FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Offshore Drilling

In the name of addressing climate change, Obama, with his order for new Coast Guard icebreakers, encouragement of National Park use, and of course permission for Shell Oil to engage in off-shore drilling, has placed the Arctic in a massive capitalistic framework, suitably militarized and commercialized, to accelerate the very thing he claims to oppose. Even if emissions were controlled in the Lower 48 (which will not be the case), point-specific damage within the Artic itself will transform the ecosystem into a step-by-step collapse of safeguards into a slithering mess—courtesy the American value system of waste, want not, bully all comers. Climate change, far from being just another issue, becomes a mirror reflecting into the darkest chambers of the American soul: a contempt, as though enthralled by a death wish, for life itself. Whether the US has murdered villagers in a Vietnamese hamlet, engaged in support of death squads in Latin America, actively encouraged the greatest concentration of wealth in US history (and consequent economic and social degradation of the unemployed and working poor), or consciously, willfully raped the environment in myriad ways, these actions are all of one cloth, the violation of life, future as well as present generations and the Nature which sustains us all.

How contemptuous our leadership, bi-partisan in outdoing each other in facilitating the destruction of the natural order. From “Better dead than red,” we’ve come to, “Better self-indulgent than create the common good,” a progression tied together by cords of nihilism, opportunism, moral emptiness. Our treatment of the environment tells us who we are, just as how a nation treats its poor reveals its inner secret, what defines its spirit. If Obama had skipped the Alaska visit, the platitudes of American leadership and self-righteousness, the gobbledegook, and straightforwardly announced rather than sought to cover up the leases he authorized for Shell oil-drilling, one might at least have respected his honesty. Instead we have duplicity worthy of a Goebbels—true, nothing new, coming out of this administration from the moment of taking office, all now colorfully packaged in the name of the President’s Legacy.

I’d rather think, his legacy lies in drone assassination, confrontation with Russia and, more systematically, China (the Trans-Pacific Partnership), enlarged military spending, Washington’s protective, enriching arm over Wall Street, these just for starters and not necessarily the most important if one attempted to bring together all the steps in the assertion of US global military-financial-commercial-ideological hegemony, with, now, Alaska, a somewhat poor, unconvincing diversion from the main scene of action. Are we imbeciles, that we cannot see through them? The New York Times may voluntarily remain hoodwinked, even the public, habituated to official lies, but, hopefully, not everyone. Open the way to greater maritime traffic. Perhaps even modernize the salmon industry. Why not? What’s good for GM is good for—no, right imagery and reasoning, wrong particulars. What’s good for Shell Oil is good for America. So, Obama is going to hike into the wilderness to dramatize his manhood and love of nature. It reminds me of TR’s camping out in Yosemite with, I believe, Muir: luxury tents rolled out, a bevy of Secret Service men in attendance, etc.

Hogwash. When Obama shows he cares about climate change he will simultaneously cut the military budget by two-thirds, crack down with an iron fist on domestic pollution, establish a crash program on alternative energy sources, start construction on a mass transportation system, again, for starters, and where leadership comes in, show by an ethic of asceticism that living close and eschewing waste (both antithetical to consumerism), along with a redistribution of wealth to make such a living transformation possible, then we can begin to believe him, and not until. The environment is a jealous mistress. It abhors war, it abhors intervention, it abhors regime change—it abhors the contradiction between aggression (through every facet of life) and a loving gentleness (toward the world which sustains us). Addressing climate change is not a balancing act; one Shell oil drilling right vitiates the presumed aim and exposes Obama for consistent villainous action, a momentous counterrevolution against nature and aspirant democracy in the world alike.

More articles by:

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail