Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul: Obama's Criticism Of British Petroleum Is Un-American

You have to wonder: does Rand Paul really not know how ridiculous the things he says are? Or is it that he does, but just doesn't care?

This morning, the Associated Press reports that Rand Paul is attacking President Obama for his criticism of BP Inc., suggesting that it's anti-business and "really un-American."

Really? So it’s “un-American” for the President of the United States to hold accountable an oil company that is responsible for a disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is damaging the region’s economy and ecosystem. It’s “un-American” for the President of the United States to demand answers from a company whose profit margin was so vast the first three months of the year that it can pay for its total cleanup costs with just a few days worth of profits?

Or could it be that Rand Paul is merely try to distract general election voters in his home state from bizarre positions on global warming and clean energy, including comparing President Obama to dictators like Hugo Chavez for representing America's interests at a summit of world leaders on energy and global warming in Copenhagen?

And never mind that the company that Rand Paul thinks it's "really un-American" for President Obama to criticize is actually headquartered in the United Kingdom. As in, not America. In fact, until 2001 when the company shortened its name, BP actually stood for something - British Petroleum.

Although for someone who's so closely aligned with a Tea Party movement that's confused about whether a lot of things are or aren't American, we guess this latest mix-up shouldn't come as a major shock.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yikes! BP CEO Hayward Declares Gulf Cleanup "Extremely Successful"

Tell George W. Bush we’re bringing his jersey out of retirement and signing Tony Hayward.

In recent interviews, Hayward has simply outdone himself. The 53-year-old BP executive is now calling his company’s response effort “extremely successful” (see right for an image of the 40-ton containment dome that was promptly lifted from the leakage site after being lowered and failing to perform properly).

The admirably humble Hayward admits “we made a few mistakes early on.” But that’s a little strange, considering his smug remarks in a later interview:
“Do I feel that anything I’ve done I would have done differently? Not at all.”
Really? Seriously? This unapologetic tone has plagued BP demeanor over the past several weeks, leaving Gulf Coast residents high and dry when it comes to accounting for the multi-billion dollar losses experts forecast for hard-hit local industries like tourism and fishing. Hayward, meanwhile continues marching to his own beat:
“I believe ultimately that if we can win the hearts and minds of communities that are impacted, then we have the potential to enhance our reputation.”
Funny, is the way to communities’ hearts and minds to refuse payment to clean-up volunteers without excessive documentation? Is it to subtly sneak clauses about waiving damages payments into these volunteer contracts? What about publicly lying about the oil spill rate by double-digit multiples? Nevertheless, the gallant British knight flaunted his chivalrous colours:
“I’m a great believer that when things are not going well the leader should step forward and be seen to be present and take responsibility.”
Unfortunately, Hayward did not deem the House of Representatives subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing an important time to be present. Neither, apparently, was it time for the “leader” to step up and take responsibility for the spill at the earlier Senate hearing where BP, Transocean, and Halliburton were admonished by President Obama for their childish finger-pointing.

Perhaps, though, we must simply learn to trust in the intelligent leadership of men like Hayward. Oops, did I say intelligent?
“How much redundancy should be built into a blowout preventer? I think it would be reasonable to say more than we had.”
What tipped you off, Tony?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Modesty, a BP Virtue

With leakage figures beginning at 290,000 barrels already and all-inclusive estimates of the Gulf oil spill’s cost to public and private sectors reaching as high as $22.6 billion, we had to double-check the dictionary when BP executive Tony Hayward said, "the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.”

“Modest,” according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, is defined as “limited in size, amount, or scope.” Indeed, the oil spill has its limits—murky black plumes only cover a mere 2,500 square miles of American waters, but who’s really counting? We are.

So is the overall environmental impact "very, very modest?" We certainly don't think so.

See Hayward embarrass himself here.

A Moment of Truthiness from Rep. John Duncan (R-TN)

Today at a hearing for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) wanted to make sure folks knew that he is an independent man, not beholden to anyone:
"I have no connection to BP or any other oil company at all."
No connection, that is, besides the $85,111 in campaign contributions that he has taken from the oil and gas industry during his career, including thousands from ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Koch Industries.

That's a mighty interesting view on what precisely constitutes a "connection."
Hat tip to Miles Grant for alerting us to this particularly truthy tidbit.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Round II: Big Oil's Best Buddies Block Bailout Prevention Bill

Big Oil is exceptionally well-represented in Congress these days.

Last week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Big Oil) blocked the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, which raises the liability cap on BP Inc. and will make sure that the giant oil company -- and not taxpayers -- foots the bill for the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

Today, it was her colleague from Big Oil James Inhofe's turn at the plate. In the video below, you'll see Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey again ask for unanimous consent to proceed on the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act. Then you'll see Inhofe object, arguing with some super-duper logic that shielding BP from having to pay for its mess would actually HELP major oil companies like BP at the expense of "independent" oil companies.

Here's what Firedoglake had to say about Inhofe's um... interesting... argument:
Once again, we see the protection of “Little Oil,” as if there are mom-and-pop offshore drilling concerns who go out into the Gulf with a screwdriver and a bucket and fish for oil.
Lisa Murkowski and James Inhofe: Protecting Little Oil from the Big, Bad American Taxpayer since 1994.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Big Oil Can't Be Trusted: BP Fighting Efforts To Measure True Extent Of Its Oil Spill

Amid one of the worst oil spills in history, the New York Times reports today that British Petroleum is fighting efforts to measure the true extent of the damage caused by its sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico:
BP has resisted entreaties from scientists that they be allowed to use sophisticated instruments at the ocean floor that would give a far more accurate picture of how much oil is really gushing from the well.

“The answer is no to that,” a BP spokesman, Tom Mueller, said on Saturday. “We’re not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point. It’s not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort.”
Really? BP's flack expects us to believe that knowing the amount of oil that is currently gushing into the Gulf of Mexico isn't relevant to the cleanup efforts? I hope they're paying Mr. Mueller well, because saying that with a straight face requires considerable talent.

And why might BP's answer to the scientists be "no"?
Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.
In other words, BP doesn't want more bad images or revised estimates of its oil spill -- already a monumental PR disaster -- to be released publicly. It's part of a concerted effort to keep as much information as possible under wraps: BP fought hard to delay the release of this video of the ongoing oil gusher 5,000 feet below sea level, in part because scientists were able to analyze the video once it was released, and determined that the oil was spilling at a much faster rate than BP at first admitted.

Just one more piece of evidence that Big Oil can't be trusted with the safety of our environment or our economy.