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Posted on May 11, 2010
Gulf oil spill
AP / Gerald Herbert

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning on April 21 in the Gulf of Mexico southeast of Venice on Louisiana’s tip.

By Robert Scheer

“Drill, baby, drill!” Those were the words that Sarah Palin used to electrify the 2008 Republican National Convention. But while she popularized that environment-be-damned slogan, it had already defined the eight years of oil-drilling policy that prevailed during the presidency of George W. Bush. 

Those red state voters of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana whose livelihood is now threatened by the idiocy of that unfettered deregulatory stance might well be having second thoughts. So, too, those Democratic Party opportunists who had prevailed on President Barack Obama to one-up the GOP by vastly increasing the scope of offshore drilling.

Not so Palin, who last week took to Twitter to defend such inanities, blaming the oil spill problem not on lax regulation but rather on those damn foreigners. Ignoring the fact that her target alien company, British Petroleum, had employed her own husband, Palin tweeted: “Gulf: learn from Alaska’s lesson w/foreign oil co’s: don’t naively trust—VERIFY.”

Great, except that it is beyond the power of any one state to adequately verify what is going on deep down offshore, and as Tuesday’s Senate testimony of top executives from the three companies implicated in this spill made clear, there is plenty of blame for the Brits to share with their good ol’ American counterparts. What could be more American than Dick Cheney’s former company, Halliburton, which constructed the well? Or Transocean, which operated the rig and is a homegrown product of the Southwestern energy industry? 

But they are all three exactly the same: multinational corporations that couldn’t care less about the countries where their home offices happen to be based. Recall Halliburton’s controversial corporate relocation to Dubai three years ago and Transocean’s registration in the Cayman Islands. What they are loyal to is the bottom line and the executive bonuses that it portends. They fly the flag of a particular nation only for convenience, and it is their threat to shift their base of operations that is used to effectively thwart government regulation. 

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As her recent tweet confirms, Palin admits verification is necessary, and in a Facebook posting, she bases that on her state’s experience with the Exxon Valdez disaster. In the case of the Gulf oil spill, verification was the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Mineral Management Service. That’s the same pathetic industry-whipped outfit whose personnel were literally in bed with representatives of various companies they were supposed to be regulating. 

But far beyond such racy incentives to look the other way, the MMS, over the last decade of deregulation mania, had been encouraged to become a handmaiden of the industry rather than its supervisor in any meaningful sense of that term. That is the inescapable conclusion of a devastating Wall Street Journal report last week that concluded, “The small U.S agency that oversees offshore drilling doesn’t write or implement most safety regulations, having gradually shifted such responsibilities to the oil industry itself for more than a decade.”

That was a Republican-led decade in which regulation became a dirty word, and as with the financial meltdown, we are now witnessing, in the oil spill catastrophe, the dire consequences of radical free-market ideology run amok. If offshore drilling is required for our economic well-being, a questionable enough proposition given the inherent risks, it is a cause that will be set back dramatically by the current disaster.

The Obama administration, which was about to launch a vast expansion of such efforts, has had to pull back, and there are few in either party who will now question that a much more prudent course is in order. Hence the administration’s recent decision to revamp the MMS by splitting its regulator function from its other role of collecting tax revenue from the oil companies it was supposed to be regulating. 

After noting that the safety record of U.S. offshore drilling “compares unfavorably” to that of other nations, the WSJ observed that the key focus of the MMS was not safety enforcement, but rather maximizing oil production from which the government took a share of the profits. Hopefully that built-in and glaring, but heretofore largely unnoticed, contradiction between the government as a regulator and as a partner in oil profits will now be ended.

So, too, the illusion, as with the radical deregulation of the financial industry, that unbridled corporate greed can also provide for the common good. Greed needs a timeout with adult supervision for these out-of-control conglomerates messing with every aspect of our lives. But that won’t happen until government regulation of multinational corporations is made respectable once again with adequately funded agencies pursuing an uncompromised public interest agenda.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By Trigger finger, May 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I feel the only way BP will be able to stop this leak will be to send a team down to
the leak to cap it.  What they should do is build a huge toilet flushing system
where the Atlantic is the toilet tank and the Pacific is the sewer. They will need to
build a pipeline from the tank to the sewer. Once that is complete, say 4 or 5
years from now, they can flush the toilet. When the flush completes, the Atlantic
will be dry and the BP team and BP CEO can proceed to the source of the leak,
stuff the CEO in and then cap it.

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By Ian Rudd, May 14, 2010 at 7:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m an atheist but I pray for America and the world. It won’t work but what else can I do?

A massive uprising awaits if my prayer is not answered. Anyone know any ex Viet Cong looking for a job? They won their war, perhaps they can help us win ours if God does not respond or has been bought out by the corporatocracy.

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By Lily Maskew, May 14, 2010 at 1:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At the crux of the matter is the greed of people willing to risk our money and our lives for their own gain.  Sooner or later people will wake up and realize that clear air, clean water, etc. are priceless.  Only then will we realize the best things in life are free, i.e. love, friends and freedom.  We need an attitude adjustment pronto!

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

The old Japanese had some genuine virtues.

Had any company of their caused a catastrophe like the Gulf the whole executive office and boars would have ommitted suicide.

But the Japanese executive is much more Americanized now, that is, high paid, long-lived, without scruples, and incompetent.

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

This catastrophe was man-made and those who made it are still walking the streets and laughing at you.

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

How many American futures, young and old, are going up in that black oily smoke?

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

How many small fishermen going to lose their boats as a direct of this oil company terrorism?

How many hotels and restaurants are going out of business?

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

Suppose lawyers and insurance executives and oil executives in the Gulf area will get hazardous duty pay?

How about their yachts? Their beach front properties?

The insurance rates just went sky high.

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

Hint: of all the various occupations and livelihoods you want to get really hostile toward you, fishermen is one of the last any sane person would choose.

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

How many insurance companies and oil-related corprations and contractors are going to hire armies of lawyers to wiggle their way out of paying one damned red cent to all the people damaged by this catastrophe?

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

You think a peasant in Vietnam just woke up one morning and said to himself or herself, “I am bored—think I’ll become a Viet Cong?”

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

Who’s organizing the fishermen?

When are they going to sail on Washington?

Will they take to smuggling?

Will they take to piracy as in Somalia when their fishing grounds were destroyed.

You think people just one day up and decide to become pirates, like in the movies?

How about all the industries peripheral to Gulf fishing?

How many people is this disaster putting out of their livelihood.

How many people will die or meet an early death.

And how may of those casualties will be oil executives?

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

What’s the average prison term for destroying the Gulf of Mexico?

There may be literally hundreds of thousands of fishermen put out of business.

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

“Don’t expect any changes in the way things work.  Politicians and corporations have been perfecting this dance for years and it works perfectly.”

That’s what everyone kept telling Lenin.

“It’s been this way for hundred of years,Vladimir!”, they said, “You can beat city hall! It’s all money! It’s not what you say it’s who you pay! You are wasting your time if you think you can change things. Why not get job? Save your money Invest it. Have a nice life, good pension…Oh…Well get a job anyway.”

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

“Bad things happen; it a statistical certainty.  People die in auto accidents every year yet we still drive cars.  Thousands are electrocuted annually yet we still use appliances.  A rig in the gulf burns down but hundreds are drilled and produced without incident.

We accept these consequences for one simple desire; modern convenience.  Don’t like oil spills because they’re bad for the environment?  So is your coffee maker, your plastic water bottle, your Iphone, and your very carbon dioxide spewing existence.  11 people died.  Don’t ever forget we put our lives on the line to bring you a modern convenience at a low low price - $3 a gallon.”

A Driller.

Wow, raise the flag and sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic, this man is like the military overseas: he puts his life on the line for your freedom of CHEESE!

Oh say, can you see.

Anyway, sure mistakes happen, every so often you lose a Gulf of Mexico or a Gulf Stream, but, hey, that’s the price of progress.

And hey, you may miss an oil executive in the cross hairs now and then—but come on, take another shot at it. Nobody’s perfect.

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By Eugenio Costa, May 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Comrade Scheer, there is dire need of both the spirit and knife-edge edge journalism of the old Ramparts, both in print and online.

Teach the new generation how it is done.

If there was ever a time the US needed a radically new “New Left” it is now.

There are literally millions of disillusioned young whose future has been destroyed by Finance Capitalism and Empire ready to crystallize around a radical program for the complete restructuring of the US from the ground up.

Obama is so far another Johnson, nothing more and nothing less.

Hey, hey Barack Hussein, how many civilians did your drones kill today?

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By rollzone, May 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

hello. we don’t need no stinkin’ global corporatist conglomerate operating within our borders. they open a company in our country and abide by our regulations, or do their dirty business elsewhere. and Alabama is the largest coal producer in the southeast: no hardship on our voter economy. and i approve of and vote for “Frank” the driller. the other moron, comparing individual tragedies to the scope of this catastrophe: is mind numbing. yes all the people at fault should be jailed. if the government is a minor corporate partner for profit in this endeavor- they broke the law.

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By dihey, May 13, 2010 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Here is the gargantuan blunder which Mr. Obama may have made when he announced the expansion of offshore drilling sites. If he knew about the “75 million dollar cap” and the absence of any meaningful control of the bp’s drilling practices at that time he ought to be impeached and removed from office.
This begs the classic question: “when did the president know”?
If he did not know and did not ask his Secretary of the Interior he should have the decency of not running in 2012.

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By purplewolf, May 13, 2010 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Anyone want to take bets that BP files for bankruptcy before the bills which they say they will cover for the clean up costs come due?

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By ordovician, May 13, 2010 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am fascinated by everyone’s absurdly cynical belief that this tragedy uncovered some kind of oilfield money making scheme.  None of the involved parties are making money off of this.  Millions of dollars are spent daily maintaining a rig of this size and ability.  Losing control of a well and therefore its supply of oil is tantamount to the farmer killing his golden goose.  Offshore operations are not light affairs.  Millions of dollars worth of planning and preparing are invested into these wells.  Despite the unwanted media attention, the biggest punishment (so far) to British Petroleum is its inability to capture and sell the well they so meticulously planned.
Oil rigs are considerably more complex than most people give credit.  A lot can go wrong quickly
and despite an attention to detail, much can be overlooked.  Bad things happen; it a statistical certainty.  People die in auto accidents every year yet we still drive cars.  Thousands are electrocuted annually yet we still use appliances.  A rig in the gulf burns down but hundreds are drilled and produced without incident. 
We accept these consequences for one simple desire; modern convenience.  Don’t like oil spills because they’re bad for the environment?  So is your coffee maker, your plastic water bottle, your Iphone, and your very carbon dioxide spewing existence.  11 people died.  Don’t ever forget we put our lives on the line to bring you a modern convenience at a low low price - $3 a gallon.

signed,
A Driller.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 13, 2010 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

Prole said:

“The MMS, just last spring, on Apr. 6 ’09, gave BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); and BP was lobbying again this spring for further exemptions before the latest superspill.”

In case any of you are wondering what categorical exclusion (CE or CatEx) means, it refers to the class of action (in this case, deepwater drilling) proposed and the recommended level of environmental document that must be completed in assessing the potential impact of that action.  A CE document (which is essentially a checklist) is typically recommended for projects that have been shown in the past or are anticipated to have no significant impacts on the environment.  To give you some perspective, the type of projects that qualify as CEs in the transportation world are on the order of intersection upgrades, restriping projects, signal timing, turn lanes, etc.  So, as Prole suggests, environmental clearance via a CE for deepwater drilling is a crock of shit.

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By truedigger3, May 13, 2010 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

mmadden wrote:
“Clinton wanted this extra layer of safety. Bush didn’t. He had 8 years in office, Obama has only had 18 months.”
___________________________________________________

mmadden,

Now you are reverting to partisan bullshitting.
They are all the same, Democrats, Republicans, Clinton, Bush and Obama.
The oil companies and the rest of big business, with their campaign contributions, coupled with effective lobbying, alway have the finall say in any regulation or law that will affect them.
The fox is guarding the chickens’ koop.!!!!

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By mmadden, May 13, 2010 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

artswede asked “How come oil rigs aren’t required to have a cap in case of emergency plan prior to being built? “

Big Oil used their millions of dollars in annual lobbying to FIGHT blowout preventer (BOP) requirements!

BOPs on offshore wells are required to have acoustic triggers, which can be used to remotely activate the BOP if everything else has failed.  The U.S. considered requiring remote-controlled shut-off mechanisms several years ago, but the oil industry successfully lobbied against the restriction, citing excessive costs!

Let’s examine their math, shall we?  Acoustic triggers cost an additional $500,000 per rig.  That’s the cost.  Now let’s look at the benefits: the Deepwater Horizon rig will cost $560 million to replace.  On top of that, BP is spending $6 million each day to try to contain the spill.  When the oil really reaches the shore, those costs will multiply.  Then there’s the cleanup operation.

Of course it completely ignores the fact that an oil rig has been leaking oil for a week into The Gulf and is now contaminating American Shores and putting Americans out of work all because the government didn’t want to require companies that makes BILLIONS in profit each year to spend $500,000!

Clinton wanted this extra layer of safety. Bush didn’t. He had 8 years in office, Obama has only had 18 months.

Some businesses need to be regulated in some ways. This is one of the things they should have been forced to do.

