But I think all of this ignores who the clear and obvious villains are in this situation, and the fact that we brought them to the party ourselves - and now we have no one else left to dance with.
The Deep Water Horizon Disaster IS A CRIME - quite possibly the absolute worse and most wide-ranging criminal disaster this nation, and potentially The WORLD may ever see. Although stopping the leak is paramount, and minimizing the long term ecological and health effects is critical we need to start seriously chanting ... "Never Again!"
Then we need to follow that chant with some actions.
The behavior of the Right has been typically psychotic.
Let's take Karl Rove who says this is "Obama's Katrina".
Obama officials have it backwards: They talk tough about BP's responsibilities but do not meet their own responsibilities under federal law. They should not have let more than a month go by without telling BP what to do. And they should avoid recriminations against their partner in solving the problem until after the leak is sealed.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sounds whiney when he rails against BP. It didn't build confidence when his opening statement to a congressional hearing Wednesday focused on future safety and inspections requirements, and not on what the administration will do now to end the leak.
Could this be Mr. Obama's Katrina? It could be even worse.
Even those on the relative Left have been tossing Obama under the Bus proclaiming this is a referendum on the effectiveness of government. ala Frank Rich.
Now Obama is stuck between a rock and a Tea Party. His credibility as a champion of reformed, competent government is held hostage by video from the gulf. And this in an election year when the very idea of a viable federal government is under angrier assault than at any time since the Gingrich revolution and militia mobilization of 1994-5 and arguably since the birth of the modern conservative movement in the 1960s.
So Government can't be trusted because Obama hasn't meet his "responsibilities under federal law" - the same way that Bush didn't?
That's an interesting view since going out the Door Bush whined "Nothing Went Wrong With Katrina".
Bush: You know, people said that the federal response was slow. Don’t tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed.
(Right, sure, and just what did you do with those 30,000 people after the roof top rescues?? NOTHING! Which is the point Chimpass!)
And that's funny too because I remember John Gibson (who was FIRED by Fox News) saying that the Left had "Swiftboated Bush" over Katrina.
"They were lying through their teeth and they got away with it," Gibson told the hosts of Fox & Friends on Wednesday morning -- referring not not to the Swift Boat Veterans but to Democrats and liberals who portrayed Bush as incompetent and indifferent.
It took Fox host Steve Doocy to make the connection explicit. "They looked at the game plan that the Republicans and the Swiftboaters did back against Kerry," Doocy suggested, "and they said, 'Okay, it worked.'"
Rove for example claims that Bush's "Hands were tied" in Katrina by Federal Law.
The federal response to Katrina was governed by the 1988 Stafford Act, which says that in natural disasters on-shore states are in charge, not Washington.
But BP's well was drilled in federal waters. Washington, not Louisiana, is in charge. This is Mr. Obama's responsibility. He says his administration has been prepared for the worst from the start. Mr. Obama's failure to lead in cleaning up the spill could lead voters to echo his complaint in Katrina's aftermath: "I wish that the federal government had been up to the task."
(This ignores the simple fact that under the Stafford act once a Disaster Has Been Declared Federal Assistance becomes available - and the President is responsible for providing that assistance not the state - and Katrina was declared a disaster even before the Hurricane made Landfall and the Levees broke, but let's not belabor that right now)
If Bush was really "so wronged" by the Left for not getting food and water to the Superdome for days, does that mean that John Kerry - the Original Swiftboat Victim - "Did Nothing Wrong" in Vietnam, and that the Right just made up a bunch of Lies about him simply for Political Gain back then?
Oh golly gee Willickers? You mean all those purpleheart band-aids were actually an smarmy insult to an Actual American War Hero and assault on the sacrifices and integrity of our troops?
If Kerry was "Swiftboated" and therefore if this is "Obama's Katrina" and Katrina was "Bush's Swiftboating" - doesn't that mean the ROVE AND THE RIGHT ARE USING THIS DISASTER TO SWIFTBOAT OBAMA!!
You're Damn SKippy they are.
Is Rove suggesting that what Obama has failed to do is Seize Physical Control BP's Equipment and Technology - toss their technicians out and just plug in somebody else who would have to do on the job training in the middle of a growing disaster? That would be just brilliant.
The problem that Obama faces is technological and proprietary in that the U.S. Military isn't in the Drilling 5,000 Feet Below the Ocean Business - they're in the Blow Shit UP Business. Exactly what a Nuclear Submarine might do to cap the well, no one seems to be able to answer. We don't have an Underwater N.A.S.A.
So unfortunately we've had to rely largely on the hardware and expertise the initial perpetrator in this crime, BP.
And lets make no bones about it, Katrina was a natural disaster compounded with an engineering error followed by lackadaisical indifference - but This was and is an ongoing Crime.
Under Obama Federal Officials are doing their job by looking seriously at Prosecuting BP
Reporting from Washington — — A team of top federal prosecutors and investigators has taken the first steps toward a formal criminal investigation into oil giant BP's actions before and after the drilling rig disaster off Louisiana.
The investigators, who have been quietly gathering evidence in Louisiana over the last three weeks, are focusing on whether BP skirted federal safety regulations and misled the U.S. government by saying it could quickly clean up an environmental accident.
Keeping a "Boot on BP's Neck" is rather like having the criminal lead you back to the Crime Scene and help dig up the bodies. They did the crime, they know where the bodies are - we don't. And there are a whole lot of things buried in this situation...
BP claimed they knew how to stop a leak like this, even this far down, when they applied for the permits. BP LIED. BP claimed that they had procedures in place to prevent this kind of disaster - BP LIED.
Some are beginning to argue that BP may even be guilty of (Ecological) Terrorism.
I read with growing outrage that several Greenpeace protesters were arrested the other day in Louisiana. What was their crime? They painted an anti-offshore drilling message on the side of an oil exploration ship. [...] To compound the injustice, a parish officer said that they might be charged as terrorists.
Meanwhile, the CEO of BP is treated as a privileged member of the wealthy ruling elite as he chronically lies about his company’s latest act of crime against the earth and its inhabitants, as well as other living creatures of the sea and planet. But whether it’s BP, Wall Street, or Wal-Mart, global corporations know that crimes committed on a massive scale don’t get prosecuted; they are just a statistic that goes unchallenged by the paid-off elected officials and regulators in D.C. [...]
We have evolved into an oligarchy that considers cost savings and profit ahead of lives and the preservation of our earth. [...]
Could a terrorist do more harm than BP has done?
That's right, Greenpeace protesters might be charged as "terrorist" for Graffiti For PAINTING A MESSAGE - essentially for tagging! ( Couldn't they just use some Corexit on that tag and call it even?)
Isn't the DeepWater Horizon Catastrophe doing damage that al Qeada could only dream of?
And that's just talking about the Oil Spill itself, add to that the potential damage of spraying hundreds of thousands of gallons of Corexit 9500 into the Gulf, a substance which becomes three times as toxic when mixed with Oil.
Add to that the fact that BP has been threatening to FIRE any Fishermen - whose livelihoods they've already destroyed - who use their own protective respirators while doing spill cleanup work.
Clint Guidry - Louisiana Fishermen's Association: I bought respirators, and I brought them down to these people. And when they tried to wear them, the BP representatives on site told them that it wasn’t a dangerous situation, and they didn’t need to wear them, and if they did, they would be taken off the job.
So BP is not only putting the Fish and the Wildlife at risk, they're deliberately putting their own employees health at greater risk - even when it costs them nothing - simply because admitting that the risk might exist, might mean they could be held Liable and Accountable for it.
This is why they didn't bother to use the right kind of drilling mud, and they didn't bother to drill a relief well - as countries like Canada and Europe require - to cut costs and limit their liability. This may be why BP has been low-balling the size and impact of the Spill from DAY ONE, claiming at first that only 1,000 Barrels-a-day were spilling, only to have that corrected and upgraded to 5,000 Barrels, and now 12,000-19,000 Barrels.
This kind of wild mis-estimate may not be the only one on BP's part, there just might be an elephant hiding behind the mouse of a spill they've been focused on so far.
Here's a telling tweet I saw yesterday...
@BorowitzReport Bin Laden sees what BP's done, and he's like, "Man, I've got to step up my game."
Yeah, it's like that.
George Lakoff doesn't think Obama has yet pounded home the deeper moral narrative of what has truly occurred here and what needs to occur.
