Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lines of attack...

The overwhelming feeling I’m getting listening to the radio, specifically Randi Rhodes, is that she wants the Government to do something. Whatever the hell that means. I find this terribly ironic because just before the Rand Paul thing exploded, she had a African-American caller (not me) on the air, saying that we [Black folk] couldn’t get with the Teabaggers because of the the racism. So, figuring that at least part of the Teabagger anger was legitimate and that Government is broken Randi answered back, “what’s your plan”.

I’m afraid I’m left with the same question for the Gulf Oil Spill. What’s your plan? And an answer of “just do something” isn’t constructive, helpful, or intelligent at this point.

In the matter of the Gulf Oil Spill, there are two lines of attack, for now. One is stopping the oil volcano. Two is gathering information (and making it public) about how we got in this mess. Once the oil volcano is stopped, we can get on with a third track, which is clean-up. Once the information is gathered, we can start a fourth track, which is lawsuits and/or Criminal/Congressional investigations.

When we say we want Obama to do something, I want to know how does it fit into the two-to-four tracks I’ve outlined? The Navy may be well equipped to get down to the source of the leak, but do they have the equipment or expertise to fix it? (I don't know, I'm asking). People keep saying they do (Randi) but it seems like they're pulling that out of their asses. Remember, fixing isn’t just a matter of plugging the leak, it’s making sure that all that pressure doesn’t escape elsewhere and make the problem ten times worse.

I think the EPA should force BP from using their toxic dispersant. I think the Energy Department should put a stop to all the new Oil Drilling that seems to be going ahead anyway. I don't think its helpful that Secretary Chu is getting all his information from the damn New York Times, and not his own department. I think Scientists who are affiliated with the Government on their own organizations (as long as they’re not associated with BP) should be allowed free access to the site and come up with an independent estimate of the amount of oil spilled and damage done. While I think James Carville’s rant this morning at its heart came from the right place, I’m not 100% sure that the President being down there will help. In fact, Presidents can often get in the way of recovery efforts.

But past that, I’m left with questions. What about the Exxon Valdez law that is currently guiding Governmental efforts? The Media has been terrible at explaining what’s in it. I don’t know what the Government can and can’t do in this matter, and it doesn’t help that too many of my fellow Liberals are stuck in the belief that the Executive is just as unitary as it ever was under Bush, or worse that it should be.

If the Government were to take over the cleanup effort, would that absolve BP of all claims up to $75 Million (I've asked before). How does the $4000 a barrel fine work?Do we have to prove fraud in order to enact it? The Justice Department said that Congress can impose a retroactive liability cap. What else can the Justice Department do?

Another thing that’s really, really, really annoying me. A biiiiiiig meme for my fellow lefties during the Health Care Debate was that the White House wasn't doing enough (again, whatever that was) during the whole thing. Well, that’s been proven to be bullshit. So when I hear or read people asking what the President is doing, my bet is plenty. We just can’t see it. The bubble is bad, but it’s not that bad.

The difference between Obama and Dubya is that we trust Obama to do the right thing, for the right reasons. We hopefully can acknowledge a screw up (which I think this is), but we have to know he's not liking this, and not just for political reasons.