A couple of quick questions about oil induced political ignorance…

He's betting the House on the fact that you, dear reader, are a complete moron...

So, I was reading an article/book review in Time magazine about the Deepwater Horizon where the writer, a Mr. Bryan Walsh separates people into two camps…people who can’t forget about the oil spill and say the region still hasn’t recovered (Dead coral, dolphins, depleted shrimp catches, health problems, tar balls still and oil entering the food chain…etc…) and the people who just want to forget all about the oil spill, mainly people in the oil industry and Republicans who complain that offshore drilling has slowed under Obama.

And I just gotta ask, which I know puts me in that first group…forget about the oil spill? Seriously? You’d have to be pretty boiled over with distracted emotion to forget about millions of barrels of oil and millions of gallons of Corexit being dumped all over our nation’s main source of seafood, among other things…

Hmm, did I say anger?

Yeah, the GOP, they’re really, really angry…at Obama and the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOERME) with it’s new (kind-of) safety regulations and (kind-of) oversight.

GOP Rep. Doc Hastings is beside himself pissed, issuing subpoena’s every chance he gets…but with all that anger, being so focused and all…I gotta ask, “Hey, GOP, what about BP?”

Can you spare a bit of your angry jackassery for the dipshits at British Petroleum?

As this article points out, by way of a review of Abrahm Lustgarten’s book, Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon:

“What had been a company with a history of safety—even dullness—was turned upside down. And while profits and market share increased, the accidents started piling up. In 2005 a major explosion occurred at BP’s Texas City refinery, killing 15 workers. Employees had complained for months of the dangerous conditions at the refinery, but nothing was done. The next year a major spill occurred in BP’s Prudhoe Bay, Alaska facilities, resulting in more fines for the companies. Even before Deepwater Horizon, BP was cited far more often by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for safety violations than any other company. As Scott West, a former EPA official who had investigated the company in Alaska, told me after the spill, BP was a “serial environmental criminal.”

A “serial environmental criminal…”

So, Obama and BOERME play it safe, a move necessitated by the fact that British Petroleum played it anything but and thus caused the United State’s worst environmental disaster of all time and now, correct me if I’m wrong, but the oil industry and the GOP are maintaining that it is Obama who’s the asshole in all this?

Huh…

Well, in my opinion, you guys should all go and kind of eat some shit…and that goes double for you, Vitter, you self righteous-hypocritical prick. Maybe you might listen to reason at the next BOERME meeting if they bring you a pair of diapers and a bible, ass.

Read the article:

Nearly Two Years On, Did the BP Oil Spill Have to Happen to BP?

Have a nice day.

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Senator John Cornyn, still an asshole…

"...so I said, In Texas, we got an understanding: BP is a job creator and federal fines are just another way of saying taxes, so why encourage the job creators to not create jobs by paying fines. Hell, I'll only vote for this bill if the Democrats come up with $20 billion dollars in spending cuts to offset this shakedown..."

Remember last June, when the Macondo Well was still spewing oil, and Tony Hayward appeared at the congressional hearing where Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tx apologized to Tony’s company for the actions of the Obama administrations, suggesting the creation of British Petroleum’s $20 billion dollar escrow fund came only after a White House “shakedown”?

Yeah, and then everybody freaked out (even Boehner) and Barton backtracked reporting his apology wasn’t really an apology, it was more of a “misconstrued misconstruction.”

Yeah, but then Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tx, defended Joe Barton by saying:

“…the part that Representative Barton is expressing some concern about, that I share the concern, is this has really become a political issue for the President and he’s trying to deal with it by showing how tough he’s being against BP. The problem is BP’s the only one who really is in control of shutting down this well, and he’s trying to mitigate, I think, his own political problems.”

The media had it all wrong according to John.

You see, Rep. Barton, long up the ass of big oil, was not trying to apologize to his masters at all, he was just pissed that Obama wasn’t joining he and Mr. Cornyn in British Petroleum’s anal cavity, not even after they’d gotten him a chair, set the table, promised to be on their best behavior, not even after British Petroleum gave Obama all that campaign money. No, John was just trying to point out, to demonstrate that Obama was another Democrat playing politics with tragedy, and even worse, at the time he was playing politics better than Republicans like Bobby Jindal who could only muster up a helicopter ride, which financially wasn’t helping anybody. Obama was certainly playing politics better than John Cornyn whose idea of smart politicking was to apologize for a fellow Texan who apologized to the oil company who screwed up the entire Gulf of Mexico.

