Obama politely asks for cooperation while BP rules spill zone with iron fist
Judging by the government’s handling of the spill zone, I’d be hard pressed to tell you who is in charge of the country right now. BP has stifled the freedom of the press, given the finger to the EPA, and will not be forced to testify in Obama’s shiny, new commission. Honestly, I’m amazed Obama’s first reaction wasn’t to rename the country The United States Of BP.
Mac McClelland, a human rights reporter for Mother Jones, has been chased away from spill site by a local policeman, who claims he was just doing “what they told me to do.” McClelland asked the logical question: Who are they? And aren’t the police usually the ones charged with maintaining order?
The “they” is BP, the company that has already used contractors to chase a CBS news crew from a beach in South Pass, Louisiana when they tried to film a thick coat of oil. And McClelland records that BP spokespersons told two reporters they were not allowed anywhere on the beach, despite the fact that “tons of tourists” are in those locations.
BP has quartered off the Louisiana coast like an army in a war zone, and has shaken off any attempt by the government to control their response to the environmental disaster. EPA weakly asked BP to (pretty please) not use those toxic dispersants that have been banned in the UK, but BP has since decided to stick with Corexit.
Even Obama seems to be quaking in the presence of the almighty oilman. The president signed an executive order to form a commission to study the BP disaster. Except, he shed the original proposal to subpoena BP and Halliburton, and now the commission will politely “request information” from the huge corporate entities. Well, as long as Obama does it in a super nice fashion, I’m sure they’ll comply.
The original committee was also supposed to be comprised of persons free of any conflicts of interest, but Obama had a different vision for that, too. For example, the Republican co-Chair of the commission is William Reilly, a Director at DuPont and ConocoPhillips.
The members shall be drawn from among distinguished individuals, and may include those with experience in or representing the scientific, engineering, and environmental communities, the oil and gas industry, or any other area determined by the President to be of value to the Commission in carrying out its duties.
And I’m sure those “distinguished individuals” won’t prioritize taking care of their own, and make any unnecessary unpleasantness (like government regulation) go away as quickly as humanly possible.
Finally, as usual, Obama wants us all to — for the love of God — look forward and not at the charred remains looming behind us. He wants the country to “develop options for guarding against, and mitigating the impact of, oil spills associated with offshore drilling.”
On the surface, that may seem like encouraging language, but when weighed with the Obama administration’s lack of regulation, and spineless request that BP please provide all incriminating information, it’s obvious how pathetic this response really is. The government might as well say, “Look, people, this is definitely going to happen again, but maybe we can try to ‘guard against it,’ and then ‘mitigate’ the unholy disaster unleashed upon society when it happens. But this is definitely, definitely happening again, okay?”
And when it does happen again, the Obama administration will make it easier for BP to suppress the media, skirt liability, dump toxins into the ocean to break up the stuff that looks really bad when captured by photographic evidence, and get back to a system of freewheeling deregulation. Fingers crossed no one gets blown to smithereens during the next explosion, you guys!
This is the official plan even though the exciting potential for disaster rests in a plethora of equally unregulated oil drilling sites, and while BP certainly won’t be ordered to testify before a commission, it will be allowed to suppress the First Amendment, and pick and choose what laws it obeys. All the while, Obama will continue implementing his overly medicated reaction to the huge problem of deregulation, politely requesting massive corporations cooperate as they steamroll the nation’s laws.