Tag Archives: bp

Blame game

So there I was, sittin at my desk, trying to keep up with multiple copies of multiple e-mails that were flooding into my inbox while simultaneously figuring out which were dross and which I really needed, when my boss, who was sitting at the next desk over, looked at me and said

Obama’s gonna really take it on the chin over this oil spill.

Well, duh, big guy. What was your first clue? And what do you mean “gonna”?

He’s right, of course, although our subsequent discussion didn’t sound like I agreed. The president is taking it on the chin right now from Republicans, mostly, who are ironically calling for more government interference in what should be a private business issue.

Had he jumped in and started ordering BP around or kicking them out of the fix, however, Obama would be taking it on the chin right now from Republicans, almost exclusively, who oppose government interference in what should be a private business issue.

So while conservatives are out there trying to have things like discrimination both ways (“I oppose discrimination, I just don’t think we should do anything about it”), they’re also actively making sure that Democrats, and particularly this president, are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

But here are my colleagues, full participants in making this oil spill “Obama’s Katrina.”

The truth is what Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said just the other day:

To push BP out of the way would be to raise the question, to replace them with what?

See, the federal government lacks the equipment and technology to stop this oil spill. The federal government, as you may or may not know, is not in the oil drilling business.

They’re damning the administration for not having an oil spill contingency plan. Really? I guess in 10 or 20 years when, say, Atlanta has another blizzard and can’t dig out because the city finds it just a little wrong to buy and maintain snow equipment for that once-a-generation occurrence, Atlanta’s citizens should call for the mayor’s head.

Isn’t this what the Republicans want? BP, Transocean and Halliburton fucked this up. BP, Halliburton and Transocean need to fix it. What? They didn’t have a plan either? Gee, who’s fault is that?

Oh, right. Obama’s.

You don’t hear much about this, but there were BP execs on board the Deepwater Horizon when it blew up. They were celebrating their safety record. Know what else? They had a lot of warning that something was wrong before the explosion, and they did absolutely nothing about it.

Hell, BP even got a big ole warning — actually several of them — in the hours before Deepwater Horizon blew up. They ignored them. Told Congress they made “a fundamental mistake” by  continuing drilling operations after they had very clear warning that something was very, very fucked up.

But my beloved colleagues are busy being their short-sighted selves. It happened on Obama’s watch, so it’s his fault. It’s Obama’s Katrina.

Never mind, of course, that Katrina was a hurricane, a natural disaster, and of a type that happens rather frequently, if not quite on that level. The federal government supposedly has all kinds of mechanisms in place to deal with that, and besides, they had years of warnings that the levees in NOLA wouldn’t hold. Not only that, but there were hours, days even of warning that this ‘cane was coming ashore, and it was gonna be big. And 2005 was deep into the Bush administration.

Now, I’m all kinda pissed off that this oil spill is wrecking what’s left of Louisiana’s wetlands. But Louisiana’s wetlands were a disaster long before April 20. Nobody seemed very worried about all the silt and mud that the dammed up Mississippi River dumps into the gulf every day, creating an ever-widening dead zone. True, that dead zone is a bunch bigger now, and all manner of innocent animals are being oiled because of this spill.

But here’s the real deal. It’s not Obama’s fault, although it’s damn clear he’s taking the blame. He does have a part to play, of course. But the real culprits here are the legislators and corporatists who have refused for decades to do anything at all to lessen our dependence on oil. Not foreign oil, mind you. Any oil at all. Drilling in the ocean (or ANWR or anywhere else for that matter) is a disaster waiting to happen. And now it has.

It’s also the fault of a government in which regulators, the companies they regulate and those companies’ lobbyists are virtually the same people. One senator called it a “revolving door.” Another said they’re “in bed” together. Even if by some miracle one of the regulators hires somebody who takes his or her job seriously, you know the peer pressure is serious.

And that goes way back in this government, past Obama, past Clinton, past both Bushes. You find some, but very little before Reagan, and a lot from that time on.

