Monday, May 3, 2010

Environmental Disaster of Enormous Proportions!

This oil spill clean-up boat in the Gulf of Mexico stands about the same chance as a piss-ant in a Texas Hail storm.
Sorry folks this post is x-rated. Little kids go away!

Sometimes I rant, it seems like the only thing that I can do. When talking about the environment or politics I usually try to talk in soft logical phrases. I know full well that a lot of folks don’t agree with me, even when I know that they don’t know diddley about what they are talking about, I give them the honor of being “entitled to their own opinion.”

Now is the time for all of you self-righteous do-gooders that are still ranting about what the early settlers did to the Indians a good cause to stand up for. They see themselves as being oh-so-much-better-than-thou, knowing full well that they would have protected the Indian people. I usually try to stay calm, when I know full well that they would not have survived even one day in 1860, even without trying to save Indians.

Now is the time to stand up and show your self-worth and scream bloody murder. I just found out, thanks to Kim Sallaway, that the oil well in the Gulf Of Mexico didn’t have an ocean floor shut off valve. They saved a ½ million dollars by not installing one.

Who was watching these bastards, the same people that was watching Bernie Madoff steal millions of dollars from stock market investors? How in the hell did someone move that much money without being caught? Are you really stupid enough to believe that somebody wasn’t being paid to look the other way? He was busted once, but it was all swept under the rug and it was over for many more years. After a while even the people that can see what is going on will give up, and say “What the hell I tried.” Are those the same kind of people that tried to save the Indians? “What the hell, I tried”. Then gave up?

My friend Sallaway placed the blame directly on Dick Chaney. I think it goes much deeper and wider than that. Sallaway’s statement:

The oil disaster in the Gulf could have been prevented by the shut off mechanism that was not installed on this and many other wells drilled during the Cheney administration. The device cost 500K and somehow the government gave BP a pass on including the shut off on the wells. The entire world requires such devices to be installed on the deep sea oil rigs. BP, the 4th richest corporation on the planet, with assets in the billions, should be made to pay for everything involved in the cleanup. The fishermen, the tourist places, the entire eco system are going to pay heavily. The thought that there are so many more wells built of this way scares the @#%* outa me.

Not everything has been revealed about what happened to the huge floating oil rig. It was so big and anchored so securely that supposedly nothing could harm it. Those that pay attention should hear bells going off in their head when somebody is telling you that “nothing can happen to it”. the Titanic disaster should have taught us something about not believing everything that we are being told.

Realizing that America needs to provide it’s own independence, and be able to supply their own energy I was all for offshore drilling. I smugly though that with the very elaborate, and almost foolproof shut-off valves installed at the seafloor that we would be almost perfectly safe from any disaster. Somehow I forgot my distrust for major corporations and very, very crooked politicians. This is my wake up call!

In the back of my head I remember that the major factor in being able to defeat Nazi Germany was that the Nazis ran out of energy to supply their war machines. Had they not ran out of gas, we maybe would all be speaking German right now, and be ruled by REAL Nazis instead of accusing everybody that disagrees with us as being a Nazi. It’s a serious thought folks! Energy independence is crucial.

Now is the time to stop pointing fingers at each other. We need a grass-roots movement to take back the control of our country. This is just one time that I would ask you to open your mind and really listen to what I’m saying. Our “patriotism” is our worst enemy. We are not truly patriots until we become concerned enough about our country and future that we stop accusing each other of being “Republicans” or “Democrats”, Conservatives or Liberals, and start acting like Americans.

