Category Archives: Politics

BP begins downsizing oil cleanup crews

By Rena Havner Philips, Press Register

Two weeks after BP PLC placed a temporary cap on the well spewing millions of gallons daily into the Gulf of Mexico, the company on Thursday continued to downsize the number of local workers hired to skim oil from the water, scour beaches and perform other cleanup tasks.

While acknowledging that complaints about spill residue persist, BP spokesman Ray Melick said the oil giant would pursue cleanup efforts until “the beaches are exactly the way people expect them to be.”

“There’s no question it’s not perfect,” Melick said. “I’d love to say we’ll have it done in two months or six months, but I don’t know. It won’t be a job that’s done until everybody feels like it’s done.”

Meanwhile, Alabama officials have sent samples of fish, shrimp and oysters from the Mississippi Sound to a Pascagoula laboratory to determine whether waters there can be reopened for fishing, said Maj. Chris Blankenship of Alabama Marine Resources.

If the samples pass sensory tests — which include smell tests — they will be sent to a federal Food and Drug Administration laboratory for either chemical or fluorescent testing.

Results are expected within a week.

State officials are awaiting permission from the FDA to take similar samples from Gulf waters within three miles of the coast and from Mobile Bay waters just north of the Fort Morgan peninsula.

It has been 102 days since the BP-owned Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf, killing 11 and causing the nation’s worst-ever oil spill.

On the Baldwin County coastline, crews continue working with sifters during daylight hours to separate oil from the sand, said Marcus Little of Semmes, who has served in the cleanup for the past three weeks.

At night, machines sweep miles of beaches. Essentially, said Gulf Shores City Administrator Steve Garman, the entire beach in his city gets cleaned every two nights.

As of Wednesday, however, the number of local people working on recovery efforts had declined significantly from its height a couple of weeks ago: 1,099 people were cleaning Alabama beaches and 181 boat operators were working in Alabama waters as part of the Vessels of Opportunity program.

Little said that he has been notified that today would be his last day.

Also, Little said, plenty of small specks of tarballs are being left behind, and there’s a layer of a cola-colored substance an inch or so below the surface. The latter, he said, makes the sand look like “vanilla ice cream with chocolate swirls.”

“If you bring a shovel, you’ll see that the top of the sand is littered with what looks like chocolate chips, but they’re actually tiny tarballs,” Little said. “I clean the beaches, supposedly, and I find it very disturbing.”

Garman said city leaders are coordinating with BP to make sure that the work is being done properly. He said that cleanup efforts have improved in recent weeks after getting off to a rough start.

He said he knows that some small specks are being left behind, but that’ll change this winter, when contractors will do a “deep cleaning” of the sand. Workers will dig up sand inches below the surface, “digging deeper and sifting finer,” he said.

“We’re not going to do that until a) there’s no indication of more oil coming in at all, and b) it’s cool enough so the tar is easier to pick up,” Garman said.

For now, “We can’t get 100 percent. We never anticipated that,” Garman said. “We’re getting all we can.”

Cleanup methods themselves have come a long way, Melick said, as new inventions have been introduced to aid in the effort.

“We started with guys with shovels and bags. Behind that came front-end loaders,” Melick said. “Over the course of the summer, we started using a better rake system, sifting through the sand. If people have been out there, they’ve seen the system improved.”

Melick said BP may introduce even better cleanup technology soon.

Elsewhere Thursday, the government’s point man for the Gulf spill said that preparations for an attempt to plug the gusher are going well enough that the timeline for a “static kill” may be moved up.

The static kill would involve pumping mud into the top of the well and possibly sealing it with cement, forcing the oil down into its natural reservoir. Next, a relief well would make the “bottom kill,” pumping in mud and cement for a permanent fix.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Thursday that crews would lay in the casing for the relief well later in the day. That could accelerate the work on the static kill, which he previously said would begin late Sunday or early Monday.

Allen also said there is now little chance that any of the spilled oil will reach the East Coast, and the odds will go to zero as the well is shut for good.

Locally, at least 120 people have gone to emergency rooms, clinics and urgent care centers since May 14 complaining of ailments thought to be related to the oil spill, Alabama Department of Public Health officials reported Thursday.

Fifty-four of the patients complaining of oil-caused symptoms were exposed via inhalation, 26 by contact and three through ingestion. Also, nine patients reported multiple exposures, and 28 were exposed indirectly, according to the health agency.

There were no reports Thursday of new oil contamination arriving on Alabama’s beaches. Light nonmetallic sheen was reported in the Gulf about two miles south of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.

View the original article here.

Oil Spill Exaggerated, Pretext for Corexit?

by Ken Price
(for henrymakow.com)

The story from Mathew Simmons (that the oil well was never capped and was still raging at full speed) has been deemed to be a misleading fraud. [Price & Makow.com fell for it. Apologies]  It looks like the purpose of his “disclosure” was to get us to believe that the major cause of death in the gulf region is from methane gas and abiotic oil, WHEN IN FACT, the cause of death is corexit.

