John Burciaga gave capitalism a good whacking in the Newburyport Current (May 7th) – “Goldman Sachs: Poster boys for capitalism”. He states in the article, “I’ve had my glimpse of the business world and excused myself, lest I were found guilty by association.”
That “guilt by association” thing, he writes of, can be a good guide. Staying away from bad folks like Goldman Sachs is terrific advice.
With this in mind, I wondered why John’s article never referenced President Obama’s still-in-place connections to Goldman Sachs. The President received $994,795 in campaign contributions from them. He also has several people in his administration, including Timothy Geithner, with ties to Goldman Sachs. How does the President escape from a guilt by association perception?
A week ago, John wrote an article for The Current entitled, “It was never easy being green.” In it, John gave unqualified praise to Rachel Carson and the Sierra Club. Do they deserve it?
Rachel Carson was a marine biologist who wrote as if her training also made her an expert on pesticides. She asserted in Silent Spring that DDT had questionable value and some readers took her assertion and went on to get DDT banned. Prior to this, DDT had been part of successfully eliminating malaria in Europe and North America. Under Rachel’s initiative and the zealotry of followers, Africa was denied the protection DDT provided. The result was an estimated thirty million deaths in tropical Africa from malaria and yellow fever.
Rachel originally had a co-author (Edwin Diamond) when the manuscript that became Silent Spring was started. Edwin had been a professor at MIT as well as Science Editor for Newsweek. Reason for quitting the writing with Rachel? “It (Silent Spring) was an emotional, alarmist book seeking to cause Americans to mistakenly believe their world was being poisoned.” Shades of Al Gore?
Another of John’s favorites is the Sierra Club. Back in the 1990s, the Army Corps of Engineers studied and determined that the levees on the southern end of the Mississippi Rivers needed to be raised and fortified. A spokesman for the Army Corps at the time said, “The 303 miles of upgraded levees (along the Mississippi River) were needed because a failure could wreak catastrophic consequences on Louisiana and Mississippi.”
The Sierra Club ignored the warning being more concerned about the disruption the levee improvements would cause the Louisiana black bear. Therefore, when the Army Corps tried to start the levee-improving project the Sierra Club filed suit and prevented the work from getting started. In late August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into Louisiana. The levees, as they were, proved no match for Katrina – $81 billion worth of damage and 1,836 deaths.
John frequently makes sport of Fox News’ claims of being “fair” and “balanced.” Overlooking Obama’s connections to Goldman Sachs, Rachel Carson’s connection to lives lost from malaria, and the Sierra Club’s connection to the Hurricane Katrina disaster assure me that John will never be accused of either.
( Appeared as a letter-to-the-editor in the Newburyport Current on May 14, 2010. )