Tag Archives: BP oil spill

Big business is NOT our friend

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I have been watching the events surrounding the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and it reaffirms my philosophy that Big Business is NOT our friend.

I’m not a Marxist or advocate state ownership of business but I do feel that industry needs to be heavily regulated. Big businesses, left to their own devices, will screw us over in some form if we aren’t watching them like a hawk. The corporation only answers to their owners and shareholders. With some rare exceptions, benevolence from big business only exists if it doesn’t cost them very much money and if they benefit from it.

History is full of the damage and chaos when big business is left to run amok. The big example is the Crash of 1929. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 89 percent of its value by 1932 and put us into a depression that didn’t subside until the start of World War II. That was 12 years of massive unemployment and suffering.

We had the robber barons of the 19th century which included John D. Rockefeller, John Jacob Astor and Andrew Carnegie. These guys were the Goldman Sachs and AIG of their day. Men like that were known for extensive use of child labor, deadly working conditions and strong arm tactics if workers complained.

Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle” that exposed conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry and led to the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. Now we seem to be returning to those days when you didn’t know if your food or medicine was safe. The food industry have worked for years to reduce the regulations in place.

More recent follies included the Savings and Loan crash in the 1980s and there was Black Monday in October 1987 when the stock market dropped 500 points or 22.6 percent of value. We’re still experiencing the damage from the crash in 2008 and the collapse of the housing loan market.

The BP oil spill isn’t the first or last example of big business raping our environment in the name of profits. Google “superfund” and you will find a lot of information on trashed environments that taxpayers paid to have cleaned up — places like Love Canal, Times Beach and smaller locations like old factories that found it was cheaper to dump their hazardous wastes on their property than to have it properly disposed.

The problem with “big business” is shown in little ways as well. Grocery chains don’t locate in low income areas so those people are forced to pay more for their food. Money and favorable policies meant to help family farms end up going to agriculture conglomerates like ConAgra. Wal-mart treats their employees so bad that many have to apply for food stamps and welfare to make ends meet.

What bothers me the most is most people let these things happen or look the other way. One reaction is that they would rather have a cheaper price than a company that acts ethically and responsibly. Big business isn’t the driver of the economy. The engine of our economy is small businesses— the mom and pop locally owned shops and services. Big business’ charity work comes from their advertising budget and most of their profit leaves the area and contributes nothing where they operate.

An obstacle to stopping this screw over is the government. Legislators in D.C. or in the states are bought and paid for by big bushiness in some way. Both Democrats and Republicans. If we want to return our country to the people we need to only vote for people who will refuse to be bought.

Unless that happens, things like the BP oil spill will continue.

*This article appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of The Central Ohio Humanist*

Why the facts are bad for Republicans

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It amazes me some of the crap people believe even when facts and the truth prove them wrong on a regular basis. I’m use to such “thinking” having been involved in the atheist/humanism/freethought movement for more than 15 years. I’m use to religious believers being stubborn but I have to slap my head when usually smart people believe stupid crap. Republicans seem to have a corner on that freaky behavior.

Markos at Daily Kos posts samples of the hate mail he gets being the founder of a major liberal blog. Here is a comment sent to him and his response:

just a comment

I just recently discovered all this “interesting” information on your website and I have concluded one thing……..it is YOU and people like you that are responsible for my ripping up my DEMO-NUT card and becoming a PROUD REPUBLICAN! There is nothing more dangerous to America than a rabid left wing liberal. Well maybe a crazy jihadist with a bomb strapped to his chest; but you haven’t figured that out yet and probably you never will. Idiot.”

Dude, where have you been? A crazy jihadist might be able to kill some people, but liberals would provide (true) universal single-payer healthcare, work toward peace on earth, spread tolerance and equality of opportunity, hold greedy corporations accountable for their looting of America, work to replace fossil fuels with clean renewal energy, create a fair and sane immigration policy, and even the negotiating playing field between workers and big business.

Saturday Hate Mail-a-palooza

Some Republicans get spoon fed the wacko idea that LIBERALS are destroying the country when the facts and the truth show that we would be so much better off as a nation if the liberals ran the government. Those pesky facts would also show that it was the work of the GOP in Congress and their corporate lords that brought us the 2008 economic collapse and helped make the Gulf oil spill worse that it needed to be.

Just look at the actual history of this country and you will see liberals and progressives leading the country forward and conservatives bring us down.

“I’m speaking totally for myself and I’m not speaking for the Republican Party and I’m not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself, but I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it’s a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown. In this case, a $20 billion shakedown with the Attorney General of the United States who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history that’s got no legal standing and what I think sets a terrible precedent for the future,” said Barton.

