BP and Executive Arrogance

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The geyser of oil and less than cheery news on the Gulf oil spill continues unabated. The news updates of the day include:

Reports from a Congressional briefing that suggest, as many have speculated, that the mud was removed despite heavy gas output, a warning sign, with BP admitting its workers may have made a “fundamental mistake”

More discussion of BP’s next line of attack, the “top kill” (Economic Populist has a good compilation of charts and related videos)

Stories that suggest that BP could be liable for as much as $60 billion in fines (Reuters comes in at a mere $10 billion, hat tip Clusterstock)

But the one that got my attention was the exclusive interview of BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg in the Financial Times, in which he remarked:

The US is a big and important market for BP, and BP is also a big and important company for the US, with its contribution to drilling and oil and gas production. So the position goes both ways.

This is not the first time something has gone wrong in this industry, but the industry has moved on.

Yves here. This is simply stunning. First, the BP chairman essentially puts his company on an equal footing as the United States, implying their relation is not merely reciprocal, but equal. BP doesn’t even approach the importance of Microsoft in its heyday, a-not-very-tamed provider of a near monopoly service. And his posture “this is just one problem like others, no biggie” is an offense to common sense and decency.

Many readers have pointed to signs that BP’s order of battle in combatting the leak is seeking to maximize recovery rather than minimize damage, again a sign of backwards priorities. The widely cited gold standard for crisis management, Johnson & Johnson’s 1982 Tylenol tamperings, had the company immediately doing whatever it took, no matter how uneconomical it seemed, to protect the public. BP instead has been engaging in old school conduct: keep a wrap on information as long as possible, minimize outside input, and (presumably) contain costs.

What is worse is the complete lack of any apology or sign of remorse. Even if BP engaged in more or less the same conduct, it would be far more canny for its top officials to make great shows of empathy for all the people who are suffering as a result of the disaster, remind the public that they lost their own men too, and make great speeches about not resting until the leak is plugged, and then add the caveat” “but we have to proceed in a deliberate manner, rushing could make matters worse. We know this is frustrating, and we wish we could hurry the pace.”

The inability to perceive the need to fake remorse shows how wildly out of touch many corporate leaders are with reality. Let’s face it, they are surrounded by sycophants and image-burnishers, they get paid beyond the dreams of mere avarice whether they perform well or abjectly screw up. Unless one happens to be an exception that proves the rule like Jeff Skilling, the worst that might happen to them is a little ritual hazing by Congress for an hour or two and being the subject of the occasional unflattering news story. Real aristocrats, by contrast, at least recognized the importance of noblesse oblige, even if they didn’t always live up to it.

And BP’s outsized institutional ego is making mincemeat of Obama. It is clear that the Administration has NO Plan B if BP continues to get nowhere. And it has tolerated less than comprehensive disaster responses. Why hasn’t BP been asked to do more to contain the oil spill? Given the magnitude of the outflow, even limited success would make a difference. Why hasn’t the Navy been brought in? Trust me, if Al Qaeda had somehow gotten a missile cruise ship with a nuke or two into the Deepwater Horizon location, I’m sure all sorts of military hardware would be dispatched. If the leak turns out to be as bad an many fear, this disaster will be far worse than any readily imaginable terrorist incident, yet our response is sorely wanting.

Why is Team Obama treating BP as its only recourse? It should have contacted every major oil company to see if they had experts and equipment they could deploy. Or if that was dismissed as operationally too complex, why didn’t the US consider the option reportedly used by the Russians, of sealing the leak with a nuclear weapon (presumably a missile)? The Administration’s response seems extraordinarily passive, as if it is cowed. As Bloomberg reports:

“It’s inexplicable,” Louisiana native James Carville, a Democratic consultant who moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said today in an interview. “Why do we still not know how much oil has been pumped out? Why did it take us over 30 days to get the pictures? Who’s running this show?”…

The administration says it’s taking a tough line toward BP and won’t rest until the well is capped and the mess cleaned up.

Yves here. This is a hard line? It looks like rolling over and playing dead, with some grandstanding to try to hide that sorry fact. Back to the story:

Administration officials have emphasized both that they are pressing BP to perform and that they are depending on the company because only it has the equipment, expertise and legal responsibility to stop the leak and repair the damage.

Yves here. Last I checked, BP was far from the only major oil company that does deep water drilling. It does in theory have a situational advantage via this being their site but it is not unique. I wonder whether the “legal responsibility” part is being weighed far too heavily in this calculus. The US is already mounting a massive response effort (and is BP gonna be sent the bill for that?). While it may indeed be correct that ultimately there is not much in the way of better alternatives, Team Obama does not appear to have gone into high alert and made an exhaustive examination of its options. Moreover, it appears to have believed the initial BP BS, which that the leak was only 5000 barrels a days, which meant that even if the leak persisted a few months, the damage would be meaningful but not horrific. Now that it is clear that matters are much worse, the Administration appears unwilling or unable to switch gears, even as this leak increasingly looks like an environmental disaster:

The dependence on BP has raised the ire of Democrats such as Donna Brazile, a political consultant and commentator.

“The Obama administration is following BP’s lead and not pressing them harder on contingency plans that should have already been in place,” she said in an interview. “It’s past time the Obama administration put all hands on deck in helping BP cut off the massive oil spill, contain what is gushing to our shoreline, clean up the mess and compensate those impacted immediately.”…

Louisiana’s Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, standing alongside Salazar and Napolitano yesterday in Louisiana, described the federal government’s response as a “disjointed effort” providing “too little, too late to stop the oil from hitting our coast.”

Andy Borowitz offers an appealing solution: “Experts Propose Plugging Oil Leak With BP Executives.”

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113 comments

  1. bob

    BP is not even close to equal. They are clearly superior to the US and its government. This is the first I’ve heard of the CEO being questioned. Not so long ago we were only getting answers from rig hands and local middle management, while the prez was at least pretending to answer some questions.

    BP, Beyond Press.

    1. bob

      As an aside-

      They are probably at this moment spending more time and money on a future re-branding campaign then they are spending on any effort to stop the spill.

      Can we see the board minutes and agenda?

    2. Timmy

      IMO, unless high politics involved, BP is finished as a company. The liability will kill it good. This disaster is big.

      The only thing that can save them a) UK government intervention. BP afteral is their corporate crown jewel. It’s too big to fail. And UK needs oil desperately. b) massive corruption in the US side continues. hiding the true magnitude of the damage.

      Here is the biggest thing: they are pumping massive amount of that dispersant. That product is for oil spill, maybe a few hundred thousand barrel of oil, not tens of millions like this one.

      Nevermind the fact that it might/might not be toxic, but all those oil are now suspended underwater and can’t be cleaned up. It’s like salad vinegrette, very toxic for marine live. Imagine huge toxic fume leak, instead of letting it flow up to ventilation duck, somebody decide to close all window and tun on the fan in the room. ( you now, like you did in highschool trying to hide smoke) and there are millions of gallons of these thing underwater. with this much oil spill, IMO, it is better to control and let oil go to surface and then pump it. It will look ugly on camera, but much safer and cleaner long term. Much more efficient to clean up the oil that way too.

      Now that the oil-dispersion mix is in emulsion form, the usual simple clean up tools to contain oil spill are useless. The oil and water doesn’t separate ! It will flow every which way as the water goes.

      This is big deal. The entire gulf will be contaminated with oil for years and years because the oil is suspended in water.

    3. jim

      BP is stalling
      BP knows that if they plug the well before they finish drilling the relief well then they will be shut down entirely in the gulf till they finish cleaning up the spill. That is why they are stalling. It should not of taken 37 days to get to this point of trying to cap the well with mud.

      Jim

  2. attempter

    1. This is as good an example as we’ve yet had of how corporate cadres are clinical sociopaths to the point of total incompetence at even simple politics.

    (Although I’ll hold open a slight possibility that, given how they’ve already achieved a de facto corporatits tyranny, and how they intend to formalize that tyranny at some point in the future once bailouts and lies no longer suffice to maintain their position, maybe this kind of open contempt for the public interest and open proclamation of corporate sovereignty, is an exercise in public demoralization like was discussed in a previous post at this blog.

    I don’t think it is that well thought out, but I suppose it’s possible.)

    2. It does reflect the reality, that by now corporations have acheived a kind of alternate sovereignty outside all constitutionalism and politics, while true sovereignty, the true constitution, which by definition reside in the people, are being liquidated for the duration of the kleptocracy.

    To put it very simply – so long as the two corporatist, kleptocratic parties rule, there will be no public interest, no constitution, no rule of the people.

    Getting rid of them is a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for restoring democracy.

    3. In particular, this isolates in spotlit clarity how Obama represents the absolute nadir of government-as-corporate-flunkey. It’s absolutely clear how Obama has zero ideas on what to do about this, other than following BP’s lead. He’s clearly incapable of even conceiving the idea that there are alternatives to giving BP total power over the situation.

    This same combination, of policy bankruptcy and absolute obedience to corporate gangsters as the limits of the very way he thinks, was already manifest in government “policy” regarding the banks and war (where it’s also clear Obama has zero ideas other than stay the course and do what the “savvy businessmen” say).

    And now this catastrophe, which is just getting started toward who knows what consequence, lays it absolutely bare like nothing before.

    The absolute intellectual bankruptcy and moral vileness of anyone who still supports corporatism in general and Obama in particular are now patent facts, if they weren’t before. This act of sheer vandalism has torn a literal hole in the Earth which now hemorrhages poison into the very lifeblood of the orb. To the corporations and their flunkies it’s business as usual. And Obama’s not even fiddling, but just psychotically staring into space repeating in his barren brain the mantra, “savvy businessmen….savvy businessmen….”

    1. Jerry

      I know people don’t like to always get to the root but where are the ethical leaders we need (and I don’t mean those who fake it like George Bush or Sarah Pallin)….This will be the only thing that will restore our country and the world from the self-serving …

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        The world is run – and has always been run – but the smartest amoral scumbags. Ethics is a hindrance to the accumulation of power.

  3. Richard Kline

    Why are BP executives bumptious in their arrogance? Because it is plain that Team Obama and the top tier of the US Guvmint are completely servile to them; excusifying their behavior to the public; throwing down ‘captive gasbag’ commissions for them post haste to kick discovery down the road and under the carpet just like the 9/11 inquiries; touting to the public that “current law gives BP carte blance to do whatever they see fit, we’re helpless in the face of their stunning expertise and legal position.”

    At this point, Team Obama’s response to the Emergence of the Blob is _sub-Katrina_, as if Geordie had farmed out what late and lame response their was to Haliburton and Blackwater claiming the Federal government had no legal power to intervene if private parties capable of intervention were available to take Federal money to do the job. Seriously odious. Of _course_ BP blows off the government since the government can’t do enough to blow them.

    This is what oligarchy looks like, folks: Team Obama is governing US for THEM, largely by doing nothing and letting THEM kill the gulf and keep us in the dark. The good news is that the real news of this disaster is, ahh, seeping out, even into the limp celery MSM weeks after the problem was correctly diagnosed in the blogosphere, not lease here (kudos to Glenn S. fer that). You can lie to all of the people all of the time, but the stink of the toxic death in the landfill grows to great to remain hidden. I’ve long been in favor of pitching BP executives into the Blob to see if that appeases ‘the Entity from the Deep,’ but most of our government weaselship joined to them at the waist might best follow them into that blackness below directly as well.

  4. reskeptikal

    Well Yves, what did you expect? In our culture it’s not what you say but how you say it.

    From one of today’s articles linked from this site:
    “Machiavelli taught that individuals lack tools to assess political leaders, thus politicians can manage their perception through public relations alone.” Great moment to reflect on the blurring between the President as the head of state and the CEO as head of Corp.

    The US as many (like to) think of it doesn’t exist. “We, the people, etc.” It’s all just theatre. (For all those nostalgic social critics out there, time to watch Apocalypse Now again.)

        1. attempter

          In the movie Kurtz is shown reading Eliot (“The Hollow Men”), but I think aet probably meant Conrad. (But if he did mean Conrad, where would the idea for the movie then have come from?)

          1. craazyman

            Thanks attempter. That kind of jostled my memory, which had erroneously recalled the books on Kurtz’s nightstand (I was only one for three — The Golden Bough).

            From a review on Amazon’s web site:

            “There is a scene in the movie that shows Colonel Kurtz’s nightstand in his cave. T. S. Elliott’s poem the Waste Land is one of three books on the nightstand. The other two are Jessie L. Weston’s book From Ritual to Romance, and J. G. Frazier’s book The Golden Bough.”

            So T.S. Eliot it is, assuming this reviewer’s memory is better than his/her spelling (i.e. T. S. Elliott). LOL.

          2. aet

            Wasn’t Brando-as-Kurtz quoting Eliot during his incomprehensible rambles?
            The film…well, it loses focus at that pint, for me (sorry about the metaphor).

          3. ozajh

            “it loses focus at that pint”

            I also tend to lose focus after a few pints . . .

  5. pros

    Corporations such as BP and Halliburton are not subject to laws or any government power-
    they are the law
    they are the power

    Obama is their servant

    You, Yves, are either naive or playing a straw man game for us.

  6. Viking

    Great antidote to this stupidity here:

    http://twitter.com/BPGlobalPR

    Samples:

    The good news: Mermaids are real. The bad news: They are now extinct.

    Thousands of people are attacked by sea creatures every year. We at BP are dedicated to bringing that number down. You’re welcome!

    The ocean looks just a bit slimmer today. Dressing it in black really did the trick!

    Proud to announce that BP will be sponsoring the New Orleans Blues Festival this summer w/ special tribute to Muddy Waters.

    Oh man, this whole time we’ve been trying to stop SEAWATER from gushing into our OIL. Stupid Terry was holding the diagram upside down.

  7. Michael

    Call me a cynic … but why do they even need to be polite about it anyway? Face it – the world (and the US in particular) is addicted to oil to the point that it has become the major issue of national security. The US needs them more than they need the US – any country can buy oil if they pay for it after all.

    BP are probably criminally negligent, but the entire system has encouraged this behaviour so such an outcome is inevitable in the long run. That the markets reward profit over all other considerations is hardly conducive to socially responsible behaviour – it just isn’t part of the equation. Obama is also a product of his environment – he would not have been elected if he was going to take on anyone with money. Just look at how much flak the Australian government is getting for even suggesting a higher royalty for our dirt from billionaire miners – talk of ‘nationalisation’ (of a national resource i might add) and other nonsense.

    And where is the media in all of this? A little populist noise to sell some papers but they’re just as much a part of the oligarchy as any BP CEO is. Don’t worry they wont go too far – wouldn’t want to piss off their buddies from the boys club, or even precipitate higher energy prices and piss off the masses.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Agree. But, to be honest, I actually love it that – IF there had to be a blow-out – it happened in anti-big-government pro-big-bidness deep-south moron-land.

      I’m sure their tiny brains are already dreaming up excuses for BP (yup, that there blow-out was all “those people’s” fault, and those liberals).

      As I’m mid fifty’s and have no kids I really don’t give a rat’s butt what happens beyond 30 years (as the universe ends when I die).

  8. Corduroy Kelly

    Not good form to be talking as though the spill were in the past tense when no one even knows how to stop the thing. What if it takes a nuclear explosion to shut it down? What if it can’t be shut down?

  9. Guest

    To provide some perspective and add to the outrage there is this article from 1991. It outlines the penalty and settlement for the Exxon Valdez spill. The point person in the Exxon Valdez settlement was none other than President Obama’s freshly minted Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the BP Gulf spill, one William K. Reilly.

    Oh and the final tally for that little spill in Alaska
    $1 Billion and change all of which was tax deductible.

    http://nyti.ms/bGq3PA

    http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/13/us/exxon-to-pay-100-million-fine-and-plead-guilty-in-valdez-spill.html?pagewanted=1

    1. aet

      Remind me again…how many died in that exxon valdez thing? None?
      There are close to a dozen dead here.
      That in itself puts this in a whole different league.

      1. Guest

        a dozen times a dozen people died on the highways of America between my initial post and this post. Sympathy and condolences for the families of those lost on the BP rig but if you are not counted among that group, shame on you and spare us your false emotion and concern.

  10. Blueslide

    I think we should put Mr Svanberg’s assertions to a test. Let’s really see how badly we need them by revoking their corporate charter and giving them the boot. We should also place a lien on all their assets until the cost of the cleanup is completed. After all, they have agreed to take responsibility and there is serious doubt that even they can cover the damages. Their investors should not be entitled to any compensation until this matter is settled.

    1. aet

      There’s something called the US Constitution which requires that certain Formalities be observed before the exaction of any such penalties may be levied.
      I could be wrong, things have changed since I was last Stateside.

  11. John L

    The US government doesn’t have a Plan B because one doesn’t exist. BP is doing what every other oil drilling company would do to stop this leak, so what would bringing in another company accomplish, other than delay and finger pointing? Any attempt by the Fed to take over immediately means they’ve taken both the responsibility and the blame if their efforts (like the Russian nuke option) fails. No way will Obama take that kind of a chance.

    As for cleaning up the spilled oil, here’s where I think Obama may have dropped the ball. IIRC, by law the Federal government cannot conduct spill cleanups; it has to be coordinated by the company responsible. Obama and his officials should be pointing this out to the public, and then putting all possible pressure on BP to do everything possible and then some to cleaning the oil up.

    It appears right now that the most effective efforts are being coordinated by local officials; again, BP needs to be told to get more assets out there to clean up the oil, not just stop the leak. They’re going to pay for everything anyway, if it takes the NG out there mopping up oil, get them there and hand BP the bill.

    1. Timmy

      Amazing ain’t it? The laws are all rigged to protect the oil companies at the expense of public safety. Years and years of corruption. I understand oil is important, but sooner or later disaster like this will cost more than all that oil.

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        Naaa, not in frat-boy utopia land.

        Dude, what can happen dude? Like totally dude. Dude, we got this covered dude. Like totally, dude. No guts no glory dude! Like, dude, like, dude; we’re not a bunch of liberal pansies dude! No way dude, I say lets go for it dude. Dude, like totally.

    2. Lyle

      As I understand it BP is consulting with experts from other companies to see if they have any suggestions on stopping things. Beyond expert consultations its not clear that any other major has unique capabilities since most purchase their services from the same group of companies.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      John L,

      One can easily argue that this means far less than you are suggesting.

      First, there is evidence that BP is not moving quickly at all (this has been argued in comments here and at sites more focused on this, namely, The Oil Drum). Why wasn’t the top kill tried two weeks ago? The lie re 5000 barrels a day output says that BP is being WAAY less than honest here

      Second, you have no idea re the intensity and caliber of these “consultations”. BP has massive liability here. They may be in the position where if they admit to outside parties the severity of the problem on a contemporaneous basis, they increase their liability due to failure to act on a timely basis. Plus they may also be concerned re leaks. So these consultations may very well be a “garbage in, garbage out” process.

      Third, given BP’s stakes and biases in this matter, it is irresponsible for the US officialdom not to have an independent view, at a minimum to keep BP honest and know what options (if any) it has. Your argument that BP subcontracts much of its services says its expertise is NOT unique, hence there may well be other ways to proceed.

      1. anonymous

        Yves, you rightly point to the issue of liability. I expect that BP will argue one way or the other, that the responsibility for setting and enforcing ‘safe practices’ rests with federal regulatory agencies (the WH) not any individual company. So, one way or the other the US government is likely to find itself in the dock alongside BP. Litigators can clearly offer informed opinion on this question.

        The Sestak quid pro quo is being treated as a separate scandal here. But the reality is that BP got a free pass from government inspectors because BP gave direct contributions to political figures at all levels. The ‘gifts’ local inspectors received are fundamentally no different from the much larger sums given to the person flying down to Louisiana to have his picture taken.

        It’s wrong, btw, to single Obama out for opprobrium on this question. The systemic corruption afflicting the enforcement of regulations in the financial sector may be different in some important respects from that in the oil industry. But the motivations are the same: maximizing profit by betting that bad things won’t happen.

        I don’t personally expect anyone to learn anything from an event that has been factored into the system. Only those directly affected by the spill will pay any price. The ‘worst’ that’s likely to happen to the Regulator in Chief is that he might not be re-elected.

        At this stage there’s no indication whatsoever Obama or any other official in charge of protecting the public good is going to suffer in any way for their delinquency, except for a temporary dip in the polls.

        That’s the only metric that counts to the feds and by that standard, their management of the Gulf Spill has been outstanding. You simply need to understand that the feds are even more committed to dodging real accountability than BP and for the same reasons.

        What are the odds the US military would have been in the Gulf enforcing safe practices and standards before the spill if civil servants were held personally responsible for the damage they do?

    4. Glenn Stehle

      John L says,

      “BP is doing what every other oil drilling company would do to stop this leak…”

      Well that may be so. But what exactly does that mean?

      I watched most of the congressional and senate hearings on the blowout and oil spill. Appearing before those hearings was Lamar McKay, President and Chairman of BP America.

      I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember Hogan’s Heroes, a TV series that appeared back in the 1960s. But there was a character in the series called Sergeant Schultz, and his response to every question put to him was: “I know nothing–NOTHING!”

      Well that’s essentially the response McKay gave to practically every question asked of him in those hearings.

      So visualize the scene. There’s this guy, the president of this huge corporation (it came out in one of the hearings that his salary was something like $5 or $10 million a year) and he knows absolutely nothing—NOTHING! about anything. It’s surreal.

      For anyone paying attention, red flags should have of course flown up all over the place. The BP plan was all but laid out in plain daylight: Obfuscate. Deny. Downplay the problem. Do as little as possible.

      And so it’s been since day one.

      That so much trust was extended to BP to “do the right thing” after such an obvious display of bad faith is beyond comprehension.

      And yet, to this day, BP is still operating without any oversight or supervision.

      Who’s protecting the public interest in dealing with this corporation that has exhibited monumental incompetence and bad faith?

      I think we all know the answer to that question: No one is.

  12. dearieme

    I imagine that the BR people know that they have a tremendously difficult engineering problem on their hands, and despise the calibre and motives of the sort of politicians who, for the self-indulgence of a bit of grandstanding, might impede their efforts. You despise much about Obama’s administration, don’t you, Yves? Then think how much more people from the world of practical stuff despise the rogues. One of O’s twits was drivelling about “deadlines” the other day; “deadlines” might govern life in, say, law practices – in the world of real, unsolved problems, they are largely self-indulgent tosh. Hell, if “deadlines” were the answer, the Afghanistan war would have been won months ago.

  13. eunuch watch

    If bin Laden nails a couple more skyscrapers, Obama is going to sternly insist that al Qaeda rebuild them and wait helplessly while it doesn’t happen.

    1. Raging Debate

      Oh, do you mean something like this:

      Why Building a Mosque on Ground Zero is a Failed Idea

      NYC Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf touts that a mosque on Ground Zero will work to help ease relations between Muslim Americans and Americans. In reality, this is possibly the single worst thing anyone can do. Instead, this is the perfect move to ensuring relationships deteriorate. Such a move perpetuates the ongoing tug-of-war between Islam and the West, strengthening the role it plays in our society. It ensures the war continues on a level far beyond just military combat on foreign soil, but that it engages in the minds and hearts of every American citizen, Muslim or not.

      http://ragingdebate.com/politics/why-building-a-mosque-on-ground-zero-is-a-failed-idea

    2. enuch watch

      No that’s not what I mean. I mean Obama sits wringing his hands over a threat to national survival and international vital interests that dwarfs 9/11. While he asserts dictatorial powers to protect government malfeasance, prosecuting whistleblowers and breaking peremptory norms of international law for torturers, he puts his big bad tyrant balls away for his corporate employers and submissively sits and waits. He should fuck off and die before he destroys the world any more, spineless, servile stuffed shirt that he is. I do not see what mosques have to do with anything.

  14. Mark Rowell

    I laugh that many of the same people that endorse small government (government is of the way) and free markets are now complaining the government isn’t doing enough! Can’t have it both ways. Can’t have both small limited governmetn interfereence then expect the government to jump in and bail out the coorporations when things are screwed upp beyond repair.

    Aren’t we getting a “free market” response with BP? Didn’t we get a free markte reponse with the CDO’s lendning and mortage markets?

    1. DownSouth

      Mark Rowell:
      I laugh that many of the same people that endorse small government (government is of the way) and free markets are now complaining the government isn’t doing enough!

      Finally somebody’s got the courage (or the poor taste?) to stand up and state the obvious. Either way, I have to admire your bluntness and truthfulness.

      I’ve refrained from pointing out one of the most pathetic characters in all this, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, because I do applaud his current efforts to marshal resources to control the spill.

      But it was only a little bit over a year ago when Jindal, in the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress, asserted that “The strength of America is not found in our government.”

      Jindal continued:

      To strengthen our economy, we need urgent action to keep energy prices down. All of us remember what it felt like to pay $4 at the pump and unless we act now, those prices will return. To stop that from happening, we need to…increase drilling for oil and gas here at home. We believe that Americans can do anything and if we unleash the innovative spirit of our citizens, we can achieve energy independence.

      [….]

      Democratic leaders in Washington — they place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people. In the end, it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. We oppose the National Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and to create jobs.

      [….]

      You elected Republicans to champion limited government, fiscal discipline and personal responsibility.

      http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/24/sotn.jindal.transcript/

      Hopefully this event will demonstrate to Jindal just how helpless the lone individual is, even if he is the mighty governor of the great state of Louisiana, when pitted against a corporate titan like BP.

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        Re: when pitted against a corporate titan like BP.

        Naaa, to a fascist worship of wealthy-authority is a given (probably genetic necessity). It’s the same with the big-government socialists and their worship of process bureaucracy.

        And all humans have enough duplicity and self-delusion to generate BS stories (kitsch) that will “explain” any discontinuities in the semi-psychotic explanation of politics and economics.

    2. Guest

      Mark Rowell says:
      May 26, 2010 at 8:56 am

      I laugh that many of the same people that endorse small government

      _____

      Mark your argument is disingenuous and is based on a false comparison.

  15. Martin Farley

    First, you should at least get all the facts right. Past news reports have made clear that engineers from other major oil companies are working in Houston with BP on coming up with a solution to capping the well. There would certainly be no point to having sets of engineers from multiple companies working independently. Thus, expertise from throughout the industry is bearing on the question. That is separate from how prepared anyone in the oil industry was for a deepwater blowout.

    Having said that, high-ranking oil industry executives are particularly insular among corporate executives. They usually have spent decades within a single company. Many are engineers, who have a tendency to believe any problem can be solved simply with the right equation. Dealing with the public can’t be handled that way, but they have little experience outside the industry.

    1. Glenn Stehle

      Martin Farley,

      Take it from someone who knows.

      1) The engineers who rise to executive positions in these huge bureaucracies like BP don’t do so because of any extraordinary technical expertise, but because of extraordinary political skills.

      2) Not all of these big companies are the same. Some are more competent than others.

      3) Everyone at BP is probably in CYA mode, which prevents proper examination of past mistakes, which may obscure seeing the best way forward.

      4) You cannot imagine the amount of corruption that goes on in these big companies, all the way from the company man and his harvest of fishing gear, sporting firearms and free meals, to the mid-level engineer who gets free trips and royal entertainment at the best restaurants and bars, to the Vice President whose high-school-aged kid gets a new car to drive. There are many other agendas going on here which have nothing to do with what’s best for BP, much less for the American people.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Hilarious. You gave the *actual* facts to the man who scolded everyone else to “get all the facts right.” I continue to appreciate all your contributions to this site, Glenn. Thanks.

  16. mds

    “I laugh that many of the same people that endorse small government (government is of the way) and free markets are now complaining the government isn’t doing enough!”

    Yeah, even though the stakes are high for the environment and people’s livelihoods, I still have to suppress an unworthy desire to tell Bobby Jindal that he can shove his whining about the need for the federal government to solve this. As has been noted elsewhere, watch as Jindal sheds tears for oily pelicans from eyes that remained dry as corpses bobbed in drowned New Orleans.

    1. Kelli K

      Last I checked, the Federal Government is responsible–not states– for overseeing the safety of extraction industries in coastal waters. The Feds, not the states, are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of our land and seas.

      You’re essentially saying that Jindal should abnegate his responsibility to his constituents much like Obama has abnegated HIS to all of us.

      A problematic position to say the least.

  17. jpmist

    “Why hasn’t the Navy been brought in? Trust me, if Al Qaeda had somehow gotten a missile cruise ship with a nuke or two into the Deepwater Horizon location, I’m sure all sorts of military hardware would be dispatched.”

    All due respect but comments like this baffle me. What reason would the Navy have to work on the ocean floor a mile down? Is Al Qaeda setting IED’s next to wellheads now?

    I’m not sure the various pundits have an understanding that the drilling done on the Gulf floor is the leading edge of drilling technology and engineering. There aren’t a cadre of experts to weigh in and advise alternatives because those with relevant experience are already there.

    When all is said and done, what happened was simply a cockup. Drillers simply got comfortable with the fact that since no deep well had ever blown up before that meant they knew what they were doing. Black swan. Hubris. Where have we heard that before.

    And apparently regulators simply didn’t have the independent expertise to evaluate the blowout prevention techniques in place. No one in a position to matter asked the breathlessly simple question, “how will you handle an undersea blowout?? Hopefully they will now.

  18. Kelli K

    “I’m not sure the various pundits have an understanding that the drilling done on the Gulf floor is the leading edge of drilling technology and engineering. There aren’t a cadre of experts to weigh in and advise alternatives because those with relevant experience are already there.”

    If this is so, team Obama has done a pathetic job explaining the facts to an anxious public. He has chosen to remain aloof (anyone notice a pattern here?) from the fray, seemingly so that he can vilify BP without damaging anyone on his own staff who got close enough to be contaminated.

    TO EVERYONE READING THIS BLOG,
    The solution to a tone-deaf anti-democratic BP is within our hands, regardless of whether Obama chooses to act.

    BOYCOTT BP.

    I guarantee that after a couple million people have sent BP their cut-up credit cards and signed a pledge never to shop at their filling stations again, we will have their faux contrition. A few million more and they may actually begin to mean it.

    Save America: Boycott BP

  19. Aristophon

    Yves, you are correct in asking the question “why hasn’t the Navy been brought in?”

    As a former naval officer with experience working with oceonographic research institute personnel — reservists and contractors — and the old navy “craft of opportunity” program — run in coordination with the Coast Guard — I was amazed at the breadth and “depth” (no pun intended) of the resources available in this country.

    If it only did one thing: station observation vessels of opportunity throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Stream, that in itself would be a tremendously vital part of dealing with this disaster.

    The Navy could easily place any of the measuring devices already offered by research facilities safely near the wellhead, so as to get good idea of the size of the gusher.
    The Navy has — and has contracted ROV’s in the past for operations at the depths the BP well is at.

    I assume the lack of basic information about the size and scope of oil in the Gulf is intentional as a liability limiting tactic acceptable to the current regime in D.C.

  20. LeeAnne

    Surely some one is going to spark the tinder box that is the anger of people all over the world suffering under the domination of corporate and finance abuse.

    After his brush-off of photographers from the oily Louisiana shore, British Petroleum Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg deserves to be followed and photographed and his picture identified with each and every photo of his victims; the wildlife, the landscape, and the people.

  21. Chris M.

    I agree the clean-up process should be more transparent and better organized. But when was the last time the response to a major unusual crisis was perfectly executed, or even really well executed? A contingency plan would have helped.

    Realistically, there is a limit to how tough Obama can be on BP while they are still working together to solve the problem. I’ve worked on lots of teams and projects. When there is some sort of big crisis that needs to be addressed quickly, having a huge public blowout might feel good in the extremely short term, but it’s almost always a huge mistake and very counter-productive. As long as Obama is handcuffed to BP, he needs to maintain a halfway decent working relationship, while still emphasizing the magnitude of the problem, how upset people are, the urgency to get it fixed, and creating just enough fear to get the adrenalin pumping but not so much that everything falls apart and it takes three times as long to get the problem solved.

    I’m sure after the spill is taken care of, Obama will hit BP (and the rest of big oil) hard with investigations, fines, lawsuits, more inspections and much more intense and costly regulation. But for now, I’d rather they just work together and concentrate on getting the problem solved as quickly as possible regardless of the expense. (And BP claims they have contacted every expert in the field to help get the leak stopped, including the govt, consultants, other oil companies, etc. As much as I hate big oil, I have to believe BP wants this thing over as much as anyone.)

    Interestingly, my local BP gas station has been very generous in giving away free coffee, pop and candy since this crisis started. Just not charging for it – especially if you have kids with you. I’m not sure if the generosity was recommended or even sanctioned by corporate, or the station owner. Makes you wonder if their sales have been affected by the spill. If so, some free stuff or a discount on gas (and car washes) should bring their customers back pretty quickly. This is America after all.

    1. pros

      HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!

      “I’m sure after the spill is taken care of, Obama will hit BP (and the rest of big oil) hard with investigations, fines, lawsuits, more inspections and much more intense and costly regulation.”

      Just like the financial crisis—

      I predict bigger profits and higher bonuses for BP and their execs,
      as well as a flood of oil industry plants in D.C., and a tripling of lobbying dollars and campaign contributions

      Chris M, you are probably writing from a BP or AEI computer.

      1. Chris M.

        pros – Obama did take on financial reform and Congress did pass it, in spite of the GOP and Wall Street lobbyists. And it’s very irritating to Wall Street. And if Wall Street screws up again, he’ll put through more irritating, half-baked, semi-effective legislation – until regulators are running half their business and their profits are totally eaten up by lawyers, accountants, fees, fines and lawsuits (not something they like).

        And thanks for inquiring about my PC. No it’s not at BP or AEI. Right now I’m writing from a home-built desktop PC located on my dining room table. It has an Athlon XP 2600+ chip, an Asus motherboard, 1 Gb RAM, two 80 Gb hard drives, a new 512 Mb Radeon graphics card, an LG 18-inch monitor and is running Windows XP. I call it Silver. (Gold is downstairs in my office.)

        1. pros

          Hello Chris M:
          Like “health care reform”, which was a gift to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the common citizen,
          “Wall Street Reform” is a gift to Wall Street.
          The Kabuki theatre protests fool few…

          The capture of the U.S. government by corrupt corporations is complete, and that is why Obama sides with the scumbags at BP, Halliburton and Transocean who properly belong at Guantanamo alongside their co-conspirators in the government…where, subject to waterboarding, they will confess their crimes against the national security of the U.S., and having been duly convicted of a mass homocide, they will be executed according to the law of this land.

  22. Debra

    Hmmmm…
    Let’s put this into perspective a little bit.
    Anybody remember.. Tchernobyl ?
    Maybe that was the FIRST time that our civilization got heavy duty WARNING that the techno model was highly hazardous to the LONG TERM health of the species, and the planet. That was a while ago, wasn’t it ? So… why are we SO SURPRISED NOW, that THIS is happening ?
    Getting pissed, pointing fingers at the corporate elite, and at incompetent government officials is fun, but not very productive in my book.
    It lets off steam, right ? Keep our FEAR in the background, right ??
    It keeps us.. OCCUPIED while the oil keeps seeping out there under the sea.
    Oil that SHOULD be reminding US while we’re busy pointing fingers, that WE pump the oil into our cars to keep them running.
    Think about that when you get into your car tomorrow morning, right ?
    Alone ?
    Public transport in the U.S. is a crying shame.
    I think that we would ALL do better to stop pointing fingers, slink away, and start doing something about what WE stick into our cars to keep them running.
    My apologies to those of you who are already conscientiously working on this. But… if you are, then it’s time to think up something ELSE to do, to work on it.
    Our elected officials, and our corrupt corporate elite are not the isolated examples of a world gone awry. Our society ALL hangs together.
    Maybe… what WE are doing contributes in some way to the fuck up ??
    The responsibility for decadence is ALWAYS collective in my book.

      1. Skippy

        Tell her bell wearing hubby to spot her lover (difficult position), as they are getting on.

        Skippy…runnn away!!

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      The problem is that Americans aren’t cynical enough. Oh sure, they might be pissed-out-of-their-minds about [fill in some left-or-right peasant obsession] but all peasants still believe in America, it’s just “the other side” that’s screwing things up. When real cynicism sets in only then might things change.

      But, they won’t change for the better. The natural political system for humans is feudal, of which the modern version would be Chinese “communism”.

  23. Diogenes

    I was wondering if I had missed BP’s public apology and mea culpa. I guess there won’t be one. Incredible.

    Yesterday, on NPR, they were discussing how Canada requires that secondary wells be drilled with the main well in sensitive areas (wetlands, oil sands, offshore) so that if there is a blowout, the other well can relieve the pressure, etc.

    1. Ahnold nightmare

      NPR, brought to you by Lexus and BP…. . (Do they still air that “classic/opera, brought to you by Exxon, bringing good thing to life.” (some silly advert announcement like that)

      This is the problem with media, when people need it the most (down economy, political corruption, big corporation fraud, counter mass manipulation) they are not looking after for public interest, they themselves has corporate interest.

  24. Hugh

    Fascism is the wedding of the state with corporate interests. Guess what we have here. BP execs can be as arrogant as they want to be because they know Obama has their back. How do they know this? They know Americans are addicted to a petroleum powered lifestyle, and that politicians are obsessed with providing them with it. It is our version of bread and circuses, the Roman method of elite control of the populus. They know because Obama has been running interference for them from the get go. Remember the video of the spill Obama sat on for 3 weeks? That was just the most obvious manifestation of his turning the whole of the oil spill response over to BP. They know because, as I saw in a story yesterday, journalists and the public were being kept from public areas to view the damage because they were told it is BP’s oil and BP would have to OK anything. They know because even in the midst of this disaster the Obama Administration continues to hand out environmental waivers and drilling permits for deepwater projects, some of which are in water nearly twice as deep as where the spill occurred.

    You see we the hoi polloi have it all backwards. We see this disaster, are outraged, and expect everyone else to be as outraged as we are, and to act accordingly. This is a fundamental mistake. For Obama and BP, the problem is not the oil but weathering a period of bad PR before both can back to business as usual. We should not be surprised by this. It is exactly what happened with Obama, Wall Street, and the bailouts.

  25. Simon Sez

    Well this fiasco should muzzle all of the obnoxious Brits who freely use the term “stupid Americans”.

    1. Hill

      Can’t man. They have troop in afghanistan and Iraq, they fight alongside defending our stupidity. We owe them big time.

      1. Simon Sez

        We owe them nothing. Brush up on your history and war facts. Stupid is a stupid does: BP omitted simple O-ring seals on the hole’s casing which allowed natural gas to escape and blow up Deepwater Horizon. This is our Chernobyl.

        1. NOTaREALmerican

          Bah, a little radiation ain’t gonna kill ya. Neither will a little oil. This is just being blown out of proportion by the liberal media; like global warming. You thing a little oil in something a big as the Gulf of Mexico is going to hurt anything. Why, I bet in the long run, this will make the Gulf better, but do you think you’ll hear THAT in the liberal media? No, and you know why? This is all those-people’s fault. If the government wasn’t spending all the money on those people, this would be cleaned-up by now. That’s what the liberal media isn’t tellin’ ya.

        2. Hill

          We owe them big, big enough not to kill their big national oil company and threatening their economy.

          1. Simon Sez

            @Hill, if you send me your mailing address I’ll send you a one-way airline ticket to England and arrange for you to obtain citzenship there. So U.S. taxpayers should pay to clean up the mess? You’re a wimpy socialist.

  26. sunny

    Please, Please forgive me if I am perceived as patronizing but the cold hard facts re:

    1. The Corporate Oligarchy has the BALLS of Prez, Congress of both parties and the regulators for past DECADES! Considering the recent vote favoring Corps by 5-4 vote it appears they have US Supreme court in their pocket too!

    2.There is ongoing INCESTUOUS relationship and rotating doors between the corrupt REGULATORS and the REGULATED belonging to Royalty of 21st century! This applies to ALL Federal and State Institutions.

    3.Finally it boils down to Campaign contributions POLLUTING our Democracy from inside out! Unless this INFECTION is faced ‘head on’ with hard solutions there is NO CURE! There is NO political will or resolve to solve this!

    AMERICA, the Best Democracy can Buy!

  27. mad Albanian

    Why on earth they dont try to freeze the oil flow by using liquid nitrogen is beyond me. It is nowhere as risky or costly of what they are trying to do and has far more chances of succeeding.
    It shows that big corporation have become paralised by their own big inner bureauracy just as the goverments and all creativity is chocked to death by layers and layers of incompetent managers

    I did create once an ice plug on a 500mm dimeter pipe with 2000m3/h of water flowing through it and no isolation valves to isolate the leak. You just build a casing around the pipe and inject liquid nitrogen from a std bottlle on one side of the casing and vent it on the other. It took around 8 hours to have the complete ice plug formed but it is eazy to make the calculations and very simple to try. Oil has a much higher viscosity at lower temperatures and it will be much easier than water to stop the flow by freezing I would imagine.
    Anyway, I would guess if it was so simple they must have thought about it, but having worked in some of those coorporation, nothing would surprise me, since MBA nad financial wizards have replaced engineers on most coorporate managment levels, the ideas travel very slow from bottom to the top and most on the top dont have a clue about them.

    1. meh

      How do you propose pumping liquid nitrogen 3 miles underwater? a) Do you have such pipe? pumping mud and oil inside high grade steel tube is different than cryogenic piping. b) And can you show me several million tons of liquid nitrogen? or at least equipment that can generate that much nitrogen (of course I made up the required nitrogen, since we don’t know how exactly liquid nitrogen will be needed.)

      don’t forget all those delicate cryogenic equipments has to work against several thousands atmospheric pressure in deep sea.

  28. Muaziz

    “Many readers have pointed to signs that BP’s order of battle in combating the leak is seeking to maximize recovery rather than minimize damage, again a sign of backwards priorities.”

    I am a huge fan of this blog, but the statement above is simply not true despite being repeated all over the place.

    The leaking well is dead. Period. BP will never, ever extract a single gallon from that well. Same for the relief wells. Anyone suggesting that BP is trying to salvage the well or try to extract oil from it knows nothing about offshore drilling.

    Once BP plugs the leaking well and the relief wells (which will also never be used for production), BP can then drill *new* wells to try and extract the oil and gas from this reservoir.

    It is 100% in BP’s interest to kill this leaking well ASAP. This has been true since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. Anyone suggesting otherwise does not know what they are talking about.

    You can argue that BP is being arrogant (true), you can argue that BP thinks they can order the government around (true), you can argue that BP has not been very transparent (true). But suggesting that BP is not trying to kill the well ASAP is simply wrong and makes no sense whatsoever.

  29. Kelly

    I do not understand why folks think explosions will plug the well. My brother is a construction explosives guy. Explosions break things up. Unless the explosive folks perfectly understand the geology around the well the few large leaks will be replaced many leaks throughout the formation. It’s likely the first error in this chain of disaster was misunderstanding the local geology.

  30. mikefromArlington

    You know, I’m sure you’re smart and all Yves, but do you even bother to follow up when making your claims. You said:

    “It is clear that the Administration has NO Plan B if BP continues to get nowhere.”

    Did you speak to anyone to verify this or are you just turning into any other blogger and base claims off of how you “feel.”

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Actually, I heard from a well placed source that there is a plan-B. They are – right now – drilling a hole which will intersect near the existing well about 2 miles down. Then Bruce Willis – and a crew of volunteer models – are going to take a nuclere bomb to the bottom of the well.

      There will be the usual sub-plots involving hot girl friends (with flash-backs) but in the end American nuclere bombs win the day (in a peaceful way), which is part of the normal feel-good-about-America happy ending that we all need.

      The oil-covered birds, well who cares – really? My SUV needs gas.

  31. Dean

    What a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks posting today. The government should have done this, BP should have done that. Blah, blah, blah

    Fact is, shutting off the oil spill is a very complicated difficult procedure. There is a real possiblility that choosing a wrong remedy for stopping the spill could make the situation worse.

    Does anyone really believe that a group of DC bureaucrats can provide a solution to stopping the spill? I do agree that the FEDs need to provide direction and guidance for the clean-up and this leadership has been sorely lacking.

    BP does provide a needed resource – oil. Last time I looked outside, everyone was still driving fossil-fuel based cars.

    As the saying goes – Those that live in glass houses should not throw rocks

    1. sherparick

      I basically agree. What I find amazing on both the blogs and the media coverage is that no one googles this easily accessible law and reads what it says and explains the constraints it puts on the Government or the huge engineering problems that working with robotic vehicles and RPV one mile under the ocean in total darkness. Instead, the same people who were saying get “government off our backs” and “drill, baby, drill,” are now excorciating the Obama administration when it is apparently doing all it can under the law and still keep BP as the “responsible party” for the spill. If feel guilty about this and want to do something, go out and buy a Volt, or at least a Prius or Honda Civic.

      1. enuch watch

        So just MIPR contracts to all BP’s competitors, emergency remediation for which BP is liable. The awesome feeding frenzy would strip BP’s assets and destroy its intellectual property, annihilating it in spectacular fashion, which is the main thing you need to accomplish pour l’encouragement des autres. Don’t give me this legal constraint shit. The president has the power of assassination by decree for fuck’s sake. He can do it.

  32. sherparick

    Apparently, folks are so busy throwing around ad hominems against the Obama administration and mind reading the motives of people they never met to be bothered with actually looking up the facts that govern this case.

    The most important fact is that there is actually a law that explains of what of what is happening, and BP, unlike the poor suckers in GITMO, has an army of lawyers at hand to interpret that law in their shareholders best interest (which means that someone other than BP pays for this FUBAR if possible.) Under this law, BP would do a “happy dance” if the Government came in and “took over” responsibility for capping this well since it could argue that it would have no further liability after that event. Look it up. It is called the Oil Pollution Act of 1991. http://www.epa.gov/oem/content/lawsregs/opaover.htm. No one posting on this post, including unfortunately Yves, has even noted this law and how it could be hindering the Government’s response. And one of the unintended (or perhaps intended) consequence of this law is how much authority it gives the “responsible party” to control the clean up and access to the clean-up sites.

    Second, folks, this thing is 5,000 feet under the sea. Until just 30 years ago this was terra incognito and pretty much inaccessible to humans accept for a very few specialty research vehicles. It is dark has hell and as for pressure, imagine having 5,000 gallons of milk stacked on your chest.

    The oil industry believed its own propganda that it had “solved” the blow-out problem, confusing the low probability of a given catatstrophic event in any given year with a belief that it would never happen. Because if if it does ever happen, the only response your could be pretty sure of working is probably drilling relief wells which takes months.

