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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/16/10

What We've Learned from American Disasters-- The Gulf, Health Reform, Finance Reform

Yep. I call all of them disasters. The American people are in very bad straits and each of the above events are full fledged disasters.
In the gulf, failure to properly put in place and apply safeguards and regulations have basically created what is fast becoming a dead zone that will continue to grow. One company's abuses caused it, but all the companies were vulnerable.
Health care legislation showed that the members of congress and the president care about protecting the status quo for insurers, big pharma and hospitals than for the American people. They'll literally let tens of thousands -- probably a world trade center worth of deaths ever month-- than fix a very broken system that will destroy the economy. Obama lied or dissembled about his intentions and cut deals with the enemy to insure that real reform was not accomplished. The senate went along with him.
Finance reform. We're seeing that ship sink now, as Barney Frank-- apparently owned and operated by big finance-- sabotages the real reform Al Franken got into the bill. We're seeing that those liberal democratic members of congress from New York are more interested in protecting a few thousand constituents with big FINANCE money than millions of constituents being screwed by the banksters. And the rest of congress is not much better. Obama? Banksters contributed more dollars to his presidential campaign than anyone else. He owes them and as we've learned, he pays back his debts.
The Republicans, prostitute ostriches that they are, have their heads in the sand, ignoring the realities on the ground-- that our gulf of Mexico has been killed, that our economy is foundering and our future as a great nation is pretty much shot. Forget about their not caring about millions of unemployed workers who would love to get jobs. The GOP is the corporate party and corporations are offshoring just about everything they do, including any smidgen of loyalty they ever had.
Now. Let's get back to the gulf. We've learned that the government lies to us in the service of BP and the mainstream media smilingly cooperate, stenographically reporting what the government says, without question-- 5000 barrels a day? Right!! 12,000 barrels a day? Of course!! Now, they're finally up to 60,000 barrels a day. Do you actually believe that number too?