An example of what I say is as simple as looking at The Tea Party. It started out as a pure grass roots movement of people concerned about our government being out of control. Soon, it was suggested the Tea Party was “awfully radical and conservative”. Most of the Liberals jumped ship like fleas off a dead dog. They wanted no part of being associated with a damned conservative. Soon after the liberals were split off, the racist comments started. Well some people won’t have anything to do whatsoever with a damn racist. More ship jumping ensued. I’m just curious how long it will be until the Tea Party is no longer a factor. Does it come to any of you that what is happening to the Tea Party is being controled and manipulated? But wait, having a weak, easily defeated group around is a real advantage, so I expect that there will be little more division in the Tea Party. Plus it’s needed now, to keep everybody side-tracked while it is “Crooked Government as usual”.

Now, I don’t know how many people realize what just happened in the Gulf. The oil rig catching on fire and sinking should have been just another disaster. Because they failed to install a shut off valve, this leak will go on for maybe months. The gulf of Mexico can handle a hurricane like it was just a sneeze, but oil permeating everything may be the ultimate disaster to the people and wildlife in the gulf. The birds, shrimp, seaweed, sea grasses, the turtles. The coral, the beaches, the fish, the dolphins the… Take the time do your own inventory. This disaster is insurmountable.

You people that still want to blame each other for your stupid political partisanship can just go square to hell, you are the blame for letting our government get this far out of control. You played politics while Rome burned. Where is the Government oversight that we are supposed to have? How in hell can we trust our government or big business ever again. And the bigger question: What are you going to do about it


Joseph said...

Ernie, I have been disgusted for a long time with partisan politics, and my antipathy for partisanship just continues to grow. We need a "constructive coalition" that will not drift off into one extreme or another. Too much of political discourse thrives on accusations of ideological extremism, and these are often neither accurate nor constructive. We should be working on solving problems, not rationalizing them away. Grass roots involvement is important, of course. Holding our representatives accountable and KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THEM, is critically important. Unfortunately, no private citizen has the time to stay fully engaged in watching the government and its policies. Even so, we need to be aware that a carefully directed thoughtful letter can have much greater influence than assembling a bunch of angry people to yell hateful comments and wave signs. We must force our government to act responsibly. After all, it really is OUR government, and it need not be our enemy.

Anonymous said...

"Now is the time for all of you self-righteous do-gooders that are still ranting about what the early settlers did to the Indians a good cause to stand up for. They see themselves as being oh-so-much-better-than-thou, knowing full well that they would have protected the Indian people. I usually try to stay calm, when I know full well that they would not have survived even one day in 1860, even without trying to save Indians."

Could you please show me where anyone has said anything even close to the above on your blog?!
This is your lamest straw dog, one you keep on kicking... lay off the dog!

Ernie Branscomb said...

My mention of the tea party was not so much to think that they were a solution to our problems, but to use as an example of how badly divided that we have become.

I really think that our elected officials have become so far out of touch that they are no longer "our government". I think that they are completely out of touch.

My question, and I don't know the answer, is how do we get back a government that we can trust when they are so totally untouchable by the common man. I never really thought that I would become this discouraged, but this oil spill, and the lack of responsible oversight is the finale straw for me. Something has to be done.

I like and approve of your gentle approach, and I do have friends that I trust in local politics, but I'm afraid that politics is the opposite of horse racing, the high up it gets, the more crooked it gets.

Joseph said...

