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This tragedy continues to unfold in unimaginable ways. Over time, I have come to understand the convergence of private industry and government, but who would have thought that the relationship was melded unto the point of singularity? How and why did we get here?
Story after story illustrates to me that … Something. Isn’t. Quite. Right …
Firstly, the government projections of the size of the Gulf Oil gusher are in lockstep with BP’s. Their numbers are one and the same. And they clash directly with those calculations of qualified but non-corporate affiliated scientists. Come on people, you see the size of this thing!!! But, then again, perhaps you have not been permitted to do so. According to an ABC News report “BP and Feds Withheld Videos Showing Massive Scope of Oil Spill” “Coast Guard officials told ABC News that BP refused to allow them to release the more startling images, arguing that they were proprietary.” BP owns footage of a disaster in our country?! This cannot be happening!
Remember, mainstream media routinely state that approximately 19,000 barrels per day — or 798,000 gallons — gush from the Gulf. Whereas, Purdue’s Steve Werely, a mechanical engineering professor, estimates that 70,000-100,000 barrels or 2.94-4.2 million gallons of oil are spewing into the Gulf of Mexico every day. Why is there such a vast discrepancy? Could it be because BP’s penalty is based upon the number of barrels spilled? It is all food for thought.
Check out this headline: “NOAA Director Toes BP Line” Dan Froomkin, the author of this piece in the Huffington Post writes: “Despite more than three weeks of accumulating scientific evidence that gargantuan plumes of oil lurk beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico — presenting an imminent threat to sea life and a possibly decades-long threat to the nation’s coastlines — NOAA Director Jane Lubchenco recently refused to contradict BP CEO Tony Hayward’s statement that ‘the oil is on the surface’ and ‘there aren’t any plumes.’” Who is in charge here? Why is NOAA Director Jane Lubchenco reluctant to “contradict” BP CEO Tony Hayward?
Finally, I come to a modest but brilliant proposal. Please give it some thought. I feel that much of our collective unease could be settled if former Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s idea was in the realm of serious consideration. He proffers that the federal government place BP under temporary receivership which would make BP answerable to the American public. As things stand, BP is accountable first and foremost to its shareholders.
Thus, despite protestations to the contrary, Reich states: “The President is not legally in charge. As long as BP is not under the direct control of the government he has no direct line of authority, as responsibility is totally confused.”
It is now time to bring order to this chaos…
Give us the real numbers. Cease with this false equivalency between BP and our government. It is a grave insult to see our officials kowtowing to this private company. It is too much to see more people devastated, their lives and livelihoods destroyed. Ecosystems and those contained therein have been wiped out and other life forms have been destroyed.
This madness must stop. And the good news is this: we, the people have the power to make things right.
Are you ready to give it a try?
Please let me know what you think.
Love and blessings,
What do you make of the BP disaster? Steve Werely, a Purdue Mechanical Engineering professor, estimates that 70,000-100,000 barrels or 2.94 million to 4.2 million gallons of oil are spewing into the Gulf of Mexico every day: Why is the media only now reporting 20,000 barrels or 840,000 gallons? Indeed, why are they reporting such a low figure when scientists assert such a radically different number? Why does BP feel it has the right to refuse the EPA’s request to STOP using the dispersant corexit, a substance banned in British waters?
This is just tragic …
Entire communities and their accompanying ways of life are being destroyed. Only Heaven knows the damage done to the ecosystem
This is not the time to view the president punitively; this goes far beyond him. We must grow and mature in our politics and distinguish between the president and the institution of the presidency. The institution has morphed into its present shape and now we should all take the time to look at the state of our union. This disaster demonstrates the profound institutional crisis in which our government and our society finds itself.
Clearly, our country does not belong to us any more…
Today, we see our republic has not evolved into the democracy for which we proclaim that we are ambitious. America, and much of the world, has evolved into a corporatocracy. What is a corporatocracy? According to Wikipedia, a or corpocracy is a form of government where corporations, conglomerates, and/or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country.
In his valedictory address, President Dwight Eisenhower forewarned us the dangers of private industry overtaking our public trust, our government. When you think about it, this was an interesting turn for this war hero. He dearly believed in the preservation of our republic, even refusing to salute the troops. He felt the integrity of our civilian form of government had to be reinforced and protected. And, it was in this context that on January 17, 1961, just prior to the inauguration of President Kennedy, he said the following:
“A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry…But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions…
“Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, “political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
We must be vigilant. In an interview with the London Financial Times, BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, said the following:
“The U.S. is a big and important market for BP, and BP is also a big and important company for the US, with its contribution to drilling and oil and gas production. So the position goes both ways.
“This is not the first time something has gone wrong in this industry, but the industry has moved on. Of course our reputation will be tarnished, but let’s wait and see how we do with plugging the well and cleaning up the spill.”