Asshole…then and now, but why now, you might ask?

Simple.

As the Senate Bill that would guarantee 80% of the fines levied against BP be given to the Gulf Coast states comes out of committee, ready to be voted on by the full Senate, Sen. James Imhofe, R-Okla (another asshole) has decided to raise objections to this bill for a few reasons, one of them being his disappointment that not all ten of the senators from the Gulf Coast signed on in favor.

Nine did, but one lone Senator saw fit to hold out.

Guess which one.

Yeah…Sen. John Cornyn.

Maybe he just couldn’t find his way out of Joe Barton or BP’s ass.

Read the article:

Gulf of Mexico oil spill fine allocation gets bipartisan support in U.S. Senate committee

Have a nice day.

Your Musical Interlude…July 4th, Ani DiFranco, Blue Nile, British Petroleum, Barack Obama…

No, not yet, but I am hopeful...always hopeful, have to be...hopeful.

I don’t celebrate July 4th.

I want to, and hope I will be able to again someday…but not yet…

I have this opinion, that if our founding fathers were walking the days, out and about, they would be appalled at what they see: simply put, the unnecessary suffering of so many, to benefit the simple greed of the few, a government run amok, a modern day oligarchy.

And then, when people want to reign in said government run amok, they only seem to want to do so to benefit those who are ruining what this country once tried to stand for, instead of doing so to help the people. Freedom, independence, community, benevolence and care…these are the things once practiced here. Take a look at those who shout the loudest, who refuse to listen…chances are, they care more about a corporation and their money, than they do an individual and their dreams…and that hurts us all.

Are we a community, a country, living and breathing as an organic body?

Or are we walking out armed by bullshit law, propaganda, and lobbyists…in the name of God, Greed and Goliath?

My views on independence day aren’t everybody’s independence day…no worries. But for some of us, when we read a certain Declaration of Independence or Thomas Paine, or when we read Thoreau and the Bill of Rights, we believe in what these writings have to teach us…and not only when we are watching a Nike advertisement or a political commercial for whatever the fuck Bobby Jindal, David Vitter, British Petroleum and Ken Feinberg have decided are the latest facts…

It’s the Fourth of July, independence day, so we think as we like…and the more I think, the more I’m free, and the more I’m willing to pay for these freedoms so many politicians are so quick to leave behind…the American community, and our brothers live under a bridge, our sisters live in a woman’s shelter and our kids are all trying to get grants, to get an education, to join those who might bring down those who would slight them, slight us, and while proclaiming trite slogans under corporate banners, slight the idea of America…

All at the expense of those who want to really believe.

I once saw Ani Difranco at the House of Blues in New Orleans, just as I saw her at the Congress Theater in Chicago, the Warfield in San Francisco, the Eagles Club in Milwaukee and the Paramount in Seattle…she speaks truth, unfettered and has for twenty years…so enjoy, there simply ain’t no one else like her…a part time resident of New Orleans, a part time resident of Buffalo…and a full time resident of the United States, no matter what some politicians, if they really listened to what she had to say, might want you to think…

So, I don’t believe much in heroes, an overused term and when asked who my heroes might be, I usually feign ignorance…but in honor of Independence Day, I’ll admit it…here’s one:

“Can’t sit on my porch and smoke a jay
and remember how peaceful life can be
but all night long are a bunch of pushers
selling drugs right there on my TV
drugs that whether or not i buy
are gonna end up in my water supply
along with who knows what else, who knows when,
just gotta take a deep breath and drink it in

around here there’s one thing people know
it’s that government ain’t there for you, it’s all for show
and I’m trying to tell them it don’t have to be so
but I can understand that their confidence is low
cos round here the people’re so high they can’t see
over the tops of the tall pine trees
down to the mouth of the Mississippi

oh, blood ignited in a blighted sky
oh, blood on the water like we all could die
blood in the reeds glistening in the sun
blood on our hands, each and everyone,
here in the calm before the wars
when the earth shrugs us off like dinosaurs
here in the sunset days of yore
the first signs washing ashore

******
goddess, come and lift us here in deepest Louisiana
in the gut, where hunches come from
a message goes out loud as it can