    Big comet and astroid strikes on the Earth are rare, low probablility events in any given year, but become a pratical certainity over a long time period. Pretty much the same with oil well blowouts, except that we know that they happen with more frequency than these natural events. So was this, but people were not listening before April 20. Instead, it was drill, baby drill, as the popular cry. For 30 years we have said no to gas taxes, energy taxes, oil import fees, etc. so we can drive cheap gas. Disgusting as BP is (and I completely agree with Yves point on how just out of touch, arrogant, and simply unempathetic BP and its upper management are – really does appear to be the case now that not only corporations are sociopaths, but that is now impossible for anyone but a sociopath to run one of these large corporations – See Baseline Scenario on the John Heilmen’s New York article), our country made decisions in elections going back to 1980 that have led to this disaster on the Gulf, as well as the early disaster in Alaska, all predicted and inevitable in the production and transporatation of huge quanities of oil.

    http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2010/05/oil_spill_oversight_offshore_d.html

    1. aet

      Fully agreed: you reap what you sow.
      On the plus side, Legislation may be undone at the stroke of a pen: that is, just as easily as it is made.
      And one never knows how old Statutes may be interpretedif they come to be tested in today’s Courts.

  33. VietnamVet

    The biggest oil spill ever. The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    All due to deregulation. Face facts. The federal government is run for and by multinationals. Government by the people for the people is a quaint anachronism.

    Except, Americans have a history of revolution and succession.

    1. aet

      Nor are they stupid, though that opinion does not seem to be shared by many who post comments to blogs, it seems.
      IMHO, opinions often illuminate the holder, as well as or even better than they elucidate their subject.

  34. Debra

    Wow, I am BLOWN AWAY by the comments section here.
    The CYNICISM of most of the commenters here is in terminal throes.
    There seems to be little, if NO, rational debate on the U.S. blogs these days.
    When I say rational, I’m not talking about cold, calculating, unfeeling, and desubjectified descriptions of the “facts”, I’m talking about the one or two people above who are happy to remind us.. that it takes TIME to repair a catastrophy, and that there is no big, star spangled SANTA CLAUS who’s going to do it either. And that the world is not simply one big stage where people are playing cops and robbers all the time.
    Advice to the cynical… there is NO REASON whatsoever in your comments.
    Do you care any more ?
    If you don’t…
    GOD help us.
    A lot of wanking going on here…
    But then… maybe I’m just in the wrong place, after all.
    This is a wanking place ?

    1. pros

      It’s time to draw the line —long past that time indeed—
      it’s time to make a stand against the corporate rapists who don’t care if they wreck the world and kill us all if there is the possibility of a $100million bonus in it for them.

      Throw them in prison and try them for terrorism and a mass homocide.

      1. aet

        Please, nothing ex-post-facto, now…
        But by all means, do propose and craft the legislation that will apply to the next set of people who should by culpable negligence or worse cause this sort of thing in the future.

    1. aet

      Doesn’t that depend on who becomes the Republican candidate?
      I mean, are the republicans hands any cleaner when it comes to this sort of thing?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        59 million people voted for McCain/Palin in 2008. Thats 3 million more people than Bush/Cheney ’04. These voters don’t really care about their candidate as long as their candidate belong to the tribe. The Democratic voters may not vote. Thats really what it comes down to.

        Independent voters are myths, or we would see evidence of split-ticket voting. There is none. All that matters is how the Democratic voters feel about Obama or if their revulsion of a GOP candidate is enough to make them work to elect a candidate likely to be overseeing a declining economy and the death of the Gulf of Mexico. Either the activist-types will make the low-info D voters voter, or they won’t. That is the only issue that matters in the 2012 campaign.

  35. Skippy

    Whats the hubbub bub…

    All these delicious and expensive aromatic hydro carbons are being set free, just as we do every day, abet in a more specific lo-cal. Spread out for all of nature to enjoy or a higher dose for the unfortunate few…Hell the Gulf of Mexico has been the dumping grounds for the Americas for a long time now, rivers of upstream industrial pollution just charging down stream. Ever see the L.A. Bay after a long dry spell whence it rains…lol…every SQ foot of road, parking lot, roof top, slyly dumped chemical down a drain all goes out to the bay…the green foam takes a couple of weeks to settle (toxic surfers you know what I mean).

    To boil it down, were just seeing the reality in quicker time frames, higher concentrations, less dispersion of toxicity, that we are all ready on the road too.

    So I would just like to thank BP, really they have done an invaluable service to us all, we get to see into the future…TODAY…and they said time travel was far away…shezzz.

    Skippy…I love watching the world through the optical bend created by filling my tank up…a couple of blasts brought on by changing wind direction of course…then it’s happy motoring…sure kids get any thing you want at the servo..it’s on happy dad.

    PS. dammit now I have the urge to fill my tank now! Hydro carbon high I love you!

  36. ray l love

    Thanks Skippy… I feel much better about things now. After-all, there was a dead-zone the size of New Jersey just to the North of the spill anyway. And there is always the chance that a disaster such as the one in the Gulf could be the slap-in-the-face that the USA needs. In other words, if things had to get worse before they can get better, it could be a stroke of luck that the damage is so near to America’s primary ‘drain-hole’. As luck would have it, of the 405 dead-zones around the world the one near the spill is the largest of them all and so where better? US citizens also have the largest carbon footprints (per-citizen) of any citizenry, so assuming that this spill might have very probably been inevitable, it all seems rather fitting. Folks just need to learn to appreciate the little things, like apocalyptic progress… which does seem to be our only hope of stopping the madness.

    1. Skippy

      Last weekend I had the pleasure to see a dolphin breach several times under half moon, with in a small river not 200m from the pacific ocean, whilst night fishing (12:30AMEAST)with it being maby 15m away.

      I guess its ones perspective…eh.

      Skippy…Disclamer…still I give the crocks about 8m from the water line, too me…they will have to work for_my_feed.

  37. Sarah

    haha Well done – how nice to see a spoof of ill-informed rubbish done so realistically.

    “Why hasn’t the Navy been brought in? Trust me”

    Love it. Brilliant. You couldn’t make this up.

    Oh, Yves has …

  38. akr884

    Quick note. On Slashdot, they linked to an article by some type of scientist/physicist saying that a nuclear option had a decent chance of exploding the well and releasing quantities orders of magnitude greater than what’s spilling out now. He said it would possibly be a total extinction event for the Gulf of Mexico. So maybe that’s not a good idea.

  39. Arlinda Kranock

    I’m just horrified by this tragedy. Where can I find an realistic assessment of the real size of the oil spill? The statistics are all over the place. Thanks for your informative post.

  40. Dave

    “Naked capitalism”,”executive arrogance”,”greed”,these are all buzzwords by envious little Marxist turds who are resentful of anyone making more money than they do,so they would rather trash the whole system and make everyone poor.
    Do any of you believe in “government bureaucratic arrogance”?,do you realize the potential(and historical) abuses that this group can inflict on you & your family?(hint:it’s way worse than any corporation can do to you).

    Until every last one of you whining babies donates your vehicles,disconnects your electric from your homes,unplugs your computers and gives away all of your money,don’t cry about “greed” or BP’s delivering of a completey necessary product to your stupid,economically clueless,childish group.
    Grow up.

  41. Alex

    Yes, corporations are people too. And just like them, some are criminal sociopaths.

    Unfortunately, this one owns the U.S. government.

    As for the argument, “government can be worse”, well… I think its a non-logical comparison besides the point.

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