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bikes/transportation | corporate dominance | imperialism & war

Petroleum corporations paved over the trolleys

In the 30's oil drilling began in Saudi Arabia, Hitler chased the Communists, and America's petroleum interests began dismantling the trolleys and paving highways with petroleum residue asphalt..
"In the 1930's, a corporation called National City Lines backed by General Motors, Standard Oil, Phillips Petroleum, Firestone Tire/Rubber, Mack Truck and other auto interests bought up and closed down over 100 electric trolley lines in 45 cities (including LA) across America.."

(What else started around the 1930's?
30's -- Prescott Bush, grandfather of GW Bush, funds the National Socialist Party (the Nazis) of Germany. Money most likely used for Nazi propaganda.

1933 -- American oil companies began drilling oil in Saudi Arabia

1933 -- Nazi Party sets Reichstag (German government building) on fire and blame Communists (Kommunist Partei Deutschland). Hitler and Nazi Party wins election, Communist (KPD) members forced underground, flee Germany or end up in concentration camps.

30's -- American labor unions gradually weakened, Ford and Rockefeller suppress union organizing in Detroit

30's -- Germany; Now under Nazi rule, the Autobahn is urged via propaganda as superior and more natural than trains. Mass paving occurs, trains used to haul Communists, Jews, disabled, asocials, Gypsies, gays, and others to camps.

1938 -- Mexico nationalizes their oil to avoid Rockefeller's Standard Oil (ESSO--> EXXON ) corporation from adding it to their virtual monopoly. Similar situation happening right now in El Alto, Bolivia)

"In 1949, federal grand jury convicts GM and others of conspiring to replace electric transit systems with buses and monopolize the sale of buses. Corporations were only fined $5,000 for this long term damage to a previously excellent trolley system. The damage was already done, in 1947 40% of US workers relied on public transit to get to their jobs, In 1963, only 14 percent did. By this time electric trolley lines became extinct,"

(as did habitat for endangered species as a result of suburban sprawl, aka white flight)

"In 1974, antitrust lawyer Bradford Snell testified before Congress on the corporate conspiracy to wreck mass transit. The Big Three automakers -- GM, Ford, Chrysler-- 'used their vast economic power to restructure America into a land of big cars and diesel trucks', Snell contended."

above material in quotes is almost verbatum from "Taken for a Ride Detroit's Big Three and the Politics of Pollution" by Jack Doyle (pg. 47, excerpt Nadis/MacKenzie)

Today photochemical smog (nitrogen dioxide NOx, carbon monoxide CO, ground level ozone O3) from fossil fuel combustion causes asthma and lung cancer in children living in the inner cities of America. If we still had our electric trolleys, this would not be the case..

Oxygen bars sell the substance of life (formerly produced for free by trees that were cut down to build roads) to people with enough money to breathe clean air through a tube and tank. Others are left breathing the smog, which includes carbon monoxide (CO), a chemical that is 200 times more likely to bond with the iron in blood's hemoglobin than is oxygen. As CO levels rise in the bloodstream, oxygen is unable to reach cells in the brain, causing the cells to die..

Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur at lower levels, symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizzyness, irritability, depression, etc.. Long term exposure to smog from fossil fuel combustion can lead to a deterioration of mental capacity. Combustion of fossil fuel burns up oxygen, therefore oxygen decreases, carbon monoxide increases. SUVs emit much more CO than smaller cars, trolleys emit zero and don't burn up oxygen..

Please ask an SUV driver if they know where their fossil fuel comes from (Iraq, Venezuala, Saudi Arabia?), or if they would inhale the CO exhaust that comes out of their tailpipe..

We can recycle the SUVs into bicycles and trolleys..

On a MOVE!!
anyone remember this quote... 13.Jul.2004 17:26

Judge Doom

You lack vision, but I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food. Tire salons, automobile dealerships and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. My God, it'll be beautiful.

National City Lines 13.Jul.2004 17:36

Cloverleaf Industries

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?

