Dr. Roberts brings up the latest news on the unpleasant side of corporations dumping toxic waste into public lakes (and then hoping no one will take offense (or action against them)).
(Did The EPA Intentionally Poison Animas River To Secure SuperFund Money?)
Paul Craig Roberts
August 11, 2015
Few, if any, corporations absorb the full cost of their operations.
Corporations shove many of their costs onto the environment, the public sector, and distant third parties. For example, currently 3 million gallons of toxic waste water from a Colorado mine has escaped and is working its way down two rivers into Utah and Lake Powell. At least seven city water systems dependent on the rivers have been shut down. The waste was left by private enterprise, and the waste was accidentally released by the Environmental Protection Agency, which might be true or might be a coverup for the mine. If the Lake Powell reservoir ends up polluted, it is likely that the cost of the mine imposed on third parties exceeds the total value of the mine’s output over its entire life.
Economists call these costs “external costs” or “social costs.” The mine made its profits by creating pollutants, the cost of which is born by those who had no share in the profits.
As this is the way regulated capitalism works, you can imagine how bad unregulated capitalism would be. Just think about the unregulated financial system, the consequences we are still suffering with more to come.
Despite massive evidence to the contrary, libertarians hold tight to their romantic concept of capitalism, which, freed from government interference, serves the consumer with the best products at the lowest prices.
Progressives have their own counterpart to the libertarians’ romanticism. Progressives regard government as the white knight that protects the public from the greed of capitalists.
Everyone, and most certainly libertarians and progressives, should read Jeffrey St. Clair’s book, Born Under A Bad Sky (2008). St. Clair is an engaging writer, and his book is rewarding on many levels. If you have never floated the Western rivers or met the challenge of treacherous rapids or camped among mosquitoes and rattlesnakes, you can experience these facets of life vicariously with St. Clair, while simultaneously learning how corruption in the Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management results in timber companies, mining companies, and cattle ranchers making money by plundering national forests and public lands.
The public subsidies provided to miners, loggers, and ranchers are as extravagant and as harmful to the public interest as the subsidies that the Federal Reserve and Treasury provide to the “banks too big to fail.”
Progressives and libertarians need to read St. Clair’s accounts of how the Forest Service creates roads into trackless forests in order to subsidize timber companies’ felling of old growth forest and habitat destruction for endangered and rare species.
Our romanticists need to learn how less valuable lands are traded for more valuable public lands in order to transfer wealth from the public to private hands. They need to learn that allowing ranchers to utilize public lands results in habitat destruction and the destruction of stream banks and aquatic life.
They need to understand that the heads of the federal protective agencies themselves are timber, mining, and ranching operatives who work for private companies and not for the public. Americans of all persuasions need to understand that just as senators and representatives are bought and paid for by the military/security complex, Wall Street, and the Israel Lobby, they are owned also by mining, timber and ranching interests.
The public interest is nowhere in the picture.
The two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are at 39% and 52% of capacity. The massive lakes on which the Western United States is dependent are drying up. And now Lake Powell is faced with receiving 3 million gallons of waste water containing arsenic, lead, copper, aluminum and cadmium. Wells in the flood plains of the polluted rivers are also endangered.
The pollutants, which turned the rivers orange, flowed down the Animas River from Silverton, Colorado through Durango into the San Juan River in Farmington, New Mexico, a river that flows into the Colorado River that feeds Lake Powell and Lake Mead.
All of this damage from one capitalist mine.
In November of last year, US Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) got his bill passed by the House. Stewart is a hit man for capitalism. His bill “is designed to prevent qualified, independent scientists from advising the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They will be replaced with industry-affiliated choices, who may or may not have relevant scientific expertise, but whose paychecks benefit from telling the EPA what their employers want to hear.” http://www.iflscience.com/environment/epa-barred-getting-advice-scientists
Rep. Stewart says it is a matter of balancing scientific facts with industry interests.
And there you have it.
(Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the "Wall Street Journal." He was columnist for "Business Week," "Scripps Howard News Service," and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.)
August 7, 2015
In an interview with "Rolling Stone," singer Bob Dylan said, “[The U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima] showed that indiscriminate killing and indiscriminate homicide on a mass level was possible, whereas if you look at warfare up until that point, you had to see somebody to shoot them or maim them, you had to look at them. You don’t have to do that anymore.”
I thought Bob Dylan’s statement was profound. In America, we’ve always had war and all kinds of related evils, but with Hiroshima we crossed the line with this new demonic power and an insane preparation that allows us to destroy the entire planet. It is like we said to God, “What it took you 15 billion years to make, we can destroy in 15 minutes.”
America has never dealt with the consequences of our actions. We, as a people, have never talked deeply about how we vaporized more than 100,000 human beings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It seems we are numb or maybe we are mindless with collective insanity as we have continuously allowed our government to go on creating even more nuclear weapons to vaporize more people.
The 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invites us to reflect anew on our global predicament and what we can do to create a new disarmed world of peace. Most people on the planet have never lived without the threat of nuclear weapons. We’re all used to them now. They’re part of life, part of the landscape, part of our reality. There’s nothing we can do about it, we’re told.
By 1968 America had over 32,000 nuclear weapons. Today we have some 7,200 nuclear weapons on alert, ready to end civilization at a moment’s notice.
Since Hiroshima, America has spent over $5.5 trillion building nuclear weapons. Two years ago, the U.S. Congress quietly approved a bill to spend another $1 trillion over the next 30 years to upgrade our nuclear arsenal. With that vote, America is now building state of the art nuclear uranium plants in Kansas City and Oak Ridge, upgrading Trident subs and Livermore Labs, and at Los Alamos, the birthplace of the bomb, and they are building a state of the art plutonium bomb factory.
Everything today finds its roots in Hiroshima, which means the whole world of suffering and violence is connected to Los Alamos – from Auschwitz to Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan to Haiti to ISIS to Al Qaeda to Ferguson, to Sandy Hook and to Charleston, South Carolina. It’s all connected.
Remember what Mahatma Gandhi said shortly after the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima: “We have seen the physical effects of the atomic bomb on the Japanese people, but it is too early to see the spiritual effects on the people who made and used the bomb, the Americans.”
That’s what we are living through today – the dire spiritual consequences of what we did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki; as well as the effects of building thousands of nuclear weapons since then, and threatening time and again to use them on our “enemies.”
Here in New Mexico where I live, Los Alamos is a given. We’re told that it provides jobs, that it protects the nation, and that it is a source of national pride. I am not fooled. I know the sole purpose of Los Alamos is to continue to prepare the weapons that can kill millions of men, women and children without Americans ever having to look at them.
(John Dear is an American Catholic priest nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has been arrested more than 75 times in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience against war, injustice, and nuclear weapons.)
Engelhardt, What It Means When You Kill People On the Other Side of the Planet and No One Notices: Where Did the Antiwar Movement Go? War, Sunny Side Up, and the Summer of Slaughter (Vietnam and Today)
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