umbrella.  This would elevate passenger rail to the same status as the private automobile and dramatically reduce our perceived dependence on foreign oil.

In any case, George, which member of the current board represents any opinion but yours?  And who gave David Laney that $100,000 for your election campaign?  What do these mysterious benefactors say about Amtrak?

I longer feel obligated to put up with this.  As government costs more and more to do less and less, I begin to wonder what I need government for. Not just you, George, but the entire federal government, including the Legislature and the Supreme Court.  Especially the Supreme Court, after the Kelo decision, but I can deal with only one problem at a time, since don’t get paid for this and have to make my time count.

You made a big mistake firing Mr. Gunn.  He came out of retirement to work for you in May, 2002, so what changed?  Makes you look awfully wishy-washy. I vote for you to offer him an apology and a raise, and beg him to come back.

That he had to fight the US government to protect the US public transportation system was a pathetic waste of his talent.  Government isn’t supposed to make a profit.  That’s why it extorts taxes to support inherently unprofitable services.  Like the presidency, for instance.

This taxpayer wants someone who can get the job done right, on time, with a minimum of hassle. How much does he need?  Give it to him, Prez, then get out of the way. That’s my vote.

Government has a public obligation to insure good value for our taxpayer money.  Its primary responsibility is to pay for the infrastructure that ensures a smoothly functioning society.  By doing this, it shifts larger costs to the larger group, which maintains the balance by using the services.  This makes it easier for individuals and businesses to profit from genuine free-market capitalism in a social context.

Sincerely,
Katharine C. Otto, MD
President, Chair, and CEO
Psychiatrists for Sanity
(and so far, the only member)

cc:

David Gunn
Former CEO of Amtrak
Wherever You Are

National Association of Railroad Passengers
(NARP) www.narprail.org
Another great source

David H. Laney, Esq.
Chairman of the Board
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
60 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Washington DC  20002

Secretary Norman Y. Mineta
US Dept of Transportation
400 7th Street, SW
Washington DC  20590

US Rep Don Young (R-AK), Chairman
Transportation & Infrastructure
2111 Rayburn HOB
Washington DC  20515
Phone:  202-225-5765
Fax:  202-225-0425

US Rep Steven LaTourette (R-OH)
Transportation & Infrastructure
RR Subcommittee Chair
2453 Rayburn HOB
Washington DC  20515
Phone:  202-225-5731

US Sen Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
416 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington DC  20510
202-224-3521

US Sen Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
120 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington DC  20510
202-224-3643

US Sen John McCain (R-AZ)
Commerce, Science & Transportation
241 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington DC  20510
Phone:  202-224-2235

US Rep Jack Kingston (R-GA)
2242 Rayburn HOB
Washington DC  20515
Phone:  202-225-5831
Fax:  202-226-2269
Savannah office:
1 Diamond Causeway, Ste 7, 31406
Phone:  912-352-0101

US Rep John Barrow (R-GA)
226 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC  20515
Phone:  202-225-2823
Savannah office:
400 Mall Blvd, Ste G, 31406
912-354-7282

US Rep Charlie Norwood (R-GA)
2452 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC  20515
202-225-4101

 

Friends of Amtrak  www.trainweb.org/crocon
A great resource for Amtrak information

US Rep Corrine Brown (D-FL-JAX)*
Transportation & Infrastructure
Ranking Member of RR Subcommittee
2444 Rayburn HOB
Washington DC  20515
202-255-0123
Fax:  202-225-2256

US Rep Joe Schwartz, MD (D-MI)
128 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC  20515
202-225-6276
Fax:  202-225-2681

US Sen Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Commerce, Science & Transportation
324 Hart Senate Bldg
Washington DC  20510
Phone:  202-224-3224
Fax:  202-228-4054

US Sen Trent Lott (R-MS), Member
Commerce, Science & Transportation
487 Russell Senate Bldg
Washington, DC  20510
Phone:  202-224-6253
Fax:  202-224-2262

US Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
187 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg
Washington DC  20510
202-224-2644

