Tag Archives: catastrophe

‘Obama’s Katrina’ is our fault

Comparisons of the Obama administration’s slow response to the current crisis created by corporate greed in the Gulf of Mexico to the unelected Bush regime’s slow response to the crisis created by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 perhaps have been inevitable, but they miss the point.

Yes, both catastrophes have happened in the Gulf of Mexico, but that’s just about where any valid comparison ends. And by making such clumsy comparisons, we risk the failure to prevent more massive oil spills in the future.

The Bush regime didn’t respond to Hurricane Katrina because the Bush regime didn’t give a flying fuck about a bunch of poor black people in Louisiana. Had the eye of Hurricane Katrina been headed for “President” George W. Bush’s Texas, there might actually have been a response.

What prevented the Obama administration from responding faster to British Petroleum’s disaster, however, is the vast amount of power that the mega-corporations have accrued over the past several decades.

Although Obama has claimed that his administration has been on top of BP from day one of its April 20 oil rig disaster, it seems fairly apparent to me that BP kept the Obama administration at bay for some time, and that only after it became glaringly apparent that BP didn’t have the oil leak — which now is being called the worst in U.S. history — under anything like control that the Obama administration finally stepped up to the plate, under increasing political pressure.

We can make all of the Hurricane Katrina comparisons that we want to, but unless and until we, the people, take back our power that we stupidly and slovenly ceded to the corporations, we can expect more catastrophes like BP’s.

We need to take a long, hard look at capitalism and ask ourselves whether some tasks are too important and/or too dangerous to leave to the profit-driven private sector.

The private sector can do everything better, the capitalist swine snort.

Bullshit. The profit-driven private sector keeps cutting corner after corner in order to continually increase profits until we have such things as the current catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico and the actual “death panels” that the for-profit wealth care — er, health care — industry established in order to deny people medical care in order to increase the insurance companies’ profits. (They get filthy rich only if they don’t give you the health care that they’re being paid to provide you when you need it. That’s a great fucking model for health care.) Global warming, too, is a result of corporate greed.

And speaking of global warming, to me the most alarming news today is that meteorologists predict that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which begins next week, could be as bad as the 2005 season, which brought us Katrina.

Right about now is the perfect time for hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Never claim that things couldn’t get any worse than they already are, because of course they always can.

But I digress…

I’m all for the private sector making and selling things like cars and iPads and television sets and telephones and clothing and computers and movies and porn. Hell, I’m even more or less OK with the private sector continuing to make and sell houses, although the housing debacle would make me want to put a lot more thought into that issue, since housing is a necessity and not a luxury.

But drilling big holes in the ocean to tap oil reserves and maintaining those big holes? Health care? Education? Ensuring an ample supply of clean drinking water?

These kinds of things are too big and/or too important to leave to money-grubbing weasels. They need to be left to the government. To introduce a profit — and thus a corner-cutting — motive into them is inviting disaster, as the crude-oil-coated creatures of the Gulf of Mexico — and those whose living depends upon the Gulf of Mexico — can attest.

And giving such huge tasks as offshore oil drilling entirely to corporations means that the government doesn’t have the equipment or the expertise to deal with any problems that might occur, because over time it’s the corporations that have taken over those tasks. Cutting out the stonewalling corporate middlemen also would mean that problems could be addressed immediately by the government, because the government wouldn’t have to coordinate its efforts with any profit-driven corporation.

And corporate-crony-loving Repugnicans have no right whatsofuckingever to criticize the Obama administration’s sluggish response to the BP debacle when the eight long nightmarish years of rule by the unelected, oily Bush regime created an awfully cushy environment for Big Oil.

The Bush crime family has had oily dealings in Texas and in Saudi Arabia, Dick Cheney’s oily Halliburton wanted and got its Vietraq War and apparently has played a significant part in the current BP disaster, and fuck, even Condoleezza “You Know She’s Lying When Her Lips Are Moving” Rice had had a fucking Chevron oil tanker named after her, for fuck’s sake.

I don’t believe in letting President Obama off the hook for shit that is his responsibility, but we can’t blame Obama for the long-standing socioeconomicopolitical environment that he not only inherited in January 2009, but that all of us have allowed.

We can’t even blame the unelected Bush regime entirely for what it allowed Hurricane Katrina to do to the Gulf Coast in 2005 — after all, we, the people, had just allowed the Bush regime to blatantly steal the White House in late 2000 with no serious opposition from us. We should have been rioting in the streets, should have taken up pitchforks and torches, but instead we sat on our asses, sipping our Slurpees, telling ourselves that this Bush guy couldn’t be that bad. 

Had we acted as the patriotic citizens that we claim to be, “President” Bush, and thus Hurricane Katrina, might have been prevented.

