PG&E cutting power to residences in CA

and businesses.

This is being reported over at Ian
Welsh's blog: https://www.ianwelsh.net/california-power-company-cuts-power-to-800000-h... Apparently this is a blanket cutoff with no exceptions for disables, so there will be deaths.

What I am wondering about is why, as Welsh also mentions, San Francisco voters turned down public power initiatives 11 times?? Liberal, leftist SF doesn't want publicly owned power? Could someone from CA please explain.

When I lived in the central valley, it did seem to me that every third Californian, including immigrants, thought they were going to make fortunes in real estate. I was living in a CV town during the foreclosures of 2008-10. Bank owned houses were left to sit with NO maintenance. Not even lawn care in a fire prone area. And city govt and city council simply ignored those houses while they were handing out clean up citations to owner and renter occupied houses.

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snoopydawg's picture

PG&E gave out $100 million to their shareholders that was supposed to go to improving their power lines. Newsom telling people that they should be upset and yet not doing anything to help or stop this is weak IMO. The economy is going to lose billions and PG&E won't have to be responsible for their losses.

They were getting ready to shut down more ares in SF this morning and I looked at the weather page. The wind was 5 mph. So what's the story?

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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@snoopydawg that SF voters turned down public power iniatives 11 times? Do you know why? But my cousin has a good job with PG&E? Not even PG&E has that many jobs available.

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Nastarana

snoopydawg's picture

@Nastarana

But that is what the article states, but I'm wondering why people wouldn't vote against PG&E every chance they got. They have a horrible record of keeping their gas lines and power lines safe. In 2010 a gas line erupted in SAN Bruno that killed 4-8 people and destroyed 32 homes. I think that case just recently settled.

PG&E diverted safety money for profit, bonuses

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. diverted more than $100 million in gas safety and operations money collected from customers over a 15-year period and spent it for other purposes, including profit for stockholders and bonuses for executives, according to a pair of state-ordered reports released Thursday.

An independent audit and a staff report issued by the California Public Utilities Commission depicted a poorly led company well-heeled in its gas operations and more concerned with profit than safety.

The documents link a deficient PG&E safety culture - with its "focus on financial performance" - to the pipeline explosion in San Bruno on Sept. 9, 2010, that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

The "low priority" the company gave to pipeline safety during the three years leading up to the San Bruno blast was "well outside industry practice - even during times of corporate austerity programs," said the audit by Overland Consulting of Leawood, Kan.

Making money

But PG&E wasn't hurting for cash, according to the audit. From 1999 to 2010, the company collected $430 million more from its gas-transmission and -storage operations than the revenue authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission, which sets the rates the company can charge its customers.

The rest is informative.

This is interesting... click on the link and see the fire right under power lines.

A vegetation fire erupted late Thursday morning on San Bruno Mountain above the city of Brisbane in San Mateo County.

The fire was first reported at 10:55 a.m. Live streams from local news helicopters showed winds fanning the flames on the hillside in an area directly under power lines. A large plume of smoke was visible from Highway 101 and nearby San Francisco International Airport.

Firefighters could be seen attacking the fire from the ground and the air trying to prevent the fire from spreading over the ridge. At 1 p.m., the city of Brisbane announced the fire had burned 5 acres and was 50% contained.

"The fire department is confident it will be kept to that acreage," the city said on Twitter.

PG&E's website showed no outages in the area, neither from the preventative power shut-offs the utility implemented starting Wednesday nor as a result of the fire.

Did the wind that prompted the PG&E power shut-offs live up to the hype?

ETA link to fire article

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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@snoopydawg Here is some text from an article on common dreams.

Earlier this year, a federal judge slammed PG&E for doling out $4.5 billion in dividends to its shareholders while spending insufficient funds on its tree-trimming budget in an effect to prevent forest fires.

