Richard Connor’s May 23 column that tries to paint President Obama’s response to the Gulf oil spill as being akin to President Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans is completely incorrect and disingenuous.

New Orleans is an American city. The oil rig in the gulf was leased and operated by a giant, foreign-owned oil company, British Petroleum. New Orleans is not owned by a giant, wealthy foreign corporation.

George W. Bush stood by while American citizens drowned in an American city. The appointment of unqualified cronies and the privitization of FEMA resulted in totally unnecessary deaths of American citizens, many of whom were poor and didn’t have transportation to flee their city.

The Bush administration gutted government oversight of the oil industry, in which both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were previously employed.

In fact, shoddy cement work by Cheney’s former employer Haliburton may be partially to blame for the disaster in the Gulf. British Petroleum is headquartered in the Cayman Islands and pays no corporate income taxes in the United States or Britain. My guess is a good amount of New Orleans residents pay some taxes.

President Obama is trying to ensure that an irresponsible foreign corporation with a terrible track record of safety pays for and cleans up the mess it created. Privatized Wall Street profits while the public underwrites the risk is exactly what cost our country dearly in 2008.

It’s amazing after eight years of Republicans cutting government regulation, we have Mr. Connor trying to pin the blame for this oil spill on the president and not the “foreign corporation” that should be 100 percent responsible for its own poor safety practices.

 


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