Constitutional Crisis on the Bayou
by Elizabeth Cook
Tuesday, May. 25, 2010 at 8:07 AM
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The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has unleashed yet another, and important, Constitutional crisis that is long in coming. I would say that we the people have lost this battle, and we in fact, are a fascist/corporate dictatorship, never before manifested in such clear, glaring reality. The war however, is not over.
It is the federal government's responsibility to protect the safety, health and welfare of the American people. Instead, it is protecting the safety, health and welfare of corporate personhood in the form of BP.
Let's look at the reality of this so-called, oil spill "response". It is in fact, not a "response" at all, but an aggressive attempt by the perpetrator, BP to control the evidence that will lead to damage assessment. With the feds purposefully delegating control of the "response" to BP, they are in fact ceding to BP's attempts to mitigate and hide the evidence.
First is the laughable, yes we know, no we don't know, the size of the spill...and, we aren't even willing to estimate. BP and feds don't want us to know the size of the spill. Isn't that glaringly obvious? Only now the feds have put together a flow rate technical team". Sounds like something out of a Scooby Dooby Do Cartoon. Flow Rate Technical Team to the Rescue......one month after the leak started.
Why don't the feds want us to know the size of the spill? Damage assessments, money, greed, politics, in which our elected "leaders" are aligned with the corporation who committed this crime in the first place.
Why are the feds doing this? Obviously because they want to mitigate their own responsibility in creating conditions in which this spill could happen. It is my belief the feds are in a delay game. Delay information on the spill and you delay the fallout of the spill. The feds are hoping the public will lose interest quickly, so that they can tuck it away in their commissions and hearings.
How else is BP aggressively controlling the evidence? The most glaring answer is the EPA approved used of dispersants to hide the spill underwater. It is clear that the dispersants are the reason oil is getting into the marsh. Booms don't have a chance against the dispersants. The oil is sinking below the surface and sneaking into the marsh, out of sight until it lands on the barrier islands or gathers in pools staining the grasses.
To those who say oil sunk in the gulf is better than oil on the beach, I would say, now we have both. It would have been far better to allow the oil to collect at the top of the water, as much of it as possible, where we could have had a chance with booms and barrier islands. Oil beneath the water? We have no chance...
The use of dispersants is a crime on top of a crime, sanctioned by a federal agency, Lisa Jackson, and the EPA. It is the rape of the Gulf of Mexico, its sea creatures, and the people who depend on this ecosystem for a living.
A recent interview with Lisa Jackson, still touting boom, hilarious, saying the EPA is pushing BP to "look at" alternatives to the toxic dispersant, manufactured by ex-oil industry execs. Lisa says the administrative response is "all hands on deck", and listen as she claims the chemicals in the water aren't necessarily "from this spill" as they test water quality. Where the heck are they testing? You watch this video and feel the fear as Jackson obfuscates the effectiveness of the spill response. We are truly, largely on our own.
Jackson at one point in the video slipped and said "BPA" when she meant to say "EPA". That about sums it up.
Read how NALCO minimizes the hazards of the use of the dispersant that they manufacture. Look who is on their board of directors, ex-execs from BP, Monsanto, Dupont, and their biographies., biographies with corporate ties to Monsanto, Dupont, JP Morgan, ExxonMobile, Lockheed Martin. It is the corporate rape of the Gulf of Mexico that has been handed to us by the feds, with the approved use of these dispersants.
NOAA obfuscation of the underwater plumes of oil, coming soon to a shore near you, is a criminal act in my opinion, directed against the American people, and sovereign nations that could be affected.
West of the Mississippi River, despite the barrier islands keeping some of the oil at bay, the oil is indeed getting into the Barataria Bay, and it will likely soon head into the estuaries, one of the most productive in the world. Did you know that the United States is fed 40 percent of its seafood by Louisiana estuaries? Not any more.
Right now we have no defenses against oil moving into the marsh east of the river below the water line. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser and others want to build barrier islands that are meant to be a temporary defense against the worst of the oil. The Army Corps has refused to approve a barrier island east of the river. Why? Thad Allen, head of the Coast Guard response team, said it is too expensive. Since when should expense be an issue at this point?
I laugh when I hear environmentalists questioning the "harm" those islands will do to the marsh. Here we have millions of gallons of oil spewing into the gulf, a good chunk of it heading our way, and they are worried about the temporary harm barrier islands will do to the marsh. Have we lost all common sense?
Let's be honest. The decision not to build that temporary line of defense is a cost factor. BP would have to pay for it, according to the feds. BP obviously doesn't want to pay for it. This is another piece of evidence that shows how the government has ceded control to a corporation. The feds could step in and fund the project, and worry about BP paying the bill later.
The state gov't could fund the temporary barrier islands project, and fight over the payment of it in court later. I'm hoping Nungesser takes action. His illusions have crumbled as he recently said, "None of them gives a rats ass". He's already been elevated to folk hero around. He needs our backing.
Yesterday, I drove down to Venice, Louisiana, which has become ground zero in this battle. This was a spiritual experience for me. The oil hasn't yet infiltrated deep into the marsh in Plaquemine, so we were treated to a clean, brackish marsh teaming with fish, birds, turtles and people taking it a day at a time. We say a blue heron.
Talking to the locals, there is anger, realization, no bullshit realization: the two-party corrupt, corporate system is well in evidence in the oil spill "response". One man told me he doesn't mind corporations that treat its workers well and provide for decent pensions. But this...this is something else entirely. Many in Venice were philosophical. The oil coming to their marsh is inevitable, but in the meantime, they continue to hunt and fish; there is a lot of living in the moment in Venice, Louisiana.
One fisherman opened his ice chest to show me his catch. We were outside of Fort Jackson on the river, watching the EPA set up their air monitoring stations inside the fort that has been off limits to the public since Katrina, watching blackwater helicoptors ferry sand bags to emergency operations. The fisherman's catch were the biggest catfish I have ever seen, caught in a nearby inlet in the marsh.
In Plaquemines, the locals are used to elected "leaders" screwing them over for oil and mineral rights. Just google "Perez+Plaquemines Parish". That battle seems small in the thick, humid air, compared to this battle that they will likely lose.
Ceding authority to BP is the ceding of our rights, and the constitutional protections that are our birthright. It is our government's duty to protect the citizen's health, safety and welfare. BP is doing none of these, and the feds don't want to do it either. What do we have left?
This past weekend, as high tide brought in a rush of oil into Barataria Bay, BP response boats sat idle. What happened next gives me cause for hope. Jefferson Parish emergency personnel commandeered the boats and put them to work to respond to the oil rushing in on high tide. This is one of the first shots across the bow in the war, and it is a war, that we are in. Will it stop the oil? No, but it is a sign that locals are increasingly, and aggressively waking up to the reality that we either save ourselves and stop waiting for rescue, or the ship sinks.
Tuning into WWL radio during the day, people calling in give me cause for hope: political illusions are crumbling, anger is mounting to a boiling point, and radio talk show hosts are calling out both political parties for siding with the corporations against the people. As I said the other day, revolutionaries are being created on a daily basis here in Louisiana.
The real issue, that one we should all be focused on...is protection and defense of our waters. It is protection of the right to clean water, the right to make a livelihood from clean water in the form of regulated fisheries. Water, that which is essential to all of life on our planet, is in peril, and so are we.
Louisiana with her sold out federal politicians, is treated like a step child by the federal government, a sacrificial child to the oil industry. We Louisianians must stop allowing this. What the rest of the country does is up to all of you.
What we have to defend.
by Elizabeth Cook
Tuesday, May. 25, 2010 at 8:07 AM
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If we don't defend it we lose it.