But Breton warned that to solely blame PG&E for its neglect and its handling of the blackout was akin to ignoring the true culprits behind more frequent and destructive wildfires as well as other extreme weather events:

Do we fully understand what is amiss here? If your answer stops at PG&E then the answer is no. We don't get it.

Too many of us—myself included—have viewed climate change as a tomorrow problem. Or as a partisan argument.

But that's where we've been wrong—terribly, frighteningly, mortally wrong.

link to common dreams article

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snoopydawg's picture

@jbob

$4.6 billion in dividends while neglecting trimming trees is outrageous and every person that received them should have to help rebuild the towns destroyed by fire. And not just monetarily but with their hands. And they say the reason they won't put the lines underground is mostly because of the cost. $4.6 million per mile. Overhead lines cost about $448,800 per mile in comparison. Both numbers seem very high don't you think?

The extreme weather events are just going to get worse, but still the problem with PG&E was their greed. And sadly fires started in CA even after millions went without power. One was started when a garbage truck dumped burning trash that the wind took. How very sad. And we know that those affected by the fires in previous years are still not fully recovered. And their resources are running out.

While PG&E is in bankrupcy they wanted to pay out bonuses.

In August, a judge denied PG&E's request to distribute $16 million in bonuses to 12 top executives. PG&E argued the bonuses would help incentivize executives to meet safety goals in the wake of multiple wildfires.

No shame!!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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@snoopydawg
So the dividends would have paid for a thousand miles of underground HV line.
Or, they could have applied for permission to raise rates temporarily for safety improvements. Then it would have been on the CA government if they denied it.
IMHO, both didn't care.

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@The Voice In the Wilderness it could come to that. I am beginning to wonder if anything less than the prospect of their imminent destruction will convince oligarchs plus retainers and apologists to mend their ways.

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Nastarana

@Nastarana
but noose is more American. Same results.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

The former as judicial, the latter as vigilante, execution.

"Les aristos a la lanterne" meant "String 'em up to the nearest lamppost".

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

WoodsDweller's picture

A few articles drifted through my various feeds, but most of them have scrolled off now. Here's one that's still posted:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/10/san-francisco-wildfire-b...

Gusts reaching 70mph raked the San Francisco Bay Area early on Thursday after California’s biggest utility shut off electricity to nearly 2 million people ... Major utilities in Los Angeles and San Diego warned they could be forced to cut off power to an estimated half-million people. ... forced schools and businesses to close ... On Wednesday, PG&E cut power to an estimated 600,000 customers in the San Francisco Bay area as well as wine country north of San Francisco, ... Southern California Edison utility shut off power for about 12,000 people as strong Santa Ana winds swept parts of the region ... considering further power cuts to nearly 174,000 customers ...

Classes were cancelled at UC Berkley for a second day. Somebody was quoted as saying "we aren't a third world country". Well, bucko, I've got bad news. Regardless of the underlying cause, if the electric grid doesn't work when the wind blows you're a third world country.

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"I cannot ignore reality, but I can embrace beauty." -- magiamma

@WoodsDweller when the wind blows, you're a third world country".
It seems that way, doesn't it. If insulin and antibiotics are not affordable....ditto. We could go on in the same vein.

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@randtntx about..Diversity, to a citizen owned utility-oh, but, socialism--we are living in a non real world.

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Nastarana

@Nastarana
Apparently the person in that clip thinks it's time for Californians to take over the utility. It sounds like the best solution. I wonder if Californians would.

That was an interesting bit of history in that video. I knew a bit about that dam but wow, to flood a valley that looks like Yosemite? And afterwards, nothing but corruption.

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@WoodsDweller "this is so third world!"
Didn't Enron do something goofy before they went belly up?
What in the hell...
My electricity comes from a co-op.
I get a vote on who sits on the board.

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snoopydawg's picture

@on the cusp

They would take their power plants offline and that would cause California to have to pay more for electricity. This was done with the full knowledge of the Bush Cheney administration. It also cost Gov Davis his job and we got the third term of Pete Wilson through Awnold. He screwed me out of a lot of money. Ken Lay was found guilty and died the next day. Want a bridge...?