US Rep Mike Castle (R-DE)
1233 Longworth HOB
Washington DC  20515
202-225-4165

US Rep James Oberstar (D-MN)
2365 Rayburn HOB
Washington DC  20515
202-225-6211

US Rep Lynn A. Westmoreland (R-GA)
Transportation & Infrastructure
1118 Longworth HOB
Washington DC  20515
Phone:  202-225-5901
Fax:  202-225-2515

Justice Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street NE
Washington DC  20543
202-479-3211

Justice John Paul Stevens
Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street NE
Washington DC  20543
202-479-3211

Harold Linnenkohl, Commissioner
GA Dept of Transportation (GDOT)
2 Capitol Square SW, Room 102
Atlanta, GA  30334
404-656-5206
Fax:  404-657-8389

*Our sister to the south, US Representative Corrine Brown (D-FL-JAX), is the ranking Democratic member of the Railroad Subcommittee of Transportation & Infrastructure.  She is also a strong Amtrak advocate and supporter of re-hiring David Gunn.  See her press release at http://www.house.gov/corrinebrown/press109/pr051109.htm.

On November 9, 27 members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure sent a letter to Mr. Laney, expressing their “outrage” at David Gunn’s  dismissal.

Voter-citizen-taxpayers who support apologizing to Mr. Gunn, offering him a raise, and guaranteeing him as much money as he needs to get the job done right, please send a train to the Prez.  I don’t believe he’s ever had one.

President George W. Bush

United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone:  202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
e-mail:  comments@whitehouse.gov
Congressional switchboard:  1-202-224-3121
Senators:  www.senate.gov
Representatives:  www.house.gov
A public service initiative courtesy of  www.mhconnections.com

trainrrcros2mi0896

Disaster

hurtreetwist101716

When disaster strikes on the home front, world events and political wrangling fade into a surreal background.  Hurricane Matthew knocked out electrical power in 90% of Chatham County, with power lines down on the streets, flooding in low-lying areas, and people like me stranded behind  fallen trees.

Eight huge trees fell across our driveway, with branches so thick that the road wasn’t passable even on foot.  It took two and a half days for us to clear trunks and branches from the road so we could get out by car.  It took another five days for power (and in my case, water) to be restored.  My brother-in-law was so desperate for his television fix that he hooked his car battery to an inverter and the TV so he could watch the presidential debates.

The storm hit Saturday morning (October 8) around 5 a.m.  I had spent the Wednesday prior in the hospital emergency room with a hypertensive crisis, with blood pressure in the stroke range.  I’d been having headaches and was beginning to lose my eyesight.  The doctors wanted to admit me, but I negotiated my way out of it, claiming that there was no one to take care of my animals, and the storm was coming.  “If I have to die, I’d rather die at home than in the hospital,” I said.  The docs begrudgingly discharged me with blood pressure medicines and a follow-up visit after the storm.

So I ended up playing lumberjack three days later, grateful that my body is still in good enough shape to take care of necessities.  Because of the power outage, my stricken eyesight and blocked roads, I was isolated from all stimuli outside my immediate environment, the sounds of chain saws throughout the neighborhood and the unhurried and unchanged sounds of nature.  I did what I could, using stored water for washing dishes (gas stove, fortunately), emptying the refrigerator of food before it went bad, cleaning, sweeping.  meditating.

The outside world seemed unreal, a dream.  I had decided the hypertension came from becoming overly involved in world events, caring too much for things I can’t control or even influence.  The body is known to generate the same stress hormones when faced with close and real as well as artificial (like TV news) danger.

I decided the hate and fear mongering perpetuated by the media creates a chronic state of mass arousal and over-stimulation that grows on itself.  This energy has nowhere to go, except to wear down the body and sap its vitality.

As a symbolic thinker, I believe everything that happens has significance beyond what is immediately apparent.  That my fate is connected to the world’s fate puts my body in the cross-currents between inner and outer, a tree splintered by the winds of forces beyond my understanding or control.  That I choose not to see what’s happening is my purely human physical reaction to the clashes of Armageddon at my doorstep.

 

 

 

Here’s How 061916: Government Creep by Eminent Domain

Five days ago, I posted a blog that referenced the Supreme Court’s 2005 “Kelo” decision about eminent domain.

