Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Bad Guys Get Away
I am an artist...It's self-evident that what that word implies is looking for something all the time without ever finding it in full. It is the opposite of saying, "I know all about it. I've already found it." As far as I'm concerned, the word means, "I am looking. I am hunting for it. I am deeply involved."
---Vincent Van Gogh
I scarcely remember counting upon any Happiness---I look not for it if it be not in the present hour---nothing startles me beyond the Moment. The setting sun will always set me to rights---or if a Sparrow come before my Window I take part in its existence and pick about the Gravel.
Hast thou named all the birds without a gun? Loved the woodrose, and left it on its stalk?
---Ralph Waldo Emerson
I guess our political system is based on Britain's history, with both of us taking our model from Rome's experiment in Greek democracy. But toward the end, before the so-called barbarians just walked into town and took over, Rome's system had fallen apart. The senate bickered and accomplished nothing. The executive could speak but had to get into the emperor's pocket for funding. The military was intervening everywhere. The courts sentenced questioners to crucifixion. And the emperors were mad with greed and lust.
My teaching career was spent largely celebrating our republic's ways of doing things politically. And just yesterday, I urged a friend to write her federal congressperson for help with a local post office. I guess I'm still a believer. But those primary results and all the conversation I hear---if anybody even bothers to talk about it---demonstrate America has lost faith dramatically in Washington, DC.
Two articles this morning explain to me how and why this has happened. The first is by Glenn Greenwald, previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy. In one dynamic paragraph he sums up our disillusion~~~
"It makes perfect sense that the country loathes the political establishment. Just look at its rancid fruits over the past decade: a devastating war justified by weapons that did not exist; a financial crisis that our Nation's Genuises failed to detect and which its elites caused with lawless and piggish greed; elections that seem increasingly irrelevant in terms of how the Government functions; grotesquely lavish rewards for the worst culprits juxtaposed with miserable unemployment and serious risks of having basic entitlements (Social Security) cut for ordinary Americans; and a Congress that continues to be owned, right out in the open, by the very interests that have caused so much damage. The political establishment is rotten to its core, and the only thing that's surprising is that the citizenry's contempt isn't even more intense than it is. But precisely because that dynamic so clearly transcends Left/Right or Democratic/GOP dichotomies, little effort is expended to understand or explain it."
I recommend the article as well because he points out the United States free press repeats and repeats "anti-incumbency," but doesn't explain WHY. Is this the time the truth came out? Is that what we want?
On Tuesday reporter Amy Goodman published an article at TruthDig that describes step by step how the "leak" in the Gulf happened. If you didn't happen to see "60 Minutes" last week, have you heard of anyone else covering this?
"The gulf oil eruption (for that is what it is, not a 'spill' and not merely a 'leak,' but the unleashing of a hugely powerful jet of oil and gas under enormous pressure, a mile beneath the ocean surface) is likely to become the worst environmental disaster in United States history.
"Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician of the Transocean oil rig, detailed on '60 Minutes' the negligence of both Transocean and BP in the lead-up to the blowout. Williams said a mistake was made during a pressure test, which damaged a critical safety gasket, or annular. Later, a crew member reported finding chunks of the rubber gasket in the effluent that surfaces during the drilling process. This annular is part of the blowout preventer, which is the device on the ocean floor, atop the well, that is supposed to serve as the fail-safe, to prevent exactly the type of catastrophe that is unfolding now. There also was a known electrical failure on the blowout preventer.
"Williams also detailed an argument aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig between the Transocean manager and the BP manager. Transocean had been hired to drill the hole and to plug it until BP returned to begin oil extraction. The argument involved how best to plug the hole.
"Transocean, Williams recounted, wanted to leave a heavy mudlike substance in the well shaft, to help the concrete plugs (installed by Halliburton) stay in place. BP wanted the substance removed, ostensibly to expedite the later extraction. 'BP won,' Robert Bea, a University of California-Berkeley engineering professor, told '60 Minutes,' and the concrete plugs failed. The damaged blowout preventer failed as well, and the disaster soon followed."
Can anything be done? Will anything be done? Or, as one guy remarked, does BP actually stand for Beyond Prosecution? Is it too late?