Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Drill it, spill it - we don't care.

The subject of off shore oil and gas drilling has been a frequent discussion topic since I've lived in Florida. My particular part of the state has a large proportion of people who have environmental concerns, at least as far as clean water and the health of fish stocks are concerned. Most oppose rapid growth, virtually all of my local friends are extremely concerned about the ongoing discharge of polluted fresh water from Lake Okeechobee into our estuary and are likely to show anger at the sugar industry and even the cattle industry that are sources of much of it and who benefit greatly from the government guaranteed status quo. But when it comes to oil, it's been Drill Baby Drill even despite former Republican Governor Jeb Bush's opposition to it.

Before the BP disaster, one couldn't bring up the subject without becoming an audience for vituperation against "the Enviros" who were the root of the problem: the problem of course being high oil prices. The Environmental bogey men, they insist, are the reason we don't have more and cheaper nuclear power and why our bottomless oil reserves aren't being tapped as cleanly and risk free as turning on the bathroom faucet. It's the Liberals -- it's always the Liberals. They're all Republicans and conservationists without being in favor of conservation and environmentally concerned without being environmentalists. It's doublethink at it's finest.

One would expect that to have changed, and indeed it is changing, but not by as much as you might think. The illusion persists that there are huge amounts of oil off our coasts than can be easily accessed by sticking a straw into the mud and that the sooner we give the right to do that to foreign oil companies who sell into a competitive worldwide market, the sooner we'll be back to 26 cents per gallon. Efforts -- my efforts at least -- to dispel the mythology haven't been worthwhile. There's always some secret reserve or hidden oil field kept under wraps by a malicious government and their familiars: the Enviros.

They're not chanting Drill Baby Drill any more; not out loud at any rate, but Floridians aren't yet solidly behind a Constitutional amendment preventing these operations in Florida waters. The Republican-led Legislature seems firmly against it and abruptly adjourned a special legislative session after 49 minutes Tuesday, squelching Governor Charlie Crist's proposal to put the amendment on the ballot. Florida legislators, of course, get a lot of money from the oil and gas industry and before the false equivalence parade float is pulled out of the shed, the lion's share goes to Republicans.

The House Republican leader, Adam Hasner claims that Crist is making it "all about politics" but of course opposition to environmental responsibility has little else but politics to offer as a basis. It's all about continued profits for the oil industry, continued support for their party (which Crist has recently left) and continued disregard for public safety, health and the common resources of our country.

I don't expect my local friends to put it all together and realize that we' can't preserve our local environment while letting the unholy alliance between oil and government rape the land and water and food sources, but according to the Miami Herald today, support is indeed growing for a permanent ban on at least near-shore drilling. That means at least a few more people are willing to see the picture beyond what is framed by their job, their backyard and their circle of idiocy. It's far too soon -- enormously far too soon to sound like an optimist and in fact I'm convinced that slogans and dogmas, slanders and stupidity will remain the song of the South until the Gulf looks like the LaBrea tar pits and we have to resort to eating termites and grasshoppers while the crops die -- and even then, I'm not sure many minds will be changed in the direction of responsible oversight and regulation by a government agency.

What the hell, might as well just drill!


Anonymous said...

Obama biggest recipient of BP cash

Capt. Fogg said...

Consider the source. Politico is unbiased and has an unblemished record of objective reporting, right? :-) This issue has to be seen through a wide angle lens, not through a keyhole.

I read today that the wellhead was already leaking, that BP knew and continued to drill. They knew safety devices weren't working too and they weaseled out of installing equipment that might have prevented this. Their guilt in this is so large, I don't have much room to care about anything but that the opposition candidate and his party campaigned on a policy of more drilling right now and less oversight and no more of those Nancy Boy, candy ass liberal environmental impact studies. And they were all on the BP/Exxon/Shell gravy train from the start.

NewsBusters has what I think is a less tendentious viewpoint, but face it, the The Oil Thugs gave money to everyone and I think you'll find that Johnnie and the Witch ran on an oil platform, literally and figuratively and the oil cartel support they got was huge compared to what they gave Obama.