Four days ago, I read in the Savannah Morning News about the latest example of government creep by eminent domain.  At issue is the request by oil-and-gas pipeline corporation Kinder Morgan for eminent domain privileges through 210 miles of coastal Georgia.  The so-called “Palmetto Pipeline” is intended to transport oil, gas, possibly natural gas and ethanol (although this is not clear) to ports at Savannah, Brunswick, and Jacksonville for export.

Now Richard Kinder, head of Kinder Morgan, was one of the principals at Enron, when it collapsed in bankruptcy, following an internal scandal revealed in October, 2001.  Enron’s was the largest corporate bankruptcy in US history, at $63.4 billion in assets, until WorldCom surpassed it a year later.  (Wikipedia, 100415)

More recently, in 2014, one of Kinder Morgan’s existing pipelines spilled 370,000 gallons of gasoline in Belton, SC.

In 2015, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal did something right, for a change, and denied Kinder Morgan’s bid for eminent domain.  Kinder Morgan appealed the decision, but a Fulton County judge (Atlanta) upheld it, and Kinder Morgan officially withdrew its application.

Now comes the Georgia Legislature to help Kinder Morgan out.  The SMN’s article “Pipeline study group forming,” by Mary Landers, says House Bill 1036, signed into law May 3, 2016, has created a “study commission” tasked with recommending changes to the way Georgia evaluates gasoline and diesel pipelines.  This “State Commission on Petroleum Pipelines” has until December 31 to “conduct a detailed study to ensure the exercise of eminent domain powers by petroleum pipelines is carried out in a prudent and responsible manner consistent with the estate’s essential public interests.” (Quoted from the Savannah Morning News’ quote of the press release).  (KO Translation:  “We are trying to find a way to grant eminent domain privileges to Kinder Morgan.”)

Yours truly, here, has been keeping her finger on the pulse of the planet for forty years, and she has been right too often to doubt her assessment now.  This is how government works to benefit asset plunderers and money churners, at the expense of the taxpayers who pay the costs of the industry as well as the environmental costs on land they thought they owned.

Before Governor Deal denied the original application, I wrote letters to him and to Richard Kinder, threatening to look into stock investments of everyone involved in the decision, including judges.  I sent copies to everyone I could think of, because this is cheaper than filing lawsuits and dealing with the perpetrators in their own lair and on their terms.

As a tactical move, it also shows how legislators and bureaucrats at every level of government have an inherent conflict of interest as long as they have or control pension plans invested on Wall Street.  As long as they are making decisions that affect us all, we have a right to know where their taxpayer-funded investments are going.  After all, the biggest eco-rapists, like the energy companies, pay the highest dividends, and corporate and pension fund managers want to show high rates of return.

I posted the following satirical article about the Kelo decision on my now-defunct website in October, 2007.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

–news from the event horizon–

A RETROSPECTIVE: October 28, 2007

by Katharine C. Otto

VIAGRA BLINDS US SUPREME COURT
United States Government Implodes Following Eminent Domain Decision

Homeowners quit buying homes and paying property taxes after the United States Supreme Court sold them out to a higher bidder. On June 23, 2005, the High Court sided 5-4 with the New London, Connecticut City Council, allowing the city to take Susette Kelo’s and her neighbors’ homes by eminent domain.  When Kelo, et al. lost their property rights, homeowners everywhere realized US law no longer guarantees ownership, so property taxes are invalid.

Multibillion-dollar international drug manufacturer, distributor, university and medical education grantor, researcher, lobbyist, political donor, NYSE high roller, and advertizing giant Pfizer, Inc. denied a role in the Supreme Court decision. A spokesman for Pfizer, who refused to be identified, claimed the mega-corporation has not leased or purchased any part of the conference and convention center planned atop Kelo’s neighborhood and next door to Pfizer’s new, $270 million, global research facility.

Pfizer also says its popular erectile dysfunction drug Viagra does not cause blindness–despite litigation to the contrary–but a source close to the labs hints this is how Viagra works. (“FDA Was Told of Viagra-Blindness Link Months Ago:  Senator Criticizes Delay in Alerting Consumers After Safety Officer Warned Agency About Drug,” washingtonpost.com, by Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, July 1, 2005.)