Ernie, there is a sense in which I agree with you about politics in high places being dirty, but there is plenty of dirt at the local level as well. Wherever there are incentives for cheating, cheating will happen. I live in a congressional district where an influential family in the sand and gravel and highway construction business brought in a guy years ago and funded his campaigns (and more). The guy, of course, ended up with a transportation committee chairmanship and influential appropriations committee position. He was able to look after his friends and get big highway construction contracts for them. The government worked pretty well for them. Eventually, the guy set up a lobbying entity (actually, a PAC), consisting mainly of his former administrative assistant--who seems also to have been his girlfriend for many years. She collected huge amounts from industry to influence the legislation and appropriations. Eventually, the guy was discredited and the whole mess stunk so bad that members of his own party turned against him and stripped him of his plumb committee assignments. He resigned in disgrace--and was replaced in a special election by...HIS SON. The son simply took over the same apparatus, continued to receive campaign financing from the same people in the same (illegal) ways as had been done by his father. The son continues to be re-elected, usually without any serious challenge from his own party in the primary or the other party in the general election. No matter how much we attempt to communicate with him, he ignores us and blatantly serves those who fill his campaign chest.
So now the Supreme Court has affirmed that corporations have the same rights as citizens to donate campaign funding and work to influence elections and legislation. And, nonprofit organizations, such as the HSUS and the NRA and many others, are allowed to continue working very hard to influence elections and legislation, even though they are prohibited from doing so "to any substantial degree." We live in an era of people and organizations doing whatever they can get away with--regardless of the nobility or ig-nobility of their causes or motivations. I can see why you don't like it, Ernie. I don't like it either. And yet, where is there to live besides the imperfect world? I suppose all we can hope to do is make our best effort to act ethically and responsibly within our own sphere of influence.

Dave said...

I've been doing a little research and found where BP said nothing could happen just a year ago.

The safty valve you speak of is the real problem here.
After Halliburton did the cement job, the well blew about 20 hours later.

At first the media made it sound like the safety valve was damaged by the explosion. Now we see there was no saftey valve.

You are so right about partisan politics destroying this country. This is what the American public gets when we don't make our elected officials represent us - they serve their party before us. We can vote them out. There's still that.

The next question is, then who do we trust?

Ernie Branscomb said...

I'll see your "straw dog" and raise you a red herring. I'm not going to do your research for you. It has not only been on this blog, it has been on many others. If it will make you happy I've said myself: “What happened to the Indian was unconscionable, unfair, unjustified and horrible. It’s difficult to look my Indian friends in the eye knowing what happened to their ancestors. I like to believe that I would have been at least a positive force to protect and save the Indian people, as indeed many of my ancestors did”. Does that make you happy?

I think that you present mighty brave talk from someone that is even afraid to sign their name. The question that I asked was: “How in hell can we trust our government or big business ever again. And the bigger question: What are you going to do about it.”

You chose to attack me instead of thinking about what I said, but I appreciate your comment. You help illustrate what I was taking about. Are you sure that you don’t want to brand me as some kind of a “despicable party member name?”

Dave said...

Norway requires all off shore rigs to have an "acoustic valve."

Why don't we have the same safety concerns for the rigs off our coasts?

Ahh yes...we know the answer to that now don't we?

Ernie Branscomb said...

You sound like a reasonable person, and I would be interested in anything that you have to say, because I can tell that you take the time to think things out. I would admonish you to not think too hard though, you will get bitter fast, pretty soon you will start sounding like me.

I agree that we live in the best place in the world but it distresses me that it is so rapidly eroding away. Big business owns the politicians, because they are the only ones that have the money to finance elections. Also, big business, and big money, own America’s “free press”. I only hope that they will be benevolent enough to keep us around when the decide that they no longer need America. I wish that I could say that I’m paranoid. Unfortunately I think that I’m a realist.

Ernie Branscomb said...

What's happening to our country distresses me even more knowing about what happened to soldiers like you, that was sent into the place where Nixon claimed that we weren't. Cambodia was a shameful chapter in America's history. Not that we were there, but that we failed to honor those that fought so honorably for the American Ideal. They returned home to people that not only did not honor them. They had to get rid of their uniforms to avoid being spit on. I would like to think that we have at least risen above that today. Score one for the good side, and thanks again for your service!

It must be doubly distressing to people like yourself to see that you fought, and many of you died, so our politicians could be such despicable, dishonorable people. I had high hopes for Obama, especially after he went into Detroit and talked about jobs, but he’s turning out to be just another politician. It will be interesting to see what he does about the Gulf. Will he lay the blame where it belongs? Will he inspect all other oil rigs? Will he insist that the people of the Gulf Coast are fairly compensated? Who owns Obama is about to be revealed.

