The last eight years have been a nightmare for those Americans who understood that our nation was falling into a deep abyss from which we may never fully emerge.  A group of right wing fanatics had taken control of our government and had virtually devastated our nation, leaving us politically, economically and morally bankrupt.


A comprehensive discussion of the activities that resulted in this dilemma would be long and complicated.  I would like to offer a quick glimpse into how our fiscal problems developed and how the architects of these problems are profiting from our attempted solutions.


The first of the tragic policy decisions that have overwhelmed our nation began with the election of George Bush.  Extensive documentation has shown that prior to taking office, President elect Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and a host of other patrons of the Oil and Gas Industry were planning an invasion of Iraq and a seizure of their oil fields.  I wrote on this subject and debated the issue prior to the beginning of the war.


Alan Greenspan, Republican economist and for 19 years head of the Federal Reserve system, probably said it best when he wrote:  “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”


The decisions to go to war were completely fabricated and the world watched in disbelief as the United States invaded an independent country to secure their petroleum reserves.  Unfortunately, the architects of this fiasco had much greater skills in lying and stealing than in fighting wars, and the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was a nightmare resulting not only in the loss of American lives and materials, but also in stirring hatred of our nation and assuring a never ending supply of terrorists with legitimate reasons for wishing to do us harm.


While our soldiers fought with great valor and determination, concerns for their lives and best interests would be negligible compared to the political interests of the Military Industrial Complex that followed us into war.  Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent, and mostly wasted, to support politically active corporations.  Corruption abounded and our tax dollars were used to support fraudulent activities while our soldiers had to do with inferior armor, polluted water, faulty housing and politically directed tactics.


Tens of thousands of America’s children have either died or have been permanently injured to satisfy the insatiable greed of the architects of this fiasco.


Unfortunately, the Iraqi war is not the only reason for our nation’s current problems.


Several years ago I was amazed when I read that banking had overtaken pharmaceuticals as the most profitable industry in the United States.  I was fascinated by this revelation, yet unable to understand why it had occurred.


We now know that business interests were busy creating policies that would greatly enhance their profitability at the public expense. Dishonesty thrives in the shadows, and one of the primary objectives of the business community was the elimination of oversight of their activities.


“Deregulation” became the poster child for a free and prosperous business community, and the banking industry was intent on making the most of their new freedoms. Their quest for ever-greater profits resulted the emergence of what became known as the sup-prime market and eventually the “sub-prime mortgage crisis.”


Under the cloak of deregulation, banks began making loans to homebuyers that they knew the buyers could never repay.  Once the loans were made they were sold and large profits were realized..  The buyers of these loans bundled them into units and sold these units once again as safe and secure investments.  Homebuyers, who had been enticed into purchasing homes they could never afford by being given initial small payment schedules and little or no down payments, eventually began to default on their loans and millions of Americans lost their homes as well as everything else that they owned.


The last of these three themes interweaves with the first two and involves an amendment to a budget bill submitted by former U.S. Senator Phil Graham of Texas.  This amendment, later known as the Enron Exemption, basically deregulated the energy industry from having to adhere to government oversight of their trading and other energy related activities.


Under the curtain of this exemption, Enron managed to create phantom shortages of electricity to the west coast and the State of California was virtually bankrupted by their policies.  Enron’s profits were enormous and when their bubble burst, millions of employees and investors were left with empty pockets and worthless retirement accounts.  The family of Ken Lay, architect of this fiasco, was the largest lifetime contributor to the two Bush presidents.


The Enron energy exemption also applied to the Oil & Gas industry, and, not to be out done, this industry joined in similar schemes.  Chevron actually purchased the Enron building and, along with other oil companies, hired many of the brokers who had worked their magic for Enron.


The huge surge in fuel prices in recent years has been clearly attributed to market manipulation that was made possible by Senator Graham’s legislation.  Increased fuel cost has affected virtually every other industry in our nation and these costs have been a large factor in our current financial crisis.


Not to be outdone by the Oil & Gas industry, the nation’s largest banks, seeing the profits being made by the Oil and Gas industry, began buying into this segment of the economy and utilized the same techniques in their own version of “fleecing the American public.”


In addition to allowing the domestic rape of our nation, the Bush Administration had been busy coercing the Iraqis to relinquish control of their oil resources to American Oil interests.  The United States has built the largest embassy in the world along with multiple permanent military bases in Iraq to protect these industry investments. The cost for protecting this industry in both money and lives will continue for the foreseeable future and will be paid by the American people.


One of the truly despicable aspects of this dilemma is that much of the profits realized from these schemes have actually gone to foreign countries that supply our oil and who have no love for America and Americans.


How have we reacted to this dilemma and what has happened to the people who have virtually bankrupted our nation?  Clever manipulation of both the media and our political leaders has resulted in the oil and gas industry recently being given carte blanche access to drill in offshore waters throughout the United States.  This is a gift they had coveted but not achieved for over 50 years. Our two senators from Louisiana have been tripping over each other to accommodate the every wish of this “Evil Empire.”


The banking industry, on the other hand, has created a set of circumstances that requires that we provide billions of dollars to them to correct the problems that they created in the first place.  These bankers are so arrogant that they have refused to allow us to review how they have used the monies given to them previously and they are spending some of these funds on additional payments to the same executives who were responsible for this crisis.


Someone needs to lay these issues on the table for the American people and make clear that we are going to correct each and every item that has resulted in this fiasco.  This will not be easily done, as the resources of these industries are immense and their ability to lie and disseminate propaganda is legendary.


If I could give President Obama one slice of advice, it would be that he explain these issues to the American people in simple language and outline his plans to correct them.  I believe him to be a truly brilliant and honest man with all of the attributes needed to be a magnificent president.  I can only pray that he is able to overcome the enormous wealth and influence of the propaganda machine controlled by the individuals responsible for our current crisis.


Michael Robichaux, MD

Following the printing of this column, a letter was published that was critical of my work.  My response to that letter can be reached by clicking on this sentence.  (I have been unable to find the actual letter.  When and if I do so I will include it in this section.)

© Michael Robichaux 2013