Viagra blinded local governments, though. Running with the Supreme Court’s balls, city and county governments drove thousands of people from their homes, offering zoning changes and tax incentives to commercial developers.  Sadly, no one could pay the price.

This caused a general collapse of US currency. “The dollar no longer makes sense,” said a famous economist who asked for anonymity.  “This means there’s no difference between rich and poor.  And, since we have no property rights, tu casa es mi casa, as any illegal alien can tell you.”

Hoards of homeless men, women, and children hailed the news. They swarmed the White House, governors’ mansions, and other public housing, where they spread blankets and took up residence.

Government officials and bureaucrats, fearing angry mobs, barricaded themselves in government buildings, but no one tried to get in. When they attempted to leave with their hands up, they found doors locked from outside.

Ex-taxpayers gathered outside and questioned whether public servants serve the public. One woman insisted they could be taught.  She recommended re-writing their job descriptions, but others doubted they could learn anything new.  A janitor claimed it’s theoretically possible to rehabilitate federal employees with short job titles, but it would be taxing.  They could start by cleaning out their own offices.

A former property owner, who still lives at home, said quarantining public servants taxes no one but the government. It protects neighborhoods and keeps cities safe from democracy.

“We discovered the blockhead period of architecture—so popular with the feds since the 1950s—is perfectly suited for housing our surplus supervisors until we figure out what to do with them.” When asked how they would feed the thousands of incarcerated deciders, she replied, “Let them eat paper, since that’s all they produce.”

Junk food corporations broadcast outrage at this cold-hearted attitude. They have responded by donating millions in food and drink for the trapped victims.  Now, inside sources say the prisoners are far from starving, and many can finally stay on their diets.

But angry environmentalists are threatening to torch the burgers with the packaging, if McDonald’s and others don’t pack out their own trash. In a furious back-lash, the fast food and packaging industries are lobbying Congress to require more trash cans outside government buildings.

But Congress has more urgent problems. Legislators are locked in the Capitol and strapped for bathrooms and toilet paper. They are working on bi-partisan emergency legislation for men’s room rationing and other limitations on dumping. Already, government waste has backed up the sewage system and flooded the nation’s capitol, creating the most blighted neighborhood the world has ever smelled.  The President has declared a national emergency and is pumping trillions of electronic dollars into the sewer system.

Sadly, nationwide polls show little sympathy for Washington’s plight. “Let ‘em eat shit,” said a Kansas farmer who was paid not to farm.  “Nobody owns this land now.  Money has no value, but my family still has to eat.  People around town are helping out.”

He laughed when offered federal assistance. “Pay them to stay away,” he said. “I’ll distill corn ethanol, stay home, and party. Can we tighten that Beltway some more?”

He suggested selling or leasing government employees to third world countries. When reminded money was worthless, he suggested giving the public servants away, but admitted this may not be feasible, either.

An Alaskan book dealer said the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seems safe, for now. People who worked only for the money have quit their jobs and no longer drive so much.

A Montana rancher didn’t know the government had collapsed, because he had no TV. He asked if that explained why road projects through nearby National Forest lands were abandoned.

A Georgia shrimper wondered about the sudden disappearance of the DNR, EPA, DEA, FBI, CIA, Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services, Department of Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, city and county police, and military aircraft from the coastline.

Large retailers, who expected mass looting when the dollar collapsed, discovered nobody wanted anything they had. The stores have been abandoned.  When asked why she no longer visits Wal-Mart, one former shopper said she just enjoyed spending money.  Now, she uses what she has.

The packaging industry is in crisis, because like the government, fast food, and Wal-Mart, it provides nothing of lasting value. Similarly, bankers, accountants, and lawyers have found their skills obsolete in a cashless, lawless society.

The rest of the world has questioned why the US stopped bombing Iraq.

“Economics,” everyone says. “When no one gets paid, the relative value of life goes up.”

The collapse of the US economy has surprised no one except the economists, who claim the dollar really does have value, despite appearances.

