Disenfranchised Citizen

Chicago, New Orleans and living a beautiful, angry life between the two…

Archive for the ‘Coast Guard’ Category

Lawyers, guns and money…now featuring the Feds!

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The door to Eric Holder's office...

In the Gulf of Mexico, the government serves two fundamental roles:

1. They are the protective savior, providing certain corporations and clean-up contractors legal cover for any consequences that might arise from the manufacture and use of poisonous products.

or…

2. They are an overprotective savior, goose-stepping boogeymen who don’t know shit about marine life, and waste everyone’s time getting in the way of big oil and natural gas.

Man…it’s a damned if you do situation that’s almost enough to make one sympathetic towards the Obama administration…almost, but not quite.

Anyways…

Nalco, the makers of “safe as dish soap” Corexit, and other companies involved in cleaning up the oil filed a motion in Judge Barbier’s court asking the judge to dismiss them from liability because their product is safe they were operating on behalf of the feds, and therefore feel they are entitled to immunity from any later health claims.

You see, Nalco only manufactured the stuff, it was the government and BP who actually used it, and that is not Nalco’s fault.

And you see, the clean-up companies only didn’t provide proper protective gear to cleanup workers, it was the government and BP who actually…uh provided…who uh, what, no? Look damnit, the clean-up contractors were working for the government and therefore feel they too should be given immunity from the consequences of all their bullshit money saving, PR working tactics to score contracts and make everyone happy, well, everyone except the actual workers.

You know?

Jesus…

Thank God that Plaintiff Steering Committee is in place to put a stop to this kind of corporate dodge. I mean, after the actions of the banks in ’08, what with their causing, then benefiting from the recession at the expense of so many, you just know the attorneys aren’t going to sit still and let yet another group of companies screw the people for their own financial benef…wait, what?

“In mid-February, the plaintiffs steering committee filed a motion saying that it believed that BP would ultimately be responsible for any health issues associated with responding to the spill, so it asked the court if it could remove the clean-up, responder and dispersant defendants from its complaint so it could concentrate on BP. The plaintiffs said that such a move would dismiss the companies from the litigation, but not let them entirely off the hook.”

The PSC filed to remove Nalco and the clean-up companies because going after all these companies would be too hard? Because they just wanted to focus on BP? What, are they not getting paid enough to handle such complexities?

Okay…okay…now true, the PSC did ask for dismissal without prejudice, meaning they can re- file against these companies later, but in doing so…didn’t they just help Nalco and the cleanup companies bolster their case for getting themselves dismissed “with prejudice,” or in other words, dismissed for real? It sure would seem so…the PSC takes a half-step and Nalco sees that half-step and raises them a full, all the while arguing they were just following orders, man…it ain’t them, it was the government. We didn’t tell the Feds to dump two million gallons of this poison into the Gulf, we just brought it in on tanker trucks. They asked. We delivered. Yes, right, and the banks were just trying to turn a profit under the law, they didn’t do anything wrong either.

Recession? What recession?

Cancer cluster? What cancer cluster?

Dolphin deaths off the Louisiana coast?

Huh? What dolphin deaths?

“From February 2010, NOAA has reported 180 dolphin strandings in the three parishes that surround Barataria Bay — Jefferson, Plaquemines and Lafourche — or about 18 percent of the 1,000 estimated dolphins in the bay. Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it had found 32 dolphins in the bay underweight, anemic and showing signs of liver and lung disease. Nearly half had low levels of stress hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.

Lori Schwacke, a NOAA scientist, said the dolphins’ hormone problems could not definitely be tied to the oil spill but were “consistent with oil exposure.” Over the same period of time, NOAA says 714 dolphins and whales have been found stranded from the Florida Panhandle to the Texas state line, with 95 percent of those mammals found dead. Normally, the region sees 74 reported dolphin deaths a year.”

So then, it would appear that something is not only wrong in the courthouse, something is very wrong with the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, especially around Louisiana where the oil spill flowed the heaviest…and in response to all this death and dying, the feds stepped in to ban the seismic equipment used by oil and natural gas companies to find geologic deposits for drilling. These seismic surveys are done with air-guns that emit pulsing sounds known to disturb marine mammals and could also disrupt mother and calf bonding for the dolphins. Okay…government being cautious…good and how long is the ban in effect for? Just until the beginning of May when calving season ends.

Again…good, so everybody’s happy, right?

Of course not…

Global Geophysical Services Inc. the company being paid to do these surveys and therefore having no conflict of interest dispute the dangers of their testing, saying, “We see no hazard to them (the dolphins) whatsoever.”

Oh, okay…well there you have it then. The company also notes that since the government has stepped in with their new unnecessary regulations, they have had to lay off thirty people…so there. Man, just give it a day until Jindal’s giving a speech somewhere to talk about what a rat bastard Obama is…

What a drag to be a fed these days.

Not only should the government provide immunity to companies that manufacture poisons or perhaps lack proper cleanup gear, thus causing health problems for untold amounts of people, but the government should stop enforcing regulations that protect marine life in the same Gulf where all those toxic poisons were dumped.

Total drag, these two roles of government in the Gulf:

You exercise a  lack of caution, companies demand you provide legal immunity.

You exercise any caution, companies demand you get out the way of big business because you’re costing money and jobs.

It’s gotta almost be enough for Obama to grab a seismic air-gun, march into Barbier’s courtroom and point it at not only the defendants, but the entire Plaintiff Steering Committee and I for one, wouldn’t mind if he did.

Hell, I might even meet him there to see if he’d let me pull the trigger.

That’s the one role I think I’d like to play.

Read the articles:

Should Gulf oil spill dispersant, clean-up companies stay in the litigation?

Feds stop oil company’s tests in Gulf amid concerns over dolphins

Have a nice day.

Corexit, oil and seafood…oops!

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What me, worry?

Did you hear the one about the dishsoap safe Corexit, so mild it wouldn’t harm your most fragile of dishes? No? Okay, well…how about that whole seafood safety, oil didn’t enter the food chain thing? No, not that one either, huh?

Well, no worries, turns out you didn’t waste your time as that was all just one tremendous line of shit.

From British Petroleum’s own safety manuals, in regards to Corexit:

Warning – Eye and skin irritant. Repeated or excessive exposure to butoxyethanl (active ingredient in Corexit) may cause injury to red blood cells, kidney or the liver…Do not get in eyes, on skin, on clothing…use with adequate ventilation, wear suitable protective clothing, flush affected area with water…”

And…

“Excessive exposure may cause central nervous system effects, nausea, vomiting, anesthetic or narcotic effects…”

Yes, just like any dish soap I’ve used in the past…

The Louisiana Environmental Network is of course, all over this, asking many of the right questions…such as why were cleanup workers using this crap denied ventilators? In fact, why did BP and its contractors tell cleanup workers that protective clothing and special equipment were unnecessary, despite the fact BP’s own manual specifically stated protective equipment should be worn?

And, I might add, this same chemical, all two million gallons worth is what contractors and the Coast Guard were dropping from planes, and dropping in such a way that it reportedly fell onshore at times.

Oh…and the whole seafood safety, oil not entering the food chain thing we kept hearing so much about, or kept hearing so much about how it wasn’t happening?

Yeah, well, it did…

By way of  Library Chronicles, I give you Dr. Siddhartha Mitra with East Carolina University:

“Our research helped to determine a ‘fingerprint’ of the Deepwater Horizon spill; something that other researchers interested the spill may be able to use,” Mitra told ECU Now Blog. “Furthermore, our work demonstrated that zooplankton in the Northern Gulf of Mexico accumulated toxic compounds derived from the well.”

Yeah, and all those zooplankton are of the lower rungs in the food chain which essentially means that the fish eating the zooplankton? Oiled, and the fish that eat the fish that ate the zooplankton? Oiled…and you, eating the fish that ate the fish that ate the zooplankton?

Huh…we probably need a study.

So…to sum up…

We’ve been told over and over that all’s well, all’s getting better in the Gulf when it turns out the oil, that BP catastraphuk Deepwater Horizon oil? It did enter the food chain and if you’re eating the seafood and now starting to wonder about that oil, and as a result now feeling kind of dirty or unclean…well, you can listen to BP’s spokespeople, about their “safe as dish soap” dispersant and perhaps use it to clean up a bit, much in the same way the company used it to clean up the Gulf and besides, I hear it really cuts grease and just might soften your hands too, if by softening you mean, again from the manual:

“Defat and dry the skin, leading to discomfort and dermatitis.”

That’s kind of like softening, right?

I don’t know.

Perhaps one should ask Bob Dudley, or better yet ask LEAN, I think they’re more likely to give you an honest response.

Have a nice day.

The winds of change…

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Another Disenfranchised Citizen at the corner of Geary and Larkin, Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. See ya soon...

Hello again…

Some of you out there are aware the moving days are upon me…just completed one move, literally down the street which helped pave the way for the big move, five weeks from today to New Orleans San Francisco. Originally, I wanted it to be New Orleans, but alas…you got yourself one fucked up governor down there and the only thing he likes better than giving no bid contracts to his campaign donors is to cut education and social services so…long story short…you got no jobs down there man! Not for a person like me…so I go to the one other place I enjoy so much and that would be San Francisco…

So, what does this mean for the Citizen…well…there gonna be somewhat of a pivot going on round here…

Now…never you fear, I got enough hatred of oil companies like BP and frankly any company who run roughshod over a populace with complicit politicians, government agencies, the courts…Looking at you Barbier and a bunch of asshole lawyers like Feinberg and the Plaintiff Steering Committee…

For example, if you haven’t seen this article yet, man…really, check it out:

BP Settlement Sells Out Victims

Wait, what? You mean to tell me the people of the Gulf Coast got screwed again?

No way, say it ain’t so…

However…like I mentioned, there will be a pivot where I’ll also now be writing about some Bay Area stuff…like the coming fiscal and environmental tragedy called the America’s Cup…where you just know the city of San Francisco in general, and the people who can least afford it in specifics are all about to get financially hosed by a bunch of wealthy bastards on racing yachts…oh yeah, and then of course there’s San Francisco’s newly elected Sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi who is about to go to court on domestic violence charges…

Yeah, and I’ll be attempting to keep writing while I move cross-country, find a job, find an apartment..etc… Hell, I even had to go buy me a new smart phone for the task…

Oh, and by the way…want to know a huge similarity between California and New Orleans?

One big fucked up levee system courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers with a long legacy of mismanagement and shortcuts.

Anyways, wish me luck and I’ll see you back here tomorrow afternoon…

Have a nice day.

-Drake

More lies, more dead dolphins…

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So then it's agreed? The dolphins are all committing suicide in protest of fewer deep sea oil platforms to swim around. Wonderful...Bob, you good with that? Great. Okay, bring the Coast Guard in here...

It just keeps getting funnier, except it’s not…

In this past week, it has been reported how, in the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, British Petroleum had demanded via e-mail that it’s own expert be kept quiet when he gave his opinion stating 82,000 barrels of  crude a day were coming from the Macondo Well. In fact, two days after ordering his silence, BP publicly announced their estimate that the flow rate was only 1,000 barrels per day. And of course, this report comes on the heels of another showing how the White House had been trying to get the United States Geologic Survey to downgrade its flow rate estimates in public statements too, reducing the USGS estimate of at least 25,000 barrels of oil per day coming from the well to a number the NIC thought sounded better, 12,000 to 25,000 barrels or better still, the estimate a White House Communications officer suggested, 12,000 – 19,000 barrels per day. Oh, and who can forget the wrongful termination lawsuit being filed by August Walters where he claims to have been fired by BP a couple of months back because he wouldn’t modify clean-up data  to make the beaches appear cleaner on paper than they in fact truly were, thus allowing BP to say they’d turned the corner and in light if this data, come to an agreement with the Coast Guard to officially move from cleanup to restoration, all while eagerly anticipating the stock bump to come from such an announcement.

