It’s now coming out that, when Obama was visiting the Louisiana coast a few days ago, surveying the extent of the damage wrought by the BP oil leak, many of the individuals that he, and the rest of us watching at home, thought were BP workers, were in fact temps hired by Tony Haward and the execs at BP in order to convey the illusion that the company was seriously addressing the problem. When Obama left, however, so too did those bussed-in cleanup workers. Yesterday, on that same shore, a dead, oil-covered dolphin washed up. It’s also worth noting that numerous cleanup workers have been hospitalized after coming into contact with BP’s dispersants – you know, those untested and potentially lethal chemicals outlawed in other countries that BP has been dumping into the Gulf. (I’ve read that over 8 million gallons have now been used.)
Oh, yeah, and BP knew about safety issues at their Deepwater Horizon rig well in advance of this disaster. They, however, chose not to address them. Here’s a clip from today’s New York Times:
Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.
The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig.
The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer…
So, the next time you start to leave a comment on this site about the power of the free market to solve all of our problems, and extolling the virtues of deregulation, I want you to think about this. I want you to think about BP, and how they haven’t funded any meaningful safety-related innovation in their industry in over 30 years despite their record profits, how they lied in front of Congress as to warning signs, how they hired temps to pose as cleanup workers in front of the press, how they used chemicals that they knew were potentially hazardous, and then think about the families of hard-working Americans who have been devastated by this preventable environmental cluster fuck, and, once you’ve done all that, then go and look at that dead dolphin that I linked to above. Then, if you still want to hit send, do so with the knowledge that I will likely think that you’re a fool*, and say so.
How anyone in their right mind could suggest that we need to hand over more control to industry, in the wake of what we’re seeing play out on Wall Street and in the Gulf, is absolutely beyond me. If I personally did any one of the things outlined above, I’d be in prison, but BP is allowed not only to continue operations, but to sidestep liability (thanks to the Republicans), and continue raking in obscene profits all the while.
And, speaking of the people who think that what’s needed is further deregulation, I hear there’s a movement afoot to fill the gushing well hole with the collected works of Libertarian hero Ayn Rand. This, I should add, is a much better idea than mine – which is to use the woman formerly known as Baby Jessica to block the pipe. I kind of feel like she might even welcome the opportunity to embrace her destiny, be relevant again, and pay the country back for all the love it once showed her. And what would it really hurt to ask.
Oh, and I should have probably mentioned it earlier but BP’s latest attempt to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf – a maneuver referred to as “top kill,” has failed.
Speaking of dolphins, as I was earlier, I found this amusing… The Republicans, at a loss for what to campaign on, instead of against, have set up a website called America Speaking Out, on which Republicans can leave their thoughts as to where the Grand Old Party should focus its attention. If you get a chance, you should check it out. It’s hilarious stuff. I’ve gone a few times, and read submissions on how child labor laws should be repealed, and how we should identify and remove the reptilian humanoids presently serving in the U.S. government. What makes it fun is that there’s absolutely no way of telling, given the tea partyfication of the Republican party, what’s real and what’s satire. Anyway, back to dolphins, here’s a clip from an article on American Speaking Out in the Washington Post:
…”A ‘teacher’ told my child in class that dolphins were mammals and not fish!” a third complains. “And the same thing about whales! We need TRADITIONAL VALUES in all areas of education. If it swims in the water, it is a FISH. Period! End of Story”…
One last thing, for all of my fellow Michiganders…. BP doesn’t just pollute on the east coast. They dump toxic waste into Lake Michigan too.
[*By “fool” I mean “asshole.” I couldn’t say that at the time, though, as someone was looking over my shoulder.]