Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oil Spil/Political Notes: Thomas Friedman still preaches the happy slave gospel from his mansion, UK pensioners versus American workers

• Update 6/15: Mixed metaphor king's idiot Thomas Friedman jumps on TOD blame-fallacy bandwagon, as predictable as it is pathetic. In John Emerson's apt appraisal:
"This isn’t BP’s or Transocean’s fault. It’s not the government’s fault. It’s my fault."

This kind of bullshit comes up every time a large corporation does harm "Don't ask who killed the Kennedys, when after all, it was you and me." In the same way, how could anyone blame Enron or anyone in finance for the destruction ...of the global economy, since some of us have been known to steal pencils from work?

When it's you or me or a schoolteacher, it's "accountability". But when it's a large corporation, it's "the blame game".

It's not just that corporations are persons, with the same rights that the rest of us have. Corporations are immaculate persons and can never be blamed for anything.

Sort of like Jesus and the Virgin Mary....

If you want to say that we should all look at our oil consumption and way of life, that's a good point, but on the other hand, some of us already have, and have changed our way of life. A lot of us strongly opposed offshore drilling, but the DrillBabyDrill people won the political argument. Others live the way they do because there's not much choice (for example, living in a town without a decent bus system).

BP was guilty for cutting corners on safety, which they're on record as doing as a matter of policy. The US government is guilty of lax regulation, which they did as a matter of policy, and of approving offshore drilling in the first place. A lot of politicians and voters (but not all) are guilty of supporting offshore drilling and the weakening of safety regulations. These are the people who actually caused the problem.

If you want to go beyond that to say that we have to reduce oil consumption, fine. I agree. But saying that it's everyone's fault is just bullshit, and it's the most recent lie that the defenders of BP, the bush administration, and the Obama administration have picked up in order to absolves themselves of the actual responsibility they have for the actual things they did.

Indeed. As I may have mentioned in a comment at TOD, any analysis that fails to account for the functioning of power is pretty well just pulling the blanket over the collective citizenry's head (and in the process rendering our just and righteous fury at those precise targets which might actually be vulnerable to such pressures and compelled to change, dangerously impotent). Of course expecting literary hacks like ex-billionaire, now multi-millionaire Thomas Friedman to do anything except buttress and slather the status quo in poshlost', with superficially "clever" and "profound" analysis, would probably be about as productive as polishing a turd. I was saddened to see The Oil Drum take this line. It's probably one reason the site remains so ineffective, and frankly, self-congratulatory, and insular.

• Update 6/14: OK so I've skimmed The Oil Drum, and this comment is essential reading.

(image of one-ton tar ball via)

• A message about Obama's new position on BP, and what to watch for to determine who's in charge.

• Robert Reich: still pushing temporary receivership, and rather convincingly.

More on Helen Thomas (via):
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Press You're Stuck
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

To be honest I haven't read TOD since they started (thankfully, finally) discussing the various Corexits, as I had been prodding them to do (whether any professional consensus was reached, I have no idea...) As soon as I have a spare six hours, I may check it out.

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