It’s Not “Obama’s Katrina”—But It’s Cheney’s Second
[ cross-posted at Daily Kos ]
“Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.”
—Vice President Dick Cheney, quoted in New York Times, May 1, 2001
The good people of Great Britain have a beloved and time-honored delicacy, a steamed suet pudding known as spotted dick. Well, we Americans too have a celebrated concoction that has served as vice president and secretary of defense as well as CEO of Halliburton. And what a rare and piquant morsel is our Dick.
Conservative media outlets and their followers at CNN have been quick to ask in their usual accusatory way if this disaster is “Obama’s Katrina” (by all means, lose no opportunity to attack!). It is probably true that the administration should have been more proactively skeptical of BP’s assertions that the situation was under control. (TPM’s timeline here.) But the responsibility for the leak’s happening at all lies closer to the George W. Bush administration—and to its all-powerful vice president. Halliburton was cementing the base of the well at the time of the explosion, and for its involvement in the accident the Houston-based oil services giant is named in a lawsuit filed by the widow of one of the 11 missing offshore workers. The Wall Street Journal reported (4/30):
The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig. . . . Halliburton also was the cementer on a well that suffered a big blowout last August in the Timor Sea, off Australia. The rig there caught fire and a well leaked tens of thousands of barrels of oil over 10 weeks before it was shut down.
But Cheney is implicated also in the absence of a device that could have stopped the leak. The Wall Street Journal, Salon.com, the New Republic, and Michael Tomasky at The Guardian have been following the dripping trail of oil that leads to Dick Cheney’s (formerly undisclosed) location.
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Tags: BP, corporate crime, dick cheney, George W. Bush administration, Gulf of Mexico oil drilling, Mike Papantonio, National Energy Policy Development Group
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“Held Up Without a Gun”
I was out driving just taking it slow / Looked at my tank, it was reading low / Pulled in a [BP] station out on Highway 1 / Held up without a gun / Held up without a gun . . . —Bruce Springsteen (1980)
BP’s 2010 first quarter profits were $5.6 billion, a 135 percent increase over the first quarter of 2009
While BP scrambles to clean up its mess in the Gulf of Mexico with one hand, it’s raking in money with the other, just like its big four partners in the oil business. Daniel J. Weiss and Susan Lyon report at Grist.org:
Much of the U.S. economy is slowly recovering from a deep recession, but oil companies continue to prosper. The big five oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—announced huge first quarter profits—four of the five companies announced profits larger than analysts predicted. As the chart below shows, big oil saw profits in the first quarter of 2010 that far eclipse analysts’ projections and are significantly higher than 2009 profits as well.
BP’s 2010 first quarter profits were $5.6 billion, a 135 percent increase over the first quarter of 2009. This profit was 50 percent higher than predicted by The Financial Times. Shell announced that its profits had risen by 49 percent since the first quarter of 2009. Chevron’s profit was $4.6 billion, a 156 percent increase, while ConocoPhillips had $2.1 billion in profits. The world’s largest private oil company, ExxonMobil, had a first quarter profit of $6.8 billion, which was 38 percent more than 2009.