******
you’d have thought we’d have come more far somehow
since the changing of the guard and all
i mean dude could be FDR right now
and instead he’s just shifting his weight
the disappointment is a knockout blow
filmed in torturous slow-mo
oh “hope”, please come where i can see
don’t let the poison get the best of me

well, truth is for telling, truth is foretold
truth is for those with the guts to behold
we got vampires down here in Louisiana
we need voodoo dolls, we need talisman
we need wooden crosses set alight
we need harbingers riding thru the night
we need fountain pens, we need whale harpoons
to overthrow the oil tycoons

cos there’s no fish in the water, no birds in the sky
no life in the soil, no end to the lie
no time like the present and it’s passing us by
but it’s never too late, never too late to try
cuz if we all had to change, we all just would
and we would move closer and that would be good
and we would buy local and we would buy less
and we would realize that wasn’t our happiness
no, that wasn’t our happiness…”

Have a nice day and be well…

Sen. David Vitter…”Let them eat empty rhetoric”

David Vitter: Electricity, Food, Birth Control, Water, Prostitutes...these are not human rights, these are articles of privilege.

The federal budget must be reduced solely by spending cuts, so says David Vitter…

The Washington Post then reported the results of a poll which found 69% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans say they would support a plan to raise taxes for those earning more than $250,000 a year, if the proceeds go towards deficit reduction.

To which David replied, “With all due respect to the Washington Post, I’ve been listening to Louisianans all this week at town hall meetings throughout the state…and they are absolutely focused on Washington’s spending problem.”

To which Drake Toulouse replied, “With all due respect to David Vitter, I too have been listening to Louisianans all this past week at town hall meetings throughout the state…and they are absolutely focused on Washington’s tax cuts to the wealthy problem.”

Okay, now those can’t both be true. I know, I’m not a senator or anything, but it would appear they are diametrically opposed, so how could this be?

Perhaps, it’s because Mr. Vitter was surrounded by Republicans at his town hall meetings, his core group of supporters, you know, god-fearing, forgiveness-asking, kickers of the poor and middle class with an inability to answer questions by the press…the “I got mine, screw the rest” crowd.

Whereas at my town hall meetings, I was surrounded by anarchists, who tend to be my core group of supporters, you know, atheists who believe in toleration, helping each other out and equality.

Point is, David…if I go to Angola and take a poll of inmates to see how many people in the state of Louisiana support prison reform, chances are my polling data will be quite skewed, just like asking a bunch of Republicans serious enough about their conservative politics to go listen to you speak, on purpose, how they feel about making poor people pay more so rich people can have better cars, bigger homes, more Viagra and fuller (costume) balls…

Especially if you tell them it will hurt small business and people who donate the most money to your campaign.

Especially if you tell them a tax increase on people  making over $250,000 a year would mean more gays, more abortions and fewer jobs…why, I might even have heard that tax increases make God angry because to him, it’s the same thing as a war on Christmas, the ten commandments, and the factories that produce communion wafers and cheap wine.

David, please, stop being such a politician and try to think back to when you were a human being, maybe as a kid…ever know anyone who couldn’t afford their heating bill, their house mortgage or better yet, rent? How about people who couldn’t find a job and didn’t have family or savings to fall back on…or what about…

Okay, I know…I’ll stop, it’s not like he’s listening…it’s just so aggravating when politicians use empty rhetoric in attempts to prove a point.

It’s like when John Boehner says about spending cuts, we’ve been asking the people to tighten their belts, and it’s about time we make the same demands of the government. Yeah, that sounds pretty good, except that when the government tightens its belt, this means the middle and lower class will have to cinch theirs even tighter because they are the people who benefit, make ends meet with the the social programs the Republicans are so keen on cutting. It’s not like governmental belt tightening means the wealthy will be asked to give back their tax breaks.

Empty rhetoric…empty logic…and politicians who count on their electorates to not look past catchy bumper sticker slogans.

Perhaps at my next anarchist meeting, I’ll take a new poll, one that asks, “How many people think the uber-wealthy and their political support groups should build their castle walls a little higher?”

Or maybe:

“How long do you think the financially desperate are going to be okay with looking across their empty kitchen tables at hungry kids before they start to make the Democrats and Republicans really uncomfortable for giving away their futures to the wealthy?”

I’m guessing at my meetings, the percentages will be a long way from siding with all things Vitter.

Have a nice day.

So, they’ll get it right this time? Oil spills, mine disasters, levees and forgetfulness…

Far better prepared for this picture, than an oil spill...

