The Spill, The Scandal and the President

This is from Rolling Stone, can you believe it?!

"The Spill, The Scandal and the President

The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world’s most dangerous oil company get away with murder

This article originally appeared in RS 1107 from June 24, 2010.

On May 27th, more than a month into the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Barack Obama strode to the podium in the East Room of the White House. For weeks, the administration had been insisting that BP alone was to blame for the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf – and the ongoing failure to stop the massive leak. “They have the technical expertise to plug the hole,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had said only six days earlier. “It is their responsibility.” The president, Gibbs added, lacked the authority to play anything more than a supervisory role – a curious line of argument from an administration that has reserved the right to assassinate American citizens abroad and has nationalized much of the auto industry. “If BP is not accomplishing the task, can you just federalize it?” a reporter asked. “No,” Gibbs replied. "…

Entire article:

It’s BP? What about our government? I know France was sending help to clean up the mess as well as other countries and were refused by our government. There’s something called the Jones Act. Obama is president. This is an national emergency. If he can call a moratorium on further work on oil rigs, driving a further depression, he could have and should have summoned all to do what is necessary.

The article is lengthy, 10 pages long. It takes to task Bush, Obama, their administrations, and BP.

You make a valid point about Obama and company not utilizing help and offers of help. I’ve read that help is standing by and not being utilized, that folks are offering ideas that work to contain the oil and haven’t gotten any response. It is puzzling.

You know, the more I think about it the more I’m convinced it’s not Obama’s fault, it’s not Bush’s fault, it’s not any one person in particular.

It’s the American people’s fault. The people who back the EPA, MMS, SSA, Federal Reserve (not technically a bureaucracy I guess but still applies), DOA, DOC, DOD, DOE x 2, DHHS, DHS, DOI, DOJ, DOL, DOS, DOT x 2, DOVA and whatever other Dept. of Big Brother Has to Look Out For You Because You Cant Do it For Yourself Department.

We should help pay for this through taxes, we indirectly created this beast.

He could permanently ban all oil.

To paraphrase Reagan, “I’m up to my keister with explanations and consequences”

To paraphrase Truman, "I will only hire one-armed economists, so they can’t keep saying ‘on the other hand’ "

We don’t need no stinkin’ oil.

That’s it.

No oil, no spills.


Stick a fork in it.




I presume you were being sarcastic.

But, in case you were not, that solution would not fix the leak in the Gulf. It would also effectively halt the economy of this country and other countries which depend on our country’s exports and imports, not to mention it would result in many, many deaths.

No oil means:
No commuters going to work, except those who live near enough to walk or access electric-based rail. For most people not in major metro areas, this means no work.

No crops being harvested. Those tractors run on gas, which comes from oil. Food prices skyrocket as demand remains the same and production halts.

No plastics being made. Among other things, healthcare costs skyrocket because much of healthcare depends on plastics. All those disposable (therefore more sanitary) supplies, like IV bags, disposable needles, masks, etc., will not be available.

No ambulance, fire, or police services. Their vehicles run on gas…which comes from oil. Life-threatening emergencies go unanswered, fires rage without check, and crime escalates in the absence of police.

No heat for many in the North this winter. Heating oil will not be available, so many will freeze in the harsh cold.

No import or export trade. Those ships, airplanes, and trucks run on oil. Ever looked at how many things in your local market come from somewhere else? No more, if the trucks can’t run and the ships can’t sail.

No more air travel. Avjet fuel is…oil-derived.

Shall I continue? Unfortunately, a decree from Obama placing a moratorium on oil will not only fail to fix the leak in the Gulf, but it also will destroy this country.

To me, this is the most puzzling piece of this situation. Why not muster every single available resource to save our coasts, our wildlife and our livelihoods?

They seem content to fiddle while the Gulf “burns.”

Nothing puzzling. I think this administration wants to drive us into the third world. There is no excuse for not IMMEDIATELY calling out all available sources to protect the fish and beaches. People were begging for permission to build sand barriers and didn’t get an answer. This is a disgrace and it is the government’s fault and the EPAs. What are we paying them for? They knew there were risks. We have heard about the risks of drilling in Alaska ad nauseum about the caribou. No one thought about the ecology of the Gulf???

You have a drill going down one mile to get to the earth and then five miles into it to get the oil. It is a miracle of engineering we’re even capable of doing this.