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By Golden Calm, May 12, 2010 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dick Cheney must be dragged in chains and criminally
charged for being in bed with the oil companies,
getting 30 million in bonuses and for damaging and
destroying the environment.Our laws must be re-written
to severely punish political & business leaders that
work against the interests of the people. Show no mercy

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By getitfixed, May 12, 2010 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(Bubba continues talking to Forrest in his slow southern drawl along the Gulf docks in the summer of 2010.)
BUBBA: “Anyway, like I was sayin’, tar balls is the fruit of the sea.” 
“You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it.”
“There, uh, tar balls kabobs, tar balls creole, tar balls gumbo, panfried, deep fried, lemon tar balls, coconut tar balls, pepper tar balls, tar balls soup, tar balls stew, tar balls salad, tar balls and potatoes, tar balls burger, tar balls sandwich… that’s, about it.”

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Clash's avatar

By Clash, May 12, 2010 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

I am pretty sure if everyone sits cross legged in front of the White House and maybe even a march, peaceably waving sign’s at the corporate offices of B.P.and the rest of the company’s involved in the world wide destruction of the natural world, they will probably just stop and go home.

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By artswede, May 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

How come oil rigs aren’t required to have a cap in case of emergency plan prior to being built?

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By bachu, May 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Britain’s so called special relation and the lobbying cash paid by BP is finally paying off. Just imagine if the company had been Dubai World or some such entity what the racist response would have been. BTW the accompanying picture is as spectacular as 9/11 shots like something out of a Star trek movie.

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By mindful, May 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

It just makes sense we should not penetrate our Mother earth !

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By REDHORSE, May 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

THANK YOU!! GREAT THREAD!!

      The only thing that makes Sarah P. worth conversation is the corporate sneer that began on D.Cheneys mouth and threatens to install the smirkey little airbrain in the White House.

      All the facts mentioned here are known. It’s happening. I myself feel that they’re gonna lay it all to waste. What I don’t get is, that despite concise understanding of the corruption in the system everyone feels so powerless to change it. What’s that about? Are we caught in some unconscious desire for apocalypse? Do we think that in the end it isn’t worth the effort?

      The damage here is real. The Gulf is a living entity. Our best insights into this new century tell us that environmental disaster can pull over the edge of doom. Well—that’s the malice and inhumanity we feel when we see the sneer on Cheney’s face. We are frozen and afraid in the glare of mindless evil.

      We believed in ourselves and put a man on the moon. We can’t create a safe drilling rig? Oh, that’s right—safety equipment is required in Europe. Why spend the $500,000 to protect an American coastline—-because they can get away with it. The American people are sheep and their leaders are whores. Slip’em some cash—spin it—-and drill baby drill.

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By Bboy56, May 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great article Mr. Sheer. On the money about the overseeing agencies in bed with the oil industry, and the brunt of the blame has to lay on the republicans.

Yet how troubling is it, that the democrates wanted to jump on that bandwagon to exploit the industry even more for their own benefit.

Truely the people are but an afterthought of the major polital parties. We have no say in the democracy. It has officially deteriorated into some kind of capitalist elit-tocracy run by multinational corps and the banks.

We’re screwed, and should be intollerant of the US government attempting to profetier on the coat tails of these multinationals that get them elected.

The people need an intervention. If the leaders won’t assist, then we need some action. Prayers, resolve and numbers. Lord help us.

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By balkas, May 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

W gutless,
yes, i needed that reminder. mind u french were only in e.canada: quebec, nova scotia, and new brunswick, i think.
In any case, i forgot ab the crimenals in australia and saints in baffalonia. Good point, tho! thanks

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amunaor's avatar

By amunaor, May 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

It doesn’t matter how many straws we poke through hide of mother earth; unless we nationalize, or better yet, stop imbibing the black liquid, it all belongs to the multinational Oil Vampire. None of it belongs to, or necessarily returns to the thirsty American, it’s all sold on the open market, to the highest bidder.

Baby…we drilled till she spilled, but I can’t get no…satisfaction!

“Just look at that pile of dead bastards over there”, laughs the desensitized, disposable shooter.

WikiLeaks—Collateral Murder
http://wikileaks.org/

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By mozer1, May 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Great article. I think you might like http://www.baioutmainstreetnow.com <a > Alternative Newspaper Main Street - There Is A War On For Your Mind</a> It’s a new alternative news site where users can submit their own news as well as news videos without worrying about censorship where you can submit content and interact with a knowledgeable community.

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By truedigger3, May 12, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Frank of America wrote:
“Same old story - eviscerate the regulatory agencies, fill them w/business cronies and when they inevitably fail point out the incompetence of government as vindication of your political philosophy and paint any effort to reconstitute the efficacy of government as tax and spend big government and socialism”
__________________________________________________

This is an excellent insightful statement.

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prole's avatar

By prole, May 12, 2010 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Scheer is up to his old tricks again - protecting the guilty. After eight turgid paragraphs of Sara Palin bashing over offshore drilling, Scheer finally lets slip that, “The Obama administration…  was about to launch a vast expansion of such efforts”. The latest environmental disaster happened on oily Obama’s whale watch and there’s no way around it. Palin may be a useful idiot for propaganda purposes but she has nothing to say that decides anything now, so going on endlessly about her well known shortcomings is well beside the point. Only a shifty apologist for a shifty president like Scheer could raise the issue only to construe responsibility in a typically partisan fashion. So we’re to have it that it was “Democratic Party opportunists who had prevailed on President Barack Obama to one-up the GOP by vastly increasing the scope of offshore drilling.” Poor little Barack, he always tries to do good, but you see, it’s those other bad guys that keep leading him astray! “Democratic Party opportunists” may, of course, be a little redundant but the Opportunist-in-Chief got there the same way – Obama didn’t raise a billion bucks to buy the Oval Office by bucking the status quo. Sure “there is plenty of blame for the Brits to share with their good ol’ American counterparts”…and there is plenty of blame for multicultural Obama to share with both multinational corp’s. “In the case of the Gulf oil spill, verification was the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Mineral Management Service…the MMS, over the last decade of deregulation mania, had been encouraged to become a handmaiden of the industry…That was a Republican-led decade in which regulation became a dirty word”…and that is the same MMS that has continued its dirty business under St. Barack. The MMS, just last spring, on Apr. 6 ’09, gave BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); and BP was lobbying again this spring for further exemptions before the latest superspill.
  “As with the financial meltdown, we are now witnessing, in the oil spill catastrophe, the dire consequences of radical free-market ideology run amok”...in the unbroken ideological continuum of the Bush and Obama gangs. “There are few in either party who will now question that a much more prudent course is in order. Hence the administration’s recent decision to revamp the MMS”…because neither party can get away with it anymore – even if the pathetic Palin were plumping for BP instead of the politically-correct Obama. “They are all three exactly the same:”…Palin, Obama, and BP. “They fly the flag of a particular nation only for convenience”…and for their own opportunistic self-aggrandizement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, on top of its massive lobbying expenditures - $15.9 million last year alone - BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years. And just who is it that is the top individual recipient of BP campaign funds during that period? If you guessed Sarah Palin, guess again. Why it’s none other than a certain Barack Obama! “Greed needs a timeout with adult supervision for these out-of-control conglomerates messing with every aspect of our lives. But that won’t happen”…with Scheer’s opportunistic idol Obama messing with every aspect of our government.

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By gerard, May 12, 2010 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

Frank of America has written a comment that deserves to be re-read, understood and even memorized.  He ends with:

“Same old story - eviscerate the regulatory agencies, fill them w/business cronies and when they inevitably fail point out the incompetence of government as vindication of your political philosophy and paint any effort to reconstitute the efficacy of government as tax and spend big government and socialism. In the meantime pump up the military-industrial nexus to a trillion dollar per year boondoggle that siphons the national treasure off to the defense industry and government contractors such as Halliburton. KBR, Blackwater et. al.”

Our Constitution says WE are “the government.” When are we going live up to that promise? It is possible for the American people to have “a new birth of freedom” and take hold of our responsibilities.
Nothing is stopping us but ourselves.

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By purplewolf, May 12, 2010 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Just the week before this latest BP’s problem, only one of several, Sarah yelled that we don’t need any more studies in off shore drilling, drill baby drill, then viola! We have another oil rig disaster. Sarah started the back pedal on drill baby drill just after this happened, then a week of silence and now we hear her blaming this in those “damn foreigners.” Nice move there Sarah. Rather than put the blame where it belongs.

During the 2008 campaign when asked about what Sarah thought of the Supreme court decisions, the very same day the verdict of the Exxon Valdez incident was handed down, the only thing she could come up with was the Roe-v-Wade decision. E.V. never entered her tiny mind at all. Now we hear from the non-expert expert of sheer stupidity, who also blamed the Wall street crisis on to much government regulation when in fact it was too little regulation that led to that crisis. It was all the fault of foreigners. Good at public relations, I am certain that if handed the presidency in 2012 this country and its standing in the world would make America even more ignorant in the eyes of the rest of the world.

This is the same person who mocked the current president, who successfully went to college and didn’t take 6 years,according to her father, to complete a 1 year course on communication????and journalism. This is the same person who blames to little regulation of big business as too much regulation on these corrupt corps. Who has taken advantage of “socialistic medical services” as her daughter is now with her love child, yet wants to deny the same medical coverage for those less fortunate than the super rich who can afford to purchase over priced with little benefit coverage medical insurance. Yep, let little Sarah yet again fool those who believe everything she says. Others know better.

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By Rgyle, May 12, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

Free market behavior, in fact, just plain freedom, CAN’T and WON’T WORK until society is comprised significantly of saints. Until then, it will be the rich (10% and shrinking) getting richer and the poor (90% and expanding) getting poorer on an ever tilting playing field, ending in destruction. This is the so-called genius of the so-called conservative so-called vision today. Hence the need for serious
regulation until saints dominate.

Next Post: How to Become a Saint.

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By Barksdale, May 12, 2010 at 8:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Verify, Baby, Verify!”  A fabulous perspective of the groups involved in the BP disaster by Robert Sheer!  Everyone of the dirty, greedy money grabbers should be held accountable and fined the sum that it will require to clean up their horrendous mess.

Negligence is the key word in my opinion.  If it was too expensive to develop this pipeline safely then it was too dangerous to develop at all.  “Prosecute, baby, prosecute” should become the key factor in preventing future happenings of this sort.  If the big oil barrons know there are enduring consequences of a not too savory kind, perhaps they will think twice before erecting slip-shod methods of transporting their wares.  Be it British Petroleum, Halliburton or MMS, they should all pay big time.  Blaming it on the government just won’t suffice.  Blame it on the government should it fail to prosecute!

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, May 12, 2010 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Yes Frank… exactly that…

“Same old story - eviscerate the regulatory agencies, fill them w/business cronies and when they inevitably fail point out the incompetence of government as vindication of your political philosophy and paint any effort to reconstitute the efficacy of government as tax and spend big government and socialism. “

And how many undiscovered disasters are there?

How millions are dead and dying from the GMO’s we eat daily, to the herbacides that drench us, the drugs and medicines that are supposed to help us that actually end up killing us…

A corporate media, that poisons are thinking with psyops, makes it all possible.

The Gulf is gone, in every industry from tourism to fishing, and if the oil slick hits Florida, it’s the last thing the economy there needs.

Maybe congress will investigate, has this ever really made a difference?

I have noticed that Goldman Sacks is still selling derivatives.

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By Frank of America, May 12, 2010 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

As a former driller I’d like to point out an inaccuracy in Mr. Scheer’s column. Halliburton is a service company that specializes in cementing the production casing into the drilling annulus. The annulus is the part of the hole that exists between the production casing and the surrounding rock.  BP is the “operator” i.e. the lease holder of the well, Transocean is the rig owner and drills on a contract from BP and Halliburton contracts w/BP to cement the hole. Big money is riding on the investigation - if its shown that the cement job was faulty then liability rests w/Halliburton. If the cause of the blowout was not enough weight in the pipe - i.e. not enough drilling mud to keep the pressure in check the liability is Transocean’s. But Robert is right on the main point of the article. Deregulated capitalism run amok is the ultimate cause of this. Apparently the Bush administration allowed the offshore drilling industry to not install remote actuated BOP equipment that could have shut this blowout down from a ship a safe distance from the well as it was too expensive at $500,000.

Same old story - eviscerate the regulatory agencies, fill them w/business cronies and when they inevitably fail point out the incompetence of government as vindication of your political philosophy and paint any effort to reconstitute the efficacy of government as tax and spend big government and socialism. In the meantime pump up the military-industrial nexus to a trillion dollar per year boondoggle that siphons the national treasure off to the defense industry and government contractors such as Halliburton. KBR, Blackwater et. al.

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By tdbach, May 12, 2010 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Hey Mundt: no one suggests that we stop living a modern life. That’s a bone-headed argument, which means either you’re a moron or you expect liberals are. I imagine if you were a doctor, and a patient came to you who suffered extreme obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, you would offer her a choice of two strategies: stop eating altogether or continue the same lifestyle that got her there and accept her considerably shortened life. Thanks, Doc.

What we can do as a nation is invest resources in discovering viable alternatives to carbon-based energy, and in the meantime moderate our consumption of energy to the extent practicable.

But that may be too subtle an idea for you to grasp.

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jay1953's avatar

By jay1953, May 12, 2010 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

I recommend that everyone watch the movie “The Corporation”. The are a lot of anti-social elements in the way corporations are structured.

