Posts from — May 2010
It was the war to end all wars, the war that my father (photo above), and his brothers and cousins, fought in – seven Graham boys marching proudly off to the mud and mustard gas of Europe or the sandstorms and lice of Egypt and Jordan. By God’s grace, they returned unharmed, all seven of them. But my father’s youngest brother, my Uncle Arthur, fought again in the Second World War, and this time he wasn’t so lucky.
He was standing on a bridge in London when a buzz bomb hit. The bridge was demolished and his skull was cracked. He was never the same again – especially when he drank, which was most of the time.
But he was one of the more fortunate ones. As someone said, war is hell, and the evidence is all around us. Endless rows of white crosses, shattered ex-soldiers with missing limbs and hollow eyes, befuddled veterans sleeping under bridges…
Not to mention the ruined lives of the warriors’ loved ones… impoverished families and traumatized youngsters… dashed hopes… lost dreams… oceans of tears…
Yet the war to end all wars has still to be fought.
They’re killing young men and women in Afghanistan as I write this. And U.S. troops linger in Iraq, trapped in a hopeless time warp. Drones will probably be flying over Pakistan and Yemen tonight raining death on the wretches below.
And the cost!
To date, $747.3 billion has been appropriated for the U.S. war in Iraq and $299 billion for Afghanistan. And Congress is about to add an estimated $37 billion to the current $136.8 billion total spending for the current fiscal year.
No end is in sight.
In President Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2011, $895 billion is expected to be allocated to defense spending.
And for what?
To save the world? This world?
Despite the endless war – partly because of it – the world has not been saved. Not from the depredations of Big Oil, so vividly illustrated in that unstoppable gusher in the Gulf, not from relentless oppression by the moneyed class, not from the chicanery of politicians or the misery of the slums.
I cannot begin to list the horrors that persist. You probably know them as well as I do. Think Africa, where millions are starving and millions have been murdered or mutilated. Think Haiti, where the devastation of that earthquake has already been forgotten but where a legacy of misery continues. Think Jamaica, where violence rages in a massive manhunt for an international drug dealer wanted in the U.S. Think Korea, where the North and South are poised to light another fuse because of the sinking of that warship. Think Israel and Palestine. Think Iran’s menacing nuclear program…
Think America, where the budget deficit is $1.27 trillion and accruing interest every second, where the political system has been hijacked by knaves and fools, where teachers are being laid off in droves as more and more soldiers are being recruited to “save” society…
There is so much to think about this Memorial Day as we fly Old Glory and fry hamburgers and hot dogs, sail our boats and picnic in the park.
But who’s thinking?
May 31, 2010 No Comments
With a stroke of his veto pen, Governor Charlie Crist (photo above) handed the contested Florida Senate seat to Marco Rubio yesterday. By slashing the state’s education funding, he antagonized a lot of voters – especially those along the crucial I-4 Corridor – and ended any chance he had of being elected senator in November.
I didn’t expect Crist to have a lot of affection for schoolin’. At college, he was much more at home on the football field than in the classroom, playing quarterback for Wake Forest and failing the Florida bar exam twice before managing to become a lawyer.
But I didn’t think he would be this dumb.
Nobody in Lakeland, where I live, could be expected to vote for him after he blocked development of a new USF campus that would have meant economic recovery not just for the city but for the entire area. Indeed, Kathleen Munson, president of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, is quoted in The Ledger as saying Crist has delivered an economic blow to the entire state.
Crist vetoed $46 million allocated for the first phase of a new USF campus, a pharmacy college building and planning for an excellence-wellness center. And he added fuel to the fire by vetoing more than $12 million designated for Polk State College.
I suppose he was trying to show those Tea Party types who support Rubio how fiscally conservative he is. But the tea baggers were never going to vote for him, anyway. His only chance of becoming a United States senator was to woo Democratic voters. Kendrick Meek is polling poorly, and doesn’t stand much of a chance of winning, so some Democrats could have been expected to opt for Crist in an effort to keep Rubio out of Congress.
Now, I don’t know about the rest of the Democratic voters, but he just lost my vote. I guess I’ll vote for Meek, after all, knowing he has no hope of winning. (My fingers would wither if I voted for Rubio.)
Crist also vetoed a $160 million transfer from the state’s road-building fund to the education budget, throwing cold water on any warmth Florida’s teachers might have felt in response to his veto of that draconian education bill recently.
The Republican-turned-Independent candidate now has antagonized just about everybody. He is engaged in a spiteful spat with the Republican establishment, and he has just kicked sand in the face of the education and economic development communities.
Although he was born in Pennsylvania, his family moved to St. Petersburg when he was a child. And the 54-year-old governor has been involved in Florida politics for decades. He should know by now how the state really votes.
You can forget all the rhetoric and look at it this way. Rubio will get a lot of Hispanic votes just because of his name. Meek will get support from the black community and us “liberals.” Crist can count on a lot of white Floridians – especially in the northern part of the state.
All other things being equal, South Florida would probably favor Rubio and North Florida would belong to Crist. The I-4 Corridor, with the volatile and diverse population attracted by Disney World, would be up for grabs.
Not any more.
Charlie’s veto just gave the I-4 Corridor to Rubio. Even if the state Legislature overrides his veto, voters will remember it come November.
May 29, 2010 1 Comment
If you blame President Obama for the catastrophe in the Gulf, you might as well blame him for those land mines left over in Thailand and Cambodia.
That oil rig explosion that precipitated the worst spill in history was the inevitable result of policies pursued by past administrations. Not only the Bush-Cheney gang but other U.S. administrations going back as far as the eye can see.
To Obama, the BP blow out was as much of a shock as the explosion of a World War II shell that an old uncle had brought back as a souvenir. He had no idea.
OK. Maybe he should’ve. And maybe you would’ve known better.
But with all he had going on – health care reform and the teetering economy to name just two – he was looking the other way. Yes, the guy is human.
As Donald Rumsfeld noted, there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns, and – to Obama – it was an unknown unknown that the oil industry has figured out how to drill far beneath the sea but hasn’t a clue about handling a blow out like the one in the Gulf. I mean who would’ve thought anyone could be so irresponsible?
The president’s major flaw is an absence of cynicism in a cynical world. He has a respect for “experts” that borders on reverence. And he believes in the myth of unbiased scientific expertise. I guess he didn’t get around to reading those stories about scientists who vouch for studies they had nothing to do with in exchange for loads of drug company money.
So when scientists assured him that Big Oil had developed technology making offshore drilling as safe as a stroll in the park, he figured maybe he should let them go ahead and drill, baby, drill. There’s an election coming up in November and a global warming bill struggling to get through Congress. Why not offer an olive branch to the political right?
It was his belief in bipartisanship that let him down.
So he was booby-trapped. And we can only hope it was a learning experience. As George W. famously said, “fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice shame on … how does that go again?”
May 28, 2010 2 Comments
In an article distributed by “Truthout” today, Eleanor J. Bader, a teacher, freelance writer and activist from Brooklyn, NY, makes this observation:
It’s obvious that if you repeat something often enough, in an authoritative voice, listeners will begin to believe what you say. That’s the theory behind both advertising and conservative media.
The oft-repeated barrage of verbal assaults lobbed at Barack Obama – that he’s a commie/foreigner/infidel/Nazi – confirm this. Indeed, an April 2010 CBS/NY Times poll found that 52 percent of Americans believe that the president is moving the U.S. toward socialism, something they clearly regard as bad, and maybe even dangerous, for the U.S. and its people. What’s more, The Huffington Post reported in February that 78 percent of Republican leaders consider the Commander in Chief to be a full-blown pinko.
In the face of such a brainwashing triumph, thoughtful people can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by hopelessness. What can you do but throw up your hands and cry, “Lord, what fools these mortals be”?
What is it about accurate information that repels the vast majority of Americans? Why would they rather have their prejudices reinforced than their eyes opened?
That’s a question to be answered by someone a lot smarter than me.
But I’m smart enough to know that Obama is no Socialist, and I am beginning to wonder whether America – and the world – would be better off if he were.
Reviewing “The Case for Socialism” by Alan Maass, Bader recalls the Socialist heyday in America during the early 20th century. And she notes that once again capitalism isn’t working – “not in the U.S. and not in other parts of the world.”
She cites this passage in the Maass book:
Almost half the world’s population – more than three billion people, the equivalent of the population of ten United States – live on less than $2.50 a day. A billion people are undernourished and go to bed hungry each night. Two in five people around the world lack access to clean water, and one in four lacks basic electricity.
