Was the Oil Industry the No Tell Motel?

As the president again visited the Gulf, reports that come up that President Obama was first briefed in April on how bad the spill would be and how difficult it would be to plug the hole. Largely Republican critics have pummeled President Obama for being too slow to seize the political responsibility for combating the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, now widely thought to be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The White House has is fighting back, releasing a timeline showing the Coast Guard was deployed within 24 hours of the Deepwater Horizon blowout. And the political reality is that because our government does not have the resources to cap a blown out oil well, the more Obama puts himself into the high-profile middle of this, the more it will politically endanger him, just like Jimmy Carter was harmed when the Army couldn't rescue the Iranian hostages. At least in this case, unlike Carter's Iran, the blowout wasn't the result of Republican dirty tricks. Oh - wait a minute - it was Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr. who executed executive orders to weaken drilling and environmental regulations, and Bush Jr. who so staffed the MMS that oversees oil well drilling with industry shills and incompetents and turned the other way while MMS employees partied, snorted meth, and had sex with paid "lobbyists" from the oil industry including BP. Again, the Republicans create a mess that a Democrat takes blame for and has to try to clean up.


RandyWinn's picture
RandyWinn 12 years 42 weeks ago

You may be amused, but won't be surprised, that Glenn Beck is soliciting donations for his August 28 publicity event in the name of helping America's troops: http://www.facebook.com/restoringhonor

The exact words he uses to solitic money:

". It is through the support of non-profit organizations like the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) that the families of these service members are taken care of in the event of an accident or loss of life. Help give back to these men and women by donating to the SOWF at www.specialops.org

(paragaphs later)

All contributions made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) will first be applied to the costs of the Restoring Honor Rally taking place on August 28, 2010. All contributions in excess of these costs will then be retained by the SOWF"

Choco's picture
Choco 12 years 41 weeks ago

If we hope to take our country back from corporate rule then we need to overhaul our election system. We need instant runoff voting, campaign finance reform, outlaw professional lobbying, outlaw private ownership of voting machines. In 2000 the oil industry pulled off a coup de etat and placed their own people into the executive office. Cheney held secret meetings prior to Sept. 11. The mass murders in Manhattan gave the oil people an excuse to invade Afghanistan, subdue the Taliban and control the oil and gas pipelines from the Caspian. That was Part I of the PNAC NeoClown plan. Part II was Iraq, and Part III will likely be Iran.

Our taxpayer-funded military is at the express service of big oil, and all sacrifices, deaths and dismemberments in these wars are born by the people; all profits from acquiring the oil from unfriendly nations is exclusively the property of the corporations who will reward Americans' sacrifce by selling the oil to the highest bidder on the world market. There have been many reasons to be outraged at big oil and their control over our government, the Gulf Spill is the one that actually directly affects Americans and American soil.

When poor indigenous people suffered the consequences of big oil practices, the world barely noticed. Now that rich white people are being affected in the Gulf, people are taking notice and the outrage grows. Oil is finite and necessary therefore it should be considered an energy source common to all people. It should be nationalized. Projecting ahead, there will be less oil, more people, more consumption. There will be more control and nearly unlimited profits for less and less people (oil executives) who will repeat history and use a substantial portion of their profits to further corrupt the venal clowns in Congress and in the Whitehouse.

