INSANE TOXIC CORRUPTION
THINGS YOU WISH YOU DID NOT KNOW
Introduction and Foreword to Insane Toxic Corruption
Since hearing of the book called Slow Death by Rubber Duck by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie the whole concept has caught my attention. I decided to create my own pamphlet, culling what appear to be relevant items from the web. Each section starts off with its web location at the time of writing (April 2010). Notice the articles are WAVA (! - Web Articles, Various Authors - You heard that acronym here first!); sources are included with each.
It's truly hard to know where to begin for an introduction to corporate malfeasance, secretiveness and greed and the astonishing ignorance and carelessness of citizens (yes, us!). Should we start with the Roman Empire which did not permit corporations of any size, and thus avoided the whole problem - sort of. Should we tax anyone making over $10 million per year about 95%? This would only affect 0.0001% of the population, and be a wake up call to executives who have got too pleased with themselves.
Evidently the money could be used to clean up the corporate messes. Ah, but you have to get through Congress first, and just who controls Congress? Despite popular opinion, it is certainly not the people. Corporations. Have you ever wondered where all those hundreds of lying cheating thieving criminal executives that worked for Enron went after 'the fall'? Why, to work for other robust US corporations like Credit Card companies; Pharmaceuticals and of course petro-chemical industries, where they are clearly right at home, continuing their senseless destructive work.
Other things have caught my attention too, and all of this reminds me of a conversation between scientists and doctors at a scientific research laboratory in the year 2000, which went on for three months. The subject was "How long will the American Empire last in its present form?". The protagonists included a Danish professor; a Catalan geneticist; an Andalusian geneticist; a well-known Dutch scientist; and a token American scientist, who had little input, as history was the theme of the discussion (Sorry for the snide aside - but we all know that history is not taught in American schools). Various foreign visitors had their say, as this went on for months. Finally it was the Andalusian who produced the closing item of the discussion. "After 200 years of the Roman Republic, in 70 BC", he said, "the head of state was killed in public. Everyone knew who did it and no one was brought to trial. This marked the break between Republic and Empire. Before, the citizens could hope for justice. After that, all pretense was lost. The Empire lasted about 200 years after that before taxation and corruption broke the people's will to union and it split in two; each of which foundered in turn within two centuries." "When the American head of state was murdered in public, everyone also knew who did it - the Joint Chiefs of Staff - and no one was brought to trial. Just about 200 years of Republic had passed. People have changed very little. So we can expect 200 years before the Empire changes or splits in a radical way."
There was a long silence afterward, and it was said that perhaps this would be shorter this time because of the greater speed of communication. The consensus was at least 100 years to go; there were no dissenters about justice. Have we learned anything since then? Umm, perhaps it's a matter of faith.
But is any of this new? Opium was collected by slave labor in India under British direction, sold in China and put in every medicine you could think of from 1825 to 1925; and the stuff really worked - until it killed you!. For 120 years British media nastily and continuously said it was the Chinese who were responsible, 'just look at the opium dens'; people still believe those lies today, even though the Chinese declared war on Britain not once but twice because of UK bringing opium to China. Had China won, the world might be more interesting. You never know. But they have money there too, and people are much the same the world over; always excepting Australian aborigines - far & away the world's oldest and longest continuous culture.
But I digress. To return to our theme, which is the astonishing additives in products for consumers. Radioactive elements were not banned from them until 1938; it was believed that such a mysterious radiation had to be good for you. This is the background from which we emerge.
Sadly for us (Democrats and Republicans alike; in fact the whole world), Thomas Midgley discovered that adding lead to gasoline prevented engines 'knocking'. Latching onto this in a big way, GM, Dupont and Standard Oil, three mighty US corporations created the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation in 1923, to create and sell lead as an additive to gasoline. Lead is a neurotoxin, and overexposure causes insomnia; blindness; deafness; kidney failure; cancer; convulsions; aggressive hallucinations; coma and death. Also, it easy to extract and the additive sold incredibly well. Redesigning engines so there was no knocking with conventional gasoline had no future profit, while selling 'ethyl' clearly did. Between continuous denial up to and including 2001 when they stated once more that no research has shown that leaded gasoline poses any threat to humans or to the environment [sic, I tell you - the people that said so and the people that believe it].
