One Year After The BP Spill


April 20th, 2011, marks the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

I mark the BP Spill as a point in time which it became even more clear to me that the United States government is invested in protecting corporations and industry over protecting its citizens from harm.

The reckless disregard for both human life and the environment of BP and Transocean has not met with any criminal prosecution. Serving as an example that a company is free to cause death and mayhem without any consequences but an individual who caused the death of eleven workers and poisoned the Gulf for decades to come would receive no such special treatment.

America continues to be a cowardly nation when it comes to holding the people responsible for the industrial homicide that took place one year ago.

Add atop all this that the government lied to the public regarding the location and magnitude of the spill on multiple occasions and approved a toxic dispersant that has been banned in the U.K. to be sprayed into the environment in quantities previously unheard of for use in an oil spill clean up.

Considering all this I don’t trust the EPA or the federal government when they proclaim the seafood as safe as the Gulf as non-toxic. The health and safety of the public is secondary to promoting the needs of the private sector industry forces, so if the feds and the EPA have to lie and cause a few people to get sick as a direct result then that is exactly what they will do.


As a single solitary citizen there is not much I can do to bring the inhuman monsters responsible for this to justice nor can I hope to see those in the EPA and the federal government who would lie to public be fired and replaced with people who would actually do their jobs rather than bend knee to the oil industry. Beyond voicing myself on a blog the only avenue I have to act upon is this: boycott BP forever.

A corrupt government we can change, though I don’t see it as an easy road it is entirely possible if people only stand together in a common cause. But changing a multinational corporation is much more difficult than changing a government and in all reality corporations are beyond all laws and beyond taking responsibility for the death and destruction they bring about in their narrow, greedy quest for ever-increasing profits. When faced with such a power the only recourse of a ordinary person is to not contribute to the empire of death with everyday purchases like gas or food.

When every former BP station has rebranded itself and the company is treated like the pariah they are in the United States then I might consider reviewing their corporate policies and considering putting an end to the calls for  boycott, but not a moment before.

If consumers continue to reward corporations guilty of industrial homicide with business then there shall never be any hope of a private sector that doesn’t cause these horrific disasters in the first place.

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Jeffrey Sachs: ‘The People’s Budget’

Jeffrey Sachs has posted an excellent piece on The Huffington Post regarding the only sane budget proposal floating around Washington D.C.

HuffingtonPost.com:

Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People’s Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan’s almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People’s Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.

The fact is that the People’s Budget is the public’s position. That’s why it is truly a centrist initiative, at the broad center of the U.S. political spectrum. Ryan reflects the wishes of the rich and the far right. Obama’s position reflects the muddle of a White House that wavers between its true values and the demands of the wealthy campaign contributors and lobbyists that Obama courts for his re-election. Many Democrats in Congress have also gone along with the falsehood that deficit cutting means slashing spending on the poor and on civilian discretionary programs, rather than raising taxes on the rich, cutting military spending, and taking on the over-priced private health insurance industry. Only the People’s Budget speaks to the broad needs and values of the American people.

Government Shutdown Narrowly Averted

(Monsivais/AP)

Just before the midnight deadline Congress has passed a temporary budget deal that will prevent the furlough of thousands of workers and ensure that U.S. combat troops do not go unpaid. Reportedly this budget contains $39 billion in cuts and the numerous policy riders proposed by Republicans (regarding Planned Parenthood and EPA funding along with taking school lunches away from kids) have been removed.

I place the majority of the blame for the possible shutdown on the shoulders of House Speaker John Boehner. His inability to control his caucus led to these abortion and environment policy riders to be attached to a budget bill in the first place, which in turn created the deadlock. (You can find a comprehensive list of all the policy riders here.) To have presented such a poison pill laden budget to the Senate represented a huge lack of leadership from Boehner, and put this matter of a government shutdown on the political map as a reality instead of a mere talking point for conservative broadcasters.

Make no mistake, the GOP/Tea Party almost just furloughed thousands of Americans and put a question mark above combat troop pay all in the name of federal funding for abortion which is already covered by the Hyde Amendment and the unconstitutional attempt to strip previously passed legislation regarding not only the EPA but also the Consumer Protections Bureau, Medicare and legislation dating as far back as FDR’s school lunch program.

It’s Not Just Beck That Is Losing The Cable Ratings War

BusinessInsider.com:

 

Fox News has the top 12 most-watched shows so far this year.

Which is perhaps not totally surprising since this marks the network’s ninth straight year as the number one channel in cable.

That is not to say it’s all rainbows and unicorns. (Or cupcakes and caliphates.) All of Fox’s top shows posted double digit losses year over year.

Glenn Beck suffered the biggest drop, losing 30% of his audience compared to the first quarter last year. But he wasn’t alone. Top ranking O’Reilly lost 14% of his audience, Sean Hannity, up a spot from 2010, lost 19%, and Bret Baier, who pushed Beck out of the top three, lost 13%.

Greta Van Susteren, who has been bleeding viewers to Anderson Cooper this month, is down 22.86%.

All in all Fox News actually lost 21% of its primetime audience during the quarter.

Compare this to CNN which is up 28% in primetime and MSNBC which is up 9% (Rachel Maddow increased by 16.65% and Anderson Cooper by 18%) and then take into consideration all the breaking news there’s been since Christmas, and one might begin to draw the conclusion that people are beginning to turn elsewhere for news news coverage.

