And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
"[If the nation took an extremely vigorous stance on oil exploitation — and relaxed restrictions on the Gulf and drilled in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and off the coast of California, where America’s most easily accessible offshore oil is located — it still would not have much of an impact.] With the exception of the deep Gulf, where there are restrictions, people are drilling as fast as they can […] You might, under really optimistic scenarios, over five or six years, add 2 million barrels a day of production. On a global scale, it’s significant. But we would still be big importers — we would still be dependent on foreign oil. [Oil is traded on a world market, and the United States does not have enough petroleum to increase the global supply, which would reduce demand — and thus the price — for fuel.]"
— Mike Lynch, Strategic Energy and Economic Research, Inc. analyst and a self-proclaimed Republican, speaking to the Huffington Post. This cannot be repeated frequently enough. Something like it should be a regular refrain for Obama and all top Democratic leaders.
“Drill, baby, drill!” simply will not, cannot work to reduce, much less end our dependence on foreign oil. Period. Wishing won’t make it so. Willpower doesn’t enter into it. There isn’t enough oil on the Earth. Full stop.
All talk of carbon and its impacts aside: Find cheap space oil or think of some other way to generate power. Those are your two choices. Drilling won’t fix it. Ever.
Boehner: [Multi-billion dollar subsidies to oil companies are] certainly something we should be looking at. We're in a time when the federal government's short on revenues. [Oil companies] ought to be paying their fair share.
Obama: Dear Speaker Boehner, Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, and Representative Pelosi: I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and to use those dollars to invest in clean energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. [...] I was heartened that Speaker Boehner yesterday expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done.
Boehner through spokesman: Unfortunately, what the President has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.
"Last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. Let me repeat that. Our oil production reached its highest level in seven years. Oil production from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico reached an all-time high. For the first time in more than a decade, imports accounted for less than half of what we consumed. So any notion that my administration has shut down oil production might make for a good political sound bite, but it doesn’t match up with reality."
— Barack Obama, apparently forgetting that the facts do not matter. Without a coordinated messaging system to repeat this all day every day for 10 years it won’t even make a dent.
But, since we’re pretending facts are things that can be reported on, let’s add: “drill baby drill” won’t and can’t work. There isn’t enough oil in all of ANWR to make a dent in global demand, even if removed today by magic and all at once. As it stands, the best estimates of full production there would be between 0.4 and 1.2 percent of total world oil consumption in 2030. Read: not enough to matter, ever, under any imaginable circumstances on the global market as we know it. But why let that kind of crap thinking get in the way of national energy “policy?”
Every drop of oil in US territory that is thought of as technically recoverable (read: the over optimistic blue sky estimate) amounts to about 134 billion barrels; surely Sarah and the rest of the hockey Moms out there can get most of that extracted for us by tomorrow and all will be well with the world and gas will never rise above $1 a gallon again!
Oh, by they by, we used 20,680,000 bbl a day in 2007. Why, that means there’s US black gold enough to last us clear through 2014 if we really watch it and know-how our way to new and exciting technologies.
But: yawn. Charlie Sheen, everyone!
That would be the number of Republicans that voted to end taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil. Companies that are enjoying record profits of ~$100 billion per year, often pay no taxes whatsoever, and receive taxpayer provided subsidies to the tune of tens of billions of dollars per decade.
But, by all means, let’s cut $100 over here that just gets wasted on food for starving children. Furthermore, let’s agree not to discuss any of this. Shrill.
File under: Things We’re Not Allowed to Discuss.
Much easier to talk about big bad China bogeyman than the simple fact that the car-centric, energy hungry American lifestyle of the late 20th century on is the thing driving our trade deficits, driving our foreign policy decisions, driving our economy into the ditch. Is it any wonder? The economic inducements drive most people to live 50 miles from work and, as a result, drive for hours each and every day, and drive everywhere else you may want to go as well. Insanity. And, far from calling out said insanity, our society seems to look down upon and make life unnecessarily difficult for those who are even able to choose to withdraw from this cycle.
That it is a solvable problem if and when met with sustained will to change it gives me no optimism whatsoever. That the process of solving it would greatly assist our own recovery will never be discussed. Cars today! Cars Tomorrow! Cars über alles!
BP is housing hundreds of oil-spill clean-up workers on the Louisiana coast in “flotels” - 40-foot-long corrugated steel boxes that contain dormitory style beds
I hope they’re deducting a generous room and board allowance from what is inevitably temporary and benefits-free pay, which, of course arrives in the form of scrip. Spendable at company stores everywhere! Ask your employer about scrip!
You suck 16Bbl, and what do you get? Why, it’s great, and great looking and can be towed to an oil spill near you. Who says they’re not innovating?
According to the New York Times, the oldest oyster-shucking operation in the country shucked its last oyster on Thursday. Towards the end of the piece is this quote from the requisite owner/operator:
We were just hopeful they would have capped that thing by now [such that we wouldn’t be forced to shutter the business]
Uh, even if they had completely and forever capped it yesterday, your business model (harvesting food products from the gulf) is over. Probably for decades. Remains unclear to me why the media, so obsessed with idiotic minutiae, utterly fails to comprehend The Big Picture. All these gulf-based industries except oil are going away. And in terms of those living on the Earth today, they are likely going away forever. Oh, right, “obsessed with idiotic minutiae.”
