Sunday, June 13, 2010

Neocons Use BP Blowout to Attack Unions (Too)

In the face of an ecological disaster whose effects will be felt for years, the neoconservatives, beginning with those at Fox News, have fired two volleys, one in further criticism that Obama isn’t doing enough to clean up BP’s mess, and another to help anti-unionists and cost American jobs.

It came out a few days ago with Fox News reporting that some foreign owned companies are not being allowed to help in the clean-up because it violates the Jones Act. The Jones Act, better known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, was implemented to support the US merchant marine industry by allowing only US flag ships to move cargo between US ports. It largely protects jobs and ensures that America not also outsource its ability to conduct interstate commerce in its own waters. It maintains the US shipbuilding industry as well.

But the upshot is that while America can (and has) accepted help from foreign governments to clean this mess up, the material must be transferred to a US flag ship.

Neocons hate unions and believe that if a foreign government subsidizes its industries to enable them to undercut the prices that American business charges, then so be it. So now they are screaming at Obama to waive the Jones Act so foreign companies can help out. What has been the official White House response? I transcribed it from a video found on the White House blog featuring Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

Question from a FaceBook user:

“And what about offers from foreign governments? Why [hasn’t] the Jones Act been waived to allow foreign offers with technology to help collect oil.”

Browner answers:

“There are a number of foreign offers that we have taken advantage of and the Coast Guard analyzes them and I think we have – help me here – we have taken from Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada there is one other country. If it becomes necessary to waive the Jones act then that will be taken care of but at this point it hasn’t been necessary.”

In other words they have no problem waiving the Jones Act but it’s not necessary right now.

But that’s not what you are going to hear from the Obama haters and the anti-unionists. It’s all about why Obama is against cleaning up BP’s mess.

Because that makes perfect sense.

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