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Friday, May 14, 2010

Stop The BP Bailout!



British Petroleum failed to take safety seriously, used the wrong diagram to fight the disaster, lied about the scope of their fiasco, keeps minimizing the disaster, and can't say where all the oil has gone. Large balls of tar are washing up on shore as the uncontrolled vent puts 70,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day -- the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez every four days.

All that was bad enough. Then last night, Sen. Lisa ("Lease-A") Murkowski (R-BP) blocked an effort to raise the liability cap on oil companies from $75 million to $10 billion. BP has already spent $350 million; costs will probably reach the billions before the cleanup is done. There is nothing to stop BP from declaring its liabilities finished and walking away while oil still clogs the beaches of Mobile Bay.

Murkowski's motivations have everything to do with the prominence of BP in her state's oil and gas industry (.PDF). Her campaign coffer contains $426,000 of oil and gas industry cash. This action amounts to a billion-dollar taxpayer BAILOUT of a foreign corporation, and a very wealthy one at that, in exchange for a relative pittance.

But all is not lost. In fact, this is a crisis we cannot afford to waste. (More after the jump!)

Let's take our cue from Senate Democrats, who plan to hold this same bill up for a vote every day next week. Via Greg Sargent:
"Senate Democrats, led by Senators Menendez, Lautenberg and Nelson, are going to continue next week to pass common-sense legislation to ensure that BP pays for the full cost of cleanup and that taxpayers in Nevada and across America are protected.

"Inexplicably, Republicans are protecting negligent oil companies like BP and blocking our efforts to prevent a BP bailout. Through their obstruction, Republicans are leaving taxpayers on the hook to pay for BP's negligence."
All that's lacking here is a handy buzzphrase, so I nominate "STOP THE BP BAILOUT." The taxpayer shouldn't be hit with a single thin dime of the cleanup expenses; every penny should come from the company that screwed up so badly.

The populist center of the American conversation CAN be moved to the left. I saw retired Army General Honore on CNN today; as I met and briefed him in 1998, I am comfortable reporting him to be a very conservative man. He's a Republican with political ambitions, yet I heard him say today that if necessary, the president should nationalize the company's assets to resolve the situation.

Make no mistake: the damage is even worse than you probably know. Honore pointed out that the minimal oil spilling after Hurricane Katrina knocked out the fishing, oyster, and shrimping industries for 18 months. This disaster is going to leave boats and crews unemployed for years, if not destroy their livelihood altogether. (In fact, the oil may still be flowing from the seabed years from now.)

The resulting costs will inevitably fall on social services provided by the taxpayer. That's why everyone, everywhere should start calling their Senator to demand they STOP THE BP BAILOUT. We must call comment lines, write letters to the editor, and otherwise get the word out that WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS BAILOUT OF OF A FOREIGN CORPORATION.

We must call on the tea party to join us in STOPPING THE BP BAILOUT. (They won't, and that is the point.) Yes, polls recently showed a majority of Americans still support offshore drilling; but polls always lag events. We can turn this tide of offshore drilling; this is the perfect season for us to respond to the ideological overreach called Citizens United and hold this conversation on progressive terms by demanding Congress STOP THE BP BAILOUT.

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2 comments:

  1. Matt, thanks for stepping up to the plate and helping me to make Soldiers For Peace what it is. Even though there are few of us willing to publicly acknowledge our membership, I know that there are thousands of veterans and active duty service members around the world who are consciously carrying out the mission of SFPI. More importantly, there are millions of current and former service members and their supporters who are de facto members, as they are helping us carry out the mission of ending war forever.

    I salute you for your service. Let us never forget our vow to defend the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is up to those of us who realize that the corporate enemy is not at but within our gate to organize the democratic insurgency that will Take Back America for the People.

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  2. I just took the opportunity to view the videos. You are an ever-lovin' genius, Matt. In fairness to Alabamans, however, it is only right to point out thar they elected Don Siegelman. He was liberal enough that Rove committed treason to make him a political prisoner.

    I know that is all in a day's work for Turd Blossom, but this plot was a little more complicated than the time he committed treason in outing Valerie Plame in his effort to sell the war to the Right Wing nutjobs who are all about defending corporate power at the cost of our national treasure of wealth and youth.

    I think the fact that you have not been hanged in your local town square proves that some Alabamans still value truth over the hateful lies of the KKK. Or maybe the redneck yokels in your area are sentient enough to respect our military training. On the other hand, maybe they are just to stupid to worry about what we are doing.

    Truth is our greatest weopon in the War to End All Wars. The international corporate forces that use the machinery of our government to manufacture war for profit and to defend our war-based economy consider themselves Masters of the Universe. They are in for a big surprise when the slave revolt becomes apparent to their clouded collective consciousness.

    I encourage you and all of your friends to call Eric Holder weekly at 202-514-2001 and call for the indictment of Leura Canarie, the US attorney who led the political persecution of Governor Seigelman. You can fax him at 202-307-6777 and I beleive you can email him at askdoj@usdoj.gov or through the Department of Injustice website.

    Don has established a foundation to cover legal costs running into the millions. He spent two years in prison before getting 5 of 13 of the more serious charges of corruptions dismissed. He needs and deserves our help bringing Canarie to trial and bringing Rove to justice.

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