Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Not A Winning Day"

Lord David posts this essential post (and associated comments) regarding the oil and the response.

I’m so pissed off I want to smash my own windows out.

But that would be foolish.

This disaster is the culmination of so many political, governmental and business failures over the past three decades that playing the blame game runs the risk of sounding like a cop-out. Yeah, BP had best be paying every little dime for this mess, but it shouldn't stop there. This can't be musical chairs, where the unlucky entity gets clobbered with litigation and every other contributor walks free. No, there is much work to be done. And we're going to have to learn what to do when big government AND small government AND free enterprise all fail catastrophically multiple times within the same decade.

I didn't say it would be easy.

I know it will be difficult to do so, but we're going to have to remember the times America was a nation capable of great things, and channel that problem-solving ability into the present dysfunction.

We focus on what can be done RTFN and prioritize correctly. Regarding the response to the current disaster, Maitri has four excellent draft executive orders ready to go, as well as a raft of other suggestions, starting with this:

I don’t want Obama to take responsibility for things that are not his fault like the rig explosion, subsequent leak of 12,000+ barrels per day (multiplied by 38 days) into the Gulf of Mexico and onto priceless coastal real estate or even the state of the MMS and US drilling regulations until April 20th, 2010 (admit it, the man had quite a bit on his plate already until that day).

She then proceeds to enumerate things he can do to start getting this thing under control as effectively as the catastrophic scale of the problem will currently allow. Some additional "prevent shit from happening again" ideas are thrown in for good measure.

My current rage towards this situation is so complicated I have trouble phrasing complete sentences. The only thing more infuriating than the current situation is knowing that our society has experienced enough of these situations to know better, but proudly continues to exhort our own inability to do something about it as if that is something to celebrate. My current cognitive dissonance at the current political atmosphere only increases when I envision how much worse things would have been with someone else in charge. Others are putting this in terms far better than I am able.

That's why I point to you other posts. Have fun reading. I'll be elsewhere, gnashing my teeth.



Varg said...

The amazing thing to me is how bad an F-up it is. At least with the Valdez, there was a way of knowing exactly how much oil will spill. But this geyser shooting oil, the potential for pollution just goes on and on. It makes me wonder about the entire process of drilling, what other disasters could result from it?

dsb said...

Dredging? Yes or no?

Re Obama:

The strength of his press conference was not him taking responsibility for the spill itself, which of course he didn't do. It was him taking responsibility for the government's role in dispensing inaccurate information about the oil flow rate. His command of the details and issues involved was also crucial. It may not seem like much, but I think it was important. Until now, the absence of a presidential address of some sort felt a bit like Bush's advice after 9/11: Spend money, be happy.

Then again, who the fuck knows.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Varg: since our society is experiencing incredible difficulty understanding the scope of the current and precedented disaster that has resulted from drilling, I'm going to hold off worrying about "other" disasters as long as I can.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ DSB: Dredging? Sure! If we throw enough stuff at the wall, something will stick. I mean, things look bad now, but there's a LOT more oil on the way.

The President is in a bad spot. The prior 8 years and the twenty previous world-ending crises he's had on his plate have limited his options incredibly. He got news of this oil flood just before North Korea decided that now would be a good time to start threatening every US ally in Asia with war.

At this point, he has got to be worried that NASA's about to bring him news of a planet-killer asteroid that will be here in October of 2012.

All that being said, he can still turn this around, but he's going to have to start kicking ass and doing those politically divisive things he's always trying not to do. There are still a LOT of wetlands left to save, and a massive cleanup effort to organize. His legacy will be determined by that more than any nonsense "Obama's Katrina" meme gets passed around right-wing radio.

Luckily for him, his political opponents have all doubled-down on crazy, as Vitty attempts to bailout BP and stick the taxpayers with the bill; the logic-defying right-wing talk that regulations are somehow to blame for all this; and the ongoing chants of "drill, baby, drill."