It would appear a pattern is developing in this great land of ours. Simply put, we begin with a tragedy, then we have an investigation which discovers the governmental agencies designed to prevent such tragedies either fell down on the job or didn’t care, and even worse, the fail-safe for the agency that didn’t do their job is woefully unprepared to handle the mess created. Next, we get public and government anger, utter outrage about the aforementioned tragedy and congress types propose bills, make promises and issue guarantees that a tragedy like this will never happen again, and damnit, we mean it…never.

At least until next time.

What? What happened to the guarantees, the promises and the bills?

That was so last week man, have you talked to my lobbyist?

In a recent report, it was discovered (surprise) that the US Coast Guard was not prepared for a large deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the unified response to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe was continually troubled by this lack of planning. Government and private sectors “demonstrated a serious deficiency… (in) preparedness for an uncontrolled release of oil from an offshore drilling operation.” The panel also found many of the Coast Guard staff members interviewed “acknowledged that they were unfamiliar” with the plans to combat such a spill, “even though they held prominent positions” in the command structure for the response. Much of this is blamed on the changes to the Coast Guard, post 9-11. As their responsibilities were diversified, the oil spill response plan atrophied which resulted in problems with coordination and communication. From the report: “While the response plan by BP, the well’s operator, was criticized as unrealistic in the report, the government’s plans were also found to be inadequate and incomplete.”

Okay, given…anyone paying attention to events last summer could have figured out that both BP, the Coast Guard and state officials were caught with their pants down on this one, but…what happens now? New drilling permits are being issued, ten in fact (no matter what Vitter says).

“Capt. Ron LaBrec, a Coast Guard spokesman, said the Coast Guard was reviewing the recommendations and had already begun making improvements. (The Department of Homeland Security has requested an additional $11.5 million in its 2012 budget to help bolster the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to major spills, a department official said.)”

Improvements…

Perhaps a complete change might be more in order? One suggestion might be to immediately discuss and begin planning how to keep politics and corporate self-interest out of the equation.

If not, one might someday read an oil spill version of the soon to be even more tragic story about developments occurring since the Massey Mine disaster, which also happened last April and killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.

If you don’t recall, there was outrage by Congress and the public that federal regulators didn’t have the power to close dozens of mines that had racked up thousands of safety and health violations (sound familiar?). At the time, both parties in Congress vowed swift action. They promised from their pulpits to fix this so no family will ever have to go through this kind of tragedy again.

A bill was proposed. It would have made it easier to shut down problem mines. It would have increased penalties for serious safety violations and offered greater protection for whistleblowers, and it took eight months for the bill to even reach the floor of Congress where two weeks ago, this bill was killed off, voted down by every single Republican and 27 Democrats.

In 2010, 48 coal miners died, the most since 55 were killed in 1992.

As retired miner, Fred Burgess said, whose stepson Ronald Mayor died in the Upper Big Branch explosion, “The miners should have a safer workplace, but the mine companies throw a lot of money around, they have lobbyists all over the place.”

Indeed, and to add insult to injury, it would appear lots of those lobbyists have been speaking to Rand Paul, who recently said in response to the MSHA’s (Mine Safety and Health Administration) new proposals which would reduce by half the amount of coal dust miner’s breathe, coal dust being the primary cause of  black lung, “”Every regulation doesn’t save lives…There is a point or a balancing act between when a regulation becomes burdensome enough that our energy production is stifled.”

Or in other words, “What he’s suggesting is to keep the cost of coal down we would jeopardize the health of coal miners,” said Stephen Sanders, director of the Appalachians Citizens’ Law Center.

Oh, and speaking of guarantees and promises, anybody remember a certain town called New Orleans and this little catastrophic failure they had a few years back, you know, where over a thousand people died when the levees broke, in several places?

Yeah, remember all those promises made back in 2005, to guarantee that would never happen again?

Well, it would appear those promises were equally hollow. The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for building and fixing the failed levees, well…they’re working on it…going on six years later. Which isn’t to say improvements haven’t been made. They have, but do those improvements match all those guarantees and promises President and Congress types threw around during the flood’s aftermath?

Anybody want to by the Crescent City Connection?

Really, I’m selling…

But, back to the Coast Guard and their report. Whereas it’s great they are working on “improvements” to their response, it might be nice to see exactly what they are working on, how they intend to coordinate federal, state and local officials, how they intend to keep financial self-interest and politics out, how their own staff will be trained on any new plans that are so coordinated to ensure each administrative and governmental level is on board, you know, so we don;t wind up with useless sand berms.