And she adds:
Here in the U.S., whole communities are being decimated by evictions and foreclosures, healthcare is a shambles, and hunger and homelessness are at near-record levels. Twenty percent of children are born into poverty, and illnesses correlating with inadequate nutrition are epidemic. At the same time, Maass reports that in 2009, the world’s 793 billionaires had a combined worth of $2.4 trillion. This translates into “twice the combined gross domestic product of all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Maass charges that “Capitalism is built around organized theft – the theft of a portion of the value of what workers produce by the people who employ them.” That’s an extreme view, but it’s not entirely inaccurate.
To counter Maass, you could cite the many failures of Socialism over the years. It usually has not worked as advertised. In most cases, bureaucrats have taken over the privileges that the wealthy used to enjoy, and the mass of the people have been no better off.
Indeed, under the so-called Socialism of the Soviet empire, they were a lot worse off. But no one in their right mind would advocate the brutish Communist system today. I am sure the advocates of Socialism have in mind something a lot more democratic, something like the Scandinavian governments.
You certainly would not claim that the capitalist system is fair or compassionate. It’s based on a dog-eat-dog philosophy that insists society as a whole benefits from the selfish pursuits of individuals.
Come on, be honest. Do you still believe that the capitalist philosophy works, after all that’s happened? After the economic collapse and the futile bank bailouts? After the bursting of the housing bubble? After the deaths of those workers in that West Virginia mine accident? After the explosion of that BP oil well in the Gulf?
The truth is that capitalism – as we know it – has failed.
Yet as U.S. President, Barack Obama is doing everything he and his advisers can think of to keep it alive. I don’t see how anyone can call him a Socialist. The way I see it, he’s engaged in a futile battle to save capitalism from itself.
It may well be time for America to try something new – if not Socialism, something close to it.
May 27, 2010 2 Comments
It’s tempting to think of the current violence in Jamaica as a local matter, a clash between a slum lord “don” and a failed government, a bomb that was waiting to explode when an attempt to arrest gang leader Christopher “Dudus” Coke (photo above) ignited the fuse.
In an article exploring the popularity of Jamaican crime figures like Dudus, the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper declares:
Because parliamentarians have largely failed to improve the lives of their constituents, dons like Dudus are considered role models. They act as ‘fathers’ who ensure the children of single mothers go to school, or provide food for families struggling to make ends meet.
Hey, who does that remind me of? Wasn’t there some English dude who did that kind of thing back in the days of Bad King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham?
But this romantic notion is a minor aspect of a complex truth.
Granted, Jamaica’s governments through the years have failed to provide for the basic needs of the island’s population. The powers that be have persistently allowed a small minority to pillage the scant resources of the island and have turned a blind eye to widespread injustice, oppression and cruelty.
But how different is that, really, from America? Or Britain? Or most European nations? Or all those Asian and African countries?
“Donkey say the world no level,” and the donkey is right. The conflict in Jamaica is a microcosm of a worldwide struggle between haves and have nots, oppression and rebellion, justice and abuse.
The Guardian article accurately points out that:
Some of Jamaica’s most high-profile politicians represent garrisons. In addition to [former prime minister and member of parliament] Edward Seaga, former prime ministers Michael Manley and Portia Simpson Miller presided over communities where crime, teen pregnancy and unemployment are rife. Yet, these same politicians are easily re-elected when general elections are held every five years.
I was there a generation ago when Seaga developed a gang-based constituency in the crime ridden slums of western Kingston. Some of my cousins were involved in Jamaican politics at the time and I worked for a local newspaper. The poisonous seeds sown by Seaga and Manley have sprouted into deadly organisms that threaten to engulf the fragile island.
It was inevitable that this vast criminal network should become involved in the illicit drug trade that flourishes unchecked throughout the world.
And it was this involvement that led to the Dudus crisis.
Dudus is wanted in the United States on charges of gun smuggling and drug trafficking. American law enforcement officials say he is the leader of the Shower Posse, one of the most violent units in the U.S.
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who owes his political career, in large part, to the gang leader’s support, stubbornly resisted American attempts to extradite Dudus. But in the face of overwhelming popular opposition, he finally relented.
Two weeks ago, he ordered Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne to sign an extradition order.
It was this action that triggered the current confrontation between the gunmen and the government. Dudus supporters blocked roads leading to their neighborhood, and attacked a police station.
So far, at least 30 civilians have been reported killed and 25 injured. And according to a recent report, a total of 211 people, including six women, have been detained.
As the violence rages in Jamaica, astute observers might recognize it as part of a global infection. Until recreational drugs are legalized and brought under government control, a massive criminal operation will continue to flourish worldwide, spawning crises like the current Jamaican conflict.
