Thursday, May 27, 2010

CORRUPTION THE CORNERSTONE OF AMERICAN CULTURE BP & Gov't Agencies

If BP fails to plug its ruptured offshore oil well, intense underground pressure would be enough to pump vast quantities of thick brown crude into the Gulf of Mexico for months, even years.

If even BP's backup plans fail, it would cause a pollution disaster "heretofore unseen by humanity," said one expert.


From:
Unchecked Oil Flow Would Cause Disaster ‘Heretofore Unseen by Humanity’ by Ben Geman via CommonDreams.org, May 26, 2010

Today's Menu:

* Rachell Maddow on corruption in MMS Mineral Management Services Department

* Ed Schultz Calls Rand Paul's statements Psycho Talk
Rand Paul "Accidents happen", calls Obama UnAmerican for criticizing BP and then says Obama has his boot heel on the neck of BP ???

* McClatchy Newspapers present more details on the heated discussions among BP Transocean etc. on the day of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.
BP bullied the other people involved to do it the BP way which led to the disaster.

* In Rush to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling, Interior Secretary Salazar Abandoned Pledge to Reform Industry-dominated Mineral Management Service

* Congressional Oversight of MMS Needed to Ensure Proper BP Atlantis Investigation

* Deepwater Horizon Rig Had History of Spills, Fires Before Big Explosion in Gulf Posted on May 3, 2010

* The Corporate Stranglehold: How BP Will Make Out Like Bandits From Its Massive, Still Gushing Oil Disaster by: Zach Carter via AlterNet May 26, 2010

Memo Highlights Warning Signs Before BP Rig Blast: Video

Bloomberg — May 26, 2010 — May 26 (Bloomberg) -- A memo released by U.S. Representatives Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak following a briefing by BP yesterday highlighted several new warning signs of problems aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the run-up to the explosion that sank the rig and killed 11 workers last month. Bloomberg's Monica Bertran reports. (Source: Bloomberg)





Oil company liability for spills is capped at $75 Million under U.S. law but others in the Congress and Senate are trying to increase it to a more realistic amount anywhere from a couple of billion to about $10 Billion but GOP stands in their way in order to protect the oil industry.

Corruption ,drugs, sex & rock & Roll at Mineral Management Services. Employees accepted bribes and offers of lucrative jobs in exchange for giving rigs a sanitized report. The department became a stepping stone to get a lucrative job in the oil industry or other industry for which they were responsible for the oversight.
This sort of corruption according to the GOP, The Tea Party Express and Rand Paul et al is just business as usual. They would say that it would be better for all concerned if there were no regulatory bodies. So drilling for oil should just be a free for all as America reverts to the Old West style of doing things. The uber-conservatives are against any government involvement or inference in the way the Oil Industry or any other industry conducts itself.

May 26, 2010 by The Rachel Maddow Show Via CommonDreams.org
Oil Regulation a Broken System


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



And here's Rand Paul who seems a bit out of touch with reality as he goes out on a limb to defend BP . Whether he's sincere or not it does seem like bad timing.

He should wait til all the oil settles or disperses and becomes invisible as far as the Media is concerned. Like the thousands in New Orleans after Katrina were soon forgotten .

Rand Paul's remarks on BP and that the Government has no right to tell a company is to do or not do. I find it odd people are surprised by this attitude since it is just part of the ideology or belief system of the Tea Party & Uber-conservatives & Neocons & Religious Right. Each has its own take on how they explain their position but the end result or consequences are the same perpetual war, environmental disasters, unfettered deregulated free enterprise in which Greed and Power are all that matter.

Rand Paul as of the last couple of weeks has become the new spokesperson for the Tea Party Movement or the GOP's Tea Party Express. There are reports today that he is gone into seclusion or possibly was sent into exile as in Coventry or just shunned by his less than honest Tea Party leaders or the GOP or Dick Armey or Roger Ailes etc.

Ed Schultz Calls Rand Paul's statements Pscho Talk
Rand Paul "Accidents happen", calls Obama UnAmerican for criticizing BP
and then says Obama has his boot heel on the neck of BP ???
If anything Obama has been too nice and too patient with these oil industry thugs.


Rand Paul Defends BP And Lands In The Zone



McClatchy Newspapers present more details on the heated discussions among BP Transocean etc. on the day of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.
BP bullied the other people involved to do it the BP way which led to the disaster.