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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@snoopydawg it is not in California.

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@snoopydawg I have forgotten his name, he was a Hispanic man from Fresno, maybe, in the legislature, ran for Gov. in the special election. Rumor, I read about it in an alternative paper, was he had a plan to establish a public power authority. To prevent that from happening, Arnold was brought in by the Repubs., and La Huff, who was then pretending to be a leftist, was also brought in to split the Democratic vote. There was even a debate, even more laughable than the current crop. La Huff attended, one of five, because she had enough poll numbers, if you believe that. I remember someone saying on the Slate forum it might have been, it was Eurotrash evening. I remember going to work after the election and all the regular dopes were saying everything is going to be OK now that Arnold is in. That's sophisticated CA for you.

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Nastarana

snoopydawg's picture

@Nastarana

I remember her running and you're right she did come across as a lefty., if Davis wasn't running I probably would have voted for her. I don't remember the Hispanic guy though. Davis was also blamed for the huge wildfires in S CA but he had asked Bush for federal funds to thin out the deadwood but was turned down.

sophisticated indeed. I went with a group to vote and told everyone that Arnold would be horrible for us but they were just so excited to vote for the terminator. Giggle! He ran on workers compensation reform and pretended that he cared about the injured workers. But then he did an Obama and everything went for the insurance companies and things got much worse in a system already full of corruption. My insurance company screwed with me for over 5 years and should have had to pay big bucks in penalties. Whoosh..the evaporated over night.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg La Huff was a shallow and superficial conservative who became an even more shallow and superficial leftist. Lefty activists accepted her because she gave some (unearned) money away--the cash came from a divorce settlement--and invited them to fancy parties. She founded HuffPuff, where she profited from content provided by unpaid writers, when the divorce settlement began to run out.

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Nastarana

@Nastarana
Governor one of the cable channels ran the same cliche Arnold vs. terrorist movie 8 times a day for a week or so. It was really unusual, and I knew something was up but I didn't know what until he announced a run for CA Governor.

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@WoodsDweller The felonious Yam was saying fossil fuel was the way to go since you wouldn't get a blackout when the wind was calm.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@WoodsDweller localized, but since the grid up here is inadequately compartmentalized and otherwise not hardened or protected, they used the winds as an excuse for political theater.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris
due to blizzards. It happens but rarely, usually due to tension because of cold combined with weight of ice. It gets fixed, at least with temporary power, in hours. I pity those poor union linemen going out in a below zero blizzard/snow storm/ice storm to repair HV lines and transformers. Those big lines are 13kV and up! But I guess high enough to kill you is high enough, adding zeros doesn't matter.

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@The Voice In the Wilderness
WRT icing on power lines, per this 2012 article.

For ice to accumulate on a power line, it must be close to 0°C, and there must be moisture in the air. If the moisture is blowing, ice can build up on one side of the conductor more than the other. The line can then behave like an airplane wing and start galloping up and down, causing crossarms to rip off and poles to break. More severe icing of conductors on steel transmission lines can cause the towers to buckle and the structure to fail.

Oftentimes, it's not the sheer weight of the ice on the power line but rather the way it goes up and down that can inflict the real damage. Over the years, Manitoba Hydro's crews have tried a variety of techniques to strike, beat, crack and melt the ice off of the power lines.

In the mid-1980s, Manitoba Hydro came up with the idea of melting the ice off the line. To accomplish this task, the affected section of line would be de-energized, a three-phase short would be installed at a calculated distance from the ice-melt source supply, and the line would be energized with typically a 12 kV distribution voltage. The current generated by the short circuit would then cause the ice to melt off the conductor.

It used to be time-consuming and labor-intensive to get the ice off of the line. Now, once Manitoba Hydro has the proper workers in place, they can melt the ice off of the line in about 10 minutes. Facilities have been installed and improved to shorten the time required to perform ice-melting activities.

