When will Americans finally wake up? Corporations have taken over the United States. The Republican Party has become, as Anthony Weiner said, in his complete frustration during the health care debate. “a wholly owned subsidiary of the health insurance business.”
Today, May 14, 2010, an oil spill from a company that makes billions of dollars a year in profits is spreading between 5,000 and 30,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. It is drifting towards the fishing grounds and beaches of the Southern coast of the United States. It will quite likely wipe out large parts of the fishing industry. We already know, from simple discussion, that it was caused by negligence and greed, trying to save money, about $500,000 on a fail-safe device.
The Republicans are defending the oil companies. John Boehner of Ohio and Mike Pence of Indiana are defending the oil companies in the same way that they did the health insurance industry. Stalling. Do nothing. Do you remember the televised meeting on health care reform between the President and the Republicans? Do you recall what the Republicans recommended?
Nothing. They arrogantly recommended nothing. During that all-day meeting their only recommendations or suggestions were to “start over” and take things “step by step?” Didn’t you think it was strange that they all used the same words? It was a planned dialog, designed to make the public think that they were concerned when in fact they had run out of stalling techniques and were being pressured by their patrons, (to the tune of more than $400 million) the health insurance industry to stop this legislation at all costs.
Now we have the same kind of rhetoric coming from the Republicans on the oil spill. Let’s not rush to judgement. What? There are something like 20,000 gallons of crude oil a day spilling into the Gulf because of negligence and our elected Representatives (Neocon Republican Representatives) want to sit back and wait before assigning blame.
There is a good reason why they want to wait. The law right now says that the clean up will be capped at a cost of $75 million. That’s a drop in the bucket. The Democrats in Congress want to raise it to $12 billion but a Republican, Senator Murkowski is using a political trick, her right to object, to keep the legislation from going forward.
This spill in all likelihood, unless we get this oil damage stopped, will ruin our Gulf coast fishing anyway–about 40% of all U.S. seafood so we are told–for at least 20 years or more. This is serious. This is not like Prudhoe Bay, and is, if the new estimates are correct, already larger than Prudhoe Bay. This is a warm Southern coast, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi in particular. This is fishing year round in a place enormously greater than the size of Prudhoe Bay.
There is no “rush to judgement” here. Huge costs are already incurred. We need legislation to insure that we don’t have to “trust” the oil companies and drillers to pay. The last time, the EXXON Valdiz time, some people lost everything. There is no fishing in Prudhoe Bay, but if you see the bay, there are certainly plenty of boats there. Republicans were responsible for seeing to it that the law suits stretched out for twenty years. Many went broke in the meantime. Others moved away. Lives were ruined.
EXXON survived to charge us $4.00 a gallon for gas and give the CEO who ran the company during that time a $400 million parting gift in the form of a retirement plan. And they continue to make tens of billions a year, every year, in profits. Who gets those profits? Largely the families of the wildcatters and the early executives of the oil industry who passed their stock from the numerous companies like Humble Oil and many others merged into one gigantic oil company on to their families.
BP oil is virtually interchangeable with EXXON. Two peas in a pod. They fight global warming tooth and nail, with large campaign donations and certainly one can imagine very substantial post-congressional consulting contracts for people like Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma, Cornyn of Texas, Shelby, Sessions, DeMint and the two odd-women-out from Maine, Senators Snowe and Collins.
All the Neocon Republicans are responsible. They vote as a bloc. No one makes them vote against health care, against alternative energy, against better gas mileage, against financial reform, against consumer protection from predatory credit card companies, against union organizing for better jobs, against sending jobs overseas, against punishment and damages for polluting oil companies. They vote that way because they need campaign funds to stay in office and the big corporations have the money.
Big corporations have the money because these same Republicans let them run their businesses with impunity. They let Wall Street sell so much of the worthless derivatives to so many people that the total amount of worthless paper that they sold (thus enriching Wall Street…when you sell something you get the money) is greater than the Gross National Product of the United States 50 times over. (It’s actually more than that, but who knows exactly how much?)
People ask…why can’t we stop all this? It is pretty simple. Over 90% of radio stations in the country and all the Rupert Murdoch owned media, including Fox “News” Channel lie to the people who listen to them. For example, BP is not really at fault, they say. The damage is minimal. We can’t have big government all over these people trying to prevent them from drilling in 5,000 feet of water. We need the oil. Big government is not responding. Obama is a socialist. Kagan is a lesbian. Distract. Distract. Lie, diffuse, diminish. Attack the character and the veracity of anyone who tries to stand up for the people. Confuse and distract and lie.
We need one piece of legislation that will end all this. We need a piece of legislation that will allow anyone who knows of a deliberate lie being spoken as truth on radio or television to be able to sue that station, channel or network with damages in the amount that the effects of the lie can be determined. Class action lawsuits should be enabled for real damages whenever a deliberate lie causes the public to vote against legislation that would have done the opposite of what the radio or television stated. The lawsuit would be enabled by grand jury and the damages would be real, i.e. actual money.
So, for example, if the people of Alabama are told a health care plan will cost them $20,000,000 and they subsequently vote against it and it turns out that it would have instead saved them $10,000,000, they should be able to bring a class action against a station, network or channel that falsely misled them. The damages in that case should be mandated at $10,000,000 because that is what the people lost. Citizens Utility Board in Illinois, and similar organizations nationwide get this kind of verdict all the time.
Only when a Rupert Murdoch learns a lesson that lies and propaganda have real consequences for him as well as real consequential damage to the public will we end this corporate-political system. We have a system now that continues to reinforce the will of huge corporations to destroy the lives of the average American family. If we can get the truth to the American people, we can set ourselves free from this oppressive corporatism that is ruining American democracy.