I.C...the floor is yours.
Lowell Weicker, Jr. seems to have suffered some confusion, perhaps even a corruption of his democratic values. His speech and answers to questions at the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (News-Times, June 18) mischaracterizes Connecticut officials and politicians. Some, if not many of his complaints are true but the core issue he refers them to is false.
He complains the state is unfriendly for business. The purpose of government, state or otherwise, is to make life friendly for the people not merely corporations. In a democracy, public wellness trumps corporate convenience, or should. We don’t see much of that nowadays because officialdom and the public have so conflated public life with that of corporations as to claim they are one and the same. They are not. The corporate wealthy who claim that they are the means to public well-being are absurd and increasingly ridiculous on their face.
The Supreme Court in its most recent barbaric exercise of grotesque opinion extended the legal fable that corporations are persons. Mr. Weicker should ponder how this ‘business friendly’ court has corrupted the nation. Contrary to the Court’s ‘Fabulous Five,’ corporations are not persons, they are not even close. Corporations seek the least responsibility, the most resource wealth that can be grabbed, and leave the state as soon as their public welfare shrinks or make attempts to manipulate state officials for more. They are what they have always been, merely devices for piling wealth and for the last 30 years, increasingly designed for piling up all wealth. They seek to profit without employees if possible, without factories if need be, and as soon as they can manage it, poof!, they are off to China.
“Business friendliness’ which Mr. Weicker promotes is merely a means of ennabling these gigantic sucking engines called corporations to extract more money out of the state, away from the people who created it. Being “friendly to business” is a manufactured concept, the only manufacturing most corporations do nowadays. They seek a maximum wealth transfer out of the public realm, upward into the hands of the rich. Not surprisingly this leaves the rest of us in an ever increasing impoverished, environmental, employment, and social wasteland.
Does Mr. Weicker not travel the state enough to see the blank factory windows and empty employee parking lots in Danbury, Norwalk, New Haven, Waterbury, Bridgeport and New London to mention a few? The corporations made their money and left us with rubble at worst or ‘Vacancy’ at best.
Weicker characterizes Gov. Jody Rell as being “disinterested.” Gov. Rell has been very interested, even adamant that the wealth conveyor just described remain in place and untouched. Don’t tax the rich is her own private fable. Her fault is her failure to reveal the blackmail involved—“if you tax us we will leave.” By such fear mongering, individuals and companies bully states, municipalities and the people to grant tax rebates, subsidies, weak rules and regulations and favors of every description. They bully even to the extent of demanding that regulator agencies be stuffed with corporate hacks and lobbyists.
The people are asked to make sacrifices for the privilege of having one or another corporate dim nut locate here or there. The political mechanism is visible in its fully evident form in the British Petroleum oil spill. The federal government and the states involved were very ‘business friendly,’ exquisitely so. They helped in every way, watched not at all, questioning nothing.
Oil industry drilling standards, industry equipment manufacturing, industry safety equipment, and industry installations were never examined, never questioned and seldom tested. When equipment was tested, the industry-captured Mineral Management Services agency never demanded or stipulated ‘best practice’ compliance. Two-thirds of the operating wells in the Gulf do not have the specific mechanism, a blind sheer ram within the blowout preventer for an effective failsafe in case of a loss of well control. Far fewer have two of them, the present standard, in case of a failure of one.. Even the blowout preventer itself, the one device that was supposed to protect the environment and the work crews from catastrophic failure has worked only six times out of 11 in actual well control incidents.
Deepwater Horizon’s Macondo blowout preventer was never tested. It was deployed without crucial mechanisms, and never was required to contain or tested for effective working backups. The nation, in some sense, got what it deserved for electing and then accepting the flawed re-election of two dyed-in-the-brain oil men. They were and remain, politically corrupt to a fault. Oil may be taken off some birds, separated from some sands and wetlands, but the nation will never be able to take the oil or the contrivances to get it, out of those kinds of men.
Blaming Barack Obama for their thievery is hilarious or would be if it wasn’t a form of mass ignorance. It wasn’t the president’s but the public’s ‘shucking and jiving’ with such thieves which left us the problem. The president can only be faulted like most of the American public itself for holding simple minded beliefs. We insist as a nation on believing in the sincerity, competency and public loyalty of an economic system and its corporate agents that have become corrupt, totally self-centered and unbelievably irresponsible. The president, like Americans generally, want fervently to believe in the sacred market and its sacred cow, the corporation.
When I was a boy, Americans used to laugh at India because its people allowed sacred cows to wander the streets, defecating and menacing as they saw fit . But 60 years later Americans allow ‘sacred cow’ corporate executives to wander the streets and fields of the nation. They direct their enterprises, pollute the land, water, air and public culture. They proclaim their exceptional contributions and demand “favorable treatment by market friendly governments [to allow] the rich to prosper.” That’s Ajay Kapur, Citigroup’s chief strategist propagandizing for more “business friendly” government. How few laugh at these people, let alone complain or challenge their unmitigated audacity in claiming they have lives to live while denying the rights of the rest of us to the means of life.
Lowell Weicker accuses Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s “litigious” officiating as having made the state unfriendly to business. If that is true it is because those business were invariably, crudely dishonest and polluting. They were and some still are polluting not only the environment but our democratic public values of fairness, life safety and economic well being. The number of brownfield sites in the state alone testifies to previous government failures.
The likes of a Pfizer robbing New London of its municipal wealth only to leave in a few short years from a fit of corporate pique, or because a CEO wanted to be closer to his home or live in some other world, as they all inevitably do. Such incidents display the true aspect of modern business and its purposes. It doesn’t have anything to do with a ‘free market.’ It has to do with enslaving the nation. It’s called self-interest.
The problem is not that corporations are policed too much but that they are policed so little. For they have no socially enlightened self control mechanism and absolutely zero interest in developing one.
What Mr. Weicker fails to mention is that major portions of business operate merely as agents of that gigantic wealth pumping engine. But in our indulgent social and political theology, capitalism cannot be criticized. Rather it must be praised as though it were the hand of God, the almighty ‘free market.’ Unfortunately, but true to its design, that market is increasingly ever less free and ever more designed to serve merely itself and no others. How many of us are watching? How fewer still attempt to do something about it?