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  • Deepwater Horizon – Random Thoughs with a dash of Hypocrisy

    Posted by Dan from Madison on June 5th, 2010 (All posts by )

    Back on May 4 I posted some random thoughts about the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Surprisingly, all of them still hold true.

    -The human cost still has taken a major back seat to the environmental cost
    -Almost zero people reporting on the story knows anything about how a deepwater drilling rig works. I was taught that the word “busted” was not to be used when I was growing up, but I am reading a lot of stories that say things like “busted pipe”. That is a grammatical digression, I admit.
    -I still think BP is trying everything they can muster to stop the leak(s)
    -The market still seems to be doing a big shoulder shrug over the whole thing. The collapse of the eurozone and the poor jobs reports seem to weigh much heavier on the markets. And oil prices are going down.
    -I did say that the federal response was quick (for them) but really can’t tell at this point if it is. A lot of people are slagging the Obama administration for acting slowly, but I don’t live there so maybe one of our commenters could clear that up.

    Here is one other thing I have noticed about this whole thing – the stunning silence of the left as regards the Obama administration’s role in fast tracking the permits for this rig. The Washington Post came out with a story detailing this. I really don’t have anything against the Obama administration for this particular oversight, as to me, it was just business as usual at the federal government level. I am sure that the Minerals Management Service (MMS) didn’t really change that much from the Bush administration to the Obama administration with the exception of a few appointments for favored Obama and Democratic party people. I do have one major rub with all of this.

    If this were a Republican administration we would be constantly hearing the howling and moaning of the greenies and leftists about the “chimpymcbushhitleroilforbloodhalliburtoncheney’soilbuddies” destruction of the environment. It would literally be never ending.

    But since it is THEIR GUY at the top we hear nary a word about this. When friends of mine that I know voted for Obama begin to proclaim their disgust at the mess in the Gulf, I usually chime in that I sure hope that there is a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the Obama administration’s lack of oversight of this project through the MMS. Usually the conversations end abruptly. I can hear it in the back of their heads though – but it is our guy!

    Shannon Love sort of hit on this point a few days ago in his post about being a crappy thug. To me, the same applies to being a leftist. If you are going to be one, be a good one, not a selective one. I noted back in October that since Obama took office all of the papier mache heads seem to have been put into storage even though he has increased troop levels in Afghanistan and the wars seem to be continuing with no end in sight. So we have that plus this new disaster. Like I said, if you are going to be a leftist, don’t be a crappy one, get out there and start the new chants! 2-4-6-8, who is gonna regulate! What do we want? MMS investigations! When do we want them? NOW!

    Needless to say, I am not holding my breath for the above to happen any time soon. Like ever.

     

    20 Responses to “Deepwater Horizon – Random Thoughs with a dash of Hypocrisy”

    1. Tatyana Says:

      Dan, with your chanting suggestions you almost made me lose my [excellent, as it was] breakfast.
      Do you have any doubts lefties will manage to hang it all on Bush? Never fear! Look at this thread, for instance. One imbecility after another…
      Btw, I am very happy to have found that blog, Iconic photos. Beautiful aesthetically, delightfully written, and the author doesn’t march lock-step with the lefties (I think). I rare find.

    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I certainly hope that BP gets the leak under control because the assault on them by Obama and the Democrats will eventually ruin the company, at which point I expect them to say “OK. I give up. You take over.” Then we will see some sudden reconsideration.

    3. Dan from Madison Says:

      BP is done anyways. The litigation over this will bleed them dry. I am thinking that they will be taken over eventually by another company. Another crazy theory I had was that this will sort of be like asbestos lawsuits – eventually there will be so many filed by so many lawyers that the people who actually get hurt and are on the train last will end up with .38 after the funds have dried up.

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      But since it is THEIR GUY at the top we hear nary a word about this.

      I have come to the conclusion that leftists do not seek political and social dominance to advance their ideology. Instead their ideology is a tool for advancing their own political and social dominance. They don’t actually care about the environment, the war or whatever, they just care about using the issue du jour to make themselves more powerful.

      This is why the “anti-war” protest dried up the instant that Obama won even though the war (thankfully) continues largely unchanged. The purpose of the protest was to gain power not stop the war. Now that the left is responsible for national security and any breach will rebound to their detriment, they no longer have any incentive to “stop the war.”

      Ditto for environmental issues. The environmental movement exist to make sure the right people dominate society not to protect the environment. If environmental protection was the goal, I don’t think we would see policies that drive resource extraction and potentially polluting industries out to the 3rd world where there are no regulations at all.

      In a balanced world, we probably do need some overlay idealistic kids running around calling into the question the actions of the economically-productive. I think that prior to the 60s, the left, especially in America, was more idealistic and even naive. If nothing else, they respected and even venerated the ordinary person. After the 60s, they turned selfish and ugly. They started venerating elites and sneering at ordinary people. They absorbed from Europe the political cynicism of Fascism and Communism. Now they see power for themselves and people they ego identify with as the only good. Now they define “truth” as the narrative that advances their power.

      It’s pathological and destructive. I fear we will have to reach some crisis before we autocorrect.

    5. Phil Says:

      Dan, the feeling down here is that a) the Feds dragged their feet on Bobby Jindal’s attempt to build sand berms to help channel the oil offshore and away from ecologically sensitive estuaries, delaying the permits until well after the areas had already been hit by oil.

      There is also the feeling that tried-and-true methods of cleaning up spills in mid ocean aren’t being used:

      Free Republic link: Former Shell Oil Chief, Engineer: Supertankers Could Save the Gulf, So Why Won’t BP Listen?.

      Finally, the Feds have been more in charge of the blowout management and spill operation than you think; for instance, according to <a href="this article Obama’s Brain Trust (of which, AFAICT, none are petroleum engineers) stopped BP from continuing with the Top Kill procedure and went on to the next stage in the operation.

      Also, there’s more about proper and inproper use of booms to contain spills at this rant on youtube. While I disagree with the poster that it’s BP’s drilling people who should be doing this, as there are people and companies out there whose main jobs are containing oil spills, I still wonder why the people who know are apparently not stepping up to the plate.

      The spill is originating over fifty miles from land, and that land is a penninsula sticking out into the gulf. That should be more than enough space to use centrifugal separators to pick up the oil and take it to a refinery where it can be disposed of and further separated from water.

      WHY ISN’T THAT HAPPENING?

    6. Phil Says:

      My guess is that the government is acting in a passive-aggressive manner, trying to appear that they’re doing everything possible but that not all that much really is possible and it’s all the fault of the people who a) drill for oil, and/or b) want to drill for oil instead of importing it from middle eastern countries.

      And unfortunately it’s working.

    7. Phil Says:

      Never put your crisis management in the hands of someone who won’t let a serious crisis “go to waste.”

    8. Phil Says:

      Finally, they wasted no time in shutting down thirty-three deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf that _weren’t_ spilling, and in deciding (although in a left-hand doesn’t know what the other left hand is doing kind of way) to suspend all drilling in the Gulf before changing their mind and saying that wasn’t their intent all along.

      They can do that, but they can’t get tankers out there with centrifugal separators to actually get the oil out of the water. Or do proper booming of the shoreline.

    9. William Dean Says:

      Television carried a clarification of the halting of the administration’s oil drilling. While there have multiple conflicting reports and therefore necessarily reports in error, a review seems to indicate that where permits have been issued and drilling initiated those sites will be allowed to continue. However there will be no more permit approvals granted for the next six months.

      Regarding Obama’s handling of the unfortunate disaster, while not perfect, has certainly been handled judiciously. The U.S. government is not in the oil business, but based upon the support that industry gets and gives to public officials, a line of separation is often hard to perceive.

      What I do know is that Obama’s appointments for a number of positions that would give his administration greater facility to direct the full force of his style of government have been denied by the Republicans in committee positions. So after 16 months of Obama in office, Bush appointees are still in positions of authority, however Obama critics want to heap the blame for errors committed years ago on the current president.

      At least Obama knows that he’s in charge now and acts like he knows its his job to clean up the mistakes of past administrations stretching back generations.

      One realizes that our nation 235 years ago had a small population and the federal power could not reach very far by virtue of the communications that existed then. Much of the geography of those jurisdictions called states then would have prevented any assistance to the communities that suffered a catastrophe. But communications is now instantanous and the size of mistakes that can be inflicted on the innocent and non-participants is proportional to the authority granted to others than the citizens acting alone.

      Now the same people who want to return to those days of yesteryear cannot fathom that with a population of 400 million people, the government is not in our nation’s businesses. It does it not own the expertise and equipment to prevent or ameliorate man made catastrophes created by businesses with the intent to minimize their financial risks. However that doesn’t mean that businesses don’t have a toe, foot or leg up in the business of the government. It’s been only a few months when major financial institutions, through their own slovenly practices put our nation at risk and have caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their property.

      Big businesses mean potential bigger problems that can affect bigger slices of our population. Those businesses with a large portion of our gross national product can and have been and will be the tail that wags the dog.

    10. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Big businesses mean potential bigger problems that can affect bigger slices of our population. Those businesses with a large portion of our gross national product can and have been and will be the tail that wags the dog.

      Do you mean big businesses like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ?

    11. Robert Schwartz Says:

      First: This is not the biggest oil spill in history.
      http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/coal-oil-gas/biggest-oil-spills-in-history

      The latest estimates I have seen: “The National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group, a collection of government and independent researchers, said last week that 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day were pouring into the gulf.”
      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/04/us/04latest.html

      That would be 80,000 gallons per day. Fifty days worth (next week around 6/9/10) would be 40 million gallons. That would not make the top ten list, as #10 is 42 million gal. Another 50 days would push it up to the middle of that list.

      Second: Despite James “We’re dying down here” Carville and numerous media references to toxic or poisonous oil, oil, even spilled oil not very toxic. In fact, oil is not alien to the environment. “Natural seepage of crude oil from geologic formations below the seafloor to the marine environment off North America is estimated to exceed 160,000 tonnes (47,000,000 gallons) … each year.”
      http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10388&page=2#

      That volume suggests the ocean has plenty of resources to consume oil, which after all is composed of biologically derived organic molecules. A large portion will evaporate. Some will ball up and some will be consumed by micro-organisms.

      Nor should the damage, if any to fisheries, be regarded as the determinative criteria. Fishing is a tiny business. The entire US fishing business produced about $4.4 Billion in 2008. Out of that Shrimp was about 10%.
      http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/fus/fus08/index.html

      Oil is a much more important business to the local economy. It has a higher dollar value of product and supports better paying jobs.

      Third: BP will not sustain a major financial blow from this incident. Their annual revenues are on the order of $300 Billion and net profits of $20 billion.
      http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/BP/financials

      This incident should not hurt them that much financially. The 11 men lost on that rig grieve me far more than all of the pelicans in the Gulf. Although, I think in all fairness that they need to revisit their safety culture and conduct a great deal of soul searching and restructuring.

      Finally as to the continuation of offshore production, I do not think the United States has any real choice. The country is bankrupt and its finances are deteriorating at a high rate of speed. The solution is that we must spend less, particularly borrowed money, and produce and save more.

      Producing oil is production of a high value product, and we have to do it. I would not advocate doing it with out due regard to safety. But the idea that some places in this country are off limits has to go. I think we should be drilling not only in the Gulf off LA, but off Florida and California too, as well as in Alaska.

    12. Tatyana Says:

      Robert: what you said is very reasonable – if a goal is to pull the country out of financial disaster. So looking at Obama administration doing exact opposite (dragging their feet in cleanup, making no effort of consolidating forces, giving no help to Jindal, and most importantly – stopping oil production on 33rigs) means only one thing: his goal is plunge us deeper. And then to make the next step – to dictatorship.

    13. Shannon Love Says:

      Robert Schwartz,

      Nor should the damage, if any to fisheries, be regarded as the determinative criteria. Fishing is a tiny business. The entire US fishing business produced about $4.4 Billion in 2008. Out of that Shrimp was about 10%

      You forgot to mention that shrimping and fishing in general produce luxury products that we can easily do without in a pinch. Oil by contrast is a vitally necessary product whose production is a matter of life and death.

      If someone wave a magic wand and stopped all fishing, we’d be peeved. If someone waved a magic wand and shutdown the entire oil industry most of us would be dead within the week.

      It’s important to keep the correct perspective.

    14. Jonathan Says:

      William Dean wrote:
      What I do know is that Obama’s appointments for a number of positions that would give his administration greater facility to direct the full force of his style of government have been denied by the Republicans in committee positions. So after 16 months of Obama in office, Bush appointees are still in positions of authority, however Obama critics want to heap the blame for errors committed years ago on the current president.

      I think the objections are mostly based on Obama’s executive behavior, which is something over which he has complete control. Whatever efforts they make to change things, all presidents have to work with the bureaucracies they have. IMO Obama has been in office long enough to be held fully accountable. Bush was certainly held accountable after Katrina for not only the weaknesses of his appointees but also for problems caused by the ineptitude of Louisiana’s elected Democratic officials.

    15. William Dean Says:

      “I think the objections are mostly based on Obama’s executive behavior, which is something over which he has complete control. Whatever efforts they make to change things, all presidents have to work with the bureaucracies they have. IMO Obama has been in office long enough to be held fully accountable. Bush was certainly held accountable after Katrina for not only the weaknesses of his appointees but also for problems caused by the ineptitude of Louisiana’s elected Democratic officials.”

      “Executive behavior?” What part of withholding appointments has to do with his attitude?
      And of course the Red state of Louisiana didn’t have any Republican elected officials?

      Let’s make up our minds here, is he not showing leadership or is he a dictator?

