Friday, March 20, 2009

The Double Standard

In ancient times, the official standard for the length of a foot was determined by the size of the king's foot, or so the legend goes. This had the effect of different standards being applied based on the size of the sovereign. That process seems to have continued to this day, although it is not really a measurement of the leaders foot that is responsible.

George W. Bush, the Connecticut Texan, who got everywhere because of his daddy's name, rose to the top despite his obvious limitations. Failed in business, accused of being a deserter from the Guard during Vietnam, convicted of a DUI, and an accomplished torturer of the English language, Bush got a pass on 9/11 occurring on his watch apparently because he had only been in office for eight MONTHS when it occurred. This, despite a briefing labeled, "Bin Laden determined to strike with airplanes in the U.S." Bush even gets credit for no further attacks. Excuse me, what were the anthrax mailings.

Barack H. Obama, on the other hand, is the child of an interracial marriage who got to where he was in spite of his father's name. An accomplished author, former head of the Harvard Law Review and a dynamic speaker, is currently being skewered over the economic crisis. This, despite the fact that he has only been in office a few weeks.

Is it that the standard being applied relates to intelligence? Did Bush get a pass because he was seen as the village idiot? Is Obama being more closely scrutinized because he is intelligent? Or is it something else? Could it be that the reason Bush got the pass was that he was viewed as part of the entitled elite? Sure he was dumb, but there was never a doubt as to who he represented, his base, "the haves and the have mores." Obama, by contrast, is an intellectual without a doubt, but the attacks are more related to his former status as a community organizer and a people based populism.

Let us extend this beyond the Oval office.

The contracts of rich bankers are sacrosanct and they are awarded large bonuses for failure. Blue collar, middle-class auto workers have renegotiated contracts shoved down their throats because their bosses failed. They are told they should do this for the good of the country.

Conservative politicians and right wing bloviators decry raising the marginal income tax rate on the highest rate from 35 to 39.5 per cent. The super wealthy, you see, must have the country do for them and then their largess will trickle on the rest of us.

The real double standard is that if you want to do something to help the poor or the weak, you're accused of being a bleeding heart liberal who just wants to throw good money away, but if you crush unions and destroy the livelihoods of everyone in the world, you're a hard nosed businessman. Average people are expected to pay their taxes, transnational corporations hide out in off shore tax havens. Corporate bankers, creating a financial crisis to enrich themselves, claim they are too big to fail and ask for even more money. Meanwhile, average people who never miss a payment are seeing credit card rates adjusted upward because the bank has "reevaluated" their credit.

Will we continue to accept this double standard or will we demand that a new standard, one that applies the same to everyone, finally be adopted? Right now, the wealthy are giving us all the finger. For their own good, they need to remember what happened the last time they told the masses to eat cake.

British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs

  • 11 workers killed in initial blast
  • Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
  • 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
  • Gulf Fisheries Industry
  • Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
  • Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)

Worst Oil Spills

  • Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
  • Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
  • Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
  • Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
  • Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
  • South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
  • France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
  • Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
  • Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
  • Source: Mother Nature Network. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.

Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)

  • 1957 Windscale, UK
  • 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
  • 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
  • 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
  • 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
  • 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
  • 1989 Griefwald, Germany
  • 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
  • 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
  • Source: Benjamin Sovacool

Mining Disasters (Under Construction)

  • China 1942 - 1549 deaths
  • France 1906 - 1100 deaths
  • Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
  • Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
  • South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
  • Source: Epic Disasters Website
  • Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.

OIL IS OVER! - Resources

  • Hibbert's Peak - "The" source that explains why Oil is Over.
  • Tragedy of the Commons -Garrett Hardin
  • The Land Ethic - Aldo Leopold
  • Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - Thom Hartmann
  • Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching


  • The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
  • The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
  • Demian - Herman Hesse
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
  • The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
  • Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
  • The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
  • The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
  • Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
  • The Quiet American - Graham Greene
  • Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  • John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
  • Patti Smith
  • The Clash - the only band that matters
  • Billy Bragg
  • Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
  • Art Blakey
  • Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
  • PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Michael Franti (Spearhead)
  • Public Enemy
  • Ray Charles - the Genius
  • Bob Dylan
  • Velvet Underground
  • Flaming Lips
  • John Doe & X
  • The Beatles

opiate of the masses

  • God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
  • The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
  • No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
  • When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
  • If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
  • Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
  • God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer