First published at: https://howtheneoconsstolefreedom.blogspot.com/2007/04/corporastate-that-ate-america.html
FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2007
“Why can't you see?
We just want to be free
To have our homes and families
And live our lives as we please.”
(From David Friedman's, “The Machinery of Freedom.”)
Today is the 264th Anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson. A lot has happened in America in those years but most importantly a lot is still happening that Americans fail to understand. We need to connect ALL the dots.
In California a Federal Maritime Officer, Lt. Eric Shine, is fighting charges he is depressed; although they have argued he is employed within the proceedings they refuse to pay him or give him his benefits; that means he receives none of his due medical benefits or legal aid. Catch-22. Very useful to those suing him, which includes the US Government, Homeland Security, and the US Coast Guard. The powers that be pretty much ignored Shine and the charges he had leveled of toxic waste dumping, graft, and corruption until he began to write letters to Congress. They then slammed him with continuous litigation and decided he was depressed. If he wasn't he should be.
Who 'they' is goes to the Dot question. If the US Government, Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard weren't enough Shine has gotten the attention of others who are perhaps even scarier. One of these is The Carlyle Group and their friends and associates. This included George W. Bush for a while; the senior Bush is still believed to be associated.
The Carlyle Group, a corporation that handles investments for the well connected, including alumni of the Reagan, Bush Administrations and Saudi Princes, acquired General Dynamics, for which Eric Shine's father worked as Vice President of Engineering in 1992. Seeing what was happening to America 's military through the acquisition of General Dynamics in that year gave Eric the insight he needed to understand what was happening to the Merchant Marine. At the time Eric had no idea how 'Six Degrees of Separation' the world really is.
The Carlyle Group acquired General Dynamics, which produced electronics for the military, in 1992. They purchased the electronics division, located in San Diego, according to William E. Conway Jr., a Carlyle managing director, in an, “all-cash deal was for less than $100 million.” Carlyle Group, named for the hotel where the founders met, was founded in 1987.
Moving from investment in restaurants Carlyle Group began assembling a portfolio with a very different focus at the beginning of the HW Bush Administration. General Dynamics was expected to make $300 million when it was acquired, according to Conway . According to a specialist in the market consulted for this article that price was, “a steal.” We will follow those dots in a later article.
United States (65%), Europe (25%), Asia (6%), Latin America, and the Middle East . Defense investments represent about 1% of the group's current portfolio — though this translates, for example, into a 33.8% ownership of QinetiQ, the UK 's recently privatized defence (sic) company.”
A shiny new Ensign in 1991, Eric Shine began what he assumed would be a career carrying out the duties of an officer in the Merchant Marine and Naval Officer. As part of his training he had become familiar with the statutes and regulations that had governed the existence of the Merchant Marine since 1791. Shine had not yet heard the term 'privatization,' it would soon become frighteningly familiar to him.
The term, 'privatization,' as it is used by those in power today bears as much resemblance to the original as Anna Nicole Smith does to Mother Theresa.
The term, 'privatization,' was first used by Dr. Robert Poole, founder of Reason Foundation in his book, “Cutting Back City Hall,” in the mid 70s. The idea of converting services provided by government into services provided through private, for profit business, became a byword for efficiency over the next three decades. But efficiency had not been the point. The issue was giving people back control of their own lives.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The idealism of the 70s was harvested for the benefit of the greedy.
The issue of privatizing began with trash collection, proposed by Bob Poole and then Social Security. was first posed for a position paper written for the campaign of Ed Clark, Libertarian presidential candidate, in 1979. The 'white paper' later appeared in much the same form under the sponsorship of Cato Institute, founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, III, Charles Koch, and Murray Rothbard. During this time things changed. Ideas are useful tools for achieving your goals; this idea proved to be fertile ground.
In 1981 Rothbard, a stalwart Austrian School Economist, was ousted from the Cato Board. In his newsletter, Libertarian Review, Rothbard said Cato, "revealed its true nature and its cloven hoof. Crane, aided and abetted by Koch, ordered me to leave Cato's regular quarterly board meeting, even though I am a shareholder and a founding board member of the Cato Institute." Austrian economists do not approve of Congress fiddling with the economy.
Cato began providing regular briefings for Congress on how to minimize their costs and optimize their profits in the 90s when the Contract on America swept into office.
Privatization and outsourcing had found applications that lead to consequences none of the Libertarians who had originally supported the ideas expected.
Lt Eric Shine had seen continuous and troubling violations of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 through the first six years of his career. Shine had witnessed blatant dumping of toxic waste, violation of safety regulations, and other wrong doing. Because he was doing his due diligence, ironically Shine gained a reputation as a trouble maker. He persisted in reporting these through avenues that had been truncated, leaving active Federal Maritime Officers with no recourse. It was as if the rules he had learned had been canceled.
Congress had mandated that at majority of American shipping must sail under America 's flag. They had done this to ensure that ships would be available in time of conflict and peace so that standards for safety and the wellbeing of the seas and our nation would be maintained. These ships, Congress said, would be manned by Officers of the US Merchant Marine. When Lt. Shine began his career the 10,000 ships under the US flag at the close of WWII had shrunk to less than 200, reducing the protections to America intended by Congress and the jobs available to Federal Maritime Officers.
In 1998 Shine began work in Hawaii for the Navy. What Shine saw at Pearl Harbor was the application of American ingenuity to the dissolution of the Navy Installation that had been a hub of strength for decades. Under the mandate of privatization services were being transferred to private companies. Graft, corruption, and thievery were systemic. Serving as a project engineer Shine could find no one who would listen to his objections. There was too much money to be made by remaining silent. Privatization and cost reduction were the rhetorical devices that filled the air.
What Shine was witnessing was the birth of the Corporation as its own nation in its nascent form. Having extended corporate leverage through the use of government to wage war, to realize profits through war and through income streams flowing into their pockets from Americans, Corporations were now looking at how to further their portfolios by clamping Americans into place forever. The means were the various Grids that had become the core of their holdings; Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Consumer & Retail, Energy & Power,Healthcare, Real Estate, Technology & Business Services, Telecommunications & Media, and Transportation,
The next step was to bolt in place those missing links to nationhood. Corporations, including those owned by Carlyle, have now begun to assert extraterritoriality, ignoring laws through manipulation, payoffs, and restructuring. American maritime law says that foreign ships cannot engage in commerce between two American ports; they corporations are now chipping away at this limitation. The rules exist only for others and where they augment profits. Sea Launch, a ship that puts satellites into space, harbors at Long Beach and has extraterritorial status. Corporations have become nations, with all the power and money and none of the accountability. Anyone who got in their way would be toasted.
In 2001, Lt. Shine filed a grievance in the hopes someone would finally listen. Again he was ignored. Then, he began writing letters to Congress and the reaction was swift. Shine was astonished to find himself detained charged with being 'depressed.' He had not been aware that even if he was depressed this could be deemed a cause for denying him medical benefits. For the CorporaState the rules are made anew every day as needed.
Why would Eric Shine persist? He could have gotten on the Corporate dole, accepted the lavish stipends offered from his probably intentional placement with the military industrial complex. That goes to who he is. The answers are in his origins.
Sally Shine, now 80, remembers her son, Eric, “as a good boy,” who, “made her proud.” “Eric,” she said, “was president of his graduating class in High School.” Eric Shine was poised to live a life of accomplishment when he graduated from King's Point, the Academy for the USS Merchant Marine in 1991. Life is full of surprises.
One of five children from a close-knit and loving Catholic family, he had attended St. Columba School in San Diego, moving on to what is now Cathedral Catholic High School while participating in the local scouting program with Troop 272. Shine was the first member of his troop in a long time, according to his mother, to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. His Court of Honor was held February 15, 1977. During the Court of Honor the Scout receiving his Eagle Badge renews the oath taken when he became a scout; that oath includes the promise that of, “Living honorably reflects credit on his home, his church, his troop, and his community.”
In the experience of those who know him best, Eric Shine takes life seriously. He did so when he chose as his Eagle Scout Project to organize donations of food and clothing for a poor village in Mexico and he did the same when, as newsletter editor at King's Point, he insisted on publishing an article that uncompromisingly told the truth, despite pressure to do otherwise.
Those were the values he had learned and then lived. Those values stayed with him when he went on to a career in the Merchant Marine. Career was another thing the Shine family took seriously.
Eric's father attended West Point, as many other family members, going on to a career with General Dynamics for 30 years. He retired as vice president of engineering and director of ethics. Hard work and doing the right thing were values strongly inculcated in the Shine home. Eric was sure that this whole thing could be cleared up if he just persisted.
Each of us sees the world through our own place in that world, and Eric Shine began his career in the Merchant Marine hearing from his father about General Dynamics, where the elder Shine had spent most of his life, and about doing the right thing. Unfortunately, that does not square with the birth of the CorporaStates.
The stark images of returning veterans at Walter Reed Hospital and elsewhere are still alive in the minds of Americans, demonstrating what privatization and 'cost reduction' really mean. Those and other techniques for lowering costs have been used since the Vietnam War with deadly results. Veterans needing treatment and benefits were, and are, forced to wait while their symptoms are dismissed as 'emotional problems.' Those in need are simply waited to death. Dealing with Shine was just a matter of using the same methods that worked to lower other costs.
According to Philip Meskin, founder of the Veteran's Party, the treatment meted out to Shine exactly parallels the treatment of Veterans after all American wars since Vietnam .
“Same old business as usual,” he said. Meskin, added that, “300,000 veterans died after the Vietnam War of Agent Orange and other diseases related to cancer, cell degenerative conditions, and other undefined causes.” “They were depressed, too,” he said wryly. Social workers are notorious for rendering opinions that deny benefits to veterans based on such causes as 'depression.' “There are no limits to what they will do to cut costs. They let people die every day,” said Meskin.
So the same technique that eliminates costs in caring for veterans can in the case of Shine make it impossible for him as a whistle blower to find help.
So many are involved. So many, like Dana Rohrabacher, who were once singing the praises of freedom, have found cozy lives elsewhere. Following the money, connecting the dots, always brings us the answers, however unpalatable those may be.
Next week Lt. Shine will face yet another round of court dates, again without counsel. Detained without pay, he is now without any resources – but he continues to speak out. Eagle Scouts don't give up and Shine is no quitter. One man left standing against the CorporaState, unless others help. David and Goliath was nothing to this.