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Lessons from BP’s oil spill

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By John Bartlit

What are the most important lessons we can take from the BP oil spill 48 miles into the Gulf off the Louisiana coast?

The first group is a batch of slogans. These varied morsels make up the bulk of the news. Examples are:

• Stop offshore drilling.

• The government is made of incompetent liars.

• Rich corporations are greedy sharks headed by phony numbskulls.

• Ignore experts. They get money from some interest or other.

A further look finds more involved and coherent aspects to apply to this and other issues, such as:

Henchmen point fingers. A look at the Gulf’s dirty goo teaches that time spent pointing fingers does nothing to solve the problem or slow the spread of damage from it. People get riled when they see BP and its cohorts turn to finger-pointing.

Yet just as many people think pointing fingers is proudly productive when it gushes in the news year after year. I refer, of course, to the many straw bosses in our two leading parties — the henchmen who think finger-pointing is the best of political art and science.

Pointing fingers does nothing for oil leaks, BP, political parties, the nation or any other problem. That point is clear when we look at BP’s oil in the Gulf.


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