Friday, May 4, 2007

Free Market Fanaticism

Ronald Reagan and George Bush are idolized by many Americans because they wanted to “get the government off of the backs of the people,” but that is Orwellian Doublespeak for eliminating government regulations that were put into place to deal with the brutal exploitation of the environment and average citizens from private corporations (once referred to as the “Robber Barons,”) who are not concerned with sustainability, but only with short-term profits – most of which go to the corporate executives.

The legacy of Reagan and Bush has been the deindustrialization of America, and the outsourcing of American jobs to countries that practice slave labor -- because corporations only care about profits. They have no social conscience. The are simply money machines. And if that means using child slave labor or contaminating or killing innocent people in the process, its OK as long as it’s profitable.

The notorious James Watt, Reagan’s infamous Interior Secretary who was a former industry lobbyist, was at war with those who sought to protect the remaining wilderness areas. When he was asked about saving something for the future generations, he laughed and said there weren’t going to be any future generations. He believed the Second Coming was at hand and that God was soon going to destroy the Earth and all of its people – so there weren’t going to be any future generations.

The Earth’s biological life support systems are being destroyed all right, but not by God – but by people like James Watt and other free market fanatics

It is as if we all forgot about the endless history of human exploitation – which has always been a part of human nature. It is the law of the jungle: eat or be eaten. Where interest lies – honor dies. Very few people study history anymore, and as my history professors in college taught, a person without a knowledge of history is like a person without a memory. You just have to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

But this time it is different, because the corporate exploitation of the Earth’s people and natural resources has resulted in the destruction of the only planet in the universe that can sustain us and our descendants.

The list of exploitation is long, and it doesn’t just involve people, but every living thing:

· Coal and nuclear company executives that contaminate their own children -- as well as the rest of the American people -- with mercury, acid rain and carbon particles that cause heart attacks and strokes, and radioactive isotopes that will be causing genetic mutations, disease and death for billions of years.

· Ancient mountain ecosystems that took millions of years to form are routinely destroyed for a few days worth of coal or uranium, which when used contaminates our air, water and food.

· Corporate executives find ways to eliminate employee pensions.

· Insurance companies find ways to avoid paying policy holders.

· Drug companies hide adverse test reports on their products.

· Credit card companies now charge over 30% interest to the people who can least afford to pay it.

· Timber companies compete to destroy the last of the old growth forests.

· Poachers hunt down the last of the tigers, elephants and gorillas for their teeth and tusks.

· Free Market fanatics have all but destroyed billion-year old ocean ecosystems.

· Half of all surgery is unnecessary because doctors operate on commission, rather than a salary. Indeed, over 90% of the current healthcare costs (up to $3.8 trillion per year) are spent on terminally ill people in the last 6 months of their life, and in many cases, the treatment and tests causes immense suffering and premature death.

· Agribusiness corporations run concentration camps for animals, which provide low-quality drug-laced food to consumers; and health care corporations run inhumane concentration camps for seniors -- all because corporate accountants have determined that it is more profitable to operate that way.

· Corporate lobbyists got the government to privatize the military, which meant that companies like from Halliburton would receive secret, cost-plus, no bid contracts that paid the privatized solders 1,500 a day (which is over $500,000 a year) compared U.S. soldiers that typically only receive $50 a day (which is less than $20,000 a year). There are now over 20,000 privatized mercenary solders in Iraq, and some estimates place the number at over 100,000.

· Cheney’s fever for the war is easy to understand once you realize he spend 30 years in a revolving door relationship between the Pentagon and Halliburton, setting the privatization scheme up so that all Halliburton needed was a war in order to make billions – and much of it was in cash. And if the war goes badly, the corporate contractors make even more money with their cost-plus contracts. Is it any wonder that even before Cheney was sworn in as Vice President, he asked the joint chiefs for background information on only one country: Iraq.

In spite of these harsh realities, the Bush Administration has put corporate lobbyists in charge of the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA, and the Food and Drug Administration.

Corporate Realities

When the long-term problems caused from a corporation’s short-term profit concerns become unmanageable, the corporation simply goes out of existence -- but the problems don’t go away.

It’s why private corporations should never be allowed to determine environmental regulations or deal with the production, transport or storage of toxic substances – yet that is exactly what the free market fanatics have made possible. Just trust us, they say. But only a fool with no knowledge of history would believe them. “Trusting” corporations to do the right thing is a policy of stupidity that is destroying the only planet in the universe that can sustain us . . . and there is not much time left to change course.

