Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BP, Transocean, And Halliburton Are The New Three Stooges

Zalmay Khalilzad
Maureen Dowd
Dana Milbank

"Everybody here lies." - Maureen Dowd
"This all seems to be part of a new era of corporate irresponsibility, in which amoral executives pursue profits without a thought about collateral damage, then demand government help when they get in trouble." - Dana Milbank

I was happy to find an opinion piece by Zalmay Khaqlilzad, who was the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the UN during the George W Bush administration. He is also Afghan born, and has been a mentor to Hamid Karzai and also a rival. He should be our current ambassador to Afghanistan, or someone like him, who can put American terms in Punjab concepts so that Karzai can have a better understanding of why we want him to do certain things that go against the normal way they have been done for hundreds of years. If Afghanistan is to be bombed out of the dark ages and its customs dragged into the global spotlight, it needs someone who can adapt and work as an aribter between both worlds. After we leave, 80% of its income will dry up faster than it has in Haiti, and it will become one of the poorest nations once again. Good thing they didn't eradicate the poppy trade...

three stooges...
It was incredible watching the heads from BP, Transocean, and Halliburton, flagrantly weasling their way out of any responsibility before Congress yesterday during the inquiry over the oil spill. As Dana Milbank points out, we have had a sorry recent history of watching the arrogant, insensitive CEO's from the auto industry, from Wall Street, and now the oil industry come before us and lie, expecting handouts from the government, and not caring one bit over the fallout from their fuck-ups. The idea that these are the best and brightest Captains of Industry leading the way in the free market system sure makes you want to look twice at the idea of regulating these fields so that they have proper instructions and oversight to tie their shoes correctly... "... the blowout preventer that failed to stop an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico had a dead battery in its control pod, leaks in its hydraulic system, a "useless" test version of one of the devices that was supposed to close the flow of oil and a cutting tool that wasn't strong enough to shear through joints that made up 10 percent of the drill pipe. In a devastating review of the blowout preventer that BP said was supposed to be "fail-safe," Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said in a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday that the device was anything but fail-safe."
"How can a device that has 260 failure modes be considered fail-safe?"
More damning stuff that will eventually be landing the courts was collected by Henry Waxman: "House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who said that the committee had collected more than 100,000 pages of documents so far, focused on the cementing job done by Halliburton. He said that statements and documents indicated that a test performed on the cementing job about five or six hours before the blowout and explosion at the rig showed that there were flaws.

Waxman said that James Dupree, BP's senior vice president for the Gulf of Mexico, told committee staffers on Monday that the well did not pass this test. Waxman quoted Dupree as saying that the test result was "not satisfactory" and "inconclusive." Waxman said that test results showed wide discrepancies in pressure between the drill pipe and the kill and choke lines in the blowout preventer. Waxman said that Dupree said the pressure should have been the same in all of those places." It's looking like a Three Stooges movie, only the incompetence and bad jokes are on us... It turns out the rig Deepwater Horizon was flagged in the Mariana Islands to escape more rigorous inspections and safety rules than if it were flagged in the US, a common trick almost all tanker and shipping companies use. To add insult, today a new climate bill was introduced by Joe Lieberman and John Kerry containing subsidies to companies involved in offshore oil exploration, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk...

Here is a link to a page on Newsweek that lists some of BP"s weirder ideas to stop the leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Here are some collected by the Daily Beast. Look for BP to try one or all of them soon... My favorite combo has to be the nuclear bomb with the woodchips...

Nuclear Bomb
Norway offered one solution; here’s another from Russia . Komsomolskaya Pravda, a major Russian daily, suggests an old Soviet trick: small nuclear blasts. According to the newspaper, it’s such a useful solution that it was used five times by one company in the Soviet Union.

A scientist from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis proposes spraying these soap-like substances, which would work like dishwashing liquid. Dr. Gabriel Filippelli said surfactants disperse the oil in the water and work as a nutrient for the bacteria.

The much-publicized hair solution has been proposed by a California-based ecological charity. Philippine officials initially came up with the idea in 2006 but backed out at the last minute. Instead, rice stalks were attached to bamboo poles and used as makeshift brooms.

Green Energy Recourses Inc. offered 100,000 tons of wood chips for containment. The company proposed placing woodchips inside a containment boom and through honeycomb structures to absorb the oil as well as collect it. One difference from peat moss: It won’t sink to the bottom; it would need to be collected from the surface. But the woodchips could help generate electricity at power stations.

sarah is also prolific...
Proving how fast she can ghost write books now that she no longer has governing a state to distract her, Sarah Palin's new book will come out this November. It is being put together by a committee and marketed as Sarah's most inspirational readings... Here in Colorado, Republican Senate candidate Jane Norton will probably quote from it extensively to prove how conservative she is. She keeps complaining that the Tea Party folks aren't listening to her, wanting to prove to them her bonafides. Instead, she gets called a rank insider for having been Lt Governor. What are ya gonna do?

daily show...
John Stewart continues to be a major source of political anti-punditry. He's more likely to push the needle into the balloon of hot air so we can see it explode. On the recent nomination of Elena Kagen to the Supreme Court and the suggestion that she is Obama's Harriet Meirs, where: "... one pundit compared by saying the difference between them is "Ivy League. That's it."

Stewart responded: "So she's exactly like Harriet Miers, except for the dumb part."

He also slammed conservative pundits for comparing every recent event to a Bush misstep: "It's crazy. It's like no matter what happens during the Obama Administration, there's the perfect Bush f*ck up for the occasion."

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