Capitalizing on Terrorism

Crisis tends to bring out the very best in the American people, and the horror of the September 11th terrorist attacks produced beautiful acts of heroism by firefighters, the police, office workers, hijacked airline passengers, rescue teams, and so many more ordinary folks who did extraordinary things.

Along with heroes, however, were a few despicable zeroes who have sought to take advantage of the horror for personal gain. These were not common looters, rampaging through the rubble, but corporate looters, dispatching lobbyists to rampage through out the congress.

First on the scene were lobbyists for Pentagon contractors eager to get their hands on the multibillion-dollar boondoggle called "Star Wars." They wailed that the terrorist assault shows that America must have a Missile Defense Shield to protect our cities. Hello. We were not attacked by enemies hurling high-tech missiles at us from afar, but by enemies who used decidedly low-tech box cutters to hijack our own commercial airplanes. Instead of a Missile Defense Shield, maybe we need a Box-cutter Shield. Still, one of congress' first responses to September 11 was to ram-through $8.3 billion for the Star Wars scam.

Also, while rescuers were still searching the wreckage for survivors, guys in Guccis were combing Capital Hill pleading for an "emergency" cut in their capital gains taxes. This would help the shellshocked economy, they said. Yeah--their personal economy--80 percent of this multibillion-dollar tax giveaway would go into the pockets of the wealthiest two percent of Americans. If this undemocratic tax-cut seems a far-fetched response to terrorism, consider the shameful effort by Bush trade officials and corporate lobbyists two weeks after the assault to snatch "fast track" authority from us, jiving that it's now the patriotic duty of lawmakers to grease the skids for more global trade scams.

This is Jim Hightower saying...Surely there's a special place in hell for greedheads that seek to capitalize on terrorism.


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