We have repeatedly heard over the past decade how “things just happened.”
How “…nobody could have foreseen that.”
Or, how everything came about due to “..unintended consequences.”
Conscious actions have intended consequences.
While at the same time we have repeatedly witnessed how the major perpetrators, culprits and predators go unscathed, facing no consequences for the abominations against the public.
In fact, we have observed them to be unjustly rewarded again and again and again.
Then there are those of us who must hustle endlessly for the next month’s mortgage payment, or rent due, or the next meal, are constantly chided with the admonition that “…we must innovate our way out of this!”
“We” have innovated endlessly, only to find ourselves bereft of employment while the technology we developed has been transferred, along with our jobs, offshore!
We are scolded with the further mythology of “free trade” and that nebulous and ephemeral “free market” – which always translates to the relocation of factories, production facilities, research and development labs, network operations centers, call centers, etc., to cheaper labor markets, while importing their products and services back by the very same corporate offshorers, at considerably greater profits, and less or no taxation, to benefit them --- while destroying what remains of the tax base --- a perfect recipe for neofeudalism
A concerted design of predatory legislation and predatory jurisprudence (as in colossally corrupt US Supreme Court, and federal circuit court, decisions) over the past thirty to forty years allowed for our present circumstances; legislation which overturned the very laws protecting us from the uber predators.
That legislation and court decisions decriminalized fraud for those at the very uppermost echelon of the economic ladder, while criminalizing virtually everything for the rest of us.
Some of that predatory legislation:
As might be expected, many of our legislators are mighty pleased with the legislation they passed, and frequently crow about it whenever they speak before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as witnessed several years ago by Senator Dodd’s remarks:
I am proud to have had [USCC’s president and CEO Thomas Donohue]’s and the Chamber’s support on some of the most important pieces of legislation with which I have been associated. Laws like the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act; the Y2K litigation reform act; the Class Action Fairness Act; the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which has helped bring our financial services sector into the 21st century; and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which in the aftermath of 9/11 has played a crucial role in keeping our economy strong.
Along with the predatory legislation went a host of Supreme Court decisions --- predatory jurisprudence --- acting to destroy the existing socioeconomic fabric: the decision in 1978 to allow the dumping of the mentally ill onto the streets by the Renquist court, the privatizing of eminent domain around 2004 or 2005, the recent decision in favor of Citizens United, allow even more super-rights for the corporations and a host of other decisions
(Of course the very first predatory jurisprudence in favor the corporations’ super-rights occurred with the 1886 decision favoring Southern Pacific Railroad.)
Those who cannot remember the past…..
As the philosopher Santayana reminded us, it is best to familiarize ourselves with history. Or in this case, the recent history in the rush to deregulate, which was lucidly described in the last several years of the Carter Administration, and early years of the Reagan Administration in the book, Dismantling America, by Susan J. Tolchin and Martin Tolchin.
Mrs. Tolchin is presently University Professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. Mr. Tolchin was an award-winning congressional correspondent for The New York times for many years, and a founding member of the Politico web site.
In their most excellent book, published in 1983, the Tolchins begin with the closing of the Anaconda Copper Company smelter and refinery in Montana, resulting in the offshoring of those jobs to Japan – this happened just after ARCO Oil had acquired Anaconda. 
(Predictably, ARCO was later acquired by a multinational much in the news recently, BP, British Petroleum.)
Prior to ARCO’s acquisition (or “merger”) with Anaconda, during a hearing before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1976, ARCO promised to invest up to $1 billion in Anaconda.
Of course, they never specified whether that investment would be in Montana or Japan. 
In their book, the Tolchins also mention the establishment of the Regulatory Action Network by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to facilitate the deregulation of everything! 
Naturally, the problem with regulations; they interfere with corporate profits.
But the problem with deregulation; it interferes with life (i.e., hastening death, murder, destruction, etc., etc., etc.).
Further mentioned was Reagan’s Executive Order 12291 – “..granting OMB superagency status over regulations and mandating economic analysis from the agencies…,” dramatically altering the regulatory environment; effectively putting the brakes on further government regulations. 
(And don’t forget Reagan’s other executive order, #12615, which established the Office of Privatization --- by themselves these two executive orders would exact extreme changes.)
During Carter’s administration (1978), the Regulatory Analysis Review Group (RARG) was established. Unfortunately, this group would pave the way for what was to follow in the Reagan Administration’s assault on regulations protecting the public welfare.
