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BP Isn’t a Villain; We Need to Point the Finger at Ourselves

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Americans are feeling helpless and frustrated over the current Gulf oil spill disaster, and when we feel helpless, we get angry and look for someone to blame. We need to look deeper and learn important long-term lessons from this catastrophe.

Were mistakes made and shortcuts taken by BP and its partners? Yes. Are mistakes made and shortcuts taken throughout the oil industry, and all industry every day? You bet! Not through villainy, but through human nature, the profit motive, and human fallibility. Was lack of governmental oversight also an issue? Of course! The undue influence of big oil and big business in general has been a way of life for the American government for at least thirty years. But, if anything, that influence has decreased a little under the current administration, so President Obama is certainly not a villain in this crisis either.

The attack on President Obama by the extreme right, the long-term supporters of big oil and the collusion of government and big business, is opportunistic and misdirected. By nature, President Obama is a supporter of alternative energy and the environment. People hate feeling helpless and somehow want to believe that our government has some technology that can help stop the oil spill, but we don't — unless we want the military to drop a really big bomb down there and make the spill much worse.

Let's point the finger where it is deserved, at ourselves. We, the American people, encouraged our government to support deep ocean oil drilling, knowing the risks. We, the American people, valued our desire for cheap gasoline far above our respect for nature and for leaving our grandchildren a world that is still livable.

The question is not whether continued deep sea drilling will cause environmental disasters, but how many spills will happen and how catastrophic they will be. Nature is more powerful than humans, and always will be. Our forefathers knew that, and respected the power of nature. Our generation has come to believe that we have mastery over nature, but we never will. We will destroy humanity if we don't relearn respect for our environment.

A comparison of the current oil spill to the 1979 Three Mile Island incident is telling, and ironic. There were no deaths, injuries, or damage to the environment due to the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island, yet the emerging nuclear power capability of the United States was virtually halted. The gulf oil spill disaster has cost lives and spread ocean life-killing oil both on the surface and in the deep ocean from Texas to the Florida Keys, yet there are still voices supporting continued deep ocean drilling. What are we thinking?

Let's point the finger at ourselves, the real decision makers, the American voters. We get to choose whether we want more deep ocean oil drilling, or clean nuclear, solar, and alternative energy.

We get to choose what kind of planet our grandchildren will inherit.

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About Jonathan Lockwood Huie

  • Clavos

    You say that the spill,

    …spread ocean life-killing oil both on the surface and in the deep ocean from Texas to the Florida Keys…,

    Do you have a citation for it having spread to the Keys? I am a South Florida resident and have not seen any reports yet of the oil having reached the Keys.

    To say it has when it hasn’t does a great disservice to the area, which is heavily dependent on income from tourism, the peak season for which begins this very weekend.

  • zingzing

    just look at iraqi tourism since blogcritics reported there was a war on.

  • Mark

    http://www.cubaconservation.org:

    On Friday, 28 May, a NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft observed patches of oil as close as 100 miles from the Cuban coast with larger slicks roughly 250 miles away. The quantity and speed with which oil will continue to enter and be transported in the Loop Current and its threat to Cuba?s waters remain difficult to determine. The quantity and location of deeper subsurface oil remains virtually unknown.

  • Doug Hunter

    Can people process anything without political spin? Accidents happen, period. Humans are not perfect.

    Did Chernobyl occur becuase there wasn’t enough daddy government in the Soviet Republics? What about the Banqiao damn in China?

    The fact is governments, businesses, and everyone else makes mistakes. What can’t be allowed to happen is repeating the same ones, I don’t think that’s the case with the BP spill.

    I suppose as Rahm says though, never let a good crisis go to waste!

  • Doug Hunter

    Just one more thing, the tired old cliche blaming the ‘profit motive’ for everything is shortsighted. The government has the same motive, it’s simply called efficiency or a budget. There must be a balance struck between cost and safety and every project has a budget to meet, whether private or public. If you don’t believe me consider the New Orleans levies under direct control of the government and their failure.

    You big government types are just a broken record when it comes to these things. If government fails, the answer is more and bigger government. When business fails the answer is more and bigger government. If individuals suffer the answer is more and bigger government.

  • zingzing

    wait, a “big government type” wants “more and bigger government?” who the fuck knew? isn’t it kind of implicit? that’s like saying “you ‘breathing types’ are all ‘breathe in, breathe out’ all the damn time.” try to get beyond the surface layer, and maybe you’ll see that a person’s thought process is nowhere near as simple as you make it out to be.

    the bp oil spill was an accident that stopped waiting to happen. and if a fucking oil rig is going to fucking explode and send shitloads of fucking crude oil into the water, destroying livelihoods and environments and costing tax payers billions of dollars, you’re fucking right the government needs to have some control over that shit.

    it’s all our fault that this shit was even allowed to happen in the first place. disgusting.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing, you’ve had an example of “government control” as exercised by the Minerals Services Agency or in case the the Virginia mines incident.

    I don’t mean to piss on your parade, but in a way, you’re playing into Doug’s hand here and only reinforce his rather one-dimensional view.

    In this day and age, one ought to be just as skeptical about the government as one is about Big Business.

    Try to think outside the box.

  • zingzing

    alright, let’s have the unicorns overseeing offshore drilling. and the dragons can oversee the mines. businesses aren’t going to police themselves. they’ll do it the cheapest way, at the expense of personal and national safety. obviously, unicorns and dragons aren’t going to really be providing oversight. so what do you suggest?

  • zingzing

    and i thought it was west virginia…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    right about that, zing, same difference though. As to your #8, don’t you ever wonder about our government’s complicity with Big Business, no matter which political party is in power?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As to what I suggest? We’ve got to restructure our economic system down to size, new relations of productions, workers having more say, sitting on the board of directors, having more say.

