Sunday, May 02, 2010

Is It Fair To Force David Vitter To Plug Up The Oil Wellhead With His Extensive Diaper Collection?

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Those on the fringes of the right, who take their marching orders from Limbaugh, are desperately trying to blame the environmental disaster from the BP oil gusher in the Gulf on President Obama. And I don't hear John Boehner screeching "Drill, Baby, Drill" anymore. I haven't heard desperate old John McCain croaking it out. Someone must have even told the dullard from Wasilla to calm down about it a bit. No "Drill, baby, drill" from David Vitter lately, nor from Michael Steele and the sociopathic retards at the base of his party. Nor do I hear any of them clamouring to return the massive-- if thinly-veiled-- bribes they took from BP and the oil industry to lighten up on the regulations regarding deepwater drilling. They didn't... did they? Sure they did:
BP, the company that owned the Louisiana oil rig that exploded last week, spent years battling federal regulators over how many layers of safeguards would be needed to prevent a deepwater well from this type of accident.

One area of immediate concern, industry experts said, was the lack of a remote system that would have allowed workers to clamp shut Deepwater Horizon's wellhead so it would not continue to gush oil. The rig is now spilling 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

In a letter sent last year to the Department of the Interior, BP objected to what it called "extensive, prescriptive regulations" proposed in new rules to toughen safety standards. "We believe industry's current safety and environmental statistics demonstrate that the voluntary programs…continue to be very successful."

That was one in a series of clashes between the industry and federal regulators that began during the Clinton administration. In 2000, the federal agency that oversaw oil rig safety issued a safety alert that called added layers of backup "an essential component of a deepwater drilling system." The agency said operators were expected to have multiple layers of protection to prevent a spill.

But according to aides to Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who has followed offshore drilling issues for years, the industry aggressively lobbied against an additional layer of protection known as an "acoustic system," saying it was too costly. In a March 2003 report, the agency reversed course, and said that layer of protection was no longer needed.

"There was a big debate under the Bush administration whether or not to require additional oil drilling safeguards but [federal regulators] decided not to require any additional mandatory safeguards, believing the industry would be motivated to do it themselves," Carl Pope, Chairman of the Sierra Club told ABC News.

A second area of focus emerging Friday involved the cement casing that was supposed to seal the well and prevent gaps from opening between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole drilled into the sea floor. If cement is not poured properly, oil and natural gas can escape – a cause of more than a dozen previous well blowouts in the Gulf.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman Friday sent a letter to Halliburton, the company responsible for pouring the cement seal, asking company executives to brief committee investigators on conditions at the rig, and preserve all documents relating to their work on the sea floor.

And a report from OpenSecrets.org ties the relaxation in regulations directly to lobbying and bribes. "The London-based company has consistently spent top dollar to influence legislative and regulatory activity in Washington, D.C. ... In 2009, the company spent a massive $16 million to influence legislation. During the first quarter of 2010, it spent $3.53 million on federal lobbying efforts, ranking it second (behind ConocoPhillips) among all oil and gas industry interests." Last year alone the oil and gas industry spent $169 million on lobbying. So who has BP doled out the most bribes to? Overwhelmingly, Republicans, of course. Their biggest year ever was in 2000 when they handed out $250,125 to Republicans and $96,875 to Democrats. The 3 top recipients of their generosity were all Republicans: George Bush ($33,223), Don Young ($10,750) and Kay Bailey Hutchison ($8,000). Among their best friends in the House that year were oily Texas Republicans Joe Barton and John Culberson (at $4,250 each) and former corrupt Speaker Dennis Hastert (at 4 grand even).

Since 1990 the Oil and Gas sector has pumped $249,831,232 in bribes into the coffers of congressional candidates, 75% of it to Republicans and 24% to Democrats. Six of the most corrupt sleazebags to ever wander the halls of Congress each took payoffs of over a million dollars:
*John McCain (R-AZ- $2,664,364)
*Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX- $2,137,225)
*Phil Gramm (R-TX- $1,682,814)
*John Cornyn (R-TX- $1,632,550)
*Joe Barton (R-TX- $1,450,980)
*Jim Inhofe (R-OK- $1,228,223)

All six have been shrill "Drill, baby, drill" advocates and all six have stridently opposed all regulations on Big Oil companies. Of that criminal crew only McCain and Barton have to face the votes this year. The half dozen other biggest all-time oil industry bribe-takers who are up for re-election in November are:
*Don Young (R-AK- $980,263)
*Steve Pearce (R-NM- $961,472, who was kicked out by the voters in 2008 and is seeking to spend huge amounts of oil industry bribes to regain his old seat this year)
*David Vitter (R-LA- $766,535, who will live in infamy for having sold out his own state)
*Pete Sessions (R-TX- $642,664, who used Big Oil cash to buy his way into the GOP House leadership)
*Mike Conaway (R-TX- $636,118)
*Tard Tiahrt (R-KS- $612,723)

Friday Jason Leopold reported on a BP whistleblower who says the sleazy foreign-owned company has been breaking federal laws and gambling with a slew of potential catastrophes in the Gulf. With all these powerful corporations in bed with the political elite, it is no wonder that no one ever goes to prison for the kinds of misdeeds that lead to bank failures, economic collapse, mining disasters and inevitable Drill, Baby, Drill accidents.

Meanwhile, with the beginning of hurricane season 4 weeks away, the size of the slick tripled... in one day, no longer the size of Rhode Island, but the size of Puerto Rico. "On Thursday, the size of the slick was about 1,150 square miles, but by Friday's end it was in the range of 3,850 square miles."

No one in their right mind could ever categorize my friend Debcoop as an Obama apologist, but she hit one out of the ballpark yesterday when responding to the right-wing sociopaths trying to blame Democrats for what they themselves had wrought:
The fault lies with the ideology and mores of the Republican party and its theory of government.

Their solution to this country's energy's future is to drill anywhere and everywhere.
 
In their theory of government, government has no right to control who, what, where and how the natural resources of this country or this planet are exploited or not exploited, [including] resources that are needed by all. Government is supposed regulate corporate behavior not just be their willing
partner/follower.
 
In their theory of government, government regulation is inherently evil or at least counterproductive. So under George Bush et al, the only regulation in the Gulf was self regulation.
 
This oil spill is the fault of Republican ideology.


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