When did BP gain equal standing with the United States government? Clearly, in the mind and actions of Mr. Svanberg — you did see BP with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard order a CBS News crew to stop filming the oil spew — BP has equivalency with the U.S. government. This is not how things are supposed to work.
The preamble to our Constitution put it this way:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
This is our government — of, for and by us. And no private entity, domestic or foreign, should trump the rights and override the “general welfare” of the “We, the (American) people.”
What do you think?
Love and blessings,
These pictures will break your heart… What about this British Petroleum (BP) gusher? Friends, this is not a “spill,” this is a gusher. And it is positively catastrophic. The April 20 explosion initially cost us 11 lives. But weeks later, the costs continue to multiply. One cannot begin to calculate the loss of livelihoods and destruction of the communities that support those who live off of the water.
And what about the full scale wiping out of wildlife? Have you thought about how this will impact our own food supply? I cannot even imagine the extent to which the environment has been damaged. Frankly, only time will tell of the impact this disaster will have upon our health. Think about it. I had a representative from OCEANA — the world’s largest organization dedicated to the preservation of our oceans — on my show this week and she said once oil is in the water, it cannot be taken out. Ouch. Or, more appropriately: Yuck!
However, as galling as this is, I was stunned when I read that BP’s liability was to be capped, CAPPED, at $75 million! This spill is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined and BP is culpable for only $75 million; this is nothing short of an outrage. The water supply will be tainted from the Gulf of Mexico, to the Atlantic Ocean and possibly to the Mississippi River and BP, which doubled their profits to more than $6.1 billion this year alone, only has to pay an amount totaling less than what they make per day.
According to a Thinkprogress.org report, based upon BP’s own reported profits, the oil giant, in the first quarter of this year made $93 million per day. And they’re on the hook for only $75 million? Who’ll have to pay for the rest of this cleanup?
Can we even begin the cleanup when we haven’t stopped the hemorrhaging?
And now we find out that BP has not been telling us the truth about the size and volume of this gusher. When first reported, we were told 1,000 barrels per day were spilling into the Gulf, then 5,000, then Purdue engineering professor Steve Werely took a look at the pictures of the catastrophe and calculated that it’s pumping out 70,000 barrels a day: That’s more than 2.9 million gallons of oil per day!
And we are supposed to believe the oil balls that have washed ashore in Florida are not related to this disaster. Seriously?!
BP and the government agencies that allowed them to miss the regulatory benchmarks that could have prevented this disaster must be held accountable… And we, the people, are the only ones who can make that happen.
This disaster will destroy our food, wildlife and alter the ecosystem, damaging that region and the planet for decades, if not forever. Someone or someones must answer for this and ensure this never happens again.
What do you think?
Love and blessings,
Welcome back to my blog! I pray you have had a wonderful week and are preparing for a great weekend!
I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you about an issue we covered this week on my show: The nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
To be certain, she has a stellar reputation. Her professional peers have lauded her and many pundits have lavished her with praise. And yet, I still have questions.
First of all, her paper trail is thin. Too thin for a lifetime appointment of this magnitude. And let’s face it, at 50, she is not old (conceivably, she has 30, 40 or even 50 years of working life ahead of her). We simply do not know enough about her opinions and inclinations. According to University of Colorado Law School Professor Paul Campos’ piece, The Next Harriet Miers (www.thedailybeast.com):
“In the nearly 20 years since Kagan became a law professor, she’s published very little academic scholarship—three law review articles, along with a couple of shorter essays and two brief book reviews. Somehow, Kagan got tenure at Chicago in 1995 on the basis of a single article in The Supreme Court Review—a scholarly journal edited by Chicago’s own faculty—and a short essay in the school’s law review.”
After receiving tenure as a Harvard Law professor, she published nothing.
Don’t you want to know her thoughts or meanderings about reproductive rights, corporate malfeasance and responsibility, or affirmative action?
In the decades she could serve on the court, it is almost guaranteed she’ll have to weigh in on these issues and more. Her thoughts, even as they have evolved, you and I have the right, and the need to know.
And, her hires while serving as law dean at the Harvard Law School have served to give me pause. Frankly, they have unsettled me. I find it hard to believe that, as Duke University Law School Professor Guy-Uriel Charles wrote she “hired 25 men, all of whom were white, and seven women, six of whom were white and one Asian American.” Not one single African-American, Latino or Native American could be hired on the tenure track? Not one could be placed there?
NYU Law Professor Derrick Bell left the Harvard Law school in 1992 over this very issue. Bell became the first tenured Black professor at the Harvard Law School in 1971, but he relinquished this prestigious post and walked away from this distinction in 1992 when he refused to return from a two-year, unpaid leave of absence he took to protest the lack of women of color on the faculty. No Black women? No Latina women? No Native American women? In America?! In the world?! You cannot be serious.