Yes, these are the assholes in charge making things right along the Gulf Coast, and yes, the oil company mentioned in the above paragraph is the same British Petroleum putting out all those feel good commercials telling you how everything is just swell now. Hey! The economy, the seafood and the jobs are back!

And now, today even, when it comes to that same oil company and that same government, I’m sure if you asked, they’d go on and on to tell you how it would be impossible for the low-balling of flow-rate numbers that lead to a potentially flawed cleanup response based on their bad data, and how the fact there is still more unaccounted for oil in the Gulf of Mexico than was spilled from the Exxon Valdez…yeah, they’ll tell you how none of this has anything to do with more dead dolphins…even if there still is oil along the Louisiana coast.

Of course not.

That would be fucking ridiculous, and potentially unprofitable…

However:

“Since the beginning of the month, 14 marine mammals, including a dozen dolphins, have been found along the northern Gulf of Mexico. Half of the dead dolphins washed up on the Louisiana coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calls it an “Unusual Mortality Event” in the northern Gulf and next month will mark two years since it began. The tally so far: 630 dead.

The event started in February of 2010 – two months before the oil spill began. Still, the deaths raise a red flag with the Gulf Restoration Network. “The ongoing death of these dolphins speaks to the idea that we haven’t seen all of the impacts from the BP oil drilling disaster end yet,” said Dan Favre of the Gulf Restoration Network.

Ridiculous, indeed…

Read the article:

More dead dolphins wash up on Southeast Louisiana coast

Have a nice day.

BP: Cleanup, restoration and data-tampering lawsuits…

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August who? Nope...never heard of such an incompetent, lying son of a bitch...why do you ask?

When an employee of BP refuses to go along with the corporate narrative that all’s swell with Gulf cleanup, does BP change the narrative to make it more accurate? Does it admit there may be some problems, that they might not have done everything they promised to do?

No, instead they run some feel good commercials enforcing their narrative about Gulf health.

Oh…and that employee?

Fired.

So says a lawsuit for wrongful termination filed by August Walters, a former employee of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization (GCRO) as State Planning Lead “for the purpose of developing a descriptive plan to accomplish the cleaning of oil caused by the BP spill.”

From the article:

According to the suit, Walter’s job involved creating plans for the clean-up, known as Shoreline Treatment Recommendations (STR), which were prepared and approved with the oversight of the U.S. Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) “to be in compliance with federal and state environmental rules and regulations.” BP would then be responsible for implementing the plans. But, Walter claims, in May and June of 2011 he “began to convey his concerns that BP Mississippi operations were intentionally not following the plans for clean up delineated by U.S. Government, the Coast Guard and the Department of the Interior.”

“Cory Brown, BP’s Deputy Operations Branch Director/Response Lead conveyed that he was defying the [recommendations] by insisting that BP was only picking up tar balls and not other smaller oil debris as required by the” Shoreline Treatment Recommendations. In September of last year, Walter told BP that he was required to inform stakeholders that the company was not following his recommendations.

And, what allegedly followed next is what one might expect from British Petroleum…a campaign to discredit Walters within the company, the suggestion that the data should be skewed because to move from cleanup plans to restoration plans would be good for the company stock, and threats that he was being watched, so if he continued to do his job correctly, lawfully, he would be reported to his superiors.

On November 3rd, according to another article, Walters was called into a meeting with BP’s vice president of operations, Carla Fontenot who informed him BP’s primary objective was to gain the confidence of the Coast Guard so that cleanup could move to another phase even though BP was still in violation of the cleanup plan.

