Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gas! Gas! Gas!

My particular contempt for the pack of gussied-up ninnies, professional grifters, idle rich, and crony-capitalist-whores who are in the running for this year's GOP presidential nomination will come as no surprise to you who are familiar with this blog.

But I should note that my contempt is to some degree bipartisan. While the Republican streetwalkers are more than willing to perform whatever degrading tricks their corporate masters demand of them, their whoring is more shameless only by degree, and by the extent to which they attempt to turn the rest of their fellow Americans out compared to their Blue counterparts. The U.S. political system is awash with cash, stuffed to the eyes with jack, bloated and poisoned with lucre, and the Democrats have proved more than willing to ride on the gravy train with their less circumspect GOP counterparts.

But one particular nasty trick belongs to the Republicans and the Republicans alone; the bizarre insistence that "government is the problem", which helps insure public contempt for all governance, good and bad, as well as helping facilitate bad government (which is, in fact, a problem).

Because leaving aside whether government is or isn't a problem, absent the government - municipal, state, federal - what's left?

No, Mister Paul, it's not some sort of free-market individualist libertarian paradise; this is 21st Century North America, not fucking Fantasy Island.

No, what's left is private organizations.

And the wealthiest, best organized, and consequently most powerful organizations are commercial enterprises; businesses, corporations, call them what you will. From the local grocery chain to the regional branch of Multinational, Inc., these are the last tall men standing when the government goes bye-bye.

My problem with the GOP is that their message is simply; trust them. Love them. They are GOOD.

But...why would any sane person do that?

Corporations are just people in groups. Republicans are notorious for not trusting people in groups unless they all wear the same clothes (and we'll get to that in a moment). People in groups are, as my father the Master Chief was fond of saying, as smart as the IQ of the smartest guy in the group divided by the number of people in it and as honest as the least honest guy with the skills to dip your wallet.

Here's a good example. Pacific Gas and Electric
"...(cut) back on pipeline-replacement projects and maintenance, laying off workers, using cheaper but less effective inspection techniques and trimming other pipeline costs, saved upward of 6 percent of the money designated for pipeline safety, maintenance and operations programs...(and) spent $56 million annually on an incentive plan for executives and "non-employee directors."
And in 2010 a massive pipeline explosion in San Bruno, CA, killed eight people and destroyed over three dozen homes.

Now here's the thing; I don't blame PG&E.

That's right. They were just doing what a private company is supposed to do; making a profit. They shaved the edges of safety, hoping to squeeze a little extra profit here and there, and they guessed wrong, and the poor suckers in San Bruno paid for it.

But the "market" isn't designed to reward safety. Or anything but pure profit.

Which is why the human race has always found, whenever it has tried pure, raw, unrestricted, unregulated profit, that the goons, thugs, grifters, and thieves always come out of the walls. Because forming a cartel and fixing prices is always easier and more profitable than working hard to provide good service at low cost. Because stealing is always quicker and richer than trying to figure the market and the customer and the materials and work out the right price for the goods.

The GOP is right in this; when it comes to making and selling stuff, government often IS a problem. Governments just don't work quickly and subtly enough to respond to private demands - they can't; when your fuckups can cause the sort of irretrievable damage that government fuckups can, it pays to be slow and careful.

But the GOP is wrong, dead wrong, idiotically and criminally wrong in their insistence that private business is NEVER a problem. Especially today, when the business selling you things may be half a world away, far out of reach of your puny strength and invulnerable long after they have detonated your street and killed your kids.

No matter whether it's spilling petroleum into deep waters, leveling mountaintops, selling tainted meat, or blowing up your street; the private malefactors need a counterweight to keep them in fear of injuring or stealing from you.

That is the government's job, and they should be encouraged and empowered to do it. And anyone who tells you differently - Democrat or Republican - is trying to put you in the position so that someone who is paying his bills is in another position, and one that enables him to fuck you over if he so chooses.And the good people of San Bruno - those who remain - can tell you exactly what's wrong with that.


Lisa said...

Your last two graphs sum it up: Greed is the human universal, and the only thing that can hope to provide something approximating equal protection is disinterested oversight.

Our Founders understood the need for checks and balances, but our desire for ascension and affiliation cause us to look the other way.

FDChief said...

I wish that I thought the motives were that complex, Lisa. I think it's just a combination of greed and stupidity; greed on the part of the governing classes and stupidity on the rest-of-our part for not seeing the naked greed for what it is.

And I have to be blunt; a hell of a lot of the blame goes straight to the (here's a shock) GOP, for the incessant "government-is-the-problem" rhetoric. Their constant hammering of that drum has put the U.S. public in the position of Bolt's character who would cut a road through the law to get at the devil. The average schmuck now thinks that somehow there's this vast gummint conspiracy to keep him out of work and steal from him through "regulations" without seeing that without those "regulations" nothing stands between him and the devils of the utility companies, baby-food manufacturers, auto dealers, and payday lenders; they can rape and screw him with impunity, knowing that he and his ilk are powerless against them unless they organize and they know that the poor idiot has been de-unionized and de-communitized to the point where he CAN'T organize to fight this sort of corporate fucktardry.

And watching the U.S. public's apathy towards organizations like the "Occupy" movement that attempts to provide a private counterweight to these outfits, well...I'm not hopeful. How do you convince someone to act who, with a knife at his throat, sits there like a sack of shit?

Lisa said...

Agreed --it is bog simple greed and stupidity, and the ever-present demonization of government oversight. The very people who would mightily disdain exploitation in sweatshops in third-world countries would argue for total de-regulation here, not understanding that is the thing that separates us from them.

Yes, it is very odd, people's seeming complicity in their own undoing. I haven't any explanation, aside from learned helplessness (?)