Overall, the implosion of the United States government has not been the disaster everyone feared. Of course, creditors with liens against the country want to collect what they can, but they are finding little worth taking.  Some have even resorted to accepting government employees.  It is hoped that outsourcing the largest worker force in the nation will spread democracy around the globe and provide the balance of trade so crucial to world peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Packaging

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Has anyone considered the carbon footprint (and excessive waste) of all this single use packaging?  Whatever that fluorescent light bulb saves in end-of-line energy use is used up front in excessive packaging.  Why has Congress outlawed incandescent light bulbs?  Because if people had a choice, they would buy them.  Deprived of choice, people are forced to buy the patented technology or go back to using candles.

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Having said that . . .

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Clinton, OK kco0903

Vignette:  I do! I do!

September 26, 1998 – I made reservations for three to the play I do! I do! at the Asbury Methodist Church.   I had asked K&N, T, N&J, G and my sister to come, and no one wanted to go.  J, G and I had planned to go out to dinner, but G said he wasn’t hungry.  I had been to Semolina’s the day before, and N agreed to go just to be nice.  She was stressed out about a paper due on Tuesday.

So I took Jay home and started home too when I found myself only blocks from the church.  The play was starting in a half-hour.  I parked in the church parking lot and went in.  First person I saw was JC, carrying a box.

We spoke, and my anxiety level rose.  I found myself laughing at myself, when a theatre dream-memory flashed thrugh my mind.  I wondered if JH was there, too, and if he would pull some stunt to discombobulate me.  I decided to comb my hair, at least, and rinse my mouth out with baking soda, just in case.  I had an anxiety-ridden time trying to find the tools in my purse, worried that someone would come in the bathroom, think the baking soda was cocaine, and I would miss the play.

I believe the real basis of my anxiety was fear over wanting to appear attractive, putting some effort into it, even.  Where did I get the idea it is dishonest to put effort into being attractive?  Maybe I haven’t wanted to before now.  It seems instead I put effort into keeping people at bay.

Anyway, attending to my hair and breath reassured me, and I commenced to enjoy the play.  It amused me to think about me attending a play about a 50-year marriage, by myself, not particularly worried (for a change) about what anyone might think.  I told myself I’m studying to see how this marriage thing is done.

The play was good.  The co-stars were Billy and Cheri Hester, the husband and wife pastor team of the church.  They apparently met when both were involved in theatre, before he went to seminary.  On stage they showed ability to enjoy each other’s company through thick and thin.  I wondered why that seems such a difficult concept to grasp.

At intermission, I remained in my chair, taking in the surroundings, thinking about T.  G once commented she always exuded womanliness.  He likes to flirt with her.  I thought about how reserved she is, how she exudes solid self-confidence, groundedness, maternal strength.  I sat there identifying with her large Leo heart and thinking I have those qualities, too, when I choose to use them.

I noticed there was a man standing behind me, his crotch 10 cm from the back of my head.  I noticed because he stood still for so long, and there was no one else around.  I felt threatened, crowded, and annoyed that he was intruding on my space.  When I half-turned in that direction, he still didn’t move, and I began to think he was getting off on the closeness.  I also contemplated how his body language was enveloping, as if he were standing guard over me, fending others off.  Then I felt heat emanating from his crotch on the back of my neck and head and wondered if this was my imagination.  I continued to feel threatened but decided to stay with my feelings than run from them or try to frighten him off.  What harm is he really doing, I asked myself.  I should at least acknowledge he is responding to my femininity—which I was earlier so busily trying to enhance—and appreciate it.

Then his wife joined him.  The heat at the back of my neck disappeared immediately and was replaced by a chill.  His wife made some comment about this being like London and received no answer from him.  Then there was a long, long silence.  I began to think this intermission was lasting too long so escaped to the outside for air.  They restarted the play without warning, and I was late getting back.

“We don’t intend to honor patents”

In my wildest dreams, I envision Fidel and Raul Castro refusing to honor foreign patents.  Think of it:  dream dirt, fertilized by oxen and horses since the USSR collapsed in 1991.  Cuba lost its oil source and its sugar market at the same time.  Cubans almost starved, so Fidel invested in the improvements necessary to life:  food and health care.  As a result, he has grown generations of healthy, self-sufficient individuals.

Because of ongoing US spitefulness, in the form of trade embargos, torturing operations, and general scapegoating, Cubans have been forced to remain stuck in time, before tools were made of plastic, before bulldozers and pavement planted thermals in over-heated cities.

Much to United States’ embarrassment, the Castro team has proved that Cuba can survive and prosper without US help.

Hahaha.  Well, if Cuba refused to honor foreign patents, Monsanto and Dow/Dupont’s stockholders would poop in their pants.  Patents are hot commodities, a bloodfest for lawyers, who win either way the FDA blows.  I’ve read that up to 80% of America’s corn is already mutated, so the time for labeling is long past.  Just assume it’s patented food until otherwise proven.

Cuba could then thumb its nose at the FDA, whose nose is up its ass.  (I know this because FDA recommendations stink.  I’m horrified at the succession of FDA-launched food scares, intentional panic-creation with too little or misleading information.)

Beware the patent industry, is all I gotta say to the Castros’ Communal Capitalists, who believe the product is its own patent.  Let the lawyers and government do the paperwork on their own time.

Also, don’t let them trap you into debt.  Eminent domain all foreign assets, including Guantanamo Bay, and especially assets held by corporations like Pfizer, Walmart, and McDonalds.  Use the reclaimed land to pay off any debt, then party with unpatented drugs, and drink to everyone’s health and wealth.

The more I think of it, the better it sounds.  As America drowns in its environmental toxins, it continues to churn out more of them, with no thought of tomorrow.  I think about the growing cesspool of “unintended consequences” now.  I also hate seeing deformed birds, strangled porpoises, and sickly babies that “progress” (downhill fast) is bleeding us to pay for.  Cuba is relatively plastic and packaging free, I hope, at least so far.  Let’s hope they can keep it that way.

Cuba:  A New History, by British journalist Richard Gott, was published in 2004.  I reviewed it on this blog 10/22/15.

In 2005, Harpers‘ published “The Cuba Diet: What will you be eating when the revolution comes?”, by Bill McKibben, April, 2005.  The following month, the ecologist came out with  “Cuba: Health Without Wealth,”  by Brendon Sainsbury, June, 2005.

 

Fortune Tellers on the Payroll

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I was reading the Wall Street Journal the other day, circling predictive and speculative words, and thinking about the term “Know thine enemy.”  I wondered where it originated so Googled it to find it attributed to Chinese warrior Sun Tzu, in his classic work, The Art of War.   The translator of my copy, R. L. Wing, chose to translate the Chinese word “bing” as “strategy” instead of “war.”  He claims in the translation’s notes that he believes this choice is “most faithful to Sun Tzu’s intended objective:  the achievement of triumph through tactical positioning, without resorting to battle.”

 

Wing says it is not clear when Sun Tzu lived, but the work is now believed to have been written between 480 and 221 B.C., during the so-called “Warring States” period.  During that time, more than 300 wars were fought between the separate states of China against the Chou dynasty.

A conflict-avoidant coward like me would rather win than fight, so Sun Tzu’s philosophy speaks to me.  Especially now, when it fights rage all around, and I’m caught in the cross-fire, I keep tabs on those addicted to fighting, if only to stay out of their way.

So The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today and their ilk educate me about how the fortune tellers on the payroll subtly manipulate their readership through prognostication.  The addiction to prediction has become so entrenched that I had to start circling predictive and speculative words in news articles to grasp how prevalent it is.  Don’t take my word for it.  Just take note of words like “expects,” “will,” “ won’t,” “if,” “could,” “possibility,” “predicts,” “forecasts,” “thinks,” “believes,” and “suggests,” to name a few.

Predictions are dangerous, especially when they come from authority figures, who should know better.  They include economists, world leaders, government, doctors, “climate scientists,” and, of course, meteorologists.  Those making the predictions have a vested interest in being right, so contribute to the outcomes they expect.  Negative predictions, such as those coming from doctors, put binders on the future, like casting a spell on a vulnerable patient. Global predictions, about “the global economy,” or “climate change,” create unnecessary fear based on a few isolated and disconnected facts.  There is nothing scientific about predictions, no matter what the fortune tellers on the payroll say.

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Spotlight Therapy “You ask questions.”

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I dreamed awhile back that I was in a public meeting about the latest GoverCorp outrage (take your pick). I took my characteristic Spotlight Therapy stance, which involves turning the lights on to reveal triangulation tactics.

