Friday, April 30, 2010

Obama's Oil

One of the deepest offshore oil wells ever drilled blew up three weeks after America’s first Green President did a television commercial for the oil industry. “Drill Baby Drill,” he shouted on March 30.

Is there anything this guy won’t do for money?

The size of Obama’s spill is notable. After being reported as a small incident, it’s now revealed that it is the largest oil spill in American history. But that’s not surprising to anyone who drilled past media reports and discovered that this was also the most risky drilling experiment ever conducted.

The ‘Tiberus’ oil field off the Louisiana coast is huge, and pumping it would be lucrative. But it is seven miles down. No technology exists that permits an oil rig to safely remove oil from the sea floor that is seven miles away.

Hence, it’s beginning to seem as if the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was elected to the White House. However, I checked the C of C’s website, and it has no Environmental protection agency, and no department of the Interior.

To understand how the danger of America’s Mexican workforce streaming across U.S. borders outweighs the danger of oil pouring across maritime borders, or how Obama’s lifting of the moratorium on oil drilling on the heavily populated Atlantic coast is reasons, we must comprehend the way Washington regulates industry.

Had the lobbyist-in-chief allowed British Petroleum to drill its well on the Atlantic Coast, that oil spill would soon stretch from New Jersey to North Carolina, according to a Greenpeace spokesperson.

Because the former heavy oil champion spill, that of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, only blackened a stretch of coast where few people live, its dimensions were hard to comprehend. To put the Obama spill into proportion, imagine flying in a jet along the coast from Newark, New Jersey to Charlotte, North Carolina, looking down, and seeing an oil slick the entire flight. A two hour flight.

The late Dr. Max Blumer of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts noted several years ago that oil that comes into contact with the skin, or is ingested by marine life and eaten by homo sapiens, can cause cancer.

Fortunately for the oil industry, there is an insurance policy. Rather than face the risk of handing over the entire value of BP to cover the cost of poisoning the Gulf’s multibillion dollar seafood industry, or paying medical costs of curing diseases caused by eating contaminated food, Americans will swallow the cost.

Like the automobile industry, which causes most air pollution, the oil men would earn no profit if if it had to cover the cost of their role in polluting the planet and causing disease.

As long as industry is not held liable for its cost of doing business, or even just the cost of cleaning up, and curing those whom will get cancer a few years earlier than they expect), it continues to be a blue chip investment.

In other words, it is only the socialization of the costs of doing business that makes most big companies profitable.

Exxon has been sued for damaging the environment hundreds of times. It spilled millions of gallons of gasoline into Newton Creek, which runs through Brooklyn. Exxon has often held the title as the world’s largest company. Yet it couldn’t earn a dime if these and other costs of doing business were figured into their balance sheet. Big oil socializes the cost of the business by running their spills through the digestive systems of their customers, just as Detroit socializes its combusted gasoline through the lungs of their customers.

Indeed, if it weren’t a Democratic administration in the White House, people would think this is corrupt. If Obama wasn’t a black guy, Americans would think that he’s working for the corporations that financed him, not the people who voted for him.

It was Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele who lent Obama the script for the environmental platform of his administration. Steele, who is also black, was the Republican’s keynote speaker at the 2004 convention -- an answer to the Democrat’s choice of then unknown Chicago State Senator, Barack Obama. This prime time speech is traditionally used by the Democrats to introduce the party’s next presidential candidate.

As an attorney Steele, worked out of Tokyo, handling major product liability litigation for Wall Street underwriters.

Steele, whose sister used to be married to heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson, demonstrated his heavyweight knowledge of corporate liability when he shouted, “Drill, baby, drill! at the Republican National Convention in 2008. He pushed offshore oil drilling as a more economical alternative to foreign dependence on oil and the costly wars needed to enforce it.

Yet if wars could protect American’s health and environment from politicians who keep regulation from affecting corporate profit margins, must they be so quickly ruled out?

These days stories about business excesses include those of Chinese contaminated food exports, and industry’s damages to that country’s environment and population don’t seem so different than U.S. exploitation of nature. Both of these parallel the dangers of global warming. Though the equation is hard to ignore, humans have done a lousy job of keeping corporations from eating them alive. With another oil spill, and a policy of more to come, how long this species lasts is becoming its own very conscious decision.

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