Was it necessary? NO. There’s oil in shale and there’s oil in Alaska close to the service. It would never have involved this risk.

The other poster gave a list of the reasons why we need oil. It isn’t just for fuel. Build nuclear facilities. Europe has. And we’ve had subs running on nukes for decades. Do what we can to get off foreign oil.

And if BP and other drillers could have drilled where it was safer, they would have. This is our government at work.

And we want it in charge of our health. When are we going to learn???

Part of the answer lies in this column today from Rich Lowry [which I confess I stumbled upon while reading Page 6]

And then … AND THEN … I read the comments below the article.

Kowa Bonga.

I won’t quote or excerpt Lowry’s piece; you all can read that for yourselves, but I will reproduce one or two of the comments.

06/12/2010 8:50 AM

John, what people wanted, and expected, was that if the federal government didn’t have the answers, step aside… if you can’t fix it, don’t add to the problem.

There is a veritable flotilla foreign high tech,the most advanced skimming tech in the world.They are just sitting there waiting for the word which is not coming. Seems there is the Jones Act form the 1920’s which prohibits ships to work off our shores unless they are American built or crewed. Seem unions come down hard and heavy on any politician who seeks to suspend this act…Obama and the unions are joined at the hip.

The WH answer re waiver: “nobody asked.” This can not be denied as the only foreign tech currently being used are those which can be transferred to American vessels. The Jones Act.

Saudi Aramco’s response to the massive Kuwaiti in 1991 is consider the “gold standard” in clean ups. They accepted every off of help and recovered more than 900,000 barrels of oil in 3 months.

Bush, the man you just love to hate, suspended the Jones Act in the aftermath of Katrina to take full advantage of all possible help. Maybe he had a cowboy approach, but at least he didn’t globe trot trashing his own country and it’s people.

Obama as a serious problem making decisions. Each and every emergent situation which has befallen us since he took office, we have seen this administration step back and take a long and thoughtful answer to everything. Obviously considering how to best approach and spin it to their best advantage. The people be damned, let them eat cake.

Had the Jones Act been waived over a month ago, chances are the oil would never have reached shore, and nobody should have to make a formal request and jump through hoops for this assistance.

So, John, you ask what is it we wanted the President to do? We wanted him to do everything he could to contain that mess and unions be damned.

Read more:

I was going to write a sarcastic rejoinder [is that like a response?] to your reply to my collection of non-sequiturs.

But then I chanced upon [Holy Spirit working overtime] Rich Lowry’s column which was good clean fun.

But then [double overtime by Holy Spirit] I found the letter/comment by jjm and not only did my blood pressure spike, but also I used up my month’s allotment of bold red emphasis.

BHO has not placed a ban on oil, although his six month moratorium on deep water drilling will have almost the same effect, by sending all the deep water drill rigs to Nigeria or Indonesia.

Anyway, read the text in red and JJM comments about the Jones Act, which I had not seen anywhere else.

Post what you think about that.

[P.S. I liked your non-sarcastic response to my, yes, sarcasm. Good job. Well done.]

You said it. If they were out to deliberately destroy the USA and leave it crippled and wasted I scarcely see how they could do a better job.

I first heard about this a couple of days ago from a foreign guy, do not remember his name or anything. I just heard the audio, I believe it was from MSNBC. He gave his phone number out on TV, he said he can clean all of this up even with the chemicals they have used to disperse the oil.

Just found this great article about Presidential over-hyperbolic/contrived reaction in the Gulf spill:


It will be some time before we have a precise idea of the nature and extent of environmental damage from the Deepwater spill. It should be borne in mind, however, that ocean ecosystems tend to have faster recovery times than ecosystems on land, owing to the area available for the dilution and dispersal of the oil droplets, the constant aerating turbulence of ocean waters, and the ease of repopulation from adjacent areas once the anoxia (lack of oxygen) has passed.

A recent study of seven basic ecosystem types, and their most typical perturbations, found that of ecosystems that make a recovery from various catastrophic events (and, it must be noted, not all do), ocean ecosystems disrupted by oil spills were the fastest to recover, often within a span of one to four years. As the New York Times noted in a 1993 story, the Persian Gulf recovered surprisingly faster than anticipated from the 1.2 million ton spill Saddam Hussein engineered in 1991: “The vast amount of oil that Iraqi occupation forces in Kuwait dumped into the Persian Gulf during the 1991 war did little long-term damage, international researchers say.” By contrast, forest lands disrupted by fire or deforestation can take more than 40 years to recover.

