by DistributorcapAs I write, Bloody Polluters (BP) is attempting to plug the massive pipeline rupture in the Gulf of Mexico with a process called "Top Kill." I hope it works, but even the best engineers in the world only give this a 50-50 shot.Even if successful, the damage in the Gulf is already so colossal - wetlands, wildlife breeding grounds, fisheries, beaches and a significant portion of the earth will be ruined and unusable for decades. The pooh-poohers are still out there (oh it is just an "accident", oh they will just clean it up, oh it could have been worse, oh it is only a few dead turtles), but the immense destruction wrought on one of the most important bodies of water on earth will prove to far outweigh the benefits we would have received from the additional oil we would have extracted.No one should be surprised this calamity is already politicized to the nth degree. That is what politicians do - they are Pavlov's dogs begging for food when the bell rings. Think of all the other tragedies politicized by these mutts - Terry Schiavo, Katrina, even 9/11. If it wasn't politicized, you would think something is amiss. We shouldn't blame the politicians for the bickering (hate would be more apropos) - we should look to the media as the real dividers in this case. Since the rig explosion, the media has carried the torch for those politicians wishing to score points. Partisan finger pointing over gunk filled wetlands sells Tide, engineers talk about capping does not. Sarah Palin saying "drill, baby drill" sprinkles fairy dust in the eyes of all those old white men, environmentalists talking about oil entering the currents brings on the snoring.There is plenty of blame to go around. the Dept of the Interior, BP, the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration, Congress, John D. Rockefeller, even George Washington if you want. But ultimately the problem is the country's unwillingness to find and expand alternative energy sources.We accept offshore oil drilling and all of its hazards, because we have no choice - or so we are told. Getting your car to Target will be much more expensive if we get off of Saudi Light. Face it, carbon fuels are inherently dirty and dangerous - there will never be a completely safe way to mine or drill. And with the 'easy' oil quickly running out - the business of carbon based energy recovery will just get more and more destructive.This country has had other wake-up calls for energy reform before - most notably in 1973 and 1979 - when the Middle East exploded in violence and supplies were shut off. I clearly remember the odd-even days and locks on gas tanks. We are inevitably heading to that (and worse) again. If we had acted back then - there is the likelihood we would not be so dependent on oil and the Middle East as we are today. But when Reagan goose-stepped into office in 1981, any chance of an national energy policy was eliminated. Instead of planning for a future without oil, St. Ronnie forged a closer relationship between big business and government - and a revolving door of people entering one and leaving the other. One big love fest.But America yawned, since the actor made everything better.For all intents and purposes the oil companies (with their unlimited funds) are in charge of the US national energy policy. Add to that an infrastructure that is heavily reliant on oil, hundreds of millions of vehicles and pieces of manufacturing equipment dependent on petroleum products and electrical power grids powered by carbon fuels, you have a recipe for disaster.Oh - and top it off with a country unwilling to sacrifice one iota for the good of the planet.America has spent the better part of the past 30 years getting everything it wants. Ronald Reagan ingrained in us - that America was the king - we all deserve something for nothing (and the chicks are free). The rest of the world, the sea turtles, the environment - who cares? Well now America is getting some of its blood money delivered in the form of gooey brown gunk washing into the fisheries and wetlands of Republican strongholds along the Gulf. (yes I am going to add to the politicization of this - the Republicans have spent the better part of 30 years dismantling any regulation that could have remotely prevented this). Big Oil, which has made more money that seemingly possible, has been treated with kit gloves by the US government. As a thanks for all that privilege, those same companies have acted like the German blitzkrieg during WWII in their search for the ultimate profit high - all at the expense of the American citizen. Lax laws, waivers, cut-corners, regulators paid off - and what do we end up with. Higher prices and the potential of a dead ocean."One third of the sea became blood, and one third of the living creatures which were in the sea died." (Revelation 8: 8-9).Many scientists have said it may take months to stop this gusher. Some are even saying it may never be capped, that it could flow for years. The underground pressure forcing the oil out is so great, it would be like blocking a wind tunnel with a tissue. A relief well (that will take 3 months) will bring some of the oil up through alternative pipes, but it will not stop the leaking.In addition, by not understanding the meaning of sacrifice (or even conservation) the country has been trained to feel powerless to do anything. The government likes it that way. There is no easy path to a better world - the only path is one fraught with risk and consequence. American society just doesn't know how to deal with risk, consequence, sacrifice or even loss.One could imagine that something like this tragedy would bring us together as a nation to discuss ways to better ourselves and our planet? Keep dreaming. Even 9/11 really didn't bring us together (it did for about 6 months before Bush decided to play John Wayne), so I guess I shouldn't expect too much from the Gulf tragedy. We have too much vested in us vs. the-other-is. The worse the crises gets, the more the Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots of the government march into their own corners to proclaim they have the most facts, the best answers, the least amount of blame and the biggest dicks. We have become some combo of Mean Girls, Heathers and Revenge of the Nerds.The country has to freeze all off-shore drilling and come with a comprehensive (and open) Energy Policy with strict standards for wind, tar sands, petroleum, natural gas, solar, coal, hydroelectric, biofuels, and nuclear power so we don't turn into Mars or Neptune. All players must meet a strict level of regulations, none of them will be tax exempt, there should be no special treatment for Exxon and funds must be dedicated to non-carbon based fuels. Without a policy that is science driven and not big business driven, this Gulf gusher will only be the tip of the iceberg.The ONLY good thing that could come of this mess is that the longer it drags out, the more people might see that unregulated markets acting for the common good is a complete and total myth. People (including those Republicans living on the gulf) will witness first-hand the devastating effects of deregulation can have. Total control by corporations is just as bad and dangerous as total control by the government.Deregulation and corporate control has been the cornerstone of Republicans since Reagan. After all, St. Ronnie said government was very, very bad and American businesses are very, very good. Since businesses are such good citizens (and now people!), we should trust them to regulate themselves. Between the 2008 financial meltdown and the 2010 oil drenched gulf - you don't have to bee a tree-hugging, bleeding-heart liberal to see what a stellar record business has had by regulating themselves.It is obvious that 30 years of increased self-regulation by the corporations is destroyed this country financially and ethically. Now we can also add environmentally.
Labels: corporatism, environment, greed, Gulf oil disaster, incompetence