Voter's Needn't Suffer BP Type Catastrophes.

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Louisiana Oil Wash.jpgPut aside the finger pointing. Let's look to a permanent solution to British Petroleum's catastrophe and others which will surely follow if the status quo prevails. The heart of the problem is not difficult to grasp, and the solution rests with the voters.

The Problem: The corporations invent and develop the technologies to stretch previous boundaries. When going before the authorities for permits and licensing, they, of course, assure the regulators that they have it all under control. Being new technology, the regulators are in a poor position to say NO, we will not allow the corporations to innovate because we, the regulators, cannot fully comprehend the risks associated with this new technology. Such a stance, is inevitably, and nearly invariably, indefensible in a political climate in which corporate dollars are pulling electoral strings.

Hence, we arrive where we are, with millions of tons of nuclear waste with no way to effectively get rid of it out of harm's way, and no way to protect it all from those with nefarious motives, and of course the BP catastrophe, Exxon-Valez, Mountaintop leveling which contaminates streams and rivers and drinking supplies for decades thereafter, and red tide blooms resulting from the agricultural fertilizer run-off into our great rives, just to mention a few. The Hudson River is again contaminated, and L.A, still, decades later, cannot extricate itself from injurious smog in hot summer months.

The Solution: The Goal here is to remove oversight and regulation from politics and political agendas, and to allow academics with no vested interest to assess risk/reward of new and risky innovation. They are to be excluded for 10 years after leaving their oversight role, from becoming employed or acting as an agent of, any corporation reviewed during their tenure as oversight academic.

Having assessed the risk - reward of new technologies seeking government licensing, these academic overseers shall deliver a hierarchy of recommendations for the politicians to accept, exclusively. Their recommendations shall range from extracting insurance premiums from the corporations to insure funding for catastrophic consequences, to declaring the rewards of the new technology not worth the risks associated with it to society and American citizens, under any circumstances, given the current state of technology and associated risks, as evaluated. If at a future time, the corporate world has advanced its technology to the point of minimizing further or eliminating the former risks, they can seek licensing and review again at that time.

This is entirely doable. All it takes is an educated and well informed electorate to insist upon this course, in exchange for cashing in their anti-incumbent vote for an incumbent vote. In other words, all it will take is for Americans to mature to the demands of a democratically elected government with universal suffrage. A tall order, to be sure. But, entirely doable, if the people organize around their voting responsibility and take serious their charge as voters to become informed and vested in their government and who runs it for, or against them, regardless of Party, fame, or financial status.

Democracy, as our founding fathers were well aware in their discussions of mob rule, is not to be left to the uneducated and ill-informed, or those without a stake in the actions of their government's representatives. We weren't ready as a people to assume this responsibility as voters when universal suffrage passed into law. But, the responsibility was thrust upon us, nonetheless with its passage. We can use our vote to mandate quality education from our representatives and give our vote to a challenger if they fail that mandate. We can just as easily use our anti-incumbent vote to demand that oversight and regulation be removed from the hip pockets of corporations and from the whims of political Party ideology and contests.

Like it or not, with universal voting for all adults, this responsibility is now ours. We can carry it like adults with the courage of a soldier fighting for our future, or we can leave our future to the politicians in the pockets of the corporations. It is time to choose.

(Previously published at Vote Out Incumbents Democracy.)

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 31, 2010 9:42 PM.

Anatomy of a Political Ad: Insulting Intelligence was the previous entry in this blog.

My Conversation with Sen. John Cornyn, Citizen's United is the next entry in this blog.

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