And until the world’s existing economic structure is overhauled to create a more equitable system of exchanging goods and services, resentment and rebellion will persist.
May 26, 2010 1 Comment
Like Charles Boyer tormenting Ingrid Bergman in “Gaslight,” well funded propagandists are telling me that the things I perceive are not really so and it’s things I do not perceive that are real. In the movie, these mind games would have driven the Ingrid Bergman character mad if a clever policeman (played by Joseph Cotton) had not come to her rescue.
In real life, the clever policeman is supposed to be the media. Sadly, in today’s buy-a-soapbox world, the few rational voices that still exist are barely audible. For every news outlet like the New York Times there are a dozen propaganda rags like the Washington Times; for every rational PBS commentator there are a dozen right-wing crazies on Fox News and talk radio.
Mainstream news sources like CNN have become timid handmaidens to the special interests who organized and funded a diabolical crusade to sell an alternate reality to the American public. In a naive effort to provide both sides of every story, CNN leaves me to sort out the truth from a cascade of scientifically engineered talking points and psychologically researched buzz words.
True, I can get my head straightened out by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. But where are they on weekends when Fox News and CNN monopolize cable news?
So you might understand how relieved I was this morning to read a New York Times article by Paul Krugman that separates reality from theater. Like Joseph Cotton in “Gaslight” reassuring Ingrid Bergman that the lights really had dimmed, Krugman reinforced my perception that the “populist uprising” being reported by the media is really a false front for a corporate crusade designed to discredit President Obama.
“The antics of the socialism-and-death-panels crowd are only part of the story of anti-Obamaism, and arguably the less important part,” the Nobel prize winning economist writes. “If you really want to know what’s going on, watch the corporations.”
Here’s more from Krugman’s op-ed piece:
Many Obama supporters have been disappointed by what they see as the administration’s mildness on regulatory issues — its embrace of limited financial reform that doesn’t break up the biggest banks, its support for offshore drilling, and so on. Yet corporate interests are balking at even modest changes from the permissiveness of the Bush era.
From the outside, this rage against regulation seems bizarre. I mean, what did they expect? The financial industry, in particular, ran wild under deregulation, eventually bringing on a crisis that has left 15 million Americans unemployed, and required large-scale taxpayer-financed bailouts to avoid an even worse outcome. Did Wall Street expect to emerge from all that without facing some new restrictions? Apparently it did.
So what President Obama and his party now face isn’t just, or even mainly, an opposition grounded in right-wing populism. For grass-roots anger is being channeled and exploited by corporate interests, which will be the big winners if the G.O.P. does well in November.
If this sounds familiar, it should: it’s the same formula the right has been using for a generation. Use identity politics to whip up the base; then, when the election is over, give priority to the concerns of your corporate donors. Run as the candidate of “real Americans,” not those soft-on-terror East coast liberals; then, once you’ve won, declare that you have a mandate to privatize Social Security. It comes as no surprise to learn that American Crossroads, a new organization whose goal is to deploy large amounts of corporate cash on behalf of Republican candidates, is the brainchild of none other than Karl Rove…
So where does that leave the president and his party? Mr. Obama wanted to transcend partisanship. Instead, however, he finds himself very much in the position Franklin Roosevelt described in a famous 1936 speech, struggling with “the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.”
So, it looks as if I am not crazy after all.
I am one of those Obama supporters who are disappointed by his mild-mannered approach to straightening out Washington and Wall Street. I’ve been waiting for him to step into a phone booth and change into the caped super-hero I thought I was voting for.
I guess I haven’t fully recognized just what the President is up against. I expected the bad guys to hang their heads in shame and skulk off into the shadows. I didn’t think they eould have the gall to fight back when their evil deeds were exposed and reform was proposed. I guess President Obama didn’t think they would, either.
Maybe, once he gets over his surprise, he will take off that gray flannel suit and change into the bare-knuckle fighter America so badly needs.
Krugman writes that FDR turned corporate opposition into a badge of honor, declaring he “welcomed their hatred.”
He suggests that “it’s time for President Obama to find his inner F.D.R., and do the same.”
I second the motion.
May 25, 2010 1 Comment
What’s going on with the Gulf oil leak, anyway? Why is the U.S. Government so passive? Why are reporters so tactful in their questioning of BP officials? Why isn’t anyone in prison?
After all, 11 workers died in last month’s explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform. And the evidence is mounting that their deaths resulted from willful disregard of normal safety precautions in the pursuit of unchecked greed.