Consider the Phoenix Project proposal to shift from fossil and nuclear fuels with wartime speed (i.e., by 2020) to a wind-powered hydrogen economy: whereby a 5 or 6 trillion dollar capital investment will generate over a trillion dollars of and pollution-free electricity and hydrogen per year, with a resource that is inexhaustible (i.e., the wind and water). Should most of the enormous profits from such a reindustrialization project go to private corporations, or the American people?

Reckless Rhetoric & Policies

While some people admire Reagan’s references to the Soviet Union as the “evil empire,” such language was clearly reckless given that a nuclear war with the Soviet Union would have had a utterly devastating impact on America. It was just as reckless for President Bush to refer to South Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Ill as a “pigmy” who he loathed. Such name calling is childish and derails meaningful negotiations, and it is part of the reasons why the vast majority of the people in the world, including our closest allies, disliked the Reagan administration almost as much as they now dislike the Bush administration.

President Reagan was, and President Bush is, technically illiterate. This explains why their administration’s spent billions on a needless arms race with unrealistic Star Wars technologies, while they cut or under funded the relatively modest budgets from some of the most promising renewable energy technologies, such as wind and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) systems that were being developed by Lockheed, Grumman and others that could have made the U.S. energy independent of all fossil and nuclear fuels.

While many people give credit to Reagan for ending the Cold War, such statements are pure political rhetoric with no basis in reality. The collapse of the Soviet Union would have occurred regardless of who was president of the United States, because the fundamental reasons for the collapse were due to the internal corruption and secrecy of its government, not external pressure from the west. As Kevin Martin stated in a June 21, 2004 interview in Time magazine, Reagan actually prolonged the Cold War by strengthening the old-line hawks in the Soviet Union through his strident verbal attacks on their country.

Reagan was opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment for women, unions, and civil rights. And while virtually no one refers to George Bush as an intellect, many republicans do refer to Reagan as a “deep thinker.” The reality, however, is that he was disengaged from many of the details of his policies, including the Iran Contra scandal that resulted in the mass-murder of thousands of innocent people in Central America.

Reagan himself joked about the fact that his working days at the White House were carefree, where he started late, took afternoon naps, and left early. This is certainly understandable given his age, but to suggest that he was some towering intellect with a powerful vision for the future of America is simply political propaganda. It is as if the national news networks work for the Republican National Committee.

Changing Course: The 10 Amendments

Given that a large number of multinational corporations are now financially larger than many countries, it is important not to allow their financial power and lobbyists to influence legislation because it fundamentally undermines the democratic process.

This is why a Democracy Amendment is required to ban all corporate and business lobbying and contributions that are provided to elected officials. This Democracy Amendment will also substantially strengthen corporate oversight by federal officials, it make corporate secrecy illegal, and it will strictly prohibit any corporate dominance and/or influence in the print and electronic news media.

The Fair Accounting Amendment is also critical, because it will factor in the military, environmental, healthcare and social costs of using fossil and nuclear fuels, and slave labor from abroad that has deindustrialized America and lowered the standard of living for not only Americans, but the citizens from the foreign countries who are forced to contaminate their own environment and people and work under slave labor conditions.

Although Reagan and Bush claimed to be fiscal conservatives, they both tripled the national debt with their reckless foreign and military policies that wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayers dollars. It is why a Constitutional Amendment to balance the federal budget is also necessary.

It is why a balanced economy – and not unregulated free market fanaticism -- is what is required to provide sustainable prosperity without pollution.

Neither Reagan or Bush acknowledged or discussed the exponential nature of the global energy and environmental problems, which means we are all like passengers on the Titanic and there is only a limited amount of time to “change course.”

Indeed, given the Exponential Age in which we live, we are as close to a nanotechnology utopia of molecular medicine that will soon be able to regenerate our cells and organs, and essentially eliminate aging and disease, as we are to an ecological oblivion and mass-extinction, which is why the decisions we make now are so important, for they could well determine which future evolves.

Just as Caesar found Rome a city of clay and left it a city of marble, we have found our civilization addicted to a fossil fuel and nuclear economy that is highly polluting and rapidly diminishing, and we have the opportunity to replace it with a wind-powered solar hydrogen economy that will provide “sustainable prosperity without pollution.” It is not a question of technology, but of political priorities. Most importantly, however, it is a question of “changing course” while there is still time to make a difference.

If you want to help make this transition of substance happen, please send an email to with your name, occupation and telephone so you can become part of the computer coordinated correspondence committee (C4) in your state. Together, we can make a difference.


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