There's a difference between "drill baby drill" and well, OK, maybe just a little.

That said, I'm not denying that oil money, along with other corporate support which the right wing court has now made unlimited has corrupted the government. It has. So has corporate money in general. We've been going down that road to corporate feudalism since -- well since forever and I still remember Ike's parting words. I just think it's a bit late to be noticing it and a bit unbalanced to be pinning the tail on Obama when the massive donkey of deregulation and corruption began decades ago and peaked with Bush and Cheney.

At any rate Republican support for unregulated, uncontrolled and unlimited drilling and for limiting the liability of drillers is a matter of record. Yes, No doubt, Obama should have done more to restore oversight and he should have done it sooner and he should not have caved in to the pressure - no doubt at all, but since he's had 100% opposition from the minority party on every matter large and small, and since public sentiment has been heavily in favor of drilling more, drilling faster and drilling everywhere, I still have to see him as the lesser of two evils -- as I have all along.

Face it, BP and the rest of the oil cartel may have given to Landreau, a Democrat, but it gives almost all it's contributions to Republicans, yet hedges its bets by giving to Democrats they will have to deal with, like Louisiana Democratic Senators.

Hell, despite the hokum about blind trusts, Cheney's family benefited directly from Halliburton's favored status with the government. He still does and they still don't pay US taxes. Why aren't we hearing a peep about that?

20 years ago Obama was a nobody and to suggest he was taking oil money while supposedly being a communist agitator, and community organizer paling around with terrorists is to shoot Politico in the foot.

d nova said...

headline's a bit sensational. article says donations "come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees" and quotes an obama spokesman saying “President Obama didn’t accept a dime from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists during his presidential campaign,” so i guess that means any BP money must've been from individual employees or else got donated earlier in his career.

Capt. Fogg said...

Headlines are supposed to be sensational. As Roger Ailes said on TV, we're not about the News, we're about the ratings.

I really do have to fault Obama for trying too hard to reach agreement, for being so accommodating and for not being assertive enough, but so many of the failures of the last administration and of GOP policy in general are being blamed on him, the stench of cooking books is making it hard to breathe.

To me, it's a bit like comparing Bernie Madoff to a broker who was too lazy to do enough research and gave you questionable advice. Maybe it's a bit like blaming your doctor for not curing your lung cancer after you've been smoking for 40 years. He may not be the best doctor, but. . .

But getting back to oil, it was the lack of oversight over the drilling industry, shared to some degree by Clinton, but aggressively championed with religious fervor by Reagan and both Bush's, that allowed this to happen. I think the same goes for the economic meltdown and the Enron scandal -- and more.

Capt. Fogg said...

And did oilbux corrupt congress on both sides of the aisle? What a silly question. And who's to blame for giving corporations more and more power to determine national policy and to appoint our allegedly elected officials? Please don't say Obama.

Every time a few of us think we can speak against it; advocate heavy election and campaign reforms, we're shouted down with BS about freedom of speech and free markets. I'm tired of trying

d nova said...

know wha u mean, but don't quit yet. too few voices left as it is.

lease for well that blew was sold by bush admin in 2008. i think i heard it operated under MMA rules issued in 2007, likely rewritten by cheney's pals. can't blame obama 4 that.

but his admin hasn't taken the stand i'd hoped for. bending over backwards 4 sake of getting bipartisanship has got us nothing but disaster.

at least they're insisting on drilling moratorium, even in the face of absurd analogies to air crashes. u know: "u don't stop all flights because of a single problem." trouble w/ that kind o thinking is no plane crash ever devastated economies o 4 states.

i'm starting 2 suspect economics is root o most political troubles. folk are really scared bout possibility o losing livelihood. they seem willing 2 take all kinds o risks 2 keep incomes, even risk o catastrophe.

but some risks, even tho they may seem small, just ain't worth taking.