Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Blaming the Victims for BP’s Negligence

Bert opines that if we had less regulation, BP would have had fewer corners to cut while drilling Deepwater

Explosion is CG--No Squirrels were hurt in the production of this cartoon

Yup, that’s right, it isn’t Biggish Petroleum’s fault that the Gulf of Mexico is turning into La Brea East. After all, they have such a lovely service record with hundreds of safety violations … in the last 2 years! So it couldn’t possibly be THEIR fault for being in such hot … errr … water. How dare President Obama shake them down for damages when it manifestly is not their fault.

It’s the Democrat’s fault for allowing themselves to be bullied into toothless regulation. It’s the fault of those damn liberals who forced them to drill so far off-shore. It’s the fault of the American people for buying those gas guzzlers and not forcing the auto manufacturers to make electric cars. It’s their fault for not throwing away their incandescent light bulbs and replacing them with mercury-filled CFLs that are 10 times as expensive and require a HAZMAT team to come clean up if one breaks. It’s their fault for keeping on using gas and oil instead of smoke-belching coal, since they don’t have any other viable alternatives. Except ultra-safe nuclear! It’s the fault of the alternative energy folks for not developing their technologies on a shoestring while Congress is giving subsidies to the oil folks who are already making the largest profits in history. It’s the fault of that guy in all the emergency contact documents who had the temerity to die without informing the oil companies of the need to update their plans. It’s the fault of the turtles in the Gulf for being so delicious that they’re endangered.

Yeah. And as the bank robber said to the security guard:

Damn you! if you hadn’t gotten untied and started screaming, I wouldn’t have had to shoot you.

See. It’s YOUR fault.

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Drill, Baby, Dri … Ooops!

Sarah Palin, having spent most of her national political career singing

Hey, it wasn't US, said BP, it's the fault of the contractor.

Quite frankly I don’t know what to say about this. Watching an oil spill whose size makes the Exxon Valdez accident look like somebody dropped a stick of butter as it gets closer and closer to the shores that still haven’t recovered from the devastation of Katrina is a little like watching a train wreck. A train needs a certain amount of time to brake to a stop–and that means several miles in the case of a heavy freight train or a fast passenger train. Any attempt to stop quicker is just simply not going to work because it’s against the laws of physics. So you step on the brake in the hope of minimizing the damage and wait for the inevitable crash, watching in horrified fascination as the train gets closer and closer.

In the meantime, the blame game has started. The Obama administration has blamed it on BP. BP has blamed it on the contractors in charge of the drilling and on faulty equipment. Blame the tools! The media and the right wing have begun blaming Obama for not doing enough to stop the crisis, despite the fact that the federal government had offered help, been turned down and told that the situation was being managed. They should have stepped right in and taken over, say the people who normally howl over any sort of government interference. And Sarah Palin has spun on the proverbial dime and has become sooooooo concerned about the environmental issues that you’d think she’d never even heard the phrase, “Drill, Baby, Drill,” that she led her supporters in chanting throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.

Clearly there is more than enough blame to go around, and I’ll not exempt the Obama administration for not acting quickly enough. Sometimes, you need to step up to the plate. Sometimes, acting quickly is more important than making sure all the p’s are p’s and q’s are q’s. But even if it HAD acted faster–is there anything that really could have been done? Or was this truly like the train wreck that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, no matter how fast you act, that collision is just going to occur and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.

Obama says that BP is going to pay for it. No. The one certain thing in every disaster that has occurred as long as I can remember is that BP will wriggle out of it and pay off at best a token amount that seems big only if you do not take into account the amount of damage this accident will cause. But it will be paid for… and the people who will pay for it will be? US.

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Help is On the WAY–in a few days…

A marine shouts to victims under a pile of rubble that they will get help as soon as the marines finish setting up a secure base camp.

We would have sent in food and water immediately, but there was no security structure in place.

