Posted by: distributorcap | May 27, 2010

…one third of the sea became blood… (Revelation 8: 8-9).

As I write, Bloody Polluters (BP) is attempting to plug the massive pipeline rupture in the Gulf of Mexico with a process called “Top Kill.” I hope it works, but even the best engineers in the world only give this a 50-50 shot.

Even if successful, the damage in the Gulf is already so colossal – wetlands, wildlife breeding grounds, fisheries, beaches and a significant portion of the earth will be ruined and unusable for decades. The pooh-poohers are still out there (oh it is just an “accident”, oh they will just clean it up, oh it could have been worse, oh it is only a few dead turtles), but the immense destruction wrought on one of the most important bodies of water on earth will prove to far outweigh the benefits we would have received from the additional oil we would have extracted.

No one should be surprised this calamity is already politicized to the nth degree. That is what politicians do – they are Pavlov’s dogs begging for food when the bell rings. Think of all the other tragedies politicized by these mutts – Terry Schiavo, Katrina, even 9/11. If it wasn’t politicized, you would think something is amiss. We shouldn’t blame the politicians for the bickering (hate would be more apropos) – we should look to the media as the real dividers in this case. Since the rig explosion, the media has carried the torch for those politicians wishing to score points. Partisan finger pointing over gunk filled wetlands sells Tide, engineers talk about capping does not. Sarah Palin saying “drill, baby drill” sprinkles fairy dust in the eyes of all those old white men, environmentalists talking about oil entering the currents brings on the snoring.

There is plenty of blame to go around. the Dept of the Interior, BP, the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration, Congress, John D. Rockefeller, even George Washington if you want. But ultimately the problem is the country’s unwillingness to find and expand alternative energy sources.

We accept offshore oil drilling and all of its hazards, because we have no choice – or so we are told. Getting your car to Target will be much more expensive if we get off of Saudi Light. Face it, carbon fuels are inherently dirty and dangerous – there will never be a completely safe way to mine or drill. And with the ‘easy’ oil quickly running out – the business of carbon based energy recovery will just get more and more destructive.

This country has had other wake-up calls for energy reform before – most notably in 1973 and 1979 – when the Middle East exploded in violence and supplies were shut off. I clearly remember the odd-even days and locks on gas tanks. We are inevitably heading to that (and worse) again. If we had acted back then – there is the likelihood we would not be so dependent on oil and the Middle East as we are today. But when Reagan goose-stepped into office in 1981, any chance of an national energy policy was eliminated. Instead of planning for a future without oil, St. Ronnie forged a closer relationship between big business and government – and a revolving door of people entering one and leaving the other. One big love fest.

But America yawned, since the actor made everything better.

For all intents and purposes the oil companies (with their unlimited funds) are in charge of the US national energy policy. Add to that an infrastructure that is dependent on oil, hundreds of millions of vehicles and pieces of manufacturing equipment dependent on petroleum products and electrical power grids powered by carbon fuels, you have a recipe for disaster.

Oh – and top it off with a country unwilling to sacrifice one iota for the good of the planet.

America has spent the better part of the past 30 years getting everything it wants. Ronald Reagan ingrained in us – that America was the king and we all deserve something for nothing (while the chicks are free). The rest of the world, the sea turtles, the environment – who cares? Well now America is getting some of its blood money delivered in the form of gooey brown gunk washing into the fisheries and wetlands of Republican strongholds along the Gulf. (yes I am going to add to the politicization of this – the Republicans have spent the better part of 30 years dismantling any regulation that could have remotely prevented this). Big Oil, which has made more money that seemingly possible, has been treated with kit gloves by the US government. As a thanks for all that privilege, those same companies have acted like the German blitzkrieg during WWII in their search for the ultimate profit high – all at the expense of the American citizen. Lax laws, waivers, cut-corners, regulators paid off – and what do we end up with. Higher prices and the potential of a dead ocean.

“One third of the sea became blood, and one third of the living creatures which were in the sea died.” (Revelation 8: 8-9).

Many scientists have said it may take months to stop this gusher. Some are even saying it may never be capped, that it could flow for years. The underground pressure forcing the oil out is so great, it would be like blocking a wind tunnel with a tissue. A relief well (that will take 3 months) will bring some of the oil up through alternative pipes, but it will not stop the leaking.

In addition, by not understanding the meaning of sacrifice (or even conservation) the country has been trained to feel powerless to do anything. The government likes it that way. There is no easy path to a better world – the only path is one fraught with risk and consequence. American society just doesn’t know how to deal with risk, consequence, sacrifice or even loss.

One could imagine that something like this tragedy would bring us together as a nation to discuss ways to better ourselves and our planet? Keep dreaming. Even 9/11 really didn’t bring us together (it did for about 6 months before Bush decided to play John Wayne), so I guess I shouldn’t expect too much from the Gulf tragedy. We have too much vested in us vs. the-other-us. The worse the crises gets, the more the Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots of the government march into their own corners to proclaim they have the most facts, the best answers, the least amount of blame and the biggest dicks. We have become some combo of Mean Girls, Heathers and Revenge of the Nerds.

The country has to freeze all off-shore drilling and come with a comprehensive (and open) Energy Policy with strict standards for wind, tar sands, petroleum, natural gas, solar, coal, hydroelectric, biofuels, and nuclear power so we don’t turn into Mars or Neptune. All players must meet a strict level of regulations, none of them will be tax exempt, there should be no special treatment for Exxon and funds must be dedicated to non-carbon based fuels. Without a policy that is science driven and not big business driven, this Gulf gusher will only be the tip of the iceberg.

The ONLY good thing that could come of this mess is that the longer it drags out, the more people might see that unregulated markets acting for the common good is a complete and total myth. People (including those Republicans living on the gulf) will witness first-hand the devastating effects of deregulation can have. Total control by corporations is just as bad and dangerous as total control by the government.

Deregulation and corporate control has been the cornerstone of Republicans since Reagan. After all, St. Ronnie said government was very, very bad and American businesses are very, very good. Since businesses are such good citizens (and now people!), we should trust them to regulate themselves. Between the 2008 financial meltdown and the 2010 oil drenched gulf – you don’t have to bee a tree-hugging, bleeding-heart liberal to see what a stellar record business has had by regulating themselves.

It is obvious that 30 years of increased self-regulation by the corporations is destroyed this country financially and ethically. Now we can also add environmentally.



  1. Hi Cap;I remember the wake up call of the seventies and was amazed at the unwillingness of the general public to cut down on their fuel consumption.In Holland they forced drivers to alternate between days, on one day cars with plates ending in an even number could be on the road, on other days odd numbered vehicles were allowed.Once OPEC opened up the tap again, all was forgotten.Mexico, America's 2nd largest supplier is running out and Canada, which I think is the biggest supplier, has to pollute the planet more to process the crude from tar sands.We survived as a species for thousands of years without oil or modern vehicles.Our desire for convenience, comfort and one upmanship will probably do us all in as the Gulf illustrates.I don't believe water will evaporate when covered with oil, in which case weather around that area may be affected.Sick, isn't it?

  2. I agree with your call for an alternative energy policy, though I would add one thing. We need a massive expansion of our public transit systems.

  3. All of us know what we need but in this atmosphere of politics we will not get a thing. I say you damn near covered it all DCap but your last sentence is key to the whole piece."And how their total control is really just destroying this country financially, ethically and now environmentally."All that I know is that if this does not get shut off it has to mean the death of the oceans globally I would think. If the oceans dies the earth will to that's all there is to it.Great stuff and thank you for your effort!

  4. I can't stand it.This horror is beyond a crime. It is homicide and eco-cide. Nothing short of an ecological holocaust is unfolding…and there is no blame… and no shame. If humanity can't seize this catastrophe as a turning point, we deserve extinction.

  5. I was just watching this again. Frontline Poisoned Waters from a year ago.I wonder how much worse the devastation can get with this spill.*sigh*

  6. Cappy great post. I've lost faith in humans. My Mantra for years has been we learn nothing, nothing from History,Nothing from events and nothing from each other. Memory's get clouded because of life. The lesson's of life are soon lost. We all must be insane because we repeat actions again and again expecting different results. Back in 1979 we had just about the same catastrophe in the Gulf as deep horizon. All the same tools even the same dispersant. 31 years ago.That spill lasted over a year. Industry along the Gulf was devastated. What did we learn, not a damn thing, drill baby drill. We deserve what we get.

  7. D-cap, I check you every day, and appreciate your thoughtful posts. This was a particularly poignant one… I'm thinking the Mayans may be right after all, and it's TEOTWAWKI in 2012…

