Government Impotence and Corporate Rule
"Obama should personally take charge ---cancel all of his social and
political events, convene an emergency response team of the best scientific
minds in the world, announce a clear plan of clean-up actions, install all
relevant Cabinet officials in a Gulf Coast command center to direct the
actions, make daily reports on progress to the public, fire a mess of failed
regulators and go to Congress with sweeping legislation to replace America's
oil dependency with a crash program of conservation and renewable energy
by: Jim Hightower,
t r u t h o u t |: 02 June 2010
Many news reports about the Gulf oil catastrophe refer to it as a "spill."
Wrong. A spill is a minor "oops" -- one accidentally spills milks, for
example, and from childhood, we're taught the old aphorism: "Don't cry over
spilt milk." What's in the Gulf isn't milk and it wasn't spilt. The
explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon well was the inevitable result of
deliberate decisions made by avaricious corporate executives, laissez faire
politicians and obsequious regulators.
As the ruinous gulf oil blowout spreads onto land, over wildlife, across the
ocean floor and into people's lives, it raises a fundamental question for
all of us Americans: Who the hell's in charge here? What we're witnessing is
not merely a human and environmental horror, but also an appalling
deterioration in our nation's governance. Just as we saw in Wall Street's
devastating economic disaster and in Massey Energy's murderous explosion
inside its Upper Big Branch coal mine, the nastiness in the gulf is baring
an ugly truth that We the People must finally face: We are living under de
facto corporate rule that has rendered our government impotent.
Thirty years of laissez-faire, ideological nonsense (pushed upon us with a
vengeance in the past decade) has transformed government into a subsidiary
of corporate power. Wall Street, Massey, BP and its partners -- all were
allowed to become their own "regulators" and officially encouraged to put
their short-term profit interests over the public interest.
Let's not forget that on April 2, barely two weeks before Deepwater Horizon
blew and 11 people perished on the spot, the public's No. 1 official, Barack
Obama, trumpeted his support for more deepwater oil drilling, blithely
regurgitating Big Oil's big lie: "Oil rigs today generally don't cause
spills." He and his advisors had not bothered to check the truth of that --
they simply took the industry's word. That's not governing, it's aiding and
abetting profiteers, and it's a pathetic performance.
But that was only the start of Washington's oily confession that it has
surrendered control to corporate arrogance and avarice. With an
unprecedented volume of crude gushing from the well and the magnitude of the
disaster multiplying geometrically by the day, who was in charge of coping
with that? Not the White House, not the interior secretary, not the EPA. As
we saw when Wall Street's greed exploded our economy, the polluting
scoundrels were left in charge!
While BP's dapper CEO issued patently ridiculous statements (such as,
"Everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental
impact of this will be very, very modest."), our government blindly went
along with BP's false assertion that only some 5,000 barrels a day were
pouring from the well, when independent experts were shouting at the White
House that the correct volume was up to 19 times that much.
Finally, almost a month after the blowout, Obama ordered a moratorium on
drilling new offshore wells and on granting environmental waivers to the oil
giants. Bravo, Mr. President! But ... his moratorium was simply ignored.
Days after his order, oil companies were handed at least seven more drilling
permits and five waivers.
Last week, with 63 percent of the public disapproving of his meek deference
to BP, the president of the United States of America was reduced to
convening a press conference to insist that he was "engaged" and, behind the
scenes, was "monitoring" BP's efforts.
Wow, monitoring! Excuse me, but who's the president here? Obama should
personally take charge ---cancel all of his social and political events,
convene an emergency response team of the best scientific minds in the
world, announce a clear plan of clean-up actions, install all relevant
Cabinet officials in a Gulf Coast command center to direct the actions, make
daily reports on progress to the public, fire a mess of failed regulators
and go to Congress with sweeping legislation to replace America's oil
dependency with a crash program of conservation and renewable energy
Oh, he should also wring a few corporate necks. Instead of monitoring these
criminals, prosecute them -- and put the public back in charge of our
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book,
Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim
Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of
the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families,
environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.
Copyright 2010 Creators.com
Clegg demands end to Gaza blockade
icNewcastle 14:05, Jun 1 2010
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called on Israel to lift its
"unjustifiable and untenable" blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Mr Clegg said that the storming by Israeli commandos of a ship carrying aid
to the Palestinian territory underlined the need for the blockade to end.
The United Nations Security Council called for a "prompt, impartial,
credible and transparent" investigation into the raid, which left at least
nine civilians dead and more than 30 people injured, including one Briton,
according to the Foreign Office.
Mr Clegg said the situation in Gaza had become a "humanitarian catastrophe".
He said: "Whilst, of course, Israel has every right to defend itself and its
citizens from any attack, it must now move towards lifting the blockade in
Gaza as soon as possible."
The Liberal Democrat leader's comments echoed earlier remarks by Foreign
Secretary William Hague, who called on Israel on Monday to lift the blockade
in line with UN Security Council resolutions.
Downing Street said David Cameron had spoken by telephone to Israeli prime
minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deplore the heavy loss of life and to urge
him to ensure there was no repeat of Monday's events.
For Labour, shadow foreign secretary David Miliband said the Israeli action
was "self-defeating" and represented a further setback to the efforts to
find a Middle East peace settlement. He said: "The particular circumstances
of this case will have to be brought to the surface but the defence of a
failed policy that is benefiting no one - not the people of Gaza, not the
people of Israel either - I think is badly flawed. They have painted
themselves into a corner they need to get out of."
The storming of the ship - one of a flotilla of six vessels trying to take
aid to Gaza in defiance of the Israeli blockade - drew worldwide
The Security Council statement was finally agreed after the United States -
Israel's strongest ally - successfully watered down an earlier wording which
called for the Israeli action to be condemned "in the strongest terms", but
some of the harshest criticism came from Turkey, previously seen as Israel's
main ally in the Muslim world. Many of the activists on the ships -
including a number of the dead - were Turkish.
Israel said its troops had been left with no choice after they came under
attack from activists armed with knives and iron bars when they were dropped
by helicopter on to one of the ships.
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