BP and power grabs

President Obama has come under attack from the right-wing for pressuring BP into setting up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Yes, they say, it may be a good idea, but President Obama has no constitutional or legal authority to tell the managers of a corporation to do the right thing.  According to columnist Thomas Sowell, he is putting us on the slippery slope to fascism.

The other day the Coast Guard announced new rules imposing $40,000 fines and prison terms of one to five years on reporters who come too close to the BP oil spill.  I’m not aware of anything in the Constitution or the laws that gives the Coast Guard the power to regulate the press.

This follows many reports of local law enforcement and Homeland Security officials acting as enforcers for BP in restricting news coverage.  These reports do not involve public safety or interference with the cleanup work; they’ve even banned planes from flying over the oil spill sites. This suppression of documentary evidence will be important to BP later on when it has to defend itself against lawsuits.

If I was going to draw analogies with fascism, this is the example I would use.

Click on Is the United States on Slippery Slope to Tyranny? for Thomas Sowell’s column.

Click on Glenn Greenwald’s The BP / government police state for reasons that Sowell doesn’t mention on why the United States really may be on the slippery slope to tyranny.

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