what exactly is the Obama administration supposed to do about the oil spill?
How about we issue subpoenas against those responsible?
How about finding what that big party on the rig was about before the explosion?
How aboutNOT allowing BP to gather their own evidence in advance of them being a defendant in a future trial?
How about taking action against the oil thugs that held survivors in
captivity for 48 hours while their family members worried about them?
How about taking action against the fatcat bubbas who tried to get
residents to sign a “we won’t sue BP” waiver for a $5k payoff?
How about getting adminstration officials on TV who know what the hell they’re talking about?
How about doing away with the last 30 years of laissez-faire regulation for the oil industry?
How about Obama making the decision to start acting like Huey Long instead of Ghandi?
Some of the other suggestions — nationalize the oil industry, curb-stomp the motherfuckers live on television, draft the entirety of everybody with as little expertise in the Gulf as knowing where it is into military service and basically invade the oil well — are pure Democratic Armageddon West Wing pornography. I think they should all happen tomorrow, but even I know, okay. These, though? Good plans.
Playing nice with BP in the hopes that they can actually fix this is fucked up in the extreme. Expecting major corporations to act like partners instead of the rapacious bastards they’ve always been is fucked up in the extreme. Do I think they want to cap the well and stop the spill? Hell yeah, I do, I mean, if the oil’s in the water they can’t sell it, and I don’t know about you, but in my neighborhood people are driving past the BP stations with middle fingers extended no matter how low the gas gauge gets. I believe I’d rather fill up at an Exxon station at the moment.
But do I believe they’re going to be grown-ups and fix all the damage the spilling is causing without being forced to do so? Oh hell no. They’re going to fight tooth and nail to avoid paying anybody anything, and they’ll just shrug when some 7th-generation fisherman talks about his entire world caving the fuck in, because hey, it’s not their job to make sure somebody’s life always stays the same. Will Transocean pay for every single thing that any of the families of the dead will ever need for the rest of their lives, the way those who lost their lives would have provided for their families? Can you honestly pretend to a naiveté great enough to say you think so? You know what they’ll say.Only so much we can do. A terrible thing happened, and … how are they supposed to fix everything?
I mean, how many times do we hear that in America now? People who build cars, mill steel, dig canals, build bridges … how many times do we hear comfortably situated loudmouth assholes talk about the post-industrial age and how we can’t be expected to take care of the people who built this country with their hands? My grandfather was nearly deaf from working on a factory line; his pension took care of him and when he died it took care of his wife, because for years they’d lived their lives in the factory’s shadow. He came home from work in blue coveralls, fingers black with grease, smelling like the inside of a smelter.
We had a contract, once, with people like that, and they fought and they worked like dogs because they knew the other end would be upheld. When people bitch and moan these days that no one under 30 has a work ethic anymore, that people don’t want to stay in the same job for 20 years and settle down anymore, that there’s no loyalty or honor, well, I don’t frankly see a whole lot of reason why anyone would give a shit that much. Speaking for my generation, we watched our parents’ generation get screwed out of everything their parents’ generation had built. We watched pension funds disappear, we watched people who’d given 29 years of their lives to a job fired just before they hit a higher pay grade, we watched politicians mouth about “retraining” for new-age jobs like a 56-year-old steelworker can turn around and get a comp-sci degree just ‘cuz. We watched it all get stripped away and we listened while the excuses were made.
Some of us — later Tea Partiers and Sarah Palin voters — nodded along as peoplewho would never miss a meal explained away the decimation of all our parents’ middle-class hopes and their dreams of seeing kids graduate from college by talking about fucking stock prices and describing their raping and pillaging as some kind of natural inevitability. What can you do? Well, there’s a fuckload of a lot you can do, Daddy Warbucks. Give up your paycheck, for one. What are you willing to do? That’s the real question. Ask it sometime in a meeting of one of these corporate assfucks. They’ll look at you like you slapped them in the face with a bag of nickels.
p>This is how they act. This is what they do. It’s not new, even, except: We used to have something to balance the scales. And this is why anti-government screamers just do not get here: There is no place else big enough to fix this. There is nowhere else for us to go. Who do you turn to?
I’ll leave discussions of capping and booming and dispersents to those who know about these things. I don’t want a big showy speech from Obama, particularly. AsTreme is reminding us, Bush gave a big showy speech in NOLA after it was wrecked, and that solved fuck-all. I don’t particularly feel the need for him to demonstrate control of the oil spill and its response so much as I feel the need for all our leaders to understand that we don’t come to them for shit like this because it’s easy or it’s nice or it’s pleasant or we want some bunting draped around some stuff or we have unrealistic expectations of government handouts or some such other Reaganite bullshit.
We come to them because they’re the only ones left who even still bother to pick up the phone. And some of them don’t even do that anymore.
So what are they supposed to do here, now, today? Start with that list up there. That’s the bare minimum. That’s the first day.