Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Season Finale: Who really has our backs...and who REALLY doesn't?
In this episode:
Back to companion pets: We are it for them!
Final thoughts on BP Oil Spill: Who really has our backs...And who doesn't??
Transcript of this episode of The Web-DVM:
Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to The WebDVM. I am your host, veterinarian, Dr. Roger Welton. As you well know, I have geared a great deal of attention toward the tragedy, incompetency, wildlife, and political fallout of the BP oil spill that still has yet to be stopped, let alone cleaned. Based on e-mails and web chatter, I have been both exalted and criticized for having reported so exclusively on the BP oil spill in recent episodes, especially for dealing with the politics of this serious problem.
I will defend against my detractors by reminding everyone that the scope of this show is animals, and this event is very much about animals, and the very embodiment of how we continue to sacrifice our precious wildlife and natural treasures in the name of a dirty and corrupt energy source that stands poised to destroy nations and eventually the earth as we know it. However, since this will be my final You Tube broadcast before a much needed summer recess, I will get back to the topic of companion pets before closing with some final thoughts on the BP spill.
One day last week, I came home after a long day of work. I had performed 8 surgeries, then proceeded to work through an afternoon and evening of a full book of office visits. The day had started at 8AM and ended at 8:30PM. I made it home just in the nick of time to read my 2 year old son a bedtime story, give him a kiss, and put him to bed. After putting my boy to bed, it had just occurred to me that my yellow lab Bernie, pictured here, had been following me relentlessly in hindsight from the moment I got home. Yet, this was the first I noticed him. In all my business and preoccupations, it took me 30 minutes to even notice my dog, even when he had wanted nothing more than my acknowledgement from the moment I got home. And of course, I felt very badly.
For it occurred to me that, while I have my wife, child, my clinic, my blog, You Tube and radio shows, occasional golf on the weekend, and coaching youth league lacrosse, for my eternally devoted yellow lab, I am it. Of course, he enjoys my son, messing around with the other animals, and certainly enjoys his meals, but what he lives for, what makes him happiest in life, is me.
At that moment, I got down and rolled on the floor with Bernie, took him out back to let him run around, and gave him a treat. I told him that I was sorry for not noticing him, for letting my busy life cause me to overlook his presence, and that I will endeavour to do better.
That was actually not the first time that had happened and it probably won’t be the last, but this time was a wake up call that we as pet owners, owe it to our pets that give us so much unconditional and focused love, to make the effort to not leave them unnoticed, as they struggle to get our attention. We need to always remember that while we have family, career, and everything else that fills our lives, all our pets have, is us.
For my final thoughts about the BP oil spill, this past week was the biggest eye-opener I have gotten about the oil industry, the calls for more drilling rather than investment in alternative energy despite all we have lost and will continue to lose, and who chooses to protect BP and the oil industry to the detriment of the average citizen.
In congressional hearings designed to call out BP’s negligence and get to the bottom of whether their actions go deeper than apathy and incompetence and crossed the line into criminal behavior, republican congressman Joe Barton of Texas started his questioning by apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward for being pressured by the Obama administration to pledge $20 billion to an escrow fund to pay out claims and damages incurred by the millions of Gulf residents that are economically destroyed by this crisis and will be for years to come. He actually expressed shame and genuine sadness for BP being pressured by the administration to pay up damages in a timely fashion to avoid needless suffering in the wake of their deeds.
Other republicans quickly distanced themselves from Barton's comments, however, the damage was done, and truth brought out with full disclosure for all to see - the republican party exists to protect BP and other giant corporate entities like them, even when they have done the citizens of our country great harm through their own negligence, even when that big corporation is a foreign one!
Republicans are trying to play this off as some sort of gaffe made by a sole member who does not reflect their views, but that is far from the truth. Before Barton made his comments, radio host Rush Limbaugh, the defacto spokesperson for the republican party, called this escrow fund a shakedown enacted by the President upon BP, and denounced it fully. Republican representative and full fledged right wing loon, Michelle Bachman, warned BP not to be played like "chumps" by this administration and not get "fleeced" into an escrow fund that will just perpetuate unemployment. Are you kidding me?? This crackpot actually thinks that those who have lost their businesses and livelihoods that were tied directly to the Gulf, do not have legitimate claims against the company that perpetrated their misery, that getting legitimate claim payouts for their losses will perpetuate their laziness and unemployment, you know, because that is just the kind of people they are.
