Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A President Romney Would Be Plotting To Sell Off Central Park To Real Estate Developers This Morning


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was all over TV Tuesday praising President Obama for his hands-on engagement in leading the response to Sandy. Monday we asked the question here whether or not Romney would handle the crisis any different. There was a great response to the vision Stephen Goldstein created in his book about a Romney/Ryan America, Atlas Drugged which deals primarily with a press conference in the aftermath of a monster double hurricane in Florida by a Romney character (President Ham Cooper) and a Governor Rick Scott character (Cris Cott). Goldstein then takes us into the private confines of the Cooper administration where the plutocrats who rule America see the potential of the devastation and misery... for themselves.
MONDAY, AUGUST 8, 10 A.M.: THE WHITE HOUSE CABINET ROOM. President Cooper and Florida Governor Cott are meeting with the executive committee of the Corporate Council. Cooper is beaming. For the first time, he appears jubilant after the monumental embarrassment of the July 4th gala. He slowly looks around the room, shoots both arms over his head like an Olympian winning a gold medal, fists clenched, and proclaims, “Gentlemen, we’re here to carve up a pie called Florida. It’s huge and each one of you can get in on the ground floor. There’s no limit to how much money you can make. This is pure Free-for-All economics. The recent sweeping disaster is nothing less than the windfall we’ve all been waiting for, but could never have imagined or engineered. It’s a godsend, my fellow patriots. The storm hit mostly the richest areas of the state. Those people have got insurance. Plus, they’ll personally pay extra and do anything to get their property rebuilt. You’re all going to have a whole state to privatize. It could become a model for the rest of the country. I don’t mean to get carried away, but I’m sure all of you can see where this is going. If you play your cards right, you’ll make profits you could never have dreamed of. Governor Cott, please share your thoughts with us.”

“First, I’d like to ditto President Cooper’s reading of the situation and the enormous, unprecedented riches that await you,” says Cott. “We’re here to transform the state of Florida into Florida, Inc. As the president said, if we play our cards right, and I see no reason why we wouldn’t, we can wipe away the last vestiges of state government that have stood in our way of creating a pure corporate state.”

“Governor Cott and I would now like to hear your thoughts on how we might proceed to create Florida, Inc. Feel free to speak up and share your ideas. Be bold. This is a unique time in our history and we should let our imaginations run wild. With the right strategy what happens in Florida won’t stay in Florida, but it will set the pace for the rest of the CSA. That’s forty-nine other ways for you to reap trillions of dollars. Yes, you heard me. That’s trillions with a T!”

“Gentlemen, I’m Jonathan Smythe of Consolidated Industries. First, let me say that I totally agree with you that we have an historic opportunity to achieve John Galt’s vision. I’ve been imagining a corporate-takeover scenario for years. I suggest that we turn Florida into seven profit centers individually owned and operated.” He moves to the front of the room holding a map of the state. “I’ve drawn a line up the middle of the peninsula, then one east to west from just south of Fort Pierce to Sarasota, and another from just below Daytona Beach past Ocala to the west coast. I’ve also drawn a north-south line east of Tallahassee, creating a zone from the capital to the Alabama border. In my proposal, those seven profit centers would be for sale to the highest bidder-- members of the Corporate Council, of course. Corporations could own one or more-- or all seven. What used to be called government would become Florida, Inc., a board of directors made up of the owners of the zones.”

“I love the overall concept, Jonathan,” Cott says, “but how do we take over existing government assets and the property and other assets of existing individuals and businesses?”

“Governor, I told you I’ve been running various scripts in my mind for years, including how we could sell the idea to the public. You could issue an executive order, declaring the entire state a disaster. You could call it something like ‘The Florida Humanitarian Relief and Restoration Initiative.’ In due time, you can get the legislature to approve establishing Florida, Inc., a holding company, retroactively, to tie it up neatly in a bow. Under the Initiative, you would first declare the existing state bankrupt because it is self-insured and without the money to rebuild the physical structures it owns and to provide the services it has in the past. That would open up the door to sweeping privatization.

“In addition, private individuals and businesses would be given sixty days to establish their claims to real property. That’s all we really care about because, with control of the land, we control everything.

Under powers of eminent domain granted to you in the Initiative, in the public interest, you would confiscate all undocumented property in the name of the state. Documented rights to property would be compensated at ten cents on the dollar out of state funds, less whatever insurance companies pay out. Then, you could open up the zones, like Smythe suggests, to the highest bidder.”

Harold Klein of International Networks gets up to speak: “Mr. President, Governor, my fellow investors, what I’ve heard so far is encouraging, but let me remind you that we’ve got to keep our eye on the ball. We need to be practical and strategic or we’ll get creamed. Before we talk about which way to carve the lines of the profit zones, we’ve got to be absolutely clear that we can create a clean, swift, permanent basis upon which to confiscate everything in the name of Florida, Inc. There can’t be any backtracking. If we show any sign of weakness, the whole project will come tumbling down. After that, we can do whatever we wish. Our success will depend upon public relations, which have not gone all that well for us, may I remind you: The Adam case! We need an ironclad message that ‘the people’ will swallow.”

“I agree with everything that’s been said already,” says Aristotle Khouris, “and I’d like to remind you that, as I emphasized when we last met, my investors have already put trillions of dollars on the table. Let me repeat, trillions, not billions, banking on the three-country European strategy that I’ve been putting together for the last three years. I am confident that we can add upwards of $500 billion to the Florida project. We’ve already run the preliminary numbers on what it would mean to our bottom line, especially because we can use some of the same tactics we’ve used in Europe in signing on to Florida, Inc. As you may recall, after the November election, the Worldwide Investment Trust is ready to force countries A, B, and C-- you all know who they are-- into default by calling loans they have no chance of repaying.