This committee created by President Carter was the first action by a U.S. president to effect intervention in the day-to-day operations of regulatory agencies. 
While the Tolchins’ exhaustively researched book covers a gamut of material, from laxness in nuclear regulations to a host of other pertinent subjects, they also amaze with some recondite history on the first example of the carbon offset concept: first proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the Reagan Administration (EPA Emissions Trading Policy Statement, 47 Fed. Reg. 15,076 ).
So, interestingly enough, hedge fund manager, Al Gore (Generation Asset Management) wasn’t the first inventor of carbon offsets. 
In the last paragraph of the last chapter (There’s No Such Thing as a Free Market), the authors have written the most eloquent of statements:
For regulation is the connective tissue of a civilized society.
Quite recently, Ari Fleischer appeared in the corporate news, calling for the resignation of career journalist, Helen Thomas. This should be particularly galling to the vast majority of Americans, especially given Fleischer’s background of perfidy.
As far as “official Washington” is concerned, it was Richard Armitage who “outed” C.I.A. covert agent, Valerie Plame (and given the number of highest-level security clearances accorded to Armitage, he was well-versed in what constituted acts of treason), it was Ari Fleischer who testified under oath, and after being granted immunity, that he willfully and knowingly revealed Ms. Plame’s covert status to reporters.
Not only did this compromise Valerie Plame’s status, but as an operational supervisor with the C.I.A.’s WMD counterproliferation operation, Brewster Jennings, Fleischer’s treasonous behavior compromised the C.I.A.’s entire counterproliferation operation.
This conveniently occurred after Ms. Plame and the Brewster Jennings’ operation – as reliably rumored within the U.S. intelligence establishment – had successfully intercepted a deadly shipment of VX gas during a smuggling attempt across the Turkish border into Iraq around 2003.
Evidently, this VX gas was later to be claimed as a “found” weapon of mass destruction in Iraq!
The Brewster Jennings operation was reputed to have tracked the originating point of this VX gas back to America, but the investigation was conveniently derailed by Fleischer’s compromising actions.
The FBI’s investigation in this matter went nowhere as one would expect. There were multiple FBI investigations of both Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle regarding their passing the most sensitive classified documents to the government of Israel which were also fruitless --- to be expected given that Robert Mueller was and is the director of the FBI.
This follows a distinct pattern, as the investigation of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), happened to stop at the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice before it could be traced further, possibly as high as the Vice President (George H.W. Bush), who had most conveniently appointed the very same Robert Mueller (later to be appointed to director of the FBI by then President George W. Bush) to head the D.O.J.’s Criminal Division.
For a light and easy reference to the notorious BCCI scandal, I would recommend the recent excellent film – on DVD – called The International, starring Clive Owens and Naomi Watts.
And for a true synergy of learning (or a deja vu experience), please first view this movie, then read Ms. Plame's memoirs of her harrowing experience, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy,My Betrayal by the White House.
Just as there is no longer an economy in America, so too is there no media. What America is in dire need of are thousands of Helen Thomases, instead this country is plagued with an endless number of traitors, and those who yearn to commit treason.
And in a world of stenographers posing as faux newsies and pseudo-reporters, the one real journalist will be sorely missed!
- Senator Dodd’s remarks before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- pp. 1-2, Tolchin, Susan J. and Martin. Dismantling America. 1983. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780195035773
- Ibid., p.30
- Ibid., pp.6, 41
- Ibid., p. 45
- Ibid., p. 260
- Ibed., p. 276
Tolchin, Susan J. and Martin. Dismantling America. 1983. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780195035773
Truell, Peter and Gurwin, Larry. False profits: the inside story of BCCI, the world’s most corrupt financial empire. 1992. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0395623391
Wedel, Janine. Shadow Elite. 2009. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-09106-7
Wilson, Valerie Plame. Fair Game. 2008. Thorndike Press. ISBN 9781410405425.
- Anaconda Copper Company
- Ari Fleischer
- British Petroleum
- Clive Owens
- Department of Justice
- Dismantling America
- George Mason University
- Helen Thomas
- Janine Wedel
- Martin Tolchin
- Naomi Watts
- Paul Wolfowitz
- predatory capitalism
- Richard Perle
- Robert Mueller
- Shadow Elite
- Supreme Court
- Susan J. Tolchin
- The International