And of course, there is bimbo made Tea Party pin-up girl, Sarah Palin, who recently Tweeted to her followers not to buy the criticism that republicans side with BP, that their denouncement of the President pressuring BP to provide this escrow account goes against our constitution. Well I would bet that this bird brain has never actually read the constitution that she cites in defense of anything she disagrees with, as it says nothing, anywhere, that a corporation must not be held accountable when by its negligence it destroys the environment, wildlife, and ruins careers and livelihoods. And even if hypothetically the Constitution did state this, which it does not, I do not think such protection would extend to a foreign corporation!
I would rather take the President's word on the constitutionality of his monumental achievement of this escrow fund to help the people of the Gulf, since he is a Harvard Law graduate and former professor of constitutional law; whereas Palin took 6 years to get her undergraduate degree, failed as a journalist, and has as her only real accomplishment being governor of a state with a population smaller than the county I live in which, as it turns out, she quit on half way through her first term.
Folks, with all of the horrible destruction that this oil spill has wreaked, it is hard to find any solace, but I have. I am so grateful that this event, which was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen with the oil industry free to act with impunity and failed to police themselves, happened under the current President. For let me tell you what happens under republican leadership. During the Exxon Valdez oil spill the entire region in that area of Alaska was crippled economically. 37,000 residents in the area filed legitimate claims from loss of fishing and tourism dollars. Under George HW Bush, the ultimate payout was only a fraction of the claims, adding up to $3.5 billion. Worse yet, the administration enabled Exxon to exploit the court system by tying up the claim payouts in litigation for 10-20 years, while victims lost their businesses, homes, and drove many even to suicide because they lost everything. 8000 of 37,000 claimants, died before receiving their lost revenue claim money. The clean-up was never really fully finished, with oil still pooled at the bottom of Prince William Sound, no life having returned even 22 years later, and salmon and herring industry still non-existent. And this was under an intelligent and by most accounts, moderate republican President.
In contrast, President Obama pressured this corrupt and negligent oil giant to pay the people it has directly harmed, to make amends for what they did to them, not 10 or 20 years from now when businesses will have already been lost and homes foreclosed on, but now. Knowing full well with no real assurance of when BP will stop this gusher if even ever, and that the cost to Gulf citizens will likely be more, the President even pressured BP to announce that $20 billion is not a cap, and they will be on the hook for more if more damage than this is done.
Joe Barton, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin are hardly alone in their party for siding with BP over the citizens of our country. Congressman Tom Price called it a Chicago style shakedown well before Barton did. Other republican politicians that have voice their opposition to BP being pressured to set aside this escrow fund include: House minority whip Eric Cantor, Congressman Mike Pence, and Congressman Paul Ryan.
Barton, Limbaugh, Palin, and the rest of the republican party's defense of BP is the ultimate proof that republican politicians of today are little more than corporate lapdogs. They are not here for you and me. If they had their way, they would drill every last inch of our shores and lands, drown us all in oil, rather than press for new and clean energy sources, because that is what the reason for their existence, big, gluttonous, abusive corporations, want them to do, even if said corporations are foreign ones. This incident proved without question that big business rules the day for republicans, and that they care nothing for the well being of the individual citizens of the USA. I caution you not to forget this at the polls in this Novembers mid-term elections.
That concludes my first season of The Web-DVM. Thank you for watching, commenting, and making my first season a resounding success. After a 2 month summer recess, I will be returning with new episodes the first week of September, 2010. In the mean time, you can still catch my live call-in show Wednesday nights at 9PM EST. For more on the call-in show and how you can listen or watch live, as well as call in with a question or comment, visit my blog at webdvm.blogspot.com.
Missed this week's live show? Catch it here:
Pay now, not dearly later - Broadcast your self LIVE
Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website Web-DVM.net.