Another explanation, of course, is that this time period last year was dominated by the health care debate and for much of that period Fox operated as an extension of the opposition. Now that the nation’s focus is international it’s harder to figure out an angle where Obama is bad and … nuclear meltdowns and Qadaffi are good.

*All numbers from Neilsen.

Glenn Beck & The Right-Wing Media

(WATCH VIDEO: Crooks & Liars “Glenn Beck ‘You’re Going To Have To Shoot Them'”)

I see Glenn Beck as actually dangerous, and not just abrasive and dishonest like other right-wing media pundits.

I first became mildly aware of Beck when he was scathing the Bush White House, but back then he never ever called himself “conservative” and only called himself “libertarian.” Today he has fashioned himself a New Media Joe McCarthy and wants to teach the children of America a distorted and fictitious version of U.S. History.

What has actually risen to the level of public danger is centered on the TV show aspect of what he has done with his career. If anyone doesn’t already know he has mocked setting people on fire, shown a shaky rape video for no reason beyond fear mongering and to cap it all off he called a sitting president a racist on live TV.

Because television gives the illusion of credibility putting the character (I believe he is playing everyone, he said so in an interview around when he got all freaky) of Glenn Beck out there has sent horrible and extremely dangerous repercussions into the nation that can never be taken back.

Without pulling out a pack of URLs it’s quicker to just say that historically the U.S. has kind of “self-policed” this kind of extremism and incitement to violence disguised as free speech when it has happened before and always the figure that resembles Glenn Beck of today had a fall from grace. Usually getting fired. The best recent example is “Dr.” Laura getting the axe: she went into something from a KKK rally and that was the “the line.”

It sounds too simple, I know, but the most serious offender here is News Corp and Fox News.

Glenn Beck is only especially dangerous because his bosses won’t fire him no matter what “line” he crosses. If you minus Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers from this situation then Beck would have been canned for being disrespectful to a sitting president or too libel for his “here’s some violence, but don’t do violence” message he delivers regularly. Since this heartless media empire keeps him alive the kind of normal “quality controls” are not coming into play.

In the wake of the Tucson shooting, another act of domestic terrorism that the mainstream media refuses to label as such, and the moving speech delivered by President Obama there is a strong need to assess ourselves in our words and also more deeply to our mind state. This cannot, however, negate the need for people to speak their opinions about the current state of the nation.

America is on a road of a long, slow decline into moral ambiguity and a complete lack of ethics, and Glenn Beck combined with Fox News and the tea party is the first step toward this destruction of all that is good and decent in America. I don’t say these things to get a rise out of anyone or to single out Glenn Beck, but rather only because I see these words as the simple truth.

If Beck and those similar to him would only stop the incitement to violence, racism and bigotry then I would never raise issue with them beyond to merely disagree. Since this next evolution of political dialogue looks more like McCarthyism and Nazism combined I simply refuse to call it anything else.

Jared Lee Loughner Identified As Gabrielle Giffords Shooter

The Huffington Post has released the name of the Tucson shooter and a series of YouTube videos as well.

A child and a federal judge have been killed along with others. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in critical condition as of now. My heart goes out to all of those who have lost someone in this horrific act, and to those whose loved ones lives now hang in the balance.

It’s important to state that I feel those promoting fringe theories about American Government and those putting targets over the names of political figures on their Web sites are only in part morally, and not legally, responsible for emboldening this rash of domestic terrorism.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords:

“Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action.”

The Obama Comeback?

I will come over to the notion that President Obama is the best thing since sliced bread when I see him put down the hammer on big business and all these bad practices.

Obama has thus far favored too moderate a position when it comes to dealing the aspects of the private sector that caused the recent market crash.

If this tax deal is part of a larger strategy that is yet to unfold, then when I have something to look at other than just this kiss on the cheek to Republicans & big business I will assess the situation from there.

The point I have is not about the entire social progressive movement, it doesn’t always have to be. It’s just my one voice, and that’s it.

And frankly I’m at my limit with Bush policies hanging around after we elected a Democrat who ran expressly against Bush policies in ’08.

It’s not any one item for me, this tax compromise was so predictable I felt compelled to call the whole thing in advance like I did for health care reform. It’s hard to be all surprised and pissed when you can read the writing on the wall and know (more or less) what course things will take in Washington. It’s that gradual and eventual effect that Obama has taken on me with all this Centrism policy instead of Progressive policy at a point in our nation’s history when truly one path exists that will get us out of this mire and not one ounce of that strategy involves doing anything the GOP or the conservatives want.

In a less dire situation for America I would herald President Obama as a great healer of a nation lost in partisan ramblings and falsehoods run amok. But since this country is on the verge of losing all of its moral fibers from mass corruption and just plain collapsing from within with nothing spent on infrastructure and nothing invested into this country in terms of the workforce or new business endeavors the path is all too clear to me. And sadly Obama continues to play hop-scotch between Democratic policies and Republican policies.

I’m convinced that just like Clinton he is Centrist Democrat and not a Liberal Progressive so really one needs to just learn to not hold it against these people that they just don’t see the situation in the same light.