After Long Argument, BP Official Made Fatal Decision on Drilling Rig by: Erika Bolstad, Joseph Goodman and Marisa Taylor , McClatchy Newspapers May 26, 2010 via Truthout.org

Washington - Company executives and top drill hands on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig argued for hours about how to proceed before a BP official made the decision to remove heavy drilling fluid from the well and replace it with lighter weight seawater that was unable to prevent gas from surging to the surface and exploding.

One employee was so mad, the rig's chief mechanic Doug Brown testified, that he warned they'd be relying on the rig's blowout preventer if they proceeded the way BP wanted.

"He pretty much grumbled, 'Well, I guess that's what we have those pinchers for,' " Brown said of Jimmy Harrell, the top Transocean official on the rig. "Pinchers" was likely a reference to the shear rams in the blowout preventers, the final means of stopping an explosion.

Brown said in sworn testimony on Wednesday that the BP official stood up during the meeting and said, "This is how it's going to be."

It was the kind of power struggle that's common on all offshore rigs, but the fight on the Deepwater Horizon had deadly consequences, employees and experts testified Wednesday at a government inquiry in Louisiana.

Tuesday night, a House of Representatives committee released a memo outlining some of those decisions, saying that the crew of the Deepwater Horizon had a number of warning signs extending over five hours that conditions were worsening deep underwater before the oil rig exploded in the Gulf on April 20.


Anyway BP's well is still gushing oil at a rate of about 95,000 Barrels of oil per day.

And yet the GOP, Tea Party Express and their spokespersons in the media such as Fox News, Limbaugh, Beck, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul still believe in unfettered deregulated winner take all and the losers can go and live in cardboard boxes or starve to death -they call this Natural Justice or God's Will to defend Greed , Avarice, selfishness,,survival of the fittest or of the most corrupt.

We know there is always going to be some corruption in any government but it is surprising how corrupt & out of control the system became under the Bush/Cheney Regime but it may also have continued under the Obama administration. In Obama's case the issue would be what did he know and when did he know it.

If a system is corrupt then it is those who are willing to become corrupt by commission or omission who will be the most successful. (See Chris Hedges "Little Eichmanns")

The Neocons and Uber-Conservatives are motivated by Greed, Avarice and power so any other consideration are of no consequence. So they see regulations regarding safety of the workers or concern for the environment as obstacles they need to get around or just ignore and so get on with their business . So they use any and all means necessary to have the government change the regulations when possible or they will just bribe the regulators to lie about the industry's adherence to these regulations.

Their Christian enablers for instance have little interest in protecting the environment since they argue God gave man (especially Americans it appears ) Dominion over the Earth and so may do as they please with it.

Secondly the Uberconservative Evangelical Christians believe that God will be returning soon so there is no need to worry about protecting the Earth.

When God comes they argue the Earth will be healed and returned to its pristine form. So concern over the environment is unnecessary and maybe shows a person's lack of faith . Some of them even take comfort in the destruction of the Earth the worse it gets the sooner God arrives. Before that the skies darken and death is everywhere as war,plagues and pestilence,famine, floods & other natural disasters increase ravaging humanity but they tell us its a good thing that is for "the Elect".
They can't wait for the Rivers of Blood to flow as approximately five billion or more people perish. ( see for instance Frank Schaeffer's book about the creation of the Religious Right by he and his father Francis Schaeffer Crazy For God (2006) and Alan Dershowitz' Blasphemy 2007, Or Andrew J. Bacevich's The Limits of Power : The End of American Exceptionalism (2009)

American Exceptionalism - Manifest Destiny, Providence, Natural Law, Survival of the Fittest -hubris, arrogance, greed , avarice, materialism

A significant proportion of Americans still believe that their country is exceptional among all the nations that its people / culture are superior to any other people or culture .

So if America is exceptional or God's chosen nation , the City on The Hill, The New Jerusalem than they believe to protect itself and to expand its Empire and to get what it needs they are justified in shooting unarmed civilians or medics or children , destroying whole cities , attacking villages with Drones or targeting people for assassination rendition or supporting Death Squads in other countries, invading sovereign nations .

As part of this madness it is then even of less consequence to kill 11 oil rig workers and to pour millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf .

The equation is simple America needs oil therefore they are justified in using any and all means necessary to get that oil or coal or anything else America needs. All other nations are treated as if they were not sovereign states as Iraq was before the invasion or as Honduras was before the Americans backed and aided the coup d'etat last year under Obama's watch.

