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The Gulf Oil Disaster Will Not Change U.S. Energy Policy

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Message shamus cooke

As is typical with U.S. politicians and media, an extremely serious topic has nearly been reduced to absurdity. Once the urgency of the Gulf oil eruption has been fully sterilized, the stage will be set for business as usual politics -- with the corporations comfortably in the driver seat.

But the corporate establishment cannot act too quickly in its fervor to drop the topic.

The environmental destruction brought on by corporate greed has opened the eyes of millions in the U.S. -- eyes that are struggling to stay open as they now face the enormous sleep-producing machine of the mainstream media.

One way the media and politicians hypnotize the masses is by spreading the blame, and there are countless ways to do this.

The right-wing media is taking a risky propaganda move by blaming Obama's "big government" actions against BP, which is painted as the hapless victim of Obama's "socialism."

Contrary to the media's reporting, Obama did not "make" BP set up a $20 billion dollar account to pay for damages; this amount was agreed on behind closed doors for the purposes of calming public anger. BP had to "agree" to the "deal"; and as the Huffington Post reports, "" [Obama] administration officials also acknowledge a negotiation is at play here, and key issues remain unsolved." (June 16, 2010).

In making its "big government" accusations, the right wing vastly underestimates working peoples' hatred for giant corporations. As opposed to wishing that the government should take it easier on corporations, workers would like a much tougher response, for once.

How happy would millions of people be if BP's assets --including those of the top shareholders and executives -- were seized to clean up the oil spill and pay workers for their loss of livelihood? This cost will be at least a hundred times what BP "agreed" to pay. How many millions of people living in the U.S. angrily disagreed with Obama when he said, "BP is a strong and viable company and it is in all of our interests that it remain so."

The media slant of the right wing is not entirely irrational, since it stems from a very real emotion: the fear that working people will demand that corporations be controlled democratically for the purpose of social need, not shareholders' profit. It is this phobia that will continue to guide the right-wing's media perspective as the recession grinds on, creating an increased anti-corporate mentality.

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Shamus Cooke is a social service worker and activist living in Portland Oregon.
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