It now looks like we do not have an oil leak at all but a tar leak.  I will be following up on this, but as you continue reading you will find good reason to believe that what has actually been leaking is from an asphalt volcano, and this could have been a normal seepage of such material.  Asphalt is consumed by microbes and does not pose a threat to the oceans nor sea life.  In fact, it provides billions of lower food-chain building blocks.

So this is what we have left to go on at the moment:

1.  Corexit is lethal.  It has been tested in the Valdez disaster and it is known to dramatically reduce the lives of all humans who work around it and breathe it.  It should never have been used again.

2.  Continue to stay away from areas along the shoreline.  Do not swim in the waters.

3.  There is a massive media illusion being fed to the public.  This has been brought to light by the following:

Faked pictures of the well supposedly being capped.

Faked pictures of the BP supposed “command center”.

Zero callbacks have been made from the supposed BP “help center”

Ground cleanup crews leaving the scene within an hour of the president’s departure of the area he visited.

Up to two feet of hauled-in sand being dumped on beaches in front of resorts during the night for photo ops the next day looking ok.

Public access denied at most beaches along with speaking with any cleanup workers, flying over the gulf region, photographing BP or workers, access to records (how much dispersants, what’s in it, etc.).

Few people know anything about thousands of workers who have become ill working along the shores and off shore in boats.

What a fact finding mess!

4.  Very little oil has hit the gulf coast beaches and this is after days of prevailing winds from the south.   So if the oil was ever there in the first place, dispersant or not, it would be reaching the shores now.  What has reached the shore has been mostly tar, and overall, after all this time, the amounts have been minuscule.  Some of the pictures have shown the “oil” to be reddish, others have shown it to be white. more here…

From Truthout-Health Hazards in Gulf Warrant Evacuations

“When Louisiana residents ask marine toxicologist and community activist Riki Ott what she would do if she lived in the Gulf with children, she tells them she would leave immediately. “It’s that bad. We need to start talking about who’s going to pay for evacuations.”

In 1989, Ott, who lives in Cordova, Alaska, experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the Exxon Valdex oil disaster. For the past two months, she’s been traveling back and forth between Louisiana and Florida to gather information about what’s really happening and share the lessons she learned about long-term illnesses and deaths of cleanup workers and residents. In late May, she began meeting people in the Gulf with symptoms like headaches, dizziness, sore throats, burning eyes, rashes and blisters that are so deep, they’re leaving scars. People are asking, “What’s happening to me?”

She says the culprit is almost two million gallons of Corexit, the dispersant BP is using to break up and hide the oil below the ocean’s surface. “It’s an industrial solvent. It’s a degreaser. It’s chewing up boat engines off-shore. It’s chewing up dive gear on-shore. Of course it’s chewing up people’s skin. The doctors are saying the solvents are making the oil worse.”

In a widely watched YouTube video, from Project Gulf Impact, a project that aims to give Gulf residents a voice, Chris Pincetich, a marine biologist and campaigner with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, said Coast Guard planes are flying overhead at night spraying Corexit on the water and on land.” more here…

Anderson Cooper Drops the “V” Word

But, if it — if it doesn’t work, there could be an underwater volcano of oil, with almost no way of stopping it.” AC 360

I almost fell out of my chair last night when I saw this. After all this time with virtually no talk about the seafloor and officials not even mentioning the existence of a mud log, the integrity of the casing and seafloor is an issue. Three months later, the “spill” is now a volcano. Was it a slip, or has the media finally been given the OK to start gradually leaking bits and pieces of information that illustrates the true gravity of the situation?

Even James Carville, seemingly out there demanding answers, has failed to ask the right questions. The landing page for his website boasts, “The man who has devised the most dramatic political victories of our generation”. That is neither here nor there, just interesting.

When will people be fed up with being feed vital information about their world?

More importantly, what can be done about it?

To answer the first question, I fear never. So complacent are the masses with modern conveniences that they can’t see beyond the end of their collective nose. I’m not so sure they can be blamed, we have all been lulled into a dreamstate where virtual worlds are the new reality and real life is a nuisance to be escaped. Paint colors are now “virtual”, we don’t talk to our loved ones, we text or Facebook them. Something can’t be true unless spewed out on the nightly news – the place where you are least likely to find truth.

The second question is more difficult. Sadly, I don’t think much can be done about it. Alternate news sources and discussion boards are great, and we should support that. But, beyond that I think we just need to be more aware. As I learned in Film School, be an active observer. Think about what you are being told. Don’t believe everything you are told. Remember history and all it’s lessons about government and human nature.

I will give Anderson Cooper a bit of credit, just a little. We can argue all day about the integrity of journalism today, but at least he is reporting nightly form the area. It was actually an anomaly that I saw the beginning of the program last night-I need to have a few news-free hours before bedtime or I’ll never sleep.