  8. Another excellent post. Thanks!

  9. Ich – Americans are the laziest fattest most selfish society to ever walk the earth. It is always “someone else’s problem” hence the Gulf. As for the oil on the water – wait till hurricane season takes hold. Some people say it will cool the water lessening the strength of the storms – others say the oil will end up in the storms…. Lib – you are correct – 1/3 of the stimulus should have been dedicated to mass transit – think of all the jobs and environmental savings – but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOne fly – thanks, it is all about ROI – ROH (return on humanity) nah – we should just take those extra people and make them into soylent green. If the oceans die – you might as well hang an Out of Business sign on the earth. Watch the crowds riot at the shuttles – they will have to head to Mars.Dave – this is the ultimate crime against humanity. BP will end up killing millions of people and billons of creatures in the waters. But as the right (and completely insane greedy disgusting Americans at redstate and slappz) will say – it is only a bunch of dead fish, we need more money to buy more thingsNunya – it will get worse – even when they clean it up, each incident like this brings us that much closer to that ArmageddonTim – thanks I also have lost complete faith. When you have people thinking people like Palin and Boner are actually doing good (remember to shitheads like Palin it is all about buying things, having guns, telling people what to do in their bedroom and praying in school) – there is no hope. Obama has really been a disappointment to me – he is far better than the alternative – but our collective leadership really only cares about $$$ and getting elected, nott about fixing the problemsMbarnato – thanks so much. If not 2012 – within a century. Our grandkids are not being left debt, they are being left a cesspoolZoey – thanks! I so appreciate all your comments and support

  10. I'll leave the "Ronnie/Bush/Cheney/Palin" blame game to others.My focus is on decisions made by the Obama Interior Dept. vis a vis, granting BP a waiver from filing a Environmental Report before they were allowed to set-up shop in the Deepwater Horizon area.An Environmental Report details what steps an oil company will take to cap an oil gusher and the subsequent clean up. This didn't happen in BP's case.Also, a simple $550,000 valve installed on the floor of the sea (required by the EU, Indonesia and even Nigeria) to shut off the flow of oil, wasn't required of BP to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, a mere 35 miles off the coast of the USA.It's been my experience that in politics, connecting the dots is a simple process of following the money trail. This is true for both Republicans and Democrats alike.According to Open Secrets, in 2008, after John McCain, Barack Obama received the most campaign donor monies from Big Oil. Just under $1 million dollars.I have to conclude this fact influenced Obama's rather hands-off approach to the Gulf disaster. A sort of, in BP we trust mentality.

  11. christopher"Also, a simple $550,000 valve installed on the floor of the sea (required by the EU, Indonesia and even Nigeria) to shut off the flow of oil, wasn't required of BP to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, a mere 35 miles off the coast of the USA."this says is all. i believe cheney said that this was not requiredpenny wise, and oil gunk foolish. we suffer so BP and other oil companies can make more money. very simple math.hayward should be forced to clean the mess up with a bent-straw

  12. DCap,I saw the former CEO of Shell Oil on Tweety's program yesterday. He offered the following.Tankers have the ability to suck-up oil/water mixture. Tankers have been used in the past to do this where oil spills have occurred.The tankers take the oil/water mixture to a location where it is separated and the water cleaned and returned.Is it a solution to capping the gusher in the Gulf? No, but by dispatching a dozen tankers to the Deepwater Horizon area, 12 million gallons of spill can be scooped up each time until a cap is in place.The former CEO of Shell asked a simple question: "Why hasn't the administration made this happen?"

  13. Obviously we haven't privatized enough.

  14. randal – you just simply crack me up

  15. DC, I fully agree with you. This is the most catastrophic environmental disaster in human history. Despite attempts to blame Obama, who has made some mistakes and admitted them, I cannot escape the fact that, had not Dick Cheney allowed the oil industry to write the regulations in the secrecy of his office, this particular catastrophe would not have happened. However, sooner or later one was bound to happen.Long term, there is only one solution. Oil can no longer be the basis for our energy supply.

  16. Dcap -Thanks for this post, you have given us so much to think about in re: energy policy.I think one of the great serendipities of the era is that just 2 weeks earlier President Carebear tried to triangulate Clinton-style by opening up off-shore drilling — there was not a single environmentalist that was consulted. And of course, the GOP continued to vivisect him, so he bought nothing.And now, whether he deserves it or not (and there are a whole constellation of people that deserve it), he now has this disaster attached to his name.Christopher is right about this: look at the actions and not the words. Today he said he was angry and that the government was still in charge, but I don't see any action to go along with that.Sadly yours,Tengrain

  17. well said, dcAp.

  18. My New Rules: 1.No foreign petroleum companies can drill within 5,000 miles from out coastal waters.2. Any petroleum company that has a similar FUBAR to the Exxon Valdez and this BP mess must relinquish the right to further offshore drilling.3. They fucked it up, they must pay for every cent of restoring things back to normal, including things the government does to help in the clean-up.

  19. DCap, the others have all made great comments, so I can only add my own agreement here…great post, and it is all so depressing. I agree, Americans are too selfish to ever be willing to sacrifice anything.Another thing is, most businesses in general are not willing to make any changes (4-day work weeks, more telecommuting, etc.) to lower the consumption of gas. Sure, some are doing more of this but it is a minority.Last, people need to understand that electric cars are not the real solution as most electricity is powered by coal. So you are exchanging one evil fuel for another. The quotation from Revelation is chilling.

  20. DCap, am going to link to you because I think everyone should read this post.

  21. thanks to EVERYONE for your comments and thoughts — what a tragedy. but what are we going to do about itMaui – of course!

  22. Obviously I've been in a blog tunnel not to have read you before… This is BRILLIANT… I admire your paced, intent direction with this post. Well said, well writ. TY!

  23. This really is turning into our little Chernobyl ~ it was brought up today that "heavy mud" very likely contains— toxic chemicals. Read up on it here: fluid = Drilling mudMud is, with varying degree, toxic.Today the live BP geyser cam seems to be gushing all black w oil, and perhaps @ an increased rate? Did the top kill just make things worse?Well, BP will announce tomorrow in a Memorial Day weekend Sunday for their news dump. Yes, it looks like the Gulf is going to turn into a dead zone of toxic sludge. Worse NOAA is predicting an active year of Hurricanes. They always told us hydrogenated oil is bad for our health. The only silver lining is maybe some people will wake the hell up & realize it is not a risk worth taking. One can only hope.

  24. Hi Cap;What are we going to do about it?What we could do is outlaw vehicles not getting a minimum of 35 mpg and restrict pleasure travel for now.Put in place efficient public transportation such as rail and make it safe and convenient.Reduce dependence on long haul trucking.Enforce smaller homes. Those 2,500 square foot and up monsters for two people take too much energy to heat and cool.Manufacturing needs to be more cautious in what it spews out and what it consumes.Start using horses and bicycles again. At least when a horse dies its remains become fertilizer or food, not earth killer.Windmills and green energy sources could be increased.Have the whole world do the same thing. The last thing we need is the Chinese and Indians with as many vehicles per capita as the USA and Europe and that is what they are trying to do.Will this call for sacrifice?You bet.Will it be hard? Sure, but there will be plenty of upside as well. We may get to know our neighbors again.Will we do it?Nah, I need my 4 X 4 so I can haul my baby around in safety. Those freeways are tough in Southern CA. 🙂

  25. Watching the evening news and they say that the top kill procedure has failed, sadly.You are entirely correct that the "easy oil" is running out, just as the demand for it from the emerging economies, China, India, Brazil, Russia and within Saudi Arabia, is rising. So we should all be changing our lifestyles to accommodate the coming crunch.

  26. Hi Cap;The removed most of the workers on a platform in the North Sea, which is experiencing "pressure" fluctuations.,,5617381,00.htmlThis problem with BP is not an isolated one.

  27. no it is not isolated – i thought water would do us inlooks like it is water and oil – which obviously do not mix

  28. Oh – and top it off with a country unwilling to sacrifice one iota for the good of the planet. Yup, and it's really sad. We could have solar panels on our roofs. We could eat less meat and not accept GMO foods. We could have electric cars and the beginning of a national system of transportation that didn't use fossil fuels and the taxes from the sale thereof. There are PLENTY of things we can do individually and collectively to make sure our grandchildren and great grandchildren have a decent place to live. We ought to VALUE preserving the beauty of this little blue and green marble in the infinite universe we live in.We should cherish life rather than be bent upon destroying it.Alrighty! Off my soap box now 🙂

  29. Hi Cap;Speaking of the Arctic, the Canadians have to claim it and prevent drilling and proposed shipping lanes.Time for Canadians to get their military up to speed to stop the corporations.We can do it. We need to, to save our planet.

  30. I wonder if Sarah Palin and Michael Steele are still chanting Drill Baby Drill?Fuckin' imbeciles.

  31. We won't save our planet. Capitalist greed, self delusion and social inertia will ensure that we reach a point of collapse, just like the Easter Islanders, Maya, Romans and other civilizations that outstripped their resources and poisoned their environment did. It's part of the human condition. Growth and collapse are as old as human beings are. This will just be the first time it happens on a global scale.

  32. I'm not what you'd call a religious person, but this shit is starting to feel a little Biblical.

  33. I've always been ready to sacrifice! Give me a small electric cart for daily errands. Give me mass transit. Subsidize my local farmers to cut back on long haul trucking. I don't need fresh strawberries in March!! And I know I'm not alone.

  34. Man, write a book. Your clarity and honesty has gotten totally out of hand, in the most admirable of ways.Seriously, Dude, you're rockin' me.

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