      I agree that Obama must take the beats for those decisions he or his administration makes when the incident occurred during his term in office. I cannot imagine any sensible being attributing the explosion, loss of life or oil spill can be blamed on him in any way, unless as one group would advocate, to blame Obama’s administration for failing to review past permit approvals and inspections of procedures involving deep water drilling.

      I never saw any attribution of blame to G.W. Bush for the natural event Katrina. What I did see was the absolute unwillingness to accept the responsibility and provide leadership for what a government is empowered to do, that is help people subjected to ACTS OF GOD survive. Yes, the Coast Guard did what it always does, rescue people in dire need, but the rest of the follow up was shameful until pressed by the public to do something.

      Unless you believe like Robert Swartz, who pointed out that since there is naturally occurring seepage of organic materials into the oceans that the bacteria laden sea water have modified and pacified, so this multi-million gallon spill thing we call a tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico is no big deal. I would suggest if that is true, then there really is no justification for attributing blame to our sitting president for any “mistakes” he might make in the future. That’s because bigger mistakes and more devastating natural events have occurred in the past and our societies, or parts of them, have always survived. But that appears to be a shortsighted viewpoint and justification for the government to do nothing. After all Robert views seafood as a luxury food and I guess the beach resorts as nonessential to our economy as well.

      He and other also seem to justify deep drilling as essential to our national economy and well being while life of all kinds destroyed by man in the quest for wealth, is justified since Mother Earth and its balance of life is not nearly so essential to survival as is oil.

      The early Constitutional period of our country that present day advocates of the past times seem to worship, was pre-mineral oil and a hundred years before Drake sunk his 1st well at Titusville. The men who drafted and approved our early laws didn’t mention anything about mineral rights. But the rules still apply that says if your careless or inconsiderate actions result in damage to others, they have claims for the physical changes, loss of labor and value of property lost as well as indirect damages.

    16. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Tatyana: The maxim of the law is that men intend the ordinary and probable consequences of their actions. In that light, B. Hussein Obama is trying to destroy the United States of America. That is Rush Limbaugh’s analysis of the situation.

      What I think I see is an exemplar of a certain class, the Chattering Class, whose intellectual equipment is so over determined, ornate, and ultimately fragile that he can not understand nor effectively act on the real world. He thinks that he is a smart person and that his government consists of smart people, and that they can solve any problem put to them. But leaking oil is so far outside of his and their experience and knowledge that all he can do is run around and emote. He is absolutely befuddled by foreign policy, because he has no idea of how to deal with men of bad will, like Iran, Syria, and Turkey. He can’t deal with economic problems, because his playbook, which did not work in the 1930s, has not evolved since then.

      Fortunately, there is a great deal of ruin in a great nation, and if the American people demonstrate their great good sense, BHO and the rest of the insane clown posse will eventually be kicked to the curb.

      Mr. Dean: I would reply to you, but I can’t make heads nor tails of what you wrote. BTW, please spell my name correctly.

    17. Jonathan Says:

      William Dean wrote:
      Let’s make up our minds here, is he not showing leadership or is he a dictator?

      Surely these are not the only possibilities. It seems to me that Obama’s leadership in this case has been weak, vacillating and driven mainly by political considerations. However, I don’t hold him responsible for the spill. It was an accident, and it’s not obvious that the federal government can do much about it. As many people have already pointed out, Obama gets blamed in part because he routinely arrogates to himself responsibility for all kinds of things that he cannot possibly have the expertise, much less the legitimate authority, to deal with. The campaign speech in which he preposterously spoke about healing the planet and making the oceans recede is a good example of his characteristic hubris. He brought the current criticism on himself.

      The Katrina example is actually unfair to Bush because land-based natural disasters are mostly the responsibility of the states. The fact that there were Republican elected officials in Louisiana is irrelevant, since Louisiana’s most powerful elected officials, the ones (Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin) whose incompetence caused so many problems, were Democrats.

      I find your other comments difficult to understand.

    18. William Dean Says:

      Mr. Schwartz, I understand the convenience of not understanding obliquely related material when there is no provision to oppose it. Equally understood is your addressing of our president as “B. Hussein Obama” and “BHO”, diminution indications of hate bias and evidence of lack of objectivity. With those verbal clues alone, I should have immediately known that you are a ditto head.

    19. Phil Says:

      Will it be OK if we refer to him at B. H. ‘Borat’ Obama?

    20. Phil Says:

      Let’s make up our minds here, is he not showing leadership or is he a dictator?

      You seem to be of the belief that those are exclusionary extremes. But historically there have been lots of “my way or the highway” dictators who haven’t been strong leaders.