    But as long as Big Business has its say, government is not a solution unless it’s willing to break their back. But they have neither the political will nor the inclination. In fact, they can’t imagine a liberal democracy without capitalism playing the major part.

    It’s our national heritage, zing – economic freedom to the fullest, even the freedom to keep on fucking up.

  • zingzing

    “We’ve got to restructure our economic system down to size, new relations of productions, workers having more say, sitting on the board of directors, having more say.”

    that’ll take some time, and just who do you suggest spearheads that restructuring? will it just come together naturally? (doubtful.) will the government force it? (that would be rather strange, given the circumstances.) will big business do itself in? (not likely.) besides, it stinks of socialism, which will never fly in this country. given that the government can’t and won’t do anything like that, and big business can’t and won’t do anything like that, it’ll have to take place naturally. that could take generations.

    and all the while, the oil continues to gurgle.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing, I feel we’re coming to a peak. As a matter of fact, I hope the Republicans will get their wish and become a majority in both Houses, including the Oval Office come 2012.

    And then, the screws will turn, the welfare state hopefully dismantles, unemployment benefits cut off – do you get my meaning?

    For the time being, the underclass is kept relatively satisfied to keep their head above water. And it serves as a safety valve. But can you imagine the general unrest once the benefits and “entitlements” are cut.

    We’re sitting on powder keg, zing, about to explode. It will come to a peak sooner than you think.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Doug? Are you a paid lobbyist because you sure write like one?

    Just one more thing, the tired old cliche blaming the ‘profit motive’ for everything is shortsighted. The government has the same motive, it’s simply called efficiency or a budget.

    Our government is a subsidiary of big business. They are at the mercy of the financial and military industrial complex. Sure, we “elect” the officials but those that we elect immediately go to orientation in lobbyist-sponsored seminars. These lobbyists have found the perfect mechanism to circumvent the American voters’ will. That, my friend, is a simple truth which we fail to admit.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    “He’s not a scientist, he’s a lawyer,” thus spoke an Al Jazeera reporter when asked about President Obama’s visit to the Gulf Friday. Gee, FINALLY! A reporter who points out that Barack Obama is not qualified to make a decision about the impact of the oil leak.

    Since it’s been pointed out that Mr. Obama is, in fact, an attorney — maybe he should start acting like one.

  • Arch Conservative

    First of all the author makes it a point to mention that no real damage was during the 3 mile island incidient. That’s greta but Obama is on record opposing nuclear power.

    Second………….IT”S BP’S FAULT!
    They were the ones who fucked up. Not me….not my next door neighbor filling up his SUv with gas…BP…. I realize the author may not have meant it’s our fault in a strictly literal sense but I do mean it’s BP’s fault in a strictly literal sense. Theere oil rig, their oil, their operation…their fault. They make billions in profit……….use those bllions to fix the problem! NOW!

    Whoa re you referring to by “the underclass” Roger?

    “But can you imagine the general unrest once the benefits and “entitlements” are cut.”

    I hardly think people that actually work for a living will let this country be held hotage by a bunch of welfare deadbeats and illegals.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Believe you me, Archie, you’re included, though you don’t realize that quite yet.

    And don’t forget. The people who actually work for a living are fewer and fewer. And the trend is not about to reverse unless a miracle happens. Do you believe in miracles, Archie?

    Ultimately, it’s going to be a numbers game.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I hardly think people that actually work for a living will let this country be held hostage by a bunch of welfare deadbeats and illegals.

    There aren’t that many welfare deadbeats as you think, Arch. Bill Clinton and his GOP Congress insured that. Same for illegals. Yes, it’s a problem. But it remains a smokescreen and a lighter blip on state of the union radar. This is more about Mexicans than illegals. If our corporate imperialist corn industry hadn’t sacked the Mexican agriculture economy, we would not be having this discussion.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    We ain’t talking about “welfare deadbeats.” Sure, there are some. But there is a growing army of the unemployed, people who would love to work and be productive, but, through no fault of their own, cannot.

    And that is the main point. America no longer delivers. The American Dream is in shambles. Cut all means of support from this, ever growing number of people, and see if they’re going to take it in stride.

  • Arch Conservative

    Point taken guys.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t believe it, Archie. Have we reached a breakthrough?

  • Zedd

    Great article!

    The larger issue is that we are preoccupied with matters that exacerbate the problem. Those who want to be engage are so starved for solutions that we latch on any public pronouncement (although shamefully watered down) of what we know to be amiss. What becomes problematic is that the public discourse is shallow, cluttered and quite frankly suffers from ADD (unintentionally or by design). People are latching on to anything that has a morsel of anything that rings true. As a result EVERYTHING is over simplified; everyone (including journalists) is comfy with issuing sound bites because no one will call them on it. The people are worn out because of excessive information and lack of substance. We end up with camps (liberal/conservative, big government/small government, etc.) No one is discussing solutions for this new world that we find ourselves in. We are technological, time means something different, education means something different, gender, nationality, age, hard work, everything has a different relevance yet we are arguing over concepts that don?t match our reality.

    I will say however that human nature is the same. Greed is greed. Government greed, business greed, its human. You can bet on it.

  • John Wilson

    Lousy article. The premise is wrong. It is not “ourselves” who were wrong, unless by “ourselves” you mean those “yourselves” who supported the rightwing stripping of government regulations from oil drilling.

    It’s just another rightist attempt to blur their own responsibility by trying to blame things on everyone. Like “everyone thought Iraq had WMD!”

    BP has committed 760 violations of regulations in the last year, and they secured waivers from the compliant rightist dominated MMS, a heritage of 30 years of fumbling idiotic rightwing rule in washington.

    BP is a company of chiselers and liars, and they are STILL lying. They tried several spill solutions over the past 5 weeks, not because they thought they would work, but because they were cheap and had sufficient plausibility to fool the idiots in Washington, none of whom has an engineering degree. Their intention all along has been to abandon this mess and dump it on the American citizen and taxpayer and then run away under the $27million liability cap they resurrected from 150 yr. old law.

    Stop believing republican pro-corporation propaganda and cant. Investigate the facts and think for yourself.

  • Zedd

    John,

    I think he meant We The People.

    Also the preoccupation with right vs. left is part of the problem. You are waisting time on useless lables when you should be forcing your officials to be solutions oreinted and not stuck on what will sound left enough to make you happy.

    So YES, very yes, YOU are the problem.

  • Clavos

    We ALL are the problem with our insatiable thirst for oil.

    But we don’t stop flying airplanes when one crashes. Similarly, we shouldn’t stop drilling — wherever the oil is.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    As Rachel Maddow has been deftly pointing out this past week, there was a very similar spill in Mexican waters in 1979. And the [unsuccessful] attempts to stop the spill were nearly identical to the methods BP has [unsuccessfully] been trying over the past month.

    The 1979 spill continued for months — until relief wells were drilled. Exactly what is going to happen this time.

    Oil companies have vast new technologies at their disposal — but mostly for drilling at greater depths. They apparently haven’t been spending as much R&D money on safety and on an effective Plan B in case of disaster.

    Sure, they should be allowed to drill. If they can demonstrate that they are actually capable of handling an accident should it occur. Until then a moratorium is appropriate.

    Finally, I note that the same crowd who chanted “Drill Baby Drill” so moronically two years ago have come up with the rather less catchy slogan for 2010: “Accidents happen.” Lame, to put it mildly.

  • zingzing

    it’s in the gulf. drill the water.

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    You may not be aware but there is no solution for this problem. Its consequences are far reaching and exponential. It’s not a mere accident that causes the loss in the lives of a few and temporary lost revenue for a company’s insurance agency.

    With no solution and the affects to be this great, it’s time to halt and use the best of our minds to come up with a solution first.

    You act as if WE cant solve problems. That WE are sows; no aim, merely existing to get what we can get.

  • Zedd

    Accidents do happen. That is why we cant “drill baby drill”. There is much too much at stake. The technology was designed without a solution for the problem that we are faced with. The permits were given without an adequate system to monitor the work. Accidents WILL happen.

    That type of inevitability requires the proper mechanisms to be available upon its occurrence.

  • Clavos

    You may not be aware but there is no solution for this problem

    I’ve asked you time and again not to condescend to me, Zedd, but I suppose you’re just too thick to pay attention.

    I don’t live under a rock, I hear the news, and actually, you’re wrong, there IS a solution; it’s just going to take a few weeks to implement, as it did when the mexican Ixtoc well blew and leaked. Speaking of the mexican mishap, it’s interesting how subdued the response to it was, compared to the furor over Deepwater Horizon.

    We didn’t shut down New Orleans and force everyone to go live elsewhere after Katrina, even though, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, another storm will inevitably hit New Orleans with equally or worse disastrous results one day, nor should we panic and cease all drilling because of one incident. Fortunately, your president has already indicated he has no intention of halting drilling.

    The consequences of NOT drilling will be far more harmful to the entire country than this mishap.

  • zingzing

    clavos puts it thus: abandon new orleans and keep drilling.

    new orleans is a city full of people that is a potential disaster we don’t have an adequate plan for. offshore drilling is a potential disaster we don’t have an adequate plan for.

    the “city full of people” bit is a rather important difference. (also, i love new orleans, even if it was a stupid place to put a city. so was venice. nothing changing that. also, england’s climate is stinky. they should move to southern france. god bless our ability to change history. life wouldn’t be the same without it. in a minute, you won’t see that joke, and it never happened.)

    offshore drilling is a stupid idea, unless we have a proven way of stopping this shit. and if there was a something that worked in mexico, why hasn’t it been used here? maybe because the scale isn’t the same? maybe because the conditions on the floor aren’t the same?

  • STM

    The problem is zing, offshore drilling has been going on for many decades; there have been many rig accidents – but this is the first accident to result in a spill of this kind. So it’s a new issue. I guess they thought they’d worked out the technology to prevent it.

    Now they know they haven’t

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    As was pointed out to me today, it took Ted Kennedy’s passing for the wind farms to come to Cape Cod. The late Senator fought the proposal tooth and nail. I guess that’s how the drilling has gone as well. It’s been OK to drill in places where those affected directly had the least political clout. This is a bit disturbing to me.

    New Orleans has been through the wringer. It began with a natural disaster and now we have a human accident which has far reaching effects. We can debate the wisdom of building such a city dependent on levees. Let us not forget that the breach of the same was caused by human miscalculation. More lives could have been spared had a more sound system been in place. But, once again, the politically disconnected do not get the spoils.

    Inasmuch as cessation of off shore drilling is desirable, it’s just not realistic. We’ve got to simultaneously develop mechanisms to make drilling safer whilst we create new sources of energy which make us independent of petroleum. We’ve got some serious long term goals to accomplish. Are the politicians in power gutsy enough to do the right thing? Is the American public ready to take the more difficult path of sacrifice for a decade to turn things around?

    In hindsight would not the Administration and Congress have been wiser to implement civil service programs using the unemployed base currently collecting benefits? The President has the potential of FDR but seems more like G.W. Bush these days. I don’t like it, but we’ve got some harsh choices to make if we want to turn this ship around. But we can do it. If we try.

    But then again, who really gives a damn any more? It seems like we’ve already surrendered to our impending doom without as much as a whimper.

  • zingzing

    stm: “So it’s a new issue.”

    well, apparently, it’s a big one. if you overlook this kind of crap, what else are you overlooking? there will always be a new issue with this shit. that’s the problem. until we’re good and certain about this shit, or we can figure out a way to do it so far away from land that it doesn’t really matter to us, this shit fucks up peoples’ lives. it’s not a news item to some people. this is their livelihood.

  • STM

    That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. I think they thought they had all the bases covered, but they obviously didn’t.

    And I do realise how serious it is, don’t worry. It’s getting plenty of news coverage down this neck of the woods.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Indeed it is, Stan. I’ve talked to both Australian and Canadian friends and all have told me that the coverage they’re receiving is quite extensive. I’m also told that there is rising concern in the U.K. about what’s in store for them three months down the road.

  • STM

    Not to mention the money they’ll be coughing up through BP. It’s a huge disaster, really, not just because of the environmental impact but because no bastard seems to know what to do.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    6 – lol, zing

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    5 – Doug,

    Just one more thing, the tired old cliche blaming the ‘profit motive’ for everything is shortsighted. The government has the same motive, it’s simply called efficiency or a budget. There must be a balance struck between cost and safety and every project has a budget to meet, whether private or public.

    But without a profit motive there isn’t a reason to strike any balance between cost and safety. Whatever is needed for safety becomes what the cost is. Thus the profit motive is at fault. You just, ironically, spelled out why.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    That’s greta but Obama is on record opposing nuclear power.

    Gee, that’s strange – because Obama’s done MORE for nuclear power plant construction than Bush 41, Bush 43, OR Reagan. To wit:

    “President Barack Obama announced $8.3 billion US in loan guarantees on Tuesday to help build the first U.S. nuclear power plants in nearly three decades, a move he says “is only the beginning.” Obama said the move toward nuclear power had to be made to meet America’s energy needs and reduce greenhouse gases.”

    So are you right? Or are you simply posting the usual right-wing assumption?

    Arch, perhaps you’re thinking of nuclear weapons – because Obama, like Reagan, has stated as a personal goal to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It won’t happen, of course – Pandora’s out of the box and she ain’t gettin’ back in. It’s just something politicians have to say.

  • Clavos

    Inasmuch as cessation of off shore drilling is desirable, it’s just not realistic.

    Exactly. Thank you, Silas. You are a gentleman and a scholar, sir. :-)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    It seems that some on here continue to think that government regulation is BAD, BAD, BAD. They think that “mistakes happen”.

    I guess they think that if 16,000 people die in Bhopal (and an additional half million suffer exposure) after a toxic gas leak by Union Carbide, that’s no big deal! After all, it’s just a mistake!

    And if 4000 died, 600,000 were highly exposed to radiation, and 336,000 had to be resettled away from their homes and communities after Chernobyl, that’s just a mistake, too!

    And if tens of thousands of Americans lose their businesses after the BP oil leak, and if hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer economically as a result, well, gee whiz people, it was just a mistake!

    And only a silly fool would want the redundant levels of protection against such spills that Norway and Brazil already have, which would have prevented the current spill in the Gulf – after all, what business does the government have in requiring BP to spend an extra half million dollars per well to have such a level of protection! Let the marketplace take care of it all!

    By the way, BP played a central role in allowing the Exxon Valdez spill to spread.

    And when it comes to that evil, evil government regulation, perhaps the most feared government regulator is something called “NAVSEA 08″. You see, they’re the nuclear regulators of the Navy, and EVERY captain, chief engineer, and nuclear engineer on a navy nuclear vessel rightly fears the notification that NAVSEA 08 is coming on board for a no-notice inspection…because their careers are hanging by a thread, subject to the whim of that eeeeevil government regulator walking around in civilian attire. Ask any senior Navy nuclear engineer, and he’ll tell you that he fears NAVSEA 08 much more than the IRS. He’ll also describe the people who work for NAVSEA 08 in terms that no one under the age of 18 should ever hear. A good friend of mine works for NAVSEA 08, I should mention.

    But you know what? The Navy’s worked literally hundreds of nuclear reactors since the 1950’s under much harsher conditions than a land-based nuclear reactor ever faces…and we’ve had zero, repeat, ZERO problems on the order of TMI, much less Chernobyl. Like the time that a nuclear-powered submarine rolled over and fell onto its side in a floating drydock (y’all didn’t hear about that, of course – but those responsible were held accountable (their careers came to a screeching halt)). The sub suffered little actual damage and still regularly goes on patrol. I wonder how many shore-based nuke plants could handle a physical shock like that?

    That, people, is the real value of government regulation. Because there was government regulation for this submarine to a degree that BP never EVER sees, there was no TMI, there was no Chernobyl, there was no nuclear accident at all.

    One last thing – don’t go claiming that this example doesn’t apply since it’s military, because any Navy engineer will tell you that working in the engine room is not much different from working in any civilian power plant.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    US offshore drilling produces 1.5 million barrels per year per day out of total US production of 5 million per year.

    Total worldwide production is 85 million gallons.

    So, guess I’m dense, why are those comparatively few drops of oil so important that we can’t do without them until better safety/environmental protections are in place?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Sorry, all those figures were per day. Thought I had edited it out.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    So, guess I’m dense, why are those comparatively few drops of oil so important that we can’t do without them until better safety/environmental protections are in place?

    1. Those so-called “few” drops help keep the retail cost down.

    2. The state of our economy is such that an appreciable increase in retail oil prices would have a catastrophic effect.

    3. With our petroleum industrial base, Congress would lose campaign funding on a grand scale. They need their junkets, dinners and whatever else is dangled in front of their tiny little heads.

    4. With Al Gore a single man, there no longer exists an environmental activist who gives a damn.

    5. The seafood industry is almost in shambles in the Gulf. Cessation of drilling would exacerbate the economic nightmare that is the mouth of the Mississippi.

    6. It’s reality check time. We need all the domestic oil producing wells we can get. Unless we strive toward energy independence, get ready for First National Bank of Beijing to begin foreclosure.

    Look around you, folks. There’s an awful lot happening all around the globe. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Korean peninsula. From the Gaza strip to political unrest in Venezuela. We are primed for a global conflict. All the pieces are on the board and there’s a Democrat in the White House. Hope the young ones have their Selective Service status updated.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “With Al Gore a single man, there no longer exists an environmental activist who gives a damn.”

    Are you suggesting Tipper was the main force behind Gore’s double-standard environmental stance?

    Anyways, I’m glad for Tipper. Always thought she was better looking than Al. And certainly less boring, I’d be willing to bet.

    A kind of modern day Doris Day.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    You know it, Roger. Tipper is the man, for lack of a better word. Now on to the subject at hand. I reread Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation this morning and was struck by how prophetic Ike may have been:

    A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial-Congressional complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Notice the word in bold: “Congressional”. Ike took that word out of the speech so as not to piss off members of Congress. He should have let it remain. It seems to me that the military and petroleum industrial complexes are running on parallel paths insofar as influence on our society. The only way we are not going to repeat history is to actually learn from it. Is this premise unreasonable? Does it defy logic? Do we have the collective intelligence to understand where we’ve made our mistakes so that we can correct them?

    This afternoon Raytheon, General Dynamics, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing stocks are up. Watch these stocks. While Halliburton and Untied Technologies are down, I suspect they will be creeping up in the very near future. Why? We are prepping for war, folks. Our government is in complete disarray. Our society is completely paralyzed. We need a national event to bring us back together psychologically. While everybody seems to be assigning new definitions to the BP anagram only one fits these days — Be Prepared.

  • Clavos

    A kind of modern day Doris Day.

    If I were Tipper, I’d be very unhappy with that analogy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Goes to show. Al Gore has been a wimp all along.

    Anyways, I like a strong woman-man.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    How can’t you like Doris Day? She was as American as applepie.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Doris Day and apple pie? Geesh, what an insult to pastry chefs.

    If I were Tipper, I’d be very unhappy with that analogy.

    Indeed. To me Tipper has always been consistent. She’s never been the rabid Lefty as her husband. I’ve seen her on the campaign trail and was always impressed by her political savvy and her charm.

    Now all we need is for Tipper to say she’s moving in with Elizabeth Edwards.

  • Baronius

    Has anyone ever quoted an Eisenhower speech other than the “military-industrial complex” one?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Is that why you’re raving about her because you hope she’s a lesbian.

    What’s wrong with Doris Day, again? Sweet and fresh as a mountain breeze.

  • zingzing

    tipper hates prince. the pmrc is a nasty bunch of censors. tipper may have her good points, but if you try to censor prince (back before he was censoring himself), you are evil in my book.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Your idolatry of Prince is disturbing. Unless of course you don’t mind spending most of your life as a denizen of psychodelic reality.

    Try Don Juan the sorcerer, instead and peyote. It’s a much better trip.

  • John Wilson

    Silas states: “6. It’s reality check time. We need all the domestic oil producing wells we can get.”

    I guess you STILL don’t get it. Oil is fungible. There is no such thing as “domestic oil producing wells”. ALL oil is part of the international oil pool. The USA ceases to won it or have any special rights the moment the oil lease is signed.

    No matter where an oil well is located, we will get about 1/4 of each barrel produced, under current market conditions.

    We, the USA, do NOT have first dibs on a barrel of oil from the Gulf. The well may as well be in South America, or Saudi Arabia, we will get the same.

    So (to put it brutally) why hazard our own environment when we can hazard someone elses?

    Gulf oil wells do NOTHING to help our oil independence, or our energy independence.

    I’m amazed at the childishness of people who continually repeat that gulf oil reduces our energy independence. It does NOT.

  • Baronius

    Even so, you hate to see any couple break up. They were together 40 years, and there were no obvious signs of trouble.

  • zingzing

    roger: “Your idolatry of Prince is disturbing.”

    if there is a god, he’s a skinny motherfucker with a high voice. and my idolatry is my own, thank you. prince rules.

    tell me who in this house know about the quake?

    baronius: “Even so, you hate to see any couple break up.”

    wait, they really broke up? i had no idea.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Silas, referring to Al Gore as a ‘rabid lefty’ is quite ridiculous. I’ll grant you he stands to the left of Baronius or Jim DeMint. And he did endorse Howard Dean. But then Howard Dean looks more sensible every day.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Anybody stands to the left of Baronius.

  • Baronius

    Handy – Apparently they announced the separation this afternoon to friends, and in the modern era that means it’s on computer screens all over the world a few minutes later.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I am a victim of conservative punditry. Rush, Sean and Glenn tell me that Al Gore is the AntiChrist. That he is a soulless environmental wimp who is making money off the global misery which is our pollution. Of course, that’s not my view of Mr.Gore. He will always be the rightful heir to the Oval Throne in 2000. Instead we got the anti-President who carried the banner of conservatism but spent our surplus to fatten the wallets of his disciples.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Baronius, you confused me with Zing, again. [I knew about the Gores before seeing these comments — Rick Sanchez on CNN has been droning idiotically about it for a while now.] Easy to remember, Zing’s the straight one who lives in Brooklyn. We agree on a lot of things, but not everything.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Baronius, you confused me with Zing, again. [I knew about the Gores before seeing these comments — Rick Sanchez on CNN has been droning idiotically about it for a while now.] Easy to remember, Zing’s the straight one who lives in Brooklyn. We agree on a lot of things, but not everything.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    All liberals look alike.

  • Baronius

    Sorry!

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    They do? I never saw the resemblance between Bette Midler and Joy Behar until just now.

    Rick Sanchez on CNN has been droning idiotically about it for a while now.

    Sanchez always drones idiotically. That’s his nature. For such a cute guy, he really is boring. He’s like CNN’s version of Ambien. Fifteen minutes after you tune him in, you’re asleep.

    So, back to the subject matter. Just WHY is everybody hating on BP this badly? It was an accident. Avoidable, yes. A result of shoddy safety controls? Perhaps. Driven by corporate greed? No more than any other special interest. To actually believe that we can just cease all drilling operations is silly. We’ve got too much at stake right now. Our economy is fragile to the point of being brittle. An oil spill, a hurricane and another terror attack would do us in. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a change, folks. The ideologies from both sides don’t work. We need to think outside the box, or perhaps outside our borders. It’s a new age with fresh challenges. Let’s do our ancestors proud and live up to the challenge.

  • Clavos

    All liberals look alike.

    Silas is not just a liberal, he’s much more complex and nuanced than that…

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Indeed, Clavos. Liberal with my mouth, conservative with my heart.

  • John Wilson

    Why are people hating BP?

    Because they demanded 760 waivers from their suborned public officials in MMS last year, and got them. Because they bribed the politicians in the first place.

    Because they lied repeatedly while insisting they could handle contingencies at those depths.

    Because every solution they proposed for the spill was CHEAP, not effective.

    BP IS a villain. “OURSELVES” are not responsible for their suborning public officials so they can risk our environment for their own benefit. Irresponsibly trying to spread the blame instead of recognizing the folly of your political beliefs is cowardly.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Now Silas will be basking in the glory.

    I am complex will be his new mantra.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Nay, nay, Roger. I just want to sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya while Cindy does readings from her favorite author.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Ah. Mr. Wilson, the teflon citizen:
    BP IS a villain. “OURSELVES” are not responsible for their suborning public officials so they can risk our environment for their own benefit…

    Once again, nay, nay. The citizenry is like God. And we elect officials who we believe are in “our image”. Our political system is in chaos. Our elected officials are disconnected, disinterested and only concerned with immediate self-gratification. So far, we’ve done a damn good job electing people in our own image.

    How is “spreading” the blame irresponsible? While Halliburton, TransOcean nd BP are “responsible” our government is also responsible to insure safety, environmental impact and national security. Like it or not, the petroleum industrial complex is a spoke in our national security wheel. Just like manufacturing. If the rest of the world cuts us off from our dependence on all goods foreign made and cheap, what are we going to do? Wal-Mart is another spoke in that wheel. And to make matters worse, that spoke is done broken.

    Irresponsibly trying to spread the blame instead of recognizing the folly of your political beliefs is cowardly.

    Cowardly? How DARE you, sir! Don’t you even try that little argument with me. More often than not I have admitted a mistake in judgment when it came to working for the election of Ronald Reagan. Hindsight is 20/20 but I am a man who will gladly volunteer my foibles and shortcomings. I’m not hiding behind some ideaology. Unlike most on the fringes of both damn sides I have evolved and changed many of my views. I have never disavowed the fact that I am human, therefore flawed. So get off your almighty high horse and think before you call me coward, sir. For that is ONE thing I will not accept even from the likes of you.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    baronius: “Even so, you hate to see any couple break up.”

    Referring back to comments I made on another thread, I have to wonder if respect for the marriage contract is all but dead. Is the demise of the Gores yet another indication that the institution of marriage as we’ve known it, is dead?

    I was at the hospital for my monthly blood tests today and was chatting with my nurses. I asked if they heard the news. You could have heard a pin drop in that room of 7 people. And all the women asked the same thing, “Al Gore?” Their separation has no effect on my personal life; however, it does make me sad. Al and Tipper are like Lucy and Ricky; Fred and Wilma; Ike and Mamie. Well, maybe not Ike and Mamie.

  • Cindy

    *Picks up one of her favorite novels and starts to read aloud. Disscovers that it is too hard to concentrate with Silas singing Kumbaya like that.* (sigh)

  • Clavos

    LOL, Cindy!

    (If only Silas could carry a tune…sigh)

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Who ever knew that the old Irish favorite Who Put the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder? would ever come to reality?

    In a sudden spurt of michief, Silas pulls something out of thin air and takes a chance to see how long it will take for somebody to figure out exactly what was so prophetic.

  • Cindy

    lol :-) I recognize those. I’ve heard most of them twice on CD and read them all. But I can’t figure out why you said ‘prophetic’, nor what it has to do with Mrs Murphy and her chowder???

    (Oh and I have to say thanks because they saved one to release in Oct 2010. RBP died recently. I had no idea until just now that there is one more left.)

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Well, Cindy, the way tell it there will be no clams to harvest for the chowder. So Mr. Murphy’s overalls will have to suffice.

  • Cindy

    Clav,

    I am trying to figure out which of the singers at the bottom of this page reminds me more of Silas–the one who received a flag as a gift from his friends for his talent or the one who appears to be naked and has grabbed a lamp from the living room to use as a microphone.

  • Cindy

    Oh Silas…this world is in sad shape…it needs overhaul(s)…but likely will only get overalls.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I’m a lamp grabber and closet nudist.

  • Clavos

    You go into your closet to get nude, Silas?

    Must be hard to take a shower that way…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Oh, come on, Clav, you mess around in boats. You must be familiar with closet-sized showers.

  • zingzing

    oh!

    (fist pump.)

    (christine’s about to come in with an “in the house!” comment.)

  • Clavos

    Oh, come on, Clav, you mess around in boats. You must be familiar with closet-sized showers.

    True, Doc, but showers have light.

    And actually, I have one listing right now (90 ft.) in which the shower in the master measures about 8′ X 5′, and which has shower heads on every wa…bulkhead.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    And all this time I thought closets were just for Republicans.

  • http://www.geoff-hasler.com Geoff Hasler

    Yes, BP IS to blame. Unbelievable that this was not foreseen and that preventative measures were not ready to go if it happened. A huge company, with gigantic resources, should have had high level risk management strategies ready to implement. It is devastating for the Gulf and BP, also for future exploration as few Governments will accept bland company reassurances in future without strict verification procedures.

  • John Wilson

    Think about it. You propose to drill a well in 5000 ft. of ocean water and access is with a pipethread about 5 ft. in diameter, about 1/1000 th the length. That means that it has the proportions of a hair. How could it possibly be stable? Then, you propose to drill the seabed another several thousand ft. with another hair.

    Only extraordinary good luck could make such a thing work.

    Yet, at the Management Meeting, anyone who protests this is told “you can’t PROVE that it will fail, and besides, if it succeeds we make billions in profits, and if it fails those stupid Americans will be stuck with the oil spill and we can skate with a $75million cap (which our superb lobbyists have paid congressmen to pass). And if they sue we can stiff them for 20 years, as Exxon did with Valdez, to deny recompense to the old and reduce it by 9/10 to the young. Sounds like a winner to us.”

    YOU figure it out.

  • Baronius

    John, wouldn’t the solution be to drill in shallower water?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    And actually, I have one listing right now (90 ft.)

    If it’s listing I don’t want it.

    Put all hands to the pumps, have the ship’s carpenter plug the leak and then we’ll talk.

    ;-)

  • Clavos

    John, wouldn’t the solution be to drill in shallower water?

    Of course, Baronius, but nobody wants to let ‘em drill closer to shore, or in ANWR or other, easier and safer areas.

  • Clavos

    F**k Akismet!!!

  • John Wilson

    Shallow water drilling has it’s own problems, in addition to it’s unsightliness and proximity to seaside homes.The funneling effects of shallowing waters edge causes deep sea waves to build up and climax, as surf does. Tsunamis are much more severe when they reach shallows as when at sea where they are just swells.

  • Clavos

    @#94:

    There are no waves in ANWR, or any of the other ONSHORE sites in which drilling is prohibited.

    The deep water drilling was taking place because it was almost the only area in which drilling was permitted — the government FORCED them into deep water by closing and/or restricting everywhere else.

    You can ban the use of oil, but you will collapse, yes COLLAPSE, the entire world’s economies, not just the USA’s.

    Banning drilling everywhere is as stupid as allowing it unregulated.

  • Clavos

    Seaside homes belong to the rich, the most despised group in America, except when protecting them fits another agenda.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Only 30% of US production is offshore — and that 30% is less than 2% of total world production.

    When the oil starts coating the white sand beaches of the Florida panhandle, any day now, will you then stop pretending that this is OK?

    It’s not worth it.

  • Zedd

    John,

    The ADD nature of this thread supports your premise. We cant focus enough. We want to be entertained constantly and simply have no interest in doing anything that requires complete sincerity or commitment. It’s not fun so we support deregs and we under evaluate (cause we get free stuff from the company… woohooo) and hope for the best. We vote for the person with the most entertaining quips and despise the intelligentsia (they are un American and I’m assuming commies or some villain from a movie that I saw last week!!)

  • Clavos


    When the oil starts coating the white sand beaches of the Florida panhandle, any day now, will you then stop pretending that this is OK?

    Nope. Not even when it starts coating my dock and my boat, which by all accounts, it may do within days or weeks.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A better question, Handy, is – what percentage of our oil use comes from domestic sources?

    That should give us a better picture as to the viability of offshore drilling.

  • Baronius

    Zedd, our last four presidents have represented Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Yale (2x), and Oxford. Do you really think we’re ignoring the intelligentsia? Truth be told, we’d be better off with an oil man in the White House right now.

  • John Wilson

    “…the government FORCED them into deep water…”

    Huh? Did the US point guns and FORCE them? Is BP under some obligation to produce a certain quota? What does this statement mean?

    100-Roger inspires me to, once again, point out tha oil is fungible: it doesn’t matter where it comes from. It is as if all the oil mined everywhere is put into one huge tank and then customers bid for and draw from that huge tank.

    The “USA” (whatever that means in this context) does NOT get first dibs on oil mined from our oil lots. Nobody does, on any oil. It is NOT as if we first use oil from our own territories and then had to go as beggars to the international market, although it may LOOK like that to the naive because exigencies of transportation may create that appearance.

    Oil wells in US territories produce (thru international oil companies, 60% foreign owned) about 1/3 as much oil as is consumed in the USA, which means that we are very successfully exploiting foreign oil supplies. Our society is rich on “Other Peoples Oil”, just as some get rich on “other Peoples Money”. Good deal, for us. That’s why gas prices have been stable and low for 50 years.

  • Clavos

    “…the government FORCED them into deep water…”

    Huh? Did the US point guns and FORCE them? Is BP under some obligation to produce a certain quota? What does this statement mean?

    You can’t possibly be naturally that obtuse, so you must be trying for an effect to make your point.

    Of course, if you had quoted my statement in its entirety, your “point” would have been shown to be the inane non sequitur it is:

    The deep water drilling was taking place because it was almost the only area in which drilling was permitted — the government FORCED them into deep water by closing and/or restricting everywhere else.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    i’m not sure that the deep water is all the relevent…there was a similar accident way back in 1979 in very shallow water. look up ‘ixtoc’.

    it took them a long time to fix the problem.

  • Clavos

    @#102:

    What you don’t mention is that, precisely because of oil’s fungibility, drilling and mining oil in the US lots adds to the total world supply, thereby helping to keep prices down, and ensuring an adequate supply for all the nations slathering at that “huge tank.”

  • Clavos

    That’s absolutely right, Mark, although in the Ixtoc case, the ineptitude of my countrymen in the form of Pemex, the Mexican state-owned oil company, had a lot to do with how long it took to stop that leak.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Anyone else out there wishing Red Adair was still alive?

  • http://musicandes.com/ Lynette Yetter, author of the novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace

    I was shocked to see you listing “clean nuclear” in the same list of “or” options as “solar”. Perhaps this was a grammatical error?

  • John Wilson

    The USA government didn’t force anyone to drill in deep water. BP made a business decision to drill where they got the best value for investment. There are plenty other places in the world to mine oil besides the Gulf. However, they got several cost reduction benefits from the USA, including that the US taxpayer became the insurer-in-fact because of the $75million cap on claims.

    There were incentives and dis-incentives, just as in any business opportunity, but the US government didn’t FORCE them to do anything.

  • lissa

    I agree I agree

  • Allergic2Apathy

    BP’s gross negligence has somehow been lost in all the arguments about the left and the right. Can we get back to the topic at hand? This isn’t a philosophical debate. We should be focused on finding a solution. Who among you would be willing to donate their time to help the people and wildlife affected by this catastrophe? I’d be willing to wager next to none of you. So stop flapping your gums. The ceaseless chatter does nothing but cause more confusion and fuels more displaced anger. We the People should be unified in our response to this disaster.

  • http://www.heloise8@wordpress.com Heloise

    “Let’s point the finger where it is deserved, at ourselves. We, the American people, encouraged our government to support deep ocean oil drilling, knowing the risks. We, the American people, valued our desire for cheap gasoline far above our respect for nature and for leaving our grandchildren a world that is still livable.”

    Really? I didn’t know about this shit. If we knew that they had lease to drill a hell hole I think we would have thunk twice about it. They should have dug in Anwar. This well from hell could leak for a decade.

    The only good thing might be that the fed coffers will be enriched by the big fines that BP will pay. If they succeed in capturing all the oil and reselling it to us and making islands in the Gulf, which I advised from day one, but they had too many other tips to notice, then maybe all will be forgiven.

    If Obama survives this Bay of Rigs he might see the light of a second term. But right now the well from hell has got us all by the balls. You can’t take that to the bank.

    This has ruined my summer.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What shall we use as currency, though? Petroleum dollars?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I didn’t know you were planning to go to Louisiana? It hot and muddy in a summer time, just as in the Bronx.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    89 – John Wilson makes a lot of sense.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    109 and again.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yet Tony Hayward, BP’s CEO, lamented he’s more affected by this mess than anyone else.

    “I want my life back,” he said.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    I haven’t mentioned this but, my father had 5 children whom I’d lost touch with. We have recently reunited (via facebook).

    Anyway, my sister Jennifer is the Captain of an oil rig. Her opinion is that BP’s ordinary practices were an accident waiting to happen.

    Juts an opinion, for what it is worth. Not sure what, since it is tainted by competitiveness.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    But, she claims she has felt that way, as an industry insider, for a long time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Do you want to watch a good movie tonight, for relaxation? Both of you will like it.

    It’s a hell of a thriller.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    What is it?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’ve got to learn to trust me.

    It’s called “The Odessa File.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Good choice.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, do you want it or not?

    I’ve seen it yesterday, and I’m seeing it for the second time right now.

  • ja concerned citizen

    All i want to know is were there no checks on these shut off valves that did not work? Could there have been preventative maintenance and checks that could have been done to stop this from taking place. I work at a podunk factory and there are checks weekly and monthly on every piece of equipment within the factory. I find it hard to believe there was nothing that could have been done to prevent this from occuring. Futhermore I find it hard to believe that we as a nation allow things like this to be put in place without contingency plans being tested and in place to contain/control any possible faults/malfunctions with the equipment being used. I have seen this crap on the news everyday and have heard nothing about wether or not any routine checks had been in place or ignored. I think these are some things that should be looked into.

  • Devil’s Advocate

    You would think it would be in the best interest of BP to want to safeguard the life blood of their company. Less Product and More Downtime is not a good business recipe. That being said it would appear someone has finally realized this at BP. Did anyone ever notice that BP’s solutions to stop the flow of oil were tempered with greed? They let how many million gallons of crude flow into the gulf so they could salvage what is left of their precious pipe? Seriously, there are more efficient ways to plug a hole than “cut ‘n’ cap”, they just don’t involve preserving any of the existing structure…

  • John Wilson

    There ARE checks specified for valves, etc., but BP got a lot of the checks waived.

    It’s not the greed of “BP” that is a problem, BP is after all just an insensate corporation, it is the greed of executives who do not even care about BP because they make their money early and can get out.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I love this new mentality that has come across America,”It’s everyone’s fault when the sh!t hits the fan.” Yet, I don’t see that mindset when these companies are making money hand over fist! F*ck man, if I have to pay for the resources to fix this sh!t then I wanna see a f*cking check when they start to profit again!

  • Basil McCormick-Toronto, Ont., -CANADA

    Don’t blame “BP” Company 100%. ACCIDENTS happen despite taking PRECAUTIONS! Do You think they want this to happen ? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!