Water's Fine...no wait...don't

Put up your hands if you want to see BP, Halliburton and Transocean go down and their corporate leaders do hard time with a guy named Bubba? OK, you can put your hands down. Now put your hands up if you have an alternative. I’m stuck too. There must be other companies in America who don’t put shareholders above the good the the people. Aren’t there? Supposedly the brightest minds are working on plugging the hole at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico even as you read this. Perhaps they will succeed and I know we all hope they do. The damage to the rest of the Gulf, however is still going on and on and on. Over the past thirty years or so, these companies, BP, Transocean and Halliburton have been working on perfecting the “art” of drilling in deeper and deeper water. Their techniques are spectacular to say the least. What they neglected to do was to work out a “blow-out” strategy that could keep pace with the scientific advancements in deep water drilling. Nothing has been done since the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 to bring containment and clean-up into the 21st century. And the three companies listed above are the best so far that we have. They should know how to contain and clean shouldn’t they? We are still using so-called “booms” to corral the oil. They didn’t work in 1989 and they sure don’t work in the Gulf today. BP has touted a million and a half feet of booms have been put in the water. Woo-wee. How many of them are manned and checked? You’re right, not very many. A strong breeze could breech them, and have. The mess stretches as far as the eye can see on top of the water and who knows for sure how much of it is underwater.

Meanwhile the London-based oil company is trying it’s damnedest to turn the public perception of itself around with a $50 million advertising campaign, staring BP’s CEO Tony Hayward singing “I’m sorry…oh so sorry.” Meanwhile saying that many of the rig and refinery workers live along the Gulf. Yes Tony, it is all about BP. (They recently paid Google to have searches about “oil spill” or “Gulf oil spill” show the BP website to get ahead of the negative reaction). They are even trying to shift the name from “The BP Oil Spill” to the “Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill” or the “Deep Water Horizon Incident.” $50 Million dollars to look green? Puleeeeze. Even John Hall (D-NY19) thinks the money could be used better. Hey Tony, how about throwing a few of those oil bucks back into clean up and restitution? Wouldn’t that be a better use of PR? Oh, those Brits, always about image! As for Halliburton/KBR, I have no idea why we are still doing business with those criminals. Can you tell me they are the best at what they do? There is no other?

But part of the blame needs to be laid at our feet as well. We love cheap gas. Americans have an insatiable thirst for gasoline. Just look at the amount of traffic on roads and highways, and you’ll see that a severe gas shortage would practically cripple the United States. Americans drive nearly 3 trillion miles per year, according to the Motor and Equipment Manufacturer’s Association [source: MEMA]. That’s about 820 trips from the sun to Pluto and back. Even if we wanted to put Tony Hayworth on Pluto, we would still need his gas to get him there.

OK here it comes…In Europe because of a myriad of taxes, gasoline a few months ago sold for $6.25/gal in the Netherlands, the highest in Europe. The cheapest? $0.12 in Venezuela. So, how to put the skids on oil profits? Raise the price of gas at the pump. We stop the subsidies of oil and drilling equipment companies and get the money out of our politicians pockets (as BP bought Winston Churchill in 1925). Oil is not a renewable energy resource. We use it here and go looking for more someplace else. Higher pump prices, of course, places a hardship on the working class who need their cars to get to work. Maybe more subsidization of public transit would be a better use of monies. Tax breaks for the richie-riches’ of the country were not meant to build up the working class, were they? If the corporate business culture really cared about America and the American worker beyond what they can “get” from generous tax breaks an lax regulations, they would use their profits to building up this country rather than tearing it down and muddling our natural resources for short term gain. The $50 million BP spent on TV to show us their “human” side is obscene. Invest that in recovery.

In the meantime, we need to do something. Perhaps writing the CEOs of BP and Halliburton and Transocean telling them what we think of their PR campaign as well as their care for mother earth. Sometimes I think these multinationals just use countries as an appendage. Well maybe that’s what “taking our country back” really means. We are not an appendage to a foreign oil company. On the “Today” show, President Obama told Matt Lauer that he is listening to his experts on the Gulf disaster so he can know “who’s ass to kick.” I think we can submit a list of names of possible candidates, just as long as the kick lands them in the middle of the oil-fouled marshes.