It is likely that the resulting increase of atmospheric lead of over 600 times the previous level is affecting the intelligence of all children born on the planet after 1960. Still today lead is used in aviation gasoline. And we sniggered when we first heard the Roman aristocracy had a fad of cooking in lead pots. It's like doctors seriously telling us today's increasing cancer rates are because of better diagnosis and medical knowledge (!).
Just what is it going to take?
Obviously more than this, because the infamous Thomas Midgley moved right along to invent chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, a stable, non-inflammable gas that could be used in refrigeration, which meant thousands of applications, all of which in due course released said CFCs into the atmosphere. This started in the 1930s, and it took 50 years to notice the effects on the atmosphere around the planet. And again, yes, there were other solutions possible. Meanwhile CFCs continue to pour into the atmosphere, but at least in reduced quantities - the US corporations do it overseas, you see, where they think we will not notice. From the way they behave, it is easy to believe they are not human and do not have children.
Clair Patterson deserves to be sainted; if that is worth anything. Maybe honorary elevation to a peerage would be better. Lord Patterson sounds good.
The one bright note here is that Thomas Midgley suffered a very nasty disease and very unpleasant death. He became crippled with polio in the late 30's and, ever the inventor, he created a system of pulleys so he could move about in bed. He became entangled in the ropes and strangled himself in 1944. Very slowly, one might hope. So he never knew how CFCs damaged the planet. But he did know all about the dreadful effect of lead. It's quite possible that no one person nor corporation has ever had such a devastating effect on the planet; affecting every human on it, including their own children. And grandchildren. And great-grandchildren. Yet still they persist, and still we let them.
Yes, it goes on. Massey Energy (ME) is the company that operates coal mines in West Virginia among other things. The CEO of Massey Energy is Don Blankenship. Urban legend has it this man invented a scandal and funded it to the tune of $3 million to run one state supreme court judge out of office for the crime of siding with mine workers.
Blankenship was also photographed in the French Riviera with another justice while his company had a $77 million case before that court. Blankenship regularly condemns the whole idea of environmental protection, saying that global warming does not exist and that asking people to conserve is tantamount to communism. Blankenship and Massey Energy that last year were convicted of massive and systematic age discrimination. In another case (!) Blankenship and Massey Energy were ordered to pay $30 million in environmental damages after running up fines that actually topped $2.5 billion.
Most critically Blankenship and Massey Energy lost miners as recently as 2006 due to lack of safety equipment. At the end of that case, the outraged widows of the dead men refused to accept the settlement, stating that it was clear that the company executives had placed profit ahead of safety. Once again, slowly. These are poor people remember, so their refusal means deadly certain knowledge and heartfelt disgust with corruption at Massey Energy. These are true Americans and good people who know the meaning of the word honor. We need more of them.
Another greedy monster that usually manages to keep itself out of the headlines definitely deserves mention here - ConAgra. A multi-million dollar food processing plant blew up recently in NC killing a number of people. Not a word from the company. Why bother. Who cares. The local law enforcement came out on TV and said what a wonderful company they are. Once. That was the only mention of the company name.
Just yesterday (15 April 2010) the TV 'news' let something escape at 5:00am for which people have no doubt been severely reprimanded. A huge shipment of US meat was refused entry to Mexico (!) because of toxic levels of copper, and plenty of other things beside. ConAgra again of course, although this time their name was not mentioned, This was OK, but the 'sidebar' was the important thing. They said that in March 2010 a report had been published stating that meat quality controls were pathetic or non-existent, and that American meat products were widely contaminated with five or more well-known deadly poisons as well as excessive antibiotics.
They wrapped by saying controls should be put in place to test meat products. Imagine! (i) this report was kept quiet for about one month after publication (ii) where did all those controls go that were in place 35 years ago?. I bet we'll not hear this news item again (It's now 14 days later and not a word). For more on this (hold on to your stomachs) read "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schloesser. It's no surprise I became vegetarian many years ago.
The insidious power of big business is hard to comprehend. In a typical US supermarket today, there appear to be over 380 different food brands to choose from. In fact there are probably only 21. ConAgra markets their food products under 360 brand names with brightly different packaging. The other 20 would be local producers struggling to compete against the corporate monster that has no conscience. This is nationwide. As Eric Schloesser put it, if packets were to be colored according to company, the whole supermarket would be one color, with a trifling few odd ones out here and there.
As for democracy, that's out the window after the astonishing Supreme Court decision in January 2010 to treat corporations as individual humans and allow them to fund candidates for election. This astonished even a Republican. Senator John McCain told reporters that he was troubled by the "extreme na´vetÚ" some of the justices showed about the role of special-interest money in Congressional lawmaking. Henceforward there is no chance of a democratic election in the USA. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/opinion/22fri1.html The already corrupt process of the US elections in 2001 was obvious enough to attract the attention of the rest of the world, so for the next elections proposals were floated to have an elections board from the United Nations oversee the process. Naturally this was firmly prevented, as the process would not stand impartial observation.
Hmm. Well, here's an excerpt from an article by John le Carre in the UK Times, 15 January 2003; "The United States of America has gone mad" In America, where all men are equal in God's sight, if not in one another's, the Bush family includes one President, one ex-President, one ex-head of the CIA, the Governor of Florida and the ex Governor of Texas. George W. Bush, 1978-84: senior executive, Arbusto Energy/Bush Exploration, an oil company; 1986-90: senior executive of the Harken oil company. Dick Cheney, 1995-2000: chief executive of the Halliburton oil company. Condoleezza Rice, 1991-2000: senior executive with the Chevron oil company, which named an oil tanker after her. And so on.
So far they have all got away with it. Do not hold your breath however; just remember how long the empire will last. Statues will be erected in their honor.
You might think we're nearly through at this point; after all, we've poisoned all our children planet-wide for the next 5 or 10 generations; stopped democracy for once and for all; partially destroyed the atmosphere so UV and other short wave radiation enters at unprecedented levels; wiped out more species than we knew existed and are almost through emptying the oceans of fish, Not to mention covering them in garbage. And toxic waste. Did I forget continued agricultural destruction by over-use of fertilizers?
What more can we do? Look out, here comes religion. But first, a little real science - The Dangers of Bread: (i) More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread eaters. (ii) 50% of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests. (iii) More than 90% of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread. (iv) Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat beg for bread after only two days. (v) Bread is often a gateway food item, leading the user to harder items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter and even dead animal flesh. (vi) Newborn babies can choke on bread. And lastly, among much more, (vii) Bread is baked at devastating temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! Clearly bread is a very dangerous product which should be banned immediately.
So what's the point? The point is literacy and basic education; wherever television and fast food goes, illiteracy follows; it's the American way; hence most Americans and British today are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.
Now for religion. This was so extraordinary I looked it up for myself on the internet and got many hits confirming this and other equally dismaying results. According to a recent poll, 24 percent of Republicans think that President Obama is the anti-Christ. Let me write that again slowly: Almost one in four Republicans think the president has evil magical powers and will one day fight a resurrected Jesus Christ for possession of our eternal souls. http://www.livescience.com/culture/obama-anti-christ-100325.html
Is this for real? Apparently so. But who could want these souls? What on Earth or in Heaven for? We wonder that the same people believe those souls were faulty in the first place, with original sin and other amazing ideas implying a God that does not know what he is doing. Oh, never mind.
Living as I do in North Carolina well South of the Manson-Nixon line, I have run into some extraordinary beliefs. Without exaggeration, there sometimes does not seem to be any difference at all between the beliefs in myth and superstition held by a majority of Greek, Roman, Aztec or Mayan peasants thousands of years ago. We were just as clever then, and just as ignorant. Once again, excepting Australian aborigines, of course.
I would like to say the following were the reactions of Republicans, but it's not true. Some persons may have seriously deranged beliefs as mentioned above but it was the majority of US citizens that accepted these next things as normal and did not get angry enough to do anything about it when - (a) the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President. (that's 3 times they get mentioned now). (b) Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy. (He gets two mentions) (c) a covert CIA operative got outed just for spite. (I bet this was Cheney too). (d) the Patriot Act got passed [sic]. (e) the US illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us. (f) the US spent over 600 billion (and counting) on that illegal war which has increased the price of gasoline. (g) over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq. (You think Cheney knows where it went?) (h) saw the Abu Grahib photos and found out the US was torturing people. (i) the Bush government was illegally wire-tapping Americans. (Them again). (j) we didn't catch Bin Laden. (k) the Bush government let a major US city drown. (And again). (l) the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark. (Funny how this had no effect the Bush family fortune - quite the reverse, in fact) (l) last but not least we continue to support Saudi Arabia, one of the nastiest dictatorships on the planet, while ignoring that 17 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. The other two were Iranians - Watch out, Iran!
Yet US citizens finally did get angry when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. A right which has been available to all citizens of all other civilized countries of the world for more than a generation.
Is it only me that has noticed the sick and cynical setup of the CVS pharmacy supermarkets? You walk in to a regular set of aisles of products, most of which are clearly poisonous; cookies, cans of soda, candies and chocolate. You have to walk through a maze of aisles touting these toxic products to reach the drugs at the rear, where you can get the cure for whatever ails you, probably diabetes. Once served with your outrageously expensive insulin or other cure, your make your way back through the maze of aisles of poison, to the front door where there's a handy checkout counter for your impulse purchase of toxic crud. If you think this is accidental, you're not from this planet. See WAVA 1, next.
OK, now I have covered most of it.
Americans figure largely here, as though somehow separate from ordinary people. But we are all in this together; it is us who have brought the world to the state it is in. There is no 'them' doing this. It is us that will fix it.
Better to fix it before hunger, sickness and poverty force us onto the streets with guns. Our long held desire to blame someone else for things we encourage, tacitly or overtly is responsible. There is no 'someone else'.
Alright already; enough of doom and gloom; it's not advanced prostate cancer and the planet is not an 80-year old human.
Here's how the future will go. Biology and biologists will save the planet.
Genetic modification will create bacteria that thrive on toxins in waste dumps. All will become clean and converted to fertilizer. The same manic drive that causes CEOs on corporate boards to the insane heights described here will be channeled to clean up the place instead - there'll be money to be made, and citizens will gladly pay.
Geneticists will modify and combine genes from coral, oak trees, fire-flies, electric eels and oysters to create 'seeds' that we can plant to grow houses, complete with water supplies (tap roots), drains (idem), lighting and mother-of-pearl finish. They will be hurricane proof. All you will have to do is plant them and wait.
Preferably someplace they will not get flooded by rising sea levels. Getting them to be square inside will be quite a trick; but if you have ever seen a venus flower basket (image) you know it is just a question of time.
All species of food crops will be made that fix their own nitrogen and are insect resistant (not toxic!). They will be perennial, at one stroke eliminating plowing, seeding and fertilizing; just harvest when ready like fruit trees. Duh. And the EEC is against GM. Actually they are against greedy US corporations, more than GM.
Fish and meat eaters can continue to amuse themselves with products from chemical factories that receive cellulose materials such as hay and fallen leaves and produce nice streaky bacon and perfect fake steaks out the other end. The same place will produce paper too, as that will be around for a long time to come, iPods and iPads not withstanding.
Animal species will be created and re-created. Forests will be re-grown and diversified. A thousand years will pass like nothing. Fundamentalists will remain fundamental, but ways will be found to firmly convince them to leave the rest of us alone.
GM will have its effect on human medicine too. Longevity will easily exceed 200 years.
Tomorrow's moral problems will include whether to adjust bears' genetics so they can have hands; fix the voice boxes of chimpanzee and gorilla for speech; dolphins to have legs (they already have a bone in their penis - hmm; makes you think, that one.); and any other assortment of tricky moral and ethical issues. Plenty to keep us busy and amused.
Greedy CEOs and friends will at first twist genetic modification for profit, as they try to already with infertile hybrids, inappropriate patenting (the Supreme Court again) but this tyranny will end, as it always does, and the world will be a better place.