Conservatives hate the idea of looking to Europe for any ideas whatsoever (except when they do it), but sorry, in some circumstances, it is appropriate. Recently, we learned of a metals plant in Hungary that had a waste reservoir flood causing red toxic sludge to pour into several towns. A million cubic meters of toxic red mud poured into the countryside, killed seven people, and injured 123. The Danube River is in danger of being destroyed, and a rush to build a damn is underway. The country is in the midst of a corporate caused environmental disaster.
In many ways, this is similar to the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - with one huge exception. In Hungary, the CEO of the company that owns the metal refinery was taken into custody and the government has taken control of the company, MAL Rt. Compare that to what happens in America. In America, the CEO of BP is called to testify in front of Congress where he "did not recall" anything at all. The President of the United States, lacking the authority to "take control" of the company (despite the fact it operates in America, and the spill was in our waters), essentially had to plead with the company to set up a find to pay for the economic damage and the clean up. Corporate-controlled stooges in the Republican Party called it a "shake down" of BP. Prominent tea party candidate Rand Paul criticized the president for coming down too hard on the offenders at BP. The leading Republicans in the House of Representatives apologized to the offending company. That's right, they apologized to BP. This was the greatest environmental disaster in US history, and BP gets the apology. Sickening.
So the Gulf of Mexico is polluted, the fishing and tourism industries damaged immensely, but the response from the dominant force in US politics - the tea party - is to "drill baby drill." I don't remember hearing any teabagger discussing making BP pay for the damage they caused, or even suffering any penalty for the negligence that led to the disaster. It was not an "accident" because it could easily have been prevented.
But in America, we celebrate corporate crime. We do not punish it. Look at the Republican candidate for Governor of Florida, Rick Scott. His health care company was found guilty of the largest instance of medicare fraud in US history. During his hearing, Scott took the 5th nearly 200 times - including when he was asked his name and if he was the CEO. Scott's newest company settled a fraud case just six days before he entered the race for governor. Six days! Yet, somehow, Scott is not considered too damaged to be the candidate of one of the two major political parties in the highly populated state of Florida.
Corporate domination of our elections, our politics, our government, and the media have left Americans with the impression that there is nothing we can do to stop it. The entire Republican Tea Party and about half of the Democrats don't even see a problem. They view the government - trying to reign in corporate America - as a greater threat. These folks are even willing to look the other way while millions of jobs are shipped overseas, large corporations pay little to no taxes, and the folks who caused the greatest economic crisis in 70 years are not even punished slightly. They all got to keep their precious fucking bonuses! Wonder where BP CEO Tony Hayward is now? Not in jail, that's for certain.
Ever feel like you've been cheated?