MSM: If you want a guvmint-should-be-doing-more story, how’s about the guvmint should be actively retraining these folks, starting now for some sort of useful job that they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives, because shrimping, shucking oysters, and the various other food-related gulf industries are over. Forever. It’s just that the media, and by extension America, doesn’t seem to grasp this yet.
Deepwater Horizon officially an Irwin Allen film, at least according to these excerpts from Mother Jones; all they need is a bit of stage direction:
FADE IN: INT CONTROL ROOM
on the morning of the day that the rig exploded [Installation manager Jimmy] Harrell had a “skirmish” over drilling procedures during a meeting with BP’s “company man,” well site leader Robert Kaluza. “I remember the company man saying this is how it’s going to be,” [Douglas Brown, the chief mechanic on the Deepwater Horizon] told the panel. As Harrell was leaving the meeting, according to Brown, “He pretty much grumbled, ‘I guess that’s what we have those pincers for,’” referring to the blowout preventer on the sea floor that is supposed to be the last resort to prevent a leak in the event of an emergency. The blowout preventer failed following the explosion on the rig, causing the massive spill.
INT: CONTROL ROOM; fire is plainly visible outside the windows. EXT. commotion is heard throughout. Jimmy Harrell, a top employee of rig owner Transocean, speaks to HOUSTON via SATELLITE PHONE
HARRELL: Are you fucking happy? Are you fucking happy? The rig’s on fire! I told you this was gonna happen.
So, of course you lead your rebuttal with two incidents that do not substantiate your argument.
Hey pal, you’re the one that disputed the very existence of a focused and systematic deconstruction of the regulatory apparatus on the part of successive GOP administrations dating back to Reagan and “government is the problem.” Just providing you with a few of the more brazenly obvious examples of said “unheard of” activities that go beyond fostering a merely “cozy” relationship between regulators and industry. The regulations themselves have been weakened through a focused and Bush-administration-mandated lack of enforcement coupled with Congressional oversight turning a blind-eye to what amounts to ignoring a Constitutional mandate that the Executive branch see to the enforcement of the law as it exists, not the law they wish they had. See: Statements, Signing.
Proximate Cause: Cheney directly contributed to, and arguably caused this accident by determining that acoustic switches and more robust blowout preventers would be an “undue burden” on the industry
Cause: Blowout valve that was placed was insufficient to seal the bore in event of catastrophic accident
Effect: Essentially unstoppable flow of oil into gulf until some other solution is found
Yes, Dick Cheney was evil! Except no one knows why the blowout prevention system failed
The old “no one could have expected!” dodge. Uh, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we know exactly why it failed: Among other, more minor failings, even had everything worked perfectly the cutoff device was insufficiently robust to actually cut through the casing and seal the bore with the drilling and lining apparatus still in place.
Leaks in the hydraulic system that would activate the pistons in the [“unforeseeable”] event of an accident;
By design, 260 different failures that could require the BOP’s removal and replacement;
A useless test component installed, and;
Cutting tools that were not strong enough to shear through 10% of the joints in the piping.
You might note that each of these is a case directly addressable by a robust regulator assigned to oversee this activity. Any of these cases is found to exist: the work on drilling stops until they are rectified. The permit to drill can be suspended or revoked. Fines can be levied. None of these listed failures represents some condition that was unknowable or some totally unexpected chain of individually minor failures that led to the disaster. The primary cutoff system was insufficient to cut the bore. It should never have been placed. The regulatory apparatus as directly conceived and constructed by Bush/Cheney was asleep at the switch, a switch which they had furthermore allowed the oil industry to design and install (seeing as the regulatory reports were being filled out in pencil by the industry and “inked” by the regulators. Wonderful; indeed a searing indictment of the very concept that regulation can work. I guess we should just throw up our hands and forget about regulating industry.
But lets get back to your argument:
How do you stop “cronyism?”
How’s about by stopping cronyism? Simply deny the administration authority to undertake widespread replacement of the traditionally non-political, “career” civil service jobs (yes, I know you are shocked, shocked to hear that such a thing took place under Bush). And yes, Congress (lately in the fetid claws of The Democrat) desperately needs to flex its oversight power here; as a rule no administration should be allowed to sweep out what have been historically apolitical, career jobs in favor of putting unqualified hacks in place (that were, in this case, specifically placed to create the auto-affirming appearance of a government of by and for political hacks that is incapable of the simplest services or regulatory oversight). Undermining confidence in the government is/was the stated aim of these moves. And guess what: it’s working.
How do regulatory agencies take responsibility for decision-making that they don’t have absolute power over? Do you believe in providing them with absolute power?
Give them absolute power. That’s the point of any well thought out regulation, to remove the potentially devastating outcome of precisely this kind of case-by-case, politically charged decision making (recall that BP received a personalized waiver on this project, one which was renewed on an apparently pro forma basis by the Obama administration) and in place of that patronage- and crony-based situation you build an impartial apparatus outside of the two/four/six year political cycle that impartially declares “we will allow BP to drill here, and these criteria will be met; these are the various levels of penalty for the different gradations of wrongdoing, be it accidental or willful. Here is how we will empirically determine compliance, stated in advance, such that BP can plan and act accordingly. In the event of accident, these are the guidelines…” Congress simply needs to find its institutional will to act, reengage its oversight function in a robust way (they are at least holding hearings again…), and ultimately force a broad reform that begins to cure a systemic ill.