Day after day, thousands of gallons of crude gush from a crack in the floor of the Gulf, bringing a disaster of cataclysmic proportions ever closer to the Louisiana bayous, the Florida coastline and the East Coast of the United States.
And day after day we get talk, talk, talk… excuses, excuses,excuses…
Attempts to plug the leak so far range from the absurd to the bizarre. They include concrete boxes and mile-long pipelines designed like drinking straws. If anyone knows what they’re doing, they haven’t been heard from. Yet, officials are letting BP continue to run the futile cleanup operation.
You would think that not just President Obama and the U.S. Congress but leaders of the entire world world would be mobilized to clean up the mess before it spreads from the Gulf into the Atlantic Ocean. And you would think the United Nations would be debating sanctions against BP in retaliation for the company’s criminally careless behavior.
You would also think that this would be the end of offshore drilling permits.
Of course, you would be wrong.
Big Oil has long been above the law – not only in America but throughout the world. Oil company executives have spent billions to buy this special exemption.
The money they have poured into world corruption is estimated at $700 billion (US).
And the way oil leases are granted in America has been a shameful scandal for generations. During the Bush-Cheney Administration, corruption in the agency charged with regulating the industry deteriorated to the point where government regulators were not only accepting bribes but also sharing drugs and participating in sex orgies with oil company executives.
Things were supposed to improve with Obama’s election, and no doubt they have. But the Gulf explosion has brought charges that federal regulators allowed extensive offshore drilling without first demanding the required environmental permits. The BP well that blew in the gulf in April was granted an exemption from the assessment process because company officials assured regulators that it would be safe.
The government regulatory agency also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the Gulf and in Alaska, according to reports. Scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed.
One reason for Big Oil’s privileged position is the revenue the U.S. derives from oil and gas exploration. This is one of the federal government’s largest sources of non-tax income. In 2007, the most recent year for which a complete annual report is available, the government collected $9.4 billion in oil and gas royalties.
Of course, even in this deal, the public purse is apparently being short-changed.
The industry pays about 40 percent of its royalties by giving the government some of the oil it finds, and the government uses this oil to stock its (controversial) Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
But the government has no effective way of monitoring the industry, so taxpayers are inevitably losing billions of dollars in the deal.
Meanwhile, the beat goes on. Oil gushes into the Gulf, and nobody know how long it will take to plug the massive leak. Eleven men are dead. Wildlife is being suffocated. The fishing industry is crippled and thousands of people are out of work because of it.
But don’t look for some dramatic change as a result. The Interior Department still operates under rules like the 1872 mining law, which allows companies to stake claims in environmentally sensitive areas with little public comment.
Big Oil reigns supreme.
May 24, 2010 No Comments
To look at Rand Paul (photo above), you would think he was just another white-collar white guy with a wife and three kids living somewhere in the suburbs. And he is just that – kind of.
The difference is that Rand Paul tries to be honest.
The 47-year-old eye doctor was born in Pennsylvania but his family moved to Texas when he was a child. He was raised and educated in Texas and lives in Kentucky. So he is not only the son of Libertarian Ron Paul but also a son of the South.
So when he says he has misgivings about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he is speaking from the heart. Ask most sons (and daughters) of the South whether they have misgivings about the law that desegregated lunch counters and rest rooms, and – if they were honest – they would have to say yes.
From what I’ve observed living in Central Florida, they still don’t want black folks using their rest rooms and drinking from their water fountains.
Of course, they won’t say that in so many words. But in the privacy of the voting booth, they make their feelings known.
Why do you think Lyndon Johnson said the Democrats had “lost the South for a generation” when he signed the Civil Rights Act into law?
Of course, Rand Paul wouldn’t see it the way I do. He would never admit having such feelings – not even to himself. He would sound like a prejudiced redneck and he thinks of himself as an educated guy. So he hides behind his dad’s Libertarian philosophy of a “hands-off” central government. Under that system, the federal government would let the states manage their own affairs, and stay out of citizens’ lives.
Rand Paul tries to justify segregation by saying it’s covered by the Constitutional guarantee of free speech. So, if you’re free to say objectionable things, you should be free to do objectionable things – like banning minorities from your restaurant (and rest rooms).
Yes, I know that’s crazy, but these people don’t think like you and me. They have their own special logic. I guess you could use Rand Paul’s argument to justify all kinds of abhorrent behavior – even physical violence.
You know, of course, that Rand Paul is a Republican candidate – for Kentucky – in the November Senate race, and that he represents the “Tea Party” movement.