A corporations main function is to make a profit and pay stockholder dividends above all else, it is its primary obligation. Of course this ideal makes the structure ripe for corruption, abuse and exploitation. There is a much wrong with the corporate structure, its incitement of greed leads to corruption ends in many instances in contradictions to the public interest.

The general public interest and welfare is in conflict with this corporate profit structure and the larger the corporation the more this conflict against the public interest increases exponentially. There is nothing wrong with making a profit if it serves the public interest but any entity that operates in the US should be required as a principle of doing business to serve that public interest first and corporate profits second.

What is that public interest that should supersede profits? Safe working conditions, fair living wages, fair treatment at work, health-care, protection of the environment, pensions, etc.; in essence the social safety net that protects the public and the middle-class that is responsible for creating the real wealth of this country. If this litmus test principle cannot be met then the corporation should not exist and it should have its charter revoked. If its one of these “too big to exist” corporations its assets should be confiscated. All the management should be fired. It should be broken up and reorganized then sold off to the highest bidder. As should have been done with the big banks on Wall Street.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 12, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

balkas said:

“After all, neither canadians nor australians rebelled against brits; yet most of them have a better life than most americans!”

That’s because Canada and Australia were fortunate enough to get the French and criminals, respectively.  We got stuck with the religious fundamentalists.

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By Shift, May 12, 2010 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

“Greed needs a timeout with adult supervision for these out-of-control conglomerates messing with every aspect of our lives.”

It is within our individual power to give them a time out.  Reduce your consumption of oil.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, May 12, 2010 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

The B.P., nightmare in the gulf will continue to go on for months, and months and months…..much longer than the public’s attention span…

Catastrophic as it is, the implications of what it will do to all of our lives, in the decades ahead, seem unable to penetrate the political delusions of those that speak for the plutocracy.

The political process in this country has been underwater for a long time, and just like those mortgages it appears to be unable to come to grips with reality.

But let’s not make the mistake of calling this an insolated isodent, because it’s a part of a much larger process.

How foolish of us to believe that only our air, water, and food are poisoned, giving us cancer and degenerative disease up to our eye balls. 

When in fact, it is our thinking that is deeply poisoned as well, full of irrationality, poor reality testing, self absorption, and just plain ignorance.

Yes, our political process has come to resemble an untreatable mental disease, in a lunatic asylum of the criminally insane.

Only madness will result…

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 12, 2010 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

I believe in the Free Market AND the Baby Jesus!  And I suffer no cognitive dissonance when I ponder the implications of that statement.  In short, I’m either a mouth-breathing troglodyte or a chickenshit liar.  You will know me by my war cry:  DRILL, BABY, DRILL!!!!

And I like to be teabagged.

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By balkas, May 12, 2010 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

I do say jeremiahs are ok, but merrimiahs is a lot better.
Americans did lament british rule, but not forever! They knew jeremiahs was ok, but action-change of the system was much better.
Thus, the revolution against ‘nobles’ and for the new ‘nobles’

The revolution self not mattering even a smattering to 90%+ americans.
After all, neither canadians nor australians rebelled against brits; yet most of them have a better life than most americans! tnx

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By SoTexGuy, May 12, 2010 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

CC Dillon is 100% right about policies and politics continuing as usual.. regarding the author’s smoking habits? I have no opinion.

The biggest obstacle to real reform of energy extraction and production off shore is that it is ‘OFF SHORE’.

Imagine that there was a huge explosion within view of downtown Houston or Atlanta. A giant steel structure prominent on the skyline rumbles to the earth amid towering columns of flame! A dozen missing people, multiple injuries.. acrid, poisonous fumes blanketing the sky and ravaging the senses. An intractable wave of crude oil and all it’s fractions, those normally concealed underground or in the gleaming towers and pipelines of the flagship facilities of the energy conglomerates, gushes and oozes from the wound in the earth.. chasing people and their hopes and more from an ever widening swath of ground.. And it won’t stop! Then there are the kittens and puppies and more overcome by the cloying toxic miasma.. cradled by masked and gloved rescuers.. Convoys of equipment and men and materials descend on the cataract of filth and poison.. Planes drop chemicals both liquid and strange clouds of particulates. More chemicals, some untried and with unknown effects are introduced into the smoldering, belching mass by robots and remote controlled devices.. And it just doesn’t stop!

The reality is that nothing remotely resembling what’s going on out in the Gulf of Mexico would be tolerated ‘on shore’ and in the faces of millions of average people. That mess out there will never be 100% fixed or contained yet things will return to some kind of ominous normalcy where everything is ok, until the next catastrophe.