And had we not just allowed our democracy to become a corporatocracy, we probably wouldn’t be witnessing the largest oil spill in U.S. history right now — while a savage hurricane season is just around the corner, ready to spread all of those millions of gallons of crude oil around even more quickly and more widely.

The BP oil spill should be our wake-up call and should teach us a great lesson.

And that lesson is not that we, the people, can continue to pin the blame for our national and global catastrophes on just one person, such as the president of the United States.

That lesson is that we, the people, get the kind of nation and the kind of world that we create and that we allow.

When, and if, we demand — really demand, exerting incredible political pressure — better of the powers that be, we will get better.

For right now, though, we are faced with millions of gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico while Hurricane Katrina’s sequel looms, and the only people we can blame for that is ourselves.

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Skipping toward Armageddon

BP faces slew of lawsuits over Gulf of Mexico ...

AFP photo

The oil slick caused by British Petroleum’s failed offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico (pictured above) is now roughly the size of Puerto Rico, according to The Associated Press. Conventional American “wisdom,” however, has been that offshore drilling is a brilliant fucking idea.

It’s funny, because the wingnuts and I agree on one thing: these do indeed seem to be the end times.

Only the wingnuts and I have a very different view of the causes of the end times.

The wingnuts view President Barack Obama as something like the anti-Christ — if they don’t believe that he actually is the anti-Christ. (In all seriousness, a recent Harris poll shows that about one in four Repugnicans believes that Obama just might be Mr. 666. This is why I call them “wingnuts”; it’s not just that they disagree with me — it’s that they are stark, raving lunatics.)

Obama, in my view, would be instrumental in ushering in the end times not because he’s the anti-Christ. Certainly not because he’s half-black (as the white supremacists among us believe) and not even because he’s “not an American citizen” or because he’s a “socialist” or a “Muslim” or a “terrorist” or some combination of these — as the wingnuts believe — but because he fiddles while the American empire burns.

Now is the time to tackle the nation’s worst problems, not to pander and cater to the “centrists” who claim that the sky isn’t falling even though there are big blue chunks of sky littered at their — our — feet. Now is the time for swift, bold action to prevent total fucking national — and global — meltdown.

Just maintaining the status quo isn’t enough; just keeping our heads above water isn’t enough, because the polar ice caps are melting, you see, and the water is going to keep rising and rising.

It takes a fucking catastrophe for Barack Obama to do the right thing, unfortunately.

He was against offshore drilling (when he was sucking in millions and millions of liberals’ dollars in his campaign for the White House) before he was for it (after he got to the White House) — and now, as crude oil fills the Gulf Coast, he says that maybe offshore drilling is a bad idea after all.

How many global catastrophes will it take for Obama to deliver that “hope” and “change” that he promised?

Obama is a “socialist”?

Oh, I wish!

Socialists, you see, do what’s right for the most number of people and for the planet — not what’s right for the minority plutocrats and corporatocrats, and Obama and the Democratic Party still are very much in bed with the corporatocrats and plutocrats.

The only difference between the Democrats and the Repugnicans is that the Repugnicans love to be whores for the corporatocrats and plutocrats, while the Democrats don’t enjoy putting their legs up in the air for their corporate and plutocratic johns quite as much.

Again, the wingnuts and I seem to agree that these are the end times, but we wholly disagree on the causes.

It’s the wingnuts who would bring us to total ruination, with their love of perpetual war and global pollution and despoilation for corporate profits in the names of Jesus and God and freedom and democracy, and Obama’s role in the end times isn’t that he’s the anti-Christ, but that he’s allowing the wingnuts to make Armageddon their self-fulfilling prophecy; and he’s allowing them to take the rest of us with them.

I’m all for moderation and centrism when we can practice them, but these are desperate times. Our ability to bring about our total destruction has outstripped our willingness to stop our total destruction, it is clear, and therefore now is no time for centrism or moderation, but it is time for drastic measures, and the more we put off doing the right thing, the more drastic will be the measures that we will have to take as a result of our inaction against impending catastrophe.

And, as Ted Rall writes in his excellent current column, the predictable, typical American claims that We just couldn’t have known! are complete and utter bullshit. 

We know.

We just don’t care.

Recently I rediscovered the 1970s song “Rock Me on the Water,” written by one of my long-time favorite artists, Jackson Browne. I downloaded and listened to Browne’s and to Linda Ronstadt’s renditions of the song, whose lyrics start off like this:

Oh, people, look around you;
the signs are everywhere.
You’ve left it for somebody other than you
to be the one to care.
You’re lost inside your houses;
there’s no time to find you now.
Your walls are burning and your towers are turning.
I’m going to leave you here and try to get down to the sea somehow…

Those lyrics are timely.

Except that now we cannot escape even to the sea — for it now is coated with oil, in no small part because a sizeable number of us believe in the philosophy of “Drill, baby, drill!”

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