By November 8th when Walters still had not complied by skewing data, he was placed on leave.

On November 9th, he was fired.

Oh, and also on November 9th, BP and the Coast Guard announced that 90% of the oil had been cleaned up and BP said it was moving from cleanup to Gulf restoration.

And months later, articles continue to appear in various newspapers, questioning this change from cleanup to restoration when oil continues to wash ashore, hinder wetlands and lie in tar mats on the seafloor, just waiting for the next storm to bring it all up on the beaches again, especially when this change to restoration no longer holds British Petroleum accountable for long-term monitoring or continued cleanup of the beaches.

As Garret Graves, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman, puts it:

“The whole discussion goes back to legacy response,” Graves said. “You have more oil unaccounted for right now than was spilled during the Exxon Valdez. Tell me what would happen if the Coast Guard in Alaska had said, ‘We’re not going to clean this up. Let it naturally degrade.’ ”

Read the articles:

Lawsuit Claims Former BP Employee Was Fired For Refusing To Skew Clean-Up Data

Fired Over Cleanup Data, BP Worker Says

Have a nice day.

BP serving free lemonade in the French Quarter…

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Extra ice, please...

So, I saw another BP commercial the other day, and it seemed a bit…disingenuous.

I mean, we all want the Gulf to be okay. We do. It’s our finest hope that lives so rudely interrupted by BP’s catastraphuk can get back to normal…but these advertisements, the ones that make it look like maybe the oil spill was the best thing that could’ve happened to the Gulf, the way it brought entire communities together, singing Kumbaya and building spiritual alters to Bob Dudley’s benevolence?

Really, British Petroleum needs to knock it off…

If BP pisses in a glass and tells everyone it’s lemonade…sure, the people might believe it until they pick up the glass, but then they’re going to wonder why it’s being served so warm, and that’s really what BP’s doing, serving warm lemonade nationwide.

Since the beginning of this thing, 20 months ago, this oil company has been in public relations mode, spinning selective facts at a million dollar pace, and over the past couple of weeks, it’s only amped up and would seem poised to continue throughout the football playoffs, tailor-made for a nationwide audience.

“I’m glad to report that all beaches and waters are open for everyone to enjoy!” BP representative Iris Cross says in one TV spot to an upbeat soundtrack.

Yeah, except, it’s not true.

“They talk about areas being all open. There are areas that are still closed,” said A.C. Cooper, a shrimp fisherman in Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana. He listed some bays and fishing spots that he says the state still has closed due to oil contamination. “It’s bogus, it’s not the truth.”

That’s right…fishing areas still closed…20 months later.

“And the economy is showing progress, with many areas on the Gulf Coast having their best tourism season in years,” Cross continues, beaming away.

Again, not entirely true.

Bridgette Varone, head of the Gulf Coast chapter of the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association, said restaurants reported similar revenues in both 2010 and 2011 for the month of June, one of the busiest months, “I wish we had better news to report,” Varone said. “We didn’t blow any socks off.”

And…

“The numbers on our shrimp are way down,” Cooper continued, “They (BP) make it sound like they’re doing a lot, but they’re not doing much to help the fishermen out … I got good fishermen struggling to pay their bills right now.” In addition, the head of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, a commercial shrimpers group, called it “BP propaganda…When you have a lot of money, you can pretty much get any point across,” Clint Guidry complained. “It’s kind of like indoctrination.”

I don’t know, that sounds a lot like extraneous details…one might even call it unimportant anecdote…

Tom Mueller, a BP spokesman, said the ad campaign was highlighting “facts,” not “anecdotes.”

See?

So step right up and grab a glass…British Petroleum has spared no expense, even hiring two chefs, Emeril Lagasse and John Besh to serve up the lemonade, along with fish tacos and seafood jambalaya to tourists in town to catch the football games at the Superdome…

Because the seafood, it’s safe, get it?