That’s what the conservatives mean when they sign onto Grover Norquist’s idea to make government so small you can drown it in a bathtub. An end to regulation. That and an end to social programs that can help American citizens without their having to sign their lives away to corporate owners.

We didn’t learn a damn thing from the Exxon Valdez, though, and I doubt seriously we’ll learn a damn thing from this. See how quickly “let the market take care of it” goes by the wayside when something truly devastating happens? That’s because the market is only interested in making its masters more money. Cleaning up an oil spill, even stopping the gusher that’s causing it, doesn’t make anybody any money.

Well, except maybe the makers of that dispersant that BP insists on using, the one that’s more toxic and less efficient than any of the other available dispersants.

Obama’s part of this too — where’s that big energy plan? Oh right. It’s all tied up in “negotiations” with the party of no, wherein the administration waters the bill down to nothing with Republican proposals and then they vote no anyway.

The lesson we should be learning is that oil is a no-win game. It pollutes in more ways than we can count. It’s dangerous. It’s a killer. And it’s yet another thing that does nothing for average Americans.

The Gulf coast is gonna be a mess for a long time, whether BP gets its shit together or the federal government takes over. Truth is, there was really no contingency plan to be had for something like this. BP certainly wasn’t going to spend any money developing one, and you won’t find one in the vaults at Shell or Chevron or Texaco or ExxonMobile either. A gusher a mile below the surface isn’t something you expect to happen — unless, of course, you realize that drilling for oil anywhere on the planet is a set-up for something like this. And it’s pretty clear very few people understand that.

So here’s the deal, America. Get it through your head that we need to leave oil behind, period. We need clean, safe, alternative energy sources, and we need ’em yesterday.

I just saw a Tweet flash by on my screen:

BREAKING: Large Air Spill At Wind Farm. No Threats Reported. Some Claim To Enjoy The Breeze

Mmmm. Now that’s what I’m talkin about.

Make no mistake. This is a disaster. But the root of it isn’t the Obama administration.

It’s greed.

Just how fucked are we?

A majority of Americans support Arizona’s attempt to become a racist police state. Now, a majority also thinks the new law out there in the wild west will lead to racial profiling, but, hey, what’s a little racial profiling among friends, huh?

If that’s not a direct indication of the racist hearts of Americans nowadays — that people don’t care if the brown and black people are profiled — then I don’t know what is. If it were the other way around, d’ya think they’d like it so much?

Remember the Arizona deputy who was shot last week? Originally, we were told he was shot by illegal immigrants. With and AK47. Now, I’m thinking that not too many illegal immigrants carry around AK47s, but what do I know? I’m just a dirty miscreant hippie. But sure enough, we find out later that the dudes who shot the deputy (but not the sheriff, who wasn’t there) were dug smugglers. They may well have been in the country illegally, but they were also doing something quite illegal at the time. Same with the rancher who was shot and killed on a ranch, the incident that got the Arizona legislature on this kick to begin with. The illegal immigrant in question was a drug smuggler.

In fact, virtually all the crime that the legislature was looking to cut down on with this crackdown on illegal immigrants is done by drug smugglers. But instead of looking at the drug problem, the lawmakers made a law that doesn’t just target drug smugglers. And it doesn’t just target illegal immigrants. It targets anybody who looks like they might be an illegal immmigrant, which, in Arizona, means anyone who isn’t white.

Of course, the supporters of these kinds of measures won’t tell you about the drug smugglers. But they will spare no expense to tell you about the scary, scary Mexicans swarming across the border by the millions to take your jobs and usurp the benefits paid for by your tax dollars (the very same benefits, by the way, that most of the supporters of this kind of law don’t want you to have either).

I’m sure you’ve seen and hears the teabaggers going on and on about how Obama is shredding the Constitution. But from just that little discussion above, it’s damn clear who’s doing the shredding these days. But this is what conservatives do. They accuse the reset of us of doing what they’re doing, putting us on the defensive because damn we don’t like to be accused of being unAmerican.

