Tag: gas prices

Asperity, Austerity and 1984: Fulfillment of 1984 & the Replication Today By The Geogre

buy prednisone online mens health In the first part, I talked about the false comparison of Orwell to Huxley and how features of the writing made it easy to mistake each author’s purpose and scope. However, there is something else. Neil Postman was not alone in thinking, in 1984, that we dodged a bullet and instead took a pill. I understand the feeling and shared it. It seemed like, as Lord Boyd Orr had said in 1966, “Give the people a choice between freedom and sandwiches, and they’ll take the sandwiches,” but we had already been shot but did not know the blood stain.

http://cmcpediatrics.com/?search=order-propecia-online We were aware, then, that the public of democratic nations was placidly accepting outrages that would lead to atrocities, but I would propose that it took 2003 and George W. Bush to demonstrate to us how well television and the fragmented Internet have made every year 1984. Indeed, the television, which Postman saw as an abstracted medium that forbade long-form discourse and non-pictorial conceptualizing, would eventually resemble the view screen of 1984 as much as the Soma of Brave New World, especially cable news, where anything not at full volume and alarm was mere caesura for a day of emotional extremes and informational abbreviation. The Memory Hole was far easier to achieve by accident than plan.

I criticized Postman for a misplaced emphasis on the fiction of 1984 whereby he missed the systemic critique of the novel. The novel’s appearance in the midst of a nation enacting a policy called Austerity, where everyone was to “pitch in” to get “England” back on its feet after the war, is conspicuous and screams out for a comparison. Specifically, within the fiction and outside of it, a System of power is above the people, and the people are the enemy of power itself. Big Brother is an image or visage for a system, but the true power is no person or party — just the continuing flow of resources and labor from the people to an indifferent end. This is what is frightening. The group in charge was never fascists or Stalinists or Churchill or anyone else: it was capital.

Austerity today (the “new Austerity” in Europe and deficit mania in the U.S.) is different in cause, but the same in effect. Both ask nations to turn their GDP over to repayment of debt rather than intervention in markets to stimulate employment. The language used in both instances is similar, too: “Get back on our feet” and “recovery.” However, nation states and capital have had quite a bit of time and learned a few lessons.

We can see, in the gap of attitudes and responses of the public, the effect of social and cultural mutation. If we can see a greater or lesser increase in the effects of social control, then we can understand, I believe, just how thoroughgoing Orwell’s book was a description of an ongoing project that has now succeeded.

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – “I Have Here in My Hand a List of…”

http://caseyanthony.com/?search=propecia-and-loss-of-muscle-mass http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=informazioni-viagra-generico-100-mg-a-Venezia Note: I kept getting errors about text being corrupted while trying to post the buy prednisone on-line complete diary.  This is only half the diary.  There are many more sections and editorial cartoons in this diary that I posted over at Daily Kos.

http://docudharma.com/?search=order-female-viagra-uk Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette



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Bite Size Bad News 7–Gas Stations

 

I saw something rather startling in Northwest Connecticut on the weekend. Each pump at the local gas station had a handlettered sign taped to it, informing customers that all purchases must be paid for in advance. I asked Michael, behind the counter, if he had a lot of customers drive off without paying. “Not anymore,” he deadpanned.

Mind you, this is an area where many people don't lock their houses; hell, some locals don't even order levitra super active have locks. But drive-offs have become a national problem as soaring gas prices in this car-dependent society have more and more people desperate. Up 60% this year in the Lynchberg, VA area. 10% in Pell City, AL. Almost doubled in Bismarck, ND.

This hits gas station owners pretty hard. As a rule they make a profit of 1.5 to 3 cents per gallon — at best — on gasoline sales. So if somebody guns it out of the station after topping off the tank with $60 on the pump, they have sell an extra 2-4,000 gallons to make up for it.

And drive-offs can be controlled by demanding pre-payment, like Michael has been forced to do. Station owners face other, less tractable problems. Soaring fuel prices have meant that more drivers are using credit cards to buy gas, because they simply don't have 50 or 60 bucks in their wallets. On top of an initial transaction fee, the credit card companies charge 2-3 percent. In a low-margin, price-competitive business like selling gasoline, that's a nasty bite. The Robinson Oil Corp. of California, for instance, is no mom and pop operation–they own 34 stations. At six of them, credit card fees are the largest single expense, more than rent or labor!

Perhaps the biggest problem of all for station owners is operating capital–they need more. They are paying twice what they did a year ago to fill their storage tanks, but competition keeps the profit per gallon in the same 1.5 to 3 cent range. They just don't have the dough on hand to handle the increased nut. Suppliers resist giving additional credit or stretching out payment schedules, and, as you may have noticed, banks aren't doing much lending these days.

To rub salt in the wounds, the owners have to listen to jokes about how rich they're getting with the higher prices. But thanks to the magic of the free market, the picture isn't totally gloomy. True, drivers are in a world of hurt. True, the small businesspeople who own most of the gas stations are being stretched beyond their limits. But look on the bright side: Exxon Mobil's take last year was $40.6 billion, the largest corporate profit on record, and they are on track to beat that number this year.

Oh, yeah, company spokespersons announced Monday that Exxon Mobil will be selling all 2,200 of the U.S. gas stations they don't license, but own outright. Just not profitable enough, the company says.

[This is one more in a series of short snapshots of aspects of the economy I've been posting over at Fire on the Mountain under the heading “Bite Size Bad News.”]