Bunny said...

Well ERnie I'm glad you're finally seeing how unbelievably horrible the government has been. This is what it took to get you there. I went to that place when our govt. invaded another country and killed thousands of people and sold us out and brought us down. And I'm afraid that's all about oil too.

Dave said...

Who owns Obama has been revealed (like layers in an onion)and when it comes to drilling off shore this is what we know:

Obama has already struck a deal with Big Oil and the Republicans to "Drill, baby, Drill" off Alaska's waters, and the deep waters of the Contenintal Shelve, where drilling becomes even more riskier in search of high yields.

Obama hasn't done anything about making our oil industry meet top safety regulations with devices like Norway's manatory "acoustic valves"for additional safety. He talks safety. Doesn't walk it.

Look what he's done thus far.

He's been "paying" everyone off for their help electing him at the expense of the country. Look at his cabinet.It has enough lobbyiests to start a major rat's nest!

He probably isn't even aware of all the deals that must have been made in his name during his rapid climb to fame.

Joe Blow said...

Ernie, it is tedious watching you grow. Probably a good place to start would be to ask the right question: What “am I” going to do about it? Answer: “Stop cooperating.”

Ernie Branscomb said...

Joe Blow
Sorry to cause you tedium. I know that you think that I sold-out a long time ago because I have friends that grow dope. Some of the friends are pretty decent, and benevolent, people. Growing and selling illegal dope kinda’ pales in comparison to the tragedy in the gulf of Mexico. Don’t you agree?

What I’m going to do about it is to stop looking the other way when our leaders are selling out our environment in the degree that we have seen recently. It may not be much, but my blog is going to have some principles in the future, and I’m going to stop worrying about what people think about my opinions on the environment, and crooked politicians. I and others of a like mind are not going to “stop cooperating” but we are going to start cooperating. I’m going to do my best to shine a great big light on crooked politicians and news media that lies.

Some of my friends still believe in writing letters, that’s great, but I think that it is time to speak very frankly to the politicians. They have sold us out too much. I’m going to convince my friends to not believe so much of what they hear on “the news”, and to trust their hearts and minds. I think that I’m on the right track.

Joseph said...

Ernie and all, I appreciate this discussion, and I hope it will lead to constructive action rather that despair. We are subject to some of the same processes that shape our elected officials, and "learned helplessness" is a common outcome.

No matter how honest or well-intentioned someone is, actually solving problems and making constructive changes is very difficult. For Obama the problem is compounded by those forces inside and outside his political party who are anxious to ensure that he fails. When half (or more) of the people seem to have no understanding of how public policy gets made and what goes on in terms of political intrigue, it is difficult to think that our form of government is more democratic than many others.

As much as I am attached to the country of my birth (and where most of my ancestral lines go back to the 1600s or 1700s--and a couple long before that), I do not believe that saying that our country is the best place in the world to live necessarily makes it so. There are some pretty good places to live around the world, and there are some pretty bad ones. In America, we have both pretty good and pretty bad--it depends on who you are and where you are and what your attitude is like.
I guess reality is pretty far from the ideal. Now, we would like to be able to drill for oil and dig for minerals and so forth without damaging the environment. Ideally, that could be done. In reality, however, anything that can happen eventually will. Most of these disasters are design problems. And, far too often, corners are cut for short-term gain. It is ironic that this disaster occurred just before Obama's off-shore exploration policy could be enacted. That policy will certainly be held up and changed as a result of this disaster. A paranoid person might see some potential connection here, and wonder how the "accident" happened.

As for me, I would like to see any administration of any party succeed in solving the pressing problems that face us. I am not prepared to write off the current administration as blindly partisan, corrupt, or ineffectual. I want to see everybody get together and work toward solving problems. And that does not mean giving up, raising hell, or becoming oppositional and defiant with regard to everything. It means, taking responsibility and doing what you can to solve problems and make things better. If you are inventive and understand energy physics, work on inventing simple personal power devices that can free us all from dependence on petroleum. Let's use our best qualities to solve problems.