These uberconservatives have extended this mind-set to the environment. The environment loses when it comes to the greed & profits of Oil & Gas and coal industries.


Congressional Oversight of MMS Needed to Ensure Proper BP Atlantis Investigation
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
,May 26, 2010


WASHINGTON - May 26 - “We are outraged by yesterday’s Department of the Interior report noting that staff in the Lake Charles District office of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) have accepted inappropriate gifts from oil companies. Especially disturbing is the revelation that oil and gas company personnel filled out their own inspection forms; equally disturbing is the evidence that between June and July 2008, an MMS inspector conducted four inspections on Island Operating Company platforms while in the process of negotiating and later accepting employment with the company. This cronyism has made a joke of the regulatory system and is directly responsible for the Chernobyl we’re seeing play out in the Gulf.

“Although the MMS says they are investigating information provided by whistleblower Ken Abbott regarding the lack of required engineering and safety documentation on BP Atlantis, we are skeptical of their intent to do an honest and credible review. Given the inappropriate ties between the MMS and the oil industry, an investigation independent of the agency should be undertaken.

“The recent Deepwater Horizon accident and the safety problems at BP Atlantis demonstrate MMS’ lack of regulatory scrutiny of deepwater platforms. This is why we’ve filed suit in a federal court seeking a temporary injunction to halt operations of BP’s massive Atlantis oil drilling platform until critical safety documents are produced. President Obama should close BP Atlantis until it can be shown to operate safely.

“Congress should conduct oversight hearings immediately to investigate the executive branch’s failure to properly regulate the operation of BP Atlantis. At the same time, President Obama should require a review of safety documentation for all deepwater platforms in operation.”
The Corporate Stranglehold: How BP Will Make Out Like Bandits From Its Massive, Still Gushing Oil Disaster by: Zach Carter via AlterNet May 26, 2010

You've got to hand it to BP. After witnessing the Great Financial Crash of 2008, it seemed like it would be decades before any corporation could eclipse Wall Street's reckless rush to place its own short-term profits ahead of the public interest. But the epic drilling disaster off the Louisiana coast demonstrates that many of the problems that wrecked Wall Street are deeply embedded in other sectors of the American economy. Over the past 30 years, corporate titans have so thoroughly corrupted the notion of "free markets" that many of the world's riskiest businesses are not only insulated from regulatory supervision, they have been immunized from even minimum standards of market discipline.

...Let's be clear. This is an explicit, codified bailout for BP and every other company that engages in offshore drilling—a bailout every bit as disgusting as those recently bestowed upon Wall Street. The company is being shielded from the real costs of its business, and has been using artificially inflated profits to pay out princely fortunes to its top brass. Wall Street looted the housing market, converting real assets into bonuses. Now BP is looting the Gulf Coast.

There is a theory of law—a very conservative theory, at that—which actually says that BP should have to pay out much more than whatever the ultimate economic tab for the oil mess comes to. The government should amplify, rather than reduce, those costs in order to ensure that dealing out damage to innocent bystanders does not become a regular business practice. If the total cleanup tab is really $14 billion, that sum only amounts to BP's total 2009 profit. We can't have companies dealing out crazy economic and ecological damage on a regular basis, which is why Federal Judge Richard Posner, an appointee of Ronald Reagan, suggests imposing massive penalties on firms that do so.


And in this report we are told more about how corrupt the department was and how lax in oversight of the Oil Industry and BP in particular.

U.S. Interior Department Exempted BP From Environmental Review via Tonka Report, May 5, 2010

In Rush to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling, Interior Secretary Salazar Abandoned Pledge to Reform Industry-dominated Mineral Management Service

TUCSON, Ariz.— Ken Salazar’s first pledge as secretary of the interior was to reform the scandal plagued Mineral Management Service (MMS), which had been found by the U.S. inspector general to have traded sex, drugs, and financial favors with oil-company executives. In a January 29, 2009 press release on the scandal, Salazar stated:

“President Obama’s and my goal is to restore the public’s trust, to enact meaningful reform…to uphold the law, and to ensure that all of us — career public servants and political appointees — do our jobs with the highest level of integrity.”

Yet just three months later, Secretary Salazar allowed the MMS to approve — with no environmental review — the BP drilling operation that exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and pouring millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster will soon be, if it is not already, the worst oil spill in American history.

BP submitted its drilling plan to the MMS on March 10, 2009. Rather than subject the plan to a detailed environmental review before approving it as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the agency declared the plan to be “categorically excluded” from environmental analysis because it posed virtually no chance of harming the environment. As BP itself pointed out in its April 9, 2010, letter to the Council on Environmental Quality, categorical exclusions are only to be used when a project will have “minimal or nonexistent” environmental impacts.

MMS issued its one-page approval letter to BP on April 6, 2009.

“Secretary Salazar has utterly failed to reform the Mineral Management Service,” said KierĂ¡n Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead of protecting the public interest by conducting environmental reviews, his agency rubber stamped BP’s drilling plan, just as it does hundreds of others every year in the Gulf of Mexico. The Minerals Management Service has gotten worse, not better, under Salazar’s watch.”

As a senator, Salazar sponsored the “Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006,” which opened up large swaths of the Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil drilling and criticized the MMS for not issuing enough offshore oil leases. As interior secretary, he has pushed the agency to speed offshore oil drilling and was the architect of the White House’s March, 2010, proposal to expand offshore oil drilling in Alaska, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Coast from Maryland to Florida.

After meeting with Gulf oil executives early this week, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) told the Washington Post: “I’m of the opinion that boosterism breeds complacency and complacency breeds disaster. That, in my opinion, is what happened.” The boosterism started at the top, with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Excerpts from the BP drilling plan that was categorically excluded from
environmental review by the Department of the Interior:

“2.7 Blowout Scenario – A scenario for a potential blowout of the well from which BP would expect to have the highest volume of liquid hydrocarbons is not required for the operations proposed in this EP.”

“14.5 Alternatives - No alternatives to the proposed activities were considered to reduce environmental impacts.”

“14.6 Mitigation Measures - No mitigation measures other than those required by regulation and BP policy will be employed to avoid, diminish or eliminate potential impacts on environmental resources.”

“14.7 Consultation - No agencies or persons were consulted regarding potential impacts associated with the proposed activities.”

“14.3 Impacts on Proposed Activities – The site-specific environmental conditions have been taken into account for the proposed activities and no impacts are expected as a result of these conditions.”

“14.2.3.2 Wetlands – An accidental oil spill from the proposed activities could cause impacts to wetlands. However, due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected.” (p. 45)

“14.2.2.1 Essential Fish Habitat - …In the event of an unanticipated blowout resulting in an oil spill, it is unlikely to have an impact based on the industry wide standards for using proven equipment and technology for such responses, implementation of BP’s Regional Oil Spill Response Plan which address available equipment and removal of the oil spill.”

And the Deepwater Horizon Rig had a poor safety record long before the April 20 disaster. So if regulators had been doing their job the rig would have been decommissioned or the requested and needed repairs should have been done.

Rig Had History of Spills, Fires Before Big Explosion in Gulf Posted on May 3, 2010

During its nine years at sea, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP suffered a series of spills, fires - even a collision - because of equipment failure, human error and bad weather. It also drilled the world’s deepest offshore well.
But Deepwater Horizon’s lasting legacy will undoubtedly be the environmental damage it caused after it exploded and sank, killing 11 crew and releasing an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.


- In Feb. 2002, just months after the rig was launched from a South Korean shipyard, it spilled 267 barrels of oil into the Gulf after a hose failed, according to MMS records.

- In June 2003, the rig floated off course in high seas, resulting in the release of 944 barrels of oil. MMS blamed bad weather and poor judgment by the captain. A month later, equipment failure and high currents led to the loss of 74 barrels of oil.

In January 2005, human error caused another accident. A crane operator forgot he was in the midst of refueling a crane, and 15 gallons of overflowing diesel fuel sparked a fire.

The rig was being used by BP during all of the above incidents.

The Coast Guard, which is supposed to ensure the vessels are seaworthy, keeps its own set of safety records on the Deepwater Horizon.

From 2000 to 2010, the Coast Guard issued six enforcement warnings and handed down one civil penalty and a notice of violation to Deepwater Horizon, agency records show.

On 18 different occasions during that period the Coast Guard cited the vessel for an “acknowledged pollution source.” No further details about the type of pollution were immediately available.

The agency also conducted 16 investigations of incidents involving everything from fires to slip-and-fall accidents.



and so it goes,
GORD.

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