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From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: selling sickness to the well
Date: 8 Aug 2005 13:59:28 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Bill wrote:
> > It was long a mystery to me why liberals hate businesses so much---
> > even honest businesses (save perhaps for the ones they happen to own--
> > and there are plenty of liberal businessmen).
> I don't think that's true. That's more Communism. It tends to be more issue
> oriented. Recently, for example, Tom DeLay tried to get protection for
> companies from being sued for putting MTBE in gasoline. Most Democrats and
> many Republicans were against this. DeLay had stopped the energy bill for
> several years over this. He finally gave in.


You missed the major point about the MTBE legislation: it didn't extend
protection to people whose ruptured tanks let it get into the water
supply, like the gas station on Sepulveda and Venice where I used to
live in LA (contaminated thew whole area). Rather, the legislation
would have extended protection from "deep pockets" lawsuits to the
*manufacturers* of MTBE, exactly as happens now with the vaccine and
cigarette manufacturers (who made deals).  And, to some extent, the way
we treat the makers of Jack Daniels and Smith and Wesson pistols.

The opponents of all this not only refused to correct this
tort-injustice (which lawyers cannot even see), they managed to spin it
all so the public wasn't even being told the truth about it(since the
public hates deep pocket liability, feeling somehow in the gut that
it's intrinsically wrong--- unless the target is some company they
don't like). You got taken in yourself. See my point?  These are lawyer
tactics. Liberal tactics. The tactics of those who would use the system
to take money from whoever has it, whether there's anything
intrinsically "fair" about doing so or not.

MBTE, by the way, was approved by the EPA and many other government
agencies. And was added to gasoline by companies trying to meet federal
clean air standards. A sanction given by the public for a problem which
the public gave their demand and sanction to fix. Sheesh.


From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: selling sickness to the well
Date: 8 Aug 2005 15:20:33 -0700
Message-ID: <>

William Wagner wrote:
>    MTBE btw stinks a sure sign that it is harmful telling us to stay
> away.

It smells like the ether that it is. Many people react just as
reflexively to ethanol (which should have been used instead of MTBE,
all now agree).

>TEL or Tetra Ethel Lead  smells like juicy fruit gum.  Pleasant
> yet very toxic.  Is hard to use our senses  to avoid danger these days.

Or ever. Phosgene smells like fresh grass. Cysteine, which you need to
eat to stay alive, smells of rotten eggs.

>  My rule of thumb is if it won't  break down via  nature beware.
> Asbestos  comes to mind yet it is the particle size 4 microns  that
> imbeds  and causes problems in lung tissue.  Dust  even wood dust and
> radioactive tailings a few words not spoken recently hurt us.

Organic chemicals sometimes break down rapidly, and sometimes not. I
agree the unstable ones are best for general uses, when you can
identify them. As for minerals, they generally don't break down at all.
Asbestos comes from nature, you know. If we quit using every mineral we
dig out the ground that doesn't degrade, we'd have to stop
civilization. It's a case by case thing.

BTW, we probably killed more children by outlawing DDT than all the
wars in this century combined. They died of malaria to save a few
falcons and songbirds, a long way away. Was it worth it?

>   FWIW  Take out "Liberal tactics "   of your post and I would eat the
> right wing of any chicken at a barbecue with you.

Well, thanks a lot, Mr. King of the Hill.  But I put it there for a
reason. The issue of tort reform to stop deep-pockets lawsuits is
hardly politically neutral. In general, liberals have pushed to make
and keep deep-pockets tort laws, and conservatives have tried to fix
things. Being a libertarian, I agree with the conservatives on this
one, naturally. It's a simple issue of fairness. To a liberal, what's
"fair" is that the people with lots of money should be made to give it
away, end of story. That's WHY they fight to keep deep-pockets tort
law, which effectively does just that (and nevermind who really should
be blamed, if anyone). That's oversimplifying it a bit <g>, but the
whole truth is too long for you to ever read in a USENET post. I think
I have the essense of it.


From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: selling sickness to the well
Date: 8 Aug 2005 15:31:16 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Bill wrote:

> Also, I'm not sure that MTBE was required only that a certain standard
> be met. Do they still use that?

I believe so-- it was up the manufacture of the gas whether to add it,
or use something more expensive like ethanol. Ethanol will never make
it as primary fuel, but it makes fine oxygenator gas additive to
decrease polution.

But all in all, the people who manufacture the chemical shouldn't be
liable for how it's used. And it's hard to even make the case that oil
companies who used it for an (EPA approved) gas additive should be
liable when service station tank failures spilled it into the ground

The problem is that you get no juice suing one lone service station,
which can contaminate the ground water of many counties and then go
bankrupt, giving you nothing. So liberals were in need of a witch or
scapegoat, and couldn't find one. And there you are. They should have
looked to the regulations which permitted ethers like MTBE to be used
as gas additives at all, but then they would have had to blame
themselves. And had to go the taxpayer for the cleanup money, instead
of the greedy rich corporations. Always a politically more dicey


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