pasa 12 years 41 weeks ago

Enough is enough. Obama MUST get rid of Salazar, he is just another valve in the heart of the problem. He should form a consortium of all of the oil industries CEOs. Let them all know their corporate quarterlies are at stake, along with their subsidizes, and if the most capable minds and equipment isn't made available now, and fixed now, and cleaned-up now. what is going to happen to BP may soon happen to them. That is, all cost will be seized from the holdings and investments of the corporation. When those cost exceed BPs value, which ever stockholders are left, will have a new parent. There is already a "Presidential Order" that covers this liberty. This may raise a few brows, but before anyone jumps to BPs defense, have blueprints and the wherewithal to do the job. Leaving this leak to flow until late August, when the 50 million barrels that is estimated to be in this hole runs out, IS NOT AN OPTION. Neither is nuking it, that will destroy the Gulf ecosystem completely (can you say don't eat that). Remember, BP got a permit to drill, not to kill 11 people, not to spill millions of gallons of oil, not to destroy the Gulf's fishing industry and all the lives that need it to survive, not to destroy the million acres of marshland and wetlands and all the species in the food chain that will be needed to restore them. Does anyone think this country can afford any more speculation, any more double speak, BP is on the hook. If they want to keep making the usual $5+ billion quarters, they'll sit a few out, (like most of us have been forced to do the last year) preserving their ability to return to market place profits. Otherwise they may have already exceeded what the total cost will be to just partially patch the excessive damage. I mean, if BP was to bail, that would be criminal.

pasa 12 years 41 weeks ago

Dear Mr. President Obama; Your newly engaged frequent flier program to the Gulf Coast may becoming more of a gamble, risking your chances for any renewable program to the White House. If you don’t see the writing on the wall-in-the-water, you only needs to look to the polls. Yes Mr. President, it’s for you the bell tolls. Napolean said “there is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous” may I suggest the next time one foot goes before the other, to those oil-soaked shores, there be a plan, that worries not about all of those Republican Governors, not about some middle of the road compromise, or even about all of those unmet promises that got you elected. It’s about doing what needs to be done. Since elected, you have done little more than continue the paths of destruction laid out by previous administrations. These Gulf Governors are forced, by their own hand, to continue relying on the revenue these “offshore rigs” provide, even though what they have sold their citizens, is a dime for a dollar’s worth of peril. I also understand after “income tax”, oil lease revenues generate the most revenue for the Federal Government. But every time we look back at these pressured situations, there is always a reference point of feudal homage, that got buried like a bone.

I know President Ronald Reagan’s most famous quote is probably “Gobachev take down that wall”. Well as much cold-war-cash as it took to get there, history may write a different story. It’s the “take down those panels” that might prove to be much more costly. The panels he was referring to were the solar panels President Jimmy Carter put on the roof of the White House. President Carter put through a bill that invested in “alternative energies”, it’s stated goal was to wean us away from “middle east oil”, by the year 2000. As symbolic as panels can be, their life, and a clean future for this country, was put on hold when President Reagan repealed the bill and took down the solar panels. Following that came tax exemptions for oil companies that promised to invest in alternative energies. They had just come away with too many billion in profits from the “gas crises” of the late 70s, promising to invest in alternative energies. I wrote a piece in the St. Pete Times (citrus county) denouncing any involvement by the oil companies in alternative energy. I stated, they lacked incentive and would eventually ring-us-out for what ever they could get, no madder what the source, just as they did through the crises. One can only imagine what could have become of this country had those “panels” stayed, moreover, the “bill” behind them. Mr. President, it’s been 30 years.

It may not be clear to you yet, but what happens in the next months to come, will in fact dictate who you are. There will be no second guessing. Even those, like me, who worked hard to get you elected, defended you as your stated policies got trashed, will consider your Presidency a wash, if you don’t stand up to the plate and deliver. The situation in the Gulf is a defining moment. Hope didn’t help the war, or health care, or the economy, “Hope”, that empty hand we hold, when holding isn’t there, never showed up for any of those. That can’t happen here. It is time to go forward with a new model.

This is true; No one energy source is going to jump up and replace oil, yet that over stated deterrent, should be curbed for fear of sounding juvenile. With the many options, all avenues and resources will be needed to rid us of of what has become a self-destructive practice that reaches far beyond what can be deemed acceptable. The time is now. The punitive penalties

generated by BPs recklessness, should be made available now, for training and employing the many thousands of disenfranchised workers. We must invest in factories building windmills, solar panels, grit friendly electric meters and plastic substitutes. All government R&D energy money should be directed to alternatives, not oil, or nuclear. What should be known to the public is to the extent oil and nuclear energies are subsidized by the taxpayers. When you have Exxon/Mobil generating $12 billion quarterly profits, BP $6 billion, Shell $5 billion, Chevron $4.5 billion, Conoco $2 billion, why aren’t they paying for their own everything? That is a 3 month period. These fortunes get divvied up offshore in tax-exempt havens. They are raking in this much because their positioning of oil, to permeated every industry, has succeed in creating an overwhelming thirst. Our cars don’t just run on it, they are made of it. Almost every part of our car, that is not metal, is made of a “hydro-carbons”(oil). Our fertilizers, our pesticides and household products, all have non-oil based replacements. We inject everything with oil, and if anyone thinks the oil companies are going to do anything to alter that, get out of line, go home, get out of the way.

Mr President, as President Kennedy went to “the people” with programs to “go to the Moon” “be physically fit” and to usher in “civil rights”, you must turn around from protecting these too big to cage gorillas, and be a “people’s” President. You can’t sound “eloquent” when reciting song and dance. The music’s over, turn out the lights on these corporate giants that keep sucking us dry to the bone. You can’t remake the wheel, but you can replace it spoke by spoke if you speak to the country as a whole and rejuvenate the innovative nature of the American people.

Example: Melvin Calvin was one of those, in 1961 he was awarded the “Nobel” in Chemistry for his work on “photosynthesis” also recognized as an authority in theoretical organic chemistry, as well as being awarded the “Priestly Medal”. The “Calvin Cycle” was named after his method of developing the path of carbon in Photosynthesis. This was the birth of understanding “solar energy” In 1974 Calvin began working on a project that could have brought more of an affect to the security of this country than did the atomic bomb itself, as his focus turned to global warming and the greenhouse effect. He had worked on the Manhattan Project and was aware of the direction the $2 trillion Pentagon budget was taking us. Years before, he had traced carbon dioxide’s relationship with sunlight to carbohydrate in plants. He then understood every single enzymic requirement needed to convert carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons.

By 1978 on his ranch in California, he had successfully produced oil from a plant. “Euphorbia lathyris” a relative of the poinsettia. It’s grown in a hot and dry atmosphere and produces a latex milk that consist of hydrogen and water. This mixture is processed to exclude oxygen atoms, thus producing hydrocarbons- oil, 12% of the plant to be exact. At $ 20. a barrel.

Calvin felt cloning and genetic engineering would highly improve the yield and bring the cost down. One of the advantages of fuel derived from Euphoriba is, it does not add to the carbon dioxide blanket eating the ozone. But this did not fit what modeled the “Business Round Table’s” lock on “fossil fuels”. This Quantum leap in energy resourcefulness and environmental preservation died. The last time I talked to Mr. Calvin, it was 1992, to let him know I included his studies in a piece I wrote for “Creative Loafing” that I had gathered in an an interview with him a year before. He was only coming into his Lab 1/2 day a week and soon to retire. He told me he did have misgivings about his years of work being swept under the carpet. How many more like him, were, and are being dismissed. Imagine California to Texas cooling the desert with green bio-fuel. Euphorbia can still be grown, but we can’t get back the precious kids, who have been sent off to fight over middle east oil, not to mention the trillions of dollars spent protecting these companies.

Mr President, you won’t sound eloquent reciting any song and dance routine down in Louisiana, or Mississippi, or Alabama, or Florida. They are all being forced to watch their own slow-motion train-wreck. They don’t know what to do, no one has their back. It’s up to you. Do the right thing and we’ll all have your back, don’t, and we’ll forget about you soon. Imagine, Mr President, you could actually be a person that helps to bring change. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll keep getting what we’ve got. How’s that been working for ya.

john rehill duette fl.

fbacher's picture
fbacher 12 years 41 weeks ago

Several Thoughts

Why can't we blaim Obama for not taking decisive action to throw out the Bush cronies and reverse Bush (and Reagan) policy? It seems 1) this is the truth and 2) it puts the pressure to reform the system and blaim the people responsible, without directly blaiming Bush. 3) I think it is a better tactic than simply blaiming Bush.

The Republicans have been stating that BP is best to handle their problems because they have the experts and gub'ment doesn't. True, the goverment does not have a lot of oil drilling experts. However, BP's problem is not with their experts, it is with their management. The problem is the executives who pressure engineers with firing or demotion if they don't comply. The problem is the culture that evolves over many years in this environment. The engineers, managers and executives are cowed into taking the same risks that executives want. Your most competent engineers leave over time. This is the same with the banks and with the Minerals Management Service. The government should have an executive level role in managing this disaster.

I think there are several good models to follow: National Transportation Safety Board and NASA. After a plane crash, the feds are clearly in charge. Everything is out in the open and their is a high degree of confidence that their findings are sound. NASA illustrates how government can make mistakes, acknowledge and correct them. (Space shuttle, Apollo 1 fire). Note that in both cases a very high premium is placed on human life. In the case of private industry a very high premium is placed on the P.R. of the disaster. The goal of NASA and NTSB is to honestly solve the problem. The goal of private business is to do the minimum necessary.

sdougreid's picture
sdougreid 12 years 41 weeks ago

I wish Obama wouldn't have said that BP was going to pay for all of the damage of their leak. It won't happen. How can we possibly calculate a monetary figure that would cover a priceless resource? What would be the value of the Gulf of Mexico, or the Great Lakes, or the Amazon Rainforest? It took millions of years to create these natural treasures and only hundreds to destroy them.

DRichards's picture
DRichards 12 years 41 weeks ago

Cheney's push of deregulators led to BP disaster

Wilkerson on Cheney Pt2: Cheney's support for pro-industry "regulators" maybe his main damage to America June 8, 2010

Scooty's picture
Scooty 12 years 41 weeks ago

Here is a link to the solution for the problem. Please watch the video.


Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 12 years 41 weeks ago

Ralph Nader said, we won't have solar plower because the oil companies don't own the sun. (I'm paraphsizing here.)

Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 12 years 41 weeks ago
Gene Savory's picture
Gene Savory 12 years 41 weeks ago

Sign seen on a picket line:

We can't build our economy by selling hamburgers and insurance to each other.

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 12 years 41 weeks ago

@Scooty, re:#8 - I don't see anywhere on the Petersen site that says this method works, or has even been tested, underwater. I've heard lots of "THIS is the solution!" over the last several weeks, but each one I hear seems to be something that has worked on a LAND-based well before. This one is a whole new animal, and we've seen MANY TIMES so far that what's worked in different situations ain't gonna cut it in this one.

MayberryLaneDanielle's picture
MayberryLaneDanielle 12 years 41 weeks ago

MoveOn.Org Oil Spill Vigil's TONIGHT!

Tonight's Vigils will be held throughout the country to mark the 50th day of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf. I'll be personally hosting the event in Dania Beach, FL. I'd love to see some of you come out and join us as we show Washington we want an end to our oil addiction! You can sign up for my event here! http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=104025

If you're not in the area, you can find an event near you at http://www.moveon.org/ or if you're unable to attend, there are links on that site to some great organizations you can donate to!

I'd like to personally thank the City of Dania Beach, and Kristen Jones of the Parks & Recreations Department for making my event possible! They've proven we can all stand together to fight this disasterous spill!

Thanks Thom for letting me promote this event on the show!

Also, I have many people in the area who would like to volunteer in cleaning up the spill, but we need someone to come down and train them! We can provide the location / classrooms! If you know someone who can help, please contact me at themayberrylane@live.com, on my blog at www.themayberrylane.blogspot.com, or on twitter @MayberryLaneD!

If you can't make it tonight, light a candle for us at 7pm EST!


Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann channels the best of the American Founders with voice and pen. His deep attachment to a democratic civil society is just the medicine America needs."
Tom Hayden, author of The Long Sixties and director, Peace and Justice Resource Center.
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a creative thinker and committed small-d democrat. He has dealt with a wide range of topics throughout his life, and this book provides an excellent cross section. The Thom Hartmann Reader will make people both angry and motivated to act."
Dean Baker, economist and author of Plunder and Blunder, False Profits, and Taking Economics Seriously