Greatest Oil Spill in History and Other News of the Day
I didn’t have the time to write a dedicated post for today, so another ramble through the news. I actually tried to watch the news on TV the other day. It was touted as “World News” on one of the major networks, channel seven I believe. The first story was about the “Times Square bomber” pleading guilty. This is a story of almost no importance, I as pretty shocked, the guy is either a stupid nutbar, or he’s a dupe for someone. The news made a big deal about his claims that “more attacks are coming.” If a car full of fireworks so amateurishly made into a “bomb” is the best they can do, I’m not worried. It was just hard for me to believe this was the lead story on the planet that night. It’s either a non-story, or propaganda, neither is news.
Next was a piece on how they “saved” all these birds from the Gulf Oil spill. Nowhere did they mention it costs tens of thousands of dollars to wash the oil off of a bird, and that said bird is almost certain to die of organ failure within weeks of being released due to all the toxins that soaked into their body. I mean, talk about a puff piece to make it seem like noble efforts are being made to fix this mess. In other words, this was basically an oil industry PR piece. I was not impressed.
Then there was an oh-so-dramatic piece about the opposition in Iran a year after the elections. Yes, the plucky Iranians fighting for their freedom against a repressive regime. I mean yeah, good for them, but exactly one person was killed in the demonstrations after the elections, so we’re not actually talking massive repression here like we see in so many other lands. And of course this was all about demonizing the current Iranian regime, there’s plucky people fighting for freedom in dozens of other countries … but somehow all we hear about is Iran and North Korea. Again, this piece could have been scripted by a White House PR flack, pretty much like the first piece about the “bomber.”
At that point I gave up in disgust. These were the top three stories in a mainstream world news report? No wonder Americans are so misinformed. It didn’t used to be like this, back in the old days the media was actually independent and not simply a vessel for regurgitating corporate and White House puff pieces. Certainly makes it no wonder though why there isn’t more outrage over the incredible shenanigans going on in Washington as it blunders forward on a path to national self immolation through corruption, theft, and pointless wars in far off lands.
Oh well, in real news the Gulf Oil Spill is possibly the worst oil spill ever at sea, and the second worst in history. Depends on whose numbers one uses. Still, the spill continues so it’s just a matter of time until it is the worst. In terms of economic effects, we are there already. By some accounts it simply will not be possible to stop or contain the spill. And here’s a link about how the Russians used a nuclear weapon to shut off a well blow out. I won’t go into it, but for any number of reasons the nuclear option isn’t a particularly attractive option for the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Now I understand that BP has put up $20 billion dollars to compensate people for this spill. I’ve also heard that they will be able to deduct this from their taxes, and that the recipients of this aid will have to pay taxes on it. If true, then this is just more stealing from the poor and middle class under the guise of helping people. For the record, I think ultimately BP won’t lose a dime over this spill and that all the costs will be taken from the pockets of the American taxpayer. Yes, socialism has arrived in America, as long as you’re rich.
I see general McChrystal is in hot water for some intemperate remarks. Not much to say here, our wars are driven in the army and in Washington by domestic political concerns, and the high commands of all branches of the service are totally corrupt and politicized now. Even if Mr. McChrystal gets fired now, he’s still set for life, and there’s plenty more where he came from. In other words this is at best political theatre of little import, and at worst simply cover and distraction from the fact that America’s longest war is a dismal failure with no end in sight. But like the Ottoman Empire before us, we are blind to our own byzantine weakness, and will likely carry on striving to recreate the glory days of 1945 until the whole house of cards that is the American empire collapses of its own weight.
I wonder if I will ever try and watch a mainstream TV news show again?
(The above image predates 1927 and is Public Domain under US copyright law. It’s the Lakeview Gusher, an oil blowout in 1910 that is the worst oil spill in history, more than 9 million barrels of oil spilt, though about half was recovered. And yes, the Gulf War oil spill may have been larger, but it was deliberate, not an accident. And finally some good news: “Here’s a little bit of good news. The Coast Guard says that BP is now catching up to 630,000 gallons of oil a day. The bad news is that they’re capturing it with ducks.” —Jimmy Fallon)