“We share the President's goal of shutting off the well as quickly as possible, cleaning up the oil and mitigating the impact on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast. We look forward to meeting with President Obama tomorrow for a constructive discussion about how best to achieve these mutual goals.”That’s what the Brits would sarcastically call “a vote of confidence” from the skunk who crashed the garden party. Where are the specifics of the government’s response? Here are some curios in the President’s report:
- “Tomorrow (today), I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness. And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party.”
There is a sense that these carefully crafted words mask an agreement reached with BP a priori of the President’s meeting with its chairman of the board. Hardly a Trumanesque or Rooseveltian response to an outlaw corporation. President Obama’s rhetoric is far removed from Franklin Roosevelt’s crie de guerre against concentrated corporate power: “They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. … They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.”
The President’s speech didn’t quite measure up to FDR and Harry Truman (who summoned steel industrialists to the White House and read them the Riot Act). At best, it was a Clintonesque triangulation of the government-corporate partnership with a mild wrist-slap. The President, it seems, would rather convince corporate CEOs of the advantages of cooperation and compromise on the big issues, such as healthcare and financial reform, in ways that are advantageous to them rather than assume a confrontational populist posture a la Harry Truman.
This would explain President Obama’s curiously anti-progressive behavior, his much too easy concessions to corporations, e.g., ditching the public option; the backroom deals with Big Pharma and other industry sectors; and the White House’s arrogant public dissing of labor unions and netroots progressives for their sacrilegious support of Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter against corporate Democrat Blanche Lincoln. Interestingly, Big Dog Bubba Clinton made a lusty, Palin-like libidinous pitch on Lincoln’s behalf –- with an extra-long, extra-tight hug –- propelling blushing Blanche over the top.
- “I have authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, clean beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims –- and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.”
- “In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90% of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely.”
- “From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation's history.”
- “Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip. So if something isn't working, we want to hear about it. If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.”
- Serious health problems with cleanup workers that amounts to chemical poisoning. BP has not provided necessary protective equipment because the optics of hazmat suits looks bad for the corporate image. The syndrome now has a name -- “Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance”-- and is far more widespread than reported cases, because workers need the BP temporary cleanup jobs to feed their families;
- The latest offer, from Sweden, to deploy tankers with the capacity to skim millions of gallons off the surface of the ocean, a proven technology, has been rebuffed. The official explanation for not using this technology is that the oil is too dispersed; how can that be if the slicks can be seen from space? Where are the resources from other countries, as well as other oil companies -- tankers, skimmers, etc. -- that are not funnelled through BP? I suspect the reason is economic, and is linked to liability -- out of sight, out of mind -- for BP; the same reason that motivates this criminal entity to cover up the results of its crime (dead animal carcasses) in the middle of the night, and forbid media access to blighted areas that are not sanitized of animal remains;
- Why are ideas from private entrepreneurs shoved down the BP black hole in a bait-and-switch scam in which bogus phone banks only pretend to take contact information? Where is the government oversight and control of this and multiple other BP scams to limit its liability and protect its investors?
The question, Mr. President, is not one of prayer. It’s one of survival; it’s whether there will be any fleet at all of fishermen to bless next year. Hail Mary is the last resort. Rendering unto Cesar what is Caesar’s –- executive action –- is the first. The night before your speech, Touchdown Jesus was zapped by a bolt of lightning, and burned to the ground. If you believe in the power of prayer, then someone may be trying to tell you something, Mr. President. And we, the people, are way ahead of you. Time to catch up. Quickly. Your presidency depends on it.