Archive for November 2011
Time magazine, in honor of Thanksgiving dinners across the country, felt it appropriate to put its American readers at the kids table this week, giving them a cover they could handle while the rest of the world got the real news, the scary stuff…
So, in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, their readers were greeted with a cover depicting the ongoing struggles in Egypt, demonstrated by a photo of a revolutionary, who stands in defiance of their miliary and still forming government, demanding democracy.
In America, we got a cover story about how anxiety is actually good for us…
And this is probably a good thing considering our politicians don’t listen to the people, they listen to think tanks…our police departments are now militarized and in many major cities, assaults, murders and even rape investigations are given lower priority than drug cases, which make money for police departments…oh, and our state leaders are trying to push through a settlement with the major banks over their fraudulent foreclosure practices that will do nothing to help the victims of their fraud…and again, no one in the banking industry sees the inside of a jail cell…
Our democracy is the dog and pony show for those who purchased their own rule of law.
So yeah, Time magazine would certainly not want Americans, in light of the growing unrest in this country, to be greeted by images of what some people outside this country are doing, are seeing as a solution to many of the same problems being experienced here, in America, where truth and reality exist as someone else’s version, the correctness of which can only be confirmed by big media outlets owned by those with a vested interest in keeping the vast majority of people powerless.
It’s a closed system they don’t want opened…but it is time to open it…
Get involved in your community, discuss your own versions of the truth, and your own solutions and then make your own demands…and don’t stop. What’s the worst that can happen, maybe a little less isolation and the realization that you can work with your neighbors to make your lives better?
Hell, we all might even wind up a lot more empowered…and a little less anxious.
Have a nice day.
Okay…so riddle me this Batman:
In August, fresh oil slicks are discovered near the Macondo well site. BP denies they are there. The Coast Guard denies they are there. Bonnie Shumaker, pilot for Wings of Care flies out and takes pictures, proving the oil is there. BP then admits the oil is there as does the Coast Guard, after confirming BP admitted it too, but both say the oil is not from the Macondo reservoir. Then reporters from the Alabama Press Register take a boat out to the slicks, take samples, have it tested and sure enough, it is from the Macondo reservoir.
BP responds to this by sending an ROV down to look at the well-head. They don’t release the video, but they assure everyone still paying attention the well-head isn’t leaking, nope…not at all…it must be residual oil being released from the collapsed pipes and equipment on the seafloor. In response, Transocean sends an ROV down to check the collapsed pipes and equipment and says…nope, no oil leaking from there.
And this month, BP denies they are still checking into this oil. Then a pilot flies over, and confirms several large oil-related vessels operating at the surface above the Macondo well. BP says…oh, those ships, and yes, they then confirm they are conducting a study to track the oil from seabed to surface.
Track what from where?
In an emailed statement late Friday, a representative from BP verified that several vessels are in the vicinity of the Macondo well: “There are several vessels there participating in a study of natural oil seeps. This study has been ongoing for the past month or so. Data continues being collected and we provided an update on the natural oil seeps at the SETAC [Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry] conference in Boston this week. … The study is documenting the specific locations of these seeps and is seeking to track oil flow from seabed to surface,” BP wrote.
Natural oil seeps?
To which Stuart Smith, a New Orleans attorney replies:
If there are seeps in the area, they are not natural. I can assure you of that. BP was required to conduct a seafloor survey prior to applying for a permit to drill. If these seeps were not discovered during the survey – which they apparently weren’t – they must be related to the disaster and the heavy-handed methods used to attempt to seal the well.
To which BP quickly responds:
When we used the word “natural,” we meant it in the way that plastic surgery is meant to “naturally” erase the effects of aging, a bit of botox, a brow-lift, a cheekbone implant, a face-lift, a slight ear raise, and then the smallest of nose jobs…and voila! The seafloor is naturally leaking oil, natural as a smile from Jack Nicholson’s Joker…
Or in other words…
Robin: “Natural” is to nature, like animals are in nature and animals have fat…and this fat can be used to make soap and when we use soap, we typically are trying to remove dirt from our skin and what is skin but a part of the human body which is composed of 70% water, water like what’s found in the Gulf of Mexico…and all that Gulf water is above the seafloor…the seafloor! So what does it mean, Batman?”
Batman: “Obviously Boy Wonder, it means we need to have done what Stuart Smith suggests…a full survey of the seafloor around the Macondo Well so we will finally know what the hell is going on down there…”
Drake: “Seriously, how many times does BP get to creatively tell the truth?”
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Two competing articles published a day apart have a very different take on the safety of Gulf Seafood…
In the first, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries report that not one bit, smidgen or iota of toxic chemicals has ever been found in Gulf Seafood and therefore the seafood is safe to eat, while in the second article, though first quoting the FDA’s website which reports the seafood “is as safe to eat as before the spill,” (a whole ‘nother can of worms), the article goes on to quote Louisiana fishermen and NRDC scientist Gina Solomon who seriously dispute the government’s findings.
Or…in other words, what’s your agenda?
Says the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:
“The testing protocol, the first of its kind, analyzes water and seafood samples for pollutants found in the spilled oil and in various chemicals applied to disperse the oil. So far, no contaminants have been detected in any piece of seafood tested since the spill…”
Says the FDA:
“The seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to consume for all consumers including pregnant women and children,” he asserts before adding, “The amount of seafood that somebody would have to eat would be the equivalent to sixty-three pounds of shrimp, or five pounds of oyster, or nine pounds of fin fish every day for five years before they would exceed levels to be concerned of. That’s how low the residues are in the seafood.”
Says Gina Solomon:
FDA only examined what would be safe for an adult. When they did their calculations they looked at what level of contamination would be safe for a 176 pound person. Children are known to be more vulnerable to contaminants in seafood because they eat more per pound of their bodyweight and their developing bodies are more sensitive to harmful contaminants. What’s more, in a pregnant woman, these contaminants can cross the placenta and harm the developing fetus. This increased vulnerability is well-known to science, and other agencies require that children be included in safety assessments.
Meanwhile, fishermen in the region continue to wonder aloud how the seafood can be safe when the shrimp seasons this year were so bad, with very little to catch, not to mention the state of the seafood they are catching:
“Fisherman are bringing in shrimp without any eyes … they evidently have lost their eyes and they’re still alive.”
So, who’s right?
Who do you want to believe?
Would seem to me that’s a personal decision…but if someone were to ask me, and I assume if you’re still reading this, you are…I might be more willing to bet my health on local fishermen and the NRDC, for a number of reasons:
Barack Obama will only benefit from clean bills of health when it comes to the Gulf. Many voters have placed the Gulf response at his feet and if this response is seen as ineffective, that affects him and his re-election chances. British Petroleum donates a great deal of money to Obama and are in bed with his administration as they begin to receive new leases for deep-sea drilling. The oil company would also love to see the perception of safe seafood begin to take hold so they can stop compensating fishermen. The state of Louisiana wants all to be well because it is their citizens being harmed by the bad reputation of Gulf seafood, a reputation that continues to be voiced outside of the Gulf Coast. Local fishermen, on the other hand, why the hell would they want to be quoted as saying something is wrong with the seafood if they didn’t believe it to be true? Feinberg and the GCCF have been short-changing everybody, livelihoods and whole ways of life are being impacted. Fishermen receive no benefit from ongoing bad perceptions whereas the NRDC, not beholden to the government or corporate sponsorship gains nothing from questioning the thoroughness of government testing or the claims of government agencies.
Oh…and the even worse problem?
Corporations and the United States Government have a long history of placing political perception and financial bottom lines over the health and welfare of their consumers and citizens and as a result, skepticism of their claims are automatic to almost anybody but the true believer. It is this distrust, born of their bad behavioral patterns that necessitates doubt of their claims…and it shouldn’t have had to be this way; it didn’t have to be this way…
But, it is…and who the hell wants to eat an eyeless shrimp?
Read the articles:
Have a nice day.
Jim Hood, Mississippi Attorney General, has finally prevailed over Ken Feinberg.
It was back in February when Hood filed a subpoena against Ken and the GCCF, requesting to see the records of claimants who had given their permission for such a review, and it was a subpoena Feinberg at first ignored, then denied and fought, arguing its validity should be heard in court, but not in a Mississippi courtroom, it should be heard in a Federal Court.
US District Judge Carlton Reeves said nahhhh; he dismissed Feinberg’s request for a stay, which would have stopped all proceedings until it was decided whether the subpoena should be included in the MDL proceedings in Barbier’s Court in New Orleans.
“Until a transfer to a (MDL) has become final, a district court’s jurisdiction over pretrial matters is in no way impeded,” Reeves said. “And when a litigant improperly removes a case, the limited jurisdiction of federal courts is impermissibly invoked, resulting in an undue delay of a state court’s rightful duty to address a case’s merits.”
So back to Hinds County Chancery Court court we go…the court where Hood filed his suit against the GCCF back in July because of Feinberg’s unwillingness to respond.
“We have maintained all along that this issue belonged in a state court since we brought it under state law, and we are obviously pleased that the judge agreed with us,” Hood said in a press release. “We would hope that the GCCF and Mr. Feinberg could just do the right thing by the law and comply with our subpoena.”
Hmm…I’m thinking uh, well, good luck with that…
“If the GCCF has nothing to hide, why have they gone to such efforts to avoid compliance?” asks Hood. “We intend to find out.”
I sure hope so, because waiting for this independent federal audit promised by US Attorney General Eric Holder is really getting to be a drag…
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
In Alaska, whereas they have not suffered a spill as extreme as the one the company unleashed on the Gulf Coast, they have become quite familiar with this oil company’s pattern of negligence, their complete focus on profits and the willingness to let lawyers attempt to clean up the messes left behind by their poor safety conduct. Now, federal prosecutors are asking a judge to revoke BP’s probation from a conviction in 2007, stating the company is a recidivist offender and repeatedly, negligently discharges oil into the environment.
The hearing will be on November 29th in Anchorage…where surely they will examine:
Prosecutors said in their brief that BP’s history of environmental crimes in Alaska began in February 2001 when it pleaded guilty to releasing hazardous materials at its Endicott facility on the North Slope. The company was fined $500,000, placed on probation for five years and ordered to create a nationwide environmental management program, prosecutors said.
The March 2006 spill of 200,000 gallons of crude (in Prudhoe Bay) was caused by corrosion, and BP’s leak detection system failed to notice it, prosecutors said. The company’s guilty plea to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act in 2007 resulted in three years of probation, a $12 million fine, and restitution and community service payments totaling $8 million to the state of Alaska and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, BP attorneys said.
Prosecutors contend BP violated the conditions of its probation by allowing the 2009 spill from an 18-inch pipe moving oil, water and gas from drill pads to BP’s Lisburne Processing Center. That spill, prosecutors said, leaked 13,500 gallons of oil onto tundra and wetlands. “This rupture was the result of a predictable and preventable freezing of produced water within the pipeline that caused the pipe to over-pressurize and burst,” prosecutors said. It was eerily similar to the 2006 spill, prosecutors alleged, because BP ignored alarms that warned of the pipe’s eventual rupture and leak. The 2009 spill also followed a similar pipe freezing and rupture in 2001, they said, and BP failed to put in place preventative measures that their own experts recommended.
Prosecutors said the spill site directly abuts Prudhoe Bay and the damaged wetlands are covered by the Clean Water Act. They also contend the spill criminally violated state pollution laws because of BP negligence.
It should be noted for those in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, it is expressly this type of pattern that BP recently requested be rendered inadmissible in the trial for the events concerning the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, asking Judge Barbier to exclude not only these convictions, but the convictions surrounding the explosion of their oil refinery in Texas City which killed several workers…because such facts are, you know, prejudicial and shows British Petroleum’s irresponsible and unsafe actions to be well, irresponsible and unsafe.
Barbier has yet to give his decision on the matter, but along with hoping BP’s probation is revoked, here’s hoping Judge Barbier recognizes it’s time for this company, finally, to really pay for their horrendous actions, for their record to be laid bare in the court and for them to pay not only through the nose, but every other available orifice, two times.
But you know, I fear even that won’t be enough.
Eleven men died on the Deepwater Horizon. Fifteen died and over 170 were injured in the explosion of BP’s refinery at Texas City.
Some court of law, somewhere, some time needs to send some of these bastards to prison: two explosions – twenty-six people dead.
Jail does need to happen. It’s the only way BP’s behaviors will change, simply because if these pricks can afford to throw out $20 billion, (how much of which are U.S. government subsidies?) to pay damages for the consequences of their behavior, how else will they understand the criminality of their actions until the people of the Gulf Coast and Alaska can finally line-up on visiting day and take their turns spitting in the face of those convicted for the actions leading to the death of their loved ones and the destruction of their environment and livelihoods?
Because right now, the only thing BP’s getting for their behavior is more money.
So for the jail thing, I pick Bob and Tony.
I know, a no-brainer, but what can I say? I like to keep it simple, and I’m thinking rather than continue making millions of dollars in salary, these two begin to pay for their negligence, and for their lies and their pattern of violence against the people of the United States, and environment we live in.
It’s a thought…
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Last summer, when the Macondo Well was still flowing, the US government allowed British Petroleum to keep the press out of the immediate, oil impacted areas. A number of reasons were given at the time…encroachment on private property, safety of cleanup workers, or keeping press boats from running over boom meant to contain the oil.
These reasons were all bullshit, of course.
Hell, at first they even tried to deny they were attempting a media blackout, but what it all comes down to is a private company, with government ascent was allowed to restrict the rights of the press, thus negating much information and imagery that we, as American citizens have a right to read and witness, to be informed about.
And this media blackout is not an anomaly, it is part of a larger overall pattern, evidenced again by the eviction from Zucotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protestors. When the NYPD entered the park, they also attempted to keep the media out, keep them from documenting the raid:
At a news conference after the park was cleared Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg defended the police behavior, saying that the media was kept away “to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect members of the press.”
Some members of the media said they were shoved by the police. As the police approached the park they did not distinguish between protesters and members of the press, said Lindsey Christ, a reporter for NY1, a local cable news channel. “Those 20 minutes were some of the scariest of my life,” she said. Ms. Christ said that police officers took a New York Post reporter standing near her and “threw him in a choke-hold.”
Journalists were arrested, pepper-sprayed and beaten by the police, to keep them safe, protected, out of harms way…again, bullshit. It was an obvious attempt to hide what the police were doing, and how they were doing it. Much like British Petroleum tried to keep images of the oil spill from the mainstream press, or limit them however they could to better enable BP to construct the narrative, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD do a similar thing, keeping images from the press knowing full well that more images of the NYPD beating down or pepper spraying protestors would provoke greater sympathy and hamstring their ability to say whatever they like about how the events occurred.
Facts and law are not important…in fact, laws are mere guidelines, something for lawyers to argue about later…
Laws are something for the people to follow, not for those who see themselves in charge…
Press freedom and the rights entailed therein are handed down, controlled from on high – not from the courts, but by larger business interests, politicians and their police departments…
Yes, the great wealth divide in this country is not just about money and who has it, it’s also about who must follow the rule of law, who gets to be heard and by whom and who gets to be on the blunt end of the ongoing militarization of this country’s police departments.
From British Petroleum to Michael Bloomberg to one more police beat down of Berkeley college students…at what point do the laws of this country protect us and our freedoms, instead of protecting those who move so quickly to take these freedoms away in order to protect themselves?
Have a nice day.