A presidential act of piracy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I am rarely known as a great lover of oil companies or as a defender of their faith. Indeed, I have in recent years devoted my fortune, efforts and all waking energies to the development of disruptive technologies designed specifically to effect their total obsolescence.

We produce videos on how to convert your car to electric drive. If we can influence sufficient men of vigor to do so, the dependence on foreign oil will be entirely eliminated, and most of the world's largest and most profitable companies will be largely marginalized. I cannot imagine a picture with me serving as flag waver for any oil company.

That said, I have just witnessed the widely lauded "presidential" bold initiative in calling BP's chief executive officer on the carpet in the Oval Office to extract a $20 billion tribute with unspeakable embarrassment and shame.

There can be no question it was involuntary. Indeed, our elected head of state announced both his intention and the dollar figure on national television the evening before the meeting. That BP acceded to his demand poses poor surprise. As such, it serves as a public example of executive piracy, placing the United States on a moral plane with Somalian pirates, holding captive tourists ransom for cash.

From our first agreement of the various states to act as one nation, we are founded on the principle of a nation of laws and not of rulers. We intentionally, and at a time when it was truly an innovation, gave up the efficiencies of royal decree and law as the whim of one trusted leader, be it king or despot. Instead, we were to be ruled by agreed laws and regulations created by our elected representatives, in concert, and enforced in as just manner as a Byzantine system of checks and balances could ensure, however imperfectly.

President Obama's shakedown of BP represents a scurrilous and craven act more akin to organized crime and neighborhood protection rackets. With no due process of law or even an allusion to one, he summarily threatened BP and demanded a tribute of $20 billion with no strings attached. All this for the sake of appearing to do something presidential in the face of a technical problem he is ill equipped as "neighborhood organizer" to deal with.

In stereotypical fashion, he fell back on soliciting a "sponsorship" from a "corporation" to fund his plans. But his use of presidential power and the weight of the United States government to coerce the "contribution" in this case constitutes piracy, and more broadly high treason, with scant room for intellectual remove or debate.

With deep embarrassment, I do apologize publicly and in all sincerity for the actions of my president, and to any and all who will hear. This is not who we are as a people, nor as a land, nor as a nation.

As to President Obama, nothing less than his immediate resignation from office will suffice, herein called for this date.

I would urge his successor to return these ill-gotten gains immediately and proceed in dealing with this situation, and with BP, in lawful fashion as the designated spokesman and executive officer for the republic.

As to the overly and utterly predictable moronic response: It matters not who they are or what they have done. It does matter who we are, and what we do.

Jack Rickard is a Cape Girardeau resident.

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