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TygrBright

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 17,535

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Thousands killed, millions without power in Capitalist oligarchy storm

Based on this article referred to in this LBN post. Thanks, AP.

Cleanup crews still have yet to start work in Congress and the Supreme Court after a power-grabbing storm of bought elections, corruption, and deregulation killed thousands of people, cut power to more than 300,000,000 Americans and flooded the 99%.

The corporate influence since 2000 has exceeded all previous measures in legislative areas of national and local governments, where brutal, terrorism-spawning wars, environmental degradation leading to catastrophic climate change, and the demolition of social safety nets were blamed for the deaths.

Thousands of patriotic young Americans were killed when Mideast countries were invaded to protect corporate oil interests. Thousands more have died in hurricanes, floods, landslides, forest fires and other inadequately prepared-for and responded-to climate disasters, and many thousands more died from lack of health care, homelessness, hunger, and gun violence, authorities said.

The identities of the thousands killed are known but apparently inconsequential to anyone but other peons and serfs.

Crews in disparate community movements have been working to turn over more than 175 Congressional seats and local elected offices that blocked economic justice and slowed the progress of human evolution.

Meanwhile, gigantic corporations are trying to reduce tax burdens for more than 142,000 oligarchs, most in offshore locations and gated communities. They are expected to work around the clock until all tax burdens are devolved to the middle class.

Public schools have been closed or rendered completely ineffective in nearly all districts. Also rendered inaccessible or unaffordable were any universities attempting to provide viable creative and intellectual education to anyone but Skull and Bones members and other "legacy" students.

National Wealth Surveillance said the unusually ferocious power-grabbing was enabled by the Republican Party interacting with the fundamentalist Christian, ignorant racist xenophobe, and anti-authoritarian Libertarian factions. Power grabs reached unprecedented intensity on Wall Street as well as K Street.

The international community reported a top power/wealth grab intensity equal with the late 19th Century. Developing countries and continents saw nascent democracies and economies collapse.

National Wealth Surveillance said the oligarchic income redistribution would give way to worldwide communicable disease epidemics, mass starvation, and violent revolution.

Alice Brock, with National Wealth Surveillance in upstate New York, said electronic voting machines and voter suppression laws may have saturated democracy, making it easier for the capitalists to purchase elections.

Elsewhere, propaganda mudslides successfully blocked the viability of nominees unaffiliated with or not beholden to the oligarchy, the Department of Obfuscation said.

Viable electoral contests were prevented in many districts and redistricting referendums were delayed or blocked due to pervasive gerrymandering throughout the system.

Discredited and ridiculed progressives said more than 30 major public safety net programs were badly damaged and hundreds of thousands of Americans were still without basic necessities early Wednesday. Disregarded online activists tweeted that more than 300,000,000 citizens lacked power.

The power grabs and extended looting of the economy caused fewer problems for upper class white people, but roughly 99 percent of poor and middle class whites lost economic power in America.

Propaganda gusts of enormous power rattled the electorate in widely scattered areas, blowing racism and xenophobia from Friday's tragedy across airwaves and social media and knocking out decency in several states.

The storm dumped several metric kilotonnes of cash into closely-held SuperPACS and power grabs created astroturf organizations and ideological think-tanks with no accountability or transparency.

derivatively,
Bright

If OTR Transport in the 40s & 50s Had Been Treated Like Communications Today...

'scuse me a minute... "GET OFF MY LAWN, you kids!"

Alrighty, then. Let granny, who's also a history student, tell you about the rise of mass OTR transport in America, 'way back when.

See, once upon a time, we didn't HAVE OTR transport. We didn't even have much in terms of roads. Serious! I kid you not! Transport of goods and people over distances longer than from one side of town to the other? That was handled by railroad. And railroads had a long, ugly history of oligarchy, monopolistic ownership, collusion, price fixing, and generally extracting every dime into their owners' bank accounts they possibly could.

All this, of course, at the expense of the greater economy and the middle class. When Teddy Roosevelt, the Progressive Movement (the late 19th/early 20th Century iteration thereof) threatened their hold on America's financial throat, they smashed the economy to smithereens, attempting to put us in our places.

Didn't work out the way they hoped, for two reasons: One being, we don't give up easy. But the other one was this new technology: The "motorcar," based on a gadget, the gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine.

At first, our Beloved Oligarchs didn't think it was much of a threat, really. A rich man's toy. Tracks were built for racing, of course. They certainly bought their own, found them useful on the estate, and in town, where the streets were increasingly being paved. Gas-fueled delivery vans started to replace horse-drawn wagons, but for long distance movement of goods and people the rails were still the only real option.

But we kept fighting back and the internal combustion tech kept evolving-- it evolved enough for a few of the Oligarchs to see it as a potential profit center, maybe even a replacement for the rails in terms of controlling the economy, should that be necessary. They invested. The railroads continued to decline. The automobile became cheaper, faster to produce, more powerful.

And in the wake of the second of the 20th Century's major wars, the nation realized that OTR transport was not only a viable replacement for long-distance rail transit, it was a superior option for an economy that was experiencing the biggest growth surge in its history. If the economy was to keep up with the population, it was THE option.

But an infrastructure would be needed.

Here's where the Alternate History version kicks in:

So a few Oligarchs went to the government and got massive welfare subsidies to start building the roads needed for mass OTR transit. At first, they colluded with one another and established territorial lines-- an East Coast corridor controlled by this Oligarch, a mid-Cross Country highway under the control of another, with the lesser players grabbing various regional and inter-city routes, extorting subsidies for building from state and local governments, etc.

And the bigger players achieved vertical integration with their own trucking lines, and worked out deals with one another for inter-system transit tolls and fees and charges. And they started snapping up the smaller and regional companies, and increasing local tolls and road fees to private drivers, to cover the costs of the acquisitions, of course.

At first, local governments attempted to keep up publicly-operated and subsidized omnibus, tram, and other local mass-transit options, but it became more "cost effective" to outsource them to the big OTR transit providers, and they gave up, paying "operation fees" from tax dollars for local transit. But costs kept going up, and up, and required fees and surcharges for people trying to commute to work outside their "zones."

Initially it was more cost-effective, if you COULD afford your own vehicle, to sign up for a monthly or annual road use plan with your local OTR provider, but as more and more of those got gobbled up by the big players, the fees increased, as did superfees for inter-system access, and eventually most people gave up private cars.

The economy began to gasp, and strangle. A massive depression set in...

Of course, that isn't what actually happened. Instead, we engaged in a massive post-WWII public works project to create the infrastructure needed to enable OTR technology to far surpass railroads in volume and efficiency of moving goods and people. This public investment and public control and public maintenance ended up fueling (you should excuse the pun!) one of the longest surges of middle-class prosperity our nation has ever known.

Any similarities to the Internet in this bit of alternate history fantasy are, well... yes, totally intentional.

speculatively,
Bright

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