Saturday, May 29, 2010

No End on the (Deepwater) Horizon

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not so sure about the universe." Albert Einstein
In that spirit, Sarah Palin suggested (on Fox News, of course) a few days ago: 
"I don’t know why the question isn’t asked by the mainstream media and by others if there’s any connection with the contributions made to President Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration.”
Apparently Palin believes that her viewers are as careless about examining such claims as she is about making them.  Fortunately there are a few who pay close attention, usually with a dropped jaw:
"According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Republicans receive far more campaign money from the oil and gas industry than do Democrats. So far in 2010, the oil and gas industries have contributed $12.8 million to all candidates, with 71% of that money going to Republicans. During the 2008 election cycle, 77% of the industry’s $35.6 million in contributions went to Republicans, and in the 2008 presidential contest, Republican candidate Sen. John McCain received more than twice as much money from the oil and gas industries as Obama: McCain collected $2.4 million; Obama, $898,000.
"This is a decades-long trend, the center says: Since 1990, oil and gas companies have donated $238.7 million to candidates and parties, with 75% of the money going to Republicans."
Frank Herbert of the NY Times has been doing some exceptionally good writing, even by his standards, on the BP oil spill.  In his most recent column, he notes that corporate influence on both parties is pervasive:
"The oil companies and other giant corporations have a stranglehold on American policies and behavior, and are choking off the prospects of a viable social and economic future for working people and their families.
"President Obama spoke critically a couple of weeks ago about the “cozy relationship” between the oil companies and the federal government. It’s not just a cozy relationship. It’s an unholy alliance. And that alliance includes not just the oil companies but the entire spectrum of giant corporations that have used vast wealth to turn democratically elected officials into handmaidens, thus undermining not just the day-to-day interests of the people but the very essence of democracy itself."
The leak, and the catastrophe that caused it, was neither an "accident" or (as BP claimed) a "natural disaster."  It was the result of a poorly-conceived experiment that, much like the war in Iraq and the financial meltdown, was undertaken with little or no planning for failure.  Like its corporate brethren all across the global economy, BP's exclusive focus was on short-term gain and the compulsion to deliver quarterly dividends for shareholders — no matter the social or environmental costs.

Stay tuned as BP gears up for another (and even more desperate) option.  By the time it's ready to go, the gusher will inject another 4,000,000+ gallons of crude into the Gulf.