Americans Must Share The Blame For Enabling BP

Reagan began the deregulation
craze. During his Administration, and for years
afterwards, Republicans disparaged the Federal Government as
intrusive and counter productive to free enterprise. The S&L's,
Power and Utility Commission and more recently, Wall Street's Commercial
crashed and burned as a direct result of deregulation. Americans were
left with
the bill.

Dick Cheney's closed door energy meetings with oil companies and
power providers worked out well for Big Oil and Enron, but not so well
American taxpayers who had to pick up the pieces when, as Alan Greenspan
to say, "they got over exuberant." The Bush Administration started two
wars that
far too Americans enthusiastically endorsed. Many applauded each time
Federal Government threw out another regulation to allow unfettered
full reign.

The Republican Parties message of less government and ever lower
taxes proved
a winning combination. If Democrats hoped to win elections they knew
they must
move further to the right. Clinton understood this as does Obama. Grover

Norquist, an anti-tax crusader and far right Republican famously said,
'My goal
is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size
where we
can drown it in the bathtub." One of the results of that drowning can be
unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico.

Horrified Americans are beginning to understand the enormity of the
catastrophe that B.P. has set loose upon the world. Americans are
outraged, but it is they who subscribe to Limbaugh, Beck, and the Fox
crowd. Americans put the Republicans in charge of Congress in 1996. In
2000 they
stood idly by as an immoral neer do well snuck through the back door and
the White House. In ensuing years regulations, and the oversight of
took a back seat to corporate profit.

Public outrage over B.P's reckless criminal conduct grows daily while

environmentalists and global warming scientists are dismissed by the
right as
crackpots. Fox News won a decision by an appeals court in Florida that
ruled Fox
"had no obligation to report truthfully, and the First Amendment
protects their
right to lie." Last January the U.S. Supreme Court ruled "The court has
recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations."
corporations personhood, to allow them unlimited spending on candidates
for elective office, will give them even more power over Congress and
President, and give them a green light to work in direct opposition to
American's interests.

It remains to be seen if the helpless rage over B.P's reckless,
conduct, makes a difference in how Americans see their government. The
of electing representatives who promise to get government off the backs
of the
poor, downtrodden corporations, is making itself felt again. But unlike
Street's slippery bunko games, the damage from B.P's spill is probably

Nothing will save the Gulf of Mexico or the states that lie along the

approaching monstrosity that will soon ruin their tourist industries,
drastically reduce property values, sicken millions and destroy the
of many more. Republican Senators are vowing to filibuster any further
by Democrats to raise B.P's liability cap from $75 million to $10

Another semi-submersible rig, the Atlantis, is drilling a hundred
further offshore, and in water 2000 feet deeper than where Deepwater
went down. Last year the Associated Press reported that B.P.
investigated its
employees because they complained that engineering documents were
missing from
the Atlantis. Such documents provide vital information for safely
stopping and
starting the rig. B.P. and the Minerals Management Service ignored the
requests for comment.

Major media is not mentioning B.P's Atlantis, and Americans have no
idea if
Atlantis is conforming to the few government regulations that still
remain. If a
bookie were taking odds they'd be 100 to 1 that B.P. is completely
with conforming to safety standards. But Americans are not privy to such

information, and as Deepwater Horizon is so tragically demonstrating, it
is they
who have the most to lose. Major media, the Congress, Obama and B.P,
figure that
if the well blows out Americans will learn about it then. Given B.P's
record it's astonishing that Atlantis has not been shut down until
can been made to determine if B.P. is conforming to safety standards.
The fact
that B.P's Atlantis is still drilling should tell Americans all they
need to
know of the lessons learned by Obama, Congress and B.P.

The eventual costs of B.P's recklessness can never by measured. The
million that B.P. is liable for is however, a very valuable number. It
demonstrates, better than any politician or B.P. spokesperson, the
extent to
which Americans have swallowed the fantasy that corporate self
regulation is in
their interest. They are utterly helpless to protect their nation from
corporate marauders that prey on their ignorance and gullibility. They
have no
control of their Congress, which is bought and sold by the highest
bidder, like
any commodity that's up for sale. Until Americans take a hard look at
themselves, and take seriously their responsibilities to send to
Congress men
and women they can trust to represent them, corporate hyenas will
destroying what still remains of Democracy. "There are none so blind as
who will not see."

Jon Faulkner is a Master Mariner. He lives in Maine with his wife and


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