Monday, May 31, 2010

a most unnatural disaster


Video - Who is liable for this catastrophe?

NYTimes | President Obama spoke critically a couple of weeks ago about the “cozy relationship” between the oil companies and the federal government. It’s not just a cozy relationship. It’s an unholy alliance. And that alliance includes not just the oil companies but the entire spectrum of giant corporations that have used vast wealth to turn democratically elected officials into handmaidens, thus undermining not just the day-to-day interests of the people but the very essence of democracy itself.

Forget BP for a moment. When is the United States going to get its act together? Will we learn anything from this disaster or will we simply express our collective dismay, ignore the inevitable commission reports (no one pays attention to study commissions), and bury our heads back in the oily sand?

President Obama said on Thursday that his administration was “moving quickly on steps to ensure that a catastrophe like this never happens again.” Well, he can’t ensure anything of the kind. And, in fact, his corporate-friendly policy of opening up new regions for offshore drilling (that policy is only temporarily halted) will all but guarantee future disastrous spills.

The U.S. will never get its act together until we develop the courage and the will to crack down hard on these giant corporations. They need to be tamed, closely monitored and regulated, and constrained in ways that no longer allow them to trample the best interests of the American people.

Mr. Hayward of BP was on television on Friday referring to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent fouling of the Gulf of Mexico as a “natural disaster.” He was wrong, as usual. Like the unholy alliance of government and big business, this tragedy set in motion by Mr. Hayward’s corporation is a grotesquely harmful and wholly unnatural disaster.