Letters from our readers

8 June 2010

On “White House seeks to contain popular anger over BP oil disaster

 

“The Justice Department is reportedly weighing civil prosecution under several laws, including...” [four laws listed in the article].

This article brings up a point I hadn’t thought of before: What would a full list of laws being violated by BP and its corporate partners look like?

During decades of on-again, off-again “lefty”-liberal rule, hundreds of “landmark” laws on the environment, working conditions, safety, and other areas of progressive concern were passed by the Congress.

Maybe a smart environmental legal team somewhere could research and publish such a list for the benefit of the public.

CH
Houston, TX, USA
3 June 2010

On “One year since the GM bankruptcy

 

Let’s turn venal Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Ingrassia’s comments around a bit, perform some class-conscious alchemy, and see how it plays.

From: “…that shoveling more money into the public schools without insisting on structural reforms and accountability hasn’t produced results and won’t do so in the future.”

To:

“…that shoveling more money into the BIG BANKS and FINANCIERS without insisting on structural reforms and accountability hasn’t produced results and won’t do so in the future.”

Makes more sense to me, but that’s why I am not a Wall Street Journal columnist.

SZ
Albuquerque, NM, USA
4 June 2010

On “The Chinese working class emerges

This is a brilliant article. Your coverage of these events has been invaluable. Keep up the good work.

Regards,

Vincent
6 June 2010

***

Increasing automation is a large part of the reason for the jobs crisis. It is important to realize that technological advances are not only automating mechanical processes but also human thought. Automation should be encouraged, as this increases productivity and the total wealth available to society. The problem is the social structure of capitalism. The future of socialism is an automated society, so we need to think beyond the current job creation paradigm.

Please read: http://www.thelightsinthetunnel.com/LIGHTSTUNNEL.PDF

Mark T
7 June 2010

On “China: Honda workers return to work

China’s largest export is human labor. You can say what you want about the value of any given item, but Marxist theory states that the value of any product is purely the amount of human labor that went into it. Such theories are kept hidden from the masses for fear that they would begin valuing what they have to offer.

Of course, nobody at the University of Chicago or the US Department of Labor will tell you that labor is key to anything. What they will tell you, however, is that labor is too cheap to meter, and that technology and value-added marketing are the only measurements of a product’s cost. This is all bunk. The peoples of China and Mexico will soon realize that they’re being used up to keep afloat the outlandish lifestyles of people who contribute little more than influence.

PK
7 June 2010

On the Gulf oil crisis

The BP well disaster looms as a multifaceted catastrophe—environmental, as the ecosystem of the Gulf region is devastated, economic for those whose livelihoods depend on the fishing and tourism industries. Now, it is opportunistically being used to promote the most reactionary agenda by the most conservative political layers, who have presented the absurd charge that environmentalists have forced British Petroleum and the oil industry to drill in deep waters in some frantic need to satisfy “our addiction to oil”, implying the general population, and even the victims of this mass pollution, are somehow responsible. Millions of working class families are apparently “addicted” to heating a home in freezing temperatures or of driving to work every day. Media pundits on Fox News and Senator John Kerry on This Week news—injected this “addiction to oil” argument, and how the US must seek alternative energy sources. This is not a new formulation. Kerry also used the dependence on oil for promoting proposed “cap and trade” program that is fraudulently being touted as an environmental anti-global-warming program rather than the pure profit making scheme that it is.

Indeed, environmentalists forced BP to bypass all safety precautions while drilling a mile below, to use cheaper equipment and materials, to have no viable and proven containment technology if needed. That is the obvious absurdity of the accusation.

The cry about US dependence on Mideast oil has been ongoing since 1973 oil embargo and after the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979. On July 15, 1979, President Jimmy Carter outlined his plans to reduce oil imports and improve energy efficiency in his “Crisis of Confidence” speech. Carter’s speech argued the oil crisis was the “moral equivalent of war”. Several months later, in January 1980, Carter issued the Carter Doctrine, which declared that any interference with US oil interests in the Persian Gulf would be considered an attack on the vital interests of the United States.

This “moral equivalent” turned into actual imperialist war for oil in the invasion of Iraq, and almost promised invasion an of Iran, despite all professed lofty claims about installing democracy or lies about non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

Almost 40 years later, mass alternatives to the internal combustion engine have been token at best. The Bush administration especially blocked increased auto mileage standards (mpg) at every turn, and mass transit systems have been cut, not expanded.

The “Tea Party” layer would be quick to call even the weakest government auto mileage mandates or laws requiring other energy alternatives “socialism”.

The Obama administration echoes this anti-corporate intervention philosophy of the ultra-right-wing in its “hands-off BP”. The official excuse: “They have the expertise” or “the technology”, neither of which is true. As the news presents numerous aerial views of large plumes of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, one must squint hard to find a nearby vessel. Only after much Internet searching was this writer able to find information on the number of vessels skimming oil. There are about 490 vessels for 4 states along the Gulf Coast, with more to be employed we are told. Nine vessels are barges to offload collected oil/water from the rest. But, many are make-shift skimmers—shrimp boats and other small vessels. It is clear massive government intervention is required.

TB
NY, USA
6 June 2010