Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: Will Ronald McDonald be added to Mt Rushmore? 29 June '11
Everybody camping - sat out at night - looking up at the stars - hearing the symphony of natural sounds echoing around the trees - and having that spiritual feeling of what it's like to connect with nature - and thought - at that exact moment of enlightenment - that the ONLY thing that could possibly make this experience any better…is a McDonalds?
Well for those of you who have - whoever you are - Florida Governor Rick Scott, he's looking out for you.
As the Florida Independent is reporting - Governor Scott is telling his state's Department of Environmental Protection to draw up plans to sell off huge chunks of 56 Florida state parks to private corporations.
And as you can imagine - corporations don't really give a damn about the metaphysical experience you might enjoy while camping - they care about the bottom line - and what can be built on campsites to make the most profit.
As in - let's give Smokey the Bear a break from patrolling wildfires at campsites - and put him in charge behind a McDonalds counter to make sure the deep fryer doesn't catch on fire.
This is how Governor Scott plans to deal with his state's budget shortfall - a budget shortfall that was partially created by massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and corporations - that Rick Scott himself pushed through as his first priority when he took office at the beginning of the year - plunging his state's budget into the red.
His rationale - the Republican rationale - for selling off America to US and foreign corporations? "We're broke," they say.
But it's a lie. The truth is - The United States of America - like Florida - isn't broke. We have plenty of money - we're very rich.
But Republican Governors around the nation don't want you to know that.
That's why they've manufactured state budget crises to justify selling off huge chunks of their states to their buddies who run private corporations.
They want you to think that the United States of America - the richest nation on the planet - has fallen on such hard times that we need to visit the local pawnshop and hock all our stuff.
You know, it's the same old “starve the beast” agenda that Ronald Reagan brought to America in the 1980's.
Cut off government revenue - create a debt crisis - and then use that crisis to tear apart social safety nets - and hand over our commons to corporations to carve up for profit. And the latest victims of the Republican “Starve the Beast” economics - Florida campgrounds. But this isn't exclusive to Florida.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert - with the support of Republicans in Congress - has proposed a fire-sale of public lands in Utah to help pay down the nation's debt.
And we all know of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's "Financial Managers" who take over financially struggling cities and sell their public parks and best land to Snyder's business buddies.
It's Disaster Capitalism, as Naomi Klein calls it - and it's gone international - these are the same solutions that IMF banksters have suggested to Greece - sell off the acropolis and the Coliseum to transnational corporations to pay back the banksters.
What we're forgetting each step of the way of this great sell-off of America - is just how valuable and irreplaceable our commons are.
How do you put a corporate price tag on Yosemite National Park - or the Grand Canyon?
You can't...but Republicans aren't interested in the spirit of these natural wonders - they're thinking about the money.
We are seeing the great sell-off of America like never before in our nation's history.
And if we don't put an end to it soon then it's just a matter of time before you can enjoy a Grande frappacino sitting on top of Half Dome Mountain in Yosemite park.
Or you can visit Mount Rushmore and see iconic American Presidents...and Ronald McDonald.
Or you can "shop always low prices" while checking out Old Faithful.
It's our obligation, frankly, to leave the commons that we've enjoyed in our lives intact so future generations can enjoy them as well.
Let's leave the strip malls and fast food joints on Main Street - and keep our commons - especially our state parks - free from corporate take-overs.
That's The Big Picture.