The eight years of unmitigated fear mongering we had during the Bush administration has very nearly killed us. Far too many folks fall for it now. You and I are at an extreme disadvantage, and yes, my colleagues are quite culpable in that.

Speaking of my illustrious colleagues, they’ve spent much of the last week goading Republicans into complaining that Faisal Shahzad, the incompetent Times Square wannabe terrorist, got Mirandized. Not that it took a lot of goading, because these country-lovin, Constitution-supportin, gun-totin hypocrites live by the Constitution’s exception clause, wherein all the rights and responsibilities iterated in our ruling document apply to everyone except the people they’re afraid of. They also use the exception clause to exempt certain member of society — them — from certain laws. Pretty good racket they’ve got goin there.

See, the thing about conservatives is that they are completely convinced that they and only they have the right to rule. They are never wrong, always right, and the rest of us need to shut the fuck up and get out of the way.

But let’s get back to Shahzad, shall we? What a loser. Dude even bought the wrong kind of fertilizer, a mistake conservative hero Tim McVeigh certainly didn’t make. But boy those conservatives are just riddled with fear over this guy. And it’s all Obama’s fault, of course. Obama’s fault that he got naturalized and the security checks didn’t flag him, because, you know, terrorists, being Muslims, are bound and determined to attack the United States from the day they are born, unlike, say, white guy and Christian Joe Stack, who’d just had enough of the socialist government of the United States one day and flew his airplane into an IRS building.

Shahzad was also “allowed” to get on a plane. Incompetence! the conservatives scream. Yeah, but there’s just one little thing wrong with that. Shahzad got on the plane because hemadehis reservation on the way to the airport but didn’t pay until he was there. So he wasn’t on the passenger manifest right away. But by the time he had actually gotten to his seat, he was, and Customs and Border Protection took him off. Then the plane started to leave, but CBP called it back to make sure they had the right guy — and that the plane was safe.

And then there’s the Miranda thing. As if they didn’t get enough of that with the totally incompetent wannabe terrorist underwear bomber. This time, though, there was a difference — Shahzad is a citizen, although, of course, not a real citizen since he was naturalized. But the damn Constitution says that makes him a citizen.

That wasn’t enough, though, to stop folks like John McCain and Pete King from saying it was a mistake to read him his rights, even though the attorney general told us that he’d waived his rights and kept providing information even after he was Mirandized.

Pete King even had the quote of the week.

I know he’s an American citizen, but still.

But still. Joe Lieberman has an idea, though, to take that “but still” right out of the mix. He’s introducing a bill to strip terror suspects of their citizenship. And ship them to Gitmo.

Just gotta be a suspect, man. That’s the American way. If we think you’re guilty, you are. Especially if you’re not White Like Me.

And that’s the way the Arizona law reads too. Just gotta be a suspect. And you’d better have you’re papers in order. But there won’t be any racial profiling, y’know.

And of course, the failed Times Square attack has the conservatives falling all over themselves to be the first to say that it proves we need stricter immigration laws, just like they did after 9/11. Couldn’t be more predictable. Some congressman, whose name I flushed out of my mind, even issued an incomprehensible news release in which he said that the failed attack in Times Square justified the Arizona law.

Conservative bloggers are all over that too, except for the most part they’re calling for stricter regulations against Muslim immigrants, rather than Arizona’s unwritten Hispanic rules.

So how fucked are we? Unless and until a whole lot more people take the blinders off and see what they’re doing to themselves, not to mention the country, I’d say we’re pretty damn fucked. And I didn’t even get to the part about the Ayatollah Limbaugh’s new theory: that environmentalists blew up the Deepwater Horizon as some sort of black flag operation to discredit the oil companies, as if they need any outside help.

Limbaugh and the other conservatives who are playing that song do so because that’s something they’d do. They don’t get it that the rest of us don’t operate like that. We care just a little bit more about honesty and integrity, fairness and justice.

That puts us behind the 8-ball sometimes. But in the long run, it’s the only way to go.