We have all seen the recent question, “which is the bigger threat: ISIS, climate change or ebola?” Let’s change that question. Which threat is more profitable to multinational corporations? The actions by their lobbyists should answer that question.
There is big money to be made as long as the military industrial complex can be stoked by “wars on”. Climate change is for another day, after all the cash is milked from the petrochemical cow. By comparison, ebola is barely on the legislative radar.
Infection numbers are expected to rise from the current 6,000 reported cases (estimate to actually be 20,000 by The World Health Organization) to 1.4 million by January if we don’t change course. (1) The US has promised 100 field hospitals but will barely staff one. The funds expended by non-governmental organizations like Doctors Without Borders is coming from the Gates Foundation and The World Bank. (2) Facts updated just today paint an even more grim picture. (3)
If the serially defunded World Health Organization isn’t your preferred source, the Centers for Disease Control has reached the same conclusions. Important people are talking, but not enough people are in a position to act. (4)
Ebola has a 50 – 70% kill rate and infects a high percentage of those exposed. And while the situation is currently limited to post-conflict, almost “failed” nations, to believe that Americans do not face similar shortages of health care services in “medically failed” regions of the US would be a serious mistake. (5)
Add to this inadequate ability to respond to public health issues the fact that there are currently multiple strains of the disease and the real risk should begin to reveal itself. To paraphrase an auto ad from a few years back, “this is not your father’s ebola”.
My answer to the original question: ebola, climate change, ISIS in that order. And you?
Image thanks to theglobalmail.com
Taxes have been lobbied down for Big Biz with no regard for the long term consequences. Our elected have allowed it. America needs to elect candidates who don’t buy in to this racket.
When business faces a genuine tax liability, the choice is to either use dollars to reinvest in the business or to pay taxes. It makes good business sense to choose to spend on facilities, equipment, supplies, and even wages and benefits because this is not shareholder money, it is tax money, redirected to improve American productivity.
But for too many big businesses tax liability has become a myth, theoretically “high” but performing “low” by industrialized world standards. Loopholes, subsidies, and low rates reduce the incentive to spend internally. Our power grid is failing, our internet is the slowest in the developed world, and placing new stores or factories takes local incentives – to name a few consequences.
And many businesses that cannot lobby their way out of taxes are hit as hard as wage earners in this out-of-balance scheme.
Without taxes in the equation, improvements in the means of production, a long term strategy, are at shareholder expense rather than taxpayer expense. And we all know about what is important to the few shareholders-that-matter on Wall Street: short term gain.
The same five Supreme Court Justices that brought US the Citizens United decision have taken the next step toward the gentrification of American law. They continue to interpret the constitution as though it favored those of means. What to do? From the comfort of your own home you can send them a postcard an share your dismay.
Chief Justice Roberts
Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas
1 First St NE Washington, DC 20543
Message side: (this is just what my postcard said – say how you feel) don’t forget the black edges (a sharpie will do)
Situations in Europe would have us revisit the debate, “Democracy v Stability” as we consider our role in international affairs. Today I am asking, “what kind of stability?”
‘American leadership through the threat of force’ is consistent with a ‘maintenance of the status quo’ notion of stability, but currently fails any sustainability test. The very same who believe America should be ever ready to flex muscle do not support any viable means to fund their intentions.
These Hawks appear happy to spend tax dollars but reluctant to ask those who fund their campaigns to pay taxes. So, while top private and corporate earners have far more skin in the game than most, they pay proportionately less into the kitty than a kindergarden teacher.
In compensation for these opposing values, Hawks embrace austerity to justify the abuse of American warriors: enlistment promises are broken; the wounded are brought home and then left behind; and funds are found for new war planes but not for hand sanitizer for the remotely deployed. By now we should all know that austerity is a costume worn by too many at the masquerade ball we call American politics today.
As long as Hawks burden breadwinners and protect cake eaters The People must resist their chest-beating racketeering.
Image thanks to rapgenius.com
As I watch the news stories of weather tragedies across America, I remember my experience in the Christmas Flood of 1964.
When we got word the river was on its way, a younger sister could only think of getting presents into the attic. Many of my friends did not have time to do even that. We spent the the holiday sandbagging at the end of our street, watching homes submerge, and hearing the news of those that were ripped off their foundations.
I’ll never forget my tears as I helped build a damn between our house and the house of my best friend: a stranger hugged me and said, “we can’t save them all”.
Today I remember, and wish I could save you all. Be strong, America. We will take care of each other, regardless of the word-noise from the talking heads.