Hey, I’m neither lawyer nor legal scholar. But, OK, let me help you scour the landscape. Believe me, these people of color, these women, specifically, exist. One need only make the time and have the intention to find them. I’ll give you a few: Atty. Barbara Arnwine, the head of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil rights Under Law, or Dr. Lezli Baskerville, the head of NAFEO, would be tremendous additions to Harvard. Dr. Michele Goodwin, one of the foremost health law experts in the world, internationally published and renowned, would fill the bill nicely. Her work is so compelling that the University of Minnesota’s Law and Medical Schools joined with their School of Public Health to create a chair for her. Take a look at longtime civil rights attorney and Ohio State Law Professor Michelle Alexander. And, guess what? Goodwin and Alexander have paper trails: They are all published authors.
The women I named are African-American. However, there are accomplished and competent, let alone brilliant, Latina and Native American women who would be fine additions to Harvard’s faculty. Call MALDEF, AIM, the NATIVE-AMERICAN RIGHTS FUND and LULAC; I am sure these organizations would be happy to furnish the Harvard Law Dean and faculty search committee with assistance, if they had only been asked.
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Solicitor General Elena Kagan has many fine qualities and deeds, but the aforementioned issues deserve scrutiny and specific answers. Indeed, Justice Marshall’s tradition is one to which she can fairly and proudly lay claim. However, he, I am sure, would want answers to these questions. And he, above all, would want the tradition of Charles Hamilton Houston, the Brown v. Board of Education decision, whose 56th anniversary we now commemorate, as well as that of his own and so many others, honored and respected.
I believe he would have moved to find other NAACP legal eagles like Constance Baker Motley or Juanita Jackson Mitchell; I believe he would have sought out and trained a Dolores Huerta or a Wilma Mankiller. That was his tradition. And they should be observed and, more than that, this tradition is the foundation upon which greater deeds can rest and great people can be developed.
Next posting: The BP disaster: Sadly, that is the gift that just keeps on giving: literally…
God bless you.
Love and blessings,
Welcome to my blog! It has been a blessing to have gotten to know so many of you through my radio show on WVON as well as through my other appearances on various platforms, in my many and varied incarnations. Deborah Douglas, a brilliant writer at Huffington Post, has been after me forever to begin this blog. She has rightly pointed out that although we get a chance to speak with one another throughout the week, there is more that you need and want to say. So Deborah, thank you for the push! And everybody, let’s get things started… Beginning today, I invite you to come on over, have a seat and click away!
I hope that together you and I will use this platform to discuss the matters of the day, be they social, political, religious, cultural, institutional or personal. Together…That is the key. Together let us endeavor to have conversations that are civil, civilized and — as we grow together — loving. We can and will disagree; let’s just try to remain agreeable as we do so.
I’ll post some stories here and I’d love for you to post stories, as well. Who knows? I might be able to cover them on my radio show or write about them. And if there is something we have covered on the show that you would like to comment upon further, please let me hear from you.
So, let us begin…
This is Mother’s Day weekend and it is my privilege to inaugurate this blog as we celebrate the women who gave birth to us all. And as we honor our Mothers, let us be mindful of the origins of this holiday.
Julia Ward Howe, the lyricist for the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was an ardent proponent of human rights, an abolitionist, a pacifist and a poet. Even though this song was adopted by the Union Army as its “battle hymn,” it was originally an abolitionist anthem; indeed, it was her plea to end slavery. Although her pacifist leanings made Mrs. Howe a reluctant warrior, she was a fierce and unyielding foe of that “peculiar institution,” human beings as chattel: slavery.
As much as she deplored slavery and worked toward its extinction, she anguished over the magnificent toll the war exacted of America: More than 600,000 Americans died in this conflict, and to this day there is no reliable accounting for the physical and psychological wounds of the survivors of the war. According to records and reflections of that period, the devastation was indescribable. To this day the Civil War remains this country’s most devastating and arguably most defining moment.
It was in that context that Mrs. Howe made her case for the end to war and the commencement of peace. Grounded in the belief that women had a responsibility to craft our societies at the political level, she issued a Mother’s Day Proclamation and called upon a “general congress of women without limit of nationality” to come together and actively campaign for peace as a reaction to the carnage of that war.
That’s a radical thought today. Can you imagine demanding the end of war and the beginning of peace? What about her call to all women to come together and heal the world? It has been more than 100 years since she issued that call. Is this the “impossible dream” or an achievable one?
But let’s move beyond the institutional to the personal. Depending upon how you experienced your Mother, this can be a tough or tender holiday. The fortunate are at peace with their Mothers. Some are emotionally estranged from their Mothers. Others long for the embrace of the Mother who rests in the bosom of eternity, while others still never knew her at all. How can the disturbed be comforted? How can the comfortable comfort the disturbed?
How will you celebrate Mother’s Day? How should we celebrate Mother’s Day?
Please let me know…
However you celebrate this blessed holiday, I pray you will be surrounded by love, whatever your thoughts and memories of your Mother may be…
God bless you.
Love and blessings,
Santita a.k.a. Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson’s Daughter