Real reform of off shore industry of any kind, be it the petroleum interests, industrial fishing and more is handicapped by the fact that people can’t see all what’s going on. And amazingly, even with all our ways of seeing and learning about our water world, there’s a disassociation in the minds of many between what’s going on in their backyard and what’s happening ‘out there’ and ‘down there’. I don’t know what will overcome that.

And it’s the same with the looming catastrophe of Climate Change from our changing atmosphere.. people can’t see how it’s changing.. so where’s the problem? Out of sight, out of mind. The reality is that our oceans and atmosphere are, after everything that we know and have learned, still being used as open dumps. And the people who take profit from that aren’t going to give it up.

Adios!

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By balkas, May 12, 2010 at 5:36 am Link to this comment

Thinking ab the bottom line and individual [ir]responsibility to nature or people is systemic and systematic.
Change the system and systemic abuses of people, biota,and nature and the problems are reduced or eliminated; inclduding the bottom line and irresponsibility.

Or, bottom line and irresponsibility stays forever.
So, change, baby, change the old pants. Stop patching them and keep forever lamenting ab its rips,fluff, and color! tnx

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By tedmurphy41, May 12, 2010 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

and now you are living with the consequences of unrestrained greed.

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Gloria Picchetti's avatar

By Gloria Picchetti, May 12, 2010 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

While the rest of you argue amongst yourselves who is to blame turtles, dolphins, fish, & other marine animals are dead & dying.
Marine animals are not the only ones facing death. The undersea vegetation, the land vegetation, & land animals will die. Some people who had jobs depending on the sea will die as well. A -Some will just give up then commit suicide. B -Some will get drunk & cause accidents that result in death or disability. Some will move away only to find there is no work there then some of those will choose point A and/or B.

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By truedigger3, May 12, 2010 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

Scheer wrote:
“Greed needs a timeout with adult supervision for these out-of-control conglomerates messing with every aspect of our lives. But that won’t happen until government regulation of multinational corporations is made respectable once again with adequately funded agencies pursuing an uncompromised public interest agenda.”
____________________________________________________

Unfortunately, REAL government regulation of multinational corporations/finance will not happen, since they own and control both the Democratic and Republican parties, Congress and the White House.
We will get a lot of posturing, theatrics, finger pointing and make-belief bullshitting but NO REAL regulations that have REAL teeth.

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By blueshift, May 12, 2010 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

And with the regulatory agencies hiring the class of personnel that put a man on the moon. We need the rocket scientists in *our* employ, not Wall Street’s or Exxon-Mobil-BP’s

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By Mundt, May 12, 2010 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

So, the East Coast/California axis of anisette-sippers & limousine liberals will set the example, and turn off air-conditioning, ride bicycles, and live in tents, to save the planet? Yeah, right. The world population needs & demands fossil-fuel energy. Therefore, drill, baby, drill.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 12, 2010 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

You’d think the Re-thuglicans would be pitching in, and admitting their own failures in this, but NOOOOOOO…if you read the web-sites it’s somehow ALL the Democrats’ fault!  I’ve seen GOPers claim (and I VEHEMENTLY disagree):
1) Oil is actually a renewable resource, always being made by Mother Earth.
2) Natural seepage into the oceans goes on all the time and is no big deal
3) CO2 isn’t a problem because the greenhouse effect is caused by water vapor.
4) Global warming isn’t real, it’s just a cyclical climate change.
5) All problems are caused by Democrats, even when the GOP held the WH, the Senate, the House and the USSC.

We will NEVER be able to fix problems as long as the GOP keeps on its insane, lemming-like track to a fascist right.  You can’t get drinking water when the GOP keeps poisoning the well.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, May 12, 2010 at 1:27 am Link to this comment

I’m sorry Robert, but you’ve been smoking something ... right?  Whatever regulations are written, they will be totally inadequate to keep these greedy bastards in check.  You could see that in their testimony yesterday.  There is no grief or even contrition on their part.  They are just trying to cover their collective asses by creating smoke and confusion about who is to blame.  And, when it comes time to actually write new regs, you can be assured these same thieves will be ponying up lots of PAC money to defeat any strong measures.  In the end, regs will be weaker than now.  This is the way corporations work in the world.  And politicians are already rubbing their hands together in anticipation of a renewed flood of contributions because of this disaster.  Don’t expect any changes in the way things work.  Politicians and corporations have been perfecting this dance for years and it works perfectly.

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