Right.

Maybe if you have three shrimp per year…but if not, there might be a bigger problem, because when it comes to testing seafood coming out of the Gulf:

“The FDA is not only allowing PAH levels 100 to 10,000 times higher than normally considered safe….in fact, the FDA guidelines for testing are inadequate to begin with.  From not testing the entire organism’s body to grossly underestimating the amounts of seafood consumed by the average seafood eater…we should be very concerned about FDA guidelines for Gulf seafood.”

Hmm, it would seem some scientists aren’t drinking the lemonade.

Course, if British Petroleum wanted to make the argument things are fine with the ecology, the economy and the seafood they might want to make sure they’ve not left well over a million gallons of oil in the Gulf…but when it comes to transitioning away from cleanup towards restoration, British Petroleum also served a few pitchers to the Coast Guard, who approved of the transitional plan despite scenes such as:

“…Lafourche (Parish)… BP and the Coast Guard have still not removed three land bridges and two sheet-pile closures in Fourchon installed during the spill to keep oil from getting through breaches on the beach into interior marshes. “We are hesitant to remove them because of the oil. It’s collected above and below them,” Charlotte Randolph (Lafourche Parish President) said. “We don’t want to pull them out and allow that oil into marshes.”

Or as Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Garret Graves put it:

“The whole discussion goes back to legacy response,” Graves said. “You have more oil unaccounted for right now than was spilled during the Exxon Valdez. Tell me what would happen if the Coast Guard in Alaska had said, ‘We’re not going to clean this up. Let it naturally degrade.”

Seems to me like there’s a lot more work to do, regardless of what the advertisements say and British Petroleum needs to learn, no matter how many times they say it, no matter how much money they have, public relations spin is still a lie, the truth is still out there and that truth remains below the surface of the water, in the marshes and on the dinner plates…

BP needs to have continued monitoring for oil in the Gulf with cleanup response at the ready. BP needs to be pushing sincere testing of Gulf seafood, instead of testing geared towards an end result. BP needs to stop shoving their self-proclaimed innocence down people’s throats and/or smothering them with rosy, tourist advertisements that deny the problem.

Or hell, go ahead, make your tourist advertisements, but make them honest…let people know that sure, coming on down to the Gulf for a vacation can be safe, fun and relaxing…but that your company still has so much more to do, and you intend to do it, for reals…and you don’t intend to withdraw your efforts while turning up the volume on your commercials, because here’s the thing…if you dumb bastards keep lying about the Gulf, by the time you don’t need to lie anymore, nobody will believe you’re telling the truth.

I don’t care who BP pays to hand out fish tacos in the French Quarter, it doesn’t fix the Gulf, and it doesn’t make everything fine again…

And no amount of warm lemonade will change that fact

Have a nice day.

Romney: I like being able to fire people…

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Ever see that South Park episode where people defecate out of their mouths?

Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate one pundit described as the candidate who most looks like the guy who laid you off during the recession had this to say in New Hampshire today:

“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”

Granted, the line was taken out of context as he was discussing how people dissatisfied with the service they are getting should be able to take their business elsewhere…but seriously, this is politics so you can take your “out of context” and put it in the same fucking coal bin as your “it’s not a lie, it’s spin…” argument.

All of them…this charade…Republican and Democrats where these tools march around stages, smile insincerely and tell you whatever you want to hear, whatever they think we need to hear to make us feel better, more positive, as completely in the dark as possible…

Well, I like being able to fire people too…

And I’d like to fire the entire mainstream news media for participating in this bullshit charade, then heading off to the bar to pat each other on the back for the service they’ve done for nobody.

And speaking of bullshit disservice…

How about Chefs Emeril Lagasse and John Besh, doing their part to feed the BP Public Relations Machine…

Mitt!

There’s some firing to do…

But more on that for tomorrow…

Have a nice day.

Written by Drake Toulouse

January 9, 2012 at 1:17 PM

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