By Ed O’Rourke
|A frequent one-liner is, “If all the economists were laid end to end, they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion.”However, my problem with my fellow economists is not their frequent state of disagreement, but rather their near unanimous agreement on support of basic policies that are killing us.
Herman E. Daly
The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.
I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life.
We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.
US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
If civilization itself is to survive, it must be inspired by a new ideal that renounces endless material acquisition and makes a virtue out of the necessity of living within our ecological means.
William Ophuls, Plato’s Revenge,
Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity – much less dissent.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Time to Connect the Dots
Our leaders have failed us miserably. Global warming is wiping out life on earth. There are some 17,000 nuclear weapons. A nuclear war between India and Pakistan is enough to induce nuclear winter. Three billion people live in poverty. By 2050, the predominate life form in the oceans will be the jellyfish. Rather than deal with threats to life on earth, Wall Street and the world leaders are turning resources to an endless war on terrorism. This is a blank check.
Donald Rumsfeld gave the idea that al-Qaeda had a small fortress in Afghanistan or Pakistan that in his diagram resembled a miniature Pentagon. GIs found nothing but dusty caves. The image that the Bush administration projected was a highly organized operation with money galore. In fact, the al-Qaeda outfit resembles the anarchists that carried out assassinations in the late 19thand 20th centuries. The anarchists had no central headquarters, no specific newspaper or command structure.
After the Soviet Union’s demise, the Pentagon was in real trouble. There was no credible enemy to fight and there would have to be a peace dividend. The military industrial complex would have to find new tasks or fade away. Invent they did. Saddam Hussein who had been a partner now became the new Hitler. When he was massing troops to invade Kuwait, the US ambassador, April Glasspie, told him that the US was not interested in border disputes in the Middle East. In diplomatic language, this is known as the green light, i.e., unofficial approval.
When thirteen foreign intelligence agencies warned President George W Bush about an imminent attack on the US, he issued routine orders and went on vacation.
The Congress, the mainstream media, Wall Street, the business community and the non-governmental entities are people who have attended the world’s finest universities or have people reporting to them who have. They have no courage or vision to see the big picture. Even the people on the Weather Channel refuse to say, “global warming.”
The war abolitionists, the advocates for the poor and the environmentalists have the same cause but few recognize this.
War and preparation for war destroys the environment and impoverishes the country where hostilities take place and those at home. If you doubt this, ask any Iraqi citizen. Defense contractors receive lucrative contracts while soldiers’ families receive food stamps.
A Global Marshall Plan (http://www.
Modest reforms will not save the planet. Have the courage to ask for the Moon:
1) Reduce the US military budget by 90%,
2) Eliminate the world’s nuclear weapons.
3) Legislate a 100% tax on all income over $10,000,000 per year.
4) Criminalize any remissions to or from tax havens,
5) Institute a world-wide poverty elimination program.
6) Place a luxury or environmental tax on newly mined minerals and bottled water,
7) Eliminate all subsidies for fossil and nuclear fuels,
The peace dividend, actions listed here and many other reforms will save the planet. Such a dividend can fund tree planting projects and park rangers in the Amazon rainforest and several thousand areas that need protection.
During the First and Second World Wars, nations organized labor and material and identified national industrial goals to produce aircraft carriers, tanks, fighter aircraft and all weapons necessary to win the war. In the crisis we are in another such institution is necessary. The new entity will resemble the Texas Railroad Commission and the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Nations (OPEC). There would be a rationing where countries could receive so much petroleum and other commodities at an established price. Guarantying that each country will receive a suitable amount will reduce the possibilities for war. Of course, there would be heavy lobbying and politicking. Such an arrangement for Europe in the early 1900s would have gone a long way in averting the First World War.
This is a trying time. I remember spring 1942 when the Axis Powers were on the move everywhere and the Allies were retreating. But the Big Three, (the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union) and other allies hung on to turn the tide.
Now the multinational corporations own Congress and the media. They are telling us that global warming is no problem. Truth tellers fear jail. Since the corporate media projects only what the multinationals want us to hear, dissidents feel alone.
Connect the dots. Make noise. Get attention. You will draw a crowd. Winston Churchill predicted that in defeating the Axis Powers the world would walk in broad sunlit uplands. Now it is up to war abolitionists, environmentalists and human rights advocates to lead the way. With our work, the world will indeed walk in broad sunlit uplands.
Ed O’Rourke is a retired certified public accountant currently living in Medellin, Colombia. This article is material for a book that he is writing, World Peace – The Roadmap: You Can Get to There from Here