Besides increasing our reliance on tankers, there are two other reasons curtailing offshore production in the Gulf may not reduce the ecological risk to the Gulf Coast. First, other nations are unlikely to curtail their own offshore exploration in the Gulf. Cuba is drilling for oil within 100 miles of south Florida; Mexico has extensive drilling operations in the Gulf (and as mentioned above caused the largest single spill in history). Both Venezuela and Brazil are expanding their offshore exploration and production in deep water, and are likely to expand to the Gulf of Mexico if the United States scales back.

Second, while the Deepwater Horizon spill represents an acute short term shock to Gulf waters and the Gulf Coast, the chronic seasonal depletion of oxygen in the Gulf (aka the 8,500 square mile “dead zone” below the Mississippi River Delta) may be aggravated by one of the policy responses that has been suggested in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon: increased ethanol production.

Another excerpt:

"By then [August] the Deepwater spill will likely have leaked over 200,000 tons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez tanker spilled 37,000 tons into Alaska’s Prince William Sound; the 1969 Santa Barbara spill (which was stopped in about 10 days) amounted to only 12,000 tons.

But the extraordinary nature of this platform spill—the first in this country in 40 years (last year’s Montara spill in the Timor Sea was the first major platform spill anywhere in the world in more than 20 years)—is no excuse to take leave of reason, or avert our gaze from thinking seriously about risk tradeoffs. Right now the United States gets more than 1.6 million barrels of oil a day from the Gulf of Mexico, and if we curtail Gulf exploration and production, we shall have to make up the difference with more imported oil.

"Despite post-Exxon Valdez safety measures, tanker oil spills occur more frequently and release more oil than offshore drilling accidents, by a wide margin. Over the last 50 years, offshore drilling spills, including the Deepwater Horizon, have unleashed a little more than 1 million tons of oil; tanker accidents have spilled 4 million. For every offshore drilling spill, there have been seven tanker spills, many much larger than the Exxon Valdez, only the 40th largest tanker spill on record.

“Even if the Deepwater Horizon spill lasts into the fall, it will still not even be the largest offshore spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That dubious achievement belongs to the Ixtoc 1, a Mexican platform near Yucatán that blew out in 1979 in circumstances similar to the Deepwater Horizon (the blowout preventer failed after a gas surge from the well). It took Mexico’s famously inept Pemex almost 10 months to stop the leak, by which time 460,000 tons of oil had leaked—still the largest accidental spill in world history (Saddam Hussein deliberately fouled the Persian Gulf at the end of the first Gulf War with 1.2 million tons).”

And for the benefit of people fearful of what effects a hurricane might have, well, we already have experience with a hurricane and a much larger oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The ecological effects of the Ixtoc 1 disaster should be borne in mind when we hear claims that the Deepwater spill will inflict large and long-lasting effects. According to a 1981 study by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, about half of the Ixtoc 1 oil evaporated, and another 25 percent sank to the bottom of the ocean, much of it broken up by wave action and chemical dispersants. The Swedish Academy study estimated that oil from the Ixtoc 1 poisoned a 5,800 square mile area, devastating crab, shrimp, and fish stocks, and leading to large oxygen-killing plankton blooms. Overall fish landings fell by up to 70 percent in Mexican and Texan coastal waters. On the other hand, the 5,800 square mile area represented about 2.5 percent of Mexican Gulf Coast waters. Finally and most ironically, Hurricane Frederick struck the Texas coast in September 1979, and washed away 95 percent of the oil that had reached shoreline beaches and marshes. The current fears of the effects of tropical storms and hurricanes in the midst of the Deepwater spill might be misplaced.”

LOL! Yeah well, if we can afford to pay any more after we get done paying off the deficit that is so out of control right now, I’m not sure we can count that high. Maybe then, we can chip in to pay off the oil spill.:ehh:

I think we totally misunderstood each other. I will blame my part on the massive migraine I had yesterday.

Note that I did say that I presumed you were being sarcastic.

However, I do know a few people who would actually propose what you sarcastically were saying. So I also addressed it seriously, in case you actually were one of those with that “special” viewpoint.

In any case, I agree with you (I think :D). I found the article about the Jones Act to be quite interesting, since you asked for my comment on that.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit