Monday, May 31, 2010

"Never Poison the Food and Water"



This image strikes home the point. The hands of the people are tied. We're stuck in a situation no one appears able to get us out of. And the folks running the show seem content to let this year's disaster torture us for our resources and plug us one in the head.

This isn't a new story, though we have updated the product placement.



Because this was a demonstration. This was a gathering of people who dare to call attention to several glaring errors on the part of the government and the unregulated free market.

Again. Because this ain't the first time a predicted worst-case scenario has come to pass. When history looks back at this decade, that will be the theme.



I was drawn to this intentionally misspelled poster because it drives home another point: LOSEiana. It sure seems like we're snakebit down in "this part of the world." As a matter of fact, and this point was made more than once this afternoon (and sometimes in colorful terms), what's next? A volcano? A meteor?



This decade, their have been several major calamities affecting our nation, by my count. Any one of these would have crippled many other nations entirely. For the US as a whole, we take it on the chin and keep moving.

This is a blessing and a curse. We are dynamic enough to handle many problems in quick succession, but we tend to move on too quickly. We don't like to learn the lessons that might prevent small problems from becoming much bigger problems.

We don't like to look back into our own history for precedent and accept that the things that have happened before are likely to happen again.

Lastly, we tend to sell ourselves the theory that "blame" can be compartmentalized.



Any one of the catastrophes we have faced since 2001 would have crippled many other nations entirely.

So it says a lot that two of those catastophes have now tremendously and disproportionately impacted Louisiana.

It speaks to the wisdom of our nation's founders that federalism is able to help mitigate the affect of these catastrophes. It speaks to the weakness of our modern institutions that such mitigation is often incomplete, frustrating to implement, plagued with insufficient priorities and often easily taken advantage of the well connected or conniving.



It speaks volumes that our modern discourse refuses to focus. We will be plagued with the inability to formulate cohesive solutions to our internal problems as long as our common history has zero cohesion as it is told to us. We cannot find a solution to a problem while intentionally ignoring or misrepresenting that problem. And yet those are the terms in which the "problem solvers" attempt to communicate with each other.



Without coherence and focus, those affected by calamity often see their legitimate grievances dismissed; they are accused of whining or overstating the damage to serve a lawsuit or some political goal.

One can only hope that those with the temerity to derisively question the very reality we face will one day endure the discredit they so richly deserve.



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5 comments:

patsbrother said...

(1) I read a column by Maureen Dowd just now ("Once More, With Feeling"), and I find it unsettling that we are (mostly) in agreement, as I usually disagree with her. This oddity has emerged because Dowd is finding fault with the president for never seeming to care about things he didn't plan, and because I'm annoyed that a president who so ardently wants to assert the federal government into everything can't seem to care much about one of the few things I consider to fall clearly within the ambit of federal government.

(2) I confuse easily when it comes to protests. One of those moments came at looking at one of the pictures you posted, the one that says "BP is murdering our coast".

Say what?

No. BP is attempting to staunch the bleeding. And failing.

BP is Victor Frankenstein.

BP sought glory, played with science, and created a monster. But unlike Frankenstein's creature, this one does not resemble us and does not have feelings. It is malignant, amporphous, and growing.

BP is not killing anything. They flipped a switch on which can't simply be switched off.

(3) Which brings me to the following two quotes, which might explain the president's reluctance as mentioned in (1) and BP's inefficacy in (2).

Colin Powell said something that roughly equated to: this crap is "beyond the capacity" of BP to handle.

Admiral Mike Mullen is quoted as saying the military has looked at the technology required for a solution to the problem, but that "the best technology in the world, with respect to that, exists in the oil industry."

These two statements scare the bejezus out of me, because the first one would explain why BP keeps failing and would explain why the feds aren't getting involved to the degree I would like them to get involved.

Put them together, and you get this:

BP is not competent to deal with this problem, and the federal government is even less competent than BP.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

1. A lot of people who support Obama are finding fault with the President on this. My own frustration with the President is mitigated somewhat by two things: considering the alternative, and that Obama still has a chance to turn this thing around.

2A. That is an awful lot to put on a poster.

2B. "Flipped a switch on which can't simply be switched off." is also an appropriate way to describe pulling the trigger of a gun.

2C. BP has less expensive, less toxic, more effective means to clean up this mess, they are using their own high-toxin chemicals from their own chemical companies to keep the money in-house. They are not doing everything they can, and are, in fact spending enormous resources to manipulate public perception and to mitigate their liability for this.

3. This is the result of a "small" government with incorrect or compromised priorities. It is expensive to maintain the equipment and expertise required to mitigate situations like this. From the government standpoint, it is an easy part of the budget to "cut." From the business standpoint, it is a hindrance on the bottom line.

patsbrother said...

Thank you for again teaching me that my brother fails at being able to draw meaningful analogies.

Dante said...

@PB: "No. BP is attempting to staunch the bleeding. And failing."

BP has only recently put "staunch[ing] the bleeding" first in their list of priorities. I'd have more faith that BP is acting in our best interests now if all of their previous plans hadn't involved salvaging as much oil as possible and salvaging the pipeline. Actually closing the hole should've been Plan A.

@Pat: "My own frustration with the President is mitigated somewhat by two things: considering the alternative, and that Obama still has a chance to turn this thing around."

Other than a media who would be asking the questions they should be asking the White House at this point, I fail to see how the alternative would be any different. We'd still have a big f'ing hole gushing oil into the ocean with no end in sight.

@Pat: "3. This is the result of a "small" government with incorrect or compromised priorities. It is expensive to maintain the equipment and expertise required to mitigate situations like this. From the government standpoint, it is an easy part of the budget to "cut." From the business standpoint, it is a hindrance on the bottom line."

People not doing their jobs isn't a cut. BP's current setup should've never been approved and budget has nothing to do with that. BP would've had to front the cost of their setup either way.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Dante:

"I fail to see how the alternative would be any different. We'd still have a big f'ing hole gushing oil into the ocean with no end in sight."

True. We would likely have arrived at this place no matter who was in charge. I do not trust that a single viable candidate in the last election would have prevented this.

There is still a great deal yet to be seen regarding the response in terms of both the actual boots on the ground and the policy implementations in reaction. In that, I trust the alternative far less than the current administration.

"People not doing their jobs isn't a cut."

Very true. And we should never ignore the costs of ineffective government (regardless of size).

But government planning, readiness for such an emergency deployment, and having the appropriate equipment (and training to use said equipment) on hand are all government expenditures that can be cut.

Small government "theory" has that niche filled solely by private contractors, which is affecting the current response adversely.