Posted by: quiscus | May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010

1.  “US actors, intellectuals protest Obama ‘crimes’

“In some respects this is worse than Bush,” the statement says. “First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of ‘terrorism,’ merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly.”

Among the signatories are linguist Noam Chomsky, “L.A. Confidential” actor James Cromwell, actor Mark Ruffalo and prominent Bush-era anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan. By midday Thursday there were 1,804 signatures.

They also lambast Obama for having refused “to prosecute any members of the Bush regime who are responsible for war crimes, including some who admitted to waterboarding and other forms of torture, thereby making their actions acceptable for him.”

2.  “Despite Knowing It Had a Damaged Blowout Preventer, BP STILL Cut Corners By Removing the Single Most Important Safety Measure

Several weeks before the Gulf oil explosion, a key piece of safety equipment – the blowout preventer – was damaged.

As the Times of London reports:

[Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician on the Deepwater Horizon, and one of the last workers to leave the doomed rig] claimed that the blowout preventer was then damaged when a crewman accidentally moved a joystick, applying hundreds of thousands of pounds of force. Pieces of rubber were found in the drilling fluid, which he said implied damage to a crucial seal. But a supervisor declared the find to be “not a big deal”, Mr Williams alleged.

UC Berkeley engineering professor Bob Bea told 60 Minutes that a damaged blowout preventer not only may lead to a catastrophic accident like the Gulf oil spill, but leads to inaccurate pressure readings, so that the well operator doesn’t know the real situation, and cannot keep the rig safe.

Bea also said that – despite the damage – BP ordered the rig operator to ignore an even more critical safety measure. Specifically, BP ordered the rig operator to remove the “drilling mud” – a heavy liquid used to keep oil and gas from escaping – before the well was sealed.

According to Bea, the accident would not have occurred had drilling mud been used.

One important implication of this report: BP’s $75 million liability cap for economic damages does not apply if the company is guilty of willful negligence, and if last night’s 60 Minutes report on the disaster is accurate, BP will certainly be on the hook for everything.”

3.  Why?

“Global Military Doctrine: NATO “Must Be Ready to Intervene Anywhere”

4.  “Dispersing Is Not Cleaning: Congress Must Investigate Oil Spill-Dispersing Chemicals

Mother Jones reports that the toxicity statements filed by Corexit’s maker acknowledge: “No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product.”

What is in Corexit? We don’t get to know. The exact ingredients are a protected trade secret under U.S. law as it currently stands.

The New York Times notes that other dispersants may be as effective while being significantly less toxic. The Corexit advantage is that it is a child of the oil industry, manufactured by Nalco, which “was once part of Exxon Mobil Corp. and whose current leadership includes executives at both BP and Exxon.” If the company will not voluntarily reveal what it is dumping into open waters, it is time to force it to do so.

But isn’t it better to try to disperse the oil so it goes away?  Isn’t anything better than the oil? Protect the Ocean observes that “Oil is toxic at 11 ppm while Corexit is toxic at only 2.61 ppm.” So Corexit is about four times as toxic as the oil it is being applied to. Of course, there is way less Corexit being dumped than oil, but the relative toxicity argument doesn’t really “hold water” when you consider that we’re not dumping Corexit instead ofoil, but in addition to it. The corollary to this is that if the oil “disappears” from human sight, then BP won’t be under as much pressure to clean it up. The dispersants could save BP a ton of cleanup costs and PR embarrassment. But the food chain (yes, including us humans) will not be spared, as the oil works its way onto our dinner plate, species by species.”

5.  ”

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