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David Anthony Kearns with video contributions by Stanley S. Morton, III

BP Oil spill in Gallons

Friday, May 7, 2010

Upcoming Senate INQUIRY on the Oil Spill


Not to jinx what will obviously be a serious, in-depth, befuddled, meandering, grandstanding, utterly useless, pointless, wrist slapping, paddy-cake with Big Oil but...

Let's face it. There's a reason Animal House was so funny. Emblematic of our societal hypocrisy, in many ways our congressional administrative proceedings - as we have learned with so-called financial reform - are little more than venues to pass out Double Secret Probation.

This will likely not be any different. They joy in all this is found in the fact that while these useless proceedings are taking place, while the sleazy lobbyists are having their way with our greedy congress people, while the back-room deals are made, and our senators whore themselves, dolled up like strumpets for the cameras, thundering away in manufactured righteous rage - "how could this happen! May it never again!!" - the ocean will be dying. We will be turning the Gulf of Mexico into the necrotic bung of the entire ocean system of the planet.

If we are lucky one of the three largest living coral reefs in the world off the Florida Keys, or perhaps the Florida Everglades will be feeling the first effects of the noxious chemicals; better to accentuate the irony. Residents from Biloxi to Destin will be experiencing the joy of black sand beaches, families who depend on the sea will be starving, life sustaining wetlands - the nurseries of our fisheries - will be smothered in filth.

Cameras will roll, as seemingly concerned journalists furrow their brows. And, with a hopeful flourish or two, they will discuss "viable solutions." We of the couch will nod thoughtfully, and quickly forget.

Here we see this is not the first time BP has been under the gun for an accident. A 2005 blast at a Texas refinery killed 15, according to this report. Over 300 safety violations are noted. The Earth Day destruction of Deepwater Horizon is apparently why some of the victims and their families, are seeking a restructuring of the plea deal which capped fines paid from BP to OSHA at $21 million. BP was later given additional fines of $87 million for not having some or all of those safety violations fixed in time. Pfft, pocket change. So what...

From this, you get a tone in the way BP does business. Our people say "do this now, fix your problem!" and they make a face, and sigh "yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll get to it."

And, can you believe it? Not much happens after that, until the next explosion.

Double Secret Probation.

According to this report, victims of the Texas City oil refinery explosion have been fighting the plea deal since it was announced in 2007. Okay? Five years later people are still fighting BP. To read the article they don't do this so much for personal gain, although restitution for the deaths of their loved ones surely factors into it, but also so the company will feel the economic pain more, and remember it.

"Victims have been trying to derail the plea deal since it was announced in October 2007. While they sought a larger fine or appointment of a safety monitor to insure BP completed required safety improvements at the plant, the judge couldn’t alter the plea’s terms."

Obviously, from what BPs TF Hayward shared with London Times, BP will call this new request to modify the plea deal of 2007, frivolous and "illegitimate," because this is how we Americans are. I keep reflecting back to the callousness of this statement, in that it also demonstrates that BP doesn't think Americans can use the internet to find an article in the London Times.

At the time this post was begun, the story was coming together. This FOX report, strangely decent and among the first. The way the news is shaping up, and paraphrasing, the Blow-out preventer had been sealed up with cement. But, there was gas still coming up the drill hole pipe to the ship; which indicates perhaps a gas bubble had compromised the integrity of the cement designed to do that job at depth. This is Halliburton's end of the deal.

While the crews had yet to put the cement cap on the well above, for some reason, the packing mud, designed to put weight down on any escaping gas and allow for a safe seal at the top with additional cement, was being evacuated prematurely. This is Transocean and BP's end of the deal.

Again that phrase they are all dying to use, is that this was "a perfect storm" of accidents. Yes, this will be bandied about, either in the halls of congress, or into the lens of a camera somewhere, uttered by a concerned journalist with a furrowed brow, and GREAT hair.

We can only be thankful senators gave the companies an extended deadline to prepare their stories regarding what happened, with expected further delays in the offing. Senators at first demanded company officials appear front and center on May 5, then that slid to May 11. But wait, there's that crucial thing that will happen on Monday or Tuesday, which will require everyone's full attention. We likely won't see C-Span 3 televised coverage of the Come to Hayzoos, Double Secret Probation, hearings until one month after the explosion. Attorneys you see, we must be polite to them, let them get their manufactured facts in order.

Ironic that seven executives from one of the three companies involved were aboard Deepwater Horizon, celebrating an unblemished safety record when the accident occurred.

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