Friday, April 30, 2010

Been Flirtin' With Disaster

In a nutshell, they drilled, it spilled and now a lot of wildlife will be killed. It has come to light that BP downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident at an offshore rig that exploded, causing the worst U.S. spill in decades along the Gulf coast and endangering shoreline habitat, documents suggest. BP repeatedly said it was virtually impossible for an accident to occur that would lead to a giant crude oil spill and serious damage to beaches, fish, mammals and fisheries.

Can we begin to connect the dots? Will we learn anything from these crisis? In Washington we have the spectacle of a deregulated Wall Street spinning wildly out of control and bringing the world economy to the brink. In West Virgina we have a mining company, Massey Energy who thumbs its nose at safety violations resulting in over 100 miner's death. In the gulf coast we have a massive oil rig spewing out oil and threatening several southern states with no end in sight.

What they all have in common is this: In the deregulated world of the unfettered free market with little government regulations, disasters are bound to happen. Why? Because every company works endlessly to do two things; increase profits and reduce costs. In reducing costs to meet investor demands they forego safety procedures, they defer maintenance, they buy cheaper shoddier equipment and if there is no entity holding your feet to the fire you'll do it until what you do creates a disaster. The government that governs least, we are now learning, courts disaster for the nation. What's really weird in the twisted irony is that these Republican loving southern states that will be damaged for decades have actually jeopardized their own livelihood by supporting the party of greed. Innocent wetlands, wildlife, and Gulf fishermen's own livelihood have been discarded in this "free market." Wake up America! I'm mostly talking to you red staters.

Environmental lawyer Michael Papantonio joined Ed Schultz and explained how this disaster could've been minimized. It turns out every country in the world who allow oil exploration require a fail safe system called the Acoustic Switch System that will immediately lock down a well in an emergency such as this one. The cost is $500K per ASS. However in our free market land of no oversight or regulation, the U.S. doesn't require them and since BP (and the others I'm sure) decided the almighty dollar outweighs the risk, we have a mega-disaster on our hands.

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The always idiotic Rush Limbaugh who is always quick to side with those with the most including corporations is claiming that the disaster might have been caused by environmental activists protesting Obama's expansion of off shore oil drilling. Seriously? It will be those very environmentalists cleaning oil off of birds and beavers or any other animal that can be saved. He also proudly proclaimed that this disaster would be Obama's Katrina. The truth of the matter is that the Coast Guard was on the scene almost immediately after this accident. The deputy secretary of the interior was on the ground the next day, and the administration's been coordinating closely with the local authorities and BP from the very beginning. Just last year Limpy actually said "Nature cleaned up itself" after Exxon Valdez oil spill. What a bunch of bullshit. The area still has remnants of the disaster partially because St. Ronnie let Exxon off the hook. How can anyone listen to this piece of chit?

Then there's the immense silence of the "Drill, baby drill - drill now" crowd. Excluding Sarah Palin's tweet that her prayers are with those who will be affected...instead of doing something that will actually be useful. Why doesn't she at least start a fund with some of that $12 million she bilked from her fans? Michael Steele? Rudy Guiliani? We can't hear you! Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty.

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