One earth, one owner: Help keep the environment open for business

Don't let the federal government torture poor, innocent energy company weasels!

Published September 8, 2003 7:30PM (EDT)

They're rare, they're hungry, and they need your help. Who are they? The world's most predatory species, the Bald-faced American Dollar-sucker. That's why we, the EPA, Enronamentalists for the Privatization of America, are coming to the rescue.

Inspired by our nature, we are a group of concerned citizens who have banded together to protect our interests and "pre-serve" the habitat, hopefully on a silver platter. But we need to act now, for the few have been endangered by the many. Just consider these heart-breaking scenes:

Challenges to the corporate ego-structure. Today, a handful of CEOs are living under the constant threat of someday having to do real work, their only means of survival being to launch subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, deduct stock options from corporate tax returns, and lay off thousands of workers -- all for a mere $4 million to $34 million in individual annual raises. To order posters of these adorable endangered raptors, and to help NYSE chairman Richard Grasso supplement his meager $139 million pay package, please send a soy-based paper bag stuffed with 100 percent organic dollar bills to: Owner, Brooklyn Bridge, New York NY.

Hunting for Dick. Until it was neutralized by all-natural poison darts, the General Accounting Office had been ruthlessly stalking the elusive Spotted Cheney. And why? Merely for the sport of finding out whether private energy companies might have influenced the White House's energy policy. The very idea. Fortunately, the Cheney is known for never leaving a trail of crumbs, since all bread is carefully divided among a select few, and the hunters were left without so much as a single dropping to analyze. Aside from the purely coincidental policy support for more oil drilling, coal mining and nuclear reactors, along with such naturally occurring phenomena as deregulation and the wholesale vandalism of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Cruelty to Weasels. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is guilty of torturing cute, puppy-eyed representatives of energy companies. It is bad enough that these beloved creatures may no longer amuse Californians with such playful antics as damming the West's energy supply to increase the flow of consumer currency into their pouches by more than $8 billion dollars. But FERC's cruel methods of bringing these harmless companies to heel are outrageous. (If you have children in the room, please turn down the font size of this article now.)

For example, bloodthirsty FERCers have suggested (Yes, suggested! The viciousness of it!) that Portland General Electric of Oregon cough up more than $12,000 to settle charges filed against them. That's right, twelve THOUSAND dollars. You can still see the gum marks on PGE's balance sheet. Apparently PGE didn't suffer enough in 2002, when the state gouged a whopping TEN BUCKS in corporate taxes out of their tender flesh. Ladies and gentlemen, the bloodlust has got to stop.

The good news? There is still time to save the planet for our own personal use. But to achieve this, we need to do three things: REDUCE power-plant pollution standards, REUSE lands contaminated with PCBs, and RECYCLE lobbyist dollars. And we need to do whatever else the law allows, including changing the laws to allow us to do whatever the hell we want.

That's why we support the president's Wealthy/Poorest Initiative, a common-sense policy that will protect old-growth wealth by allowing industry to thin out the superfluous undergrowth of native flora, fauna and average people. Thanks to an administration that talks vaguely and carries a big subsidy, this initiative should go a long way toward protecting our precious corporate resources.

To those who worry about a resulting loss of green space in their bank accounts we say: Do what the EPA does -- RELAX. To fund the Wealthy/Poorest Initiative, the White House is holding a fire sale and clear-cutting the rights of the common Populus americanus. This will also have the benefit of keeping these pests too distracted to gather in large herds that might be detrimental to seasonal corporate nest-feathering. The initiative includes:

Increased protection for corporations that seek to arbitrarily promote millions of employees to "manager" for as little as $22,100 a year while removing dangerous emissions of overtime pay. This will dramatically reduce the cost of fueling paychecks, and the newly retrofitted employees will then be allowed, even encouraged, to put in as much unpaid overtime as possible without any resulting erosion of corporate revenues.

Sanctions against low-income workers. These weeds on the corporate fairway are guzzling tax credits of $400 OR MORE per family, hogging the currency supply and encroaching on our nation's unspoiled poverty line. But beginning in 2004, low-income workers will no longer get away with claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit without meeting unspecified precertification requirements. Dubbed "Purge the Splurge," the new IRS program makes poor people accountable by insisting on documented proof of poverty. This will cut down on the number of workers who merely glom on to squalor, fear and desperation as some sort of lifestyle choice and who thus threaten more widespread public access to poverty.

The president's recent declaration in Richfield, Ohio, that the issue he wants to "talk about right quick" is getting one of them newfangled energy bills. That's right, not the old-fashioned kind, because, as George Bush says, "the energy sector has been hamstrung by old laws." We agree. Shiny new city-slicker laws would allow those nice young energy fellers to do a lot more westward ho-ing. Might be they'd say howdy to Alaska, seeing as how those wacky Iraqis are blowin' all the oil to hell and Halliburton.

Conserving the Iraqi wilderness. Although the United States remains our most cherished target of operation, we are also aware of the need to act loco and stink globally. For this reason, we are stepping up efforts to export demockracy to all peoples, not just those whose rights we tread on here. According to our Federal Waste Management stewards in Iraq, the combination of wise-use bombing to restore wilderness and the migration of taxpayer dollars into a spreading quagmire will bequeath a vast legacy to generations yet unborn.

The publication of a new national anthem, "America the Profitable." All across this great land of ours -- and we do mean ours -- the natural wonders of privatization could soon change the lives of 850,000 federal workers. From national parks to emergency services, from child welfare to shelters for the homeless, from libraries to museums, veterans' hospitals to public utilities, the seeds of a new "Gecko system" are taking root, forever gilding our privately owned amber waves of grain, mortgaging the home of the brave, and putting a dollar value on the land of the free.

That's why we ask you to work with us today. Yes, we have achieved a kind of "Seven Generations" effect by turning a useless surplus into a flourishing deficit, but we still have so much more to do. Well, not to "do" so much as to "get." But how much we get depends on you and your willingness to make a commitment -- right here, right now -- to do nothing.

By writing to your local and state representatives, you waste valuable paper, overload phone grids, and release harmful Internet rays into the buy-o-sphere. So please, won't you help us today by just lying down and taking it? You'll be saving time, breath and, above all, energy. Energy we'll own. Energy you'll need to pay for what we own. Thank you. And remember, in the words of a great philosopher, "All things are bound together. All things connect. So we need to stage a hostile takeover of all things and privatize them before some other bastard thinks of it."

By Joyce McGreevy

Joyce McGreevy is a writer in Portland, Ore.

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