On The Disaster In The Gulf Of Mexico
How The Oil Spill Exposes Republican Duplicity
Sarah Palin, the embarrassing unremittingly stupid shrew from Alaska, blames President Obama for the horrendous oil spill by the British Petroleum company. And she has called for an investigation of President in order to see if he has financial ties to the multi-national oil companies that supply this nation’s energy needs. If this were anybody but the Alaskan Barbarian talking I would simply dismiss the suggestion without comment, but this is a woman who not so long ago was shouting “Drill Baby Drill!” before massive crowds of screaming acolytes at Republican confabs who contemtously dismissed those who were concerned about protecting our environment as leftwing whackos.
Like most things Silly Sarah says on it’s face her suggestion is ridiculous. The people whose ties to big oil cry out for investigation is Bush and “Dirty Dick” Cheney. To this day the public, or even the Congress, have been denied access to the notes from the meetings that Bush and Cheney held with the princes and powers of the oil industry who wrote the Bush Administration’s energy policy. Since both of these guys – the President and Vice President – were oil men with clear ties to the industry, logic and prudence would dictate that this is where any investigation of the roots of the present disaster should begin: These two guys should be deposed under oath!
Chances are the seeds of the present disaster were sown during the last eight years of Republican rule; it is the inevitable result of their hostility to government regulation and their “leave it to the private sector” dogma. Hence it comes as no surprise that a British Petroleum memorandum has surfaced that exposes a decision making process where maximization of profits vs. expenditures for worker’s safety was subjected to a cost/ benefit analysis and they choose inferior safety standards to increase the margin of profit and oil workers in Texas were later maimed and killed as a result. This is what happens when private corporations are entrusted to protect the people’s interests without strict government regulation.
This policy has also resulted in the present situation where – according to Admiral Ellis, commandant of the US Coast Guard – all of the materials and expertise required to fix what is rapidly becoming the worst ecological disaster in American history are in the hands of private industry. And thus the US government is an impotent giant that is helpless in the face of this swelling catastrophe. This is the tragic result of the triumph of Republican “private enterprise/ free market “ theology.
Hence it comes as no surprise that a British Petroleum memorandum has surfaced – the so called “Three Pigs” memo – that exposes a corporate decision making process where maximization of profits vs. expenditures for worker’s safety was subjected to a cost/ benefit analysis and they choose inferior safety standards to increase the margin of profit and oil workers in Texas were later maimed and killed as a result. This is what happens when private corporations are entrusted to protect the people’s interests without strict government regulation.
This policy has also resulted in the present situation where – according to Admiral Thad W. Ellis, commandant of the US Coast Guard – all of the materials and expertise required to fix what is rapidly becoming the worst ecological disaster in American history are in the hands of private industry. And thus the US government is an impotent giant that is helpless in the face of this swelling catastrophe. This is the tragic result of the triumph of Republican “private enterprise/ free market “ theology.
Yet with out a trace of irony we now hear a rising clamor for the government to save the day from the same people who have been telling us the federal government is our enemy; that the government cannot do anything right; indeed, as their patron saint Ronnie Reagan declared and they have repeated ad nauseum: “Government can’t solve our problems because government is the problem.” Now in increasing numbers these Republican fakers and fools are demanding that President Obama kick British Petroleum to the curb and the federal government take command. Alas, when questioned about this government option the coast guard commandant looked wryly into the TV cameras and asked “replace them with what?”
As we stand on the brink of witnessing the destruction of the economy, natural beauty and cultural life of the entire gulf region – if not the beaches of the Atlantic seaboard too – the Republican policy of favoring private interests over the public interest is exposed for the morally bankrupt, politically irresponsible, dangerous nonsense that it is. As I have argued elsewhere in these commentaries: The anti-government hysteria manufactured by Republican shills on WABC radio and Fox Television represent a growing menace, a danger to the national security.
