Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When the Story Comes First

One main problem I have with progressives is their Storyline First methods, which is also what makes them so much like the wingnuts they hate.  In all cases, they KNOW the system is corrupt, and so every story is seen through the prism of trying to figure out how the system is cheating them. 

And so it is with the BP oil disaster.  Because first off, no matter how bad the official estimates are, they KNOW that whatever expert has the worst estimate must be the right one.  They might not know who these experts are, but they know a good number when they see one.  Apparently, "horrible mess" isn't horrible enough, if you can find someone to make it sound even more horrible.  But hey, estimates are estimates, and anyone can pick the one they like (which is why I generally ignore them). 

But what about facts?  Do we get to pick those too?  I think not.  Yet, we see that same thing when it comes to the liability cap on oil spills.  Currently, an oil spiller's liability for economic damages is capped at $75 million; which is way too low, in my opinion.  And while Congressional Dems are trying to raise that cap, Carpetbagger has the story on how yet another Republican is trying to put a stop to that; under the idea that small oil companies who aren't rich enough to fix their own messes would be put out of business, simply because they can't afford to fix their own messes.

And of course, progressives are rightly upset about this.  But, it's the REASON they're upset that I find dismaying.  Now as a refresher, this cap is a limit on economic damages that they can be sued for.  But...they still have to pay the full cost of the clean-up.  There is no limit on that.  Yet, to hear progressives tell it, Big Oil is screwing us yet again and Dems won't do anything to stop it. 

Too Big to Clean

Here's a highlight of comments, from just this one post:
The reasoning is that oil is natural, so why shouldn't the cap be kept at 75 mill? If it costs more than that to clean up....it's an act of god and therefor, tough shit.

The oil industry is powerful enough to clean up their own mess.  The oil industry is also powerful enough to ensure that citizens pay for it.  Fascism is being defined right before our eyes, and there isn't a damned thing that can be done... because that's precisely what fascism is. No recourse.

The GOP's plan is obvious. Clean up MUST be privatized to be effective. KBR and Bechtel and Haliburton know how to clean up this environmental mess. And the taxpayers will get the bill.

oil companies: too big to fail; too big to clean?
And again, it seems a few people didn't get the memo on what liabilities are being capped.  And that's fine, not everyone is an expert on every subject.  But first off, these are the first people to attack "dumb Americans" for not being better informed.  Yet, on one of the most important issues of the day, that these people are reading about daily, they don't even know a basic fact of the story.  And once again, they have absolutely no problem shouting about it.  Facts be damned, they've got a story to complain about.

Making Things Worse

And that's how this ties into the most horrible estimates that they use as "fact," as I mentioned earlier.  Because that's all this really is to them: A horrible story that confirms all their beliefs.

Sure, they don't like the oil spill.  Of course they're concerned that it gets cleaned up.  But their FIRST priority is making sure that everyone gets scared shitless by the story, so we can form a lynch mob and finally teach these corporate fascists a lesson; which they "know" will never happen because the system is corrupt.  And so they'll rant about the worst case scenarios and insist that we're all going to get hosed, facts be damned.

But the reality is that it's going to cost BP just as much to clean this, no matter what the estimates currently are.  And by the time the full extent of the economic damage is done, even Republicans are going to find it difficult to continue carrying water for the industry.  Spin can be effective, but in the long run, BP's going to suffer.  And no matter how much they pay, one thing is assured for progressives, it won't be enough because the system doesn't work.

Even Facts Don't Work

And the final kicker?  Once one such progressive realized the mistake, did this bring about any better feelings?  Of course not.
OH pleaze people, does anyone really believe BP is going to cover all the cost of clean-up and some of the damage costs ? Does anyone think anyone will go to jail or get any sort of real fine ?

BP will leverage their exposure with the little amount of money they use for clean-up. Who's going to lay down the law, Obama, Congress, ya right. Even if they did, I guarantee the corporate structure of BP is set-up in such a way that their liability is minimal.
Of course.  Just like how Exxon didn't pay an estimated $2 billion to clean-up the Alaskan shoreline.  And of course, it's not Obama and Congress who decides liability.  It's a little thing known as the Judicial Branch.  And while the Supreme Court eventually let Exxon off the hook for the billions in punative damages Exxon was originally socked with, they still ended up paying $1 billion in damages.

But yeah, the system is corrupt.  BP won't end up paying anything, and we don't even need to wait for that to happen to know that it will.  And we can blame Obama and those damn Dems for not sticking up for us, if they are doing that right now.  Who needs to wait for facts when we already know the story?

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