Flickr imagebyMike Licht,

We've learned that president Obama has lied to us, telling us that the well be shut or the oil all captured soon. He said it again last night. Right. We've had enough reports of additional links, below the well head to realize that this is not over and may never end.
We know that the technology to deal with oil spills has not been improved since the big gulf and Alaska spills that occurred decades ago.
We know that the Republicans want to give the oil companies welfare and have the government and the victims pay for the cleanup and damages-- that's what it means when they oppose removing limits on liabilities, as they continue to do with extraordinarily lame excuses.
We know that the White House will continue to be far behind the eight ball responding. I talked about bringing in the national guard at least a month ago. Obama announced it yesterday. What is wrong with this administration?
We know that we are still waiting for real, strong leadership in response to the gulf catastrophe. Obama may be doing some management, but a strong leader encompasses not just management, but also vision, inspiration of hope and a sense of inclusion and involvement. Obama is failing miserably in that regard. It is sad. We all-- the whole world-- want him to succeed as we face a true global tragedy in the gulf. I have to believe that he does not have the right people working for him. My take is that he hired too many former Clinton people. That might have cut it to get started, but now, he needs to bring in his own people and he needs the best of the best-- Joseph Kennedy, Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz-- liberals who his current incompetent DLC advisers reject.
Obama needs to fire Rahm Emanuel, Ken Salazar, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag, Tim Geithner, David Axelrod. It is not enough to hire a few new minor players. His inner sanctum team has totally failed him. He needs new people who are loyal to America who will help Obama because he needs to do what is right for America, not for the misguided ideas his current advisers feel will protect his presidency and 2012 campaign.
We also know a bit about the wells in the gulf-- that probably a good portion of BP's wells, at least the deep water ones-- are disasters waiting to happen. We know that all the major companies used the same boilerplate emergency plans that are totally inadequate.
An emergency army of scientist analysts need to review all the records of all the wells in the gulf to see what kinds of practices have been engaged in and what kinds of risks actually exist for the wells that are already in place.
We need to take a look at what really safe drilling in the gulf looks like and how much more it costs. That won't be hard. Just look at how other countries that do it right, or at least better, do it.
We know that all the boom being laid out is doing very little to protect the wetlands, marshes, etc. that have been at risk, and that there is huge risk that a hurricane or hurricanes could totally overwhelm all the efforts.
We know that the oil on the surface is the tip of the iceberg, that there are scores of millions of gallons of crude oil deep below the surface, waiting to be churned to the surface in decades to come. Even if Obama dispatched hundreds of thousands of national guard troops, I fear their work is like that of Sisyphus, rolling the rock up the mountain every day, only to have to do it again the next day.
Speaking of the tip of the iceberg, the deep water oil drilling is the tip of the eco-disaster potential iceberg. There's more in coal and not nearly enough is being said about fracking (not sure of the spelling) of shale deposits.
We face a gulf that may never see clean water again. We face an interconnected system of oceans across the world that may be at serious risk.
We face the possibility that the toxic dispersants BP has used, with weak but clear government approval, in a totally experimentally way, may evaporate and become part of the rain that waters our food crops.
We know that even though Obama says "we will fight this spill for as long as it takes" we may not have enough and it may not end.
While the government now says there may be as many as 2.5 million gallons or 60,000 barrels of oil are spewing into the gulf each day, we know those numbers usually increase by 50 to 100 percent. Don't be surprised when they keep going up. If the increases continue, by September, they'll be talking about half a million or more barrels of oil a day. By then, they'll probably admit the leaks are coming from other places besides the riser.
Now we know that they are burning off millions of gallons of oil. Nice for the atmosphere, eh?
Meanwhile, the idiots in the mainstream media keep reporting just what BP tells the government to say.
We know that Obama didn't have the guts to face the possibility that this disaster may not have a sudden ending with a capped well. There's a strong chance that the Gulf will not see an end to the leak, that the leak will keep getting worse and worse. What if that happens? We need to start talking about gulf sea that does not see an end to gushing oil, a situation where the loop current takes the oil to the gulf stream and a gulf stream that takes the oil up the eastern seaboard and beyond.
We don't know, but we can guess, based on how Obama has worked to protect health and finance companies, that the meeting Obama had with BP will strongly consider how to protect and save BP, and maybe even put that above the rescue of the gulf-- which may not even be possible. It may be easier to save BP than to save the gulf.
There's that asian congressman, Rep Cao. observed, to the BP top executives, "In the Asian culture, we do things differently. We just give you a knife and ask you to commit hari kari." Maybe some of Obama's advisers should do the same, at least job-wise- and resign.
We know that the American people really don't have many people looking out for them, certainly most of the members of congress don't. It kind of makes you feel like the victims-- families, workers, businesses, sea turtles, dolphins, wetlands, marshes-- helpless, exposed, without any signs of serious, potent help on the horizon.
We're facing very hard times. Add to that NASA's reports-- NASA, not tinfoil hat people-- that sun spots and sun activity in the next few years could hit the power grid harder than the hurricane hit New Orleans.
Job hopes are not looking good.
There's a movement towards relocalization, towards sourcing food locally, without oil in it, meaning the oil used to grow or transport it. There's a movement towards developing reliance on local sources for all you use. Eco-writer Bill MCKibben spent a year eating locally and reported it in his book, DEEP ECONOMY. That was a novel experience in today's world. Of course it was the way people lived until maybe 80 or less years ago. It's time to start looking seriously at getting back to that, to growing food on your balcony, in community garden plots. McKibben told me that the number of farms has begun increasing in the US, for the first time in 150 years.
I probably lived without shrimp in my life for the first 15 to 20 years. We may have to go back to that situation.
One hundred and fifty years ago, most people worked at raising their own food. We may find that we're all doing more and more of that and less surfing on the web.
But as ethanol is used to produce energy, and crops and fertilizer are devoted to energy instead of food, we may see the cost of food go up so much that people start dying, or maybe more people begin dying from hunger.
The World Trade Organization, World Bank and political sellouts will surely continue attempts to privatize water, energy, transportation, roads, parking meters-- making live more and more unaffordable.
What have we wrought? What have we created for our descendants? Does humanity have a future?
I feel sorry for Obama. We knew he was inheriting major messes. Who knew he would preside over the apocalypse?
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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet (more...)

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