Friday, August 18, 2006

Super Lobbyist Rick Berman: A Life Spent Promoting Evil?

Right wing extremist, Richard B. (Rick) Berman has gained quite a reputation as one of the most radical of the far right lobbyists. Yesterday, I attacked his latest front group, which is opposed to paid sick leave, paid holidays and health and medical benefits for union workers. His ads and website always seem to claim that unions are hurting and costing people. But the truth is that Berman has long represented evil industry interests that have a long history of injuring and killing people and costing the nation dearly.

Berman is a lobbyist for the worst elements of alcohol, tobacco and chemical industry interests, among other big business concerns.

Yesterday some of Berman's tobacco industry friends were labeled as racketeers in successful federal lawsuit by the Clinton era Justice Department. And gut puncher, Berman is right at home with tobacco industry racketeers as his close friends and allies. Berman was also caught up in ethics problems with Newt Gingrich's GOPAC back in 1993. The House Ethics Committee Report found out that Berman was solicited for a political contribution by Gingrich's GOPAC to pay a $25,000 contribution to Kennesaw State College for a class that Gingrich taught, and this gift was conditionally tied to teaching policies of one of Berman's organizations, the Employment Policies Institute. Berman also was given help by Gingrich to testify at a Congressional hearing on an industry matter. This pay for influence or favor type politics between corrupt politians like Gingrich and a lobbyist like Berman is government at it's very worst. People who betray the public trust like this should be banned from the halls of Congress.

These are just a few of the ways that Berman has cost America:

Berman opposed further laws against drunk driving and ruthlessly attacked MADD. He was acting on behalf of the alcohol and tavern industry that would rather sell more drinks to persons who have had enough already, and could cause fatal accidents when driving, taking innocent lives.

Berman attacked the passage of The Americans With Disabilities Act acting on behalf of restaurant interests who did not want to provide wheelchair or handicapped access ramps. Berman also opposed no-smoking sections in restaurants, favoring the 18% of Americans who smoke over the 82% that don't. Berman apparently believes that cigarette smoke should be forced on persons who it causes severe health problems. And Berman doesn't want to pay your health costs either.

Berman defended harmful chemicals and pesticides such as Alar, which was later banned from use on apples.

While Berman defends the alcohol industry, alcoholism costs the U.S. $175.9 billion a year, compared to drug abuse at $114.2 billion, and $137 for smoking costs. Further, untreated alcohol problems waste $184.6 billion a year and take an estimated 100,000 lives each year. And between 25-40 percent of all the hospital beds in the U.S. are currently occupied by alcohol related injury or health problem patients who are not in maternity or intensive care. This robs billions from the economy and dramaticly raises health care costs for all Americans. But this is the type of people that Berman chooses to lobby for. Berman takes in as much as $10 million a year representing alcohol, tobacco, and other evil interests. Berman has made himself a millionaire representing evil interests.

The tobacco interests that Berman represents have helped create a higher percentage of children who smoke than adults in states such as Oregon. In Oregon 4,900 smokers die each year from their nicotine addiction. 81,000 children under the age of 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking in just the small state of Oregon alone. And secondhand smoke kills between 450-800 babies, children and adults each year in Oregon.

But that's just the beginning of the American economy going up in smoke because of those like Berman who promote the tobacco industry interests. Smoking kills more people than many terrible things all combined together; murders, suicides, illegal drugs, car crashes and AIDS.

Smoking caused fires destroy more than 30,000 housing units or buildings each year and cost the American economy more than $500 million. As many as 800-900 persons die from smoking caused fires each year. Smoking caused cleanup, maintenance, litter cleanup, etc., cost American industry more than $4 billion a year. And the costs from sick employees, lost productivity, etc. may run into the billions as well.

But like most who die from their addictions, Berman carries around more than 240 pounds on his 6 foot 2 frame, and is more likely than not to be an ultimate victim of some the evil things that he has fought so hard to promote and lobby than not. Many who suffered horrible deaths have ultimately cried out to God that they don't want to suffer or die. But "the wages of sin are death". 50% of smokers ultimately die from their drug habit. And alcohol or unhealthy diets rob many more lives.

Berman also represents food industry interests who promote unhealthy diets and potential health problems for those who eat the diet of the many of the products that he represents so forcefully. Berman is known for ruthless attacks on environmentalists and others including those that advocate for animal welfare. In a guest feature in USA Today, Berman tarred animal rights supporters as terrorists, deliberately confusing the acts of a small number of ELF terrorists with those who believe in peaceful respect for God's creation.

And with Berman's fanatical antiunion stance, American workers would watch their wages slashed and lose health care and retirement benefits. American workers could not afford many consumer items and the U.S. would soon become nearly as poor as neighboring Mexico where 16 wealthy families control much of the economy, causing the huge economic refugee problem to the U.S. 300,000 illegal immigrants come into the U.S. each month. mostly due to the grossly unfair economy of Mexico.

Berman represents those that assault innocent women and children with drunken drivers or smokers who cause small children painful ear infections or asthma. Berman represents those who cause babies SIDS from secondhand smoke.

Berman may belly ache if a poor waitress wants a 10cent an hour pay increase, but this tightwad skinflint lobbyist, costs the nation billions in unneeded expenses, shortened lives, poor health, and is one cause of more economic costs, deaths and injuries than even war for the U.S.

Berman is the poster boy for "penny wise, pound foolish". You have to question the reasoning ability of anyone like Berman who opposes medical researchers or others who are acting in behalf of the public good. Some people want to build up a healthy and wealthy America, with a higher quality of life for all, but some like Berman want to tear it down with evil and uncontrolled enterprise.

There are many religious and other persons who promote a healthy lifestyle as a proper moral direction for their lives. But other than selfish greed and self promotion, Berman represents little positive. When someone gives so much of their life over to clearly evil or unwise things, there is nothing good that come of it. Walking in this much darkness is a sure path to spiritual destruction of both body and soul.


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