So now you know where those “Tea Party” folks are coming from.
Few of them would admit it, but when they say they want their America back, what they’re yearning for is a return to the good old days when blacks and other minorities were supposed to know their place, and white folks were a privileged race.
I’m sure you’ve seen how the Republican Party has shaped its policies recently to accommodate the “Tea Party” movement. So tell me how in the name of all that’s reasonable can a black American vote Republican?
May 21, 2010 2 Comments
Voters showed surprising logic in yesterday’s primary elections. They recognized that the logical choice in American politics is between Libertarianism and Socialism. Anything in between is a push-you-pull-you compromise – or, worse, a scam designed to enrich a few at the expense of the many.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about Kentucky Republicans ignoring their “establishment” and overwhelmingly selecting Rand Paul as their flag bearer in November’s U.S. Senate race. I’m talking about Arkansas Democrats forcing Blanche Lincoln into a run-off with the challenger from her left, and Pennsylvania Democrats rejecting turncoat Arlen Specter.
So much for President Obama’s “bipartisan” dream.
Sorry, Mr. President. There is a blue America and a red America and never the twain shall meet.
It would defy nature if they did. If you pour water on a fire, they do not combine to produce something in between. One wins; the other loses.
I have to concede that last night’s results included a contradiction to my theory. A “centrist” Democrat, some guy named Mark Critz, defeated Republican Tim Burns in a special election for the late John Murtha’s Pennsylvania district. He will occupy a seat in the House until November, when he will have to run again. But I wouldn’t be surprised if “progressives” find a real Democrat to run against him by then.
Increasingly, Americans are sick of the insult to their intelligence by politicians who call themselves Democrats or Republicans but act like members of the other party. Mark Critz is not a real Democrat. He is an opponent of abortion and gun control. And he opposes the climate change bill the House approved last June – as well as the recently passed health care law.
Strangely, President Obama – with the complicated reasoning he probably picked up in law school – supported Specter and Lincoln, neither of whom wholeheartedly supports his agenda. The Bible says “love” your enemies, Mr. President, not aid and abet them.
But despite the president’s dedication to “bipartisanship,” the majority of American voters are lining up on one side or the other. Polls show the public split right down the middle on nearly every important issue.
And that makes sense to me.
Logically, you can have a central government that interferes as little as possible in people’s lives, enabling where possible but not actually running things; or you can have a central government that acts as an umbrella insurance policy, providing a safety net in exchange for your taxes.
To suggest that you can provide a safety net and follow “hands-off” fiscal policies is absurd.
In my view, that’s the message the voters sent last night.
May 19, 2010 No Comments
Like Blackwater when its dark deeds were exposed, BP will probably respond to the catastrophe it caused in the Gulf by changing its name. And it will have to shed the “go green” look. No one will ever buy that again.
So here are a few suggestions. Free of charge.
How about a military theme? That should win friends and influence customers in today’s America. BP could become GI (for GI Joe), its employees could wear Army fatigues and its buildings could be decorated in some kind of camouflage pattern. Of course, the stations would hand out “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers. They could also hold drawings for such prizes as a weekend on maneuvers with a local militia. And the company could hire a group of retired generals to extol its virtues on CNN.
Or maybe something religious or patriotic – or both. They could opt for a name like Liberty or Patriot – or something from the New Testament to distinguish their Christian gas from all that Muslim gas the other stations sell. The employees could wear three-cornered hats and gaiters, and they could paint stars and stripes over their gas pumps and buildings. That should attract a lot of “real American” customers!
Motorists would get a Bible and/or a copy of the Constitution with every tank of gas. The stations would also distribute free “God Bless America” bumper stickers – and raffle off automatic rifles (a sure winner with the Fourth Amendment crowd).
The “new” company would need a spokesperson, and who could be more suitable than Sarah Palin (photo above)? She would look oh-so-hot dressed up as the Statue of Liberty. She could tour the company’s service stations (at $100,000 a visit), scribble the Ten Commandments on the palms of her hands and read them to cheering (and ogling) crowds.
And while she’s at it, she could say a word or two in favor of deregulation. All this regulation-y stuff is stifling free enterprise, don’t ya know (wink).
Of course, it would be a lot less costly for BP to become a good corporate citizen – acting responsibly, obeying safety regulations, protecting employees’ lives and respecting the environment.
But that’s just not the way Big Oil rolls, is it?
May 18, 2010 2 Comments