This is of course the landmark 1988 film which brilliantly combines live action and animation. The scene is Los Angeles, Hollywood, and "Toontown", where all of Hollywood's cartoon characters lived. The main story involved a cartoon rabbit who was framed for murder. As it turns out, the real murderer was the evil Judge Doom, the sole stockholder of "Clover Leaf Industries". The time period is the late 1940's, when the "Red Cars" (Pacific Electric Railway) ran throughout the Los Angeles area. Judge Doom's scheme was, through Clover Leaf Industries, acquire the Red Cars, the cartoon industry, and the Toontown land. He would then want to dismantle the Red Car system and replace it with a freeway running through the Toontown land. The freeway would be lined with gas stations, motels, fast food places, auto dealers, etc.

But in the Hollywood tradition, good triumphs over evil in the movie, Judge Doom is eliminated, and the Red Cars and Toontown survive. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the actual Pacific Electric cars. Although National City Lines never did control Pacific Electric, the red cars went the way of most electric railways in the 1940's and 1950's.

National City Lines did however acquire the remaining Pacific Electric local streetcars in Pasadena and Glendale, and replaced them with buses. And National City Lines for a while had significant control of Los Angeles Transit Lines, which during that time replaced many streetcar lines with buses.

In the January 1989 issue of Passenger Train Journal, Curtis L. Katz had an interesting perspective of the movie. In the late 1940's, not only were electric railways in decline, but also quality animation. But by 1988, animated featured films were making a comeback. Urban electric railways were also making a comeback, although now usually referred to as "light rail".


Oh, they'll drive 13.Jul.2004 17:43

They'll have to

Doom: Who's got time to wonder what happened to some ridiculous talking mice when you're driving past at 75 m.p.h.?

Jessica: What are you talking about? There's no road past Toontown.

Doom: Not yet! [Starts slipping on the eyes] Several months ago I had the good providence to stumble upon a plan of the city councils. A construction plan of epic proportions. They're calling it, a Freeway.

Valiant: A Freeway? What the hell's a freeway?

Doom: Eight lanes of shimmering cement running from here to Pasadena. Smooth, straight, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past.

Valiant: So that's why you killed Acme and Maroon? For this Freeway? You're kidding.

Doom: Of course not. You lack vision. I see a place where people get off and on the Freeway. On and off. Off and on. All day, all night. Soon where Toontown once stood will be a string of gas stations. Inexpensive motels. Restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food. Tyre salons. Automobile dealerships. And wonderful, wonderful bill boards reaching as far as the eye can see... My god, It'll be beautiful.

Valiant: Come on. Nobody's gonna drive this louzy Freeway when they can take the red car for a nickel.

Doom: Oh, they'll drive. They'll have to. You see, I bought the red car so I could dismantle it.

---

As the steamroller rolls on it reveals Dooms flattened body starting to move.

Valiant: Holy smoke! He's a toon!

Doom: Surprised?

Valiant: Not really. That lame-brained freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon.


my god, it will be... uhh, it will be... umm... 13.Jul.2004 18:00

this thing here

and the stressed out people sitting in standstill traffic when they get off work, cursing either the traffic lights strung over what they thought used to be an interstate, or the overpass construction site which narrows the four lanes down to two, or the person unfortunate enough to have an over heating car engine which causes all the other drivers to slow down and look and gawk and curse, all the while huffing 95 degree heat and smog which smells like a mixture of fast food and car exhaust and feels like oily fog, and coming home in a pissed off bad mood, yelling at the wife, grumbling at the kids, trying to medicate with a bud light or four, all this stretching as far as the eyes can see. my god, it will be the only possible choice americans will have to get from point a to point b.

and like good stupid little children, many americans will just sit there day after day taking it from behind because either they couldn't possibly fathom any other way to get from the same point a to the same point b, or, they don't want to pay for any other way because they mistakenly think that the roads they sit in traffic on all day, the roads they curse, the roads that cost billions and billions and billions, are totally and completely tax free, just dropping down out the sky like magic one day, while bicycle paths, buses, light rail lines, and subways cost billions of dollars of their tax money.

Thank you for the excellent article. 13.Jul.2004 20:43

red suspenders

Portland was once full of streetcars... In fact my grandfather took the one on Glisan street downtown to work every day. In this neighborhood near 39th and hawthorne, you see the occasional horse-tie up ring- They're 99% decorative, as the ordinary knuckledraggers living in these parts couldn't afford a horse and took the trolley to work.

Other side 14.Jul.2004 00:36

James

Of course, for the other side of the argument, read Cliff Slater's informed article in Transportation Quarterly, available here:

General Motors and the Demise of Streetcars
 http://www.lava.net/cslater/TQOrigin.pdf

(Incidentally, Slater recently wrote an article in the Honolulu Advertiser trashing MAX, after a visit to Portland, hosted by the Cascade Policy Institute. Earl Blumenauer has penned a response to Slater).

Slater's position is that bus rapid transit is inherently more efficient than streetcar transit. General Motors was undoubtedly violating anti-trust laws in some of their business operations. (Forcing transit systems to buy GM buses, etc). But that hardly proves the streetcar conspiracy.

MAX is great. I ride my bike up the hills to Sunset Transit Center quite regularly. But while light rail has its benefits, the capital costs are extremely high. Serving a large and widely dispersed population with light rail is simply impossible. And, as you might have noticed, people like their 2,500 sq. foot homes and large lawns. That is independent of General Motors' influence.

I really don't know enough about it to take a strong opinion either way, though.

Actually 14.Jul.2004 12:26

xyzzy

While GM-owned National City Lines was convicted in court of conspiring to cause the transit systems it owned to order only GM-built buses (which is a subtly different charge than conspiring to pave over streetcar tracks), NCL never actually owned the Pacific Electric interurban system that once served the LA basin. (NCL did, of course, buy other transit systems, but never the PE.)

The PE "Red Car" system passed through a succession of private owners, whom as the Depression and then the rise of the automobile in the postwar years progressed gradually scaled back service and abandoned parts of the system. By the time the last remaining parts of the system were shut down in 1961, it was owned by the MTA, the public agency that's still responsible for running transit in LA.

Portland

yeah, light rail is expensive 15.Jul.2004 01:03

moon

so what?...this country wastes money in so many stupid ways...light rail and the trolleys are actually one mode of mass transit that actually somewhat accomplishes the pleasure and enjoyment of riding in your car, minus the headache of polluting traffic...that's good investing...that's how you get people to use mass transit....they will increasingly do so as gas becomes more expensive or comparably non-existent......on a wenesday, the elmonica park and ride was nearly full.....light rail/trolleys, are transportation infrastructure...they are cheaper to build now rather than later...busses suck in so many ways...I'm a car driver...I would very reluctantly give up driving for the bus...but light rail?....a good chance

that's the FREAKING point. 15.Jul.2004 15:47

this thing here

yeah light rail is expensive. BUT IT'S THE SAME DAMN EXPENSIVE, PAID WITH THE SAME DAMN TAX MONEY, as all the shiny new roads with their shiny new signs and lights and painted markings. it all the same money. THAT's the fucking point.

and no, obviously light rail is not going to work in a suburb or a rural area. to think that that is the secret "big plan" behind light rail is bullshit. and what is also paranoid bullshit is the fear that many rural, suburaban people have that they will be FORCED to ride public transportation, that all their roads that are packed with traffic will just be torn up one day and everyone will be forced by government agents to get on some train. this is just bullshit fear.

maybe some people like getting in their car and sitting in traffic. fine, great. but there's other people out there who really DON'T like that, who have better things to do with their time. and the point of a good transportation system, the kind one would expect in the most advanced country on earth, is that there are multiple ways of getting from point a to point b. this is called multi-modal transportation. the people who like getting to and from work by car can have their roads, the people who like riding bikes have their bike paths/lanes, and the people who take car pools have their hov lanes, and the who like buses have their buses, and the people who want to use light rail/commuter rail/subways can use those modes of transport.

unfortunately, the paranoid, senseless fears of public transportation, along with dictatorship of the automobile/road, especially in terms of how much of the total monetary resources they gobble up leaving crumbs behind, has produced many situations in america where a person HAS to sit in traffic, when instead, they could just as easily, and for the same amount of money as all that concrete and asphalt, have the CHOICE of sitting in a train whizzing down the median at 60 miles per hour.

The same cost? 15.Jul.2004 18:36

James

Interesting topic, I'll start a new thread in a day or two. This one's almost gone.