Monday, July 26, 2010

Oil Upon the Waters

We call ourselves “a nation of laws.” But our laws are weak and subject to the whims of those who wield power.

There is another set of laws, however—the laws of physics. They rule the very universe. They are the same laws from which we find that “oil and water do not mix.” Still, we pour oil upon the waters.

The Gulf region is blessed with sprawling beaches, scenic vistas, and abundant fisheries. It also has oil beneath its great waters. In fact, oil revenue accounts for well over a third of Louisiana’s economy. Tourism and fishing fairly round out the rest. Interestingly, fishing and tourism easily go hand-in-hand. Oil, on its best day, is incompatible with both. On its worst day, as we plainly see, it is a death sentence to the other two. Still, the Gulf coast people want that oil. Tell them oil is incompatible with fine beaches and abundant fisheries, and you breach one of their favorite laws—the one that says they can have their cake and eat it, too.

There are no innocents in this Gulf debacle, (except for the fishies.) We all have a part in this nightmare—Dems, Republicans, oil companies and us plain old everyday greedy Americans. Oil is big money. That’s how we like our money…big. When President Obama tried to levy a moratorium on off-shore drilling, the Gulf coast people screamed. They want their oil.

These people have played a willing game of Russian roulette. Now that the chamber has discharged, they look about as though they had no idea it was loaded. They had gone to the casino with the rent money, and lost. Now they want their money back. And they will get it.

Today it is fashionable to pity the people of the Gulf. Obama convinced BP to set aside $20 billion escrow account for them. Larry king held a telethon—raised $1.8 million for those “harmed by the spill.” How nice. People getting paid for the ocean they despoiled.

This $20 billion escrow account is obscene—a grab bag, the likes of which this world has never witnessed. As this piece goes to print, lawyers across America are filing into “How-to” seminars, and coming out touting their abilities to not only get at that money, but to follow up the “big-grab” with lawsuits if they don’t “grab” enough.

There is one group, “Hands Across The Sands”—people from all 50 states and 35 nations in hand-holding solidarity—hoping to stave off any further off shore drilling. Against the immense weight o greed in this country, they just as soon hope to hold back the tides.

A snapshot of what they are up against will crystallize in the moment the victim petitioners light into that $20 billion pot of gold. It will be a feeding frenzy. There will be blood.

Meanwhile, the oil continues to pour into the Gulf waters. On the 60th day of the oil onslaught, the Louisiana legislature called for a day of prayer—one that will end the gusher and save their precious shores. (Now they think of their shores.)

Interestingly, they pray to God to stop the oil when conceivably it is the same God who all along had protected their shores from that same oil—burying it as he had millions of years ago beneath a mile of ocean and two miles of bedrock. It was the people of the Gulf who cheered on BP, spurred as they were by vision of plum jobs, big-spending oil workers, and lucrative contracts. They willed BP to be relentless, and so BP was, until it had punched a hole three miles down and struck black gold. Now they want God to re-seal the seabed.

Sorry, folks, it just ain’t that easy, now that you have a tiger by the tail.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Naked Prey

In the 60’s movie, “The Naked Prey” - set in colonial Africa - a Brit on safari shoots at something big swimming in the river. When asked what it was, he replies, “ I don’t know. But whatever it was it’s dead now.

Today, America conducts a drone war in the tribal areas of Pakistan. These unmanned drones target people from high up in the sky and obliterate them with precision-guided missiles.

A month ago, the Obama administration announced that it had killed M. Mehsud, a top Taliban commander, in another such strike in the tribal areas. Followed the self-congratulatory pats on the back.

Now it turns out that Mehsud is not dead after all. Seems he was spotted the other day, alive and well, in those same tribal region .

So, who did we kill in that drone strike? Apparently, we do not know. All we know for certain is that whoever it was, he’s dead now.