We need another Andrew Jackson to fight for the Gulf States
The earth is bleeding! Its blood gushes up from holes of unfathomable greed. Mud, money, crude oil, natural gas, explodes every second from the ruined BP deep drilling rig in the Gulf.
America and the world are poised in wonder and shock that such a real life disaster movie is unfolding at the soft underbelly of the American States. For over a month now, we have watched every night at 5:30 pm as one of several news shows document the ongoing environmental disaster spilling out in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Night after night, we are told about non progress on the part of British Petroleum and its efforts to stop the massive oil spill. The first week of this disaster was about (1) the shock that such a thing was possible; (2) that oil companies had names and equipment for this as if this type of situation was a common fact of the oil business; (3) that men died, a massive steel structure several hundred foot towering over the ocean top collapsed into the burring waters; and (4) that the oil rig fire and explosion would be but the first chapter in a complex and long playing horror novel (or movie).
Week Two and Three of watching the massive oil slick form out in the waters of the Gulf brought yet new and innovative attempts to battle a raging wound in the earth’s upper crust. Concrete “Top Hats” and other strange sounding schemes to stop the flow of oil entertained nightly news junkies with yet more weird details on how to fight this underwater war.
Week Four brought a CBS 60 Minutes interview with one of the engineers who had been on the oil rig platform before it blew up. In fact, he was in the control and command center. He revealed facts, details and statements about how the greed of BP managers tried to cut corners on this initial operation to save money. Without concern for common safety standards, management ignited a series of steps that led to a complete breakdown of safety and finally, disaster, when the drill hole exploded.
Now, in our fifth week of disaster watching, the oil slicks are making landfall. Beaches, marshes, wet lands, streams, lakes, rivers are beginning to die. Black blood from the interior of the earth is laying a vampire’s rug over a vast acreage of the South. With each passing second, minute, hour, day, week, life will be sucked out of the “bitten“ land and water ways.
As tragic as all of this is, there is yet a more menacing and scary hell waiting for news headlines in the weeks to come. It is the hellish fear that no one is in charge to make a stand against this disaster.
Already, the impacted states are fighting with the White House, Homeland Security, the Corps of Engineers, EPA, Fish & Wildlife, NOAA and Interior over who is in charge, who is responsible for immediate aid, who has disaster resources, who can save the fishing fleets, who can rebuild the wounded wetlands and who is on first.
The octopus of federal intergovernmental coordination is truly a scary act to witness. Rules of self preservation, rules of redirecting blame or responsibility, rules of stonewalling on action, rules on rules in administrative regulations all hold court during this mega ride on the wild side of nature. Somewhere between 30 and 70 federal, state, and local agencies will be dragged into this tar baby of blame calling and missed opportunities before the final chapter of this disaster is written.
Such is the nature of the beast we call Washington D.C. This beast is our beast. We, all of us, over the past 40 years have looked the other way as we shopped ‘till we dropped to not get involved in our government. We let professional politicians and corporations run government for us. They have an agenda. Sadly, we now learn, this agenda is about making a lot of money and doesn’t include what is best for America.
What America needs now, at this place in geography and time, is another Andrew Jackson. America needs someone to take charge, organize a defense, set hope in motion, and face the threat head on.
The Battle of New Orleans in 1814 was about who would own New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast. It was the last battle of the War of 1812 between a young America and the powerful business interests of the British Empire.
Flash forward 196 years from 1814 and we are now faced with a raging war at sea with the business interests of Britain’s second most important corporation, British Petroleum, known by its acronym, BP. This giant corporation has unleashed a killer force that will devastate the geo-cultural foundation of a generation of Southerners. The question of the hour is who will lead America’s defense against this ruin of our southern states?
Mr. President, by Friday of this week, if the hole is not plugged, you Sir, will inherit the mantle of being the go-to target for “blame and shame” on this issue by all those little shop owners, boat crews, hotel workers, restaurants staffs, and anyone that draws a paycheck directly or indirectly from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr. President, a national leader is someone who brings hope to the people.
Mr. President, be a man, be a great leader, be a modern day Andrew Jackson. Do the following to save the southern states:
1. Establish a WHITE HOUSE South. Mr. President, go to New Orleans and set up a war command and control operations center.
Stay there for one week, 7 days and 7 nights. Run the government of America from an honest to God major American disaster area. Meet with everyone who can help, who have great ideas, resources or equipment. Go to church with the people and pray to God that we as Americans are up to this crisis. Walk in the shoes of those who will lose everything.
Set in motion a path to recovery of (a) the waters of the Gulf (b) restoring the fragile eco systems of the marshes and wet lands (c) Bring to all a new sense of hope, pride, and the American can do spirit. Let entire national media crawl all over this. It will be the biggest media story of our times and will enable you to become one of America’s greatest Presidents.
And at the end of that week, leave Vice President Joe Biden in New Orleans to cuss the slackers, kick some butts and take some names until the job is done.
2. NATIONALIZE the coast. Federalize all prevention, recovery, mitigation, environmental, economic aid, and disaster operations in an area three counties deep from Texas through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and over to Florida.
Federal Region IV, based in Atlanta, Georgia can provide the initial groundwork on this.
They have in place their Federal Regional Council. All major federal agencies are already a part of this command structure. Move it FORM AND FUNCTIONS into the WHITE HOUSE SOUTH, where instant policy and staffing linkages can be brought to bear on the disaster coordination.
3. INVOKE EXECUTIVE POWER to cut through federal - state intergovernmental red tape and out of date regulations. The 1974 Joint funding Simplification Act allowed OMB (Office of Management and Budget) to work with states and cities to cut through overlapping jurisdictional and administrative regulations that slowed down projects or programs. One state in Federal Region IV, Kentucky, still operates this program.
4. PLAY THE MILITARY CARD. Make the newly formed North American Command a key part of any operations calling for massive rebuilding or possible law and order issues. This organization can play a key role in coordination with the states over the use and commitment of National Guard resources.
5. SEND OUT A GLOBAL DISTRESS CALL. This crisis will rapidly go beyond the American waters. Once several millions of crude oil starts circulating the ocean currents along with millions of gallons of toxic agents to clean up the mess, a whole planet’s water resources may be at risk. Ask the world to send their best and brightest to us stop this disaster. By the hour, this human and natural tragedy is becoming a threat to all of mankind.
6. SAVE THE LITTLE PEOPLE. Plans should now be under way to convene and target federal and state resources to help save those individuals, companies, small businesses that stand to lose all they have. This will be a total life changing economic disaster that may take a generation to overcome.
Mr. President, create a TVA type of organization for protecting the cultural, economic, historical, energy, educational resources for this entire region of America.
7. PLAY THE CRIME SCENE CARD. Mr. President, someone has to go to jail over this. This was no accident, Sir. Greedy people and too-large-to-care multinational corporations are at fault for this. Someone has to be punished for this crime. Show trials and perp walks must be a part of this horror movie.
Andrew Jackson stood up to raw British power in his greatest hour and saved New Orleans and America.
Now it’s your turn, Mr. President.