“In addition to everything that’s been suggested, we can get the banks to do the same thing to property owners in Florida. Then, we can seize them and open the bidding to privatize all public services and resources. Just like we’re doing overseas, we can auction off power companies, seaports, airports, national lotteries, state-owned media, national banks, railway systems, and airports. Everything will be sold at fire-sale prices. If there are any protests from state and private company workers who’ll lose their jobs or who have to take a pay cut, they won’t have a leg to stand on.”

Mortimer Gayle, of Gayle’s Department Stores, rises: “Gentlemen, gentlemen, you know that, in general, I support everything you’re saying-- and why you’re saying it. You’re talking about a grand scheme, but I’ve got an immediate problem. Twenty of my department stores in Florida were completely destroyed, leveled, scattered like pick-up sticks. From the way you’re talking, you’re gonna put me out of business. I’m already losing millions.”

“Mortimer,” Governor Cott says, smiling. “Mortimer, you know we always take care of our friends. Gayle’s Department Stores will be eligible for millions in corporate incentive grants, which you’ll never have to repay. Just tell us how much you want and we’ll open the spigot. In addition, choose the ideal locations where you’d like to relocate your stores and we’ll see to it that they are turned over to you. As you know, we have our ways. You don’t have to be limited to the places where you used to operate. Remember: the state will be a clean slate. It belongs to us-- to you, to everyone in this room. You’re in on the ground floor.”

President Cooper then says, “Mortimer, of course I echo the governor. In addition to getting rid of all the regulations that have hindered development in recent years, Washington is declaring a moratorium on any and all existing rules that in any way would stand in the way of your free rein to build and rebuild. I am signing an executive order to that effect this afternoon. Consider Florida yours for the taking.”

“Within ten days,” says Governor Cott, “you’ll be receiving a VIP copy of the auction catalog listing all resources and assets within Florida so you can bid on them. In addition, based upon the suggestions you’ve made today, as well as those we’ve already received, we will be issuing a draft plan of Florida, Inc.”

“Governor Cott,” Franklin Reynolds of Continental Health System calls out, as he rises to speak, “there are literally millions of Floridians who remain stranded throughout the state. Daily, we’re hearing reports of illnesses that could become epidemics, if they haven’t already. What is being done or what do you plan to do to help those in such dire need?”

Governor Cott, shaking his head and pursing his lips in disbelief: “You have just uttered the most despicable word in the English language--‘help’. I’d like to outlaw it. We don’t help people. People help themselves. If you haven’t understood that concept, if it doesn’t already run through your veins, I don’t understand what you’re doing here.”

“But, governor,” Reynolds says, interrupting him. “This is a public relations problem. If you don’t do something to make it look as though you have a strategy to help people-- sorry if you don’t like the word-- it could come back to haunt you as you implement Florida, Inc. There are things you can do-- window-dressing-- to stop any backlash that might hamper your efforts.”

“I couldn’t give a shit about threats of backlash,” says Cott, “and window-dressing is for department stores. No offense, Mortimer. I came into office to continue and expand Free-for-All economic policies-- and not to give an inch. This is no time to back down. I’m not going to waste time listing all the accomplishments I’ve had since I became state CEO. But I’d like to remind you, in case any of you have forgotten, that I have made Florida the most corporate-friendly state in the nation. Now, I’m ready to take it to the next step by making it a pure corporate state. I’m delivering it to you on a silver platter, now that it’s dropped into our laps. Miss this opportunity and there’s no telling when another one may come our way.

“This is no time to back down. We’ve got total control of the Florida peninsula-- and I don’t have to kowtow to anyone. Mr. Reynolds, the real story you should know is that the marketplace is already working precisely as it should throughout devastated Florida, without ‘the government’ needing to intervene. Private helicopter services are flying in supplies and selling water, tents, generators, and other essential equipment. At competitive rates, they are also evacuating people who prefer, and have the means to pay, to leave. Amphibious craft are landing along the Florida coasts, bringing earth-moving and other heavy equipment to clear areas for people who are willing to begin the reconstruction process. Many are willing to pay, even before their insurance companies do an assessment.

“So, I hope you realize that the simple answer-- the only answer to your question-- is that Florida is helping those who can help themselves, which means we help no one. Those who can’t afford to pay the price have only themselves to blame. None of us was put on this earth to pick up every deadbeat and fall for every hard luck story. End of story. I’m amazed that we have to keep repeating the first principle of John Galt’s Restoration, but I guess that’s just the cross those of us in leadership positions have to bear. Now, if you’ll excuse the president and me, we’ve got some serious planning to do to maximize your bottom lines.”

As they leave, Aristotle Khouris runs up to Governor Cott and says, “I’ve got a blank check for you from my international consortium as soon as you’re ready to deal.”
If you don't think that Romney and his cronies would be sitting around and secretly gaming out how to sell off Central Park, Prospect Park and every bridge, tunnel and public service, you haven't been paying attention to what candidate Romney, who repeatedly attacked President Obama for financing the hiring of more firemen and policemen, has been saying all along. "Every time you have an occasion," he asserted cheerfully in a televised GOP debate this past summer, "to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better." And that's exactly what he intends to do-- not just with FEMA, but with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as well. As for an adult response to Climate Change? The world's single most existential problem is not part of the Romney/Ryan agenda-- unless suppressing any talk of it is an agenda.

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