News is a matter of trust

Behold, the price of decreased government regulation and supervision…

Six Shooter Junction – Recently, a woman of limited means provoked her own arrest at a legislative committee hearing where the leadership refuses to allow electronic recordings of the proceedings.

After repeated warnings, she was forcibly removed, and when she resisted, officers pulled her hair, knocked her down, dragged her and at the jail placed her in a restraining chair where they strapped her in. Then they placed a hood over her head.

True, the hearing was covered by live streaming video, archived and indexed for the public, but she wanted her own copy. It was not to be.

She has no media credential.

So I determined to jump through the hoops required to get this jewel from the Texas House of Representatives Business Office, Manager of Payroll and Personnel, james.freeman@house.texas.gov

Freeman’s conclusion, after providing beaucoup information about just who I am and what I do, was, “based on that information, we are unable to establish your eligibility for a media credential.”

It comes as no surprise.

Freeman meets the payroll that regulates the golden handcuffs of corporate sensibility binding a bunch of good old boys and girls to benches and machines that drive one of the most ruthless corporate economies in the history of the world. The driving mantra of this consortium is “Decreased government regulation.”

One of the tools in the box with the most leverage to achieve that goal is an embargo on any truly useful information as it relates to corporations who do business in the Lone Star State.

These organizations are nearly human. They can do anything a human being can do, except die. The closest thing to that is to run out of money, and then a government trustee settles their debts and reorganizes them.

The payroll Freeman meets is $600 per member per month, most of whom take that pay day once a year and pay their rent on condos, from which they organize their activities in each biennial session of the Legislature. Why would anyone want to do all that, to keep meticulous campaign records, meet entertainment and appearance obligations and travel to the capital often for certain obligations for the pittance of $7,200 per year gross?

RETIREMENT!

The Texas Legislature has one of the most lucrative, benefit-laden systems available. Makes it all worth-while, to chill with family and friends during the golden years and reflect back on the true story.

“I did all this with a part- time job.” It’s almost as good as, and then I married the boss’s daughter, but nowhere as socially confining.

But the statewide embargo on information that is imposed by the corporate sponsors who make all this possible is nearly sociopathic.

Let’s take a look at a certain central Texas community of hard-working farming families and the agricultural workers who service their needs in the employ of multinational agribusiness conglomerates.

The Bohemian enclave of West has suffered a couple of criminal incidents over the past few years, each of which I, The Legendary Jim Parks, covered as news events. I guess Brother Freeman was far too busy counting the sheaves and paying out the shekels to take notice.

In one, a fertilizer storage plant exploded under entirely mysterious circumstances. After laborious investigation, a federal agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives eliminated all possibilities for the cause other than a fire in an ammonium nitrate mixing room that was set as an act of arson. By whom?

They don’t know.

The bullshit.

The true facts of what happened were suppressed by the media, systematically, with precision, and no inconsiderable alacrity.

After all, corporate America is always looking for team players.

The simpler, the better, and this story was fairly straightforward. Some total idiot completely disregarded the well-known fact that rapid charging of storage batteries creates highly volatile gases, causing them to explode. The fool plugged in a golf cart to recharge within reach of open bins of a compound that once burning, emits highly explosive gases of its own.

During the afternoon of the day of the explosion, a fire ensued in the electrical system and an electrician assessed the damage, secured the circuit, and promised to prepare a repair estimate.

Someone knows who plugged the battery charger back in.

She’s not alone, but she has a motive to speak out.

A member of the law enforcement community killed her baby sister with a gun she borrowed from her father in an attempt to protect herself from him.

He forced an ambulance off the road, beat up the driver, whipped her with a cane, and made two trips to her house where he beat her senseless before he returned to take the gun away from her and killed her with it.

Why?

Her sister, a former Emergency Medical Service technician says, “Someone else could have her and he couldn’t. He couldn’t stand it.”

He’s in the penitentiary now. Finally.

Law enforcement had paperwork on him that would have put him behind bars all along. They just didn’t serve it.

In fact, he broke into the ambulance driving sister’s house to menace her sister and she, herself, put the gun to his head, cocked and locked, and just didn’t pull the trigger. He retreated, but it wasn’t the end of the story.

I wrote extensively about the crimes directly from the written records. At a community gathering in a rural beer joint, one of the drunks pointed out an insurance adjuster who told me the story of the golf cart and the fire.

Our first aid lady has something to say about government regulations. She says there was no burglar alarm, fire alarm, fire prevention system, video surveillance, fence or any other way to keep unauthorized people off of the property of West Fertilizer.

There weren’t even any material safety data sheets to describe the hazards of the fertilizer that exploded and cost so many families their homes, more than a dozen firefighters their lives, and robbed the State of Texas of its peace and dignity.

To a man, the campaigners for public office, including Governor and Lt. Governor with their legislative roles, voiced repugnance for the need for government oversight and expressed their adamant refusal to let any such disaster as happened to the people of West to impede the wheels of corporate commerce.

Ta-da!

The EMS lady is unemployed now. Her partner lost his job over substance abuse impairment, was the subject of a federal probe over explosives, and wound up in rehab.

She tried tending bar in downtown West until her boss got caught drinking while working at his own bar and made a scene because Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission staffers were standing on the corner outside the door with local cops.

He raved at them for driving business away from his door.

“I don’t want to lose my certification as an EMS tech over something like that,” she said.

Sometimes, it’s good to not have the approval of the government to write news.

After all, I wrote every evolution of these stories with no credential whatsoever. Plenty of people read the stories.

I’m satisfied. I hope the neoconservative business schmucks with the button-down checkbook minds are.

But, seriously, sometimes the bottom line really IS the bottom line.

After all, what is a Grand Jury, if not a form of government regulation?

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