It would seem if oil companies have a right to drill out there in the Gulf, and they are…Gulf Coast residents have a right to know what will be done, and a guarantee that it will be done to respond to another spill…even after the anniversary news coverage comes and goes.

After all, coal miners still haven’t gotten protection from cost cutting mine owners.

New Orleans still hasn’t received the levees promised by Congress and the Corp of Engineers.

And now, Gulf Coast residents are waiting to see if that pattern continues or breaks, and they’d probably like to know which, before the next big spill.

Hell, I would…because if there is one thing I’d…uh…oh damn…

From the Times Picayune:

“A year after the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Congress has done virtually nothing to address the issues raised by the oil spill — from industry liability limits, to regulatory reform, to coastal restoration, to broader issues of energy policy…”

Continue reading:

A year after Gulf oil spill, Congress is sitting on its hands

Have a nice day.

So which is it…BP drills again or no? Permits or no? Vitter’s an idiot or no?

The flag behind him means he's patriotic, the wedding ring means he's married and his open mouth means he likes to tell almost everybody he's both married and patriotic.

BP says this, the government says that…and then, David Vitter says what?

According to two British newspapers, the Financial Times and the Sunday Times, British Petroleum could be coming back to the Gulf this July…or will they? A government spokeswoman said the government had reached no agreement and no permits are in the offing, but the New York Times reports negotiations are underway with BP exchanging stricter government oversight for rights to again bore holes into the Gulf of Mexico’s sea floor.

Course, that new oversight could be only so much spilled milk as David Vitter this past week released the GOP’s alternative to Barack Obama’s energy plan which among other things would…

“Include some new provisions, including one designed to, in Vitter’s words, “properly limit” the time frame for environmental and judicial review of drilling permits. It would require any party wanting to challenge a federal drilling permit to do so within 60 days, with no chance to later add another legal challenge. It would limit court review to six months, and force litigants appealing a District Court ruling to go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejects the vast majority of appeal filings.”

The GOP plan is fittingly called the “3-D act: Domestic jobs, Domestic energy and Deficit reduction act of 2011.” 3-D, as in what an illusion.

So, to sum up:

BP may be drilling again in the gulf this summer, depending on an agreement that has not been reached which would allow greater oversight that Louisiana Senator David Vitter proposes to end, you know, to save jobs that were lost when poor governmental oversight helped result in BP fucking up the entire Gulf of Mexico.

Okay, well…in the world of Gulf Coast predators and their enablers, that sounds about right.

Have a nice day.

And now, a word from our sponsors…Vol. 14 – Prayer Version

Sometimes you need a break…

Pearl Jam – Do The Evolution

The hidden subtext?

Obviously…

Dear God,

I know it’s been awhile since I said hello. My bad, but things have been going pretty good so, thanks. I do have a request though and I’ve been thinking about it for a while now.

So, here goes:

Please, I’m begging you, please…can you back away from politics?

I don’t understand the choices you are making. I was raised in a Christian household by Christian parents, but they never let me in on your political predilections. They say that we are judged by the company we keep, well, do you really understand the political hues your friends are painting you with?

Crazy. Mean. Exclusionary. Bitter. Hate-filled. Kinda racist. Scared. Jaded. Fraudulent. A liar.

I wasn’t raised to perceive you in such terms; you were supposed to be compassionate, concerned for the poor, loving, but your political friends make you look like a mean-spirited, wealthy dick. I don’t think this is your intention, but I was also told you were infallible.

So, I’m confused.

Please help, and I understand the temptation to say, “I work in mysterious ways.” But please don’t do that. This is serious and people are starting to get the wrong idea: Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Christine Bachman, David Vitter, Glenn Beck…just to name a few, really, a few…there are a lot more, God. Some of them are even saying you told them to run.

Really?

These people seem to blame all the problems of our country on the same people your son seemed to represent, remember the allegory about the rich man, the camel and the needle?

Did you change your mind?

When did you start to hate Mexicans, Muslims and poor people so much, or is that just your political friends…see? That’s why I worry, it’s getting harder to separate you from them cause they keep talking about you all the time, like you talk only to them now.

What’s going on?

And even if you don’t answer, or let me know or give me a sign or something, thanks for the Super Bowl last year. Sincerely, that was really cool, and could you make the Army Corps of Engineers do New Orleans right this time? There’s a lot of people in that town who count on them and you…so, thanks.

Have a nice day.