Rand Paul, the Gift That Keeps On Giving (5/23/10)

Here is where I shall vent my spleen on whatever political topic might cross my mind on a given day. Comments or responses may be posted to whatever forum might be appropriate to that particular topic.

Rand Paul, the Gift That Keeps On Giving (5/23/10)

Postby Ferguson Foont » Sun May 23, 2010 11:53 am

But first, a word from our sponsor, British Petroleum. (Note to you literalists out there: That's a joke. I am NOT sponsored by BP. I would have refused sponsorship from BP even BEFORE the Deepwater Horizon disaster, no matter how much money they offered. Also, they have not offered any, and I rather doubt they ever will.)

Until BP claimed they were recovering 5,000 barrels of oil a day through that tiny straw they stuck into that enormous sewer pipe they drilled, with maybe twenty to one hundred times the amount of oil that their little straw was collecting gushing out 24/7, BP continued to claim that the TOTAL magnitude of ALL the leaks (I understand that there are three) was 5,000 barrels per day. So much for that estimate.

I have this rather nasty but persistent feeling that BP's chief interest has not been to plug this leak. Instead, it has been their chief priority instead to try to recover the oil for profit. I believe, although I feel constrained to mention that this is without any actual evidence to support my belief, that there may have been some techniques that might have been tried to plug this gusher that BP has been reluctant to employ because it would interfere with any oil being recovered from the well. BP is not as concerned about the environmental impact of this disaster than they are that they are losing money from it, and they are confident that Bush-era (and Gang of Five) limitations on their liability will protect them almost completely from the having to shoulder any but the smallest percentage of the cost burden of their environmental destruction.

Note that the LOWER range of current, more scientifically-based (as opposed to wish-based or BP PR-based) estimates is 70,000 barrels a day, and that this has been the rate of flow since the beginning. The volume of oil dumped into the environment passed that of the Exxon Valdez on the third or fourth day following the collapse of the rig.

Now, as to the magnitude of the disaster itself, I believe it to be the greatest man-made environmental disaster in history, far greater than the Exxon Valdez and even greater than Chernobyl, probably by one, two, maybe even three orders of magnitude. We are only beginning to see the environmental destruction that this will cause, but it is increasing, very rapidly, and there may be no way to stop it even once they finally succeed in stopping the leak.

And stopping the leak is by no means a done deal. This latest plan, to shoot it full of mud and debris to clog the hole, is very high risk. Nobody really knows what effect this will have. It is possible it will stop the leak, but it is also possible that it will increase the size of the leak significantly and result in as much as a HUNDRED TIMES the volume of oil that is now gushing forth. Keep your fingers crossed.

But the quantity of oil that has ALREADY leaked into the Gulf is such an overwhelmingly enormous amount that there is no possible way to remove from the water, even over the long term. The size of the slick is larger in area than several of our whole states, and it is growing and growing and growing. The slick itself is only a fraction of the total oil that has leaked -- the dispersants employed by BP, which are more toxic than the oil itself, have caused this oil to propagate at several different levels beneath the surface, poisoning the seas over a very broad area and enormous volume of water.

This oil will not stay put, of course, and its movement is utterly dependent on factors quite far beyond any human influence or even knowledge. We've all heard by now of the "Loop Current" into which the surface oil is already being fed, that is likely to take it onto the west coast of Florida, around the tip to the Everglades and Keys, back up the east coast, and possibly all the way to Hatteras before it heads out to sea. What we do NOT know is how the undersea currents may distribute the even more highly toxic "dispersed" oil.

We also don't know what the weather will be like. Hurricane season is upon us and they will certainly influence the way this oil moves around. It could drive it to shore rapidly with force sufficient to send it up rivers. It could put it into the Chesapeake Bay. It could send it into the New York waterfront. We just don't know.

And, even if the weather is ideally favorable, the oil will not disappear simply because it heads out over the Atlantic. It won't just go away but, a month or two after we think that we here on the east coast have escaped its effects, it could come crashing into the U.K, into France, even into the Mediterranean.

The tone the past couple of days has been, "This was caused by a lack of oversight, by insufferable negligence on the part of the companies involved, and by corruption in the government agencies that oversee these activities. Now that we know what caused it we will be able to prevent it in the future."

BULL! The amount of money that the oil companies can throw around ensures that any agency, public or private, that is charged with oversight of these activities in the future will become similarly corrupted, and complacency will set in after a decade or so without another incident just as it had here. The claim will again be made that our technology has advanced sufficiently to ensure that it will not happen again. The companies, always driven purely by profit to the exclusion of all other considerations, will again begin to cut corners until a tipping point is reached and another similar catastrophe occurs again. Next time it might be off the coast of Virginia Beach or Atlantic City. The oil might wind up turning the entire Chesapeake Bay into a biological dead zone.

We must oppose deepwater drilling off the Atlantic Coast with every means at our disposal. It must never be allowed to proceed even if we must employ violence to stop it. The loss we WILL (not "may") eventually suffer will be irreplaceable, permanent, and more valuable than all the oil on earth. It is the stupidest idea anyone ever had.

Of course, Rand Paul seems to think we're being too hard on poor little BP. He thinks it is UNAMERICAN to criticize BP. Hunh?

He also has some other odd ideas, like the idea that the Civil Rights Act should not apply to private businesses, that we should end Social Security (but not Medicare or Medicaid -- as an opthalmologist he profits personally from those programs), and that we should revert to the gold standard. He's the gift that just keeps on giving. I think we get a pickup of a Senate seat in Kentucky, thanks to Mr. Paul and his enablers in the TEA Party.

Today he even chickened out of his scheduled appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." This is not unprecedented. This is only the third time since "Meet the Press" first broadcast back in the earliest dawn of the television era in 1948. The first was in 1996 when Louis Farrakhan backed out in 1996, and the second was when Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar backed out in 2003. So Mr. Paul is joining elite company here.

Rand Paul is the gift that keeps on giving. He does, however, seem to be coming to the understanding that the less the public knows what he really thinks, the better things will go for him.

Of course, this has been true of ALL Republicans for quite some time now, but as in so many things, Rand Paul takes it to extremes.
Republicans whine and Republicans bitch: "Our rich are too poor, and our poor are too rich."
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Ferguson Foont
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