The following "shoulds" are not mine. They follow naturally from President Obama’s own values as he articulated them is his 2008 campaign, and as they leaked out, largely unnoticed, during his press conference.
The president recognizes that financial reform requires dealing with systemic risk, which means not mere regulation, but restructuring the financial system to minimize, and if possible eliminate, systemic risk. Applying the analogy to oil spills, it would mean no more deep-water drilling because major systemic risks ("worst case scenarios") cannot be eliminated when you drill starting a mile down where no human being can go and drilling three miles deeper.
Like other large corporations, BP uses cost-benefit analysis to maximize profits. It is no surprise that, to save money, BP chose inferior materials in Deepwater Horizon, materials whose defects may well have caused the explosion. The use of cost-benefit analysis for a corporation’s benefit (and not the public’s) is a dangerous practice in many industries. Cost-benefit analysis itself, used this way, should be considered as an important component of systemic risk by the President’s commission on safety.
What were seeing here will not be a referendum on the Obama Presidency, or his effectiveness as leader no matter how those on the left or right would like to see it that way. IMO this will ultimately be a referendum on Selfish Corporate Bullshit.
There isn't a Oil Company that has gone further out of it's way to advance it's Green and Ecological Bona Fides than BP. Their damn Logo is a Flower for Christ's Sake. Yet when the rubber meets the road they leave a 100 Mile Skid Mark of Oil & Corexit across the Gulf of Mexico.
Look at the Guif, look at the shoreline of Louisiana, Texas and soon Florida. Look at the Death Plumes Beneath the Water's surface.
This is what the Precious, Sacred, "Infallible" Free Market Hath Wrought.
Corporations aren't inherently evil, but when their only priority and fiduciary duty is to protecting the profit of their stockholders by reducing liability and accountability while increasing risk - they can certain become amoral. They're own natural tendency is to askew the pointing finger of a moral compass. They use secrecy, denial and Non-Disclosure Agreements backed with armies of Corporate Lawyers intent on ensuring they're never blamed or held responsible for anything until it's far too late and it becomes so damn big you can see it from Space - and it just can't be hidden anymore.
BP problems didn't begin with the leak, the leak is just a symptom of their rotting internal disease of amorality.
This amorality isn't just on Wall Street, it's not just halls of BP or offices of Massey Mining, or Blackwater/Xe or KBR or Wackenhut - it's something that exists deep in our culture, and just as 9/11 was a hard and cold wake-up call that the world as we knew it was suddenly, swiftly transformed into something completely different - so should we take heed of the Economic Terrorist Attack that was fostered by Goldman Sachs, AIG and Lehman, as much we now watch the Ecological Terrorism of BP, Transocean and Halliburton unfold.
We have to stop the leak, difficult though that may be. We have to clean up the spill, also a difficult task. Unlike Rich I don't that's an question of "If" only "When" -- but after that we need to start looking at the root cause of these acts of blatant myopic irresponsibility and ravenous greed.
Making money is a great thing, but when you're already breaking profit records and still need so much more, and more that you drive yourself and the nation right off a cliff - I think, as Obama himself stated, "You don't get the Keys back".
The possibility of Taking BP Down, revoking their corporate Charter and banning the entire company from our shores, needs to be on the table. There have to be consequences. Companies like this have to be shown the error of their ways like shoving a dog's nose in their own shit pile. We have to take a "Smoke 'em out of their Boardrooms" - "Wanted Divested or Alive" attitude about this.
It's time to re-empower the Corporate Cops.
EPA, SEC, OSHA and MMS should be under the same ethics rules and garner the same respect (and yes, fear) as the FBI, Homeland Security and ATF. The idea of their officers taking gifts and jobs from the people their investigating should be taken as deadly seriously as an FBI agent taking presents from John Gotti.
It's time to reverse decades of atrophy and decay that has crept into the muscles and bones of the people's representative and their enforcement agents to look out for the public good, not just some fatcat's wallet.
The reason I compare this to 9/11, isn't because of the potential casualty count (which I believe in the end will be greater in the long run - more like Chernobyl), it's because 9-11 supposedly "changed everything", we committed ourselves to two separate Wars on Terror - maybe it's time to commit ourselves to a War on Indifferent Corporate Error!
It's time for us to say again as we did that September Day - "Never Again!... Never Again!... Never Again!"