Either way, I think things are going to get a bit more interesting…

Are BP and the US Working on an Omega Plan?

Terrence Aym seems to think so.

“In a desperate attempt to stop a huge area of the Gulf ocean floor from possibly rupturing due to subterranean methane gas (leading to a calamity no human has ever seen) BP has ripped a page from science fiction books.

The giant oil company is now quietly preparing to test a small nuclear device in a frenzied rush against time to quell a cascading catastrophe. If successful they will have the capability to detonate a controlled fusion generated pulse.

While the world watches BP’s attempt to contain the oil gusher at the former Deepwater Horizon site, company officials have given the green light on an astounding plan to use what is known as a nuclear EPFCG charge if all else fails.

Sea floor compromised.” Read more…

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

This is a great article on mind control techniques used in the mass media, nice companion piece to the previous post.

“Impersonal forces over which we have almost no control seem to be pushing us all in the direction of the Brave New Worldian nightmare; and this impersonal pushing is being consciously accelerated by representatives of commercial and political organizations who have developed a number of new techniques for manipulating, in the interest of some minority, the thoughts and feelings of the masses.”
– Aldous Huxley, Preface to A Brave New World

In the 1958 preface for A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley paints a rather grim portrait of society. He believes it is controlled by an “impersonal force”, a ruling elite, which manipulates the population using various methods. His bleak outlook is not a simple hypothesis or a paranoid delusion. It is a documented fact, present in the world’s most important studies on mass media. Here are some of them: read more…

A View From the Spill

note: I wrote this a few weeks into the spill, it was published on oped.com and lecanadian.com.

What’s wrong with the current oil spill situation? I’m not talking about the fact that it happened-or the sweeping devastation-or the response by BP-all valid but not where I want to go with this. What I want to discuss is the displaced aggression toward BP. You read right. I suppose it’s natural, but do protesters really believe that they will make an impact on a goliath corporate entity? If they continue to lose money, they will just file bankruptcy and be protected from their creditors-including the US government and business owners seeking restitution. Or maybe the US will just take it over adding an oil company to their car companies and banks.

Maybe the anger would be better directed at the Federal Government and its first delayed, now inadequate response.

The blast occurred 20 April and it took until 27 April for Salazar and Napolitano to call for an expanded investigation and for Obama Administration official to meet with officials from BP. A WEEK! It’s outrageous for the Federal Government to spend one full week going about their business, relying on BP for estimates of the leakage. BP, a company with a horrendous safety record operating with virtually no environmental safeguards.

Many of the Top Mineral Management Officials are holdovers from the Bush years. Most of the regulations-oil industry friendly-had been left in place from the Bush years. The MMS and NOAA are relying on BP for spill estimates. The Government declines offers of help from 14 countries, presumably because of the Jones Act of 1920 designed to support the US Merchant Marine Industry. Wouldn’t it have been well worth it to issue a waiver to suspend the act in the case of this environmental emergency? update:whether or not this was the original reason for refusal, they have now decided to accept help – over 2 months later!

Oil rigs today generally don’t cause Spills.  Barack Obama

Three weeks prior, Obama had called for expanded drilling off the Southeast Atlantic coast. This also included drilling new areas in the Eastern Gulf, closer than ever to the Florida coast. I have no intention of taking a stance on offshore drilling. Many are using this as a platform to push for alternative energy and there is nothing wrong with that. The issue I have is the polarity of views-either all or nothing. The American Way I suppose. What about a more realistic approach? Its wishful thinking to believe the US will ever dramatically reduce its need or use of oil; too much money is at stake.

Too many people with way too much power are in control. What we can push for is stringent guidelines and safeguards to protect human life and natural habitats; government regulations that exist and more importantly, are enforced.

What is it about the general public that still feels it lives in a world where their government or more outrageously, commerce and corporations tell the truth? History has repeatedly shown the contrary. Why aren’t we demanding truth and proof of truth? It could be the decades of having corporate ideals drilled into our conscience, seemingly dictating every minutia of our lives. Now, so unstoppable we are lost without our electronic pacifiers; our iPhone, our Droid continually infiltrating our conscience, overloading our brains with unimportant details, making it nearly impossible for anything of substance to stand a chance.

BP is really just doing its job.  It’s out there, fucking shit up for thousands of people, ruining unique habitats and getting away with it.

We as the American People have as much or more blood on our hands than anyone else. We continue to vote for (or not vote period) the criminal, corporate takeover of our country. But really, does that matter? Who truly, really believes their vote is counted or tallied up? We are taught that, hell until 2000 it even seemed like the People had a voice. But I do not see how anyone can think that their vote is taken seriously. Or at least not have a little nagging feeling that it is possible that many of the candidates and the voting process itself is a sham?

Apparently us Americans have more important things to do and will continue to allow corporate interests to dictate our life and liberty.