The hard question
Why are people treated like commodities? Citizens who live under governments where profits mean more than people are just that — commodities — to the corporations that employ them. When these workers are no longer able to produce the profits demanded by Wall Street they are discarded with no more compassion than sending a worn out machine to the scrap heap.
Wall Street and its minions are always on the lookout for companies that are not performing up to Wall Street’s expectations. When such a company is found, the financial vultures swoop in demanding changes that will increase the share price — no matter the cost. Plant closings? No problem. Massive layoffs? No problem. Offshore production? No problem. No measure is too draconian in order to insure increased profits for the moneyed elite.
For those CEOs whose hearts are made of something other than stone and are reluctant or unable to deliver, they too are discarded although with more financial resources than the workers they let go. In the corporate world, where the bottom line in the last quarter is all that matters, no one is immune to the corporate axe of profitability.
While workers land with an emotional thud with few financial resources and fewer prospects for landing a job that would keep them in the middle class, our discarded CEOs land gently to the ground carried by a golden parachute that assures them of no financial worries and rewards them for their good work on behalf of the ruling class.
Not only do workers have to fight back against a system that gives them no security or respect.They must also start to think about what kind of system would provide what all workers long for: employment, education and health care for all, plus an end to all wars.
Profits from moon vs. social progress
I’ve known Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) for a long time. We coached our sons’ baseball team together back in the early 1990s in Orlando. I got hit in a car crash once and he was my lawyer. He went on to become Orange County Commissioner and then George W. Bush appointed him to his cabinet. From there Martinez went on to win the Florida Senate seat in 2004. Today, he is the chair of the Republican National Committee. Martinez has just announced that he will be taking the lead to ensure that NASA’s moon base missions will stay a top priority in Congress.
That means that Martinez and I will get to play hardball once again as the Global Network has long been working to bring the light of truth to NASA’s moon program.
The moon base the U.S. wants to establish is really about two basic things. One is the establishment of mining colonies on the moon to extract helium-3, a precious resource that could be used for fusion power here on Earth. Scientists have long been saying that the profits from helium-3 extraction will make the money made from oil exploration on Earth look like nothing in comparison.
The aerospace industry is an expensive game. The International Space Station, originally set to cost $10 billion, now costs out at over $100 billion. The aerospace industry publication Space News years ago editorialized that they know they must come up with a funding source for their expensive space programs. They said they are sending their lobbyists to Washington to defund the “entitlement programs” — Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and what is left of the welfare program after Bill Clinton got through with it.
The space industry has declared war on the poor and the working class. Which will it be folks? Social progress or bases on the moon?
Let’s play ball, Mel!
Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.
Peace grannies carry on
About 100 people rallied June 28 outside the Philadelphia Friends Center to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the arrest of 12 Grannies’ Peace Brigade members. These grandmothers had entered the armed forces recruiting center in an attempt to enlist in the military in order to save younger recruits from being deployed to Iraq. After songs and speeches, the crowd marched one block to the recruiting center where they read the names of the 168 Pennsylvanians killed in Iraq as well as the names of many of the Iraqis killed.
Among those who spoke and joined in reading the names were Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, a civilian contractor killed in Iraq, and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. Berg said he did not know if his son was among those counted among the official military deaths, and suggested that the actual number of American deaths was much higher.
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