19 December 2011
Libertarian Chimera Hurt More Than Help
- I ask you to look at Fairchild's contamination of San Jose, California, by operating its microchip and disc manufacturing under the banner of "a clean industry" and no effective health and safety oversight by that city.
- The absence of government oversight enabled the economic devastation of the Gulf Coast from BP's contractor's inadequate oil rigging and operation. Millions of people were affected in the coastal regions, thousands of businesses interrupted possibly never to resume, and thousands of acres of arable land mass was rendered useless due to contamination or poisoning of the resident eco-systems of birds, animals and plants?
Cf. Greg Palast documentary on LinkTV.org "The Vulture's Picnic," based on his book by the same name, in which he explains "why we occupy" to a UC Berkeley audience.
- The nuclear power plants in the US were built a long time ago. How confident are we that these facilities, built under a set of standards amended several times since, operated or maintained as if forgotten by the general public. I wonder how many of the residents within a 200-mile perimeter of the Hanford, Washington, nuclear facility know that it was built using the same design as was the plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine?
- Remember when all of the CEOs of the domestic tobacco products companies testified under oath to Congress that cigarettes did not pose a health threat in America? How many of those men have been prosecuted for perjury for their testimony?
- The heads of the domestic-based petroleum corporations and the heads of the U. S. automobile industry testified under oath that they had done nothing wrong. At least the oil companies did not ask for more federal funding support; they already had it. These men were all there, I have to point out, to support federal interference in their market economies through subsidies, capital loans, tariffs, whatever would keep them in their market positions for a predictable period of time.
None have brought enough votes to elect a conservative Republican candidate. Since the 1950s, the same, tired platitudes have been repeated, but every new President has discovered that the real world is controlled by forces never debated in their campaigns. Poor Newt is just ignoring that his own personal life decisions resulted in his losing the Speaker office and his House seat due to his 1998 censure by his peers for unacceptable conduct (vote was 375-50), his decades of lobbying for K Street clients, and his hypocrisy about family values by his several marriages.
09 December 2011
I have been thinking about some nagging questions about issues with federal and local government agencies, some of which I have had for some time. The following items describe my gripes and frustrations with the status quo. I also think these issues could offer some common ground for the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street participants to challenge their elected representatives and public agencies at all levels of government.
1. There have been no federal or state special prosecutors investigating personal involvement/culpability/conspiracies in the banking industry, the financial services industry, and the regulatory agencies regarding the manipulation of our economy--and the world economy--between 1990 and 2009 that resulted in the current, Great Recession?
Were there agreements among lenders to raise revenues in an unregulated, retail credit market? Since 2009, have there been collusive agreements or practices within the banking industry to maintain standardized, underwriting rules on new mortgage loans that have resulted in the sharp decrease in available home mortgage or small business operating loans?
My experience was that all the bankers looked at their daily calendars to see what other lenders were charging mortgagors or small business owners and then would adjust theirs to conform to "industry practices."
2. Across the nation, foreclosed residential properties can remain unoccupied for months or years after the mortgagees/lenders kicked out the mortgagors/homeowners.
Why do local governments allow empty, usable housing stock to exist more than 90 days before taking over the ownership using eminent domain?
Local housing authorities, veterans housing contractors and active duty military individuals and families could use the increase in inexpensive housing stock without having to have their residence costs underwritten by public funding programs or housing allowances.
Note: Would create jobs for carpenters, plumbers and electricians to rehabilitate vacant housing to qualify for occupancy. Provides incentives for local small business to become property management firms. Increases job opportunities for additional office personnel to support increased business activity.3. Local, state and federal planning boards and their legislative bosses do not require developers to install all power utilities, such as power and telecommunication cables, underground, and to include this in their project concept proposals for residential housing, commercial buildings and inter-city grid connections.
How much money has been spent restoring power after ice storms, heavy snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and electrical storms? How would the total amount expended over the past 20 years compare with a one-time cost of eliminating overhead power lines throughout our districts, neighborhoods, rural areas and commercial buildings?
Currently, to retro-fit utilities from above-grade to below-grade, utility companies assess individual homeowners thousands of dollars each to bury existing electric power lines in the public easements between properties. Why should customers pay for the supplier’s ability to provide underground utility services? Local planning and use codes could be changed to support constituent property owners and aesthetics value, rather than the utility companies’ costs of operations.
After all, the utility suppliers have real incentives to pay the cost of supplying services to each property line, such as cost avoidance from restoring power interrupted by weather phenomena; avoid liability for building above-grade improvements that are potentially hazardous to drivers, small airplanes, birds, surface vegetation and persons; and fully cost the products they provide to their customers.
Note: Would create jobs for removing electrical junction boxes, telephone poles; for digging up ground, placing conduits, sub-contracts for job phases, fiber optic cable manufacturing and distribution, technicians for installing, testing and certifying power and other utilities installation and ongoing quality control of grids; for connecting individual consumers (residential and commercial) to utility grids.
[Memo to local municipalities and authorities: tap into federal stimulus funding for small business grants to spur contractors to hire more people.]
[Memo to Readers: This post may become a repeating theme, especially if readers supply their own issues or send me ideas for bringing common sense to such imponderables.]