Assigning Blame, Missing the Cause

16 Jun

Chris has a pair of BP-related posts up, one of which speaks to the roots of the problem itself – why we’re drilling where we are, and why the government is essentially impotent to do anything meaningful about it. The other post reacts to Obama’s speech last night.

To be frank, I couldn’t bear to watch Obama’s speech last night because I didn’t think he’d have the balls to really tell it like it is. Chris’ recap indicates that he ended with a prayer. Give me a fucking break. That’s just ridiculous – as ridiculous as a semi-talented Grammy winner thanking God for the wild success of a synthesized shit dance tune that happened to be voted “best song”.

God didn’t cause the spill, and He isn’t going to fix it. Any more than the government caused the spill or is equipped to fix it.

The Gulf disaster is so unfathomable to me because our system of “do whatever you want” short-term-vision laissez-faire deregulation is the root cause of this.

An acoustic valve could have been fitted, and may have very well prevented this sort of blowout. But it wasn’t there. It’s a $500,000 device that could have prevented an unprecedented, epic environmental disaster.

The impotence and corruption of federal regulators such as, in this case, the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service has also come to light, and our recent penchant to deregulate things that by their very nature ought to be regulated has come back to haunt us.

Government may have contributed to this blowout, but not in the way partisans suggest.

The Deepwater Horizon was permitted to be built in a place and in a way that would specifically contribute to this catastrophe.

Apparently, the technology to safely drill at that depth is either inadequate, or simple methods to prevent this sort of catastrophe were eschewed because (1) they weren’t mandated; and (2) they cost a few bucks.

So to assail Obama on hope and change is beyond being beside the point. I mean, if, as depicted in your last sentence, Obama can’t solve the problem, how exactly is he supposed to be effective and not suck?

There’s a corollary story that Chris doesn’t touch on because he doesn’t try to politicize his post beyond talking about corporate America’s control over our lives, as well as the power that oil consumption needs have on our economy. That has to do with the clamor from many who detest Obama and his supposed communism who all of a sudden have a burning need for the government to solve their problems.

I know that anti-Obama partisans are trying very hard to gain momentum for the “Obama’s Katrina” meme, but the problem there is that it is a man-made disaster. How many times has the right beat the drum that government is never the solution to our problems – it is the problem. It’s the entire foundation of modern Reaganist conservatism, such as it still exists (which I don’t think it has since Bush 1 left office, but that’s a different story). The corollary to that is that every one of our problems can be solved by private business, private entrepreneurship, free market initiative, so long as government would just get out of the way.

How fascinating to have the anti-Obama right clamor for a governmental response to an environmental disaster. It’s practically the bizarro world in that contemporary Palinist Republicans suddenly give a shit about the environment! About ecological disaster! They want – nay demand governmental action and swift response!

That rank hypocrisy is so very telling, and every time a Republican starts demanding that Obama – that the government – do more, that needs to be thrown directly back in their face because it fundamentally rebuts their entire contemporary ethos.
Well, for the same reasons we protected New Orleans from flooding with ancient levee technology, the US isn’t good on the whole long-run planning thing, and we never have been.

That’s why it’s beyond critical to start finding other sources of energy to power this country. Renewable sources, cleaner sources, sources that don’t make us dependent on foreign corporations or foreign states.

So to blame Obama is just idiotic.

We ourselves are to blame. And so, frankly, is Dick Cheney.

21 Responses to “Assigning Blame, Missing the Cause”

  1. hank June 16, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    The person that Obama put in charge of the MMS had almost 18 months to bring the so needed “Governmental Regulation” to the fore, and had the majority in Congress to pass said regulation. The MMS did nothing, just like Barry and the rest of his thugs.

    So glad you decided to do what the administration does, in typical M*A*S*H Dr Frank Burns fashion—something fucked up? It’s God’s Will or Bush/Cheney’s fault—or someone else’s.

    So Barry couldn’t get the seas to recede, and Daddy can’t plug the hole. His leadership panties are showing, so much so that the Emperor appears to have no clothes. The speech he gave last night should have been given 50 days ago—-one week after the rig caught fire—-not now.

    The Administration refused help from Britain as well as the Dutch early on. Maybe it’s time to reach back out to get any country who thinks they can help to do so.

    I thought the country that built the first successful atom bomb, the SR-71 Blackbird and the U-2 spy planes and put a man on the moon with less computer power than you have on your I-Pad could fix this leak too. Time for Barry to pull his fingers out of his ass, give the vacations and shopping trips a break, and seek international help.

    Has nothing to do with “Palinist Republicans”, We have one Exxon Valdese dumping its load in the Gulf of Mexico every 5-7 days. A 7th grade kid studying ecology in middle school could see this is a major disaster, that will probably take decades for nature to clean, even with man’s help.

    Since you preach Government regulation is the answer, where’s the all knowing government now? Folks all along the Redneck Riviera are looking.,

    • Alan Bedenko June 16, 2010 at 8:37 am #

      Had the MMS required wells to go back and install acoustic valves on all new and existing wells, you’d have led the charge against Obama’s socialist oppression against law-abiding drillers and aiding al Qaeda and being an Indonesio-Kenyan usurper.

      Suddenly you and your ilk demand strong federal govt action, and tighter regulatory schemes? And help from EUROPE??!! But America is the best! American business has ALL the answers. Government has none! Neither do the socialist weenies of old Europe!!

      Disingenuous doesn’t even begin to explain that.

      • joe schmidbauer June 16, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

        I have sources at both MMS and NOAA. I have been informed that the Obama administration has maintained the Bush-Cheney super pro big oil agenda. The Obama administration has talked about clean energy, such as solar and wind but they have not followed through.. The depth of MMS’s failure has not be made public. The list is too long to relate. NOAA ‘s brain trust knew three days into the crisis that Deep Water Horizon was a major disaster and that BP was lying about the rate of oil being released. They basically were told to shut the fuck up, The Obama administration has run cover for BP until it became overwhelmingly clear the scope of the disaster. At no point in this disaster has it made clear that the well needed to be destroyed to stop the flow. The discussion has been about how to recover the flow of oil. Russia and Norway had faced similar problems. They destroyed the wellheads. We are talking about !-3 billion barrels of oil reserves for BP. BP was not going to give that up. The gulf is being destroyed for corporate profit

      • Mike Walsh June 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

        “I have sources at both MMS and NOAA. I have been informed that the Obama administration has maintained the Bush-Cheney super pro big oil agenda.”

        Of course they have. All the major policies have been carried over from the Bush administration despite the Obama fans protestations to the contrary. Corporatism is our national policy. It’s entrenched in the system. I’ll say it again for the umpteenth time as all the true believers close their eyes: follow the money and look at who Obama’s(and the democrats) biggest contributors were.

  2. hank June 16, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    Alan You don’t have to be a liberal to want to avoid ecological disaster, Offshore drilling is inherently dangerous. If the Government and the liberals would allow ON LAND drilling, where new strikes have been found in North and South Dakota, we could likely shut down hundreds of wells in the Gulf. And that would be a very good thing. Every offshore oil rig is another disaster waiting to happen. We have more oil shale than anywhere else on the planet. But the greenies don’t want that disturbed.

    I would prefer a car with a cheaper hydrogen cell for fuel that would get me where I want to go, and cleaner air would be a side benefit. Nobody seems interested in making one that folks can afford. Electric cars powered by coal-fed generation plants doesn’t seem like a great idea.

    Don’t surmise to know what’s going on in my head. All I did was criticize the administration, to a lesser degree than Charlie Rangel did, and as most of the country is doing regardless of ideology, We should be putting our R&D brains on making a hydrogen cell car and truck that wouldn’t cost anymore than those currently on the road, than worrying about more governmental regulation, My son in law is an oil field engineer and he told me about the lack of acoustic valves on the rig in question one week after the rig caught fire, and how considering the depth of that well how it SHOULD have been on there. Blame the MMS for their lack of foresight, not me.

    America IS the best country on the planet, despite attempts by the President to make it less so.

  3. Bbill June 16, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Shorter Hank: Party over country.

    • hank June 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

      Shorter Bbill—don’t refute the facts, make a personal attack. Stale move from the liberal playbook–if that’s all you have, don’t bother to commment

  4. Ward June 16, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    And the oil flows on, indifferent to the president’s rhetoric.

    And Obama’s presidential approval index drops three points to -20. “I think you’re doing a heck of a job, Barry.”

    And the administration and its water-boys will continue to blame Bush/Cheney until the very last day of its first and only term (which is, in effect, Jimmy Carter’s second term).

  5. STEEL June 16, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    You guys forgot to call him Barry Husein. That would be such a more better insult. Anyway Ward and Hank are you actually calling on government to solve the problem now. I just want to be clear on that cause I thought government was not supposed to get involved in things because private industry is so much betterer.

    • hank June 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

      Steel–It was Barry Soweto who said HE was in Charge, and HE was going to kick some butts. In other words, HE claimed ownership for the government. YOU would be the one railing if the government didn’t get its corrupt fingers in the game. I wonder how many Democrats voted to limit the liabilty for oil companies in the event of a spill…..Barry took charge—and he’s fucked it up so bad even black Democrats like Rangel are throwing him and his thug staff under the bus.

      Make up your mind what YOU want. Call Barry and tell him to get out of it? I doubt it—your hero worship of the Obama personality Cult will take all of us to perdition,.

      • Alan Bedenko June 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm #


      • STEEL June 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

        Actually what has he done to F up the oil disaster? What has he done? If he blocks oil exploration you criticize him. If he puts a moratorium on oil drilling until we know what we are doing in the ocean you criticize him. If he regulates industry to make sure they are using safe practices you criticize him. If he says ok let’s drill you criticize him. If he maintains Bushes lax regulatory structure you criticize him. If industry is not regulated leading to a disaster like this you blame it on the government. If government regulates industry you complain about that. The problem with your position is that it is not a position at all. It is nothing more than hypocrisy.