In some cases, the PLTs will break up into teams to conduct ice rolling and/or ice-melting procedures for maximum benefit. At other times, the technicians will man the station while the PLTs will work with the EOC and control center to conduct the switching to isolate the line and perform the melt.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

@UntimelyRippd
I'd love to see a model.
My first job after my M.S. was modeling hydraulic systems, transmissions and tractor tires on dirt for International Harvester. When they canned the Research Department, I was transferred to Ag Division and worked on a variety of computer control projects like a hydro-static transmission that we tried to sell to Construction Division.

BTW, a professor from Ames came and gave a presentation on an experimental corn farm that used no fossil fuel. The farm and equipment were all powered by destructive distillation of the corn husks and silage. So much for the claims that organic fuels use more fossil fuel than they save.

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They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway
They say that life's a game and then they take the board away
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
And leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret-- A. Moore

(from the wiki article)

Five commissioners each serve staggered six-year terms as the governing body of the agency. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and must be confirmed by the California State Senate. The CPUC meets publicly[15] to carry out the business of the agency, which may include the adoption of utility rate changes, rules on safety and service standards, implementation of conservation programs, investigation into unlawful or anticompetitive practices by regulated utilities and intervention into federal proceedings which affect California ratepayers.

As of July 2019, the commissioners are:[16]
President Marybel Batjer, (appointed July 12, 2019, by Gov. Gavin Newsom; to take office end of July/early August 2019)[17]
Genevieve Shiroma (term expires in 2024[18])
Liane M. Randolph (term expires in 2020)
Clifford Rechtschaffen (term expires in 2022)
Martha Guzman Aceves (term expires in 2022)

Some regulatory laws are implemented by the California State Legislature through the passage of laws. These laws often reside in the California Public Utilities Code.[19] The CPUC Headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento and the CPUC employs 1000 including judges, engineers, analysts, lawyers, auditors, and support.[20]

Does anyone here know anything about these commissioners?

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Nastarana

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

Nobody, let alone a bankrupt private corporation, should have the right to disrupt 2.5 million people's lives and the economy of the entire region on its own whim with no notice, hearings, or planning.

Just as appalling is the absolute capitulation of a regulatory captured state government allowing PG&E free reign to play disaster capitalist. Gavin Newsome is as craven as he is moronic.

When the Israelis intentionally cut power to Gaza as a form of collective punishment, people call it a war crime. When PG&E intentionally cuts power to NoCal to gain leverage in its bankruptcy proceeding, talking greedheads call it 'playing hardball'.

Fuck these late stage capitalists and their class war mentality. It's time for them to go.

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Peace Sells

polkageist's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

Some members of the Public Utilities Commission staff used to call PG&E "Pacific Graft and Extortion" in the 1960's and later and maybe still do. It certainly fits.

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Greed is not a virtue.
Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.

@Not Henry Kissinger
if someone dies as a result. Negligent homicide.

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@Not Henry Kissinger the end of Newsom's political career. I'm guessing he doesn't get to run for president. Was he not mayor of SF when voters turned down the most recent public power initiative?

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Nastarana

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Nastarana @Nastarana

https://www.abc10.com/article/news/investigations/governor-newsom-most-s...

What a phony. The entitlement just oozes out of him.

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Peace Sells

snoopydawg's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

5 felonies 10 years ago for 8 deaths.
How many felonies for 85 deaths? How many for thousands of homes that were burned down or blown up?

Newsom...let's hope this is the end of his career!

The journalists that saw the exchange should have helped him get an answer not switch to another topic. No wonder our politicians think they can get away with never answering serious questions.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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magiamma's picture

California’s Power Outages Are About Wildfires—But Also Money

https://www.wired.com/story/californias-power-outages-are-about-wildfire...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

@magiamma @magiamma The CA legislature voted for that? Whom, exactly will be paying the premiums for that? Do we all have to become homeless zombies before some folks decide that maybe their reverence for Big Business was not so good an idea?