For in their attempt to immobilize the federal government, incite armed rebellion and cultivate hatred for our President their goals are not much different from Al Qaeda. Rush Limbaugh has suggested that “Civil War” is a logical avenue of resistance to the President’s policies and Congresswoman Michel Bachman said she likes her Minnesota constituents “armed and dangerous.” And by accusing the President of imposing a Nazi/Stalanist dictatorship on the American people, a view as the Republican view of the US government and that of Al Qaeda represent a distinction without a difference!
Victims of human folly
In their lust for power leaders of the GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – will say anything. And the result often sounds like a tower of babble. Witness the governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal, who was once a rapidly rising star in the GOP before his misfortune in being chosen as the sacrificial lamb to reply to an address by President Obama, which quickly exposed him as a shallow charlatan. Jindal’s anti-government rhetoric was so rabid and irrational he publicly threatened to refuse money from President Obama’s economic stimulus package to extend unemployment to tens of thousands of workers in his state; then was seen in photo-ops cutting ribbons and taking bows for projects financed by the stimulus money. And most recently he can be seen tagging around with Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, with both hands out begging for all the federal help he can get.
Bobby Jindal nodded “Amen!” when Secretary Salazar said “We will keep our foot on British Petroleum’s neck” until they stop the thousands of gallons of crude oil presently gushing into the gulf. But the newest rising star in the GOP, Rand Paul, has denounced the president’s decision to keep the governments foot on the neck of BP as “un-American.” Furthermore Dr. Paul cavalierly dismisses BP’s culpability by evoking the Rumsfeld axiom: “Shit happens.” However Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama has said BP must be made to pay the full cost of the clean-up even if it causes them to go out of existence! Hence these Republican palefaces speak with forked tongue; so who knows what they actually believe?
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
A Clueless Charlatan
Then there is the incessant chatter of the supposedly oughtful conservatives like David Brooks and Joe Scarboro, the former Republican Congressman from Florida who now earns his bread as a TV talking head. I have always suspected that Mr. Scarboro owes his television success more to the fact that he looks, walks and talks like the young John Wayne – which is no picayune matter in a nation that continues to worship celluloid heroes ala Ronnie Reagan – rather than what he actually knows about the world. And his criticisms these last few days about the leadership of President Obama – which border on the hysterical – only confirms my suspicion.
While sophistry is Mr. Scarboro’s stock in trade, his incessant carping about the fact that President Obama is responding to the Gulf Crisis in his normal cool, calm, thoughtful manner represents a new low for “Morning Joe.” It seems that Mr. Scarboro thinks the situation would be better served if the President was running around like a chicken with his head cut off. The problem with the criticism of Mr. Scarboro and all Republicans is that it is precisely those pro-corporate anti-regulatory policies they have championed which has led us to the disaster in the Gulf!
The truth is that all theses guys are wolves in sheep’s clothing crying crocodile tears who emit more heat than light. Having roused the rabble with incendiary slogans alas, they have no clearly defined program to address the myriad problems facing the American people and advance the nation. As the crisis grows the Republican solution to the Gulf Oil disaster is the equivalent of locking the barn doors after the horses have run away! The suspicions about possible corporate malfeasance – such as that suggested by BP’s “Three Little Pigs” memorandum that has surfaced as I write – should have been advanced before the disaster and addressed in the regulatory policies of the federal government.
The main obstacle to instituting such policies has been the hysterical anti-government ideology promoted by the GOP! We are now reaping what they have sown. Hence should the American electorate vote the Republicans back into power in the next elections given President Obama’s spectacular performance – in spite of the endless machinations of the Grand Obstructionist Party – no matter how right wing pundits spin the matter it will be incontrovertible proof that the American political system is dysfunctional because most white Americans are racist idiots who seem determined to slay the goose that’s laying the golden eggs because he’s the wrong color!
On Pristine St. Augustine Beach
Will The Louisiana Oil Slick Destroy All This?
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 26, 2010