Well, we’re finally doing something over in Haiti, but, sad to say, we got beat to the punch. Rescue teams from … Iceland … were despatched almost immediately after the earthquake struck. Sniffer dogs arrived from … China … within 48 hours. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the President of the Lumbering Giant of America said that we could get the first 2000 Marines to Haiti–a mere 700 miles from Florida and a hop, skip and jump from Puerto Rico–in a few days. A few days means a lot to a victim still buried under rubble. Or someone sitting on the roof of their submerged house as we found out from Katrina. But Haiti is not New Orleans. It’s simply the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Greg Palast has a remarkable precis of the screwy US response. I don’t want to copy what he’s said, but what it boils down to is that instead of treating the Haitian tragedy as an EMERGENCY, our response has been to treat it as a military operation. Secretary Gates said he would not send in food and water immediately because there was no security apparatus in place. OF COURSE NOT, an entire country has been devastated. The proper response in an EMERGENCY is to send in rescuers first, followed up by relief and security. But America is so hamstrung by both its muscle-bound state and its security paranoia that instead of doing the right thing first, we started out with the back end of the horse.
Our first operation appears to have been to secure the Port-au-Prince airport and try to take over rescue efforts in a way that had French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet complain that we seemed to be more concerned with occupying Haiti rather than helping it. Indeed, we secured the airport so well that we refused landing to an aircraft from “Doctors without Borders” carrying supplies and an inflatable surgical hospital, forcing them to land in the Dominican Republic and truck in the supplies over the mountains, delaying their arrival for 24 hours. Danny Schecter on Media Channel suggests that our overweaning focus on security may be driven more by a desire to keep US-deposed President Aristide out of Haiti than on anything to do with the safety of the country.
We’ve heard a lot about things being “too big to fail” in recent months–the banks are too big to be allowed to go under after they’ve screwed up the economy, the health insurance industry is too big to be allowed to be given competition from a single payer health plan. And even when the leading political party is in agreement on something in general, it can’t agree with itself about what it wants. Could it be that the US has become too big to act effectively? Man, if so, we better get some streamlining in pronto before we choke to death on our immensity.

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Haitians Protest: We’re already past the seventh generation, Pat

Sinners in the hands of an angry televangelist: Pat Robertson gloats over Haiti's misfortune.

The essence of Pat Robertson's religion: feeling smug about someone else's misfortune because God loves ME MORE!

You can depend on Pat Robertson–he ALWAYS gives Christianity a bad name. Every time there’s a terrible catastrophe somewhere in the world, he can find a reason to blame it on somebody else’s sinfulness. And gloats over his own good fortune and religious superiority. Now take this earthquake in Haiti. Terrible tragedy, death and destruction everywhere, at least 100,000 dead. You’d think a catastrophe of this magnitude would call for a little Christian kindness. Not from Pat! He hauls out this story–which as far as I know, he made up–about some Haitian selling his soul to the devil for independence–and that’s why they’ve suffered poverty and famine and unstable governments and now this devastation. Well, Pat, the guy you’re thinking about had a name, Toussaint L’Ouverture. He led a rebellion for Haitian independence and managed to defeat every army sent at him. He was also black.
Now, I don’t want to accuse Pat of racism, I think he’s more of a religious bigot. You see, Haiti is the homeplace of Vodou, or as we more commonly spell it, Voodoo. Pat has this Hollywood idea of Voodoo consisting of zombies, dolls with pins in them, devil worshipping and worst of all, dancing. If Toussaint L’Ouverture had not sold his soul to the devil, there’d be none of that deviltry going on! Haitians would all go to church on Sunday, sing hymns, listen to some preacher for about 4 hours and become prosperous and Protestant. As it is, most Haitians are Catholic–they’re also devotees of Vodou and don’t see a contradiction in this. After all, they both worship , don’t they? It’s just that Catholicism has been syncretized with African beliefs, customs and rituals.
Well, Pat will have none of it–that African stuff is all devil worship to him and to hell with ya. Cursed forever for Toussaint L’Ouverture’s effrontery of being a black general who defeated white European armies, which he obviously could never have done if he hadn’t sold his soul to the devil. Why else would Haiti be so poor when the other half of the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic, is so prosperous and stable–we’ll never mind the century or so of political upheavals the Dominican Republic suffered before the present calm. It’s obviously the fault of all that Voodoo–and dancing–which makes their misfortunes their own fault. God is merely punishing them like a father a naughty child, because a father loves his children, even when giving them the buckle end of the belt. After all, as St. John said, God is love. And in Pat Robertson’s view, God just loved those Haitians to death!
I’m so glad Pat Robertson isn’t God…

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