Here we are in the summer of 2008 and already at mid-year, the local and national news has been fed the directives from its corporate masters and informed us that winter 2008-2009 will be appallingly expensive if you, as a human being who needs to avoid freezing to stay alive, want to heat your home. So, I want to know, who told them this? Where has this information come from? Which executives sat down and decided that home heating will be expensive this winter? Give me some names! Who are they? How do they know so far in advance what is going to happen? The media never tells us. We’re just told that the word comes somewhere from on high, so get used to it and tough shit if you don’t like it. History tells us in times of heavy speculation, prices soar. Guess what’s a popular commodity for speculation right now? That’s right, oil and gas. The fix is in folks. Let’s see if the corporate-owned politicians in either of the corporate-owned political parties will do anything about it when it hits. And, since we already know so much in advance, why is nothing being done these many months in advance to stop, avert, or ease the situation, or ensure fairly priced energy to average citizens? We have several months to take actions, but instead we’re just told we have several months to brace ourselves. Last winter, people had to borrow money to heat their homes, or got so far behind in their payments that they’re still playing catch up. Why are basic necessities that used to be manageable, marginal expenses in the monthly family budget, like heating and health care, now luxuries affordable only by Rockefeller types? The more deregulation we’ve gotten, the higher things have gone—which completely puts the lie to all the BS right-wing promises. Old people and families will freeze this winter, but that’s OK; it’s the free market, after all, and that’s the highest good to which we can aspire. Right? Remember when those Enron energy managers were overheard on an infamous telephone tape laughing at making a killing by shutting off power plants so that California’s grandmothers would have to pay out the ass for electricity? It’s happening again, folks. And what kind of answers do we get from apologists for this kind of system? None, just the usual nonsolutions, defense of the energy status quo and tired diversionary epithets: “Communist!” “Socialist!” “Whaddya want companies to give the energy away for nuthin’?” So, just what kind of fucking country and world is this becoming? Who runs the law in this country, corporations or citizens? Congress can pass a price cap in two seconds if we all demand it. But that won’t happen because we know who really runs the country. The Boston Tea Party looms; the warm cushy mansions harboring the fat and satisfied few will be invaded; the revolution is coming folks, and I’m there. -EG
The Fix is In – Soaring Winter Heat, 2008; or, Just Who Says So? And If We Know So Much Now, Why is Nobody Acting to Avert It?August 6, 2008
The resulting squeeze on foodstocks and price rises that result in a time when so many are hungry has got to be a sin. (Not to mention the senselessness that producing corn in order to burn it wastes more energy than is ultimately produced). Surely, there must be a limit to the free market when it inflicts this much pain on so many. Those who really deserve the pain for letting this happen—the farmers who sell food to burn, the Archer Daniels Midland-type executives profiting from this insanity, and the politicians like Bush who allow it to continue—should all have big fat corncobs shoved up their asses.
I’m sure all of you saw this motley crew of oil execs assembled before Congress a few weeks ago, mainly so legislatewhores could posture and put on an impotent display of righteous indignation in lieu of actually doing anything to push real alternative energy solutions. While most of you out there have been grumbling but continuing to line the pockets of these oilmen (and their multi-wifed brethren in the Middle East) I have been taking the bus to work, in tandem with my bicycle (and yes, winter doesn’t stop me).
It was two years ago this month (April) that I began this daily ritual, and in the process lost 30 pounds, increased my muscle tone and improved lung capacity, heart health, metabolism, blood pressure, circulation, digestion and so on—not to mention notching piles of unread books on the 20-mile journey each way.
Oh yes, there’s much to be recommended about the complete lack of stress resulting from letting someone else do the driving, not having to swerve and avoid maniacs and playing stop and go with my feet on a gas-guzzling pedal. I can sleep, read, dream, whatever. And I’m inside a vehicle bigger than a tank, so it’s pretty safe.
And it costs $29 a month. See how much gas that gets you–and how far you can get on it.
AS for me, I ride for free because one of my perks of employment is free unlimited TARC rides with an employee ID.
But the most satisfying thing of all is that the oil industry and the profit-gluttonous CEOs who are sucking up all that cash from you got no more than $6 from me over the last two years. (Had to fill up my lawn mower a few times; otherwise most weeks I use a gasless Scott’s reel-mower, just like my grandparents did.)
So adding that up, that’s about $5,000 or so that Big Oil didn’t get from me in the past two years.
And although I know this is an overused picture on the Internet, there is just no better F-YOU! photo ever taken than this one of Johnny Cash. So Big Oil, let Johnny Cash send my message to you loud and clear.
Like every issue, global warming—or global climate change to be precise—has become an either-or, polarizing, divisive issue between the Left and the Right; between science and religion: Either you believe humans are causing it or you don’t. And if we are, then we need to change the way we live.
The crux of all this for the Righties, of course, is that anytime anyone is asked to change their habits then that must mean a Commie plot is afoot to take away their freedoms and steal away their Amurkin way o’ life.
So, that leaves us at an impasse in which the Rightie-Corporate-led government undermines science and does all it can to keep us from changing our ways.
For the record, I side with the scientific consensus and with Al Gore. I think that we have to dramatically decrease our greenhouse gas emissions. I do my part: riding the bus and biking every day, walking and no longer driving a car.
And guess what? I manage to get to work even though I live 20 miles away—and even manage to finish a book while in transit every few weeks. And I feel healthier, too.
People who say that cars are the only way are just lazy, whiny, wimpy bastards. I find it ironic that all the tough-talking SUV, Hummer, and 4×4 pickup types act like they’re the shit, when it’s “sissy liberals” like me who better exemplify the classic, pioneering, American can-do progressive spirit. I get out there on the road on a bike, and I manage to find a way to get it done. Most of these dependent fatsos know that they can’t bring their suckling, coddled cottage-cheese asses to do it, so they wimp out and sit their overweight carcasses right back into their plush rich corinthian leather and protect their timid little selves from the elements.
And furthermore, I’m installing those ice-cream-cone-style curly energy saving lightbulbs in my lamps. It will save me money, and that’s something that even polluters and energy wasters just might understand.
And there’s more I intend to do.
Even so, there’s one other thing that I think we possibly need to stop doing.
And that’s to stop arguing about global warming. In fact, I say let’s take global warming off the table, period.
It’s time to look to the past and reframe the issue: This is about pollution.
Whether pollution causes global warming or not, nobody with any kind of sense can argue that pollution is good for anybody or anything.
Breathing toxic air and drinking toxic water is indisputably a bad thing.
So let’s get the issue back to where it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
At that time the message was simple: Pollution is bad; let’s stop it.
As a result, the momentum swung against pollution, and polluters. Even a Republican president, Richard Nixon, was eager to put strong laws on the books.
And, like then, we need to find one strong, simple symbol that makes the issue easily, starkly understood. Something like the “Crying Indian.”
Anybody out there who’s over 35 knows what I’m talking about.
Rowing his canoe through sludge and silhouetted against a nasty pink smog-laden sky, the great crying Indian sets foot on Modern America—only to suffer the indignity of fast-food garbage thrown at his feet.
If you haven’t seen the ad before, then you can catch it here at good ole Youtube:
So I say again, let’s make the issue pollution; not global warming.
The rest will follow.
[I posted this in early 2007 in the hopes that our derelict Congress would finally do its job of checking and balancing, but a year and a half after the great Democratic sweep they having proven so wimpy and impotent that they’ve managed the amazing feat of garnering themselves even lower approval ratings than Bush himself. I repost this article in memory of my former optimism. -EG]
“The time has passed for accepting this administration’s assurances at face value. The human cost of its repeated assurances is too great.”
(-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.)
Scratching their underarms, stretching and yawning, and batting their sleep-laden eyelids, our hibernating legislators are emerging from their caves to behold with a double-take the wrecked landscape—the result of six years of blissful somnolent denial, of handing the unchecked reins of government to a cultic, fanatical cabal then turning over to snore and get another 400 winks.
Yes, finally, maybe, the Congressional Iraq War debate is a sign that our absentee representatives have checked the alarm clock, seen that the time is way past for them to get up, brush their teeth and hair, dress the part and then hurry up and race to work to get busy and do their jobs, part of which is to check and challenge and, yes, even deny and disallow the extreme inclinations that obsess and self-delude the out-of-touch royals holed up in their fantasy palace of Versailles.
The sacrifice of those delusions is never borne by their well-heeled, secluded, blanket-wrapped originators; only by those easily persuaded or in denial themselves. Now that in our vengeful fury tens of thousands more have died and been injured than in the 9/11 attacks—very few of whom were actual terrorists and none of whom were the original 9/11 terrorists and most of whom have been our soldiers, innocent civilians and people who have since converted to insurgency as the result of our occupation—it is finally time to say enough is enough.
Saddam is dead. The weapons of mass destruction are elsewhere. They are wherever the old Soviet stockpiles are ending up, not in Iraq. Mission Accomplished. We’ve stirred the hornet’s nest; we whipped up this civil war. The glue that kept tribalism at bay, however heinous, is dissolved. We’re traipsing around lumpenly, fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong place, and leaving a mess—one that won’t be cleaned up or cleared up or organized any better or any more efficiently than the derelict and mishandled response to Hurricane Katrina. There are those who say we have to stay and finish what we started. At least they have one thing right, we started it. Neither Osama nor his minions were in Iraq, now they are. The Project for a New American Century couches its realpolitik in grand words, just like Bush. The subtext of the Project’s idealism becomes clear in action: to wage perpetual war. With living wage jobs shipping offshore, war keeps the remaining American business interests fat. It’s quite elegant in a way, send a taxpayer-funded war machine into a country, destroy it, then send more taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the privatized profiteers to “rebuild.” But when is the rebuilding done? When does the broken seive that is this gravytrain end? It’s kind circular in a way. My American dollar goes from my wallet into the wallets of Cheney’s pals, ensuring the widening income gap and prepping us all to accept the lower New World Order wagescales. Iraq is the place—appropriately enough, the front—where this money exchange takes place. Like a Mafia money laundering scheme, more money goes in than seems to come out. It has been well known for several years (if you’ve paid any attention to the rightly skeptical alternative media) that $9-plus billion of your taxes have disappeared, unaccounted for, into the nebulous morass that comes with shady bribes and payoffs, no-bid contracts and unaudited overcharges. Only now is some of this actually being addressed.
So congratulations Congress. You’ve finally taken some wobbling, timid steps up to the plate. So hit a good one and bring all the runners in, and bring our young men and women home.