Afterwards, a 20s-something minority female, eyes shining, came up to thank me. “What for,” I replied. “I don’t accomplish anything.”

“Yes, you do.” she said. “You ask questions.”

“Triangulation” is a term applied to the strategy of playing both ends against the middle. You don’t confront the enemy directly, but go for things that are important to him.  When you turn the lights on, the previously hidden manipulators are exposed.

When the dot.com bubble burst on March 10, 2000, my stock value suddenly shrank below my mortgage debt. At that time I was naïve and inexperienced.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have sold the stock before the bubble burst and paid off the mortgage.  Instead, I trusted a banker and stockbroker who I thought worked for me.  They wiped me out instead.

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I believe it was intentional. This sounds paranoid, but the financial setback started me on a reading tangent that validated my suspicions.  Books like Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, The Robber Barons, The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, Supercapitalism, Wealth of Nations, Alexander Hamilton, The Whiskey Rebellion, and None Dare Call it Conspiracy,* to name a few—as well as the US Constitution–opened my eyes, and I was horrified.  These writings revealed how boom and bust cycles are created on purpose to consolidate wealth and political power in the hands of relatively invisible insiders.

Desperate people are capable of desperate acts, to save themselves. Perhaps my banker and stockbroker were feeling the squeeze before the bubble actually burst, and trying to save their own skins.

But the practice of trapping individuals and nations in debt has a long history. It gives the lender—the presumed lender, anyway—a strategic advantage in terms of control.  Often the presumed lender, like a bank, is lending other people’s money, called “leverage.” Newspapers like the Wall Street Journal regularly inform their readers how many billions this or that hedge fund or individual controls.

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This is triangulation in action. Between the stock market and the mortgage market, individual wealth has been gutted by seemingly random events.  Don’t believe it.  Spotlight the Federal Reserve, the “lender of last resort,” which has no wealth of its own.  It creates money out of thin air to “lend” to the federal government, which then disburses it to pay bills and fight wars.  This from The Creature from Jekyll Island, which explains the history of money and banking.  It also reveals the secret beginnings of the Federal Reserve Act, which essentially put Congress in the debt-creation business, to trap taxpayers in un-repayable debt until the sun burns out.  In other words, the dollar is backed only by government promises to pay.

Now anyone who trusts government promises deserves to suffer, and those who believe the government has the right to promise unborn taxpayers’ future earnings, in order to repay the Fed for its fiat money “loans,” is living in LaLa Land.

taxarrow0406 What Creature does not say is that the income tax was also initiated in 1913, two months before the Federal Reserve Act, in order to guarantee perpetual interest income to the Fed.  The precedent for this double whammy was set by first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton introduced legislation for the Whiskey Tax and the first US central bank December 13 and 14th in 1790, for the same purpose—ostensibly to pay off Revolutionary War debts, but also to provide a vehicle for trapping the fledgling nation in a bottomless barrel of new debt.

In my case, debt would force me to work in a career I had come to detest, to feed the absentee bosses and other middlemen, who work behind the scenes to call the shots, yet take no personal risks.

These days, you can’t get away from news reports, politicians, and “economists,” who are bemoaning the state of “the economy,” the need to “create jobs,” and concerns about unstable stock markets and central banks around the world. The hidden truth behind all this hand-wringing is, as Ron Paul has tried to say, “The US is bankrupt.”  (His book End the Fed, is also well worth reading.)

It appears the balance has begun to shift, because everyone–individuals, corporations, and government—is maxed out on credit. Bills are coming due, without resources to pay.  As the Boomer generation (that’s me), approaches retirement, and Social Security payments can’t keep up with expenses, Boomers are withdrawing money from the stock market to make ends meet.  At the other end of the earning spectrum, the millennials are dealing with student debt, credit card debt, automobile debt, and maybe mortgages, too. Not only are there fewer of them than of seniors, but they don’t have money to invest in the stock market.

