By Bill Maher
If Black Lives Matter protests were “Obama’s America,” putting profit and corporate greed before the health and wellbeing of the people is “Trump’s America.”
In Michigan, their Department of Environmental Quality asked for public comment about whether they should allow Nestlé to pump 400 gallons per minute from the state’s White Pine Springs well instead of the current 250 gallons per minute. Nestle bottles the water and sells it at a profit and pays a yearly permit fee of only $200 for the privilege. Citing environmental concerns, corporate greed, and the precedent of privatizing water for profit, the citizens voted 80,945 to 75 to not allow the increase. The Department of Environmental Quality looked at the results… and ruled in Nestlé’s favor anyway. Because… fuck you.
And here in California, ten municipalities successfully sued paint companies for knowingly selling lead paint that caused permanent brain damage in children. After all the appeals, the paint companies were ordered to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to remove lead paint from affected homes. And they apologized and paid up. I’m kidding.
According David Lazarus, writing for the Los Angeles Times, “The companies — Sherwin-Williams, Conagra and NL Industries, none of which are based in California — hired a bunch of local lobbyists and ponied up $2 million apiece to concoct the Healthy Homes and Schools Act, which they hope to qualify for the November ballot.”
The Healthy Homes and Schools Act is disguised as an initiative to force the state to issue “$2 billion in bonds to cover a more comprehensive cleanup that would include mold, asbestos and other issues, along with toxic paint.” The catch is there’s language in the measure that lets the paint companies off the financial hook and shifts their lead cleanup costs to the taxpayer to the tune of $4 billion after interest. Surprise!
Let’s call this country what it is – a corporatocracy – and admit the best we can do is eke out an existence within a system where our current government will always do what’s in the best interest of Nestlé and ConAgra.