Friday, May 21, 2010


Watching the news tonight and all the angry people down there on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana (and Alabama and Mississippi), angry over the spread of the oil from the offshore drilling "accident" that drilling experts say could easily have been avoided if BP hadn't been trying to save money by skipping and shortchanging safety measures, I just wonder how many of those folks voted for the candidates that shouted "Drill baby drill"—candidates that supported offshore drilling along with less government regulation and oversight.

In fact I wonder how many of these folks supported the whole agenda of the conservative rightwing elements of the Republican Party (and parts of the Democratic Party for that matter, especially in parts of the South) that believe government is the problem and corporations should be unbridled by any regulations, a philosophy which in practice has led to many recent disasters, including this latest ecological horror story. And now demand help from that same government.


Caitlin said...

I wonder who could answer those questions? I'd like to know too.

Anonymous said...

Dear M:
Let's not forget the coal mining disaster of a month or two ago, another case of corporate greed & lack of regulations (and enforcement of regulations) conspiring against the interests of most citizens. But will any of this lead to a greater push for alternative sources of energy? I doubt it. When republicans and the NRA et al. defend the rights of terrorists to buy whatever weapons they want, what hope is there? Our politicians are owned by the corporations. Even Obama, with his own recent endorsement of offshore drilling, is a big disappointment.

Anonymous said...

when money achieves a greater value than anything else it becomes very costly.
where will it end, this quest for $$$$.
for money:
we pollute the land,sea and air.
we poison the food supply
we turn water into a toxic liquid.

will we learn how to eat and drink money?

Miles said...

check out the link above for interesting maps of the last presidential election results.

Lally said...

Miles: exactly. But as we know, we all pay the price, "red" or "blue"!

Butch in Waukegan said...

Rather than finding a way to blame the victims, Bob Herbert put the spotlight on the real problem:

The response of the Obama administration and the general public to this latest outrage at the hands of a giant, politically connected corporation has been embarrassingly tepid. We take our whippings in stride in this country. We behave as though there is nothing we can do about it.

The fact that 11 human beings were killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion (their bodies never found) has become, at best, an afterthought. BP counts its profits in the billions, and, therefore, it’s important. The 11 men working on the rig were no more important in the current American scheme of things than the oystermen losing their livelihoods along the gulf, or the wildlife doomed to die in an environment fouled by BP’s oil, or the waters that will be left unfit for ordinary families to swim and boat in.

This is the bitter reality of the American present, a period in which big business has cemented an unholy alliance with big government against the interests of ordinary Americans, who, of course, are the great majority of Americans. The great majority of Americans no longer matter.

[emhasis mine]

Lally said...

That might be all true Butch, but it is also a reality that the Environmental Protection Agency under eight years of the previous administration favored the oil companies or ignored their trespasses in the name of profits to an extent above and beyond, way above and beyond, anything done under Democrats. I agree totally that enough wasn't done and enough isn't being done but short of an actual dictator coming to power who has the best interests of the environment and of working people as the basis for his dictates and the power to carry them out, the system we have is the one we have to work with and the Dems have done and are doing a better job with all that than the Repubs although both haven't and aren't doing enough. I drive a Prius and after over five years am still in the 30,000 range and for most of my adult life I didn't drive a car at all or drove even less. I live a very frugal and simple life and leave a pretty small carbon footprint and have worked as a political activist including for ecological protection and reform since the 1960s. Though I would love to see the oil corporations out of business, my contribution to their profits and growth is minimal. I hate comparisons, but you seem to love them so I'd like to see my efforts at minimizing if not entirely eliminating our dependence on oil compared to the Lousianians, who, by the way, still in the most recent polls since the oil spill overwhelmingly are in FAVOR of drilling for oil off their coastline! There is no easy quick solution to our nation's addiction to oil, but better regulating of oil companies and their drilling is part of the immediate solution and it will be much more likely to happen under Obama and the Dems than any republican I've seen or heard of in recent decades.
(By the way, one of my closest friends is born and bred in the La. bayous and votes Republican consistently. It ain't personal, it's political.)

Butch in Waukegan said...

I think our national political elites, Democrat and Republican, are pretty much united in their support for big energy’s exploitation of the environment for money, damn the consequences.

On April 1st Obama announced a huge increase in offshore drilling, despite the fact that the EPA (as you acknowledge) is now powerless. Obama surely knows this. Why did he OK this expansion without first beefing up the government’s regulatory powers? There is a Democratic congress. Anyone who claims that Democrats offer a significant improvement over Republicans on this issue should answer this question.

(Would your Republican-voting friend do better for the environment by switching his/her vote to Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu? She’s a big time drilling supporter.)

Aura said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Miles said...

Butch, there is a difference between the core policy ideas of Dems and Pubs.

Here's a nice graph by Krugman showing the results of these policies on average household income.

Lally said...

Miles, I was going to cite the same Krugman post, or link to it as a separate post. Still might as more people need to see and understand what his graph shows.

Butch in Waukegan said...

For what it’s worth, here is the headline cluster from Huffington Post’s main story when I opened it up at 5:30 this morning:

Salazar Sounds Off On Oil Spill Failures, But Won't Say When Feds Will 'Push' BP Out

New Drilling Permits Granted Since Obama's Moratorium... Political Posturing Roundup... BP: Mile-Long Tube Collecting Less Oil Than Before... Scientists: If 'Top Kill' Fails, It Could Start A New Leak... World's Largest Environmental Group Has Ties To BP

I still don’t understand how anyone can say that the Democrats are more friendly (in any meaningful way) to the environment. They are certainly very, ahem, “friendly” to the big energy companies.

Sadly, here is the current main story headline from HP:

Pelicans Coated In Crude... Were Removed From Protected Species List Six Months Ago

Electing more Democrats is not a way to protect the environment.

Lally said...

Last comment for me on this Butch, but you seem to be deliberately avoiding the main point I am always making in these arguments. Yes, the Dems and Obama could do more to take down the oil corporations (all kinds of corporate power for that matter) and to protect the environment and ideally or in an ideal world that may happen some day. But the undermining of environmental protection regulations and laws, just like the undermining of a regulated banking and finance system or blaming higher taxes and less national security on Dems (how much of the media has given any attention to the fact that the taxes of most people in this country have been reduced, LOWERED, under Obama) has been going on for many decades and can't be rectified in a little over a year. This country is overdependent on oil for its energy consumption. The one president who tried hardest to change that, Jimmy Carter, was voted out, because folks love their gas guzzling personal vehicles etc. etc. etc. THE REASON OBAMA AND THE DEMS ARE FACED WITH THIS SITUATION IS BECAUSE OF THOSE DECADES OF REPUBLICAN AND RIGHTWING POLICIES AND PROPAGANDA AND UNDERMINING OF GOVERNMENT POWER (I.E. LAWS, REGULATIONS AND THE MANPOWER TO POLICE THEM ETC.) HAS SO WEAKENED THESE SYSTEMS THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY TO DEAL WITH MUCH OF THE CALAMITOUS SITUATIONS WE HAVE FOUND OURSELVES IN AS A RESULT OF THOSE RIGHTWING REPUBLICAN EFFORTS. Our military does not have the technology to do much to stop this leak, it's the oil corporations that have the deep sea robots that can do the job etc. We have been too busy spending our surplus, and more, on misguided military adventures in countries no Democrat running for president in the past several decades would have gotten involved in. Anyone, ANYONE, who can't see any difference between Obama and most of the Democrats in Congress and McCain or Palin or any of the Republican "leaders" especially the ones in Congress is either not paying attention or truly is a victim of the right's strategy to disillusion anyone left of center into not voting or supporting anyone viable in any contest with the right. That's how they've controlled most of the argument and the government since Reagan while convincing people who think like you seem to that it's all the same so why bother or they're all the same except for this third or fourth or seventeenth party candidate who doesn't have a chance but better represents my ideals. Thus Nadar helped Bush junior get elected and me and my generation of idealists helped Nixon get elected etc. etc. I don't like my part in the deaths of millions because my idealism refused to accept the lesser of two evils and either opted out or for untenable candidates and positions that only handed power over to the more pragmatic and ruthless right.