“I’m only speaking for myself. I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong and is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize,” he said.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) on June 17th 2010 hearing about BP Oil spill

And it isn’t just Joe Barton saying this about the escrow fund:

The fact is BP didn’t have to set the money aside. They could’ve waited until any legal cases were resolved or any other foot dragging methods a large company employs to keep from having to pay damages.

The GOP also ignores polling showing they are on the wrong team on this issue:

68 percent of respondents want more regulation of the oil industry;

72 percent favor “Barack Obama’s proposals to develop alternative sources of energy and reduce the amount of oil and other fossil fuels that are produced and used in this country”;

69 percent believe such plans will increase jobs.

According to the poll, opposition to increased offshore drilling has grown 10 points since May and is now twice as high as it was in 2008. Fifty-eight percent of those questioned support a six-month moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf and other offshore sites; 68 percent favor increased regulation of the oil industry in this country.

“There is a gender and generation gap on offshore oil drilling – women and younger Americans are less likely to support drilling offshore and more likely to support a moratorium,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Measures that directly target BP are also popular – 63 percent favor lifting the liability cap on BP and 53 percent would support criminal charges against some BP employees or executives.

CNN Poll: Half say Gulf will never recover

Then we have the deficit hawks who show up around election time to whine about money being spent. It’s different this time because we are still in financial trouble and if these hawks get their way we might end up in another economic collapse. As Economist Paul Krugman wrote recently:

Many economists, myself included, regard this turn to austerity as a huge mistake. It raises memories of 1937, when F.D.R.’s premature attempt to balance the budget helped plunge a recovering economy back into severe recession.

In America, many self-described deficit hawks are hypocrites, pure and simple: They’re eager to slash benefits for those in need, but their concerns about red ink vanish when it comes to tax breaks for the wealthy. Thus, Senator Ben Nelson, who sanctimoniously declared that we can’t afford $77 billion in aid to the unemployed, was instrumental in passing the first Bush tax cut, which cost a cool $1.3 trillion.

That ’30s Feeling

The major drag on the economy is still health care costs since the reform that was passed was only a start and the major parts haven’t taken effect yet. Blogger digby wrote:

Any deficit scold who doesn’t put reducing health care costs at the very top of the agenda is just a demagogic crank doing the dirty work for the aristocratic overlords.

Basic Arithmetic

The GOP want to kiss corporate ass, cut the social safety net, and lie about it all.

I hope the bruise on my head goes away before November so I can party during another Democratic election victory.

Maddow gives speech President should have

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I watched President Obama’s oval office speech on Tuesday night and it felt like it was missing something. Besides lacking specifics, the President threw in a bit about praying. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow gave a fake oval office speech on Wednesday night that was something I wish the real President had given.

Maddow said she wished Obama had announced three major developments in the response to the disaster:
1. “Never again, will any company, anyone, be allowed to drill in a location where they are incapable of dealing with the potential consequences of that drilling.”
2. “I’m announcing a new federal command specifically for containment and cleanup of oil that has already entered the Gulf of Mexico, with a priority on protecting shoreline that can still be saved; shoreline that is vulnerable to oil that has not yet been hit.”
3. “I no longer say that we must get off oil like every president before me has said too. I no longer say that we must get off oil. We will get off oil and here’s how: The United States Senate will pass an energy bill. This year.”

Rachel Maddow’s Oval Office Oil Spill Speech: What She Wishes Obama Had Said (VIDEO)

Here’s the video:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thanks Rachel for a great speech.

America’s newest GOP douche – Rep. Joe Barton

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Sometimes I wonder how much more freaky Republicans can get in their lust of Big Corporations, then we get comments by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologizing to BP for the treatment it got from the White House when it agreed to a $20 billion fund to pay for the damage their oil leak caused and will cause along the Gulf coast. What a douche!

“I’m speaking totally for myself and I’m not speaking for the Republican Party and I’m not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself, but I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it’s a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown. In this case, a $20 billion shakedown with the Attorney General of the United States who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history that’s got no legal standing and what I think sets a terrible precedent for the future,” said Barton.

“I’m only speaking for myself. I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong and is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize,” he said.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) on June 17th 2010 hearing about BP Oil spill

Here is a video clip:

But it’s not a surprise since Barton is in the oil industry pocket:

(Nicole): Does it surprise you that Joe Barton’s largest campaign contributors come from the oil & gas industries? It shouldn’t. Nice that he so blatantly shows his bias against Americans and the worst environmental disaster to hit this country and for his own craven interests. Frankly, I think Nancy Pelosi should make him apologize to Americans on the House floor since he was also the chief architect of the Cheney Oil Act that deregulated oil industry, waived EIRs and allowed this travesty to happen.

GOP congressman apologizes to BP for $20 billion ‘shakedown’

Like I said the guy is a douche and anyone who holds his view on this issue shouldn’t be an elected official because they are too stupid to hold office.