Joe Blow said...

Ernie, thank you for the reply. It is appreciated.

So, I'll start at the top with your first statement. I could call it an assumption: “I know that you think that I sold-out a long time ago because I have friends that grow dope.” No, not because you have friends that grow dope, but because you knowingly did business with growers. Big difference. (How do I know that? Because you admitted to doing so on your blog.) I'm not trying to single you out here in a marketplace where the majority made the same choice. In two words, you cooperated.

Now to your question: “Growing and selling illegal dope kinda’ pales in comparison to the tragedy in the gulf of Mexico. Don’t you agree?” The simple answer is: “No.” For a couple of reasons. For twenty years, maybe more, big oil, big mining, big banks, etc. has reaped the rewards of their big money corruption of “our” government. The result was “free market, no rules, no laws, no oversight, and NO ACCOUNTABILITY. Allowing these corporations to make money has trumped health, safety, the environment and the economy, all at the expense of the people. What happened that resulted in this tragedy is no different than what happened with “growing and selling pot.” The same corrupting influences are at the root cause of both issues with the same tragic results. No one can see the oil blowout; only some of the results. Just as no one could see the pot “blowout” for similar reasons either; only some of the results.

People grew and sold pot because they could. They “could” because people cooperated with them. More than that, people interfered to make sure the general population didn't learn what was really going on. Didn't learn that the real tragedy they were creating was all avoidable. The first thing you hear is: “It's not my fault”! I just made a simple mistake. OR in the case of this gulf of Mexico debacle: “It's was an unavoidable accident.”

Finally, you say, “I think that I’m on the right track.” I would be the last one to say otherwise. I am confident that in due course you will come to understand the true meaning and power of “Non-cooperation.”

Bunny said...

I have one thing to say..........MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!

Ernie Branscomb said...

<“because you knowingly did business with growers.”>

Joe Blow
I have to reply to this because I don’t want this accusation to be taken literally.

You make some pretty broad strokes with your “Brush of Blame”. I have never traded a bag of money for a bag of dope. Not even a little bit of money for a little bit of dope. I do, however, sell batteries to those that do. In your mind that paints me as being complicit in the drug trade. That’s where we disagree. I run an honest business in the midst of a drug based economy. I don’t see much of a chance of me changing that. Plus, and this is a big plus! I’m not a cop! I don’t see any future in me strapping on a gun and busting drug dealers. One, I wouldn’t be good at it. Two, it’s not my job. Three, the cops know what they are doing, and I think the law says that I’m not supposed it interfere with their duties as law officers.

You and I live in a society where there are rapists, murderers, thieves and crooks, does that mean that I’m guilty of all their misdeeds also, just because I might sell them a battery?

Just because I know that there are dope growers doing business with me does not make me responsible for the actions. I don’t know, directly, anybody that grows dope, but I would be stupid to think that I don’t do business with growers. If you think that I’m guilty of any crime, call the cops, let them deal with my wicked ways.

Jon said...

Sometimes you just have to pull the right HAMMER out of the tool box.

So in my neck of the woods when some Joe Blow pontificates on the virtue of being honest, I just pull out the hammer that says "THOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS" and hit myself on the head a few times to make sure that the hammer still works. Yep, when a Judge orders me to answer a question that I have no direct knowledge of, I just remind his honor that I SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS and if he wants me to answer the question then he is ordering me to commit perjury.

I have found that wherever the JOE BLOWHARDS abound that most of them just love to gossip, and the Joe's of this world just blow away like the leaves in fall.

Well Ernie, back to work so I can pay for the pigs flying lessons.

Joe Blow said...

Ernie, after reading your post I actually thought you were honestly sincere in your desire to try to make a difference. Unfortunately, all it amounted to was more smoke and mirrors.