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Nastarana

Eagles92's picture

@Nastarana And maybe not even then.

Speaking of homeless zombies -- and I don't mean to hijack -- I wanted to mention the name of an upcoming book that I'm hoping to read, and that might appeal to many here. It's called Homewreckers, and it's about the 2008 crisis and the aftermath. I normally don't listen to NPR but was on a long car drive yesterday morning and caught the author (Aaron Glantz) on 1A, and was utterly riveted.

If interested, you can listen to the story again here.

(I also seem to be late to many parties these days, so apologies if everyone else already knows about this book!)

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Eagles92's picture

@Eagles92 That book review indulges in gratuitous/opportunistic anti-Trumpism, but listening to Gantz, I got the distinct impression his disgust extends to both parties.

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@Eagles92 These events need to be being discussed, and hopefully, acted upon. Whatever the MSM is burying, that is likely where the oligarchs are vulnerable.

I will look for the book. I have connected with a librarian who will buy books I order for interlibrary loan. I don't want to use the connection too often, but that one sounds like it needs to be in our public library.

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Nastarana

WoodsDweller's picture

This seems relevant, I'll stick it here.

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/10/more-than-100000-ordered-to-evacuate-am...

A pair of wildfires has destroyed dozens of homes near Los Angeles, killed a man and forced some 100,000 residents to evacuate ... Saddleridge fire had spread to more than 4,700 acres by Friday morning, moving at a rate of 800 acres per hour ... still completely uncontained. ... already destroyed at least 25 homes in Sylmar and Porter Ranch ... As winds moved south, a similar cutoff was under way by Southern California Edison, which warned more than 173,000 customers that they could lose power.

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"I cannot ignore reality, but I can embrace beauty." -- magiamma

magiamma's picture

@WoodsDweller

Follow the money

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/10/unsustainable-california-no-easy...

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/PG-E-diverted-safety-money-for-pr...

https://www.kqed.org/news/11737336/judge-pge-paid-out-stock-dividends-in...

https://www.macon.com/news/business/article235787937.html

https://www.mtdemocrat.com/news/man-dies-shortly-after-power-cut/

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

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Nastarana

snoopydawg's picture

A man who relied on oxygen died before he could get his battery backup tank going. PG&E said they aren't responsible for the billions lost, but maybe they will for the lives lost.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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TheOtherMaven's picture

@snoopydawg

TPTB haven't even the decency - if you can call it that - to admit what they are doing to us.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

snoopydawg's picture

@TheOtherMaven

SF Gate has an article with pictures of what it looked like all over the area with the power off. One was of an store employee throwing away ice cream because it melted. Thrown out when I could think of lots of ways it could have been used. But then how about all the meat and frozen food? Is that going to be just thrown away too? Not given to food banks or shelters or hell half a dozen other agencies? This was known to be coming. I don't know if there could have been a plan made up in time, but just throwing away food. Ugh!!

Culling the herd indeed. Oh a warning shot across the bow. Do things our way or we cut the power to millions. Good lord. We already saw what happened in Detroit and other areas when they dissolved the laws and fired the people who were elected to do their jobs. How was that even legal? And then they raised water rates on poor people and shut off their water if they couldn't pay their bills while companies that were thousands of dollars in arrears had nothing happen to them. I could go on....... but my BP is rising. Best to stop.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@TheOtherMaven about the same thing. These folks need to be taken down before they kill all of us and their minions as well.

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Nastarana

snoopydawg's picture

@TheOtherMaven

Allowing drug companies to raise insulin prices up to where people can't afford to buy it as well as other drugs. I'm sure others can come up with more examples of how we useless eaters are being culled. This is class warfare and it's time people woke up and saw it for exactly that and start thinking of ways to fight back. We have already not done anything while the PTB have passed legislation making protesting illegal and have militarized the police. And let private mercenaries run the cops that come to protests. Nice pot of boiling water we're sitting in.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery