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There is Nothing to Fear, but Wall Street Itself

Is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the catastrophe on the DeepWater Horizon Obama’s Katrina?
It’s worse.
The run-up to the disaster cause by Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing melee brought to everyone’s attention how silted the confluence between State and Federal government has become in times of crisis. (It’s gotten no better). George Bush came under heavy criticism for being seemingly insouciant in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, not even touching down to see the disaster first hand. Notwithstanding his protests that he would have detracted from the rescue effort, and notwithstanding the fact that the Federal Government tried to persuade Louisiana to accept Federal help in the time period immediately preceding and immediately following the onslaught, and notwithstanding the fact that Louisiana’s governor and New Orleans’mayor persistently claimed to be in control of the situation, until it became apparent that they were stupid – still, George Bush should have made a showing on day one after the disaster. He should have done this, at least in a locale where he could have shown some concern about the rescue efforts. He could have used Marine One, landing out in a field somewhere in (close proximity to ) view of some rescue vehicles.
President Obama has been no better. Same thing, only worse.
Obama, like Bush didn’t take the symbol of his office serious enough to realize that ‘just showing up’ is important. With Bush, the aloofness where press is concern might have at least been regarded as ‘in-character’. For Obama, who has turned his presidency into an old-time variety show complete with roasts, this is really bad. He should have been on the scene immediately. His flip comments to the extent of , “What d’you expect me to do, put on a diving suit, vacuum up the spill?” are alarming. Why?
Here’s why:
There IS something he could have done about the oil spill. There is something he could have done instantaneously and it could have made a difference. Great presidents, even mediocre ones in times of duress in our 234 year history as a nation have done things like this, like what he should have done. Here goes. He should have said:
“I know that this oil spill is associated with a rig leased by B.P. PLc, yet I also know that all of the major players in the oil industry have at their disposal diving experts, clean-up experts, equipment for containment, tools for retrieval of spills, devices for analysis of ruptured pipes and valves, deep sea robotics and other means and experts at their disposal. I call upon all of these companies to work together, to help each other provide a solution. I know that the fear of having one’s ships and equipment with your name displayed on the side in the near vicinity of a catastrophe brings forth the specter of implication, but I can assure you that your admirable assistance of your very competitors and counterparts in this great national and environmental crisis will go a long way to securing the national good. Let me add to that, that you will have the resources of the United States Navy to assist in mitigating this crisis, in bringing to an end to this horrible destruction of our Gulf Waters, fishing industry and wildlife. May God Bless and help us.”
But he didn’t say that.

No, here is where he veered dramatically from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt playbook. Here is where the politics of blame won out. Maybe he didn’t even think of this foray into cooperation of an inter-corporate nature, which is scary because he’s the president. Surely he’s smart enough to think of something along the lines of people, corporations, unions, and the government working together. Maybe not.
…or maybe he is smart enough to think of it…
…and he just didn’t say it.

Blame someone. Blame Bush. Blame Wall Street. Blame Big Oil Industries.
The sad thing about that is this: Despite the bad rap, the oil industry in the United States is one of the most historic, technologically advancing, job creating industries in our nation. Barack Obama is sticking to his script, ‘blame’. Instead of taking the approach of, “Let’s work together. Let’s build a Victory Garden in the Gulf Sea,” blame plays well to his constituency, and scapegoating has always worked historically, though it tends to victimize many people, groups and industries that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The scapegoating of convenient fall-guys in pre-World War II economically crushed Germany began with a scapegoating of the banking industry. With an industry we need, an industry that supplies and creates massive amounts of jobs the scapegoating is not a path to true victory over calamity.

There is nothing to fear, but big American Business.
President Obama has chosen to make the quintessential villain an American industry, and one member of that industry in particular, BP PLC, stating that BP is going to bear ultimate responsibility,
“BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill,”

What’s interesting is that BP doesn’t even own the rig that blew up. TransOcean Ltd, a Dutch Company, and the largest drilling Company in the World for deepwater drills owns the DeepWater Horizon.*

We need the oil industry for more than just jobs. We need them for more than just clean-up of the Gulf Spill. We need them for advancements in materials used in the medical industry. We need them for advancements in cleanup operations that will ultimately help eliminate other forms of contamination of the environment. We need them because of the incredible amount of research they do on the inter-related mechanisms for the sustainability of our planet. We need them because they are they only organizations large enough, equipped and with enough savvy to finally help us glide into a solar, wind, natural gas and yet-unimagined future. We need them because they do funnel considerable money into the tax coffers through a wide range of input not limited to the salaries of the individuals working for the companies; this would be particularly true of the American based corporations like Exxon Mobil. The tax write-offs alone of the oil companies and their affiliates have resulted in the construction of research facilities, the provision of scholarships, and the advancement of institutions of higher learning. We certainly don’t need to destroy them.

*see the WallStreet Journal May 03, 2010 Rig Owner Under Scrutiny by Rebecca Smith

-Copyright May 07 2010 by Juan Zapatero


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