When analyzing a crime, one must study its anatomy and evolution, especially a crime as vast as that which BP and its congressional co-conspirators perpetrated in U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
The roots are deep in the “oil patch” and are by and large Republican to the core. The roots of U.S. corporate/government corruption extend back to what became known as the Teapot Dome Scandal. Since it’s simple to find on the Internet, I won’t expand on it here. The investigation into the scandal is significant today in that the scandal’s anatomy revealed Republican President Warren Harding and his cronies enabled the crime, and prophetically, it included the word “tea.” The “tea potty” was dumped by Senator John B. Kendrick, who was a Democrat, which is equally significant.
Next in significance comes President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, the inimitable James Watt. Known before his appointment to be hostile to environmental issues, Watt made a statement when asked about environmental issues in America’s national parks. Totally nonplussed and indicative of Republican, and especially tea party, attitudes today, he replied, “Natural resources are unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.”
Need one say more? Yes! Watt designated the Minerals Management Service (MMS), established in 1982 under Reagan, as the administrative agency responsible for the mineral leasing of submerged Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lands and for the supervision of offshore operations after lease issuance. MMS has literally been in bed with the companies they are supposed to monitor.
Enter two men who came directly from Big Oil to the nation’s leadership, George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney. Bush, in a criminal conspiracy with his VP, assisted by neocon and theocon members of Congress and in secret meetings, gave carte blanche approval for anything that coal and oil companies wanted, ensuring the continued political ascendancy of both.
Finally, Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton mentioned the $20 billion BP fronted for the relief of the Gulf’s “small people,” according to BP, and apologized for what he referred to as a “shakedown by the White House.” Most Republican members of Congress adopted the same attitude. Must I quote Sonny Bono again? “The beat goes on, the beat goes on.” Tea partiers are pounding absurdities in to the brains of automatons who are blinded to truth.
Editor’s note: The Watt quote mentioned in this letter has been widely attributed to Watt, although there is no historical record that he made it.