All That BP Nonsense

I was listening to Norman Goldman on the radio today and he's talking about Tony Hayward from BP and whether or not he's an alien because of the way he sounds. He may not be an alien, as from outer space, but he is alienated as are most of the corporate heads around the wold. It is true that he drones on in a monotone, and that his responses are crafted by psychologists and very astute crisis managers, but he can't help but be seriously detached from the events because no normal human being could hold up under that kind of pressure. Besides do we really care what happens to Tony, or any other individual in these situations? So what if one token representative of an industrial enterprise is removed from his office? We know he's going to be well compensated because of clauses in his contract. More importantly what does it accomplish in terms of mitigating the damage done, or even serving as some kind of warning sign to others who transgress? I submit that the Tony's of this world serve one purpose, the inexorable implementation of the program as dictated by capitalism's mandate. The machine is so much bigger than any player, operative or "organic" community. Tony must be plagued by an affliction that is similar in some ways to Kafka's "Metamorphosis". One day you're a perfectly reasonable example of a human being, the next you are literally a cockroach.
1. The sociopathy that is a normal state of mind for these Ubermeisters is a natural requisite to accommodate the system in it's present manifestation. You absolutely must be crazy to behave in ever so callous and indifferent a manner to deliver the results expected of shareholders, your peers, the publishers of "Chief Executive" and "Global Agenda". There simply is no demand for commitment to any serious consideration of environmental concerns, local community impact, potential compromise of our national security or financial stability. The phrase "the rules of the game" may be an adage associated with sports or certain social engagements, it seemed to be a commonly accepted expression of an understanding that there were limits, boundaries to our behavior. It may very well be an historical and irrelevant observation today for it appears that fewer and fewer corporations are willing to play by "the rules of the game", however we define them. I contend that is an outcome refined by decades of governmental and in many cases societal indifference towards accountability, even acknowledgment of the transgressions inflicted by renegade behavior. How else can you describe the attitude of several of the Governors from the Gulf States, and I don't mean the Gulf of Oman. On the one hand they demand action from the Fed's while disassociating themselves from the entanglement of their quasi privatization of natural resources under their influence and control. Oil interests and the cultural dependency on them have so compromised the function of democracy and thwarted the efforts of those in the community who hoped to elevate awareness of the threat this relationship has posed. And they still aren't listening, demanding an end to a moratorium on offshore drilling because it threatens their livelihoods which are being destroyed by the thing they devote themselves too. One could argue that this monolithic embrace is a triumph of modern capitalism, the surrender of self interest and recognition of the ascendant and preeminent corporate interests . Those interests are inherently nihilistic, demanding further sacrifice and submission to the principles of wealth generation and consolidation. When it comes to capital influence bigger is better and we all now know the paradigm is too big to fail. That is why lobbyists and political campaign donations from corporations are so insidious, they defy our birthright as characterized by the Bill of Rights. I suppose it's not unreasonable to question whether we're finally arriving at a place we were meant to be, whether that strain of "yearning for freedom" has been recast as "yearning to be free from freedom"? Freedom isn't always a pleasant experience, it's hard work to be independent, it can alienate others and get in the way of pleasure, gratification. Freud identified this paradox, a trade off of sorts, in "Civilization and It's Discontents". Maybe that's what ruthless capitalism is at it's core, a sort of libidinous indulgence, a surreal sexual encounter. And if that were so it begs the question. Who's getting screwed?

"But that's the whole point of corporatism: to try and remove the public from making decisions over their own fate, to limit the public arena, to control opinion, to make sure that the fundamental decisions that determine how the world is going to be run —which include production, commerce, distribution, thought, social policy, foreign policy, everything—are not in the hands of the public, but rather in the hands of highly concentrated private power. In effect, tyranny unaccountable to the public."— Professor Noam Chomsky, interviewed in Corporate Watch


DakotaOutlaw's picture
DakotaOutlaw 9 years 17 weeks ago

I was just informed of another British Petroleum PLC crime from 2001, which I would like to add to the record:

September 16, 2001

OSHA Cites BP Amoco Polymers And Proposes $141,000 In Penalties Following Investigation Of Triple Fatality AUGUSTA, Ga.- - Exposing employees to explosion hazards has led to $141,000 in proposed penalties against BP Amoco Polymers, Inc., by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The alleged willful and serious citations for violation of safety standards resulted from an inspection of a March 13 explosion and fire that killed three workers at the company's Clanton Road plant.

OSHA cited BP Amoco for two alleged willful violations with proposed penalties of $125,000 for exposing employees to the release of hazardous energy.

The accident occurred as three workers began removing bolts from a drum in preparation for maintenance and cleaning. Unknown to the men, the drum was overfilled with a polymer salt mixture which continued to react and clogged lines into and out of the vessel, eventually producing an elevated pressure condition inside the drum. Failure to initiate proper lockout/tagout procedures before attempting to remove the bolts from the cover plate contributed to this accident.

In 1990, before operations began at the unit, Amoco studies indicated the need for an effective indicator to measure the amount of mixture in the drum as a protection against hazards caused by overfilling the vessel. An effective device was never installed.

Again in August 2000 after two employees were seriously burned by a hot liquid release, recommendations were made -- but never implemented -- for an operations checklist to verify that vessels were fully drained, depressurized and energy sources disconnected before cleaning and maintenance began.

"This tragedy could have been avoided if the company had adhered to their own internal audit recommendations that improvements were needed in the lockout/tagout program," said William Grimes, OSHA's Atlanta-East area director. "Safety studies have little value if resulting recommendations go unheeded."

The company received three serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $16,000 for failing to: properly install pressure relief devices; require proper face protection for employees working with corrosive materials; and properly train employees on lockout/tagout.

BP Amoco, headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., is a division of London, England-based British Petroleum. The company, which manufactures plastics materials and resins, has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The inspection was conducted by the Atlanta-East OSHA office located at LaVista Perimeter Office Park, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga. 30084-4154; phone: (770) 493-6644.

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