You said, “I don’t want this accusation to be taken literally.”

I'm not accusing you of anything. Not only did you so state in your blog, you also confirm it in this comment. You did and probably still do businesses with known growers and sellers. You cooperate and enable these criminals. The police were never able to enforce the law because you and the majority of business people were all sucking off their hind tits. You say now, “I don't know, directly, anybody that grows dope.” That is a crock! I never said you were a dope dealer or a dope buyer either. Stick to the facts.

The fact is YOU ARE GUILTY. In so doing you are as corrupt as those you rail against. I didn't say you were responsible for another's actions. I said you are responsible for your own. You chose to do business with these people. No one put a gun to your head. There's a word for people like you. The problem is, in just reading your last statment, you can't see the difference.

Now about me. When all of my neighbors were buying new cars and pickups, starting up new businesses, expanding old ones, buying new homes and paying off mortgage loans, I was making an honest living. Like you, they all held it against my wife and me for not taking advantage of the many opportunities to do the same thing. Some of those people were our friends too, until we took a stand. On other occasions all I had to do was grow the damned crap. The buyer would do all the rest, whatever that was. On top of that, I had several pot growers approach me in past years with sizable sums of cash money to grow pot on property I controlled. All I had to do was look the other way. And that's only the positive parts of my dealing with this plague. I owned and operated a business right at the source. I fought my battles. So, don't try telling me what you can and cannot do. You got NO STANDING!

Joseph said...

Just a couple of words. Please do not stereotype and prejudge people. Just because one Joe says something does not entitle anyone to claim that "the Joes of the world" think or act in a certain way.

When I lived in Humboldt 30 years ago, bud was already pervasive. I knew plenty of people who grew. I didn't, and mostly stayed away from it, because engaging in illegal activities, with the prospect of getting busted was too great a risk for me to take.

Also, the business was already getting pretty nasty. One of my neighbors was an enforcer for a sort of cartel that was buying product and telling everyone what they could and could not grow. Kids were getting threatened with automatic weapons on their own family property by people who came in just just for the growing season.

Frankly, I was not able to make an honest living in Humboldt. My hat is off to anyone who was able to make a living there. But it seems nigh unto impossible to have read minds and avoided interaction with anyone involved in growing bud. I left because I could not support my family on what I could make teaching at HSU (and I could not find work, even scrubbing floors). So we moved away to Chicago and on to the Washington DC area, and I never again was unemployed or under employed, right through until I retired.

So now I live in Pennsylvania, out in the country with the wildlife and it is a pretty good life. It isn't home, the way Humboldt would be if I could afford to live there; but it is pretty fair. Maybe it is true that you can never go home again. Maybe the best chance one has is to stay on his/her spot, if possible.

I envy those who can live where you do and keep sufficient distance from risky activities.

olmanriver said...

Thanks for your passion on this foul outrage Ernie. There is much that can be said. Having lived in Alaska I had more of a visceral reaction to the Exxon Valdez mega-spill and the sickening way that has played out in the courts over time. Lawyers, the invisible army.

The horrible damage of this latest spill will be felt for many, many years. Such a poisoning.

The system itself is Oil Quaeda, ever has been. This multinational beast with the many corporate heads are the wealthy equivalent of one of the biggest countries.

John Stewart had a rich time on last night's show contrasting the assurances of this person or that with what they are saying now. The governor of La. looked... more than a little oily.

I hope you can find a way to channel your passion on this one Ernie.
If this were on our coast we would all be out there together picking up the gobs and cleaning birds, and cussing the gubmint for not-doing, inefficiency; and for the national media framing it through their corporate lens.

The alcoholic's creed, or something like that, about knowing the difference between what you can change and what you can't change comes into play for me, tho' I don't begrudge any one trying to do something if they are so moved. Best O Luck!

olmanriver said...

And Joseph, thanks for your honest bio.