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Thursday, June 3, 2010

an email conversation

between me and someone else...


Someone else:
Both articles are good. The NYT article was very well thought-out and the Post article was very emotive.
We are all so angry and distraught over this situation. It is like waiting for a devastating hurricane that may last decades. Our way of life is totally threatened.
We walked on the beaches this weekend, sugar sands and pristine water. The sea birds and turtles are nesting in the Ft. Pickens area. All seems so serene and yet 7 miles off shore with the winds blowing our way is the massive monster getting ready to attack us and Washington is sending down lawyers. We need booms, man-power, permission to build sand bars to block the monster. But nothing is getting done. People down here are distraught . We had Ivan, Dennis, the fall-out from Katrina , the Great Recession, and now this. We are truly cursed.


Robert Reich provides a word/legal process for what I've been thinking from the beginning: Receivership. This is what Obama/the Federal Gov't taking charge would actually look like.

Here are two posts outlining the strategy and what we could be doing:

they need to get on it

also, this is worth watching. deja vu indeed.

It's fair to hold Obama accountable for not doing enough... but let's not forget who the real villain is here.

Someone else:

LIked the engineer's ideas. Hated Reich's ideas. BP would love to just walk away from this and turn it over to the govt. BO can increase taxes on their USA production and they will just sell to China and India. This is truly BO's Katrina.
We are truly sick at heart about all of this.

Someone else (again):

Since I am reading your points of view, I hope you will read some of mine.


Oh boy, where to begin... I'll just start from the beginning and work my way down.

Noonan calls healthcare reform "unnecessary." I'm not even going to argue this point because after a full year of debate on this issue anyone who still thinks that is clearly beyond reach. But I will say that Obama tackled the issue not out of some abstract, intellectual interest in the theory of gov't but because real people were suffering and dying and going bankrupt because of our broken medical system (not to mention it was stifling our economy). Meanwhile Republicans saw the battle in purely political terms, believing that to defeat Obama on the issue would be his Waterloo, with absolutely no concern for the welfare of the American people. That was what the "war" against Romneycare, excuse me, Obamacare, was really about. So who is it that's disconnected from the needs of ordinary Americans again?

Next: "Indifference" to immigration? Was it not the Republican party who killed immigration reform just a couple years ago? It had the votes (and the support of the Bush WH), but it didn't have "the majority of the majority" of Republican Senators, so they killed it. And let's be brutally frank, the reason the Republican base reacted so violently against reform is because they don't like brown people. At all. And so Republican leadership went along with their crazies and kicked the can down the road. But now our broken borders are Obama's fault?

"Dodging and dithering" in response to the spill? As you saw in that Maddow video on the Ixtoc spill, we've seen this movie before and we know how it ends: eventually, months from now, they'll finish the relief well and be able to plug the hole. In the mean time an incredible amount of oil will spill into the gulf and cause untold damage. We've known for decades that that was the risk. It took them 10 months to plug a hole 150 feet underwater in 1979, and now we're drilling a mile under water, without any advances in dealing with the eventual spill (yes, eventual, accidents always happen sooner or later). And, yet, where has the Republican party been on the issue over all these years? Deregulation! Drill baby drill! Dick Cheney went to great effort to get government off the backs of the oil companies. And yet... this is supposed to be Obama's Katrina.

Let's continue: The American people are worried about high gov't spending? First of all, it's that high gov't spending that kept this country from plummeting into a great depression. Obama inherited an economy in free fall because of a financial crisis which was a direct consequence of... you guessed it!... Republican deregulation! And now, just as Republicans blame Obama for a spill that resulted from theirpolicies of deregulation, they now try to blame the economy that they broke on Obama's efforts to fix it. They know that if Obama cuts back on spending it will further depress the economy... which they can then turn around and blame on him. Chutzpah.

I notice Noonan is very interested in how Obama "seems," as if he's a character in a movie that needs better writers. She was unimpressed by Obama's command of the facts because it lacks emotional force, it lacks drama. It is very true that Obama is far more interested in actually solving problems than putting on a show designed to project the impression that he's solving problems. From a public relations point of view this indeed causes him some problems. But what this actually tells us is that Obama is a grown up. And yet here Noonan is criticizing him for that? Why is it that Republicans put so much stock in stagecraft? Flying onto an aircraft carrier off the coast of California in a flight suit and speaking in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner did not win the war in Iraq. Whatever theatrics Noonan demands of Obama in this case would be equally ineffective.

But the overarching baloney to all this is that Obama is dealing with problems "of his own making," when in fact every single one of these things was handed to him by the Republicans who made such a royal mess of everything during Bush's Presidency that we'll be cleaning up after them for decades. The power of government does not lie in its ability to fix catastrophes of others' making. It's in preventing them in the first place. But here we come to those nasty words again: "Regulation," "Oversight." But now Noonan thinks the oil spill discredits the idea that government should have a role in our lives... and it doesn't take a psychic to see where this is headed: since the gov't is so inept we might as well get it out of big business's hair and keep deregulating! Sounds familiar: Bush gutted FEMA, and when it failed to respond to Katrina Republicans said it showed that government doesn't work and so shouldn't be trusted. Lewis Carroll would appreciate the logic.

And where are we going from here? You would think a catastrophe like this would spur us to finally develop and sign into law a sane energy policy that moves us away from fossil fuels. And yet because of this oil spill we are LESS likely to pass any kind of energy policy. Why? Because Republicans have already made it clear they will fight any plan that does not include massive expansion of offshore drilling tooth and nail? That is insane. (Unless you're a politician primarily concerned about staying on Big Oil's payroll, in which case it actually makes a lot of sense)

I truly wish the GOP would stop playing politics with every issue and actually engage in trying to solve our country's problems. Obama would be more than happy to meet them half way if they were actually willing to make serious compromises of their own. (Lord knows he's infuriated his base with his constant overtures to Republicans) But it seems like its all just a political game for the GOP. All about scoring points. About trying to keep Obama from having any success out of fear he would get the credit. So instead they do everything in their power to hamstring his efforts to fixtheir messes and root for him to fail (and the rest of the country with him) so that they can take back power. This, from a group that wraps itself in the flag and regularly accuses Dems of lacking patriotism. The cynicism is breathtaking.

We've got crises going on all over the place. In addition to the oil spill there's the economy/jobs, there's Afghanistan, Iraq (remember that place?), Israel/Palestine, Iran, N.Korea, immigration, global warming, energy, education... the list goes on. This is no time for cheap political posturing. In Obama we have a leader who is competent, never gets rattled, never holds grudges, and who understands these issues better than any other politician bar none. Yes, he is human, he makes mistakes, and I do think he has not been aggressive enough with BP. But our problems don't stem from Obama. They stem from corporations run amok, aided and abetted by Republicans.

Regarding the "receivership" idea, it's the opposite of what you seem to think it is. The idea is to take over BP to spend their money and use their resources to fix their mess (that's effecting all the rest of us and destroying the environment). Right now BP is still making huge profits, even taking into account the $$ they're spending on cleanup. Resources that could be used to help the cleanup effort are being used to elsewhere. It's time ALL their resources are devoted to fixing this problem. Right now BP and other oil companies are the only people who have the equipment and personnel who can perform many of the things that we could be doing to ameliorate the problem (such as the ideas proposed by that engineer in the second link I sent you). A receivership takes the wheel from them and makes them do what's right. Trust me, they won't love it. If it bankrupts their entire company I won't be shedding any tears. But Obama isn't Superman, he can't fix a problem without the tools needed, the tools that BP and these other companies have, which is why he should just take what's needed and make them do it. But unfortunately neither Obama, and CERTAINLY no Republicans want to play hardball with those guys. Obama because he thinks we can all get along, and Republicans because they're in the pocket of Big Oil (yes, some Dems too... but Republicans as a group)

Sorry for the rant, but when you send me something like that know that I will read it and you will get a response, haha. I feel strongly about this stuff... but I also don't take it personally. When it comes to politics we both think each other are crazy, and that's ok!

1 comment:

Lee said...

If you know me well you can probably figure out who "someone else" is, but since I don't actually have permission to post this I'm hoping this is adequately considerate of their privacy. (It's not really kosher, I know, but not many people read this stuff anyway, so I hope its ok)