Virginia’s previous governor was a Republican. Accordingly, one of his core beliefs, as illustrated through his actions, was that there is no such thing as the public good.
When he looked at a big pile of public good, he saw dollar signs, something to be monetized, not something to be husbanded with stewardship. He saw the bridges and tunnels which for years had been free to cross and heard the ring of cash registers (remember cash registers?). He imposed tolls and sold the tolling rights to a private firm for 70 years because God forbid that government should provide services to citizens, when instead it can bleed them dry.
In a long report in today’s issue, my local rag documents the toll of the tolls. Here’s a snippet from the story of one the persons interviewed for the report (emphasis added).
She bought an E-ZPass transponder three years ago, when Elizabeth River Crossings began tolling the underwater tubes that link her home in Portsmouth to work in Norfolk. But she wasn’t making enough money to fund the account. A few months later, she faced a choice: tame the flurry of tolls, or pay for groceries, gas and rent.
The ERC invoices piled up fast. What started as a stack of small bills – $10, $20, $30 – became an impossible debt.
“It was already hard for me without tolls to pay for regular bills. Then you put this on me and tell me I have to pay this or I can’t go to work,” Reynolds said as she sifted through a drawer stuffed with statements. “I’m just stuck.”
Words fail me.
Trumpling the public good, this time in the air:
Trump called the current air traffic control system “obsolete” when he met with airline executives in February. His budget includes a “multi-year reauthorization proposal to shift the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-governmental organization.” What he is really doing is giving control of the nation’s airspace over to the airlines and potentially making flying more expensive and less safe in the process.
This proposal illustrates once more that, in Republican World, there is no such thing as the common good.
Follow the link for more.
Update: Edited to fix the goofs.
Lee Camp notes that, during Trump’s campaign, white supremacists, white nationalists, and wannabe robber barons were not evident in the Trumpian entourage (though garden-variety rascists and bigots certainly were). He wonders where they came from. The relevant section is the first 10 minutes or so in the video (warning: language).
Reka Basu recounts a recent experience with U. S. medical care. She has been dealing with a dermatalogical problem that has cost her hundreds of dollars and many hours with the U. S. Medical-Industrial Complex. Then she was introduced to a cure in an unexpected way:
Actually, a beautician giving me a facial in an Indian beauty parlor had come up with it during my recent annual visit to India. Seeing my elbows, the woman dispatched a pedicurist to the drugstore next door to get me an over-the-counter ointment she said would bring signs of improvement in a week. And it did.
I bring this up not because my skin problems are of much consequence. On the contrary. If a beauty parlor employee can recognize symptoms and suggest a treatment that works after two doctors, a biopsy and several medications couldn’t, it suggests a larger problem with our profit-obsessed medical care system and pharmaceutical industry.
Follow the link for her theory as to why that particular over-the-counter salve is not available in the United States.
If you are using an adblocker, the Des Moines Register may ask you to turn it off. I don’t use an adblocker, but I do use NoScript in conjunction with a hosts file, so I needed to tell NoScript to “allow all” scripts on the page. I’m am quite willing to let legitimate newspaper websites think that I’m reading their ads. Newspapers need all the help they can get.
Make no mistake, we’re being Enroned.
And it’s called the “People’s Car”:
Pollution from 2.6 million Volkswagen cars sold in Germany between 2008 and 2015, manipulated to seem less polluting than they were, will cause 1,200 premature deaths in Europe, a study into the health impacts of the fraud said Friday.
“The researchers estimate that 1,200 people in Europe will die early, each losing as much as a decade of their life, as a result of excess emissions generated,” said the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which took part in the study.