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But what’s good for “the economy” is bad for individuals. The “strong dollar,” is hurting exports, meaning Josie Taxpayer’s dollar has more buying power at home. Percentage-wise, she pays less in taxes, too.  This “deflation” that terrifies the money churners could have the effect of grounding the dollar at home, where it belongs.  Also, as people get out of debt–whether paying it off, writing it off, declaring bankruptcy, or walking away–the inflated money supply shrinks even more.  Interest on debt, as well as inflation (a “hidden tax,” according to Creature), reduce the buying power of the money. This is great for people who have no debt, and bad for “the economy,” which now is $19 trillion in debt, equal to the gross domestic product.

For example, on Thursday, February 18, 2016, The New York Times ran an article entitled “Oil Price Soars and Shares Rise.”  The assumption by the NYT and Wall Street Journal is that what’s good for stocks and raises prices is good for America.

This false assumption becomes easier to understand when you realize a goodly portion of America is heavily invested in stocks through “retirement benefits” like pension plans, including public pension plans. Hedge fund and pension fund managers can make significant waves in the stock market by moving those large pots of money around.  “Investors,” then, are not primarily the wealthy “one percent” that the public has been taught to hate.

“Investors” are the groups and individuals who make their money through managing other people’s money, people they assume want the greatest value for their money. Only trouble is, the most profitable stocks are issued by some of the most unscrupulous companies, often those with incestuous ties to the government, and are beneficiaries of large, cushy government contracts.

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As is my habit—and one of my favorite pastimes–I underlined and scribbled in the margins of the above-mentioned article. Here, we are informed that stocks climbed the previous day as “investors clung to hope for an international deal” to cut production.  “The price of oil rose sharply, as did the stocks of major energy companies like Chevron.”

“Who benefits by raising oil prices?” I wrote.  I know the State of Georgia benefitted mightily by low oil prices last summer, as Governor Deal signed a six-cent gas tax increase as soon as oil prices fell.  Now, the State of Georgia can expect even more tax revenues.  Already the accumulated excise and sales taxes on gasoline amount to over 50% of the customer cost.

Who is the greatest consumer of oil and gas? I don’t know for sure, but I believe it’s the military, which probably doesn’t pay the taxes and competes for the oil.  I applaud anyone who wants to research that.

When the NYT repeated that “investors’” hope for an “international deal that will cap or cut production,” I commented it doesn’t matter, as demand remains low.  I also asked if this “deal” to cut production also applies to US offshore well drilling, new oil pipelines, fracking, and other domestic eco-rape.

 

We are told that Chevron and Hess profited. We are also told that Kinder Morgan gained, too, on the news that Warren Buffet has acquired a 1.2 percent stake.

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Now Texas-based Kinder Morgan is a loaded kettle of fish. Founded by Richard Kinder, of Enron fame, it is in the process of appealing the state of Georgia’s denial of eminent domain for its Palmetto Pipeline.  Governor Deal did something right, for a change, when he denied Kinder Morgan’s request.  This would have set a dangerous precedent for publicly traded corporations to use state government to seize private property for a pittance.  Not only are oil prices low, and sales slow, but the pipeline is planned to run through 210 miles of coastal Georgia and to affect 396 landowners across 12 counties, only to transport gasoline, diesel, ethanol, and natural gas to the Savannah, Brunswick, and Jacksonville ports for export.  Kinder Morgan also expects to drastically enlarge its liquid natural gas storage facility on the Savannah River.  Meanwhile on the opposite side of the continent, Kinder Morgan is trying to trample Native American Tl’azt’en Nation’s native hunting and fishing lands in British Columbia.

I congratulate anyone who wants to investigate Kinder Morgan’s ethics and stock investors. I’m especially interested in public pension investments in Kinder Morgan, as well as its customers Marathon Oil and Marathon Petroleum, among others.  Remember that everyone in the decision-making “pipeline” from governor to judges to legislators and the United States Congress, state and federal levels of the Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Division, Department of Natural Resources—and the military—have taxpayer-funded pensions handled by managers for whom there is no bottom line—if they can get taxpayers to subsidize profits.

 

I abandoned Wall Street in early 2008, when it continued to abandon me. I advise anyone who has more sense than money to do the same.  Also, as any stock broker might advise, “Sell high.”

 

 

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*Authors and publication dates are listed in a previous blog, “Sell the TV and Read.”

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