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Martin Feldman resurrects Igor

Before you ask, I am not talking about this Martin “Marty” Feldman:

He was a legendary English comedic actor who in fact, played Igor in Young Frankenstein.

I am talking about this Martin Feldman, a Federal judge in Louisiana.

What a tool.

Okay, he isn’t that bad. But his presence in the news of late throws him into extreme scrutiny, and deservedly so. His decision to overturn Obama’s moratorium on deep-water drilling has not garnered many accolades outside of his local constituencies and like-minded peers. My knee-jerk response was to condemn him, but I had to step back and look at the situation more objectively. Few things are black or white; the truth lies somewhere in between those two values. Even the growing amorphous blob of black oil in the Gulf has cast a dark gray in waters that no light or sky’s reflection can penetrate. It is a tragic sight indeed, and taking precautionary measures to prevent this from getting even worse should be a no-brainer. Still, we are left with a polarizing dilemma. While necessary, it is challenging if not impossible for many to set aside their emotions to draw conclusions based on reality and objective thought. But, I’ll give it a whirl.

Before I went off the deep end in the assumption that the conservative right is out for Liberal blood, I forced myself to swim to shore to see the impetus behind this action. I must say that there are some compelling reasons to keep business going as usual. First and foremost is that the state depends on this to keep afloat. Upwards of 32,000 people in Louisiana make their livelihood in the oil industry, and it provides the state with $3 billion in revenue. Even though the moratorium affects only 33 exploratory sites out of the close to 4,000 active oil wells in the Gulf, this does have the potential to result in job reduction due to lost revenue from idle rigs. Let us not forget that this affects the whole country, as well. Our goal to lessen dependence on foreign oil is impeded if we can’t fully tap into domestic resources.

Statistics can be dehumanizing, but it is not difficult to appreciate the impact this could have on families who rely on the oil industry to live. It would be exacerbated by a weakened economy forced to compensate by budget cuts and tax increases, thus amplifying the hardship on the families with little to no income. From that perspective, I can understand a lot of people applauding Martin Feldman’s deed.

When dealing with a massive population, by and large, ethical pragmatism is needed in governance. Ethical pragmatism is basing decisions on what is best for the greater good without the intent to harm others. Defining that greater good is the tricky part. This disaster is not only hurting a local economy, it will be felt across the globe in a ripple effect of economic adversity and ecological damage. Our already hobbled economy will feel this from our gas tanks to our dinner plates. This is primarily due to the scales capsizing on the side of demand as the supply of seafood diminishes, amongst other things. The suffering does not stop with the people, despite the inclination of certain idealogies to place the needs of humans over animals. They are missing the bigger picture. Marine life that is so important to the ecosystem is being buried alive in sludge. There are species that are at risk for extinction, as well. How will our earth fare if half the creatures that keep our waters alive and clean are gone?

Once again, we manufactured a disaster that speaks to the unfairness of the food chain and pecking order. Leave it to the humans to muck things up in epic fashion: the salt of the earth paradoxically salts the earth. Again.

 Obama’s decision was based on ethical pragmatism, as well as exercising caution in an untenable situation. The explosion was preventable and the resulting leak should have been repaired post haste, much less that lives were lost as a direct result. The prudent thing to do while fixing the damage is to remove as many variables as possible. It may appear reactionary—lightning rarely strikes twice. However, why test those odds? Just imagine as the hole gushes thousands of barrels, i.e., millions of gallons, of oil every day, another one occurs in the same waters. British Petroleum is already on the hook for billions of dollars that in all likelihood, will cause them to sink before they can pay the balance in full. Let’s face reality here. The government, and subsequently the people, are going to pay for this. The demise of any large entity is felt far and wide, hence the reason the failure of the banking industry brought us to our collective knees. Why compound the problem by relying on a deity to spare us his wrath? That begs the question, as it does not make sense that our alleged “intelligent designer” would destroy what he created. Yet, group prayer across states has been suggested as a means to a solution. But I digress.

So, who is right, or at least more correct? More to the point, who is looking at the situation most objectively? Based on both arguments, that may be a toss up because some of the fears, while not voiced by Chicken Little, are somewhat hypothetical at this point. Viewing historical trends, it seems all the arguments are quite plausible. With my limited resources, as I am not an economist nor a historian, I must look to the source of this controversy, thus explaining my Igor reference.

Igor is a fictional character who blithely served his villanous masters. Marty Feldman’s hilarious portrayal of that character went down in cinema history. Martin Feldman’s Igor will go down in infamy, but none of us are laughing. Why do I consider him to be Igor? Well, he is serving the current enemy of the states—British Petroleum, as it has been revealed that he has financial interests in them, along with other oil companies. That should make everyone, including Abby Normal, go “Mmmmmm”. As with Dick Cheney’s Haliburton, the burden of proof should be thrown back to the source. “Mr. Feldman, did you make this decision without consideration for your own financial gain? Might I remind you that you cannot prove a negative.”

The following is an observation based not on fact, but a conclusion drawn from what this behavior usually represents. His actions smack of grandstanding. The aging judge from the Reagan era would have faded into obscurity until this golden opportunity came along to pound on his puffed up chest. His core position was probably not persuaded by the desire for fame, as he is a “drill, baby, drill” proponent. However, did the potential consequences galvanize him to this extreme response? Was there a pleasurable jolt of power that he could stand up to the Almighty Obama and abrogate his ruling?

My little odyssey has circled me back to where I started. The moratorium is the right thing to do until the problem can be contained and we are on the road to recovery. The damage is more far-reaching than the state of Louisiana, and will go into the decades to reverse, if that can even be done. 

As for a potential solution, British Petroleum should reorganize and make it their business to fix the damage—locally and globally—as well as compensate for the resulting burden on the people. They should also make it their charge to find alternate solutions for our energy and fuel to replace oil completely, so that an encore performance will not occur.

Bwahahaha. HA! You thought I was serious about that, right? They’ll be dead and buried before that happens. I was serious, actually, but then reality kicked in. We’re damned if we do, and damned even more if we don’t. All we can hope for is that this crisis is not wasted on ignorance.