      • mike June 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

        I love the dropping the Rangel name, hank are you kidding? Rangel is already under a bus!

  6. Mike in WNY June 16, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    To sum up my anti-Obama sentiments regarding the oil spill, help or get out of the way.  Obama is politicizing the spill in a reprehensible manner.  He is using it as an excuse to try to ram cap-n-trade, and other economically disastrous policies, down our throats.  He is beating up BP in the public forum and trying to beat them over the head with all kinds of foolish financial threats, including an escrow account overseen by inept bureaucrats.  BP has exceeded their legal obligation for paying for the cleanup of this fiasco.  They are being guided by their moral obligation.  Unfortunately, the moral obligation exceeds their financial obligation because our government limited their liability because the politicians are more concerned about pleasing large corporations, and remaining in office, than they are about doing what is right.

    There are myriad safer places that BP could have drilled, instead of deep offshore Gulf sites, but they have been declared off limits by the inept bureaucracy.

    Obama has two reasonable choices right now, help or shut-up until this is done.  BP’s U.S. subsidiary is well insulated from the rest of its conglomerate, .  If Obama keeps up the financial threats, they could very well just walk away and still survive.  

    • jesseInEA June 16, 2010 at 10:30 am #

      Just out of curiosity Mike, how is cleaning up their own damned mess “exceeding their legal obligation”?  Particularly from a libertarian standpoint – it seems like their legal obligation ought to be absolutely to clean it up.

      • Mike in WNY June 16, 2010 at 11:29 am #

        Exceeding their legal obligation has nothing to do with my libertarian beliefs.  The government had previously passed a law which limits the liability of corporations in the event of an oil spill.  That was stupid, short-sighted, a violation of property rights and a possible contributory cause of the spill.  If a company knows it has limited liability, it might be tempted to not exercise due caution.  The limited liability does not apply to the actual clean-up costs, but it does apply to the economic damage caused by the spill.

        When it comes to determining actual liability, one would have to think the government, from a legal standpoint, bears some responsibility for not following its own regulations properly.

  7. jesseInEA June 16, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I don’t think the government should be getting involved, except to enforce the law where BP is assaulting the people of the Gulf Coast.

    WTF is government supposed to do other than that?  Pay for the cleanup?  Sure, if that means it’ll get done more quickly (debatable) and as long as they turn around and sue the shit out of BP to get repaid.

    This shit is 100% on BP, it’s 100% on them to get it fixed and cleaned up.

    I really see very little role for the Feds.  I don’t subscribe to the cult of the presidency, and I’m not owned by a monarch, last I checked.

  8. STEEL June 16, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    OK so Mike says no government involvement. BP will clean up everything just fine and don’t you dare threaten them with any kind of financial penalties. Oh and mike says by the way, the government is bad because the evil government lowered PB’s liability which forced PB to um uh no wait…The government did not uh. ok here it is…We need government out of private business so the government should not have lowered BP’s liability. Hmmm that did not come out right. Any way Barry Husein Obama caused all the problems, so there!

    • Mike in WNY June 16, 2010 at 11:32 am #

      I never said Obama caused the spill.  I commented on his response and the affect of government overall.

  9. Hapklein June 16, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    You are all arguing about the wrong end of things regarding Government Regulation.
    Beginning in the mid 1950’s with air and water pollution gaining traction in the congress the country was treated to a groaning slow process that resulted in Federal Regulations regarding air Clean Air Acts and water Clean Water Acts. At the same time some good structural approaches were developed so the detriments and benefits of any major action that could affect the public interest and health could be reviewed through an Environmental Impact Statement and federal authorization granted or denied.
    But then Ronald Reagan became President, took the solar panels off the Whitehouse Roof, and went to work dismantling all environmental programs. He and his successors, especially GW, just ensured the agencies did not have enough staff to do their job regardless of priorities.
    Thus did our age perfect the dynamic of perpetual unforeseen consequences.
    Duplicate boilerplate environmental assessments and reports were developed and the copy and paste capabilities of the computer had no small role in this. 
    Thus the emergency plans for all the oil companies were probably developed by one small consultant who just extracted valid appearing information from hundreds of previous reports and condensed them into a report that nobody had staff to review in depth anyway. In this way any seals and penguins who wandered into Louisiana were safe.
    But the past especially RR and GW  guaranteed that neither MMS or anyone else had sufficient expertise to do meaningful supervision of deep water drilling. We have the environment we deserve.

  10. justmeint June 19, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    Folks currently are questioning if God is so good, then why did He cause, or why did He allow the Deepwater Disaster to occur, killing 11 innocent men, and putting the entire eco system of the Gulf of Mexico into a catastrophic decline. And it’s not only the ecosystem but the future health and livelihoods of the Gulf’s inhabitants and possibly those of the entire southern parts of the USA. – Not to mention innocent people elsewhere, which the deadly toxins might affect, as is being postulated currently.

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