Saturday, May 22, 2010

BP - deja vu ...Or, Why Are the American People Protected from Truth?

I understand that some political questions are simply too hot to handle, for example:
Who looked the other way before and then on September 11, 2001?
Why is the US (that is, you and me!) propping up Zionist ethnic cleansing to the tune of $13 billion for the next few years?
Bringing such answers into our individual and national political worldviews could bring down the entire system...and who has the stomach for that?

But there are answers to less volatile questions that would not only bring some honesty to our public "debates" but also force The American People to develop real critical thinking skills...and that would grow our capacity to deal with an increasingly complex world.
For example, why the daily strewing out of lies associated with BP's Deepwater disaster? Why the cover up about the extent of our environmental troubles? We, each of us, is in deep doodoo with this spill...yet we are encouraged to swallow the drivel that it is a just a drop in the Gulf"....

Recently I interviewed author Alan Hart who said, "Americans are the most idealist people in the world."
Yes, that is true. Idealism is vitally necessary...but it is only effective when it deals with the actual facts on the ground, it is only productive when it takes into account all the dimensions of a problem or issue. Remember, for example, when Dubya, Rumsfeld, Cheney et al insisted that invading Iraq would be a "cakewalk"? And, today, We, the People are still dealing with fallout from those lies...and going broke at breakneck speed.

The half truths, scare tactics, boogey-man scenarios keep us intellectually adolescent. Such mentalities cannot lead today's world. Alas! For it seems that is all our leadership is capable of...therefore all that is demanded of The American People.

Trot with me down the primrose path of the lies of yesteryear...

Associated Press, March. 6, 2006.
Alaska pipeline spill amount debated
Industry critic says its huge, BP and state officials say it's unknown

An emergency worker monitors a vacuum sucking up oil and melted snow on Friday near a pipeline where a leak was discovered a day earlier. (Picture: BP Exploration.)

Excerpts from this article:
...State, federal and oil company officials said the total amount of oil spilled is still not known, but they discounted claims by an oil industry critic that the spill was much larger than BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. is saying.
...Matt Carr, onsite coordinator for federal Environmental Protection Agency. "Of course it's not a perfect seal. There's a little bit of dripping, but it's not a huge active leak."
...The amount spilled is far greater than BP and government officials are saying, according to oil industry critic Chuck Hamel. Hamel, of Alexandria, Va., said he learned from onsite personnel that the spill volume is closer to 798,000 gallons, which would make it the second largest oil spill in Alaska, second only to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill of 11 million gallons in Prince William Sound.
Hamel said meters record the volume flowing into the pipe as well as the amount leaving it.
..."There's a 798,000 gallon discrepancy," he said in a phone interview. He declined to provide documentation of the discrepancy, however.
[Nevertheless]..."The progress has been just stunning," Johnson said.
(Read the entire article.)

NPR, September 7, 2006
Congress Investigates Alaska BP Pipeline Leak

The House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a hearing on BP's corrosion problems in Alaska. A leak forced the shutdown of half the Prudhoe Bay oil field. Committee Chairman Joe Barton says evidence indicates the problem was caused by BP's poor maintenance of the pipeline.
(Read the entire article.)

December 10, Wall Street Journal
BP Says Alaska Pipeline Leak Was Due to Ice Buildup

A spill of 1,095 barrels of crude oil mixed with water from a BP PLC pipeline in Alaska was due to a rupture caused by a buildup of ice within the line, BP and the local environmental authorities said Thursday in a joint statement.
...In 2006, thousands of gallons of crude from BP's Prudhoe Bay operations leaked into Alaska's North Slope. Later that year the company shut down a bulk of the oil output at the field following the discovery of corrosion in some pipelines. Prudhoe Bay is the largest oil field in the U.S.
(Read the article.)

May 21, 2010 by ProPublica
Meanwhile  ...Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency are considering whether to bar BP from receiving government contracts, a move that would ultimately cost the company billions in revenue and could end its drilling in federally controlled oil fields.
Over the past 10 years, BP has paid tens of millions of dollars in fines and been implicated in four separate instances of criminal misconduct that could have prompted this far more serious action. Until now, the company's executives and their lawyers have fended off such a penalty by promising that BP would change its ways.

Don't want to be a buzzkill, but... I really doubt BP will "never again" receive a government contract. In fact, I bet it will...and as soon as the buzz on the Gulf is off the front pages. That is, say, another couple of months?
I am tired of choking down the hairballs of lies that make up our daily fare, the petting and patting that keeps a majority too scared to risk what they see as their privilege but really simply perpetuates pettiness.
With that in mind, let's find ways to promote solid articles when we stumble across them. Such as the following:

May 21, 2010 by the McClatchy Newspapers
Low Estimate of Oil Spill's Size Could Save BP Millions in Court
BP's estimate that only 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking daily from a well in the Gulf of Mexico, which the Obama administration hasn't disputed, could save the company millions of dollars in damages when the financial impact of the spill is resolved in court, legal experts say.
...A month after...neither BP nor the federal government has tried to measure at the source the amount of crude pouring into the water.
...That decision, however, runs counter to BP's own regional plan for dealing with offshore leaks. "In the event of a significant release of oil," the 583-page plan says on Page 2, "an accurate estimation of the spill's total volume . . . is essential in providing preliminary data to plan and initiate cleanup operations."
(Read the article.)

May 21, 2010 by The Huffington Post
Dan Froomkin: Gulf Oil Spill: Vast Majority of Pollution Could Lurk Below Surface for Months or Years
Dan Froomkin writes, "As little as 1/60th of the oil belching from a blown-out deep-sea BP well could be making it all the way up to the surface of the Gulf of Mexico right away, judging from the results of a field test of a similar scenario conducted in 2000 by a consortium including the Department of the Interior's Mineral Management Service and BP."

And, finally, what I've been seeking for weeks now. People of courage and truth. 
 Giant Hooray for Ian R. MacDonald is a professor of oceanography at Florida State University. John Amos is the president of SkyTruth, which uses satellite images to monitor environmental problems. Timothy Crone is a research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Steve Wereley, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

May 21, 2010, NYT Op-Ed Contributors
The Measure of a Disaster
(As you read this, remember that 1 barrel = 55 gallons.)
Taking all this into account, our preliminary estimates indicate that the discharge is at least 40,000 barrels per day and could be as much as 100,000 barrels. Certainly, our assessments suggest that BP’s stated worst-case estimate of 60,000 barrels has been occurring all along. What matters most is that we take the steps to find out if it has.
(Read the article - please!)

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