Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hocus Pocus

Today we got news that the "static kill" was going well and BP felt that the well was finally stopped. Hopefully that is true. We could use some good news on this. However, no sooner did they say that, then the administration and BP forwarded a lie that equals "the check is in the mail," for audacity and obvious nonsense.

A couple of days ago, revised numbers put the amount of oil spilled from this disaster at just under 5 million barrels or right around 200 million gallons. This tops all previous estimates and makes this the largest marine oil spill ever anywhere. Add to that the 2 million gallons of dispersant and you have the largest environmental mess ever made.

Since this sounds really bad and takes away from Obama's "mission accomplished" moment when the well is finally plugged, the administration and their pals at BP needed some way to make it sound better. Since logic denies them this, they went with the next best thing - magic. Today, Obama point man Thad Allen happily announced that 76 percent of the spilled oil is simply gone. Vanished. Some was collected, some was burned, some skimmed. That part comes to under a million gallons or roughly 20 percent.

The rest? Around 50 percent of the spilled oil? Magically vanished. A combination of evaporation, dispersal and the mystic ability of the Gulf of Mexico to simply make oil go away. To be fair, the Gulf does have some life forms that can consume the oil. But they typically can consume less than 100,000 barrels per year. That is less than 2 days of this spill. On the evaporation thing, oil does not completely evaporate. It breaks down into several fairly toxic substances including tar. But it does not disappear. On the dispersal claim, that is just stupid. Dispersal means the oil is spread out over a greater area. Not less oil - more area.

But the administration, forever worried about PR and such, had none other than Carole Browner out today telling us that 76 percent of the oil had simply gone away. Thad Allen continues to refer to his aerial surveys. The White House and BP would have us believe that over half of the oil that leaked is just gone. Vanished. Consumed. Whatever. They want us to simply accept that it is gone.

This is with virtually no real science. In fact, real scientists at actual universities keep pointing out that there really is no precedent for this much oil and dispersant. Real researchers keep reporting elevated levels of oil in the water miles away and thousands of feet deep. And that is exactly what BP, Thad Allen and the rest of the administration and Congress wanted in the first place.

The problem to be invisible. Not gone. Not solved. Not dealt with. Just harder to see. And less photogenic. Has anyone noticed that the images from a mile below the surface pretty much disappeared from the news? That we no longer get a report of where the oil is or might be going? We no longer get a look at the damage in Plaquemines Parish where the worst of it is. Why?

Well, the administration and BP from the start wanted the oil kept off the surface. BP announced that almost immediately. Then we had the sham of the EPA order stopping the dispersant. Thad Allen and BP said no. EPA immediately backed down. When has that ever happened? When has EPA ever just backed down? This left it up to Obama's hand picked National Incident Commander Thad Allen, who was yielding to BP across the board.

So the 2 million gallons of dispersant was pumped onto and into the Gulf of Mexico with the explicit purpose of keeping the oil off the surface. BP said this. Thad Allen said this. For some reason, the same media that questions the cost of a wedding didn't notice that the oil was being hidden - right in front of them. And it obviously worked.

This is important to Team Obama. They were very slow to react to the situation when it happened and slow to really grasp the magnitude of it. They put everything through the bureaucracy, slowing it down even more. Congress is STILL working on reacting with something other than hearings. Overall, the government needs to show a rapid "mission accomplished" to try to overcome the failure to properly react initially.

So Obama gets his "mission accomplished" moment. The well appears to be finally stopped. They are still going to do the relief wells and such, but the oil seems to be finally and permanently stopped. But the oil that leaked is still mostly in the water - just hard to see. Thus they can announce that the oil had gone away on its own. And then they can run away as fast as they can. Just like the last time a president proclaimed mission accomplished when the original mission was not accomplished.

If you don't want to believe me, that is fine. Just ask any Gulf fisherman or resort owner. Ask the people whose lives this disaster destroyed. They'll tell you. Ask them - if you dare.

I am offering shirts with this design and will be sending the profits directly to the Plaquemines Parish Fund that is set up to help the folks most hurt by this mess.

I spoke to the good folks at Plaquemines and I have to say that for people living a horror show, they are some of the nicest and most grateful people you would ever want to talk to.

Please help out and get the message out at the same time.

You can order them here:

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