Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's The Oil Spill, Stupid

 Forrest Gump's mother was right. "Stupid is what stupid does," Forrest would quote his mother. It got me to thinking about comments Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann have said about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

 For Rush, two comments have drawn attention from his 10 million daily fans and equal number of antagonists. One is environmentalists working as eco-terrorists blew up the Deepwater Horizons exploratory drilling platform that killed 11 crew April 20.

The other I can quote directly.

"The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there," Limbaugh said. "It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is."

If you believe that, be my guest.

I suppose the eco-terrorist charge is a conspiracy theory, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, because environmentalists protesting oil drilling on land and sea have forced the drilling far off shore in depths a mile deep to find new underground reserves.

As for the man-made disaster of natural forces at work,  I'll let explain:

"Natural" doesn't always mean good...Arsenic, lead and mercury are as natural as can be, but you wouldn't want them in your food or your living room. Well, crude oil is also natural, but it's toxic to most living organisms (exceptions are rare, mostly bacteria), and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are the living room and fridge of countless species.
These ecosystems haven't evolved in contact with oil, in the same way that most of the heavy metals found deep in the Earth's crust are toxic to us because over evolutionary time we haven't been exposed to them much. It's the same basic principle that explains why oxygen is toxic to certain microorganisms because they evolved in places where there's little or no O2.
And while the oil itself might be "natural", the spill itself certainly isn't. That oil was sequestered deep underground and has been there for millions of years. It very probably wasn't going anywhere until we drilled there. In that regard, it's 100% a human-made disaster.

When the oil spill spreads to the beaches near Limbaugh's Florida pad, it would be unnatural for us to see him barefoot, in Bermuda shorts and a Big And Tall Men's tee-shirt bending over in a prone position he is so fond of mentioning and scooping oil globs as if they were dog poop.

Sarah Palin has modified her 2008 vice presidential campaign chant of "Drill, Baby, Drill" with no reservations then, to today's revisionist Facebook version headlined "Drill, Baby, Drill in ANWR -- Now Do You Get It?"

The British newspaper reports:

 "Look, here's the deal: when you lock up our land, you outsource jobs and opportunity away from America and into foreign countries that are making us beholden to them'...
'Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country's energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas,' she said.
'If "extreme environmentalists" were not successful in prohibiting land based oil drilling in the United States, then companies like BP would not have to resort to looking for oil in the deep oceans.

'It's catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proved.'

What Palin says is true, in part. There has been federal moratoriums on off-shore oil drilling off sections of the Atlantic seaboard, West Coast and Alaska's wildlife preserve ANWR.

What she fails to mention is that ANWR's reserves may not be enough to make it profitable for drilling which is exactly why federal leases for land drilling exploration have had no takers -- not worth their time nor financial risk. It is the capital system Palin embraces.

If you still feel better blaming it all on the environmentalists, be my guest.

Michelle Bachmann, fortunately, is the pride of her Congressional district in Minnesota, and as such can be forgiven for this landlocked statement as spoken in the halls of Congress.

The administration, they were hands off. They didn't do anything. Where were the boats that could have been commandeered by the government to be sent into this region to deal with that oil plume as it was coming up to the water and destroying marine life? Nowhere to be found. Why? The administration was hands off on this policy.

 Talking Points Memo points out Bachmann is the lead Republican critic suggesting that the government should keep its hands off, well, just about everything, now contending the Obama administration is being too hands off on the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Keith Olbermann has pointed out that "commandeering" private craft by the government has never before been suggested by a Congressman who lives by the Constitution the way the founding fathers intended.

If the people in Bachmann's district really believe the federal government should only act when she decides, they can keep her. And, may the force be with you.

It must be said that the Brit newspaper Mail is looking out for the best interests of its nation's oil company in which its subsidiary is doing business in the U.S. Here is how it described American boycotts against BP:

With President Obama leading the criticism of BP, consumer groups called for a nationwide boycott of their 10,000 filling stations.Cars with bumper stickers with the message 'AnyoneButBP' have become a regular sight in many US states.
The Washington D.C. based Public Citizen consumer group called on its million members to boycott BP and more than 300,000 people have already joined a 'Boycott BP' Facebook page.
Demonstrations against the British oil giant took place in 50 US cities yesterday with placard waving protestors outside filling stations.
The growing backlash against has led to fears of anti-British sentiment sweeping across the US...
In an effort to salvage the reputation of his company BP Chief Tony Hayward has appeared in a TV advert apologising for the spill.
'The Gulf spill is a tragedy that never should have happened,' Hayward says in commercials that have aired across the US.
'BP has taken full responsibility for cleaning up the spill in the Gulf. 'We've helped organize the largest environmental response in this country's history. More than 2 million feet of boom, 30 planes and over 1,300 boats are working to protect the shoreline.
'Where oil reaches the shore, thousands of people are ready to clean it up. We will honour all legitimate claims. And our cleanup efforts will not come at any cost to taxpayers.'

I hold no briefs against Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin nor Michelle Bachmann. They are who they are and anyone can take what they say at face value.

As for BP's Tony Hayward, may I remind folks that dozens of relief cleanup workers appeared on the beaches last Friday when President Obama visited. None had been seen by local residents before or since, whether needed or not.

President Obama plans a return trip Friday. My predictions is the cleanup crews will reemerge since cameras will be rolling at a higher frenzy than at other times and events will be more dramatized no matter how hard the national and local networks perform when the president is not around.

If you think the President can plug the hole spewing 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of gas and crude daily, he would if he could. But, he can't nor can all the president's men. But continue to blame the feds, if you will.

If you persist in thinking the government was slow to respond beginning on Day 1, April 20, 2010, then there is nothing in god's green earth that can convince you otherwise. Stick to your guns, if it makes you feel better.

If the Gulf oil spill is out of sight and out of mind, just wait long enough and it will come.

For you Tea Party activists in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, those oil globs washing ashore your domain this summer are neither Democratic, liberal or conservative. They represent dollars you will lose from tourism.

For you lovers of fish cuisine in the posh restaurants from New Orleans to New York, the price of shrimp and oysters on your plate will cost five times more than it does today. At least. If any can be found at all in other waters than the Gulf.

If you climate change deniers thought Al Gore's book "An Inconvenient Truth" was a hoax, find me one of any hundreds of species of birds and wildlife creatures indigent to the Gulf ecosystem not on the endangered species list by next year.

If you don't believe the Gulf oil spill will create the worst natural disaster in our history, in our lifetimes, and will not affect you in one form or another, then I say hold onto that belief because it is the only consolation you will have.

You're just living up to  Mrs. Gump's proverb.

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