Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Drill Baby, Drill!" - The Misconstruction of Joe Barton

Port Townsend, today. Like you, my concern about the developments below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico continues. Due largely in part to my interest in geology, I am a member of a couple of discussion groups composed of professionals in the oil drilling industry and have learned more from those groups than mainstream media, for sure!

Not to fear, the focus of "Oil-Electric" will always be twin shiny rails. Some 18 articles are in various stages of development from EMD's GM6C Thyristor locomotives through Northern Pacific's U25C's. They are, so to speak, "In the hole!"

I guess my fascination with Tony Hayward of BP comes from my intense interest in geology as a kid. The family often went to Kalaloch Beach on the Olympic Peninsula. I'd take Dad's eight-pound mallet with us, and spent hours cracking rocks open, looking for geodes. I'm sure the parents wondered where they'd gone wrong with the dawg and me; as I was busting rocks open, Maggie was shoving them around with her nose.

I took a shot at geology in college but ended up in journalism. As I mentioned yesterday, Mr. Hayward began his career as a geologist, working on some of the most dangerous offshore platforms in the world, off the Coast of Scotland. And worked his way up through the ranks. He knows the oil business literally from the ground up! I admire the man for his accomplishments, in a highly technical complex profession.

Don't be mislead by his ostensible lack of knowledge when the committee asked him to comment on "casing hangers" or "centralizers." (He was probably slightly amused to hear them fumbling around with the terminology.) Remember, Tony was hand picked to become CEO of British Petroleum (BP -2001) because of his extensive understanding of the "Hole-to-the-Pump" processes.

Instead of pleading the 5th Amendment privileges one is accustomed to hearing in US trials, he demonstrated creative variations on "I was not there" "I was not involved in the decision" and "I did not know that was done."

You have to remember that the Federal Government has launched a criminal investigation into the 11 lives lost on the Deepwater Horizon. So being in that position, it was not surprising that Tony failed to respond to questions, undoubtedly being rehearsed by corporate attorneys, admonishing him that "Anything you say can and will be used against you."

There is an active crime scene some 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. You can take it to the bank that once, if ever, the oil flow is contained, the Blow Out Preventer will become critical evidence in the criminal investigation. Authorities need to know if the BOP failed, and if it failed, what caused it to fail.

I was startled to see the Great American News Machine announced today the replacement of Tony Hayward, implying it was the result of his appearance before the House.

Not so! The management change was announced two weeks ago! On June 4th, BP announced in the UK Guardian that Tony Hayward was being replaced.

"Hives off" is a quaint British term dating back to 1856, meaning to "spin off" - break away from. In a bid to isolate the "toxic" side of the company, BP America will be run by Bob Dudley, a Mississippian, who carries his own set of luggage into the fray!

The most shocking event of the day was the Committee being blind-sided by Joseph Linus "Joe" Barton, an aging (September 15, 1949)"card-carrying Texas Republican oil man."

"I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billon shakedown."

His startling apology to Tony Hayward and BP insinuated that the Administration had "shaken down" BP to establish an escrow account for post oil spill damages.

This disgusting person is the Ranking Member of the Energy Committee. "Smokey Joe" Barton does not come to the table with clean hands. This is the same Joe Barton
  • who, along with Bush, Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney helped set "America's Energy Plan" behind closed doors with the oil industry, which can be traced to the Deepwater Horizon.
  • who said we "Shouldn't regulate CO2 because it's in your Coca-Cola." And along with Bush, Tom DeLay and Haley Barbour, helped Bush renege on his campaign promise to control CO2 emissions.
  • who crudely told a press conference that "Henry Waxman doesn't have the nuts" to pass energy legislation.
Haley Barbour and George Bush

I remember as a kid when we were studying about the Congress and the Senate in Civics, we'd stage mock debates in class. Learned how ideas became laws. We were all under the impression that these people had character, honesty and were "learned" intelligent, great thinkers and planners.

With the revelations of such pervasive collusion, misconduct and neglect by the Oil Industry, part of me wants to say, "This had to happen; it was the only way to clean out this festering nest of corruption."

Even in my elder years, I naively expect that when the country is confronted with a common crisis, partisan politics should be set aside. All hands should "be on deck" pulling together to find and implement a solution.

But comments made by other Republicans in support of Joe, led me to the conclusion that no matter what state of emergency hits this country, partisanship trump's solidarity. So to that end, I designed a new logo for the Republican Party.

How ironic that one of the truly great politicians of our time was a Republican!

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Abraham Lincoln
Springfield, Illinois
June 16, 1858

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