In my lifetime alone, America has taken responsibility for sending troops into other dozens of countries, originally to "fight for democracy", and in this past decade, to "fight against terrorism". Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Irag, Afghanistan are the big ones. There are many more other countries where we had and continue to have "interventions". This is the short list; for a longer one, read the Timeline of US Military Operations.
The United States also plays the good guy over and over, which is one of the things I love about it. They've used the military to help other countries who experience natural disasters. The most recent big one was the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. By February, we had 22,000 troops there to help.
We help everybody else. We have USAID, a huge branch of our government which spends billions each year to help dozens of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. That's only one branch and doesn't cover all the help we do. Sure, some of it is about power, expansion and dominance, but not all of it.
We aren't responsible for the well-being of so many other places, including the Haitians in their hour of darkness.
But we are, or should be, of taking care of ourselves now. So why didn't Obama send in our military in the first two weeks of this catastrophe to keep the oil from reaching the shores of the Gulf Coastline?
Barack can't part the sea for BP to repair the oil gusher, but a second thing he can do is place every involved, monstrously negligent corporation in receivership.
Doing so "gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped," wrote Robert Reich, a policy professor who served under two former administration.
His idea didn't go far enough. I believe that a permanent takeover is the only way America has a chance of being fully compensated - at least in dollars - for the destruction in progress caused at least in part by Dick Cheney's push for deregulation:
"After Cheney and Bush were elected they sought input from oil company executives and made many changes to ensure big government would not get in the way of the opportunity for enhancing profits for the oil industry. Wholesale changes were made to de fang the Minerals Management Service, the entity designed to regulate the drilling industry." (link)
The media has pretty much ignored the idea of receivership, and if Barack thought about it, he's keeping it to himself.
I contend that the idea strikes fear in the money-shaped hearts on Wall Street, and the politicians whom they bankroll and buy via campaign cash and donations.
Instead, he keeps the responsibility in their hands, including allowing BP, Halliburton, and Transocean to keep evidence that will be used in a criminal investigation of them. While this is common practice in large corporate investigations, under the circumstances, it's a joke.
Once BP would be placed in receivership, in addition to sending in the military to help with clean up, our government would be able to try additional options, such as:
- A 1998 invention of a 'Absorbente NOW", by a company in Columbia, South America. It captures all oil, is 100% organic vegetable. This one science competitions in Europe. It was approved by the EPA but is held up by "red tape" by the Coast Guard. This news video clip is impressive.
- Hay as an absorbent. If the US has a lot of anything, it's hay. And it's ready and cheap. See this video.
- Hairbooms work as well and fall into this category. Lots of these have been collected but have been ignored as a solution. See video in that post I wrote two weeks ago.
- Putting deep sea film expert James Cameron. He disputes what BP says about there not being a way for man to go as deep as where the site of the leak is.
"I know really, really, really smart people that work typically at depths much greater than what that well is at," Cameron said. He has helped develop deep-sea submersible equipment and other underwater ocean technology for the making of documentaries..."
- Other countries have technologies that might cap the well, and at last count, nearly a thousand Americans have sent in ideas to the White House.
Meanwhile, this is being handled like BP is the only one who can do it. One plausible reason from someone on Chris Matthews' show tonight suggested that BP doesn't want to shut it down, because they'll profit if they can fix it and then continue drilling.
Public Relations Fuckery
Barack Obama is getting better with his image in how he's dealing with this crisis. He's "concerned", and "having sharp words", and even "looking angry".
While I'm sure Barack is concerned, worried, and angry, I'll be more convinced if I see him take it to the next level of military intervention and receivership, because right now, none of these expressions amount to a hill of beans. They tell a story of someone who can't do anything about it, or won't.
It doesn't help his "image" either, that only two and half weeks after the 4/20 oil spill began, he broke a major campaign promise and approved twenty-seven offshore drilling projects.
To his credit - and the public for being deeply alarmed - he announced on May 27th that "he is committing his administration to tougher regulation of the industry and a six-month suspension of exploratory drilling at 33 deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico."
While this was a start, it's like the best horse in the race getting out of the gate too late to have a good shot at winning. The gate in this race is controlled by Big Oil.
Last week, Tony Hayden, BP's Exec in charge of this catastrophe until he turned it over to a pretty, golden-haired boy with an American accent, likewise improved in "looking sorry", before he ran back to Britain "to get his life back".
It's an attempt to sooth us with images and concerned voices to restrain our anger while BP's overworked engineers try to stop the leak, while they really try to do business as usual with minimal government interference.
Superman don't play that game. Neither would a U.S. President who doesn't take any shit from anyone. What kryptonite do they have over him, really?
Power Unused Is Power Wasted
In short, the Obama Administration and the head of the Coast Guard are giving us updates on how BP is trying to stop the leak - and they are - while not taking full responsibility and power over things that can and should be done. You know, like the way the US takes "responsibility" for problems away from the homeland.
If President Obama is really pissed off and cares, he needs to show this by his actions.
He's in command, but not in total command of his own power, which unused, is wasted.
He'll either put this company and others involved in receivership, or nationalize it. That means that BP, and all of their assets, belong to us. If they resist, we got military muscle and can quash them in a heartbeat. Hell, the police and courts do it all the time. If you have enough drugs in your house or car, the government can permanently seize your property. This shit ain't no different except in the minds of rich, gray or balding farts who get richer from the stock market and want to hang onto the status quo even if means the planet will die.
And no, receivership this won't change BP's work on trying to solve the problem. It will be the same company - with a different master.
Before you jump and say, no, we can't do this, BP is not an American company, I say Yes We Can. And now I'll prove it to you.
What if this disaster had been caused by Citgo?
Citgo is owned by Venezuela. You know... them. Yes, that oil-rich South American democracy run by Hugo Chavez whom George W. Bush and the Right in particular loves to hate and wanted so badly to undermine, if not destroy.
My oh my, but how different things would be if the Gulf Oil Spill had been caused by Citgo. Right off the bat, we can multiply the existing outrage.
There would be no BP executive with a cute British accent, or a blond haired American spokesperson to sooth the public, or even a political puppet for the corporatocracy to justify how it's been handled so far.
Nope, if it were Citgo, the media and a good portion of the public would be far more aggressive and screaming for their heads, hating on even more Latinos here, and calling the Gulf Oil Spill an act of terrorism. They and a bunch of our politicians would be fully ready to use this catastrophe, to not only take over the company, but to invade their country.
Ya think Barack wouldn't go along with that? Think again.
Given his track record to date, I think President Let's Be Bipartisan & All Get Along would buckle under the pressure from Big Oil, Big Defense, the GOP, and the Far Right faster than he did on healthcare reform, FISA, and that bill that says the government can kill Americans on US soil suspected of terrorist activities.
Lao Tsu, a Chinese philosopher around the time of Confucius, said, "Never let someone be your priority when you are their option."
I wish someone would remind Barack of this, because that's my assessment of his relationship with Big Oil and some of the other Big Bastards running the show. No long term good can come of this, for him or us.
I want to see Barack down and ready for taking over BP in a receivership, and sending the military to the Gulf like he did in the Haiti earthquake. Isn't our disaster needs as worthy as theirs? Why is BP's negligence any different than Citgo's would have been in the same situation?
We we need to see Barack take full charge, regardless of the politics involved or who did it, because it's the right thing to do under the circumstances.